Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

From Order, Pseudo-Chaos

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:03 pm on Friday, February 16, 2007

Apparently, people like the Carnival Glass Shawl! Thanks for all the kind compliments, and a special thanks to all who were inspired to comment for the first time!

Sadly, there’s no picture of the shawl progress today. Yesterday my only knitting time was during Thursday Night Knitting Around at Panera, and the lace requires a concentration that I can’t achieve while chatting with friends in a noisy cafe environment.

So, the project that went along with me was the Log Cabin Blanket, where I completed a couple more logs:

WIP: Log Cabin Blanket, Sq. 2, Rnd. 4, Log 3
WIP: Log Cabin Blanket, Square 2, Round 4, Log 3

Log 3 is the thin band of orange at the left of the square. As you can see, I’ve only barely begun it.

You might be wondering if there’s a rhyme or reason to the sequence of colors. Yes, there is. When I sat down to begin this square, I put the six colors in front of me in a pleasing order (yellow, hot pink, soft green, soft pink, orange, lime green). This intersperses the 3 soft and 3 bright colors. I wrote down the color order on the project page for the blanket in my planning notebook, so that I always have a reference if I need it.

Then, you have to think about how the colors move around the square if you just use them in order all the time. With six colors, any given color only moves from one side of the square to the opposite side. In other words, soft pink will always be straight across the square from the last log that used soft pink.

Sometimes this might be a desired effect. Planning colors for a Courthouse Steps version of a log cabin, for instance, you might want all your blues to show up on opposite sides, rather than rotating around the center.In my case, though, I didn’t want that much order.

I also have one color in the sequence, the orange, that is very bright, and could dominate the project if I used it too much. The answer to that is to leave it out of the color order on every second time I go through the sequence. So, the first six logs will follow the sequence I outlined above, including the orange, but the next five will use that exact sequence, but leave out the orange. Which means I’m actually using six colors in an eleven log sequence – yellow, hot pink, soft green, soft pink, orange, lime green, yellow, hot pink, soft green, soft pink, lime green.

Leaving out one color in the second sequence helps to “push” the colors around the center square. In my photo above, you can see that the first two times that the soft pink and hot pink appear, they are directly across the center from themselves. But the third time, because orange wasn’t in the second sequence, they have “pushed” around the corner, and appear at a 90 degree angle to their first two logs.

The result is that I get a random-looking log cabin square that is, in fact, the product of several steps of careful planning. And because I have a specific sequence chosen ahead of time, I never have to spend time wondering what color to knit next!

I’ll be knitting at home this weekend, so I imagine I’ll be able to show progress on the Carnival Glass Shawl on Monday. Meanwhile, thanks again to all my readers – you really make this blogging thing worthwhile! Have a warm, safe, and happy weekend!

What a Childless, Adult Couple Does When Snowed In On Valentine’s Day

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Gryphon,Knitting — folkcat at 1:29 pm on Thursday, February 15, 2007

Plays with Perler Beads, of course. (Yeah, Gryphon and me – we’re an exciting pair!)

Gryphon was concerned enough – and rightly so – about the weather yesterday that he took a vacation day from work. Given the conditions we had out there, it would have been risky for him to try to travel our country roads to and from the plant in his 13 year old truck.

So we got to spend Valentine’s Day together. Such as we do these things. We had a nice spaghetti dinner, with refrigerator biscuits brushed before baking with garlic butter. And we played with Perler Beads.

Gryphon's Perler Coaster
Gryphon’s Coaster

Gryphon created this coaster. He’s got mad skillz when it comes to the ironing, too. This looks barely fused, but it’s actually holding together quite solidly. He may be the official Perler Fuser from here on.

I found a pattern at the Perler Bead website for a 3-d puzzle box. You start with these six pieces, all different:

Puzzle Box Pieces
Puzzle Box Pieces

You fit the notches together to build the box.

Perler Puzzle Box in Progress
Piecing it Together

Et voila! You have a neat little cube, solidly locked together. Until you choose to take it apart, that is.

