Posts Tagged ‘Lightweight Mountain Peaks’


It seems like a long time since I finished my last shawl. Usually I knock one off every five weeks or so, but this one was an unusually slow knit, and has had a few issues as well.DSCN1167

Still, it is lovely.

It is also, as you can see, quite large! It measures 34″ from neck to point, and 80″ from tip to tip. I knit it in Jaggerspun Zephyr, on US size 4 needles. The pattern calls for a cobweb weight yarn. Zephyr is on the thicker side of laceweight, which explains the 20″ difference between the pattern measurement and what I got!

The color of Zephyr I used is called “blueberry.” It is a lovely, smoky blue color. I might have to get some more and make something else in this color. This is my third shawl using Zephyr. It really is everything that it’s cracked up to be. DSCN1161 Easy to knit with, enough bounce to handle crazy lace stitches, a nice sheen from the silk content, and enough silk to make it block and stay blocked really well while still having enough wool to still handle like a good wool yarn should. Yes, there’s more Zephyr in my future!

One of the reasons I chose this shawl pattern was so that I could ease my way DSCN1157into two-way lace knitting, where there are lace stitches on every row. All of my previous lace projects have used lace stitches on every other row, with a plain “rest” row in between. One of my long-term goals has been to knit a traditional Shetland shawl, which will mean a lot of two-way lace. After I finish the shawl I just cast on, the Shetland is next!

LMP is destined for a friend in Nashville. I wore it a little last week, but last night I folded it, wrapped it up in a box and addressed it, and today I’ll go to the post office and say goodbye. However, it is going to a great home, so it’s not too hard to send it away.



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I did a little bit of re-organization last week on this blog. While I was going through some old posts, it struck me that I’ve been getting lazy about taking good photos. So, of course, we then had dark, cloudy skies for several days in a row, with a little rain here and there. This morning, however, I spotted a ray of sunshine! So I broke out the tripod, dusted off the lightbox, and headed out to the backyard to take some photos.DSCN1167

You would know, the sun went back behind a cloud.

However, it wasn’t quite so gray and dismal, and too much bright sunlight is just as bad as not enough, so I persevered and had fun experimenting with different flash settings.

Lightweight Mountain Peaks is done! It does look quite nice. More photos in the next post, and then it goes in the mail.


I’ve cast on my next shawl, Shetland Garden Faroese shawl, designed by Silvia Harding. I noticed right away that the pattern uses only K2tog decreases; in other words, no directional decreases. I am using a yarn made by Habu, a bamboo “silk” in cobweb weight. When I swatched for this shawl, I experimented with different types of directional and non-directional decreases. I’m glad that I did, as I suspect that the bamboo is less forgiving than a wool yarn DSCN1148 would be. The lace patterns look radically different depending on the decreases used. So, I broke out the stitch dictionary and lightly edited the lace charts on the shawl pattern, adding SSK, P2tog and P2togtbl decreases where appropriate.

My current sock is nothing noteworthy: after ripping back three different lace patterns, I decided that the yarn really didn’t look good with any kind of pattern, so I’m now making a nice plain ribbed sock.


What is noteworthy about the sock is that I’ve finally started using the DPN tubes that a friend gave me as a Christmas gift. This is a great little contraption! You slide the smaller tube around the top of the work and the DPNs…


…and then slide the larger tube around the smaller one. No more reaching into my purse to grab the sock and coming out with one needle too few!

I had looked around locally a few months ago to try and find a set of tubes without success. I think that my friend got these from Knitpicks.

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I’m still plugging away at Lightweight Mountain Peaks. Just 17 more border repeats to go…

In the meanwhile, I’ve been working on the Lite Lopi Pullover, from The Best of Interweave Knits. This is a yoke sweater, worked in aran-weight yarn. I’m using some Araucania Yarns Nature Wool. The ball band stated that the yarn would yield a gauge of 14 st/4 in., but since I can’t get anything less than 18 st/4 in. without creating an unacceptably loose fabric, I did a little math and figured that all should be well if I knit two pattern sizes up. I’m doing the body on US 7s and probably will do the colorwork for the yoke on size 9s. Yes, it’s true: I do own needles larger then US size 4!

DSCN1133I swatched in the round with the colors I chose one way, swapped two colors and swatched again, and decided that I liked the first combo better. This is “Bohus-inspired” sweater, which means that the colorwork uses both knit and purl stitches to create different textures. It had been challenging (I’ve never needed to purl with my right hand before!) and tends to pull in a bit, which is why I’m bumping up the the US 9s for the colorwork. I’ve also added a bit of color to the cuffs, to help keep me from going insane with all of the straight stockinette-in-the-round, also also because I might cut it close on the main color of yarn. DSCN1132

I’m making a few other modifications, lengthening the sleeves, of course, and also adding linings to the hems of the body and cuffs, and to the neck a la Elizabeth Zimmermann. So far, I’ve got the body and one sleeve done (did the sleeve + swatching in 1 day!) and I’m halfway up the 2nd sleeve. I’ll join the sleeves to the body tonight and hopefully be working on the yoke this weekend.

