Abundance

Life with Fiber and Fiber Arts

Intro to Entrelac May 30, 2014

Filed under: fixing,how to,New pattern,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 10:26 am
Tags: , , , ,

I love striping yarns; they’re exciting, surprising, adventurous. I do, however, frequently find myself struggling to match them to a project because, when it comes down to it…I don’t really like….stripes. all that much. *sighs*

Don’t get me wrong, stripes are great, but I really, really need to be in control of them when I knit them. If I put stripes on something, I generally want to know beforehand exactly where they are going to go, what color they are going to be and how long they are going to last. (Socks are the exception to this, however, there are rare times when I am not in the mood to knit socks, or when all my sock needles have other sock projects on them.)

Note that the two preceding paragraphs present concepts that are largely antithetical. This is not lost on me. I enjoy the sense of spontaneity required in letting go and just allowing the stripes to happen as they will, but when it comes down to it, I am often disappointed with the finished item. The upshot is that I often end up beginning and then ripping out projects with striping yarns several times before just giving up and knitting…Entrelac.

If you are not familiar with it, entrelac is a knitting technique that involves creating a network of squares, rectangles, and/or triangles that are attached to each other. The end fabric looks something like this:

Entrelac in ZauberballThis bit of green loveliness is knit in Zauberball Crazy, of which, we currently have several new colors. Because the fabric is worked in a series of small squares, the striping is broken up, and, as if by magic, wherever the colors land, it generally looks pretty amazing.

Recently, I knit a fantastic entrelac shawl pattern for my LYS (available from Eva Martinsson on Ravelry).

Image

Shawl knit from Eva Martinsson’s Entrelac Shawl with Tassels pattern.

As often happens when a sample is knit for a shop, our customers decided that they really wanted to knit it (of course, that’s the point). What followed was a Summer of, “Um…where am I in this pattern?”, “Which way am I going?”. Now, don’t misunderstand, the pattern is perfectly fine. In fact, I have knit a second one since (the green pick above) and will probably knit another. Entrelac involves interacting with your knitting in a different sort of way than we are used to, and this pattern in particular puts a little bit of a spin on the technique. As a result, people who had not previously knit entrelac, but who wanted to knit that shawl, often found themselves a bit lost. What follows is an introduction to the basic concepts involved in entrelac knitting, as well as some examples of places where you might wonder something like “which way am I going?” and explanations of how to figure that out.

Before we begin, though, I would like to point out some of my favorite yarns for knitting entrelac. First, off, while you can certainly knit entrelac with any yarn, I prefer self-striping yarns. In fingering weight, we have Zauberball and Zauberball Crazy. These are my particular favorites. We also have Noro Silk Garden Sock and just a little bit of Kureyon Sock left. If you want something heavier, we have Noro Kureyon (only a few colors, but a sweater’s worth in some of them) and Cascade Casablanca. For heavier projects still, we have Rowan’s Colourscape Chunky. So many to choose from!

Now, on to entrelac!

Entrelac swatchHere is your basic entrelac swatch. Note: because it is fairly narrow, there is still a fairly robust striping pattern. In a wider project, the stripes will be more broken up, and we will see all sorts of interesting color play happening, as in the shawl above.

The following explanation will consist of:

1. The building blocks of entrelac and how they relate to each other in space.

2. The actual pattern instructions. These are very basic instructions and may differ from other patterns you have encountered in one or two ways (different increases or decreases). The basic idea, however, is the same.

3. The recipe for entrelac. Entrelac is based on a very specific series of steps. We can modify these steps to make our projects different sizes and shapes.

4. “Where am I?” – examples of situations that might give you pause and explanations of how to reason your way out of them.

Now, having worked in yarn stores for about 10 years, I know that people learn different ways which, as I often say, is OK. For some people, reading an overview of structure is not helpful. If this is you, feel free to skip right to #2 and follow the instructions. Then, if you want, you can come back and read the description of what you just did. If you like to know what you are doing before you start, full steam ahead!

1. Building Blocks of Entrelac

We generally think of knitting in terms of rows and stitches. With entrelac, we add two more levels of organization: Rectangles/triangles (which consist of rows and stitches) and tiers (which consist of rectangles/triangles).

