Archive for the ‘friends on the web’ Category

Recently I’ve been doing some sample knitting for a yarn-dyeing friend. She sent me three different kinds of lace yarns which I’m using to knit up some patterns I’ve been eyeing for quite some time.

Kuusk cowl

The first project I did was the Kuusk cowl, which was published in Knitty last year. I knit it up in Amanda (Ravelry link) which is a 100% merino lace yarn from Rain’s Obsessive Stitchery. I seem to recall that the yarn is superwash, not that it really matters for lace. When are you ever going to throw a lace shawl in the washing machine? (If you do, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear about it.) The yarn is roughly the same weight as Zephyr and a bit springier, so it was very nice on my hands. Nice enough that I knit the whole cowl up in one day. Just a nice, quick little project.

The Kuusk pattern is knit in the round and has nupps. I’ve knit many, many nupps prior to this, but not in the round. I can’t say I enjoyed closing the nupps from the knit side. They don’t look as neat to me and didn’t plump up as nicely as they usually do. If I re-knit this pattern I’ll either sub out the nupps for some beads or simply leave them out altogether.

Can you see the nupps? Nope, I can't, either. I promise they're there.

The second project I knit up with Rain’s yarn was the Triinu scarf, from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia. This is the fourth project I’ve knit from that book. I can see myself doing everything in in eventually because the patterns are so nice. Nothing super complicated, just nice, well-written patterns that tend to be easy to memorize. The big lace scarves are possibly a little too big and airy to use as a conventional keep-the-weather out scarves, but they are just right for a dressy stole or for pinning over a blouse on a cool day.

I knit the Triinu in Eleanor yarn, from the same shop that I linked to above. This yarn has just a little bit of sparkle. In the skein it looked too sparkly to me (I’m not wild about bling in general) but once it was knit up the sparkle toned down and was just right. Everyone that sees it loves it. The silver fibers didn’t make the yarn scratchy or hard to work with.

The third yarn Rain sent me is called “Marie” and is a different animal altogether. It’s an alpaca/silk/cashmere blend and while I knew in my head that it would feel differently than the all-wool or wool/silk blends, my fingers kinda forgot about just how slippery alpaca could be. This yarn blooms a bit after washing and blocks well, and I’m super excited about the project I’m using it for: Rhodion, from last year’s fall issue of Knitty. I’ve knit two other fabulous patterns by Elizabeth Freeman and  been wanting to knit this one since the day it was published. The lace-and-cables are absolute magic. They are also absolutely no fun at all to pick out if I make a mistake, so yeah, I’ll be staying out of the beer while I’m working on this one!

Rhodion swatch.

The photo I’ve posted is of my Rhodion swatch (yes, I swatch my lace, and you should too). The cables look like little double helixes before blocking, and after the block relaxed a bit the swatch retained a nice three-dimensional texture. The really cool thing about this swatch is that I cast it on right in the middle, with a provisional crochet-chain cast on. I knit two repeats of the cable pattern, cast off, turned around and picked up from the provisional cast on, and knit two more repeats. I love everything about this swatch: the helixes, the texture, and how the subtle color changes work with the whole thing. I’m working on the shawl now and every time I pick it up, I’m excited to work on it.


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It’s embarassing to admit, but I’m not quite sure of how many lace shawls I have knit so far. I think that this is #20. The photo is of the swatch I did to test the yarn I chose against the pattern. I like to swatch out lace patterns on a small scale before I cast on for large projects, to see if the pattern reads clearly and what the proportion of open vs. knit stitches looks like. If I don’t like the swatch, I might change to a larger or smaller needle and thus manipulate the proportions, or I might find a different yarn. I got lucky on this one: I liked the proportions I got on my first try. The yarn is Yarn Place “Heaven” and I am knitting it on US size 1 (2.5mm) needles. (Yikes! This is thin stuff!) The yarn is surprisingly easy to work with, although I need very bright light and a good contrasting backround to work on a scale so fine.


I have finally succumbed to the mystery-shawl-knitalong craze and signed up for the Evenstar Mystery Shawl. For those of you who are not in the know, a “mystery shawl” is a new shawl pattern. When you purchase and commit to DSCN1061 knitting the shawl pattern, you don’t know what the final product will look like – it’s a mystery! The pattern is released a little bit at a time – in this case, every two weeks. The first “clue” to this mystery shawl was released last Friday; I’ve knit it all up and now I have to wait until next Friday to get the next part of the pattern. According to the designer’s website, there are 757 knitters all signed up for this mystery shawl. So, theoretically, 757 of us are all knitting this at the same time. It’s oddly fun.

DSCN1055 Through the magic of the Internet, I recently was able to swap an unloved shawl for a nice knit blouse, made by another knitter.  I knit the “Cap Shawl” from Victorian Lace Today about two years ago. It was fun to knit, but has DSCN10551languished in a drawer ever since. A few weeks ago, I read about a knitter who had made a short-sleeved sweater that didn’t really flatter her. Would anyone want it? The sweater was my size, so I went out on a limb and offered to swap my unloved shawl for her unloved  sweater. The sweater fits great! It’s just the sort of thing that I would have made, except that I didn’t have to do the work. And I heard back that she really likes the shawl.

A few weeks back, I posted about a flatbed bicycle trailer that I overhauled. My father seemed to be fairly impressed by the photos, so here’s another photo for him:


The object in tow is my husband’s erstwhile wheelchair! After four long months, he is back to walking (most of the time) on his own. We rented a folding wheelchair (free to us, since we had already hit his health insurance deductible) for several months to help out in situations where crutches weren’t practical, such as at the airport. The wheelchair was great to have on hand, but I was just as happy to haul it back to the medical supply agency.

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