Category Archives: Scarf/Shawl

Fushia Nightsong Shawl Runs Out of Beads-FO

Nightsong Shawl with Beads Detail

Fushia Nightsong Shawl with Red and Pink Beads

Adding beads to my Fushia Nightsong Shawl made it a knockout knitted object and gave me a new appreciation for the work involved in beading.

While adding the red glass beads to my shawl, I realized that I had been more ambitious about beading than a realized. What looked like a small decorative addition was a significant amount of work (related four letter words, at least at first).

After my third row of adding four clear red beads per pattern repeat, I realized that since the holes of about a third of the beads made them unusable I was going to run out of beads. Unfortunately, I had purchased the last tube of clear red glass beads from Bruce Frank Beads. I used size 6 beads with a size 10 crochet hook.

With my shawl tucked in my bag, I returned to Bruce Frank Beads and found a pink bead that sparkled and coordinated with the clear red beads and my fushia-purple yarn. I bought a tube of these beads.

Since I had already put a lot of work into the beading that I had done and I was afraid that undoing the knitting and beading would weaken or make the yarn unknittable, I decided to modify my design for beading so that it looked like I intended to add a second color bead all along. My advice for those who considering adding beads to your work–over estimate the number of beads that you will need. Like extra stash you can always find a place to add them. Also, include a percentage for beads that are poorly made.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

4 Hints When Knitting With Beads-Nightsong Lace Shawl

 

Bruce Frank Bead Shop - West 83rd St, NYC 10024

Bruce Frank Bead Shop - NYC

The Nightsong Shawl is a great pattern for a skein of sock yarn. (The fact that it’s a free pattern encourages it’s use!) It creates an oblique triangle so that the shawl is longer than it is deep. As a result, it goes around the wearer’s neck allowing enough length to grace the front of a jacket.

 

Having made a Nightsong Shawl this summer out of cashmere lace weight for a friend, I was eager to make one for myself. While at Tess Yarns in Portland, Maine this summer, I bought a skein of wonderful fushia and purple sock yarn. I wanted to buy more than one skein but alas that’s all that they had. So the Nightsong Shawl was the perfect project. I loved the way that the repeats organically grow and diminish with this pattern. Working in sock yarn was much quicker than the laceweight cashmere! While knitting a second shawl shortly after finishing one can be boring, the knitter does have a good feel for the pattern repeats which adds to the speed and satisfaction of knitting.

Not being one to leave a pattern alone, I decided to add beads to this shawl. While in Margaretville, I purchased some tiny headed, old crochet hooks despite the fact that I don’t crochet. I planned to use them to place beads on my Fushia Nightsong Lace Shawl.

Living in Manhattan, it’s possible to find just about anything that you need within a subway’s trip away. I was in the west 30s, also known as the garment district. I used the opportunity to check out the strip of beading stores which have cropped up along Sixth Avenue from 39th to 35th Streets.

While I had my shawl in progress tucked in my purse, I didn’t have a clear idea of the bead size that I needed. I learned that bead sizes can vary significantly and the larger sizes are difficult to find. The larger the bead hole, the smaller the number. The array of beads was confusing so despite 45 minutes of shopping, I was still without any beads.

I consulted a friend who suggested trying Bruce Frank Beads on West 83rd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway. This time, I brought my crochet hook and project with me. I found beautiful clear red beads from the Czech Republic that contrast with the yarn.

Being new to beading, I limited my use of beads to the edging. I selected the floral pattern where there are plain knit stitches which makes placing the beads easier. I used a highlighter to mark where I was going to place beads. Remember,  if you’re first starting out, beading will significantly slow down the process.

Here’s what I learned about knitting with beads:

1] If possible, test placing one bead on your yarn. While you can buy a wonderful looking bead, it may not reflect the light the way that you anticipate. In my case, the wonderful red glass beads where too similar to the yarn to be seen.