The different elements:

Base Triangles: These are the triangles that line to bottom of your work (orange in the picture above). In the swatch above and in the instructions below, the stitches of the base triangles lean to the left. Take a look below to see what I mean.

entrelac_direction

Tier 1 leans to the left, tier 2 to the right, tier 3 to the left, etc.

Each base triangle begins and ends with a RS row (note that this means there is an odd number of rows). These triangles make up Tier 1.

Left Edge Triangle: You can see this little fellow on, well, the left edge of the picture above. Notice that he leans to the right. Also note that, when I say “left edge”, I mean when you are looking at the RS of your work. (Oh boy…) At the risk of sounding like an Abbot and Costello routine, I do want to point out, that when you are starting your Left Edge Triangle, you will begin with a WS row and to it will actually appear that you are working on the right edge. When in doubt, look at the RS of your work. This is the side with the knit stitches facing.

Right Leaning Rectangles: These rectangles, along with the left and right edge triangles, comprise your Tier 2 and all even numbered tiers. The stitches for these are picked up along the right edge (looking at the RS) of your base triangles (or the rectangles from the previous tier later on). You pick up stitches for these from the wrong side, and knit your first row on the RS. You will always end these rectangles on a WS row. **You don’t have to memorize this rule because the knitting will tell you what you have to do.**

Right Edge Triangle: This is the last blue arrow on the swatch above and the last element of Tier 2. It begins and ends with a RS row.

Left Leaning Rectangles: The stitches for these rectangles are picked up along the left edge of your Tire 2 (or even tier) elements, with the RS facing. The actual rectangle begins with a WS row and ends with a RS row.

Top Triangles: These line the upper edge of the piece, creating a smooth (rather than jagged) top. Sts are picked up on the RS. Each Triangle begins with a WS row and ends with a RS row (more or less)

How they relate to each other:

  I mentioned that the stitches for some elements are picked up from the edge of other elements. Here is what that looks like (sort of).

entre-PickUpAs shown above, the picking up happens from left to right for even numbered tiers. Remember, though that that is from the RS perspective. I mentioned above that we pick up stitches for Right Leaning Rectangles from the WS. Thus, we are actually working from right to left, but looking at the wrong side. Yikes.

Here’s another picture. This shows the direction of knitting within each rectangle and tier.

Entrelac_arrowsDoes that help?

I think that’s enough abstract spatial reasoning for now. Let’s just do some knitting.

2. Basic Entrelac Instructions

Tier 1: Base Triangle

CO a multiple of 8 stitches.

R1: K1, turn.

*It may feel strange to turn while you still have sts on the LH needle, but don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.

R2: P1, turn.

R3: K2, turn.

R4: P2, turn.

R5: K3, turn.

R6: P3, turn.

R7: K4, turn.

R8: P4, turn.

R9: K5, turn.

R10: P5, turn.

R11: K6, turn.

R12: P6, turn.

R13: K7, turn.

R14: P7, turn.

R15: K8, do not turn.

You have now completed one triangle. It looks kind of funny.

entrelac1

There are currently 8 sts on your RH needle. You will now ignore these sts.

Repeat Rows 1-15 once. Note that you are working on the next group of 8 sts. When you are done with the second set, you will have two groups of 8 sts on your RH needle, separated by a gap.

entrelac2

Continue repeating Rows 1-15 until you end up with no sts on your LH needle after Row 15. Tier 1 is complete. This is the point where first time entrelac knitters usually say, “That can’t be right!” and tear it out. Don’t do that!

It should look like this:

entrelac3

Moving on…

Tier 2: Left Edge Triangle, Right Leaning Rectangles, Right edge Triangle

Left Edge Triangle:

R1 (WS): P2, turn.

R2: K2, turn.

R3: Pfb, p2tog, turn. (Note that your ‘p2tog’ consisted of one st from your row and one st from the previous base triangle. On every WS row, you will be “using up” one of the sts from the group of 8 sts immediately to the left of your current sts. There will always be 8 sts in the immediate vicinity of where you are working; some will be from your current group, some will be from the previous tier.)

Two sts on the RH needle are from Pfb; two sts on the left will be purled together.

