Jeebus, one would think that I’m obsessed with shawls these days. Well, I’ve been wondering about that myself. Is this natural, or is this obessive? My take on it is that I don’t care as to whether it’s natural or not – I’ve earned the right to obsess on whatever the heck I choose to obsess about. What da ya mean? Well, first of all, I lead a pretty unremarkable life. Our kids are all grown up and gone from the nest. We own and operate a small, but successful business that I’ve been at for almost thirty years. Our casual, comfy home is set up to enable hobbies/crafting. I have a wonderful enabler hubby who does most of the cooking and his share of cleaning. Daily physical exercise is scheduled and strictly adhered to. Holiday time is usually spent out west to have time with the kids. We don’t deviate a whole lot from the framework, and, it’s pretty mundane all round, eh? (However, notice that things are set up in order to free up as much time as possible for the hobbies/crafting - very intentional.)
I often get asked “where do you find the time to make all these things”? Or I’ve been told ”you must have a lot of time on your hands” (love that one LOL!) It’s so the opposite. And, the truth is that “I MAKE time for it.” We structure our lives so that we can have time to do the things we love and enjoy so much.
Plus, I’ve got the “I’m in my fifties and nobody gonna tell this girl what to do anymore” attitute, so there you have it.
Justification having been established, in addition to having decided to participate in the 11 shawls in 2011 challenge compels me once again to go on about the shawls. And, considering the fact that I had never knit a shawl until June 2010, the challenge is really a big deal for me. From reading some of the threads on the Rav group, it’s apparent that some type of planning will help with the challenge. For myself, I want to get certain type of shawls into the mix. Some smaller, easier shawls in order to keep up the pace, yet wanting to learn new techniques and challenge myself at the same time. I don’t want to get bogged down, nor do I want to get frustrated with anything. So, the old mind is lining up yarns and patterns and basically planning out an entire year of knitting shawls. (and socks, and scarves, and mittens etc. LOL!)
Ravelry destashes are a good resource if looking for nice yarn/pattern combos, and I was really fortunate to find some nice yarns, and, recently a lovely Raveller destashing some nice shawl kits. I picked up The Kate Shawl kit and Viola Shawl kits from her:
Both are from last year’s Shakespeare in Lace Club. The Wooly Wonka Fibers lace yarns are beautiful in both kits. I do have a fear of lace weight yarn, and this is one of the challenges that I hope to overcome.
The lovely lady who destashed these kits was so wonderful and made the transactions so incredibly easy. The packages got here in lightening speed, and ahemm…they were marked as birthday presents - just in case customs needed to know, and thus saving from paying the dreaded duty taxes. In the last package she surprised me by included some bonus items: gorgeous Alpaca with a Twist Fino lace yarn and pretty Jojoland sock yarn. I have not seen any Alpaca with a Twist in any of our LYS, and I’ve only seen the JoJoland at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair. The Alpaca colourway is a warm champagne shade - I’m thinking of something from Nancy Bush Knitted Lace of Estonia book for that one.
She even included a nice lip balm and a handmade card in the package. The generosity of some people is mind-blowing sometimes!
I’m planning on knitting both the Shakespeare in Lace club shawls over the summer months (remember, I’m planning and scheduling here). During the summer months I like to move crafting operations out to the gazebo to enjoy the warm summer weather.
But, right now, it’s still winter, and most evenings after work I’ve been plugging away on the Lacy Prairie Shawl. To keep things interesting, on February 11th I cast on a nice quick Ishbel.
I’ve also decided to participate in the Zen Yarn Garden’s Fiore Rosa shawl KAL, and even though I’ve got an exploding stash of yarn to pick through, I ordered up a skein of ZYG Serenity Silk in Rougette for it:
The pattern is free, and this is the yarn that was used in the sample, and it’s just so beautiful, that I wanted to use the same. This will go on the needles once the Ishbel is done.
With regards to sock clubs, the first Woolgirl Sock Club — Inspirations – kit for 2011 arrived on Tuesday:
The kit is based on Dutch post-impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting . The painting depicts the view outside his sanatorium room window at night, although it was painted from memory during the day. The kit is beautiful and this is one of my favourite paintings. This kit is also exciting because of the Dutch connection (yes, I love my Dutchman), the whole being in a sanatorium thing is so intriguing, and, well, the colours. There is also something about it that reminds me of when the kids were little, just can’t put my finger on the connection right now. Maybe they had a book about a starry night or something.
There are two patterns, one sock, one glove, and I’m really thinking about making the gloves. The colour saturation in the yarn is intense!
