Category Archives: lace

I’m so glad I’m a knitter

Because if I wasn’t a knitter, I’d never have discovered or been able to keep re-discovering how awesome it is to turn a messy pile of string into a beautifully blocked lace shawl. (Oyster Bay is finished, the Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight is absolutely delicious, and the whole works is waiting to dry and almost ready for its final shoot.)

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If I wasn’t a knitter I wouldn’t have the good fortune of making hard choices such as whether to do another shawl, or finish the socks first, or finally cast on for that fair isle sweater I’ve been telling myself for the past year I was going to start ‘next’.

If I wasn’t a knitter I wouldn’t be making things that look like this. Enough said, right?

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I’m so glad you’re all knitters, too.

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Filed under finished object: shawl, lace

The trouble with Monday

…is that it is not the weekend. Knitting-wise, I had a pretty decent Sunday. I went into Toronto with Martha and met up with Lisa, Martina, and her friend Nichole for high tea at the Knit Cafe. We compared our current knitting, fantasy knitting (in my head I will have 3 shawls and 4 socks knitted by Tuesday…danged reality of the space-time continuum), and ate a series of small tasty treats. It was delicious.

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I think I will have to go again. Mmmm.

My current knitting that has been on the go for a week now is the Oyster Bay shawl (also available as a Ravelry download). Kate has knitted two of these now and makes it seem as easy as getting out of bed, and it’s lace which uses fingering weight which I like, so I decided to just go for it.

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Last August when I was in Halifax I picked up 3 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight (which I am now pleased to report is available in Toronto as well) in the stubbornly bright ‘royal flush’ colourway, intending to do a shawl with it eventually, and lo and behold eventually has arrived. The pattern is going along quite smoothly so far, though I had quite a hiccup in the beginning which turned out to be related to the fact that the nice neat little “pattern repeat” box was not at all visible on my printed black & white copy. Check your colour PDFs, my friends. Hours of teeth-gnashing might be saved.

And now it is Monday, and I am trying very hard not to switch out “grade stack of papers” for “swatch for new sweater”. We’ll see how that goes.

Keep the knitting close by!

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Filed under knitting in public, lace, shawls

12 of 12: Thanksgiving edition

It’s been a few months since I’ve done a 12 of 12! This time I marked it in big letters on my calendar so I wouldn’t forget. And this time the 12th of October happened to fall on our Thanksgiving weekend – it is today, the Monday, that is actually Thanksgiving, but our family has tended to have the big dinner on the Sunday night. Makes Monday easier to schedule in some sitting around. Anyhow, here are the 12 photos, a day in the life:

9:00am
So, I got up, ate my cereal, checked my internets, and thought while i was waiting between food and getting out for my run, I might as well wind up those 2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces sock yarn that are waiting to go on the needles next. I then entered into a half-hour struggle with the 1st skein, after discovering that the end I had attached to the ball-winder was completely and irrevocably twisted around the rest of the skein in multiple annoying ways. The 2nd skein, of course, was fine and took 3 minutes to wind.

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9:30am
My second Forest Canopy shawl is still blocking, but will soon be ready to un-pin.
With that, I am out for a long Sunday run!

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1:00pm
My feet would like to report that they ran 15K in the morning and have filed a request for a home foot spa. They took me over to P’s to borrow a springform pan.

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1:05pm
On the way I stopped to admire the fall colours which have started to come in, and for some trees, have also started to fall quite literally.

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1:20pm
While at P’s I said hello to the kitties also. They continue to be terribly cute.

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2:00pm
Baking now, with Giada, this time an appetizer roasted red pepper cheesecake. Only hitch was needing to rig up a smaller portion of the springform pan to bake it in, which worked out thanks to a lot of tinfoil and some rice and pie weights.

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5:00pm
After some baking, kitchen work, and sitting and knitting, people start to arrive. Martha lets me use her as practice for taking pictures of myself. (Not seen here: the first 7 attempts).

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5:30pm
Setting the dinner table.

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7:30pm (Or sometime around there-ish)
Sitting down at the table and enjoying the feast. Or at least, the second stage of the feast. The first stage was delicious and cheesy and was very nice on crackers.

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9:00pm
Empty wine bottles, almost-empty plate of Pumpkin Cupcakes. Mmmm.