Two sts on the RH needle are from Pfb; two sts on the left will be purled together.

entrelac4b

R4: K3, turn.

R5: Pfb, p1, p2tog, turn.

R6: K4, turn.

R7: Pfb, p2, p2tog, turn.

R8: K5, turn.

entrelac5

The sts of the new section, plus the sts of the closest section from the previous tier should always add up to 8.

R9: Pfb, p3, p2tog, turn.

R10: K6, turn.

R11: Pfb, p4, p2tog, turn.

R12: K7, turn.

R13: Pfb, p5, P2tog, do not turn.

The edge triangle is now complete. There are 8 sts (the sts of the edge triangle) on your right hand needle; ignore them. Place a marker on your RH needle, to mark the boundary between the sts you have just finished with and the next section. You will probably not need this marker after a couple more rows.

 

Right Leaning Rectangle

With WS facing, pick up and knit 8 sts along the adjacent edge of the triangle from the previous tier.

entrelac7

If you find it easier, you can do this with the RS facing, picking up from left to right (if you find this easier, I’m guessing you are probably left handed).entrelac6

entrelac8

2 sts have just been picked up. Notice that the marker indicates the boundary between the sts of the previous section and the sts that you have just picked up.

Once the stitches are picked up, turn your work so that the RS is facing.

R1: K8, turn. (You have just knit to the marker. Soon, there will be a big gap between the sts of this rectangle and the sts of the edge triangle – which we are ignoring- rendering the marker unnecessary.)

R2: P7, p2tog, turn. (Note: your p2tog consists of one of the picked up sts and a sts from one of the groups of 8 from a previous tier.)

Repeat these two rows a total of 8 times; do not turn after the last rep of R2. At this point, there will be not more sts readily available for your p2tog. This is one way that your knitting can help you figure out what to do. If there are no more sts for your p2tog, it’s time to pick up again.

Repeat the process (from the beginning of the Right Leaning Rectangle section) until all the sts from the previous tier have been used up and there are no sts left on your LH needle after your last p2tog.

Right Edge Triangle

This is the last piece of Tier 2. Pick up 8 sts as before, this time along the last remaining available edge, and turn work so that you are looking at the RS.

R1(RS): K8, turn.

R2 (and all WS rows): Purl to 2 sts before end, p2tog.

R3 (and all RS rows): Knit to end of triangle sts (there will be a big gap before the sts of the previous rectangle), turn.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until only one sts remains. This stitch will stay on the RH needle and be the first of your next group of 8 sts.

Tier 2 Complete! Yay!

Tier 3: Left Leaning Rectangles

After all the hullabaloo of Tier 2, Tier 3 is relatively easy.

With RS facing and 1 st already on your RH needle, pick up and knit 7 sts from the adjacent edge.

R1 (WS): P8, turn.

R2: K7, ssk, turn. (Note: the ssk consists of one picked up st and one of the 8 sts from the previous tier’s rectangles).

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until all sts of previous rectangle have been used up.

Repeat this process (picking up 8 sts along subsequent edges) until all groups of 8 sts have been used up and there are no more sts on the LH needle.

Tier 3 accomplished!

Now, repeat Tiers 2 and 3 until your piece is long enough, ending on Tier 2.

Top Triangles

One st remains on RH needle from last triangle; this counts as first picked up st. Pick up and knit 7 more sts (8 sts total).

R1 (WS): P8, turn.

R2: Ssk, k5, ssk, turn.

R3: P7, turn.

R4: Ssk, k4, ssk, turn.

R5: P6, turn.

R6: Ssk, k3, ssk, turn.

R7: P5, turn.

R8: Ssk, k2, ssk, turn.

R9: P4, turn.

R10: Ssk, k1, ssk, turn.

R11: P3, turn.

R12: Ssk, ssk, turn.

R13: P2, turn.

R14: Sssk, turn.

R15: P1, turn.

R16: Ssk, do not turn.

Repeat from beginning of top triangle section until all sts on LH needles are used up and only one st remains on RH needle. BO remaining st.

3. Recipe for Entrelac

So there we go. You can use these instructions to make a scarf or shawl. Now, you might wonder, how wide can I make this shawl or scarf? What if I want my rectangles to be bigger?

