Friday, July 23, 2010

The beginning of the Spanish Invasion

And so we arrive to August!
(I still haven't figured out how to flip the pictures on the blog! so sorry)
August clue has beads, multiple increases, and as a new technique feature, some twisted/crossed stitches. I do explain some techniques to make some of them, but lucky me, the new issue of Interweave Knits  has an extensive article in techniques to work them - and soon some how-to videos will be available. I just got my issue yesterday and my queue is full again :(  - check the preview!
So, with extra time to work on it and some unexpected and welcome help, you will have this mastered by the time I come back all married and legal.

6 month pattern is ready too!
and so we are ready to take in some new players for the second half of our KAL. That also means that I will not be sending any missing clues for January to June. July and August clues will remain there for a little longer so new joiners can catch up. The pattern has a whopping 27 pages, and it looks great thanks to layout artist and tech ed Kate Vanover. The last page has all the individual clue pictures from our contest winners, with credits and all, so people can use them for reference. 

And we are invaded by the Spaniards...
All of the sudden, my house seems very full with my sister and parents and their stuff in every nook and cranny. They came bearing large amounts of soccer memorabilia from the recent World Cup win - complete outfits for the boys, shirts, hats and wristlets for everybody else. Talk about a swell of national pride...
My wedding outfit also came, yay! The initial dress they bought and send over the mail got sadly routed to Moscow, then back to Europe, and finally to USA. By the time it arrived, it was clear they had overestimated  my chest size by a fair bit and I was swimming in the top, and it was too late for corrections Bummer. But the "backup outfit" they bought was absolutely smashing and it fitted well. So today we have a lengthy marathon of modelling and matching colors and tops and bottoms, followed by makeup shopping, flower ordering and the like. I was hoping the DH-to be would save my poor father from the femme carnage by taking him somewhere manly, like the golf course, but the sly dog went off to straighten the reservations, which required a long drive to Scottsdale...   
I am over the moon about having my sister here. She is an incredibly fashion-forward person who always inspires me to design. I am really hoping to draw her into helping with some designs. She is also my most enthusiastic knitwear appropriator - and she just took over a somewhat undersized Whisper Cardigan in Lorna Lace's Helen lace that was pooling in the most delightful way. Just too small for me.
Pretty uncharacteristic for me, I spent the last two days grooming to become a real bride. I had a moment of panic at the hairdresser. I had made a point of making an appointment with a girl that did a great job of taming my tresses a couple of months back. Halfway through the color-and-cut two hour torture, I asked her what happened to her bubble-gum pink hair, which was looking a pretty tame caramel color now. "Ah, you are talking about Ashley. Everybody confuses us because of the tattoos!" Argh. I had had one of those Ashley-Amber-Tiffany-Madison name confusions. I had the wrong hairstylist! I crossed my eyes, and she came through with a great job in the end.
We will not talk about the wax job that followed. I had trouble sitting for a while.
Good travel companions

 Skuld Shawl is growing steadily, but working only during the daylight hours. Read Anna Dalvi's great description!It is a really enjoyable knit.

Sylvar is also coming along great! I love the texture of the stitch pattern and I may continue it all the way down to the waist. The yarn is a dream! - Madeline Tosh Merino

And just finishing the second glove on my pair of Talinay Gloves in Malabrigo Sock. It is a color I will probably never wear, so I will probably will send the finished pair on the Etsy store. Which I really have to rebuild when I come back from vacation.
Expect some good progress pictures next time!
I totally slipped off my yarn diet

Not my fault, really.
This is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha - A blend of silk and kid mohair so soft you just want to hug it, pet it, take it home and call it Harry. It was the limited colorway for the 2010 Year of Lace club ( I signed up last year so it does not count as skipping the diet). I did not much care for the pattern that came with it, so I am thinking this shall become a large Cliffrose. By the way, I just added "her" to Patternfish - it is a fun place to buy patterns, as their search engine allows for so much tweaking. But I digress...
Wollmeise Sockenwolle Merino in colorways Kuken and Jeton. Two quick snags in the WM feeding frenzy that I would not have bought in a more calm environment. But I do quite like them. Kuken (the yellow one) actually harmonizes well with Sonne, a "wear your sunglasses when you look at it" color. I am still ruminating what they will become. Maybe nothing, as I already have SOLE (Stash Over Life Expectancy).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Howlin' Good Time

That's not exactly what I think of when organizing a wedding, even a small one! However we finally got to my favorite part of the wedding planning: the cake. The only extravagant splurge we are allowing ourselves. The folks at  Piece of Cake in Mesa were fabulous and the cake is simply yummy. German Chocolate for the bottom, Almond infusion for the top, and the outside will look like a desert landscape. Those two guys are my cake toppers! I made them myself of polymer clay, hopefully we will have time to make a pair of tiny coyote pups as well :)  (hey, is Lady Coyote wearing a lace shawl?)

I also had a thrilling time blocking the lovely Cap Shawl I will be wearing. I even put on a skirt to model it for pictures.

