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Two Giants Shawls, So Little Time

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Two Giants Shawls, So Little Time

—–> March 2014 <——-

I realized the other night that all of my current knitting projects are insane.

I have the Event Horizon Pi Shawl, which was supposed to be finished last Friday on Pi day (3/14), however I was only up to the second ball of yarn on Friday, and it only measured 1 1/2 feet at that point, to the target of 6 feet.

Over the weekend I worked on it exclusively and added the third ball of yarn, making a total of 800 yards of knitting completed. As of last night I added ball number four, completing 1,200 yards of knitting, which is officially at the half way mark.

When you think about this, that means I have been working on this since January, I have 576 stitches on the needles for this shawl and there are still 1,200 yards of yarn left to go.

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For perspective:

  • 1,200 yards is 1.097 kilometers
  • 1,200 yards is 3 laps around a standard track
  • the 1000 yard shot used to be the exclusive mark of a military sniper or top competitive shooter, now it is 1600 yards

I’m still working on the second ball of yarn for the VIajiante shawl, that one is going to take even longer than the pi shawl to make.

—–> Zoom to today <——-

Pi Day has come and gone, and I have done a lot of work on the shawl. Last week I finished it!

I didn't use all of the black yarn for the border, which is nice because now I have almost a full ball to use for some other project. In total, I knitted a whopping 2200 yards!

It still needs to be blocked, which I have to figure out how to do. My knitting group thinks that I should block it out on my bed, and sleep on the couch for a couple days while it dries.

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It doesn’t look very lacey right now but the blocking really stretches out the lace and makes it look more airy and light.

I’m not exactly thrilled with the color transitions, but my knitting group said it was gobstopping gorgeous so I am going to go with their feelings on it and perhaps it will grow on me in time.

Until it’s blocked it is living on the back of my settee and perhaps someday I will find a nice little black dress to wear it with.

It feels really good to have this project done, it’s the largest piece of knitting that I have ever made and the most intricate.

I have been combing through the book Stories in Stitches 2 to see if there were other lace project that I might attempt, thinking perhaps a doily might be fun. I need to get some cotton perl yarn! Perhaps yarn in a color?

The 6′ Shawl – Event Horizon Pi Shawl

I must be crazy but I joined a Knit-a-Long for Donna Druchunas’ Event Horizon Pi Shawl, a gorgeous creation in lace from her newest book Stories in Stitches 2. The shawl is circular and starts with a light center and ends in the deepest black. It is also an incredible 6 feet in diameter.

Photo courtesy of String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns

Photo courtesy of String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns

A great yarn dyer that Donna knows made up kits for the shawl project in hues of teal to black, red to black, purple to black and grey to black. Living in Fogland as I do, I decided I needed to make what I call the “Foggy Grey Matter” Event Horizon Pi Shawl. The yarn is simply gorgeous, it’s so extremely soft for sock yarn. If you can get your hands on some String Theory Caper sock yarn I would highly encourage you to do so. I can’t stop fondling the lace that comes off my needles.

Right now it’s the shape of a Rastafarian beanie and at 560 stitches growing larger by the day. I am almost done with the second of six skeins of yarn so I have a long ways to go.   I am knitting the larger shawl, at 6 feet in diameter, and the owners of String Theory did me a huge favor and sold me one of their test skeins of yarn so that I could have enough to knit the larger size.  They’re my heroes!  I feel quite honored to be able to make a unique shawl even more unique because of their kindness.

Foggy Grey Matter Pi Shawl

and a closeup:

Foggy Grey Matter Pi Shawl

This Friday through Sunday is Stitches West and I have a shopping list which includes buying up all the stitch markers in the joint, because the handful I have will be quite inadequate once I go up to the next chart in this project.  If you want stitch markers better get to the Market on Friday before me!  If you are going, let me know, we will be doing meet ups for tea and snacks whenever my ankle gives up, which will be several times during the day!

If you want to buy a kit to make yourself a shawl, go here.  It’s not too late to join the KAL on Ravelry!  I have a feeling I will not be finished by Pi day.

Puttering Along On Things

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Suddenly the pace of my life has picked up a great deal, perhaps it’s because I’m able to walk on my healing ankle so much better now.   Last month I had a period where I had not been home at night until quite late for 12 days in a row!   It has been such fun, dinners and cocktails out, baseball games and opera, entertaining at home, cleaning up after entertaining at home, having house guests,  but no much time for knitting.

I am tired.  I need to putter for a while and have some down time, some knitting time would be nice too.

