Thursday, March 31, 2011

The healing power of cashmere

It's been one of those days. I believe I met it with verve and spunk, but by the time I was ready to go home, I didn't have any verve and spunk left for myself. Went into work early this morning, and things were going well until I get this phone call to confirm some charges on my debit card. I promise you, I'd be a much warmer and happier person if I was in Arizona, where there's not snow on the ground. Turns out, my debit card number got stolen. Fantastic. It got caught really quickly, and I have a new card in the mail. But it ate at the back corners of my mind all day.

On top of that, work had stupid work politics that I finally had to stand up and face the music. If I could, I'd work quietly, without much interference, and without much attention from higher management. Maybe it's an old reflex from the parents, maybe it's just me, but I can't help cringing when higher management focuses their attention on me. It's not a comfortable feeling. Either way, I had to make some points, stand my ground, and put on the big girl panties. You know, this whole grown up thing isn't what it's cracked out to be. It's not nearly as much fun as it looked like when I was a kid.

So, when I got home, I decided to cast on the laminaria shawl. A while ago, the boyfriend had gotten me two gorgeous skeins of the Indie Knits II line from Those of you that know me, are probably not surprised that it's burgundy. It's exactly the color of blood. Work hazard, sorry. I can add phlebotomy to my list of skills now, and I've been paying particular attention to the color of blood these days.

Anyways, the yarn is 55/45 silk/cashmere, and it is absolutely luscious. There's a teeny tiny halo that gives the yarn a gloriously soft hand. The pattern is great for comforting, absorbing knitting. It's the perfect thing to knit when all I want to do is pay attention to my hands and forget about the day. I'm starting the 3rd repeat of the star chart, and it's not the least bit mindless, not even the purl rows. If you don't pay attention to purling, you'll wind up with skipped or twisted stitches. I can't wait till I get to the other charts. I'm thinking the shawl needs beads.

I've decided I'm chronically incapable of knitting patterns as written. Already, I'm going to have to do a hybrid size, because I have about 720 yards of the lace and the large size for +1000 yards. I figure I should have enough for 5 repeats of the star pattern and 7 of the blossom. On top of that... do you see beads in that pattern? There's not. So, of course, I have to add them. I have the perfect beads too, some lovely opalescent size 6 seed beads. In burgundy, of course. If the weather holds true to its atypical pattern, the weather will be shawl weather. Given how quickly I normally knit, I may finish before winter finishes visiting us.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"I'm so sorry baby, it's just you drive me crazy"

-from a Bittersweet song.

In a desperate attempt to stop my brain from running itself into the ground, I figured I'd do an update here. I've finished my first ever hand spun, hand knit shawl that I designed from scratch!

It's not blocked yet, more teaser photos this weekend.

Why yes, I will sell this pattern, but first there has to be a pattern to sell. Which is what I've been working on for the last 3 hours or so. I was dreading writing up the pattern, because even though I took copious notes I forgot to record with meticulous detail how I negotiated the increasing edges. Yeah. About that. Oops.

Gamely, I plugged away at the shawl, getting the basics in. I was proud of myself, I had at least charted the main section repeats so aligning the different motifs was done. I was figuring my stitch counts for each section, determining how I would start the shawl; and, of course, writing this all down. Because no one else lives inside my head and if other people want to knit this pattern, I have to give them something that resembles cohesive instructions. I figured out a wee little short cut and I have high hopes to get the shawl out to test knitter(s?) in a week. Wish me luck.

TL;DR - the handspun shawl is knit on size 6 needles using a yarn that's approximately sport-weight. (No, I did not count wraps per inch. I was too eager to knit with it.) I had about 345 yards of handspun total, and after the shawl was bound off, I had 1 yard and 3 inches left. Talk about a nail-biter!
Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.