Knitter’s Dilemma

Abrazo has been properly wet-blocked on my blocking squares and as you can see, it’s a vast improvement.

When I finished this Abrazo and wore it, I was faced with the dilemma that so many other handcrafters find themselves in, and that is that someone asked me to make one for her for payment.  Thankfully, I told her that due to copyright (whew!) I can’t receive payment for knitting things from other people’s patterns (other than the cost of the yarn).   I say “thankfully” because in theory, if I were to make it for payment, I would then have others asking me in short order, as this friend is part of a vast network in my church.  I would prefer to not become a knitting machine for people, cranking-out all the knitterly goods they request, but the fact is that if not kept in check, I could end-up doing just that.  Ugh!  The thought gives me chills.  I figure it’s easier to ask someone to make something for payment, than it is to ask for cost.  No, I will let the subject drop, and hopefully, she won’t pursue it further.  However, I will consider making one as a gift for her using some yarn in my stash at some point.  That should be okay, don’t you think?  I think that it’s less likely that others would follow suit and ask me to make something as a gift, since I think it’s even harder to ask someone to knit something as an out-and-out gift.  Right?  In the meantime, unfortunately it has caused me to think twice before wearing anything knitted out of the house.  I guess I’d just better get over it, because I like knitting things I can wear, and with the very typical cold, wet spring weather we’re having around here, knitted wear is a must.

It came from the black lagoon…

No, actually, the yarn is Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 in black and it came from the deep dark reaches of the bottom of my stash.

A couple of weeks ago, there I was, happily knitting Rose Diamonds when my thoughts kept returning to the Abrazo I’d made for my mother and gave her for the trip to Turkey and I began to wonder how the little shawl was making out. Was it enjoying it’s trip to Turkey? Was it enjoying my mother’s social calender? Then I began to think how I’d really like an Abrazo for myself, and in an astonishing flick of an eye, I’d dropped Rose Diamonds and cast on for my very own Abrazo.

Everything was going really well on it, I’d begun the short rows, and I thought I was almost done when I discovered that I’d inadvertently added 28 yarnovers where there shouldn’t have been in the final row of lace. This is the final row before starting the stockinette short rows; I had thought finishing was a few hours away. With the extra yarnovers, the placement (or centering) of the short rows was way off, and I had no other option than to fix the whole thing. So I ripped-out all of the stockinette, then the row containing the offending yarnovers, and resumed from there.

All’s well that ends well, as they say, and I’m fairly pleased.  Of course, as with the one I made for my mother, I had to steam block it because I still couldn’t find my handy blocking squares.*

Pattern: Abrazo by Susanna IC
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Merino-Silk 2/18 in black
Needles: 5.0 mm/US 8.0
Additional Supplies: silver-lined purple seed beads, size 8/0

*My husband has since found the missing interlocking carpet squares, and although he won’t admit it, it seems he stowed them away someplace high and out of the way during one of his organizing frenzies.  Hey, I’m just glad to have them back!

Mom Loves Hugs

I finished Abrazo (Spanish for hug) at the eleventh-hour and was able to give it to my mother when I took her to the airport this morning.  At this writing, it is with her somewhere over England on the flight to Turkey.  She was delighted, and she gasped when she saw it, which I found oddly embarrassing.  Embarrassing, because it seemed funny to have someone gasp over something that was so easy.  I’m just relieved to have it done in time.

I put in the last few rows yesterday, washed it last night and steam-blocked this morning just minutes before taking her to the airport.  I steam-blocked it because my handy interlocking carpet squares that I’d bought at Daiso Japan (Japanese $1.50-store) have disappeared (at the hands of my dear, fastidious husband, no doubt), so I was up late last night creeping around all the closets and such while everyone else slept, looking for the blasted things, but came up empty-handed, and right when I needed them most. They’re around here somewhere.  Steam-blocking worked fine, though.

As I went over a given section, I used a T-pin to pull each point under the iron and steam it into place so that it would remain pointed.

I managed to snap a few photos before it was unceremoniously rolled up and thrust into my purse on the way out the door.

I thought it was a good idea to take time to photograph it, because last time she went overseas, the fingerless gloves I’d made for her mysteriously disappeared while she slept on the flight.  This time she swore up and down that it would stay in her purse (in a plastic bag) during the flight.  It never hurts to take a few photos, just in case.

Pattern: Abrazo by Susanna IC in Twist Collective Spring 2010
Yarn: Lace Solids by Misti Alpaca (one skein, colorway 9311)
Needles: 0.5 mm/ US 8

The pattern is easy and well-written, the only thing I did different was that I used a very loose long-tail cast-on.  The yarn is nice and soft, but so soft it gets tangled on itself easily.  My lesson learned about Misti Alpaca lace-weight?  Do not attempt to pull from the inside of the skein, because it comes out in one big massive snarl (yarn vomit) and continues to get tangled as the project progresses.  It would be good for me to remember this because I have one skein of this colorway and two of another in my stash.  I didn’t make a stitch gauge, but I suppose I could have gone down a needle size or two, because it looks a bit looser than I’d like.


Abrazo is suddenly coming along nicely and I’m on the home stretch.  Of course, part of my progress was helped by the fact that I stubbed my toe so hard on Wednesday that I seriously thought I broke it, and spent that afternoon and evening with the foot elevated, so I made use of the down time knitting.  I can’t recommend this method of get knitting time in, not to mention a much needed rest, but it’s funny how things work out.  Abrazo should be done in time to give to my mother for her trip on Sunday.

Back To Reality

room with a view in Po'ipu

pretty plumeria

It’s hard to believe we’ve been back from Kaua’i for two weeks; I miss it.  Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful to marvel at and it’s a great place to kick back and just relax.

luscious green in Hanapepe

just plain colorful

The weather at home has been typical of a Pacific Northwest spring: cold, cloudy and rainy.  To ease back into normal everyday life, I went right out and gathered a bit of Paradise for our home by buying Hawaii-grown pineapple and papayas. I also went to Trader Joe’s and bought an Oncidium orchid with tons of pretty orange flowers.

paradise in the kitchen

Knitting projects that accompanied me on the trip were Tokyu Wisp and Red Melon.

red melon at rest

I was hoping to get Red Melon done for my mother’s trip to Turkey in a week, but while on our trip to Kaua’i, it became apparent that that would not happen; the pace hasn’t been fast enough.  So, once home I put down Red Melon and started Abrazo.

Perusing Ravelry, I saw that people have been able to finish Abrazo in a week, so with a few weeks to go before my mother leaves, I thought it was a sure thing to get done to give her for the trip.  I started right away, but didn’t get out of the starting gate, so to speak, until a week later, because the yarn I’m using, Misti Alpaca Lace, keeps vomiting all over the place.  I have spent much of my rare and precious knitting (and blogging) time undoing huge rats’ nests of yarn snarls—HUGE.  I only get about 1-2 hours of knitting in a night, and maybe an hour during the day, and that often gets spent on yarn snarls.  I’ve finally begun breaking-off impossible knots and tossing them.  I had two skeins, which was more than enough to make Abrazo, but at the rate I’m going, I might not have enough.  The snarls are becoming fewer, and I’m at the 13th row, with only 13 more lace rows to go, and then the body of the shawl is stockinette.  The deadline is still within reach, don’t you think?  I dunno know….