Monday, February 26, 2007

Ultimate Frugal Hobby

I just finished my Hidcote. It's my first shawl, first lace. Yarn: Knitpicks Shadow in Jewels. 3 skeins, the last one wasn't quite used up. The second picture shows how much was left. Cost $7.50
The blocking wires are welding wire from the hardware store, I got 6 rods for $1. Could have used one more. The blocking isn't quite square but I decided it was ok for now, and if I decide it needs fixing I will re-block. Needles, US #3 Boye 29" circs, cost $5.50 (go ahead and laugh, but I didn't want to have to wait for better needles to come in the mail.
Total cost for a gorgeous lace shawl, including re-usable supplies: $15.00 Divide that by 59, the number of days in Jan and Feb, and that comes to 0.25 per day. Wow, where else can you get value like that?! A quarter for hours of entertainment each day.
I am thrilled with the way it turned out. It entered my mind to make another one... maybe next year. The family is starting to make comments about the amount of time I spent knitting to finish before March 1st.
It measures 77" across the long side and 58" across the short legs, and 48" down the back of neck to point. Miriam got 90 across the top and 44 down the back... maybe I stretched it down rather than across? Anyway, I am really happy with it. Thanks to you all who helped me get started. Thanks for the ladies running this site, and thanks to Miriam for such a great pattern!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

And the Oscar goes to...

Miriam for Outstanding Achievement in Lace Knit Shawl Design! And for Best Supporting Knitter..... well I did finish Hidcote on Academy Awards Sunday ;-)

I had a few struggles with getting a cast-off to meet my excessively perfectionist expectations, but after several sessions of undoing the cast-off stitches and putting them back OTN (can you call that tinking?) I finally got it right. I apologize for the blurry pictures--it's a crummy camera. I put all the details on my blog along with a few more pictures. I'll try to post better pictures once the wires arrive and I get the thing properly blocked. Just as an aside, I ended up using 125g of cashmere, or ~1920 yds. That's a pretty significant difference from the pattern. You can read about it here

And now I think I'll go back to watching all the pretty dresses and all the pretty people, er the Academy Awards. I'm still waiting to see if Helen Mirin wins for her role as the Queen :-)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Almost there

Well, I've been knitting madly and am on row 19 tonight. Two more rows and a cast-off and I'll be done, done with knitting that is. When I wrote my last post the other day I figured I had knit all the tough stuff and was on the home free stretch. Yeah right! Then I came to the little box with the 4 in it at the beginning of the last several rows. What the ***? Here's another tip ya'll: Knit 3 together first, slip the stitch you just made back on to the left needle, pull the next (4th) stitch over the slipped stitch (thus making it the 4th stitch in the cluster), and finally move the new stitch made back to the right needle before proceeding to create yet another one of those omnipresent double YOs. I'm a fairly loose knitter, but even that wasn't enough to make it reasonable for me to knit 4 stitches together as a cluster all in one maneuver. I've bypassed lace patterns that call for bunches of 5 or 7 st. clusters, deeming them too frustrating to do, thus interfering with my joy of knitting (the Trellis Scarf in IK last year comes to mind).

Anyway, thanks for all your kind comments from the other day. To those who are progressing at a turtle's pace I say knit on! Sanity breaks are a good thing, so take them as needed. And remember, the turtle did eventually win the race. Oh, and I think that knitting this shawl as a heirloom for your mother is a perfectly wonderful thing to do (was it Cheryl???). I knit a Kiri shawl for my Mom for Christmas and she simply oozes with joy every time she puts it on (I know 'cuz we live together ;-)

I ordered a set of bona fide blocking wires--I knew this big shawl wouldn't block to my satisfaction without them. It'll be at least a week before they arrive, but I'll let you know when I get those "magic" pictures. I think blocking lace is magic!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Very, Very

My progress report on the Hidcote Garden Shawl goes something like this: the shawl is getting very, very big; the rows are very, very long; and I am very, very sick and tired of knitting on it at this point. The good news is I'm finally on chart 10 and I only have 15 rows left to go--15 very, very long rows!

When I've posted to the KAL blog I've tried to include a tip or observation about my experience knitting this shawl that might help those who come behind me. This time I'll talk about yarn and needles. I love my Addi-turbos and I haven't had any trouble knitting this pattern with the relatively blunt tipped turbos; however, I am used to them so it may be more of a challenge for someone else. I do despise knitting in cramped quarters though, and by the time I made it to chart 10 I was wishing for a 40" circular needle--wish I don't have of course. You can knit it on a 32" (shorter than that I can't even imagine), but those stitches do get smushed on top of each other, esp. the YOs. Smushed stitches makes knitting more difficult as you are constantly having to stop to separate the YOs from the adjacent stitches. Having a longer-length cable circular needle would be a good thing for Hidcote IMHO.

So that's it for the needles, now about yarn. I am using ColourMart cashmere in the 2/28 laceweight, which is very comparable to the KnitPicks yarn used in the pattern. I chose to use a US 4 (3.5mm) needle instead of the recommended US 3 (3.25mm), which may account for the fact that I will use quite a bit more yarn in my shawl than the 1300 yds. Miriam used in her shawl. I've used approx. 1600 yds thus far and will ultimately use approx. 1800yds once I'm done. Even with the needle size change, I was a bit surprised to need this much yarn. Of course I had 2300 yds on my cone of cashmere, so it wasn't an issue for me, but it might be for someone else who bought only 3 hanks of KnitPicks lace yarn. The caveat to future knitters--buy a little extra yarn just in case (if KnitPicks, buy 4 hanks). I recall someone else running out, so I suspect I'm not the only one who has used more than 1300 yds.

