Monday, September 21, 2009

A bit of lace

I promised a finished object post for the Arabesque stole I made for my friend. I believe my stated time line was "soon." Does a week and a half qualify?

I apologize up front for the lousy full-object pictures. There was all of 28 hours between when I finished it and gave it to my friend, and all of them were either nighttime or really cloudy (and therefore pretty dark). I don't think I've ever taken so many bad pictures in my life as I did of that stole. Anyway, without further ado, I give you the Arabesque stole.

Almost finished - just needs blocking and the ends woven in.

Pinned out on blocking wires. This is, sadly, the only semi-decent picture of the entire thing in its finished state. I can't believe I didn't get even one in focus.

To recap, the pattern is Arabesque (ravlink). I knit it in Jojoland Harmony (ravlink, again) and US size 3 Addi lace needles. I added an extra repeat to the center panel, and if I had it to do again, would probably add more. The finished stole was somewhat shorter than I'd intended - a little over five feet, I think, and I was shooting for six something. This is what comes of not swatching, I guess.

Even though I was little tired of it by the time I finished the knitting, I really couldn't be more thrilled with the finished product.

The lace came out perfectly balanced, in my opinion, between being substantial and airy, solid yet holey. And I love the colors.

Perhaps best of all? I have more of the yarn.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ahoy maties!

Avast, there, ye scurvy bilge rats! Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! For some reason, pirates generally not be known fer their knittin' but that doesn't mean they can't appreciate some good fiber. And we wenches are especially appreciative.

We wenches like the baubles and the pretties, especially when they be gifts! This be a gift from me mother. Who doesn't love dolphins?

A wench also needs a little something for her feet, to keep those pretties warm and comfy. Despite the lovely blues and oceany cables, this sock turned out to be a lubber and had to be keelhauled.

Fortunately, this pair came to a better fate. Looking like a nighttime lagoon where mermaids live, they adorn my feet like (uncursed) Spanish gold.

Then there's this piece of treasure. Like a whirlpool of spun silver, it's actually wool and silk. And far less treacherous than a real whirlpool!

Arr, me hearties! I'm off fer some grog and knittin'!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Painting Yarn

In my last post, I promised to tell you about my process for the Pepper Flat.

It started out as a 100 g ball of Trekking Pro Natura, in white. Pro Natura is a wool/bamboo blend, so I wasn't sure how it would take the dye, but I figured since it's mostly wool I'd be okay. I cast on about 100 stitches and knit until I ran out of yarn. (Yes, I know you can buy already knit blanks. But in this case, I think the miles of stockinette were actually good for may sanity.)

To prepare it, I soaked the finished blank in a sink of warm water, no soap.

While it soaked, I prepared my dyes - in this case Paas Easter Egg dyes, mixed per Paas' instructions with vinegar and light on the water.

The actual painting was a bit messy. I spread the damp (I squeezed out most of the water from the soaking) blank out on my counter (granite countertop) and used a teaspoon and a syringe to paint the blank with random blobs of color. The goal was to have no white yarn left anywhere.

To set the dye, I spiraled the flat up to fit into a Pyrex pie plate with as little opportunity for dye seeping to fabric below it as possible. I stuck the whole thing in a plastic bag and microwaved it, I think for about two minutes.

Then I let it cool (keeping it covered), and nuked it again. After cooling from the second application of heat, I rinsed it out in cool water and spread it out to dry.

I can't wait to hear from my sister how it looks knitted into something else.

P.S. I did finish the Arabesque stole in time to send home with my friend! Pictures soon.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hello September!

September's here and it's already starting to feel like fall. It's no longer oppressively hot during the day, and at night it's cool enough that long pants and sleeves are warranted. With little exception (ragweed comes to mind), I love fall. I like the cooler weather and the changing colors. I like the farmers' markets and that it's cool enough to knit sweaters again.

Speaking of farmers' markets and knitting, I was poking around one of my local ones recently in search of peaches (found, and made into cobbler!), where I saw this:

Which reminded me rather strongly of this:

I knit and painted the flat as a gift for my sister (it was for her birthday, and yes, it was late). I'll share my method later, but for now, I'm off to knit furiously on a stole. The recipient's going to be in town this weekend, so if I finish it, I don't have to mail it to her! I just have to finish the edging and block it, which is totally doable. I think.