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Laminaria Shawl

A lot of things have gone by the wayside this school year.

I’ve been an inconsistent blogger.

My housekeeping has gone to pot.

My knitting, though, has not ceased.

In January, I cast on for this term’s OWL…a three-month project that reads almost like a dissertation when a proposal is submitted.  We’re hard-core on Ravelry!

I love to knit lace, so the Laminaria Shawl fit the bill.

I used Malabrigo yarn I’d purchased some time before (I didn’t have to use the pink, but it was there as a backup plan in case I ran out of the purple), but it wasn’t long before I hit a snag.

Thank heavens for Ravelry.  Folks, if you want to make this shawl, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  There are some issues with symmetry in the pattern.  The KAL (knitalong) forum for this pattern proved invaluable and helped me figure out how to adjust the stitches on the left side in the first couple of charts.

I used a lot of lifelines and about halfway through quit counting stitches.  It gets old counting out three to four hundred stitches.  Relying on my ability to hit the end of a section with the right stitch was scary, and I often tinked back to fix mistakes.

Still, I persisted.

Mom’s health crisis nearly did me in at the end.  Deadline knitting can be stressful, but it’s also a motivating factor when I knit.  That’s been a big bonus since joining the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup.

I took this project with me during both trips to visit my mom.  I knit in her hospital room by the light provided by the bathroom during the times when Mom’s headaches were so bad that she couldn’t tolerate any extra light.

I knit in the car when Super Sis drove the second trip down.

I knit when the Mr. picked me up and we traveled to Orlando for a Spring Break vacation.

I knit on the way home and then the day after that.

Blocking went much quicker than I’d originally expected, and I was able to take pictures the next day.

I do love my picture taking, although I sometimes fear that my neighbors will one day commit me to the loony bin; the sight of a camera on a tripod and me running back and forth to set the self-timer must be hysterical to behold.

A special thanks to the Mr. who did snap a few photos for me.  He grew aggravated, snapped a photo of my rear end for laughs (husbands…sheesh), but tolerated my request for help…to a point.

I wound up using nearly both skeins of yarn (935 yards), more than meeting the 800 yard requirement for this Charms OWL.

I tried to figure out a way to show off the lace work.  The purple yarn was difficult to photograph.  I hit upon an idea…using the shawl like stained glass.  My front window provided the perfect backdrop.

I’ll let you peruse the rest of my photos.  It’s a smorgasbord, that’s for sure!  If you want more details about the project, visit my project page on Ravelry!  I’m Auburnchick over there!

Love of Knitting eBook – A Review

A couple of days ago, I received an email from my friend, Rebecca, asking if I was interested in reviewing an eBook for the Love of Knitting website.

I contacted Eric, the guy who had originally emailed her, and he responded quickly, attaching the eBook to his message.  He also granted me permission to use any photographs from the book.  Yay!

The title of the eBook is Learn to Knit Lace.  You can find the free eBook here.

You know me and lace.  We go together like peanut butter and chocolate in a Reese’s Cup.

The eBook contains pattern instructions for three projects.

The Cielo Shell is an adorable sleeveless knit top that has stockinette stitching across the top third and a beautiful diamond lace pattern across the bottom portion.

Although I’ve never knit a “real” sweater, the instructions seem clear.  The schematics provide the measurements needed to fit this top properly.

The second project in this eBook is the Espalier Wrap…

This pattern combines cables and easy lacework to make what looks to be a warm wrap.  The leaf edging is a beautiful touch.  Surprisingly, this project is worked back and forth, knitting through three charts simultaneously.  I’ve never seen a pattern worked this way before, but I’ve gotta say that it sure beats picking up stitches or grafting a border on at the end!  I will DEFINITELY be making this!

The last project in the eBook is a Lace Linen Trim…

This is a simple lace pattern that would add a fancy touch to any room!

I’ve got to say that I am very impressed with this little eBook.  The steps are written out as well as charted, so regardless of your preference, you have no excuse not to give these patterns a go.  The pictures serve as great visual references if you’re not sure what a pattern is supposed to look like.

The website, LoveofKnitting.com, where this eBook is located has many, many free patterns and other eBooks as well.  I’ve bookmarked it for future reference and look forward to perusing it frequently.

A Circle of Kindness

It is amazing what three people can do when they put their heads together.

Cue up my latest finished project…

The pattern is Lacy Shawl, from the Prayer Shawl Companion book.

I made this for my friend, Figaro’s, neighbor, who tragically lost a young son before Thanksgiving.

Our friend, Rabbitrescuer, sent me a couple of skeins of Caron Simply Soft (Grey Heather).  I bought one more because I suspected that I would need it.  The project used 674 yards (a little over two skeins).

This was a super-easy pattern. I completed seven sections and added the fringe on the bottom.

I love the lacy pattern. I used size 10 1/2 needles. It almost looks like a crocheted item (to my non-crochet knowledgeable eyes).

The Caron Simply Soft drapes soooo nicely!!

I will be putting this in the mail tomorrow.  I cannot wait for this gift to reach its unsuspecting recipient, and I am thankful to be a part of a circle of friends who, joined together, can extend arms of warmth to this grieving mother.

