Monday, December 26, 2011

More Finished Objects: Shawls

I've been busy knitting and, therefore, not blogging. Since my last post, I've completed four shawls: A Little Jazz, Peruvian Central, another A Little Jazz, and a test knit I can't talk about yet. I've also knit a sweater for my oldest grand-nephew and a jacket. This post is about the shawls.

A Little Jazz, designed by Samantha Roshak, can be worn as a shawlette or a scarf. The first one I knit was a Christmas gift. This one was knit in Dream in Color Starry in a unknown colorway (possibly Honeymoon). It's a pretty rose color. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

A Little Jazz is an easy, fairly fast knit---all garter stitch. It is con- structed with "no-wrap" short rows. Although I knit it as the pattern stated, I think it would be as easy or easier to end each short row with a wrapped stitch. I started the shawlette on 20 October and finished on 10 November, and it was not my main knitting project during that time. This shawlette used 446 yards of yarn, a few yards less than the full skein.

Next up, and another blip in my "race to the finish" (an attempt to finish a number of projects that have been languishing on the needles for a while), was a test knit. The Peruvian Central Shawl is crescent-shaped shawl with a garter-stitch body. Mine was knit in Alchemy Juniper in the Autumn Ecstasy colorway and used two skeins of yarn.

I wanted this shawl to be usable as a scarf or shawlette because I knew the recipient would most likely wear it as a scarf. For that reason, I blocked it in a rather unusual way, as shown in the photo to the right. The photo was taken at night, under artificial light, which washed out the color. The resulting shawl had a 60-inch wingspan and was 13 inches deep, and the recipient loved it!

I started Peruvian Central on 21 November and finished on 26 November, so it, too, was a fast kniit.

The third shawl was another A Little Jazz, this one for me. I call it A Little Jazz II. This one was knit with Fiesta Baby Boom in the Spring Chill colorway. I cannot get a good photograph of the yarn color variations, so this photo is the one on the front of the pattern.

Based on the size of the first A Little Jazz, which was knit on a US5 needle, I knit A Little Jazz II on a US6, since I am 7 or 8 inches taller than the recipient of the pink A Little Jazz.  A Little Jazz II used 438.5 yards of the 440-yard skein, and I was holding my breath during the the last half of the bind-off, hoping I would not run out of yarn. This shawlette is not as deep as the pink one: 9.5 inches compared to 10.5 inches for the first one. I started A Little Jazz II on 10 November and finished on 10 December, and it was not my primary, or even my secondary, knitting project during that time. It's a great carry-with-you-and-knit-anywhere project.

I'll post about the final shawl, a lovely lace confection, when the pattern has been published.

What have you been knitting?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Molly Nosegay Shawl

In the midst of my "race to the finish"---trying to finish projects that have been languishing on the needles for a while---I took time out to test knit another shawl. This shawl, called Molly Nosegay, was designed by Jennette Cross. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

Molly Nosegay is what Ms. Cross calls a "combination shawl." It is based on what many knitters call "the Pi formula," which governs the size of circular shawl (i.e., the number of stitches must double when the radius of the shawl doubles). Molly Nosegay is semi-circular, but the same theory applies: when the radius doubles, the number of stitches along the bottom edge of the shawl must double.

Nerdy engineer that I am, I found Ms. Cross's method of sizing very interesting, and I love the shape of the shawl. The shawl is knit from the top down, starting from a garter tab and ending with a seemingly-infinite 577 stitches.

This is not a shawl for the faint of heart, nor for anyone who does not like to read charts. Molly Nosegay has twelve charts: some of them are only three rows long, others are twenty rows long. One of the short, three-row charts is repeated five times. The charts are well sized. My aged, never-very-good eyes did not have difficulty reading the charts. Even better, once the first few rows of a pattern section are established, it is easy to read the rest of the pattern from your knitting.

