Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Lady of the Lake

I have no doubt read too many of the Arthurian legend books for my own good..... In any event, my favorite, by far, is the Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart. I'll leave it to your imagination as to which character I most relate! So why the literary reference? This shawl reminds me of that time and place and I feel positively mystical myself when I wear it!

I even find myself gazing in the mirror hoping for a bit of magic there. Alas, there is none to be found.

The shawl is Birch by Sharon Miller from Rowan Magazine 34 and is knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze using US8 needles. I used the "heavenly" colorway (3 skeins plus a smidge of a 4th). N.B. The pattern only calls for 3 skeins, but I think you would have to go down to a US 7 needle to achieve that. For those of you who have never knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze you are in for a treat - provided that you can get used to working with the yarn that tends to cling and be difficult to work with. The reward is a shawl that is light as a feather and warm and cozy to wear - with a bit of mystery thrown in.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Isn't It Ironic?

It's ironic, in the midst of a particularly difficult time, Mr Puffy and I received something that put a smile on my face. I'm talking about receiving the "You Make Me Smile Award" from the talented Monika of Smoking Hot Needles. This was a real compliment for which I thank you Monika. Monika is, by the way, without a doubt the most amazing knitter on this planet (and trust me - I've checked out a lot of knitting blogs - so I know of what I speak). If it's knitting lace, socks, dolls, hats, cardigans, vests, or spinning, sewing, cute dogs, and good writing that you like - head on over to her blog - you won't be disappointed! (She's also really wonderful about answering questions and sharing her patterns).

As a recipient of this award, it is my great pleasure to pass it on to five blogs that make me *smile.* This was not a hard choice for me because, while I surf a lot of blogs, there are only a handful that I regularly read. Those blogs (and reasons why) are as follows:

1. The Ravell'd Sleave. Bridget makes me smile because her taste, thoughts, and experiences (and books she has read and/or is reading) are so similar to mine.

2. Snitty. Jillian puts a smile on my face because she is a great one to go "shopping" with. If there is a cute new pattern or a "hot" yarn sale - she'll be the first to share it with you. She's also a fantastic knitter.

3. Fancie Pants. Amanda makes me smile because she is so elegant and her knitting is so beautiful.

4. A South Park Republican. Amy flat out makes me laugh - I simply find her writing amuses me. Be forewarned, her title says it all.

5. Knit the Classics. This blog makes me smile because I enjoy seeing the books they have chosen (typically books I have read and love) and seeing how that book has inspired their knitting.

There you have it. If I don't post again until after Thanksgiving, please enjoy a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Mad Hatter

What better project than hats when the weather turns cool and time is limited! This was a hectic week but I had fun knitting these little hats to "freshen up" our winter wardrobe. I actually used yarn left over from the felted slippers that I knit last spring. I always seem to have extra yarn that I keep with the thought "some day I'll make that into a hat." And, this time, I actually did! It's Manos Del Uruguay (100% wool) and I used the basic hat pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The only modification was to add a little ribbing at the edge to prevent too much "rolling" of the brim.
I love hats and feel you can never have too many as they give a fun pop of color to an outfit. They are also incredibly useful when you take those early morning walks in the winter....that Mr Puffy enjoys so much.

Scarfs are also useful at this time of year and I'm just starting a very pretty "Lace Scarf With Ruffle" using yarn from Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio (70% baby alpaca/30% silk). Lori Lawson, the owner, both designed the scarf pattern and handpainted the yarn. I have to say I was very thrilled with the quality and beauty of this yarn when it arrived and I' am looking forward to this knit!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Clapotis

Here she is, in all her glory, my Clapotis. Those of you considering knitting her should be forewarned that there are various emotional phases you might find yourself experiencing. I have documented them as follows:

Stage 1. Excitement. During this stage you will probably join a knit along (KAL), such as Second Wave Clapotis, and spend large amounts of time anguishing over deciding which yarn to use.

Stage 2. Concern. Upon close examination, pattern will appear more tricky than expected. You recall during this stage that Knitty has rated the pattern "tangy." New knitting techniques such as KTB ("knitting through the back loop") will have to be learned and/or mastered. Decisions will need to be made on whether to also PTB ("purl through the back loop") and, if so, should it be a "mirrored twist". Lots of swatching takes place during this stage as needle size is also a variable.

Stage 3. Happy. You are finally underway. All concern experienced in stage 2 will have been forgotten as the pattern is genius and simple. You will delight as the beauty of the yarn is expressed in the simple stockinette pattern.

Stage 4. Concern. You realize that there is an awful lot of borning knitting in a simple stockinette pattern. During this stage you might find yourself wondering if it is worth the effort for basically a simple stockinette scarf.

Stage 5. Happy. You have now dropped a number of stitches and realize how fun intentionally dropping a stitch can be. The mystery of where the dropped stitch goes is intriguing. The drape of the fabric and the ladders they form begin to look quite elegant and you find yourself staring at your knitting. It's completely understandable why legions have knit the Clapotis.

Stage 6. Excitement. It's done. It's beautiful. You are thrilled to have a Clapotis and can't wait to wear it! Warning: during this stage you might also start planning your next one. P.S. The next one will be for you Puff.

I feel the need to go out for a cup of cappuccino, to be enjoyed with a lot of attitude.

Project Notes:
Yarn: Tess' Designer Yarns - Silk & Ivory, sport weight. Just over 1 skein.
Needle: US 5
Modifications: One extra increase section and 4 extra straight sections.