Saturday, April 24, 2010

FO: Deep orange forest

This has been done for a few days but I was waiting for a good chance to have the now-leafy crabapple tree model the shawl. As soon as I took this picture it started raining--literally, a raindrop hit the camera and I had to rush indoors.

The pattern is Deep Forest (by Nicole Hindes of allbuttonedup), and since it starts on the outside edge and grows inward, the rows go faster and faster. Since it is written for a fingering or sock weight yarn, and I was using laceweight, I used US size 4 needles and made the largest size. Here it is pre-block:

And post-block, where it is 20" down the back and 47" across the shoulders, about 50% bigger!

The lace pattern looks like little pine trees or many oak leaves. The pattern as written has the overlappy kind of double decreases, which I did for the first few rows (white arrow). But these decreases looked so messy, especially in such a linear pattern, that I switched over to my own fave centered double decrease (blue arrow) soon thereafter. So the "stems" on the leaves all line up most pleasingly, and point toward the center. There was an error in chart F: the top row should be a K3 tog, not a K2 tog. Besides this, and the lighter yarn weight, I made no other changes. 

The yarn is Knitpicks Shadow in the Clementine colorway. 14 grams of the 50 gram skein were leftover...I'm starting to accumulate quite a lot of laceweight remnants, and can't think of a good way to use them up.

Thanks to the rain, here's a romantic indoor shot. Nothing like an orange shawl to bring out the orange in the walls, right?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Toronto, part non-yarn (ok, this part has yarn too)

It's been a busy week in Toronto, but I was able to get together with Julie and Erica again for a lovely visit to Lettuce Knit.
3 knit-bloggers in front of a yarn shop!

It's a sweet little shop stuffed to the gills with very yummy yarn. I got this Indigodragonfly yarn because it's local, and also because the colorway name is so funny (My Name is Indigo Montoya)! It's squishy, soft sock yarn, merino wool with a little cashmere, which begs to be a cowl or scarf or shawl instead.

We stopped at Tim Horton's, which is some sort of uber-Canadian donut/coffee chain. In fact, only Canadians are allowed to take pictures in front of Tim Hortons.

Just kidding. We indulged in coffee and donut holes, which are called Tim Bits but I kept on mistakenly calling Tiny Tims.

 After that, we wandered around the Art Gallery of Ontario, which had many lovely and delightful surprises, including this hall full of wooden sculptures, which are large beams/trees with the original baby trees carved back out of the center. (This makes more sense if you see it in person)

Overall, it was a most enjoyable trip, and I'll definitely visit again! Many huge thanks to Julie and Erica for showing me around! Of course, no trip is complete without some sort of travel-related snafu. Trying to be eco-friendly, I took the subway/bus to the airport, which ended up taking a lot longer than expected, and got to the airport 45 min before the flight, which is after the 60-minute cut-off. After several long waits and unsuccessful conversations with two different airlines (apparently "code-sharing" is euphemism for "share profits but none of the responsibility"), eventually I had to buy another ticket online. So I've manged to waste hundreds of dollars, but even worse,  many precious hours--it's too noisy to get any work done in the airport, and I have no knitting on the needles. Well, something had to be done about the knitting situation at least...

Who knew carryon bag handles were so good as yarn swifts?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Toronto, part yarn

Oh Canada! I arrived yesterday, and so far, I'm loving it! It's a true big city, where the inhabitants mostly came from elsewhere, the buildings are tall, the sidewalks are bustle-y, there are too many nearby eateries to choose from, and regular people take public transportation. It's resonating with my city-mouse self, and makes me wonder whether I'd be more cheerful and productive in a "real" city like this. Anyway, about the yarn...

Julie (of Knitted Bliss), who is just as sweet and pretty as online, volunteered to show me around! Her friend Erica (of Erica Knits), also joined us. I have always maintained that all Canadians are nice, and these two proved my point further. We went to Romni, which was so huge and overwhelming I forgot to take any pictures of the cavernous boulders of fiber that are packed in it; I came back later for the outside shot.

Holy mole! The selection is incredible, even not including the ginorm basement filled with sale yarns and big cones of yarn. I've been hankering to get some milk yarn, just because it sounds so cool, although I imagined it would feel slippery/squeaky like string cheese. But then I touched the real thing, and had to get it, because it's ridiculously soft! The one I ended up getting is Latte, from Ella rae. It has a pretty sheen to it and seems like it'd be perfect for another iteration of Side Slip Cloche.

The other yarn is yet another laceweight, Super Alpaca Lace paints from Estelle. It has just the right amount of variegation, with subtle hints of dark blue and fuschia. I got enough for one of the shawls in the recent Knitty, but haven't decided which one, as that decision requires a long and drawn-out session of hemming, hawing, and vacillating.

Speaking of shawls, I showed remarkable restraint and brought just one WIP for this trip. Deep (orange) forest is picking up speed. The other knitting group ladies and I had joked how we should write a shawl pattern that starts from the outside and grows inward, and thereby weed out the dilettantes with just the first instruction line: cast on 800 stitches. Heh. Then I found this pattern, which does start from the edge and grow inwards! Thankfully only 300-400 stitches are cast-on, although that first row (in lace pattern) was kinda painful. The rows are noticeably shorter now, and it'll only get better!

It just now occurred to me how much this looks like a toilet seat. And how someone in the world somewhere probably has  knitted a lace toilet seat cover. Uh oh, let's hope I'm not headed down that slippery slope that leads to crocheted TP covers that look like barbie toilets.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Shawl addiction

Ok, I admit it, I'm on a big shawl kick. If by "kick" you mean a full-blown addiction. It helps that I'm doing the 10-shawls-in-2010 thing on Ravelry! The current project is Snow Peacock by Tonks, very similar to Panache (by Lankakomero), both of which are shawl patterns adopted from a doily pattern. I had totally passed up this pattern until I saw the beaded version by kimberlygoly, which is so beautiful I immediately cast on. Ooh, here I found her blog post with her shawl pics, a must look!

Unfortunately the pattern is written out, not charted, and it's a very traditional feather-and-fan type of pattern in that all the decreases are k2tog. Being super freaky OCPD about decreases, I charted it out fully so that I can make symmetric, paired decreases (k2tog on one half, ssk on the other half, of each repeat). Then I downloaded a zillion pictures of peacock feathers, and then added in to the chart where I'm going to put the beads, to try to imitate the real things. Way dorky, this is true.

Then I cast on with this greenish-navy yarn, a Knitpicks Shadow in the "Midnight" colorway. It's kinda peacock-y, right?

It's a super-fast knit so far, such that I got to the last non-beaded row, and had to stop, because I haven't had a chance to go to the bead store yet. Boo!

So I haven't knitted in the past 3 nights, and now I'm going crazy with knitting-withdrawal! In general I try to knit only 1, at most 2, things at the same time. Yet today's desperation found me pawing through the couple balls of yarn I do have--since I got rid of my stash, the only yarns I have are 2 balls of laceweights that I got at the same time as the blue one, using a Knitpicks gift card that Tina gave me last year. The lucky yarn is some more Shadow, in the "Clementine" colorway.

A bold color deserves a bold design, so Deep Forest is the winner. All the shawls in the new, delicious Twist were quite tempting, but alas call for more yarn than one skein.

Speaking of shawls, an update on the Bougainvillea shawl-scarf pattern. It's on Ravelry as a "help-for-Haiti" pattern, and I sent half the proceeds plus change to Medicins Sans Frontieres today. A huge hug and thank you to all 105 people who have purchased the pattern so far!