Thursday, August 31, 2006

Birthday Loot

Behold the prezzies bestowed on me Tuesday night by my Stitch 'n Bitch grrls:

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Clockwise from top left:

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Seriously, look at all this fabulous hand-made goodness. I feel extremely fortunate to belong to such a wonderful group of knitters, spinners, soap-makers, dyers, & artists. Thanks grrls, not just for the prezzies and the sugary goodies, but for putting up with me every Tuesday evening!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Swallowtail Shawl

Margene kindly agreed to hold my Swallowtail Shawl for a photo:

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Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark
Source: Interweave Knits, fall '06 issue
Yarn: 1 skein Misti Alpaca laceweight
Needle: 4mm (U.S. #6)
Finished Dimensions: 52 inches across the wingspan and 26 inches down the center back

Notwithstanding the nupps, which are a bit slow to work on the purl side, this was a fast knit. I spent less than 3 days actually knitting on it. Now that the shawl is completed, I stand by my original observation that the three different stitch patterns used in the design do not transition into each other smoothly. But, I didn't alter the pattern by recharting the transitions because I'm wearing it to a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday so I was in a rush to finish it.

Tomorrow . . . photos of birthday swag from my Stitch 'N Bitch grrls.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Got Nupps?

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My Swallowtail Shawl is done and blocked. Better photos tomorrow if I can persuade someone at Stitch 'N Bitch™ to model it for me tonight.

Don't forget to enter my contest but please don't leave the answer in the comments where everyone can see it. K? Just send me an email by clicking on the link I created in the post.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Easiest Contest Ever

I haven’t hosted a contest in a while so here goes.

Study this photo carefully:


Then send me an email by clicking here, telling me where the photo was taken. If your name is chosen at random from all the correct entries, you’ll win this bar of fantastic soap which was hand-made by Laurie.

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I’ve tried nearly all of Laurie’s soaps and can vouch for their amazingness so this bar is a real treat.

As a bonus, if you can also correctly guess the name of the woman who is holding the sock in the photo, you’ll also win a free copy of my new pattern which will be unveiled later this week. Here’s a hint – her name appears somewhere on my blog and has been there non-stop since last March.

Good luck!

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday Prepositions

In the sky

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On the feet

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From the luggage

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My vacation was fun, but exhausting. I guess after 20 years of living in the West, I'm no longer able to tolerate high levels of oppressive heat and humidity. Although I met up with two friends who guffawed when I voiced my weather complaints; they both said the weather had mellowed from prior weeks. Yikes. Anyway, between the heat and the walking and spending 10 days in the close company of two warring teenagers, I feel like I've aged a year.
Hey, wait, I did age a year! Thanks to everyone who left me happy birthday wishes.

I hope to spend some time this weekend getting my new pattern ready for sale and marshaling the energy to finish up some UFOs. Oh, and I've got a contest planned for Monday so check back if you want to win some delicious hand-made soap.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006


I’ve set my Norwegian mitten aside for the time being since I really need a portable project and it doesn’t fit the bill right now. But, instead of finishing up any number of perfectly portable projects that are already on the needles, I started something new.

I recently subscribed to Interweave Knits, having previously been content to purchase individual copies at my LYS. But, IK is running a killer deal–5 issues for less than $20–so I succumbed. My last experience with the IK subscription service was less than pleasant, but this time my first issue arrived very quickly. Wonder if they’re using a different company to handle subscriptions.

Anyway, I was immediately attracted to the Swallowtail Shawl because the design incorporates the Lily of the Valley stitch, one of my favorites. It’s a fast knit; I cast on last night and have already completed 10 repeats of the Budding Lace pattern.

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A couple of observations about this pattern. The transition from the Budding Lace pattern to the Lily of the Valley pattern looks somewhat awkward to me. Anyone else think that? Or does it just appear that way in the photo? I might add a row of eyelets or something since the two designs don't appear to flow into each other anyway.

Second, I didn’t use the provisional cast-on method to begin my shawl. Although I love that method when the first pattern repeat begins with many stitches, like some of the top-down Faroese shawls in Myrna Stahman’s excellent book, I don’t think it’s really necessary for this shawl. Instead, I cast on 5 stitches, knit 2 rows, then worked the following two rows:
k2, yo, k1, yo, k2
k2, p3, k2
This gave me the required 7 stitches to begin the Budding Lace chart and it was considerably easier.

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It looks fine to me. But what do I know.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Slight Of Hand

Now you see it:

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Now you don't:

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After working feverishly to finish the first Norwegian mitten that was featured in Saturday's post, I excitedly removed the waste yarn from the stitches at the thumb opening and discovered the hand was too short. *DAMN*

I rarely knit mittens but I certainly learned a lesson from this latest experience. After knitting about an inch above the thumb opening, it would be wise to open up the thumb stitches and place them on some waste yarn. Then you can try the mitten on and knit the hand until it actually fits. *doh*

Is this some well-known trick employed by all you mitten knitters? Am I the last to the thumb party?

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Prepositions

In the sky: whispy clouds after a night of spectacular lightening and rain.

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From the wheel here's 275 yards of fingering-weight 2-ply I spun from Kate's merino/alpaca/silk roving. Margene and I both bought some at Three Wishes last Friday. Margene, who is much more organized than me, has a photo of the unspun roving here.

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Click on this photo if you want an extreme close-up:
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I'm really excited over the prospect of taking a dyeing class from Kate at the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair. I'm such a transparent groupie when it comes to her hand-dyed rovings that the owner of Three Wishes sent me an email when she got a new shipment. I had to buy one of every colorway; wouldn't you?

On the Holz & Stein rosewood (yum!) needles, a mitten that I'm knitting from the book Selbustrikk, an absolutely amazing pattern booklet sent to me last week by Kate in Norway:

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quick Gift

What do you get when you mix a 50g skein of Mandarin Petite with a set of 2.75mm bamboo double-points?

A soap sock, of course.

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I needed a quick gift for a Friday dinner party so I combed the stash for a project that could be made in a night. The Mandarin Petite was very nice to work with and since the cast-on was only 39 stitches I finished the project in due course. Yay, an FO, albeit a small one that almost can't even be called a project. But, hey, it came out cute.

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The pattern was in a booklet self-published by a local knitter. I got my copy at The Wool Cabin but I'm not sure they carry it any more. Oh, but wait, you can buy it from Nancy Bush by clicking here.

Even better than the quickness of the knit is the fact that the soap gracing the inside of the sock was made by moi! Well, kinda. I wore Katherine down a few weeks ago with my begging and she kindly took an evening to teach me how to make soap. How fun and dangerous both at the same time; the lye part was thrilling but riddled with potential disaster. Anyway, I can't claim that I actually made the soap since Katherine did most of the making, but I did a lot of the stirring. And I chose the scent combination, which was a mixture of orange and cedar. Nice.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Help Wanted

Update: Thanks for the fantastic response to my "help wanted" ad!
I found a test knitter and hopefully the pattern will be available in a week or two.

I'm hoping someone out there is willing to lend me a hand with something. I'm in the process of finalizing a new pattern: an extremely basic lace shoulder shawl. I've made two of them with no problems but I would love to have someone else test knit and give me some feedback before I offer it for sale. Ideally, I'm looking for someone who has knit a little bit of lace (or at least knows how to work yarnovers and decreases), but has never made a shoulder shawl. You'll also need your own skein of Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool. I can't offer much, other than a free copy of the pattern and this large hank of my handspun yarn.

Any takers? Email me if you're interested and I'll give you more details. Picky, hyper-critical people are particularly welcome to apply.

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Monday, August 07, 2006


The two sock patterns I recently completed for Knit Picks have just been added to their online catalogue. Unfortunately, the photos on their site need to be revamped, so here are a couple I took before I shipped the socks off.

The first sock, the pattern for which can be found here, has a braided "ribble" (i.e., reversible cable) on the leg and 1x1 ribbing down the foot. The toe is a round toe.

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I can highly recommend the yarn they sent me to complete this sock; it was soft and knit up nicely. There was very good definition on the cables.

The second sock pattern can be found here.

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This one has a large lace cuff, lines of lace down the leg, and a plain foot.

I can't say enough good things about the yarn I used for this sock which Knit Picks is calling "Gloss." It compares favorably to Regia Silk and the finished socks felt like heaven; I almost shed a tear when I was forced to mail them away. I'm thinking the yarn would make a great shawl, albeit slightly heavier than laceweight, since the fabric would drape beautifully.

There you have it; how I spent my summer vacation. Well, actually, there's one more sock to come. Check MagKnits on September 1st (she says crossing fingers).

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saturday Prepositions

In the sky:

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From the wheel:

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On the needles:

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thunder and Lightening and Wind – Oh, My!

A wild, crazy storm blew through Salt Lake on Tuesday and my neighborhood was particularly hard-hit by torrential rain and 70-80 mph winds. Our house was spared any major damage, although the clean-up from some flooding in DS’s bedroom is ongoing. My neighbors were not quite as fortunate. This tree at the top of my street was hit by lightening and split right in half.

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The impact of the lightening strike caused my neighbor’s bay window to shatter.

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Trees (and power lines) are down everywhere; many fell on houses, cars, and garages.

Some trees were snapped at the base:

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Others, like this huge one directly across the street from my house were uprooted:

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Although I have a new sock-in-progress to show you, knitting and blogging will have to take a back seat to cleaning up this week.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Got Handspun?

Check out the August issue of Magknits.

Lots of cute ideas for using small bits of handspun.

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Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.