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Dec. 14th, 2009

dye

Rona progress

As I've been knitting Rona, I kept picturing it as a tablecloth instead of a shawl. I suddenly realized that the image in my head is always the same - the shawl sitting pretty on my Mom's circular kitchen table. I don't have any round tables, and the image is so persistent that I finally decided that this Rona is fated to be a Christmas gift to Mom.

Of course, that means that now I have to try and finish it by Christmas! I think it's possible - I'm on row 131 out of 153. Each row is taking me about an hour to knit, so looks like 25 hours or so to finish. My goal is to finish by the 21st so there is time to block before wrapping - that's about 3-4 hours of dedicated knitting per day. It's going to be close! If I finish this by the 21st, that will be just over a month from start to finish. Hard to believe after the year and a half it took to knit Chrysopolis!

Of course, in addition to knitting Rona, I have a bead project that I started this weekend. It's a new design idea inspired by something I saw in one of the bazillion Christmas catalogs that arrived in the mail, and I'm intending the first finished piece to be a gift for my aunt. Plus I have to finish getting gifts wrapped before this weekend for the gift exchange at my in-laws, plus gift wrapping for my side of the family before we leave for Virginia on the 24th. Why oh why do I always come up with nifty handmade gift ideas at the last minute? (The beaded gift may just end up being a New Year's gift - that's still the Holidays, right?)

Looks like Titania is going to languish until after Christmas...

Nov. 19th, 2009

dye

Knitting!

OK, after many many moons, I have FINALLY finished Chrysopolis. Here she is:



Not sure why the camera decided the yarn should be pink. It's actually a rich, deep maroon.

I'm debating whether or not to block her. The Valley Yarns alpaca silk already has a beautiful drape. Perhaps I'll just do a light blocking to get the edges to lay flat.

I've also started a new project, the circular shawl Rona from Knit Picks, using Knit Picks Shimmer in the Sherry colorway. When I was on the site debating colors for this project, I saw the Sherry and thought "Oh, that's beautiful! I haven't done a shawl in that color yet!" A couple days later, as I was working on Chrysopolis, my brain suddenly realized I had just picked out a maroon yarn after spending over a year working on a stole in maroon. I could have kicked myself for not picking out something different. However, the Sherry is quite a bit different - it's a subtly variegated yarn versus the solid maroon of the Valley Yarns alpaca silk. The color ranges from a deep maroon to an almost pink color. Here, see for yourself:



Again, the camera made this much more pink that the actual yarn, but you can see the variety of colors. Please ignore my completely ugly center. This is only my second circular start, and I just can't seem to do anything about even tension in the first few rows. I'm hoping I can do a bit of picking during blocking to even it out.

Does anyone else have a problem with being unable to stop knitting when working a circular pattern? I ended up staying up til midnight last night, doing "just one more row", until hubby pushed me to go to bed. I don't seem to have this problem with straight knitting, just circular knitting. I think it has to do with the fact that I always have to knit at least one stitch of the new row so the end of row marker doesn't fall off the needle. And once I've stitched that first stitch of the new row, there's a part of me that insists I have to finish the row. After all, leaving a row unfinished is a Bad Thing, right?

Mar. 13th, 2009

daisy

Life in the fast lane

I just looked back at my last post, and realized that it's been almost a year since I've visited this blog. Wow! It sure doesn't seem like that long ago. So let's try and get caught up...

I'm still not done with Chrysopolis. I've gotten a lot further - I've finished knitting the section that I redesigned, and I'm back into the original charts now, but she's not done. And she's going to be a verrrrry long stole when she's finished. The redesign caused the addition of about 100 rows, so she'll definitely be a warm, wrap yourself multiple times in wonderful alpaca silk stole!

I also got quite a bit more done on Dem Fisher Sin Fru - enough that the rows now seem interminably long as I'm knitting them on my tiny needles. But she's coming along nicely. Or she was, before Christmas last year.

