Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back to the Bug with Stocking

Here is the project with yarn supply on the right. The soon-to -be frogged stocking is shown at left. It doesn't bother me much. I've been thinking about doing some new stockings anyway, because the red/white looks odd in our living room. The living room is painted in light blue/aqua and beige. Normally, I wouldn't worry but this past year I kept wondering about coordinating stockings..........

Back to the Bug

At left is a realistic picture of my knitting in progress. Note the intruder hustling into the frame.

I've been dutifully working on this everyday this week and the progress is slow. This thing is BIG. It's a lot of territory to cover in duplicate stitch. I am worried that I will run out of red yarn.

About two years ago, I had a surplus of bright red yarn in stash- about 8 skeins over three or so types. I used up most of the wool making Christmas stockings. The leftover half skein is being used in this project. It seemed like a lot. Wrong. At the rate I'm using yarn, I could run out before the moth body and wings are complete. Here are the options.......

1. Modify the wing position to accommodate the available yarn. Very likely.

2. Cannibalize a stocking to get more yarn. Also likely. Luckily, of the four stockings I made, the one for myself is unadorned, made in this yarn, and can be unraveled. The other three stockings are for family members and can't be touched. They also have custom designs.

3. Get more yarn. I'm trying. The stash yarn I'm using was purchased years ago. Some of it was Nature Spun, but not necessarily this skein. I spent so time online searching for a close match and ordered two skeins of Nature Spun worsted weight in a color called "Red Wing". It has the same distinctive heathery look. I think it is the same yarn I bought way back when. If the yarn is clearly unsuitable for this project.....guess who's getting a new red accessory?

4. Undo and start stitching with new red yarn. NEVER happening. I am not undoing this.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bayou Old Shale Lace Shawl

Don.e. Cause I got sick of it. Small shawl, as in neck napkin, kerchief, fichu, in KnitPicks laceweight yarn, Shimmer, Bayou colorway. I did not bother to aggressively block it, but the shawl stretched out to about 36 inches when wet. It's a good size to wrap around the neck. I like it, but it's nothing to get excited about. There's no photo of me wearing it, but I tried. The problem is that when I hold the camera, I make faces. My arms are short, so it's hard to get a good shot. Besides that, I wasn't wearing makeup and my hair is a mess. Trust me, the plants look better. By the way, I tried this in a mirror and all that came to mind was the size of my backside......... Next project! I'm picking up the Virgin Tiger Moth Shawl for a bit.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Knitting By Weight

Yes, I am obsessed. Not about to change, either. Being new to laceweight yarns, I have no idea what kind of mileage I get from them and that drives me crazy. I'm knitting from and Evelyn Clark pattern, Old Shale Shawl. This yarn is so fine that the ball NEVER seems to get any smaller. I wound another skein of laceweight yarn for visual comparison, but that was not helpful in the early stages. I've taken to weighing the ball and knitting on a postal scale at work every few days. It's no big deal since I usually have my knitting bag with me. The starting weight of the skein was 1.7 oz (47 g). I started the lace edge at 263 stitches, 0.8 oz (23 g). It makes sense because the initial stages of the scarf are so small that very little yarn is used. The final rows are using a good deal more yarn, so I can see and measure my progress. This is near the halfway point, by weight.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lace Weight Control Freak

Working on the Evelyn Clark Old Shale Shawl. I’ve done samples of Old Shale before and it is easy, only 4 lines I think. It’s a good introduction or nearly automatic lace knit. Right now I am trying to figure out when to start the lace border. For this pattern it is difficult because the lace weight yarn goes so far. I’ve been knitting endlessly and the ball seems like it will last forever! I’ve now gotten crazy enough that I’m taking it to work with me and weighing it on the postal scale. So far here was no measurable change in weight over a 24 hour period. Eventually there will be a blog post about this once I get measurable progress. The project IS getting bigger, but the gauge is so fine, 8.3 stitches per inch that it is SLOW. I need to use a more sensitive balance. Actually, I have one that I could dig out. My scientific balance will weigh to hundredths of a gram. I just need to accept the fact that I am crazy enough to do that. I already estimated that the yarn run 8 yards to the gram. It could get much worse….as soon as I get the balance that has the proper sensitivity. I'll take a photo perhaps at work so you can see the scale in use. The photo at the upper left was taken about three days ago. The piece is now about double that size, but there is no measurable change in weight. I need a more sensitive balance. I don't want to start the lace edge until I have used up 60-70 % of the yarn.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fine Gauge

At left are the two current active projects. The legwarmer is shown next to its mate which is in the beginning stage on the right. Yes, those are knitting needles, not toothpicks. When the second legwarmer is complete, I will have a set that is suitable for either a girl or a boy baby, depending upon what Rachael has. I've already completed a white toddler sweater and a baby blanket project is in a bag inspiring guilt. I'm good for baby gifts.

The amorphous green bit is what I'm really working on now. It will be a triangular shawl/ette from a pattern written by Evelyn Clark. The Evelyn Clark stuff has been creeping up on me for a while, years apparently. Over the winter, I saw the pattern for Springtime Bandit and absolutely HAD to make it. I had a rather difficult time with that pattern because it was my first lace piece. The project was successful, but I did not understand what I was doing. That drives me bonkers. I started researching lace and lace shawls and found the work of Evelyn Clark. I got a copy of her book, Knitting Lace Triangles, on eBay, after a bidding war that lasted several days. I bought laceweight yarn at KnitPicks. I tried all sorts of needles from my collection....plastic, bamboo, metal, straight, DPN, circulars......and was utterly miserable with the whole mess. Laceweight yarn is....string! The stuff is so fine, I could barely (NOT) feel it passing through my fingers. Couldn't find the right needle. Tantrums, agita! In the meantime I picked up fingering weight and size 4 needles which suddenly felt just dandy. Anyway, not to be defeated, I found an online Evelyn Clark pattern called Old Shale Shawl. It was originally published in Piecework magazine and a variation is available for purchase online. I bought the pattern. I like the fact that this pattern is for a true BEGINNER lace triangle. The body of the shawl is done in garter stitch so I can concentrate on the shaping details. The shawl ends with a deep edging in the Old Shale pattern, which is an easy lace. Finally, Evelyn Clark specializes in patterns that can be adapted to a range of yarn weights. I'm doing this one in a 440 yard skein of laceweight yarn, on size 4 needles. The stitches are tiny. Even so, after blocking and massive stretching, I should have something I can wear around my neck. My gauge before blocking is around 7-10 stitches per inch. This project is going to take a long time...... I am getting to the point where I can control the tension and feel the yarn slipping through my fingers. Still, it's a very different experience. This yarn really feels like string. The finished project is going to feel and drape differently. The yarn is inelastic. I also am adjusting to metal needles which I avoid, but they are the primary (only) option in the smaller sizes. Hopefully I'll have enough completed soon to post a real picture. Currently, the project is the size of my palm, after 3 days of work.