2] Where bead size matters, use Asian made beads which tend to be more consistent in the size of their holes. About a third of the red glass beads had holes that made them impossible to use without hurting the yarn.

3] Consider how the knitted piece will be used, since beads, glass ones in particular, limit how the item is washed and worn. It’s more fragile as a result. Also, it may have an impact on how the lace blocks out.

4] Place loose beads into a small container so that they are easier to nudge onto the crochet hook and stay in one place rather than flying all over your knitting area.

Labor Day Knitting With Hudson River View

Hudson River View from High Line

Hudson River View from High Line

To mark the close of summer, my husband and I took advantage of the good weather to watch the sunset over the Hudson from the new High Line Park.  Three flights above the westside of Manhattan, the High Line Park has been created from the remains of the old railroad tracks. It runs from the middle of the West Village to West 20th Street. The landscaping has integrated the sense of the old tracks.

The path snakes along and is covered at places with cultivated wild flowers. It includes limited seating with a good view of the Hudson River. We watched the setting sun as it sank into the New Jersey skyline melting into an orangey puddle of color.

I brought my Fushia Nightsong Lace Shawl and added some length to the piece. It’s a great project in terms of portability. Since it’s the second time that I’m using the pattern, I have a sense of the lace repeats.  In general, I try to stick with more mindless knitting for my portable projects.

Due to the brisk air, my husband donned his wedding sweater. It was more of a decoration than a garment but hopefully you can see the pattern.

Jean Moss Inspired Wedding Sweater

Jean Moss Inspired Wedding Sweater

Nightsong Shawl with Hudson River View

Nightsong Shawl with Hudson River View

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

4 Factors to Consider When Making Nightsong Shawl-Another Finished Object

Nightsong Shawl in Cashmere lace weight from Silk CIty Fibers

Nightsong Shawl in Cashmere lace weight from Silk CIty Fibers

I finally finished the Carnation Pink Nightsong Shawl. I felt particularly inspired after seeing the cashmere lace shawl at Mountain Fibers which had a 3 figure price tag. My husband insists that I undervalue my knitted work. It’s not a matter of how it looks but rather the fact that I often knit while I do something else whether it’s visiting with friends in my knitting circles or watching television with my husband or commuting.

For those of you considering making the Nightsong shawl, I strongly recommend it. Here’s my list of its strengths and weaknesses. Of course, how you view them depends on the level of your lace work and goals.

  • Nightsong is a triangular shawl which is relatively shallow. As a result, it gets long enough to wrap around one’s neck quickly. It can be used for a skien of sock yarn with 450 yards. (Please note that this is an estimate! Your results may vary.)
  • Nightsong is a free pattern available online. The pattern is the same on both the left and right sides. There are several ways to follow the repeats. If you read through the entries on Ravelry, you can make an educated guess as to what will work for your project based on the size  shawl you want and how much yarn you have.
  • Nightsong shawl, unlike many triangular shawls doesn’t have a center stitch or spine. At the center is a double yarnover where you need to knit and purl. If you’re not careful, the holes can be large.
  • Nightsong shawl repeats grow organically getting bigger and smaller which helps make it interesting for the knitter and if you’re like me and use stitch markers to denote the pattern repeats, there’s no need to move them!

On the whole, I enjoyed the Nightsong Shawl pattern and would make it again. I am not alone as you’ll see if you check it on Ravelry. I found the very fine cashmere lace weight a challenge. It required good light and I found that I needed to rest my eyes periodically.

Once I soaked the shawl (it’s a good idea to sock lace shawls for at least a half hour. I use hair conditioner which relaxes the yarn.) and pinned it out, the cashmere really softened and the lace blossomed. Since I bought this yarn as a mill end at Silk City Fibers, I have no idea as to how much I used or the true price.

Have you tried the Nightsong Shawl? If so, what did you think?