Still waiting on the Cookie A Sock Club yarn - it wasn’t in today’s mail.
Not surprisingly, I got in a pinch with my Christmas knitting this past Christmas. I wanted to make some knitted gifts for a few lovely ladies and time was running out. What I needed to find was a simple, easily memorized pattern using one skein of variegated sock yarn. The quest began by looking through my many books and magazines, as well as the Ravelry patterns database. In the book Scarf Style edited by Pam Allen, I found a pattern called Misty Garden. It is a 4 row pattern, basically Knit the first row, Purl the second row, 3rd row has the pattern K2 tog x 3 times, YO, K1 x 6 times, K2 tog x 3 times and repeat, Knit the last row.
Easy peasy! I came to realize that this stitch pattern is also known as Old Shale, or the Feather & Fan stitch pattern. I started with one scarf, and managed to get six of these done in time for Christmas!
I love this pattern! When I started my scarf #2 for the 11 shawls in 2011, I saw the Multnomah shawl, and loved the way gradient dyed yarn looked in this shawl. Thus, I started Multonomah Makes Two on January 15th and completed it on January 27th. The shawl is a top down knit shawl, and the beginning is basically done in garter stitch. When I got to the lace portion of the shawl, low and behold the pattern was the feather and fan pattern!
I finally got it blocked and finished:
I loved knitting this shawl. The only drag was the Crazy Zauberball yarn which I ranted about a few posts back. (I really disliked the way the yarn went from thick to super-thin cob weight). All in all, I love the effect of the gradient colour, and I didn’t even have to use a lifeline! A first for me when knitting a shawl.
I would certainly knit up another, or several more Multnomah Shawls. I would love to try it with variegated yarn, and other yarns that gradually change colour.
I just picked up this terrific yarn on a Ravelry destash:
This yarn is from Unique Sheep, it’s Luxe a 25% Tussah Silk, 75% Merino Wool super soft blend. There is a total of 400 yds, with four X 100 yds of gradually darkening colourway of green called Herb Garden.
However, I definitely want to knit another Multnomah, and I may even be brave and give another Zauberball a go. I also have some Knit Picks new Chroma yarn, which I think will knit up somewhat like Zauberball. Noro Silk Garden would also be nice.
Over the weekend I started and finished my Skiing Piggie, or Pigtail hat:
This is my new favourite X-country skiing hat!! The Dream in Color Groovy yarn is super soft.
I plan to knit a matching pair of mittens with this.
On another note, received an email shipment confirmation from Woolgirl last night for the Victorian Writer’s Knitting Club. The theme for this first kit is all about Sherlock Holmes and I’ve been reading The Sign of Four along with a Rav group in anticipation of this kit. The dyer is Zen Yarn Garden and the designer is Anne Hanson. The project will be socks. Really looking forward to getting this!
When I first started knitting in the fall of 2007, I learned how to knit socks and for the next three years knit practically nothing but socks. I enjoy knitting socks, my family loves wearing them - I’ve got lists of people in the family who want them - and the new sock yarns are so scrumptious. I love self striping yarns, and I speed through the process wanting to see the next motif or stripe appear. Okay, I’m a little weird and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
In June 2010 I decided that I had to learn to knit a shawl. At knitting meet-ups I admired the lovely shawls/shawlettes that my peers had knit, and then wore them to accessorize an outfit. How fashionable is that!
But, every time I would pull out a small shawl pattern, I found the schematics and charts for the lace shawls so intimidating. Why was the chart triangular? Why were there squares in the grid that stated “no stitch”? Why did the instructions say to read the chart for right side right to left, and for wrong side read left to right? There is a wrong side, I wondered? Having only knit socks on 4 dpns, there was only one side — the right side — and, you read charts only in one direction!!
What the heck were these shawl designers talking about?? This was driving me nuts! But, I had to learn. I had picked up so many one skeins of sock yarn since I had started knitting socks, and many were very luxurious yarns. I could so envision these smooshy fibres around my neck rather than being slammed around in my shoes.
Come June 2010, I finally took the plunge and decided to join a Ravelry June Shawl KAL using Indigo Moon Yarns. It was slow going at first, and a lot of frogging took place. I had such difficult time getting my head around reading the charts first in one direction and then in the other. But, after several re-starts, something inside me clicked and I finally got it! I had cast on on June 1st and finished the shawl on June 24th! Yay!
And, voila, another addiction was born! Since June, I’ve knit eight shawls with my ninth shawl started. I also started knitting lace scarves, a cousin to the lace shawl. My speed has picked up, and I understand the charts and different lace stitches now.