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10:29pm
Man was I ready to fall into bed – good food, good chatter, and also that big long run in the morning all made for a very sleepy Glenna. I managed the first two chapters of Jasper Fforde (I can read the 1st book now that i’ve finished Jane Eyre!), and then was out like a light until the morning.

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Happy Thanksgiving if you’re in Canada, and happy Monday if you’re not! May your knitting be close by.

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Filed under 12 of 12, baking, lace

But it’s only 750 yards

So two and a half weeks ago I was at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair and returned with a small haul of new yarn. I followed our friend Dee’s lead and cast on for something right away. She, of course, finished her something within, oh, a week or so, and meanwhile I’m still plodding. It’s not the most horrible plodding, per se, I just sort of thought I’d be done by now. It’s my second Forest Canopy Shawl:

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The yarn is really quite lovely on the hands, and is just made for shawls – it’s fingering-weight merino hand dyed by Michelle at The Sweet Sheep, in ‘Super Skeins’ (this colour is ‘Depth’) that are long enough that you can get a shawl out of a single one, no stopping to switch to a second or third skein, no weaving in ends in the middle of your lace pattern. Highly brilliant. In fact I might even get another one in a different colour, next time I’m at a local festival.

The only downside of course, is that I’ve knitted at least 15 pattern repeats by now and I still have 100g of wool left and I’m starting to feel like I’ll be knitting this shawl forever. I mean, it’s a fingering weight shawl, shouldn’t this take, like, 2 seconds? It’s 4.5mm needles, not laceweight on 3.25mm or something…

Then Martha pointed out that this is yardage equivalent to two pairs of socks, and I do very rarely finish two pairs of socks that instantaneously. So when you put it that way, I’m doing just fine for time. I can be patient. This has nothing to do with wanting to breeze on through and start another project right away to ease my stash guilt before Rhinebeck. Nope. Nosiree, nothing of that sort. Um.

But in good news, I did finish the first sleeve of the Swing Cardi last night, so I”m on the home stretch with only the second sleeve, neckline, and finishing to go. Just over two weeks to go…

In other news, my next post, according to my blog statistics, will be my 300th. Since I have managed to let two Blog Anniversaries sail right by me (it is in July), I am going to make the 300th post count. I think there shall be some giveaways, it’s about time I did a blog contest! So, stay tuned. And I hope your Thursday is a knit-worth one.

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Filed under lace, shawls

Shawl time

I was already enjoying the Forest Canopy shawl as I was knitting it. For real, I was only halfway through it and already thinking of what shawls I was going to make next, what other lace projects I’d filed away for “someday” in my knitting brain. Then, I blocked it. Yes my friends, blocking lace really is the most fun you can have with yarn and T-pins. I present to you my first lace shawl:

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A few of my knitting friends have been working on this pattern lately, and when i realized it could be done with sock yarn, and that I could use the 2nd pair of skeins of Socks That Rock that I purchased at Rhinebeck (in the lovely semi-solid Jasper colourway, no less), I was sold. I cranked this out in about 2 weeks, and then inexplicably let it sit there for another week before blocking it.

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The astute and experienced among you may notice that I didn’t quite get to a full border – I only managed 4 of the final border rows instead of 8, as I ran out of yarn. And indeed, I ran out of yarn after getting 80% of the way through the bind-off. Clearly, this is an indication that I over-shot and should have stopped 1 repeat short and done only 17 instead of 18 repeats of the main pattern. But you know? It totally works. Nobody who has examined this shawl has caught the 12 inches of substituted yarn I pinch-hitted the final bind-off with, and dudes, I call that a win. I have Kate’s yarn to thank for being the right shade.

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I like that this pattern is easy to ‘embiggen’. Although it’s possible to complete the pattern with only a single 350-400 yd skein of fingering weight yarn, it’s pretty easy to just keep going and do more repeats until you feel like you’ve gone far enough. The finished size is about 78″ across, which is pretty much perfect for me (I’m 5’9″. Big comfy shawl, please). Great for wrapping around my shoulders in the heavily air-conditioned theatre on Friday night.

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The STR Mediumweight makes this a less ‘holey’ knit than it is perhaps intended to be, and I probably could have gone up a needle size (I used 5.0mm) without trouble. Still, I call this a win and freely admit that there will be more shawls this summer. Shawls Ahoy. Summer of Shawls. I’ve got the patterns stacking up in my mental queue and have but to choose.

