Saturday, August 29, 2009

Watergarden Shrug with Paua Shell Colors

The colors in these Paua Shells became the inspiration for my new project:
Jane Thornley's Watergarden Shrug"

I began working on this shortly after finishing the Little Fishies scarf. I say "finishing" laughingly, as I still haven't woven in the ends and added beads and embellishments, but I hope to add them before I get to Taos for the Jane Thornley Workshop/Retreat. I also hope to have this shrug done so I can show it and the scarf at the workshop. I have 1 sleeve and 3/4 of the back done, so this is certainly doable.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Little Fishies

I've finished my Little Fishies Beaded Panel Scarf, sans beads.They will be added at some future date, after I get a chance to make some new fish and shell beads. But for now, I'm happy with it.

Started August 1st, finished August 12th, 2009. Record time, for me.
Little Fishies Beaded Panel Scarf sans beads

As my first Jane Thornley project, it gave me a chance to get my feet wet, and I learned a lot in the process. From my notes:
Finally starting a Jane Thornley project!
OK, I did it. I cast on Saturday, 8/1/09, and am officially doing this KAL. I’ve learned a lot in the last 24 hours: Read the pattern through (not just the materials list) before you start selecting yarns. It gives you a better understanding of how your yarns and colors will work together, and which stitch patterns will be used with which yarns. When I started the front panel, I realized that my ribbon was very wide, and my tape was very narrow, and some adjustments had to be made to make them look right together. (Waiting to go look for yarn to replace 1 or the other was NOT an option :D) Besides the disparity in width, the thinness of my tape caused the size of the panel to be way too small. So I turned the k2/p2 ribbing into k3/p2 ribbing; this made the k3 tape stand up better against the p2 ribbon, and added a little to the size of the piece. I also had to add more stitches to the cast-on. Then I used 2 strands of the plain yarn, and added an extra couple of rows of garter stitch to make it taller. It still isn’t 7”x4”, more like 6 1/2”x3”, but it works for me. I think 4” high would be a little too much on my neck.

Then came the bubble type yarn. This has got to be the biggest pain of any yarn I've ever worked with. I used Crystal Palace Yarns Popcorn, which apparently is interchangeable with Prism Yarns Bubbles.

As you can see from the picture, the yarn is little bobbles separated by a thin thread. If you knit just the thread, the bobbles go floating around haphazardly, and you have a real mess. So I used some of my main yarn with it, which helped some, but still was not perfect. Then I tried sewing it on after knitting a section, but that was a different kind of pain. Finally, I looked up the sites of the 2 yarns for some insight. Crystal Palace had none to offer, but Prism suggested using #11 needles. Aha! Using #11 needles combined with my idea of adding some more substantial yarn along with it did the trick. The bubbles/bobbles in the later sections (or vignettes, as Jane calls them) of the scarf are much neater, and were easier to do than the earlier ones. Not so easy that I'm ready to tackle them again, mind you. Although I do have an idea or two for more Little Fishies scarves, just without "Bubbles"

Next up: Jane Thornley's Watergarden Shrug
It's just over 2 weeks till I head up to Taos for the Jane Thornley Workshop/Retreat, and I hope to get a jumpstart on using her techniques. This project, added to Little Fishies, should do just that.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Finishing Ravelry's WIPs WrestleMania

July was a busy month, and August looks to be the same. I just haven't been able to sit down and write, so I think I'll have to do this post in bits and pieces.

For starters, I finished the Sandra Kimono Jacket (more on that later) and made progress on the Wrap Me Up Shawl. I also did both Auqust squares for the 2009 Crochet 12" BAM/CAL: Lovely in Pink & Grey, and Bright & Cheery. Added to the other WIPs I had finished earlier in the month, I was happy with my results for WrestleMania. It motivated me to get things done. I may have to periodically set aside a month to work on finishing projects.

The Kimono Jacket still needed a lot of work, and took up quite a bit of time and effort. While I was blocking it, I discovered that in some sections, the variegated yarn striped, but in others, it pooled. I was not a Happy Camper, but it was obviously too late to do anything about it. Frogging it, and starting over, was NOT an option. Other than that, it turned out well, but too big for me. It seems that I inadvertently was using a larger
needle than planned. Luckily, I had already considered giving it to my daughter, and this clinched the deal.

Immediately on August 1st, I cast on a new project: the Little Fishies Beaded Panel Scarf, my first Jane Thornley KAL. More on this in my next post.