22 December 2008

Mended Spider Webs and Hanami Progress

Bad Cat has another little contest: Send in "the most amazing, fiber-related pictures" you find on the web.

I sent a link to this picture:

This artist did a whole series of mended spiderwebs!!! Isn't this amazing?

Progress on the Hanami stole is slow, I'm a little over half-way through the first basketweave repeat, and can now see the pattern emerging:

I am knitting rather slowly, because my needles are very slick and the yarn is sooo thin! Knitting with it has made me realize that I need to take better care of my hands - the tiniest loose piece of dry skin will snag on the yarn!

Oh, and if you are looking for a good movie to watch: I can highly recommend "The Tale of Despereaux" - it's a beautiful movie!

Take care!

20 December 2008


So ... looking over my Ravelry queue and my hardcopy projects-to-be (yeah, it’s a 3-inch binder with printed out patterns), I was zeroing in more and more on the Hanami stole by Melanie Gibbons (you can also find it on Ravelry). About 3 weeks ago I ordered some beads and teeny-tiny crochet hooks from the Beadwrangler – they arrived very quickly; and some Grignasco MerinoSilk from Woolworks, which also arrived promptly in the form of two gigantic hanks. No problem, I thought, I made do without a swift and only a yarn winder for years, so I hung it over the yarn winder to wind it by hand (I didn't have any suitable chair backs, and my husband is not patient enough!). Let me say here also that this is my first lace-weight yarn ever! Winding was slow, but I made reasonable progress – sort of (well, a ball of about 2 inches diameter after winding carefully (!) for over an hour), only the hank started to look more and more like a bird's nest:

With razor-sharp logic I concluded that I had to stop right now, before I made things irreparably un-entanglable, and get a yarn swift. Checking ebay, I found a guy who makes swifts himself; so I ordered one and it arrived from the east coast (I’m in California) in 3 days! In the description of his swifts he says they have the seal of approval from his wife. I heartily concur.

My new favorite gadget - a yarn swift

I was able to save the entangled partial hank.Here are the swift and yarn winder in action (unfortunately, the camera flash blurred the white part of the yarn winder and the white yarn together, but it's there!

Yarn swift and ball winder in action

And this is what I ended up with:

Hank of Grignasco MerinoSilk and the equivalent balls of yarn

The round ball is my own work (approximately 25% of one hank), the smaller, neato ball is the second 25% of the hank, and the large ball represents the other half of the hank. Winding 75% of the yarn using the swift and ball winder together took maybe 15 minutes – versus over an hour for my hand-wound yarn ball! I love my swift already! By the way that yarn is kitten-soft - you touch it and it feels like petting the softest cat you ever had!

So, after finally having the yarn in usable condition, I immediately cast on for the Hanami stole. Boy, the cast-on row must have taken me a good 30 minutes or more – you have to slip a bead onto every other stitch with a tiny crochet hook. After about 20 beads I had the technique down, but I still had to proceed very carefully.

This is the first time I am actually using lace-weight yarn, and I was constantly afraid to either tear it (I’m a tight knitter by nature), or that it would slip off my needles (slick Addis). Those first few rows were downright nerve-wrecking!

Can you see the beads in the cast-on row?

These are the cast-on row and the first 6 garter-stitch rows, with a lifeline after row 5. (The lifeline is the yellow cotton thread just underneath the cable and is thicker than the yarn itself. Ready for the basket-weave pattern.

And some good news: the lace-making retreat organized by the Lacis Museum will take place! You can now sign up for individual days, instead of for the whole retreat.

Take care!

07 December 2008

New Acquisitions

Friday's mail brought 2 great books: Oma’s Strickgeheimnisse (Grandma's Knitting Secrets) by Eichenseer, Grill and Krön, and Poems of Color by Wendy Keele.

My two new books

Poems of Color describes the history of the beautiful, colorful Bohus sweaters, the techniques, and includes some patterns, with colored charts. A great resource and interesting reading.

Oma’s Strickgeheimnisse is a German book of patterns, most of which date back to the years 1815 to 1870. Each pattern is charted only (with German chart symbols, of course – clearly explained in the front of the book), and – this is very helpful – provides separate charts for knitting it in the round and back-and-forth.

This pattern is called Perlmutter-Fächer (Mother-of-Pearl Fan)

The photos are clear, and in some cases variations are shown:

This pattern is called Floras Gaben (= Flora’s Bounty)

The top version was knitted in the round, the bottom version was knit back-and-forth.

The patterns are grouped into Strips, Ladders, Flowers and Leaves, Bugs and Beetles and so on, obviously named after things encountered in everyday life on the farms and in the villages, where most of the patterns evolved.

So far I’ve knitted 4 Orenburg Sample shawls, here is the latest:

This is the Fish Eyes pattern, plus Border 1 from the book

The Gossamer Webs Design Collection by Galina Khmeleva

I also finished my Something Teal cardigan:

Something Dark Teal cardigan

The sleeves are 3/4 sleeves. I might re-do the border again, because it looks rather stretched, but for now I'm declaring it done. The pattern is Something Red by Wendy Barnard. More details are on my Ravelry page (gjabouri).

The bad news is that the Lacis Museum’s “A Week of Lacemaking” Urban Retreat might not take place. Apparently they are still short a few people (some who signed up canceled due to the bad economy) – so if you were thinking about joining (and can still afford it), please sign up.

Take care.