FO: Haematoxylum

 


Haematoxylum, according to Wikipedia, is a kind of tree that is part of the legume family. In this case, it is the pattern name by Ysolda Teague reflects the fact that this shawl design incorporates some subtle tree designs into it.

The pattern was part of the Ysolda 2016 club, the final shipment, and it has been sitting around my apartment for the past few months. It was a fun and simple knit – mostly garter and stockinette stitch, with a little lace on one edge.

The yarn is luscious – a lovely dusty-pink-rose in the Briar Rose colorway in Sock by Shilasdair. This is a lovely independent dyer on the Isle of Skye – truly a lovely, slightly crunchy but not scratchy yarn.

Izzie seems to approve! Project details here (rav link)

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Lull


This past few weeks has been a knitting lull – an in-between point in which I was trying to figure out what to knit next, and while I labored over trying to crochet a butterfly.

Butterflies

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my fiber talents have gone towards garments and accessories, not art installation. This is as far as I got on my own:

which wasn’t very butterfly-like. Through the magical talents of Susan, our arts coordinator, we got to this:

— with molding wire, some tweaking, adding in the paper, and the pipe cleaners, it passed inspection. Apparently without some of these additions, it looked more like an insect than a butterfly – lol! And that’s ok – this was an experiment, and clearly not that successful, but it was a fun adventure while it lasted.

New things

I decided I wanted to knit another summery top, and spent far too much time deep-diving into Ravelry to look for things. I thought I’d decided on a top,

and went looking for yarn  and was reminded about this site called Colourmart – which sells cone ends of yarns used in manufacturing knitted items by machine. Lots of knitters, especially those who use lace yarn, swear by this stuff, which is very economical.

A couple of warnings: often the yarns on the cone still have oils in them that make them hardier for the knitting by machine, and most of the single yarns are fingering weight and lighter, although folks often double or triple the yarns for hand-knitting purposes.  Also, the weights of the yarn are expressed by formula (see here) so you have to be able to decode them to understand what they are.

I decided to do a smallish adventure into a Colourmart purchase, and found some cotton/silk/linen blend yarn at an economical $36 for a shell-type garment (800 yards of fingering weight). It came lickety-split — and I quickly knit up a swatch. Now knitting this yarn requires a special technique as well – this is coned yarn, so I pulled out my “lazy kate” and stuck a pen into the hole and plopped the cone on top of it. For now, it works and it’s free, although I probably should get a rotating yarn holder. Once I knit my swatch, which looked like this:
I realized that the yarn probably had machine oils in the yarn, so at first I just soaked the yarn and then smelled it – yuck – there were definitely still oils in the yarn. Then I machined-washed the swatch in warm water, and allowed it to dry. It passed the smell test this time. Here’s a comparison – left-hand swatch is just off the needles, and the other one is post-washing.

So, after all that, I’ve decided to make a variation on a tank top that I designed a while back and has never been blogged about because I had this notion of turning it into a knitting pattern. I’ve gotten this far:

Yeah, not so much, but the lull is over at least!

Tomorrow I’ll blog about the project that I did finish. The Lull is officially over!

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Signs and symbols

Faith traditions have signs and symbols related to key parts of the faith. Water for baptism, a dove for Noah’s Ark. The cross for the Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. Yesterday, it was palms for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the beginning of Holy Week.

Easter, as one of the big Christian holidays, has its own symbols: the Phoenix (think Harry Potter – JK Rowling knew her symbols), the egg, and the butterfly – all metaphors for transformed life.

This year, the church I serve is using butterflies as our community art symbol for Easter. Our volunteer (and fabulous) arts coordinator asked me to create a larger fibery butterfly. Since I am more of a crafter that artsy girl, this was a little scary.

I procrastinated, and pondered. I bought a skein of yarn and then did nothing with it. Nothing happened. So finally I decided to just start experimenting by taking the skeing of yarn and trying out a spiral. This is what I got:

 

 

This was decidedly underwhelming. It’s a round spiral with not much butterfly in it. So I pondered some more, and decided to test out doing the butterfly in crochet, because it is easier to shape on the fly. With hook in hand and scrap yarns in a variety of colors, I began to work a spine and a couple of wings.

