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Molly's Needles

My adventures in knitting... and a few other things thrown in for fun.

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Location: Massachusetts, United States

I got back into knitting because of the Harry Potter scarves and sweaters. Although I knit other items, replicating HP-wear remains my first love.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oops

So we had rain all day yesterday and I brought Cat's Paw to work with me. I did make a mistake in one of the rounds (added a yarn over where I shouldn't have) but it was on the edge where a new repeat was starting, and I did get it straightened out, so I don't think it will be all that noticible. Besides, this will be a large square shawl, so there's a good chance it will be in a fold.

Anyway, I sat down last night and started the new rep of the pattern (it's only 6 rows) and something seemed off. So I decided to skip it and leave it at home today. I'll try to figure out if I am off on the pattern or was just tired.

In the meantime, I need something to keep me busy so I brought my graph paper and pattern book and am going to see if I can sketch out some snowdrop lace for my winter shawl. I'm pretty sure I know how to do this, I just need to swatch the pattern and see if it can be done in garter or must be in stockinette. I think probably stockinette.

Oh, and it looks like I might be going to NYC for the premiere of GoF in early November. That means I'll have to get the Hufflepuff Quidditch sweater finished for that. I was hoping to go to The Witching Hour in Salem in October, but I don't think I can afford to do both. Maybe I'll do that next year.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Bitten by the lace bug

I'm currently working at my Cat's Paw Square Shawl, and the J&S Cobweb Shawl is waiting in the wings. But there is just too much gorgeous yarn out there begging to be done up as shawls. And I think I'd like to try varigated yarns next.

I'm also thinking of trying something that mirrors the different seasons (that would be Wendy's fault because of her Woodland Shawl and Spring Flowers!) so I just purchased some of Knit Pick's lace yarn, Gossamer in three different colorways: Trail, Leprechaun and Rose Garden. I already have some Shimmer in Morning Mist, which I can use for a "winter variation". My thought is to do either triangular or rectangular shawls with a motif that echos each season. We'll see how well it all works once I have the yarn!

I think that 5 shawls waiting on deck is enough for right now, so I am not looking any further. My poor brain can't process that much planning!

Oh, and I also found a pattern for some men's fingerless gloves that I plan to adapt to convertible mittens for my father. I have a ton of yarn from his alpacas that I haven't found a use for yet. I think these will be a good thing to break it out for. How cute! mittens knitted from his own animals. :)

Man, I'm such a dork sometimes!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Ready for my close-up!


Here is a close-up of the Os and Vs shawl. I hung it in my window so the light came through. The aggressive blocking I did made it look a bit more like a medallion than a bobble, but I really do like the overall look.

I blocked it out to 46" in diameter and when I took it up from the pinning it shrank back about an inch, so it is really 45" across. In looking through the book there were several suggestions on how to wear shawls, one being called a "Long Revers Drape". You take the top 1/4 and fold it down to form a collar. I tried it and because it wasn't cut in half it actually makes for a longer wrap on the arms. It came down almost to my wrists. So it will still give her good coverage as a light shawl. Now I just need to see if I can find a nice shawl pin to go with it and it will be perfect. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sometimes being blocked is a good thing

Here is the finished Os and Vs shawl. Finally! I know it took me quite some time but that was because I kept getting distracted by other things.



This would have been a lot easier if I had had blocking pins, but sometime you have to go with what is on hand. And that was a large collection of straight pins. Please pity my sore thumb!

I'll post another picture of it draped somewhere once it is dry and all the pins have been taken up.

As for the next shawl (the Cat's Paw), it is about the size of a dinner plate right now. Yes, it has a long way to go, but this one goes much quicker. Maybe because there is no purling on it. Hmmm.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Done. On to the next one.

First of all, thanks so much to Wendy for answering my question yesterday in her blog. I've knit the extra rounds and it is awaiting blocking. Since my Blaze isn't as respectful of on-the-floor knitting as her Lucy is I think I'll wait until Friday when I am at home to supervise.

