Friday, March 27, 2009


Finished Object: Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits (Fall '06)

Yarn: Handmaiden SeaSilk in Silver color (one skein)
Beads: Size 6, square hole, silver lined, light grey beads (ordered from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads)
Needles: US 4
Started: February 10th, 2009
Finished: March 19th, 2009

I didn't make many modifications (on purpose, anyways!) to the pattern. I tried to knit an extra 5 bud lace repeats to make it larger (to make the stitch counts work), and then had to rip back because I was afraid I was going to run out of yarn. (Good thing I did, because I would have!!) BUT, in ripping back, I accidentally ripped back with one extra row of the bud lace - which screws up the stitch count for the subsequent charts. I.Was.Not. going to rip back again. So, being the math person that I am, I figured out the stitch counts needed for the following charts and fudged my stitches going into those charts. :-)

My stitch count going into the first Lily of the Valley chart was 207 sts. On the first patterned row of the Lily chart, I increased by four stitches (on each side) by working 4 of the k3tog as a k2tog - on each side of the center. Then going into the Peaked edging chart, on Row 1, I decreased 2 stitches each side by working a couple k2tog on each side of the center. The slight decreases and increases in stitches get blocked out of the final shawl, so no one can tell that I fudged!

The big modification I made, though, was that I used beads in place of the nupps, and in the center of every bud in the bud lace section. I used a small crochet hook to hook them onto the knit stitch prior to knitting the stitch. The bud lace beads were placed on Row 5 of chart 1, and on Row 2 of Chart 2 - in the center of each bud. I also placed beads on the peaked edging down each center spine and a couple in the middle section of each peak.

Finished Size: After blocking the heck out of it, it came out to be about 48" by 22" - here it is blocking:

(An interesting thing about this yarn, when it was wet it smelled like seaweed! I'm guessing it's the seacell content!)

I am very happy with how this turned out. The SeaSilk is just scrumptious in a shawl - and the sheen of it is totally played up by the beads. I want more SeaSilk, and NOW! One skein was enough to do the shawl - I didn't do the nupps, so I used less yarn that I would have knitting the pattern as written. I might have been able to squeak by one more row of bud lace before starting the lily of the valley section (so two extra bud lace repeats), but that would be about it, I think. I have maybe 10-20 yards or less of the SeaSilk left.

I am now hooked on lace shawls, and I've already started (and I'm 2/3 of the way done with!) the Aeolian Shawl that was in the new Knitty - in actual laceweight yarn! I'm considering it my first true lace, since all I've knit lace with so far has been fingering weight or worsted weight! It's going well so far, and I hope to have a FO post for it very shortly!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


So this last weekend I went to The Charlotte Knitting Guild's Winter Retreat. The whole weekend in Hickory NC - with knitting and socializing and learning. Our teacher (and what a fantastic teacher she was!) was Charlene Schurch. A knitting Guru if ever there was one! If you thought all she did was socks, then you're way wrong!! She dyes, spins and knits lace too! Sadly, I didn't get a single picture of the weekend, but some other participants blogged about it and have photos, so you can go take a gander over to their pages if you'd like. Cristi has some photos, and Elizabeth has some as well.

It was wonderful getting to know the 18 other participants (and Charlene!), and having time to sit around and knit, and talk about knitting, and learn about knitting techniques with other people who like to knit too. The time away was nice for me too - it helps to get a breather away from the demands of the kiddos and the hubby and the house every once in a while. Some ME time. I loved that part.

Charlene taught three classes (the third one got shortened by an hour since snow was heading our way!). The first one Saturday morning was Lace 101. The lace samples she had were fabulous! Then Saturday afternoon we did a class on "using that great yarn that you don't know what the heck to do with", or something like that! ;-) Basically, ideas on what to do with the extra-special skein that you only have x amount of yards of. I brought my handspun sockweight yarn, which is just 308 yards. I decided to do a roman stripe scarf, knit lengthwise. I didn't think it through, though, because my cast on number was 268, and the first row you work K1, yo *all the way across*!!! Which then means I then have 536 stitches on the needles!!!!!!! Talk about knitting forever...but then after you purl all those stitches, you work K2tog all the way across. But still.

Anyhoo... then on Sunday we had our Heel Workshop, where we tried out a few different heels. I did the Cuban Heel and a short-row heel. I liked the short row heel technique - get this: NO WRAPS!! It was quite nice. You essentially just turn your work without wrapping, and then when you work the stitches on your turning row, you lift the bar before what would have been your wrapped stitch and knit it with the previous stitch. It's hard to describe, but it ends up tightening the gaps without adding extra yarn (i.e. with a yo or a wrap) to do it.

Overall, a very lovely weekend, with much fellowship and fun conversations, and quite a bit of learning as well! I wish I had taken some pics - but I guess it means I was having too much fun to take the time to pull out the camera!!


So, that Baby Surprise Jacket I knitted a couple months ago was supposed to be for William, but it turned out too small. He was so disappointed, so I promised him a sweater (in a yellow shade - his favorite color!) that actually fits him. Here's the end product:

Here are the deets:

Pattern: One for the Whole Clan Aran Sweater

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Gold (I ordered 7 balls and used 6 I think)

Needles: US 5 and 7

The only real modifications I made were to reverse the cables so they twist away from each other (the pattern had the same cable on each side) and I made the sleeves longer to try to make it fit him for a longer period of time. (Boy, he's growing like a weed!!) I worked both sleeves at the same time on a long circular needle.

It's a very nice pattern - not too complicated, but interesting enough that you don't get bored. The child size is also an easy sweater construction - just straight sides on the front and back, no shaping on the body at all. (I guess I should mention that the pattern is sized for children and adults - the adult sized sweater has more complicated cables, and is more fitted in the armhole shaping.) I did a three needle bind off for the shoulder seams, with live stitches, and I worked the neckband similarly - instead of binding off and tacking down, I picked up stitches on the inside and worked the bind off at the same time. I was worried the neck might be too tight, but it actually turned out quite stretchy - I made sure to work my bind off loosely- so I was pleased. Oh, and another modification I made was to work a purl row at the neckband turning point, to aid in the neckband laying flat.

He loves his sweater, and has worn it several times already. I'm happy with the yarn choice - it is machine washable, and the cables really stand out nicely. My only complaint is that it seems to pill easily. But overall, it think it was a success!! William certainly thinks so! :-)