The second question is the easiest to answer. Remember how you cast on a multiple of 8 for the practice swatch? And then, you always started each section with 8 picked up sts? And the number 8 just kept showing up everywhere, like in the very last row of your base triangle instructions? Well, that “8” can be any number you want, all you have to do is continue working in the pattern established in the instructions.

As for the second question, you will adjust your cast on  to get your scarf/shawl/wrap to whatever width you want. You may have to do some swatching to figure out how many more sts to cast on, though.

 4. Where am I?

Earlier in the post, I made certain wild claims that entrelac fabric can actually give you very useful clues about where you are in the pattern.  I have put together some examples of questions people have brought to me in the past and how we talked our way through them.

First:

WhereAmIYou can’t really see it in this picture, but the yarn is coming off the right hand needle, so we know that we are on a WS row, or just getting ready to turn.

How do we know which one it is? Let’s have a look at the RS.

Note: when in doubt, I like to look at the RS, just because I find it a little easier to get my bearings. In general, it is never a bad thing to just pause and take a look at the big picture of your knitting. It is really easy to get lost in the little details, but often, when you take a look at what is surrounding the details, things become a little clearer.

WhereAmI2Once I’ve turned things around, I look at my groups of sts. I have a group of 8 (which is to be expected), a group of 7, and a group of 9. Notice that they all add up to a multiple of 8 (my magic number for this swatch). Any time you have 3 distinct groups of sts in the immediate vicinity of each other, they will consist of the following:

The sts you are currently working on (your current section).

The sts of the section you just finished.

The sts of the adjacent section from the previous tier.

The trick is to figure out which one is which. Well, clearly, the middle section (7 sts, plus one on the other needle) are your current sts. We know this because there are very close to the picked up edge, as opposed to the other groups, which have whole sections attached to them. The sts to the right (the group of 9, although one of those belongs to the current section) are the same color as the current sts. This indicates that these are from the section that you just finished knitting. That means that the group furthest to the left in the picture above are from a previous tier.

So now we know what’s what. How do we know what to do? We know that we have to get that 8th st into the center section. The question is, do we purl on and turn, (remember that we are actually on a WS row), or do we p2tog. We need to figure out if we are working on a right leaning or left leaning rectangle. Look at the 8 sts from the previous tier rectangle; their rectangle is leaning to the right. Just next to it is another rectangle leaning to the right. That is the rectangle that we picked up our current sts from. This means that we are currently working on a left leaning rectangle. Now, look at the instructions for the left leaning rectangle (repeated hear for your convenience):

R1 (WS): P8, turn.

R2: K7, ssk, turn. (Note: the ssk consists of one picked up st and one of the 8 sts from the previous tier’s rectangles).

Well, on the WS rows, we just purl, with not decreases at all, so when we see this:

WhereAmI

we know we need to purl one more (to complete the 8) and then turn.

What about this?

 

What happened?

What happened?

This happens all the time, so if you find yourself in this situation, know that at least you are in good company.

You are working on a left leaning rectangle. See that line of Ssk’s that are eating up the sts of the previous tier? Notice that you have just knit past them. You just got a little carried away and forgot to ssk and turn. To fix this, undo the last 6 knits, ssk and then turn.

And what about this?

What Happened?

What Happened?

This is a little bit more involved. Again, we are on a left leaning rectangle, specifically, at the end of a RS row. Normally, we should be doing a decrease here, but what is this?

Whathap2We appear to have decreases on both sides! Also, the section on the right has only 7 sts.

On the last WS row, I accidentally did a p2tog, then turned. I need to undo this whole row (8 sts, including the decrease), turn and then work the RS row of my rectangle.

There we go! everything is fixable. The important thing, though is to catch mistakes like these as soon as possible. We do this by taking time to stop and look at the project as we go along. Note: this is it’s own reward, since our projects are very pretty.

Do you have an entrelac project that is stuck? Send me a pic and we’ll see if we can get it figured out!

Have fun!

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In Case You Missed It… January 16, 2012

Filed under: how to,New pattern,Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 8:17 pm

About a year ago, I think that I made some foolishly brash comment about blogging more frequently in 2011. I suppose that I should have known better. I have the best intentions…really I do.

I think that this year, I will make no such empty promises. Instead, I will start off the year (or the third week of it anyway) by posting some of the picture tutorials that made it into my newsletters (note that this is a link to where you can sign up to receive said newsletters).  Some of these may exist in a previous blog somewhere, so if there are repeats, I’m very sorry!

What follows is a modest collection of technique tutorials for knitting and crochet.

Crochet Puff Stitch

From the Summer Newsletter, this is a fun little stitch I used in the upper border for my Sun People Market Bag.

The finished product in context looks like this:

Shortly thereafter (several weeks actually, since I send out newsletters only slightly more frequently than I post to my blog), I put together a little how-to for Thrumming (totally fun and ever-so-cozy, if you haven’t tried it before).

Thrumming: The Basics

Step 1 is the preparation of the Thrum.

Step 2 is the inserting of the Thrum into the knitting.

I used this technique in my Thrummed Scraper Mitt, an item for which I have been extremely grateful in the past several weeks (no snow on the ground since October, but plenty of ice encasing my windshield).

Speaking of snow…

In December, I began to have temper tantrums about not having any snow on the ground and put together a little pattern in honor the the snow I did not have. This pattern used…

The Picot Cast On

This was the edging for my Snowflakes that Stay cowl.

Incidentally, I used a lace weight, sequined mohair blend for this cowl and I love it quite a lot. I’m not sure how to feel about that, since I normally avoid sequins if at all possible. It’s just so shiny. So sparkly…

Still on a cowl kick in the middle of December, I proceeded to post this cowl, again using a fun and interesting cast on.

i-Cord Cast On

And here it is in action.

The yarn I used here is Mirasol Sulka, which I love. We had just recently received several new colors, and this pattern was a little celebration in honor of them.  Also, I was very cold. In fact, I don’t know that I have taken that cowl off since then.*

*Actually, I have taken it off. Once or twice.

For the record, we still do not have snow on the ground, and they have been promising it all week. Even Portland has snow. Portland!

I feel like I must be missing some tutorials, so I will be digging around in my computer for more and will post them (some day), when I find them.

  For the immediate future, look forward to a shocking tell-all confessional regarding unfinished and recently started projects, the goal of which will be to shame me encourage me to finish some of them.

 

1AM in the Abundant Yarn Household May 21, 2010

Filed under: designs,Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 8:26 am

Getting ready for the cotton-knitting season, I have been rephotographing most of our summer yarns. This last weekend was spent primarily on Cascade Sierra. For those of you who may not have worked with this yarn before, it is a worsted weight  80%cotton/20%wool blend from Cascade, most notable (in my opinion) for its wide range of colors and satisfying, weighty drape. Having immediate access to all these pretty colors means playtime for Hannah.

Fast forward to 1 in the morning on Saturday, with me sitting on the floor, quite happily arranging colors and imagining the afghans and sweaters I could knit. At least it’s cheaper than going out to a movie, and it provides infinitely more entertainment. I am fairly certain that, if there were a job called Professional-Afghan-Color-Picker, I would be perfectly content working at it  40 hours a week. If I didn’t have roughly 4 dozen other projects in the works, I’m also pretty sure I would be casting on an afghan right now.

Oh yeah, I took pictures too.

Corals

The thing I love most about Sierra is how subtle the color variations are. Most people I have met have at least one of those chevron afghans that go through a gradient of a particular color (most often Green or Brown, I think). That is what I kept seeing in my head when I was playing with the Sierra.

Sierra Blue

I probably shouldn’t include all the pictures, because it would reveal to the world just how much time I spent on the floor playing with yarn, but I figured that I should at least pick my favorites. Who knows, maybe someone out there is struggling with just the right color combination and these pictures will help. I might mention that I am always both willing and available to offer my opinions on yarn combinations. Of course, asking me to spend more time looking at yarn is some kind of enabling, like asking a chronic gambler which horse to back.

Sierra Greens

Sierra Yellow-Orange-Brown

Well into the evening, I came up with a fun little game for myself; I pick two colors from opposite sides of the color wheel and transition from one to the other. For example, I would start with Orange and Purple…

Step 1 of game: Orange and Purple

And then pick colors that blend from one to the other.

