Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

2. February 2011 10:13
by Jobo
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WIP Wednesday: Still on the Stole!

2. February 2011 10:13 by Jobo | 0 Comments

strawberries feb 2 2011I've been working back and forth on various projects... but consistantly making the effort to do a few rows on the Strawberries Stole every few days.  I'm finding that if I work on it regularly, I keep my brain and fingers nimble to the style and pattern.  I think if I waited for months and months, I'd have to go back and really read my reference book again for the border (which I am doing completely from memory now)

I am trying to decide how long to make the stole in the end... with some difficulty.  I've never actually worn a *real* stole.  I've worn other scarves in a style like a stole (draped around my shoulders) but I've never really seen what a proper one feels like.  At this point, unstretched, with less than 2 of the diamonds completed the stole is as high as the back of my couch!  I am thinking I might do 3 complete repeats and then pseudo-block and see how much length I am getting (i.e. pin it to the bed, unwashed, and just see how much it will stretch).  The width of the stole nearly doubles when stretched a similar amount to what I think I will have to do when blocking... so will the length double also?  I'm thinking it will likely be at least another 50%?

You can see the ball of thread in the bottom right of the photo... I just joined ball number 2 (about 10 rows ago) and it looks like I have a lot more than I originally thought I would.  The yarn is so thin, that the size of the ball is misleading.  I didn't bother to skein up the second half this time.  I just spun, plied, and then balled up the yarn so I could knit with it right away.  I didn't wash the first bit, so I figured there was no point in washing the second bit either!  with Lace, the wash and block is so important, I know that process will finish the yarn anyways.

If I keep up this progress rate... I might have ole "Strawberry" completed by the end of February!

26. January 2011 09:48
by Jobo
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WIP Wednesday: Silver Strawberries Orenburg-Style Stole

26. January 2011 09:48 by Jobo | 0 Comments

russian stole markers are your friendI've been chugging along on my Silver Strawberries Stole... making some progress!

I've finally completed the first "diamond" pattern, which was actually simpler to work than I had originally thought.  I am getting more comfortable "reading" the lace, and just intuitively knowing where each element fits.  I definitely think that putting in stitch markers has helped a lot. By marking the edges of the different patterns, I am able to see exactly where the motifs fit, and I can tell right away if I've completed the proper thing within the correct number of stitches. 

russian stole jan 14 2011

As you can see, semi blocked, it looks like the stole will be at least the width of my couch cushion... so that's 20+ inches.  Now I need to decide how long I want the finished stole to be.  I think I'd like to do at least 4 - 5 repeats of the diamond, but I am not sure whether this will make the right length in the end.  I have enough yarn to make approximately half of the finished stole, so I will knit on, and make up my mind later! 

I can't wait to see what the stitches will look like after a final, more complete blocking either...  Even only semi stretched, I love the way that the lace opens up.  I wasn't sure that I would like the look of lace where the reverse rows were based on garter stitch.  I do like the simplicity of knitting every stitch on the backside (except for the doubled pattern rows of course!) and find it quite a lot faster than purling (for me anyways) but I was afraid it would somehow look less refined than other forms of lace.  Boy was I mistaken, it seems to have it's own charming appeal.  The garter stitch "bumps" that I thought might look frumpy or elementary actually look like little shining waves, and the garter nature makes the fabric feel thicker, like little accordion pleats holding the fabric off of a surface - like floating almost.  I suppose it doesn't hurt that the angora fiber is fluffing up as it is being knit, making a light little halo adding to the floatyness (is floatyness even a word?)

I hope to work more on this in the coming week :)

25. January 2011 11:58
by Jobo
4 Comments

Last Minute "Muse"-ing...

25. January 2011 11:58 by Jobo | 4 Comments

allegheny pincushionThe Muse is complete!  Blocked and dry, and ready to go!  I hear that my comrade polaropposites has blocked hers as well... and I have it on good authority that it is Beee-youuu-teee-ful!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the blocking process... the idea is simple.  You thoroughly wet the knit lace, lay it out flat on a surface of some sort, and pin out the piece to shape to enhance and open up all of the lace elements.  In this case I used a few "helpers"

- Quilter's rustproof pins (since I do my blocking on a mattress, I didn't want ginormous holes from big blocking pins, and also I didn't want any rust stains on either the lace or the mattress)

- Tig welding rods!  Cheap blocking wires... you don't have to go and buy a fancy blocking set at the yarn store, instead go to a local welding or metalworks shop and buy some stainless steel welding rods.  Thin, bendable, rust free, and about 20$ for a whole pound of them!  I just wiped mine down with a damp cloth when I got them home, and they've been great ever since.  Mine are around 40 inches long, and perfect for the job.

- Measuring tape... when you aren't sure if you are pinning the shawl out symmetrically.  Does this point look longer than that point to you?  Measure it!

- Soaking basin... aka a repurposed mixing bowl.  My family gets annoyed with me (read husband) when I leave woolen things soaking in various sinks around the house.  I soak for around 30- 45 minutes.  You can add soap/hair conditioner/wool wash in your soak.  I like it plain and simple.  Clean shawl?  doesn't need soap.

So here we go... Since blocking highlights the best characteristics of Lace, I thought I might use the blocking photos to show the best characteristics of this shawl!

allegheny edge slip stitch blockingSlip 1 edging...

Do you hate how edgings curl sometimes... or the way that an edge can look sloppy?  This solution (common among various lace styles, including Russian Orenburg lace and Estonian Haapsalu shawls) is to slip the first stitch purlways with yarn in front, and then continue along the row.  The resulting edge has a beautiful even feel, and looks almost like you crocheted a chain up the side.  This type of edging also makes for a great blocking pick-up edge.  See how nice and even the edge looks?  It's the slipped stitch!  I had nothing to do with it

allegheny points Pretty Points

Allegheny Muse starts in an unusual way... with a crochet beaded cast on.  I wasn't sure what to think in the beginning... but look how nice the points block out!  The crocheted cast on is nice and "loose" and stretches just the right amount to create those dramatic arches of lace.  I must admit, I think my favorite part of a lot of shawls is that dramatic arch edging.  The bead placement for this edging was also top notch.  The four beads at the very ends of the points dangle and sparkle at the perfect angle. 

allegheny closeup shells main body of lace - Shells

The main lace panel section of this shawl was quite enjoyable to knit.  The few rows here and there with no beads were a nice refreshing rest, and then back to the mega-beaded rows.  The break was much appreciated!  The lace stitches were pretty basic ones, K2tog, central decreases, lots of YOs and clear instructions on where to place the beads on the decrease stitches made the lace quite straightforward.  I found the placement of some of the internal beads to be a little wonky, but maybe if I had blocked more severely they might have come out more "even" in the end.  One thing that was unusual for this shape of shawl is that you don't start with shorter rows that increase over time to be longer and longer like you would with a triangle shawl.  The edging began with many stitches, and you maintained that number throughout the lace panel, losing a few on the last few lace rows, and then completing the garter section with short rows to create the crescent shape.

allegheny picot bind off and garterspeaking of the garter stitch crescent...

Once you reached the garter stitch portion... it was smooth sailing for the finish line!  I was surprised at how much the blocking process changed the texture of the garter stitch section.  I liked the little stripes that it created, and the bouncy, slightly stretchy feel it has.  The pattern also called for a crocheted picot bind off... which was also a new one to me.  In the end, instead of knitting 3 stitches together and then chaining, I found it easier to slide 3 stitches onto my crochet hook and then chain them together, and then complete the picot chain.  Once you get the hang of it, the edging was actually pretty simple!  To save time in blocking, I didn't pin out each individual picot, instead I ran a wire through them and gently pulled it into a curve (carefully pinning the curve to avoid any disastrous un-coiling).  If you were pinning by hand without wires, you could also use a shoelace, string, or any other reasonably tough cord to accomplish the same thing.  Basically by using a string or wire, it eliminates the need to measure each picot so closely - each one is pulled up the exact same amount!  genius right?  (I did not think this up... I read it somewhere!)

Allegheny edge beads gentle curves...

All in all, I liked the process and the elements of this shawl very much!  and I am pleased with the final results.  The cashmere blend yarn really blocked well, and feels soft and drapey in the finished piece.  The opalescent beads I chose have just enough sparkle to be seen, but not overpower.  The effect is kind of like dew on a rose... you know it's there, and it enhances the design, but doesn't take your attention completely from the elegant lace.  Some people like contrasting beads, but I tend to like the blending-in strategy more often. 

Now for the Modeled Pics (are you tired of hearing about this yet? lol)

allegheny jumbled around the neck allegheny over shoulders allegheny double draped

getting people to take shawl pictures is hard.... I tried the usual bathroom "Self-Pose-Photoshoot" and got a few decent ones.  The shape of this shawl is more long and skinny than some of the triengle ones I've made in the past, so I'm still not sure how I should really wear this one.  Jumbled around the neck?  simple shoulder drape?  double wrap?  I think I might have to play with this one a little more to decide.  I do very much love the color though!  Soft Purples and pinks, paired with the opal shimmer of the occasional bead. 

allegheny dark I know it's difficult to get decent night-time photos... even with a flash... but I think maybe this shawl might even look good with a dress or evening wear from the look of the last photo.   (I also noticed that my hair is getting really long again)

All in all - a very nice pattern, very well written, with neat style elements, fun sections, and a chance to learn several new techniques and skills.  Allllll gooooood.

Now... what should the next project be for the PEI KAL crew?  I think we are entertaining the idea of making some lace socks (yesss!  I love socks)

I just bought a copy of Hunter Hammersen's new book Silk Road Socks... and it is fabulous!  I hope we get to do a pair from there!  (please please?)  I think the plan is to choose something next week for the cast on.  I'll make sure to post in case anyone else out there is interested in knitting along with us!

Happy Tuesday!

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