Color me purple.

Amanda Shawl is done.

What a pleasant project it was, and I like that it has some lacework in it and that the bulk of it is stockinette.

Stripes are not my usual thing, but I’m trying to step outside my “usual” and do things that stretch me and push me out of my comfort zone.

It’s a fairly easy knit, although I have to say that I hate it when I have pick-up tons of stitches to knit with as this pattern calls for.  The instructions come in PDF format, providing both written instructions and chart for the lace work, but my only criticism is that the chart is so small, it was too hard to read easily as I went along, so I went with the written instructions.

My gauge was slightly smaller than called for, so it made the shawl smaller,  and instead of the medium-sized one I’d hoped for, I ended-up with something closer to the small-sized one, and measuring 44″ across the top.  I knew it was smaller going into it, but felt that a larger needle would have made for a looser knit.  It’s okay, I’ll live with it. I think…

Progress at about a week ago.

Details
Pattern: Amanda’s Shawl by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Great Northern Mink (sheared)/Cashmere Yarn in purple and Michell & CIA Indiecita 3-ply Alpaca in brown.
Needle: 4 mm (US 6)

I don’t know what it is with me and purple lately, but I’m all about purple.  There was Ribbed Mini-Scarf in purple Shokay Shambala yarn, then there was Veste Croisée in purple La Droguerie Alpaga Plumette, Shawl Neck Cardigan in purple Elann Quechua, and then there was the purple Great Northern Mink (Sheared) Yarn I used for Amanda Shawl.

We’ve been swined.

We’ve all completely recovered from our bout with H1N1,  a.k.a. the dreaded and much-hyped about Swine Flu. It passed among the four of us from Christmas through the first week of January.  It’s great to be back among the living. Whew!

On the knitting side, I took a break from knitting that first week of January.  In January 2009 my husband challenged me to stop knitting for a week, which I flat-out said I couldn’t do.  However, this January I decided that it just seemed like the right time to do it. It turned out to be a good thing to do, because I was able to do other things that are often procrastinated because of my knitting. My hands and arms needed a much-needed rest because I injured my right elbow gardening 14 months ago and knitting seems aggravate it. As luck would have it, Seattle Knitters Guild had a guest speaker come talk about injury from repetitive activities, and he taught us some helpful exercises.  After a week off from knitting, my elbow felt much better, so I think that knitting at a slower pace, doing hand exercises, and icing my elbow after knitting will help it heal.

With my vacation from knitting over, I have started Andrea’s Shawl by Kirsten Kapur, available at Knit Picks and Ravelry. I was going to knit Dipsy’s Cable-Lace Scarf, but at the last minute I saw Nadia’s version of Andrea’s Shawl and I was hooked.  By the way, if you don’t know Nadia, I recommend visiting her blog.  Nadia, who lives in Switzerland and whose blog is written in French, is a prolific knitter and mother to six young children, and you only need understand the language of knitting to enjoy her blog.

Working end of beginning lace border.

Unblocked lace border.

So for Andrea’s Shawl, I’m using Great Northern Mink Yarn (70% sheared mink, 30% cashmere) in purple and some old stashed alpaca (Michell & CIA Indiecita 3-ply alpaca) in brown.  I was intrigued by the concept of shearing mink rather than the alternative, and Great Northern Yarns states that the yarn comes from “Healthy, stress-free minks sheared once a year…” So I thought I’d give it a try, and it seems to be pretty nice stuff.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’m crocheting a duck for my son.  It’s my pattern (really, no pattern at all) and is based on a plush toy duck called Daisy which my son fell in love with at the preschool he went to last year. This very cute plush duck named Daisy is from a series of books by Jane Simmons about a young duck named Daisy and all of her adventures. He really wants his own Daisy, which doesn’t looked like your average duck, and has begged me to make one. I’ve stalled a number of times but finally it’s coming along and he’s excited.

The body is almost done, and it looks more lumpy and bumpy, but I think he’ll like it.  He’s being very patient about it, but he’s watching the construction of Daisy closely, and whenever I pull the project out, he asks, “Is that my Daisy your making?”

Card-again?

Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, and in keeping with what seems to be a trend, I finished Shawl Neck Cardigan, making it my 5th cardigan for 2009, and making it my 10th and final finished object for 2009. The number of finished items is something close to phenomenal for me, considering how little available time I have knit in a typical day. Posting about it has been delayed by a nasty cold that has held us all captive since December 27, causing us to ring in the new year so differently than I’d thought.

(There's style: I'm standing in front of in front of the shower curtain in the bathroom.)

There were times when I thought I’d never finish it.

(It's my IKEA shower curtain.)

Apparently my stitch gauge went off while knitting it. This became evident when I discovered that the side seams didn’t match-up properly with the waistband piece. This was most obvious when I put it on and the side seams were too far forward. The thought occurred to me that this is a flaw that most people wouldn’t notice, especially with dark yarn and on a garment with a lot of drape. But I quickly set about undoing part of the seams and re-sewing them so that everything looks as it should. It looks fine.

Having worked on it in minute increments, I’m happy it’s done much sooner than I’d thought. Back when I started my second attempt on it last July, I thought I’d have it done 2 months later.  But then we got the call to get our daughter in South Korea, life got more busy, knitting schedules fell to the wayside, and I thought I would lucky to have it done by March 2010.

The yarn, Elann’s Peruvian Quechua, is very nice, maybe splitting a bit, and the tencel gives it a silky feel and a lot of drape, while the alpaca makes it soft. I used almost all 12 skeins of it (for medium size cardigan), with only 25 grams left; that’s cutting it too close for my comfort. Of course, it probably wouldn’t be so close if my gauge hadn’t loosened-up so much.

Details
Pattern: #14 Shawl Neck Cardigan by Vladimir Teriokhin (Knit.1, Winter 2007)
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Quechua (65% alpaca, 35% tencel)
Needle: 3.25 mm/U.S. 3

The only thing I changed in the design was that I added a 4th button.

Don't know where I bought these pretty purple buttons....