Sunday, July 4, 2010

If it is the Fourth of July...

I'll be wearing my Firecracker shawl.

Yeah, I know the days of eyelash shawls are pretty much over, but I like this one because the eyelash yarn reminds me of fireworks. I received the one ball of the eyelash yarn in a gift bag several years ago at the Acorn Street Knitting Retreat in Leavenworth, Washington. At first I was disappointed because the yarn didn't seem as pretty as the yarn the other knitters received. It had a blue thread and red and white and sparkly eyelashes. Then I warmed up to it and started thinking about how I would use it.

I decided to use the yarn for a garter stitch shaped shawl. I bought some navy blue Sevilla yarn and then started trying to make it work. I thought I would use it every other row, but there wasn't enough yarn. When I tried to find more of the yarn I was told that it was a sample yarn and there wasn't any more of it. So I came up with another plan--to use two rows of the Sevilla and one row of the eyelash. It worked great. I have work it on the Fourth of July ever since.

I know it will be the hit of my brother's Fourth of July party, as usual.

Friday, February 19, 2010

2010 Knitting Olympics

After reading the Yarn Harlot's blog about the 2010 Knitting Olympics, I decided that it would be great fun to participate. There was something about her statement to those who "would like to challenge themselves while embracing the Olympic spirit, and is just whacked enough to play along with me" that called to me. I figured I would be watching the Olympics for hours anyway. Why not use this opportunity to push my knitting skills?

I decided that my challenge would be lace. My previous experience was painful. A few years ago I took a  lace and my project--a lace leaf shawl in SeaSilk--never got beyond what could be mistaken for a thong before I gave up. It didn't help that the instructor would explain the pattern and then, as we started to work, would talk non-stop. I'd listen to her for a few minutes, then look at my lace and have to fix my mistakes. I tried working at home but that didn't seem to help. Hmmm. Yeah. Me. Just whacked enough to take on a lace project while watching the Olympics.

The last time I saw my friend Susan she showed me a shawl she made out of SeaSilk. She used the Ostrich Plumes pattern from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. She said it was pretty easy. So I decided to tackle that pattern.  I promptly ripped out the lace leaf shawl and waited for the flame to be lit to cast on. That's where I ran into my first problem. The pattern directions said, "Multiple of 16 sts plus 1." Uh, huh? Was that 16 sts plus 1 = 17 for each repeat? So, if I wanted to have seven repeats that would be 7 X 17? Or would that be 7 X 16 + 1. I knew I was in trouble, but I decided the first option must be right. I cast on the 7 X 17 stitches (don't make me calculate that here). I was off and running.

The first three rows were easy--just simple stockinette. I should have been more concerned about the fact that I dropped a stitch in the stockinette even before I got to the pattern. Then I got to the pattern stitch (K1, yo) 3 times. Got it. (ssk) twice Check. Sl 2 knit-wise--K1--P2sso. What the.... I had never seen that stitch. I checked all my knitting books but since I don't have any beginning lace books they were no help. I went online and found a very helpful YouTube video. Okay. So, got that.

But somehow the pattern wasn't turning out. I suspected I cast on the wrong number of stitches.

The next day I went to Acorn Street Yarn where Bridget was kind enough to look at my knitting and let me know where I went wrong. So I cast on the correct number of stitches and am off and running again.

Lace. Yeah. And the Olympics. I might need to rethink my challenge.