Knit Picky: January 2006

"properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit...
 and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."
~elizabeth zimmerman

Thursday, January 26, 2006
Lace Guidance??

Hi friends, I have a question for all you fabulously talented lace knitters. At some point in time you must have been a lace novice, right? And that means you probably started with a particular book and type of yarn. Seeing as how I'm getting married in 4-1/2 months (!) and a lace-knitting virgin, I'm interested in finding out about how to go about learning to knit lace, in general, and a wedding ring shawl in particular.

This is not something I see myself wearing for the wedding, nor is it something I see myself finishing for the honeymoon. It's really something that I want to begin to undertake and be able to work on while wedding planning and during the long stretches on the tour bus while on our honeymoon. I see this as something that could become a long-term project for working on between other projects, purely for the process. And if I get a delicious shawl to wear at the end of it, all's the better, right? (This sounds rational, right?)

This is the most beautiful one that I've ever seen:

ring_shawl_detail1 wedding_ring_shawl4

This is Heirloom Knitting's Project 16, Shetland Lace Wedding Ring Shawl. Dude. Seriously. Most gorgeous, amazingly breathtaking thing I've ever seen. So delicate. So ladylike. I like the thought of being able to aspire someday to something even remotely resembling this beauty.

So, back to the questions. What is a good starter book for cutting one's lace teeth? In the little bit of Googling opportunity I've had lately, Lavish Lace by Noble & Potter keeps coming up as a good starter one, but I also read a customer review saying that it is all charted. As in not text directions. As in, Stephanie's never done that. Would it be a suicidal endeavor? OR a good intro to charts? Does anyone have any comments on this book? Other suggestions?

Also, the lace-weight yarns. Where to go online to buy them (my LYS does not do lace)? I know Knitpicks has amazingly priced lace yarns. Are those a good choice, particularly for a newbie? (I mean, dude! they're cheap) Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

posted by Stephanie at 2:24 PM

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Toys, Toys, Toys!

This is Franklin. Ain't he cute?

Okay, not a toy, but I finally got a pic of my MIL2B in her 76 stitches hat, made for her for Christmas.

76 stitches_Joyce
The colors are close to life. You can really see all the beauty of the Lone Star in the picture. Soft, fuzzy halo, gorgeous color variegation.

76 stitches_ridge
Not a great picture, but it shows the cute little ridge in the hat.

And finally, by special request of The Boy, the snake from Jess Hutchinson's book, Unusual Toys for You to Knit and Enjoy

He wanted it loooooong and he selected the colors from my many oddball skeins. This is on Sunday night. Last night I measured it at 23" and I still have 18 rounds and the head to complete!

And I leave you with a couch potato kitty shot -- too funny! We did not do anything to Tomi (The Boy's mom's cat) to get him into this position; apparently he finds this comfortable. :)

Tom relaxes

posted by Stephanie at 12:42 PM

Friday, January 20, 2006
Meet The Bean

The Bean 1

This is The Bean

The Bean will eventually look much like Kate from Knitty. But currently, without his limbs and ears, he looks a lot like a bean. Or a pill, according to The Boy. Or a gourd. But I prefer to call him The Bean.

The Bean is for me. He is mine. A knitted item for me. Of course, he's going to lead to a bunch of other knitted toys that I will probably not keep, but this one stays.

Here The Boy demonstrates his love for The Bean

Baby Bean

Baby Bean

The Bean and The Boy

The Bean and The Boy

And some of the pieces that will turn a bean into a cat


Two ears, 1 arm -- don't worry, he'll be getting more

Oh, and that hat The Boy is wearing?

With a Twist 2

A Serious Boy

I'm calling this hat With A Twist.

The name is for a couple of reasons: 1) It has cably twists (duh), and 2) I've twisted together two patterns and made some changes to them to get something more custom for The Boy.

I started out planning to make a Hot Head from the original Stitch 'n Bitch book. Which is really just a 2x2 rib. Then The Boy liked the cables on this pattern. But I worried that casting on the # of stitches for Hot Head wouldn't be big enough for his noggin, and the baby ribbed hat would be too big. So I picked a number in the middle. That's my creative contribution.

