Saturday, March 26, 2011

Clue 4: A Hasty Departure

And we are off!
With the infamous carpetbag full of money and little more, Fogg and Passepartout board the train in a hurry, and travel all the way to the port of Brindisi, traversing Europe without as much as a stop. Passepartout is sorry that all he got of his beloved Paris was a passing glance. Little wonder, since frenchman Mr. Verne was not interested at all in writing about travelling in France!
In every adventure, there must be time for the heroes to rest and recover; In every journey, there is travel time when we just have nothing to do but sit watching the landscape go by as the train tracks stretch ahead. Clue 4 is just like that: a little downtime after the sparkle and adventure of the beads and nupps. An easy, rhythmic background pattern that will frame our nupped/beaded/eyeleted clue beautifully. This clue is a bit longer than the others, adding size to our shawl.  By this clue, you all should be able to transfer your knitting to a comfortable 24 inch cable, where you should be able to remain for a while.
This is the last clue of Section 1, which refers to the setup of the novel in London. By the time you have it completed, those making the square shawl will have a compass motif, a symbol for travel everywhere!
Next clue, Clue 5, due on 4/9, will mark the beginning of the journey itself, the main body of the shawl. And we will be travelling in Egypt!

A Postcard from France

Raveler Flofette send me this lovely gift from France: the stamp collection issued in Francto commemorate Jules Verne, which I had used as a picture (e ganked from the net) in a previous post. They are simply gorgeous! I plan to frame it, maybe with a collage of other pictures to remind me of this KAL.
Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, Florence.
Keep those postcards coming!!!

Some great links for clue 3
Here are a couple of great links that were shared by our members for clue 3, which will help you along the way if you are still stuck there, or if you are a late comer... or for future clues.

Video  shared by our own Netkissa, about beading with the dental floss method.

Another one about beading with hooks:

One more about making nupps the easy way:

And just here a thread in Rav about making nupps, started by MandyzMoon in the 11 in 2011 Ravelry group, listing a bunch of different nupping techniques.

New Posting Rule
We have a wonderful, fun group, full of useful information as well as well-humored chatter. While the chat is a lot of fun, it also makes it difficult to find the important pearls of information and techniques that are being shared. Also, spoiler pictures are posted in any and every thread, which does indeed spoil the mystery for the slower knitters.
In order to make a better, more user friendly group, mods will be enforcing a few posting rules:
- For every clue, two new threads will be open: one will be the announcement thread, which will be also the technique thread. Limit posting in this thread to sharing and discussion of techniques.
- The other thread will be a spoiler/chat thread . Use this one to post pictures and have some fun with the clue. Keep those wonderful tips and links coming! There are a lot of lace newbies that benefit greatly from your words of wisdom.
-There is an off-topic chat thread, which you should use to post all the rest of the chat that is not related to the shawl knitting; If you want to discuss other items you are knitting, your love of chocolate, your pet hair spinning plans (that was a fun thread!), here is the place

Unfortunately, in order to keep things tidy, mods may have to move or delete posts that are in the wrong thread, and they may send you a reminder that you should post this in a different thread. Do not be mad at them, they are just trying to make the group more useful and enjoyable for all! I am sure everybody will be comfortable with the rules soon.

My 2010 is done...
The Unblocked 2010 KALendar
And I will dedicate a post soon to some before-while-after blocking pictures of the process. The transformation of the knitted piece in the blocking process is my favorite part of lace knitting, just like watching a somewhat cute caterpillar turn into a gorgeous butterfly.
I have been tapping some members for their 2010 pictures. I still need pictures for the clues 7 (July) to 12 (December) plus edge, to complete the compiled 2011 Kalendar pattern. Thanks to those who responded so kindly to my request.

Some pretty yarn
My hedgehog fibers cashmere lace finally arrived. As our mod Salt has pointed out, there is an increased delay in the shipments from England, and my cashmere just took the slow boat from Cork, Ireland. It missed the beginning of the KAL by a long stretch, which means I will have to find another destination for it. It is so darned lovely and soft, I may have to design its very own shawl. My heart breaks when I think how much effort Beata put into dyeing it to my fussy specifications. It would have made a great Fogg shawl.