The yarn for my shawl arrived Monday and I have decided to hold off on starting the Cobweb Shawl for a few reasons. First, by the time I finish it it will really be too late in the season to wear it, so I think it will make a nice winter project once my holiday knits are done. Second, my cousin is getting married October 1st down on the beach and I think that even if it's a beautiful day I will want something over my shoulders. Now the decision is to make another Os and Vs or to do the lovely Cat's Paw Square Shawl from the same book. I'm leaning toward that because I do love square shawls. I hope to start that today. The yarn is from Knit Picks new line, Palette and is called Mist; it's a very light, soft grey. With a jewel-tone dress, either blue or green, I think it will look very nice.

Monday, August 22, 2005

When to stop?

My Os and Vs shawl is just about finished. I think. I measured last night as best I could and got just over 16 inches from center to needle. (Not the easiest thing because it's bunched on the needle, but it's pretty close.) That would mean a diameter of 32 inches. I'm doing one more pattern repeat and an edging which will add a total of 5 more inches, so we're looking at roughly 37 inches across when it comes off the needles.

In the book, Martha Waterman said her shawl (knit in a 75/25 wool/nylon blend) was 34 inches across and not blocked. Mine is 100% wool and I would like to open it up a bit. I figure I can get 42 inches across without being too agressive with the pattern. My question is do you think a 42-inch diameter circular shawl is big enough? I have more yarn and could go larger but I'm hesitant for a few reasons. First, I need to mail it off in a little over two weeks and don't want to be late or rushed on the blocking and drying. Second, I'm nearing the end of a skein and if I don't have to break into a new one, I have a better idea of how much I used for the next time I make this. (Yes, the second reason is somewhat spurious, but I do want to make it again and would like an idea of the yardage used.)

My aunt is about 5'7" tall and very slender. This isn't supposed to be a giant enveloping shawl but I also don't want it to look like she stole something from her year-old granddaughter, either.

Any suggestions before I hit the end of the next repeat (which will likely take a couple days since I am now working with 600 stitches on the round) would be helpful.

Oh, and once that's off the needles I get to start my Cobweb Evening Shawl! *drool*

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hufflepuff Quidditch


It's a sweater bottom!

Actually, I'm pleased at how quickly this worked up. And by doing it in the round, I'm already more than halfway there. Now I will continue working the back to shoulder-length, do the same with the front. At that time, the shoulders are joined with a three-needle bind off. Although depending on my mood, I might do a Kitchener stitch and make it wholly seamless.

Then all I have to do is pick up stitches for the striped neck and the sleeves. The only finishing will be to weave in the tails where the color changes are (in continuous blocks, I use the splice method for joining new skeins).

The color is really much lighter and less gold than this shows. I took it last night and really should get a shot in natural light for accurate color. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What have I gotten myself into?

After a very sedentary winter and spring, I am in the process of trying to shed the extra bit of weight I somehow managed to accumulate. As an incentive, I promised I would get myself a lovely shawl pattern I discovered at Four Seasons Knitting Products when I had lost 10 pounds. I did, and the whole thing arrived at my door yesterday.

It's absolutely gorgeous, as I had expected. And the yarn is really something. I have only heard of cobweb yarn before, but hadn't seen it. Like the picture, I decided to get black because I think every woman should have a black shawl. I think it will be a challenge, but not insurmountable. The main thing is in deciphering the British abbreviations. Oh, and remembering the sizing differences, too! I caught myself by looking at the metric size or I would have started with US 9 instead of US5!

I won't be able to start it right away because my size 5 is currently in use on the Os and Vs shawl. I want to make some copies of the pattern as well for scratch use. But I plan to cast on for this in September or early October and think it will make a lovely Fall Knitting Project. With luck, I may have it done in time for the holidays, although it really won't be feasible to wear until warmer weather comes around again. So there is no real rush on it; I can happily work all winter if I choose.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It looks like it might grow up to be a sweater!

I finished the black stripe on my sweater last night. Late last night. Now I have one inch to work in the yellow before dividing for the front and back. That shouldn't be so bad. The only thing that I am at all worried about is lining up the top of the stripe on the arms when I start working them. But is should all fall together. Right?

