Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Damson Down!

Claire here, adding another finished shawl to the tally! This would have been done a bit sooner but for my indecision about the edging. Originally I finished it with the mustard, bind off and all, but then I had some second thoughts. Since it was pretty late by the time all those stitches were bound off I put it down for the night and revisited it the next evening. Yup, I wasn't as in love with it as I thought. Time to rip! I continued merrily on my way with the remaining Graphite until about 2/3 of the way through the bind off when I thought "Hm, that yarn end is getting a little short." You guessed it, I ran out of yarn! Luckily, this is where having a bit of stash saves the day. I have another skein of TML in the Terrarium color, which is a darker greeny color, but I thought I could get a section that could match okay, especially for just the bind off. I only ended up being about two yard short, so if you did want to keep the body in garter stitch and use the TML, I would recommend taking out a few body rows and doing the math to fit the scallops in.

I blocked mine a little more aggressively than Jess, since I like my shawls on the larger size. For all you nerdy crafters out there, the first thing my SO said when he saw it blocking was "Is that a Cylon raider?"

It's so silky and drapey! I can see this becoming quite a wardrobe staple this fall. You can also see how wildly the color varies depending on the light!

If you look closely, you can tell that the top row of edging in this picture is a different shade than the bottom row. Since Tosh Merino Light is a 100% wool yarn, I avoided having to weave any ends in by doing a felted join, also called a spit splice. I think the latter name is much more descriptive! Basically, you are applying moisture, heat and friction to the yarn ends, just like if you were felting a larger piece. I made sure to overlap my ends by about 1.5 inches to form a secure join.

Overall, I am super pleased with how it turned out, and can't wait to cast on for our next project. I've got plenty of projects to keep me occupied in the meanwhile; I just cast on Rondeur last night!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Extreme KIPing!

Kendra here coming to you from fabulous California! I'm taking this KAL on the road and so far I have a finished Homin shawl to show for it! It proved to be an extreme knitting challenge, however, because I was determined to have it done and ready to wear for the wedding we attended last Saturday in Lake Tahoe (at the top of the Heavenly gondola to be exact - beautiful!)

The challenge? I'd finished the edging but now had less than a day to pick up the stitches along the side and knit the body of the shawl using short rows. I knit all day on the planes from NYC to Reno, with the help of The Pink Elephant. Turns out the clip for the tray table is a perfect pattern holder!

We landed and had a two-hour car ride to Tahoe which I knit through as well. I was getting down to only 6 rows left, but at just under 300 stitches those rows took forever! I had to pause my frantic knitting at the hotel to get ready for the wedding but was back at it in the car - I got to the bind-off but it was taking forever! We parked the car and I still wasn't done so I pulled out a long length of yarn, cut it from the ball, and threw it in my little purse with scissors and a darning needle. The only way to the ceremony was up the mountain in the gondola, so I kept working on the shawl while we waited to go up!
Once at the top we found our seats and (luckily!) had time before the ceremony started. I finished the bind-off (with many curious on-lookers) and wove in my ends just in time to throw it over my shoulders as the ceremony was getting going. Phew! Talk about adventures in extreme knitting in public! But now I've got my gorgeous shawl to use in the chilly California evenings, although it is in desperate need of a good blocking when I get home to really make it shine :)

As an aside, we made a stop this week at a yarn store in Petaluma called Knitterly and they had a pretty awesome MadTosh selection so I had to snap a picture for you girls! I'm also bringing back some presents but you'll have to wait to see what they are!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Damson: Crossing the Finish Line

Jess here, and I'm happy to say that I crossed the Damson finish line! The pattern was an absolute pleasure to knit, and I love the finished result in Tosh Merino Light. Enough talk; on to the pictures!


A word on yardage: The pattern calls for 440 yards, but Tosh Merino Light's new put up only has 420. Claire mentioned that she thought she would have enough yarn. I had absolutely no problem finishing mine with maybe 15-20 yards to spare.

The finished shawl is so versatile. I like to wrap it around my neck as pictured, but it can also be worn with the center over the back (like traditional shawls) or with the center in the front. I'm so in love with the Smokestack shade; it's a true neutral gray that goes with everything. Needless to say, I've been wearing this shawl almost constantly (despite the heat!), and I can't wait for the others to finish theirs!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Damson Marches On!

My Damson is coming along nicely - I'm about 10 rows from starting the edging and it looks like I'll have enough yarn to finish the whole thing in TML! This presents a bit of a conundrum, however, as I've grown attached to the idea of a contrasting trim. I'm not sure I ever said it here, but my plan was to do the lacey edge with some leftover Colinette Jitterbug in the color Vincent's Apron - a sunny, mustard yellow. I think I'll stick to that for now, but if I end up not liking it, the wonderful thing about knitting is that you can rip it out if you need to!