A Shawl for AuburnChick

I did it!

I finished my Swallowtail Lace Shawl!  First, the info…

The pattern is free, available here.  I used less than one skein of Malabrigo Lace yarn.  The color is “Forest.”  I used size 4 needles and completed the pattern without any modifications.

Now, on to the pictures before more detailed information…

This is the first lacy shawl I’ve made, and I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.  It was a struggle, as you probably remember.  I had a heck of a time with the nupps.  I figured out that you have to unwrap the yarn from the hand you’re feeding it through when doing the k1, yo, k1, yo, k1 in preparation for the nupps.  Then, when you purl back, purling those stitches as a p5tog, it’s much, much easier.  Trust me…I learned the hard way.

Then, I had a bit of trouble keeping my stitch count.  I kept a stitch marker just after the center stitch and kept a running count on each side of it.  I also found that highlighting the pattern (after Dustina’s comment) was a great way to stay on track.  After completing every odd row, I wrote down the number of stitches, confirming that I had the correct number each time.

After binding off, I had to block it.

I like blocking just about as much as I like making a gauge swatch.

I have the lace blocking wires from Knit Picks, and I’ve tried using them for other projects, but I’ve never quite gotten the hang of it.  I decided to do a bit of research first.  Coincidentally, Knitting Daily posted this right before I was ready to block the shawl, and I also found this video through a different email from Knitting Daily:

Armed with this information, I went out hunting for a foam playmat and checkered cloth.  I finally found the mat at Toys r U:

The package included four of these squares…a very nice size for blocking.

Then, I found the fabric on sale at Joann’s.  Together, they looked like this:

I spent oodles of time pinning and adjusting the wires.  Here’s what it looked like when I was done…

I almost had tears in my eyes when I got finished.  It looked like someone with a lot more knitting know-how had been in my house.

So, where will I wear this shawl?

On the seven-night cruise that the in-laws are treating the family to the week of Thanksgiving.

Wipe the drool off your face.

We’re heading to the south Caribbean.  The Mr.’s parents go on a couple of cruises a year and decided that we would celebrate Chicky’s upcoming graduation and Rooster and my oldest nephew’s upcoming 16th birthdays (I know…Rooster isn’t even 15 yet).

Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.

And I’ll take along my new shawl!

A Silk Scarf for AuburnChick

As you might have gathered by now, I mostly knit things for other people. I have worked on a number of Oddball Baby Blankets with a group of KnittingHelp.com knitters. I also try to surprise people with unexpected gifts. No, I’m not this fairy godmother of knitting. I simply like to knit with a purpose. That is the reason why this craft appealed to me in the beginning.

Every now and then, it’s nice to make something for myself.

You might remember the Tilli Tomas Rockstar yarn that I bought myself after my graduation. The color is Glazed Ginger. It has different hues of brown in it, and glass bead are strung on a separate thread and spun together with the silk. If you’re new to my blog, here’s a photo of it.

When I bought the yarn, I casually mentioned to the gal at the yarn store that I could probably make a scarf out of it.

“One skein won’t be enough,” she kindly informed me.

“Um, for the price I paid, one skein will have to be enough, even if I’ve got to knit it up with size 40 needles,” I thought to myself. There was no way I was going to make a scarf that cost me $80+ in supplies.

Enter in Ravelry. Now, I have to say that I am a very loyal person. KnittingHelp.com is my go-to, end-all, be-all place of knitting knowledge. The free videos, forum, and chat assure me that I will find an answer to almost any question I have, at any time of the day.

However, Ravelry has some very nice features too. One of the features I use often is the search option. You can search for patterns and find out what kinds of yarns people used and changes they made to the patterns to suit their particular preferences. I like to search by yarns to learn about patterns that have been used with them. That’s just what I did with this yarn. Thank goodness too.

I am an anal person. I cannot buy yarn without knowing beforehand what I’m going to make with it. I tend to get all flustered and bothered. I must have a plan for everything, you see. I don’t think well on my feet.

If you are a member of Ravelry, you can go to this link to see what led me to use the pattern I finally settled on. Of course, it wasn’t a free pattern but required the purchase of a book. Boy, this scarf was getting more expensive every time I turned around!

Here’s the book that has the Lace Scarf pattern I used:

Now, another part of my knitting personality is that I tend to remain loyal to a project. I do not like to put one down and start another, hence I do not have many WIP’s. But when this book arrived in my mail…well…AuburnChick stepped outside of the box…albeit a bit guiltily. I put aside my Froot Loop sock I had recently started and cast on for the scarf.

The pattern is very easy. I quickly had it memorized. The scarf flew off of my needles. If I didn’t have to work, I’m sure I could have finished it in a couple of days. It took me almost a week, blocking time included.

Here are the results…

And a close-up of the stitch…

I have resumed work on my sock, but I’m feeling too lazy to take a picture of my progress. I did finish the leg and will begin work on the heel. Pictures will follow in another post.

I hope you are all having a wonderful 4th of July! Happy celebrating, and happy knitting!

