More Entrelac

January 31, 2011

Way back when I was starting this blog, I did a post on an entrelac scarf. I tend to be not a very bold or adventurous knitter, but I stumbled across a great entrelac tutorial on the Knitty Otter’s blog. I am a very visual learner and this spelled out the entrelac steps in no uncertain photos. It was great — even I could follow them!

Once hooked on entrelac, I made all sorts of experiments but tended to come back to scarves. They are easy, pleasant to work the block rows back and forth, and certainly conversation starters when sitting in the vet’s office or the coffee shop and people what to know what the heck you are making.

After some trial and error, I determined that Crystal Palace Taos yarn works great for entrelac. This is a scarf I made as a Christmas present. It is Crystal Palace Taos in “Desert Blooms.”

One addition — I added a row of glass bead to the cast on and cast off rows and this weighted the fringed ends nicely.

I was so happy with the colors on this — it seemed just the thing for a snowy winter’s day. If only I’d known when I was working on it exactly HOW MUCH snow was in the offing!

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished. I was just patting myself on the back for finishing this scarf before Christmas, when I received a bit of rushed request. A good friend of mine who has certainly done many nice things for me, and who was the recipient of last year’s blue entrelac scarf at Christmastime, was in a predicament:  She had no clue what to get for her very elderly mother, and the one and only thing the mother admired was …. the blue entrelac scarf.

Well, I couldn’t let such admiration go unnoticed. The only proviso was that Mom did NOT get the exact same color scheme as the blue scarf. Instead, Mom got Crystal Palace Taos “Painted Desert.”

My husband picked the color out. I narrowed the choice down to three and asked his opinion. Not only did he pick this, but I afterwards realized I had bought two lots of this color at two different times, so I guess I really liked it, too!

A slight innovation on this one. Compare the sides from the Desert Blooms scarf to this one. Notice that this one has straighter sides?  I cast on 240 stitches and knitted this one in six rows, instead of casting on 18 and knitting in who-knows-how-many rows. Tricksy, huh?


Yarn and Gloves and Needles

January 26, 2011

Knitting pattern books will be the bane of me yet. I invariably find one pattern that I just get an itch to make. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I find one or two other patterns in the book that I get enamoured of, and that justifies the cost of the book.

However, once the book is in hand, there is sometimes the issue of the yarn that the author used. Knitting book authors typically get freebies from the yarn companies. I would have to guess that was the case here, the Rainy Day Fingerless Gloves from Vogue Knitting Mittens and Gloves. When I got on a kick to make these, I discovered a rather disconcerting fact. The gloves used 8 different colors of yarn. Some of the colors were only for accents and amounted to a total of 48 stitches in the entire project. I did an internet search on the yarn used by the author.

It retailed for over $16.00 a skein.

Now, I like a good wool/silk blend as well as the next knitter, but was not about to spend $128 plus shipping on yarn to make one pair of fingerless gloves, no matter how cute or cunning they were. And those who know me, know I have absolutely no problem plunking down hard cash for a raw fleece or another spinning wheel. But to spend this much just for a pair of fingerless gloves … well, I just couldn’t justify it.

I despaired. However, I had also bought the Knitting New Mittens & Gloves book and loved two of the patterns: the Blackthorn gloves and the Golden Bracelets gloves. Clearly, there were enough tempting projects on the horizon to keep me busy, in lieu of my fingerless gloves.

Both Blackthorn and Golden Bracelets are knit from Jamieson’s Shetland. Blackthorn uses the DK weight and Bracelets, the Spindrift fingering weight. Google led me to Camilla Valley Farm Weaver’s Supply in Ontario. Having used them before for weaving yarns, I logged in and discovered that they carry every color of Jamieson’s. All 224 in Spindrift and 150 in DK. And, perhaps best of all, each skein — 115 yards in Spindrift and 82 in DK — is only $5.25 US.

Suddenly, the task of finding a replacement yarn for the Rainy Day Fingerless Gloves did not seem so daunting!

I had a great time picking out the colors for the 3 projects. I also a couple of extra skeins as I realized that I could probably get 3 or 4 pairs of fingerless gloves out of all this, if I just doubled up on the main colors.

So far, I am almost finished with one fingerless glove:

I love the pattern with the little apple trees. The apples are put in afterwards using duplicate stitch:


Another advancement here is the use of the Kollage square DPNs:


I ordered these from Paradise Fibers. I had heard nothing but good things about these, and people were right. They feel great in your hands when you use them, they are weighted nicely, and are a pleasure to work with. Just the thing to go with when getting onto a glove knitting binge!

The Jamieson’s yarn concerned me a little at first. I love working with Shetland wool, and have a number of raw fleeces on hand to be spun. Out of the box, the Jamieson’s was a little scratchy. The DK seemed a little softer than the Spindrift. However, as I worked with it, I could feel it loosening up and I think by the time I get around to wet-finishing the end result, they should be fine.

However, that does not mean I did not find another alternative! Stay tuned for the next chapter in the fingerless glove saga!

At last, a new post!

January 18, 2011

My poor neglected blog and my poor neglected readers!

I never anticipated being away this long. On Thanksgiving Day, my computer died. It was an older Dell but hadn’t given me much trouble except being slow. But Thanksgiving Day, it just up and refused to boot. I had wanted a new computer anyway, as I was anticipating working more with videos. However, since I had not yet made a decision on what to get as a permanent system — a PC or a MAC — I had to come up with the interim solution.

The interim solution is an Asus Eee PC Netbook with a wide screen monitor cabled into it and, doggone, the thing works just great!  I did get a Macbook over Christmas but am having trouble with loading the videos from the camera to the MAC. Not so with the Netbook; I have been able to load videos from the camera, process them, and upload to YouTube. Sort of wondering why I even bothered with the Mac!

In any event, and with a seemingly endless array of USB cables dangling from my computer desk, I am back online. Taking a break from video editing, I have been aiming to make a post. Until I can get my photos better sorted out, this will be a weak effort.

Christmas was spent in a wild orgy of knitting and spinning. In fact, there were so many knitting projects on the table (and in other places), many of my friends found themselves celebrating Little Christmas on January 6 this year. One or two are still pending. More to come on the Christmas knitting binge.

In the meantime, with Christmas over came things like the New Year’s resolutions to do things like reorganize the fiber room. A happy surprise was a little over an ounce of copper colored merino and silk blend I didn’t even know I had. I still had copper and green  beads strung on a copper colored binder from some coopworth I had been spinning, so I divided up my little bag of roving, spun one as a single, plied the other with the beaded binder thread, and plied them together. Here is the result:

Not sure yet what this will become, as there is not too much of it but I’m sure there is a lacy scarf pattern for 160 yards out there somewhere!