Suri Alpaca Lace Shawl

I knitted this over most of my first year in graduate school. That would have been 2002-03. It's knitted from just more than one skein of Cherry Tree Hill's Suri Elegance. A skein cost me about 50 bucks! So, it was the purchase of the year to buy two. The color is Middle Earth, and I was careful to match the dye lots. But as I've bitched about already, dye lots with CTH mean nothing. I knitted through the first skein, and joined the second. I was shocked at the difference in colors. If I can get these pictures to upload, you can clearly see in one of them how different the colors are. I decided to finish out the pattern repeat and bind off. It's fine, the scarf was a zillion feet long at that point any way. I really liked working with this yarn, and I do love the colors. I thought that soft alpaca would make a wonderful soft lace, but it's pretty itchy. I guess there's something about spinning any fiber into such a thin yarn. Worn over a dark jacket, it's stunning. I've blocked, and re-blocked it several times, and it's held up really well. I still have most of another skein of this yarn waiting to be knitted. I was thinking about making that shetland shell pattern I really like. That pattern seems to show off hand painted yarns really nicely. This project really formed my love for big nasty long-term lace projects. I knit so much lace that I've really cut down on knitting time. I don't use stitch markers any more; I don't count stitches in the pattern. I've finally learned to "read" the lace as I go. When I began this project, I couldn't do that. I had a dozen or so stitch markers in the work, and I wove a contrasting yarn through the loops at the end of every repeat so I could keep track. If all else failed, I figured I could just un-do the work back to the thread, and I would know what row that was. With the very first lace project I ever did, I had to pull it apart so much that I really had no idea most of the time what row I was working. I was still doing my yarn over's wrong, and they didn't make much of a hole, so there was really no way I was going to be able to read the knitting. Some how I finished that little silk shawl. If I knew then what I know now... I don't know how I ended up living in southern California. My love for lace has convinced me that I should have been born in Oslo or some place where the sun does not frequent, and I could just sit inside 10 months a year and knit lace!


Alka Faroese-shaped Shawl

I finished this shawl in record time. I began this project just over a month ago, and finished it on Saturday night. I knitted a pair of socks for a friends birthday during that time as well. It is made of just slightly more than two skeins of Shimmer (alpaca/silk) from Knit Picks. I think it's the Morning Mist color, or something like that. I had to tie on the thrid skein half way through knitting on the edging, so this could easily be made with only two skeins. It's the Alka pattern from Myrna Stahman's wonderful book of Faroese-shaped shawls. This book is a wonderful resource for any knitter. I have made an Alka every summer for the last 3. The lace pattern is supposed to look like tulips, but I think they look like arrowheads. Either way, these are wonderful projects. The shaping of the shawl makes it just stay put on the shoulders; there is no need to pin it closed. In reading Stahman's book I became interested in the dressing wires she used to block her shawl's. I googled Zonta Dressing Wires, and came across the Zonta club of Boise. I downloaded their order form, and sent off my order. Over a month later, I received my check back and a letter explaining that they don't make the wire kits any more, and they told me to contact Stahman directly because she was selling them. I e-mailed her, and she responded quickly. She informed me that she in fact does not sell them, but she fowarded me e-mail to a nice lady who is possibly going to begin selling them in October of this year. Way to go Zonta club! Take your order form off of the web!! I was wanting the wires in time to block this shawl. So, wireless, I decided to use my circular knitting needles instead, and I think they worked quite well! Try it yourself! I'm really pleased with the result. It took me only about 45 minutes and a few dozen pins instead of hours and zillions of pins to block the shawl.

4 shaft twill scarf

Let's see, I wove this scarf early last summer (2004) for my husband. It's made of three colors of shetland wool that he picked out. I warped only 2 yards of the cobalt and charcoal, and I wove a nifty 4 shaft twill pattern using tan as the weft. I washed it when it was done, and the yarns fulled up nicely. My husband has never worn the scarf because he says it's too short. So, I wove another one for him this summer. With version 2 I added another cobalt stripe making the scarf wider and longer. Unfortunately, it turned out only about 6 inches longer than this version! I think I have two scarves now. I just put this one up on ebay, so we'll see if I can profit from my lesson on making warps an appropriate length. I've read that twills use a lot of the warp in the weaving process. No kidding. This was my first weaving project on 4 shafts, so I'm still happy with it. Preparing the loom sucks, but I like weaving very much.


Possum and KSH scarf

I knitted this scarf last summer when I was in Jordan. I knitted most of it on a long bus ride through the south of the country and back to the capital. It was a million degrees, and no one would open a window. The mal air thing, I guess. I had wanted to make a side ways knitted scarf in which the green KSH was a much smaller gauge and would cause the possum silk to pucker up. It didn't really do that. I knitted the green on size 1 needles, and the purple (maroon?) on size 4 needles. The KSH is (sadly) a discontinued color, and the possum/silk is from Cherry Tree Hill. I like their semi-solids. They, like Koigu, have wonderful depth of color in the slight variations. Since both the yarns have some silk (around 20% for both) they have a nice luster under the fuzz of the yarns. I've never blocked the scarf. I should, maybe it wouldn't curl up into a tube. It was a fun project, and I like both of the yarns together.


Possum lace scarf

I finished this scarf in October of 2003. I was lucky enough to knit most of it during the week I spent at SOAR in Michigan, but it always reminds me of that bad part of that week too. It was during all the awful fires in California. Our house was evacuated for three days, and I nervously called my husband each night to see if we knew if we still had a house. We did. In order to gain access to our neighborhood in the early post-fire days we had to show proof of ownership, and my husband showed the cops our insurance cancelation notice for the house. Now we pay three times as much for less than half the coverage. Good times...
In any event, I still love this scarf. It's knit with two skeins of Cherry Tree Hill lace weight possum. I like their yarns a lot, but forget the dye lots! Twice I've spent a lot of money for two skeins of their yarn from the same dye lot only to find that they are really quite different anyway. My other project with their yarn was made with their wonderful Sury Alpaca lace yarn, and I spent months knitting a shawl. When I got to the second skein I was shocked at the difference in colors, and I finished the project by skipping more repeats to avoid the distraction of the colors. Change yarns every few rows.