Orange to Purple

Or…I would start with Sherbet and Olive (two fairly light colors)…

Sherbet and Olive

Olive to Sherbet transition

I think that I actually will be making an afghan out of this one. Mitered Squares, I think.

Olive to Sherbet afghan

Is that a bit dated? I think it’s dated to a time I never actually experienced, which means that I never got sick of that combination. Good to know; I guess that’s why we plan these things out. I may still go for it. Although I was also really fond of the Black to Olive transition.

Black to Olive

Black to Olive Transition Afghan

Well, um…maybe I will make them both.  I think I had better stop now. As much as I may have time to sit on the floor and play with yarn, I just don’t know if I have time to knit much more than two afghans. Besides, I still owe everyone two entries in my “Ways of Knitting” series. I am, in fact, working on swatches for it. I promise that I am not sitting idle (except for the playing with yarn thing). You see, I am just trying to placate you all with pictures of pretty colors. Ooooh… look at the pretty colors…..

 

Gratuitous Yarn Pics December 13, 2009

Filed under: Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 11:16 am
Tags: , , ,

I have just spent the last few days taking pictures of Lorna’s Sock Yarn. Now, I have to admit that I was not as efficient as I could have been. I may have gotten distracted here and there. I may have taken more pictures than were  completely necessary. I may have played around with different color combinations and pretended that I was going to make argyle socks or colorwork mittens out of them. This is the reason that yarn junkies never should always should be in charge of yarn photoshoots.  I hope you enjoy the outtakes.  (Incidentally, you can link to this yarn in the store here.  I didn’t want to make all the pictures links, because that would be annoying.)

Goldhill. Raise your hand if this is your favorite Lorna's color.

Blackberry. I had an extra hard time with the really red purples.

I’m going to start with the singles and then move on to my favorite color combos.

Baltic Sea. Lines, Contrast, Depth. This is me getting used to the camera settings.

Bittersweet. Hard to really get the vibrance without making it too saturated.

Didn't work for the website, but Gosh that is pretty.

Something about the lines and colors in this reminds me of the Jetsons.

I love this picture. Just love it.

I love this color so much it gets two pictures.

And now for some group shots. A nod to Lorna's beautiful array of solids.

Pow! Pow! I'm not suggesting that these colors should be knit together in something, just for the record.

Shh...the baby's sleeping.

I think this is a very handsome combination for a man's Argyle. Let me qualify that. I don't normally tend toward gender bias when it comes to colors, but I have spent years answering the question "What are good Guy colors?"

...and fielding odd glances when I suggest this. Incidentally, I would knit these for my husband...and he would wear them.

I don't even know if I want to knit this one. I just want to look at it. OK, I do want to knit it.

 

Recipes for Happy December 2, 2009

Filed under: designs,New pattern,Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 7:57 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s well into the busy time for fiber enthusiasts. The weather is getting colder, so we knit bits of warmth for ourselves and our loved ones.  The gift giving season is upon us, so we knit for others. This year, I’ve had so many huge projects on my plate that my “for warmth” knitting and my “for gifts” knitting have both lagged frighteningly far behind. It’s so bad that I actually just bought 2 sweaters (Don’t tell Grammy)! I haven’t gotten so hard up as to purchase a scarf or hat yet; I think I would sooner just wrap the yarn around my head (OK, maybe I would do that anyway).

With all I have to do, I have actually gotten very little knitting done (for me).  This is worrisome because I am not only trying to develop several patterns at the moment and trying to fulfill all my knitting obligatoins (as in, I promised someone a garment and have yet to deliver), but mostly because knitting equals sanity, as I’m sure you all know. I have found that the amount of knitting I do on a daily basis is closely linked to my problem solving skills and ability to cope with stressers in my environment.   In the absence of actual knitting, I have had to find other little things to help me maintain my overall optimistic and happy nature and prevent me from prevent me from downward spiralling into new and frightening depths of crazy.  Here are some of the things that have made me particularly happy in the last couple of weeks and for which I am very thankful:

Of course, Ice cream. This, however is not just any ice cream; these are perhaps the two best flavors of ice cream ever. On the right, we have Bone Chunks: Lemon ice cream with chunks of chortbread and white chocolate and chocolate covered sunflower seeds. It’s as bright and happy in your mouth as it is in the bowl.  On the left is Circus. I love this ice cream because it is thematically consitent. Cotton Candy ice cream with Mother’s Circus cookies (the white and pink one with the sprinkles). You might go into a little bit of sugar shock eating it, but it’s well worth it. They come from a local creamery in Spokane (Brain Freeze) and can be purchased, among other places, at The Scoop, my new local ice creamery.

