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Friday, July 4, 2014

“It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” Terry Pratchett

Although the quote, from "A Hatful of Sky", was not written to describe knitting, 
I think it applies.

After all the miles of yarn that have run through my hands, I am still amazed at what a needle or 2, and a few fingertip tricks can conjure up.


Introducing Wheaten.

Knit here in a hand-dyed semi-solid fingering weight from Fleur de Fiber, a souvenir from last years Chicago adventure.  It drapes, hangs and wraps wonderfully, and can be worn in may ways.  Even in the heat of high summer, I can see it wrapped snugly as a scarf - but in the meantime it will keep the chill of sudden AC off my back.
Check out the test knit by Larcyarn made of Kismet Soul!  That color!!

For the 4th of July, I plan to celebrate with a vat of Indigo Dye.  The supplies arrived yesterday and today I mix it up.  If you live in the area, come over for a little dip.

Keep an eye on Instagram for some of our results.


Speaking of Instagram, I celebrated my 3rd anniversary of publishing patterns with a giveaway there.  New friends were made and a dozen patterns gifted.  
It has been 3 fantastic years, thank you all!

Also on Instagram (can you tell it's my new favorite?) there will be a KAL with Whitney of The New River Fiber Company in Blacksburg VA.  Details will be up soon!

High Summer.  
That means a ton of vegetables from our wonderful CSA.  
We made Pickled Beets yesterday, tweaking this recipe by swapping ACV for the Tarragon Vinegar and adding a few whole cloves.
     

Of course there have been Onion Tarts, and I'm dreaming up new things to make with with the abundance of squashes. 




 A very happy holiday weekend to us all.



Friday, June 20, 2014

Swatching in the Round

I have really enjoyed following Ysolda's (week) daily blog, 
most especially this one about accurate swatching for in-the-round knitting.
My technique is a little different.
Here is a generous swatch, 40 stitches equalling about 6 inches in width.  
I've worked back and forth in the rib for a few rows, just for a base.

I did a little math, and estimate that one row takes about 32 inches of yarn. 
 I measured the relaxed yarn and made a slip knot at the 32 inch mark.
Do this straight of course, it's just circled round for a tidy picture.


Push the work back to the beginning of the right side and begin knitting with the attached, not the ball end of the measured yarn.  


You can see the loop at the end shows that 32 was just a few inches too long.  
If it had been a few stitches short in length, I would have just slipped them, 
unworked, and added a few inches to the next measure.  


Now knit across with the ball end, then repeat with a looped end.

With a flat swatch for knitting in-the-round it is important, IMHO, to use the very same needle that you will for the garment, and to make the swatch large enough so that you are only counting the inside area for information.  
Whatever method you do use, the edges will most likely not read true to gauge.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Ending the Cowl and an Update on (some of the) Other Work.



                                                      Both the Cowl & Capelet are complete!
                       Here are a few tips for tidier finishing for this, and many other projects.


When ending, I always extend the last stitch several inches and cut the center.  
Pull the ball end out and there you have your tail.  
When working in the round, I like to make an invisible join by running the tail 
under both strands of the first bind off.


Run the tail back into the last bound off stitch.


Snug it up, even with the others, and run or weave the end in.  
Here I used the end to snug up the last yarn over, which was a little loopier from 
being in the selvedge of the garter rows.


: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :




Haley is modeling the Restoration Cowl made of those beautiful skeins of Clara Yarn.  
She managed some serious good cheer on one of the hottest days of the year.


The longer, chunkier Capelet in Quince & Company Osprey.

<a href="http://www.ravelry.com/purchase/nellknits/213679"><img src="http://www.ravelry.com/images/shopping/buy-now.gif" border="0"/></a>


 (because she could doesn't mean she would)

Some things from my knitting basket :




Working along on the 2nd sleeve of a wonderful pullover in Dance.  The color is Titania, which is really what I'd consider a Celadon, not the lovely but incorrect grey captured here.


Ready to work the knitted tubular bind off and make a thumb decision for this mitt, 
part of the  Kismet Abundant set.
The color is completely yum.


