Friday, February 10, 2006

Knitting Content Ahead...

I promised some knitting content, and here it is...I finished the Cashmere and Pearls lace scarf that I'd been working on for my sister-in-law for Christmas. She had given me the yarn since the pattern she was hoping to use it for wasn't working out for her, and I wanted to give her something lacey made with it. It didn't get finished for Christmas (I was oh so close!), and it has been sitting waiting for blocking since not long after the new year.

In general, I am opposed to blocking. I'm the kind of girl that wants to knit it and quit it. Once it's off the needles, I really hate having to do the seaming, weaving in of ends, and most definitely the blocking. The blocking in particular because that's time that I could actually be using/wearing said garment, even though blocking usually makes said item look more professional, fixes wonky folds around ribbing, that sort of thing.

In knitting L.'s doll blankie, I did a simple stockinette square with 3 rows of seed stitch around the edges. Anytime I do a ribbing or seed stitch edging, I always end up with it wanting to fold over where the edging meets the stockinette. I didn't want his blanket looking wonky, and I'd found my hand steamer while cleaning out the utility room about a month ago, so I resolved to steam the blanket into submission. And steam I did.

I am now a blocking convert. It really helped to relax the stitches, give the piece some body, and generally made it look great. Wish I'd taken a pic so I could show you.

I was so excited by how nicely it made the blanket look and how relatively simple it was that I took the steamer to Cashmere and Pearls. I just laid the scarf on a thick towel, stretched it just enough to give the lacework definition, and pinned it to the towel. Then I took the steamer and went over the whole scarf. The results were fantastic. I don't have any "in process" shots to show, but I do have finished pics of the scarf.

I photographed the scarf in front of our picture window, so there are some funny shadows. Also, and I'm not sure why, likely my photographic inexperience, the left stitches don't look as nice as the right side. I assure you both sides are equal. I also wanted to show a closeup so you could see the beads, silver-lined small glass beads. It gives just a bit of sparkle. I could still add tassles if I want (the photo at Sivia's site shows with and without), but I'm still not sure what I want to do. Since this is a gift, I suppose I could ask the recipient what she would like! I have enough yarn left to do another entire scarf, and it's so tempting to keep this one for myself and knit a new one, but given my time constraints these days, it's hard to tell when that might happen.

Here are the details:
Pattern: Mary Ann's Cashmere and Pearls Lace Scarf
Yarn: Kid Seta, color unknown (it's a little darker green than the pic shows)
Needles: Size 5 (3.75 mm) or 6...can't remember what I used!
Any changes I would make/made: I made no changes to the pattern. Charts were included, and I used those and numbered the rows to make things easier for myself. I used a scrap sheet of paper and hashmarked each row out instead of using a row counter. That way I knew what repeat I was on. The beads were placed on by hooking the stitch with a small piece of tiger tail (I didn't have a crochet needle small enough and wasn't about to buy one!) that had the beads strung on it (like the photos in the pattern). When I do this pattern again, I'll prestring my beads and drop them down instead. Hooking the stitches took too long, and with the mohair haze, I was constantly snagging somewhere I wasn't intending to. Overall, I loved this pattern, and I'm so proud of how it turned first real intricate lace project. I wore the scarf to the shin-dig below and got many comments. I could barely leave the room what with my big head and all.

The college I'm attending has a "cyber-cafe" down in the basement of the student center where all the quirky people (yup...that includes me) hang out. There's a Starbucks type coffee shop with brownie bricks the size of a small cake for dirt cheap, great hot chocolate, and occasionally good music. How good the music is depends on who happens to be running the register that day. It's a strange mix most days with some harder metal type music, latino beats, the occasional classic rock tune, and some odd jazz instrumental (and don't get me wrong, I like me a jazz tune most of the time). Anyway, there are always flyers and things on the table for programs and things to do while in the student center on any given afternoon/evening of the week. They had been putting out a flyer recently for a "get down to the knitty gritty" thing that was going to be going on. Learn to needles, free yarn, food, and prizes. Count me in. I have enough yarn and needles, but I thought they might need some help teaching the newbies.

I showed up and was quite surprised at the number of people that showed up, in particular...the few brave boys who showed up interested in picking up some sticks. I spent my entire time there showing people the ropes, and I loved every minute of it!! Oh, how I would love to teach a regular class. The program director snapped plenty of shots of us all working together. Someone from an independent campus women's magazine (meaning not the regular newspaper) came and snapped photos and emailed me to interview me for an article she's writing. Fun!

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