Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ribbit, Freaking Ribbit

{Major Sigh} well, for those who may be following along, you may have noticed more than a pregnant pause here lately. There's a good reason for that, I promise you. After finishing 2 repeats of the 300 stitch round, I decided that I simply cannot abide the look of the shawl. I thought I was satisfied with the guage I was working, but now it is apparent that it's just not doing ANYTHING for the lace pattern. So, it's a gonner. I'm frogging the entire shawl and starting over. ugh. I know I'll be happier for it in the end, but it's a little depressing at the moment. Thank goodness I know I'm in sympathetic company who won't allow me to wallow in the slimy murk of the lily pond for long.
That has not, however stopped me from designing the next rounds!!! Fear not! As long as you are still knitting in a guage that suits you and your lace, I present to you the next pattern.
Since Liz is well underway with her workshop over on
Traditionalknitting, I really wanted to use some of those patterns. They are LOVELY and if you haven't been following the workshop, you are really missing a fantastic opportunity. The pattern I wanted most to use was Candlelight, but the stitch count was just a bit tedious to work in, so back to good old Barbara Walker and her Treasury of Knitting Patterns to find a lace that she calls Fern Lace that is pretty darned identical except that it has a 10 stitch repeat. Perfect! So I present to you Fern Lace

Pretty, isn't it? So why this pattern? This will give you a bit more complicated design to follow and 'read' on the needles. The design alternates before the repeat actually completes, so you will need to really see what is going on with the stitches. It's really not all that hard. The central component of yo, K1, yo is what makes the stem of the fern (or candle) and that is easy to keep your bearings on. I know you can do it and it will look soooo pretty in this next band.

You might note that I said the 300 stitch band rather than 288 stitches which the original Pi pattern calls for. I did a bit of playing and determined that indeed the extra stitches only enhance the appearance of the lace and in no way deter from the end result (when you are knitting in the proper guage, but I think we've been over that already. Please pardon the pity interlude.)

This is a 16 row pattern which also works very well to do 3 repeats with 2 rows of knitting before and after the yo increase rounds. Here is the pattern:

Row

1 Knit (and all odd numbered rows)

2 / O 1 O \ 5

4 / 1 O 1 O 1 \ 3

6 / 2 O 1 O 2 \

8 3 O 1 O 3 Y (I am using 'Y' instead of the upside-down version which means Knit 3 together. If anyone knows a way to do that in common type, please share.)

10 O \ 5 / O 1

12 O 1 \ 3 / 1 O 1

14 O 2 \ 1 / 2 O 1

16 O 3 Y 3 O 1

So I leave you to your knitting. Me and the the frog are going to go enjoy a glass of wine, some Chocolate Strawberry Frozen Mousse and destroy a shawl. See ya round the frog pond! I'll be the slimy one.

Elaine

PS. have you all figured out that you can cut and copy the design instructions to a regular word processing program and print it out on either business card or notecard stock? ;-)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Pattern #2

How is everyone coming along? I would expect you are at least ready for the second pattern. I was pretty sure it would work out alright, but didnt' want to post till I'd actually tried it. The second pattern is called Horseshoe... because it ...well....looks like a horseshoe. Go figgure.

I'm giving you the picture from Barbara Walker's "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns" because first of all, I couldn't get a picture of mine that looked right at all. It's in that 'ugly bag' stage where it's too small to open up and too big to sit nicely. Secondly, I managed to knit it upsidedown, so it won't look like yours anyway...unless you knit yours upside down too. :)
It's not a difficult pattern at all, but has a bit more too it than the first pattern, so will stretch your lace muscles a little more. This pattern has an 8 row and 10 stitch repeat. Now, the second section has a 24 row and 144 stitch repeat. The 24 rows works perfectly, we'll do 3 repeats, but 10 into 144 doesnt' quite cut it. So...what to do? You could a. decrease 4 stitches or b. increase 6 stitches to make the pattern fit. Considering that this is a circular piece that gets blocked out pretty hard anyway, I chose to increase the 6 stitches. When you knit the first plain knit row after the yo increases, place 6 increases evenly around the work. I personally prefer the M1 increase but any increase will work. How to space evenly? Divide 6 into 144 and the denominator will be the number of stitches between increases. Come on! you can do that much math! :)
OK, here's the chart and written versions. Remember that charts are read from the bottom up and written directions from the top down.
Note: ^ = SSK

