O.K. Where have I been? Here, but totally snowed under at work. In the corners of time between deadlines, some progress on the home front was made.
After a series of two steps forward/one step back mishaps involving subcontractors (all made good by the general contractor at no cost besides delay time, and the extra effort of a bit more repainting than we planned), the bathroom renovation is now 90% done. All of the fixtures and tiling is complete and the room is functional. I’m particularly pleased with way things have turned out, in spite of the delays.
All that remains is finishing the woodwork and painting the upper part of the walls. We’re doing those things ourselves, including stripping paint from our door and stained glass window (both missing in the photos above), staining both to match the rest of the room’s wood. At this point, we’ve finished staining and finishing the in-place part of the cabinetry, plus the window frame and the frame around our mirror. We’ve done the first pass stripping on the door. The window is stripped and sanded, and has been stained. The upper cabinet’s doors and shelves have been stained and are awaiting finishing, and we’re in the middle of staining the doors and shelves in the lower cabinet.
On the knitting front, I’ve got a ton of things I need to block. I finished the baby blanket, am almost done with the gray/brown lace shawl, and finished a small lacy doodle. I also have quite a few projects from earlier this year to pin out and/or block. Here’s proof that the baby blanket is done, although not yet blocked or mailed.
On the lace shawl, as predicted, I ran out of yarn. But Friend Dena has graciously offered up a some more to complete. As you can (sort of) see below, all I need to do is finish the final edging.
The doodle was to try out a pattern in one of the lace books I gave myself for my birthday – Old World Treasures by
I am not a big fan of prose directions, but although unorthodox these are pretty clear. However I did note that the photograph of the piece that accompanies the pattern I tried is not a literal representation of the pattern as written. The photograph clearly shows a much deeper section of the final petaled shapes, involving at least four more repeats of the design as written, with some sort of accompanying increase to account for the ever increasing diameter of the piece. Although my unblocked lace doodle is difficult to make out, you can see that the final petals between the two orange lines appear to be less tall than same area in the book’s photo. Obviously blocking is in order here, too.
I’m now doodling with some black Skacel Merino Lace, trying out some of the patterns from the German Language Kunst-Stricken (Knitted Lace). In this case, the patterns are graphed, using a block and triangle system that’s not standard, but not difficult to read. I find them easier than the typography based system used in the Duchrow books. Duchrow’s numeral 1s and German lower case letter ls are particularly confusing to me.) The charts in Knitted Lace however are particularly tiny. The visually challenged might like to either regraph or use photo enlargement. I chose to regraph.
Here’s my progress from last night. I’ve chosen an insertion pattern (shown in the book as dual insertions meant for use on a decorative linen pillowcase), and a simple zig-zag lace edging used in the book as a handkerchief embellishment. Needless to say, I just started with the insertion, but I’ve played with the pattern somewhat. I changed the side to side framing, and I chose to tinker with the diamond centers. Rather than doing all in the heavily eyeleted lower style, I’ll either alternate that with the one above, or figure out a bunch more variants as I progress. My goal is to make a scarf about 8 inches wide and about five feet long, or as long as I can get out of my one 1375 yard skein of Merino Lace.
I’m not entirely sure I’ll keep this intact. I’m leaning towards reworking the thing on a larger size needle to make it a bit more lacy.
Oh. My advice on knitting lace from black thread-weight yarn?
More on corners. Using the same principles as the knit-from-center-out framing area on my cashmere shawl, I’ve done a mitered corner on my baby blanket. I do envision a problem now that I’ve finished a credible Corner #1, but I’ll deal with it when I get there.
The first step was to make sure that I had a multiple of my halved row count available as live stitches along each edge of the project (small alerts should be going off in your head right now, but back to this later). That’s because using my chosen attachment method, two rows of edging are attached to each live stitch.
Edging right side row: S1, work pattern to end
Edging wrong side row: Work pattern to penultimate stitch, SSK last stitch together with a live stitch of the body.
I can modify this scheme by doing an occasional SSSK on that wrong side row, in which one edging stitch is knit together with two live stitches from the body. This can be periodic and eat a specific number of stitches over a given number of repeats (eating one on every Edging Row 1, or every third row of the edging, for example); or it can be ad-hoc – performed when the thing looks like it’s getting too ruffly. Being a precise person, I prefer the former, but I’m not above sneaking one in using the latter should it be necessary. You’ve probably already figured out that working an edging onto a top or bottom of live knit stitches (or stitches rescued after unzipping a provisional cast on) will require a different rate of attachment than would knitting them onto stitches picked up off a side edge formed when the body was knit, via a standard slip stitch edge.
The second step was to identify a clear diagonal on the existing pattern, and use that as an alignment point on which to build my mitered corner. In this case, the edge of the eyelet diamonds makes a good divider.
So having stated the obvious, I violate it all. To create the live stitches all the way around my perimeter, I picked up, putting all the new stitches on a large circ. I started at the end of a knit-side row of stockinette, placed a marker and picked up a stitch in every slip stitch selvage on my left side edge. Then – not having done a provisional cast-on because I was on vacation and was lazy – I placed a marker and picked up the same number of stitches as I had stockinette stitches across the bottom of my half-hitch cast-on row. Then it was a march back to the origin point, placing a marker then picking up stitches along the remaining selvage.
