Archive for knitting

Casting On: Boneyard Shawl
March 13th, 2014 | Link

madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light yarn

I’ve been pretty good about not acquiring new yarn since destashing a couple of years ago, but once in a while I do pick up a skein or two without thinking about what I want to do with it. Right now I have a few skeins of gray lace-weight yarn (I know — shocker!) and two skeins of this madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Robin Red Breast (420 yards/384 metres).

This yarn has subtle variegation in it and is fingering weight, so for patterns I was looking for something simple. I settled on Stephen West’s Boneyard Shawl — the large stockinette areas might drive me bonkers by the end, but should be a fast knit.

Here’s my Ravelry project page for updates.

The Scarves of Christmas Past
January 7th, 2013 | Link

Now that Christmas is over, I can finally show the presents I made for my mom and sister.

The first one is Tissé, by Julie Hoover, in Great Adirondack Yarn Co. Petite Silk Noir that I purchased online from Webs. This is the Hydrangea color way, and the colors range from a rich turquoise to deep purple.

Scarf in turquoise and purple with a slight herringbone texture

The variegation turned out to be lovely, but possibly too much for the subtle herringbone patterning in the stitches. One thing I was a bit disappointed to realize was that the stitch was pretty much the same as for the Henry scarf or the Herringbone Cowl — both of which are free, so spending $4 for a pattern that was basically “cast on N stitches and work in this stitch that you can get for free elsewhere” made me feel like a dumbass. But it’s pretty, and my mom seems to like it, so it’s all good. The yardage on the Petite Silk Noir is amazing (1350 yards), and I had a bunch left over. (Here’s my Hydrangea Tissé on Ravelry.)

The second scarf is a variation on the Wool Leaves baby blanket by Jared Flood, in Madelinetosh Tosh Lace in the Filigree color way. This was a bit of an experiment, as Flood’s blanket is knit in an Aran weight.

Leaf lace pattern in brown and green variegated yarn

I dubbed this the Meredith Stole, as I watched an inordinate amount of Grey’s Anatomy while knitting it. I blocked it to 20″ by 65″ long (and let me tell you, I was so glad I’d bought blocking wires when I blocked both these knits!). The lace pattern does not look as leafy as Flood’s blanket, but it’s airy and somewhat leafy. Unfortunately I think my sister was more excited by the three boxes of Orville Redenbacher Caramel Popcorn that accompanied the scarf, but such is life. (Here’s my Meredith Stole on Ravelry.)

B[l]ack Upstairs
June 4th, 2012 | Link

Upstairs - Stitch Detail

I first knit the Upstairs shawl back in August, 2010. I wear it frequently, but more often as a scarf than as a shawl because it doesn’t wrap far enough around to stay closed when I want it to. (I know, I could pin it. But I don’t.) It’s also a little narrow, and I always meant to reblock it but I never did. So instead I decided to spend 60 hours knitting another one. In black, of course.

Upstairs shawl, spread out to show full width

This time I used two skeins of Malabrigo Lace, which gave me an extra hundred yards or so of yarn to work with. I cast on the same number of stitches as before, but got four more rows of the pattern repeat. I also used blocking wires to block it, which has turned out very well — I managed to block it to the suggested 22″ width this time, and 66″ long.

The Malabrigo seems drapier than the lace-weight yarn I used the first time. I don’t know if this is due to better blocking, or if the Malabrigo is softer (it feels softer). Maybe now that I have blocking wires I’ll finally reblock the first one.

sev[en]circle Again
October 22nd, 2011 | Link

Cowl of seven knitted circlets attached in the back

This is my second round with assemblage’s sev[en]circle cowl. I wear my first one a lot, but I thought it would be fun to have one in a color other than black, since everything I wear it with is also black. I fell in love with this lovely dark desaturated teal-gray silk/merino yarn at Habu Textiles when I was in New York last winter and decided it would be perfect. And so it is!

Hakusa in Black and… Black
October 10th, 2011 | Link

Black and grey scarf detail

I love assemblage’s knit designs. And the things she sews, but especially her knits. This is the Hakusa scarf, knit from Habu A-21 (silk-wrapped stainless steel) and Habu N-75 (merino).

Edge detail of Hakusa scarf

The pattern starts with a few rows of A-21 alone, and then the N-75 gets pulled in for the rest of the scarf. Because the stainless steel holds its shape a bit when crumpled, it’s possible to get a sculptural feeling out of it.

Full scarf view hanging from a piece of tape on the wall

The full scarf is an irregular triangle, and the merino and silk make it softer than you would expect from something knit with stainless steel. We’re heading into scarf weather again in San Francisco, so I expect to be wearing this a lot very soon.

Diagonal Lace Socks
April 24th, 2011 | Link

Diagonal lace socks, worn, showing the lace pattern mirrored on the second sock

I know I’ve said it before, that I didn’t think I’d be one of those knitters who knit socks, but every time I make another pair I remember it again.

