Lady Eleanor

Looky looky! I finally got someone to take photos of me. (Thanks, Mom!) Click through for a wingspan view.

So, I complained a lot while knitting about working with the Silk Garden, which was alternately slubby and overspun, which makes for some wonky-looking seams. But I think the end result was worth the annoyance. For a while as I was knitting this, I wasn’t sure about the colors — I’m still not enamored of the bright green (you can see it in the front in this photo) and wound up cutting it out of the last couple of balls. But the overall effect is stunning.

This is an example of my favorite kind of project: take a simple technique and a gorgeous yarn, and you really can’t miss. I struggled to learn entrelac at first, but there are a lot of tutorials with photos on the web, and after looking at several I finally understood the concept. Once you’ve got that down, it’s just a lot of stockinette, but because of the way it’s constructed (you knit each little rectangle individually), you can really see the progress you make.

I cast on for this on 12/10/06, and finished it entirely — blocked & fringed — on 2/13/07. She is so warm and has lovely drape, I’m really pleased. She’s very eye-catching, and I’ve gotten lots of compliments at school and those looks you get on the T and out and about. She is a little unwieldy for wearing with winter coats (mind have hoods and I like to seriously bundle up, we’re talking zipped to the neck) but I figured out the trick, and she is a great stand-in when I don’t feel like wearing a cardigan.

If you’re thinking of making her, please allow me to point you to Little Knits, which has a great price for Silk Garden. I didn’t get mine here, but this is cheaper than what I found on ebay, and is well below the regular retail price.

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Backyard Leaves

The zig-zag crochet scarf is no more. OK, half of it is no more. I stopped wearing that scarf becuase it was too wide for its length. A shame, since the Malabrigo is so soft and the red is gorgeous. So, I ripped out half of it the other night and am working on Backyard Leaves (isn’t that a pretty one?). By which I mean, I have cast on several times for Backyard Leaves, and currently am ready to cast on again.

The pattern is charted, so this is a new skill. Yay! (For the muggles: think paint-by-numbers, but with crazy little symbols instead of numbers.) I figured that there would be some instruction regarding how to read the chart, and in any case I was going to start it at Stitch n Bitch, so if I got stuck I could ask for help from someone who has actually knit from charts (other folks, too). When I started, though, I was surprised that there were no instructions whatsoever given on how to read the chart, except for the key. None with the pattern notes, none in the “how to knit” instructions at the back of the book. (WTF, Interweave?) This means they did not tell me which rows represent the “right side” of the scarf, and they did not tell you that you read the right side rows in one direction, and the wrong side rows in the other. You could puzzle some of this out by examining the chart and thinking very deeply and conceptually. Or by the Alison Method (TM), which is to forge ahead blindly and hope that you are right until you realize you are wrong. I ripped it out a couple of times last night, getting clarificatino from the Knitting Librarian and another pal at various points. So I left having figured out how to read a chart.

When I got home last night I was tired and nearly cross-eyed from eyestrain (I guess I know where my little tax refund is going this year), but I kept working on it when I got home, and naturally screwed it up somehow. It goes fairly fast so after I tried to guess what I had done and fix it, I ripped it out. But at least I could start to see the pattern coming together, so that was good. I was doing well until I randomly knit the wrong row at some point. Not an auspicious start to charted knitting, but it could be worse.

Sock knitting, however . . . that is on hold until I get ahold of some circs. I have 76 tiny stitches cast on to tiny DPNs . . . with 2/3 of a the first row knit. Ha! Methinks not.

Looky here!

Guess what I cast on for the other night.

Lady Eleanor! Finally. I’m excited to be working on this project, and I enjoy it. I’m finding that the entrelac pattern is pretty easy to remember so far (well, except for what I am supposed to do for the triangles on each side) and is not boring.

This is Noro Silk Garden in colorway 246. The colors are gorgeous, and the Silk Garden’s long color changes really lend themselves to this project. But I’m not sure how I feel about this yarn otherwise. I’ve used one ball of my ten so far, and while I didn’t run into the usual “organic matter” (bits of grass and hay) that we usually think of with some of the Noro yarns, I’m finding that this is unevenly spun. In some places it is practically unspun, and I’m working with something akin to Malabrigo. In other places it is overspun and is really small. That’s annoying for this project, as it is affecting some of the seams and making them look wonky. But, I keep reminding myself it is not a huge issue. As I’ve said before, a great side effect of knitting is that it forces me to be less of a perfectionist.

The current traveling project is an inch of the Gentleman Caller’s watchcap. I just finished off this ball of Silk Garden tonight, so the rest of tonight’s knitting will be focused on said hat. I have a lot of 2×1 ribbing to get through.