Tag Archives: Ravelry

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

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Hemlock Ring Blankie-Vacation Projects Begin!

Hemlock Ring Blankie Yarn-Silk Spun Cotton

Hemlock Ring Blankie Yarn-Silk Spun Cotton

Lately, I’ve been bitten by a lace doily bug. There is some about knitting round and round and watching the pattern slowly evolve. Perhaps its the influence of Marion Kinzel’s Lace Knitting Volume 1. As a result, I’ve been trolling Ravelry and the internet for vintage lace doily patterns. 

In the process, I kept finding myself drawn to Jared Flood aka Brooklyn Tweed’s Hemlock Ring Blanket which is a modification of a traditional doily pattern using a thicker wool. This pattern has roughly 2,700 projects on Ravelry! In part, I attribute this to the fact that it’s a free pattern and the recommended yarn (Cascade Eco) has a lot of yardage so that a project costs about about $30.00-$35.00. (Mind you this is a lap blanket not a full size blanket.) While I’m usually not one to follow online knitting trends, the Hemlock Ring Blankie has made it into my queue.

From a yarn swap last spring, I have 5 skeins of Farmhouse Yarns’ Silk Spun Cotton or 1,000 yards. It’s a thick yarn consisting of American grown cotton, American grown wool and silk. It’s made by Carol Martin of Hopyard Spinnery and contains 200 yards per skein. the label recommends using a size 8 needle. Since I’m making lace, I plan to use my 10.5 needles by Susan Bates in pink and purple which are plastic and have wonderful points. The yarn has wonderful names like Mint Julep for the green which is a blend of greens with a smattering of blue. Since this is a beach vacation project, the sun light plays wonderfully on the color. 

Hemlock Ring Blankie on 4 Double Point Needles #10

Hemlock Ring Blankie on 4 Double Point Needles #10

It turned out that the Hemlock Ring Blankie made a great vacation project. First, it becomes a relatively big project very quickly so being away where you don’t need to shlep it to knitting circles and the like is great. Also, the weather at Fire Island was cooler and windy than average for June. As a result, it was good to have a knitting project with a thicker yarn that could be worked easily. The finer lace shawls were difficult to knit between keeping the pattern in my lap and being able to work the yarn.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Vogue Knitting Summer 2009 – Cover Inspiration

The cover pattern on the Summer 2009  issue of Vogue Knitting has me intrigued. After my first foray into lace knitting in the round, Amanda suggested that I try the Medallion piece since it uses circular lace. After reading through the related instructions, I discovered that it’s an amazing piece that uses a variety of stitches to make the outer border. The different stitches compensate for the difference in the circumference rather than growing by adding more stitches each row. I am planning to make the vest in a combination of two tones so that I can use some white Tahki cotton that’s in my stash.

I stopped using Vogue patterns since they tended to be very simplistic designs but, to my pleasant surprise, this issue has several patterns that I can’t wait to knit. 

As with any pattern I knit these days, I always check out the comments on Ravelry. This medallion top has almost 100 projects already. I also found out that (no surprise here!) there are corrections to the pattern. 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Knitted Gifts-Spreading the Love

Many of my knitting friends are always making items that are presents for their friends, family and charity. It seems to be a way to offer their love and support. Therefore when my friend Amanda invited me to join her for her annual Webs Tent Sale pilgrimage, I wanted to make her something special to show my appreciation. As a fellow knitter who makes a variety of items with complex stitches, beading and vibrant colors, she knits wonderful shawls, sweaters, hats and handbags. Deciding what to make was a challenge. Since we were headed to Webs, the yarn mecca, bringing her some special yarn wouldn’t do. 

After much consideration and research on Ravelry, I decided to make her some hand knit washcloths. It was an idea right out of Mason Dixon Knits. It is a favorite book of mine since it opens up possibilities for projects that I might not otherwise consider such as knitted home goods. 

In fact, the first of the items that I made Amanda was the Warshrag from Mason Dixon knits. Since Amanda is a big fan of Good and Plenty, I made it in pale pine and black Rowan cotton. I think that it’s a hoot. This pattern is a great way to use two different color yarns and makes a thick material.

Good and Plenty Warshrag in Rowan Cotton

Good and Plenty Warshrag in Rowan Cotton

For the second washcloth, I used the 1911 lace star pattern. I have been enticed with circular lace patterns of late and wanted to try one on a small scale. Inspired by Brooklyn Tweeds’ Hemlock Ring, I want to make a round lace shawl using one of these old patterns with a fingering weight yarn.  Since purples and lavenders are among Amanda’s favorite colors, I used some lavender cotton from my stash.

