Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What a day

Today has been interesting.  It started off waking up at around 3AM to sounds of a cat puking.  Now, normally I would ignore this and go back to bed, BUT our cat has decided lately that his FAVORITE place to hack up hairballs is in our guest bedroom that has brand new carpet.  Ugh.  I immediately spring out of bed and rush to the guest bedroom to see what awaits me.  Once at the bedroom I discover....nothing! Ha! Turns out I sprung into action for no reason.  But now I'm awake and must find the barf and clean it up.  Yeah, that is how my day started (it was on the stairs by the way, which I probably would have stepped in because I never pay attention to where I am walking when I first wake up).  I swear, this cat has it in for me - his whole goal in life is to prevent me from sleeping peacefully.  These are the things that I have to remind myself of when I see cute kittens and want to adopt them. 

I guess you could say that the rest of my day has been uneventful except that I got inspired for not only one but TWO different shawl designs.  Yeah, I'm pretty excited about that.  I'm already swatching one of them.  You see, I've been in a shawl funk lately.  I wasn't sure why I was feeling this way until it dawned me that I haven't knit a lace weight shawl in awhile now and I missed it!  Well, the only cure for that is to cast-on a lace weight shawl.  What shawl am I knitting? En Fuego Shawl.  Yes, I'm knitting another En Fuego Shawl.  But let me explain!  Next month my knitting guild is starting a shawl KAL and the pattern is En Fuego Shawl presented by yours truly.  I was going to wait until the meeting to cast-on, but then I realized that I was going to be busy at the meeting talking & helping other people cast-on, so I might as well cast-on for mine today.  I could feel my shawl funk lifting as I cast-on and boy did that feel good.  I think that is also what inspired me to look through my stitch books again to see if anything jumped out at me.  

What else do I have going on knit/design wise?  Well, I just finished the second prototype for the hat that I designed.  Now, I might be slightly biased, but this hat is pretty cool.  The first version was a solid color and the second was two colors.  So, now I know two things: 1. the hat looks good with solid color and 2. the hat looks good and works up well using two colors.  I still have some kinks to work out with the decreases, so I'm hoping that my third prototype solves those issues and then the hat will be pretty much set.  I didn't realize when I started designing this hat that it was going to be this involved, but I love the end result too much to give up on it now.  I wish I could share pictures of it, but I'm keeping it a secret for now since I think this hat would make a good fit for a magazine publication. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rodekool

What I really wanted to call this blog is "Rodekool and my obsession with brioche stitch" but for the sake of brevity, I shortened to just Rodekool.  What is Rodekool?  Well, it is a pattern by Nancy Marchant that was featured in Knitty Fall 2010.  This pattern was brought to my attention via the President of the knitting guild that I belong to.  She showed off her Rodekool scarf during our show and tell & talked of the challenge it provided.  I knew right away that I had to knit this pattern.  I even thought to myself "I bet I could knit that and I probably won't have too many problems since I'm already familiar with brioche stitch", but boy was I wrong!
When I initially looked up the pattern I must have glossed over all the cast on information and basically the whole pattern because it turns out there was quite a bit in the pattern that I was unfamiliar with.  First off, I have done an Italian cast on once.  ONCE!  This pattern starts with an Italian cast on using two colors!  It was at this time that I noticed the pattern I printed out had a bunch of video links and I started to wonder if I was in over my head.  So I head over to the computer to watch the video on Italian two color cast on.  Turns out that the video was awesome and I got the cast on down without any problems.  Then it was on to the set-up rows, which I also was okay with since I was already familiar with the brioche stitch.  
Right side of knitting
Now comes the fun part "Rodekool Brioche Lace Stitch Pattern" section.  Yeah, this was my downfall.  After my first mistake and subsequent ripping out, I realized that I really needed to watch the other videos (one of which was 10 minutes long and I initially swore off watching because "it was too long" ha!).  Turns out that the video showing showing the Rodekool Brioche Lace Stitch Pattern was extremely helpful!!!  Ha!  Who knew that watching a video of what you are doing would actually help you figure out what you are doing?!?!?!  I'm not sure if that sentence made any sense, but I think you get what I'm trying to say. Well, I still had to rip out another 2 or 3 times, but I finally got a hang of the lace stitch pattern and I've been knitting away ever since.  However, it hasn't all been smooth sailing since, but I've been fortunate enough to be able to catch and actually correct the couple of errors I've made.  Phew!  
Wrong side of knitting
Later when I told my mom about the pattern she looked it up and told me it was extraspicy.  In my blindness to knit the pattern, I didn't even notice this.  If you are unfamiliar with Knitty's ratings, extraspicy is their hardest rating for a pattern.  Had I known this, I'm not sure I would have attempted the pattern.  I remember wondering when I first started checking out Knitty if I'd ever be able to knit any patterns beyond mellow or tangy.  I'm glad that I didn't see the extraspicy rating because now I'm going to have the confidence to knit another extraspicy patttern should the fancy strike :o)
Stitches split for the keyhole section of scarf
P.S. For a great website dedicated to all things Brioche Stitch, check out Nancy Marchant's website: http://briochestitch.com/brioche/




Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quick photo shoot

Today was a lazy Sunday until I remember that I needed to take pictures of my shawl outside before it started raining.  Luckily, I realized this in time to get ready, take measurements, unpin the shawl and then rope Mr. SpiderKate into taking pictures just before it started to rain.  By the time we got outside for the photos, we only had about 15 mins before it started raining, so we worked fast.  I was pretty sure that because of how rushed we had to be that the photos were going to turn out awful, but to my surprise they turned out reasonably well.  Here are a couple that I liked:




Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm back!

Last week Mr. SpiderKate and I went on vacation to the Bahamas to celebrate our 4 year anniversary!  I wanted to post from the Bahamas, but I refrained as we were on vacation aka no technology allowed.  Okay, maybe I used a little technology for the purposes of email, but that was the extent of it.  This was special trip for us because not only was it our 4 year anniversary but we had also gotten married in the Bahamas.  Oh and did I mention that we got married on leap day? How neat is that!  I can't take any credit for it because it was all Mr. SpiderKate's idea to get married on leap day, but once he planted the idea in my head, I was hooked.  So it as special to be back in the Bahamas to celebrate all of that.  We had a lot of fun while we were there just walking around, reading, eating (A LOT of eating) and just relaxing. 

Just before leaving I was in a rush to try to finish up not one but two shawls.  I only got to finish one of the shawls, which I posted about, the En Fuego shawl for my sister's friend.  I was also working on a sample of my Wild Ivy shawl for Knit Picks.  I really wanted to have the Knit Picks one done before I left as well, however I realized that I couldn't finish it AND block it AND photograph it AND mail it before leaving.  Once I (painfully) accepted these realizations, I shifted my focus to getting done the En Fuego shawl so that I could check at least something off as done before going on vacation.  

Well tonight I finished knitting the Wild Ivy shawl.  All that I have left to do is weave in the ends (which I will do as soon as I finish here) and block it.  The good news is that it will be blocked and ready to photograph this weekend.  The bad news is that it is going to be raining all weekend.  I seem to have the worst luck with weather + knitting photos.  As Mr. SpiderKate often says to me "well it is going to be (insert extreme weather condition not ideal for photographs here) so I know that you must want to take photographs of a finished shawl".  Yup, just check the forecast.  If it calls for high wind + little sun, then you can bet I'm going to have a finished shawl that I want to photograph outside.  Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!  Okay, well here is an unblocked (and might I add hastily taken) photograph of the Wild Ivy shawl.  I can only hope to get out between the rain drops this weekend and get some blocked & better photographs.
P.S. This photo does not do the color justice.  The green is deeper and more like hunter green as the colorway name suggest (yarn is KP Capretta in colorway Hunter).