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A Multitude of Minor Miracles at Stitches Atlanta

We decided to go after all.  Universal Yarn was sponsoring the trip and made the bus trip and entry fee affordable for a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise have gone.  Besides, my friends Ann and Sumi from my lace group were going, and it’s always great fun to travel with them.  We left Charlotte at 7:30 and got to Atlanta at noon.  We filled out forms for door prizes and went in to browse.  We came with goals:  my husband Jorah’s to find Mountain Colors sock in a colorway to match the socks he is knitting, mine to find a ball of Harmony HC05, dye lot 001 (okay, the dye lot is asking a lot), and a ball of Melody M028 of any dye lot (I’d blend it in).  Actually a pretty tall order, the specifics of which were given to Ann and Sumi who are expert shoppers.  Jorah and I went off in a different direction, but we got a call within a few minutes from Ann who had found the Mountain Colors.  Off we went to look at colors, and he found a skein closely matching the colors of his socks-in-progress.  Nearby I found some Melody in the blue lavender I wanted to match and bought a skein.  As we browsed through different booths, the selection was almost overwhelming, but no one seemed to carry Harmony, until at last I came to a booth that specialized in knitted lace.  Wow!  The lace shawls on display were gorgeous.  I bought some Yarn Place cobweb weight wool in a yellow-orange variegation.  On the counter I found a basket full of Harmony, although nothing that looked like my skein.  As I looked through the labels, I found HC05, dye lot 001, but the colors were so different that I couldn’t believe I had the same yarn, but when we looked at the center of the ball, there were the colors that were on the outside of mine.  It was the same!

A few aisles over, Jorah found a great little shop from Indianapolis with some lovely yarn from Alaska with a price tag to match.  Sadly, he put it back.  We wandered along to the end of that aisle when the announcements began.  “That was my name!” Jorah said.  “I won!”  And so he had—a gift certificate to the shop with the Alaskan yarn.
It was a long day but a lot of fun.  When I got home and checked my stash, the ball of Melody that I had bought in Atlanta was from the same dye lot as the balls in my stash.  Now how unlikely is all of that?

Seafoam Scarf

I bought some cobweb-weight Jojoland Harmony yarn, not really knowing what I’d do with it, but really liking the color and feel of it.  I’ve been looking around for a scarf pattern to try that I can use with one skein.  I’ve never knit with a yarn this fine, so I’m venturing into new territory in all directions.  I finally settled on Evelyn Clark’s seafoam scarf, swatched, and decided to go with size 2 needles.  The lace weight she lists is 18 wpi, but Harmony is more than 30.  Making the scarf as written with four pattern repeats across would make the scarf very skinny, so I increased it to eight repeats.  The suggested yardage for 18 wpi is 550 yards on size 4 needles.  I’ve got 880 yards in my skein.

I’ve now done three repeats.  Here’s a picture of it (and one of the overly curious squirrel I had to shoo away from the photo shoot).

By weighing my skein, I’d say I have enough for 21 total repeats which will get me to about 40 inches in length.  Looks like I’ll need another skein, and since I’m unlikely to find the same dye lot, I’ll have to switch off dye lots every three repeats or so to make the color changes look planned.

Note to self:  Cobweb weight and small needles require many yards of yarn to get anywhere.

Preparing for our Milanese/Russian tape lace workshop

My lace group is sponsoring a Milanese and Russian tape lace workshop with Louise Colgan May 1st through 3rd. This workshop has been planned for over a year. The people who have signed up for the workshop are for the most part intermediate to advanced lacemakers and have real opinions about the pieces they’d like to do. Since we have 12 class members and only a choice of six final patterns, it’s been challenging to create a pattern list for the class. Sumi finished her Milanese fan, made in YLI 50 silk, this year, so will go on to a new project. Here’s a picture of her fan in progress (photo by Sumi Tray).

I’ll be working on Louise’s snake pattern. This has been my project for two previous workshops with Louise, and I hope to finish it this time. The snake is in Gutermann 100/3 silk. Its bead eyes look a little close together here, but once they’re unpinned and slide into their actual positions, the snake’s expression shouldn’t be so goofy.

If I manage to finish the snake and have some extra time, I’m going to work on finishing up Louise’s heart pattern which I started three years ago. It’s been on the pillow so long that I’ve had to steal bobbins from it to use on other projects. You can see my holding bobbins with the beads on them.

We’ve got people coming to the workshop from eastern North Carolina and Ohio as well as the Charlotte area. I’m looking forward to the workshop, but I’ll be glad to have the organizing part of it over with.

Shawl Progress

The shawl is knitting up quite quickly. The striping pattern of the Poems Sock yarn is quite long, so even though my rows have progressively more stitches, the stripes are still quite apparent. The overall feel of this color combination is a little darker than I had expected, although it may lighten up some once the shawl is blocked. The yarn itself feels great and is easy to work with, so I plan to check out the other lovely colorways.

Shawl swatching done

I’ve finally swatched the four patterns from Knitting Lace Triangles. The fist pattern I tried was the ripple with size 7 needles. I switched to size 6 needles for the rest of the patterns and liked the result better. All the swatches were made with Poems Sock, mostly colorway 958, but the flower pattern is done in what I think is 957. The color patterns in all these swatches are gorgeous, and I’ve decided to knit my shawl in Poems Sock colorway 958 in Evelyn Clark’s leaf pattern. I think that the variegated striping will show best with a lace pattern with solid stockinette areas. The order of the swatches is Ripple, Medallion, Leaf, and Flower.

Our Saturday Yarn Crawl

My husband decided to go on a yarn crawl today, always a cool idea. We started at The Yarn Store in Pineville, one of our favorite spots. I looked at the other Poems Sock colorways they had in stock, but none matched the samples I wanted, so I’ll have to special order. My husband bought some yarn for a scarf, and then we drove down to downtown Lancaster, SC, to Fuzzy Mabel where we met our friend Michelle.

They have some lovely yarns there. I looked at all the lace-weight yarns. The Cherry Tree Hill yarns were on sale and very tempting, but I didn’t see anything I couldn’t live without. I looked for but didn’t see the sari fiber that I’d been so taken with but couldn’t figure out what to do with.

We left Michelle and went off to Matthews to The Peace of Yarn which, sadly for us, is closing its doors. We heard that this was its last day in business, but that turned out not to be true. They would be open for another two or three weeks, the owner said. I’ve always loved this store for its abundance of lace-weight yarns, and although I’ve been hesitant to buy them without a specific project in mind, Knitting Lace Triangles has given me an idea of what yarns to use and how much I should be looking for. I told my husband, “I’m going to spend some money here.” And I did. This is a photo of what I got.

Clockwise from the top left is Noro Kureyon sock in an awesome fuschia and green combo. My friend Sumi says that kureyon is Japanese for crayon and is pronounced the same way. Next is Poems Sock in colorway 958, which I actually got last week in Pineville. To the right are two colors of cobweb-weight Harmony by Jojoland that I’ve been longing to try out, and below it is Jojoland’s Melody, a fingering weight in lavenders and mauves. To the left of Melody is Crystal Palace’s Kid Merino lace weight in a multicolor heavily laced with tangerine. I couldn’t resist it. At the bottom is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, colorway Irving Park, a multi in reds and purples—pretty and classic. So I now have my work cut out for me. Yay! Fun lace to knit!

And still more retrolacing….

I’m kicking myself for being so stingy about wasting thread. Now that I’m getting to the end of A26, I’m worried that I’m going to run out and have to lay in new pairs for the last inch, completely defeating the purpose of skimping on thread in the first place. I totally underestimated how much gimp I’d need, so I’m having to replace both gimp pairs. Not that big a deal, really, but an avoidable pain in the neck. Of course, that may have saved me from later pulling out the pins and finding a glaring error in the gimp path. I had already replaced one gimp pair, worked the pinchain wheel motif, and started to replace the other gimp pair when I noticed that one of the short gimps wasn’t where I expected it to be, meaning that I’d failed to cross the gimps at some point. Sure enough, back at the top of the pinchain wheel on the left was a missing twist that should be between the top and second pinholes between the gimps in the pictures below. Okay, it’s not that far back. But there’s nothing like making life harder than it needs to be to dampen one’s enthusiasm.

Lace Knitting with Poems Sock

Saturday, after having afternoon tea with my lace group and visiting Canadian lacemaker Ruth, my husband and I went to The Yarn Shop in Pineville. Yarn shopping has now become my husband’s thing, and I’m usually just along for the ride, but on this trip, I found both the newly released Poems Sock yarn and Evelyn Clark’s book Knitting Lace Triangles. I snatched up two skeins of the yarn in colorway 958, and my husband bought me the book, so I’m on my way to making my first knitted lace shawl. I first came across Poems Sock last fall at a Charlotte Knitting Guild meeting where the Universal Yarns rep gave out samples. I just loved it. It’s reminiscent of Noro Kureyon but knits up much softer. I decided to swatch the four lace patterns from the book in the sample yarn I had gotten at the meeting. Here’s what the Ripple pattern is looking like on size 7 needles. I think this size is a little too big, so my next swatch will be on size 6.

Uh-oh! Where’s the pinhole that’s supposed to be here?

A day to myself to make lace. My husband’s gone off to BarCampCLT, so it’s just me and the kitties and my lace. Yes!

I poured a cup of coffee, went up to my studio, and started to work. I finished the second floral motif, breezed through the little cone shape, and started in on the third repetition of the pinchain wheel. But wait. There’s a pinhole on the pricking but it’s missing on the diagram. That’s not all—there are only two pinholes at the bottom of the wheel in my pricking when the diagram shows three. Why didn’t I notice that before?

Notes to self:

  • If you’re going to make changes to a diagram, make sure all said changes are pasted on in the same orientation. I pasted on two pinchain wheel additions, one of which was upside down. The lack of a pinhole in the original diagram was now in two different locations on my diagram.
  • Check the diagram and the pricking to ensure there are no differences between the two in the first place.
  • When altering the pricking, do not create and use a mirror image of the section with the difference (two pinholes as opposed to three), thereby doubling its presence in your pricking. This is what I did.

So I put in the missing pinholes at the bottom of all subsequent pinchain wheels, but I don’t think it’s going to be very noticeable. After taking out some pins, this is what it looks like.

You can clearly see three pinholes at the top of the wheel just to the right and left of the vertical pinchain. At the bottom in the same location, there are only two. It’s not a glaring error, but adding in the two pinholes to make it symmetric with top I think will improve it. What is very obvious looking at this picture is the fact that I did not cover the pin at the end of the pinchain at the bottom of the wheel. This instance is pretty far back, but after checking the lace, it’s a repeating theme. Guess I’ll be practicing my retrolacing skills. Arrrggg!