Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Purple Cables

One of my husband's finer qualities — among many fine qualities — is that he likes wearing hand-knits. This one is the British Schoolboy Vest from Cheryl Oberle's "Folk Vests." It's a handsome, traditional vest that I knit in a non-traditional color — purple.

The specifics: Wool Pak 8-ply wool in color Plum (it really is the color of a ripe Italian plum) knit on US4 and US2 needles.

I've made several of the vests in "Folk Vests." It's a great book.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Marguerite Shimmons

I've never met Marguerite Shimmons, but I know people who know her. And I've seen her breathtaking knitted lace work in person. Those who know her say she is as elegant and refined as her work.

Now others can see her work and art. She donated several pieces to the Lacis Museum in Berkeley, California. See them here. Lace lovers of all sorts are fortunate that she decided to share her amazing work.

If the United States had a program to designate Living National Treasures like Japan does, I would put Marguerite Shimmons on the list.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Garden

I have had a few requests for a detail photo of the Shetland Garden shawl with its mirror decreases, so here it is (I hope the detail is visible; clicking on it will make it larger).

And, the shawl is 27 inches long down the center back, which is a good size for me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Stroll in the Garden

A Shetland Garden, that is. Specifically, the Shetland Garden shawl from Sivia Harding. The yarn Nature Spun fingering weight, one of my favorite, all-purpose yarns. The color is Hurricane Seas (our sailing friends Michael and Nancy don't understand why one would deliberately choose anything hurricane-related but I seem to be in a turquoise phase). Knit on US5 needles. The shawl took only three skeins, about 930 yards.

The main body of the shawl — the daisies, ferns and leaves — is written with all of the single decreases as right-leaning (k2tog). With this yarn, I chose mirror left- and right-leaning decreases (k2tog and ssk). For most of the double decreases, I used the designated left-leaning decrease (sl 1, k2tog, psso). However, on the leaves, which have stacked double decreases, I used centered double decreases (sl 2 tog, k1, psso).

The rose trellis section is written with left- and right-leaning decreases.

This was a fun pattern to knit and, like other Sivia Harding patterns, is clear and easy to follow.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Baaaaaa! Bleeeaaat!

After I look at the knitting at the Western Washington Fair, I head for the sheep barns, especially the wool sheep (rather than the meat sheep). Unless you are holding some food in your hands, most of the sheep aren't interested in visitors. But it's interesting to see the critters that provide us knitters a lot of beautiful wool.

This little lamb wasn't at the fair. It was a birthday present earlier this month. He doesn't have name yet. In fact, I only recently decided he was a he. I'm open to suggestions for names.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fair Time

Five entries, five ribbons — one first, two seconds, one third and an honorable mention in the knitting and lace categories. I am delighted with my results at the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup. The surprise to me is how the awards sorted themselves out:

Blue ribbon in the lace category for doilies smaller than 12 inches in diameter. This entry was almost an afterthought. I was playing with variegated threads to see if the widespread belief that "variegated threads don't work well with doilies" was true. Apparently it's not. The pattern is from Lavori Artistici #11, design #12, knit in vintage Royal Society crochet thread, size 30.

Second place in the lace category for doilies 12 inches in diameter and larger. This is a possible Niebling design called Arum Flower, knit in size 30 crochet thread.

Second place in the lace category for a knitted garment. Fans of Donna Druchunas's Arctic Lace will recognize her Skeleton Scarf pattern. It's knit in a very fine merino wool of unknown provenance.

Third place for a man's vest made in Knit One, Crochet Two's Paint Box yarn in a color called Tandoori.

And, finally, an honorable mention for Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy shawl knit in yarn from Black Bunny Fibers.

One of the pleasures of the fair is seeing so much beautiful knitting, and to watch other fairgoers admiring the work.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Alaska Rainforest

Last October, I attended a class where we explored fagoting stitches and experimented with many cool things one can do with fagoting. Then in June, while traveling in Alaska, I purchased this lovely hand-dyed yarn from Rabbit Ridge Designs in a coloway called Rainforest.

The fagoting lessons came to mind while I was considering how to best show the lovely Alaska rain forest colors. Simple design, beautiful colors — it all worked (in my opinion).

The specifics:
  • Yarn: Rabbit Ridge Designs DK optim wool, two 50-gram skeins, 154 yards per skein
  • Needles: US 8
  • Finished size: 7.5 inches wide by 92 inches long