You see, I didn't get much done during the summer because our air conditioning went out and I was conserving energy and preventing more heat from being added to the house by not turning lights on in the evening. So not much knitting happened over the summer months. In addition, I had this lovely (not!) injury where I managed to kill the top layer of skin on all my fingers with overuse of nail polish remover, resulting in an inability to use my hands for much while the skin grew back/healed.

Then, towards Christmas, I finally decided that my shoulder, which has been bothersome since a fall in June of 2007 wasn't getting any better. I had gone in and been treated for tendonitis in December of 2008. I was told that with rest and ice, etc., that it would slowly heal. But it seemed to me that a year was too long, even for difficult shoulders. Sure enough, I was diagnosed with "frozen shoulder" and ended up having surgery in January to clean out the scar tissue, etc. Shoulders being difficult beasties, I'm still doing therapy and dealing with pain on a daily basis, and knitting has been out of the question for me. The position you have to hold in order to knit, especially when knitting lace with tiny needles, just is not conducive to a happy shoulder, so I've been doing other things.

Namely, I've gotten into sewing. Some new friends introduced me to costuming, and I started to have some ideas of my own that I wanted to explore. Plus, I'm tired of wanting a particular item of clothing and being unable to find it in the stores. Recently, I wanted a plaid skirt. Nothing special, just a simple red plaid skirt. NONE of the stores I've been to since I had that thought have carried anything even close to resembling a simple plaid skirt. One store, when I asked the sales lady about it, I got "Red? Plaid? No. We have lots of black skirts, though!" What ever happened to variety in clothing? Sheesh!

Anyway, even sewing takes its toll on my shoulder, so I can't do a lot of it, but because it's done with fabric, a little sewing goes a long way. I'm starting small. I've sewn some grommets onto fabric panels which are designed to cover pictures and create a festive theme atmosphere for a party. My first clothing project is a pair of wrap pants, done in a glittery, filmy gold material. Once I get the basic pant sewn, the plan is to do bead embroidery along the pant edges. I had seen this really neat pair of heavily beaded pants at a rennaisance faire, but couldn't afford them. I discovered the wrap pant design, which with a little modification will be almost exactly like the pants I saw at the faire, with the added bonus of being able to do my own beaded designs on them. It will have the added benefit that I can start to wear them right away, and add the bead embellishments slowly over time until I'm done.

Next on my list is a cape and a Victorian-inspired skirt, which will become part of a steampunk outfit I'm planning. The cape is going to be based off a very simple circle cape - the design I found online is actually the cape for a Darth Vader costume. Mine, however, is going to be gold, with black lace. And I have some truly nifty ideas for the skirt that I'm hoping will work out in practice. As per my usual, I found a pattern for a skirt online that I like, but I'm planning to make some changes to the design to make it match the image that's in my brain. And of course, for the steampunk outfits, something knitted will have to be done once I can knit again. I actually think Chrysopolis would work well on its own, as the color matches well with the steampunk palette. Also in the works are some modifications for my black boots and a hat, although I haven't quite decided on what kind of hat style I want to use yet.

So that, plus a lot of traveling and spending time with friends, has been my year. I'm also still playing with photography and learning my camera better, doing some volunteer web design, and exploring possibilities for steampunk-inspired beaded jewelry, but none of it has gotten to the creation stages yet. I think I've hit some sort of wall in terms of having enough time to explore all the creative ideas that have been crowding into my brain lately. We'll see where it takes me. One thing's for sure, the journey isn't boring!

May. 8th, 2008

daisy

Lace, photography, and summer vacations

Well, knitting has been sporadic lately, in part because I got a new toy. I decided that for my birthday I wanted to take up a new hobby. Like I need something else to slurp up all my time and spare cash! But over the last few years, I've been really enjoying taking more and more pictures with my little point and shoot camera, and I finally hit the tipping point. It was time. It was past time. My life was becoming a meaningless void... well, ok, not so much. But I did decide that it was time for me to start learning more about photography and how to take really great pictures. And in order to do that, I needed a "serious" camera. One that requires more than just pointing the camera in the general direction of the subject and clicking a button. Hubby also likes to take pictures, although his idea of what to take pictures of is a bit different than mine. So he was all for me getting a camera for my birthday. The dSLR arrived home on Sunday, after much internet research and some visits to the local store to try out different models in person. So now some of my free time is taken up with going out in the world and taking pictures.