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Montauk Bound – Beach & Fountain Pen Shawl Knitting

 

Train knitting - Fountain Pen Shawl in Black Malabrigo Sock Yarn

Train knitting - Fountain Pen Shawl in Black Malabrigo Sock Yarn

Since Purl By the Sea is closing, my husband and I are heading out to Montauk to take advantage of the great ocean beach and the friendship that we’ve build with the other knitters at Purl By the Sea. 

My husband treated me to a wonderful trio of knitting books including Volume 2 of Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries and her Knitting from the Top Down. With Nora’s great array of books, it was a tough choice. 

I used the train and beach time to work on my Black Malibrigo Fountain Pen Shawl. While the Malabrigo  merino sock yarn is great to knit with (although I would caution against using black. In my defense, it was a choice of black or white since I waited for The Point to put it on sale.) It is light enough to be able to knit on the beach which is good since the sun light makes the knitting easier. 

As a pattern, here are the advantages and  drawbacks of the Fountain Pen Shawl:

  • For knitters, like myself who use stitch markers to measure each pattern repeat, the shawl required re-arranging the stitch markers at the beginning of each new set (or every 16 rows.) 
  • The patten wasn’t sufficiently interesting after the first set of repeats to keep my attention. Please note that this may be a plus for a new knitter.
  • The shawl used nups which are a sign of a hand made piece but do so sparingly for those who dread them or once per repeat.

 

Yarn Harlot Inspired Shot of Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl on Montauk Beach

Yarn Harlot Inspired Shot of Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl on Montauk Beach

Fountain Pen Shawl Detail on Beach - Note how each repeat looks like a pen nib?

Fountain Pen Shawl Detail on Beach - Note how each repeat looks like a pen nib?

 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Montauk Bound With Knitting

Montauk Sweatshirts for Sale

Montauk Sweatshirts for Sale

 

We love the beach in Montauk which can be relatively empty (at least by New Yorkers’ standards) on holiday weekends. It’s a wonderful expanse of beach with rolling waves that make for peaceful rejuvenation. Of course, it’s not every Manhattanite’s idea of a “local” beach but my husband and I make it an adventure and it beats battling the local airport or driving out of town.

The over 3 hour train trip from NYC’s Penn Station to Montauk gives us an opportunity to sleep, read or knit. We enjoy bagels and coffee on the train and are ready to hit the beach by the time we get to Montauk.  There are a variety of local taxi companies that meet the infrequent trains making getting to the center of town a breeze. From there we can walk to the beach, food and Purl By the Sea.

Atlantic Ocean Beach - Relatively Empty at Montauk

Atlantic Ocean Beach - Relatively Empty at Montauk

Kite Surfers at Montauk Use Strings Differently from Knitters

Kite Surfers at Montauk Use Strings Differently from Knitters

I always love visiting Purl By the Sea. While most knitting stores attract wonderful knitters and crocheters, there’s always laughter around the knitting table at Purl By the Sea. It sends out such good vibe that my husband likes sitting in the spouse rocker and hearing the joyful chatter.  

 

Entrance to Purl By the Sea with Flowers Blooming

Entrance to Purl By the Sea with Flowers Blooming

On July 5th, there was a local spinner giving a demonstration and selling her roving and yarn, both merino and alpaca. The spinner’s wares were spread through out the store.

Spinning demonstration at Purl By the Sea

Spinning demonstration at Purl By the Sea

Spinner's Wares at Purl By the Sea

Spinner's Wares at Purl By the Sea

 

Local Spinner's Roving at Purl By the Sea

Local Spinner's Roving at Purl By the Sea

Additionally, Nora Franzetti, the owner of Purl By the Sea, had been to TNNA and stocked up on new yarns and wonderful books. She brought back samples of yarns and books that she’s considering. She showed me a stack of signed knitting books to make any knitter jealous.

Since I am still swatching and testing the Botanica Medallion from Summer 2009 Vogue Knitting, I bought more Tahki Cotton in aqua and forest green to add more color to the top.  I was lucky that I picked a color that many of the Purl By the Sea knitters don’t like!