 

This looks pretty good, and my plan is to run the edges and spines with wires to give a three-dimensional shape. I’m playing now with lower wings:

and I think I’ve got something to work with. Lot’s more to do – creating a bright edge, weaving in ends, adding sparkle (somehow!), installing wires and shaping.

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Palette cleanser

I’m in-between projects now – I have more shawls than I know what to do with, so I’m not really into knitting some, and need to figure out what to do with the extras. And then I remembered that my dishcloths were looking kinda bad.

Bam! I immediately got out my colors of Knitpicks Cotlin yarn (a blend of cotton and linen) , and started knitting. And I ended up with several of them:

In there is the Ballband dishcloth that I love because it’s fun and you can do stuff with colors.

The orange, which will go to my administrator who thinks these are wonderful, is called Fresh, which is from a terrific book called Dishcloth Diva, but you can buy it separately (but buy the book – you’ll be glad you did). The patchwork one peeking out from the back is a Mason-Dixon pattern called The Nine-Patch Dishrag (free on their blog – scroll down), which is a great way to use up scraps of yarn:

I love these – they’re quick, they brighten things up, and now I’m ready to consider more substantial knitting – maybe a shell for summer?

And now I need to consider what to do about those shawls – I have a few that I’m now tired of. What do you do with things like this? Auction them off? Give to friends? Let me know how you deal with extra knitwear in the comments.

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a little mosaic knitting

Our guild does a couple of charity projects every year, and we are making hats, so I dug into my stash to find some suitable yarn. There was an odd skein of some Knit Picks cotton in grey, and some brighter skeins of washable wool – both in sport weight. I found a fun free pattern on Knitty – Maze, and I was off to the races:


I made some modifications to the pattern, as I wanted a more slouchy hat effect. I cast-on with the Italian tubular cast-on, did some 1×1 ribbing before starting the color pattern. I did three full repeats of the pattern, instead of the 1.5 indicated for the large size in the pattern.

The test of combining the wool and cotton yarns was in the blocking as to whether the wool and cotton would play together nicely – I threw it into the washer and dryer – and voila – it looks great.

Mosaic knitting is a good way to ease into color knitting you only knit with one color at a time, but you get to work on tension as if you were doing stranded knitting!

This week I was sloppy about making my bed, leaving a pillow lying flat, and guess what happened?

I think Izzie thinks the extra pillow is her new cat bed.

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FO: Autumn Fusion Shawl

To recap:

I went on a one-day East Bay yarn crawl last summer, and at one lovely yarn shop, A Yarn Less Raveled, I discovered a lovely customer sample of the Autumn Fusion Shawl.  After hunting for a suitable yarn for the contrast color, I finally gave in and ordered the original yarn from Canon Hand Dyes.

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This shawl will be a great addition to spring/summer attire – I often need a bit of warmth under air conditioning, and these are some of my go-to colors. I added an applied a three-stitch I-cord edging and am happy with how that turned out.

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Project details here: Revknits Autumn Fusion Shawl

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In which I attempt something I’ve never done

This is the Christian season of Lent, or, as we church professionals like to say, “relentless” because although it is supposed to be a reflective season, when you are the church staff, it means there is more of everything.

Easter ends the season of Lent with a celebration of new life and there are lovely symbols of new life: eggs, and lilies and butterflies. And that brings me to my latest fiber challenge from our arts director at the church : create a butterfly in the fiber arts that can be installed on Easter Sunday. Gulp.

While I have knit all manner of things with many kinds of techniques, I’ve never done art installation kinds of things. The word “art” actually makes me a little nervous. My dad, Tony, was the artist:

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but not me. My drawing skills are at the elementary school level, if that.

But back to the butterfly. Having been given this challenge, I started to put things into steps. For the butterfly to be big enough, it needs a superstructure – so our facilities manager, Daphne, found me some wire, and I roughed out a shape for the butterfly – just the wings at this point:

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Next, I rummaged into my almost a yarn store’s worth of yarn modest stash and found a lot of colorful scraps of yarn:

along with some shiny things:

 

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and I’m going to look at Pinterest to find some crochet and knitting techniques. I mean, really, this shouldn’t be that hard, right? Right?

