Saturday, May 28, 2011

Clue 8: India II

Winterchild on the KnitPicks catalog!
Lucky me, KnitPicks chose to feature my Winterchild in their May catalog, and they took some gorgeous pictures to boot. Here's to show that a vintage look can be worn with a modern twist. For those that joined the 2010 KALendar, the motifs in the center panel belong to the December section, and the edge is one I was considering but discarded in favor of an easier pattern. When I was working on the swatches for the edge, I put together these two patterns, and it was just too pretty to let go!
Here is the link to the IDP page, and you can also buy it in Ravelry.
Tutorial: Nupp Increases
After my little brag, we move on to the promised tutorials for the India clues without further ado.
The explanations will refer to the square shawl (round knitting), but they are easy enough to translate to the triangle (back-and-forth knitting). Apologies for the fuzziness of some of the pics, we had some camera malfunction and it would not focus properly.
In the previous row, we set up our nupps in the usual manner
Making a increase to the left of the nupp
Pass the right needle through the first SIX loops of the nupp

K6-tbl to make a slighly smaller nupp

Knit the remaining loop by itself

Now you have a smaller 6-loop nupp, and an increased stitch to the left
Making an increase to the right of the nupp
Separate the first of the 7 loops and knit it regularly by itself

then knit the remaining 6 loops as k6tog-tbl

And voila, an increased stitch to the right of a smaller, 6-loop nupp
Why bother with these increases?
Above is one of my test pieces when I was trying out things. You will see that some of the nupps lean one way, some to the other way - make the increase in the wrong spot and the nupp leans the wrong way (there are several of the leaning the wrong way here). Besides the lean, this also tightens the nupp to the increases, and it makes the stitch curve, thus resembling the sun shapes of the Indian henna tattoos or Mehendi.

Tutorial: Placing beads on yarnovers
This is just one way to place beads over yarn overs. There are easier ways - usually pre-stringing all the beads. I also suggest that you work a regular yarn over on the odd rows, and place the beads on the even rows. However, if you don't like pre-stringing or you just like to have your plain rows to rest the brain, here is how to do it:
place a bead in the beading hook, and hook a loop of the free working yarn with it

slide the bead from the hook and onto the loop of yarn, pushing it a bit ways down

place the loop above the bead on the right needle

give a little tug to the working yarn to tighten the newly formed stitch

keep on knitting, and here it is: a yarnover with a bead
The beads tend to obliterate the yarnover partially, and achieve the same effect than the nupp increases above.

New clue release dates!
  • Clue #9 (China): Saturday June 4th (that is next week!)
  • Clue #10 (Japan): Saturday June 25th (3 weeks apart)
  • Clue #11 (USA): Saturday July 22nd (4 weeks apart)
My intention was to release clue 11 3 weeks apart but it appears that I will be away at a virtually Internet-less family gathering.
Thought the official date of  release is on Saturdays, my intention is to try to release on late Friday so you can have the whole knitting weekend to play with it. So make sure that you get your previous clue downloaded and stored away well ahead of time. You snooze, you lose.

See you all next week, look forward to the very lovely (and nuppless) China clue.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Clue 7; India I

It really seems like May is for Flowers: last year, we were working Estonian flowers into our Kalendar shawl, and so are we this year! Mercifully, this saved me from making a tutorial about the m7 on k3tog since I already did one last year.
clue 7 flows beautifully into clue 8, so well in fact that I had a hard time taking a decent picture of it without showing clue 8. And indeed a little bit shows, enough to tell you that clue 8 is one of our nupped/beaded clues. I promise you, clue 8 is both beautiful and interesting to make.
My main regret is that clue 8 needs a tutorial as well, and my present work schedule has me with no childless daylight hours that I would need to complete it.

Update on the 2011 KAL progress and future clues release
the Super Sikrit Testing Group just finished navigating the dangerous waters of what will become the last clues of the shawl. It became obvious to me that this year I needed to plan to ending properly so the shawl would have a flow and we would make good use of the yarn we have left. Therefore, I have a sort of general sketch for the edge worked out, which will need further refining, and the great USA clue will function to give cohesion to the rest.
Past clue 8, the clues are longer and the number of stitches greater, and therefore we will have to lenghten the time between clue releases. When and how exactly, we will have to discuss further, and I promise to give a release date for the next three clues by next blog update.

A little shopping...
My growing shawls have outgrown the sock bags where I was storing them. Which needed a visit to Etsy. I scored this lovely bag from Slipped Stitch Studios, which is large enough for a full grown shawl or small sweater. The bottom is flat and there is a small inner pocket for the beads and notions. While you visit her store, take a look at the magnetic chart markers and ultra cute buttons! I got a little button with my order that says "Keep Calm and Carry Yarn". So true.
After I saw this little stitch marker kit from Galia's Spindle Designs , I just had to get me some cake! These tiny markers shaped like sweets come in a little bag which is just too cute. The artist is based in Israel, but the shipping was quite fast. Check out her site for the markers, as well as some spindles so pretty they make me wish I spin.
Chocolate anybody?
Save the World, Rescue a Pig

A Guinea Pig, that is. Which is neither from Guinea, nor a pig!
My eldest son just turned five (what??? he was just a baby a few days ago, it seems!!!), and he had been campaigning for a pet of his own. I mean, besides the three dogs. A while back he started dragging me to the hamster section of the pet store to visit "Chess", his imaginary pet. For his birthday, he wanted Chess to come home.
So being a semi-responsible animal lover, I did my research, and I promptly discarded hamsters in favor of guinea pigs - not only are they undemanding, tame and generally sweet animals, they are also diurnal and they enjoy interaction with their humans. I contacted the Arizona Piggie Poo Rescue for some adoptable piggies, and I was immensely happy that I did. Not only were they very responsive and informative, but they set us up for a visit with appropriate adoptable pigs right away, and brought full starter kits and inexpensive, roomy cages.
Oliver's eyes lighted up as soon as he saw the piggies, and he quickly fell in love with his "Chess". little Chess is all we have hoped to be - sweet and curious and very tolerant of the little boys' enthusiasm, and full of the sweetest chirps and warbles.
They may not be pigs, but they do eat like pigs!
My youngest reaction was just priceless... He went into fits of hysterical laughter "Bunny! Bunny!". Of course, no use in explaining it is not a bunny. We had to pluck him out of the enclosure a few times where he jumped to frolic with "bunny", scattering wood shavings all over. Surprisingly, he is quite gentle with the piglet.
Many thanks to the Piggie Poo folks for their work to re home rescued piggies!

Chiton Pullover is finished
I am quite pleased with the results. I did have to adapt the pattern to my specific body type - this shell is narrow at the hips, wider at the shoulder, and I am built exactly the opposite, so I had to recalculate the bottom of the pattern and change the increase rate. Although it does not fit me exactly like the pictures, it is still a flattering fit and very wearable.
the yarn is Serena, by Manos del Uruguay. It is a cotton/alpaca blend, and while marvellously soft, it suffers from the usual ills from alpaca - it tends to stretch and sag and it has virtually no memory. It fits me fine as I do not like tight fitting bottoms, but take that into account if you are making a more fitted silhouette.
Unfortunately, now I am left with no "portable knitting". I need something else, quick!!!
A for my mom's coat, I finished the hat swatch. And it is too lovely to be just a swatch. I had fun doing some creative decreases at the crown, and now I am debating whether to send it for publication as a stand alone pattern. It also made it clear that I need a few tweaks for the coat. But other than that, I will be diving into the coat soon!