Monday, June 27, 2011

Clue 10: Japan

Concept Swatch
Finally, here we are in Japan!
Ever since we started collecting suggestions for clues, I knew I wanted to do cherry blossoms. And I just could not find the right pattern. I tried several, until I finally made my own from scratch. I was quite happy with the results, and I hope you like it too. For some of you it may be a first - lace on both sides, nupps or beads. And if it is, then we have achieved what we set out to do: to widen your lace skills.
When I laid out this pattern I did not realize how many possibilities it had. And of course, our Ravelry group jumped right on it: a veritable smorgasbord of mix and match patterns and techniques. Our moderator Salt created this conceptual schematics of the different layouts:
Layout possibilities for triangles

Add caption

And if that was not enough, there are bobbles with beads and any combo of beads and nupps. Whew!
Here are two of my own shawls:
First up, the Muga silk triangle with golden beads, with the A-B layout

And next, a white cashmere blend square:
This one has Japan added on but I just have run out of needle extensions to open it! As a sidebar, I dream of selling this one to a bride-to-be as a veil. I will tell you the story some time.

2010 Cumulative Pattern is Up
We finally smoothed out the last details, and 2010 is up for sale. At $12, it is a bit on the expensive side, but just having it laid out and corrected took many hours of work, not to mention gathering the pictures. The file is huge, 60 pages in total, so it really comes out to 2 cents a page :)
Many of you have contributed pictures to the pattern (with credit given) and to the Rav project page. To the contributors,  I will be sending a free pattern to keep or to gift as a thank-you (please, no copying or distributing).It may take me a while, but if you are in a hurry let me know and I will put it on rush.
For the buyers of the first 6 month pattern, I will be selling it to a reduced price (an additional $3 - that is a 25% discount). I just need to figure out how to set it up in Rav, somehow!

Here is the Ravelry Pattern Page

A new pattern challenge: Elly's Shawlette
This week I found out that a coworker is going through some really rough patch. Elly, a cute young thing from our administrative staff, has a rare tumor in her neck that had seeded through various spots. She just underwent surgery to remove "a ton" of those little tumors, which has just left her with several scars and bruises in her neck and face. She is a cute young thing so I thought she would like to have a flirty little scarf to cover the scars while they heal. And thus, Elly's Shawlette.
I really would love your help in creating this scarf and cheering Elly on, and maybe make one of your own for somebody that needs cheering.
Here is where I am: While sitting out for a couple of hours in Denver Airport, I drew a modified version of the Egypt clue, then used a math formula to build a crescent shaped shawl in the fashion that Susanna IC has made famous: a lace edge with a long cast on and a plain center worked in short rows. It was easy as pie! I have already cast on a test shawlette on some Wollmeise Spina de Pesce (because it was already wound up, and I could wait to cast on, LOL). I hope to be able to make a final version on purple silk with beads.
And here is where your help is needed: A beading contest. I will post a swatch chart, and you give me your beading version, and the one we like the most gets to be included in the final pattern with credits. And, this is going to be a free pattern so you can all join in to make your own scarf.
Does it sound like fun? Stay tuned, I will reveal soon where and how I will post the swatch and you can give it your best shot. I will create a thread in our Rav group so you can all post the swatches, and we can get cracking on the final version.

It is 117 degrees outside... time to hit the pool!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clue 9: China

By now, many of you are well acquainted with the little Chinese dragon scales that form our clue 9. Some knitters feel a little queasy when dealing with the large holes that double yarn-overs create, but the Honeycomb Stitch that forms this clue is dainty as well as sturdy. It is also quite fun to make, once you get into the rhythm, so it is a welcome rest from all these nupps.

Rest is well deserved, since next week we are heading into Japan. And this is not going to be a restful clue. Since I got into a little bit of hot water for not giving heads up about beads being continued into the next clue, I feel obliged to give a little spoiler warning. Japan is a self-standing clue, that means, there is no transition portion from China. It is also a bead/nupp clue that uses around 100-110 beads PER SECTION (so 200-ish for triangle and 400-ish for square). So make sure you do have your stuff ready. If you have been working your shawl plain, this is a section where you may want to consider throwing nupps or beads as they are integral to the appearance and meaning of the piece.

Welcome to my doll house!

I have been conspicuously absent from the net in the last couple of weeks. We are in the process of buying a property with the idea of renovating and renting it, and we are in the final stretches of acquiring this tiny, under-1000 sq ft beauty. Just a little doll house! Don't you love these kicked-in walls and hastily-framed doors?
I can't even begin to describe this new house smell... mmmm... and the lovely resident critters that scuttle all about.
I have to admit you really need to put some rosy goggles on to see the beauty and the possibilities of the house. And if you are as addicted as I am to the house renovation shows, you would be jumping in anticipation to the upcoming tearing of carpets and bashing in of old moldy cabinets. Luckily for me, my husband has a strong construction and architecture background, and plans to do most of the work by himself.
As it always happens, the closing has been delayed by some roof issues, and I will miss the whole take possession ceremony as I will be on my way to Wyoming. But at least I will be cool. And maybe by the time

So we are packing some easy knitting...
Since I don't anticipate a lot of exciting nightlife in the middle of Wyoming, I am ambitiously packing away a couple of quick projects and a couple of not so quick ones.

Here is part of a summer tank top, for my sister. The original pattern called for silk, but I wanted something she could wear to the beach and wash and dry without a worry. Thus, it is Cascade Ultra Pima, 100% cotton but with a rich sheen. She asked me not to use a "sensible color", and thus it is a glowing turquoise. Looks great on tanned skin! I shall not reveal the pattern, since I know she reads this blog...

And for my mom, nothing but the best, a very frothy cardi in 100% linen (apparently she likes a little something with sleeves, to hide the "batflaps"). This is Louet Euro Flax, in purple color (it would be #45 in the color card, since my camera mangles purples routinely). I still have to do some swatches for size, since it is a little thinner than the suggested yarn.

And yes, I have packed some yarn to hopefully start the vintage coat. A couple more swatches, and now I am happy that I have a cable pattern I can work with. Now all that's left is a whole lot of math.

What will you be when you grow up?
Ollie's five... and it looks like yesterday that he was a little undersized peanut. We had a swingin' Star Wars party with all his little day care friend at the local gym, lots of little tired boys and girls running around the gym with instructors while the parents sat back and relaxed. My kind of party.
He graduated from his pre-K. I missed the shindig, apparently they wore little hats and plastic star-shaped sunglasses. I did receive their graduation "composition", a piece of paper where they wrote what they want to be when they grow up. An astronaut? A doctor? Fireman? Guess again.
" I want to be a Lego buyer because I like Lego's". Oh boy. This is some serious nerd material.  I hope I won't have him living in my basement when he is 40.