Archive for the ‘Knit and all that stuff’ Category

Nailed it

I went for my manicure on Friday (a new color from CND Shellac, Tartan Punk!).
I never thought I would be a manicure person, but I have to admit after a few times, I was hooked, and now I go every two weeks, because shellac lasts that long and looks nice and shiny and doesn’t chip or peel. The part that got me hooked was having nice nails that didn’t break or split and how much more enjoyable knitting became without constantly snagging with my always-breaking, thin nails and dried up cuticles and hangnails. If you knit or crochet, get a manicure; it’s miraculous.

I often take my finished projects in for show-and-tell, because really I don’t have anyone to show off to except my manicurist. At any rate, near the end of my time, I was approached by one of the hairstylists and asked if I might knit a shawl for her mother’s birthday in September. Apparently she had been silently admiring my work for a while. Most of you know about knitting to spec. Don’t want to do it. It’s a drag and takes all the fun out of it when you have to do something, rather than want to do it. And then, what’s a fair price for both sides?

I was taken aback and torn by the request at the same time. First the reluctance to do spec knitting in general. Next, the fact that she thought I could make something pretty (and for her mother) was very flattering. Then the fact that she is from an unknown one-of-the-formerly-Soviet-Union republics. They know from knitting. It’s a bit intimidating to be approached that way and uncertain if you can live up to the standards and esthetics of Russian knitting.

We talked briefly about what she had in mind, but there was a bit of language difficulty. I came home with a little sketch and color preference and went to work searching my Rav library for patterns I hoped would meet her parameters, or at least get a better understanding of what she wanted. I sent her a list of 14 patterns that I thought might work and waited to see if any caught her fancy. To my delight, she chose Southern Blue, a pattern I bought as soon as it was released. I’ve wanted to make this shawl since I first saw it. Then I looked through the finished projects and more at the pattern … and it is loaded with nupps.

I don’t mind working nupps, but it has a lot of them. Let me repeat, A Lot. Still, we’re only in the planning stage here, and now I have the pattern selection, she might prefer to have beads in place of nupps. Or maybe a combination. And we’ll still have to get together over what fiber, what weight, what blue exactly. I’ll probably take in a dozen or so shawls so she can give me an idea if she wants light and airy lace, drapey lace, warmth, or just what her thoughts are on that front.

I don’t intend to become a spec knitter, but I’m thinking this might be just what I need to get some mojo back. I’ve been floundering for several months, not knowing what to make and just occupying myself with some charity hats for schools, a scarf test knit, and a couple pair of socks for myself. So, here’s me, looking forward to an experience but with a small measure of dread.


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Dreambird was finished some time ago. I ended up with 18 feathers, used about a pound and a quarter of yarn (some 1,300 yards) and wet blocked that puppy out. It took two days to dry completely. It’s huge and heavy and awkwardly stored away. I’ve come up with no good way to fold or roll it up for safekeeping, so put away it looks like a toddler’s attempt at origami. I didn’t bother to measure it because I couldn’t find any meaningful reference points for dimensions. The short row construction makes it a spiral shape, sort of knit on the diagonal. It’s an enigma, in a way. A pretty enigma. But it does a serviceable job of covering the hood of my car, so you can see it’s large.

In the time since finishing it in May, we’ve been having nearly record-breaking high temperatures. This does not best please me. I am a delicate flower and wilt when it gets above 80F. So I’ve been making hats and cowls for distribution to a school district in Wisconsin. It gets cold in Wisconsin. And small projects are just the ticket when your own weather is scorching.

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More feathers

There has been further progress on Dreambird, but at 11-1/2 feathers, it’s becoming a bit of a slog. Not only is the weather getting warmer, but the sheer size of it in worsted weight rather than fingering is getting unwieldy trying to flip it around for all of the short rows. So I guess it’s a good thing that it’s nearly two-thirds finished. The rate of yardage used looks like it will only yield 18 or 19 feather segments, but in worsted the size should be decent. Here, the mats are arranged in a 4-ft x 4-ft configuration and the spiral-y shape is beginning to show.

Dreambird, two weeks in

Dreambird, two weeks

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I have wanted to knit a Dreambird since it was first published. It’s such a stunner and there are so many beautiful examples, now at 2200+. And I have also wanted to knit something from the Jojoland Rhythm that I just had to buy because it was so achingly gorgeous and unlike anything I had seen before.

A month or more ago, my LYS started a Dreambird KAL, but I was involved with something(s) else and had (1) nothing appropriate in stash and (2) no clue what to choose for a background color.

Last week, I went ahead and jumped in, even though the KAL is nearly finished. I cast on Saturday night and went to the store for the KAL Sunday afternoon, where I picked up a re-written cheat sheet for the pattern, which was originally published in German and has been translated into a number of other languages. I’m not sure if the German original is considered poorly written, or if it’s just the English translation, or if it was requisite that any translations doggedly follow the original pattern. Whatever the reason, it is rambling, verbose and confusing, to say the least. The handwritten cheat sheet I was given is sufficient to knit the shawl, in 8 pages rather than the original twenty-two. If you can get your hands on a cheat sheet from someone, I highly recommend doing so. The pattern isn’t difficult, but as written it is very difficult to follow.

Being of a hermity nature, I think I would be inclined to not continue attending the KAL even if it went beyond this week. I’m just not the chit-chatty type and there was too much ruckus going on for me to knit productively. I know what I’m doing now and am progressing nicely.

Dreambird, week 1

dreambird, one week in

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Steam Blocking

Mostly I do wet blocking, but this blog post on steam blocking makes me think I’ll give it a shot (pun intentional here).


DSC_7326I finished all my Slipstream projects with a little steam. From talking to other knitters, I gather that approaching precious wool with a hot iron can be daunting. I’ll try to take away some of the mystery – and fear – by sharing my methods.

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