Cast-on Monday: Zaubershawl

Way back in March, I bought this super-colorful Zauberball at Mind’s Eye Yarns in Cambridge, MA.  I had been on a socialization trip with my puppy, Clewe.  The owner was kind enough to invite him inside!
1950 Zauberball 1536

 

I took so long to decide on a color, he actually fell asleep upside down on the shop floor.  Aw, cute!

1948 Clewe asleep at yarn shop

 

I tried several different patterns with the Zauberball, with no luck at all … until I decided to try it for the BLK’s September KAL: Sun in Cold Water by Julia Faranchuk.  I cast on Sept 1st, and I’m zipping right along with the pattern.  The colorway is SO much fun — a little out of my usual palette, but there’s nothing wrong with that!  I can’t wait until it’s done and I can block it out.

2837 Zaubershawl in progress

FO Friday: Summer Rain (AMS KAL 2011)

2812 Mystery Shawl

For the third year in a row, I was a happy member of Renee Leverington’s “Anniversary Mystery Shawl” group.  The KAL began in May, but I made the project even bigger by doing four panels (instead of three) and adding beads throughout the shawl.  The last few rows were taking me 1-2 hours each, but the finished project is 100% worth the effort! I love the weight of a beaded shawl, and the click-clack the beads make as the shawl swings.

2813 Mystery Shawl

Project: AMS 2011

Pattern: Summer Rain

Designer: Renee Leverington

Available: $6 at Renee’s shop

Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk in Blueberry — my first time knitting from a cone!

Beads: size 6 in “gunmetal iris”

2811 Mystery Shawl

 

“Summer Rain” was another creative and flawless pattern, just as I’ve come to expect from Renee.  The pattern called for three triangles, blocked into a half-hexagon.  I decided I wanted more shoulder coverage and added a fourth panel and blocked it as a 2/3-hexagon.  I also went a little crazy with beads!  Near the top beading rows were few and far between, but I systematically increased the amount of beading until it was nearly every row on the final “clue” of this mystery shawl.

Did you know that beads are hard to photograph?

2810 Mystery Shawl

 

This year four members of my knitting group worked on the mystery shawl. The first person to finish entered her shawl in a local ag fair and won 2nd place!  I’m the second person to finish — two more to go!

2809 Mystery Shawl

I was surprised by how nicely the Zephyr lace yarn stretched out while knitting.  Silly me, I thought it “barely” needed blocking.  Here is a before shot — you can see how dense and crumpled it is compared to the blocked photos above.

2806 Mystery Shawl (unblocked)

 

Here’s the pinned-out shawl! I used Knit Picks cables (from the interchangeable set) to block the top edges, and I pinned out points along the bottom edges.  The shawl dried super fast — completely done in just one afternoon.

2808 Mystery Shawl (blocking)

FO Friday: Shiny Purple Maluka

2692 Maluka

Maluka is the August KAL in the Beginner Lace Knitters group on Ravelry. It was one of my nominations, so I was extra excited to cast on! I rummaged through my stash and found the perfect hank of too-pretty-for-feet sock yarn: a gorgeous purple wool-bamboo blend with a lot of shine and personality.

This shawlette is almost a scarf — very petite! But, quick to work up.  You work the garter border first. The cool 3-over-3 bundle that makes a chain of circles that is very pretty. After the border is complete, you pick up stitches all along the edge, and work the body in a series of short rows to create a graceful crescent shape.

2689 Maluka tip

Project: Shiny Purple Maluka

Pattern: Maluka

Designer: Bea Schmidt

Available: FREE! on Ravelry

Yarn: Three Irish Girls McClellan Fingering

2690 Maluka

I’ve been wearing my Maluka constantly — even with grubby shorts and a T-shirt :). (I never said personal style was my forte!) I love how it drapes.  The designer is German, so it’s not too surprising that the edging chart follows the convention of showing what you actually knit, rather than the right side of the work.  I know there are knitters out there who prefer this style of chart, but I much, much prefer a chart that shows what the right side of the work looks like.  I have no problem understanding “knit on RS, purl on WS” etc.  For my own sanity, I did make up a “right side” version of the Maluka edging chart, which I have made available at Google docs for knitters who think like me.  (You will still need the original pattern to make a Maluka, as this is only the edging chart.)

