Tag Archives: shawl

Aranami Shawl

10 Dec

Over the weekend I couldn’t work on Christmas projects, so I began a new project that randomly struck my eye on Ravelry. Now this shawlette is probably doomed to languish in the UFO bin.

It’s the Aranami shawl (Ravelry link) and it has taught me a lesson or two about my knitting preferences.

The pattern project is so pretty, and I was super stoked about choosing the yarn. I was reasonably satisfied with the gradient of Garnstudio Drops Alpacas I was able to find. I’m not a huge fan of alpaca yarns as a rule because I like things with less drape for most things I knit. But this is garter stitch, so not a great deal of stitch definition is needed. And it’s a shawl, so drape is okay. And most importantly Garnstudio has an Alpaca sale again. So hooray!

20131209_153554

I was worried about having so many white/light colors because I don’t care to wear white, but since the white would only be the tip of the shawl I figured it would be okay.

 This shawl is modular knitting in garter stitch. As I began to knit, what I learned about myself is this: I don’t like modular anything very much. Seams are always a potential place for issues, so for me, knitting a shawl entirely based on picking up stitches is just asking for trouble. The second thing is this: I also don’t like hiding ends in garter stitch. Guess what. There are a lot of ends to hide. Oops.

What I’ve knitted so far just looks messy, and nothing like the pattern project.

Buuut the yarn is cut up now and I can’t rip it back, so I might as well finish this at some point. Maybe a good blocking will do some magic on it. Who knows, maybe it really is just the light colors that are putting me off the whole thing, and I’ll like it more as I go along. At least each triangle knits up really fast.

20131209_153633

FOs: French Cancan and Bea’s Slippers

1 Dec
20131201_134534

French Cancan (click pic for pattern)

 

Some patterns are just so beautiful, and when you knit them, every stitch turns out perfectly where it ought to be. When that happens, and I’ve managed to choose the right yarn as well… Well usually that means that I’m knitting a gift! But this pattern was so quick to knit (first some auto-pilot garter stitch, then a simple braid and lace edge knitted on) that I might make myself one as well. Once Christmas knitting is done, that is.

I’m in awe of people who can come up with patterns like this, where there isn’t a need for a moment’s hesitation. Such a joy. If the recipient likes the gift, then all will have been perfection.

Oh, and turns out knitting white yarn wasn’t such a big deal. I just washed my hands every time before knitting, to be on the safe side, and kept the WIP in a yarn bowl when I wasn’t working on it. I even managed to block it and take pictures without spilling things on it. The SO suggested I gift wrap it as soon as possible to keep it safe, ha! To be honest that’s probably for the best. When I can keep white things white, that’s when I’m probably an adult… ish.

20131201_134435

3 balls of Rowan baby merino silk dk

I’ve been having such great luck with patterns as of late. I began Christmas knitting with Bea’s slippers, and was so happily surprised by this free pattern. I think they look suitably complex, but it’s just a deceptively simple design. I used Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy cast off, which is now getting to be my go to bind off for anything that needs stretch.

I’m just trying to think of a good way to gift wrap them because without feet in them, they do look sort of comical. Right? Maybe I could stuff them with silk paper, or something… Or cut cardboard feets! Sounds like a plan.

20131201_142814

Kotikulta Sukkalanka (a worsted weight wool acrylic blend)

20131201_143006

Next up, a pair of Apis Dorsata mitts

 

Better than Ever, I’m Back

15 Oct

So I realize I just broke my arm and then went away for, like, two months. But I forgive myself, because, you know, the broken arm turned out to be both a more and less dramatic experience than I had expected. Then I went to London for three weeks, alone, and that was something. When I came home, I and the boy packed up and moved house. Then I started writing a graduate thesis.

I am also the type of person for whom something like finding a secondhand couch on the local equivalent of Craigslist (except less seedy), arranging for transportation for said couch and then going to get it is a whole-day affair requiring all of my energy and concentration. And since moving house entails many such a stressful occasion, overly complicated by yours truly with fun things like being afraid of talking to people over the phone, I’ve had my hands kind of full.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t done any crafts, no sirree bob. I have my priorities straight.

Admittedly the three weeks in London went by without a moment for knitting or crochet – oops, no, I tell a lie: I did cast on for a pair of socks from the Socktopus books while sitting in a cafe waiting for my  silver ring making course to start (I’ll get to that). I guess those ten minutes spent knitting ribbing totally justified three weeks of carrying needles and yarn with me all around London.