Perler Puzzle Box, Assembled
Pieced and Complete

There are a couple of things I love about this little box. First, that I made things that I could make something else out of. So cool! I have a notion now that I could design some little part that I can make from Perler Beads that will be my own building toy, something that notches together in multiple ways.

Second, this was a good practice piece for my Perler fusing skills. If you over iron the pieces, you don’t get as good a fit, because the ends of the beads spread out a little more. I still didn’t get good, even fusing by the time I was finished with this, so I need more practice.

The Craft Goddesses and I will be having a Perler Bead night at our craft circle next week. I love the idea of getting several crafty women together in one place, all working with the same type of materials. Everyone comes with their own ideas, and you feed off of each other’s creativity. No telling what we’ll come up with!

Oh, yeah – and I knitted, too.

WIP: Carnival Glass Shawl, Chart C
Carnival Glass Shawl – Midway Through Chart C

Gryphon did manage to walk down to the Post Office yesterday, and lo! in the mail was my package from Knit Picks, containing the Options needles I bought for knitting the Carnival Glass Shawl. (I had chosen to begin it with a 20″ Addi Turbo I had in the house, knowing I wouldn’t need more length than that for a bit.)

I switched over to the 40″ Options cable with the size 6 tips, and knitted my shawl onto the new needle. And let me tell you, it was pretty interesting having such a direct comparison between knitting with the Addi, and knitting with the Options.

The Options needles, of course, have sharper tips. This makes knitting laceweight yarn, especially with Slip Two Knitwise, K2Tog, and other instructions like that to deal with. The point on the Options just gets in there much more smoothly.

What surprised me the most, however, was the difference in the joins. I think we all expect and assume that any circulars with interchangeable components must, by the nature of the beast, have a less smooth join than circulars that are constructed as a single piece.

Wrong.

With the Addi Turbo that I started this shawl on, the join made a little hump that it was annoying to have to move the stitches over. With the Options needles – no hump. Nada. Rien. Zip, zilch, and zero. The thin little stitches slide from cable to needle as smooth as butter.

I’m more convinced than ever. The Options needles don’t offer all the cable lengths I may want – yet – but they are in every way superior even to Addi Turbos, and they cost far less. I’m going to be saving every penny to build my Options collection!

Disney Legend Peter Ellenshaw: 1913 – 2007

Filed under: Movies — folkcat at 1:16 pm on Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Peter Ellenshaw - 1913 - 2007

Just discovered via the Disney History Blog: Disney Legend Peter Ellenshaw, the master of the matte painting and special visual effects, passed away yesterday.

Film fans know who this man is. And even if you’re not that into the behind-the-scenes details of the movies, you know his work.

If you thrilled at the view of Captain Nemo’s secret base in the center of a volcanic island, you know his work.

If you boggled at the riches of a leprachaun king’s throne room, you have seen his art.

If you sat on the edge of your seat watching a massive spaceship perched at the event horizon of a black hole, you have known his skill.

If you marveled at the scenes of smoke over the rooftops in Mary Poppins‘ London, you have seen his work.

Peter Ellenshaw - Mary Poppins' London

Peter Ellenshaw made art, and he made us believe it was real. His skill is unsurpassed, though it may be equalled by his son, Harrison Ellenshaw. Harrison went into his father’s business and has made his own mark over the decades, including such films as Star Wars Episode IV & V, Escape From L.A., and the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.

The news of Peter’s passing is so fresh that not many sources have picked it up yet. If you’d like to learn a bit more about the man and his art, here are a couple of relevant links I found.

Jim Hill’s tribute to Peter Ellenshaw

The official Peter and Harrison Ellenshaw website

Peter Ellenshaw at IMDB.com

More about knitting tomorrow. For today, I may pull out a few pertinent DVDs, and remember a legend.

Happy Hands

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 2:06 pm on Tuesday, February 13, 2007

That’s what I’ve got today. Yesterday, I gave my hands a break from the heavy Log Cabin Blanket in the not very forgiving cotton yarn, and I began work on my Carnival Glass Shawl.