My shawl was knit with 2.76 skeins (1247 yards) of Dream in Color Knitosophy yarn in the FK85 Discover colorway. As can be seen in the photo below,  my three skeins were not all the same color: the first one (the upper back) was a lighter blue than the other two.
I like the effect of the color gradations in this shawl. If, however, I had been knitting something else---a sweater, for example---I would have been very upset by the color change. My three skeins of yarn were not bought at the same time, nor in the same place. Remember this example next time you are judging the amount of yarn needed for a project!

Molly Nosegay is a big shawl. Mine required 1247 yards of yarn, but the designer used around 1000 yards. My shawl, which was blocked just enough to show the lace pattern (i.e., not aggressively at all), is a whopping 118 inches by 45.5 inches; hers is 91 inches by 25 inches. The other test knitters are still working on the shawl, but one who is nearly finished is projecting yardage and size like mine.

I was surprised at how quickly I knit this shawl. My husband, who rarely pays attention to what I'm knitting unless it's for him, was flabbergasted. I started Molly Nosegay on 27 October and finished on 08 November. But it was the only project I worked on during that time.

Molly Nosegay is the twentieth shawl I've knit this year. (My goal was 11, and I  reached that mark in late June.) I am only counting shawls knit from start to finish this calendar year, so the As One stole and Girasole are not included. I've also knit six pairs of socks.

At the moment, I have two shawls in progress, and I am about three-quarters finished with a sweater---a cardigan---for my oldest grand-nephew.

Have you had a productive knitting year? Have you started planning next year's knitting?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Finished Object: Girasole

As the year winds toward its end, I'm trying to finish up several projects that have been languishing on the needles for a while. The most recent garment finished is the Girasole Shawl by Jared Flood. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

Girasole is a large circular shawl, which can also be knit (with worsted or aran weight yarn) as a blanket. I knit my Girasole to be a shawl, using Noro Kureyon Sock yarn in the S40 colorway. The shawl required 3.6 skeins (1663 yards) of yarn. I did not like the "pointy" edging in the pattern, so I improvised another knit-on edging with fewer points. When I was blocking the shawl, I realized why Mr. Flood had used the pointy edging. More points (640 of them in the edging in the pattern) would have made blocking the shawl much easier. Below is a photo of my shawl during blocking.

The shawl is big---big enough that I had to put my blocking boards around the perimeter because I didn't have enough of them to lay beneath the shawl. My improvised edging had far fewer points than the edging in the pattern, and as a result, it was more difficult to block. My shawl is an oval, not a circle. (Major axis is 75 inches, minor axis is 70 inches.) The difference is not apparent when I'm wearing it, but if I knit this shawl again, I'll use the edging in the pattern.

I love the play of colors in the shawl. The edging pulls all the colors together, show- casing them in a way the shawl, for all its beauty, does not.

Girasole is a fun and interesting knit, but it isn't a quick project.  I started my Girasole last year in mid August, worked on it fairly steadily until October (through Chart F), then ignored it to work on holiday gifts. I picked the shawl up again in September, worked on it until I was ready to start the edging, then set it aside for  a couple weeks until I had mentally worked out the edging pattern. Once I decided on the edging, I finished the shawl in less than a week.

What are you knitting? Are you finished old projects or starting new ones?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Finished Objects!

I finished other three knitted objects in October, in addition to the Sabrina Shawl, which I blogged about last time. One of the FOs (finished objects) started as a shawlette, but ended up being a shawl; the other was a fun, I-can't-resist scarf; the final one was my it-seems-like-it's-taking-forever Girasole.

The shawl-shawlette I call the Shoulder Shawlette or Lorna's Shawlette, because it was designed by Lorna Miser as a practice piece for her Grandma Helen's Lace Shawl. Lorna did a workshop at my LYS (local yarn store) in mid-June. Before the workshop, everyone had to knit the body of the shawlette. How to knit the lace edging and crochet and bead the edging  were the subject of the workshop. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

Since this was supposed to be a small practice piece, I chose a skein of yarn I didn't particularly like, due to green (which was, initially, the main color I saw). As I was knitting the body of the shawlette, however, all the lovely purples and greys appeared, making the shawlette a lot more interesting. During the workshop, I got most of the lace edging done. After the workshop, those gorgeous colors haunted---or, perhaps, taunted---me. Was this shawlette going to remain a small practice piece, or was I going to do more with it?

