Sunday, March 28, 2010

Warning! Sunglasses Alert!

DANGER! Do not proceed to read this post without an infallible pair of polarized sunglasses firmly placed on your nose.You have been warned!!

Several weeks ago, Roy announced that his only pair of formal socks had become listless and wan from years of washing. Please, could I create a fresh pair of socks that would exactly match his tuxedo?

I ordered a set of merino batts from Knitty and Color that precisely matched Roy's extensive written requirements. When the batts arrived, they immediately melted the 99-cent sunglasses I had foolishly donned as eye protection.

 I raced out to an optician and purchased the darkest pair of shades that the guy had in stock. Then I stripped the batts lengthwise to produce a continuous succession of  color, and ramped up my Hansen e-spinner.

The resultant yarn is equally eye-searing.

 As I was cajoling the camera lens to stay open while I took some photos, Cheeto scuttled into the room, whimpering "Mama!!!."

The reunion was tender, until I pointed out that, while the skein did seem to match his coloration, the texture was way off. Cheeto ignored me and demanded another touching family reunion photo.

For those interested in the technicalities, this stuff was spun using a squinting long draw and Navajo-plied in the dark. Heh. Just kidding.

Obtaining a smooth, lofty finished product is easy if you undertwist the singles and overtwist  the final yarn. If you overtwist both the singles and the final spin, you will end up with a tightly twisted yarn that lacks both smoothness and elasticity.

When I presented the ball of yarn to my collection of knitting needles, the entire pack rolled away screaming about union rules, toxic yarn, and my appalling lack of consideration. Cheeto valiantly snared a pair hiding under Harry, and we achieved cast-on shortly thereafter.

I haven't decided if these need bobbles. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Three Lovely Shawls

None of which are actually on my needles, because I am literally knee-deep in The Queen Susan. Having finished the center, I can testify to the fact that it going to be huge. A rough-block of the center measures about 40x40 inches--almost large enough to be a shawl in it's own right without the border and edging.

When I get tired of plowing through the border rows, I have three shawls in my queue competing fiercely for Right of First Cast-On.


Designed by Jane A. (Mawelucky on Ravelry), this masterpiece is the Harry wants to knit first, if only because of the magnificent colors (matches his belly button rings, I was told). The original, shown here, was knitted with fingering-weight yarn, but the pattern is open-ended and can be made with any weight yarn by increasing the number of repeats or doubling a finer-weight yarn. You can buy the pattern on Ravelry, or get it free with my very own kit in my Etsy store. The kit yarn is a Zephyr-weight called Firebird (2/20 60% merino, 20%  cashmere, 20% silk),--a lustrous, soft, luxurious yarn custom-spun for me. The default kit is Black Plum and Black, but any main color, for example, Lapis) may be ordered instead.

The Persian Princess

This exquisite shawl was designed by Bad Cat specifically for Love Potion #3. The design is intricate and made even lovelier by the addition of sparkly beads and a feathery border. The pattern is free if you purchase a skein of LP3; otherwise, you can buy the pattern directly from the Ravelry store.

Faroesertuch mit Blättern und Blüten 

(Photo by uta953)

The name means "Faroese shawl with Leaves and Buds," which doesn't do justice to this breathtaking beauty designed by Utlinde. The original was knit with sport-weight mohair on size 7 needles, so it should be a fairly quick piece to do. Alas, I do not stock any such yarn in my store, but I do have some stash that would work beautifully for this--a ball of Lisa Souza's mohair in the Mother of Pearl colorway flashes to the front of my brain. The pattern is, believe it or not, free from the Ravelry store.