Hedgehog Fibers Cashmere Lace in Winter Thaw
And finally, I needed another project (like I needed a second head), one for the warmer weather. I was in love with the Chiton Pullover from Knitscene. I was in my LYS when I came up on their Manos del Uruguay Serena, a blend of cotton and alpaca with incredible softness and drape. The same yarn this shell is made off. I don't normally buy the same yarn that the project asks for, but it was just too yummy for words.
Manos del Uruguay Serena

And here it is. Can't wait to get started.
See you in two weeks in Egypt!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Clue 3: the Wager

Mr Fogg makes his (for the time) crazy statement that a man may circle the globe in 80 days, and he is willing to stake his honor and fortune to prove it. Don't you wish you could have the time and freedom to just pick up and go, with nothing but a bag of money and a change of underwear, to circle the world?
My Aouda shawl - Blue silk and gold 8/0 beads

This clue finally marked the much anticipated entrance of the nupps and beads options. Beads seem to be the great favorite, but I have seen quite a few lovely pictures of nupps and eyelet only shawls, and even a few creative combos.
Mr Fogg in silk/wool and nupps

Throughout the shawl, there will be a few clues where you will have the option to choose beads and/or nupps, and I will also try to include options for those that like neither. It may be a little while before you have a chance to use the beads again, since I believe they are best used sparingly, but you will have at least another 3 clues which will use them, including the border. How many should you buy? Honestly, I have no clue. The design is not finished, as the testers and myself are right now in a slow boat to China so to speak.
Nupps are harder to see in darker yarns but they will pop when blocking
 Release Calendar for the KALendar
Remember that yesterday was the cutoff date for the free sign ups. And also remember that you are responsible for keeping up with the clues - if you miss one, there is no begging others for clues, just own up and pay up the staggering 2.50$ penalty. That is one time, for the whole year.
When it comes to deadlines in this group, remember we are running in Spanish time. If I say the clue will be released one day, it will be some time that day, but I am unable to stick to an exact time. Once the new clue goes up on the site, the old clue comes down and the cumulative pattern gets updated. Bottom line is, don't wait till deadline day to make sure you have your clue downloaded. And we will keep 2 clues available at all times, which means that, for most of the shawl, you have almost a month to download a clue. And save it. Safely.
I have adjusted release dates so they fall on Saturday, which means you can have at least part of the weekend to knit. This seemed to be a popular option last year!. In order to do that, I have advanced the release date of clue 4 to Saturday, March 26th. That is THIS Saturday! Which means clue 2 will come off that day.
  • Clue 4: 3/26
  • Clue 5: 4/9
  • Clue 6: 4/23
  • Clue 7: 5/7
  • Clue 8: 5/21
After Clue 8, we will gauge how long it is taking people to catch up and time the rest of the clues. I expect the shawl to need 15-17 clues, which will put us right on time for Christmas. I hope.

A Postcard from London
I received this delightful photographs of ravelers Annie and Rhinny knitting the shawl in front of the Big Ben! Isn't this special??? I was incredibly flattered that somebody was so thoughtful. There are so many of us from so many places in the world, I would love to see more pictures of you knitting around the world and post them in the blog or on a thread. Keep them coming!
Here is Annie and her square piece

And gorgeous Ms. Rhinny, only 17 and an accomplished knitter!

Some real London fog and the Houses of Parliament
Remember this guy?

 That's right... the 2010 shawl!. I am in the very last portion of the edge, which means I will be soon blocking and photographing... And I need your photographs too! I really want to finish the cumulative pattern and release it. And if you don't come to you, I will find you where you are hiding. I may be sending you messages in Rav asking for permission to use your photos in the pattern. Or, if you want to, send me pictures of your favorite clue for the last 6 months of the shawl to You will definitely be credited if I use your photos, and all participants will be able to enter a draw for a prize.

The Great Acrylic Project
Besides the 2011 and 2010 shawls, this is the only other project on my needles right now. I wanted to make a concentrated effort to finish the 2010 shawl. But sometimes I need a mindless break from all the laciness, so my collection of a dozen balls or so of acrylic is slowly being turned into a colorful Log Cabin blanket.
I traded some of my KP Oregon Coast with raveler Kay, and this is what I got in return:

A large, colorful quilted project bag. Seriously, this is the size of a weekend duffel bag. I am totally in love with it. It was perfect to stash all the acrylic and the squares.

I am using this to do a little study in color theory and combinations - above is a bold almost-primary color block, below a more soothing combo. I am working on couple of  warm color/cold color combos. Unfortunately, since I started the project, this has not helped to eat my acrylic since I have added at least 3 new color balls. I can see myself buying random balls of colored acrylic from the sale bins, and this turning into a self-perpetuating project. Specially now that I have Kay's bag to hide the corpus delicti.

See you real soon for clue 4!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Clues 1 and 2 are up!

Clue 2: The Man of the Reform Club
 is finally up!
After all the craziness of the round cast-on in clue 1, this is one easy, peasy clue to firm up your knitting in your needles. And once the needles are behaving normally and not spinning around like tops, you will feel comfortable in your knitting again, as comfortable as lounging on one of these plush armchairs... and just at that time... clue 3 will attack!

