Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year

The holidays have been going on for the whole month of December chez Sivia, ever since my classes wound down at Three Bags Full (they will start again in January). I have been really enjoying just hanging out at home, watching endless old movies in my jammies, and of course, doing a lot of knitting. Most involved projects I can't talk about yet... but there is something to brag on. Yesterday, this came off the needles:

Voila - the Norwegian Woods Triangle Shawl. I am pleased with the final result. The yarn is malabrigo lace in the purple mystery colorway, and the shawl took only 2 skeins (about 900 yards). Beads are purple iris 3x3 cubes from Earth Faire.

I had an immediate impulse to do a smaller version (the shawl is 66 inches across, 33 inches long at center back) and have started a scarf sized Norwegian Woods in periwinkle sea silk. This is serious yum, folks. Pics soon.

I just want to mention my test knitter who excels beyond all praise. Thank you, Kat! You are simply the best.

With a little luck, the pattern will be forthcoming soon.

Happy New year everyone! May your hearts sing and fingers fly with knitterly joy in the coming year...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mysterious branches

I blocked out the Norwegian Woods triangle so far, consisting of the Winter Branches lace pattern.

Is it just me, or do the branches look like inverted fern fronds at the center seam? Again, LOVE the asymmetry of this.

And the yarn, malabrigo lace, is just delicious. Whoever named this color Purple Mystery was totally right.

I am so knit happy today.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lolling around

I have been working hard lately. Very very hard. Probably too hard, y'know???

The good news is that things are getting done, and amongst all the other projects that I can't talk about, the Norwegian Woods shawl is progressing nicely.

And... guess what? The folks who voted for a triangle shawl are about to get their wish. Here is the start, partially blocked at the very top:

I know it looks humble, but try to see what's making me excited about this... how asymmetrical the lace pattern is when it meets at the center seam. I really, really like how this is working up. Yarn is malabrigo lace in the purple mystery colorway. Yum. More progress shots are promised soon.

And while I am thinking how overworked I am, someone else is at work reminding me of the importance of just lolling. Please enjoy...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On a Cat Bordhi Roll...

I hope all of you are aware of Cat Bordhi's newest book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One. I am in love with this book, and all that it implies. Cat's genius has led her to an amazing fact - that socks can fit beautifully with infinitely varying structures. I fully plan to explore the possibilities of this at some time when I have no deadline knitting in sight, unlike the present!

But for now, I am having a great time with some of my favorite sock patterns from the book...

The Slip Stitch Rings sock (Cedar Architecture): my version is done in two colorways of koigu, one handpainted and one semi-solid.

The Cables and Corrugations sock (Riverbed Architecture): my version is done in Nature's Palette yarn in the walnut colorway.

The Tibetan Sock (Coriolis Architecture): my version is done in Koigu Kersti, which knits up at a perfect 7 stitches per inch and sure makes a beautiful sock.

The Coriolis master sock: my version is done in Indigo Moon fingering weight sock yarn, available at Three Bags Full Yarn Shop.

The Hearth and Home Eyelet Sock (Ridgeline Architecture): my version is done in Cascade 220 Handpaints.

The Ocean Toes sock (Cedar Architecture): my version is done in Mountain Colors Weavers Wool in ladyslipper. Yum. You can also see this sock in the book.

The Milkmaid Stocking (Upstream Architecture): my wonderfully decadent version is done in Blue Sky alpaca & silk. Mmmmm. Unfortunately, no picture but you can see it in the book on page 76.

Needless to say, the fit of these extraordinary socks is exquisite and *huggy*. I hope all of you can experience this firsthand sometime soon. And do check out Cat's videos on YouTube.

I love these socks and I can't seem to get enough of them. Anyone else on a Cat roll?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back to the Woods

Remember the Norwegian Woods shawl? I forgive you if you don't. It was a long time ago that I posted a swatch and promised more... but didn't deliver. Bad, bad me. Here is a recap of that swatch.

Since the Moonshadow came off the needles (and thank all of you very much for such a great response since it has been out!), I have resuscitated the Norwegian Woods. It is in an intermediate-but-getting-close-to-the-end stage - you know that stage when you are getting a bit tired of knitting but a bit excited to get to the end and block it all out to see what you've got?

So, hoping to kill (stun? much better word in my estimation) two birds with one stone, and also as it happens, needing a lace thing with which to demonstrate blocking to my beginning lace knitting class at Three Bags Full last night, I put the delicate live stitches of the Norwegian Woods shawl-so-far on holding strings and blocked it.

