I  finished this Shetland Triangle yesterday:

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

Pattern: Shetland Triangle Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5 ply

I used yarn that’s been in my stash for ages – a cone of Bendigo Woollen Mills 5ply Colonial that was left over from a weaving workshop a few years back. Some of the cone had been used, and as I didn’t have an empty plastic cone, I couldn’t determine the exact weight of what was left, although I guessed it was around 150 grams. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite enough –  I got as far as the end of row 13 of the 15-row edging, and had to cast off there – which I achieved, with only 2 metres of yarn to spare!

I beaded the last three pattern repeats, and the edging, with size 5.0 silver-lined beads:

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

Shetland Triangle - bead detail

I’m quite happy with the finished result, although the yarn is not quite as soft as I’d hoped after washing. This may be a Christmas gift.

As for other wips, I’m currently working on two pairs of socks – one is daylight-only knitting, the other I can knit at night. The daylight socks are the ones I’ve been working on for a while – just a very basic pair of stocking stitch socks in a dark blue-green Zitron Trekking yarn. I’m turning the heel on the second sock, so they won’t take too much longer to finish.

The other pair I started last night – a pair of Harris Tweed socks, in Bendigo Luxury 4ply in their ‘cork brown’ colour. The yarn s lovely to knit with, and the pattern suitable for knitting-while-writing – ie, relatively mindless, and easy to put down the moment the words strike! I bought three balls of the Luxury 4ply a few months back, and since each ball will make two pairs of socks, I’ll be knitting more socks frm this yarn!

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

Pattern: Harris Tweed. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 4ply

I confess – I’ve also bought some yarn recently. Knitpicks was having a sale of lace yarn, and a few skeins found their way to me. Okay, quite a few skeins. Enough for seven shawls. Because I needed more stash to add to the stash I already have. Really.

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer in Shallows

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

Knitpicks Shimmer - Galaxy

And talking about stash, I also bought some weaving yarns from Webs. Even with the postage from the US (gulp – it was higher than the website quote), it still worked out to be a reasonable deal, compared to what the same amount of yarn would cost me to buy here – assuming I could find it amongst the few weaving yarn suppliers. So, I have some mercerised 10/2 cottons, some unmercerised 8/2 cottons, and some tencel to play with.

And yes – amazing though it may seem – I have actually been weaving. The black warp that has been on the loom for ages has finally progressed. After being totally indecisive for ages about what I was going to do with it, I made up my Libran mind. The first couple of metres are just plain black plain weave – trim for a jacket that I will make form some other handwoven fabric. The last couple of metres will be a scarf. I haven’t definitely decided which colour and yarn what I will put across the black warp, but it’s threaded in an advancing twill pattern and I will weave it in an overshot style. No photos yet, but there will be some soon.

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Almost two months since I last posted?? I’m sure it hasn’t been that long…. but the date stamp doesn’t lie (well, not unless I change it, anyway, which I haven’t!)

In between writers conferences and festivals and new books out and book writing, there has been knitting – although some of the WIPs listed in the WIP stocktake in my previous post are still WIPS. But I HAVE finished a couple of things:

Pattern: Cleckheaton rolled brim hat Yarn: Bendigo Classic 8ply

Pattern: Cleckheaton rolled brim hat Yarn: Bendigo Classic 8ply

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague. Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague. Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock

So, of the WIPS mentioned in my previous post, this is the status:

1. Daniel’s hat – finished, and given to Daniel (a young waiter at my regular café, who asked for a beanie).

2. Lauren’s fingerless mittens – not finished

3. Deciduous Lace Scarf – almost finished. I had to redesign the border so there weren’t stitch increases making it flare, and now I have to undo the first border and re-knit it to match the second.

4. Plain socks – one sock finished, second sock 40% done. the yarn is dark in colour, so it’s been hard to knit these at night.

5. Biance inspired jacket – no progress

6. Shawl collar jacket – I finished knitting the collar, and have sewn up two-thirds of the seams. I could have it finished with about half an hour’s more work.

7. Fisherman’s Gansey – no progress

New projects started:

Ishbel shawl (above) – started, finished, and blocked!

Venezia shawl – I started this with Sea Silk and 4.5mm needles, but think I will frog what I’ve done and try it again with a less-slippery yarn and slightly smaller needles

Pattern: Venezia Lace Shawl Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Pattern: Venezia Lace Shawl Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Shetland Triangle – nice and easy knitting, doesn’t take too much concentration. The yarn is leftover from a weaving workshop I  ran several years ago – I like the colour, and the beads I ordered to go on it arrived yesterday.

