Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Evenstar - Beginning Beaded Border

Headed for the border
I'm just at the border of Evenstar, the lace shawl pattern by Susan Pandorf.  The shawl is knit with Findley, merino and silk laceweight, by Juniper Moon Farm. The yarn is one of my favorites for knitting lace. I had two balls of the Renaissance color in my stash, and this seemed like the perfect project for it.  Juniper Moon Farm has come out with some new appealing colors, too.

A peek at the central portion
A progress photo is below.  The beaded border is about 20 sts deep, knit perpendicularly to the edge of the shawl.  There are five beads added on every wrong side row, and nearly 3,000 beads are required.  I'm using size 8/0 glass Miyuki beads with this yarn, and a #10 steel crochet hook to add them as I knit.  I bought some of them from Twisted Sistahs at Stitches last year, but didn't have enough.  To make up the difference, I looked online and found a great bead supplier, Auntie's Beads. This was my first time ordering from this supplier. The beads can be purchased at a reasonable price, and they arrived in about four days.  You can shop by size or type, and I'm quite pleased with the overall ease of the experience.

Miyuki - Japanese glass beads
At first, the number of beads may seem daunting, but it's easy to fall into a rhythm while you're adding them.  I've done wider lace borders, but not with this many beads.  The beading does slow you down, but the results are stunning, and it's worth the extra effort. 

Starting the border
To work the border, I'm using a US4 DPN the same size as my circular.  One point protector stays on the end of the circular that's holding all the stitches. I crocheted a chain of about 25 sts from which to cast on provisionally the 16 sts required to begin the border -- the working yarn from the body of the shawl is not cut and is used to cast on this base row.  This may seem fiddly, and it may take a couple of tries to get the right tension to begin the border pattern.  I tried to cast on very close to the last stitch of the body of the shawl, to eliminate any large holes or gaps that would show when the final border row is grafted to the first border row.

For the beading, I purl the stitch that requires the bead, then I transfer it back to the left needle.  I pick up a bead with the #10 crochet hook. I pull the transferred stitch off of the left needle with the hook and slide it through the bead.  Then I move the stitch with the bead over to the right needle.  Then I tug the working yarn a bit to snug up the beaded stitch.  Like I said, the process will slow you down, but as you do more, it becomes a rhythm, and you will get faster and faster.

The work stays to the left as I knit the right side rows, and to the right on the wrong side rows.Using the DPN makes it easy for me to flip the work back and forth.  I tend to keep the crochet hook behind my right ear or resting on my lap.  The seed beads are in a flat, round container, about 2" in diameter that has a tight-fitting lid.  I keep a single layer of beads in the container and replenish as needed.  It's helpful to set the bead container on a cloth, or non-slippery surface, so it doesn't move around as you are picking up beads.

Ellie wants me to post photos of the completed shawl very soon so we can get back to our regular play schedule :)

Ellie hopes that I'll be finished very soon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tulip Dress and Evenstar

I made this sweet little pink Tulip Lace Dress for my friend's grandbaby, due in October.  It's a free pattern on Paton's website, but you do need to sign in to download.  The yarn is Paton's Grace, 100% mercerized cotton.  Although the yarn suggests hand washing, I put this through the washer and dryer (with fingers crossed) and it came out perfectly.

The project on my needles at the moment is Evenstar by Susan Pandorf.  It's  a lovely design, and I'm hoping it turns out as well as some of those I've seen on Ravelry.  The yarn is Findley, by Juniper Moon Farms and the color is Renaissance. You can find it many yarn stores.  I've just started Chart 3 and have graduated to a 47" Addi lace needle, size US3.  This shawl is going to be pretty large, maybe 60" in diameter.

My first Findley project was the Lace Baby Blanket I knit for Tanis Gray for the Findley launch. The book is still available. That's the blanket on the cover.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Krokus at the California State Fair 2012

At the California State Fair Awards Ceremony

Last weekend was the California State Fair awards ceremony. Paul and I had decided to attend when I received a notice in the mail that my blue Krokus, a table center designed by Herbert Niebling, had won First Place, Best of Class and Best of Division. I was so excited! Paul and my friends Nora and Jeanne and I trooped through the blistering heat of the Fair together.

Due to this extreme heat in Sacramento, the awards ceremony was not well-attended. Even though the awards were held in the morning at 10 a.m., the temperature was already up, around 90 degrees F. By the afternoon, it was over 100, and people were wilting.

Krokus won two ribbons!
My category was Other Fiber Arts, which included lace (knitted, crocheted and all others), tatting and weaving.The competition was stiff. Overall, the exhibit classes had attracted 4,500 entrants this year. I don't know how that compares with other years, as this was my first time entering.

The Master of Ceremonies cracked a few jokes and handed out the 20 Golden Bear trophies to the Best of Show winners. The other winners got ribbons. No trophies for me this year, but maybe next time. I was happy with my two ribbons!

The Golden Bear Trophy
The youth awards were the most inspiring. A 10-year-old girl sitting in front of us won a Golden Bear trophy for youth photography -- the smile on her face was priceless!

The Best of Show winner: a crochet table covering
The Best of Show in the overall Fiber Arts category was a crocheted lace table center. It was a beauty!

Announcing the special awards inside the Exhibit Hall
We stepped inside to view some exhibits and shop. Nora got a tarot reading, and I bought a photo frame for Ellie's picture and some salsa seasoning.

