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?


Gwen said...

Cats and kids and dogs - such fun toys! It's good to have an excuse to be silly (and we shouldn't need one, but sometimes we/I do).

Very subtle, that ivory sea silk. Works nicely with your design. And what fun to have such pleasing parts! I like that in a design - little things that are a whole piece together. So Cool!

Maureen said...

I saw your magic basket the other night and was meaning to ask you where you found it. Very "multi-purpose-ful"

Now that I've put down the socks, the gothic scarf is flying along. Beautiful pattern to work with.

Melanie said...

Norwegian Woods looks marvellous. I love the way the lace flows. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Lucky Mooshie to have his own private elevator and resident elevator man.