Dreambird Shawl

Dreambird1

This summer I began working on the Dreambird Shawl. If you’re going to tackle this pattern, I would strongly suggest you work off the row-by-row instructions. Up to the now-infamous Row 28, the long-form instructions are reasonably easy to follow, but after that it all goes pear-shaped as the designer tries to be extremely helpful, and ends up confusing most of those who have stumbled over this row’s instructions. Switch to the row-by-row instructions.

I made a small change on rows 15 and 16 too, to ensure the background yarn wrapped right around the tip of the feather:
Row 15: k 44
Row 16: k2 p 42

Other than that, it’s a really interesting and beautiful pattern. I’ve only got a few more feathers to work (or I’ll run out of yarn!) and then will knit a couple of rows of garter along the neck edge (not included in the pattern) to tidy it up. Seems like that’s what quite a few others have done.

Color Affection Shawl

ColorAffection

This is the Color Affection shawl, designed by Veera Välimäki. It’s a marvel of stripes and short rows and was a fairly easy knit. I was kind of horrified upon completion though, because the neck edge of all those striped rows was so puckered, despite my best efforts to leave lots of slack when bringing in the row yarns. However, wet blocking worked its miracles again – it’s knitting alchemy! After a good soak in a bit of wool wash, I laid it out flat and lightly pinned it in place. In the process, all the puckering magically disappeared, resulting in a perfectly flat crescent shawl that looks great. Can’t wait to wear it come winter.

Les Sillons Shawl

I purchased this pretty and unusual shawl pattern on Ravelry, but quickly became disenchanted with it. Mainly because there was a lack of instruction concerning stitch counts at the end of each section, so you had to make a guess as to when to end your short rows. No matter how hard I tried, the beginning of each new section never seemed to match up to what I had from the previous section. In the end I decided it didn’t matter, because in the process of much knit-frog-knit, I’d mastered the principles of short rows. So much so that I extended some sections, shortened others, and added extra. The end result is a shawl that drapes beautifully, is super-light, and hasn’t even been blocked yet. Probably won’t block it though, as it’d be rather large!

Verity Shawl

VerityShawl

This is the Verity Shawl from Interweave Knits (Spring 2013), made from Canopy Fingering (The Fibre Company) in Orchid. It’s a sock yarn of 50% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool + 20% viscose from bamboo. Most luscious.

Being a super-slow, oft-distracted knitter, it took a couple of months to get this finished. Finally got around to blocking it this weekend. Am studiously ignoring the row where I didn’t twist the cable. Only on one half of the shawl, mind you. Where was my head? Where?!

As with most lacy knits, some sturdy blocking stretched this piece from just making it round my shoulders, to a more comfortable 178cm (70″), up from pattern’s 62″ as I did another repeat. This magical transformation never ceases to amaze me.

I’d love to wear it right now, but the weather’s getting decidedly warm and muggy, but it will be the perfect snuggly wrap come winter.

Darjeeling Shawl

ShetlandLaceShawl1

A few months ago, I completed the Darjeeling Shawl (Joan Forgione, Interweave Knits Spring 2013) in my sportweight handspun, Passions corriedale/alpaca from Spunky Eclectic. At last! The perfect small project for it!

The Triangle Body and Lace Panel came together easily enough, but things fell apart when it came to the Lace Edging. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to work the chart. Somehow, it seemed perfectly logical that the chart should be worked across the 193 st of the shawl body, but the math just didn’t work out, and the instructions subsequently became incomprehensible. After pondering the problem for 2 days, including searching the Interweave Knits Forum for clues, the penny finally dropped – the 15 st, 6 row repeat needed to be worked at right-angles to the shawl body.

*sigh*

Why do these things always seem so obvious – AFTER you’ve figured it out?!

Net result – one perfectly constructed Darjeeling Shawl that turned out to be a sweet knit after all.

Twist, a Rose, and Heavy Metal

Well, look who followed me home this weekend from Twist in Thames! Yes, it’s a Rose from Majacraft. It was great to meet the talented gents who make these gorgeous wheels, and it was Andrew who made mine (signed and everything). Being the most dreadful impulse buyer, I was incredibly lucky they had the lovely Miss Rose at Thames. Sold!

In addition to the Rose, I also purchased several other irresistable items – a hand-tooled leather ‘wearable wallet’ (the most I’ve ever spent on a handbag, so I’m in handbag heaven), luscious bags of alpaca/silk (which is currently being spun on the Rose – of course), felting merino, a lucet (just because, ok?!) and I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of a little weaving loom – like the ones we made as kids – rectangle of wood with loads of nails in it. Cool!

Once home with all my goodies, I spent the rest of the evening assembling the Rose, and I have to say – after YEARS of deliberating whether or not to get one, I’m so glad I did. This thing halves my spinning time, and the action is so smooth, it’s a real treat to use. I’d never give up my trusty Ashford Traveller, but it’s great to finally have two awesome wheels to knock yarn out on.

On the needles (still) is the Cultivated Vines sweater. Slow going at the moment because I’m terribly distracted by all sorts of writing commitments. There’s the Creative Fibre newsletter to write for/edit/publish, proofing and writing for the fabulous NEW digital-only craft magazine Entangled (get your free preview at www.zinio.com), and a column for the Creative Fibre national magazine. It’s quite a bit, but I’m enjoying exercising my writing skills. Who knows, I may improve!