Notice how the pooling in the center section looks like shifting sands? I love that. And the lace pattern is so birch-like somehow. Ivory sea silk... what more need I say?

The picked-up edges have a bit of a wave due to the sinuous waving lace that emerges from them. I like that too.
The initial square piece, which began with a provisional cast on, flows seamlessly into the waving lace pattern. I really, really like that part.

In case you were wondering, the shawl has a little ways to go before it is really finished. There are two more lace patterns yet to be added (the swatch has been expanded). The good news is that in the process of doing this big-in-the-round knitting, I found a great method for doing big-in-the-round projects that is actually making this a fun knit. When I put the shawl back on the needles, I will share that with you along with some pictures.

I thought some of you might like to see how I use string or sometimes fishing line to block long straight edges, so I have a picture of that process too.

If I were going to block a bound off edge, the string (in this case, sturdy dk-weight mercerized cotton yarn) would be passed through the outermost row of bound-off stitches with a yarn needle. Here you see live stitches with stitch markers still in place so don't be confused. After you put the string through the edge stitches, tension is put onto the string by tying each end to a pin which is deeply dug into the blocking surface (in this case, a really ugly carpet). With tension in place, it is an easy thing to put a few pins down the line to make sure everything is square and straight, and bob's your uncle. This is a nice way to block long, long edges, and I seem to like it better than using wires (which I love for shorter edges).

Some of you might remember the discussion about whether this design should be a square or a triangle? Well, the squares seem to have won, but that's just for now. I have decided that the triangle idea deserves equal attention, and I already have the yarn... vermilion malabrigo lace yarn. Yum. Test knitting, anyone????

To celebrate, I got a new Lantern Moon knitting basket and I love it so much. This will now hold my back and forth projects safely, and it is a huge improvement on the open shopping bag I used before (I know... horrors!) Here is the new basket, which doubles as a Mooshie play environment. He particularly likes it when his daddy makes it into an elevator. Going down:

Going up:
Ain't we got fun?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It’s Out!

Happy birthing on a suitably gray, rainy day, Moonshadow! Pictures courtesy of the very talented guerrila photographer, Yee Jee Tso and the Three Bags Full yarn shop.

The top two pictures are the color correct ones. The yarn is Leili from Liisu yarns in the Moonshadow colorway. If you haven't heard of this gorgeous mohair/wool blend fingering weight yarn yet, you should seek it out. It is soft, strong, and behaves beautifully with lace and beads. Liisu yarns only sells wholesale, but you can find her beautiful yarn sold here, here, and here. Hopefully, all will have kits of this stole available soon.

Beads, as usual, are from Earth Faire. I used frosted crystal megatamas for this one. Drooling yet?

For now, you can find the pattern for sale here in both print and pdf formats. Happy, happy knitting to all...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Moonshadow Up Close

Coming very, very soon.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, all you wonderful Canucks!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Swarm of Stuff!

Bimonthly blogging... what a concept. Thank you, thank you to those intrepid readers who still check in here from time to time. I have no excuse for not posting, so I won't bother with any inanities.

I will try to catch up on all the new stuff, in no particular order. There has been lots of knitting in the meantime. Warning: picture-heavy post to follow.

I finished Lacy Waves, which I love. I scored the Rowan Linen Drape yarn from Urban Yarns, who sometimes gets lots of discontinued yarn and sells them at a big discount. Modifications? You bet. I added hems to the body and sleeves instead of ribbing. I incorporated body shaping and bust darts. I think that's all. I really, really like the results. I don't have a pic of myself wearing it so this will have to do for now. Detail shots:

Here is a partway done Tibetan Sock from Cat Bordhi's book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One. I have only wonderful, wonderful, wonderful things to say about this book (there is a bit of affiliation in that I tested a couple of the socks before publication). This book will turn sock knitting on its head... or heel... and remove the need to slavishly follow patterns, forever. A plus... studying Cat's excellent tables has given this knitter new confidence in knitting... and designing... toe-up socks. It can do the same for you. There are cuff-down socks in the book too, by the way. This sample is a Coriolis architecture, which gives the sock a great spiral across the foot that is not only a design feature but shapes the foot up to the heel. Simple and remarkable.