Lace knitting. Why didst I forsake thou for so long? Good thing I finally found you.

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Filed under finished object: shawl, lace, shawls

More with the yarn shops

I am actually starting to get backed up on the knitting content and WIP/FO reporting. There’s a completed Forest Canopy Shawl that is finished and blocked and just needs some ends woven in, and a 2/3 finished pair of Noro Kureyon Sock knee-highs that I’m really enjoying. On the shawl front, I have definitely been enticed to the magic of lace. Here’s what it looked like about a week and a half ago, almost-finished and unblocked:

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That’s Socks That Rock Mediumweight in ‘Jasper’, from two of the skeins I brought home from Rhinebeck last October. I’m hoping to take the finished product out for a spin tomorrow night, for a trip to the theatre. Martha just finished one as a birthday present for our mom, and Steph is working on her own right now too with Indigo Moon. Shawls ahoy. Summer of Shawls has commenced around these parts.

But I still had more yarn shops to talk about, carrying on from my last post. In April I got to travel twice, to New York and to Boston. I did quite a bit of yarn shop visiting, more than is characteristic even for me – this is a testament to how a stressed out about-to-defend-her-thesis grad student looks for comfort. There are many fine shops in those cities, but some particular ones stood out for me.

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Knitty City is the New York shop that still sticks out in my mind. This was admittedly partly due to the selection – lots and lots of sock yarns, worsteds, things in sweater quantities and little quantities, and Canadian favourites like Mission Falls and Fleece Artist as well. The staff were also very friendly, as were the clientele. There were a few separate chairs and tables, even in such a small shop, and my friend Rebecca and I just sat for a bit after our purchases and knitted, and chatted with the people there. During that hour or so I watched a large number of customers come and go, and the staff people dealt with a huge variety of requests, all with patience and skill. I left wanting to go back again.

Also, I will say that it doesn’t hurt to combine the yarn-ing with a visit to the awesome Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is what we’d done that morning. In fact, I think my ideal day in New York would look something like that, possibly rounded out with a yummy dinner. (I should mention that after visiting S’Mac I continue to have dreams of their gruyere macaroni and cheese.)

Boston’s yarn shops are many. I think I visited 5 altogether and there were still others I could have gone to. The most memorable ones for me were the two in Cambridge (wish I’d spent more time there, too, it was way more fun than the Copley Place office/hotel/mall complex that I was trapped in for the conference): Mind’s Eye Yarns and Woolcott & Co. Here’s why.

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These are both small shops, each with strong selections that complement each other. Mind’s Eye Yarns is clearly a spinner’s shop as well as a knitter’s place, and so I walked out with a bit of fiber instead of yarn – and could have walked out with more than I did, believe you me. I was alone in the shop and Lucy, the owner, let me browse on my own and answered a few of my questions when I mentioned I’d started spinning and was looking for advice on plying. As I was leaving I mentioned that I wanted to find Woolcott as well, and she gave me directions (accounting for the construction-at-the-time around the relevant subway station) without hesitation. And then she said, “Tell Sean I said ‘hi’.”

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So when I got down to Woolcott, Sean the owner was there with another staff member, both knitting away and chatting happily. I walked in and he greeted me and told me about the sales on, and I said, “Oh, and Lucy from Mind’s Eye said to say hello.” And he said, “Oh, Lucy’s just about the nicest woman you’ll ever want to meet.” I left thinking how awesome it was that they were so friendly with each other, rather than being in cutthroat competition. I bought a skein of sock yarn and a skein of Noro Silk Garden, and as I was checking out he told me about both of the yarns and how they behave (Noro still has “some action in it”, is how he described it, which is why centre-pull balls and Noro are not so mixy), which was reassuring.

All three of these shops were comforting experiences, I went in and left feeling on equal footing as a knitter with the others sharing the space, and I liked how accessible they were to a person accessing cities largely on foot or by transit. My visits in April overall confirmed for me that yarn selection is, at best, only part of the reason why some LYSs become ‘favourites’ more so than others.

Onwards to the weekend – the days go by pretty quickly when you’re taking a bit of time off! Next time I promise some photos of knitting content, either a finished shawl or a knee sock, or both. Have a great Thursday, and may your knitting be close by!

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Filed under knitting tourism, lace, shawls, yarn stores