Saturday, March 31, 2007

Before blocking.

All knitted up and now it's pinned out on the spare room floor blocking. In the end I only did an extra three repeats (243 stitches) as I'm itching to start another with some of my freshly dyed yarn. It measured 36 inches x 18 inches before blocking and I have stretched it to within an inch of it's life. So here's the "before" picture, the "after" will follow shortly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Second Canopy Shawl

No mistakes.....well I don't think so :) In PY Lucia colourway Maid, using 5mm needles.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

195 stitches and counting

I reached the required stitch number a couple of days ago but my FC looked a little small. (Not that it's actually all that easy to tell when it's all bunched up on the needle.)
Anyhow, the thing is as the yarn came from my stash (out of the box of granny gave me) I don't know what the yarn is and I had no idea how much (if any) it was going to grow by on blocking. The only answer was to knit and block a test swatch - and here is the result. It didn't grow at all!! Well, hardly at all. So, more repeats it is then.
195 stitches and counting ..... How big, is big enough?

This one's for me

I know I didn't enjoy the first shawl I knitted but I couldn't help but cast on another one, but this one is for moi!!! I don't know if thats the reason why I am enjoying it so much or it could be that I understand the pattern much more and I am flying through it. I only now need to glance at the pattern to see what Im doing and off I go :) Its growing very very quickly now. I haven't used a lifeline yet ....yikes!!!!

I am using PY Lucia in Maid and with KP 5mm needles, colours are pinks, peach, lilacs and reds, very springlike.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

LittleBerry's Finale

Well as you can see I have finished the shawl….

I always like to take a photograph whilst blocking as it looks so technical and impressive and what it does for lace knitting is amazing…..

This was my first time using blocking wires and it was a bit fiddley at first but I can see the benefits of using them rather than all those pins….

The final photographs of the shawl....

..........with a close up to see the pattern…

As for the yarn …. Yes I like it and I love the colours, I think the striping works with this pattern and because the lace is quite simple the colours don’t mask the pattern but I have satisfied my curiosity with this yarn and I wouldn’t use it to knit a rectangular shawl or a fancier pattern as it would overpower the pattern and the strong colours would detract from the lace…..

All in all I have enjoyed this pattern and the yarn and it’s a nice quick knit and doing less repeats you would easily get a triangular scarf out of a 50g ball of 4ply… on 4.5mm

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The story of LittleBerry's Forest Canopy

Yarn: Jojoland Melody (4ply/fingering wt) Col Y16 – Green Violet
Needles: 4.5mm

Like a few others this is my first entry on a blog, but not my first introduction to lace knitting. It is however, my first attempt at a shawl that isn’t rectangular so I shall see how I get on with the increases outweighing the decreases. I am so used to being able to check that I have the same number of sts on as I started with that I must admit I am a little concerned with all these growing number of sts… will I be able to cope with them all? and will I have the staying power?

The photo shows the shawl after 3 repeats, growing quickly which is nice but I am constantly thinking it will slow down as I get more sts on the needles and how long will it take me to do a repeat when I get more sts on (this is what I did as a child which is what put me off knitting back then, constantly trying to work out how long something would take me!!!!) I have to remind myself this isn’t a race and so what if it takes me an hour or more to do a pattern repeat, just enjoy the rhythm of the knitting, watching the emerging pattern and take delight in the fact that I am getting the pattern right!!!

I love the yarn and the colours, it is a little rougher than I thought it would be but still it’s nice to knit with and think will make a nice shawl for my friend’s birthday. The only thing I am reserving judgment on at the moment is the striping. It has long runs of colour which is good but it is making definite stripes which concerns me that it may mask the pattern somewhat...

Well it’s finished, but it has yet to be blocked…..It didn’t take as long as I thought it would; 5 days I think, but then I did knit most of Sunday which is something I don’t normally get the opportunity to do…

I had one or two little hiccups, like missing the odd YO, but I managed to spot my error before I got too far so luckily didn’t need to rip back to my lifeline at any point, just a little tinking here and there to create a YO in the right place… I think lifelines are a mental safety net just as much as a physical one for me… it’s that little thought of well if it goes completely wrong even on the last row it’s only 8 rows to pull back, somehow this stops me worrying about mistakes so I concentrate on the pattern and make less mistakes….

I ended up doing 3 extra repeats of the pattern, which took me up to 243sts this wasn’t a form of self torture but more based on needing two balls of yarn for this project and I finished the last official pattern repeat at 195sts with still some yarn left out of my first ball :oO even after all the extra knitting I still have a bit left but I think doing a further repeat would have been pushing it a little so I played safe…

I enjoyed the pattern and I found that once I got back into the rhythm of lace knitting I re-aquainted myself with being able to recognise were I should be in the pattern so at least I could tell if I was going wrong….

I am still reserving judgment on the striping effect of this yarn, but I will make my final decision after blocking which will be in the next few days….

Sunday, March 18, 2007

So I gave in and joined up!

Well here's my first ever blog post and the beginnings of my FC. I'd already done 6 repeats by the time I took the picture as I got a bit carried away. I love this pattern!

