Friday, October 29, 2010


I thought I knew what the definition of Vortex was but went to this place to verify I knew what it meant. Here is what I found.

1. a whirling mass of water, esp. one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.
2. a whirling mass of air, esp. one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.
3. a whirling mass of fire, flame, etc.
4. a state of affairs likened to a whirlpool for violent activity, irresistible force, etc.
5. something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.
6. (in Cartesian philosophy) a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space.

With all of those explanations I understand this pattern. It's the Vortex Shawl. When you look at the pattern you will see a few things. One, it's mostly the stockinette stitch with a few yarn overs thrown in to give it the "whirl" look. Two, it's so simple that most any advanced beginner can make this shawl. It truly looks harder than it really was. For me, understanding the directions was the hardest part. There were directions that didn't make sense to me and an error on the last row. It took a fellow knitter (thanks Ashley) to help me get through the directions. If I was going to stress anything about this pattern, it would be to use stitch markers as the directions say to. It will save you loads of heart ache later, ask me how I know...

The whole project from beginning to end took about five weeks. One of those weeks was my vacation in Seattle. I made the mistake of not taking this project with me for fear someone would take my needles and I would surely cause a scene at the airport. Addi Turbos are not cheap needles to be confiscated. I did not bring a SASE with me like a friend suggested. I would have been one very sad camper if they took my needles. Pulling the shawl with hundreds and hundreds of stitches would have just about killed me, so it stayed safely home.

The yarn is from Knit Picks and it's called Bare. This is an odd Bare because it has flecks of blue, red, yellow, and green. It's been discontinued so needing more was not an option. I used a size 7 needle with many different lengths as the shawl grew. I finished up with a 40 inch.

In the beginning, the pattern is a bit tricky but as it grows it gets easier and if you use the stitch markers like you are supposed to, you have very little to memorize. I didn't even print off the pattern.

Can you see what I mean about the beginning? It was a wee bit fiddly but I did manage to get it started. I think I took about three or four times and finally it took off.

Can you see the red, blue and yellow bits in the yarn? It's kind of an oatmeal color. The current Bare is pure white and is promoted by Knit Picks easy for dyeing. This is not the same stuff by far.

I was worried the shawl wasn't going to be large enough for me. When I washed it in the bathroom sink in the wool wash, it got to looking much larger than it was on the needles. Then I took it out and put it through the spin cycle in the washing machine and it got even larger.

It's too large. Look what I saw...
Yup, it doesn't fit on my 9 blocking squares. It sure doesn't fit on my dining room table either. See what's hanging over?? So I did not pin it down. Not enough surface space. I would have pinned it on to my bed but we have an air mattress bed so that won't work.
If you have read the Vortex pattern you know the edging is a picot edging with eight total stitches. I did not like the way that looked so I did mine with a total of four stitches. After doing it that way I could see the shawl was curling horribly. After it was washed, spun out and laid out, it didn't curl as badly as I thought it would.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed doing this very simple advanced beginner shawl. If you have a round dining room table and needle to table cloth, I think this could be done with a cotton of some sort. It would make a lovely gift.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Time Killer

Time Killer

I know the title to this post is an odd one. It's not like many of us have extra time these days to be killing some, but I have a few irons in the knitting fire and a project to kill some time until those projects come completely together was truly needed.

Recently, I signed up for my first toe-up sock class. Since that class will take at least a month, I needed sometime to do in between times I had class. So I searched through my Favorites on Ravelry and found something I thought would be more or less easy to complete. Boy did I get that wrong!

I wanted to make the Seafoam Shawl in some yarn from my stash. I found some that I bought at a"Yarn Yard Sale" when I was a member of my local Knitting Guild. I can't tell you exactly how much yarn was in the bag but it said there were 15-2- ball. The yarn is Lino-Fino. The balls are pretty small and only have about 170 yards each. I paid $15 for the whole lot. Lino-Fino is made from 62% cotton and 38% linen and comes from Switzerland. So it seemed like a good deal to me. Besides it was green. What's a girl to do?

