Ode to Joyette

Here I am again, returned for a time from that mysterious world where blogging doesn’t occur called Life.

I have a few finished objects to report on, but one step at a time.

20120331-141910.jpg

Most recently off the needles is Joyette and, as it’s name suggests, it was a joy to knit.

I needed a small shawl to fit under my jacket when I stand outside my son’s school waiting for dismissal in the cold, driving rain, and digging through Ravelry, I found this shawlette pattern. Lucky me, I just happened to have the right yarn for the job.

20120331-141803.jpg

Looking rather serious. I must be thinking about the mountains of clothes to be washed, folded and put away.

The only hesitation I had in diving right in was because the pattern calls for a fair amount of crochet work at the end for the bottom edging, and I’m pretty rusty in that craft. However, my desire to start a new project that promised to fill a need was too great to ignore.

I loved this project, specifically the way it quickly grew and how the leaf stitch pattern took shape; it kept me on my toes and made it interesting.

From the depths of my stash, Sajama Alpaca, which I received as part of the gift exchange at the Seattle Knitters Guild Annual Holiday Party a few years back came to mind as perfect for this: two hanks of white and one blue. Luckily Joyette is knit from the bottom up, so I was able to use all of the white, reserving the blue for the crocheted edging along the bottom.  Unfortunately, one skein wasn’t quite enough to complete all of the rows of the bottom edging, so I accomplished only half of the rows.

20120331-142634.jpg

The edging that runs the length of the top of the shawl, was supposed to be a knitted picot bind-off, but I didn’t care for how that looked so I ripped it out, did a regular bind-off and opting instead for the very last row from the crochet edging (what would have been on the bottom of the shawl if I hadn’t run out of blue), slightly modified, for a more subtle finish (see photo below).

20120331-142919.jpg

20120331-142944.jpg

Details
Pattern: Joyette by Debbie Anne & Susan Ann
Yarn: Alpaca by Sajama in colors white and blue
Needles: 3.5 mm (US 4)
Crochet Hook: 3.75 mm (US F)

Hear that cracking sound?

That was the sound of my Western Washington amphibian-like skin cracking in the heat of the southern California sun over the weekend. Ahh, that felt nice….

20110624-051431.jpg

I’m back home today, but I was in LA for an extended weekend for a cousin’s wedding. I felt sorry for the souls I’d left behind back home, drowning in the cool, wet, soggy weather of the Pacific Northwest. Not really.

The newlyweds had a photo booth at the reception for guests to use as a memory book of their big day. Great idea.
20110626-090818.jpg
My mom was my traveling companion.

We met-up with Fluffbuff Francesca at Le Pain Quotidien in Manhattan Beach, and Ben was there too. I got to drool over Francesca’s latest swatch, done on really tiny needles. I wonder what my mother thinks of my curious life as a knit-blogger?

Of course, while there, I loaded-up on Le Pain’s answer to Nutella to take home.
20110624-051442.jpg

I did almost no knitting the entire trip, save for the continuing, long, drawn-out process of binding-off Bird’s Eye of domesticshorthair lore (I started it 4 years ago), and that was only worked on in flight, coming and going. If it weren’t for my visit with Francesca, I could have said that I did nothing knitting-related; I didn’t visit a yarn store, I didn’t fondle a random skein of yarn, and I didn’t even buy a Japanese knitting book at Sanseido Books during a stop at Mitsuwa in Torrance. However, I did finish Wandering The Moor before I left home.
20110625-093610.jpg
(sorry for the bad, away-from-home photo)

I like it, and I love the un-scalloped edge for being different. When I finished it, I thought I’d messed-up because it was so small, it looked like something for my 6-year old, but once I blocked it, it opened-up and became adult-size.

Details
Pattern: Wandering the Moor Shawl by Celeste Glassel
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine (just over a skein)
Needles: US 6/4.0 mm

Today I actually had really really good answer for a change when a cashier at the market asked me if I did anything fun over the weekend.
20110627-033102.jpg

Latest Activity

Knitting:  Wandering the Moor shawl

Yarn:  Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. Had to unwind the pull-skein I’d made of it and ball it up because it kept getting tangled.

eBay Purchase: I think I got a bigger kick knowing that it came from a small town practically at the northernmost tip of Scotland.

Movie:  Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides (3-D).  I actually liked this more than #2 and #3 Pirates movies. My knitting companion was Wandering the Moor. Why is it I always take dark knitting projects to work on in a movie theater?

Internet Find:  London Fruit & Herb Company Green Tea & Blackcurrant.  Love this stuff!  I first bought this tea in Canada and had been meting it out carefully over 4 years until I found it available at Mark T. Wendell Tea Company.

