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Archive for August 31st, 2010

Urban Archaeology?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I found this view on South Cedar Street (Lansing, Michigan, USA). I walked to the library from my house, and this was near the sidewalk. It looked a bit like an archaeological dig, crossed with a Buddhist rock garden. I like it.


It has been very hot and sunny today. The view there probably looks similar right now. I’d planned to walk to the library this afternoon. That direct sun was just too mean at the time I wished to leave. Plan B!

Working at home is my work plan at this point. Yes, the library has A/C, but getting there would overheat anybody. I can’t justify driving there, it’s just too close.

I hope whatever sort of day you have, it makes you smile. I’m a big fan of summer. I’m nearly giddy that I only had to get my legwarmers out for one day before summer returned. Slowing down is the cost of heat, and my life allows for a slow physical pace if needed. Love it.

Enveloped in Process

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I am developing a new shawl pattern. It started with a picture in my mind that would not go away. However, it is not the kind of knitting I usually do. I’m in the middle of another learning curve.

First I went through my book resources. I glanced through several books and looked in more depth at 3. I used two computer programs plus a calculator to make the first plan.


I picked two yarns to use together. They look great together, but it turns out they are not right for this project. Normally I love high contrast, but that is for stranded/fair isle colorwork. This is a shawl, and I don’t like that much contrast here. Start over.

I am right now on my 4th knitted swatch and my 2nd printed chart. I’m getting closer.

I have learned that if I have an idea in my mind that persists over time, it will be worth the effort. My ZigBagZ were in that category. My Chippy Socks were like that. Those are at the very top of my best-selling pattern designs. Those dreams turned out to please others as well. Therefore, I must proceed.

This design has some Yarn Overs in it. These are used to make intentional, decorative holes in a knitted fabric. I am not a frilly girl, and this is usually part of lacy patterning. However, I have been experimenting with it as more of a texture rather than a girly decoration. I used Yarn Overs in the July Yarn Club kit for Rae’s, pictured here, to accentuate the vertical slip-stitch squiggle line.

In addition, I usually knit in tubes (we call that “in the round”). I do it more when I knit from others’ patterns than my own. For repeating patterns which have an odd number of stitches, this means things may count differently on the right side versus the wrong. I am totally capable of this, but it requires that I think differently.

(It also means I have to purl about half of the stitches, and I’m not fond of purling. I executed over 5,000 purls in 11 assorted colors on my knitted self-portrait project, so I know I can handle that, as well.)

This is not to say I’m complaining. I am getting to where I may be able to dive in to the “real” item soon. I had invaluable time-saving assistance from Rae Monday at Rae’s Yarn Boutique, charting out a particularly confusing part of the design.

So, what can I tell you at this point? I am swatching right now using Noro Silk Garden sockyarn and Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool. I like the drape of these together, and the slight texture contrast. I started with high color contrast but have decided right now to try it with a combination of all cool tones, from green to turquoise, to blue, to purple.

It will take a bit of knitting to complete this, but my goal is to use less than 200gm of fingering-to-sportweight yarns. It can’t take forever!

I’m tentatively planning the second sample to use Kauni slowly-self-striping yarn with a solid, probably Harrisville sportweight two ply, both 100% wool. This one will not have the drape of the silk blend, but will have a lofty warmth.

Or those are the plans at the current time. You’ll hear more as I proceed.