After two months, I finally decided: the shawlette was going to become a shawl. To make that transformation, I had to rip out the lace edging I'd knit, knit a larger shawl body, then reknit the lace edging. I did two pattern repetitions of the lace edging---and ran out of yarn near the end of the next to last row.

Catastrophe! I had chosen this yarn for this project because I had only a single skein. I dug through my stash, looking for more Kureyon Sock yarn, and finally found a skein that had a similar purple and a green that was close in color to the original skein. I'm delighted with the final result, shown above.

This was my first beaded shawl, my first crocheted anything in 20 years, and my first significant redesign of someone else's pattern. The shawl was knit with Noro Kureyon Sock in the S188 colorway, with the final row and crocheted edging in Kureyon Sock S219. I used 527 yards, and the shawl is 64 inch by 26 inch, excluding the crocheted edging.

I started the shawlette on 13 June, worked on it through 15 June, then set it aside. On 24 September, I picked it up again, increased the size, etc., and finished the shawl on 12 October.

My second finished object in October was a fun, I-can't-resist scarf. The yarn is net, with loops at one edge through which one "knits." I saw someone at my LYS starting one, and it looked fun. It would have been more fun for an English knitter; I'm a Continental knitter, and I had to "knit English" for this project. Even so, it took me only a couple hours to complete the scarf.

The scarf was knit with Filatura di Crosa's Moda yarn in colorway 18. The pattern can be found on the Filatura di Crosa website, under Moda Scarf or Ruffled Spiral Scarf (its official name). I started this scarf on 12 October and finished on 17 October. It requires one skein of Moda, which is about 16.5 yards, and the resulting scarf is about 54 inches long. I did not block my scarf.

My third finished object in October was a Girasole Shawl. This shawl's pattern was designed by Jared Flood.  I started my Girasole last year, worked on it fairly steadily for about three months, then set it aside while I tried to decide on an alternate edging. (Do you see a pattern emerging here?) I haven't blocked the Girasole yet, so I'll blog about it in a few days when it's ready for viewing.

What have you been knitting? As you can see, I'm been trying to finish up some older projects before starting new ones.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More September Knitting

In addition to LeLe's Square Shawl, I started two other projects in September. One was a pair of socks, which I completed; the other was a shawl, which I started at the end of the month and didn't complete until early October.

The socks were Wendy Johnson's Diamond Gansey Socks, from her book Socks from the Toe Up. I knit these socks for a fellow knitter, with yarn she provided. The socks were knit with Knit Picks Shadow Tonal in the Dusk colorway. The yarn was 30 percent silk, and because of the silk content, the socks aren't as stretchy as socks made of all wool yarn or of wool-nylon yarn. The ankles (to me) seemed baggy, but they fit the recipient, which is all that matters. I started these socks on 15 September and finished on 26 September. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

The shawl was a test knit. It's called the Sabrina Shawl, and it was designed by Marisa Hernandez. It was a fun---and fast---knit, and the shawl is lovely. I knit this shawl in Dream in Color Smooshy (one of my favorite yarns) in the Visual Purple colorway. My shawl required a bit more than one skein of yarn (477 yards) and was knit on a US5 needle.

I started this shawl on 28 September and finished it on 06 October, so it only took eight evenings to knit. In the photo at right, I'm modelling the shawl at my LYS (local yarn store) for the lace knitting group I lead on Tuesday afternoons.

I've been thinking about bigger projects---sweaters, specifically---but I'm trying to complete several projects that have been languishing on the needles for a while before I start a sweater. I've also been working on my next-to-last Christmas project (a shawlette for my son's fiancee).

What are you knitting or thinking about knitting?