I used one skein of Rowan Soft Tweed in Slate Blue. Gorgeous, but since we all know that cables and cably-type-things require more yarn I was worried that I would run out, so I did three 'cable' repeats in a stash yarn that I got from my LYS when I worked there at the beginning of 2005. (It was a clearance yarn without a ball band, so I have no idea what it is).

With a Twist yarns

On the left is Rowan, on the right is mystery yarn

The color match of the two was perfect and I ended up with that little bit of soft tweed left. The Boy really seems to like it. If I do it again, though, I'll leave off one of the 'cable' repeats since it's just a little too long (hence the folding).

Apparently this is now his thinking hat since he seems to wear it predominantly while studying at night.

posted by Stephanie at 8:52 AM

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Oops, I Did It Again!

I swore I wasn't going to, but I did. I knit a bunch of Christmas gifts. I was even fringing on Christmas morning!

Isn't it interesting when you can see the progression in your own talent? In 2004 I learned to knit, and I did a bunch of scarves and a couple of hats. In 2005, I tackled harder or less common items. In 2006 I really want to take on something more complicated with cables or colorwork or an intricate pattern. I know that I'm the slowest knitter in all of creation, but according to Stephanie's book, I am a process knitter. It's not so much about finishing as fondling the yarns, lovingly selecting the right ones, finding the perfect pattern, etc.

So. Christmas, 2006. Right.

For the 'rents: A pinwheel blanket. I see it as a lap blanket; the colors were selected to match their new(ish) living room.

I love how this picture looks so 'arty', as opposed to the full blocking shot here . US 8s and 3 skeins Plymouth Encore Colorspun.

For my sister Heather and her husband Jason: A pinwheel blanket! Bet you didn't see that one coming. No picture, but it's much like the above, but with burgundy and navy stripes to match their house decor. US 8s, 2 skeins each burgundy and navy Plymouth Encore.

For mom: Fingerless gloves made with 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden. I know that it's not very helpful to explain it--pictures are so much more interesting--but I dug through the second skein to make it match the first better. I don't personally care that much about things matching up when using variegated yarn, but since it was a gift, I made the effort. I will try to find a pic.

For dad: a hat. Using the hothead pattern from the original Stitch 'n Bitch book. Used 1 skein of lofty, ultra-soft Rowan Soft Tweed. Yummy! 2x2 rib pattern on US 10.5s. No pic right now.

For three little sisters: pillows using On Line yarn over 12"x12" pillow forms. Because, as I told my mom when she requested pillows for the girls for Christmas, they are just what every little girl dreams of finding under the tree. Must find pics.

A gorgeous shawl/wrap for my dear friend Desiree. I bought two skeins of S. Charles Collezione Ritratto in jewel tones to make something special for her, but didn't know what to make. Then I found this pattern. Using two skeins of the same yarn. Perfect! I didn't combine it with anything else, but I love how it turned out. A static shot, and an action shot.

Pretty, eh?


I made a second Headhugger for my step-grandmother since she loved the first one so much.

Teri hat2
This is knit on US 10.5s with Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool doubled up.

I made The Boy's mom a 76 stitches hat hat from Interweave Knits, Fall, 2004 (scroll toward bottom). It's a cute and easy pattern anyway, but I knit it with Alchemy Yarns' Lone Star in Resolution. Mmmm. She loved it so much, she wouldn't take it off all through dinner. Of course, do I have any pictures? No. I'll try to get some because it was so soft and beautiful and it looked wonderful on her.

And finally, I have just one knit left. For The Boy. I stuffed a skein of Slate Blue Rowan Soft Tweed in his stocking and let him pick out a pattern. He said cables but nothing bulky. I searched and found about 6 or 7 good options. He selected this. I'm going to mix that with the hothead pattern so that it will fit his big ol' head. Here's the swatch:

brown_baby cable_swatch
Yeah, I know brown's not the best for showing the stitches, but it was about half a skein. Can you see the teeny baby cables?

And when that's done, my friends, it's all about ME!

posted by Stephanie at 5:27 PM