Monday, August 29, 2011


I am VERY DELIGHTED that Ninja Jen of Knitting History has another podcast up!  It's at podbean although I get mine via itunes.  I am a big fan of hers, and frankly she has the best music of all podcasters...I am a devoted knitting podcast listener although sometimes I've been known to listen to casts from Walter Edgar, South Carolina's preeminant historian, and also The People's Pharmacy.  Someone I know really likes the ScienceFriday podcasts, "SciFri" if you're in the know.

Here is a photo that I like, more shetland...

And here is another

Almost done with the project this is being used for.

Here are some garden photos from this week:

Zinneas do incredibly well in my garden at this time of year, in the SC heat 

 Lantana, the butterflies like it

Ginger,  No, I don't eat it, but it smells a little like gardenias, a fragrance which I love.  This likes the shade.

Everything else in the garden is looking hot and starting to be brown.  

I must say that I am glad we did not need to deal with a hurricane.  However,  I have my plywood and double headed nails to board up the windows if need be.  And a teenaged son to help me do it!

I am hard at work on completing some lace shawls and feeling guilty that holiday knitting isn't on my list of stuff to do yet...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shetland Pi

So...finding another use for more of the Shetland Supreme I purchased while in Shetland...

I dyed a whole lot of natural white plus the other natural colors with some acid dye, can't recall.  Of course, in one of my favorite colors, orange and its tones.  I put too much in the dyepot.  This was at least a year and a half ago.  It dyed unevenly and I was unhappy with the result. 

Then some months ago I realized that I could separate the shades

(the spun up stuff is on the left)

and spin them separately.  I produced a two ply in more or less 14 tpi.

Of course, being myself, I wanted to use this Shetland yarn for something Shetland-ish.  Now while a circular shawl isn't, I don't think, a traditional Shetland THING, it still incorporates traditional Shetland lace patterns. 

 Last week, I was trolling about and thinking about pi shawls.  Realized that I had A Gathering of Lace on the shelf I found this

 It's Dale Long's Shetland Tea Shawl.

Here we are, so far.  It's a heavier weight than the original but I love it.  I will knit till I run out, putting the darker colors at the border.  Another reason to love a pi.  I also love the way the natural color changes are in the yarn is lovely and springy...maybe I am a spinner, after all...

Now that I've started, I may be hooked on the  pi shawl thing.  I may have to resign from the triangle lover's club (that is, the shawl triangle lover's club).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FO: Half Hap in Alpaca

Oh good, a Finished Object.  I do not like how the edge came out, it's kinda like the pine tree lace opened up more than the Old Shale...I'll need to work on this for the next version...but it's lovely and soft

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why is this so difficult?

I used to think that plants should be free, I liked to (and still do sometimes) thin them and give them away.  I think I feel the same about some knitting patterns. 

If there is nothing original about a pattern (such as a lace shawl with an old or commonly found pattern), why charge money for it?

After I went to Scotland, I decided that I'd like to put together traditional patterns in a way that I had seen at an evening of country dancing.  The women wore skirts with vertical stripes, and triangular shawls to coordinate.  I've done an amount of book and internet research, and this doesn't look like a traditional Scottish hap shawl, as they were square.   They do look like hap shawls only done in a triangle, a "half hap" Joyce called it.

Even in Shetland on a cool summer evening, dancing is a hot business, so one can understand why they were wearing a "half hap."  They were done in various lace patterns, often with an Old Shale border, sometimes with the border in different colors.   But I couldn't find  any patterns to knit with this feature.   Decided to design one myself.

I decided that I liked the pine tree pattern with the old shale border. I knit one, and wrote out the directions as I knit.  Here it is, unblocked

But in this day and age, one needs charts.  Once I preferred knitting lace from text, now forget that. I looked around and priced computer resources for developing knitting charts, but didn't want to spend the bucks.  Then I found some very useful internet resources on how to use Microsoft Excel to chart lace.  Now, I've not used Excel except on one ill fated evening to try to plot out my monthly budget.  That effort was quickly abandoned.  This use of Excel looked to be much more fun.

Here are the sites I have used, many many thanks to the bloggers who have written up and shared their knowledge.

I set to work this June.  Oh heavens, hours, hours, hours.  It's addictive.  Like when you've lost something and can't stop looking for it. 

As a new designer, I've learning that graphing helps you to read the lace better, yet it can be confusing especially for triangles where new stitches come in at either side, and when matching up lace design elements correctly is critical.  One wants what one is sharing if not selling to be correct.  I've had to pull out the old shale several times to get both the knitting and the graph correct.  And believe me, this is pretty easy lace.

Here it is pulled out last week

So, should patterns be free?  Especially when using traditional design elements?  I have decided perhaps not, especially when spending a thousand hours coming up with the graph.  Now mind you, this has been a learning curve and I am definately still working on it.  Another test version planned, with more colors.

Nevertheless, yes, it will be available for free, when done.  

here are some photos of the ones I saw;  if you see your back or knitting design here on my blog and object, email me and I'll remove the photo...but they are lovely and I want to share...

Sharon Miller in her book Shetland Hap Shawls notes the traditional border colors.