Work In Progress Wednesday

Attempt the First

It’s Wednesday.  I figured I’d share what I’ve been crafting around with.

My first item to share is the Emerald Keep Scarf, which will be a giveaway in the forthcoming Keepsake Tour starting March 8th, to celebrate the release of Book 2 in the Persis Chronicles, Emerald Keep.

It didn’t work.

I mean, yeah, it’s fabric, and it’s knitted.  But that’s about it. For one thing, the stitch said WS (wrong side) for both pieces, but either I misread it or it’s a typo because clearly, it’s incorrect – the edge stitches clearly are backward from the main lace stitches.

Attempt the First, Backside

This is a view where you can see the edge stitches are right-side up, while the lace is wrong side.


Attempt the Second, Front and Frustration Both Start with F.
So does my favorite swear word.
Jus’ sayin’.

Started over.

And… I don’t like my idea of the border.  You can’t really see it well in this shot, but the edges pull in too much and make it look sloppy.  The reason I wanted a border to begin with is that this stitch has quite a bit of bias curl; however, the edging I picked (mistake-stitch rib) isn’t working.

I think either I’ll throw an extra yarn over in to create a sort of gutter, or eliminate the edges entirely.

Why move stuff outta the way when you can stand over it?

I mentioned to a friend that we made candles last weekend and realized I neglected to take photos.  I planned to take pics of the cold pots, but we have to cook in our kitchen so they had to come off the stove.

And, apparently, my kid thinks it’s no big deal to stand over them rather than move them out of the way.  He’s cooking a very lovely taco salad at the moment, (well, cooking the sausage that will go in the taco salad).  Yum.

Soap! Curing!

Our batch of soap that we made a couple weeks ago is curing very well.  It’s a lovely creamy ivory color now.  We cut it this weekend to allow each of the bars exposure to air, so they can continue the curing process.

In case you’re wondering, curing is letting the chemical reaction between the fat and lye to finish.

This is raw soap and not milled soap, so it’s not made in a mold.  You can use it as is, once it’s cured, or mill it again and then pour it into pretty molds for a nice appearance.

Candles, Dipped 2015

I only made a half-dozen this year so far; I may fire up the pots once more before I put everything away.  I like the way these came out; they are nice and uniform.  They’re also really long, which is my favorite (I have four different heights I can make).

Basket-o-Candles, Bad Lighting.

This isn’t a very good shot, but it’s of my candle stock.  I’ll see if I can get a better one for you one of these days – but for now, it’s off to eat dinnah.


What are you making?

Make Something Monday – Bryce Canyon Hat I

Bryce Canyon Hat, all done!

I finished the hat late Sunday night.  I used a sewing needle bind off so that the edge is nice and loose.  It’s very warm; reflects heat back against my head.

Top View

I love the way the top came out with swirls.  One thought I had is to continue the swirls down the body of the hat using decreases after each yarn over.

Bryce Canyon Hat, Almost There

Here’s a shot of the rib stitch.  My next one, I want to do something more interesting on the body of the hat.  The ribbing is boring; I’d like to try something more fun – maybe even patterned.

In process, large enough to go on the double-pointed needles.

It looks like a little bag at this stage.

Top View, in process

Here’s the top before drawing all the stitches up.  A pom pom might look cute here, or even a bauble.

Stash Sunday: Introducing Aubergine

She has a name now!

I’m so excited – I settled on a name, and I’m nearly done with the scarf!  This picture is a little too heavily slanted toward blue, but you get the idea.  I’ve decided the name is Aubergine.  I should be done in another day or two.

This is a fun project because the stitch is much simpler than it looks.  It’s just a four row repeat, and two of those rows is to Purl across.  What could be easier?  This would be suitable for a beginner, as long as they know how to cast on and bind off, knit, purl, and do yarn overs.

Pro-tip – keep your yarn untangled by moving the working skein around the waiting yarn on each color change.  Otherwise you’ll have a wadded up mess before you go five or ten repeats.  No fun.

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

The Beginning

I received my first commission as Knoontime Knitting!  I am making a scarf for a friend in two colors of purple, Royal Purple and Lavender.  Here is the beginning as it sits on my design pad after the starting swatch.

The Middle

 Here it is after a bit of knitting.  It knits up quickly.  I am using 30 sts cast on for width.

Still the Middle

This is how far I got before I called it a night.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this shapes up.

Make Something Monday

What’s In YOUR Wallet? or Bag?

Happy Monday, Dear Reader!  I’ve gotten some of my design mojo back and have been playing with some different knitting designs.  This morning, as I waited for the bus, I checked the Bus Tracker tool.  It said the next bus wouldn’t be there for 27 minutes.  Aside from making me late for work, that meant I had time to get some knitting done.

Then, mid-row, what do I see but a bus? Holy crap.  Try stuffing size 10 needles in an already over-stuffed knitting bag and grabbing everything to get onto the bus.



This is what I’m making with my size 10 needles.  One of my books has an afghan on the cover that’s made out of triangles.  I decided to take a twist on that idea and using a base of 35 stitches, make a sampler with leftover yarns and different textures.

This is a Turkish Stitch done in Lion Brand Homespun.  It’s a boucle-type of yarn and difficult to see stitch definition; however, I like the less dense look of the fabric.  I find the juxtaposition of the bias pull of the stitch with the decreased edge for the triangle to be an interesting opposition.

What are you working on?

A Journey Into 3-D Notebook – Hats!

So I’ve been playing with knitting from the top down.  I started a sweater and have been wrestling with it (which I’ll share later), but for now I want to share my newest creation:  a hat!

My first hat was almost a decade ago.  A friend asked me to make a hat for her friend.  I did so.  It was large enough to fit her, her friend, AND me – and not just our heads.  It was not, shall we say, a success.

Since then, I’ve successfully mastered all kinds of things in knitting:  sweaters, sleeves, socks, lace, design…  So why not hats?

I asked myself that and then gave it a shot.

This one is fun because the increases are one-off from each other so that they swirl around the head.  I did the crown with a merino wool, then the sides with an alpaca and mohair blend that’s fuzzy and whisper-soft.

I even like how it looks on me.

And you can see it from the back.

I want to try making another hat that’s a little smaller, so it stays tighter on the head. In fact, I started one, but that’s a post for another day! 🙂

A Journey Into 3D Notebook – What I’m Working On

November is coming, and with it, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.  During the month of November, NaNo-ers write 50,000 words on a draft of a novel – some more, some less, and the madness that ensues is infectious.

I wish we had a NaKnitMo, National Knitting Month.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I was lamenting recently to Rachel Wilder, my partner in writing crime, that my stash is reaching epic proportions.  I typed up what’s under the bed in bins and showed her pictures of my shelves in my office, which overflowed from the huge apparatus over there to the top of the filing cabinet over here.

Unperturbed, she said, “Just think of it as hours of pre-paid entertainment.”



In celebration of that, I figured I’d share a few of the things I’m working on or have recently finished.

This is an Ojo de Dios, or “Eye of God.”  Made by the Huichol peoples of South America, they are prayers of blessing and good fortune.  Ojos are made and placed in the central village temple for blessings on a child, a new business venture, a marriage, and many other occasions.

This one was fun to make since I usually make much smaller ones.  This one is about 12 inches on 1/2 inch dowel rods.  I sanded the dowels and then stained them using a combination of varnish and stain.  I skipped the recommended steel wool sanding in between the two coats and I think, in hindsight, I wish I had done it; on the next project I will use that as part of the preparation.  Overall, though, I like how the dowels came out.

I used a large, bulky yarn with an overdye pattern, which is what accounts for the color variations.  I also varied the weave in making the ojo itself, which is what accounts for the visibility of the dowel in the middle of the design in parts.

At the October Nightweavers meeting, a chapter of the Weavers Guild of the North Shore, we made snowflakes for the upcoming Fine Art of Fiber taking place at the Chicago Botanic Gardens November 8-10, 2013.  The designs are surprisingly easy to put together and look quite pretty in white paper.  I am across some colored origami paper that’s white on the back, so I decided to try the design using six sheets of that, instead.

The white added a depth to the snowflake that I didn’t anticipate and like very much.  I think it would look pretty, and very different, when done on paper that has designs on both sides, especially if the designs aren’t identical.

I nipped its ear when I was punching a hole to hang it with; you can see it on the tip of the red ear here.

If you’re curious, the location where it hangs is the Pumping Station: One, a hackerspace here in Chicago.  This is the art room and the view in the background is to one of the consoles for one of our 3-D printers.

Journey into 3-D: Notebook – The Jewel Scarf

I learned a valuable lesson when working in 3-D:  never take the knitting needle out of live stitches by accident, especially when working a lace pattern.

I bought some lovely yarn on one of my trips and, since we just moved, I can’t find the ball band to tell you about it.  But suffice it to say that it worked up into a lovely narrow scarf for use with a work outfit or something.  Just as I was trying to figure out how to cast off, I pulled out what I thought was the non-working needle and voila.

It was the working needle.

For those of you who don’t know what I mean, in knitting, you have live stitches on a needle.  If you have experience, you can generally put them back on a needle.  It takes practice.  I can do it, if I’m careful, with stockinette stitch – so-called “plain” knitting.  I can do it with rib stitches and garter stitches too.  But lace?  Not so much.

Sadly, I fiddled and faddled and put the project away sometime last year or early this year.

In moving, I found it again and decided to bite the bullet and start over.  Yesterday, I sat down with my trusty ball winder and took the scarf apart.  I’m going to make it over again with a pattern from Barbara Walker’s A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, called “Rick Rib.”  It’s a combination of rib stitch and lace.  It’s very simple to work, just two lines, and can be made on any even number of stitches.  I’ve cast on twenty and started.  Here’s how it looks so far (there’s not much yet, but from tiny acorns…)

Here is the project with the yarn next to it.  The jumbled bits are because I did about six rows and realized I’d made several errors and had the wrong stitch count.  Some knitting days are like that.  I started over this morning and it’s going more smoothly.

I love the way the knitted cast on looks like a series of sideways knit stitches.  I’ll post more pictures once I have the pattern established so you can get a look at it.

Humpday Update – Bryce Canyon Shawl and Prayer Shawl

I finished the Bryce Canyon Shawl today. The last step was to add a 6 row garter stitch border to match the edges of the shawl and the bottom of the triangle. Then I used a knit one, purl one bind-off to make sure it would be elastic enough. The edge took a while to finish but I’m pleased with the results. I’ll share the bind-off here since I’ve used it a couple other times and really like it.

1. Cut the yarn 3 times the width of the edge and thread a yarn needle. Insert the yarn needle purlwise into the first stitch. Pull the yarn through. With the yarn needle behind the next stitch, insert it knitwise into the purl stitch and pull the yarn through.

2. *Slip the first knit stitch knitwise and insert the yarn needle into the second stitch on the needle purlwise. Pull the yarn through.

3. Slip the first stitch purlwise. Go behind the next stitch and insert the needle knitwise into the next stitch. Pull the yarn through. Repeat from the * in step 2 until all the stitches are bound off.

The next step is to block the shawl. It is stretched out of the way because of the lace. It needs to be stretched to allow the lace to lay flat. I’ll post pictures of that, but here are the images of the finished shawl (below).

In addition, I finished the prayer shawl for a friend of a friend who has colon cancer. It’s a triangle shawl like the Bryce Canyon Shawl, but with an allover lace pattern that’s K1, *YO, K2T. The edges are a 3-stitch garter stitch border with a YO, which is where the shape comes from. I used a picot bind-off which is quite pretty, along with 3 tassels.

This is an overall view of the shawl that shows the 3 lace diamonds and the lace outline, which is a vertical lace trellis stitch from Barbara Walker.

This is the bottom, center, medallion, also from Barbara Walker.

This is the medallion on the left.  When worn, this appears over the left shoulder and down the arm.

This is the right medallion and, like the left, appears on the arm.

This shows the bound-off edge with the garter stitch edge and the sewing needle bind-off.
This is the first comprehensive picture of the Prayer Shawl.  I used Lion Brand Homespun, in Harvest colorway.  The shawl is too large to show flat (it’s on a Full bed), so I folded the edges.  I used tassels on each of the 3 corners.

I stepped back to show the shawl again.  I love the way the yarn stripes.

This is a detail of the picot bind-off, on the inside left; ont he inside right you can see the garter edge with yarn-over increase.  The bind-off takes a while, but as you can see the results are worth it.

The preparation of the Prayer Shawl will simply be to wash and dry it.  It doesn’t require blocking, since the yarn doesn’t pull out of shape.

The Design Notebook

I showed the Bryce Canyon Shawl to some folks recently and again heard the comments “Wow, that is a lot of work!” and “I’m not patient enough for that.” I find these comments interesting because they are so misguided. I am not, by nature, a patient person. I don’t sit down to knit and think, “Oh, yay, now I have time to focus on my knitting and only my knitting.” I come to knitting from a very Zen place, where I allow stitches to accumulate organically. One stitch leads to another stitch and so on. By not thinking about it, it ceases to be work. This also allows me to not worry about being patient. By just focusing on making the stitches, I don’t have to be patient. I’m already doing what I set out to do. The finished product is a byproduct of the process. The process is the goal. What would you try if you didn’t have to come up with the finished product, but the doing of it would be the success?