Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Ta Da!!!!  The shawlette is finished and blocked!  I'm very pleased with the results - the shawlette is in the cresent shape I was shooting for, and the scalloped edge looks really pretty  :-) 

The shawlette is about 14" wide at the center, and has a 56" wingspan.  Perfect for wrapping around necks, shoulders, or heads.  I used all but about 32 yards of the yarn in my Sock-aholic skein, so I'm pleased with my efficient yarn planning, too!

Here's what it looked like before blocking - reminds me of the Potato Chip Scarf - ha!

I'll get the kits released as soon as possible.  Now that I know it all works, I need to finalize the pattern, and have Mr. Wendy help take photos and make some videos.  Stay tuned for the Seaside Shawl coming soon!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Thorny Situation

So yesterday I probably could have finished the new shawl.  I've completed the body rows and am working on the border.  The problem is I decided to do some yardwork - perhaps you've heard me whine about pruning the dwarf palm trees before.

The palms are quite pretty and border the back fence of our yard.  When we moved in, they were young and each of them had one main trunk.  In the 9 (wow - can it be 9?) years that we have lived here, the darned things have only gotten to be about 6 feet tall, but have expanded in circumference significantly by splitting off to have multiple trunks.  More trunks means more pruning.  As the fronds age, they turn yellow, then brown just like leaves on any other tree.  Pruining is required to clean off the old fronds periodically, and I always put it off as long as I can.  Why?  Nasty Thorns.  In the picture above, you can see an example of the thorns that grow at the base of these otherwise peaceful looking fronds that innocently wave in the ocean breeze.  They are long, they are strong, and they are surgically sharp.  They regularly pierce through my rubber coated gardening gloves as I prune, forcing me to use language that makes even the neighbor's dog blush.  And, as if frequent stabbing wasn't enough punishment for trying to do a good deed, these thorns also seem to contain some sort of toxin or irritant that causes the knuckle joints in my hands to swell and ache.  This happens every time I prune these trees, and I never seem to learn.  Next weekend when I finish pruning the half that are left to be sheared, I'm going to try Mr. Wendy's leather gloves.  If that doesn't work, I'll have to see if I can find a suit of armor on Ebay.  

This morning I am still picking bits of thorn tips out of my hands.  The worst injury was a thorn that stabbed under the fingernail on my right index finger, and then left a quarter-inch thorn tip under there.  Had yesterday been a weekday I probably would have had the doctor dig it out under local anesthesia, but instead I took matters into my own hands, literally, and extracted it myself using a needle and strategically gritted teeth.  Needless to say, my hands were too achy to knit or type much yesterday, and I spent the rest of the day watching TV and playing Words With Friends.

So here's what the shawlette looks like now - too funny looking, huh?!  I completed the body rows that are worked flat and lengthwise.  The number of stitches had increased toward the end to the point where I couldn't see what the thing was going to look like since it was all bunched up on the needle cable.  Then to start the border, I picked up stitches on the sides and cast on edge, and am knitting the the border in the round.  It's mostly a garter stitch border to keep the edge from rolling, but there is eyelet detail along the scalloped lower edge of the border which should be cute.  I have either two or four more rounds to do before I bind off - depending on how the yarn supply holds out.  I've been monitoring it by weight as I've worked, and at this point, it appears I'll have enough yarn to complete the four rows I would like to do before BO, but that could be cutting the yardage really short.  I'll work two rows, and then make the executive decision as to whether I can squeeze in two more at that point.  I like to use up as much of the yarn as I can, but I don't want to make it so close that some people might run out before they finish due to personal gauge differences.

Wish me luck - my next post should show the blocking in process!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shawl Updation

I've been making some serious progress on the new shawlette so I though I'd give you a peek! 

After doing some yardage estimations, I decided to repeat the motif seven times across the shawl.  The central repeat is the full length shown in the previous post.  The two on either side of the center are a bit shorter, and the four end repeats are shorter yet.  This will give the shawlette the cresent shape that I'm shooting for.

I'm not at full width yet, and the shawl is currently at 52".  The motif widens as it progresses, so I expect to see that factor increase the width somewhat more.  Plus, there will be a border around the whole thing which will add another couple of inches. 

In the photos, I have the WIP shawl (done in colorway Canteen) pinned on top of the test motif so that you can get a sense of what the finished piece will look like.  The curved edge of the motif will repeat seven times, side-by-side.  The eyelet border will be worked all the way around the shawlette to finish the opposite edge and ends.

I still have 33 rows to work before starting the border.  The rows have 320+ stitches in them at this point, so they take me a while to do.  I'd better get back to work!

I'm still paranoid about running out of yarn before I'm finished, so I've been weighing my ball as I go and doing calculations to project whether or not I'll make it through.  So far it looks promising - fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Motivation

It's hard to believe, but I've actually just come off a 10 day no knitting streak.  It's not that I didn't want to knit, it's just that I was really busy in the days leading to Sock Summit.  And then while I was in the midst of all the knitting activity at SS, I didn't have a break to knit when I wasn't needing to get some sleep instead!  Now we're back, and I'm craving the feel of fiber between my fingers.

While we were on the road, I decided I need to schedule a "Design Meeting" with myself everyday.  I find that when we get busy, I'm prone to letting the design work slip. So I'm hoping to bring a little discipline to my daily activities by scheduling a couple of designing hours into my day.  This is most important during the beginning stages of new project where I am working off charts that I have on my computer, and editting them as I work.  Once a pattern gets underway, the project tends to get more mobile, and then I'm more likely to work on it in the evening while I watch TV, and I make progress at a faster clip. 

During my Design Meeting today, I finished the motif I've been working on.  I like the curved edge on it - it will be pretty and wavy when it is repeated side-by-side.  I also decided that the 5-leaved motif is a Starfish!  That also goes well with the wavy border, so it looks like we're going to have a seashore theme for this project.

Now I'm noodling how to connect these motifs together to form the shawlette.  I weighed the motif to help me gauge yarn usage so I can keep this pattern to a one-skein project.  I copied the outline of the motif and laid it out side by side so that I can see how much space I need to fill between the repeats.  I believe I'm going to shoot for seven repeats - with the center three being longer than the two on each end.  This should yield a cresent shaped shawlette. 

Now to figure out how to get it started!