Friday, March 22, 2013

It's all in the details

Okay, here are the details regarding my Springtime Bandit Shawl & a  couple of photos:

Yarn: The Fibre Company Terra (40% Merino, 40% Alpaca, 20% Silk)
Colorway: Copper Pennies
Needles: US 9 (5.5 mm) needles; I used Addi Click Lace interchangeable needles with the 32"/80 cm cord.  I probably would have been more comfortable if I used the 40"/100 cm cord, but I wanted to stick with the 32".

Ravelry Project Page: Springtime Bandit
Actual amount of yarn used: Every last drop of all four skeins.  Prior to starting the shawl, I had done some research regarding how much yarn the shawl would actually use and found that most people came close to using the full amount of yarn.  One person wrote in their project notes that they came down to the wire only have 14 grams of yarn left after binding off.  Another project page that I came across said they had 36" of yarn left.  Well, I knew that I would more than likely end up like the person left with only 36" of yarn left, so I was careful when joining each skein.  Essentially I tried to leave as little of a yarn tail as possible at the joins.  That really paid off because as I predicted, I was closer to the person with 36" of yarn left since I ended up with 28" of yarn left.  

My advice regarding yarn? If you are nervous about having enough yarn, then definitely have a 5th skein as back up.  I had a 5th skein myself and didn't end up needing it.  Though being that close to the end, I probably wouldn't have used a 5th skein of yarn just to bind off.  I put in a lifeline after Row 33 and if I hadn't had enough yarn, then I would have ripped back to the lifeline and bound off on a WS (purl) row.  

Errata: There isn't any errata listed for this pattern, but through my research regarding the actual amount of yarn used, I came across several project pages that noted an error in Row 27 & Row 29 of the edging chart.  Really the error is in Row 27 of the edging chart, but if you didn't catch it there, then it creates a problem in Row 29 that has to be fixed as a result.  I've posted a picture here along with what I did to fix Row 27.  I changed the two circled yarn overs into knit stitches and the rest of the edging chart worked out fine.

Overall impressions: This is a great pattern that knits up fast!  Between the time I cast on and cast off, the pattern took just over 2 weeks.  During that time I even had company visiting and didn't really get to spend a lot of time on it, just worked a couple of rows in the morning and at night.  I also really loved this yarn.  Very soft and easy to work with.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On the blocking boards

Okay, so in case it's not apparent by now - I love taking pictures of knitted items blocking. Love it. Today I took 60+ pictures of my finished shawl including both pre blocking pictures and during blocking pictures.  Of course I don't have any finished(post) blocking photos yet, but those will come. What shawl am I talking about? Why I'm talking about my Springtime Bandit shawl!  You might recall that this month PAY is doing a KAL featuring the Springtime Bandit shawl, which is a free pattern on Ravelry available here.  I just finished it this morning including the binding off, weaving in ends & blocking.  
This guy just slept through all the binding off drama
The bind off had me sweating a bit.  Late last night I finished knitting the shawl according to the chart, but was running low on yarn.  In fact it was looking so low that I decided it would be best to put in a lifeline after Row 33 of the chart in case I had to rip back and bind off on Row 34 instead of after Row 34.  I wake up this morning, get my morning cup of coffee and almost immediately start the bind off. This is when the sweating commenced.  Prior to starting the bind off, I knew that I had approx. 7 grams of yarn (14 yards) to complete the bind off.  About half way through the bind off, I was tempted to weigh my remaining yarn, but decided against it.  It was either going to work or not work and there was only one way to find out and that was to keep on going.  Well, it ended up working out, leaving me with ~28" of yarn to spare.  I'm not sure I've ever come that close at the end, but I was just relieved to not need to rip back to that pesky lifeline.

My 28" of yarn left; the white yarn is the lifeline still in place
Now on to the blocking photos.  I've tried to take some so that you can see where I place my pins during blocking as well as some of the shawl itself.  I'll post again with more details regarding finished dimensions and some action shots of the shawl once it's dry.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mi Corazon

It's about time!  I was provided with some yarn by the lovely Lizzy Inman of Vice Yarns in her (then) new neon colorway.  I choose the Neon Yellow one or as I like to refer to it, Highlighter Yellow, and got designing away.  A big thank you to Lizzy Inman of Vice Yarns for her generous support!

