theraineysisters knitting and so much more

March 5, 2007

From Sally — Final Pictures of Feather and Fan

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl — surly @ 8:42 pm

I should have put on heels and a swirly dress to show off the shawl post-blocking, but I didn’t. Here are a few final photographs of the grey behemoth.

A close up of the cable detail (which I did every three pattern repeats):

A shot of it folded in half around the shoulders:

A twirling shot:

On another note:

I should have put on heels and a swirly dress to show off the shawl post-blocking, but I didn’t. Here are a few final photographs of the grey behemoth. A close up of the cable detail (which I did every three pattern repeats): A shot of it folded in half around the shoulders: A twirling shot: On another note: A few months ago, I wrote about the new Knit Picks needle sets. (You can see my post on them here.) I was quite happy with them, but after an incident last night I thought I should issue a brief warning/update. Having finished the grey shawl, I wanted to cast on a new one to have on the needles. I decided to use one of that set and laboriously cast on 624 stitches. As I was knitting the first row, the needle came apart. You screw the cord to the needle, and sometimes the needle will come unscrewed. That wasn’t the problem last night, though. Instead, the cord actually pulled out of the metal piece that you use to screw the cord into the appropriate needle tip. Because of the type of cast on I was using and the fact that the yarn was 100% silk, my entire cast on was lost. I’m sure Knit Picks will replace the cord for me, but right now I’m not sure I even want them to. I’m trying to make the lost hours of casting on into a positive: I wasn’t that happy with the cast on specified by the pattern so I am going to use a different one AND I think I will switch to an Addi Natura (bamboo) needle because the yarn is so slippery. I rarely knit with bamboo or wood, but in this case I think it’s a good idea. Sadly, I don’t own a needle in the right size and length, so I am temporarily stymied. Back to Eris I go.

March 3, 2007

From Sally — The Feather & Fan Shawl Is Blocked and Drying

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl — Sally @ 6:00 pm

Whew. That was a lot of pinning. A lot. It’s probably already dry — I had to keep spraying it just to be able to finish blocking. But I am leaving it pinned for a few more hours lest I suffer the nightmare of “springing back.” Here are some photos of it being blocked.

I stood on a chair to try to get a better shot, but I couldn’t get the entire shawl in the photograph.

Here is a close up.

In answer to Susan’s question: it’s about 63 inches in diameter.

From Sally — The Feather & Fan Shawl Is Finished (almost)

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl — Sally @ 12:28 pm

The crocheted edge is finished and the shawl is happily soaking in a tub of lavender-scented Eucalan — just waiting to be blocked. Here are a few photos of the almost finished shawl.

This one was taken when I had cast off somewhere between a third and half of the stitches:

Here it is in all of its pre-blocking glory:

And here are two skeins of a beautiful hand-dyed 100% silk laceweight yarn from Sundara — my next shawl. The color is a bit darker and deeper than it looks here and because it’s silk there is more sheen as well. It’s really what I call “Kate Spade” red. Click here to see the color a bit better.

March 1, 2007

From Sally — Miles to Crochet Before I Sleep

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl — Sally @ 5:26 pm

I knit the last stitch of the Feather & Fan Shawl this morning. Thanks to all of you for your understanding of my need to knit those last four rows. Checking off the last row of the chart was very satisying.

Then I realized I could not find a crochet hook approaching the size I need for the crocheted cast off, despite the fact that it feels as if I buy a crochet hook every time I step into a yarn store.

My response was to go get a salt scrub and a massage (in part to alleviate the pain and tension in my shoulder from knitting the shawl in the first place). Feeling way too relaxed to drive legally, I nevertheless made my way to the closest local yarn store. They did not have a single crochet hook in stock. In any size. Say what? I did finally find the crochet hook of my dreams across town at their sister store. I am now starting the very slow — especially for me — process of casting off the grey behemoth. I am not a great crocheter; I find it clumsy, awkward, and tedious. If practice makes perfect, I’m bound to improve. (Get it? Bound to improve? ‘Cause I’m binding off. Yeah — I know it was lame.)

February 28, 2007

From Sally — No Need for Knitting Police

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl,Uncategorized — Sally @ 1:59 pm

Guilt will work just fine, thank you.

