Tag Archives: swatching

Things I’ve learned about lace knitting

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(Swatches for 4 shawls I want to knit. Right now.)

  • Swatching lace patterns is fun and addicting, and I like fussing with them to get the effect I want. Combine, alter, chart, swatch, refine, repeat.
  • Swatching in practice yarn is way better than repeatedly frogging and reknitting your “real” yarn. I switched to some light worsted yarn I had on hand. (White swatches in the picture.)
  • Swatching lace with heavier yarn will tell you a lot, but not everything. Swatching with leftover sock yarn is better, if fingering weight yarn is your goal. I wised up and bought a 50g skein of Louet Gems for swatching, because I needed a light color for a design submission. It’s the green ball in the picture, and it’s lovely to work with. I may have to get some more, to knit for reals.
  • Beads add lovely weight, drape, and bling to lace. I’m hooked (hah!) on the crochet hook method of adding beads.
  • Blocking is magic. (We already knew that, but it’s been reaffirmed, and can’t be said enough.)
  • An old black velvet dress makes a great background for a pale lace swatch photo. (No pic, it’s for a design submission.)
  • This elastic bind off is way better than the usual chain bind off, for lace that is going to be blocked: K2, * slip left needle into fronts of the 2 worked stitches on right needle and knit them off together through the back loop (like an ssk), K1, repeat from *.
  • And last of all: I’m a little obsessive.

PS: I blame Sivia Harding for this trip down the lace rabbit hole. I took her workshop last Sunday, and can’t stop playing with ideas. You can take her class at Twisted next Saturday, March 30. It’s from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about possible obsession!

Have some class(es)!

I spent all day Sunday learning about Sideways Lace Shawl Design in an inspiring workshop with designer Sivia Harding. She’s a perfect teacher, patient and full of great tips. This particular crescent shawl construction is new to me. It’s nice to have more options. I loved the class, and have fallen down the rabbit hole with many, many ideas. How to choose just one?

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(Some of my stitch dictionaries. Sivia has more than I do…)

Swatch! I know, the S word. But after frogging the same bit of yarn 3 times, I realized that I should really swatch on something other than the good stuff. Now I’m playing with swatch #5, in a dk weight yarn and size 7 needles. I’m saving my lovely Knitted Wit Cashy Lite for the real thing.

pendant

I love taking classes. It’s so much fun to learn something new with a group of people who love the same thing you do. I’ve done this with piano (camp), and do this with knitting. Books and videos are great, but they will only take you so far. Sometimes you just need to see it live in front of you, and discuss it with your friends! Have you taken knitting workshops? What do you think?

I’d like to take this opportunity to put in another plug for the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, April 19-21. There are some great classes available, but they can only happen if enough people sign up for them. Yvonne, the organizer, needs to know by April 1 whether there are enough students to make a lot of these classes happen. I’m scheduled to teach two classes, the Thrill of the Thrum (thrummed slippers), and Tink Drop Frog (finding and fixing mistakes), an expanded version of the class I teach at Twisted, with more tips and tricks. I’ve taken classes from instructors Mary Scott Huff (steeking) and Deb Accuardi (drop spindling) before, and enjoyed them both. You can see a full list of classes and instructors here.

Besides the classes, there is a wonderful marketplace loaded with fiber goodies, and a treasure hunt based on Chrissy Gardiner’s fabulous book, Indie Socks. Entry to the marketplace is free.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my stitch dictionaries are calling! As is the S word. And really, swatching is pretty fun when you’re playing with design ideas. It’s not like knitting a gauge swatch at all…

Road trips, and swatching

The week has flown by! The weekend is here and I’m still on last weekend, which I began at Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett, in the Columbia Gorge. This is spring on my side of the mountains…damp and cool.

gorge

step

I always walk the labyrinth at Menucha. It helps me quiet my busy mind, and focus. A meditation and a revelation, perfect.

center

I don’t remember ever seeing this much color in the mosaic stones before. I guess all that moisture can have its advantages.

color

And Diane became a new spinner! I’ll pass along a spindle to her; I have more than I need.

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I went home Saturday night, and on Sunday morning I headed to the other side of the Cascade Mountains with my friend Vickie. We went to Kahneeta to hang out with her mom in her mom’s new RV. Nice digs.

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The landscape is completely different over there, sunny and dry.

rocks

trees

cattails

The cattails reminded me of spindles, with their loads of fluff.

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The cottonwoods were shedding their loads of fluff, too, and it made me think I should try to spin that…

cottonwood

With all that fluff going on, you may ask if there was any knitting. Yes, a bit.

swatch

I’m going to call this swatching, mostly because I’ve completely frogged it. I’ve started and ripped three times now, as I hone in on what I want from this piece. There have been a lot of “aha!” moments. I’m about to start my last (I hope) rip, because now I think I know exactly what this needs. This time. Real swatching would be smart, but I get so excited about getting started, I just jump right in. Oops. We’ll just call them “very large swatches.” At least this yarn can put up with repeated froggings. I may be impetuous and lazy, but I’m stubborn, too, and I will prevail…

stubborn

The original colors, below. It turned out that the pale green in the variegated didn’t pop against the gray, so I had to choose a new background. It’s Violetas, also in Malabrigo worsted.

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On our way back over the mountains, we stopped up at Timberline Lodge for the view. Here’s Mt. Jefferson from the parking lot:

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(Love that sky!)

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And Mt. Hood out the back window of the lodge, near the bar.

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The bar window is pretty cool looking, too.

bar glass

And now mama bird is home, for a while.

mamabird

What’s up for you this weekend? I think the boys (young men) are going to help me whip the back yard into shape. It’s Mother’s Day, and that means they’ll do it, even if it’s not their favorite thing to do! Don’t worry; I’m making a fabulous dinner as their reward…