And finally, last night I went to the Disturbed concert. It was really good, although the sound could be a whole lot better at Vector, quite frankly. The music was so loud that I actually had slightly sore ears after – all recovered today though. Opening acts are always interesting – you can really tell the difference what more experience in front of larger audiences does for a band. As I Lay Dying are very good, but Trivium took it to another level. Frontman Matt Heafy expertly covered a technical issue when Nick Augusto’s kick pedal broke, with an unbroken stream of entertaining chatter. Mere minutes later they were roaring again. When Disturbed came on, naturally we all went nuts and pretty much stayed nuts for the rest of the show… except for the encore which included Indestructible (thanks to the band for their acknowledgement of New Zealand’s seemingly endless series of natural disasters and the undaunted Kiwi spirit) and show-ender Down with the Sickness, where we all took it to a new level and really let rip. What a great night.

Hitchhiker Scarf No.2 – DONE!

At last! I can’t believe how long it takes me to knit something. Even seemingly simple somethings. Case in point: the Hitchhiker Scarf. When you start out, the rows fly off the needles so quickly, and then about halfway through you begin to realise that things have slowed down. By the time you’re two-thirds in, those rows are taking a helluva long time to complete.

Noro Kureyon Hitchhiker

No, I didn’t time it – because that would just be… demotivating, shall we say. Anyway, the No.2 Hitchhiker I began back on 5 February is finally complete, and I likes it a lot.

Noro Kureyon Hitchhiker

Next on the needles is this lovely sweater (Cultivated Vines), purchased from e-patternscentral.com, with Naturally Haven 4ply merino yarn in nearly the same shade.

Sweater_CultivatedVines

Wish me luck – this is only the second garment I’ve ever knitted. Must go – I’m knitting a gauge swatch. Apparently they’re important…

Back in Town

Now that I’ve returned from the shaky South, it’s time to catch up… and display the goodies purchased on my aforementioned road trip to Oamaru.

After a week’s work, the Hitchhiker scarf in Noro Kureyon is coming along nicely. I’m loving the colour gradations, and have been assured that this yarn will relax and bloom after washing. Probably not very bright of me to purchase sock yarn for wearing round my neck, but the colours were irresistable:

Noro Hitchhiker

Whilst at Ashford, I reluctantly put aside the thought of purchasing a Joy spinning wheel (the treadle action is soooo smooth!) and instead got 2 x 500g bumps of soft chocolate brown merino. This is destined for a jumper, either this winter or next – depends how fast I can spin it up:

Ashford Chocolate Merino

In Oamaru, we came across the Oamaru Textile Exchange, which I’d been reading about last month in the Creative Fibre magazine, so it was lovely to actually set foot in the place. I didn’t see any yarn that grabbed my fancy, so got this 3-in-1 tote and Doe Arnot’s handy book on spinning camelid fibre:

Oamaru Textile Exchange

Before I went away, I went a little nuts at Payless Plastics, who were having a 50% discount closing down sale. My craft room is now a supertidy delight:

Crafts Restashed

My spinning mojo has also returned, and inbetween doing some rows on the Hitchhiker, I’m finishing off Hades from Southern Cross Fibre:

Hades

God knows what I’ll knit with it, but it may turn out to just be colourwork edging to something. Not sure yet. Anyway, that’s where I’m at with all my projects. The never-ending Upstairs Shawl is taking a break, but will be dragged out again as soon as the Hitchhiker is done.

That is all. As you were.

Knit Like There’s No-One Looking

Today I decided to knit like the wind and finish my Hitchhiker shawlette. Thankfully MySky had recorded several hours worth of stuff, so I sat in front of the telly in my PJs (as you do) and went like the clappers. Quite some hours later, this was the result:

Hitchhiker Scarf

I am very pleased with the result, even though a couple of stitches got mucked up, but never mind. Now I’m back onto the Upstairs Shawl. The never-ending Upstairs Shawl. Which I’ll be giving away anyway, seeing as the colour’s wrong for me… feh. Anywayyyy…

This left me just enough time to go see my friends in Beyondsemble, an Auckland-based band who do the most eclectic mix of “Genre Defying Folk, Jazz, Gypsy, Tango, Bluegrass, Celtic, Latin, Rocksteady” music you’ll ever hear! They had a gig out on Waiheke, so we made a night of it by heading over at 4.30pm to set up (well, the boys did), go for a walk on the beach (that’d be the girls), Indian restaurant for dinner, then the gig itself – which was fabulous! Beyondsemble are always great entertainment, as well as being 4 fabulously talented musicians.

12_Beyondsemble

V-Neck Sweaters

I’m going to make these!


Cultivated Vines


Inspired by Monet

Both patterns are ridiculously cheap. I am in dire need of v-neck sweaters for winter and nice patterns are SO hard to come by. After Ezibuy’s dismal effort last season, the only solution is to make my own. I’ve not actually knitted a sweater before, but it can’t be that hard. Can it? I’m not worried though, because I have many talented knitterly friends, so I’m sure it’ll all work out…