WIP - Carnival Glass Shawl - Into Chart B

The shawl construction is Shetland style, which means I’m starting by knitting the central pattern first, with stitch count increasing from the bottom tip to the neckline. I made a copy of the chart for the purpose of crossing off each line as I knit it, but I’ve found that it’s also easy to figure out where I am. If the next row is a knit row, I count the stitches, and that’s the row number I should knit next! Very convenient!

I’ve made it through the first of three charts for this portion, and nearly halfway through the second. After that, there are two charts for the border (a left side and a right side), and one final chart for the knitted on edging.

The only lace shawl I’ve done before was Kiri, and that was a simple, one-piece construction. A Shetland shawl is a new thing for me, and I’m excited! Maybe I’m a little strange, but I love projects with clever construction where you pick up stitches in different places and knit off in different directions. It doesn’t feel hard to me, and I love watching the shape build.

So far, the incidental patterning of this multi-color yarn (Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace, Martha’s Vineyard colorway) feels like it’s fighting the lace pattern. But I’ve only knit a small section, and I can actually imagine that the impact of the completed shawl will make a huge difference in the effect of the colors.

Craft circle night tonight – will I keep working on Carnival Glass? Will I set it aside to sort more Perler beads? We’ll see!

Never Say Never

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Knitting,Sewing — folkcat at 1:36 pm on Monday, February 12, 2007

Okay, I’ll admit – I sometimes go a little crazy for grass-roots level crafting. The sort of stuff that you buy for kids to do, the quick crafts, the “anyone can do them” crafts. The cheap-o kits (and sometimes, not-so-cheapo) in the toy stores.

It’s that interest that led to a small collection of Walco beadcraft kits. These were craft kits that you bought in the toy and hobby section of your local department store in the, oh, 1920’s to 1960’s. Most people, even today, will know Walco as the producers of the widespread Indian Bead Loom. I think we all had one as a child at some point.

And it’s this same interest that is getting me so fired up about those silly Perler Beads. To the point where, sparked anew by receiving the cool Perler Bead Gryphon from Karen last week, I just had to go out and find some more supplies over the weekend.

Perler Bead Madness
Perler Bead Madness: Second Tier Symptoms Set In

I wound up at A. C. Moore, where I was able to find a few selections of pegboards being sold individually (without having to buy an assortment in a kit with beads). I picked up the Large Heart, and the Small Heart, Hexagon, and Square there.

The best find, though, was the 22,000 Activity Beads jar, chock full of every color you can imagine (except the glow in the dark). A. C. Moore was selling it for $11.99, a full $10 off the best prices I saw at online sources. Add a Jo-Ann’s 50% off coupon, and I walked away with it for a mere $6.00.

Sometime Saturday night, I was browsing online at the Perler Bead website. I knew there were other pegboards that I wanted, but where to get them? When I checked out their “where to buy” link, I found an online source that has everythingKool Stuff 4 Kids. Best of all – they take Paypal!

And why is that important? Because right now, Paypal has a special promotion going. From now until March 31, spend $30 or more, via Paypal, at an online, American-based website that takes their payments, and you get a $15 rebate. (The possibilities are endless – eBay, Etsy, and more.) Cool, huh? The only catch is you have to go to this Paypal page promoting the offer first, and register your Paypal e-mail address to qualify for the rebate.

So I browsed through the items at Kool Stuff 4 Kids, and picked out a pile of pegboards – Large Square, a couple of cat shapes, a boy and girl pair, an alphabet pegboard, and more. And then I realized that Kool Stuff 4 Kids has its own special running until Feb. 22 – enter the coupon code that they’re displaying on their front page, and you get 10% off an order of $30 or more. I added a couple of the idea books, and another pegboard or two, to bring my total up, and nailed that discount, too.

Kool Stuff 4 Kids is fast – I just placed the order Saturday night, and I’ve already been notified that it’s shipped! They don’t waste any time!

