Monday, March 27, 2017

Makers' Monday - Wedding Shawls

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists & creatives. 

It's that time of year when the postman seems to constantly deliver wedding invitations. While my kids don't seem to be the slightest bit interested in getting married, or even dating seriously for that matter, their friends are starting to take the walk down the aisle.  And it's got me thinking about how proud I'd be to have my daughter or, even though she'd never be good enough for my son, a daughter-in-law make that walk wearing a shawl or veil that I had knit.  So naturally I took a look around Ravelry and here's what I found.

In no particular order...


hand knit lace wedding veil or shawl pattern
Le Bon Mariage courtesy of Tiziana Sammuri
Le Bon Mariage, designed by Tiziana Sammuri.  Gorgeous, right?  And it looks doable.  The pattern is in both text and chart format & Ravelry gives it an "average" difficulty rating.

Or how about 

large lace wedding shawl or veil, hand knitting pattern
Monica's Shawl courtesy of Meeli Vent
Monica's Shawl?  This shawl was designed by Meeli Vent for a 2012 KAL.  To knit this beautiful shawl, you'll need to go to Meeli's blog and download each KAL clue separately but it will be worth it as the pattern is free.

Next up is the Snow Queen Pi Shawl.


Snow Queen Pi Shawl courtesy of Bad Cat Designs

This beauty was designed by Andrea Jurgrau of Bad Cat Designs.  You'll need to check out the pattern's Ravelry page to see all the details.  It's stunning and being a Pi shawl, it's probably not horrendously difficult to knit.  One of the things I like about this shawl is how different it looks in different colors of yarn.  Knit in white it's definitely Snow Queen-y or wedding-y but the Ravelry page shows one knit in aqua that reminds me of a starfish or sea anemone.  I think this pattern could be extremely versatile.

Or perhaps something at an even finer gauge.

Cecilia courtesy of Rita Maassen

For this gorgeous shawl, you really need to check out it's Ravelry page to see all the detail.  "Cecilia" was designed by Rita Maassen and is knit with cobweb.  I love how the border is worked in a different direction from the body.  I'd have to make one slight change to this pattern if I was to knit it myself though.  Y'all know how I feel about knitting nupps.  Or is it knupps? I see it spelt both ways.  Either way you spell it, I'd have to replace them with beads.

Or maybe you're looking for something a little fancier and with a bit of history behind it.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-princess-shawl The princess shawl, a hand knit wedding veil shawl
The Princess Shawl courtesy of Sharon Miller, Heirloom Knitting
This heirloom shawl is a thing of beauty. The Princess Shawl can be found in the Etsy shop, Heirloom Knitting, or on Ravelry.  The pattern is so large it comes in e-book form and calls for gossamer or cobweb yarn. This one is probably way beyond my skill level but it's fun to dream about knitting it for my daughter to wear one day. 

And last but definitely not least,


floor length hand knit lace wedding veil
Shetland Stars courtesy of A Passion for Lace
This shawl/veil/piece of art makes me want to get married all over again.  This gorgeous shawl leaves me a bit speechless. Blocked, it's six feet square and knit with cobweb or gossamer.  SIX feet square!  I'm still just speechless.  It's truly a floor length veil.  Just look at it!  See?  I'm so amazed, I almost forgot to name it and give credit to the designer.  This beauty is the Shetland Stars Square Shawl from A Passion for Lace.  I think it's pretty obvious Sarah won't be getting married in this veil but maybe if I started today, just maybe I could finish in time for a great, great granddaughter to proudly take the walk in it.

So what do you think? Are you knitting or have or will you knit a wedding shawl or veil?  Please share your experience in the comments.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Photo Friday

Photo Friday... sort of like Wordless Wednesday.

scarp  yarn mitered square blanket, hand knit. https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Mitered Squares Blanket

Between struggling with the decision of what to knit next and my over-flowing containers of scrap yarn, I decided to pull out the mitered square blanket.  I hadn't touched it in ages yet I was so close to finishing it.  Or so I thought.

mitered square afghan knit with scrap sock yarn
Can you identify any of the yarns?

I should never have picked it back up because I immediately decided it needed to be at least four squares wider and three longer.  I'm no longer 'so close' to finishing it.

