Monday, July 25, 2011

A lesson in patience

Thank goodness for lifelines! I just had to rip out 13 rows of lace because I dropped a stitch and couldn't recover the mistake. Believe me, I did try to fix it.  Ugh.  I was 7 rows from the end of the chart! 7 rows from starting the border to the shawl and getting it finished.  I've already picked up the 349 stitches and everything looks okay.  I don't think I have it in me to start knitting this chart over again though.  Sometimes it's best to just walk away and come back to it later - later when I'm going to be less "ragey"about it and less likely to make another mistake.  Did I mention that this yarn is lace weight? Very lace weight.  I definitely see a glass of wine in my future, but for now I'll settle for reading book 6 of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Helical Knitting

This past Saturday I took a class sponsored by the Knit at Night Guild.  The class was held at Park Avenue Yarns and taught by Kenny Chua.  What did we learn about? Well, we learned about helical knitting and how to do a tubular cast on.  Both of these techniques are amazing!!  The tubular cast-on is absolutely amazing.  It creates a very "professional" looking edge for ribbing.  I believe it works best for one by one ribbing, but I think it is possible to use for two by two ribbing.  

However, the cast on does take some time.  Basically you start out by casting on half the number of stitches you need using waste yarn.  After knitting a couple of rounds in stockinette stitch with one round being an "elongated" stitch round, you then switch to your main yarn and knit a round.  During the second round of main color knitting is when the magic happens - creating your ribbed edging.  Essentially you knit one stitch (that from the previous round) and then pick up a main color purl bump from the first round and purl it.  Voila! Once you complete the round you will have double your stitches and created the one by one ribbing!  Not sure that explanation makes sense, but once you try it (or see it in a video) then it will be crystal clear.

Helical knitting - a hat
Once you get past the edging then it is time for helical knitting.  This technique is really neat because it creates jogless stripes.  Believe it or not, you are actually knitting all four colors during one round. The colors are knit in sections throughout the round - knitting one color until you get to the next then dropping that color and picking up the next.  After a couple of rounds you can see the magic has happened and you've created stripes!  While I understand the principles behind this type of knitting, I'm still having to wrap my head around how it ends up working out.  I think that I just need to think about it more.  This piece will be a hat and I'm thinking it will be perfect for my nephew. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Isn't she lovely?

I finally got Mr. SpiderKate to help me out with some photos this evening.  My Rose Lace Stole has been finished for at least two weeks, but it might even have finished it three weeks ago.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  The geometric lace was easy to knit and the rose lace border wasn't difficult either.  In fact, it seemed like the lace ends really flew off the needles!  I guess knitting 52 rows of lace (which is even less since half of that is the WS purl row) is nothing compared to knitting 124 rows of the geometric lace.  And yes, that is 124 rows per side.  
Not sure if I've written this here, but I will say it again.  I've gotten a lot of compliments on it and even inspired two of my knitter friends to knit one!  The malabrigo lace was the perfect choice for this stole since the color has some depth - it is not just straight yellow/golden - but it has hues of yellow/gold.  Very very pretty.  This may sound crazy to say, but I think it adds a touch of elegance to the piece - not that I know anything about being elegant!  This last photo is me modeling the stole.  Let me just say that I was getting hot.  Down here in Houston it is like 90 degrees.  Oh and I won't even mention the dozen mosquito bites I got during this photo shoot.  Okay, it wasn't a dozen but it was ten.  And yes, I did count them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Busy as a bee

Well, some things are going on in the SpiderKate household that are stressing me out and taking up time! I can't say what they are for the time being, but I can say that it's nothing bad.  In the meanwhile, I'm trying to put in some quality time knitting my next (new) shawl design.  I should have had this done awhile ago, but between wanting to finish up older projects and with this new stuff, well it kinda got pushed off to the side.  The good news is that I'm really enjoying working on the shawl (when I work on it that is).  Okay, I don't have much more right now, but I think I need a glass of wine :o)