Maybe it was knowing that all these pegboards will be arriving shortly, with endless possibilities for creative Perlering (is that a word?). But Sunday, the obsessive compulsive side of my crafting personality set in. To make it easier to find specific colors when I’m making a project, I felt compelled yesterday to sit for some hours, sorting the Perler beads. We’re up to 36 colors and counting, and I know there are some I haven’t pulled out yet. Those are the white, multi-compartment bead bins you see in the picture above.

Will I keep going with the sorting madness? Not sure – it’s wearing a bit thin. But it’s a good, semi-brainless activity, and it’s fascinating to examine the subtle variations of color in the Perler beads. Which also make them difficult at times to sort – there are some colors that look very much alike, but are definitely different when you see them side by side.

Once all the Perler pegboards and such arrive, I may suggest to my craft circle that we have a Perler bead night – all the boards to play with, and the huge pile of beads. We can bounce ideas off each other and make a whole bunch of things!

Log Cabin Update

Knit WIP: Log Cabin Blanket, Square 2, Round 4, Log 1
WIP: Log Cabin Blanket, Square 2 (of 4), Round 4, Log 1

It’s getting bigger. I’ll know it’s done when I’ve completed 9 rounds of logs. My hands are starting to complain, though, so I think I need to set the blanket aside and work on a kinder, gentler knit for a bit. It remains to be seen what that is, though if my Knit Picks needles arrive soon, it could be the Carnival Glass Shawl. I’ve been itching to knit that ever since Vicki gave it to me for Christmas.

Meanwhile, if anyone felt a gentle warning tremor in the cosmos over the weekend, that was probably my fault. I’ve always said I’ll try just about any craft except for quilting. Well, never say never – I’m seriously considering making a quilt for my bed, in addition to the blanket.

I have been wanting a coverlet of some sort for a little additional warmth on the cold nights, and when I shopped for one at Target the other day, the items I liked best were all quilts. Probably all third world made by underpaid laborers, too. I thought about whether I should save up the money to get one ($80 or more – too little for a real handmade quilt, but more than my budget allows in a lump). But then, I decided that I am too capable of any craft I set my mind to ever to buy such a thing.

Of course, the pattern I’m considering is the Log Cabin – nice, straight cuts, nice, straight seams. Endless creative possibilities, depending on how you arrange the fabrics.

It will probably be a while before anything happens with this – the fabric will cost a bit. But the advantage over buying the readmade quilt (aside from getting a quilt exactly the way I like it) is that I can buy the fabric in bits over time. And I have any number of good local quilt shops in the area to supply me. Some even have class spaces big enough that people with limited work space – like me – can come there and lay out their quilt tops.

So, goddess only knows what’s going to happen here. Or when. But it sure sounds like I’m going to be a quilter some day, at least for one project!

Surprises in the Mail

Filed under: Blogfriends,Knitting — folkcat at 5:10 pm on Friday, February 9, 2007

Some days, you don’t think you have much to blog about. I’ve come to learn you should always wait to check the mail before deciding you’ve got nothing. Today was a perfect example of that.

I had precious little to share just from my own crafting. In fact, here’s all of it:

WIP - Log Cabin Blanket, Square 2, Round 2
WIP – Log Cabin Blanket, Square 2, Round 2

That’s me just about finished with the second round of logs on the second quarter of the Log Cabin Blanket I’m working on. The colors, as usual, aren’t entirely true – the orange, while bright, isn’t quite that hurt-eyes-bright that I’m seeing here, and the yellow is a soft, buttery yellow.

I’m pleased with my progress on the blanket, but really, that’s all I had to share today.

And then we went to get the mail.

Here in our small town, our mail comes to a PO Box at the local Post Office. No home delivery. So one of the daily errands has Gryphon going down to the Post Office to see what came in.

Since he’s usually clueless about things I may be expecting from blogfriends, he often comes back with a box in his hands, and a bemused or puzzled look on his face. Today, the comment was, “You have a package here from someone named…Silver Seams?”