And for the record, it's physically impossible for me to be wordless.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Knitting with books

There's nothing like a rushed blog photo to show you how desperately you need to put down the knitting & pick up the cleaning supplies.

Mock cabled hat knit with Fangorn from Marigold Fibers.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Fangorn Hat

I just dusted two days ago and already every surface in the house is covered in a fine layer of pollen.  Welcome to spring!

The hat is also covered in dog hair.  Seconds before snapping the photo, I accidently dropped the hat onto the dog bed.  The Great Pyrenees' dog bed.  Do you have any idea how badly a Great Pyrenees sheds this time of year? It's a wonder he's not bald. He just walks around the house, dropping clumps of hair in his wake.  I thought I'd gotten all the dog hair off the hat, but obviously not.  The camera does an excellent job of pointing out stray hairs as well as pollen dust.

Sadly, the pollen and dog hair situation is only going to get worse.  The park opens this weekend and I'm working just about every day this week getting things prepared for the big opening day.  There won't be much time for cleaning. Or knitting.  Or reading. Yikes!

As for my knitting and reading, I'm still slugging my way through Nineteen Eighty Four & I finished the Fangorn hat yesterday.  Since completing Fangorn, I haven't picked up anything else.  I know! It's been over 12 hours since I held my knitting needles.  Yikes! I just can't decide what to knit next. I have 1,000 UFO projects I should work on and another 1,000 I want to work on.  I haven't wound the yarn for any of the projects I want to do.  So, I sit here with the guilt of knowing I should work on the UFO's battling the lack of motivation to clean off the area around my swift so that it has room to spin.

My reading situation isn't much better.  I'm enjoying the horror of Nineteen Eighty Four but it's just not one of those 'can't put it down' books. And for some strange reason, I don't want to read it just before bed (which is a big part of my normal reading time.)  Apparently genetically engineered killer ants didn't affect my sleep but I'm afraid Nineteen Eighty Four will.  And just like my knitting, I have 1,000 books I want to read but I'm unable to choose which one to start next.

Maybe it's a good thing I'm going back to work.  At least then, I'll have an excuse for not knitting or reading.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Makers' Monday

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists & creatives. 

St. Patrick's Day has come and gone and despite Stella dumping a boat load of snow on the East Coast recently, it's spring time.  Let's talk Easter.  


While I love receiving a basket from The Bunny, I was never that into decorating for Easter.  The decorations tend to be a little too pastel for my taste but a few years ago, I discovered knitting for Easter.  Easter provides a whole new reason to knit!  

I knit baskets full of these Easter eggs a few years ago.  I should knit more of them because mine are sort of weird & not very Eastery. I used left over sock yarn scraps which tend to be dark colors.  My kids tease me about my basket of goth Easter eggs.

A free knitting pattern for knitted Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs, courtesy of Linda Dawkins, naturalsuburbia.com

The pattern comes from Linda Dawkins at Natural Suburbia.  She offers it for free on Ravelry and as I recall, it was a very simple pattern to follow.  You could easily knit yourself a basketful during your next Netflix binge.

Or what about knitting this little duckling?

hand knitted duck plushy to help celebrate Easter
Easter Duckling, courtesy of Morgunova Olga

Is he not the cutest, most adorable, fluffy little thing?  The pattern for this Easter Duckling comes from Morgunova Olga on Ravelry.  Do you think my adult children are too old for an Easter duckling? I really feel the need to knit this little guy.

And you can't have Easter without a bunny.

Knitted stuffed bunny rabbit with removable clothes. Just in time for Easter
Boy Bunny, courtesy of Julie Williams, Little Cotton Rabbits

Or two.

knitted stuffed girl bunny rabbit with removable clothing to knit for Easter
Bunny Girl in a Dotty Dress, courtesy of Little Cotton Rabbits

You'll need to invest a little more time in knitting these boy and girl bunnies.  The patterns are a little more involved and there's lots of little pieces to knit then stitch together, but look how cute they are! I think any time spent knitting these would be well worth it.  I specially love that the rabbits' clothes are removable and can be changed based on the season.  Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits even offers extra clothing options here, because you know, a girl Must have more than one outfit!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Kiss me, I'm Irish

Okay, I'm only a tiny bit Irish. Two of my Scottish relatives were sent to Ireland as young lads to learn the linen trade. They grew up, got married to nice Irish girls & not long before the American Revolution broke out they came to America to set up their own linen shop.  But according one of their journal entries, they got weirded out by the "trouble with the British" and returned to Ireland.  Once the war was over, they came back to America, settled down in Williamsburg, reopened their shop and eventually passed a tiny bit of Irish DNA down to me.  So, I may not be very Irish, but I'm Irish enough to claim it today.  So,

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

But let's talk yarn.  