Today I found at the Ferry Building in the Heath Pottery stall a mug that matches my Camino Bubbles shawl.  I love it!  I came back from my walk in the cool misting fog and put the mug to immediate use with some green and lemongrass tea.

My new mug matches my new shawl
(Heath Pottery coupe mug in mushroom/green)

Camino Bubbles update
(see, the same green as my mug!)

My shawl is too large to fit into my handbag now, which means I am about three-quarters of the way done.   The length is about four feet and I still have the bulk of the second skein of yarn to use.

 

A___ came over for the Sharknado pizza party (check my other blog soon for details on that night) and saw the shawl on my bed.  She did her usual trick of picking up the work, draping it around her and twirling and posing in the mirror, exclaiming, “Is this for meeee???”.    So darling, however, it is *not* for her, not this time!   All of the ladies at the party want one now in various colors.   I hope that I don’t get sick of this pattern so that I can fulfill their wishes and gift them one someday.  This is the very best kind of peer pressure!

My latest “handbag worthy” project is the ongoing mobius cowl from last Fall.

A handbag worthy project has to have several important and necessary criteria:

  • It needs to fit in my handbag, first and foremost!
  • The pattern needs to be simple enough that I can knit without having to refer to a complicated chart, or a chart that I have not yet taken the time to copy out of a knitting book or magazine (see first bullet – must fit in my handbag)
  • The project cannot have too many stitch markers because when you are knitting on a bus or a bench or at a friend’s house stitch markers have a strange tendency to fly off your needles and mysteriously vanish before your eyes.  It’s almost as if they have their own Bermuda Triangle thing going on.

The mobius is perfect on this count, it’s a one ball of yarn project, fits in my pretty knitting bag which is almost too large to fit in my capacious handbag, and is straight stockinette, despite the unusual cast on arrangement on a coiled cable in order to achieve the magical mobius.

The Mobius cowl is getting close to bring done!

 

(Please note my SF Giants stitch marker, a gift from the team a few years ago!)

 

It doesn’t really look like a cowl at this point but once I remove the twice coiled cable it will loop into a mobius that should reach just mid bust on me.  The colors are really unusual for my wardrobe which is inspiring me to expand my color palate a bit more.

I hope to finish it next week or soon enough to wear during our perpetually fogged in summers.  The Camino Bubbles shawl will take a bit more time, since I will working on it solely at home, either that or I should get a larger handbag.  Hmmm, now isn’t that an interesting thought?

Stitches West and a Gentle Return to Knitting

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A weekend ago or so was Stitches West, the giant yarn, fiber and notions conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center. For quite a few years I have been attending with E___, my friend and knitting mentor (and also my fellow baseball buddy), and lately with my artist and crochet sisterfriend L____ and A____ have been joining us for shopping and ramen afterwards.

This was my first real weekend post flu and post ankle surgery where I felt almost like a normal person. Walking and standing is still cranky but we scheduled lots of tea breaks and the gals brought lots of snacks to keep our energy from flagging.
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This year the convention center seemed rather quiet, we went on a Sunday, which is the last day of the conference and perhaps people were done for it but the crowd was thin and the shopping was even thinner. It might be a sign of the tightened economy, or perhaps because it was nice weather out but there wasn’t much going on that day. We all were on tight budgets and that never helps with shopping, but we enjoyed being able to visit every booth and have time for breaks.

E____ and I both found some great sock yarn for the San Francisco Giants games, a cutely dyed sock yarn from Miss Babs in a colorway called Pumpkin Apocalypse. E___ might be making a shawlette but I am going to make socks.

There was a very pretty pattern for a Cedar Leaf Shawlette in a green silk and wool blend but sadly there was no yarn anywhere within the convention center that was right weight with a little silk in it and in the right verdant green. I will need about two to three skeins to make the shawl and will save this pattern for when the budget allows more yarn shopping.

We spotted a simple sweater by Olga Jazzy, the Sakasama Jacket. I would like to try this pattern since I have boatloads of kid mohair but the booth was out of the pattern. I can get it online however.
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At another stall was selling mink yarn in jewel-toned colors at mink-like prices, but ooh, so very soft and lovely. All animal fiber yarn is from animals where they are either shorn or combed for their hair/fur, how does one shear a squirmy mink? It doesn’t bear thinking about overmuch.

This stall also had a sample scarf by Alchemy using their paper yarn which is surprisingly soft after washing. The scarf is combined with Alchemy kid mohair yarn that I’m obsessed about but the scarf is felted or washed vigorously after knitting to shrink the mohair part. I’ve seen it before at the Interweave Knitlab marketplace. I am still tempted to try this someday. The coir palate is pretty on me and they have a longish bolero which would be very nice to wear over all my inevitable black wardrobe pieces.
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(the ubiquitous Feather and Fan pattern again!)