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5ply

Pattern: Shetland Triangle by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Bendigo Colonial 5ply

I confes that I’ve also done some shopping lately! I bought a couple of Japanese knitting stitch books from yesasia.com, and three knitting books from bookdepository.co.uk

Japanese Knitting Stitch Books

Japanese Knitting Stitch Books

Lace books - and Top-Down sweaters

Lace books - and Top-Down sweaters

The Japanese books are all in Japanese, with only a couple of headings in English. No, I don’t speak or read Japanese, but nonetheless, these are great – there is a chart for each stitch pattern, and a section at the back has illustrations for each chart symbol.

Sample page - photo plus chart for each pattern

Sample page - photo plus chart for each pattern

Directions for each chart stitch symbol

Directions for each chart stitch symbol

While some of the lace patterns are standard ones found elsewhere, the books have a huge range of patterns and an innovative way of putting them together – Japanese design styles are beautiful. There are no garment instructions in these books, but there are a couple of garment photos, to demonstrate some of the stitch patterns in action. I’m impressed with these books, and yesasia.com provided a good service, with the books arriving in less than two weeks… so I’ve ordered a couple more knitting books from them – these have garment designs in them – once again, all in Japanese, but with clear diagrams and illustrations, so I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it out! (And, if all else fails, they’ll be beautiful to look at!)

To celebrate the publication of my second book, and the contract offer for my third and fourth books, I ordered some lace yarn form KnitPicks. It’s coming via a US friend (Knitpicks don’t post outside the US), but she has sent it on, so I’ll be looking out for taht to arrive in the next week or so.

Oh, and I’ve done some sorting out in the yarn/fibre cupboard, tossing out and giving away some fleeces which I will never get to spin, and thus making room for the knitting and weaving yarn overflowing outside the cupboard, and for more to come 🙂 But I did keep two fleeces, and there’s still a box full of processed fibre of varying sorts, so when I get to spinning again, I’ll still have plenty to spin.

It’s confession time. I have too many wips. And some of them I am this >< close to finishing. So, I’ll list them here, and then see how much progress I can make in finishing off things in the next week or two three.

First up, Daniel’s hat:

To be honest, I only started this last night. But it has been promised for some weeks. Daniel is one of the waiters at the café I frequent, and having seen me knit there a lot, he asked if I would knit a beanie for him. We worked out an exchange (he’s studying graphic design, so will do a little work on an image for my writing website), discussed yarns and styles. While I was in Sydney last week, I found a Cleckheaton pattern book with a heap of different hats in it, and last night I found a couple of 4mm circulars and started knitting:

Yarn: Bendigo Classic 8ply. Pattern: Cleckheaton rolled brim hat

Yarn: Bendigo Classic 8ply. Pattern: Cleckheaton rolled brim hat

Daniel works at the café on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so my aim is to have this finished in time to drop in on Tuesday.

Next up: Lauren’s lacy fingerless mittens

I knitted the first one of these back in November – but I only had bamboo needles to hand, and me and bamboo needles are not the best of friends. I then started the second one on metal dpns, but have had a) ongoing worry that this will result in radically different tension from the first one, and b) ongoing anxiety about counting the pattern repeats correctly so that they end up the same length – the first pair I made her didn’t. After Lauren dropped a gentle hint about them when she was visiting a couple of weeks ago, I have pulled them out again and done a little more – I’m increasing for the thumb on mitt 2. I should just soldier on with them; and if it goes haywire this time, then I will redo them from scratch, knitting two at a time on two circs. (I’m working with 2 circs for the first time on Daniel’s hat).

Crimson lace mitten

Crimson lace mitten

Number 3: Deciduous Lace Scarf

This is the project that I’m itching to keep working on! The Romance Writers of Australia conference that I am going to next month holds a silent auction in aid of breast cancer research, and I am aiming to donate a basket including my new book and a beaded, lace scarf – this being the scarf. I’m adapting Evelyn Clark’s Deciduous Lace Shawl pattern to a simple rectangular scarf, as I wanted a border with scallop effect, suitable for beading, and I like the way the motifs in the shawl interact with each other. I will make the shawl later – for myself – but for this purpose a scarf if more appropriate. The yarn is a beautiful 50%silk, 50% merino, Carrera from Henry’s Attic.

Deciduous Lace Scarf

Deciduous Lace Scarf

Number 4: Plain socks

These are my writing knitting – plain socks, nothing fancy about them, but a lovely dark blue/teal yarn that will be great for everyday wear with jeans. I ike to have a simple pair of socks on the go to knit while I’m staring at the screen trying to write. They don’t take very much concentration to knit, can be put down and picked up easily, and keep my fingers from clicking on the mouse and wandering around the internet instead of writing.

Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL

Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL

Number 5: Bianca-inspired jacket

I started the sleeves for this while I was travelling in the outback in May. It has progressed no further since then. (The photo only has one sleeve, but I’m working both together.)

Pattern: Bianca's jacket adaptation. Yarn: Bendigo Classic 12ply

Pattern: Bianca's jacket adaptation. Yarn: Bendigo Classic 12ply

Numbers 6 & 7: Shawl-collar jacket and Fisherman’s Gansey

Okay, this and number 7 are ones that are all but finished – and have been that way for *ahem* a while. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate sewing up seams? The shawl-collar jacket needs about 20 more short rows of knitting on the collar, and then to be sewn up. I knitted the sleeves for it while travelling in May. The Fisherman’s gansey has sat, almost untouched, for about 12 months – because I need to sew the shoulder seams, then pick up stitches (almost as bad as seam-sewing, IMO) for the collar. I did, however, wash and block the pieces a couple of weeks ago. I don’t have photos of either (other then the boring ones on my Rav projects page). When will I finish these? Umm… maybe I should just break it down into small tasks. 1) Finish knitting collar of jacket within a week. 2) Sew shoulder seams and pick up neck stitches on gansey within 2 weeks. Then we’ll see how we go from there!

At least I have now finished the temporary “part-time” university job that sucked up my time and brain power for the first half of the year. Now all I have to do in the next few weeks is make significant progress on writing a book, write an academic paper, and put together a proposal for a small consulting job. Oh, and knit. And I might even make it back to the loom, sometime soon….

I have been knitting things other than swallowtail shawls – I just haven’t finished anything else lately. However, this shawl got finished a couple of weeks ago. Life’s just been a bit frantic to photograph it properly and blog it. Here’s some detail shots:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl Yarn: Morris Empire 4ply

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl Yarn: Morris Empire 4ply

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl Yarn: Morris Empire 4ply

And here she is, in full (but not a glorious photo):

Full swallowtail

Full swallowtail

I’ve got plenty of wips on the needles – I’ll try to blog them in the next couple of days.

Gordon needed a winter hat, and when I showed him this pattern, he decided that was the one he wanted. It’s the Binary Cable Hat (Rav link) – perfect for a techno-geek like him!

The first time I knitted it, I discovered that the pattern isn’t quite deep enough in the crown, and it came out more like a skull-cap than a hat. So, I knitted it again – and this time, Gordon gave me the binary code for ‘Gordon’s’ to incorporate in the cable pattern. (Not that many people are going to be able to read who the hat belongs to – but he knows it’s there!)

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

This picture shows some of the cables a little better – but the mixing bowl isn’t as handsome a model as Gordon!

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat. Yarn: Bendigo Luxury 10ply

My apologies that the blog has been silent for a while. I was away for a couple of weeks, and then both busy and sick when I got back. However, there has been some knitting progress.

The beautiful blue Swallowtail, made from luscious Sea Silk given to me by Theresa, is now finished and blocking:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

It’s not large – it’s made to the pattern, more of a scarf than a shawl – but I’m very happy with it. Unblocked, it measured 92cm wide by 42cm high (36.2 inches x 16.5 inches); Blocked measurements are: 123cm wide by 61 cm high. I replaced the nupps with size 5.0 glass seed beads, and also beaded the yo, K1, yo columns on the border edge (including the centre spine). Here’s a detail f the beading:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark. Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk

I couldn’t do any fine knitting while we were travelling in the outback – hundreds of kilometres of bumpy dirt roads aren’t conducive to sharp points and complex patterns – however, I did finish the sleeves of the shawl collar jacket I’ve been making for a while. I now just have to finish an inch or two on the collar, block it all out, and sew it all up. And find some suitable buttons.

While travelling, I also started knitting the sleeves for a variation of the popular Bianca’s Jacket. Because of my size and shape, I’m planning on making it longer, without the curved fronts. There’s also another swallowtail on the needles, this time in a plum-purple pure wool; I started it while visiting my Dad in hospital, as a relatively mindless pattern I could work on and relax while talking with him. I hadn’t meant to start another swallowtail so soon – I really will knit some other lace patterns! – but it was the only pattern on hand at the time.

Winter has settled in here; today is cold, and although we have periods of sunshine, there are a lot of grey clouds overhead, and intermittent rain that is trying to be snow. A good day for curling up in hand-knits, drinking hot chocolate, and knitting… except I do have to do some work, as well, somewhere in there!