The Seafoam Shawl only has four rows. Two of those rows are just stockinette. So I'm thinking, this is going to be a breeze. UGH! For some unknown reason, the simpler the pattern, the harder I seem to make it. To make a long story short, after ripping out the shawl row after row after row, I resorted to a life line. I just didn't want to rip out anymore rows. The shawl only increases two stitches a row. One increase is at the beginning of the row and the other is at the end of the row. The rest consists of knitting and YOs. It would be a great beginner lace project since there are only four rows.

YOs seem pretty easy until you discover three rows down that you missed one. Every row should have an even number of stitches at the end. If there is an odd number, you have to rip out at least two rows to find and fix your error. I am not good at fixing a YO three rows down so I counted every row's stitches and I did finally break down and used a life line.
Here is the finished shawl from the front. The edges have a nice little ruffle made from kfKb increases. The main portion of the shawl is knit first and then the ruffle is added last. Be sure and use a 40 inch needle. I had a 32 inch and it got a bit hairy at the end. I forgot to mention that the doubled the yarn so that it would be more heavy. The pattern recommends a sock weight if I remember correctly.
Here is the back. It's a very small shawlette. I am planning to use it as a neck piece more than a shawlette. Do you see the cute ruffle?
As you can see the shawlette is pretty small. It doesn't even cover the back of my dining room chair. It was a fun project to fill in the gaps of working on my socks and a present for a friend. Now on to work on my sock for class.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Where Has All The Time Gone?

Where Has All The Time Gone?

I have not been a good blogger lately but I have still been a good knitter and I have been doing some other things that have kept me from keeping up here. Even though I have not been faithful to blogging, I have been faithful to my knitting. I three projects in progress and two of them have been long term projects. The two long term projects have been the sock blankie and the cotton blankie. They have been sitting around waiting for project number three to be done which is happening.

Besides knitting on the frog ensemble I went on a vacation of sorts. My husband had a business trip in the Seattle area and I got to tag along. It was really fun and only rained four days of the nine we were in the area. So it wasn't so bad. Seattle took my breath away as always and I would go back there to live any day of the week despite all the rainy days.

While my husband was working the first four days in a small town on the outskirts of Seattle, I had the rental car. So I got to go out everyday and play. I took my Garmin on the plane with me so we could use it in the rental car. I had big plans for shopping. I made it to three places that were on my list. There were way many more places I could have gone but you can only pack so much yarn in your suit case without paying even more money.

The first shop that I made it to was recommended to me by a friend here who used to live in that area. She was dying for me to go there and I was given strict instructions to take pictures, which I did. While I have not read these books, it didn't matter. I still got to the shop.

This is the shop that has Debbie Macomber's name on it. It's in Port Orchard, WA. The shop was bright, cheerful, clean and full of goodies that any yarnie would be thrilled to fondle. I know I was. I tried to use self control while in there keeping in mind that I have to get back on a plane with a suitcase that does not weigh as much as I do.
I just loved all the little Preemie hats on display. Who could pass these cuties up when shopping there? My eye feasted on this display.
I loved the color work in the vest, the matching hat and the baby doll with her own little vest.

Here is a close up of the adult sized vest and hat.
They are both really beautiful. Someone put in a lot of work on these. I am not sure I would have the patience for this and I think that's why I so admire these so much.
There were so many colorful things in the shop and this is just another example why I loved the shop.

This hat was next to the sweater above. I think they might have been examples of what was going to be taught in a class. Either way, I loved them both.

For some reason I seem to seek out buttons in yarn shops. Debbie Macomber's didn't disappoint. I bought two skeins of yarn to keep me busy in the hotel room in the evenings or when I would wake up at 4 AM everyday! The time difference gave me loads of time to work on projects because bed time was at 8. Ugh.

So that was the first shop I visited. I will post about two more places in the next weeks. It would be a really long post if I did all three of them at once so just one for now. Plus it will give me time to finish my current project so that I can take a picture. Time as you know, is not always on my side. See ya!