The Bluestocking still knits! I've had two finished projects sitting around waiting to be photographed and blogged for months, I'm sorry to say -- well, not even "sitting around" because I've worn the shawl a couple of times already.
First is the Ghislaine mitts by Sara Varty, here in a long-awaited skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in "Water" (blueish greens/greenish blues). I've had this yarn in my drawer for at least ten years -- I think I had some fancy of knitting a pattern that had a watery name, but nothing ever appealed quite enough, and so when I saw the Ghislaine mitts somewhere, I decided that elegance would suit the subtle sophistication of the yarn's colors and delicate sheen perhaps even better than a name would.
The top hems are sewn down per the new-to-me method in The Knowledgeable Knitter, which is a kind of duplicate stitch. It's a lot more bother than simply knitting the front and the hem stitches together as you go, but much smoother and quite soft, so especially pleasing on a pair of mitts.
This pattern probably would have been quite easy if I had paid a little more attention -- it's possible that it is too easy, as I kept making little mistakes like repeating Round 2 three or four times (!) in a row, or ... or -- somehow -- picking up an extra loop somewhere and ending up with too many stitches (!!) at the end of the gusset. Well -- I think I noticed all of these before it was too late, and the resulting mitts are quite elegant.
There is something about certain faggoting combinations that tend, on my needles at least, to sort of scooch to one side -- and I think usually on the left edge, though I will have to take note the next time it happens -- thus obscuring the faggoting. This one did as well, so I came up with a little trick that worked pretty well. The stitch pattern has you yo, SSK on the first patt round and K2tog, yo on the second, and since it was the left edge of the column that pulled in a little too much, on the second patt round I did a YO twice, and simply dropped the extra yo on the next round, thereby giving it a little more wool so that it could spread a little better.
For the first mitt, I did as the pattern suggested and decreased around the top edge before working the picot hem, but -- possibly since I shortened the top length a bit -- this made the hem too tight on my hand, so I picked it out and reworked it with the full number of original stitches. It does flare out a bit, but this is an acceptable compromise for me, since I prefer the shorter length.
The next time that I use this picot hem, I might work one round less on the turning (the inside), as mine usually seem a little concave where they should be either flat or convex -- I'm assuming that having the turning ever-so-slightly shorter would pull the edge of the hem towards the inside just enough to solve that for me. It might also be that the hemming method adds just a smidge of length, so that's something to keep in mind.
I really like them -- classic and elegant, with a lovely smooth line and fit. Full marks!
And then a skein of Seven Sisters Arts' Meridian merino/nylon blend in "Havran" --
became the "Henslowe" shoulder shawl by Beth Kling. This is one of those charmers that is much easier than it looks, for the lace is a fairly simple one, and the interesting effect of the alternating diagonals is accomplished simply by working one repeat from the RS, then one from the WS, and so on. And there is minimal finishing to be done, as the sections are joined as you go, with no hemming necessary.
The wool looks rather purplish in these photos, but the one of the skein is for the most part more accurate -- it is a sort of RAF blue, but changeable -- very handsome.