So incredibly delicate and gossamer! I felt really bride-ly.
And of course, here is the dashing groom. Modelling an alpaca sweater on 110 degree weather. That is love!
Alpaca does grow a bit, even though I did not block it, but he seems to like his sweaters really roomy.
Enough wedding gushing, down to business!
6 Month Kalendar Update - and photo contest
The proofs are back from Kate, the tech editor/layout artist/whip-in-shaper. In spite of Kate's best efforts, the pattern is still a 26-page behemoth, so we will have to set it up as an e-book. I expect to be able to upload it in the next couple of days, and we will then open a second round of sign-ups for people wanting to hop on the KAL. Spread the word! Pattern will sell for $6, since it has been professionally edited and remastered.
One of the hardest parts was to choose pictures! I had over 75 pictures to sort through, thanks to all of you who sent beautiful, artistic pictures of our clues. I had many, many entries for June, August and April which seem to be the favorite clues. In the end, the choice came down to how well the pictures played together - I wanted a range of colors and textures but the pictures should go well together. Some of the clues i did not chose were so beautiful it broke my heart not to include them - but for instance, I had a lot of entries in red color.
All that said, I used pictures from: MissMootles, Pat Fennesy, Mirih, VirtualJ, Niemiecp, TBVD. Their names will be acknowledged in the pattern, and they will all receive a copy of the 6 month pattern.
And the winner of the Sunshinewalks bag is Melissa TwoKnitWit! Yay!!! She gets to choose a lovely medium drawstring bag from the Etsy store to keep her shawl nice and snugly. Her name was chosen at random among all the entries, and her pictures were quite gorgeous.
Keep snapping those pictures, at the 12 month mark we will have another contest for the next 6 month pics and FO pictures. 

August and September Clue Update

August clue is fresh off the keyboard and in the capable hands of Olga, Lise and Tammy for a final look over. It is one busy clue, and I had to knit mine through to make sure it looked OK. And it does - it is quite pretty and will keep you on your toes. Which is fine, because you have extra time to work on it! The plan is to release August by July, 22nd because I will be out of town quite a bit afterwards, and with only intermittent Internet access. 

September theme is a bit obvious - Falling Leaves. We just could not pass up all these lovely leaf and branch patterns. I do have a good idea of where I want this clue to be but I still need to get your input, because quite often I change my mind after I see a lovely suggestion. 

WIP cleanup is done!

Well... almost. Only one old WIP to finish yet, the Frostflower Shawl. It is a bit of mindless knitting that I carry everywhere whenever I anticipate a little dead time, and little by little it has grown. It uses lovely Malabrigo Lace yarn in Sealing Wax colorway which is a pleasure to fondle and to knit. I decided to power-knit through it, and within a day i was bored to tears with it, so it is relegated back to travelling project/waiting room project. I do promise to work on it more diligently, because i think I will love the finished piece.

Meanwhile, I get to start a few new projects. I finally got around to sorting out my stash and I was downright mortified at how much stuff I have. Lovely stuff, deserving of a project. So I decided to go on a yarn diet and dig out some projects for the lovelies.
 Out of the bottom of the sweater-quantity pile came this supersoft Madeline Tosh Merino in Tannehill. It is a somewhat sticky singles, but it knits up nice and even. The color is brown with loden green and a few emerald highlights. It calls for something vegetable. So it will become Jordana Paige's Silvar Sweater. It is a boatneck fitted sweater. I haven't made gauge on size 6 needles, looks like I will have to go down one size, and I hope this does not make the knit too dense.

This skein of Sanguine Gryphon Sappho in Coming from Crete colorway (seems to be same as Oak Timberworm, for Bugga! pundits) is busy becoming Anna Dalvi's Skuld, a lovely sideways shawlette. This colorway and my Harmony needles did not get along at all, the color blended with the needles so badly I did not notice a couple of dropped stitches. I ended up resorting to my bright pink El Cheapo Boyes needles, and it is growing nicely.
Alas, my designing is put on hold until I am done with the wedding, if I can hold it that long.
And, oh, my yarn diet resolution is already out the door. I have a couple of bags of Wollmeise winging it my way. Sniff.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Remember this shawl?
We finally have a name... I found my inspiration on my latest Grand Canyon trip
the humble Arizona Cliffrose, its dainty flower an unexpected beauty amidst the desert and the rocks, clustering at the end of spiny branches and thin leaves.

And here is a parade of lovely Cliffrose shawls in three different sizes and a variety of yarns and colors, courtesy of my wonderful test knitters!

Knittinkitten22's artfully posed large sized shawl in Plymouth Alpaca Prima in a lovely shade of lavender.
Another medium, Accordionmama's shawl in the classic Zephyr Silk-Wool, shows lovely in the piano. The color is a soft teal
Here is a close up of the main lace section From ExiledMuse's small sized shawl. She used KnitPicks Palette.
And the shawl. The effect is a tad more dense than the laceweights.

Dragknit's Skacel Merino Lace in soft pink. Her medium shawl just looks like a pink cloud

 And a full picture of her shawl against some green. She also came up with a great idea to improve the bind off in very thin yarns
Speaking of close ups, here is the edge section in yummy Lolita from Dyelectable Yarns, colorway Cupcake. FeistyMuse did a wonderful job. It looks just like it is made out of frosting!
This one is a small size.
Yet another close up, this time of the initial section, shown off in a sultry eggplant shade of KnitPicks Shadow Lace. Courtesy of Autumgirl84
How about this rasperry goodness from Makenyon? A large size in Valley Yarns Alpaca Silk.

Ready to stash-dive and get one of these beauties on your needles? The pattern is released, and we will be hosting a KAL at the 2010 Lace Sampler KAL group!
Ravelry's Cliffrose Page

Meanwhile, I am working on the 6 month cummulative pattern. Slow going, but at least I have a bunch of great pictures to work with thanks to you all. Stay posted for the next blog update, where i will announce the winner of the drawing for a prize among all those who sent pictures. The winner will net her or his choice of medium size drawstring bag from Sunshine Walks Etsy shop... a perfect size to carry your 2010 Kalendar on a little roadtrip this summer!

something like these!!! Lisa has been very gracious in giving us a special deal for the drawing. her bags are just so much fun, you just want to take your projects for a little walk.

I can't wait to see all of your Cliffroses very soon!!!