Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#5 for 2010

My shawl kick continues. I haven't officially signed up for 10 shawls in 2010, but if I continue at my current pace, I just might match that goal.

Pattern: Brandywine Shawl [Ravelry link] by Rosemary Hill
Yarn: J. Knits Superwash Me Sock, colorway Mississippi, less than one skein
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) and US 8 (5.0 mm -- for bind off only)
Started/Completed: June 3/June 18
Mods: none

I first heard about this pattern via the Knitmore Girls podcast. Jasmin and Gigi decided to knit it as a "Knitmore-along" and I decided to play along. A nice perk of buying this pattern is that it supports a good cause: $5 of the purchase price from each pattern goes to relief efforts in Haiti.

I've knit a fair amount of triangular shawls in my day, but I've never knit a shawl with a construction quite like this. The shawl starts at the bottom of the triangle and is worked up to the top. The points along the side are worked by increasing for several rows and then binding off four stitches at the beginning of two rows. At the same time, the size of the shawl increases by two stitches every right side row with yarnovers on either side of the garter stitch triangle at the center. Finally, the shawl is bound off along the top by way of a reverse I-cord bind off.

These pictures don't capture the color very well; in real life, it's a semisolid royal purple. There was a little bleeding in the wash, but the color doesn't seem to have dimished at all.

This was a really fun knit, as you can probably tell by how quickly it knit up given my knitting schedule these days. I'm also ready to participate in the next Knitmore-along, which is apparently going to be the seven shawls in Romi's new e-book. The first pattern is Merope, for which I picked up some JaggerSpun Zephyr in a pale gray at Natural Stitches last week.

A certain someone would also like you to know that this shawl is Rainbow approved!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Go Fish

Those of you who have been following my spinning know I have a favorite dyer. I discovered Kristin of All Spun Up about two years ago, shortly after I bought my wheel. I can still remember finishing the first yarn I spun from her fiber. Shortly after that, I discovered the ASU Ravelry group and started participating in the ASU spinalongs. For these spinalongs, we usually know what the fiber is, but the colorway is a mystery. Over the course of two months, all of the participants spin their fiber and share photos of their yarn on the ASU board. It's a great way to get inspired and gather ideas for future spinning projects.

In recent months, there has been quite a response by those of us on the ASU board to a particular colorway, so much so that Kristin -- who usually doesn't name her colorways and rarely repeats them -- was begged to dye more of it. One member of the group called this colorway Goldfish Wearing a Tutu, and the name stuck. Braids of this colorway, like most of Kristin's fiber, would fly off the virtual shelves in her Etsy store when they were listed, and they became in high demand. I managed to get one braid by sheer luck (you saw it a few months ago). Soon, there began to be talk of having a spinalong with just this colorway, because there were so many people who wanted some of it and hadn't been lucky enough to get some in an update.

The great thing about Kristin is that she really listens to her customers and delivers. She announced that this summer, there would be a Goldfish Wearing a Tutu spinalong, and this time the colorway would be on Polwarth, which seems to be one of the hot fibers of the moment.

But that was not all. Kristin had decided that this would be one of three colorways for the spinalong. She'd created another fish-themed colorway called Koi Pond.

Finally, to keep the mystery alive in the spinalong, there would be a third mystery colorway available for purchase. My fiber arrived on Friday and I finally got to see the surprise -- this one is called A Somewhat Seuss-ish Trout. I love it as well.

These are all Polwarth, which I have not spun yet but am really looking forward to. The fiber, as always, is beautifully prepped and gorgeously dyed. GWAT and Koi Pond will likely both be chain plied, but the Trout will be up first (just as soon as I finish up what's currently on my wheel). I'm thinking this will be a two-ply fingering weight.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Worth the Wait (or So I Hope)

It's been a while since I last blogged and I've been waiting to post until I had some good material. I've been working on a project that I at least think was worth the wait. So please forgive the large number of photos, but I couldn't resist.

Pattern: Haruni (Ravelry link) by Emily Ross
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy (100% superwash merino), colorway Night Watch, one skein
Needles: 32" US 4 (3.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: May 12/June 2
Mods: did not slip the first stitch of the border

When I started this shawl, I was unsure if I could manage to get the whole thing out of my one skein of Smooshy. So I got out my trusty scale and measured the full skein to start. Lucky for me, Dream in Color seems to have generous skeins, so rather than the 113 grams the label said were in the skein, I had 120. I weighed what was left of the skein after each repeat of Chart A, because I had been advised that the border took half of the total yarn. Amazingly after I finished the specified number of repeats for Chart A, I had exactly half of my yarn left. After I bound off, I had only a tiny amount left over -- only about 2.5 grams. Talk about cutting it close!

Blocking was an interesting process. I'm used to knitting shawls that have points along the border, which are really easy to block out with blocking wires. The lovely crochet cast off on Haruni, however, results in a series of loops along the entire edge -- and each loop has to be pinned out individually. It look a lot of pinning and repinning to get things to where I wanted them.

Although I've knit a fair amount of lace in my time, this shawl was a bit of a challenge for me. The charts were a bit irregular in that the repeats aren't always predictable, so this was definitely a pattern that required a fair bit of attention. The border is also an exercise in perseverance, because you increase a huge number of stitches over the first half of Chart B before decreasing most of them in the second half of the chart. Those long rows take a long time!

Overall, I am really, really pleased with this shawl. It was nerve-wracking at the end to see if my yarn would hold out, but the result of all the work is a really stunning piece, in my opinion. I might have to make another one of these someday.