K K K K K K K K K P (10)
O K K K ^ K K O K P
K K K K K K K K K P
K O K K ^ K K O K P
K K K K K K K K K P
K K O K ^ K O K K P
K K K K K K K K K P
K K K O ^ O K K K P

  1. 3, O, ^, O, 3, P
  2. 9, P
  3. 2, O, 1, ^, 1, O, 2, P
  4. 9, P
  5. 1, O, 2, ^, 2, O, 1, P
  6. 9, P
  7. O, 3, ^, 2, O, 1, P

OK, not to hard, right? There are a couple of really good features to this pattern for the sake of learning. You have two points on each repeat to make sure you are in the correct place and haven't messed up stitches. See the blue ^ (SSK) and the blue P stitch? You have those on EVERY round to match up. OK, so on the even rounds you only have the P stitch, at least that means that you can never be more than 9 stitches wrong. Every round, look closely at where the SSK and the P stitch will lie. If it's not in the correct place, you only have one repeat back to examine and see where the mistake is. If it's in the row previous, DO NOT FROG BACK AND ENTIRE ROW. Either make an unobtrusive correction if that's possible, or drop the one offending stitch to the row below and reknit it correctly. If it's a yo, pick up the thread between the stitches, if it's a SSK, take out the offending stitches, make the correct decrease and bring the stitches back up.

Learn to repeat that sequence in your mind and you won't make NEARLY so many mistakes. Consider the even rows an opportunity to catch any bugs before they are an issue.

Also, note that the yo on rows 5 and 7 are in the same place. I'm not sure why that is, but it just doesn't work out nicely otherwise, just watch it. I assure you it's no problem after being knit.

OK, if I dont' manage an update until Monday, it's because I'm working the PAOBA Alpaca show in York PA this weekend. It should be fun and I'm sure I'll get some blogworthy pics to add to the other site at www.ccrfuzzy.typepad.com . The dinner on Saturday is a spoof on 'Let's Make A Deal' costumes and all. Surely something blogworthy there. And there is always the Fleece to Shawl on Saturday. I certainly hope I can look up from my spinning long enough to click off a pic or two.

So until Monday.... Tally ho!!! (get it? horseshoe...tally ho...oh well)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Lifelines

Hello all. And now for another exciting installment of the Shetland Pi Shawl Saga...
Lest you get too bored, or take yourself too seriously, I suggest a short foray to this site http://threadbared.com/ WHAT A HOOT!!!! I love this person's sense of humor.
Now, for today's topic...Lifelines, safetyline...whatever you want to call it, you may be praising it if you have a major tragedy and need to rip out stitches.
Do we all understand the terminology of destroying our knitting? just in case we have some confusion...


Frogging...this is actually ripping out a whole row or more of stitches. Often discouraging, occasionally rewarding, rarely entoxicating but on the occasional really bad project...well, that's another topic entirely. It comes from the term 'rippit' as in rip-it or ribbit as in the sound a frog makes. Get it?
Tink....this is what we do when only a couple of stitches, or perhaps a single repeat or more is affected and you need to 'un-knit' back to the point of issue one stitch at a time. Why 'tink'? Because it's the opposite of 'knit'. k-n-i-t = t-i-n-k ok, then! You know, they say that any joke that needs explanation just isn't all that funny.

Now, for lifelines. All a lifeline is, is a sturdy, easy to see thread or cord inserted into a row of knitting so that if you should need to frog back, the line will catch all the live stitches on one single row. It's always best to put these in on a row where you can remember exactly what pattern row it represents. A plain knit row before a new pattern repeat would be a good choice. The first row of plain knitting after a major increase row would be another good choice. Also put a SEPARATE marker on the first stitch of that row. When the lifeline is tied into a circle, you won't have any other way of finding that very first row stitch.


As you can see here, I used

  • a contrasting color
  • A cotton cord (cotton doesn't felt or grab)
  • a long cord
  • a cord that will remain tied and not slip apart
  • I insert the line with a yarn needle while THAT ROW is on the cable of the circ needle

My particular choice is a piece of cotton carpet warp because I have tons of it and it's almost as useful as Duct Tape around my house. (SN: we all understand the eternal value of Duct Tape don't we? Between Duct Tape and WD-40, there is nothing I can't fix. If it moves, tape it. If it doesn't move, WD-40 it. )

Once you have safely knitted far enough that you won't need to frog back, or you hit a good place to insert another line, you may just clip the cord and remove the lifeline. It doesn't hurt to just leave it until the entire piece is finished either. Call me superstitious, but I don't take them out until I'm ready to block.

So that's your giggle for the day and your new skill. I have the next section of lace almost all ready and hope to post it tomorrow. Is everyone about ready for the 144 sts section?

Elaine

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tips: card notes

OK, so now that you know how to read the charts, what's the best way to keep them handy? I like to not only travel with my projects, but I never have fewer than 2 going at a time, so I need some method to
  1. take notes
  2. read notes and charts quickly, and
  3. keep them easily organized in my knitting bag

My answer is index cards...all SORTS of index cards!

(BTW, I trust you know that to see a larger view, you can click on the pics, right?)

There are lots of options and each one has it's own merits.

  • Spiral bound index card books. These are great for longer projects as you can put one line of the pattern on one card. When you finish that pattern line, turn the card. There are usually about 150 cards and I rarely use them all. Let's say that I'm working the EZ basic Pi Shawl; For chart A I'll make a cards like this:

-------------------------Card 1--------------------------

Row A3

3 * \, O, 1, O, /, 7* 4 (Translation: Knit 3 *SSK, YO, K1, YO, K2TOG, K7* K4)

Row A4 Knit even

--------------------------Card 2---------------------------------

Row A5

2 * \ , O, 3, O, /, 5* 3

Row A6 Knit even

--------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll continue on this way for the entire design pattern and then use index tabs on the side to tell me where the A design cards are located. If I find a tricky section, I can write a reminder or note in on the card or the on facing it. If I have a design where there is only one repeat of each line and I need to be able to see multiple lines at once, I'll put the entire design repeat on one card and use symbols and colors to help clarify. For instance, the border is a 8 row repeat that goes back and forth rapidly and I need to read line by line at a quick glance. This is what it looks like:

----------------Border---------------------------------------

1< 3 / O 3 / O / 5 O O 2

2> 7 / O 3 / O 2 O / 1+1

3< 6 O / 3 O / 2 O O / O O 2

4> 8 / O 3 / O 4 O / 1+1 etc....

-----------------------------------------------------------------

What does this tell me?

Row #, direction of knitting, stitch order, by coloring odd rows blue and even rows red, my eye is quickly drawn to the correct row when I look up from my knitting for an instant reminder.

You can also find translucent covers for these bound cards. The covers are nice because being frosted, they don't glare (especially in the car) and they keep the cards neat and together.

  • 4x4 graph cards and innexpensive photo albums

Graph cards are awesome! not only does your eye see pattern better when letters and symbols are aligned, but you can do on the spot graphing, work out lace patterns, write more legibly, and just make the whole mess easier to read.

You can buy all sorts of cheap snapshot albums or you can go all out and buy an expensive one if you like. My favorite is the cheap 10 shot album at the dollar store. I can insert cards in order, place the working card in the cover so that it's useable with the book closed. Insert numerous cards in one sleeve to sort my patterns or repeats or whatever. I have managed to find 3x5, 4x6 and 5x7 photo sleeves, but the 5x7 are usually 8.5" x 11" pages and it's just not as handy.

If I want to use the book just once, (come on, it's ONE BUCK), then I can use a Sharpy marker to mark off the rows (of the card inside the sleeve) as they are knitted. Too cheap for that? put clear tape over the row numbers on the sleeve. Make your marks on the tape. When you are finished with that card, pull off the tape and the sleeve is clean again.

Of course, you can also do the same with regular size paper or graph paper and clear page protectors. I keep the larger purchased pattern graphs in a page protector and use the tape idea to mark off rows.

So that's my hints and suggestions regarding index cards. I bet you all can think of some good ideas too. If so, PLEASE share! I love finding new and better ways to do things!

Elaine...CCR-fuzzy-headed after a long trip yesterday.

What day is this?

OK, for anyone who didn't notice, I got my days messed up...again. I'm good for that, I'll warn you now. I was gone MONDAY, not Sunday. The funeral was wonderful and so was seeing a couple of old friends that I've missed terribly. I tried to get some done on the shawl, but working out a pattern is not good travel knitting for me. I did, however get almost a complete pair of 'Hugs and Kisses' cable baby socks done though. I'll post more as I get the next pattern worked out.
Elaine

Monday, May 16, 2005

Pi progress


This is one of my favorite projects ever. Even though I'm just grabbing bits
of time here and there to knit, it's really fun. I'm on row 41 of 48 of the 288
stitch section.

Here's a progress pic as of today:



I'm so looking forward to seeing all the projects. There are two more pictures
on my site. The URL is below my name.

Darilyn
http://www.pagebypage.com/knittingnotes.php

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sunday

Hi all, just a quick note that I will be gone all Sunday and possibly Monday. Traveling to NC for a funeral. 12+ hours in the car with nothing to do but knit. All invites will have to wait till I get back unless you post your request in the comments here and Risa catches it.
Elaine

Ok, who stole my needles?

No, I didn't actually get my needles stolen. Every shawl I'm currently working, and considering working on all take the same size needles. I need more! More, I tell, you, more! Once I get more, I'll be casting on a Pi R Square in the Turquoise Splendor colorway of Shimmer. Yes, I will be putting in various lace motifs. Cat's paw will be in there somewhere. More later.

new member intro

Hi
Nice to meet you all! I'm Kathi..blog name kathir..I am glad to be on this list. The idea of posting on a blog is pretty snazzy. I'll bet i have "met' some of you on other lists. I am still marveling at how great it is to be in touch with knitters around the world. What could be better??
I meant to do the EZasPi on the yahoo list, but just never got it started. I've had EZ's book for years. I am a fan of Liz Lovick so when I read she was being the knit mentor with Elaine, I had to jump in.
I purchased 2 colors of laceweight North Ronaldsay from Liz winter before last. It got cast on today. I'm using the lightest grey first. I'll have to look up those Shetland color names, but I think they only apply to wool from the Shetland breed.
I am at round 13 increase row & will do the cat's paw next. What is the next stitch?
I am close to done with a fair isle vest, so I will keep that going too. Truth be told, I have stitches on more than one set needles in my house.
Can we place pictures here?
Kathi in Long Beach

More About Heirloom Knitting

More About Heirloom Knitting
Just wanted to enter a plug for this fabulous book. Anyone who seriously wants to study this form of knitted lace or wants to do some great projects, owes it to themselves to get this book. Yeah, it's pricey, so are patterns and what is your time worth afterall?
Get the book.
Elaine

Meow!!!

No, that's not me being catty...again...


The first design I inserted into the Shetland Pi (side note =SN: why do I feel like I should be inserting ingredients and offering baking temperature suggestions?) is the design called 'Cat's Paw'. It's a simple, easy to follow pattern of yarn overs (YO) and knit-two-together's (k2tog or /). Now this being the first design element and not knowing the level of all the knitters here, I'm going to introduce some basic concepts. If you don't need that info, just breeze over it. If you know of a better way to explain it, please DO! this is a group project ya know.
I use a system of knitting shorthand that I learned from the Barbara Abbey book Knitting Lace. If you don't have this book, it's worth the price and then some. It's available from Schoolhouse Press and I paid $24.95 for my copy. The shorthand method works real well when going from chart to written or for taking handwritten notes because many of the stitch symbols are the same, and the knit or purl numbers are just how most people think. So here are the first conventions of this system:

3 = any regular number digit stands for that many knit stitches, i.e. three knit stitches
P3 = any number preceeded by a P means to purl that many stitches i.e. purl three stitches
0 = yarn over
00 = yarn over twice
000 = yarn over three times, you get the picture, right?
/ = K2tog or knit two together. Knit two adjacent stitches together as if they were one
So.... if I write 3,/,0,P2 that would translate to: "knit 3 stitches, knit 2 stitches together, yarn over once, purl 2 stitches" Makes good sense right?

Now, I will put a chart form up when possible. The easiest way will be to just type out in a balanced font like this:

K K K P P P 0 / P P P K K K
K K K P P P / 0 P P P K K K

Personally, I still find the shorthand easier.
OK, so now you will understand what I SAY to do, do you understand WHAT to do? All of knitting is ONE STITCH ! that's it, one stitch. Sometimes you do that stitch backwards and call it a purl, sometimes you put two stitches together and call it a decrease, sometimes you add extra loops and call it an increase...well, in this case we are going to do half of a stitch and call it a yarn over. (SN: you did ALL of these things when you first learned to knit, you know you did. But then you didn't mean to do them and someone called it a 'mistake' and scared the living daylights out of you so you'd never do it again. Well, chuck that baggage and let's have FUN.)
Knit 2 stitches together (k2tog or / ) - do exactly what it says. put your right needle into the fronts of 2 stitches, loop, pull out and off and TADA! you knitted 2 together! Notice that the end results sorta slants to the right. That's why we use the symbol ' / ' for a k2tog. Get that in your head and the next decrease you learn will make all the sense in the world..trust me.
Yarn Over (yo or 0 ) - This is just making half a stitch. Whatever way you loop the yarn for a knit stitch...just do that without making the stitch. I knit continental (German, pick...) so I pick up the yarn counterclockwise on my needle just as in a knit stitch, then I insert the needle as normal for the next stitch. If you knit the other way (European, American, throw...) then you will wrap the yarn around the needle counter clockwise and then insert the needle as norman for the next stitch. That's all it is, honest. If you need visuals, check out those links that I listed in the last post. Bookmark those sites and refer to them.

A yo will be knitted or purled on the next row just like any other stitch, but a hole will be left. Well, here's a revalation for you; lace is just a system of organized holes. There, I just blew the whole mystique of it, right? Yeah, maybe, but if it makes it approachable for YOU to feel like you can do it then it's worthwhile. A yo will also ADD one stitch to the count and increase the size of the knitted piece. Maybe that's what you want, as in a triangular shawl building from the bottom up, but maybe you don't want to add to the stitches, as in our Pi shawl. In that case, you follow the yo with a k2tog which decreases the count by one stitch to keep the count the same.

K K P P K K = 6 sts
K K 0 / K K = 6 sts the 0 added one, the / subtracted one and they came out equal

Yes, this is junior high school algebra..now go back to your 7th grade teacher and appologize for whining that 'I'll never use this in real life!"

Another skill that will serve you well in lace knitting is to knit by READING your knitting. This will come with practice, but for now, I want you to really pay attention to the stitches below the ones you are currently making. The Cat's Paw design forms a circle of holes. Look at the design on the chart, squint if you must, but see the design in the stitches. If your next yo hole is supposed to be diagnal to the left of the last one, SEE how that looks when you actually knit it. This skill will save you from clinging to the charted instructions for dear life.
Related to that skill is finding the repeated patterns in your design row by row. Lace knitting is a system of repeats usually (but not always). In a single row, you may have an introduction group of stitches, and then a set pattern for X number or repeats and then a closing group of stitches. For instance, a design I'm working on now looks like this:

Row 57: KKK0KK/0K0/K/0K0/K/0K0/K/0K0/K/0K0/KK0K

Notice that in the middle section, the repeat of /0K0/K repeats itself (actually 6 time on my pattern) before the closing repeat. This is much easier to see actually graphed out, but as you knit, you should be picking up those repeats and just chanting away, one row at a time. As a matter of fact: on that entire pattern, the opening group of KKK0 is exactly the same on every row, as is the closing 0K repeat, so I only have to look at the odd stitches between the first group, the last group, and the repeated middle segment. Sounds confusing? Take a look at some lace graphs and I think it will start to come together.

So onto the Cat's Paw Pattern now that you know how to knit it. I know there is some history to the stitch, but I'm leaving all that to Liz (who I hope get's back soon cause I really need to start working on the next lace section of this shawl) I started this on row 15 right after row 13 which is a increase row and row 14 a knit row. (OK, true confessions...I forgot to knit the plain row on row 14, if you think I'm ripping out now, you dont' know me real well yet) The repeat leaves 2 orphan stitches. I suspect you could just decrease down 2 stitches to make 70, instead of 72 in the round, but I just did 2 stitches at the beginning of each row. Yes, it will show, but it was my choice and again, if you think I'm ripping it out now......
Cat's Paw
row #
13 increase row
14 Knit even (and all even rows in this section)
15 2, *2, /, 0, 1, 0, /, 3* we all understand that groups between ** get repeated, right?
17 2, *1, /, 0, 3, 0, /, 2*
19 2, *2, /, 0, 1, 0, /, 3*
21 2, *0, /, 5, /, 0, 1*
23 2, *1, 0, /, 3, /. 0, 2*
25 2, *0, /, 5, /, 0, 1*

Here's how the chart looks:
14 K K K K K K K K K K K
15 K K *K K / 0 K 0 / K K K*
17 K K *K / 0 K K K 0 / K K* Can you see the blue circles of yo holes
19 K K *K K / 0 K 0 / K K K*
21 K K *0 / K K K K K / 0 K*
23 K K *K 0 / K K K / 0 K K* Here you can see the two halves of the next row of holes,
25 K K *0 / K K K K K / 0 K* when this design is finished, you have 2 rows of circles staggered

Now find those same circles in the picture:


Got it? I knew you would. See, knitted lace totally demystified.
Now go forth and make holes in your knitting!
CCR-the fuzzbuster!
Elaine

Saturday, May 14, 2005

And they're off...!!!

Like the proverbial ...
that would be a herd of turtles...I told you, I really like this catchphrase thing.
OK, so I got my chores done and started the Shetland Pi, how about you? I'll include blow by blow pics for awhile, even though most of you know that's not generally my style, but hey, I'm trying to be 'official' or somethin' ok? Now, don't take these pictorials as a tutorial, there are plenty of those on the web already.
Take a look at these:
Lots of HowTo articles at
http://www.knitterrevies.com
This is a nicely written one.
While this is a
sock knitting page it has wonderful pictures of how
to use dpns.
The
basics of lace knitting
OK, and for my pics...

Step One, get your stuff together.
Instructions (whatever version you prefer. I like the good old Knitter's Almanac and it's pithy instructions.)
Yarn - I'm using handspun, laceweight Shetland in a light grey color. There's a Gaelic name for that color but I have no idea what it is.
Crochet Hook - it's only used for this cast on, but any knitter without a crochet hook handy for picking up dropped stitches is just a braggart anyway.
Double Points - You try to do without these for the first while at your own peril. If your sanity isn't important to you, go ahead and try it on a circ. Let me know how that works out OK? And increasing your Prozak dose is cheating, I dont' care what your shrink says.