Last month, in one of my Makers' Monday posts, I'd shown some yarn from Marigold Fibers.  

When I was searching for yarns to use in that post, Fangorn was the first yarn I chose.  I fell in love with the fluctuations in its color and immediately included it in the Makers' Monday post.


St. Patrick's Day green yarn
Fangorn from Marigold Fibers

But after selecting the other yarns for that Makers' Monday post, I wasn't as head over heels in love with Fangorn anymore.  It had lost a little of its charm because it was darker and not as bright, or bluish/aqua, or happy 'Spring is almost here!' green as the others.  And I felt a little guilty about not loving it enough.  So I ordered some.

green yarn from Marigold Fibers
Fangorn

The yarn arrived much quicker than expected. (Thank you, Marigold Fibers!) In real life the yarn was the pretty green in the shop's photo but... It was still dark. It didn't shout, "Spring is almost here!"  The skein sat on my desk, giving me a massive guilt trip while I knit with other yarns.


And then a funny thing happened.  Jade stitch markers from Lavender Hill Knits showed up in my mailbox.  The stitch markers coordiante so well with the Fangorn yarn, I couldn't wait to begin knitting with it.

knitting a hat with Fangorn from Marigold Fibers. Hat will be for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JeannieGrayKnits?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Soon to be a hat

But the yarn... Oh. My. Gosh! It may not shout Spring! but who cares?  It's perfect! It's gorgeous! It's incredibly soft and feels so good in my hand. It coordinates perfectly with my new stitch markers (which didn't show up in the photo. Doh!) and...

great customer service from Marigold Fibers
Yes! String ties

It had one of THE best customer service things a yarn dyer/maker can provide in my opinion - non-matching, string ties.  They were SO simple to remove.  It drives me nuts when yarn creators tie their hanks with matching yarn.  

So, to make a long story a little bit longer, I really, really like this yarn. There's even a good chance I'm going to order more so I can knit myself mittens to go with the hat. 

And did you see that Admiral blue?  Good grief! My bank account's in trouble now.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Find Your Fade

If you've ever held a pair of knitting needles in your hands, you've probably heard of the Find Your Fade shawl.  Everyone is knitting the pattern and for good reason.  It's a super simple knit, the pattern is easily memorized, the knitting is constantly changing so you never get bored and the color options are endless.  I don't remember ever enjoying a project more & the 2581 other folks on Ravelry who've knitted a Find Your Fade can't be wrong.

Knit a Find Your Fade using Hawthorne fingering weight wool from Knit Picks
Find Your Fade

Thanks to ice storm Stella (Everyone else on the east coast got snow but we got nothing but freezing rain.) I finished my Find Your Fade yesterday afternoon and had it blocking by supper time.  It's huge!  HUGE!  My dining room table seats 10 comfortably and the shawl is as wide as the table & it's hanging way off both ends.  WAY off the ends!

I ran into a slight snag near the end.  I ran out of yarn.  The pattern calls for seven colors & I only used six.  I used the green/brown skein twice.  I thought it would be okay.  From looking at the schematic on the pattern, it looked like the stripes start small, get bigger, then shrink back down again.  But they don't.  Shrink that is. It's an optical allusion.

Anyway, I ran out of yarn.  I was only short three garter ridge rows & the yarn fumes got to me and made me forget that technically, I was knitting an elongated mitered square triangle.  The yarn fume brain caused me to overlook the mechanics of a mitered angle.  I was just thinking that the end would be blunt and not pointy.  I could easily live with a blunt ended triangle.  After all, it's only short three garter ridges.  How blunt could it be?

