26 October 2008

Orenburg Shawl Samples - the beginning

Yesterday I started knitting my first Orenburg “Sample Shawl”, and finished it today. (The sample shawl pattern is in both the Gossamer Webs Design Collection and in Gossamer Webs - Orenburg Lace Shawls both by Galina Khmeleva). I made some errors, but I got the basics down. I did not bother to correct them since for this first sample I was mainly interested in the border technique.

Orenburg Sample Shawl 1 - plain center

If you look at the picture you can see that up to the yellow line, I kept slipping the first stitch of the inner border. Sometimes I knit 3 stitches from the outside border when I was supposed to only knit 2 and vice versa. If you look at the 2 holes traversed by the yellow line on the left side you will see that in that area the sequence of holes is incorrect. Every now and then I was in a knitting trance and forgot the last YO of the center stitches ... which is why I lost one stitch in the top center row, so I had to fudge the top border.

The grafting technique was new to me: Slip one stitch to the left needle, slip the second stitch on the left needle through the slipped stitch and slip to right needle, then do v.v. for the second stitch on the right needle, and so on, until you only have one stitch left, which you then tie off with a knot. I’m not fond of knots, so will have to ask Galina at the upcoming workshop whether there is an alternative.

On to the next sample - I want to try out as many of the traditional patterns in the book as possible before the workshop.

Till next time.

25 October 2008

Summer Sampler Stole finished !!

A few days ago I finished the Summer Stole Stole by Bad Cat Designs, soaked it for a few hours and then blocked it (took me about one hour), crawling around it on the floor and sticking needles into a blocking board and a towel, and yet another towel. It turned out a bit bigger than I expected, even though I knew it would be larger than a "normal" lace stole, because I used fingering-weight wool and 5 mm needles. It weighs 14 7/8 oz and measures about 27.5" by 8'. Thank you, BadCat, for a lovely design and a great knit-along!

Here it is blocking ...

and here it is afterwards:

I am glad this project is done - now I can start knitting samples in the Orenburg lace style in preparation for the lace-making retreat at the Lacis Museum in February.

On another note: I have started to make my own kefir - it is delicious! I received the kefir-grains from someone living near-by through a kefir-grains-sharing website. I was really surprised how fast the milk turned into kefir - it only takes about 24 hours.

Till next time.

19 October 2008


I mentioned before that we have a feral chicken in the neighborhood, who frequently visits our back yard (probably because of the abundance of our organically grown bugs) ... Well, after returning from our road trip, we saw her once, then she disappeared. We already resigned ourselves to the sad fact that she finally must have become dinner for a hawk that had been eying her for a while, when she showed up again last Thursday. And she brought company:

Nice-looking rooster, eh?

As you can see he’s quite handsome: nice, shiny colors, and, of course, a healthy “cock-a-doodle-doo”. He’s much more scared of us than Henrietta, but like her, ignores the cats. Where this rooster came from, we have no idea – we live in suburbia. I'm wondering whether Henrietta visits a coop in the neighborhood, and breaks out other chickens. We don't know yet what to do with him, because we certainly do not want to breed chickens in our backyard. (Does anyone know any good rooster-catching techniques?) But they do make a good-looking pair:

Henrietta and Henry

Our deck is almost done: the sides still need to be enclosed, but we are already using it. It is much bigger than the old deck, and much sturdier:

New deck

Oh, and our old water heater broke – it started leaking, so we replaced it with a boiler – which is much more efficient. I hadn’t realized how corroded the old one was – now it takes me only a third of the time to fill my bathtub.

And on the knitting front: I hope to finish my Summer Sampler Study Stole today!! During the last two weeks I forced myself to just keep knitting the border and not stop every time I become bored with it (which would happen very quickly). It's fairly big, because I used Alpaca fingering-weight yarn, not lace yarn, so I will have to block it on the carpet. Then I’ll move on to work on Orenburg-style shawl samples to prepare for the workshop at the Lacis Museum in February.

And we just found out that my father-in-law will be visiting us in 10 days ... off to do some cleaning ;-)

Till next time.