I'm having a kind of love/hate relationship with this wrap.
I don't much like Kidsilk Haze. I can see the appeal of the finished product, but knitting with it is rather unpleasant. I found not one but two knots in the first ball, and at $15 apiece (for just 25g!) the stuff is far too expensive to have to contend with knots, let alone multiple ones.
The pattern is the Kid Mohair Wrap from Susan Cropper's Pretty Knits: 30 Designs from Loop in London of 2007, reprinted in "Canadian Living". As I've said before, in my previous attempt at knitting this, there are a few errors, though perhaps only of judgement, in the pattern as printed in "Canadian Living", and one howler, which was in the amount of yarn needed to complete the wrap. Two balls is not nearly enough for a full-sized wrap.
One ball would have got to about 25 in. long, which was 6 1/2 repeats of the crossed-eyelet stitch -- the pattern assumes that you will get 18 repeats total plus the two knot-stitch borders, so that one ball would be 9 repeats of the crossed-eyelet, a serious underestimate in my opinion.
There is as far as I can tell no errata page for this book at Potter Craft. I can sort of understand why a publisher might not want to admit that a book has mistakes, but frankly I don't think it serves them well in the long run. It certainly only makes me frustrated and annoyed that I cannot find an errata page on their website.
The dimensions given in the pattern are 30x60 in. (76x142 cm) blocked, with 2 balls of Kidsilk Haze. I found that 3 balls blocked assertively but not aggressively to 27x75 in., which was 21 repeats of the crossed-eyelet stitch. I have never tried blocking wires, but would recommend that anyone working this wrap consider them. Even getting the piece to this size was a trial, and after an hour of pinning and stretching, I was beginning to long for some nails and pieces of lumber.
After relaxing a bit, when I laid it out for the photo and did a quick measurement, it is about 24x72 inches.
That said, it's a very pretty wrap. The lace patterns go together very nicely -- I like that the knot section is garter-based, while the border and middle sections are stockinette-based. Much of the apparent cumbersomeness of the written pattern is because the border pattern is "attached" to the center pattern in the instructions, so that this way the knitter does not have to contend with juggling two separate charts, and trying to remember "am I on Row 4 of the border and Row 10 of the middle, or Row 4 of the middle and Row 10 of the border??"
I really liked the mirror-image of the wave border, but was perplexed that the pattern as written didn't take advantage of the "waviness" with the decreases going in the right directions. So here are my corrections and amendments:
SSSK (my own un-vention): An SSK with three stitches instead of two.
[Edited, thanks to the eagle eyes of Emily, who spotted a typo! -- 19 February 2016]
I would have found it more helpful to give the number of stitches in the wave borders outside of the markers than the total number of stitches in a given row, but I haven't changed that here.
And for more personal recommendations:
I omitted Row 308 (the last row), as I thought it better matched the beginning of the wrap to not have an extra "plain" row there.
The bind-off given in the pattern was far too tight, even worked very loosely, so I used the suspended bind-off instead:
Slip one stitch, knit one stitch, *insert left needle tip into first stitch on right needle and lift the first st over the second (Figure 1), leaving the first stitch on the left needle, knit the next stitch (Figure 2), then slip both stitches off the left needle-two stitches remain on right needle and one stitch has been bound off (Figure 3). Repeat from * until no stitches remain on left needle, then pass first st on right needle over the second. (The image has been lifted from Knitting Daily's helpful glossary.)
I was going for length over width in my blocking, as I was concerned that it wouldn't be long enough to be comfortable for the wearer -- but I found that hard blocking rather spoiled the "fluffiness" of the knot stitch, so if it is not an issue, 4 balls and a much less assertive blocking might be preferable.
Well, after twenty-five hours of knitting, I decided to block the Kid Mohair Wrap -- still on the needles -- and see what I've got.
This is eighteen repeats of the "crossed eyelet" stitch, which the pattern says is what is in the accompanying photo. If I added the knot-stitch border at the end now, my finished wrap would be only 53 inches long, so I can only assume that the "2 balls" in the pattern is a mistake for "3", as going by this test-blocking three balls of Kidsilk Haze will make it almost exactly 60 inches, the target length in the pattern.
Note that I could not reasonably get a 30-inch wide piece, so this is about 27 inches. Pulling it harder would of course make the length even less. It is obviously pretty fiercely blocked in the pattern's photo --
But now 60 inches seems a bit stingy for a wrap to me. If I use the fourth ball, it would be around 80 inches, which is probably too much. Is 70-75 inches a good length for a wrap? I've been going through the dresser drawers, pulling out scarves and stoles and even bath towels, and draping them around my shoulders, and still can't decide. Any advice?
