I think I can…

I am about 10 days into my Holbrook Shawl and the progress is encouraging. I have only 3 repeats of the main stitch pattern, which means 18 more rows, if I want to end it there and move on to the border. I had entertained the idea of adding two more repeats to make it a bit larger, but I am probably just going to go with the size as written. I would like to have this one finished in time to have it in the booth at Pittsburgh and Raleigh next month.

Speaking of fiber festivals, I have been working through my other show prep lists when I am not knitting or taking care of the household and family tasks. It has been a challenge with all the rain this winter but I did manage to get some yarn dyeing done on Monday. This is about half of it which I put back out on the lines today during a short respite in the wet weather. My next opportunity to get it all dry will be Sunday and Monday.

There are things that can be done on rainy days too. I have some Yarn Boxes I need to wax, yarn labels that need printed, cut apart and color labeled, patterns to be printed, etc. Of course it’s that time of year that we all dread; tax time. I have done my Federal return, first quarter sales tax returns, and local business personal property return, so that’s at least out of the way. Whew! I also need to take my truck to get some scheduled maintenance done before I hit the road again.

Dowland Progress

We didn’t get hit nearly as hard by the polar vortex as many of you did, and we are finally warming up into the forties this afternoon. We didn’t get any snow, which I am grateful for, but we had some frigid temps for a few days. It has been gray so much too, but the sun was out this morning and I took an opportunity to get a better picture of the Dowland shawl.

The color is more true here than in the previous ones I took. I am on the final chart at the moment, so I have about 40 more rows to finish this one up. The rows are twice as long now though, so progress is a bit slower.

I apologize for the short post but I just wanted to get this in while I had a few moments this afternoon. I have an appointment to pick up an order of alpaca fiber from the mill to dye this week. See you soon!

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!

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

Update From Wisconsin

Well, I arrived safely in Wisconsin for the Knit-In on Thursday and spent most of Friday getting the booth ready. The yarn boxes look great if I do say so myself.

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Oh, and so does the new still unnamed lace shawl. Yes, I did mange to get it blocked on Wednesday, but just barely. I am so pleased with how it blocked out! I wasn’t sure if the edging would smooth out, and was okay with it if it didn’t, but I had hoped it would. I really love it.

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It’s pretty big. That is a king size bed I am blocking it on and you can see it takes up a good bit of it. I thing it was about 56″ square, IIRC.

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I took this one yesterday morning in the hotel room.

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This is the only way I could figure out to display it in the booth this morning. I think it’s looks pretty good, but maybe I can work out a better way later. I don’t have the pattern ready yet, but I am so pleased with it I thought why not put it out and see if it generates any interest, right?

I did get a bit of knitting done over the last few nights on my little diversion project.

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I do have a small problem though. Last night when I was knitting along, my needle came off the cable half way across the row. Don’t you just hate when that happens?! I managed to get it back on another needle I had with me and then stuck the needle back on the cable. I don’t really trust it to knit with now though. Now, I am at a market where I could buy a new one you would think, but I am knitting on a 3.0mm needle, which is not a popular size and is harder to find. I will look if I get a chance today. If I don’t find one I guess I will have to order from Amazon and have it shipped to my hotel in Connecticut, where I am headed from here on Monday. I probably have at least one more 3.0 mm needle at home but I won’t be back there until the 27th. Alternate idea is find something else to cast on that I do have needles for. I’ll let you know what I decide next post. Better get to work since the market is open now. :-)

Making Progress

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I am ridiculously excited that this is all I have left on my Honeydew square shawl! I should have it done in another evening or two.

The Yarn Boxes are coming along too. We have started the assembly/glue up this weekend.

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This is only about a third of them so far. The plan is to complete these so I have some to take with my to the Madison Knit-In and Stitches United. Then we will finish the remaining ones when I get back.

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We have started the exterior sanding today and will get the lids sized and sanded. Then they just need the sealer and labeling. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it takes longer than it sounds. :-)

Sister Shawls

I am very happy to announce that we have two more gorgeous shawls off the needles and joining our booth display this coming weekend at the Friends and Fiberworks Summer Retreat in Asheville, NC. May I present to you the lovely sister shawls Elizabeth and Liz!

Liz and Elizabeth shawls

I showed you the beginnings of these two back in early May. They are both the design creations of Dee O’Keefe and are both knit from three skeins of our Classic Merino Lace yarn.

Liz and Elizabeth shawls

The blue one is Elizabeth and the color we chose to use is Winter Sky.

Elizabeth Shawl

Liz is the stole version and we made it with the Tea Rose.

Liz Stole

I can’t wait to see them on display along with Edwina. I think they compliment each other so wonderfully and I hope they inspire you to make your own versions.

Elizabeth Shawl

Both these sister designs are fairly easy for knitters with some lace experience. The stitch patterns are varied and none are very hard to execute. The stole version uses a provisional cast on at the center and is knit to the edges.

Liz Stole

Here’s how they looked fresh off the needles before the wet blocking that I did on them yesterday.

Liz and Elizabeth shawls

Here they are while still on the wires.

Elizabeth Shawl blocking

It was a stretch to pin them both out at the same time. We just barely had enough t-pins.

Liz Stole blocking

Maybe for my next post I can talk the sister knitters into modeling the sister shawls, LOL! No such luck this morning however.

Oh, I have one more bit of knitting to show you. In my last post I told you I was going to start a project that many have requested; a sized up pattern for Sorrel. I have crunched the numbers and cast on for one of the sizes which I hope will be my size.

Adult size Sorrel in progress

I am not very far along yet as you can see and that is mostly lack of energy on my part. You may remember that I told you that we had sickness in the house starting on Memorial Day weekend with my husband and then my oldest son. Well, we all proceeded to get picked off like flies every day or two. It took three weeks to make the full rounds and my youngest son and I were the last two to get it while I was in Indianapolis for Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival last weekend. This thing would hang on with fever, chills, headaches, upper respiratory and a cough for well over a week. We are FINALLY all better. Still working on getting energy back.

Anyway we will be leaving on Thursday for Asheville. Maybe we will see some of you there!