Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reorganization and a little pause in the plan

I went back to Fiber Arts for more yarn. I'm keeping the prune mix alpaca, but felt it's just too subdued a color for the Exonumist's Shawl. I was going for peacock and I found exactly that in a hand-dyed lace wool from Prism Yarn, in colors called "peacock".

Starting a gauge swatch, I thought, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?" I'll need way stronger glasses and metal needles for this. The bamboo needles were perfect for the rayon yarn in Liz's shawl, but this wool is not as slippery. While I was taking a break, dear Wayne cleared his stuff out of the old armoire in the extra room so I can put my yarns in the cedar lined cabinet. Thanks honey!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yarn shopping

I took Liz's shawl with me to the yarn shop to show Rosalind how well I've graduated from simple scarves and dishrags. Her advice on the type of yarn to use was so spot on that I asked about yarn for the Exonumist's Shawl. I've ordered the pattern and can't wait to get started. I picked up 4 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in Prune Mix for it. I also bought two balls of really soft Mini Mochi washable wool in purples/blues/greens for socks. I am determined to learn how to knit them first with dpns, maybe just to spite my dear cousin Eric, who counsels me to try the magic loop method. I LIKE lots of little pointy needles sticking every which way. If there's more than one way to do a thing, I like to learn the hard way first (I seem to have done that all my life), then every other way is just cake.

Now I say goodbye to my companion of 3 months as the Tuscany Shawl is wrapped in it's box waiting for the USPS to take it to Coeur d'Alene to hug my little sister for me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finished Shawl

Thank you to my neighbor, Melinda, for being the model.

Next, I have my eye on Wendy Knits Exonumist's Shawl (an exonumist is a person who collects exonumia which are numismatic items, as token coins, medals, or scrip, other than coins and paper money)..and socks...and, so many patterns! Now I have knitting bags hanging from doorknobs all over my house. I'm going to put it in the mail on Wednesday, when I have a day off, as I promised Rosalind at Fiber Arts, Inc, that I'd show it to her when it's finished. It's already more than a month late for Liz's birthday, what's another couple of days?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

An excellent use for a seldom used pool table

After hours of hunching over sans glasses weaving in fine yarn ends I'm ready to block Liz's shawl. This is scary! I'm not even sure rayon yarn will block as well as wool, but it must be done. The big piece of cardboard is covered with a flannel sheet and fits quite nicely on our pool table. I held my breath as I put the shawl in the sink with a little bit of Organix vanilla shampoo, swished it around, then rinsed it twice in cold water. Next, I rolled it into a Nightmare Before Christmas beach towel to remove the excess water. Laying it out on the cardboard, I used a tape measure to get all of the edges straight and even. Used all but 2 of the 120 pins. Wayne and I moved it from the pool table to the workbench in the garage to dry and to prevent any kitty shenanigans. Whew! Time for a cold one and work on something simple, like dishrags.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Banana cupcakes

I could weave in all of the ends of Liz's shawl OR make cupcakes with the overripe bananas I have. Hmmm. Cupcakes it is. The best banana bread recipe I've ever found is from Beard on Bread, by James Beard. I'll ice them with yellow icing and put smiley faces in black and bring them in for the library volunteers tomorrow. When I procrastinate, I do not waste time :-) Speaking of time wasters, I added a little something for you, Jimi. Scroll down.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Russian Bind Off. Liz's shawl is almost finished!

I finished the last two rows Sunday night while dear hubby channel surfed as is his SOP. I worked last night (Monday), so didn't have a chance to finish. The pattern calls for a Russian bind off, and gave directions, but I wanted to see how it's done and turned to trusty YouTube for a video demonstration.

After watching, I feel much more confident. I stopped at Michael's after work today and picked up blocking pins (I hope 120 will be enough). I have a door sized piece of cardboard covered with a flannel sheet on which to block the shawl. It will have to be in the garage, as I can't trust my four cats not to mess with it! I've been careful not to let them near it as my sister is allergic to cats.

This video is the first time I've seen the continental method of knitting used in action. I've read that it's much faster. Maybe I can get my clumsy American fingers to do it if I practice. Pictures of the finished shawl should be ready tomorrow or Thursday.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I should be finishing my sister's shawl...

Instead, I'm making this blog. I have two loooong rows left on the shawl I began in early June. The plan was to finish it in time for my sister's 50th birthday. That day came and went July 15th. The shawl is a pattern called Tuscany from No Sheep For You by Amy R. Singer. I'm using Gatsby Lux rayon yard from Katia, purchased at Fiber Art, Inc. in Odessa. It's been a lot of fun knitting. When it's finished, I'll post a picture. In the meantime, here's a picture of a ball of the beautiful yarn.