I blame you not if you've abandoned me for greener pastures, blogs that are you know, updated and current and stuff. I fully intended to be post-y and whatnot, but summer got in the way. I could justify the long absence with the somewhat flimsy rationale that I've been working on long-term projects that required the full extent of my focus (partially true. Kinda), or that one of them is a wedding gift and the bride might discover my posts (not even a remote possibility), but really, I've got no excuses. So, if you're still around - you're a wonderfully patient person and I hug you from here.
My biggest project to date - in terms of size and stitch count - has got to be the Bird's Nest Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. I love this shawl. It's my favourite kind of lace project - not too fussy and easy to memorize. Knitting this does require patience and perseverance as it's knit length-wise, but I think the results are worth it.
I used 6 or so skeins Drops' Alpaca on 4mm Addi Lace needles and am really pleased with the result. The pattern is clearly written and easy to follow. Oberle suggests lace weight held double throughout for this project, but I found that the alpaca produced a nice lightweight fabric that drapes beautifully and is very warm. It's also considerably less expensive than cashmere. But splitty and sheddy. It hurts me to say it, as I love Drops Alpaca and possess a considerable amount, but I will admit that it sheds like mad and can be a pain in the arse with the splitting. My solution? Refrain from wearing dark colours whilst knitting and pay a little bit of attention to what you're doing. Not exactly a revelation, I realize, but it works for me.
Blocking, as with any lace project, really opened up the pattern. Even my Man was impressed with this one (no small accomplishment in itself). There are more photos of it in all it's purple glory here. [Photos.Photos are one of the main reasons that I don't blog more. Dealing with photos in Blogger makes me want to chew off my own arm in frustration. It doesn't need to be this difficult. Just sayin'.]
Also on the lace front, I decided to knit a lacy scarf as a gift for a good a friend's wedding. I gave myself a month to finish it. I managed to complete it 2 weeks. I showered and ate and had a life and stuff, and still managed to get the Trellis Lace Scarf finished with time to wash, block and wrap it. Not that I have actually wash or blocked it yet, but for good reason. The blocking wires I ordered from KnitPicks are due to arrive tomorrow and I really want to try those out. So, as it stands, the Trellis Scarf is a rather unappetizing rumpled lump, desperately crying out for some finishing touches.
I chose Jaggerspun Zephyr 2/18 in Lady Slipper pink for the bride-to-be. It is not a colour I would choose for myself, but I think that it suits the recipient pretty well. This was my first time knitting with it a true lace weight and I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought somehow that lace weight would be more difficult to work with, but not so much. It did take some getting used to , the thin yarn on 4mm needles (Addi lace needles again. I have some to appreciate those pointy brass needles - particularly when knitting 7 stitches into 5), but it wasn't as difficult as I thought. The yarn itself doesn't really set me on fire - it's nice (and I have 2 skeins in the stash), but I'm not in love. I found it prone to splitting at inopportune moments (like the 7 into 5 manoeuvre), and it felt rather papery to me - probably owing to the silk content. That said it knits into a lovely, floaty fabric and most of the folks who have seen it really liked it, even if pink isn't their deal.
The pattern is easy to follow and made perfect sense to me -I've some Ravelry reviews that called it quite challenging, but didn't find it overly vexing. I watched tv and managed to keep things on track. The one issue I do have with this pattern is the asymmetrical ending borders. I hate them. The beginning border is scalloped and leads quite nicely to the main diamond/trellis pattern that comprises the body of the scarf. The ending border ends straight across, with a half diamond shape. This didn't make much sense to me, so I searched Ravelry for an alternative. I found a chart for an ending border that continued the diamond shaping but could not for the life of me get it to work. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong, but I gave up. Ultimately I cast on for a second beginning border and grafted it to the scarf. It worked out pretty well and is a much better fit that the original ending. I will post pics when the blocking extravaganza is underway (hopefully tomorrow!).
There is another lace shawl in the works, but it will have to wait for my next post - which will be much sooner in coming than this one was. Thanks again if you've stuck around or are making a return visit to the Back Loop, I appreciate it. If you're curious as to my other projects, I'm Ravelry as MissKnit - drop by or add me as a friend (I'm friendly - really).