Monday, July 14, 2014


I've made some great progress on my lacy 100% alpaca shawl. I think I"m starting to remember the pattern now with a lot less help from my notes. Which is nice. I had to wind the rest of the yarn into a ball as the football shaped skein sort of started falling apart. I think I've knit like a good foot or so. It's so pretty and warm, I know it's going to be lovely once it's done. I've also been working on the counted cross stitch piece Expecting (HAED) and think I might be able to finish the top row of pages soon. Yay! I started a new project, but I'll wait to go into detail later on, other than to say it's one of the two projects I'm making for friends - same pattern, different fabric, this is the one that I dyed. Oh and I got some more lace yarn. I found a lace malabrigo yarn on the Woolery that is tardis colored . . . so I'm thinking perfect for the lace shawl with the tardis-es on it. (Or is that "tardisi"? Oh well don't care.) But unlike the alpaca I'm using, which is 2-ply, this is single ply. So . . . they had some at Mosaic, so I decided to get some to test out. I was thinking "hey, why don't I make another shawl like this . . . but make it wider!" and now I'm not sure if I want to do that or not. I think it might be fun to try another lacy pattern. Heh . . . I do have a lot of the varigated blue color I picked out, called "Oceanos". Each skein is 470 yds. But I've got time. I still want to go by Yarn Explosion before work one day to see what sort of lace (and possibly sock) yarn they have. And I still want to try out a couple of sock-weight patterns I found on Ravelry. One is a cowl they called something like Irish cable and the other is a baby shrug jackety sort of pattern called "vertebrae" which is designed to hug the baby's back snugly. Not that I know of anyone who is having kids ath this moment, I just like the idea of it. Plus, I do have another lace shawl to try out. Tho I'm not sure if I want to try the Oceanos on it or not. Plus . . . I still haven't gotten far on my sister's second sock for Christmas. (Or mine or my mom's.) Should be interesting!

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I was in a cross stitch group on Facebook and one of my little pet peeves happened.

One of the ladies in there said that blackwork is where you fill in a pattern using backstitching.

No. No it is not.

Blackwork is a specific technique. It most definitely is not backstitching. It is a specific technique where the back looks almost exactly like the front. You use a double running stitch. They're two different techniques.

I did a piece years ago (that my dad still has) of an iris done in counted cross stitch in front of a field of various blackwork patterns in geometric areas. Those areas were partitioned off by lines of satin stitch/couching. Each one of the patterns had specific stitch diagrams. They were really fun to stitch. And the way you could easily tell which was the right/front side was to look at the iris. I also added blending filament to the iris - 1 strand each blue and purple for the flower area. And I think I might have used iridescent for the yellow bits. (I thought I used green on the leaves, but I don't see it in the pictures.) I want to stitch it again in the original mushroom lugana/taupe/gold color combination, but also using black/grey/silver. So I'd have a day vs night. (one day . . . )

Here's a bit closer up:

And the other thing that sort of irritated me is the person (same one who answered the question of "what's blackwork" with "designs and fills done in backstitching") was also saying "I have heard alot of people say it is using black floss but I use any color i feel like." Um. Ok. Use whatever color you want, but the term "blackwork" comes from where the only color used was black. Just like "redwork" is the same as blackwork, just with red instead of black.

And is not backstitching.

Lace shawl knitting is badass

No really, it is. And I dare you to do it if you think it isn't.

I think I figured something out about my lace shawl. I feel kind of like a badass, not just because of the teeny tiny yarn and the holes that are supposed to be there and not dropping stitches, but also because it's just harder if you make a mistake.

I was knitting along nicely during last Saturday's game. I decided I'll not work on Melena during Book 2 of our campaign, as I'm playing a different character. I'm playing Sayyadina, who is my aasimar Bard/Cleric of Sheylin. And she's a fiber artist too . . . she spins and knits, both socks for the poor and lace shawls. Since she's a badass. (ok that remains to be seen) But Clerics of Sheylin are expected to create something beautiful every day. Hence, the knitting.

So, what happened?

The lace shawl alternates pattern rows with plain purling on the backside. I was on the wrong side . . . and started knitting the 5th row of the pattern. Crap.

It took me 30 minutes (well from the "I'll fix it" to the actual "I did fix it") a few days later to frog aka un-knit . . . one . . . little stitch . . . at a time that wrong side #5. And then re-knit it. Ok, so I thought. Now I'll do the purling . . . and onto row #5 on the correct right side. We're good, right? Right?

Nope. I'm missing 2 stitches.




So then I have to un-knit the row 5 I just did. And then . . . the hard part.

Time to figure out where is the oops?

Turns out I dropped a stitch near the left side when I frogged. And then didn't actually keep a yarn over, which is basically another dropped stitch. Bother.

So . . . after all that, I finally got to re-knit that and go on with it.

I was actually kind of exhausted after all that. It was rather mentally taxing.

Hence, this is why lace knitting is badass.

And I'm only on the 3rd repeat . . . I think it's like maybe at the most 4" long so far . . . this is gonna take a while.

But I do want to get some more lace yarn . . . I keep going "oh my gosh this is sooooooo pretty!"

I think I figured out a way to avoid the "do I have the correct number of stitches left for my repeat?!" mess . . . my pattern is 17 stitches wide. I could do more repeats than 4 across if I want a wider shawl or even a blanket. There's a garter stitch border on all sides, so if I want a wider one, I do a multiple of 17 (ie 2 repeats or 10 etc) plus the border.

So . . . my solution?

I added stitch markers at the end of my pattern! Woooo!

Ok so they're a bit annoying, but not nearly as annoying as not being sure I have all my stitches. So far, I can deal with the stitch markers and I love not worrying as much about dropping stitches. I like using colorful paperclips as my stitch markers. They're a lot easier to replace in case something happens.