For me, the entire day was a knitting adventure. I had time to work on several projects including the Fountain Pen Shawl and the Hemlock Blankie which has been a great beach project. 

Hemlock Ring Blankie on Montauk Beach

Hemlock Ring Blankie on Montauk Beach

 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Sunset on a Knitting-filled Fire Island Vacation

Good bye Fair Harbor Vacation

Good bye Fair Harbor Vacation

 

The end of vacations is always bitter sweet, especially summer ones on Fair Harbor’s car-free beach. While the weather wasn’t sunny and bright every day, it allowed us space to re-charge our batteries and get away from the everyday routine. 

One great advantage of vacation knitting is that you have a tangible reminder of your joy-filled hours of sitting by the beach adding stitch after stitch to your projects.  As I mentioned earlier, I like to have a few different projects to keep me busy and depending on other factors some may not be appropriate. For example, I brought the Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl which I’m making out of Malabrigo sock yarn. It was too thin to knit in the oceanside wind. (So much for finishing it on vacation!)

Some of the sunsets we experienced during our vacation. Sunsets in Fair Harbor are spectacular even if the weather has been poor. The third sunset occurred miraculously between thunderstorms.

Fair Harbor Bay Sunset

Fair Harbor Bay Sunset

Sunset on Fair Harbor with Sailboats

Sunset on Fair Harbor with Sailboats

Post-storm Sunset in Fair Harbor June 2009

Post-storm Sunset in Fair Harbor June 2009

Here’s the progress that I made during our Fire Island stay:

– Black Malabrigo Fountain Pen Shawl – Using  Malabrigo Sock Yarn bought at The Point NYC.  Source: Interweave Spring 2009. Finished 6 out of 10 repeats. Although given how the yarn is being used, I may add 1 or 2 repeats (if I have the stamina.) This pattern is relatively easy with only one nupp per 16 row pattern. It borders on being boring.

– Carnation Pink Nightsong Shawl – Using cobweb weight cashmere yarn from Silk City Fibers and a free online pattern. The pattern is interesting in that there is no center spine. It is probably better done with a single YO in the center but I decided to keep mine consistent. I like the way that the patterns expand and squeeze in. If the yarn wasn’t so TINY, I would probably be done with it. It hurts my eyes to do.

– Hemlock Ring Blankie – Using the pattern by Brooklyn Tweed, I am having fun with this project (although it out grew the needles while I was on vacation!) It turned out to be the perfect yarn for the weather. Thick enough to with stand the wind. I had fun changing colors. I finished 6 out of the Feather and Fan repeats. I think that it will look good once it’s done. It lays flat (unlike the sample in The Point).

– Heirloom Doily Placemats– I finished 1 1/3 of the Liz Snella Heirloom lace pattern using Cesari Wool. I think that this wool will hold up for this use. I find it rough on my hands. Also, since it’s not a very processed wool, there are bits of stuff that haven’t been cleaned out of the wool. (The plus for those who want to wear the yarn is that it has lanolin which helps for rain protection. (I also finished 1 1/3 of the Two Color Lace Doily which I frogged.)

-Green Mitered Tank Top – Out of a 100% cotton with a slub (which is great for those of us whose knit stitch isn’t perfect!) It’s a hospital green that seems to be in all of the windows along Fifth Avenue this spring/summer. The pattern is a Norah Gaughan from the Vogue Knit Summer 2009. It’s an under rated pattern since it is great for all types of figures. I finished the main knitting portion (I didn’t do any sewing, etc. on vacation.) I was very proud of myself for making the increases in the front following the mitered corner to look like darts. 

– Long Sleeve Linen in Grey, Beige , White – I think that I finished the front of this long sleeved ribbed sweater and plotted out the sleeves. It’s been taking WAY to long to finish but I’ve lost interest and keep plodding along. 

Do you keep track of your vacation knitting? Do you find that it gives you special joy? Please let me know in the comments section.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief