Posts Tagged ‘Lace’

Out of the Loop

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

twig-back_medium2

So far I have managed to keep Hunter from feeding/carrying her brother (mostly) but I was feeling really out of the knitting loop so yesterday I passed the kids to Daddy and spent some solid Ravelry time. It’s not that I NEED a new project with new yarn to match, it’s just that I was looking for an excuse….What should I come across but the latest pattern from Felicia of SweetGeorgia, Twig Shawl!

twig-closeup_medium2

It’s just what I needed, something fussy to work on in the evening or during nap time! I love how rustic meets delicate in this lacy shawl. The twig pattern is earthy while the fine yarn and open work is sophisticated and pretty. I love a good shawl and one skein of Merino Silk Lace will make a big one or two smaller scarf-sized shawls.

Low Tide

Monday, August 20th, 2012
7554213402_5c23716048_z
Emily and I (jointly Tin Can Knits) have been working diligently for the last many months to put together our second collection : Pacific Knits. 18 irresistible earthy knits with sweater patterns ranging in size from newborn to 4XL and many access to choose from. All patterns inspired by the Pacific north west, our neighborhood! The book went to the printers this past week and I will keep everyone posted for the launch in September. We have decided to pre-release one of our patterns due to popular demand, so I introduce to you, Low Tide.
pk-lowtide-05_medium2
This cardigan is knit in a couple of pieces but stitches are picked up so there is very little seaming. The other draw of this summery lightweight cardigan? It looks good on everyone! Emily’s genius construction and design make this a seriously pleasing knit. It is done in sock weight yarn but with cap sleeves and lace it only takes a few skeins to get it done. We worked in Tosh Sock but really and beautiful hand-dyed yarn will do!
pk-lowtide-07_medium2

Leaves of Grass

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

log_2_medium2

The latest collection from Jared Flood, Loft, has me thinking about many many yards of fingering weight yarn. I am currently dreaming of fall golds and warm reds (although it snowed at my new house today….) and what should I come across but Leaves of Grass.

log_1_medium2

This large shawl/blanket is stunning, it may just be the next long term project I cast on for. I have been meaning to make a circular shawl for some time now but I’ve been pre-occupied with smaller items. I like to have at least 1 project I return to now and again in between design work, gifts, and fashionable knits for me and mine. This blanket has multiple motifs to keep things interesting and the finished project looks like it’s worth the effort!

log_4_medium2

This beauty takes a whopping 1375 yards of fingering/sock/28st gauge yarn so come on in and pick up the colour that speaks to you!

A Shawl to Remember

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

2011-07-1610-21-21felicia_and_daniel_medium2

Felicia of SweetGeorgia recently said ‘I do’ in the most stunning shawl. She had an interesting journey to the finished product (you can read more about that on her blog here) and it was well worth whatever swatches and debates she may have had.  Not only is the yarn luscious, and the pattern is so popular for good reason,  but the colour is one she was able to make just for herself. It got me thinking about the many wedding projects I have seen come and go at Urban Yarns and how wonderful it is to have a knit for such a unique and special occasion as a wedding.

2011-07-1609-57-53felicia_and_daniel_medium2

Shawls are definitely the obvious choice for a wedding (although we all remember Ann’s stunning shrug, so shawls are certainly not the only choice). As an accent piece they are perfect if you are the bride to be, a wedding party member, or even a guest. The thing I love the most about Felicia’s shawl has to be the beautiful bright colour. It may be tempting to go with more of a neutral but something cheery and bright in the sun lends a festive feel for sure.

2011-07-1610-22-16felicia_and_daniel_medium2

Felicia’s shawl is a Swallowtail by Evelyn Clark. The yarn is her lovely Merino Silk Lace. This colourway is a one of a kind but I’m sure there is a colour suitable to you in the shop!

All the pretty photos here were taken by Jeff Chang, Felicia’s wedding photographer!

Re-Knits

Friday, June 10th, 2011

crw_8946

I’m always very excited when I start a new project. In fact, perhaps a little too excited. At first I’m just excited to cast on. This fresh new project is going to be the best ever created. Then I start thinking, maybe I’ll knit one for a friend. I bet my mum would really like one of these. This would also look great in blue….thus a monster is created. Then by the time I finish the project I’m usually pretty glad to be done. Time has been spent, mistakes have undoubtedly been made and I am no longer having visions of grandeur.

img_0636

That being said, it is a sign of a great pattern when I really do knit it up again and again (even twice is a pretty big complement). One of my particular faves is the Shetland triangle. I am enjoying my second summer of excessive lace knitting (several shawls have been cast on in a fit of startitis) and when I lovingly pulled my first Shetland Triangle out of it’s hiding spot I immediately wanted to cast on for another. The lovely leafy sort of pattern is so pretty and the excellent yarn I picked for the first one (Cashsilk by SweetGeorgia in Riptide) didn’t hurt my desire to cast on for the second. Second time around I’m enjoying this knit just as much, a great pattern and a great finished product.

crw_8944

Tosh Tosh Tosh!

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Thermis Cowl knit in 1 skein Tosh DK

Thermis Cowl knit in 1 skein Tosh DK

I’m so excited! I have been waiting a LONG time (even in knitting time) for this yarn to come in. I am in love with all things Madelinetosh andp it seems like the feeling has been sweeping the knitting world. What I love the most about this yarn are the colourways. Some are a very subtle kettle dye, while others are a little bolder, all have a dimension that is to die for! I’ve been particularly smitten with kettle dyes myself. Instead of a flat colour there is just so much more to them. It’s really adds something to even a simple stockinette piece. A kettle dye can also be preferable to a variegated yarn when it comes to lacy or cabled patterns. The pattern still comes through but the piece is more interesting than it might be in a flat colour.

We have 3 different kinds of Tosh in: Tosh DK, Tosh Merino DK, and Pure Silk Lace. You might be wondering about the 2 DK weights (DK, by the way, stands for Double Knitting, and knits up around 22 stitches per 4 inches). The Tosh DK is a plied superwash yarn. Perfect for garments you don’t want to handwash (I feel some baby garments coming on) but still a hand dye, what a great combination. The Tosh Merino DK is a single ply yarn, this means it has little spin to it so it’s super soft but keep it far away from hot soapy water (unless you are felting but that’s a special circumstance). I like the Merino DK for a scarf or hat, something that doesn’t see a lot of friction and needs to be buttery soft. The DK is great for a sweater or mittens, something that needs a heartier yarn. The lace, of course, is perfect for any piece of summery lace and the shine combined with the stunning colourways is stunning. At a very generous 1000 yards per skein you could knit 2 smaller shawls or 1 large one with just one skein, how fabulous! I’m starting to think my Rock Island shawl should be a Madelintosh one…..

What to get for the Lace Knitter

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

botanical

It’s certainly that time of year again and everyone is wondering what to get for the knitter in their life. Or perhaps you are the knitter wondering how to tactfully suggest some items that would fit in a Christmas stocking or under the tree. Well, here are a few of my suggestions for a special type of knitter: the lace knitter, perhaps you could pass on the post if you are subtly hinting to family or friends ;-)

cypress

While knitters are rarely only one type, we  all know knitting can come in waves, perhaps you were a sock knitter last year, an accessories knitter the year before, or the brave sweater knitter the year before that, but if you are a lace knitter this year you probably have a few lace specific knitting traits. You probably have pretty good attention to detail and enjoy the process of knitting (as opposed to being more product oriented) because boy do those yards of yarn start to go slowly by the final few rows of a shawl! You probably enjoy working in some finer fibers and are currently digging some lighter, airier knits.

pistachio

My favorite yarn to knit up some lace has to be SweetGeorgia. Subtle hand dyes make any shawl just that much more beautiful and both the more vibrant colours and the more subdued look stunning in the skein and knit up. There are 2 choices in SG for lace: Cashsilk (my personal indulgent fave) and Merino Silk Lace. The Cashsilk is about 400 yards and has that cashmere softness to it. Perfect for a smaller shawl or scarf size. The Merino Silk Lace has that silky shine and is a very generous 765 yards. You could knit anything up with that kind of yardage!

tourmaline

If you have a newer lace knitter on your hands perhaps some sock weight yarn would be nice. It’s a little thicker than the lace but remains light enough to do the job. I’ve knit up a couple of Ishbel shawls from Ysolda Teague in sock weight and I just love it. There is lots of sock yarn to choose from (we call it the sock wall) so you can come on in and pick your colours.

3652447725_b69ae57830_medium

Shawl patterns aren’t particularly hard to come across in the shop but I have to say, in my wild summer shawl-a-thon, one of my favorite patterns had to be Emily Wessel’s Photosynthesis. This pattern is hugely popular on Ravelry and around the shop. It goes rather well with a skein of SweetGeorgia, hint hint hubby!

GCC: Photosynthesis

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

crw_9703

Just when I thought my little lace obsession was over, it wasn’t. I still had 1 precious skein of CashSilk Lace in the stash from Christmas and Emily’s Photosynthesis pattern calling my name! I also feel that I have found the perfect recipe for the shawl size I desire and the ‘laciness’ I am looking for. 400 yards of laceweight yarn and 4mm needles = the perfect scarf sized shawl for Alexa. It’s Goldilocks territory.

The laciness factor is hard to describe. It has to do with the amount of space between the stitches. I knit one shawl on 4.5mm needles and while it is a bit bigger than the others it is a smidge too open for my liking. I knit Emily’s Sunflower shawl on 3.75mm needles and the Brandywine Shawl on 3.5mm needles. It’s not that the shawl’s didn’t turn out on these needles, they just might have been better on 4mm.

crw_9696

The needle size conundrum is somewhat unique to lacework. It’s another one of those purely preference things that drive newer knitters up the wall. ‘What needle size should I use for this?’ a newer knitter will ask. ‘Any needle in this range, depending on what you want it to look like’ the ever helpful UY gals will answer! The pattern usually has a recommendation on it, but with lace you really don’t have to follow that recommendation at all. I would say knit yourself up a swatch but I know almost no one will do that, especially when it comes to lacework. So, if you are kicking off some lacework of your own just try out a few different needle sizes until you find the one that works for you.

The Photosynthesis Shawl is a lovely leafy pattern that I will definitely be making again! There are 2 different charts to add a little interest and the mesh edging is lovely. To make a Photosynthesis of your very own you will need:

1 Skein SweetGeorgia CashSilk Lace

4mm needles (I used Addi Lace 24 inches)

The Pattern: Photosynthesis Shawl by Emily Wessel

Enjoy!

–Alexa–

crw_9699

GCC: A Little Something Springy

Monday, May 10th, 2010

crw_9324

Last weekend was Mother’s day (I hope this isn’t news to anyone) and I wanted to do a little knitting for my Mother in Law. It wasn’t just Mother’s day for her either, it was also her birthday! I figured this was a prime oportunity to display my fine knitting skills. MIL has blonde hair and fair skin and LOVES pink so I thought I would give the new Shibui Sock a try. It comes in some great colours and even though I immediately gravitated towards the deep tealy blues, I knew the soft pink was perfect for MIL. I didn’t want to make socks though, just not right for the occasion. I decided to whip together a small shawl/triangular scarf.

crw_9339

I picked up 2 skeins and some addi lace needles (sharp tip, not too slippery, I love them) and I was ready to go, except for the pattern. I recently finished Multnomah so I didn’t want to do that one again but I didn’t feel there was time for anything too taxing. There definitely had to be some garter or stockinette stitch finished with a little lace. Here is what I discovered: there are SO MANY patterns on Ravelry (both pay and free) that fit this description. While this may seems like a good thing, it was a lot of choice. The one I finally chose was Traveling Woman. There is some Stockinette stitch to kick it off (good conversational knitting) and then it’s finished with a nice horeshoe lace trim.

crw_9328

To knit a Traveling Woman of your very own you will need:

2 skeins of Shibui Sock

3.5mm needles (I used 24″ Addi Lace) I thing my needles may have been a bit small though, I got an extra repeat of the horeshoe pattern and the fabric over all was a bit tight. The nice thing about lace though is that you can kind of use any needle you want, things will just come out a little bigger, a little smaller, a little more open. It all really comes down to preference. To get one just like mine you can use 3.5mm but I think a 3.75 or 4mm would be quite nice as well.

The pattern, which you can find for free here.

So, if your looking for something quick and not too tricky give it a whirl! Enjoy!

–Alexa–

crw_9325

GCC: Blocking 101

Monday, April 26th, 2010

crw_9053

There are a lot of things in the world of knitting that are debatable. Some of these questions are even unanswerable because they are really just a matter of preference. Needle choice, for example, is largely a question of preference. Some knitters will choose straights over circulars, long over short, bamboo over addi, etc. Will anything terrible happen to your knitting if you use Addi Lace needles (my faves) vs. Bamboo circulars for a given project or vice versa? No, it’s a matter of what makes you happy. Do what you feel! What does this have to do with blocking you might ask? Nothing really, it’s just that blocking is one of those knitting issues that is really just a matter of debate that I think comes down to preference.

There is much debate on the purposes of blocking and when, why and if it should be done. This intro is kind of acting as a disclaimer, there are lots of schools of thought on blocking and I’m really just sharing my own. Do what works for you, as usual. There are different ways to block different items and I thought I would start with something I’ve done a fair bit of lately: some lace.

crw_8935

Step 1: fill a bucket, sink, or bowl with cool water. I use a bit of SOAK in my water, it’s a wool conditioner that smells nice and softens your finished project.

crw_8942

Step 2: put your finished shawl into the water and gently squeeze out the bubbbles. When no more bubbles come out, you know the water has completely permeated the yarn, making it easier to have the shawl stay the way you want it when you lay it out.

Some would disagree with this full immersion approach and would make the shawl damp with wet towels. It’s another way to go but I’m not that gentle with my knitting. If I’m going to be wearing something I think it should stand up to a certain amount of abuse. DO NOT use hot water. It will felt your knitting and unless you are going for that felted look you will be sad. There might be tears. Don’t let this happen to you.

Step 3: Roll your shawl in a towel to get out some of the excess water. Use a dark towel if you are nervous about running colours.

crw_8946

Step 4: I used to to pin my shawls to a towel but Emily set me straight on that. She uses cardboard for a good stiff blocking. I tried it and I agree. I got a big cardboard box and broke it down so I had a nice big surface. Then I laid out my shawl and put quilting pins through the points on the shawl. Each shawl will most likely have it’s own natural points, you’ll know, don’t worry. Just put your pin through the point stitch and then through the cardboard. Lace really looks amazing when it is blocked rather severely so don’t be afraid to really stretch it! FYI: I don’t recommend using quilting pins, I didn’t have t-pins (which I do recommend) so I used the quilting pins I had and I kind of wrecked them. I am so impatient sometimes.

Step 5: Let it dry, unpin and enjoy!

This is kind of a severe way to block. Others suggest that you block it slowly and gradually. I am obviously much too impatient for that. Also having a giant piece of cardboard taking up my living room is probably already pushing hubbies patience so keeping it there for an extended period of time is just plain not going to happen.

If you are blocking a sweater, scarf, blanket, some fair isle mittens, or really any other piece of knitting you probably won’t need pins. Again, others might disagree but I think it’s kind of overkill to pin down a scarf. Unless you need points of any kind, then you will need pins. There are always exceptions!

If I’m blocking any one of these items I will repeat steps 1-3 but then I will lay it out on a dry towel the way I want it to look (uncurled edges, straight seams, even stitches etc.) and let it dry that way. If it’s a sweater it can take a while to dry (beware the Christmas Eve block. That’s a story for another time…..) so I would change the towels every so often to speed drying. You are really just smoothing things out, those funny stitches and crooked seams. Fair isle items always look much better after a block, much smoother and more even.

If you are interested in some other opinions or techniques you can check out these sources on blocking as well (some of these dedicated individuals are much more serious about their blocking than I am!)

Yarn Harlot

Emily Wessel

Brooklyn Tweed (blocking wires)

Purl Bee

Knitting Daily

Posie Gets Cozie

Enjoy!

–Alexa–