1911 Star Doily -Knit in Lavender Cotton

1911 Star Doily -Knit in Lavender Cotton

Interestingly, I did fine starting the knitting and went full steam ahead until about row 21. My missteps included not using stitch markers to keep track of the repeats, not using the chart to help track the stitch increases, and not switching to a circular needle sooner. As a result, it took me a frustrating week of ripping and re-knitting but the result was worth it! I finished at Amanda’s house so she decided to block it herself. It’s a great first circular lace pattern (as long as you avoid my challenges!)

MDSW-Fiber Festival Here We Come!

 The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is held the first weekend in May in West Friendship, Maryland. It claims to be the largest fiber festival in the U.S. 

For me it’s a knitting adventure. I meet a group of other knitters at a deli at 35th Street and Sixth Avenue to board a bus that leaves the city at 7.00 a.m. sharp for the Maryland fairgrounds. This was my fifth pilgrimage to the MDSW. I join friends and others on this bus. This group started as part of BAKG, the Big Apple Knitters Group. Now  it’s a word of mouth event that fills up quickly!

We all board the bus with anticipation of the wonderful yarns and fibers that we will see and buy. There’s excitement in the air. Regardless of age, we’re like small children who have been waiting for Christmas all year. We can’t wait to get to the fairgrounds and drool over the wonderful display of goods.

Despite the clouds and forecasted poor weather, we came prepared. By the time we arrived in Maryland, the rain had already passed through. The outdoor stalls had temporary coverings. The lines for the fairgrounds were short and buses were re-routed to avoid muddy parking.

As a veteran of four previous MDSW fairs, I had a couple of early stops on my itinerary. Living in Manhattan, I have access to a wide variety of yarns. Therefore, I use festivals like MDSW to buy fibers from local producers and rare breeds. 

First on my list was Spinning Flock Farm, a small Maryland farm which has a small offering of Blue Face Leceister, which is a rare breed. I love it for its ability to show stitch definition and the soft material it makes. It’s wool that’s not itchy! Spinning Flock Farm generally uses old fashioned colors. In addition, they have a variety of other types of wool. I always buy enough wool for a sweater.

Spinning Flock Farm Sign

Spinning Flock Farm Sign

Blue Face Leiceister in Blues from Spinning Flock Farm

Blue Face Leiceister in Blues from Spinning Flock Farm

Making First Purchase at MDSW at Spinning Flock Farm

Making First Purchase at MDSW at Spinning Flock Farm

I stopped by the Ravelry gathering at the Rabbit Hatch and got my buttons. My husband had made me a tailored one to promote this blog.  The place was packed with Ravelers and their friends. Everyone is wearing knitted garments and are intoxicated with the fiber fumes.

 

Ravelry Gathering at MDSW-Distributing buttons

Ravelry Gathering at MDSW-Distributing buttons

 

Ravelry members in knitted garments

Ravelry members in knitted garments

 

 

 

Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief in Swallowtail Lace Shawl at MDSW

Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief in Swallowtail Lace Shawl at MDSW

 

Since I had visited Tess Yarns in Portland last summer and figured that I would have an opportunity to do so again this summer, I had decided not to stop by their tent. But…the burst of color lured me in. I considered buying some of her lace merino which is a great buy at $10.00 a skein. Instead I opted for two skeins of a blue-green super wash merino. It should be just enough for a long sleeve sweater if there’s not much design.

 

Tess Yarns Lace Weight Selection

Tess Yarns Lace Weight Selection

 

Tess Yarns selection by color not fiber!

Tess Yarns selection by color not fiber!

 

Melinda (aka Tess) taking the money at MDSW

Melinda (aka Tess) taking the money at MDSW

 

 

 

On the recommendation of a fellow lace knitter, I made my way to Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It was a small booth in the main barn filled with color. I found a wonderful wine colored merino lace weight. I would have bought 2 skeins but alas it was the only one in that colorway. I am hoping to make a small shoulderette from one of the recent Knitty patterns.

The most unusual find was a blend including dog hair (yes you read that correctly). At $24.00 for 200 yards, I decided it was a bit too exotic to try. It was made by a small mill where a woman comber her dog team and they used the hair.

This year, I was attracted to the Wensleydale Long Wool again. Last year, I came close to purchasing some for its amazing luster. One of my fellow knitters has been making a shawl from some olive colored wool. Since I still worried about the “itchiness factor”, I only bought enough for a shawl as a test. It’s a deep, rich grey. It breaks my rule of only buying fromlocal producers since it’s from Yorkshire, England but I am hoping that it makes a wonderful shawl for the fall.

 

Flying Fibers is a family business

Flying Fibers is a family business

 

In addition to the fiber buying frenzy, there are wonderful exhibits of hand made goods. I use these pieces for future inspiration. 

Of course, there’s the usual fair fare. It’s a combination of lamb dishes mixed with fresh lemonade, ribbon potatoes and ice cream.

