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!

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