(picture added after I've started the edging!)

I had to do just that when I was about to make the transition from the garter stitch body to the Stockinette stitch scallops. Somehow I ended up with not enough stitches, and so my yarn overs were totally out of place. Luckily a quick rip back and a few extra rows of garter got me back on track. As I got more stockinette fabric, I wasn't sure I like the sturdier feel in comparison to the squishy softness of the garter stitch body, but now I like them both and I think they're a nice contrast to each other.

I hope to finish Damson in the coming week, but lately it's had to fight for knitting time with a pair of socks for my boyfriend. The first is long done, and now I'm trying to fend off Second Second Syndrome! We'll have to see how well I manage that whole make-another-the-same-as-the-first thing with this project, since there are not one, but THREE pairs of gloves in the book!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Damson: Catching Simple Mistakes

One of the best things about Damson is that it's such a simple yet elegant pattern. Because of this, there's a lot of very repetitive knitting. I tend to make most of my knitting mistakes on very easy patterns because I simply stop paying attention to what I'm doing. The two problems I've stumbled upon with this pattern are mismanaged yarn overs and keeping track of stitch counts.
Correct Diagram
When you work the yarn overs correctly, your shawl will radiate out from the cast on edge in a symmetrical manner. Makes perfect sense, right? Well, my first 20 rows or so looked a little more like this:
Incorrect Diagram
Why were my wedges uneven? Because my yarn overs were ending up to the left of my stitch markers instead of the right. It can be a bit difficult keeping yarn overs on the correct side of the stitch marker, but it's super important to be vigilant! On my second attempt, I erred on the side of caution and pulled my yarn overs a little tighter. This helped me keep them in the right place.

My second major problem was incredibly silly. I often lost track of which row I was on (despite keeping a tally on my pattern). In fact, I worked the entire first row of the lace section before I realized that I needed to do one more set of increases first. In case you haven't read that far ahead, let me tell you that there's a chart of stitch counts on page 3. Had I realized this, I would have been spared some tinking!

Thankfully, all of my small mistakes have been very easy to fix. I'm sailing through the pattern and am currently on row 98! Here's a peak at my progress.


I think I'll finish the pattern this weekend. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Damson in Progress

Hello there! I figured that it was time for a progress update from at least one member of our little knitting tribe. As of this evening I've sailed through 55 rows and am loving it so far! This is my first time using TML and it is wonderful to work with - very soft and smooshy, especially on the larger needle size. I keep stopping every few rows to give it a squish and admire it!

I chose to keep the body in garter stitch and add a contrasting color for the edging to solve the yarn shortage issue. I'm about 95% sure I know what color I'm using for the edging, but the final decision will wait until I have the stockinette bit done. In some lights Graphite is a very grey-grey, but in others it has much more of a green cast to it. Either way, I'm sure it will turn out lovely!

Of course I'm going to use my Damson project bag for this little guy! Autographed by Ysolda herself at Vogue Knitting Live this past January, when Kendra and I happened to be in the right place at the right time, with exactly the right things for her to sign. The knitting gods smiled on us that day!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Substitute Damson

Hello! You may have noticed that although there are four of us here, there's only three people mentioned in the yarn selection post - that's because I've already knit a Damson shawl and although I love love LOVE it, I don't need a second one right now. See, here's the proof!

I knit it out of Malabrigo Yarn Sock in color 851 Turner. I chose to modify it by knitting the body of the shawl in stockinette instead of garter stitch because the yarn had so much color variation that I felt it looked better as a smoother fabric. It probably turned out to be a good idea because as Jess mentioned about yardage, I might have run out of yarn! It's a fabulous shawl that's fun to wear because of the more curved shape and I can't wait to see how the other girls' shawls turn out :)

In the meanwhile, I'm going to knit Hรถmin Shawl by Gudrun Johnston - It feels a little like cheating, but I got the go ahead for the following (very meaningful) reasons: both designers are from Scotland, Ysolda Teague is a model for the pattern, and the shawl is absolutely beautiful! I'm knitting it out of Madeleinetosh Prairie in the colorway Well Water, which is single-ply, 100% superwash merino in a lace weight (as opposed to the fingering weight of the Merino Light described below). I love knitting shawls and this one has completely different construction than any I've knit before! You start by making the pointed edging (knit lengthwise) then you pick up and knit the body of the shawl. Here it goes!