“Yup,” I said. “That’s Karen down in Kansas. She was going to send me a book. She got an extra copy of it for Christmas, and was giving one away.” “Well, that’ll be what’s in this box, then,” said Gryphon, as he tucked it and the rest of the mail in the back seat of the car.

And indeed, that is what was in the box!

Book: Toys to Sew
Toys to Sew by Claire Garland

A quick glance through the patterns reveals a whole bunch of really cute animal patterns that I want to sew up. There are some dolls, too, which I like the style of except for their hands. But I can modify those, and then have dolls to make clothes for.

You’d think that sending me that book would be more than enough, right? After all, she could have sold it, or returned it, or something. Instead, she offered to give it away absolutely free just to a blog reader who spoke up and said, “I’d like that, please.”

But Karen, not only is she talented (she creates magnificent, original patterns for realistic and fantasy stuffed toys, and is working on a book of patterns for mythological beasts), but she’s as sweet as sugar. And she reads my blog, which I’m guessing is how she knew I’d like these!

Exotic Snacks
Extra Goodies

Australian chocolate cookies, and Japanese candies! The wrappers on the “Flower’s Kiss Candy” at the bottom right are so pretty, I may have to find a way to recycle them into something.

Not only did she remember the sort of treats I enjoy, but she remembers that our household has a fondness for Gryphons. And she included a very special, obviously hand-crafted just for us, item that we are giving directly to the live, in-house Gryphon.

Perler Bead Gryphon
Perler Bead Gryphon

Isn’t he magnificent? Such detail, and her ironing of the Perler beads is far more skillful than I’ve achieved so far.

I’m obviously not completely speechless – else what would you be reading? But I am so pleasantly surprised and delighted at this little package of goodies, this spontaneous display of friendship from across the electrons, that all that remains to be said now is…

Thank You

Thank You

Thank You, Karen!

Great Big Kitty Hugs and Gryphon Squawks to you!

The More Things Change…

Filed under: Dyeing Adventures,Knitting,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 4:15 pm on Thursday, February 8, 2007

Wayback Wednesday Comes on Thursday This Week…

Come April, I’ll have been doing this blogging thing for two years – both reading and writing them. Blogs have been such a strong source of inspiration for my knitting that a peek into the Wayback Machine is now turning up interesting evidence of how my craft has changed under their influence. Or not changed – you be the judge!

For instance, one year ago, I:

First Knit Picks Order
Received my first Knit Picks order (Feb. 1)

And today, I placed my third one – I need more Options needles!

Finished Clapotis
Finished a Clapotis (Feb. 3)

Doing errands today, I was wearing this Clapotis – and telling Gryphon how I want to knit another one with a lighterweight yarn for less bulk.

Dyed Lace Yarn With Wilton Food Colors
Hand-dyed my second yarn ever, with Wilton Food Colors (Feb. 4)

I haven’t knit this up yet. I’m still searching for the right project. But I love the colors!

Beginning of Kiri Shawl
And I began the Kiri Shawl for the Knitting Olympics (Feb. 10)

Which, of course, I finished just this week!

And Back to Today:

I’ve continued working on my Log Cabin Blanket. The first “crazy” corner is finished, and I’m into the second round of logs on the next section. Working all in solids is definitely turning out nicely, and I’m confident that the entire blanket is going to look good. Pictures tomorrow when there’s a little more to show!

FO’ing the WIP’s, WIP’ing the UFO’s

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:49 pm on Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Let me start today with a hearty Welcome! to new visitors. I’ve noticed a spike in traffic the last couple of days – it appears that a few knitting lists have made mention of the Tinkertoy Swift. For new arrivals, I hope that the Swift doesn’t disappoint you, and that you find other things I’m working on interesting and useful as well.

There are a number of knit-a-longs this year that are focusing on clearing out unfinished objects. I never joined any of them formally, but I seem to be doing that anyhow. The flurry of finished works that I saw around Christmas gave me such a good feeling that I’ve been taking all these half-done pieces and giving them all my attention until I can check them off the list.

