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Archive for March, 2008

You’re not imagining things: it’s been a few weeks since I posted anything here. What can I say? Holy Week is always a bit busy for me!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the Lightweight Mountain Peaks (LMP) shawl had turned into the Black Hole of Knitting. I knit, and knit, and knit, but nothing ever seemed to come out… the Black Hole just kept swallowing stitches and yarn without producing any results.

I did finally break free of the Black Hole, and then whipped through the inside border with speed and ease. Now, I’m on the outside border, which is a knitted-on border. (For my non-knitting readers, this means that the body of the shawl is knit in one piece, and then the border is knit as a separate piece, but attached to the body row by row as it is knit perpendicular to the previous work. Yes, this is just as difficult and confusing as it sounds.)

The only knitted-on borders I’ve done before were on shawls out of Victorian Lace Today, which directs the knitter to break yarn at the end of the body, and then rejoin at a different point to begin the border, working back and forth on DPNs. LMP’s instructions, however, had me knit the body, and then on the same needle cast on 17 additional stitches to begin the border. The border is then worked back and forth on those 17 stitches, using a very simple and easy K2tog at the end of each purl row to attach to the body, which is still on the same needle.

This has been one of those slap-myself-on-the-forehead, “Why didn’t I think of that?” deals.

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Here, I’m starting a border purl row. It’s not so clear in the photo, but the border is hanging under my hand (I’m about 60 rows in) and then the shawl body flows out from the border to the left.

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Now I’m one stitch from the end of the purl row. I have one more border stitch on the left needle, and then the next stitch is the first stitch of the edge of the body.

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I knit those two stitches together…

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… and turn, ready to start the next border row. You can see how everything’s arranged a bit better now.

This is probably one of those things that has been obvious to everyone but me for ages. Right now, however, for me, this is still new to me and exciting. It’s always fun to figure things out.

I’m very ready to be done with LMP. I’ve already swatched for my next shawl, the first skein of yarn, a cobweb weight bamboo silk, is wound, and I’m all ready to start. I just have to finish the current shawl first!

In other news: Partially spurred by the ever-rising gasoline prices, I finally went and bought a new bicycle!

bike phone pic

It has been a lot of fun zipping around Austin without being stuck in traffic. I am almost up to running all of my errands by bike. The only place on my regular visiting/errand list that I can’t figure out how to get to by bike is my favorite yarn shop! It is within riding distance, but I would have to go a long, long way up Parmer lane, which is a bit fast and busy for me. I’ve been doing OK so far on Loop 360, which is another fast, busy road, but 360 has nice wide shoulder and, more importantly, lots of other bicyclists. Anyone who drives up 360 with any degree of regularity knows to watch for bikes. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen another cyclist on Parmer (not that I drive up it all that often) and the portion I would be on runs through Round Rock/Williamson County, where alternative transportation isn’t quite as common as it is down in Austin. This should be remedied when the light rail goes through that area later this year; until then, I’ll keep driving up to the LYS but maybe cut back on the number of trips.

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"Chinese" bun tutorial

No knitting this week, sorry.

This blog seems to get a lot of hits from people who Google “Chinese bun,” OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         “hair bun” or somesuch. I posted a photograph that someone took of me last year, in which I am wearing my hair in a Chinese bun, held with a double-pointed knitting needle, and this seems to be generating those hits. So, I though that I would post a tutorial, to help out anyone who’s trying to figure out how to do this neat bun.

This is an “updo” that is very stable, distributes the weight of the hair well (if that is a concern for you) and really stays put. Once I put my hair up in this type of bun for the day, I rarely need to touch it until I’m ready to take it down for the night.

Tutorial

DSCN1079 1. Put your hair into a regular, somewhat loose, ponytail.

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2. Stick a hairstick (or DPN, if you like!) through the hair behind the base of the ponytail. This is between the ponytail holder and your scalp.

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3. Now divide the ponytail in half…

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4. …and lift both halves over their respective ends of the hairstick.

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The result looks like this. This is the foundation for the bun.

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5. At this point, I like to twist one side a bit, pull it around to the front, and clip it to my shirt (or hold it in my teeth) to keep it out of the way.

Pick up the other side and start twisting it until it begins to kink,* and start guiding it around the outside of the ponytail foundation you have already made.

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6. I like to lay the twisted section of hair over the top of the unused section the first time I go around the bun, and then pull it under the second time. I think that this makes a neater, more symmetrical bun.

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7. Pin the first half in place, hiding the ends.

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8. Now pick up the second half and begin twisting it in the opposite direction. As it twists, let it coil around the base of the bun.

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9. Tuck in the ends and pin in place. All done!

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*My hair is quite straight and fine, and therefore slippery. I have to use lots of twist to make it stay put in any updo. If your hair is curly or more coarse, you might not need to twist it so much.

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Since the Venezia is finished, I’ve been relaxing with simple things. Of course, now I’m getting bored.

DSCN1070 The Lightweight Mountain Peaks shawl currently occupies the Black Hole of Knitting. It swallows up yarn, and hours, and stitches, and more stitches, and even more stitches… thousands of stitches at a time. Yet, it never seems to get anywhere. I’ve been stuck on the same page of the chart for what feels like forever. The chart is quite repetitive, as well – just 4 distinct pattern rows, over and over and over again. I want to bundle up this shawl, lock it in a drawer and never look at it again, while I go on to more entertaining things. However, if I do that, the unfinished shawl will haunt me and I will feel guilty until I actually finish it. Therefore, I continue to plug away at it.

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By way of contrast, the Coriolis socks I started a few days ago are progressing at warp speed. No, I am not avoiding the shawl and working on the socks instead. It’s just that the gauge on these socks is a bit larger than my usual sock-knitting gauge, and 99% of the sock is stockinette in the round, so the inches go by quickly. I got a lot of work done on the second sock while standing in the caucus line last night for an hour and a half. I’m waiting to finish up the second sock before doing the cuff for the first sock, because I’m going to be cutting it close on the yarn, and I want the two socks to be the same length – I don’t want to make the first sock too long, and then find out that I don’t have enough yarn left to make the second sock just as long.

Lastly, I have a fun photo of a project I made last summer, the Peapod Baby Set. I made it using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and some darling buttons I found up at Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe.

babyteresaShe’s the daughter of some good friends. What a smile!

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