I modified the pattern just a smidge, nothing major.  I used wrap&turn short rows, rather than the decrease/slip short rows called for.  I found that the decrease was making a big lump in my fabric.  I also wanted to use a little more yarn and have a slightly bigger finished object.  For the neck edge, I decided to use an i-cord bind off, which I extended over the cast-on and bind-off ends of the edging.  I am a bit of an i-cord fanatic! 🙂

In sum: great pattern, love my FO, another great KAL!

2688 Maluka

 

Kudzu Knit-a-long

I’m absolutely delighted to report that my Kudzu Shawlette pattern made it up to #16 on on Ravelry’s “New and Popular” top 20 list on the Patterns page. (The list refreshes often, so Kudzu may not be there now.) I am quite certain this is due in no small part to the Beginner Lace Knitters group on Ravelry, which chose Kudzu for their June 2011 KAL. Before that KAL was finalized, I also started a KAL on my brand-spanking-new Remily Knits group on Ravelry.  Of course I’m running the KAL on my group, but I’m also lurking in the other group to answer any pattern-specific questions.  Join both, for the best of both worlds!

Mostly, I’m just plain SUPER EXCITED that people like my pattern. It is a huge thrill to see other knitters make something I designed.  Here are a few of the wonderful WIP Kudzu Shawlettes:

What’s On My Needles: Knitters Brewing Co. Mystery Socks III

A few weeks ago, I heard about a free mystery sock knit-a-long being hosted by the Knitters Brewing Company. This was just the kick in the pants I needed to get my Firecracker socks finished and off the needles. It was hard to wait for the KAL to start! Although I was tempted (as I always am) to buy their kit for the KAL, I controlled my desire to own every ball of sock yarn in the world, and instead selected a pretty little colorway from my stash:  Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in “Queen Anne.”

0701 KP Stroll in Queen Anne Tonal

I made a shawl out of Shadow Tonal in  “Queen Anne,” so I knew I loved the color already.  (Actually, that was a mystery KAL project too!  Interesting….)

0175 completed Mandala II (edge)

Anyway, back to the mystery socks.  Clue #1 came out right on time, and everyone dove in.  The socks are toe-up, so I used Judy’s magic cast-on and magic-looped through the nifty twisted-stitch toe pattern with stately aplomb.  I finished one toe, and decided that I really needed to do two-at-a-time with this pattern.  Usually I hate having two socks on my ML at a time, because the “extra” sock drags at my needles.  That’s because socks are often my “take-a-long” project, and I sometimes knit standing up or even walking!  But, since these socks will be worked on in quick weekly bursts, it seemed like that wouldn’t be a problem. Also, I really wanted to have them DONE and wearable when the last clue came — and not have a whole second sock staring me in the face.  So, a rare bird in my knitting life: two at a time socks:

1347 queen anne mystery socks (clue 1)

Impatiently I waited for the next clue …. and waited … and waited … until Clue #2 was released a whole day early! Yippee!  I got right to work.  A few rows in, I decided I just couldn’t handle the written instructions.  I’m more of a “chart girl” you see — I like to see where I am in the pattern, and written instructions just can’t do that.  So, I stopped and made my own chart. After that I flew along at warp speed.  The twisty stitches are fun and pretty too, and even though my yarn choice is colorful, the tonal nature allows the stitch pattern to shine through:

1364 mystery sock (clue 2)

Now I’m waiting again — browsing the KBC forum, which has multiple threads devoted to this KAL. I always love the community aspects of participating in a knit-a-long, and this time is no exception.

Speaking of which … it’s not too late to join in!  Grab some sock yarn, print out the first two clues, and catch up before Friday’s Clue#3 (or maybe Wednesday? Pppppplllllease?).