Thursday, April 28, 2011

All in a Day's Work

I know this will shock you but I always overestimate what I can do in any one given period of time. But I have managed to finish the bobbin lace doily I was working on:

When you work a square doily like this, you work it in 4 triangle sections. The only reason I don’t throw up my hands and walk away is that I got a little bit better in each subsequent section. Just a little bit but that’s okay. Now I’m going back to straight pieces, both because I they’re not as complicated as working around like this and because I need a little bit of a confidence boost.  You can see I haven't worked in all the ends.  That's for anotehr day.
At the most excellent of all used book stores located in Denton, Texas, I scored the unbelievable. I found 5 bobbin lace books, some as low as $3 and the highest at $13. One of these is regularly on e-bay and other sites for around $75 so I’m feeling very blessed right now and encouraged to move on with the lacemaking.

The other thing I’ve been working on is the handspun lace shawl. Not an exciting picture, I know, but there's only so much excitement you can give to a garter-stitch triangle.
I’ve spun this a pretty light lace weight from Frabjous Fibers Blue-faced Leicester. The 3 main colors that show up in the roving are green, brown and turquoise blue. I happily spun the first bobbin straight from the roving but when I started to spin the second bobbin (it was to be a 2-ply yarn), I realized that I was going to end up having brown in 2/3 of the finished yarn and that didn’t make me happy. It’s a pretty brown but I thought it was going to muddy the other colors. So for the second ply, I worked each of the colors and when I got to the brown, I pulled it out and put it aside.
That way, when I plied it, there was some brown but it kept the other colors more pure and that made me happy.
This is the very unexciting (so far) middle of the Thistle and Fern shawl from the new Margaret Stove book, Wrapped in Lace. In a Shetland-style shawl, the middle is worked (often point to point like I’m doing here and often in garter stitch as I’m doing here), then you work a border around this middle and finally you add an edging.

The center here is up to 180 stitches and I have to keep on until I have 254 stitches before I start back the other way. Seventy-four rows of lace weight garter on size 3 needles is a lot of knitting, in case you didn’t know it. I’m not progressing as quickly as I would like. A Jeannie-like blink and it’s done would suit me. I’m not a big fan of the garter at the best of times.

But one thing that has taken me away from progress on the shawl is a little baby blanket for a first grandchild of a friend of mine at work. I just found out about him last week so I’m trying to finish the blanket before his first birthday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How We Roll

I was packing to go see my Mom. Usually I sort of throw things in a bag the couple of weeks before a trip as I think about what I need to take. This time, however, I found myself a couple of days before the trip with nothing packed. So one evening I packed. I packed my Hitchhiker (so easy to take and maybe I’ll want to spin). I packed drop spindles – 2 sizes – because I might come across some fiber that will need to be spun and I might want to use a spindle. I packed my new tapestry loom and some yarn because I might want to work on that. Actually I’m pretty sure I’ll want to work on that. I packed my bobbin lace pillow. Well, I packed 3 of them – my cookie pillow that I’m working on a doily with, the travel pillow that I’ve just gotten started with and another one because I might want to start on my yardage club lace (or something else). I packed my lace knitting that I’m doing with handspun. And, of course, I packed my knitting bag and other peripherals. Oh, yeah, I packed my tatting stuff because I’ve got a project I’m working on and I’ve got a class coming up right after I get back so I wanted to work on some stuff there. And a few books for each of the above. Might want to catch up on my reading.
I surveyed the scene.

There were also 4 boxes of books I was bringing for my Mom.

Projects. Check. Books. Check. Clothes. Ummmmmm…. Oops. Looks like I forgot something. No luggage.

I finally got everything ready and packed the night before. Good choice since it was rainy and messy the morning I left (the morning of the day the tornado hit St Louis which I missed because I left at 6am). And I was ready to go.

On the way, I was able to finish the scarf that I was knitting out of handspun merino laceweight yarn. Just need to work in the ends.

And the other item there is the start of a Shetland-style shawl with some laceweight Blue-faced Leicester that I spun. I need to do another post about this shawl because it’s being an interesting journey. This is just a crappy hotel room picture. More on that later. (No, I didn’t knit while I drove – that would be crazy talk – but I had time at the hotel the first night.)

For those who were laughing about me covering all my bases, I did, indeed, find some fiber that had to be spun and was started on a drop spindle:

This is Frabjous Fiber merino, silk and cashmere that is the most amazing fiber I’ve found in a long time. It’s actually white, purple, blue, green – I’ll get a better picture. You know I love Frabjous Fiber but I normally get the BFL. And the lady who owns the shop told me she’d just gotten in this shipment only days before. Good thing she was prepared for me!

On the way, I stopped at a wonderful antique shop in Purcell, OK, and found these:

Knitted lace edging which must have been knit on about a 0 or 00 needle, I think using the Brucilla thread shown here. The other is a strip of handmade torchon lace. Beautiful, no?!