Sloot Prototype

Some of the knitting I did manage to get done turned into a prototype for my new favorite garment, the Sloot – that is, Slipper Boot.  This is a child’s size and I have already cast on for the big one (my size!).  The ripple pattern makes this extra comfy and cushy. Doing the prototype gave me some very useful insight into changes I will have to make for the full sized version.

Sloot Side view- Have to change the increases

For one thing, I will do the calf increases along the center back, rather than on the sides, which will give it a less drastic increase while still being symmestrical. Other than that. I am thrilled.

Not my size.Kitty may be less impressed.
At the risk of seeming like more of a crazy cat lady than I really am, here is something Saffron (aka, kitty) wanted to add to the “Makes me happy” list.

Saffy's recipe for Happy

This consists of a soft place to sleep, a sunbeam, and something lacey to sink the claws into.  Coincidentally, this picture also makes me very happy. I distract her with curtains so she stays away from the knitting.

Lacking much knitting time myself, I was thankful to find a willing knitter to finally finish my second cabled fingerless mitt. While I’ve had this pattern written up for awhile, I have just never gotten around to knitting the second mitt.

If I do say so myself, I am quite pleased with these mitts. They are simple, but have nice little touches, like symetrical, off-center cables.  As of a day or so ago, they also have…

An afterthought thumb gusset.

This makes me soooooo happy. Many people who knit these fingerless mitts when I first printed up the patter didn’t care for how wide the thumb hole is. Admittedly, it is very wide, but I was aiming for maximum maneuverability. Now, everyone is happy. I have revamped the pattern, added directions for the thumb, and put up on the website for free download. I’m hoping people will take advantage of this; they’re really a ridiculously quick knit and perfect for the season (being both warm and good gifts).

Click on the following picture to go to the download page. Enjoy!

Finally, when I don’t have time to knit, the next best thing is to look at pretty yarn. So here we go (with commentary, since all the people in the room with me now are not yarnies and look at me funny when I talk to the pretties, but I have to let it out somehow.)

Meet Mericash.  This yarn is almost at odds with itself; so light and ephemeral it’s hardly there at all, but with colors so vibrant they seem to fill all the space around them.

Look at this.

It’s like “POW” right in the eyes, but the most refreshing, beautiful pow ever and I just keep going back for more.  It makes my hands itch. I’m feeling major cast on urges!

Some yarns, I’m sure you have noticed, have real personalities.

Pearl is a total Diva. Look at her, all dressed up and ready to go out. She’s sultry and elegant, and colors always look better on her. She’s almost a little too perfect.

At the store, we had completely sold out of our Pearl, and I have to admit that I was feeling a bit safer not having that kind of  temptation.Then we got in these new colors.

I just want to scrunch my fingers in them!

"I'm Ready For My Closeup..."

Some people who have spent time with me while I was talking about yarn (hmm, redundant maybe)  may have heard words to the effect of “my favorite yarn” escape my lips. These words, I’m a little ashamed to say, could have referred to any number of yarns of which I was enamoured at the time. Now, I’m not fickle, I just have much love to give. When it comes down to it, though, there is one yarn that I have stashed more often than any other, and from which I have made more items. And…we got in new colors. Please welcome Lorna’s Shepherd Worsted.

Observe it’s suppleness.

Note the delicate transitions from one shade to the next, the colors that evoke serenity and peace.

There are just too many beautiful colors from Lorna’s.  They have to be stopped. It’s not fair to us knitters; how can we possibly knit all the beautiful colors.

OK. I have to go knit now.

Next time …

Scenes from the Lorna’s Shepherd Sock photo shoot! (about 60 colors in stock- I just counted).