There's another picture and a little more chat on my blog if any one is interested. Otherwise, I'll check back in again soon when I will be finished! See ya'll then :-)

aka Kristina in Knoxville, TN, USA

Saturday, February 17, 2007

First Post

I started the Hidcote back in October of last year when Hawaii was hit with one of the biggest earthquakes it's had in decades. My island wasn't hit too badly, but we were without power for most of the day. I think this will always be a special shawl and a kind of memento for that day.

I was a little worried that I'd have a hard time picking it up again after leaving it alone after so long, but my notes were accurate enough for me to proceed without a hitch.

I'm on Chart 6 and I'm inching along bit by bit. Getting it done one row at a time. I'm using Jaggerspun Zephyr in Sage and size 3US Crystal Palace Bamboo Needles. I did a bit of surgery on the needles with a nail file to give them sharper points and I'm really happy with the results. They're much more lace savvy now.

Hopefully this weekend I can get through Chart 6! Happy knitting everyone!

the Akamai Knitter

Friday, February 16, 2007

I really needed that lifeline

I had a bad experience on Wednesday; of course I have never gotten around to locating a yarn or thread in my stash that I want to keep on hand to do lifelines, so I didn't have one in my shawl. I jumped up to open the door, caught my foot in the yarn, and jerked 20 or so stitches off the needles. It took me the rest of my knitting time on Wednesday to recover. What I ended up doing was counting down four rows on the remaining stitches and putting a spare needle through that row. I then pulled out that whole 20-stitch section for the four rows, and reknit them from the pattern. It took several tries, mostly because I kept trying to do it on the third row down, which was a plain row. Eventually I decided that if the stitches I put the spare needle through were those of a pattern row they wouldn't be manipulated in any way, which meant going down one more row.

It was made worse by the fact that I hadn't had breakfast, was stuck in a hotel room waiting for my husband to go to breakfast with me (it was Valentine's Day, but he had an early a.m. lecture to give), and my brain was not working.

I have a much deeper understanding of what the patter is doing in the middle of chart 6, so there was some benefit. Hopefully my diamonds are off to a good start. I will be very miffed if the shawl has a muddled bit right there when it's finished.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Finished Blocked Ends Woven

Three weeks to knit, three weeks to find my tapestry needles to weave in the ends!
I like it!
Details on yarn and specs in my blog

Monday, February 05, 2007

Guess What I Got?

Yup! Finally! My Addi Naturas! NOW...I am set to start!

Enlarging Hidcote charts

I hope this is helpful to someone else, and I am not the only dunce here. I wrote to Mim about the charts, I couldn't successfully copy them into jumbo format to stop potential eyestrain. Here is her very helpful reply...and it works!

I do not have a larger print version of the charts (it's something I keep meaning to get to, but I haven't been able to make the time), but you can enlarge them yourself with this workaround. The pdf file that you downloaded can be zoomed in on and then snapshots made. The really cool thing is that you can enlarge it as much as you want.

You'll need to open the original pdf file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Then along the top there is a box that will have a percentage in it. You can change the percentage and then shift the window around to the first portion you want to enlarge. Then use the snapshot tool (it looks like a camera) to select the portion of it that you want on one page. This will copy the snapshot area to the clipboard. Then just open up a word processing program like Word or Open Office Writer, etc... and paste the snapshot area (it's in your clipboard so you only have to right click and select paste, or select Edit, Paste, or even Ctrl+V) and the image will drop right into your word processing program where you can size it.

Once you've got it how you want it, you can print them. Just make sure that if you print it on multiple pages, you consult the original pdf file for correct placement of the pages together.

A little tip: If you want it to print as large as possible on the page, then start by making the margins on the word processing document as small as they will go. Also, it might be helpful if the page is Landscape Layout rather than Portrait layout. Margins and the layout options can be changed within File, Page Setup.

Also Mim says check out her site for a better description MimKnits

That IS customer service!
Thank you Mim! :-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Probably short of yarn

I'm not very good at math, but my struggling attempts to figure out how far I was in the shawl when I ran out of my first skein of yarn indicate that I am 23% done with the shawl but have used 25% of my yarn. I did start a little short of yardage, as in about 100 yards short, so I shouldn't be surprised. I guess when I get down to the last pattern I will just leave out some of †he leafy looking things. I don't want to mess with the diamond design.

I also tried to calculate the halfway point of the shawl. I think it is around the end of chart 7. Has anyone else with better math skills figured this out? Since I am just starting chart 6 and we are past the halfway point of the KnitALong, I suspect that not only will I run out of yarn but I will run out of time.

But do I care? Hah! I think I will reward myself for all this equanimity with one of those chart keepers like Alison got.

(Kookoo for cocopuffs! Kookoo for cocopuffs!)

Laceuary Survival Kit Winner

I have sorely neglected my duties as KAL Mom this past week, and also my lace knitting, as I came down with a bad case of the flu. I wasn't able to knit at all the first few days; I simply hurt in too many places to concentrate. I have finished one small project and worked on a sock and a mitt, but still am recuperating... the details are over at my blog and I won't bore anyone further here.

That said, I haven't forgotten that I promised a Laceuary Survival Kit drawing, with everyone who posted to the KAL by January 31st eligible to enter. The random number generator selected Alison! She will be getting a package in the mail including a Knitpicks lace chartkeeper in the next week or so. Hope everyone continues to share photos of their shawls, just to keep me trying to get well enough to return to mine.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Knitting with Zephyr Silk/Wool is such a pleasure. Hidcote is growing slowly but she does grow and I should finish up chart 5 tonight! It will be fun to move onto chart 6 and other lace pattern.
Have a great weekend and may you get loads of knitting time!