These are the Diagonal Lace Socks from Socks from the Toe Up, which, if you’re counting, is my third pair from that book (the other two are here and here). The yarn is Malabrigo Sock again, which has turned out to be as nice to knit with as it is to weave with. I made one change to the pattern, which was to reverse the lace pattern on the right sock so that when worn the socks mirror each other.

I had these mostly finished in late February, but things have been a little crazy lately so it took me a while to get around to sewing in the ends and photographing them.

Lace and Cable Socks
October 19th, 2010 | Link

Lace and Cable Socks, front view; the yarn is self-striping in tones from burgundy to olive.

I know, I said I didn’t know if I would knit another pair of socks. But I had bought a bunch of yarn that I planned to weave with, and the weaving didn’t use nearly as much yarn as I expected, so… Socks.

These are the “Lace and Cable Socks” from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Stonechat. You’ve seen it before in the Twilight Scarf I wove for my sister a couple of years back, and you’ll see it again when I post the scarves I wove from it before I knit the socks.

Love the color. Love the natural striping that the yarn did. Love the diamond lace pattern, but it doesn’t show up very well. Wish I had use a slightly stretchier bind-off than the ribbed bind off, as it’s a bit tight getting them past my heels when I take them off. I wore them all day Sunday (I finished them a while ago, but the light wasn’t right for photographing them – too much sun!) and they were perfect for wearing around the house on a rainy day.

A Lone Sock
September 4th, 2010 | Link

Side view of sock on foot, showing the heel gusset and the line of eyelets up the side.

I was never very excited about the idea of knitting socks, in spite of their popularity in knitting circles. I understand the appeal of a small, portable project, but I couldn’t really imagine wearing them. Socks, to me, are something I buy in the lightest possible weight, in the simplest possible style, in cotton, and preferably black.

But… I was ordering some needles from Web’s for another project, and then I started poking around the yarns, and, well, you know how these things go. I ended up with a cone of lace weight bamboo and a couple of skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock from their Color Commentary series, “Cookie’s Deep Dark Secret.” The pattern is “On-Hold Socks” from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson.

Detail view of the chevron lace repeating up the top of the sock

I finished the first sock (pictured) and I’m about to start on the heel gusset for the second. The needles are tiny (2mm!) but there’s something about the precision of small, neat stitches that I find appealing — I hear people get bored and have trouble finishing the second sock, but I’m not hitting that. And I’ve learned some new techniques: Judy’s Magic Cast-on for a perfect, seamless toe; and knitting socks in the round using two circulars rather than double-pointed needles, a technique I’ll probably use everywhere I used to use DPs because there are no ladders between the stitches that were on different needles. I like the two circulars in conjunction with the toe-up method of knitting socks because it’s easy to try on the sock to check the size, because the cables are flexible and the stitches don’t slide off.

So the whole sock experience has been surprisingly fun! I still don’t know if I’ll wear them or knit another pair, but I’m glad I tried it out. See my Ravelry project for more details and photos.

Upstairs Shawl
August 10th, 2010 | Link

Folded shawl

I finished knitting my Upstairs Shawl in July, but I didn’t get around to blocking it until last Sunday. (I also blocked two hats and a pullover. It was that kind of day.) Though I blocked it to 20″ x 58″, it eased back to 18″ wide after I took the pins out — the final size in the pattern is 22″, so maybe I need to block it again? Or maybe I can live with it.

Lace detail for Upstairs Shawl

In this fog-diffused San Francisco morning light, you can see the subtle striations in the yarn color. It’s my favorite thing about this piece.

Work in Progress: Upstairs Shawl
July 6th, 2010 | Link

Shawl and yarn detail

I started this project as plane knitting for my trip to Calgary in May, and now it was also plane knitting for my trip to Las Vegas. It’s the Upstairs Shawl from Ravelry (requires an account to view the pattern, but if you’re a knitter, you need a Ravelry account!), in lace. It’s a simple lace pattern repeating over 11 stitches and 32 rows (with 105 stitches per row, including a garter-stitch border) and I memorized it quickly, but with the lace-weight yarn it’s going very slowly. I’ve knit about 36″ so far, and I’d say I’m a little over half-way through the ball, and that’s probably about 44 hours of knitting time (it takes me about 4 hours for a repeat). Fortunately, not all of that was in airports or on planes. At my current rate, I figure I’ll finish it around September.

This is the same yarn I used for my sister’s Clapotis scarf and the Mockingbird handwoven scarf. Great yardage (850 yards per skein) with saturated colors and lovely subtle shifts in the deep blue. But there are many places where the yarn is so finely spun that it’s little more than a thread, so I’m always afraid that I’m going to break it. That could just be from the Mockingbird experience, when I foolishly used it as a warp thread – I’ve never actually broken it knitting.



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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