Clue 1 recap
The first two clues are purposefully quite short, to give enough time to those new to shawls built from the center to master the fiddly start.
Still stuck with the start, ready to stab somebody with the DPN's and throw in the towel? Here is one last resource: the very easy chain crochet cast on, which is much more stable than the disappearing loop versions. Here it is, step by step, demonstrated in worsted weight yarn. It leaves a small hole in the center, but it is more stable (less twisting of the needles) and very easy to work with just basic crochet knowledge.
Fig 1: use a crochet hook of a size largish for the yarn.
Fig 2: make a loop and pull yarn through. You have the start of a chain
Fig 3: Make an 8-stitch chain, then put the hook through the first stitch and pull a loop
Fig 4: close the circle by passing last stitch of the chain over the stitch just made (that is, make a slip stitch)
Fig 5: Here it is,  your center circle
Fig 6: make one stitch by putting the hook through the next chain stitch and drawing a loop. Make one stitch in each of the chain stitches that way
Fig 7: Once you have a few stitches made, transfer them to DPN's. I like to slide the stitches towards the smooth back end of the hook so they don't get stuck on the hooked end itself
Fig 8: Holding the DPNs lightly, finish making one stitch for every chain "v"
Here is the cast-on finished
Here it is after a couple of rounds. It leaves a noticeable "hole" in the center, however some people like this look and it is barely noticeable in a really large shawl.
I had planned to make a tutorial for the neck tab as well, but talented raveler Netkissa saved me from it by posting this really good tutorial in our Help thread.

And here is a small tutorial for the k1yok1 increase. In our clue, this is made into a previous yarnover, which makes it very easy to work:
Step 1: k1 into the yo, do NOT drop the stitch from the left needle
Step 2: move the yarn to the front for a yarn over
Step 3: knit into the same yo again
Step 4: drop the stitch from the left needle. Here is the completed k1yok1! 3 stitches into 1, which is essentially a double increase.
My finished Clue 1 on size 5 needles and 2-ply yarn. Bring in the laciness!
 I have essentially three 2011 KALendar shawls on the needles: my triangular silk Aouda with gold beads (ahem!... you all are not at the bead point yet, which is why I can't show it off!), a square test piece on white cobweb, and this square piece made on FiberOptica Winter Solstice. It is a wool-silk blend, comparable in size to the Zephyr Jaggerspun.
Silk gives such lovely sheen!
The yarn is mostly grey, with lavender highlights, and interestingly enough, the lavender visually dominates. I have no problem imagining Mr. Fox looking dapper with a lavender silk waistcoat or cravat under his grey suit.
I will use this third shawl to keep pace with all of you, since I want to make sure the clue size is manageable for the interval of time given. For now, we are planning to release clues about every other week, breaking larger motifs if we have to... More clues is more fun, shorter clues is more manageable.
Unfortunately, Aouda is now making a trip through Egypt and I got too needle happy to take pictures before, so it will be a while till I can show her off :(

Next clue is scheduled for 3/21, and the title will be: A Wager Is Made. Speculate away!

Death to Acrylic
Between laboring away on the edge of my 2010 KALendar shawl (getting there, getting there....) and my 3 2011 KALendar shawl, I was a bit shawled out. I really wanted an easy project for those days when I am too tired to lace. I also desperately need to clean up some of the stash, and results are usually more visible if you use up bigger yarn. I am telling you, beginning lace project does not even make a dent on the stash. So I decided to start a project to eat up some of my ridiculous collection of big box store acrylic. Luckily, since I accumulated it when I was obsessed with amigurumi and finger puppets, it is pretty colorful. And here it is my Log Cabin blanket thus far!
Doesn't it look like a Mondriaan painting?
The boys love to use my knit throws as a toy (superman capes, fort covers, monster trap, you name it), so it is a great use for acrylic, specially if they leave my Crannog Throw alone! it is looking pretty rough.
Here is the danger though: I am starting to think I need a couple of extra color to balance the others out. You know where that is going.
Here is a project calling my name: Indigo Moon's fingering Merino in its West Coast Musings Celestial Blue colorway. I have it slatted for a cool seaside pea coat for children with little cables. I have some swatching done, now I just need to roll my sleeves, once the dust from the 2011 KAL release settles.

Deep thoughts...

Wouldn't it be great to be a kid, when the worst thing that can ever happen is that Daddy got a new hair cutting device?
Life is just SO rough for little boys
Gawd, this is SO embarrassing!
This one is too little to care about the Orphanage Hairdo style
May all your worries for this week be just that serious!