The inspiration for my current shawl was an article and pattern that I read in an older Piecework magazine - March/April 2000. It was an article about North Amerian Homesteaders and their practical knits. I managed to track down some Wool Pak Yarn N.Z., an 8 ply 100% wool that the pattern suggested. The shawl pattern also can be found in the book Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle:
This shawl is nothing like the luxury yarn shawls (or shawlettes) that I’ve knit up to now. The New Zealand yarn is thicker (dk weight), quite crude (not raw, but not very processed), and not so pleasurable to work with. The pattern, The Lacy Prairie Shawl designed by Cheryl Oberle is simple, yet has a continually recurring sl 2 togkwise, k1, p2sso stitch which keeps me on my toes. This shawl will be much larger than their predecessors- if I follow the entire pattern and use up the 2 skeins (525 yd per skein), it should measure approximately 77 inches wide at top edge and 37 inches long at the centre point. Now, that’s a shawl to keep you warm!
I’ve always admired the women settlers who came to Canada in the 1800s, many of whom had never experienced a Northern winter. I’ve read Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie ,who came to Canada from England in 1832, and I can just imagine what kind of thick, ruddy shawls she and her peers would have needed to keep warm in those drafty backwood log farmhouses. My home (though it is a log home), is warm and modern, but I envision that this shawl will be my warmth shawl to wrap around me on cold days. This Lacy Prairie Shawl is count number three for the 11 shawls in 2011 challenge, but this one will take me longer to finish. In order to keep me happy and on track with the challenge, I will most probably will cast on another small shawl to be knit with some buttery soft cashmere blend sock yarn. I can keep the ball rolling with the small shawl, and put in a few rows each day on the practical shawl. The challenge also specifies that at least 2 of the 11 shawls have to be 500 yds or more, so the prarie shawl will count as one of those.
I wanted to knit a shawl for my daughter for this past Christmas. Over the summer I had gotten into knitting triangular shaped lace shawls, and really enjoying it. I asked her if she’d like a shawl, but what she described wanting was more of a stole. And, she wanted a cafe au lait colour, not too brown.
I found a rectangular stole pattern in one of my knitting books - The Knitter’s Book of Wool by Clara Parkes. The pattern is called Optic Waves Shawl. In the book it was done in a lovely mohair blend, in DK weight. After looking for the colour she wanted, I finally settled on some Knit Picks City Tweed DK in the colourway Snowshoe. The colour seemed on the light side, but it was the closest to what I interpreted as cafe au lait that I could find.
This is the end result:
The pattern is a 12 row repeat and quite easily memorized. After a while it got a little tedious, but the yarn was very nice to work with. The City Tweed is very soft - it’s 55% merino wool, 25% superfine alpaca, and 20% donegal tweed. The alpaca is what I think makes this yarn so soft, and the donegal tweed is the little specs throughout the yarn.
My daughter was really happy with the shawl. I was happy as well, but looking forward to some quicker triangle shawls for awhile.
I did pick up on Ravelry destash some of the mohair that the book used, and I’m hoping to make this shawl again using the Brooks Farm Yarn Primero.
Even though yesterday was not as cold as Monday, I found it very damp and very chilly. The birds seemed really hungry and swarmed us.
Baby, it’s cold out there. When it’s so cold outside, what does one do? You could sit around shivering and waiting for April to come around, but my solution is to embrace the winter and go outside and ski!! This morning’s temperature was a frigid -32C not factoring the windchill. I heard that it was -39C with the windchill. However, this didn’t deter Erwin and I from our lunchtime ski at the Jack Pine trail.
By the time lunch hour came around I think that it was somewhere around -25C. You can layer all the clothing you want, but eyelashes (and beards and face stuffs) still freeze up!
Here’s Erwin in fine form:
We also got out on Saturday, also a nippy day, and we planned to go X-country skiing at The Mill of Kintail conservation area, but the track was so well packed down that we ended up hiking for almost 2 hrs.
However, cold snap and all, I still had time to work on some projects over the weekend, and even start a few new projects this weekend.I’m progressing well with 11 Shawls in 2011 Shawl #2 - Multnomah in Crazy Zauberball pinks/purples.
I have 3 repeats (of 4 rows) left and then it’ll be done. One row is now taking approx. half an hour to knit. I have not counted how many stitches, but the rows are pretty long at this point. I’m still not enthralled with the Zauberball yarn.
I started a new cowl - Northumbria Cowl:
- The Pashmina is a dream to work with, however, it’s staining my fingers a gingery colour.
