Friday, July 29, 2011

I finished something: Noro Mitred Square Afghan

My stash is big, but my UFO pile is pretty big, too.  I decided this year that I would try to finish some UFO's.  Today I had success with one.  My Noro Mitred Square Afghan is done! I wrote about it here. I decided to crochet an edge to try to bring it all together with what was left once the squares were done.  I tried a knit border  but it didn't work.

I don't think I'm the only one to do this sort of afghan but it sure is lovely.  There's something about that all the intense colors, and the long enough runs of color.  I gave up on the triangle point border, deciding that they would just flop about.  I went with a simple crocheted edge to pull it together and use up a little more of the Kureyon.  Is "kureyon" the Japanese pronunciation or version of "crayon," do you suppose?  I haven't looked it up but that's my guess.

I started this with one color , about 5 years ago.  When I realized I needed more, I discovered that the original was discontinued, I chose another to do more squares with.  Intense oranges, greens, purples, that's my preference.

 Not to compare myself, but can Noro take credit for reminding me of David Hockney?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Old Shale

I hope my readership isn't getting tired of reading about Scotland, because I'm not tired of writing about it... When in Orkney, I bought, as I have mentioned prior, hand dyed bumps, in both North Ronaldsay and Shetland wool, dyed by Pam Murray.  I spun up the North Ronaldsay in what I could create as a laceweight, with I hope not too short runs of color. 

Pooling of color in knitting variegated yarns is an interesting phenomenon that  I don't  understand it, and I don't really like it, so it's just a chance I take in case it does...

I am not big on combining a variegated color yarn with a complex lace pattern.  I chose to do Evelyn A. Clark's Old Shale Lace Shawl.  It's a garter shawl with old shale lace at the bottom, probably with origins as a working woman's shawl.  It's not a shawl that I would  buy yarn to knit, rather, it speaks to me as what this yarn that I've created needs. It also seems appropriate to the Scottish origin of my fiber. (Plus, I'm trying to graph a shawl that I designed, which incorporates old shale, and this project is helping me on my learning curve to understand how to manipulate and chart the old shale lace.)

Old shale is an interesting lace pattern.  It involves the right leaning knit 2 together (K2) with the left leaning slip slip knit (SSK).  Here's a graph snippet

o o o o o o \ \ \ / / /


E.g., from right to left K 2 tog 3 times, SSK 3 times, yo, k1 yo 3 times.  One could do more k2 tog/ssk/yo's to make wider border repeats.

For most of my life, I've been a slob, and anytime I needed to knit two stitches together, I knit 2 together thru the back loops (K2 tog TBL), just because it's easy and fast.  I am trying to rehabilitate myself from this sloppy habit, pay attention, and take a little more time.  With old shale, this is important to get the stitches leaning the correct way in to the yarn overs.

I often lose or gain stitches with this lace and I don't often frog back to fix it (yeah sloppy here too, but I can get lost in the frogging), but if I get lost, I look for the center stitch in the yarn over section, shown here with the top yellow headed pin, to reorient myself:

This center stitch goes straight up which makes it easy to find.

Evelyn says that this is a good beginner lace pattern;  I'm not so sure.  A novice knitter friend of mine tried it and gave up.  I find it can be difficult.

FYI, Liz Lovick does a very nice job of explicating old shale versus fan and feather at her blog, here.  Liz says that "old shale" is really "old shell" but acquired the name "shale" as that's how Shetlander's pronounce it.  So now you can pronounce "shell" like a Shetlander.  And you can add "peerie" with a rolled "r" and say "little shell"  "peerie shale"!  (OK, OK it's an in-joke).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Not alot of knitting, basil content alert

The garden is maxing out in the heat.  The string beans and tomatos are done.  It's hot where I live, and almost time for the second crop, contents to be determined.

One of my favorite books is Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  A la Barbara and her family,  I am working to include my garden produce in my meals, and working a bit toward being a locavore.  Here's part of the basil crop

I made a basil and olive oil mix in the cuisinart to freeze.  Added a little lemon juice to keep it from turning too black. I'm not a big pesto fan, so I leave the cheese out.  A favorite salad dressing involves  basil, olive oil, walnuts, a little red wine vinegar, s & p, some grey poupon, whizzed in the blender.

I found a really cute bag of small red, and white onions, and yellow shallots.  I cut a little "X" in the root end, popped them in to boiling water for 20 seconds, popped them out of their peels, threaded them on skewers, too cute!

added some of my basil mix and balsalmic to marinade them.

  It's hard to describe how good they were once grilled on my stovetop grill (here with watercress, farmer's market tomatoes, millet with seasonings

I redid the border on the Noro afghan:  much better in this triangular points edging.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Not a Shepherdess Yet

I would love to have a fiber source at home;  I live in a neighborhood/community,  so keeping large animals is kinda out.  Plus, I have no babysitters for such animals, if heaven forbid I should go away for vacation (really shouldn't complain because I did twice this month...).  However, I am considering purchase of a bunny at the Southeastern Annual Fiber Fair this fall.  I'm reading up and trying to figure out whether  bunny would work in with my lifestyle.

Once upon a time I wanted to keep silkworms.  I can't have any until I have enough to feed them. To that end I asked for mulberry trees (worm food) for my birthday several years ago.  Here is one (still in a pot)

and here is the other (put in the ground 2 years ago).

Clearly, something is wrong with my yard.  I have always fertilized it, and this year I am trying to water the smaller one more. (Gosh, do you think that would help?!)

 So it was a big let down to visit my brother's last month.  I was walking around his property, looked down, and realized I was stepping on berries. Mulberries. Looked up and saw this

And, he has another.  He refused to keep silkworms for me (he's 5 hours away by car) even though I offered to pay him!  Darnit.  AND he lives near Asheville, the site of SAFF.

Here's the update on the Noro afghan:  working on a knit on border to make little wavy scallops for a border

Yes, some of the squares are upsidedown.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Even cats like Noro: Mitred Square Afghan

I have been working on this project for several years.  I used to knit while doing my daily walking, and these small squares were perfect for that.  In the last several years, I have  been doing a more vigorous workout at the gym and not walking (on the street, anyway...). 

So this project, an afghan using Noro Kureyon,  has  been in deepish project hibernation for several years.  I bought the yarn, two different colorways, at various yarn stores.  In the process I learned that one had been discontinued.

I am trying to work through the stash a little, and decided to work on this and finish this summer.

Basic directions for one square, for which there is NO originality

Cast on 41 stitches, perhaps on a size 5 for the Kureyon.

Row 1. knit 19, sl 1, knit 2 tog, psso, k 19.

Row 2.  Purl back. 

Row 3.  Knit 18, sl 1, knit 2 tog, psso, knit 18.

Row 4.  Purl back.

Continue in this way until you have 3 stitches on right side, sl 1, k2 tog, psso, cut yarn and pull thru.  (Use the yarn tail to sew them up later). Make lots more, as many as you like, lay them out. 

Make sure a cat poses on them

Once they are sewn together, consider a crocheted border