Daily Archives: April 6, 2008

Weekend (Knitting) Update: Every Long Journey Is Made of Small Steps

Today begins a new regular feature here chez Hither and Yarn.

I realized I have established a pattern of knitting updates on the weekends, due to a busy weekday schedule and (heretofore) absolute or relative lack of natural light availability for photography.

So why not make a virtue of necessity and establish….

Weekend (Knitting) Update!

Kind of like Lime & Violet’s Daily Chum What’s on your Needles Wednesday: but different? (The L&V Daily Chum is well worth adding to your feed reader, by the way, if you have one [and if not, why not?]; it can be dangerous, though, with its etsy Shop of the Day feature. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Of course, as soon as I establish this recurring feature today, I expect I’ll turn around and fail to follow through, because today’s title is not random. Naturally.

Next weekend, I will be in the Pacific Northwest (where it’s an order of magnitude GREENER compared to here) and I don’t know about internet access over the weekend; I know it will be severely limited the following week. So — who knows if there will be a Weekend (Knitting) Update next weekend? (Okay, that’s getting a little tedious to type. W(K)U. )

And the steps leading to my trip are beginning today: further work on Camp homework (stealth project, it’s a secret), beginning to pack and plan, pay bills, make sure everyone can do without Mom for 10 days.

But, yes, it’s W(K)U, and the title also refers to the absorbing, fascinating, addictive journey that is a Lace project! Before that, though, obligatory warning until everyone’s for sure gotten their kits, SPOILER ALERT, there’s a March Rockin’ Sock Club progress report at the end of this post.

Although I am knitting Forest Canopy and enjoying it (knitting along with Nora, a little every day, it’s my soothing bedtime knitting — though rumor has it, Nora’s flown right along!), I also have begun a laceweight project which I am going to savor on multiple levels. (Nora, given the anarchic nature of the knitalong currently, perhaps this will be my project to replace Icarus/Flower Basket/whatever!)

This is Wendy Johnson’s pattern which she has just designed, called “Kay’s Diamonds and Purls Shawl“. (The graceful name replaces the provisional working name, which did have a certain je ne sais quoi.) She is planning on offering the pattern for sale in the future, but is having the pattern test knit in different sizes and different weights yarn. And I am a happy test knitter!

I volunteered and received the pattern Tuesday. And then had something going on every night this week; though the ‘something’ Thursday night at least was partly a Knit Night! But I spent most of Knit Night hand-winding my laceweight. (The lovely alpaca laceweight yarn for the last big lace project I made kept flying off the ball winder when I wound it, even though I was going slow; and I think that was directly related to why this Gordian knot happened (aka barf-glob). (That and the tendency of alpaca to hang on to itself with many tiny hairy little fingers.))

So I finally got to start this lovely lace. And the reasons I am savoring it on multiple levels are:

  • a lovely and clear pattern with a little different construction than I have knit before (I always enjoy trying something a little different);
  • an end product that I know will be gorgeous!;
  • and a yarn which is a pleasure to knit with.

So here are my small step beginnings to this lace journey:

Yes, I know, it doesn’t look like much! It did take a bit of time, though, really! I love the faggoting. (That’s the openwork in front, for non-knitters, not a pejorative term.)

The yarn is from the Unique Sheep, her Eos yarn (50% merino/50% tussah silk laceweight), a true laceweight. I have a lot of laceweight yarns, but I wanted one with almost no variegation; one that wasn’t too fine (I have some ultrafine cobwebweights) since Wendy mostly wants this test-knit for size purposes, as well as checking the pattern (but a test-knitter who was faster off the starting blocks than I seems to be doing that very ably!); but also I wanted a lovely yarn that was enjoyable to knit and would show off the pattern nicely.

And this yarn is lovely. Subtle sheen, less than it looks in the Eos link (that looks like a flash photo), easy to handle. I think perhaps I could wind it on the ball winder (I did not yet hand-wind all 1260 yards or I would not have been able to get any knitting done Thursday).

This colorway is called Sangria, and it surprised me when it came. On the Unique Sheep website, the general Sangria color is darker, as SangrĂ­a indeed is. So when the yarn came and was, um, pink, I was taken aback slightly, but having done some dyeing at that point, chalked it up to the nature of hand-dyeing, as well as different yarns taking dye differently (or maybe the SangrĂ­a was made with White Zin!). And it was gorgeous yarn; I was just expecting a little more in the blood red color range, which is what sangria means. But when I looked back at the website, duh, my bad: here is the Sangria colorway shown for Eos, pretty much exactly what I received. It would have been fine even if not. Anyway, this was undesignated (for any specific project) lovely true laceweight in a very springy color, subtly tone-on-tone, light enough to show the pattern well — perfect, I thought for this pattern.

So this will go along with me on my upcoming trip, and I expect/hope/plan to finish it, as I will have lots of solo travel (read: knitting!) time. (Note to self: bring blocking pins in suitcase just in case it works out to block while gone. I can’t bring the blocking mats, but maybe it’ll dry in the 18 hours I’m not sleeping on my bed….) I have no clue what clothes I’m bringing, but I have my knitting projects all planned out! You all understand, right?

Here’s another shot, just because.

( Perhaps my next career will be knitting stylist, though first I have to learn to spread the stitches out symmetrically so they don’t look cock-eyed.)

You’ll be seeing more of this, because Wendy, bless her heart, being a knitblogger, has given the test-knitters permission to blog about our test knitting (obviously, since I’m doing it!). However, bear in the mind the possible/probable partial blog blackout during my travels, so who knows what it will look like the next time you do see it?

Lastly, speaking of trying new things, the BMFA Rockin’ Sock Club March kit is progressing, since I took it to church today and knit between services (our choir, including me and my husband, sang at the early service, and then a college concert choir sang at the beginning of the second service, so I hung out between, knit and talked). Why is it a new thing, other than a new project? Well, the Leafling pattern has a novel heel!

Look at this:


I am getting a bit of the above-heel bag people have kvetched about, but it was not there before I started the heel, and the reason seems to be the heel stitch, which pulls in laterally, drawing in the heel from side-to-side; not the knitting above being too loose. And, frankly, when my foot is flat, there is no bag. (It’s that dancer thing; as soon as my foot leaves the ground, it automatically points.) If I knit this or a similar pattern again, perhaps one could knit the stitches above the heel on a size smaller needle for the inch or so above, or knit in ribbing at the back of the ankle at the same place, one or the other, to ‘draw’ in more gradually the stockinette so it doesn’t blouson (as our tops did in the 1980s).

Anyway, still happy with yarn and pattern, but this will need to be put on ice for a bit as I work on my Sock Camp homework. Deadline’s a-coming up, and I actually leave a few days early. I’ll fill you in before I take off.

The Walking Sock progresses a bit, but looks the same, just longer. Can I turn the heel while walking? Probably, but not if I’m running late and power-walking! Tomorrow’s the day of the week I have to drive, though, and it’s supposed to rain anyway (I can walk in the rain, but not knit.)

Tomorrow (evening news edition): Forest Canopy progress, per Nora’s encouragement. (I can take direction well. When I wish to.)

PS: Anyone reading (other than my mother) who knows the song referred to in the title? Ann Reed is among my favorite musicians. And not only because she and I both sing really low! Go here if you’d like to hear a sample of the song (then you can even buy it from CDBaby if you love it!).