Monday, October 17, 2011

The Danish Work Shawl

In August, I test knit the pattern for Marilla's Very Practical Shawl by Rachel Henry. The shawl is named after a character in Anne of the Green Gables, Anne's practical friend, Marilla. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

This was my first ever attempt at a Danish work shawl. Although I liked the shawl, as a design engineer, I found the method of construction (which I was told was traditional) extremely inefficient. Since I can easily think of several other, much simpler ways to knit this shawl, I won't be knitting any more traditionally constructed Danish work shawls.

The bottom edging of the shawl was knit first. (The photo below shows the corner of the edging, which became the bottom tip of the shawl.) Then, with a lap full of edging, you knit the thirteen stitches at the bottom center and worked your way up the sides, increasing a couple stitches each row.

The lap-full of edging was a constant problem, with the two ends flapping in the breeze, so to speak, while the body of the shawl was knit.

Once the body of the shawl was knit, the top edging was knit on, then the final tail of the shawl was knit.

The shawl was BIG! The final dimensions were:
shawl body (excluding ties): 72 by 47 inches;
shawl including ties: 140 by 47 inches.

To help you better appreciate the shawl's size, the model in the photo is just under six feet tall, with junoesque proportions, and the shawl fit her with room to spare.

I knit this shawl with Dream in Color Classy in the Dusky Aurora colorway. My shawl used 1038 yards (4.15 skeins). I started the shawl on 03 August and finished it on 26 August.

As an engineer and a designer, if I were to create a shawl like this, I would knit the body of the shawl from the top down, then knit on the edging (neck  edging and bottom edging) and the ties. It would look the same---and use the same stitch patterns---but it would be far less awkward to construct.

It is not my intent to malign Danish work shawls, traditional methods of construction, or knitters who enjoy both. I do not know the history and traditions behind Danish work shawls. I don't know the reasons for the traditional method of construction. All I am saying is that this particular method of shawl construction did not appeal to me.


August-September Shawl

My late August and early September shawl was LeLe's Square Shawl by Nancy Bush from her book, The Knitted Lace of Estonia. My shawl was knit in Fiesta Gracie's Lace in the Arctic Ice colorway. This gorgeous shawl looked challenging, but it used the same basic stitches as any other shawl. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

The shawl was constructed from the bottom up. The bottom diamond panel was knit first, then the center square and side panels, then the top diamond panel was knit. Finally, stitches were picked up along the sides and from the provisional cast-on to knit the edging.

I encountered a slight problem, due to misreading my knitting. As I neared the end of the side and center panels section (which did not have the same number of rows in each pattern repetition), I realized that I had only two rows left in the side panels section, but six rows left in the center section. I had to fudge a bit to work out the problem, but the difference is barely noticeable. (I later determined that I had twice skipped two rows in the side panel section; when I should have knit yarnovers on top of the yarnovers in the row below, I started shaping the upper half of the diamond.)

I started this shawl on 17 August and finished on 13 September 2011. Although the pattern stated that 1100 yards of yarn were required, I only used 860 yards.

What have you been knitting? Have you planned your fall and winter knitting yet? I'm starting to think about sweaters.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

August Adventures in Knitting

My August knitting was less varied than any other month this summer. A great deal of time was spent test-knitting one garment, leaving little time to knit other things. Not that that fact stopped me from knitting---and finishing---other garments.

First up in August was Wendy Johnson's Phoebus Apollo Socks. My socks were knit with Cascade Heritage Sock Solids yarn in the Purple Hyacinth colorway. Although the pattern looks cable-y, there isn't a cable to be found. The moving stitches are created by cleverly placed combinations of knit2together, slip-slip-knit, and yarnover. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

The pattern was interesting enough to hold my attention all the way to the top of the socks. The photo below shows a close-up of the pattern. The socks, which were knit toe-up (my favorite method!), have a slip-stitch heel with a gusset and K1P1 ribbing. Since I made these socks for myself, I used a sewn bind-off. (The stretchier bind-offs, such as the Russian bind-off and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off, are too loose on me, but work well for other members of my family.)

I started these socks on 23 July and finished on 11 August. They were my second project for "Camp Loopy"---a camping-themed series of projects (with prizes) sponsored by The Loopy Ewe. (My first Camp Loopy project was the Roma Shawl.)