Late last night, I reached a psychological low point with my Feather & Fan Shawl. I had about six or seven rows left to knit when I got a delightful thought: why not just stop where I was? Instead of knitting the last four-row repeat, why not make the repeat I was just finishing be the last one? The number of stitches would be the same and it wouldn’t make all that much difference in the final size. I could be casting off — I could be finished. It was decided. That left me two rows to knit. I knit one of those two last night and woke up this morning with one to go.

I couldn’t do it. I changed my mind and I’m partway through the last and final repeat now.

Why couldn’t I do it? It’s not as if I don’t alter virtually every pattern I knit. I feel no compunction about doing that. I think, if I’m honest, it’s because I had dutifully been checking off each row on my chart and I just couldn’t leave those last few rows unchecked. It’s as simple as that.

I have four rows left to knit now. I think, in the long run, I’ll be happier.

February 24, 2007

From Sally — Berry Cluster Pullover

It’s so hard to take good photographs of knitted garments. Susan and I would each like to have a half-mannequin, so that we could get decent pictures. If we lived closer, we could invest in a really good one and share it. But we don’t, and I haven’t had the time to look around to see if I can find one. So, in order to show you photographs of the finished Berry Cluster Pullover, I tried:

1. Hanging it up. It looks okay, but not great.

2. Draping it over a chair. Just no.

3. I flirted, ever so briefly, with modeling it myself. It fits nicely, but I just wasn’t of a mood. So, I asked my twenty-year-old daughter if she would model it for me. She said yes, but I knew the fit would not be quite right. She’s very slender, and her shoulders aren’t as broad as mine. (I said shoulders. Shoulders, people.) It fits me better than it fits her, but I don’t have the cute stomach. So it’s a tradeoff. (And I should have had her change into a smoother under garment. See, we need a mannequin.)

Here is a detail of the hem so you can see the pearls.

In other knitting news, I did start Eris. I have half of the collar knitted. Like Susan, I started with a provisional cast on (the white row you see at the wide end) and my next step will be to pick up those stitches and start knitting in the opposite direction.

I’m knitting my Eris using Ultra Alpaca, which I described here (you’ll need to scroll down a little bit). I think this yarn will be perfect for this project and I am loving how it knits up. It looks rather sad here but I’ve stretched with my fingers and I know it will look much better once it’s been blocked.

Alison — I know you’re concerned about the lightness of the cash soft you’re using. I think you’ll be okay; I might worry a little whether that yarn will pill because it is so soft. That’s the one little concern I would have and some of that depends upon how hard you are on your sweaters.

As for the grey behemoth — my Feather & Fan shawl — I’m still plugging along. Twelve rows left. It will get finished soon.

PS — For Wendy O:


And from the book:


February 20, 2007

From Sally — Already Behind

Well, I’m already behind in our knitalong since I a) haven’t started and b) find the mere task of printing out the 8000 pages of directions and figuring out which ones to follow exhausting. I shall do so, though, before she gets any farther ahead.

I still must finish sewing the pearls onto the hem of the Berry Cluster Pullover. I have a few ends to weave in as well. Why does that last little bit of finishing seem so boring (and therefore unappealing)? And then there is the Feather & Fan shawl. Sixteen rows. Ack. I feel like Commander Scott heading back from the South Pole and realizing he may not make it.

The good news: I just spent the weekend with two friends. It was Red Cashmere Glovelets girl’s 50th birthday and her husband flew me and another friend, Jody, down to surprise her. Jody has wanted to learn to knit and so this weekend I taught her. She’s a natural! She’s well on her way to knitting her first scarf using a nice variegated yarn. She has mastered knitting and purling. She can already tell when she should knit and purl if she is doing stockinette stitch, can count her rows of garter, and knows almost immediately when she has made a mistake. Her gauge is amazingly even for a newbie and she has even thrown in a few rows of (deliberate) drop stitches here and there. Getting stuck in the airport for five hours yesterday helped her have more time to practice.

She’s already chomping at the bit to buy more yarn and needles.

February 15, 2007

From Sally — A Stitch in Time Saves Eight (Not Nine)

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl,Knitting Tips — Sally @ 4:27 pm

First, I’d like to say thank you for the birthday wishes and for all of the advice and encouragement on the Pearl Crisis. I went ahead with the large pearls I have. Having no invisible thread, which was a good suggestion, I chose not to care. I’ll post some pictures of the finished product eventually.

