Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A beautiful partnership

Linen and lace go beautifully together, and don't let anyone tell you different. Linen is an amazingly classy fiber to wear. I know it makes me feel like a million bucks!

There are however a few extra steps needed beyond the usual blocking process to bring lacey linen to its best possible conclusion. I recently did a new sample of the Gothic Leaf Stole in linen and documented the process.

Knitting with linen can be a trying experience as with any bast fiber. It is rough and wiry and needs to be knitted rather firmly to counteract its lack of memory. For my stole, I used a US 5/3.75mm circular needle and Euroflax Sport Linen.

Side note to those of you about to embark on a linen Gothic Leaf Stole of your own: I would not recommend making two symmetrical halves to be grafted in the center (as I did) unless you are really really an expert grafter. I am apparently not an expert grafter (even though I always seem to be doing it) because I can still see the grafting line even after the thing has been washed, dried in a dryer, blocked, and worn some. But I am getting ahead of myself...

To you fans of crumpled lace, here is a nice example, just off the needles:

Linen yarn is actually improved in several ways by exposure to heat and agitation... unlike the animal fiber yarns in your stash. So in the washer and dryer it goes, protected only by a mesh bag. Hot water wash, high heat dry.

After this punishment, the lace is even more crumpled, but soft. I have un-crumpled it a little as I patted it very roughly into a rectangle.

Now I shpritzed (misted if you don't know Yiddish) with water and you can see it relaxing into uncrumpledness. This is actually all the blocking you may need.

However, I went ahead and did the whole shebang with wires and tape measure, well, just because I could. You do get a beautifully drapey garment when you go through the whole process. The stretching and drying flat makes a gorgeous finished piece.

And here is Yee Jee Tso's vision of the finished piece:

Thank you, Yee Jee. And thank you, Three Bags Full.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Chicken Fever

I don't have any chickens to show. No knitted chickens, no eggs, no camp photos. Boohoo.

This is what I do have, spurred by one I saw on Nathania's blog:

Leave me to my dreamy chicken dreams...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Back in the Saddle

I went awol, big time. It has been long, long since I blogged. Much has happened in the mean time.

Biggest news on the home front... a brand new pattern got born today. Welcome, if you please ... the Journey Cable Socks pattern!

This baby has four sizes, two weights of yarn, and lots and lots of hours of knitting and planning. It IS a really fun sock to make, especially the baby sock (if I may say so myself). I couldn't have done this without mucho help from many corners. Thank you, all the invisible helpers...

My favorite belongs to the little legs at left... Aija, "shop baby" at Three Bags Full
and all around charmer. She likes to practice walking (which she just started to do) with little bunny-soft Moebius baskets in each hand. Obviously this little girl has grown up around some fiber! Go, girl!

Another new, new thing is the advent of downloadable pdf patterns for sale on my website. Yes, it is true. After talking about this for months, many pattern pdf's are available for sale. More will be posted soon. I know you international folks will be happy to hear about this, and I REALLY HOPE it cuts down on the number of emails I send to people in Europe and Australia when they purchase printed patterns at the wrong rate of shipping. You gotta love Paypal shopping carts, folks.

If you would like the immediate gratification of having the Journey Cable Socks Pattern in your hot little knitter's hands today, go here and make it so!