Next, I finished up a shawl I started last year. This is the Diamonds and Branch variation of the As One Stole. I test knit this pattern last summer, but had lots of yarn left after completing the ten pattern repetitions the pattern required. After giving the designer all the information she required about the stole, I made mine longer. My plan was to knit until I ran out of yarn, but I stopped after fifteen pattern repetitions, when the shawl was almost as long as I am tall.

The shawl was knit with Interlacements Spiderweb yarn in the 201P Blues colorway. I used 925 yards. After blocking, my shawl was 87 inches long and 22 inches wide. I started this shawl on 16 July 2010 and had knit 10 pattern repetitions by 24 August 2010. But it took me until 15 August 2011 to knit the five additional pattern repetitions, mostly because I knit many other projects in the meantime.

My next project was test knitting the pattern for a Danish work shawl. The designer has not yet released the pattern, so I can't blog about this shawl yet.

Next, I finished the Old Man of Storr shawl, which I started on 04 July 2011 for a "knit in the car" project. I only worked on this shawl in the car while my husband was driving. The shawl was knit with Dream in Color Smooshy yarn in the Ocean Current colorway.

I love the colors in Dream in Color yarn, and this colorway was no exception. The shawl was an easy knit, but although I followed the pattern exactly, I ran out of yarn partway through the fifth pattern repetition. (The designer had used DIC yarn, but knit six complete pattern repetitions.) I had to rip back two rows to have enough yarn to bind off the shawl, and even then I fell four yards short. The final twelve feet of the bind-off were knit with Dream in Color Smooshy in Romeo Blue, which was left over from a pair of socks I knit the BoyChild a year or so ago.

My final project in August was LeLe's Square Shawl by Nancy Bush, from her book, The Knitted Lace of Estonia. I started this project on 17 August, using Fiesta Gracie's Laces in the Arctic Ice colorway. I'll blog about this shawl in September, since I knit half the shawl in August and half in September.

What have you been knitting this summer?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

July Adventures in Knitting

I've been busy knitting (and not blogging), but I've also been waiting for a couple patterns I test knit to be released. One pattern still has not been published.

My July adventures in knitting started with test knitting a scarf for Esther Budd, the designer for whom I test knit HRH Kate's Shawl in May. This scarf comes in three variations (as did HRH Kate's Shawl); I knit the second version, as I did for Kate's Shawl. Choosing the same pattern variation to knit was probably a mistake; I was bored with it long before I finished the scarf. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

The secret to scarf knitting is swatching and a bit of math. The final scarf should be 8-10 inches wide and about the same length's as the recipient's height. If you don't knit a swatch and block it, you have no idea how wide or long the finished scarf will be. My swatching and math told me the scarf should be 44 stitches wide and 66-68 pattern repetitions in length, so 44 stitches wide and 68 pattern repetitions is what I knit. Lo and behold, the final dimensions of the scarf were 10.25 inches wide and 75 inches long.  (I could have quit after 65 or 66 pattern repetitions, since the recipient, my husband, is 6 feet (72 inches) tall.)

The scarf was knit with Black Water Abbey two-ply sportweight yarn, in the Haw colorway. I used 1.25 skeins or 438 yards. I started this scarf on 03 July and finished it on 14 July. The close-up on the right shows the zig-zag pattern more clearly.

My next knitting adventure, another test knit, was a pair of socks---the Ornamental Socks by Angela Whisnant. It had been at least a month since I'd knit a pair of socks, so I was happy to knit these. The pattern close-up below better shows the design, which looks like a shamrock.

The socks were knit toe-up, in Schoeller + Stahl Fortissims Socka in the 1015 Blue colorway.  I started the socks on 12 July and finished on 22 July.

One bit of advice for anyone planning to knit these socks: Don't knit them for someone with big feet. The pattern repetition is very small, and even though I was knitting the socks for Niece-with- Smallest-Feet, I was bored with the pattern by the time I turned the heel.

