Thursday, June 26, 2008

Monkey in the Middle of the wedding craziness!!

Just a quick visit to the blog today...we are so busy getting ready for the wedding. But I took some pics of my current project "on the needles".
This is a "Monkey" sock, a pattern made famous on Knitty in the Winter 2006 issue. (Link here) Cookie A, the designer did a terrific job of making lace look exactly like cables, don't you think? I love the pattern so far, however I have had problems with the yarn I'm using.
The yarn is Socks that Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in medium weight. It is a colorway called "Barney Rubble". First of all, it pools. R-e-e-e-e-a-l-l-y pools. See that pink? It is all pooled together in that one spot. The back of the sock is blue and yellow. The biggest problem I had with this yarn however, is its tendency to twist on itself. I wound it in to a center pull ball using my ball winder and started knitting. Before the cuff was done, it had twisted on a piece of itself and begun to tangle. I didn't realize the extent of what tangling was happening, though. I kept knitting and pushing the twist back into the center of the ball. Then I decided to pull the center of the ball out and rewind just that. Mistake. It was a tangled mess that took me about 1 1/2 hours of work to fix. And I had to cut the yarn in two places. Yuck! I have it wound in a regular ball that pulls from the outside now, so I shouldn't have any more troubles. Hopefully!
This is the little turtle stitch marker I got from Yarn Lust. Isn't he cute?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Shawl for an Important Day

I have been hard at work since February knitting a very important project. A wedding shawl. Josh proposed marriage to Lizzie in December and she said "Yes!" They will be married on June 28th at our church. Shortly after they became engaged, Lizzie asked me to knit her a Pi shawl that she would wear instead of a traditional veil. Of course I agreed. We began searching for shawl patterns that would work well for this purpose, finally settling on the Shetland Tea Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. The picture that convinced Lizzie was a photo of the completed shawl we found online by Knitabulous. This very nice person had substituted the Spider Webs and Diamonds pattern for the Diamond Madeira pattern that is in the original shawl. I corresponded with her a bit to find out where she had found the extra pattern, and low and behold, she had gotten it from the very next pattern in the Gathering of Lace book, which is a Sampler Stole. We decided I would add this pattern to the original, in order to make the shawl a bit larger. So, I was "off and running". It was February. I have been knitting lace like a Granny on steroids since then, barely stopping to breathe, hauling that shawl everywhere I went, praying that I didn't spill tea or Starbucks on it, hoping that I was a clever enough knitter to pull it off. Finally, on the last weekend in May, it was completed, and last weekend I blocked the thing.

The photo up top is the pre-blocking photo. It looks all small and shrivel-y. Now here are some shots of the "after blocking"...

I purchased Knit Picks "Bare" yarn for this project, and loved working with it. It took one whole 880 yard hank to knit all of the body of the shawl and a small part of the knitted on edging. I had ordered two hanks just in case, so I had more yarn to finish with. It is a lovely merino wool laceweight and was just right once blocked for the shawl. We wanted something that was heavier than a cobweb weight, but still delicate enough for wedding wear. After knitting the "horseshoe pattern" which is this one here at the bottom of the photo,

I got a bit worried about the size of the shawl, which I was knitting on size three circular needles. I changed to a size 4 and completed the shawl on those. It turned out to be about 69" in diameter when finished, which was a few inches short of what I would have desired, but still fine.

This is my second Pi Shawl and is much more "intricate" than the first, most of it being true lace knitting. I didn't use a lifeline, but only frogged back once during the whole thing, and that was because of the needle size thing, and only lost 5 rounds of work.

The funny thing is, having just finished this shawl and spent nearly 4 months on it, you would think I would be tired of it. But really, after blocking it, praying over it ( I wanted to pray during the knitting of it for an enduring and blessed marriage for my daughter and her wonderful Josh, my new son) I really was thinking to myself, "Gee, don't I have some pretty JaggerSpun Zepher Silk Wool laceweight that would look fantastic in this pattern? Hmmmmmm..." So you never know. I may end up knitting a fraternal twin shawl for myself someday!

If I have left out any info you'd like to know about the Shetland Tea Shawl, please leave a comment and I will be glad to try to give it in my next entry or email you if you leave your email address. Thanks so much to "Knitabulous", and to Meg Swansen, and of course, to Dale Long, the designer of this spectacular shawl. Lizzie's wedding will be all the more memorable because of you.