AuburnChick Wins the Jackpot

Folks, Las Vegas has redeemed herself in AuburnChick’s eyes!

No, I didn’t win at the slot machines. Nothing as exciting as that (winning money is always a thrill, eh?). I won a jackpot of a different kind. But more on that later.

First of all, I feel the need to apologize. My previous post was a bit negative. I have learned that you should never blog when you’re tired and, hence, grumpy. Apparently, waking up at 3:30 in the morning and then flying across country, changing time zones three times, can leave one a bit less than 100%. I think that the fatigue, combined with the bright lights and noise of the slot machines, left me feeling overwhelmed. Plus, I was a bit disappointed with the hotel. Hence, my less-than-impressive first impression.

It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for you. Friday, I woke up bright-eyed and busy-tailed, ready to take on this town. I had already found a couple of knitting stores through MapMuse.com. I had called Wooly Wonders the afternoon before to ensure they had the good yarn. My original plan was to visit this store because it was close to the hotel. However, I got up so early that I was eager to get started on my adventure. So, I decided to brave the road, and I headed for the other store, which was further away. Boy am I glad I did!

Warning: The following pictures are not for the faint of heart.

But first…pictures of my trip there. Look at the car we rented! I like this car! I felt sporty, like a hot young mama (one can have their delusions…it is Vegas, after all!).

Here’s the view I had as I drove:

I was thrilled to find two good Christian radio channels. I was singing, enjoying the scenery, and anticipating what was to come. Would my expectations be met???

Here’s the first store I went to — Gail Knits.

What a fabulous store!!! The outside is very deceptive. Here’s what I saw when I entered…

I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! I felt like a two-year old at Disney World! A gal came up and asked if she could help me. I could barely talk, blubbering like some crazy lady. I slowed down and calmly explained that I was AuburnChick from Podunk, U.S.A., and that I had never seen such a marvelous array of yarn before! She invited me to pet the yarn. I did the mad dash. However, she tried to explain all about how some of the yarns were spun, etc.

“Lady,” I wanted to say, “Let me be…not enough time and so much to see.” But I didn’t. I politely listened until she saw the glazed look in my eyes and wandered off, allowing me the freedom to wander. What a marvelous, stupendous place! I saw yarns I’d only seen online. Cascade, Tofutsies, Rowan…I could go on and on…

Now, here’s where the practical side of me came out. If I’m going to buy yarn, I must know what I’m going to make. So undecided…I finally called over another lady, who wound up being the owner. She chuckled at my enthusiasm and patiently answered all of my questions. I’m sure I must have sounded and acted like the country bumpkin I am. I was overwhelmed, but this time the words “cheesy” do not come to mind. Glorious is more like it.

So, on to the good stuff. Here’s what I walked out with.

Bamboo!!! Oh my! I’ve heard about the stuff but have never touched it! It is some of the softest stuff I’ve ever had the privilege of touching.

I’m going to make the Bamboo Lacy Jacket. It’s an in-house pattern.

This is some Cascade yarn. It’s green. The picture does not do it justice. I’m going to make a beret to match the fingerless gloves in my queue.

This is more Cascade yarn. Sorry I can’t be more specific on the color, but I’m sitting on the soccer field as I type this. I think I’m going to make a hat out of this as well.

Here are a couple of skeins of Tofutsies.

A funny story…I was eyeing the bamboo and the three skeins of Tofutsies on the shelves. There wasn’t enough of the bamboo for the project, so I was debating whether or not to purchase it. Plus, Gail didn’t have a color of Tofutsies that I liked. However, I stayed so long that she got in a delivery. You guessed it…more bamboo and Tofutsies yarn. I heard God speak…”Nathalie, this yarn was meant for you…” <giggle>

So, I walked out of the store quite a bit poorer but floating on air. What a great start to the day! But the day was only just beginning…

I decided I had spent enough money, and I proceeded to head back toward the hotel. Conveniently, the Las Vegas Strip was on my way. Having missed the fun the night before, I decided to take a drive. Here are the photos I took, from the window of my car. I have to say that the strip is impressive. It’s amazing how big and ornate these hotels are.

So, after driving down the strip, I realized that I still had plenty of time before I had to go the soccer fields. Mustn’t let an opportunity like this go to waste. I punched the address to Wooly Wonders into the GPS.

What a find! The yarn selection was not as big as Gail Knits, but it was a cozy place with the nicest gals!

Here’s what I bought at this store…

Noro, for a friend. I’m going to make her a booga bag.

I can’t remember the name of this yarn, but it’s just gorgeous! It’s deep blue with a hint of purple in it. I’m going to make a shawl/wrap thing from a lace book I purchased at the store.

Here’s some reading material for the plane.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the soccer aspect of this trip. Just look at these gorgeous fields…

The mountains provide a backdrop that is simple awe-inspiring. God’s handiwork is something to behold.

Here’s a picture of “Stitch,” a dog that someone on another team brought to the game. I’m throwing it in cause I thought you might enjoy it.

The girls won their game, beating the Nevada state champs! We’re playing the #2 team from California (my hands are freezing as I type this), and we’ll play the Colorado state champs this afternoon. Wish us luck!

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