Relentless indeed.

Project reports:

The autumn fusion shawl is now knitted and in blocking. I’m trying to decide whether to add I-cord edging in the contrast color. Izzie has opinions, apparently:

 

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I also began and abandoned a baby blanket for our Knitting Guild’s contributions. The only reason I started it was because the charity committee gal urged me to, and then I went and bought acrylic yarn that I hate to knit with. I gave up partway into the first skein, and will give the yarn to a staff member at church. Just not my cup of tea at the moment!

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33 years

Warning: not much knitting content.

I am not a luddite. I own a Macbook laptop, iPad, iPod and an iPhone. I listen to podcasts, have Bluetooth, blah, blah, blah.

But around pieces of technology, I tend to be conservative – my cars and my TV. I’ve only bought two cars, and inherit one.

With TV, it’s even worse. When it comes to them,  I have been absolutely Neanderthal a little behind the times. At first it was because I really don’t care about TV all that much. I was fairly happy with what I had.

Then, as the options for TVs seemed to multiply, well, I just didn’t want to spend all that time to figure out what kind to get. Plasma this, HDMI inputs, the TVs got smart, while I still remained dumb, like my 1984 Hitachi solid state TV.

No, that’s not a typo. I own my first and only TV, and it is 33 years old. And it still works! The picture is just fine – those Japanese factories really knew how to build something to last. It’s been ok until finally I realized that I wasn’t seeing everything on the screen, and that my TV couldn’t get hooked up to Netflix and things like that.

It hasn’t hurt that at work we got a new TV for classes, and I realized that these smart TVs aren’t all that complicated to figure out. Then there was the kind elder on my church board who took pity on me and printed out a bunch of TV recommendations from Consumer Reports.

This weekend I did my taxes and I managed to get a good enough refund to easily decide that it was time. I went to the the Big Box store and had a great salesperson (Thanks, Carlos!) who thought the fact that I had a TV older than him was merely amusing. He didn’t oversell me anything, and even got the TV to my car.

O Brave New World! (This is a scene from The Crown – on Netflix – so beautiful in HD!)

Now I have to find the right table/stand for things, and move out the old bulky entertainment center.

Knitting

The brioche scarf is done! Well, except for weaving in a couple of ends and mending the mistakes. I’m not sure whether I should block it – apparently that can make it really flatten out.

And the new yarn arrived, just in time! I don’t think I mentioned the name of the color way. The name comes from Downton Abbey – Lavinia Swire, who was a rather plain Jane and died in the flu epidemic after  World War I.

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Anticipation

Last summer, I helped to lead a yarn crawl over to the East Bay Area with some local knitter friends. We had a good day!

One of the projects that I saw on my trip was a beautiful shawl called Autumn Fusion.

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and for a change, I wanted to knit exactly the same colors – I wanted to knit the store sample, just as it was. Just my colors, and perfect as a summer shawlette, it’s bright and fun! Ann, who was along on the crawl helped me take a photo of the shawl – and shows why her hand should be in the photo and not mine:

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On the day of the crawl, I was able to snag the varigated yarn, Lunapurl yarn “Binary Star System” in a 75/25 blen of BFL wool and nylon, but the other yarn from Canon Hand Dyer was out.

For a time, I was thinking of making something else with this yarn – lot’s of folks have made cute socks, for example, but I never found anything that I wanted more than the shawl. Then, I tried to find something else to go with the Lunapurl yarn, and even bought some lovely Anzula yarn, but it didn’t really go.

So, this last week I went on the Canon Hand Dye Etsy site, and bought the yarn in the correct colorway. I was fearful it might take weeks to come, but yesterday I got the email saying it had shipped. I’m all ready to start!

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Brioche Update:

The scarf continues apace. It’s getting boring to knit, by which I mean that I am making fewer mistakes, I don’t need the chart, and I can fix the mistakes that I am making. I’ve finished 7 repeats of the total of 10 that I plan for this – so I should be finished knitting this about the time that my yarn for the shawl comes!

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