David e-mailed the other day saying that the Company-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named is sending him to the Netherlands on the 11th. (I must admit that I was hoping more than a little that at least one of us -- cough! me! cough -- would be allowed to go with him, but alas, no, it is far too short a trip this time around.) But it is cold in the Netherlands in the middle of January! So I started planning a pair of knitted mitts for him, and thought of this leftover bit of Trekking XXL from my "1810 Socks" a couple of years back, which socks are in fact one of the warmest pairs I've knitted, so it was lucky that the color is a fairly subdued and not-unmanly one. I finished them in 48 hours -- pretty good, if I may say so myself. This is about 49g of the leftovers, with still a bit left from that.
And he got his passport renewed and back in his hands in a week, to our astonishment!
I'm also having another go at the infamous "Kid Mohair Wrap" that I gave up on the last time around. This time I have four balls of Kidsilk Haze, here in 634, a gentle cream color. I am already doubting my math, though that may just be nerves. Talking of time, I am keeping track of how long it takes to knit this, as I intend to donate it to my choir's annual raffle -- six hours to get this far, through the bottom border and one repeat of the center pattern. Seventeen more repeats to go, and then the top border! Wish me luck!
Well, this wanted to be a pretty lace wrap, but -- alas.
It is the Kid Mohair Wrap from Susan Cropper's Pretty Knits: 30 Designs from Loop in London of 2007, reprinted in Canadian Living a year or so ago (there's no date!). I was a little surprised to find almost no mention of this around the blogosphere, thinking that surely I could not be the only one seduced by the photograph. I wonder now if knitters just gave up.
As I mentioned before, there are a few errors in the border pattern, not earth-shattering ones, but enough to be worth fixing.
This is a fairly-standard lace edging, found in Martha Waterman's Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, among others I'm sure, and there called "Ocean Waves". Here it is written worked in opposite directions on the right and left edges, so that they are mirror images. The right-side edge has a three-stitch "wave" that swirls upwards towards the left, while as written here in the Kid Mohair Wrap the left-side edge has a two-stitch swirl. It is not entirely noticeable at this lacy gauge, which is one of the reasons (the other being Kidsilk Haze's resistance to being picked out and re-knitted) that I simply left it there and went on. The decrease used in the pattern is a left-slanting sl1-K1-psso, but it should be a right-slanting K2tog. I worked the second repeat this way, and to my eye it looks much better, certainly a mirror image of the right-side border. After working the second repeat, I realized that the one triple-decrease on the left-side border should be changed as well, from a sl1-K2tog-psso to a K3tog -- you can see the second repeat's sl1-K2tog-psso at the top of the first "swirl", just to the left of the last yarn-over hole, where the triple decrease is leaning the wrong way. I worked a K3tog instead on the third repeat, along with the line of K2togs, and it looks much tidier.
So my recommendations: In Row 3, change the second sl1-K2tog-psso to K3tog, AND in Rows 5, 7, 9, and 11, change the second "skpo" (i.e. sl1-K1-psso) to a K2tog. This will also need to be changed in the crossed-eyelet section, thus: In Row 31, change the second sl1-K2tog-psso to K3tog, AND in Rows 33, 35, 37, and 39, change the second "skpo" (i.e. sl1-K1-psso) to a K2tog. There is another typo in Row 35: after the second "slip marker", K2 should be K3.
There also should be an asterisk in Row 39, after the first "slip marker", but this is only a slight hiccup.
The scarf version apparently simply continues a narrower version of the knot-stitch section all the way up, omitting the crossed-eyelet section -- but a commenter on the Canadian Living version of the pattern notes that Row 28 in the scarf version says to repeat Row 14, ie. Row 4 of the knot-stich pattern, but that this should be Row 2, not Row 4.
But the biggest problem for me is that two balls of Kidsilk Haze is not enough by some way to complete a 30x60-inch wrap. I pin-blocked what I had worked so far to a 30-inch/76cm width, which to me looked far too stretched, so I repinned it to what looked good, which was 28 inches (71 cm) wide -- although certainly this was not proper blocking, and the results may have been different, but I suspect not much. The result was a 28x22-inch piece, which of course with only one more ball of Kidsilk Haze would not have made a wrap that measured 60 inches by any means.
So, well -- it's pretty, but the yarn is now well on its way to becoming nona's Tie One On after all ...