My final project was a shawl I started in May. This was another test knit. I call it the Name Game Shawl, but the designer, MMario, named it "They Call Me MMario." He described it as "a warped version of feather and fan crossed with a left-handed swirl."

The shawl, which was worked in the round, was knit with Great Adirondack Silky Sock yarn in the Cantaloupe colorway.

The pattern repeats eights times on each round. The directions said to knit the vertical pattern repetition until "long enough." I did three vertical pattern repetitions, but if I had it to do over again, I'd knit four, since the shawl didn't block out as large as I expected.

I started this shawl on 09 May and finished it on 30 July. I used 2.3 skeins, or 830 yards, of yarn. This shawl was my "knit during lace class" shawl, which meant that I only knit it on Tuesday afternoons, except at the very end, when I used it as my "knit in the car" project, then finished it on a weekend.

The last project I started in July, a pair of socks, I'll tell you about with August's adventures, since more knitting was done in August than July.

What have you been knitting this summer?


Monday, August 1, 2011

June Adventures in Knitting

The final pattern I test knit in June has been released, so I can now discuss my June adventures in knitting.

My first knit was a shawl, a test knit. The Cutting Ferns Shawl, by Fiddle Knits, is part of her Shades of Green collection (as was the first shawl I knit in May, which I called an Uncertain Shade of Red, since the yarn I used was a variegated red). The pattern for the Cutting Ferns Shawl calls for bulky yarn, but since my specially ordered yarn was purportedly shipped to another store, the designer allowed me to knit the shawl with worsted weight yarn. I used Stitch Nation Alpaca Love in the Lake colorway. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

I started this shawl on 08 June and finished on 11 June. Seems amazingly fast, doesn't it? But the shawl has only 71 rows. My shawl has a wingspan of 58 inches and a depth of 20.5 inches---a bit small in my opinion. This shawl would be larger if knit with a bulky yarn.

The night I finished the Cutting Ferns Shawl, I looked around for something else to knit---something that I could knit in the car. Instead of starting something new, I decided to finish a pair of socks that had been languishing on the needles since 30 April. The socks were done except for the ribbing, so I was able to finish them that night.

The socks are Wendy Johnson's Serpentine Socks. I like the sock pattern very much, but unfortunately the yarn's color variations obscure the pattern. The socks were knit with Fiesta Baby Boom yarn in the Spring Chill colorway. These socks are going to be a Christmas present for one of my nieces.

Next I knit another shawl (another test knit). This is the Elvia Shawl by Usch Engelmann. This shawl was knit with five skeins of Jojoland Melody Superwash in the Cinnabar Flare colorway. This shawl's construction was ingenious. Despite the ruffle, the shawl was knit from the top down, with the ruffles on the front edges knit using short rows. I was intrigued by the way the color patterning of the yarn changed as I went along.

I started this shawl on 12 June and finished on 28 June. The shawl has a wingspan of 66 inches and a depth of 29 inches. I may give this shawl to my youngest sister for Christmas. She likes---and looks good in---peach and coral, and the shawl is light enough in weight that she won't get overly warm.

My final shawl for June was the Roma Shawl by Kirsten Kapur. I chose to knit the version with the willow edge border, and I'm very pleased with the result. This shawl can be knit with lace or fingering weight yarn. I chose lace-weight. I used Fiesta Gracies's Lace in the silhouette blue and snow colorways. I used a little less than half the skein of blue, and a bit less than one-fifth of the skein of snow.

I started this shawl on 16 June (yes, I really did start it before I finished the previous one) and finished on 03 July. It's a big shawl---the wingspan is 79 inches, and it's 39 inches deep.

The Roma Shawl was the twelfth shawl I started this year, and the eleventh one I finished.

In addition knitting these three shawls and finishing the socks, I also worked on a summer top, which isn't quite finished. I'll tell you about it when it's done.

What have you been knitting this summer?


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

May Adventures in Knitting

My adventures in knitting in May were all shawls. All but one was a test knit. (The non-test knit was a shawl of my own design.) Interestingly, all of the shawls were worsted weight.

