She knits too…

You’ll never believe it: I’m writing this on Thursday! I’m early!

First of all, the Odette Update: She’s all oiled up! I stopped at 5 coats because she didn’t seem to soak up that last coat very much. There’s four more days in her final week-long cure in the garage, and then I can put her back together and bring her inside. So next week, look for the first pictures of her all cleaned up!

Now, for this week, I was trying to decide what to do when I realized that I haven’t spoken about knitting in a while — especially non-commission knitting! In fact, I think my last non-commission knitting project was LAST YEAR. I’ve definitely had other things on my mind, I suppose.

I’ve finally cast something on for myself. You will be so proud of me, too, because of instead of buying new yarn or trying to find a new project for “orphan” yarn (yarn that does not have a project associated with it yet) I went to my Ravelry queue. It’s been probably two years since I went through my queue and moved all the projects I didn’t have yarn for into my favorites section on Ravelry. My queue originally was my dumping ground for all the patterns I wanted to make, regardless of whether or not I had the yarn. Now it is dedicated solely to the projects for which I do. #1 on that list? The Cinderella Shawl (Ravelry link):

e0fda202507d147e2e85d6704559f85f

I queued this project in 2011. It was published in 2009, and I probably bought the yarn for it way back then. Since then I had lost my original copy of the pattern somehow. I remember that I looked for it and couldn’t find it when I wanted to knit it during a road trip to Oklahoma, during Thanksgiving in 2012. I couldn’t find the pattern anywhere, although the yarn was front and center in my storage bins and ready to go. I had to leave it behind though, and picked up a different yarn and pattern for the trip. I ended up knitting my Fabergé shawl that winter instead.

When I got back to town I went looking for the pattern. I found it at the same store (now closed) where I bought it the first time. It’s their fault I wanted to make this at all! I’m usually not attracted to such a simple lace pattern, but the cashmere-silk blend allows the shawl to float gracefully in the slightest breeze. It’s irresistable! They had it hanging in the window next to the front door, and the way the fabric lifted and sank in every little shift in the air had me captivated. Not to mention that, heck! It’s cashmere! It’s soooo soft!

As I said, this is a simple pattern. Every row starts with the same border, and each right side row progressively starts with 5, or 3, or 1 plain knit stitch, followed by a six stitch lace repeat. Wrong side rows are simply knit. It looks complicated; it isn’t. That is one of the reasons I love lace. At the same time, I wish I had something more interesting to follow. I just have to remember how the fabric moved, though, when the sample was hanging in the store window, and I’m motivated again to pick it up and keep working on it! Doesn’t it look so lovely, soft and delicate? That’s the cashmere. The silk provides the underlying strength that is hidden in this yarn. I love it!

image

Look me in the eye and tell me this isn’t awesome

So I’m late again, but this time I do have a really, really, good excuse. Youtube didn’t upload the video before I passed out for the night. 🙂 So it is first thing in the morning, and in lieu of a written post I have a video for you!

Updates: My CPW is coming along nicely. She’s had 4 coats of pure tung oil applied (cut with citrus solvent) and she’s got two more to go. So 5 days and she’ll be leaving the spa, and my car can have it’s parking space back in the garage. After that the oil needs to cure, so it’ll be another week before I will put her metal pieces back on and reassemble her. Patience, my friends!

On to the video! In this video I show you a different tool I have acquired this year: the Bergå Ullman Countermarche Weaving Loom. Happy watching!

Je vous présente Odette Zéphyrine.

Bonjour!

Hello!

So yesterday happened, and blogging did not. I started it, but you can’t see the evidence of that. I attempted to complete a step of the cleaning process to show you an in-progress stage in this post, but it didn’t go well… a little more in the next paragraph that I wrote yesterday about that. I’m up early today (Saturday) to do yoga, so after that I will finish off this post. Well, that doesn’t matter to you, does it? At least I’m chattier today, right? Allons-y!

(Why yes, there will be small bits of french in my blog posts. When I have time or inclination I’ll write the post in both languages. Does that sound interesting or just tedious for you?)

I’ve already shown you a picture of Odette Zéphyrine, my new CPW. Let me show her to you in greater detail. She is in the process of being cleaned up, but these pictures today will be as I first saw her. It will be a week or two before she is fully oiled and ready to spin again. I spent some hours scrubbing away at rust on the iron pieces. I tried scrubbing the metal shiny, which happened rarely, and using gunblue to blacken them again. It did not work, for whatever reason. Since I am of the mind that she needs to be functional rather than preserved (I know many may disagree, in which case I encourage you to go buy your own CPW and save it from my nefarious hands 🙂 ), her metal pieces are going to be coated with Rustoleum. Quelle horreur!

Now that morning is here, I can report that Dr. B sprayed the iron pieces with Rustoleum and they look fantastic (I want that word to sound sing-sing song. I’m going to say it again and you’re going to imagine that, right?) Faaaaaaantaastiiic! But you’ll have to wait for pictures, because I’m evil like that. Okay! Picture time! If you click on one of the photos you’ll open up the full image, be able to see the caption for that image, and be able to scroll through the other photos. À la semaine prochaine!

In Which I Admit I Have Done Very Little

Well. I think it’s obvious that I am not very good at maintaining a blogging habit. The last several posts I’ve made starts the same way: “Oh goodness, it’s been so long since my last post!”

Well, it’s still true, and it’s still mortifying. All spring semester has passed, and all summer has passed, and my blog has been completely and absolutely silent. I can’t promise it’ll get any better as I head into the fall semester. However, I thought I would check in and share what I’ve done in my absence… which, really, doesn’t seem like much.