Anyhow, I'd just switched to some even longer straight needles when I took this but today I have given in and switched to a circular needle. The extra weight of the needle was playing havoc with my elbow - I really think I need to invest in some bamboo needles at some point!

Oh, and I guess the important stuff. I'm using 4mm circular needles and an cone of very soft (but unlabelled) teal coloured 4ply.

Bearium :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

And another!

Finished in the early hours of this morning and blocked today. I did 3 extra repeats but I think if I use the same yarn again (I have more in 2 different colourways), I would do more repeats or perhaps use slightly larger needles.

Here it is unblocked - approx 34 1/2 in wide and 15 1/2 in deep.

And here it is blocking - final measurements 49 in wide and 21 in deep. Being part of the KAL has been great and ensured I got this completed!

Another finish! :-)

We all seem to be finishing at once now....saw a few great looking ones on the AY thread, gotta get them up here, too.

So here's mine pre-blocking. I think I ended up doing 3 extra repeats--almost did 4, but was afraid I would run out of yarn. I might have made it, but better safe than sorry, right? It was roughly 20 in x 38 in.
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And while blocking, stretched to about 26x57 (I almost feel it could stretch just a wee bit more, but I think this is good!):
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And the obligatory close-up of the pattern/colours:
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This has been fun, and I probably will knit one again--although not right away. I have my Ivy to finish, and I also just got the pattern for Swallowtail, so that will be by next lace project.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another finish!

This is Sebskins, finished shawl!

Loving the colours, well done!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

HilaryD's update

Here we have HilaryD's progress so far on the shawl.
Love the colours and really coming on well, well done!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Our first finish!

Here we have everyone! Mongrel has finished her shawl it is stunning!

Well done!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Progress so far...

This is all about firsts - my first KAL and my first shawl. The Forest Canopy is a great pattern for a first lace project. It is only an 8 row pattern repeat and has a good rhythm to it. I am knitting my FCS with 100% merino fine sock wool in Ruby Flame from the Natural Dye Studio and using 4mm INOX straight needles. This was cast on on Friday 2nd March, and if I spent a bit more time knitting and less time on the Internet finding new projects, I would probably have progressed a bit more. It does knit up pretty quickly.

Seeing pictures of everyone's FCSs and hearing about their progress and problems really helps me keep at this. This was progress as of a couple of days ago (I think it was around 90 stitches then). I had posted a different picture on the Forum, but I think this photo shows the different shades up more. I am now at 147 stitches, and the fabric is feeling more lacey now and just so soft. I will try and take some more photos tomorrow.

Some advice from a knitter, who has already done a shawl....

If you are not sure about your needle size you can knit a swatch and see how it drapes.

Lace is usually knitted with larger size needles than it will say on the ball band as they will be for ordinary things like socks. The trekking is a sock yarn I think.

Lace is really holey and especially so until you get going so I would knit a little more before deciding to change needle size. But it is your project and there is no right or wrong in knitting, just do what works. If the size you are using isn't looking right for you then change if you want to. It will be fine.

Blocking and synthetic yarn - hmm ? OK here's my 2p on the subject. I have knitted a shawl in an acrylic Mohair, it did open up fine on blocking but there wasn't much stretch in the damp fabric so the transformation pre and post blocking wasn't dramatic. Natural fibres will stretch more - but there are differences between natural fibres too - there's an article on knitty about it I will try and find link for you so you can see.

In the end I think you should use the best quality fibre you can afford at the time for your best projects. A lot of you are doing a test run with cheaper yarns and these will knit up fine and block ok too, they will wash well and will give you an idea of how you like lace knitting. But when you want to try an heirloom project for a dear friend/family memeber that is going to take hours of work and which you expect to be treasured then I would recommend using a 100% merino or a merino cashmere blend. The blocking will transform the finished item, the holes will open up, the project will grow hugely,, and the points will stay nice and pointy, you will be amazed and never want to knit lace in anything else again.

On the other hand you might wish to make a shawl for a new baby and you might want the mum to use it everyday. it will be sicked on and crawled on, as the child gets bigger they will smear it with jam and drag it round the yard. Why would you choose a delicate yarn which has to be hand washed in luke warm water and pinned out to dry everytime it is washed? Well, you wouldn't! Pass me the acrylic. wash in the machine, bung in the tumble drier every day.

You see? There is no definative answer there is just what works. Do what works, use what you have, start knitting tonight, plan a beauty and save up, do what works. and enjoy, it's the journey as well as the destination, enjoy.

Don't fret - it will be fine, it really will. That blocking link

When did it all begin?

This knitalong was started by SJL1974 on Wed 28th Feb. She had been wanting to branch out from knitting scarves, and this shawl pattern was recommended to her.

As there was already so much interest on the Angel Yarns Forum about it, she decided to post a thread to see who else would like to attempt this with her....

and so the Forest Canopy Beginners KAL was formed!

This blog will hopefully chart each persons progress and be an inspiration to others to either join us or just have a go on their own!