I was crafty and cunning, and packed two easily portable projects for my trip. I decided to pick things that would be interesting enough to keep me entertained for a whole three weeks while still being easy enough not to require total devotion. I think I failed on that a little bit.

The sock pattern was fine. It’s a crossed stitches type of cabled sock pattern called Farmer McGregor from the Socktopus book I’m knitting through (that’s a great book o ‘ socks, btw).  I just had other things to do while I was there. I’ve since finished one sock of the pair (apart from grafting the toe), one weekend when nothing much else was on.

We can blame the wonky rib stitches on Pret getting me over-caffeinated at that point. (Honestly it’s fine.)

The bigger fail was the crochet shawl pattern I chose because it was gorgeous: Venus. When I read the pattern, I noticed that it would require I learn a completely new crochet technique, but instead of putting off doing the pattern (perhaps appreciating the extra challenge I was already facing crocheting with lace weight yarn) I congratulated myself on noticing this before I actually left on my trip. So I kind of learned the new thing (Tunisian crochet I believe it’s called, maybe).

There was a clear need to get a wooden crochet hook just so I could crochet on the plane, so in my pre-trip shopping frenzy I bought a pretty one disregarding both the price tag and the fact that I had a plastic one that would be just as acceptable to the airline. This was before I admitted that leaving at the damned crack of dawn would probably mean I wouldn’t have the energy to even think about crochet for the whole duration of my flight, anyway.

Turns out I was too busy fearing for my life on the first flight and then running through the whole Helsinki-Vantaa airport to catch my next flight to give too much thought to crochet. When I was safely seated on the next plane, I was barely able to keep awake until a nice lady brought me the best sandwich and cup of coffee I had ever eaten in my life (until I found the sandwiches at Eat – we Finns really don’t know anything about proper sandwiches), and then I slept until the plane was nearing Heathrow.

When I got there I was promptly so completely freaked out and overwhelmed by a city, which has a population of 1,5 times that of my entire friggin country, that I spent my first afternoon not acknowledging what lay outside my window, and also not feeling up to facing Tunisian crochet. It only got worse for the shawl from then on, but for very pleasant reasons. No regrets!

Later on I saw that the four rows I had crocheted at the airport here were entirely wrong anyway, ripped back and forgot about the whole thing for a few weeks.

I’ve since then gone back to it, but my results aren’t all that fantastic. Still, I’ll probably get this done at some point. Maybe.

So that’s me, back with a bang.

Locale shawl

2 Apr

Everything went right with this project.

I went home to visit mom a week ago, and only packed along one knitting project, thinking I wouldn’t knit anyway and so wouldn’t finish it. Naturally, given that I was so poorly prepared, I finished my Nevermore cowl the first night there and faced a weekend of no knitting.

I was left with quite a lot of yarn, though, and Ravelry came to rescue. Doing a simple search for the amount of yarn I had and limiting it to free neckwear, I soon rediscovered a shawl I had previously favorited: locale.

I weighed my yarn and found that I had about 180 yards of Trekking Hand Art Flamé from Zitron (the black-purple variagated yarn) and 254 yards of Heritage Solids from Cascade Yarns – just perfect for the shawl that’s been designed to use up leftovers skeins. A happy coincidence! Honestly, if such things actually happened, which they don’t, this would’ve been “meant to be”. Mom loaned me a pair of circulars and I began knitting.

I discovered that I could download the pattern *.pdf on my phone and read it from there, which made it easier than ever before to keep the pattern handy. Not an original discovery, but I’ve only had my smrt phone for such a short time that I still probably don’t use it every way I could. I also found an app for counting rows and pattern repeats. Nice!

I’ve been really stressed and, at least in principle, very busy lately, so a simple stockinette shawl was just perfect for me right now. The square pattern done with slipped stitches and the short row shaping were just interesting enough to keep me going. I finished this quick knit in a few days of watching glimpses of (insane) daytime tv, and it was just the thing to offer moments of relaxation during a very long week.

The largish (4 mm) needles with fingering weight yarn produced a light-weight, airy fabric, that seems to be suitable for the warmer spring weather we’ve been enjoying lately. And since it’s spring and spring brings out the black clothes in my wardrobe (probably because my spring jacket is black), the colors suit me just fine as well.

Ranco Solid Swallowtail

23 May

It wasn’t that long ago when I swore I’ll never knit another shawlette again because they’re so small.