I set up my floor loom in the new house and wove a set of placemats:

imageAaand I haven’t woven anything since. I have a warp chain waiting for another set of placemats, but I haven’t gotten any farther than that.

I also managed to finish a 3 ply laceweight spin I started in January.

image

And I finished another two commission sweaters. The first I mentioned in my last post from February:

imageThe second is like many of the sweaters I have already done:

image

 

I’ve also wheeled up with a Vezina CPW (Canadian Production Wheel). She immediately suggested a name to me. She feels like a light-boned yet strong, powerful, graceful creature: the swan. She insists her name is Odette. She also spins like the wind, so her full name is Odette Zéphyrine. She is currently in the process of a thorough cleaning, and I’ll definitely be sharing more details in the future. I hope to finish cleaning, refinishing, bluing the iron pieces, and reassembling her before the fall semester begins.

IMG_3483

 

I apologize now that this is a very light post. I go through periods of chattiness and silence, and this is one of those silent moments. I seem to fail to find it necessary to describe anything in detail. However, I invite any commentary or questions that might remind me I really do have something to say! If I am a very good girl, I will post every Friday. If not, well… I guess I’ll apologize for it the next time I post. Bear with me! If I keep coming back, that means I will eventually develop the habit, right? 🙂

 

 

A month (or two) of good intentions

I suddenly had a small rush of views on my blog and discovered my post contemplating Unexplained Bias was linked to in the comments of someone else blogging about this curious phenomena. Then I remembered I had a draft sitting here from the end of January, waiting for some photos and me to stop slacking off…

I have been crazy busy this month (now more like two…). The year started off very well, finishing off a commission sweater, and getting started on the next one. The yarn my client wants to use is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, a yarn I remember using in a sweater for a LYS display. I remember it being soft and easy to work with. This yarn is NOT the yarn I remember. It ended up being very hard spun and not at all as pleasant as the LYS sample sweater. I own that sweater outright now, as the LYS has closed. It definitely does not seem like the same yarn, and yet I am 100% certain the yarn in the LYS sweater is Berroco Ultra Alpaca – but was it Ultra Alpaca Fine? Ah.. there’s the rub, apparently. The only difference I expected between Ultra Alpaca Light (the yarn I used in the sweater) and Ultra Alpaca Fine was the weight of the yarn. I guess I am now educated on that matter.

I have no pictures of the commission sweater for that yarn, because there isn’t a sweater. When my client asked me if that yarn would be suitable, I knew it would be. It’s a fingering weight yarn and I’ve used everything between lace held double and DK weight yarn. Then my client decided she wanted to hold two strands together to get a marled effect. It’s really pretty, actually, in the hours and hours of knitting I have done (with nothing to show for it… more on that in a second…), but the yarn held double is simply not going to knit down into the gauge required by the sweater without becoming as sturdy as cardboard.

I did swatch with that sweater in mind, to determine if I could simply knit a smaller size at a larger gauge, but my client is already on the small size of the spectrum and the pattern just didn’t get small enough to make that idea work. So I suggested another pattern. I had seen this pattern in my LYS (the one that had the sweater) and it jumped out at me as HER SWEATER. I had to knit this for her!

ChainCrew

So why isn’t this done already? GAUGE ISSUES. I knit a new swatch in stockinette stitch from the Ultra Alpaca Fine held double, and based my modifications of the smallest size on this sweater (stated to be 46″ in the bust) on my gauge, trusting that the designer’s gauge was accurate.

I’m a tech editor. I should know better! Actually, I did check the stitch count against the stated gauge and the stated finished sizes.The gauge is great if you just consider those things. One small problem – those slip-stitches are non-existent as far as gauge is concerned! They float on the right side of the fabric and while they are worked in knitting, they should not have been taken into account in determining the gauge.

I’ve knit the back of this sweater twice. The first time was ripping out a piece that ended up 18″ wide (should have been 20″ wide) because I had decreased the number of stitches due to my calculations, unaware that in effect, the pattern was already short 23 slip-stitches in reaching the stated finished measurements. The second time I ripped out it was because I decided to knit to a larger size to make up for the lost width, only to discover that my gauge had loosened between the first attempt and the second attempt. It ended up making a much nicer fabric, but this time the back was a whopping 26″ wide!

I haven’t cast on again. I admit I’ve been a bit traumatized, in addition to being very busy working, going to school, and having a major life event: Dr. B. and I bought a house. We’re closing on Monday, and start moving immediately. EEK!

A beautiful Autumn photo of my new home to ward off the negative-degree windchill today:

image

Blink and you’ll miss it!

We have a certain belief in my family that what you do on New Year’s Day is indicative of how the rest of your year will be.

So I knit a commissioned sweater.

IMG_2824

Okay. Okay. I didn’t knit all of that on New Year’s Day! I knit the ribbing hem and cuff (4.5″ inches deep) on all the pieces over the course of a few weeks in December, but on New Year’s Day I set to in earnest. On New Year’s Day I knit the rest of both sleeves. On January 2nd I knit the left front. January 3rd: the back. 4th: right front. 5th: seamed, sewed on buttons, knit the collar, reknit a sleeve cap (mysteriously smaller than the other), and wove in ends. Yesterday, I delivered it. Phew! I start the next sweater tomorrow.

If for any reason I’ve inspired you to knit a sweater in the equivalent of nine days, at least promise me you’ll wear a band-aid. I don’t want this to happen to you:

Wait, wait, wait! What happened to the last commission sweater!? You know, the white one with the batwing sleeves and a shoulder yoke?

…? Well? What do you think? 😀

It’s done. I delivered it after Thanksgiving. I am a horrid, horrid blogger, and I apologize sincerely. I also need to learn to take better pictures. And especially, one with the client wearing my work!

image