20 July 2008

Summer Sampler Stole, Pattern 8, Lacis Retreat

21 Jul 2008:

Summer Sampler, Pattern 8

So I started eagerly with row 1 of this new pattern, and by the time I get to the end of it, I realize that I am one stitch short. What? I usually double-count after knitting the spacer between patterns, just to be sure that I have the correct number of required stitches for the next pattern. Well ... ok ... guess I miscounted. Hmpf. So I tinked row 1 back, recounted ... now I'm 2 stitches short! What is going on? I take a closer look at my lifeline and see that somehow I must have dropped a stitch while knitting and then another one while tinking back. Whew! Thank God for lifelines! After taking a calming chocolate break, I finished this pattern in one sitting.

WooHoo! -- I sent in my registration for the Urban Retreat at Lacis today - can't wait! I'm really looking forward to meeting
Galina Khmeleva and learning more about Orenburg shawls from her. Besides Lace Knitting, this week-long Lace Making retreat will cover Bobbin Lace, Needle Lace/Lace ID, and Tatting.

14 July 2008

Summer Sampler Stole, Pattern 7

17 Jul 2008: Pattern 7 of the Summer Sampler Stole is done:

Pattern 7 of the Summer Sampler Stole

I couldn't finish it last weekend, because we were busy with yard work, I had some strange pain in my right arm, and - to top it off - I woke up with the worst stiff neck ever!

Anyway, I finished it today ... as you can see I modified the pattern slightly. I thought it wasn't fair for the SSKs to get all the glory, so in pattern repeats 2 and 4 I did K2tog , simply for reasons of symmetry:

Detail of Pattern 7

I had to unravel the button-band and ribbing of my Something Teal Cardigan ... even though I tried it on while knitting, and everything looked to be where it should be, but once I was finished, I thought it would better if the ribbing started a little higher, and I should have placed the button-hole also a bit higher. But even as it is, was, I liked it. So, a few more weeks of boring ribbing to go.

Thanks to halfmaennchen's blog I found this website: Knitting beyond the Hebrides. This is full of very useful information. Go to the Lace Symposium link, then click on Schedule, and then click on the various items in the schedule. Particularly noteworthy is the fabulous pdf you get when you click on the Shetland Lace link. It is a comparison between different lace knitting traditions by Elizabeth Lovick (Shetland, Icelandic, Faeroese, Estonian, Ukrainian, and Orenburg laces), complete with examples, and sample charts. Great info! This will be come in very handy, once I design my own shawl.

Hey, we found another nest of our feral chicken (her name is Henrietta, btw) - this one contained 5 eggs! It was hidden in our mint patch (the eggs did not taste minty, though). It's always such a surprise! More often we find broken eggshells here and there, but every few weeks we discover some intact eggs.

Hellboy II
is a good, fun movie - I had never read the comic and did not see the first movie, but wanted to see this one, because the director was the same one who did Pan's Labyrinth. It was visually stunning, just the opening credits alone are worth seeing. The story itself is a little thin, and felt a little like a mix of Pan's Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars, but the visuals make up for it. Plus Hellboy likes cats ... which immediately puts him into my "Good Guy" category.

And here is a fun quote I heard a few days ago:

The early bird may get the worm, but it's the second mouse who gets the cheese!

Till next time ...

05 July 2008

Summer Sampler Stole, Pattern 6

Pattern 6 of the Summer Sampler Stole is done:

Pattern 6 of the Summer Sampler Stole

The gracefully arching fronds of this pattern remind me of the Maiglöckchen (= Lily of the Valley) pattern I saw in a book I recently purchased ("Maiglöckchen - Variationen eines traditionellen Strickmusters", ISBN 3-8334-1337-9). Except it does not have the nupps of the traditional Estonian pattern. This old pattern seems to enjoy a renewed popularity at this time - it is also featured in the latest issue (Jul/Aug 2008) of Piecework magazine. The book shows how to apply the pattern to different garments and shawls. Here is a picture from the book (used with permission) showing the pattern:

Maiglöckchen pattern

You can see the contents of the book and more photos here. English instructions for a Möbius scarf are also available here (scroll to STR08).