Os and Vs progresses, too. I really can't wait to see it off the needles so I can take a picture of it. Better yet, I can't wait to see how it looks on my aunt.

The Advanced Knit group on LiveJournal has started a sock swap. The person I am paired with lives in Zaire. Very cool, but I need to get in touch with her to find out what her preferences are. Since I am a New England girl, my preference is for warm wool and ragg socks. My guess is that she doesn't need something like that.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

It's that time of year...

When everyone starts coming out with their new yarns. Was I talking about enablers in my last post? Well, check out Knit Picks for their new line of yarns. Tons of yummy colors, textures and weights to tempt everyone. Personally, my fingers are itching to get hold of some Panache (a bulky cashmere, silk, baby alpaca, merino blend) or Shadow, a lovely heathered lace yarn. Yes, I know that is both ends of the spectrum, but I am entitled to be changable like that!

I also would like to do a Hatmione and Hermittens for myself, as my last one was presented as a gift. The author of those patterns, Lauren, has mentioned that she will be doing some in Andean Silk. If she reports that it is easy to work with and the cables stand up nicely (a concern she expressed) I may have to look into it, too.

In the meantime, I have been working on my Quidditch sweater (which progresses), the PS/CoS Ravenclaw scarf (liking the colors more and more as each stripe emerges) and the Os and Vs shawl. I'm estimating that I'm 75% done on that, although it's hard to tell when it's all bunched on the needles. And since I'm over 500 stitches now, I am not slipping it on waste yarn to see just how big it is. I figure another skein and a half will finish it. Or the middle of September, whichever comes first. Hmm. Maybe some of that Shadow would make a nice version, either doubled (the pattern calls for fingering weight) or singled and more airy. Can't explain my obsession with shawls lately. Maybe it has to do with my love of things old and that women wore them as a matter of course then. Of course, they also wore corsets, so not everything old is needed to be dragged up with us.

Well, I'm off to get a few more rounds done on Os and Vs before I throw everything aside in disgust and heat exhaustion.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I'm surrounded by enablers

This is why I have to take a break every few days. Otherwise I'd spend all my money on yarn and Blaze and I would go hungry and barefoot! Funny, it used to be books....

Wendy is always tempting with the things she knits or yarns she displays. However, my Yankee frugality (or whatever you want to call it) saves me there. Most of the time. Some of those lace yarns are just too yummy.

Now, thanks to Melissa I need to hunt down Rowan #37. I've been looking at her progress on Butterfly and it looks too gorgeous to pass up. Naturally, this would be a future project, but I don't want to risk not being able to find the magazine. If anyone has a spare copy, please let me know. I'd be more than happy to buy it off you. *puppy dog pout*

I got a bit more done on the Quidditch sweater- about 5 inches. I know it doesn't seem like a lot but it is in the round and DK yarn. Also the ribbing goes slower than straight knit. Okay. Did I justify things enough?

I also got some work done on Os and Vs. I think we're up to 450 stitches or so now, so each round takes a little time to get done. Thank goodness it's a pretty simple pattern. I really think I would like one for myself in another color at some point.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Slow progress, but progress just the same

I got a few inches done on the Quidditch sweater. It doesn't zip along because of the ribbing, but it's perfect TV knitting. I'm also planning to figure out my knitting machine over the weekend and will use that for making the PoA/GoF Hufflepuff scarf. And any other of that style that might come up in the future.

As for the PS Ravenclaw scarf, I wasn't thrilled with the color combination. I like the China Blue and Bev's Bear together but not for this. So I ripped it out and ordered some Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks that seem a bit more appropriate. Sorry, Anne!

As for the Nature Spun, it will not be abandoned. My mother and stepfather specifically requested earflap hats for the hols. It seems that they have one hat and spent the winter ripping it off each other's heads. Sigh. So I found a pattern off the Lion Brand site that is fairly easy and will make a few up in each color. Then I'll chart some simple designs out and duplicate stitch them onto the head and earflaps. Easy-peasy.

