Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rose Lace Stole

 It's been a long time since I've knitted lace. This is the Rose Lace Stole by Susanna IC from Interweave Knits Spring 2011.

I'm working with Araucania Chaiten, a silk fiber that has been hand-dyed. It has a dry hand, not much bounce, and a lovely, rough texture. I've been on a purple kick for much of the past year, so it's nice to see a little bit of turquoise creeping in.

The pattern is very straight-forward for most of the shawl: columns of stockinette interrupted by a line of eyelets. But the lace edging is making me cross-eyed. Not the fault of the designer: this is a very well-written pattern. Just that I'm spoiled by  symmetrical charts with a center stitch to orient me. This shawl is rectangular, and I'm having a hrad time getting my bearings in each row. (And I'd rather not use stitch markers, which always mess up my stitch count when I get the yarn-overs caught around them.)

And in the top picture: the best project bag ever: Blue Sky Alapaca's Pretty Cheep Bag (honest, that's what it's called). Perfect for stuffing a small project into your purse or backpack. I'd love to buy all six designs and frame them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Buntings and Hello Again

For those who have asked, so sorry to have gone so long long without posting. All is fine here, except that I am trying to relearn how to balance work and home, which I haven't had to do much for the last few years.

Now I am teaching yoga, working part-time at the local knitting store, mentoring students, knitting, participating in my weaving guild, reading, exercising, and keeping up with email. All of which I greatly enjoy (except the email, which seems to grow in direct relation to my desire to spend less time on it. Ah well, drag me kicking into the 21st century. I now have a digital television, but neither a smart phone nor an Ipad nor a Kindle.)

At the same time, I yearn for some long, uninterrupted spans of time, which I can lie on the couch and finish reading a book, or finish a project, or do nothing. (Working at a knitting store does not mean sitting and knitting. Which is difficult, because you are surrounded by yarn and patterns and knitters. I've been wishing that I could figure out how to knit in my mind: I could get so much more done.) Which is what I hope to do, meaning the finishing one thing, not the mind-knitting, for the next few days, when I have given myself some time off from teaching and working.

Here's a bit of what I've been working on: Buntings from Sunday Knits. 
It's a cardigan in the 5-ply Edens, a merino yarn from Italy with a soft feel and a slightly dry finish. The main color is Prune, which is between a dark brown and a slightly purplish brown. The intarsia details are in Carol Sunday's 3-ply Edens, double-stranded to give a blurred, painterly effect. (Also, highly prone to static electricity, so that the strands literally would fly away from my hands as I worked them in the dryness of winter.) Here's a bird from the front of the sweater, worked in Tomato, Berry, and something else that I can't recall:
You can see little glimpses of the intarsia colors through the prune, where I tried to work my ends in at the same time as I knit the main color. It's a great technique from Brandon Mably that I learned in a class this winter, but I still need some practice to get it right. (I come from a family which places as much emphasis on the back being beautiful as the side that is visible.)

What is distinctive, about Carol Sunday's designs, are the little details that contribute to a beautiful whole. Below are the cable decreases that create the neckline. Instead of a lumpy edge, you get a slowly arcing neckline with tiny slanting details:

So, plans for today: take a hike with the dog, finish the neckline and hopefully the embroidered details on Buntings, read the NY Times, lay on the couch. Have a good holiday, whatever you celebrate!