 

MDSW ice cream offering

MDSW ice cream offering

Ribbon potatoes are a big hit at MDSW

Ribbon potatoes are a big hit at MDSW

 

Then there are the animals who are really the center of the show (although unlike Rhinebeck, I don’t go out of my way to walk through the barns.)

 

Sheep taking a rest from the excitement at MDSW

Sheep taking a rest from the excitement at MDSW

 

Alpacas shorn for the MDSW

Alpacas shorn for the MDSW

 

 

For entertainment, there were several groups of musicians playing folk music. It’s a good place to park the less wool-friendly members of your group.

 

Musicians play folk music at MDSW

Musicians play folk music at MDSW

More musicians attract listeners at MDSW

More musicians attract listeners at MDSW

 

By 4.30p.m., my New York bound knitting friends wander back to the bus. Each ladened with packages and feeling happy. The bus home is an exchange of seeing what types of fibers and colors we have purchased. Everyone has found some wonderful wool to make a stunning piece. Tired from the adventure, many sleep or knit as we motor back to New York City.

Submitted by: Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

The Point About Cuffs-Lace edging modified

 

Lace cuff pinned out

Lace cuff pinned out

To sex up the Thermal Scoop Neck Pullover, I decided to add removable lace cuffs. I took my inspiration from Vicki Square’s The Point About Cuffs in Lace Style. Vicki Square’s pattern is meant to be worn under a blazer. When I checked on Ravelry, there were a mere 13 photos and most knitters weren’t happy with the result.

 

Therefore, I decided to change the pattern (nothing unusual here). I made it narrower and shorter. Vicki Square’s pattern calls for 5.5 inches of lace and 2.5 inches of ribbing. 

For my grey glittery mohair from Silk City Fibers, my modifications were:

  • Knit lace flat and then seam. Therefore, I added 3 stitches, one selvedge stitch at each end and one to end the pattern on the last pattern repeat. I think that knitting flat helped me to speed up the project since the thread thin lace weight is difficult to manage flat.
  • Reduced the number of stitches to 63 (10 repeats of 6 stitches). This narrowed the cuff.
  • Shortened the cuff. I reduced the lace to 3 inches before blocking.
  • Used 2 rounds of stitch reduction. At row 21, I decreased every other stitch and then repeated the decreases again on row 23. As a result, I had 17 stitches remaining which will make a tighter fit on the ribbing.
  • Changed K2P2 rib to a K1P1 rib to make the cuffs tighter although they will probably need elastic to keep them in place.

While I don’t know how much yarn was used, I used a size 5 needle. Further, I zipped through the project unlike those on Ravelry.

 

Thermal Scoop Neck Pullover with Lace Cuffs

Thermal Scoop Neck Pullover with Lace Cuffs

P.S. I think that the cuffs will need elastic to stay in place.

 

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor

New Sweater Project – 2009 NaKniSweMoDo

100% White Alpaca & Gray Mohair   

 

100% White Alpaca & Gray Mohair

 

Have you ever found yourself staring at the yarn you wanted to use but weren’t able to start a project? I’m at that point now in terms of the next sweater that I’m knitting for the Ravelry NaKniSweMoDo (aka National Knit a Sweater a Month Dodecathon). I want to  use the 100% alpaca and the lace mohair with a tiny thread of silver (think Rowan Silk Haze)  that I bought at Silk City Fibers last month. 

What  I have in mind is a  sweater that I can use  by itself or with a jacket. To get some inspiration, I turned to some of my knitting books and didn’t find anything that fit the bill.

In the process, I decided that I wanted a sweater that had the feeling of lingerie to since the alpaca is delightfully soft and has a slight haze. While I didn’t find a specific pattern, I knew that I wanted a close fitting sweater with some lace added to it.

I remembered seeing Thermal in Knitty which has some great comments on Ravelry. While it is close to the image that was developing in my mind, it was too casual. Also, on closer examination, it is knit in the round with limited if any shaping. I wanted a close fitting garment so I decided to marry the best of  Thermal with a basic pullover with a scoop neck. Interestingly, many of the Ravelry posts complained about the use of the small needles. Since I made three tops using size 1 or 2s, this shouldn’t be a problem.

While doing my research, I saw the lace cuffs from Lace Style and decided to add them using the grey mohair.  I plan to use buttons to make the cuffs detachable.

Since I have a lot of the grey mohair, I am thinking of adding a sheer cardigan or wrap like the  Cardi Cozy in the new Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. (Please note that there are errata posted on Ravelry.) I will change the pattern since I don’t like the cables or the tie in front. (Of course, I don’t have to decide about this until I finish the white sweater.)

To further dress it up,  I am going to make a lacey grey scarf to add drama to the neck line.

Do you have these types of problems thinking about your next projects?

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief