Thursday, July 24, 2014

Off the Needles: Moonlight Sonata Shawlette

I finished knitting this piece last night and did the picot bind off this morning. I used most of the 4 balls of yarn I had so the result is a short shawl rather than the scarf described in the pattern. This is a project that I'd abandoned a couple of years ago, and after knitting it again, I remembered why. The abundance of yarn overs that could be overlooked caused the stitch count to get off frequently. I can't count the number of rows that I had to unknit and do over. Fortunately, as I neared the end I got better at spotting my errors and could fix most of them without undoing an entire row. 

Here's the shawl as it came off the needles.

Wet and pinned to the blocking boards:

Closeup of the pattern motif. It's based on a pattern called "Sunspots" from Barbara Walker's A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

The free pattern is Shui Kuen Kozinski's "Moonlight Sonata Scarf" from and the yarn is Elann's Peruvian Baby Cashmere which is a fingering weight made up of 60% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, and 10% cashmere. The colorway is #1417 "Peacock." A listing on Ravelry says it's been discontinued.

I have two more UFO lace pieces to tackle, but for now I think I'll take a break and knit something less challenging like mittens.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Off the Needles: Felted Fish

This week I worked through some knitting UFOs. A few years ago I was at Kill Devil Hills, NC, with my sister and brother-in-law shopping at Knitting Addiction and bought a kit to make two  knitted/felted fish from a Fiber Space pattern. I pulled what I'd done from the unfinished box and saw that I only needed to knit the fins to finish one fish. Did that and then knitted the second fish. The below photo is one of the fish before felting (technically, it's really fulling, but it's usually called felting). One of the things I love about felting is how it fixes so much. You can knitted more sloppily than usual and the results are still great. 

Here are the "after" photos of the two fish. Now that I see how quickly they knit up and how nice they finish up, maybe I'll put more of my wool yarn stash to use. The great thing about the pattern is that it's a way to use up odds and ends of yarn that are too small for bigger projects.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Still on the Needles: Moonlight Sonata Scarf

This is another UFO pulled out of the stash. I actually bought the yarn specified in the pattern and got through part of the first of 12 repeats when frustration set in and I set it aside a couple of years ago. This week I picked it up again and remembered why I have a love/hate relationship with lace knitting. I love the results, but the knitting is slow slogging at times and the missing yarn-overs are killing me. Every time I think I've finished a row perfectly, I find that the count on the next row doesn't come out right and I have to frog back and figure out what went wrong. Almost always it's because of a missing yarn over.

As of today, I've finished 4 repeats (just 8 more to go!) and it looks as if I actually will finish it this time. But I'm starting to take more time to do a stitch count after every increase row to at least minimize the time spent ripping back. 

The free pattern is Shui Kuen Kozinski's "Moonlight Sonata Scarf" from and the yarn is Elann's Peruvian Baby Cashmere which is a fingering weight made up of 60% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, and 10% cashmere. The colorway is #1417 "Peacock." A listing on Ravelry says it's been discontinued.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Off the Needles: Simple Ribbed Scarf

The Ten Thousand Villages store in Raleigh where I volunteer once a week has started selling Manos del Uruguay yarn. To show off the yarn to customers I knitted this scarf for our store display. It's pretty simple and knits up very quickly; I wanted to show what could be done with just one skein. The yarn is Maxima, a soft worsted-weight, in colorway "Chrysanthemum." The pattern is a K2P2 rib on size 9 needles.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Multicolored Tatted Handkerchief Edging

This is another edging that I started some time ago and finally pulled it out of the UFO box and finished it. Part of the fun and challenge of edging these vintage handkerchiefs is finding threads that coordinate or complement the hanky in some way. I love the colors in this particular thread, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a handkerchief in my stash that has floral embroidery with just about the same colors that are in the thread.

The thread is size 20 Flora made in Bulgaria (some Flora was also made in Hungary and Germany) in colorway #84. I don't believe this color is available any least it's not showing up on the German Flora color cards on the Lacis website.