I wish everyone's gift ideas were that easy to solve!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quidditch review/ more Puffs/ rambles about why I knit

Thanks to Vince at the HP Sweater Knit Along for posting a link to a Quidditch sweater pattern. I've revised my pattern to make it a bit larger (the ribbing was pulling in a bit too much for my taste. It still would have fit, but been too fitted) and will be starting over. Again. Thank goodness I do this before I've too much invested in it. :)

I've been working quite a bit on Pygmy Puffs. Aside from the cannon purple and pink, I've branched into red, orange, green, blue and black. Hmm. Missing some yellow there. Have to fix that at some point! Most of these will be finding new homes, which is a good thing or they would soon take over mine! Although I'm thinking I might make one for Blaze. That can't be any worse than Fred and George using Ron's Puffskein for bludger practice, right?

I've been reading quite a few posts both in Blogland and on Live Journal about why people knit. It got me thinking about my own reasons, so, here they are. Take notes; there will be a quiz later. ;)

I've always been drawn to the way life was lived before mechanical conveniences. Some of my favorite books as a little girl were about life 100 or more years ago. There was a lot of handcraft in those books. So I pestered my grandmother and mother to teach me to knit. Later, I took up counted cross-stitch and made countless items for gifts. Some of them actually pretty good!

I learned how to make candles, read about herblore, anything really that went back to that time period that so interested me. The time that if you needed a pair of socks, you sat down and made some.

Several years ago I picked up my long-neglected knitting needles. It's been love ever since. Now that I am an adult, I find that I have the patience to make constant revisions and the creativity to try my own things. I seldom look at the experience level of a pattern. If I like it, I try it. I might make mistakes, but I know where to turn for help and I'm not too proud to ask. Sometimes those mistakes lead to something I like even better than the original.

I've taken a fair amount of kidding by people for my chosen craft. They tell me that knitting is an "old woman's thing" and that I'm too young to be cooping myself up with a ball of yarn and sticks. The funny thing is that they are also the first to applaud my finished items. When I finished my Hourglass Sweater and wore it to work for the first time, I received compliments all day. Mind you, I deal with men who are construction workers and landscapers, so to have them say that they liked the sweater (many not realizing I had made it) must have meant it was a pretty nice garment. Another admired a scarf I had made and asked me if I would do one for his daughter.

Handmade items have become a luxury. Those of us who choose to put the time and effort into it shouldn't be criticized for it. Could I find other ways to use my time? Sure. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done that I want to. But this is my way of decompressing. And the result of that is a nice garment, cozy pair of socks or mittens, a warm blanket or cute toy. And the people that I choose to gift these items to are very appreciative. The best reaction I got was a pair of socks I gave to a friend for Christmas. She felt the bag and immediately squealed that I had knit her something. When she pulled out the socks, she was very happy, saying that her feet are never warm enough in the winter and they would be perfect for wearing around the house.

That is what keeps me knitting. And I think probably what ties all of us crafters together, no matter what the medium. It's just something we have to do.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You've gotta be kidding me!

Well, by now I am sure that everyone has seen the picture of Cho and her scarf. I'm just glad that I had put my Huffle scarf down for a bit because of the heat. Looks like we'll all be looking for some thinner yarn and smaller needles. Maybe I won't have the scarf for the movie. At least I have my Dumbledore scarf (which I will not rip out and knit flat!) and should have the Quidditch sweater and socks. Now, what do I do with all the worsted yarn I originally bought for the PoA scarf? Anyone want some nice, cozy Huffle socks to wear around the house?

Still having some doubts about the Quidditch sweater. Not the pattern; I am virtually positive on the color placement. I'm a bit nervous that the all over rib will pull in too much. It's supposed to be fairly roomy. I'd redo the numbers for an oversized fit, but I'm not sure if I have enough of the yellow. Right now I'm looking at 1394 yards total and I have 1230 yards of yellow. Since there are the wide black stripes, I have no concerns, but increasing the size might push me over the edge. Maybe I can see if Knit Picks has a few more skeins in that dyelot. *crosses fingers.

It's funny to see how the Pygmy Puffs are everywhere. I'm even getting people coming to my LJ because of it. :D I just got a bunch more Plush yarn in different colors and am working up a bunch- both for myself and for friends. Hopefully it will be a nice suprise for them.