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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.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Gold Medal for me!

I finished knitting at 12:51 Friday night/Saturday morning. After some recouperative sleep, I headed down to the local hardware store and picked up a sheet of foam insulation wallboard. Not the prettiest thing, but light and easy to stick pins into. Here it is, lying on the board, in pre-blocked condition.

A little bath in the sink, 500 pins pulling it every which way, and a few hours later...

This was taken on my picnic table this morning. I would have spent a little more time adjusting it but it was starting to snow and I had only thrown my boots and jacket over my jammies. Those of you who are observant may see that it isn't really a half-circle. When I was blocking it it would have been awfully short pulled into a round so I decided to make it more of a rounded-end triangle. That got me the width I was looking for and brings the point down a reasonable distance. It's approximately 58" wide by 27" long. Being so aggressively blocked (yes, I know I said I didn't want to do that) it is more of a cobwebby shawl than something that will keep a chill off, but I think it looks lovely. Since this is the third time I've come up significantly short on a pattern from this book I think I will keep it simply for the stitch patterns and not do any more of the shawls in it.

I had a fun time competing against myself and the clock on this and hope that there will be another KAL organized in 2008 for the Summer Olympics. I'm going to give myself a few days off to recover and enjoy the Closing Ceremonies before finishing the Quidditch Sweater and beginning my next shawl. I also want to get started on a few holiday gifts so that I am not scrambling at the end of the year.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

And rounding the final turn!

I finished knitting the body of the shawl last night and, since it was still fairly early, I cast on and began the edging. It's really a simple one- 10 stitches, 4 rows, garter stitch. Not hard to remember. I did knit an extra row on the shawl so that "right sides" would match, although I have a feeling that once blocking occurs it won't be that noticable.

As of noon I have done 25 repeats. To cover the whole bottom edge I need 161 so there is still a long way to go but I will be going back to it soon and hope to have 100 repeats done by bedtime (no, I'm not doing much else today). That will leave 61 to divide between tomorrow evening and Saturday morning. I'd really like to do blocking Saturday. Better to think you have a bit of "fudge room", right? ;)

I've looked over several other competitors' sites and everyone is doing so well! There needs to be serious pic-spamming when we are all done. :D

Well, back to the grindstone. Only 300 rows to go, today!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Coming down to the wire

No posts for a few days can only mean one thing right now- serious knitting on the shawl. With less than a week left I have 14 rows to go before starting the edging. The hope is to finish Wednesday night and start edging Thursday, when I'm off and can spend quite a bit of time getting it right.

Sorry for not having pictures but it really doesn't look like anything. I did try to take a picture but the black obscured everything. Even in person you can't tell much yet. I'll be sure to post a picture when I have it pinned out to block and in its final glory.

The Hufflepuff Quidditch Sweater is warming up in the bullpen and will be stepping up to the plate once the lace is done. Then it's back to more lace. I'm still trying to figure out just how I want the Sunset Garden Shawl to work so I want to start the Irish Diamond Shawl from Folk Shawls in Gossamer. I have 6 skeins of Leprechaun that should work. It should keep me busy, at least. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Poncho goodness

Sorry I didn't get the photo posted last night. I got busy with Fan Stitch and didn't end up doing my blocking until later. So, here she is, in all her glory. Well, in my living room, anyway.

As I said, I will now be concentrating on Fan Stitch. I'm not including any pictures of that because it doesn't look like anything. Especially with the dark yarn it's hard to photograph it in progress.

I am thinking about doing a deeper edging than what I had already picked. That is 10 stitches deep with a 4-row repeat. If anyone knows of an edging that would look nice on a half-circle shawl with a fan stitch pattern, please let me know. Oh, and the shawl is in garter so I think the edging should be, too. Appreciate it.

The weather has become much more like winter here. What a strange week- a blizzard last Sunday, temps in the 50s during the week and back to freezing this weekend. With a bit of wind thrown in for good measure yesterday. That being the case, Blaze has chosen to cuddle up where it is warm, either on my bed with his Piggy or in his bed. Doesn't he look cute?

Friday, February 17, 2006


I decided not to frog the Fan Stitch Shawl. Not because I'm so enamoured of it (although I still think it will look fine) but because I spent over an hour looking through patterns and couldn't find something that really struck me and fit the yarn I have. So I'll stick with what I have and if it comes out well but isn't quite me, I can set it aside for a future gift. No waste.