In other news, I’m still having a blast zooming all around town on my new bike! I estimate that I’ve saved about two tanks of gasoline already. They were a bit surprised (well, snotty might be a better word) at the salon when I showed up at the front desk asking if I could bring it in to park it (nowhere out front to lock it up!) but everyone else has been really positive and encouraging. My gynecologist was particularly enthusiastic today, even after I showed up for my DSCN1136appointment slightly sweaty, wearing bike shorts, with post-exercise elevated blood pressure. I suppose that doctors will forgive just about anything if it means you’re getting plenty of exercise. Life on the bike has been much happier since I got a new saddle with a cut-out. In my opinion it looks a bit funny, but after 20 miles I don’t care what it looks like, so long as it doesn’t hurt!

I’ve also got a summer project all set to go. Last week while socializing at the yarn store, I asked Sue Ann a question about clipless pedals, and she offered me her old bike, clipless pedals and all! It’s a small Trek with a carbon frame and a few other goodies, neglected for several years. I’m planning to learn some maintenance skills this summer, so having a bike around to overhaul should be fun. First up: figuring out how the Presta valve converter on my hand pump works!


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Many thanks to the kind folks who have commented, emailed, and given me in person some good bike routes around town! I’ve been having lots of fun, zipping around without being stuck in traffic, and exploring new routes. Now, if I could only figure out how to reduce and balance the 40 lbs of stuff I haul around to 5 different schools every week…

On the knitting front, the border on the Lightweight Mountain Peaks shawl is progressing.DSCN1119 It has reached the stage where it looks a bit like a strange sea creature. I have other things in progress, of course; socks and another sweater are both well underway. However, they are not so photogenic.

There is a reason why all of my knitting is progressing so slowly this week. The reason is that last weekend, out of the clear blue sky, a spinning wheel fell on me.

DSCN1120 Ok, not really, although it feels like it. Here’s the story:

Last fall, I learned how to spin, using a drop spindle. Since then, I’ve been slowly spinning away as the mood struck. Spindling can be a very peaceful way to spend a morning while camping, or a nice activity to keep myself occupied while something cooks on the stove. I have two very nice spindles, and a very funny plying set-up that involves my dining room chandelier.

Then, last week, an email popped up in my inbox, from a knitting friend who had a question for me. Could I use a spinning wheel? she wanted to know. She had a wheel on loan from a very nice friend of hers, but no longer had need of it, so it was decided that she would pass the wheel on to another spinner – lucky me! So, instead of dutifully knitting away on my projects, I’ve been having fun on the new spinning wheel.

And now, more fun with DPNs. Since I’ve gotten the knack of anchoring a bun DSCN1131 with a size 9 bamboo DPN, I’ve been having fun trying out new hairstyles that use hairsticks. This one is an “orchid” bun. I’ve also heard it called a “cervix” bun, but I don’t see it. Anyway, it is another type of bun that really stays put – I wore it this way for about 12 hours the other day, and if barely shifted the whole day.

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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.


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.







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.







I knit those two stitches together…








… 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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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.


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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I have ordered, and am waiting ever-so-patiently, for the extra ball of yarn for that @#$! sweater. In the meantime, I am at least getting lots of other stuff done!


The photos of the alpacas are from last Saturday, when I went with a group of friends to three yarn shops south of here. The primary purpose of our visit was to visit the Yarn Barn in San Antonio, which will be closing soon. We also visited Yarnivore, up near the SA airport, and returned to Old Oaks Ranch, home of the alpacas. Nicki and Sally have already blogged about the trip, so I’ll skip the commentary.


I’ve gotten lots done on the Lightweight Mountain Peaks Shawl, although it isn’t very evident from the photo. Lace never looks like anything until it is blocked.


Also in progress is “Arch-Shaped Stockings,” a pattern I discovered on Ravelry. Users of that service can look up the patter there. The first stocking is going surprisingly fast, although this photo was taken after I decided that I did not like how my decreases were going and ripped out several inches of work.

Also in progress is a new sock, the Coriolis from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways in Sock Knitting, and a felted cover for my long-overdue, shiny new cellphone.

Now, if that yarn could only magically arrive here overnight – I want to finish that sweater!

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