Monday, March 31, 2008

Year of Lace: Phoenix Rising

The mail brought something very special on Friday. Photobucket

It's the first kit of the Year of Lace club and wow is it gorgeous. The yarn is Claudia's Handpaints Silk Lace (100% silk) in the exclusive Year of Lace colorway they're calling "hot brick orange". It's basically a vivid paprika. I know I wouldn't have chosen this color on my own but it is absolutely lovely. Going beyond your comfort zone is one of the reasons to belong to a knitting club, after all.

Sivia Harding developed the color for her design, "Phoenix Rising".
This dramatic gossamer shawl ... grows from a few cast on stitches at the top into a triangle shape with a centre panel, which features a flame-like design with textured, elongated diamonds. Textured diamonds with wrapped tips emerge from the diagonals that wave down the body, and the shawl finishes with a beaded garter stitch eyelet border.

Tomorrow I'll show you my progress.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Old-Fangled Socks, New-Fangled Yarn

Whew, just under the wire! These mansocks are for my March SAM 5 entry.

The sock pattern is vintage - 1955, to be precise. It's from "Socks", a booklet published by the American Thread Company in 1955. 2x2 ribbing turns into a cable running down either side of the leg. The original pattern calls for 4" of ribbing but 2" looks more modern. (Probably more importantly, I wanted to get to those cables!)

The yarn is Regia Bamboo (45% bamboo, 40% wool, 15% Polyamide), one skein per sock. According to The Knitter's Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes:
The fiber is unique in that it contains an antibacterial and bacteriostasis bioagent that stays in the fiber even after the garment has been washed fifty times...The fiber's cell structure is made of microscopic holes that provide for extremely rapid moisture absorption and evaportation, giving it an excellent ability to breathe.

Cables + antibacterial properties + wash- and breathability? Now that's a sock!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ruched Tank

A couple of evenings of knitting and the Ruched Tank is almost done. The ruching is achieved by a kind of a sandwich of increases and decreases: two rows of increases, several rows of knitting even, then two rows of decreases.

It looks swanky, no? I made this to wear on a very special occasion: my daughter's high school graduation in May.

Now I'm off to buy a 16" circ, size 5, for finishing off the armhole trim, straps, and back neck.

May a chocolate rabbit of your very own find its way to you this Sunday. Of course, these two are hoping for a real bunny.

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Something Green for St. Paddy's Day

I finished the back of the Ruched Tank. Here it is pinned to my dressmaker's form - looks like a good fit.

The yarn is Classic Silk, a mix of 50% cotton, 30% silk, and 20% nylon but the crisp hand is 100% raw silk. This is a sumptuous, decadent yarn.

The color is more earthy and is called "moss", which is sage de-grayed by two notches and brightened with a little yellow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

April Showers Scarf

A riff on Ice Queen. The yarn costs $13.95 and the beads another $2.00.

Materials: 1 skein Rowan Kidsilk Haze (I used color #592, Heavenly Blue)
1 packet size 6 seed beads (or more, if you like!)
size 6 needles

Cast on 48 stitches.

Rows 1 - 5: knit.

Row 6: knit 4, *yo, k2t. Repeat from * until last 4 stitches. Knit 4.

Repeat, placing beads randomly, until desired length.

For placing beads, I used the hooking-beads-as-you-go method, described here. You could easily establish a regular pattern of beads but I wanted them to look like random raindrops. Click either of the photos on this page to check that effect.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Knitting Knirvana

How about a beagle to get things going today? This is Jack.

I hit Target yesterday for some Dingo bones, a bare necessity when beagle puppies are cooped up by f-f-f-freezing weather. It being Target, there's no way to leave without spending at least $60 on stuff you forgot you needed. Like this Anthropologie knockoff:
$14.99 at Target and great for holding my new knitting project, the cami and shawl about which I rhapsodized in yesterday's blog entry.

The cami's hem is done in an interesting way.
You do a provisional cast-on, knit 1", purl a row on the right side, knit another inch, then knit one stitch from the cast-on row together with a live stitch from the needle. It makes for a neat finish.

After an evening or so of knitting, I'm half-way up the back of the cami and as happy as can be with this project.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Love Letter to Jillian Moreno

Dear Jillian Moreno,

You know that I-gotta-have-it-or-I'll-die-just-die? Many moons have waxed and waned since I've felt that way.

And then I saw your designs for

a ruched tank and ruched shawl.

I studied those two pieces. A lot. They were all I could think of, I tell you.

The neckline? Not too high and not too low. Perfect.
The shoulder straps? Wide enough to hide bra straps. Just right.
The shawl? The rectangular stole shape and lace pattern's vertical lines avoid the Jemima Puddleduck factor, as first identified by the Mason Dixon knitting bloggers,

For those of us old enough to remember waiting for the next Beatles' album to come out, le look Puddleduck is a terrible thing.

Jilliam Moreno thought about that. Her shawl's length is long enough to really wrap. There's no way it can cup a pit-pat-widdle-waddle rear. The horizontal patterns on the shawl turn vertical when you put it on, drawing the eye up and elongating the wearer. Genius.

There is just one teensy problem. Buy 22 skeins of Classic Elite Classic Silk (50% cotton, 50% silk), plus one more of Classic Elite Premier (50% pima cotton, 50% tencel) and we're talking investment dressing. It costs almost $200 to make the ensemble.

I scraped it together. You do that for a love jones.