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Assante Opaleye Shawl

I’ve mentioned that I joined the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup on Ravelry.

It’s a fun group of crafters, divided into the Harry Potter houses (I am a Hufflepuff), engaged in friendly competition with each other for the House Cup.

“Students” receive points for monthly “class” assignments.  The prompts are posted at the beginning of each month, and there is enough leeway in a crafter’s interpretation to be able to fit almost any project into one of many prompts.

This has been a great way for me to “meet” other crafters who share my passion.  We also share other common interests and concerns that range from cooking (Hufflepuffs are known for our mad baking skills) to reading to parenting.

I love that the projects and the competition give me a “reason” to knit, and I’ve tried several patterns I would never have considered just to fit them into various prompts.

One of the activities we can choose to participate in (everything is volunteer) is the OWL project where we propose a long-term project, post progress reports, and complete it by a certain due date.  There are a LOT of points awarded for OWLs.

This has been my first official term as a “student,” and I just completed my first OWL!

I’m proud to show you my Assante Opaleye Shawl, so named because the Opaleye is a mythical creature in the Harry Potter series that has the same coloring as the shawl you see displayed below…

The pattern isn’t free, but the cost is minor compared to what you get back in a simple pattern and a designer who’s quick to answer questions.  The designer helped me adjust the pattern so I wouldn’t run out of yarn.

I used yarn in my stash (yay!).  The pink is called Tutu and is Cascade Heritage.  The green is called Wash and is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock.  Both yarns were divine to knit with…nothing but the best for my dainty hands.  heehee

I used size 4 needles to help conserve yarn.

It’s a different shawl for me…no lace patterning…but lovely all the same.  I’m pleasantly surprised by the result.

Omelet Shawl – Revealed!

Alright.

Since I teased you a bit with my post of two days ago, it’s finally time for the great reveal.

What, exactly, was I blocking?

It was, in fact, the Omelet Shawl, a beautiful design created by Joyce Fassbender.

I used Malabrigo Lace yarn and size 3 (3.25mm) needles.  I cast on June 10, 2012 and finished June 1, 2013.  It should not have taken me nearly a year, but as you know, teaching consumes my life from August to May.  Trying to complete my Reading Endorsement, Fred Jones, and other professional development series left me with very little time to knit.  The winding down of school (and the prospect of a knitalong with my friend, Christina) were the final motivation I needed to finish strong.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the pictures.  I took them myself…using the self-timer on my camera and my tripod.  It was a really fun photo session!

Pre-blocking. This is why we block…to open up the stitches to reveal the beautiful pattern!

 

Blocking was surprisingly easy!

I plan on wearing this to school on Wednesday…our final day!  I’ll pair it with a blue dress.  I think it will be divine!

 

Shetland Triangle Lace Shawl

I have another finished project!  I’m telling you…there’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment!

I began with this yarn…

That, my friends, is a little bit of heaven on earth…Malabrigo Sock Yarn.  The colorway is Ravelry Red.  I treated myself to this divine stuff when I went yarn shopping after I finished EPI.  Needless to say, my splurge was substantial only equaled by the stress level I had endured for those long, six months.

I used 1.31 skeins of yarn, leaving enough leftovers for a small project in the future (I’m thinking fingerless gloves).

The pattern for this shawl came in the book Wrap Style, which I’d won on a New Year’s Eve Knitalong that Sandy, from KnittingHelp, hosts each year…

I began working on the project July 14, and I cast off on September 4th.  Of course, progress would have gone much faster, but I was a little busy getting my new classroom set up.  Priorities must be in proper order, don’t you know.  😉

I knit this project on size 5 needles and completed twelve (12) body pattern repeats…four more than the pattern suggests.  I had seen this shawl in all of its glory in the yarn store where I had purchased the yarn, and it was a large version.  I wanted something that wouldn’t fall off of my shoulders.

Ok…now that I have described the particulars, I’ll move right along to the pictures…

Here are a few close-ups of the pattern…

I can tell that I am going to enjoy wearing this shawl.  The drape is so lovely, and the additional pattern repeats allow this shawl to sit comfortably on my shoulders while still being able to move around.

Molly kept a close watch on me during my little photo shoot from inside the house…

I don’t exactly blame her…especially since I decided to pose my shawl on the bushes in my flower bed…just for fun, you know…

This was a fun, easy knit.  If you’ve ever wanted to make a shawl, I highly encourage you to give this pattern a try.  It’s deceptively simple, and the result is FABULOUS!

Traveling Woman

As you know, my knitting has suffered.

I’m not complaining…much…mind you.  I am extremely thankful to have a job after searching for so long.

A couple of months ago, my friend, Rabbitrescuer, mentioned that she would be casting on for her 1,000th project (I exaggerate by two).  She asked if I would be interested in joining her and our mutual friend, Rae.

After taking a look at the pattern, I jumped on board.

I had the perfect yarn…

I believe I purchased that lovely skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino, color #103, at a yarn store in South Florida during a soccer trip two Springs ago.

I was eager to begin, and so on July 14, I cast on the Traveling Woman Shawl.  You can find the free pattern here.  I used size 6 needles.

Let me tell you…getting to the end was not all that easy.

First, there was the issue of time, which I’ve already mentioned.

I did manage to grab a few free hours during the trip to take Chicky to college.  I got in a few more when I went to her game a couple of weeks ago.  Hence, I think the name, “Traveling Woman” is quite fitting.