Well oops, I did it again. But not to worry! This time it’s totally different.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl

Yarn: 1 skein of Ranco Solid from Araucania (fingering weight, 100 g = 344 m)

Colorway: 128

Needles: 4 mm

*****

This time the triangle shape of the shawl allows me to tie it wrapped twice around my neck – the upper edge is just wide and stretchy enough for that without it being uncomfortable. Also, the fingering weight yarn created a warm but open and airy fabric that just feels amazing. It also blocked out beautifully.

I’ve knitted this pattern before – actually I think the first ever lace shawl I knitted was this one. It was fun to see how much easier knitting lace has become for me in the last two years.

Hard to believe it’s been that long. I checked it on Ravelry, and it’s been two years almost to the day. That’s another reason I love Ravelry. There’s no way I could remember my old projects without it.

Ranco Solid is a semisolid yarn, and the different colors in it show up beautifully in the shawl (though not necessarily in a picture as small as this, clickety to make way bigger). I was happy the color changes were so subtle they didn’t obscure the pattern. I have more of this yarn in another colorway, and I want to knit a shawl for a wedding with it. Now I know my troubles won’t be in vain.

Pink in the Silk

19 May

Sometimes you just have to dive in and trust the pattern. This was my approach when I started knitting my In the Pink (Ravelry link), and couldn’t make heads or tails of the pattern the first, second or even third time I read in through. It was because of the unique construction of the shawl – none of the names for the different parts made very much sense, until I had knitted them and saw how they must fit together.

Pattern: In the Pink

Yarn: 215 g Soft Silk from BC Garn, 100 % bourette silk (sport weight, 100 g = 350 m)

Needles: 4 mm

*****

The unique construction makes for an exciting knit and amazing fit. After the challenge of getting the back swirl and two wings knitted up and connected correctly, the border (which consisted of ten easily memorized rows repeated 85 times) was a welcome relief and simple fun.

Knitty told me that I should avoid wet blocking silk as it loses its strength when wet. This was the first time I’ve blocked anything by first pinning it and then spritzing it, and I’m not a huge fan of this method. It didn’t provide as clear a result as wet blocking – maybe I should’ve spritzed more thoroughly. The bourette silk was also a little uneven which may contribute to the feeling that the blocking was less than completely successful.

All in all, the pattern is made of awesome. I’m happy I knitted this despite how intimidating the pattern seemed at first, and the shawl itself will definitely be useful and loved.

The Pink Silk Burning Test

18 May

Ever since I started knitting actively, I’ve had the knitting magazine Novita delivered to me. Because I already had this one magazine delivered four times a year, I could hardly ever justify it to myself to buy other knitting magazines, and felt I was missing out on all kinds of cool stuff. Novita is concentrated on selling Novita yarns and contains little to no articles or other interesting things apart from an (admittedly) large number of patterns.

So this year, when it came time to renew my subscription, I simply didn’t, and instead subscribed to Interweave Knits – the magazine I’ve been most disappointed I couldn’t buy. One magazine costs over 12 euros. I could be using that money on yarn. Or, you know, food. Now I get 4 issues for just under 20 euros. Yep, that’s a no-brainer.

The first issue I got contained a piece on silk yarns and suggested doing a burn test to see if your yarn really is silk. As it happens, I was working with silk at the time…

I was knitting this shawl (In the Pink, Ravelry link), which I just finished today, but will blog more about later.

The yarn I used was Soft Silk from BC Garn, a 100 % bourette silk yarn in sport weight. It was so different from what I’ve come to think of as silk that I was pretty interested to do the test. It feels and acts like cotton, really, and it was interesting to knit a shawl with such an unforgiving yarn. All the little mistakes pop out… I wasn’t skeptical of the fiber content, but I just wanted to see, and also to burn things… What?

I read about bourette silk and think it’s awesome it’s made with “waste” silk – so that damaged cocoons don’t actually become waste. Considering that and the relatively low price of the yarn, the cottony feel and look are an acceptable trade-off.

The shawl is a gift, so we’ll just have to wait and see whether it has all the magical qualities silk is supposed to have. Again, not because I think this yarn is somehow bad but because I haven’t noticed that many differences between the qualities of different yarns. I know they’re supposed to be there, I just don’t see or feel them when I use the things I’ve knitted.

So anyway, I did the burning test, and yes, of course, the result is that the yarn is clearly silk.

%d bloggers like this: