Monday, February 4, 2008

The Prayer Shawl Begins

I don't know how it's going to turn out, but the knitting of the prayer shawl has begun. I hope to have some little progress bars posted on the sidebar to show how things are going, but don't get too excited, it may not happen soon.

I started out just playing around with different variations on the theme of "three" as I have seen suggested all over when looking into information about prayer shawls. A lot of it goes into the Christian tradition of linking prayer shawl knitting to the Trinity. I finally settled on a faux shaker pattern. It is truly NOT a shaker pattern--it is just a reversible textured pattern.

Here are the directions for the pattern:

Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches, plus 3, plus two selvedge stitches.
(Keep in mind the pattern does not specify how to work the selvedge stitches, you can do this however you want. I will make two recommendations at the end of the pattern directions)

Row 1: work selvedge stitch, *Knit 3, Purl 1*, repeat between * across row, end Knit 3, work selvedge stitch.

Row 2: work selvedge stitch, Knit 1, Purl 1, *Knit 3, Purl 2*, repeat between * across row, end Knit 1, work selvedge stitch.

Repeat these two rows for pattern.

Okay, now here's my recommendations for working the selvedge stitches:

***No. 1***

On Row 1, slip the first selvedge stitch and the knit the last selvedge stitch. On Row 2, slip the first selvedge stitch and purl the last selvedge stitch. Continue with subsequent rows likewise.

***No. 2***

Purl the selvedge stitches on either side, for all rows. Just purl them. This, by the way, is the method that I prefer. Often, if a pattern does not call for selvedge stitches, I add them and purl them. I like how it turns out.

I am using Caron Simply Soft and #7 Boye needles. I cast on 97 stitches and just started working. It feels really nice. I hope it's wide enough...this pattern has a tendency to pull together. I may even steam block this even though I normally wouldn't for a pattern like this...I definitely wouldn't for shaker but this is not shaker so I guess I would be OK in doing that. I'll just check things out when it's done.

Keep checking back for updates, and join me on BeliefNet in my Meditative Knitting Group because I'll be posting there soon about prayer shawls.

Knit On!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Things to Come

I knitted up some lacy swatches with the intention of showing what the difference is going to be once I block them. One I won't block, one I'll block overnight, one I'll block by steaming it. That way I can compare results.

Unfortunately, things are going to be busy for me for a while. I'll get the swatches and blocking experiment posted as soon as I can.

In the meantime, the only thing I can think to do is include an interesting knitting link:

Wild Knitting

As it happens, it's another blogspot blogger. Way to go! The only thing better was You Knit What? (another blogspot blog) but they're not posting anymore. Oh wait, I just found this:

You Knit What - Part 2

Yes! I can again get my dose of fugly knitwear.

Then again, there's this, too.

Knit on, everybody!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Took the Easy Way Out

Since I am going to give the baby gown away as a gift, I decided to take the easy way out and am following a pattern. It's from an old knitting magazine. Very lacy. It's going to take some blocking when it's done, though.

On the subject of knitting with patterns, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Read over all the materials you're going to need and make a list to take with you to the store when you go get the yarn, new needles, etc.
  • Glance over the directions for the entire pattern. It is unlikely you will be able to just outright "read" the entire pattern, because depending on the pattern it may not seem to make sense to you until you begin knitting. But you will want to familiarize yourself with the types of stitches used and make sure you know what any abbreviations mean.
  • Do try a pattern that you think might be out of your skill range sometimes!
  • Don't use other people's patterns--even free ones on the web made by somebody else--for your own profit, unless the creator of the pattern gives specific permission for this (for instance, if someone posts a pattern that they think would be good for making money at church bazaars or something).
That's all I have for today. I've been busy knitting! Look for blocking tips when I've finished the baby gown!

Knit On!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lacey Links

At this moment, I am designing a lacey gown for a baby. I have knitted lace before, but I haven't designed my own lace patterns. It is a bit of a challenge, but I think it will be rewarding in the end.

Here are some links with info on lace knitting. Since I do most of my knitting from books and design my own, I'm not going to vouch for the content, but I have looked them over and they look pretty good:

See Eunny Knit! - knitting blog with tips and hints on lace construction. This is a link directly to one of the lace articles.

Heirloom Knitting - Shetland lace and lots of information. On this site also see A Beginner's Guide to Charted Lace Knitting.'s Over 100 Free Knitting Patterns for Lace Edgings and Insertions.

Yarn Over Lace Knitting - Website dedicated to lace knitting. Mostly looks to be links.

There is a lot more information to be had at your local library. Look especially for knitting "encyclopedias" from Barbara Walker. It helps to buy at least one book and keep it at hand while you knit. I don't have a lace specific book but I have a book with a lot of stitches and a general techniques book. I'll review some books soon and include their names when I do.

After I finish this baby gown, I'll post a list of hints and tips that helped me along the way. I'll probably post with updates, as well.

Knit On!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Every Girl Needs a Boye

When my aunt gave me a whole bunch of old McCall's knitting magazines from the 60s and 70s, this slogan was everywhere. Boye knitting needles and accessories everywhere with bright eye-popping yarn.

I'm glad to see that things have calmed down.

And Boye is still around. While I don't find their aluminum needles have that certain finesse and quality that wood or bamboo possess, they are still good utilitarian needles. And they are "cheap" in price. There are plenty of Boye accessories around as well.

This weekend I decided to look for something to try and review. I almost picked up the Knifty Knitter Straw Weaver. Almost. But, for about $6, I just couldn't do it. It looked fairly cheesy and I had this vibe that I was going to regret the purchase as soon as I got it home.

So, instead, my eyes fell on a nice little package of Boye stitch markers. I needed some more anyway, why not try them? So, for just under $4 (about $3.96) I got one pack of Boye plastic stitch markers.

Don't ask me how many are in the package. I threw away the wrapper already and the plastic box they give you to store them in doesn't say. But, it is a nice little box. I has a little spot on it to hook it to something, too. I'm thinking of how I am going to use this feature.

The stitch holders are plastic and in cute colors. Pastel blue, yellow and pink. You can leave them open or snap them shut. They feel pretty sturdy and they stay shut but they open pretty easy. So far, so good.

But, they are a bit thick in diameter. I decided to try them on my current project: a baby sweater made with Red Heart Baby Yarn (Soft Baby). I am using size 0 and 1 needles. I needed to mark a certain row. It was hard to slide the stitch marker in because of its diameter. I am still not sure that I didn't stretch the stitches a little.

I'm not sure if these things come in different sizes. I will mostly stick to my old earrings that I use for stitch markers already, especially for projects using baby, sport or fingering yarn and small diameter needles. But, once again, Boye proves itself as a maker of fine utilitarian items. These stitch markers will do just fine for day-to-day knitting and they're quite sturdy.

I give them 1 nose. Not stinky hardly at all, just a little big.

Knit On!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, More Kntting

I hope the New Year's holiday was safe and happy for all. And may the New Year bring everyone what they need. Not necessarily all you want, but what you need.

I am currently in the market for some yarn or products to test. And, sadly, my Ravenclaw Tie pattern has seemed to disappear, I may have to start from scratch on that one. It would be nice to get some really thin fingering yarn and do a double-knit reversible version instead of the garter stitch ribs I had before (a little tricky on the color changes). Also in the works is a pattern for the headband Ginny wears in Order of the Phoenix. This is a crochet pattern, very simple. She seems to favor crocheted items...the bag from Goblet of Fire and also a sweater in Order of the Phoenix.

Also, sadly, one of my yarn sources may be closing down. At least, she won't actually have a shop anymore, possibly. And a trip to my only real "local" LYS is in order. When to fit the trip in is the question!

Look for updates about my website soon, it is starting to look pretty good, although a bit empty so far.

In the meantime, knit on!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Closing for Christmas

I'm sorry to say I'm going to have to "shut down" for Christmas. The blog itself isn't going anywhere, I just won't be posting until after Christmas, probably. I'm so busy! But, it's a blessing.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!