Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finished project and new project

My largest lace shawl to date is finished, all done. The ends are woven in, there were only two, one at the beginning and one at the end. The lace is blocked and open and dried, luckily before today's rain. the loose stitch that was spotted was isolated and woven in as neatly as I could, trying to match the pattern. With that project done, and off the needles there was all the excitement of choosing a new project, and I had fun this week. I dithered over which of two projects should be next, swatching and swatching for one, and then put that aside as I couldn't decide what to do and started another.

Deciduous shawl blocked, and finished,
Here is the shawl, and its statistics, Pattern is Deciduous Lace Shawl by Evelyn Clarke,  knit in Touch Yarns Lace  Kid Merino 2 ply. The yarn is hand dyed deep brown-green but has hints of purple here and there. I started January 1st 2012, finished April 16th 2012. I have no idea how some people knit 12 shawls in a year ... no idea at all. Finished blocked measurement = 64” across tip to tip and 33” from start to center tip, I probably blocked it larger but it has relaxed a little. I read that some people leave lace blocking for three days - to remove the potential for such a relaxation. I  didn't do that this time, but might next time. I love how shear the lace is now and the small leaf pattern really has a three dimensional effect- looking almost like small bubbles or stones. 
Deciduous shawl - the tapered ends
The corners blocked out nicely, I initially worried that the stocking stitch lace that framed the shawl would result in curling. I contacted two Ravelers who had knit this ... and both said that curling was not a problem so I trusted in the pattern and finished it as suggested. To date there has been no curl. The final edge is a simple crochet cast off, with loops. That makes the shawl fairly easy to block, sliding blocking rods through each loops and pinning the shawl out flat and symmetrical.
Claire cardigan - integrating the crochet and the knitting.

With the shawl off the needles I started looking for a new project. I have two cardigan sets of sock yarn sitting ready to knit a cardigan with. One in steel grey and one in burnt orange. I fell in love with the Clair cardigan listed on Ravelry, but sadly wasn't able to buy the pattern, I did track down someone who had knit it and traded for their copy of the pattern. Something about the cardigan just appealed. The shape is very much like a store bought cardigan I wear with dresses, and I loved the lace detail around the collar. When the pattern arrived I realized that what I had thought was lace worked as part of the cardigan was a crochet over layer, almost like a flat collar stitched onto the cardigan after it was knit. I wondered if the lace could be integrated into the cardigan and started to play. That of course meant updating my basic crochet skills using Youtube and other online tutorials so I could make sense of the charted crochet design. I also was attempting to reguage the cardigan from sport weight yarn to sock weight yarn. I worked the crochet on a 3mm hook, and worked at picking up and knitting from the edge, and it worked. I've swatched the raglan shaping on 2.75mm needles , and a 2x2 rib on 2.5mm needle. I'm also planning to swatch on 3mm and 3.5mm just to see what guage I like best. 
3mm and 2mm sampling of crochet lace in sock yarn
The Clair cardigan is bottom up, and knit in pieces, but I plan to knit mine top down and seamless. Given the cardigan isn't particularly high necked I thought the crotchet lace was a little bold, would take up to much of the shoulder and look odd unless I had a dress with an even lower neckline underneath it. So I've re-swatched the lace on a 2mm needle, and I like this better, its firmer and denser in a good way. I'm also looking for a result where the crochet stitches are the same scale and size as the knit stitches. The crotchet on 2mm swatch is smaller and  forms a more dramatic curve - so I've stalled as I think about how to make it less curved.  I'm using odds and ends of pale sock yarn - the same brand of yarn the cardigan will be in, which is nice, I can swatch and swatch and have lots to swatch with.
My Dirty Rainbow yarn
With my highly modified version of the Clair cardigan in the Thinking-chair, while I ponder my next move I started my second project for the week. Now there is more than one Helen in my world, there is embroidery Helen, and lace knitting Helen. Both those Helens knit but one is known for her embroidery, then there is Banjo Helen, who works with Bear and also is a knitter, but has started to play the Banjo. Banjo-Helen is having a baby and is moving to Wanaka - and it is cold there in the winter, it snows. I love to knit baby blankets, and handpspinning seems the right material for a brand new baby that a family has spend 9 months making and will be living where the snow lies on the ground there is skiing. That leads me to my second new project for the week, a slightly modified version of Knitspots Rosebuddie, this time knit in three different worsted weight handspun yarns. The first yarn I've called My dirty Rainbow, as it was intended to be a rainbow but seemed dirty in a good warm way.
Banjo Helen - the baby blanket, warm and thick,
As the colour changes are vibrant I'm omitting the rosebuds on the body of the blanket, but working the lace corner increases as charted. Right now I've incorporated 100 grams of woolen spun merino, followed by 100 grams of Pitt Island Merino from a spinning swap some years back, and now I'm working on the final burnt orange border. This is in orange Romney. I love the way the corner increases are worked in this blanket, and plan to start the final edge as per the pattern soon.

Once Banjo-Helen's blanket is done I think I might be ready for another play with the Clair cardigan pattern. I'm on leave this week but haven't done anywhere as much as I planned.  I used to worry about that but now just  accept that I will always plan to do more than I have time for. I've made lots of starts, there is a dress for little cub and a dress for me - both half sewn, and two new projects, and we have had visitors several time and will again. It has been a good holiday ...and today I have cut a deal with both cubs. If they tidy their rooms properly, clear and sweep under their  beds and the rooms surfaces are clear and clean, with most of their  things away in the right places ... we will head of to town and go to a movie. I won't be able to knit in the movie, but tonight is knit night and I'll knit more there.

Take care
na Stella

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