On Friday I received both my Hedgehog Fibres “lace” and “sock” club installments for January: Hedgehog Fibres lace in Bazaar and Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Masquerade & Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Tupelo.
Is it just me? Or, is this Crazy Zauberball defective? At some places the yarn gets so thin that I’m worried it will hold up once the shawl is knit! I’m finding it very frustrating….
Here’s the story: I’m on Shawl #2 for the 11 shawls in 2011 challenge. I started Multnomah on January 15th after finishing #1 (Traveling Woman) on January 10th.
I’m on a roll baby, and want to keep rolling along here. I decided to use a ball of Zauberball Crazy in purples/pinks. I also decided that this would be my “one item per month” (2011 Xmas gifts) project for February (even though I’m still working on the January OIPM green scarf).
The garter stitch part of the Multnomah goes really quickly and the Zauberball yarn was pretty “normal”. Then I started hitting these really, I mean REALLY, thin spots - and the “spots” go on for yards at a time. I’m not too happy with this. On the bright side, the colour change pattern is coming really nicely.
I’ve got another couple of Zauberballs, and I’ve got them lined up for a shawl and some socks. I’m hoping that those don’t have the same problem.
I thought that maybe it was because it was the last knitted gift that I made, and that I was feeling burnt out, but it was a chore, not a pleasure to knit these gloves. The yarn was full of bits of straw or hay (came with the sheep, I’m guessing), and the yarn was “torquing” as I knit…it’s like it had a mind of its own or something. Anyhow, I was never so relieved but to finish these darn gloves.
Problem is that Erwin had picked out some of this same yarn (in a dark purple/royal blue specks) for a pair of sturdy cold weather mittens. Well, it was basically the same story when knitting his mittens over the last week. Only saving grace was that there were no fingers to fiddle with. But, the darn yarn was not a pleasure to work with.
Here is the result:
Culprit #2 - and never to buy again:
I think that I am very spoiled with the luxery yarns that I mostly use…..
Okay, so I’m going to try to knit 11 shawls in 2011. I’m constantly in awe of the knitters on the Ravelry group “11 Shawls in 2011″ that seem to pump out one shawl after another, effortlessly, might I add.
For my first shawl, on January 1st (after a tangled skein of wool fiasco that took me 3 frustrating hrs to unravel) I cast on Traveling Woman Shawl. I used Spring Theory Caper Sock yarn in Bye Bye Blues.
This yarn was from a “consolation” kit offered by The Loopy Ewe for those who didn’t win in The Loopy Ewe Sock Club 2010 lottery. The two “lite” kits (offered to the “losers”) were absolutely stunning. Although the Bye Bye Blues kit came with two patterns, one a sock and one a scarf, I found this yarn to be so soft (10% cashmere), and so squishy, that I’d rather have it around my neck than my feet. BTW, last year while I was at phsyio the physiotherapist told me that I was a “heel slammer” - that my walking gait is basically a slamming down on my heel first motion….Just love that image - so not feminine….Anyhow, keeping my heel slamming in mind, I just thought that this yarn deserved a better fate that being slammed down into the ground by my neanderthalish walking.
Well, the Traveling Woman pattern, along with this scrumptious yarn, was an absolute pleasure to knit. Last evening, I finished the shawl.
Now, I just need to block it. I’ll try to do that tonight as I’d like to take the shawl with me to Pints & Purls at the Ashton Pub on Wednesday evening.
So, I’m two weeks ahead with 11 shawls in 2011. Not sure which shawl will be #2. I’m thinking Lacy Prairie Shawl from the Folk Shawls book - it takes 1000 yds, so it would count towards 2/11 of the shawls that have to be larger. The only thing holding me back with the prairie shawl is that the pattern seems to be a little monotonous, and I’m on a roll with the Traveling Woman. So, I’ll have to think about it. Just hope that I don’t take 2 weeks thinking about it..
Over the holidays I did a bit of shopping on Ravelry browsing through some destashes. I picked up a few things. Yesterday these two arrived:
I’ve knit two scarves using the Jitterbug, and it is a very different kind of wool, very smooth, and very nice to work with. Since I gave the scarves away, I was looking for more Jitterbug. This colourway is very nice and outdoorsy. Not sure if it will become a scarf or socks.
The STR skein was a bargain, and I found the colourway outdoorsy/woodsy as well. This will definitely become socks.
The last kit from Woolgirl’s Wizard of Oz Sock Club also arrived:
I love the yarn - really nice greens in that skein. The bag is a little tacky looking, but it’s HUGE…I can use that one for a shawl in progress.