Oops

Not blunt at all.  The pointed triangle tip is still pointy because not completing all the rows on a mitered angle doesn't cause blunt ends.  It causes a weird jag at the mitered angle.  Dammit.

But it's okay.  I'm calling it a design element.

Other than that one little 'design element' the shawl turned out fantastic.  I can't even put into words how happy I am with the way the colors merged together. I used Knit Pick's Hawthorne and look how great the colors blend.  I started with St. Johns, the brown, then added Laurelhurst, a green/brown.

A Find Your Fade shawl hand knit with Hawthorne wool from Knit Picks
Find Your Fade

After the Laurelhurst, I added Rose City. It doesn't show up in the photo but the Rose City has hints of gold in it which match the golden brown in the Laurelhurst.

Knitted Find Your Fade shawl
Knit Picks Hawthorne

After the Rose City, I used Vancouver.

shawl knit with Hawthorne wool from Knit Picks
Find Your Fade

Vancouver blended into Poseidon.

Find Your Fade shawl knit with Knit Picks Hawthorne
Find Your Fade

After Poseidon, I used the remainder of the Laurelhurst.  This is where I ran into trouble.  I didn't have enough Laurelhurst to complete what should have been the sixth color's stripe so I added in the final color, Serpent, early.

Find Your Fade shawl knit with Knit Picks Hawthorne yarn
Knit Picks Hawthorne

And since I started using Serpent early, I didn't have enough to complete the shawl.  Thus, my 'design element.'

I'm a lot less worried about the design element than I am about what color combination to use for the next one.  I don't remember ever casting off a project and immediately wanting to cast on another.  But Find Your Fade.... this pattern is addictive!

By the way, it is Wednesday and I'm supposed to be talking about what I'm reading while I knit. I'm still reading Nineteen Eighty Four.  I'm enjoying reading it much more than I did back in high school but it's still not exactly a 'can't put it down' type of book. I may be reading it for a while.

Join me over at Ginny's place, Small Things to see what others are knitting and reading this week.


(This post contains affiliate links.)


Monday, March 13, 2017

Makers' Monday

Welcome to Makers' Monday, a celebration of knitting designers, artists & creatives. Today, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, we're celebrating traditional Irish food.  

Irish or not, do you prepare a big Irish spread for St. Patrick's Day?  We usually fix corned beef & cabbage with potatoes but, not being the best cook in the world, the meal is kind of bland and no one is ever overly excited about it.

This year, I thought I'd plan in advance and find some better recipes to try out.  

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage,
courtesy of The Cookie Rookie

I came across this recipe for traditional corned beef and cabbage made in the slow cooker from The Cookie Rookie.  I do love the simplicity of  a made-in-the-crock-pot meal!  And this recipe sounds much tastier than my normal way of preparing corned beef.  It's definitely going on the menu this year.

Irish stew recipe for St. Patrick's Day
Irish Guinness Beef Stew courtesy of FoxandBriar.com

While searching for corned beef recipes, I stumbled across this Irish Guinness Beef Stew recipe from Fox and Briar.  Doesn't it look yummy?  Irish stew and corned beef with cabbage may make for a heavy meal, but this recipe is going on the menu for those non corned beef & cabbage eaters.  The recipe sounds so simple and there's bound to be lots of left overs.  Having left overs is even better than the ease of cooking in a slow cooker!

St. Patty's Day Irish soda bread recipe
Rosemary Cheddar Irish Soda Bread,
courtesy of Foodness Gracious

If we're having stew, we'll need bread!  The few times I've made Irish soda bread, I haven't been very successful.  I usually end up making cement chunks instead of bread.  But this receipe for Rosemary Cheddar Irish Soda bread from Foodness Gracious looks like it might work.  And to make it less risky, I might ask my daughter to bake it since she's a much better bread baker than I am.

Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce,
courtesy of The Kitchen McCabe

And for desert, because there has to be a desert... Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce.  If this ends up tasting half as good as the picture looks, I will be indebted to The Kitchen McCabe. I absolutely LOVE custard sauce.

So that's our St. Patty's Day meal plans.  What are yours?

Can anyone recommend a gym? I think I'm going to need one.