Molly got fringed last night. Late last night while watching the Men's Free Skate so I didn't have a chance to snap a picture of it. I also want to do a bit of steam-blocking on the lower edge (curl) before I take her picture. I'll edit this post and add it in. Would I make any changes on it? Hmm. Maybe put in some eyelets down the sides as well as front and back. Not every other row but maybe every fourth row. Just to give a little more room to lift the arms. Other than that, it's lovely.

So, work will continue on the shawl and I am working on a men's scarf in Encore for a customer. I've cast on and ripped it several times trying to get a stitch pattern that looks nice but I think I've finally hit on it- seed stitch panel down the center with stockinette on each side and a short fringe. It's being done in the round, so it will be double-thick and the fringe will hold the ends together with a seed stitch panel on each side. Simple but not boring.

And in good news, Blaze had a final trip to the vet's yesterday and received a clean bill of health. No more pills or visits until next year for his shots. He was quite pleased with that news.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Progress, Day 6

All right. Take a look at the status bars on the sidebar. Yup. The Molly Poncho is done! Well, I still have to do the fringing, but that will be finished today and then she is ready to go. I'll get a picture of it once it is blocked and fringed, but chalk up a medal for Team Potter! :)

As for the Fan Stitch shawl, I'm really not happy with it. It's looking like it will be far too small and I'm going to be ticked over it. I'm at row 105 out of 160, although I had thought to add another repeat of the pattern and a knitted-on edging. I'm sort of at a crossroads right now with it and seriously considering frogging the whole thing and starting anew with a different pattern. If I do that, I need to decide today, as we are rapidly approaching the half-way point. I'll let you know tomorrow how I've decided.

Oh, and I totally didn't mention a contest I won! Susan had a contest to come up with a name for a new lace pattern she created (which is now on sale and you can get the link from her site. It's really beautiful!). I entered a couple of potential names. In the end, Susan came up with her own name, inspired by reading over all the entries. She put everyone in a random generator and Yours Truly was picked. So, I get a red-orange cashmere sweater similar to one that she has already ravelled (in off-white) to do with as I see fit. If it is the right size I may keep it to wear but the most likely thing is that it will be ravelled and the resulting yarn (100% cashmere!!!!) will be reknit into a stole or some other lace item. So excited to see that. And, yes, pictures when it arrives.

That's about it for now. I'm off to decide whether to kill the shawl or not. Gah!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day One

Hmm. I said I wouldn't be around much, didn't I? Well, a woman's right to change her mind and all that rot. :)

I got a fair amount of knitting done yesterday on both projects. Began the Molly Poncho at work at 2:00 and knit for about an hour and a half until I had to do my close-up and go home. The pattern is a snap to do and I'm loving the yarn. It knits up into an eclectic mix but the yarn coming up through my fingers reminds me of old-fashioned hard candy. You know, those sticks that have the swirls on them and come in all different flavors and colors? That and saltwater taffy. I get hungry every time I work with it. :) It really is a bit lighter and brighter but the flash washed it out too much.

I began the Fan Stitch Shawl during the Opening Ceremonies. I got the first 48 rows done, which sounds like a lot but there weren't that many stitches. It was the first two repeats of the pattern stitch, though, so that's something. And it sort of looks like a doll's shawl.

I can't begin to say how much I am loving working with the Lacey Lamb. It is soooo soft and squishy. It will be a beautiful shawl when it is done. The only thing is, I think it's going to take much less yarn than I originally thought because it is so thin. I may not even break into the second skein. That isn't a bad thing, of course, just that I had planned to use the whole thing for this shawl.

Hope everyone else had a good first day! I'm off to get some food and back to the needles.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Contestants, take your positions!

As I type this, I am three hours from the start of the Knitting Olympics. I have my yarn, needles and pattern for the poncho with me and will work on that for a few hours. I'm waiting until 8:00 when the Opening Ceremonies are aired to start the shawl.

Once things get going I may become a touch scarce but I'll pop in with updates, pictures and gritty anecdotes of the whole process. :)

To everyone who is participating in this, I wish you the best of luck and cannot wait to see your projects!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Waiting is the hardest part

I've done all my swatching and am just waiting for Friday to roll around. To keep me busy I'm revamping Sunset Garden as a square shawl. I've got the square pretty much figured out so I just need to find nice border and edging patterns to finish it up. I'm also going to buzz out a few Pygmy Puffs for some people. But those are really quick and won't take too much time.