Now, I use a much smaller size dpn at first because I like the very center to be rather dense. I also use 4" dpn's because I value the aforementioned sanity and the long ones feel like "wrestling an octopus". I wish I had coined that phrase, but I didnt'. I love the visual nonetheless.
Oh my...well...let's move right along, shall we?....

Step Two: Actually doing the cast on. Please see the above references or the excellent diagrams in the EZ books for this.

Step Three: transferring the stitches onto the dpn's. There is a good reason I ALWAYS do this part at a table. Remember that octopus image? I have no idea what a moebius Pi shawl would look like and even Google didn't have a pic of that!

...and finally...knitting around your rows as per the chart and your instructions.

So that's where I am at the moment. My plan is to knit plain to the third increase (that's the point the picture shows) then start a very simple pattern for the 3rd band. I suspect it will be Cat's Paw but I need to actually decide and then make sure it works. How? Well, I'll use the handy-dandy calculator on Risa's worksheet, that's how. :) you may either wait for me to get that worked out, or choose a design of your own and we'll surprise each other. Oh, I just noticed something on the Worksheet chart. Between the 3rd increase round and the 4th increase round, Risa only has the odd rows listed, making it look like half the number of rows to knit if you aren't paying attention. Watch that and read your instructions.
Go Knitterpate yourself!!!
Elaine...the fuzzy one

I'm here, too

Hi, I made it here, too.

I'm using the basic Pi directions in Knitting Workshop and winging my way around the Pi. What fun.

I'm using Jaggerspun Zephyr in Natural (more colors to follow) and US size 3 needles.

It's fun to have company. :)

Hi this is Kv

Hi Elaine, I made it here. My project will actually be a Pi are Squared with Shetland Lace patterns. It should be interesting and a nice application of the garter stitch based lace patterns. I will be using a very light grey mystry fiber coned yarn.

Casting on this evening after I get my baby bonnet fixed :(
KV

Friday, May 13, 2005

Welcome to the Shetland Pi Shawl KAL! My name is Elaine Harvey and what makes me worthy of being the hostess for this KAL? I volunteered, that's usually all it takes. :) This is my first Blog hosted KAL, so constructive suggestions and comments are welcome. If all goes well, I'm happy to do more. The main discussion will occur over on the Yahoo list that I Hostess at EZasPi . It's a great group if you are looking for a chatty place to hang out and ask questions or just enjoy some 'similarly afflicted' company. (thanks to Risa for that terminology, it's a classic, right up there with 'fibergasmic') I'll chronicle my progress on my shawl here on this blog and you can send me your links, comments, suggestions and questions.

So why a Shetland Pi Shawl? Wasn't it done already in Gathering of Lace? Well, yes it was in the Shetland Tea Shawl, but we plan to design our own version. The spirit of Elizabeth Zimmerman and then Meg Swansen is and always has been to use a frame and then paint your own picture. We are using the Pi Shawl frame and painting our own Shetland lace picture inside. I do plan to also use guidance from the class over on Traditionalknitting, another Yahoo group, being offered by Liz Lovick. For those who aren't familiar with Liz, she's a fantastic Shetland Islander, lace knitter and designer and great lady. If you are new to Shetland lace patterns and methods, you might want to join that list also to access the classes, which are generously free. I do request, however, that you obtain the basic pattern from one of the published sources. It can be found in:

I will also post an Excel File authored by CrazyFiberLady that not only helps you keep tract of your rows (and pattern repeats if you are using the original Pi Pattern) but includes a cool repeat calculator for those of us designing as we go along. um...I'll do that as soon as I figure out how... I did it! woohoo! I'm so proud of me. :) Look on the sidebar for Pi Shawl Worksheet. You will either need to have Excel to view the worksheet or download a free viewer from http://tinyurl.com/5jdj7 (thanks to Risa for that link too. Gotta love a pet geek. ;) )

The Cast On day for this KAL is officially Saturday May 14, 2005. If you don't cast on that day, your stitches will drop, your needles will splinter and your yarn will fray...um...a little over the edge? OK, you can join whenever, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Knit On! ...note to self: I need to learn to say that in Gaelic...

