Knit Blockers and Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival

I finished the knitting on Usonian but before I get to the report on my new blocking tools let me show you what I cast on next. Dowland is a half-pi (semi-circle) lace shawl. I like this style shawl as they look so elegant and seem so fast to knit. This one is especially pretty I think. I am using my Classic Merino Bamboo again in the Atlantic color. I started it a few days ago and am already on the 5th chart.

Okay so on to the blocking of Usonian; I apologize that the pictures aren’t spectacular. The weather is just gray, gray, and more gray, not to mention rainy so much of the time that outdoor pictures just aren’t happening at the moment. At least it’s not snow, that’s that. ;-)

Fresh off the needles shot.

I attempted to block this on Tuesday, but very quickly realized that what one of my commenters said was correct, I hadn’t ordered enough of the mats or the Knit Blockers. Sigh. So I ordered more and they arrived Thursday evening. So on Friday morning I put the shawl back in water to soak and then spin out in the washer before trying again.

Even with two sets of Knit Blockers I ran a tiny bit short but managed to shift a few around and get the job done. I used 16 of the Blocking Mats of the 18 I have now. That seemed adequate but I could see a larger shawl possibly needing a few more than the 18. I may be ordering more of both in the future. I did really like using them and found them a bit easier and less fiddly than wires and pins. It may depend on the project though. We’ll see how the half – pi shape works. From previous experience with that shape you can only use the wires across the top straight edge and have to use pins only for the round side. It seems like it may be require similar application with these Knit Blockers. Threading the wires through the edges is always my least favorite aspect of blocking and using these as a substitute for that part was a positive experience. It certainly made the job quicker and less tedious.

I love how this shawl came out and can’t wait to show it off in the booth this year. It’s about 2 months until my first scheduled festival rolls around. This year my calendar begins March 15th with the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. I have been a part of this show since it’s earliest years and I am very excited about the this year’s show. It is the 15th year and lots of special things are planned to celebrate. It is also returning to it’s roots a bit by moving to a hotel hosted location that is adjacent to but not in the downtown area. Class registration in a huge variety of fiber arts of all kinds are live on the website. I hope to see some of you there!

It’s almost time

I predict it won’t be too much longer before Usonian will be complete and I am actually looking forward to blocking for a change. Why you ask? I have been meaning to try out some new to me blocking tools. Maybe you have heard of them? They are called Knit Blockers. My friend Dee O’Keefe uses these and seems to like them a lot so I decided to order a set and give them a try. I ordered mine from Amazon along with a set of blocking mats. I have been using my bed to block on and that can be a bit limiting when it’s only empty for about a fourth of the day since my husband works second shift. ;-) Now I should have some flexibility and not have to wait until afternoon to block out a shawl. Blocking wires work fine and I will probably still find them useful, but I am looking forward to seeing if these work better for most things.

I have progressed on the shawl to chart 18 out of 20. Chart 18 is 40 rows in all and I am on row 14 so it’s one of the larger sections but it’s pretty fast and uncomplicated so I still hope to be ready to block it out within the next week or two.

Since it’s the start of the year there are lots of end of the year bookkeeping tasks breathing down my neck which cuts into knitting time I am afraid. Add to that, school time with my 8 year old and housekeeping, but I am a woman capable of powering through a to-do list. ;-) Never fear!

Last Post of the Year

Here we are once again with Christmas passed and the new year about to begin. It’s another gray rainy day here in Nashville but at least it’s warm. I think we are going to hit 70 today, so there’s that. :-)

Here are some of my Christmas presents. I got a few more but these are all I happened to get a picture of. The one in the center was made by my third daughter, Meredith, from the sea glass she collected when she was living in Nome Alaska a couple of years ago. The watercolor portraits were painted by another daughter, Kyla. They are of all four of the children, including herself (top frame) that are still living here at home. She has promised the other six to be added to the collection as she completes them. I can’t wait to see the rest!

Here’s my progress on my Usonian shawl. It is coming along and I will probably get some more knit on it tonight since my husband has to work tonight so no going out. In the past he always had New Years Eve off but not this year. Boo Hiss!

Happy New Year to all and be safe!

Winding Down

Christmas is almost upon us once again and it’s time for slowing down and taking in the year that has passed. We normally take this month off from as much as we can get away with. We pause homeschool lessons and it’s a slower time for the business, in that I am not traveling and doing festivals. I like to work on new ideas and samples for the coming year. Of course there are family gatherings to prepare for and presents to buy and wrap. We have all the gifts done and the tree is up. We will probably start baking on Sunday afternoon.

As you may recall in my last post, I started a sweater for my youngest which I finished a couple days ago. He loves it and has worn it to the library yesterday, where we loaded up with Christmas story books.