Today, however, I’ll tell you a story about the hazards of not paying attention. No, it’s not the starting-my-hair-on-fire story – it’s something far more horrible: making a really big mistake in your lace knitting a number of rows back when you have 1300+ stitches per row. Yeah. That.

There I was, knitting happily along on my Feather and Fan shawl. I was doing the pattern row, where you place yarnovers and decreases to get the feather and fan shaping. I did a series of 8 k2togs, and then I was supposed to do 8 yarnovers separated from each other by a single knit stitch. There was a problem, though: I didn’t have 8 stitches left in my pattern repeat. I only had three or four. Looking at my knitting I realized that four rows earlier — the last time I was supposed to do a pattern row — I had forgotten to do the yarnovers on one half of this particular repeat. I’m not sure how I did something so stunningly careless, but I did.

Now, if I had forgotten or dropped one yarnover, it would be no big deal. I would simply use a crochet hook to create a yarnover between the appropriate two stitches by stretching the running thread between them and then “laddering” my way up to the current row using the running thread on the intervening rows. That after-the-fact yarnover would be a bit smaller than the rest of them because it would be created using less yarn than truly necessary. Moreover, the stitches on either side might get pulled a bit tight. It’s not a perfect solution but after blocking, it would be pretty imperceptible. That solution would certainly be far preferable to ripping back.

That trick wasn’t going to work to replace 8 missing yarnovers. There simply would not be enough yarn to do it in such a concentrated place. Let me just remind you that I have 1300+ stitches per row right now; it takes me almost an hour to knit one row. So ripping back was not an option, either.

So here’s what I did. I undid the k2togs that overlapped where my yarnovers were supposed to have been. Then I ripped back the 8 stitches that were supposed to have yarnovers in between them. (Four rows total.) That left me with four long strands of yarn. I broke each of them in half. For each row, I wrapped new yarn around my needle 8 times to roughly calculate how much yarn I needed for each new stitch I was going to create and then added a bit extra. I then felt spliced that new length of yarn into the middle of what was already there. (Is this making sense?) I then had enough yarn to add in the yarnovers on the first row and then ladder up the stitches created by them on the subsequent rows.

It was a pain in my birthday ass, but a lot easier and faster than reknitting four rows.

February 9, 2007

From Sally — Berry Cluster Pullover Update

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl,Sally's Berry Cluster Pullover — surly @ 6:07 pm

It’s finished! Sort of.

Both sleeves are complete and I’ve sewn in one. But . . . I sliced the index finger of my left hand very badly yesterday. Yeah — there was a lot of blood. Kind of a crime scene look. It reminded me of that SNL skit in which Dan Aykroyd impersonates Julia Childs.


Anyway, it hurts like hell and I can’t knit very well. I didn’t feel like tackling the second sleeve or the pearls, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to get to that this weekend. In the meantime, I’m attempting to knit on my Feather and Fan shawl. But it’s slo-o-o-o-o-w. I use that finger to push the needle when I’m knitting. I can knit without it, but it feels awkward.

November 19, 2006

From Sally — Feather and Fan Shawl Update

Filed under: Feather and Fan Shawl — Sally @ 6:29 pm

I’m home nursing a cold, watching the Vikings lose, missing a knitting get-together so I don’t infect others, and working on my mindless project of choice: the Feather and Fan Shawl. It’s such a nice easy lace project. One row of patterning that doesn’t even require a chart followed by three rows of straight stockinette. Since each row has 800+ stitches, we are talking mindless zen knitting at its best. This project is even fairly portable, so I’ve been carrying it around when I go to appointments or know I have to wait somewhere.

It is, however, a slow project. I probably have around 50 or so rows left and I’m not sure when I’ll finish it. I am enjoying working on it. Here is what it looked like a little while ago.

And here it is today. I changed it over to a longer needle and took a photograph while it was on both needles and therefore not so scrunched up.

The color is a bit more true in the top photograph. It still is hard to get an idea of the size. The needle I was on was 40″ and the one I’m transferring it to is 60″ if that helps.

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