Friday, June 27, 2008

The Summer Sampler Project heats up! Hold onto your lifelines!

In honor of the official start of summer, which recently passed us, I thought I would warm things up...

I offer you Pattern Five. I call this pattern The Grand Spider. I believe I made it up...
A few quick notes before you dive in:
1) Only the odd numbered rows are charted. The even numbered rows are purl straight across.
2) I suggest you put a life-line in before you begin this particular pattern, even if you don't usually use them.
3) I suggest you make a 29-stitch swatch and work about 16 rows using one repeat of the shaded section to try this pattern out in scrap yarn before you add it to your Sampler.
4) If you don't enjoy working this pattern after giving it a fair try, replace the 7/7 with (knit two, yarn-over, double-vertical decrease, yarn-over, knit two.) It won't look the same but it will look pretty and work fine.

Following is a short stitch tutorial for the 7/7 move...

First, if you knit like most Americans, slip the seven stitches to be used and replace them so that they sit on the needles as illustrated above. If you knit in the European Crossed-Uncrossed way, this is how your stitches are already sitting. The point is that you can insert your right-hand needle into the back leg of all seven stitches more smoothly and with less stress on your hands and the yarn. For those of you working projects with nupps, think about the above concept...
Insert the right-hand needle into the seven stitches, and knit the seven together, but do not remove the stitches from the left-hand needle.
Make a yarn-over, insert the right-hand needle into the same seven stitches, make a stitch and again, leave the seven on the left-hand needle. You have three stitches made on the right-hand needle.
Again, make a yarn-over, insert the right-hand needle into the seven stitches, make a stitch, leaving the seven on the left-hand needle. You have made five stitches on the right-hand needle. Make a yarn-over and for the last time, insert the right-hand needle into the seven stitches, making your final stitch. You have seven new stitches on your right-hand needle. Allow the seven stitches on the left-hand needle to slide off.

Viola! Grand Spiders! It is actually really fun once you get into it. Remember to work loosely, and mind the order of those seven stitches when you purl them on the return row, because it is easy to cross them if you don't watch closely. Also, note that they are not turned the way you usually see them, so either purl them from the presenting stitch leg, or re-position them. Again, those of you working on nupps, think about how easy it would be to purl those stitches together if you wanted to...

A little surprise arrived at BadCatHouse this past week. Jane, who owns Jade Sapphire Yarn Company, sent me this lovely box, containing four balls of the Lacey Lamb I am working my Summer Sampler in.

I intend to give two balls each, to two different people. Some of you know the pleasure I get in seeing my designs knit by other people. Once I post the final installment of this project, I will ask those of you who have been working with me to send photos of your finished pieces. I think that the first two people who send me finished Summer Sampler photos will each get two balls for their next Sampler. How does that sound to you? I need to limit this offer to those of you in North America, because shipping to Other continents is just too darn expensive. If you are off my continent and want to play for the yarn, you are welcome to if you are willing to cover the shipping via PayPal, OK? OK...

And finally, this is the newest design I am working on. The yarn is Malabrigo Lace in the Paris Nights colorway. The beads are actually more purple than they read in the picture, because the glass is amber, but the have another color lining them, if you know what I mean. It is a triangle, and you see the center spine and pattern as it grows from the center. Tell me what you think.

See you next week, for some July Fourth fun. Until then, knit on!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

BadCat goes to London!

I am posting pattern four a few days early, because I will be away until Monday and I wanted to be sure you all have another pattern to work on in my absence. Take a quick look and let me know if you see any issues in the next 18 hours, or hold onto them until I return! Pattern four is another delicate motif, which I decided to call The Garden Trellis. I hope you enjoy it.

Take a minute to vote in the poll on the left side of the blog, and name pattern one. Why not?

Next week I hope to have something with more substance for you. At a bare minimum I should have a few travel pictures. Until then, knit on!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Summer Sampler Project: in time for WWKIP Day!

If you are new to the party, please take a moment to review all previous posts with The Summer Sampler label!

I got a special request to get this pattern up early. Those of you know know me know that I usually scoff at such requests, but this one was from Beth, who wanted to be able to continue work on her sampler when she went out for WWKIP Day. How could I resist...

Pattern 3 is more ornate than the previous pattern, and I will call it Climbing Vines. Once you establish the pattern, it flows easily.
Following is page nine of our pattern, and again, refer to the Key and Chart Dissection in previous posts if you get confused.

I am still collecting name ideas for pattern 1, and I will put a naming poll up with my post next week. Heads-up! I am off to London (actually St Albans) next Thursday and you can expect to see the next pattern page before I leave. If anyone has any fiber "must-see" suggestions in St Albans, please let me know! Until then, knit on!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Summer Sampler Study: What's in a name?

For those of you new to the party, please take some time to review all the previous posts with the Summer Sampler label.

Cheryl, from my Yahoogroup, asked if pattern one had a name. The patterns I have collected for this sampler are not from one tradition. Versions of pattern one can be found in both German and Japanese collections. It can be seen as a single “scroll” or as mirror “scrolls” as I charted it. Pattern one is usually a panel (insertion.) I have never seen a name associated with any version of pattern one, but if someone knows otherwise please feel free to tell me in the comments. If I get a few suggestions for names I will post a pattern naming poll, just for fun. Until I get enough suggestions to put up a poll for pattern one’s name, it shall remain nameless. Make it something related to the summer theme…

Pattern two is also found in many different knitting traditions. It can be used as a panel (insertion) as I have set it up for The Summer Sampler Study, and also as a background (ground) pattern. I have never seen a name associated with this pattern, but I decided to call it The Hurricane Fence. Enjoy!

Pattern two is very straightforward and fun to work. I enjoy seeing how the yarn-overs line up to give the distinctive pattern.

Don't forget to refer back to both The Key and my Chart Dissection for a reminder, if you get confused. Both the odd and even rows are again charted for you.

I would like to make a small statement about Lifelines. Lifelines, in lace knitting, give you a safety net. I don't use them frequently, but they are great to insert before moving onto a new pattern or technique. If you make an error, you just rip right back to your Lifeline and try again. Adding Lifelines is easy. Use a blunt-tip needle to insert a spare length of smooth, contrasting yarn through all the stitches on your needle. You leave the needle there too...but do not include the stitch markers! Once the Lifeline is in, just keep knitting. I use cotton crochet thread or un-waxed dental floss. If you have to rip back, the stitches will all be held on your Lifeline. You just put those stitches right back on your needle without any fuss, and try again. You can Insert a Lifeline as often as you like. For those of you new to lace knitting, consider adding a Lifeline right before you begin each new pattern. Once the project is done, simply remove any Lifelines before blocking. For those of you with more experience, use Lifelines as they suit you. I suggest you use one before pattern 5, and will remind you of that when we get there! Happy knitting...