Since my needles were empty, it was on to my next planned lace project. I wound the yarn and cast on for Usonian in my Classic Merino Bamboo yarn. It is gray and rainy today and I had to make due with indoor pictures but actually the colors aren’t too far off. Click through to the website for slightly more accurate ones; the names are Damson Plum and Sea Oat.

I started last night and have gotten half way through Chart 2. This one should be pretty fun and easy, possibly quick even. We’ll see.

Have a Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Katania

I am happy to announce that I did finish Katania on Thursday and got it blocked yesterday. I am quite pleased with it. I do apologize for the less than stellar pictures today but it was the best I could do with the gray wet conditions here today. The color is a bit off too, as this color is more yellow/gold than it appears in this indoor picture. The weather is supposed to be warm and sunny tomorrow so I will try again and share if I get any better ones. In the meantime I had a bit of time to post this morning and didn’t want to waste the opportunity to show it off.

This shows the picot bind off edge which I am glad was not any longer than it was. ;-)
This perspective shows the cast on side looking down towards the bound off edge.

It looks so much nicer after the blocking. I didn’t even take a picture of the poor thing right off the needles since it looked much less impressive and I was trying to be respectful of it in it’s unfinished state. ;-)

I have two other shawls already picked out to work on but am taking a slight diversion from lace to make a sweater for my youngest. I was digging through my dresser for something this past week and came across a couple of sweaters that I had made for some of my grown children when they were little. One of them was the right size to fit my littlest and he has worn it non-stop ever since. I mean that literally. He even slept in it a few times.

Well, what’s a knitter to do in response to such appreciation? Make another sweater for that person, am I right? So I dug out some of the yarn of the same batch that I have had in the stash for what has to be about 18 years or so. I let him pick the colors from what I had left and these were his picks.

This is some wonderful farm yarn with the lanolin still in it that I bought back in the days when I used wool soakers over cloth diapers. I bought gads of it online back in the late nineties or 2000 I guess. My favorite kid’s sweater in those days was the magic top-down raglan which I was delighted to find had been converted to a free pattern on Ravelry. I needed to look up the math for the cast on since I haven’t made one for awhile. I have made lots of these since they are so fun to make and great for kids wear.

Katania lace shawl
This one shows the side edge you knit as you go

Knitting and Music

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I don’t have a whole lot to write about today, but since I had a small block of time this morning I thought I would show you my progress on Katania.  I am on the final chart before the bind off and started the second skein of yarn a few days ago. It looks like I will use around half of the second skein of Classic Merino Bamboo.  I should have this all done in a few days if I get any knitting time in the next few days that is.

I mainly knit in the evening and sometimes it just doesn’t work for various reasons. On the weekends Jerry and I have been going out for dinner and drinks a lot more than we used to and we have had concerts to attend lately too. We saw two this month and have another in a couple weeks. We saw Haken and Leprous last night at the Exit In. It was every bit as excellent as I expected it would be. We were quite glad they made it actually since Winter Storm Bruce gave them much troubles coming from Salt Lake City through to Denver and Kansas. The warm up band, Bent Knee, did have an accident and missed a couple shows but made it in time for the Nashville show. They were very good and I was surprised how much I liked their set since I don’t normally care for a band with a female vocalist.

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This is a shot of Haken, which is the band I most wanted to see. We were pretty close to the stage as it’s a pretty small venue. I didn’t do any editing of zoom. It was a very fun night and I am looking forward to seeing Steven Wilson again next month. :-)

 

New Project

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I have made a bit more progress since I took this photo but the weather and dreary today so taking a new one is not gonna happen right now. This new shawl is the same construction as my last one, a triangle knit tip to tip with all the increases on one side only. I really enjoy making these. This shawl is another of Dee O’Keefe’s recent designs called Katania. I have chosen my Classic Merino Bamboo yarn to make it from in the color Marigold. This is going to be one of those lace projects that don’t look quite as spectacular until they are finished and blocked out. The pattern stitches are simple with lots of stockinette which will smooth out, open up and look so much better after a soak and stretch.  So just bear with me. It will be worth the wait.

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Between my last two shows for this year, SAFF and Fiber in the Boro, I got Tendrilly properly blocked so she would look her best in the booth.

Tendrilly-2018 (2)

So that’s my knitting update for the week. I am off the road until spring. I am enjoying the slightly slower pace of the business stuff being a bit more on the back burner and just focusing on my home and family life for a time. Even the mill dyeing is on stand by at the moment. I think they took in a lot of fiber at SAFF but it will take some time to process and get to the batches that need dyed.

I am looking forward to three concerts in the next 4 weeks which are here in Nashville so no traveling necessary. We also already have tickets for two in the new year, also here.

Gotta close for now. Take care and thanks for reading!