Inspiration has struck!

I’m working on a new design.  I was inspired by a tunic in a catalog.  I want to make a shawl that starts in a solid deep color, mostly stockinette stitch, that ends in deep points.  And then add a lace border at the bottom, in white, that ends up somewhat ruffly because of the points.

First thing I need to do is figure out how to make the points.  I did a proof of concept – it’s not a swatch because it’s not the yarn I will use and the needle size is wrong.  I just wanted to see if my idea would work.

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I think it will work.  At the length I’d want before starting the lace, there would be a lot more stitches between the increases/decrease, creating a deeper point.  But I’m currently unsure if it will make points on it’s own or only with blocking.  And I’m wondering if I only have to do the increase/decrease part at the end (the last section, as this is pi shawl based)

I need to do more research as well as more proof of concept attempts.

In the meantime, I’m sticking to my schedule for the most part.  I’ve worked on the WIPs on their designated days (according to my calendar), although it turns out that I only have time to do two rows on the Dracula’s Bride shawl before my husband gets home from work and I absolutely cannot work on it if he’s home.  I can’t risk the possibility of interruptions.  I was all alone and undisturbed yesterday and still managed to mess up twice on one row (not too bad and easily fixed). 74+ stitch lace repeats take a lot of concentration.

On the plus side, that left me the evening open to work on this design.

Time to spin (as it’s a spinning day) and ponder my next design step.

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Books and More Books

Before I get into this post’s subject I have to amend my last post.

I do have goals for 2019.  I want to make progress on (hopefully finish, but I’m not making that the goal) all of those WIPs I listed.  To that end, I hung up a calendar and marked each weekday as spin or knit.  On the knit days, I put a WIP name.  The idea is that I don’t have to make a decision (which is sometimes hard to do) on what I’m going to work on that day.  I just check the calendar.  This makes sure that every WIP gets some progress.  Of course, I always have to option of working on something different if I want.  I only did January, as a test.  If this works, I’ll do each month at the beginning of that month.

On to the rest of the post.

I’ve been buying a lot of books lately.

Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volumes 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12.  This completes the set.

Medieval Inspired Knits – This is more for inspiration.  I don’t really like the sweaters in it, but the colorwork is fantastic.

Alice Starmore’s Glamourie – I fully understood that the costume patterns were not included before I bought this and I also understand why.  It simply would be too difficult to write patterns for them.  Honestly, if you want the patterns, all the elements are there, figure them out for yourself.  Massive amounts of inspiration in this book.

250 Japanese Knitting Stitches – I think of this as a companion to the Japanese Knitting stitch bible and I now have all the Japanese knitting stitch patterns I could ever want.

These next ones are on their way to me.

Knitted Lace and Knitted Lace in White by Sonja Esbensen – Loads of intricate lace.

Latvian Mittens, Mittens of Latvia and Latvian Dreams – colorwork inspiration.

Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting and Book of Fair Isle Knitting – more colorwork inspiration.

Kunststrick-Decken by Herbert Niebling – I’ve always admired Niebling’s designs (who hasn’t?) but the English translation book is hard to find and expensive. I’ve got a bit of German knowledge (took it in high school) and a good German-English dictionary so I should be able to translate them.  Plus there are resources online to help with translations.  The German reprints are surprisingly not too expensive.

So all of that is inspiration to finish up those WIPs as well.  Most of these books are really for inspiration or assistance in designing but those intricate lace ones will be tempting me to cast on.

No more goals

The past two years I have set goals for the upcoming year and then failed miserably at achieving them.  Sometimes it’s because my interests changed and sometimes it’s because of injury.  In any case, I’ve decided to not set any goals.  Instead I’m going to assess where I am with active in-progress projects.

*links go to my Ravelry project pages.

French Quilt Shawl – I’ve recently shown the progress on this project. First I need to sew together the center pieces, which is in progress.  I also need to knit and sew on a border and an edging.  I’ve done one repeat of the border. Started Feb 19, 2018.

Corriedale sweater – I’m perhaps 3/4 done with the body and still need to knit sleeves. Started Nov 25, 2017.

Sing a Song of Sixpence – I’m somewhere between half and 3/4 done with this.  It’s hard to judge because the rows are very long. Started June 1, 2017.

Dracula’s Bride –  I’m more than 3/4 done but the rows are long and it’s complicated lace so it feels like there is much more to do. Started Feb 25, 2014.

Alla Moda – I have a lot to go on this but I’m not worried about it.  This is my travel knit (and I don’t travel much) or my totally brainless knit (I’ve not needed brainless knitting much).  It will be finished when it’s finished.  Started Oct 23, 2015.

Japanese and Victorian swatches – These are sort of in between things or palate cleansers or I don’t want to work on anything else sort of things.  Considering I just received the rest of the Weldon’s Practical Needlework set plus have tons of pdfs of Victorian booklets plus just bought the newest Japanese stitch dictionary, these projects will likely continue for years.  Japanese swatches started Jan 2, 2018. Victorian swatches started May 6, 2017.

That’s it for active projects. Some of them have been in progress for a very long time but I do want the finished item so I will continue to work on them, no matter how long it takes me to finish them.

When I next feel like casting something on (either I finish one of the above projects or just can’t resist the urge to cast on) I have two projects that I want to do more than the rest of my queue.