This is the sand-dune-y landscape of a Burberry-Inspired Cowl, which unfortunately got stalled when I cut the ends of wool just too short to graft together, so that I am now resigning myself to ripping out the last balls' worth in order not to have to splice in yet another length. The good news is that the whole thing took only a few hours to knit, so once I get up the nerve to pull the needles out, it shouldn't take long to actually finish.
Another work-in-progress is the Brahms German Requiem, which we started rehearsing the week before last. How very lucky I was to be able to sing this in high school -- how lucky I still am, to be a part of it again.
This is a lovely version, a yummy Romantic tempo, and the parts are beautifully balanced. It's interesting, the different perspectives you get, from the chorus or from the audience; I have to not look at the video at times, as it can be distracting, although educational. That is some serious stink-eye Nikolaus Harnoncourt gives even before he lifts up his hands! Rather consoling, in a way, to see that even the Vienna State Opera Choir has trouble with getting their eyes off of their music.
I'm currently reading a "medieval noir" that I found on the new-book shelf at the library the other day. I think I've got spoiled by Ellis Peters, as I find this one more than a little anachronistic in vocabulary -- "décolletage" for example, a late-Victorian word at the earliest, or even more jarring, "gifted" (in the sense of having presented something as a gift), at the same time that the characters say things like "'How fares your good wife?'" and "'Is that the weapon that committed this most foul deed?'". There certainly can be a good argument for writing a historical novel in the modern vernacular, since at the time period of said historical novel, the way that people commonly talked was in fact "modern" -- compare, for example, the 1920s Charles Archer translation of Kristin Lavransdatter with the 1990s one by Tiina Nunnally. And there can be an argument that people in the Middle Ages talked more like the Wife of Bath than like Brother Cadfael, too, I suppose. Still, there it is.
I went to the library, in fact, for the omnibus Mapp and Lucia volume, thinking that I wanted something terribly, terribly English and 1930s. Have not read any of them before.
I'm also reading one of D.E. Stevenson's "lost" novels again, Emily Dennistoun, the current book of the Stevenson discussion list at Yahoo. The more I think about it, the more I think this was not only an early work of Stevenson's, but a very early work, and one that she may have not bothered to dig out of the drawer because the things she wrote later were so very much better. Anyway, here is my choice of something late-1920s for my virtual Stevenson "knitalong" --
I think that Emily Dennistoun would be rather shocked to think that her underwear might be discussed in public, but it is not at all unlikely that she would have actually knitted such things herself. I was surprised at first to see the number of patterns for "vests and shorts" out there -- this is one of dozens from The Vintage Knitting Lady. I had not in fact given much thought to knitted underthings, but upon reflection suspect that in Scotland at least, where this novel is set, one might want such things more often than not.
As for "real" knitting, I did start the Kid Mohair Wrap the other day. Found a number of mistakes in the pattern right off, but once that settled down it has gone very quickly, so quickly that I am rapidly nearing the end of the first ball of Kidsilk Haze and at the same time am becoming increasingly alarmed that I will not finish nine repeats of the crossed-eyelet section, as the pattern assures me I can do, before I get there.
Every so often we have mish-mash for dinner, when the refrigerator is full of single servings left over from the week's meals. Tonight, Laura had the last slice of pizza, Julia had Swedish meatballs, and David and I had the remnants of my first promenade through My French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde -- lentil and sausage casserole and garlic soup, respectively. This is a lovely, evocative book that set my mouth watering as soon as I saw it. The lentil dish is pleasant and earthy (much depends on the sausages, I suspect), and the garlic soup very tasty. I didn't much care for the Poule au Pot, but then I've made various versions of this and never found it to speak to me much, so I can't fault Harris'. Her Boeuf en Daube, redolent of bay and thyme and olives and an entire bottle of white wine, was heavenly!
So, then, this post will be a mish-mash too, since life has been increasingly hectic chez Bluestocking these days, and little that I have to say would stretch to a full post on its own.
I made an Odessa the other day for my aunt, whose cancer is returning. Cashsoft DK again, so wonderfully soft and comforting -- this color is 525 Kingfisher, and worth seeking out, a lovely tealy greeny-blue.
I could not resist the lure of the laceweight -- the ball is one skein of Skacel Merino Lace, in 339 Pale Grey, luminous and pearl-like -- I'm thinking something Shetlandish.
A cup from Annie Modesitt's clever Fiesta Tea Set, in some ancient Tahki Cotton Classic that I dug up from one of the deeper drawers in my closet. Am not sure yet if I'm going to make the rest of the set in the same color (wh. is all I have), or find some peppier shades, or just enjoy this piece on its own.
