Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Second Part of April

As promised, I made second "I'll Remember April" just to see the stitch design more clearly.
Making crescent shape shawls using only yarn over and decreases sure is fairly fast knit.

The yarn was MCN sock yarn purchased from Dharma Trading Co, dyed it with Jacquard acid dye.

Yes, I do like the stitches a lot. It turned out exactly as I had hoped.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I'll Remember April... and Put a Bird on It

Yes, I'm addicted to making lace shawls.  It's not like they really go with my rather utilitarian wardrobe style. 
But I love working with designing lace as a way of studying and understanding the structure of yarn overs and decreases. Knitting them is like working out an idea or doing a proof. With each one I design, I do feel a bit more comfortable with it. 

This time I actually made a lot of changes to the original swatch/chart while knitting the shawl.  

Honestly I could not see the pattern of lace with this shawl too clearly because of the gradient. I may have to make another one just to see how the lace structure turned out. Yes, I'm that obsessed.  I need to be able to see the stitches to confirm my understanding.  

This is the latest one using  my hand spun yarn. The fiber was merino that I dyed last summer.  
If I may shamelessly say, this is what loveliness is! Lace with gradients of deep purplish burgundy to pink to silver. 

Again, named the shawl after a Stephane Grappelli's piece - I'll Remember April.
April is kind of a special month I'll always remember. It's the last month in Cody's life. I remember so clearly the cherry trees blossoming and how desperately we wished he'd live to see another season of it. I still miss him, a lot. And every April, seeing the trees blooming, it makes my heart ache a little, and, smile a little.

OK after shooting these photos, I felt like they're soooo sweet looking border-lining saccharine. In reality these lace shawls feel more like math study or conceptual art project or an idea pursuit than some representations of me. And I like that. 

I decided to switch mood and made a "Put a Bird on It" cup cozy.

This was truly an instant gratification. It took about 15 minutes to draw the design, and one movie to knit the cup cozy. I'd never made a cup cozy in my life.  This was my first time.  I don't see myself making many more either...

I was watching way too many times of Portlandia on Netflix that I couldn't help but make this. Love that show. I had not laughed so hard with TV (other than South Park) for a long time.

"Put a bird on it." from Portlandia, slurped from YouTube. 

A little confession to make, 10 years ago, Paul and I drove up to Portland to check the city out as a potential place to move to. Within half a day I told Paul, "No way am I moving here!"  

The attractiveness of that city that everyone talked about was completely lost o me. Everyone there was too good-looking in the self-consciously "don't care about look" kind of way. 
I guess that was a sign of me getting old and jaded.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Love of Lace ... and Cables

Continuing my affair with making lace stitches.
This time I added cables.  Reason?  I hadn't figured out how to use ssk and k2tog to form the lines I wanted.

After being very happy with the swatch (this time I did only one swatch), I went on and made a crescent shaped shawl with the new Malabrigo Lace Superwash. I saw it when I went to Jimmy Beans Wool during Spring Break and loved the feel of the yarn and the color variation, Lagua Negra.  It came in smaller skein of 50 grams and 355 yards.

I loved the yarn, loved the color, just not the shawl. The way crescent shawl ended up stretching the lace stitches sideways was not how I'd like to show the stitches. Somehow I couldn't block it differently.

So I decided to make a triangular shawl with the same stitches, hoping to lessen the stretching sideways.  I still ended up stretching the lace stitches more than I'd like during blocking, due to my fear of shawl might be a bit too small to wear. I should've knitted the shawl larger so it could be stretched more in lengthwise instead of width-wise, but fear of running short of yarn got the better of me. Nonetheless, the triangular shape definitely gives more option of which way to stretch than crescent shawls.

I used Isager Alpaca 2.  I love the look of the yarn and the resulting fabric very, very much.  It looks more rustic than it feels. But, knitting with it was kind of a pain due to its splittiness. Working 5 stitches cable without cable needle was not easy using such splitty yarn.

It was not super easy stitches to knit due to cables on just about every row, and not entirely intuitive placement of yarn-overs and decreases. But it was worth it, for me. It was worth it to see how the stitch design arrived at the complexity I preferred.

I am planning on making more lace stitches, maybe for more shawls. The vision in my head is to make them in colors that feel like old laces, like old memories rediscovered