Scaling it Down

My little girls are little princesses. When sent upstairs to get dressed in the morning, they choose to don themselves in the most beautiful dresses they can find. They raid the dress up box for scarves and necklaces and anything pink, lacy, and frilly. When the dress up box doesn’t contain just the right accessory, they invade my closet, searching through my silk scarves and handknit shawls. This gave me a great idea for stocking stuffers last Christmas.

One of the girls favorite shawls is this one –

Photo_on_2010-05-06_at_14.50_mediumThis is the Impasto Shawlette that I made three years ago (Ravelry Project Page here). It is knit in cotton (Unique Sheep Pima Petite) and can be thrown into the wash. It is also long enough for the girls to use it as a wrap to tie their babies on as they run outside to play house in the garden. It was an easy knit and gets more use than any of my fancy, lace shawls that are too delicate for hard use.

I started making mini versions of this shawl just as the morning sickness started to set in. Knitting made my stomach churn, but I kept imagining my girls on Christmas morning with their very own shawls and I kept going. Somedays I would knit only a few stitches. Somedays I would press into it with the determination only a mother’s love can muster. And I did it!

The Princess got a teal mini Impasto:

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Ravelry Project Page here. In short, I cast on roughly 2/3s of the original pattern and then just worked out the rest of the pattern from there. It really helped that I had knit it through once as written and knew what the instructions intended.

IMGP8360And The Munchkin got a pink one:

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Ravelry Project Page hereIMGP8357I didn’t get around to taking photos until a few weeks ago, so they have already seen some wear. They are beloved handknits. What knitter could ask for a better outcome?

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Road Trip! A Wedding, A Reunion, A Birth, and A Family Portrait (the first since we were 8)

This weekend we bravely set out on a 5 1/2 drive with six children.

It was so fun!

We colored and played the ABC game and snacked and watched movies on the iPad and read books and I knitted a lot (of course).

Then we arrived. And we did all those things some more, only now with our cousins and aunts and uncles and friends.

Then there was news of the birth of a new cousin – a much prayed for VBAC and a healthy mama and new baby boy! The sister of the groom, no less, but she is a super mom and was still able to attend the wedding exactly 24 hours after the birth – with her two year old twins and four year old in tow! And you thought I was joking about the super mom part! WOW!

The outdoor wedding was beautiful and the bride was gorgeous and we had fun despite the sprinkling of rain that cooled us off in the heat of the day.

The reception was a great party with dancing and laughter and good food.

Being with my family is always, always, always a good time. I am so blessed to have been born into this wonderful tribe.

The fun didn’t stop just because the day was over. Sunday morning found us all in church and so blessed in an awesome service. Afterwards we headed back to the house for lunch and more visiting. There was swimming and food and olympics on the tv.

But The Man did have to work on Monday, so in the evening we said goodbye and headed north.

What a wonderful trip! And, look! We got a family photo taken!

 

And of course there was knitting. Lots and lots of knitting. Until I had to drive, that is. But I took this amazing yarn

Spunky Eclectic Portuguese Merino A Bug’s Life single ply lace weight (taken with the phone camera in the car before I cast on)

and turned it into this.

 

Pogona by Stephen West

Loving it so far and it is the perfect traveling knitting. I can’t wait to get it finished and to see the final color progression. What a fun project!

 

Frivolity

It feels good to have some lace on the needles again.

Sure, I always have a lace project in progress (or two…. or three). Alas, the time that is required to concentrate on such complicated frivolities has been quite limited as of late. As in, I’d rather spin. Ha! The lace has been taking up needle space and collecting dust for a few months, now. Untouched, unloved.

Actually, the three lace projects that I currently have on the go have been collecting dust because my knitting has been more utilitarian. I need to make a baby gift for so-and-so. I must finish this sweater for a customer. I should get that test knit finished. And while I would love to while away my time on complicated lace shawls that have no purpose in my life whatsoever, there just aren’t enough hours in my day.

That is why I jumped at the chance to test knit a lace shawl for Cosy. At last, a lacy knit that has a deadline and a reason and a sense of urgency that my other lace projects utterly lack. Besides, look at this shawl that I am testing. Beautiful, right?

And another look:

Mary Louise Shawl in Cosymakes Snapdragon Light Fingering, Red (Raveled here, and Cosy’s finished shawl here)

It feels so good to be working on lace again. And not just because it is so stimulating and interesting. Not only for its delicate beauty or the gorgeous yarn. Not merely for the charm of turning a chart into art. All of that is true, to be sure. But at this moment right now, I am taken with the way an entire large shawl project still fits inside my new knitting bowl. (From Blue Room Pottery on Etsy. A “Happy Nothing Day” gift from the Mother-In-Law from Heaven)

Oh, sweet frivolity!

It’s a Mystery

A mystery knit-a-long, that is. However the real mystery is if I will be able to wrap my post-pregnancy-milk-making-half-starved-totally-fatigued brain around the complicated lace that is being doled out! (Did I say half starved? Make that perpetually eating yet never satisfied…. Pass the chips, please.)

As for the actual knitting I am averaging about two rows a night on this bottom up shawl (the rows started out in the hundreds but get progressively shorter as you go). I am using this yarn from my stash and some beads that I got in a recent swap.

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Lace 

This is my first beaded knitting project, so I am super thrilled. Also, it is a Kitman Figueroa design (remember the Jaali shawl?) which pleases me as well. Her lace is exquisite, challenging, and, well, totally awesome.

I will keep you posted on my progress. Oh, and I have one more finished project to show you tomorrow and then you will be caught up on the camera-free knitting that happened this summer… I think.

Now, back to “solving” that mystery.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Designing Woman

I have piddled around with designing my own knitting here and there. I recently cast on and knit a sweater for a doll without pattern or instruction. I have even sold a pattern that I designed on Etsy for a baby cocoon. But, when I got inspired recently to design a shawl, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. I had looked and looked on Ravelry for the perfect shawl, but couldn’t find anything quite like what I had in my head. I wanted something fast (worsted weight on big needles), triangular (but long and thin and less angular) and with a girlie lace pattern akin to hearts, wings or butterflies. When I couldn’t find a pattern that way, I realized that I could design something new and I immediatly cast on. (I am using Dream in Color Classy in the Wisterious colorway. Gorgeous!)

So began a day full of knitting, ripping and then knitting some more. Using a stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary (145. eyelet hearts) as my starting point and a basic idea of how to make a triangle, I eventually made this first draft, which I showed you a few days ago.

Still to0 angular. Don’t like the big empty spaces between the pattern and the border… So I tried again and after another full day, I got this:

Still don’t like the shape – the kids say it looks like an eyeball. Still don’t like the margins. Increases are too dense.

But, now I have knit this thing about twenty-five times and I am bored. Now, I know that designing a new pattern cannot be easy, especially a lace pattern. I know that designers knit swatch after swatch trying to get it just right. I know that a masterpeice is the result of epic trial and error. So, as my eye wanders to other things and my hands itch to create some sure thing, I have decided to set this aside, maybe indefinitely. I don’t know. We will see. It’s not a total loss. I learned so much. I am not an experienced lace knitter, so I had (have) a lot to learn. And, as a bonus, I have a child size shawl with matching doll size shawl to set aside for Beka for Christmas. I can live with that.

Now, on to better things. Like this lace shawl that someone else figured out for me.

Aeolian Shawlette in Madelinetosh Prairie Nutmeg