I put up a photo album in the sidebar of some of my dad's model trains, the ones I have. Trains were such an intrinsic part of his life that I feel absurdly grateful to have these.
My Daisy troop is up to fifteen. Fifteen kindergarten girls in one room! Need I say more?
I've been watching a lot of movies lately, curiously enough all Norwegian ones, hard to knit to since I need to read the subtitles, my Norwegian stretching mostly to exclamations -- "Gud!" "Nå da?" "Fy!"-- and words that I probably shouldn't know. Anyway, first was "Insomnia", a bleak and gritty crime thriller from a few years back, in which a detective in the far north accidentally shoots his partner during a murder investigation, and finds himself increasingly mired in guilt and the insomnia of the title as he tries to cover up what really happened. "Hamsun" is the story of Norwegian Nobel Laureate novelist Knut Hamsun's involvement with Hitler's occupying forces during World War II, and of Hamsun's turbulent relationship with his wife, a fervent Nazi supporter. It's a ghastly, riveting film -- like watching a car crash that one is powerless to stop -- with Hamsun played with arresting dignity by Max von Sydow.
"Kitchen Stories (Salmer fra Kjøkkenet)" is the lightest of the bunch so far -- and by far -- and one that I can recommend without hesitation for those who like quirky, subtle, character-driven comedy. The premise is that Swedish researchers in the postwar craze for scientific research and efficiency are sending a team of observers to study Norwegian bachelor farmers' kitchen habits -- resulting in the quietly absurd set-up in the photo. One of these objects of study has had a change of heart and resents the intrusion stubbornly, but through a series of small events he and his ostensibly objective observer become unlikely friends. The ending is bittersweet but entirely believable and satisfying.
Little-known Fact #133: All Norwegian movies feature Sverre Anker Ousdal in some role, large or small.
as Roald Amundsen in 1985's "The Last Place on Earth". The sight of Amundsen and his men skiing towards the South Pole is as stirring a thing I've seen in many a year.)
I read the last of the Aubrey/Maturin series while David was in Hong Kong. I'd been reading them slowly, trying to spin out the last few as long as I could, but then one night after finishing The Hundred Days, I picked up Blue at the Mizzen as if there were no covers between the two, just another chapter break. It was like running down a hill -- I ran through it in delight, unable to stop myself and not caring a whit, and was surprised when I turned over the last page with something like utter joy and came to the end, not without a bit of a thud at my sudden return to reality. So, that's that, and I guess -- unless somebody stands me 21 for my birthday -- I'll start over again from the beginning.
I've just finished reading the fourth in the Brother Cadfael series, St. Peter's Fair, retrieved deep from the basement storage area of our local public library. It's interesting, reading the books hard on the heels of one another, instead of a year or two apart as I did when they were published -- I begin to get a sense of Peters' developing style and feeling for the characters. I had quite forgotten after so long that Hugh Beringar in his first appearance -- in the second book -- was in fact an opponent, not an ally of Cadfael's. Almost makes me want to see the television series again, but not quite. Only for Sean Pertwee,
for whom I almost seriously considered starting a write-in-campaign-of-one to Peter Jackson, as I had long pictured Sean Pertwee in my admittedly fertile imagination as Faramir, one of my favorite characters in "The Lord of the Rings" cycle. Not too much of a stretch, though, I think! (I would rather, too -- not that I've anything against Viggo Mortensen -- have seen Sean Bean as Aragorn, as he was much more my idea of the character -- but that's another story, for another time.)
This is my slightly-modified version of E.J. Slayton's Ostrich Plume Lace Throw from Vogue Knitting Baby Blankets (one of the On the Go! series), knitted in ten balls (ten!) of Rowan Calmer, started a great long time ago, I'm afraid, but finished at last and gracing my sofa already.
I had intended to make a much larger throw, but if you've read the saga you will know that I was nearly heartily sick of the thing; perhaps time heals all, as I'm very happy with it now that it's done! It is about 40 x 37 inches (say 101 x 94 cm) give or take, as it is quite stretchy from both the lace and the springiness of the Calmer, and it has not been blocked. Now that I look at the photos closely, I wonder if I should have worked it on a size larger needles, but on the other hand the stretchiness might solve that for me.
I didn't like the fact that the top edge of the lace didn't match the bottom edge, due to the fact that that while the bottom starts off with the pattern row, the top finishes with the "plain" Row 2 and a decrease row (which is added to help the top scallop the same way the bottom does).