I’m hoping that more of the destash shopping skeins will come in this week. There’s one in a peachy colour that I’m looking forward to getting. I also hear that the Alice in Wonderland “White Rabbit” sock kit is starting to arrive at USA destinations…we Canucks may get it next week.
The house sure has been quiet now that the kids have left. Probably why I got that shawl done in 10 days!
I have not blogged since last May…Last bloody May!! I can’t believe it! Where does the time go? What is this telling me? Obviously time management is an issue.
Earlier today I responded to a thread on a Yahoo quilting group regarding New Year’s resolutions and I realized just how crazy it was that I can’t keep up with my blogs (I also have a quilting blog….which I have not blogged since October 2009…Yes 2009!!!), and how I should make some resolutions regarding the blogs.
So, I need to resolve some issues with blogging. Time management….Juggling too much… First off, I obviously need to combine both blogs into one. No sense having two. Will have to talk to DH and see how I can merge the two…
Secondly, do I not have time during the day to have a cup of tea and update the blog?? I could take a break while at work, couldn’t I?? I hear that some people actually take a coffee break (or two…)
Next, I need someone to get on my back about it, and hound me about keeping up….Hubby is a possibility….hmmm….Will run that by him…
So, that’s my resolution…I’ve resolved to resurrect my blogs, merge the blogs, make time during the week at work to have a cup of tea and update blog…
But, WAIT! That’s not all. Getting back to blogging is not my only resolution this year. I have come up with a plan for 2011 Christmas gift-giving. Since 2007 I’ve been trying to give mostly handmade gifts at Xmas. The kids don’t want store-bought stuff anymore. They are nomadic while away at University, and don’t want to be bogged down with “stuff”. Yes, we do pay for their travel back and forth across the country, so that’s “the” main gift (not to mention tuition), and we do get them a bunch of assorted gift cards/certificates, and then there is always some “gag” gifts…But, I still love Christmas morning with the kids opening up gifts, with colourful paper flying all over the place, hence the handmade things. Since 2007, handmade gifts have included: quilts, totes/bags, knitted socks, hats, gloves, scarves, shawls…
The kids get handmade, boyfriends get handmade, girlfriends get handmade, family gets handmade, friends get handmade….Come Christmas I’m exhausted!!! Yes, I know that I’ve created this monster myself…but I’m no longer enjoying the holiday season, nor the weeks of festivities as we approach Christmas. I’m not enjoying myself because I’m a bloody production machine….I’m like a little machine sewing, knitting, sweating, getting oiled…working well beyond my bedtime…Not to mention the Xmas baking and cleaning of the house….(that’s all outside of work hours)…
I have therefore made a resolution that for 2011, I will knit or sew/quilt ONE item per month that will be set aside specifically for Christmas giving. I’ll call this program: OIPM (one item per month). Theoretically, following my OIPM plan I should have 12 handmade items all ready to go by next Christmas!
That’s the plan.
Forgot to mention that I’ve joined the Ravelry group 11 shawls for 2011. I’ve also started on a couple of KALs. Joined a bunch of yarn/sock clubs.
I’m already feeling exhausted. Or, is that just residual from Xmas 2010?
First OIPM started:
First shawl (Travelling Woman Shawl) for the 11 shawls in 2011 challenge:
First club yarns:
What a terrific Mother’s Day present from my hubby!! A whirlwind trip to Toronto for the Knitter’s Frolic! Because the kids are far away in Vancouver, and since my mom passed a few years ago, Mother’s Day just hasn’t been the same. So, Erwin and I always try to get away with a “little” day trip, to do some crafty shopping (well, me, not Erwin), have a nice meal out etc. This has worked out for a nice Mother’s Day the last couple of years.
Anyhow, this year Erwin said that he would drive me to Toronto for the Frolic for my Mother’s Day gift!
We got up at 5AM, and we were out the door at 6AM for the 4 hour drive to TO. A quick stop at Tim Hortons for coffee, and we were on our way!
Erwin dropped me off at the front door of the Frolic at around 10:30AM, and he headed off for a nearby cineplex to see Ironman 2.
The Frolic was more than I imagined. So many vendors…so much yarn goodness. There were a whole bunch of classes - I would have loved to have taken classes, but I just could not swing getting there for the morning classes, nor did I want to get tied up with an afternoon class because of the pending 4 hr drive back home (plus stop for dinner somewhere).
Here is my haul:
All in all, it was a pretty terrific day, and then the icing on the cake was both kids calling me nice and early Sunday!
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