Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hibiscus Shawl

Pattern: Hibiscus Shawl by Laura Chau (Rav Link)
Knit Picks Gloss Sock Yarn in Bordeaux
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm)
Notes: I had a lot of trouble with this pattern. I generally like to trust the pattern. Honestly, I don't have the confidence in my knitting prowess or my ability to visualize the instructions as I read them to do much more than have faith that it will all work out in the end. Most of the time (as long as I scour the internet for errata before I begin) this faith has served me well. This project changed all of that.
I really wanted this shawl.
I thought it was cute and it was going to be the perfect use of some yarn that was already in my stash. Most importantly, I work with my back to a large drafty window on the shadow side of my building. I've been wanting a shawl that will stay on my shoulders and warm my back for a long time. So, I was just as eager to cast off this project as I was to cast it on. I was zipping through this project until about half-way though the flower when things just stopped working. The lace on the far side of the flower just wouldn't line up like it was supposed to. I ripped back a few rows and tried it again. Still not right. I ripped out the entire flower and started it over. More frustration. I ended up ripping out the entire project and starting it again. I got a little bit of guidance from Ravelry, but mostly I just made changes as I went along. Here are the edits I made:
Row 74: Decrease extra stitch with RT right after flower
Row 78: Knit 8 instead of 9
Row 88: Knit 24
If you've got a good eye, you can see that there is still a row (maybe 2) that are off in the lace pattern after the flower. By the point I noticed it, I wasn't certain if it was my mistake or the pattern's and I was not patient enough to go back. Despite that minor problem (nobody notices but me) I love my first triangular wrap. No one has come out and told me that I look like an old lady when I wear it, but it wouldn't matter if they did. I never have to fuss with it to keep it on (unlike my Clapotis which has been permanently declared a scarf.) If I turn it around and wrap it around my neck, it is the perfect shape to fill in V opening of my coat and any cold from sneaking in. I'm sold! Have you discovered the joys of a triangular shawl?

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Now that it is January, everyone is getting to unveil the secret knitting that they've been doing for the past couple months. I have all of my secret knitting wrapped up in babies instead of Christmas, so I'm still stitching on the down-low. I do have one present that I can share though.

These weren't originally intended to be a Christmas present, but the timing worked out perfectly. (Wouldn't it be nice if that's the way all Christmas presents were.) While hanging out Hannah saw Owls and thought it was adorable (because it undeniably is). I had been wanting to knit something for Hannah, but I knew I wasn't ready to undertake a sweater for someone else (I haven't even made one for Hubby yet, and I have him and his entire wardrobe available for measurement at all times.) I also wasn't prepared to take on something that daunting in secret. Instead I decided to keep it simple and I found the mitten pattern. Once the mittens were done, Hubby helped me hijack Hannah and we took her to M & J Trimmings to pick out her own button eyes. Unfortunately, I never got good pictures of these mittens in the sun light before Hannah took them with her to brave the Arkansan winter. You will just have to believe me that they are the color of a gray squirrel and aren't really brown at all.

Pattern: Give a Hoot by Jocelyn Tunney
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Squirrel Heather
Needles: I'm sorry I forgot to write it down.
Notes: I can't tell you what needles I used, because all I am sure of is that I had to change needle sizes. I made the first mitten and when I tried it on, I was just not happy with how it fit me. My hand stretched the stitches out too much, and no matter what I tied together and stitched over, I couldn't seem to close up the gap at the thumb. So, for the second mitten I changed needle sizes and it fit beautifully.

I also learned something very important with this project. I need to make mitten thumbs longer. I have a pair of mittens never been quite happy with. The join at the thumb is full of gaping holes that I have tried to darn, sew, and knot shut with no luck. I haven't made myself a new set because my fingerless mitts are usually enough. While I was fretting over my wrong gauge for the first mitten, I showed it to a co-worker who use to own her own yarn store in Manhattan. She mentioned that I should make my thumb longer, and so I did. Now that the mittens had enough fabric to cover the full length of my thumb, the join didn't stretch out and there were no gaping holes.