I have a lot of new samples of designs that have been out for a while. Here is a new version of the River Rock scarf from No Sheep For You done in Noro Cash Iroha in very, very dark indigo (looks black, doesn't it?) and topaz/berry ab beads from Earth Faire.

Two new Diamond Fantasies with beads:

Lovely Francesca of Three Bags Full models a DF scarf in red koigu with magic copper lined red beads from Earth Faire.

New in-between-scarf-and-shawl-size DF with silver lined crystal megatama beads, in Nature's Palette Odd Duck No. 4, a colorway that seems particularly suited to lace and is quite subtle and forest-y to my mind.

Now... mystery items. Can't give details on these at all... but feel free to guess.

Some new jewelry creations:

This one is swag, brand new and available from Earth Faire as a kit.

Beads on the Vine, a beaded I-cord necklace with a graceful and sexy dangle in the rear, available as a kit from Earth Faire.

Same necklace, a different colorway. I love experimenting with the pointillism of beads on yarn.

Matching earrings, light, bouncy and fun. Also available as a kit.

A new stole pattern is being finalized. I call it the Moonshadow Lace Stole because yes, I love Cat Stevens, and you can see the perfection that is the special handdyed Moonshadow yarn that Kelly Eells of Liisu Yarns is doing for this project. It is so beautifully midnight-in-the-moonglow! The beads are frosted matte megatamas from Earth Faire, of course. In this picture of the unblocked and in-progress stole, you can see the beaded side edges which remind me of dewy droplets shining in the moonlight.

Another colorway, not my favorite but you can see the beaded border, which goes lengthwise at top and bottom in this blocked version:

Lastly but certainly not least, I have been spending hours on Ravelry updating my notebook with pictures and details of all of my designs, including all the ones in print elsewhere besides my website. Finally there is one spot where you can see it all! If you are on Ravelry, drop me a line and let me know.

And happy, happy fall to all. What knitter could wish for more?

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Long time no post, yes?

I am very grateful to those blog readers who are STILL LEAVING NICE COMMENTS on blog posts that are more than a month old. You are so great, all of you... you know who you are.

So. What's been happening since June? Lots really...

One of the nicest things I have to show is this little beauty:

The Moonrise Neckpiece was inspired by a gorgeous bracelet kit I purchased from Earth Faire a little while ago. I wanted a knitted neckpiece that matched the densely beaded bracelet... and a few short rows later, the perfectly circular Moonrise Neckpiece was finished...

Just like Ellen Sandin's brilliant Bead Stew bracelet pattern, the beads are strung in a completely random fashion before the knitting starts. The beads are placed on wrong-side rows: knit one stitch, pull up a bead close to the right needle, then knit the next stitch (the piece is all garter... so easy). When you turn the piece over to do the next right-side row, it is a lovely surprise to see the patterns emerging from the beads that were strung so randomly. It is always beautiful and always changing, row by row by row. Doing this piece was the most fun I have had in a long, long time!

For now, you can get the Moonrise Neckpiece kit on Earth Faire's website here. I am getting inspired to do a whole series of knitted neckpieces and matching earrings... yes! earrings!!!

Ok... twist my arm, here is a preview of an earring:

The fun continues...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gray Day and Pearls in the Sea

Ever have one of those days when nothing quite works out?

Today has been that for me... and a weird weather day to boot, with gray skies, cool temps, hail and rain and then some sort-of sun. Not exactly June-ish even for Vancouver. This does affect me, truly it does. Maybe because I am doing a rather intense "spring cleanse" with herbs and a restricted diet too...

Then, there is the sock, a *secret* sock for the Blue Moon sock club, which has been a long time coming, what with the show sample knitting and all. Finally finished last night... just to find that the trusty little postal scale tells me that the leftovers won't be quite enough to make its mate. Grrr. Back to the frog pond for me, at least for a little while.

The good news is the quickie Diamond Fantasy I made for a dear friend who attended TNNA and who wanted a new scarf for the occasion. This pattern is kind of a restful knit for me actually. I have knit it many times and I am always pleasantly carried along by the rhythm of the lace. Such a nice knit... and this time, I made it with beads. I don't know if you can see them very well, but they gleam when the light hits them right. I did something different with the pointy edges.. put the beads one stitch in from the edge, kind of subtle-like.

The scarf's recipient calls it "pearls in the sea". Yarn is Sea Wool by Fleece Artist, one skein of Capri. Beads are 4mm silver lined crystal megatamas from Earth Faire.