Eating:  Gluten-free pão de queijo (pronounced something like “pow d’ kayju”) from the local Brazilian espresso/soccer-viewing joint.  I’ve been gluten-free for about 3 months now and this cheesy tapioca bread has become my guilty pleasure, and it’s “guilty” because I’m also allergic to dairy, but no where near as much as I am to wheat. Recently discovered I’m also allergic to potatoes, corn and chocolate, but I ignore those allergies for obvious reasons.  I’ll get around to trying to bake my own once I get over my funk.

Happiness: My new bright red Fermob (I think it’s pronounced sort of like, “fayr-moe”) French bistro table and chairs; even on a dark rainy day they bring me joy.

Favorite Sight: Mount Rainier from Interstate 90 floating bridge in Seattle (I wasn’t driving).

Smelling: Lilacs at the kitchen window.

Planning: A quick trip to Los Angeles for a cousin’s June wedding.

Juicy Red Melon

Despite my frequent bouts with blogger’s-block I’ve been hard at work finishing projects that have been hanging-on longer than they should.  In fact, I’ve been quite the monogamous knitter of late and it’s paying-off.  I present Red Melon using Melon Pattern from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.

Corners got a bit wonky because I had a hard time getting around the bend.

I started Red Melon at the end of March 2010, and I think I just mentally assigned to the same category as other big shawl projects, most notably Bird’s Eye Shawl (too boring and too big) and Grand Duchess (too complicated and too big), both of which remain in Hibernation Hell. By which that translated in my mind that this will get done—never, but with Jacob’s Delight done I felt like revisiting some things that have been lurking in dark corners of the house looking at me with big doleful eyes. You know, sometimes you just need a confidence-building project, and Jacob’s Delight was that.

Melon Pattern is really very enjoyable, especially for a lace project, and despite the repetition of the same two stitch patterns for so long, the rows were short enough, the stitch patterns are easy enough to memorize, and the progress fast enough that it made for a pretty good knit, when I actually gave it a chance.  The yarn is a dream—so soft.

Details
Pattern: Melon Pattern for a Shawl or Scarf from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca Wool Fingering (four skeins)
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm)
Finished Dimensions: 21” (53 cm) x 82” (2.1 m)

Many of the pictures in this post would not have been possible if it weren’t for my new photographic assistant, Joby Gorillapod Magnetic Flexible Tripod. What a wondrous thing!

Comfort for a friend.

During my days of blogging silence I have stayed in the craft, and I have a friend who’s adult child died unexpectedly.  As irony would have it, this is the same friend who so admired my black Abrazo over the summer. I had planned to make a shawl for her closer to Christmas, but with this sad event in her life, I could not put it off until then.

I had just enough of this peach or salmon-pink yarn I’d bought at the Guild stash-busting event a few years ago, and with her blond hair, it just had her name written all over.

It was a pretty easy knit, except for those tricky little nupps.

It’s much smaller than Abrazo, but her shoulders are not as broad as mine and with a little pin, it works nicely as a light shawl, either for the summer or under a coat.

Details
Pattern: Annis by Susanna IC
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 (50% merino, 50% silk)
Needles: 5 mm ( US #8) and 6 mm (US #10)

My knitting world is shrinking.

I was recently surprised when I opened my email to find a message from Hilltop Yarn East announcing the closing of its doors on June 27.  With the closing of this store, the only dedicated Eastside yarn stores I know of are Cultured Purls in Issaquah (which oddly doesn’t show up on Google Maps on my iPhone) and Main Street Yarn in Mill Creek.  Of course, there are still craft stores in the area with sizable yarn departments, most notably Ben Franklin Crafts & Frames in Redmond and Pacific Fabric & Crafts in Bellevue. On the other hand, with the demise of numerous knitting-related blogs over the past year, I’m beginning to think that perhaps the crazy phenomenon of the explosion of new knitters and interest in things knitting-related over the past decade is winding down, and that maybe it was a fantastic fad.  I rather cringe to call my beloved hobby of 25 years a fad, but it’s been a great ride. I’m here, though, still actively knitting, perusing Ravelry, salivating over the latest and greatest patterns, and blogging to a silent blogosphere.

On that point, let’s look at my latest finished project —

Frost Diamonds was a nice project, and it went pretty quickly, but then with worsted yarn it should be quick. Right?

The pattern went along well, with only a couple of confusing mess-ups.

I think I should have done three repeats of Chart B, because with the weight of the yarn, it almost seems to need to be a bigger shawl.  I have enough yarn, but not enough motivation, and will leave it alone.

I know I’ve made a lot of purple stuff, but this really isn’t purple, it’s a deep burgundy. Which I guess is kind of a purple….

Details
Pattern Frost Diamonds, by Stephanie Japel
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy, “Gothic Rose” colorway
Needles: 6.5 mm/U.S. 10.5

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.