Design process photo
Vice Paradigm Neon Yellow (Highlighter Yellow)
The result of that designing session is a shawl called Mi Corazon.  Mi Corazon is knit using just one skein of Vice Paradigm yarn (80% Merino, 20% Nylon) with US size 6 (4.0 mm) needles.  I knit mine on 40"/100 cm circular needles, however since it is a smaller shawl, I think you could get away with 32"/80 cm circular needles.  The pattern includes both charted and written instructions.  The best part? It's currently on shawl sale for $4 until the end of the month!  (Can you tell I have shawls on the brain???)  No coupon code required!  The regular price will be $6 starting on April 1st.  

This shawl was named for the tiny hearts created from the stitch pattern.  I must admit though - I didn't see the hearts at first until a fellow knitter & friend pointed out the heart pattern to me.  But from that point forward it was all I could see when I looked at the shawl.    It was a joy to both design & knit this shawl; I hope that you enjoy it as well!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Magic Loop

My sister and her boyfriend recently visited me & Mr. SpiderKate here in TX.  And by recently I mean they just left today (arrived this past Friday).  I was scheduled to teach a class on Magic Loop at Park Avenue Yarns on Saturday morning and with my sister being a knitter, I signed her up!  Now, while she does knit, she doesn't knit like I do - which is to say that she doesn't knit as much as I do (in fact when I last saw her, she brought me a knitting project to fix).  

I decided that it would be a good idea to give her a little preview of what Magic Loop was the night before the class.  So, Friday night I did a demonstration and she goes "that's going to take 2 hrs to teach? You just did that in 5 mins!".  Yes, I did do it 5 mins, but she was also just watching and not actually trying out the technique.  I made it look easy because I Magic Loop all the time.  Fast forward to Saturday morning and she understood why the class was 2 hrs long.  I was a little nervous that she wasn't going to get it, but by the end of the class she (and all the students!) were magic looping like pros!  I was one proud sister!

Mary's magic loop baby hat!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Spring is in the air

As someone who knits a lot of lace, well, I haven't been knitting a lot of lace.  This has made me a little bit sad because I really love knitting lace.  Love it.  How has this happened?  Well, I'm going to blame my new obsession with crochet.  I am crazy about crochet and keep trying to find new projects to start. In fact, I'm resisting starting a new crochet project tonight, but that's for another post.  I'm getting back on the lace bandwagon with the Springtime Bandit.  Park Avenue Yarns is doing this shawl as the KAL for March, which I had a hand in picking out!  I won't lie that I was hoping to do a shawl for a KAL because I know it's just the kick in the butt I need to get my lace mojo back.

The Fibre Company Terra - Copper Pennies (828)
I'm knitting mine using The Fibre Company's Terra yarn, which is a lovely Baby Alpaca, Wool, & Silk blend.  This yarn is heavenly to knit with.  Heavenly!  This is my first time knitting with any yarn from The Fibre Company and I can say for certain that it won't be my last.  I really love the color - Copper Pennies (828) - because it just screams Spring!  It may also be that I just love this teal/blue/green color since my primary knitting bag is the same color.

Set-Up & Rows 1-9 of Body Chart completed!
I cast on yesterday during the morning knit group and got through the Set-Up chart and Rows 1-9 of the Body Chart.  I've worked a little bit on it today and am thisclose to having two repeats of the Body Chart done.  I'm knitting on US 9 (5.5 mm) circular knitting needles, though I don't know the exact cord length - it's from my interchangeable set and seems long enough for now.  There seems to be some conflicting information regarding what needle size to use - Ravelry lists a US 8 (5.0 mm), but the pattern listed a US 9 (5.5 mm).  I ended up going with the US 9 because I knit a little on the tight side....that and my US 8 needles are tied up in another project at the moment.