Sweater 3 (working title) – I’ve adapted a magazine colorwork pattern into a raglan style sweater. I’ve dyed the yarn and swatched.  Pattern is printed, needle is with it.  It’s all ready to cast on.  This has been in the queue since the middle of 2018.

Ring of Fire – Yarn is dyed, needle is chosen, book is with them.  Also ready to cast on. I bough the book in late 2016 and have wanted to knit this ever since.

So there we are.  No specific goals.  I just want to continue working on these projects.

As for spinning, that’s easy.  Spin endless amounts of Icelandic with the occasional skein of Cormo when I need a break from the Icelandic.  And maybe try to use my spindles more (as a previous goal, this one goes well for a few months and then I forget about them again.)

French Quilt Shawl Update

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After a very long break to let a neck strain heal, I’ve finally made progress on the French Quilt Shawl.

As a reminder, I’m adapting a counterpane pattern from Weldon’s Practical Needlework into a shawl/stole. It’s been interesting, translating the Victorian instructions into modern abbreviations and then knitting, with only a drawing to show what it might look like. Not to mention completely changing yarn thickness and needle size.

This is the center (and excuse the messiness of it, some parts are blocked and others are not). I need to sew all the parts together and then knit both a border and an edging and sew those on.

I think I’ll overdye it blue to harmonize the colors once it’s all done. The colors looked good together in the skeins but not so much now, at least to my eye.

Yarn is cashmere (pink) and merino (green and blue) reclaimed from commercial sweaters, plied and dyed by me.

Finished Shawl

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At last, a finished object.  600 yards of handspun Icelandic yarn from 9 different sheep.

It’s a tiny bit damp. This yarn takes forever to dry in Winter.  It’s very dense.  It’s a large shawl and weighs more than 2lbs.  It’s very very warm.

I want to give it another day or two to dry and then it and the matching hats will get shipped off to the sheep owners.

With this shawl done, I finally got back to the French Quilt Shawl.  Turns out I was nearly done with the 6th octagon.  I will finish it up on Wednesday and get it blocked.  After that it’s figuring out the filler pieces and the layout and getting those knit and the whole thing sewn together.  After that it’s the border and edging.

I’ve got the other 6 Weldon’s Practical Needlework on their way to me so I’ll have the complete set of 12.  Plus a few other knitting books.  We buy our own Christmas presents around here since it’s extremely difficult to buy for each other.  He doesn’t know knitting/fiber things without an extremely detailed list and I know even less about hobby electronics or brewing.  Not to mention, I’m home all day and bring in the mail, which would rather ruin the surprise if he bought me anything.

Finished objects!

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2 Icelandic hats.

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An in-progress Icelandic shawl to use up the leftover yarn.  Garter stitch and knit til the yarn runs out.

My alternating day schedule is working pretty well.  Except when I decide to knit on Saturday.  I overdid it a bit and I really need those two days off in a row to rest.  Neck is a bit sore today so I’m taking the day off.  But I’ve basically exchanged Saturday for today so I won’t fall behind schedule on the shawl.  I expect it to be done by the end of November.

That shawl will also turn out to be bigger than anticipated.  I seriously underestimated how much yarn I would have leftover after the hats.

A Finished Object!

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I suppose it’s technically a half finished object since it’s one of two. It needs washing and minimal blocking.  I’ve started on the second hat – one stripe done.

This is the first FO of the year (yeah, in October.)  5 months of no knitting due to injury destroyed my knitting productivity (but greatly improved my spinning productivity.)  I’ve been taking it slow, just a few rows a day, with hour long breaks in between.  In the 3 weeks it took to knit this hat, I improved from 5 rows a day to 9 rows a day and on the last day, 45 minute breaks instead of hour long ones.  It’s progress, however slow and annoying.  I’m hoping to be able to knit on my sweater by Christmas.

I’ve also restricted my knitting to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are for fiber (either prep or spinning.)  I’m keeping this schedule even after I’m back to normal (or as close to normal as I get.)  I have a habit of focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else.  Keeping to this schedule will help my body (by using different muscles and posture every other day) and keep me working on that Icelandic mountain.  Particularly since I’m spinning laceweight and it takes forever to fill a bobbin.  Weekends will depend on what’s going on – if I’m close to finishing something, what I have time for, etc. I did knit a few rows this past weekend.

I did decide that the laceweight Icelandic is ok for against the neck wear.  I sat with the cake of yarn between the back of my neck and my chair for awhile and it’s prickly for the fist minute or so but then I don’t notice it anymore.

Now that I can knit again, I’ve been making plans.  Once I finish the hats I’ll make a shawl (simple, garter stitch, largish needle) out of the Icelandic worsted weight leftovers.  That will also help in increasing the amount I can knit in a day as the rows grow in stitches.

After that, it’s back to the Victorian French Quilt shawl, then Dracula’s Bride shawl (it’s been on the needles for 5 years so it’s time to finish it), then the Sing a Song of Sixpence shawl (which is going on a year and a half since I started it.)  At the same time, I want to finish my handspun Corriedale sweater and start the colorwork sweater from reclaimed yarn.  I knit on different things depending on mood, ability to concentrate, etc.

Once I’ve done all of that, perhaps I’ll have enough laceweight Icelandic to start on one of the laceweight shawls sitting in my queue.