And I'm mostly back on track with this Habu, the top of which I have reknit thrice.  
Good Tip : Mark your increases and decreases with removable markers as you go along! 
I especially love this coil-less variety, but only have them in the same shade as this yarn.  
I may need to search out silver or brass...  


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Beginning a Cowl, and ClaraYarn




Two beautiful skeins of Sapphire Clara Yarn Cormo 1.0 have found a new home.
I know.  I always am in love with the yarn I'm using.
But.
I am in Big LOVE with this beautiful yarn.  It's bouncy and squishy, yet crisp and firm.

I'd been playing with a new stitch pattern, which should be perfect in a cowl.
  I want to share a few favorite techniques as I work:


I've cast on my border stitches, plus one.  
The garter border is worked flat, knitting every row.
On the final row, which is the right side, work to the final stitch. 
Join by working the first and last stitch together.

The benefits are : When bringing the selvedges together for the join, 
it is more difficult to twist the cast on edge.  
Working the 2 stitches together secures the join and makes a twist, after-the-fact, impossible.
The tail must be woven in, and might as well make a tiny seam.
The extra stitch is incorporated in that tiny seam.


Because the pattern begins with the first stitch of the round, 
the join should be worked before placing the beginning of the round marker.  

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Arvid.

This is up. 
My secret project for about 9 months,
a familiar timeframe.


image : brooklyntweed

I'm pleased and proud.
And, to be in in the company of all of these beauties.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Stitches South

This past weekend was Stitches South.  I worked at In the Making on Friday & Saturday.  
The booth was beautiful, featuring some of my favorites : all of the Habu; 
Quince & Co's Tern, Chickadee, Sparrow and the Owls.  
So many beautiful and tempting color palettes!  
I was also introduced to Big Bag Wool Weepacaa creation of the shop owner.  
It's a fantastic blend of Merino & Baby Alpaca, spun into a light worsted and perfect for little ones as it is also washable.  

Although I walked around several times, I did not manage to get into every booth.  It was wonderful to run into so many friends and acquaintances - and to make new ones.

My new love is Kismet Fiber Works.  Run by two lovely young women and beautiful colors in wonderful bases, it was hard to choose just one something to sample.  
Until I saw this.  


It's called Larc's Song, the most wonderful semisolid grellow ever.  
The base is Abundant, 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere & 10% Nylon.

No in-the-skein glamour shot as it was immediately wound into a ball while onsite - and then swatched.  I adore the color depth and the hand.  This would be my favorite sweater.  Brilliantly, the label is attached to the yarn by a knotted elastic hair tie dyed in  the same batch.  Functional & Fantastic.  
That alone might sway a few more skeins to fall into your basket, right?


I always love sweet Kate at Dragonfly Fibers.  I picked up a sweaters worth of her gorgeous Dance Rustic Silk.  My goal is to deliver that sweater to SAFF, the next fiber event that I'm planning to attend.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Accumulator.


I have collected colorful plastic straight needles for years.  
In fact, several sets belonged to my mother & to her mother and 
were well used by me before they became

Vintage.

Many now belong to my youngest daughter, 
who carries on the knitting tradition.




















There have been love affairs with so many types of needle.  


The oh-so spendy in ebony & rosewood, several sets of interchangeable, and non-interchangeables in every tip, shaft & cable.



I'm pairing down to 3 'sets'. May they ever remain my favorites.




What's New on Those Needles?








I'm working on reviving a favorite old pattern in many more sizes, with much more 
explicit direction. 
It's in test knit phase now.




















Another Ricochet is in Haley's hands. 

This one in Kid Silk Haze and 
MadTosh Merino Light.  

It is a thing of ethereal beauty.










And always the Habu Tsumugi.  
I'm nearly done with figuring out how to end this piece.  Thoughts are focussed on the neckline, and avoiding too many ends in sticky-but-not-too-easy-to-weave-in-silk.  
The body is perfect.  I'm ready.  I hope to share it soon.