Post Mortem: The Kiri Battle

I blocked the Kiri shawl earlier this week. Without the aid of any Vanna White wannabe’s, here are the best pictures I can offer.

FO: Kiri Shawl, Blocked

As you can see, Kiri does a marvelous impression of an elegant tablecloth. The frightening thing is, it actually got me thinking I should modify the pattern to work a complete square….’cause, you know, I really need more projects to work on right now.

FO: Kiri Shawl, Detail

A close view along the center line.

The Details:

Pattern: Kiri Shawl from All Tangled Up (Free)
Yarn: Merino Oro in Ecru, overdyed with five shades of Kool-Aid
Needles: Size 1 Addi Turbos.

Notes: As I’ve mentioned before, gauge played havoc with me on this project. Where the original yarn and needles called for (Kid Silk Haze and size 7’s) would have seen this finished at about 14 repeats of the main pattern chart, my Merino Oro and size 1 needles required me to continue until I’d done about 21 repeats – and even then, my shawl is a fraction the size of the original finished Kiri.

Would I Do This Again? Uh….not sure about that. I mean, I liked Kiri as a first lace pattern, but my errors in gauge reckoning made this a much more tedious knit than I wanted. It actually may be a while before I can wear this without being reminded of the annoying time I had creating it.

What I’d Do Differently: Gauge swatch, and careful calculations! If I’d bothered with these at all, I’d have realized the true scope of the project – and maybe made different choices.

Do I Like It? Yes! I do wish it were larger, but it will wrap nicely for a decorative little shoulder shawl. And I’m especially pleased with how the colors of my Kool-Aid dyeing worked out. I still think it’s getting a little time out to help me shed the memories of the process, though.

Tackling Another UFO

Next up among the ancient UFO’s is my Log Cabin Blanket. It’s been a while since I worked on this, partly because of the holiday knitting frenzy, and partly because it’s getting large enough to be awkward. (The last time I blogged about it was here, I think. Way, way too long ago.)

To refresh your memory, this is intended to be a Queen-sized blanket for my bed. Knit from Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn on size 6 needles, the pattern is my take on the Log Cabin Blanket in the book, Mason Dixon Knitting.

My original plan was to do this all in a single piece. Which means a 90 inch by 90 inch blanket, all in one unit. If that seems unwieldy, well, I’ve knit a Queen-size blanket all in one piece before, so we know I’m not afraid of working on such a large object.

Now, though, I feel like I need to maximize the ease of knitting – and increase the chance of knitting – so that this will actually become a FO sometime soon. I took stock of where I’m at, and made some decisions.

WIP: Log Cabin Blanket

This is what the progress thus far looks like. At the moment, each side of the blanket is about 45 inches. Conveniently, that means I could stop with this round of bands and I’d have exactly one quarter of my finished blanket. New plan, then: knit the blanket in four squares, to be seamed at the end. This means that each piece, while it will be a little unwieldy by the end, will still be portable, making it more likely to be worked on regularly.

I have also concluded that the blanket so far looks a little too busy with all those multi-colored yarns mixed with the solids. What to do? I don’t want to even think about frogging what I’ve got so far and starting with just solid colors – if I were to go that route, I’d just as soon abandon the project and donate the yarn to a rummage sale.

No, I’ve decided to make all three of the other squares using the solid color yarns I chose for the blanket, and not the mixed colors.

WIP: Log Cabin Blanket, Solid Colors

How am I going to get away with having one quarter of the blanket so different in appearance from the others? By borrowing an old IT adage – “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!” The name for this blanket will be Corner the Crazy, which makes the one crazy corner the point of the whole design, and not a flaw.

Sneaky, huh?

You can probably expect to see a lot of this blanket in the coming days, though I may also intersperse it with a smaller, easier on the hands project to keep me sane. With the new plan, and a lot of knitting, I should have my new blanket soon enough!