Melissa, about your comment on the Fixation- The hardest part for me is the cast on. I tend to want to tug the stitches a bit too tight no matter what yarn I'm using. As for the knitting, I keep my bag at my feet and just make sure I have a bit of slack from the ball at all times. Other than moving from needle to needle, where I did tug hard to prevent laddering, I just pulled enough to gently snug the stitch to the needle. Once you get going it really isn't hard to maintain an even tension on the yarn. I did see someone who said that they liked the yarn a bit more stretched and they put the yarn over the back of their chair and pull it up that way. I guess it's a matter of choice on what you're making. I plan to make a few more pair of these mitts out of Fixation and have had the Broadripple Socks pattern for some time. One of these days I'll actually knit them!

Monday, February 06, 2006

My hands are toasty warm right now!

As promised, I am posting a pic of the finished fingerless mitten. Although you can't see it, my right hand is similarly clad. It's operating the camera so you'll have to take my word for it.

It took less than one skein of Fixation. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could get another mitt out of the skein, meaning 3 pair from 2 skeins. Not bad, huh? And I knit it very relaxed because I wanted it to stretch and fit nicely around my hand without being too tight. I lengthened the wrist portion by 4 rounds, which isn't much. The only other change I wish I had made would be to have made the thumbs a bit longer. Even 2 or 3 rounds would have been enough.

I'm quite happy with these and will probably make a few more pair up for myself and friends. Really a quick pattern and only took a couple of evenings to make. Now if the shawl and poncho go as quickly and easily!

So what's next? Well, I'm swatching for my poncho. I'm pretty sure I'll use a size 13 for it but I want to make sure that gives me the right gauge.

I'm also considering a change on Sunset Garden. No, I am not scraping the idea, just altering it. See, I really prefer square shawls to triangular ones. So I think I'll knit the center in the Shetland Leaves, like I have now, then find a simple border and edging. That should take a few days to work out, which will bring us right up to the Olympics.

After that, I have sworn to finish the Hufflepuff sweater. It's sitting in my basket and glares at me each time I walk by. I promise, that will be first up after the 26th.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The countdown continues

Less than one week until the Olympics start. I really can't wait. And, if completing the Fan Stitch shawl wasn't enough I have added another project. A "Molly-inspired" poncho out of LB Landscapes in Autumn Trails. About a year or so ago I tried to make this into a two-piece poncho but didn't like the results. So I frogged the whole thing the other night and have two huge balls of yarn. I figure there are 10 1/2 skeins there; I had 11 but the ends had been trimmed after weaving so figure half a skein missing. Should be plenty to make a simple poncho, right?

Why am I doing this? Well, I really wanted to join Team Potter (I mean, how can I call my blog Molly's Needles and not knit for this team?) and I also wanted something that I could take on the run. I have some downtime at work right now but don't want to mess up the Fan Stitch or damage the lambswool. The poncho will be less of a thinking project that I can pick up and put down as needed.

I've cast on and knit most of the wrist for the second fingerless mitt. I'm hoping to finish it tonight or tomorrow. I'll take a pic and post when it's done. I'm coming in way under on the yarn, too. I'll get the pair out of one ball of Fixation, which is nice. Probably something to do with that yarn although I'm knitting it pretty relaxed so I have maximum stretch when I put them on. Oh, and I did move up to the size 4 needles.

That's about it. Blaze continues to improve and protests taking his medicine, but I think I've convinced him that it is for his own good. Or he's just humoring me. ;)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Just a quick post

I finished one of the Fixation wristwarmers and really love the way it turned out. I'll post a picture of it as soon as I can.

Knitting has been suspended today so that I can comfort Blaze; he had to make a trip to the vet's this morning. He just got done with a course of antibiotics for an infection and was getting the follow-up visit today (as well as a few shots). He's doing much better but still has some lingering infection so is going on another 10 days of medication. Travel is in the top 2 of the things he'd really rather not do (the other would be taking pills, so we're batting 1000!) so I'll spend the rest of the day pampering my baby and pick the needles back up tomorrow. After all, there are some things more important than a finished project. :)