Welcome to the new blogspot version of the Shetland Pi KAL site. If you never saw the other one, disregard that comment. This one is sooooooo much better...really...you can trust me. :) OK, so anyone who wants to join the KAL, send me your EMAIL and I'll send the invite and then you can post for yourself. Cool, huh? You will all be highly relieved to know that Risa has generously offered to be the site maintenance person...that means she fixes what I screw up. Pity her the job and keep her in your prayers, ok? So here we are! off like a thundering herd of turtles! (my dad used to say that and I always got a giggle out of the image, think I'll make that my 'catchphrase' I'm such a dork.)



OK, so tomorrow being the Cast On day officially, I thought I'd sneak on some of the yarn I'm spinning for the Shetland Pi Shawl. Unfortunately, I can't say much for the quality of the pics (note to self: learn to use that camera on close up stuff better) but I discovered that the blacker the wool, the harder it is to get a picture.



OK, so I have a couple of Shetland yarns spun up here. The first is a lovely medium grey fleece that I purchased from a 4-Hr last year. I actually bought it back in August when it won Champion Fleece at the local show, but then I insisted that the youth show it at the County (York PA) show (another Champion Ribbon) and then the PA Farm Show (Blue Ribbon). So I actually brought it home in January. It's on the slightly coarse side but it is lovely. This is the yarn from that: Greyshet_1 It's spun 2 ply ending as a Shetland style laceweight. 







The second Shetland fleeces I have are gorgeous samples from my friend Kevin Barnes. He just got his first 2 Shetties this spring and these are from the first fleeces. The black is INK BLACK, not one bit of grey or brown to it. Being lamb fleece, they are soft as alpaca (but dont' let the alpaca breeders hear I said that). The other is a soft grey and didn't show in the picture well at all. Here is the black:Shetland Now, being soft and I only have limited amounts of this treasure, I spun this as a gossamer weight single ply. I haven't decided how I'm going to use that in conjunction with the grey yet.





With limited quantities of the black shetland, I needed something equally black and equally fine. Good luck, right? Along comes my good buddy Judy Benner. Bless her little heart, she had just purchased some BFL cross fleece that fit the bill PERFECTLY. I have NEVER seen fleece so black, tight locked and soft. Awesome stuff. So the remainder will be spun as a double ply, gossamer weight (yup, even as a double ply, this stuff is really GOOD) yarn to use after the black Shetland is gone.



Bflthread Bfllocks







Most likely, I'll use my old standby size 6 or 7 Addi Turbo circulars for this shawl. I've done enough lace that I know the fabric I'll get from them and it's what I like. Of course, if you have any question at all, PLEASE SWATCH and BLOCK. Lace is so different from regular knitting and the knitted fabric bears nearly no similarity to the blocked fabric. And TAKE MEASUREMENTS of your swatch before AND after blocking. Work out the math to figure out just how big that finished piece will be. Dont make me drag out pictures of Shawlzilla to prove the point. Oh what the heck, Woolybuns has pictures of it on her blog, check it out there. Compare the size of the one I'm wearing FOLDED in half to the identical shawl being held up by Risa next to it. Same pattern, she used one more repeat than I did, I just used heavier yarn (jumper weight) and larger needles. What a difference!



My plan is to do the first section in garter, the second in a simple cat's paw (I'll show you that later) and then I hope Liz will have a pattern for me to work in by the next section.



OK, so I'm all ready for Cast On Day tomorrow! How 'bout you?



CCRfuzzy...the fuzz master!