Jane, my headless dressmaker’s model, has a smaller butt than mine, so here she is modelling the finished Swallowtail Shawl:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark Yarn: The Knittery Merino Silk Lace

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark Yarn: The Knittery Merino Silk Lace

I’m very happy with this shawl. The beads are small and very subtle, but they do catch the light a little, and I think the subtleness suits this fine, smooth yarn. The pattern was easy to knit, and once I really started working on the shawl, it didn’t take too long, despite the fine yarn and the beading.

I love the yarn! I do have two more skeins of it, but I can foresee wanting more. Unfortunately, The Knittery, where I bought it from, has closed down, so I am hoping to find another supplier of it. (Silk 50%, merino 50%, laceweight, gorgeous smooth texture – anyone got any ideas?)

Details:
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn A Clark. Interweave Knits, Fall 2006.
Yarn: The Knittery 2ply Silk Merino
Needles: 4mm circular
Modifications: Bless Ravelry! I had plenty of yardage in the skein, so I used kmcschmidt’s advice on increasing the size: 19 repeats of the Budding Lace 2 pattern, followed by Lily of the Valley (LOV) 1, then LOV 2, then rows 3-12 of LOV 1 again, then the peaked edging chart. This keeps the stitch count proportions correct for the various pattern transitions.

My other modification was to insert beads instead of working the nupps. I used size 8.0 pearlised seed beads, inserting them with a .65mm crochet hook, using FluffyKnitterDeb’s instructions.

I’ve finished the knitting on the cream, beaded swallowtail shawl, and set up the blocking mats in preparation. Here she is, awaiting blocking:

Unblocked swallowtail

Unblocked swallowtail

I have to go into town shortly, but hope to block her later this afternoon or this evening. The beading isn’t very visible in the shawl, but it does give a subtle light and texture which I like.

In the meantime, I started another swallowtail earlier this week, when I needed to work on something a little simpler than the beading pattern I was on in the cream one. This time I’m using Handmaiden Sea Silk, a beautiful gift from my friend Theresa. I’ll be making the standard version, rather than the one with extra pattern repeats. Here’s progress so far – aren’t the colours just gorgeous? They’re almost irridescent.

Blue swallowtail shawl beginnings

Blue swallowtail shawl beginnings

I ordered a stack of various different colour seed beads earlier in the week, and they arrived yesterday – including some blue ones which will, I hope, go beautifully on this shawl. Stay tuned… 🙂

I’ve finally been making some progress on my Swallowtail Shawl. I decided that my still-sore thumb/wrist probably wouldn’t appreciate doing the gazillion P5together nupps in the Lily of the Valley border, so I decided to bead it instead. Finding beads, however, as been something of a challenge! We have few places that sell beads in town, and they didn’t have anything suitable. So I ordered some (and .6mm crochet hook) from Morris and Sons, but the beads were too small. I went to Canberra for a few days after Easter, and found some seed beads there of the right pearl colour – but still the size smaller than I wanted. However, I’m using them, anyway, as most of the mail-order places seem to be out of the size I want in pearl, and I’m impatient to get this shawl finished!!

So here’s a detail of the beads:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl Yarn: The Knittery Silk Merino Lace

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl Yarn: The Knittery Silk Merino Lace

Other than progress on the Swallowtail, there’s not been much knitting finished. I’m part-way through the second crimson lace mitten for my niece, and have started the sleeves on my shawl-collar jacket, so I can see light at the end of the tunnel on both of those – but for the moment, I’m concentrating on the Swallowtail.

(And in non-knitting content, just a reminder to my textile friends who are also readers that there’s only two days to get entries in to win a prize pack including my romantic suspense novel, As Darkness Falls. Details are here. )

…is a pattern repeat shorter than the other. But at least it doesn’t have a different-coloured toe.

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush. Yarn: The Knittery Chubby Merino

Pattern: Conwy by Nancy Bush. Yarn: The Knittery Chubby Merino

That small bundle of yarn in the middle is all that’s left of the skein. The yarn is denser than most, so the yardage is less – and the cable pattern is quite dense, too, therefore using more yarn. I wasn’t sure, as I worked my way down the foot, whether there’d be enough. However, despite sock 2 being a centimetre shorter than sock 1, it does fit, so I’m not going to unpick the toe to see if I can get the extra pattern repeat in – I’m not prepared to take the risk. (Or I’m lazy. Or both.) And I seriously doubt that anyone’s going to be examining my toes closely to police the sock length.

All that aside – love the yarn, love the pattern, love these socks. I might wear them tomorrow 🙂

And on a totally different topic, I’m giving away three prize packs including my romantic suspense book, As Darkness Falls, over on my writing blog. The knitting connection? Socks were knitted in the writing of the book 🙂 (Although I’m afraid there’s no knitting in the book – the characters were a bit busy solving crime.)

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