I just love this pattern - it is very graceful and feminine.

01 July 2008

A little bit of personal History

I learned knitting in grade school … back then, in the sixties in Germany, girls had to take needlework (Handarbeiten) classes which consisted of knitting and crochet instruction, while the boys had shop classes. I would have much rather taken shop than needlework – I was a tomboy. I didn’t do too well either, so I was happy when I changed over to high school where these classes were no longer part of the curriculum. A few years later, probably when I was about 15 or 16 years old, and I no longer remember why, I knitted myself a blouson-type sweater with a wide collar and in 3 colors! It turned out quite nicely, and I actually wore it several times (which was huge for me, because I was very insecure about wearing something I made myself).

I didn’t knit anything else for many years after that (marriage, moving to the US, divorce, 2nd marriage, etc.), until several years ago, I again started to make something out of the blue. This time I knit a dog sweater (I had a Doberman back then, and I felt sorry for her not having thick fur to keep her warm at night), and shortly after that – since I had yarn left over … a pair of crocheted socks, without a pattern, just by trying them on (the socks, not the dog sweater) and adjusting and ripping back and re-doing it. It was hideous acrylic yarn! The first sock turned out ok, wearable, but too loose, but since I didn’t try on the second sock (after all, I would remember how I did the first one, right?), I managed to put the heel on the side of the sock instead of where it should be! I still have these socks!!!

Then, again a hiatus of about 2 years. Then I started a crochet blanket, also acrylic, and finished it in a few months – it was a rather boring all-over pattern, and I did mess up attaching the border to it, but that’s only obvious if you actually count the border pattern repeats on each side. It’s dark red, and now protects a chair from cat-hair:

Of course, sometimes I forget to put it there:

I was quite proud of that blanket, actually. At that time I liked crochet more than knitting, so I crocheted a few doilies as gifts. I still have the sample doily:

And I crocheted a sweater for myself (background to doily above).

This sweater is very heavy, somewhat stiff and w-a-r-m. I still wear it sometimes when it gets really cold. It’s an all-over pattern that mimics knitted cables (but only at a distance of about 10 yards!)

That’s when I decided to turn to knitting, because it’s just … more elegant, and less stiff. Of course, I should have used bigger needles or thinner yarn, but at that time I just used what I had. Don't get me wrong, I think crochet can be beautiful in the form of lace, or decorations, but for garments, I prefer knitting. So I did a few easy knitting projects (scarves, placemat, a few hats, and stuff like that) to warm up. At that time (probably about 2002) I also started to read knitting books, and became more interested in different techniques. I decided to make my husband a sweater with an all-over cable pattern which took me a few months, but turned out quite well. I even seamed it together perfectly (the sweater itself is not perfect, and now I would use a different yarn, a different pattern and a different color! -- OK, a whole different sweater!).

After I asked him why he wasn't wearing it, he finally admitted that he did not like the collar and rolled hems, so I re-did these parts – which was easy, because by then I had read Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. I love EZ! She taught me so much!

Since then I have been knitting (and buying knitting books) continuously, and have always one to three projects going (usually one sock project, one bigger/more complicated project, and one that’s in a boring phase). That’s pretty much my limit. I can’t understand how people have 20 or 30 WIPs going at the same time. Whenever I pick up a project after working on another one for a while, I have to read the instructions again, double-check where I left off, and just “get into it” again. It’s a mystery to me how someone can just switch between so many projects.

So that’s my knitting history … currently I am expanding my horizon by lace-knitting. After practicing a bit, I plan to design my own shawl. Just following a pattern all the time gets boring real quickly – I love to experiment and do my own thing – it’s the same with cooking … I only follow the recipe once, then I adjust it. (Never mind that this sometimes led to disaster …)

Other things I like: Cats ... and dogs (all animals, actually), reading, gardening, yoga, the TV series “Reaper”, and traveling (I’ve been to Tunisia, Italy, South Africa, France, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Canada).

Till next time.