Instead of the dec row, I worked the patt row (Row 1) but did not put the yo in the small cable-like sections -- this brought the stitch count down to where it would have been after the dec row -- and then I worked the 8 rows of garter st. If I'd been willing to rip out the top border a third time, I would have slipped in a K2tog at each of those spots in the first garter row, as it still doesn't scallop quite as much as I'd like. But the eyelets in the plume section are closer to the garter border now, and the passed-over bar across the cable-like section also match the bottom edge more closely.
That said, I love this lace pattern -- it really speaks to me, for some reason. Mostly the plume-like bits, I think. I worked 11 repeats instead of the 9 in the original number of sts, and carried on until I'd more-or-less run out of yarn at the end of the tenth ball. (I might have gotten another repeat out of the last ball if I'd been willing to gamble!)
This color of Calmer is "Chiffon" -- alas, discontinued.
Now I need only some cooler weather -- already have plenty of good books waiting!
Ah, well, it's been a long time. I'd forgotten about it, too, until I tripped over the bag the other day, on my way to open up yet another window to try and get some cool air into the house, and saw that the thing was actually not too far from a good stopping place. It's really too hot to knit much just now, but I was so close that I sat this afternoon with a fan blowing on my hands to finish the last few inches. Proper photos and a wrap-up to come.
In Nature News, we've got a pair of sharp-shinned hawks living in our big pine tree in the backyard. They are both juveniles, my cousin-the-zoo-vet tells me, so their colors will change as they mature. Nest-mates, I'm guessing, since they are both juveniles and about the same size. Very chatty, too, like teenagers, "kew-kew" all morning and afternoon.
There are still a few open areas in our town, but we are, to be honest, deep in suburbia, which makes the hawks all the more fascinating.
So I think I'm going to read for a while, instead of knitting. It was 80° F (26 C) when we lugged our dinner outside at 6:30 -- just not knitting weather. I don't know what made me think of it -- perhaps putting Ellis Peters on my mental list of authors I'd like one more book from -- but I've gotten it into my head to read all of her wonderful Brother Cadfael mysteries again. And the "Blackadder" font I found a while back was too good to pass up, so here's a button, just for fun --
In our post-Christmas gift card shopping spree, I bought myself Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today (click on the "thumb-through" for sample pages, or go and browse Grumperina's paean to the book here for even more photos). It's a lovely book, perfectly suited to the knitter's coffee table, filled as it is with gorgeous photos of lace shawls and stoles, and a nice dash of history. My eye was caught by a number of things -- not even including the Cambridge locations -- but a few days later I started on the Spider's-web Fichu, mostly because I conveniently had the yarn waiting in a drawer, namely,
Jaeger Alpaca 4-Ply in shade 393 Damson. (Not 395 as in the book, apparently a misprint, but perhaps it will not be much of a problem as it seems that Jaeger has discontinued this line entirely). The fichu is a fairly easy knit, although it took me a few rows to settle in with the chart. The triangle is in fact one repeat, worked x times depending on whether you are making the half-hexagon (3 repeats) or the full version (6 times), the pink squares being the single line of st st that runs upwards between the triangles. Thus, here --
is one full repeat of the chart on the right needle, with the garter st edge border, which is not included in the chart. Once you see how it grows, very organically from the previous rows, it is quite simple.
The crochet cast-on for the border as given in the instructions leaves the working yarn at the left side, without mentioning a set-up row to bring it back into place for starting Chart D, and so I used a regular lace cast-on instead, attaching it to the edge of the shawl on the next (WS) row.
You do have to start the border at the opposite corner to where you finished (wh. is not mentioned in the pattern), otherwise the RS will be facing the back. This may not matter terribly much on a garter-based border, really, but somehow I just couldn't bring myself to work it that way. (Be sure to visit the corrections page at XRX for errata and clarifications.)
It seems to make a rather larger shape than a half-hexagon, coming off of the needles in what is actually three-quarters of a square, each repeat of Chart A being an equilateral triangle. I couldn't get it to block as an actual half-hexagon without making it much larger than the specified measurements -- either the garter stitch edge was straight and the triangles waved a bit, or the triangles were smooth but the border curved. This is nice, though, as the finished piece sits on the shoulders much more easily.
And some details of the finished fichu --
A satisfying knit, with very pretty results. Laura is utterly charmed with it, too!
"Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives." -- Albert Einstein, in Life Magazine, May 2, 1955