It was always great fun to see Tina Whitmore of KnitWhits and I snatched up a ball of her Freia ombré yarn that changes from a deep grey-black to an Aegean teal. Tina explained it was a new color direction for her ombré yarns. She had only made a little for the New York show she attended and they were snapped up, I wish I could have seen all the colors she had made! Hopefully, in future, she will make more. The winking green-blue eye for this yarn really called to me and I couldn’t wait to make something with it.

20130301-203106.jpg(the hue of the grey truly is much darker than captured here)

We putzed around for a little while longer and then went out for dinner at Ramen Club. This is the second best ramen I’ve found in the Bay Area.
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It was a lovely, full day!

The moment I got home I pulled out my two purchases plus the pretty pattern and I did not resist the incredible urge to start knitting.

Happily a quick search on Ravelry led me to the adorable Elk Tooth pattern by Caitlin ffrench. The talented knittingnurse on Ravelry had made up this pattern in Freia yarn in the same weight and a slight modification to use up one ball of yarn. I am about halfway done now and simply love the look and feel of this yarn. I can’t wait to wear this scarf.

Finished Objects: The Oakland Shawl

Before I finished my medical leave I finished my gorgeous Oakland Shawl.  I love this shawl so much!!

Something I do on the weekends

The Oakland Shawl lounges on my antique rocking chair when I am not wearing it, and it is keeping yet another pair of Turkish Bed Socks company.

The Kauni yarn really is perfect for this pattern.  It’s made from one ball of the EQ or rainbow colorway, and one ball of the EC or gradations of grey yarn and is just garter stitch with a yarnover and added stitch at each end to make the triangle shape, easy enough to do while healing mind and body.  I was quite pleased that the color combinations of the last rows were orange and black (almost black), the colors of our San Francisco Giants!!  They won the World Series this year too, perhaps good yarn juju had a part?

I cozy up in it on cool days, drape it over a coat or wear it like a scarf.  On cool weekend days you might find me propped up in bed with tons of pillows and a flask of hot Earl Grey tea and this shawl draped over my feet while I read magazines or knit something delicious.

I have encouraged my friend A___ to try her hand at this one because I think this shawl in a combination of browns and other mushroomy shaded yarn would look divine on her.

It’s tempting to knit another one, perhaps in a blue? What colors do you think?  Here’s a link to where I buy this gorgeous yarn, and all the colors they have available.

Finished Objects: Santa Fe Eyelet Shawl

This shawl went off the needles and around my neck almost instantly, it is so gorgeous.

Eyelet Shawl, Stimulus Package yarn

The Eyelet Shawl using Dyelot Yarn’s Stimulus Package yarn in the colorway Santa Fe is a superbly simple knit. The yarn comes in a big fat skein but is really six smaller skeins of yarn, all dyed the same but with gorgeously different textures.

Tres Santa Fe by dyelot yarnTres Santa Fe by dyelot yarn

The pattern came free with the yarn but it makes a hugely long shawl. I am almost 6′ tall and I have to triple wind it around me for a loose cowl effect. I might like to make another one that is about 2 feet shorter! But regardless, I love this shawl and am so grateful for the gift of the yarn from E___. I am going to be cozy and very stylish all winter long.

Thank you!

On To New Things – The Oakland Shawl

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The rainbow Bridge scarf in memory of Pogo is now done and it is time for me to try to move onto new things.

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I went on to Ravelry to look at patterns that people used with the beautiful Kauni yarn from Denmark and found the beautiful Oakland Shawl by Sally Brandl.

Happily, the pattern is one that I can do while I am in the healing process, when my brain is fuzzy and my mental acuity is not so great. The Oakland Shawl is perfect as it is mainly garter stitch with a yarn over here and there along each edge and along the spine.

I do love working with this yarn despite it being sticky and sheepy, but the color changes are so lovely and it’s fun to keep going to see the colors change in your hands.

It is worked with two balls of the Kauni yarn, one in the rainbow and one that morphs between light gray to dark gray.

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After just a few days of easy knitting, the shawl began to take shape and I’m thrilled with the results. This will be quite a large shawl that I can wrap around me like a big hug.

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Sometimes, while knitting this shawl, I fall asleep holding the yarn in my hands. This is the purpose of why I knit, it calms and relaxes me and soothes my frazzled nerves. It keeps my hands busy when my mind is restless and makes me happy knowing I’m going to have something beautiful to wear very soon.

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