Monday, April 28, 2008

A Great Start

My Yahoo group just got started on Norwegian Woods yesterday, and since I have confused some poor knitters with my description of the beginning rows of this shawl, I would like to present a little picture tutorial of the process.

The upshot: we make a tiny garter stitch rectangle and pick up stitches on two sides to make a vaguely horseshoe-shaped piece of knitting, which forms the center back of the shawl.

Here we go...

1. Cast on 7 stitches using your favorite cast on method. I used long tail cast on.

2. Knit 5 rows, creating a little garter stitch rectangle.

3. Keeping the same side facing you, i.e., without turning the piece onto its back, turn it 90 degrees clockwise, so the needle points upward.

4. The picture doesn't actually show me doing this, but next you pick up and knit three stitches from the narrow side of the rectangle (the one closest to the point of your needle). You are welcome to fudge these three stitches in any place you can. Now you can see 7 + 3 = 10 stitches on the needle.

5. Now turn the piece onto its back and get ready to knit across the 10 stitches.

6. I have now knit across the 10 stitches.

7. Keeping the same side facing you, i.e., without turning the piece on its back, turn the needle 90 degrees clockwise. Sound familiar?

8. You guessed it... we are now going to pick up 3 stitches from the other narrow side of the rectangle. 10 + 3 = 13 stitches.

9. I have turned the work over (actually the right side of the shawl) and I have worked across the 13 stitches, placing markers as the pattern asks. The markers show the beginning 3-stitch border, the first panel, the center seam stitch, the second panel, and the last 3-stitch border.

That wasn't so hard, was it? Now, go forth and knit...

10. The little start will form the center back of the shawl.

Happy shawl knitting, everyone!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Great Pin is Worth a Thousand Words

And here it is...

This elegant bit of loveliness is Leslie Wind's Spiral Pin, available in sterling or bronze, shown here in sterling. The pin is held ingeniously in place with two opposing tabs on the back. As Leslie says, the trick is to make sure there is enough fabric to have the tension right between the tabs (which is easy enough to do). It can be worn either vertically or horizontally.

This pin is light and beautiful and so easy to wear, and I am looking forward to wearing it often. The scarf modeling the pin is the Norwegian Woods scarf in bobby blue malabrigo lace yarn.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lights in the Harbour

Introducing... the Harbour Lights shawl, currently at its halfway point.

The story of the shawl: After inviting me to be guest speaker at this summer's FibreFest in Victoria B.C., certain people had the brilliant idea of unveiling a shawl design as a focal point in the proceedings. They left the field wide open as far as the shawl design went, wise folks that they are. Even I never know how and where inspiration will hit...

What I love most about Victoria is the watery brilliance of the coast and the beautiful quality of the sky above the water. So... not even knowing that two lighthouses flank the harbour, I apparently channeled lighthouse vibrations and the beacon-like central lace pattern arrived. I wanted to include the old "Candlelight" lace pattern because it conjured fond memories of nighttime ferry passages over the Georgia Strait. After some swatching and several attempts later, this design was born. The central beacon is mirrored in the centre of both side panels, flanked by Candlelight, which looks uncannily like waves crashing against rocks where it merges with the beacons. The beads are inserted at points with a crochet hook. I know you hookers will be happy that I finally came up with some beads that aren't prestrung.

Here are the actual lighthouses within view of Saxe Point Park in Victoria. First, the Fisgard Lighthouse:

And here is the Trial Island Lighthouse:
And here is my little knitting gremlin, checking out the floor shawl action.

For my sample, I am using Alberta Rose natural fingering weight alpaca yarn, which is just lovely and takes beads nicely too. The "final" piece will be in cashmere silk yarn from Fun Knits. Beads are size 6/0 silver lined crystal seed beads. I tried to use smaller beads at first and I liked the subtlety, but it was just a bit of a struggle to fit onto the yarn. I think either size would work fine, depending on the look desired.

The pattern should be ready by June... more updates before long!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

River, River, Rock, Rock

It's out... my version of the River Rock Scarf. I included not one, not two, but FOUR designs in this pattern, plus multiple ideas for play.

I hope people go nuts with this. It is one of my favorite designs ever.
This design was first seen in No Sheep For You, which came out last year. But I thought it had other possibilities and I couldn't help exploiting those possibilities.. thus the four new charts for this beaded scarf, which can be done using almost any yarn from sport to worsted weight, and any amount of beads from minimal to ridiculous.

In case anyone is bead phobic, or convinced that stringing beads is dorky, or that it can not be as good as hooking beads on with a crochet hook, I have provided information on how to make this a fast and fun knit, including hints and tips on what I call “bead management”.

You can find it on my website here, on Ravelry here, and other places soon. The rumor is that Ellen over at Earth Faire is going to be offering kits! Yay!

And last but not ever least, thank you to Kristina of Brouhaha fame, for her wonderful brain.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New Things Emerging

Yes, it's true. New things are emerging chez Sivia. In no particular order, here they are.

First is the debut of my Year of Lace shawl design, Phoenix Rising. I dare not display a full picture for fear of spoiling the surprise for those who haven't received their kits in the mail. The yarn is Silk Lace from Claudia's Handpainted Yarns, and the color??? Sivia's Hot Orange Brick, of course! Here is a little tiny teaser swatch:

Amazingly enough, some of the subscribers have already almost finished the shawl, as you will see if you follow the threads on Ravelry.

Second up is the debut of the wonderful and much-anticipated book, More Big Girl Knits. It is big, it is beautiful, and it has two Sivia Harding designs inside. More later with pictures.

Third is a new version of the pattern that was first seen in the book No Sheep for You, the River Rock Scarf. My version has more information about making this design an exercise in stream of consciousness knitting and contains not one but two scarf templates.

More... so much more. New shawl and new sock designs are in the works. Stay tuned for those...

And to all who contributed to my father's charity fund. The contribution has been made, a total of $2,341, which went to MSF. Blessings and thanks to all, not just to those who made monetary contributions, but to all the folks who sent love and condolences, and to those beautiful people who shared their own stories with me.