The first shawl I knit in May was one I call "An Uncertain Shade of Red." The shawl's designer, Fiddle Knits, called the shawl "A Certain Shade of Green," but since mine is neither green nor a solid color, I think my name fits my shawl. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

Continuing a trend started with the last shawl knit in April, this shawl was constructed from the bottom up. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy in the Ruby River colorway, and I used 2.4 skeins (about 600 yards). The lower section of the shawl was knit with a US7 needle, but the center section (what I call the basketweave section) was knit with a US8.

I started this shawl on 06 May and finished it on 17 May. The shawl is lovely, and it's great for cold nights. I'll probably keep this one.

My next shawl was knit for my local yarn store, to display a new yarn the store is carrying. This shawl is my own design, and I call it "Aye, Aye, Eyelet!" My goal was to design a shawl that could be knit by someone who has never knit a shawl before.

The shawl was knit with Plymouth Kudo yarn, which is an Aran-weight cotton blend (55% cotton, 40% rayon, and 5% silk), in colorway 42, using a US9 needle. Pattern instructions can be found on my Ravelry project page (log-in required).

I started the shawl on 11 May and finished on 24 May. This shawl used two skeins of Plymouth Kudo (about 390 yards).

My final May shawl was designed to duplicate the shawl worn by H.R.H. Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, while on a run to the grocery store during her honeymoon. The fact that Kate was wearing a knitted garment delighted knitters around the world, despite the fact that Kate's shawl was almost certainly machine knit. A number of people have designed patterns they believe are identical to Kate's shawl, but no two patterns are alike.

I had the pleasure of testing the design by Esther Budd in a worsted weight yarn. Esther's pattern has three different versions of the shawl body. I tested the second version (see the close-up photo below), which, in my opinion, best matches Kate's shawl.

My shawl was knit with Dream in Color Classy in the Ruby River colorway. My shawl required four skeins (1000 yards) and was knit with US8 needles. Knitting the shawl went fairly quickly. The ruffle, which Esther nicknamed the "suicide ruffle," seemed to take much longer----and undoubtedly did.  There are more than 1300 stitches per round in that ruffle. (The ruffle was knit circularly.)

I started knitting H.R.H. Kate's Shawl on 25 May and finished on 03 June. This shawl, like its color-twin, was knit from the bottom up.

Two thousand yards of yarn knit in less than 27 days. That won't set any records, but it's nothing to sneeze at, either. What have you been knitting this summer?


Thursday, June 9, 2011

April Adventures in Knitting: Nupps and the Twisted German Cast-on

I've been too busy knitting to blog. Truthfully, at the end of April, I was too busy winding down the academic year and test knitting patterns to blog. And all through May, I test knit more patterns. Here, finally, is a report on my April knitting.

The first part of April was spent finishing a test knit for the Fickle Knitter. My Two Rivers Shawl, shown at right, was knit with one skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in the Into the Mystic colorway. The body of the shawl was knit first, then the edging was knit onto the shawl, with two rows of edging knit for every stitch along the bottom edge. It took longer to knit the edging than to knit the body of the shawl. (As always, click on any photograph to enlarge.)

The pattern was interesting, but easy enough for an advanced beginner. Knit two together, slip-slip-knit, and yarnovers were the most difficult stitches, and there were a few no-wrap short rows in the edging near the center point to give the shawl added depth.

The lower photo shows a close-up of the pattern on the shawl body and of the knitted-on edging.

I started knitting this shawl on 19 March and finished it on 08 April 2011. It was the fourth shawl I've knit this year. (Photos and information about the first three shawls have not yet appeared in this blog because I was unable to block them as I knit them, due to foot surgery I had right before Christmas.)

My April adventures in knitting began in earnest with the next shawl, the Liblikakiri Shawl (shown above). (According to the pattern designer, liblikakiri means butterfly in Estonian.)  This was another test knit. The Liblikakiri Shawl was my first experience with nupps. Nupps, if you've never encountered them before, require alternating knitting and yarnovers in the same stitch. In this pattern, the nupps were created by alternating five knits and four yarnovers in one stitch. In the next row, all nine of those loops were knit into one stitch. The result was a solid "blob," as shown in the close-up photo below.