Second, there was the issue of the yarn.

After completing four repeats of Chart A, I started to realize that I just might run out.

I was in angst over the situation, but I didn’t put in a lifeline (why would I ever do a smart thing like this) and pushed on.  I had, after all, done my research.  I had read about others who had discovered they could have eked out another pattern repeat, and I didn’t want to let my yarn go to waste.  This stuff is not cheap!

And so I knit…

And held my breath…

And knit some more…

Before the awful truth finally slapped me in the face…

With two rows and the bind off left, I had come to the end of the line…

This is every knitter’s fear.  In fact, I think I am not the only person who’s had nightmares about just such an event happening.

One thing I knew for sure.  I was not about to tink back 19 rows.

Not when you’re talking about lace knitting.

No way, no how.

I don’t think even the Yarn Harlot would do this.

She would figure something out.

And that’s what I did.

I went online and scoured Ravelry, hunting for others who had this yarn, in this colorway, and had knit with it.

I sent out several SOS emails begging for scraps.

Less than 24 hours later, I had several responses.  A couple of gals turned their houses upside down in search of their leftover yarn.  One knitter found her’s and offered to send it the next day.

If I could bestow blessings, I would totally shower this kind soul with at least a hundred or so.

And so the stalking began.

I felt a little sorry for the mailman.  He didn’t know what or who was lying in wait for him.

But he was sneaky.  When I was out running errands, my package “magically” arrived…

Looks like she sent me her gauge swatch plus a little extra.

Woo Hoo!

After unraveling the yarn and removing the beads, I discovered that I had 15 grams of yarn.

Would it be enough?

I held my breath as I resumed my knitting.

Lo and behold, I finished, with about five grams left.

Talk about cutting it close!

I eagerly blocked my shawl…

Today, I could hardly wait to get home from work.

It was time to have a photography session!

Rooster retired after taking only four pictures.

I wasn’t satisfied, so I set up the tripod and took a bunch more…

One thing I like about having a larger shawl is the versatility.  I actually watched the following video to get some ideas…

And so I played…and took a few more pictures…

I wanted you to get the full effect of just how pretty the pattern is…

Do I like my shawl?

You betcha!

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 Christine

Three weeks ago, one of my online friends sent me a message in which she asked if I would be willing to make her a shawl.  She had seen the one I crocheted for my church’s prayer ministry, which came from this booklet (purchased at Joann’s):

She wanted to pay me.  For shame!  How can you put a price on handiwork?  I offered to let her pay for the yarn and shipping and call it even.

The deal was done.

I bought the yarn right away, even though I had explained that it would probably be a while before I made it…having other projects on my needles…one of which was the Swallowtail Lace Shawl.

That bag of yarn was like a siren…calling to me from the dining room table, where I had placed it.

There’s something about making a commitment to a friend.  You want to follow through right away.

And so, after feeling frustrated with the Mexican Rainbow Shawl, I began Christine’s shawl on May 18th.  Because I haven’t delivered the other shawl to church, I was able to check my gauge.  Apparently I crochet tightly.  I decided to go up two hook sizes to an I (5.5mm) hook.

I quickly made progress.  I think my crocheting has improved.  There’s a different kind of rhythm that I find very soothing.

Four days later I had completed this much (keeping in mind that I do work and sort-of clean and cook)…

Two days later, I finished.  It was actually rather late at night when I wove in the last end, so Chicky took pictures of it yesterday (Memorial Day)…hence my patriotic shirt…

You’ll notice that this shawl is bigger than the last one.  I really like the texture that resulted from using a larger hook.  The stitches are much more open, and the yarn is fabulously soft.

I just love this shawl.  I love the yarn – Bernat Satin (Worsted).  It’s soft, snuggly, and will be oh so warm in the frigid climate that my friend lives in.

The border, which I struggled with last time, was much easier this go-round.  Maybe it was the fact that the stitches were looser, making it easier to see where I needed to insert the hook.  I don’t know, but all I can say is I tore it up (that means I went really fast), easily completing it in one sitting and with no hair-pulling.

I’m going to put it in the mail today.  My fingers are crossed that it lives up to her expectations.

New Projects

You know I am not content to finish one project without casting on another.

I’ve actually got two projects going right now.

You already know about the Mexican Rainbow Shawl.  I’m using Vanna’s Choice yarn, a gift from one of my Bible study friends.

I’m experiencing a bit of anxiety about this project because the pattern was written for DK yarn.  Vanna’s Choice is a heavy worsted.  I debated about modifying the pattern but decided against it.  The center is supposed to be a square.  You can see, in the picture below, that this isn’t the case.  I’m currently working on the short rows that will allow the blanket to take on a semicircle appearance before actually becoming a circle.  It looks a bit wonky, but I hope things wind up working out in the end.

As you can see, the shawl is already rather large, so I decided to begin work on a second project…one that is more portable.

A KnittingHelp friend saw the last prayer shawl I made (the crochet one) and asked if I would be willing to make her one.  She’s having some trouble with her hands.  She is a generous lady, heading up the Canadian Oddball Baby Blanket Project.  I adore her, so it was an easy yes.

She requested black.  I think that’s a smart color to go with.  It will match just about anything she chooses to wear it with.

Here’s my progress so far, after five days…

We’re not traveling this weekend or next, so I hope to finish the black shawl and make significant progress on the other one.  I’m already scheming as to what I’ll put on my needles next.  I’m thinking socks!

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!

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