JD's special Salsa Seasoning

At first I was skeptical of this seasoning from Minnesota, but it's really good, and can be used for dips or salsa or seasoning meat or veggies.

Two lovely shawls

The green Estonian lace shawl on the left was beautiful, but it was hard to see the stitchwork because of the way it was draped.  I felt the same about the way mine was displayed.  It would have been nice to see all the detail, with the lace spread out over a table.

Another beautiful shawl

More beautiful work

The large quilt is made entirely of silk ties
Spanish Peacock from A Gathering of Lace, Meg Swansen
Did I say it was hot?  It was HOT! and I don't mean hot from the salsa.  It was difficult to enjoy the agriculture and farm animal exhibits outdoors.  In the Livestock Nursery, I saw some Jacobs lambs, only a few days old. 

We decided to have lunch in restaurant at Arden Fair Mall rather than swelter outside and eat Fair food.  Ahh, air conditioned relief!

Nora and Jeanne headed back to the city, and Paul and I checked into Le Rivage Hotel next to the Sacramento River.  We had a lovely view, but it was impossible to sit outside on the balcony for more than a few minutes in the heat.

I will never complain about fog again. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


And here is Trollblume, a.k.a. the Troll, the result of a KAL conducted by the Niebling Lace Knitters on Yahoo.  I used a no-name silk from my stash and US0 (2mm) needle.

The flowers are sculpted, meaning they bunch up and look a little puffy.  This is by design, although I don't recall seeing another Niebling design with sculpy flowers.  It makes me wonder about the origin of the design, and whether this was experimental or a collaborative work by Niebling and an assistant.  Who knows?

The center was knitted first on DPNs, then the leaves on each side were knitted individually, while the sides remained on stitch holders.  It was a little awkward having those stitch holders dangling off of the sides while knitting.  The group mistresses suggested binding off the sides, and then picking up stitches all the way around  to improve the shape and ease blocking, but I chose to follow the original design as written.

Making the two pointed ends look alike was a bit challenging.  The start and end of each border round was at one pointed end, and the other pointed end was the center of the round and included a double yarnover.  The KAL directions suggested adding a ktbl at the pointed ends, but being a traditionalist, I went with the original instructions.  Overall, I'm pleased with the result.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Blue Krokus - Niebling

This pattern may be found in the February 1989 Anna Magazine, and has been reprinted in the 2011 BuchVerlag fur die Frau folio entitled Schone Spitzen, ISBN 978-3-89798-335-9.  In the Anna Magazine it was called "Krokus" and in the reprint it is called "Feuerbohne."

For this table centre, I used a very fine cashmere/silk from Yubina.  The thread is lovely, but very light.  I would not use it again for a tablecloth, because it is so soft, and the points do not stay sharp after blocking.  In fact, the entire cloth will need to reblocked and starched before I submit it to the California State Fair.  I do like this thread, but it is more suitable for a diaphanous scarf or shawlette.

A few notes:

In the 0289/33 Anna magazine pattern, part of the chart is missing:
Row 79 - end with k2tog, yo, k4
Row 81 - end with yo, skp, k3
Row 83 - end with yo, k5
Row 85 - end with k6

The pattern in the Anna magazine is printed in several pieces: Rows 1-77, Rows 79-123, Rows 125-167, Rows 169-191, Rows 93-209, and Rows 211-245.  The reprint is in fewer chunks, but it's also laid out differently. 

In the reprint, the repeating stitches are more difficult to follow, because every stitch is shown in the chart, whereas in Anna the first grouping is shown, followed by the number of times to repeat.  E.g.:

In Anna:    [ 0,\ ] x7
In the reprint:    [ 0, \, 0, \, 0, \, 0, \, 0, \, 0, \, 0, \ ]

If a smaller size doily is desired, stop after Row 132 or after Row 80.

At Row 211, the 16 repeats are divided into 32 repeats.  Add additional repeat markers at this point.

Neither in the Anna magazine nor in the reprint is there a definitive process for crocheting off.  For this doily, I used the following stitch groupings.

CROCHET BIND OFF: At beginning of Row 247, [K4] then crochet the number of sts indicated together, and ch13 in between each group:
7, 7, 5, 7, 7, 7, 5, 7, 7, 9
This last number (9) includes the last 5 sts of the repeat plus the first 4 of the next repeat.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


I have recently been introduced to Pinterest, an online bulletin board of images collected from around the web. It is completely addictive.

The way it works:

You sign up.

You create one, two, five or 100 Pinterest boards for pinning your favorite images from around the web.

You add a Pinterest button to your browser search bar.

Hyrna Herbogar knitted by that Logan Chick
Then, every time you find a lovely image you want to pin to your board, you PIN it using the Pinterest button. The image appears on your board. Clicking the image takes you to the page where you found it. It's great for queuing up future projects. (I added the above image to my board.)

You can follow others' Pinterest boards, so you get to see what everyone you know is pinning. And others can follow your boards.

My Pinterest handle (name) is: OceanKnitter.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Knitted Lace of Estonia at Lacis

I visited the Knitted Lace of Estonia exhibit at Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley, CA yesterday.  The exhibit featured a lovely collection of knitted lace shawls provided by Nancy Bush.  Nancy wrote the book: Knitted Lace of Estonia.

Flash photography is not permitted in the Museum, so please forgive the quality of some of these cell phone photos.