Shetland Shimmer Scarf

Say that three times fast. I finished this scarf at the end of July of this year. I knitted most of it when I was working at a job just east of Glamis. It was 120 degrees, and the most awful place I've ever been in my life. In any event, it's made with one skein of Shimmer in the color Turquoise Splendor from knit picks. It's the same pattern as the KSH scarf below. I like knitting this pattern because it seems to show off any yarn really well.

Here is the pattern:

Shetland Shell Lace Scarf

CO 67 sts
Set up row: K5, pm, K19, pm, K19, pm, K19, pm, K5. For all rows, slp 1st st as if to P, K4 to 1st marker. Follow pattern to last 5 sts and K.
Rows 1 and 2 knit. (Note: these are the pattern rows for the three sections of 19sts. Always slip the 1st st, K4 to last 5 sts and K.)
Row 3 *K1, yo twice, ssp, k13, p2tog, yo twice, k1; rep from * to end.
Row 4 *K2, P1, K15, P1, K2; rep from * to end.
Rows 5 and 6 Knit.
Row 7 *K1, [yo twice, ssp] twice, K11, [p2tog, yo twice] twice, K1; rep from * to end.
Row 8 *[K2, P1] twice, K13, [P1, K2] twice; rep from * to end.
Row 9 Knit.
Row 10 *K6, [yo twice, K1] 14 times, K5; rep from * to end.
Row 11 *K1, [yo twice, ssp] twice, yo twice, dropping extra yo’s of previous row, p15tog, yo twice, [p2tog, yo twice] twice, K1; rep from * to end.
Row 12 *K1, [P1, K1] 4 times, K1, [K1, P1] 4 times, K1; rep from * to end.
Cont as desired.

To finish knit 4 rows stocking stitch. Next row (facing rt side of work), k2tog, yo. Knit 4 rows stocking stitch. Use a blunt needle to sew the last row of stocking stitch to the first row. The end will fold over and create a picot edge.

NB: For Row 11 I use a J-shaped needle made for aran work. I put all 15 stitches on the needle and pull it taught to make sure all the stitches are even, then I put those back on the left needle making sure that all 15 made it back onto the needle, and I purl 15. I’ve made another version of this scarf and I was several repeats into it before I realized I’d missed one of the 15, and this large loop was hanging out of the work! I just sewed it into place, and I can’t even tell which shell I did that to now. Take the time to check that all 15 made it back onto the left needle before you purl.


Charlotte's Web

I took these early this morning, and I could not get good light. In any event, here is my Charlotte. I finished her in March or so, and had blocked her well. I tend to just wrap her around my neck instead of wearing her as a proper shawl, so the shawl has contracted a lot. I like knitting lace, and I have to say that this pattern quickly became tedious. I finished it in just over a week, though, so at least she knitted up quickly. By the time I was finished knitting I was so bored with the pattern that I'd even lost interest in putting fringe on her. I'll get to that some day. I took my time with this shawl. With each yarn change (and there are many) I felted the ends together instead of knotting the yarn and sewing in the ends. I've seen blogs and web pages for stores that claim Koigu is superwash. It is not. Don't knit yourself some socks and felt them in the wash. It felts easily! I love Threadbears web page and their two blogs, but they still have Koigu listed as superwash on their site. If you have not checked out their blogs, do so. There is so much Koigu inspiration! At the end of this last school year, I went down to Wildfiber in Santa Monica and walked out with a big ole bag of Koigu (and a large Visa bill). I want to make a jacket or something. I now have dozens of skeins of Koigu, and many more partially used skeins. I'm just waiting to find an ideal jacket pattern. I'm not confident enough to make one up. Yet.

alpaca & silk shawl

I finished this scarf/shawl (sharf?) this week. The second picture makes it look a horrible electric blue, and it's much nicer. It's the Cornflower color of Elegance from knit picks. This project is semi-ripped off from a similar scarf in the Summer 2005 Interweave Knits issue. I knitted the magazine project in the same yarn in the colorway Grass. It looked great. I made it much longer than the project called for because I wanted to use the 6 skeins I'd purchased. I gave that one to a friend. I like the project idea so much, so I went looking through my books of Shetland lace knitting, and found this edging. It's one of the few that is not garter stitch all through out. So, I used 4 skeins of the Cornflower, and switched the edging, but otherwise followed the directions from Knits. This is a fun project with a wonderful yarn. My only gripe is that the yarn smells like wet dog when it's washed, and quite a lot of dye ran during the wash as well.


ok, another

Here's one scarf I wove early this summer. It's tencel weft and warp. The warp came from Heritage Yarns; they sell hand painted ready to go warp chains. I really like them because I can just put them on the loom and weave after about 2 hours of work instead of a million hours of work. I don't remember the yarn weight, but I used a 12 dent reed, and wove it with 24 ends per inch (or two ends per dent). I love the colors. I'm slowly working on knitting a tank top in the same color way.


Kid Silk Haze Scarf

Here's a close up of a scarf I made a few months ago. I sold it to a really nice lady here in SoCal. I knited it with Kid Silk Haze, which I love. The yarn is a bit dark to show great detail, but I tend to like the darker KSH colors because the silk stands out well in the sun light.

What have I done?

Not a knitting picture, but I had to start with something. This is in Jordan, where I knitted a shawl one year ago.