The design is taken from pattern  #14 in A Tatter's Workbook by A. Tatter (Lacis Publications, 2001, p. 7), but I've made some minor changes. In the pattern, the chains all end with 3 ds, but I used 5 ds instead. Also, the illustration in the book shows the rings on top and chains on the bottom,  but mine came out with a ring on top alternating with a ring on the bottom. There's apparently a turn in the work that I either left out or put in. This did make the sewing on a bit more fiddly, but I'm happy with the outcome. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Purple & Green Handkerchief Edging

This is one of the more unusual designs in my vintage handkerchief collection. The green and purple tatted edging complements the colors on the handkerchief.

The pattern is "Eternity Rings" from Tatting with Visual Patterns by Mary Konior (Lacis Publications, 2002 edition, p. 38). The pattern is done in two rounds. I finished round one, sewed it on, and started the 2nd round last year, but didn't finish it until this month. The threads are size 80. The green is DMC brand and the purple is Majestic.

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Turquoise and Pink Edging

Another handkerchief edging finished last year and finally sewed onto a vintage handkerchief this month.

The threads are size 12 perle cottons, a thread type that I hadn't used for a long time since I've mostly been tatting with highly mercerized size 20 cottons. The softer texture of the perle cotton takes some patience when stitches have to be unknotted. But I picked the thread from my stash mainly to match the turquoise and pink in the handkerchief's design.

The variegated is Valdani in colorway V108 "Sparkling Stream." I'm not as certain about the solid turquoise thread. The small amount that's left is wound on an Oren Bayan spool so I'm assuming that's the source. I think it may be color #722, but since the label is missing, I can't be sure. It does perfectly match the turquoise in the Valdani, but I know it's not Valdani as I've never bought solid colors in that brand.

The pattern is #61 from A Tatter's Workbook by A. Tatter (Lacis Publications, 2001, p. 32).

Friday, July 4, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Hat Band

Just bought this sun protective hat (UPF 50+) and decided to dress it up with a tatted hatband. The pattern is a shortened version of "Lacy Scarf" from New Tatting by Tomoko Morimoto (Interweave, 2012, p. 64). 

The neat thing about the pattern is the way that the round motifs are made. One of the things I always disliked about round tatted motifs is the problem of how to connect the individual rounds. Do I make them all separately and then sew them together? Do I use some split ring trick to connect them as I go? Nope, with this pattern you just tat a strip with one side of the motif and then turn the work and go back and do the other side. The only sewing required is any tails that occur when you need to add more thread to the shuttle. And no split rings to fiddle with.

The thread is from stash acquired during the 1990s. It's size 20 Flora, a thread made in Hungary that has been discontinued by most suppliers. The color is #226 a chocolate brown.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Off the Shuttle: Tatted Edging for Pillowcase

My latest edging is a vintage pattern called "Pomegranate Edging" from Anne Orr's Classic Tatting Patterns (Dover Publications, 1985, p. 24), a reprint of Orr's 1940 book Tatting, Book No. 35, Revised. The thread is Lizbeth size 20 in colorway #176 "Pink Blossoms." 

It took 59 repeats of the motif for enough length to edge a standard size pillowcase. I've been asked how I sew edgings onto pillowcases. I usually stitch them several inches from the edge. Edgings attached directly to the edge of the case tend to wear out because of the stress on them in the washer. In the example above I stitched both sides down. This keeps the edging from rolling up or bunching. Yes, that means more time spent sewing, but unless you want to iron the pillowcase, it's the way to keep the edging lying flat and looking good. On my first pillowcase I only sewed one side onto the case, and now you can't even tell what the pattern is because all the rings are lying every which way.

I had some issues with this particular ball of thread (lots of unplying/untwisting, several slubs and fat spots, and at least one place where 2 ends were knotted together). The thread was part of a recent purchase of size 20 Lizbeth threads. I hope this was just an unfortunate occurrence and that the others I bought will be ok.