How To: Cast On Stitches in the Middle of a Knitting Project

Filed under: How To,Knitting — folkcat at 4:20 pm on Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A reader recently sent me this question by e-mail:

I’m in the middle of making baby slippers…a pattern I got off of Lionbrand’s website. It requires you to cast on 10 stitches at the end of a knit row. For some reason I’m drawing a blank. Any advice would help!

Several of my pet knitting projects – Fingerless Mitts, Barefoot Diva Socks – have design features that are basically modified buttonholes. These require binding off a certain number of stitches on one round, and then at a later point (next round on the mitts, several rows later on the socks), casting stitches back on.

Because these projects are worked in the round, they’re not quite the same as casting on extra stitches at the end of a row. But the approach I use may be helpful for either situation.

Most often the advice I see for casting on additional stitches in the middle of a project, or at the end of a row, will recommend using the Backwards E Cast On (video demo found here). I find this is okay if you’re just adding a stitch or two. If you’re casting on a longer section, however, it’s my experience (your mileage may vary) that the Backwards E tends to be tight to knit into, and has an issue of additional slack building up between the stitches – leaving excess loops at your new edge.

What I prefer to use instead is the Cabled Cast On. This gives an elastic edge, with stable stitches to work into on the next round, and can be worked from your current working yarn on your knitting project (without adding in any additional yarn).

There are lots of pictures with this tutorial, so I’m going to put them after the jump. If you want to learn how I cast on in the middle of a row/round, then read on!

(Read on …)

Sometimes, Olympic Dreams are Just a Little Late

Filed under: Knitalongs,Knitting — folkcat at 4:20 pm on Monday, February 5, 2007

Yup. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.

Those of you who’ve been here a while may remember that I signed up for the Knitting Olympics last year. My project? A Kiri shawl. Only I made a yarn substitution that drastically changed the gauge, and, therefore, the amount of time it was going to take to complete the project.

I finally acknowledged last February that there was no way Kiri would be finished by the closing ceremonies. She was put aside to give my hands a rest. Over the last year, I picked her up now and then and worked a few long, tedious rows.

For ages, the concept of when I should declare the shawl “done” has been debatable. I would stretch the work as best I could on the circular needles, trying to guess what blocked size I might have achieved. Last Thursday, I found myself at the end of a repeat – a point where I could decide to begin the edge rows, if I wanted.

I wanted. I guessed I was likely at a shoulder shawl size rather than a full, wrap-me-up and make me feel cuddled size. But I had become so tired of knitting rows that took 40 minutes or longer from end to end, so tired of the tiny little stitches on the tiny little needles.

So tired of the oh-so-pretty, but very repetitious, Kiri pattern.

I began the edging rows Thursday night. I worked at them over the weekend. Finally, during the Super Bowl, I began binding off.

This morning, I gave her a warm soak with a little Eucalan, squeezed her in a rolled up towel, and began pinning her out on a dry towel on my bed.

FO: Kiri Shawl

I know she’ll relax a little when she’s dry and I pull the pins out, but her pinned out wingspan is about 63 inches. Pretty respectable. Neck to point height is about 26 inches. Shorter than I’d originally hoped for, but long enough to be reasonably useful.

The biggest reason I wanted to finish Kiri is that one of my friends had given me a very nice lace shawl pattern for Christmas – the Carnival Glass Shawl from Cherry Tree Hill Yarns. (That link is to a page of shawls that won prizes in a contest they had – the Carnival Glass Shawl is the second one shown.) She included an 8 oz. skein of Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace yarn in the Martha’s Vineyard colorway – an excellent choice because its shades of purple with splashes of other colors remind me of my favorite color of Carnival Glass itself.

Now that Kiri is officially off the needles, I feel free to start another lace project. Except that I don’t have the needle sizes called for in the Carnival Glass pattern. So I’m putting together a shared Knit Picks order with a few friends (so we can collectively meet the free shipping minimum), and in a week or two I should have the tools I need.

Meanwhile, I’ll be picking out another unfinished project to focus on for a bit. What will it be? I think we’ll just have to wait and see!

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