It so happened that my picked up stitch count on each side is pretty close to a multiple of my edging row count-halved. So I started knitting my edging a couple of stitches in from my corner, commencing with good old Edging Row #1. (Hearing that ding-ding alert again? You should be.)
All is well and good (sort of). I’ve now marched around three of my four corners, and am in the home stretch, working my last straight side. Then it’s on to the final corner and graft.
Now. Why all those alerts?
Because my corner as graphed works best when I commence it on the tallest row of my point – not on Row #1, which is the shortest row. I didn’t figure that out until I was well along. Not wanting to rip it all back a THIRD time, I’m going to see if I can somehow cheat on Corner #4.
Here’s a graph for my modified edging and corner, with attachment instructions (done to the best of my ability).
On the baby blanket, I decided to rip back the entire edging (about half-finished at the point of decision). I decided I wanted to re-do corner #1, plus I didn’t like the way that the joins along the first edge looked. I’d been reducing along the body, working roughly every six rows of edging onto four live body stitches. While the points were lying flat, the yarn I’m using is heavy enough to make the necessary decreases along the body look clunky. (You can get away with this in a fine lace, but not in the almost DK weight I’m using). Instead I’ve opted for a bit fuller edge with (perhaps) a bit of ruffle. I’d post pix, but they pretty much show the same blanket body as the last post, but with an arrow that says “edging used to be here.” More on this later this week.
In other news, I finally got to the post office to pick up the mail I had on hold over vacation week. There, perched on top of the pile was my July No Sheep secret pal package. The formerly mysterious (but now known) Melanie was kind enough to send this:
That’s two skeins of Schachenmayr Denim in a sunshiny yellow/orange, plus two tins of killer tea. I dance a dance of thanks! I’m looking forward to trying it all. On the downstream end, I finally made contact with my secret pal recipient, and am busy picking out the goodies for her.
And finally – progress on the bathroom front. Which is a good thing because washing one’s hair in the sink can get old after five weeks. The tile is now (mostly) up and grouted. Vanity, storage cabinet, fixtures and finish work are left:
From the top – the view from the hall door. You can see the cleaned, repaired and repainted radiator, the pipes for the bathtub, and the new window frame into which the original stained glass will be fitted. Next is the shower, followed by the view from the window. No I didn’t crawl out on the roof to take this – there’s a sleeping porch on the other side of the window. And finally, a close-up of the tilework’s green pencil line and chair rail – just for Kathryn, who has confessed to extreme bath envy.
If you’ve written to me in the past two weeks and haven’t had a response – apologies. I’m still munching my way through my inbox.
Back from our annual no-computer vacation on Cape Cod. Seven days of blissful nothing in North Truro.
This year’s round of nothing included lots of knitting and reading time, a whale watch, some golf, watching the opening night of a thoroughly enjoyable Much Ado About Nothing, a couple of excellent dinners out, plus several equally excellent ones we prepared ourselves. Including paella on the beach – cooked on the grill against a Provincetown sunset:
The only less than ideal moment of the week was the last voyage of the Feckless, seen here in happier days:
Our Gannet II model two-person open cockpit kayak was swept away from the beach behind the Top Mast Hotel in North Truro by a pre-dawn storm on 5 July. We searched Beach Point, and the Provincetown area surf and mud flats for two days, but never found it. The loss has been reported to the Harbor Masters at Truro and Provincetown, and to the police in North Truro. In the remote chance that there’s anyone on the bay side of the Outer Cape reading this, there’s a finder’s reward out for the Feckless, please keep an eye out for it.
In knitting news, I spent the week working on a small baby blanket. I’m using Lana Grossa Merino 2000 (aka Cool Wool) – an extremely soft multi-strand machine washable Merino, in a weight somewhat between sport and DK. It’s well twisted although like any yarn made up of huge number of tiny plies, it can split. Stitch definition is superior thanks to its spring and almost tubular construction. I’ve adapted yet another pattern from the Duchrow series. This garter stitch based double zig-zag pattern has particularly nice eyelet roses in the center of each diamond. It was meant as a strip insertion. I’ve used it three times across my blanket, separated and framed by plain stockinette. For the edging, I added a garter stitch adaptation of a large eyelet border, shamelessly plucked from Heirloom Knitting, but altered a bit to better match the garter stitch all SSK eyelet texture of the main body. Also, I’m attempting to miter my corners on the fly. So far I like the second one I did, but not the first (I may rip back the edging to that point and re-do #1 now that I understand how to do it better. Second corner is shown in detail below:
I probably won’t be posting this pattern here because there hasn’t been very much interest in my recent pattern posts, and also because I’ve been working without making notes. The corners in particular would be difficult to explain.
So there you have it. Where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. Standard post vacation let-down here, contemplating the 51 weeks before I get to do it again.