This shawl, which also had cables, was knit in laceweight yarn. I used most of a skein of Knit Picks Shadow Tonal in the Deep Waters Tonal colorway. I started this shawl on 07 April and finished on 21 April.

My final April knitting adventure involved another test knit, the Anna Perenna Shawl, and the twisted German cast-on. The Twisted German cast-on is similar to the long-tail cast-on, but with an extra loop that adds a lot of stretchability to the cast-on. It is my new favorite cast-on.

My Anna Perenna Shawl, shown at right, was knit from the bottom-up, and the twisted German cast-on made the bottom nice and stretchy, so it blocked beautifully. Once the edging was knit, there were a lot of short rows of increasing length (to about 350 stitches) to add depth, then eight rows of garter stitch. I ran out of yarn, so my shawl is six rows shorter than the pattern. The shawl was supposed to have I-cord edging at the top, but I had to use a sewn bind-off.

My Anna Perenna was knit with two skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh DK yarn in the Cobalt colorway. I started the shawl on 23 April and finished on 05 May.

What have you been knitting this spring?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Socks

Spring has yet to make an appearance in northern Indiana, but these colorful socks added a bit of springtime to my days. Well, actually, to my evenings, since my days are occupied by work.

I only knit one pair of socks this month. I chose Wendy Johnson's Ribbed Ribbons Socks, from her book, Socks from the Toe Up. I modified the socks to fit my narrow feet by removing the first stitch of the pattern repetition. I also chose to repeat the pattern on the back of the leg. The socks were knit in Dream in Color Smooshy, in the Giant Peach colorway. I started these socks on 06 March and finished on 18 March, but due to the weather, which was grey and overcast, I was unable to take a decent photograph of them until the 25th. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.)

In addition to these socks, I have nearly finished---I'm in the process of binding off---a large shawl, and have knit the body of another one, and begun its knitted-on edging.

What are you knitting to encourage spring to make an appearance?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

February: Two FOs and an Almost Finished One

February is a short month, which I usually think is good, since it is the depths of winter, but this month I could have used a few more days. I did knit a pair of socks---and most of a second pair---and have continued sporadically working on a shawl.

The first pair of socks was Wendy Johnson's Riding on the Metro Socks, from her book, Socks from the Toe Up. The socks were knit in Dream in Color Smooshy (my favorite sock yarn) in the Visual Purple (VS180) colorway. (As always, click on any photo to enlarge.) I had to modify the socks to fit my narrow feet, so instead of having parallel "columns" of stitches on the sides, my socks have only one column. They were fun to knit, although the pattern didn't make my "top five" list of Ms. Johnson's sock patterns. I started the socks on 01 February and finished on 25 February.

The second pair of socks, Ms. Johnson's Sportweight Socks with Gusset Heel, were knit with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport yarn, in the Lakeview (504) colorway. The socks are an easy, fast knit. This pair, like the previous pair, is knee length. I started these socks of 24 February, although I didn't knit past the toe increases until I'd finished the previous pair. I finished these socks on 05 March. Technically, that makes them February-March socks, but I'm counting them for February, since I was unable to take a good photo of them until this morning.

I am also plugging away on my third shawl of 2011. There is no pattern to speak of, only the center and edge increases. The absence of a pattern makes the shawl a good project to carry around and knit on, but it's also rather boring. The shawl is about two-thirds complete.

I have not  yet blocked the first two shawls (Multnomah and Gaia), which I knit in January. I could not block the shawls when I finished them because I still had pins in my foot from surgery right before Christmas. But the pins have been out for nearly a month, and this week is Spring Break, so the shawls will be blocked this week.

After finishing the Sportweight Socks on 05 March, I started my March socks on 06 March. More about the March socks in a future post.

What are you knitting this month?


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