Not that I haven't gotten ANY knitting done. Chrysopolis is coming along nicely. For pictures and some Knit Night discussion, check out my friend's blog from last week. Knit Night at Helen's I've finished clue 3, and I'm a few rows into the section that Helen and I redesigned. I even knit a couple rows on Dem Fischer Sin Fru that evening. The rows have gotten long enough that the cable I was using was getting too short. I ordered a longer length in the Harmony needles, which I took possession of at Knit Night, so of course I had to transfer the shawl over to them immediately so they wouldn't feel lonely! And while I was transferring to them, I figured I might as well knit on them, just to test them out and make sure they weren't defective, of course! Mystic Waters has been finished and bound off, after one trying afternoon where she decided to be ornery, resulting in the ripping out of several rows in order to make her behave. She's not blocked yet, though, so I don't have any new pictures. In fact, it may be June before I have time to block her, because we're about to enter weekend craziness.

This weekend, we're leaving Friday straight from work to head to my Mom's for Mother's Day. No possibility for blocking this weekend. When we get back I'm going to be busy preparing for next Friday, when we leave for vacation, so no chance of blocking during the week, and then of course we're gone for a couple weekends, so still no chance to block. I *might* be able to do it the weekend after we get back - we only have one scheduled even that weekend to attend a friend's wedding. But depending on how much fun the reception is, I may not be in any shape to work with tiny sharp pointy objects! And the weekend after that I will once again be out of town... So... yeah... you'll just have to wait a while to see the shawl in all it's pretty stretched out glory! Of course, even after it's blocked it won't be done, because I have further plans for turning this lovely creature into a gorgeous creature, ready for a night on the town, all bedecked and bejeweled with additional beaded embellishments. It's going to hang in my office, and it's going to be wonderful!

Designing is moving along as well. I think I'm to the point of needing to start knitting what I've designed so far, so I can decide just how many more rows I'll need to get a reasonably sized shawl. Which means I need to pick out a yarn to knit with. Which has me completely stumped. Do I go with one of the gorgeous vividly colored yarns I have sitting around, or do I go out and buy something more "traditional" in a white or off-white color... hmmmm... I know I don't want something variegated for this one, so with current stash that limits me to a deep blue, a deep purple, or the bright fuschia that I used for Veil of Isis. Well, I suppose I could use the gorgeous natural-colored camel silk, but that's even thinner than dental floss...

Apr. 5th, 2008

yarn

Fickle, me?

Wow, has it really been more than a month since I last posted? Hard to believe when I look at how little knitting got done in that time.

Feb. 28th, 2008

dye

Let the knitting continue...

OK, last time I mentioned that I had finished clue 1 of Dem Fischer sin Fru. Here's the picture as promised. (There are more detailed shots in my Flickr account. Get there by clicking on the picture.)

Feb. 26th, 2008

dye

How soon "not now" becomes "never"

It's amazing how quickly a nasty cold will kill motivation. I need to get enthused about my knitting design again. People are saying that the latest bug going around has a life of about a month. So either I've had a cold for the last month, or I've had 5 different colds in the last month. I'm not sure which is more likely. Every time I start to feel better, another wave comes by and smashes me down again. Grrrrr.

But I *will* get back to my design work, as soon as I stop coughing up a lung.

Feb. 11th, 2008

yarn

Shawl design, take 1

This past weekend I finally got a successful design worked out and swatched for the border of my shawl.

Feb. 7th, 2008

dye

Knitting AND Designing - w00t!

I made a resolution for 2008. For every pattern that I knit that is someone else's design, I will spend an equal time working on something that is my own design. 

Details with pictures!Collapse )

Jan. 17th, 2008

yarn

Reflections of a lace addict

The holidays were hectic but nice. All of my knitted gifts were truly loved by the recipients, and I even got some knitting done. Not as much as I would have hoped, but enough that I felt like I was accomplishing something.

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