Friday, April 24, 2009

A BadCat Yarn Review!

I was recently gifted with a lovely selection of Crystal Palace yarns. A skein of this and a skein of that, in wonderful colors and assorted fibers. I pondered my loot and considered simple swatching, but there was something unsatisfying about just a swatch of such pretty yarn. I needed it to be something. Something I might wear, or give as a gift to my mom. Do you know what I mean? So I picked a skein of Panda Superwash and cast-on for a scarf. This scarf is not for winter warmth. It is more of a fashion accessory, if you will. The fiber content is 51% Bamboo, 39% Superwash Wool and 10% nylon. Although it has a bunch of wool in it, the feel is lighter and very silky, which is owes to the Bamboo. I would consider this yarn a nice one for warmer weather. The wool did show off when I blocked my scarf. It relaxed like wool in the water and the scarf is holding its block very well. The yarn was easy to knit, with very little splitting and no knots in my skein. This yarn would also be wonderful for socks, hats and mitts. The color I used is called Stonewash, and has short repeats of blue shades. The colors pool in a pleasant way and the finished piece looks great with jeans. I have more projects planned with some of the other skeins in this lovely collection, so look out for more patterns in these yarns in the future!
This shows the stitch detail. You can see the sheen of the yarn and the way the colors move. You can knit this scarf for yourself by casting on 30 stitches and following my chart. The gauge is 6 stitches to the inch in pattern but not critical. The finished size is 4 inches wide and 56 inches long after blocking, and I used one skein of Panda Superwash. If you want the pattern with full (line-by-line) directions and all the little details, download it from my Ravelry Pattern Store. It is free!

Until next week, knit on! I'll try not to get into trouble in the mean time...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The gift that gives twice!

My friend Sandra gave me a lovely gift for my recent birthday. She gave me some silver chain, a clasp, assorted head pins and assorted crystals. She had a necklace in mind and figured I would know what to do.
The chain was about twice as long as my favorite length, so I folded it in half, with one loop slightly longer than the other. I added the clasp to one side, using a head pin with a crystal to secure it. I added a ring to the other side the same way.
I put a crystal on each head pin and did my usual wire-wrap dangle, leaving the final closure of the loop and wrappings undone. Once I had all the crystal ready as above, I organized them in a way I liked and put the partially done wire-wrap on the chain, then completing the wire-wrap.
Here you can see my tools and the chain with some of the dangles already added. If you would like to see how I make the wire-wrap dangles, check out this tutorial! I not only get to wear this lovely necklace, but I got to be crafty too! What a perfect gift.
I'll be back next week with more fiber fun. Until then, knit on!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

American Beauty, Wrap It Up!

As a reminder, if you follow the American Beauty tag at the bottom of this post, it will take you to the beginning of this project, where you will find a full list of materials and our process. I did my best to show every view. I love the way the shadow is lace...
The sun was a bit too bright, so some of the contrast is lost, but you get the basics! I will have the pattern available at my Ravelry pattern store by the end of April 2009.
You can see how the Chart B motifs rest over the shoulders if you followed the chart sequence as written.
So along with my usual cheesecake shots, I am thrilled to share pictures from several of you who knit this project with me and generously sent me photographs! You people are amazing! Virtual round of applause....and in no special order:

From: Michaela
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss Lace Mango
Needle: 3mm
Size: Wingspan 79" Down 41"
Comments: I repeated the rose inserts, because they were so much fun to do. Beautiful pattern and I thoroughly enjoyed the knit!!!!!

From: Debby (in Southern California)
Yarn: Jojoland Harmony
Needle: Size 1 2.25 mm
Size: 48" across top, 25" down center back

From: Tasha
Yarn used: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18
Cinnabar and Fuchsia
Needle used: Cinnabar 3 and Fuchsia 4
Finished size across top and down center-back: both are about 59 by 36
Comments: Another great pattern and wonderful company. I did repeat pattern A with the cinnabar.

From: Cara
It was knit with Colourmart 100% Merino 2/28 in Salmon Pink on Addi Turbo Lace needles size 1. The shawl measures approximately 23 inches along the center back and 48 inches across. It was knit as written with no extra repeats.

From: Colleen Archbold

Yarn: Kaalund Yarn Enchante, used almost 2 balls (30 g each)
Beads: pink/peach matte size 8 (3mm) plus 9 small heart beads. All the beads were unlabelled so I don't know exactly what they are.
Needles:size 2 (2.75mm)
Blocked size: 28" x 56"
I love the shawl and I loved the knitting. The yarn is 100% silk and I found it quite strange to knit. It has no "give" so it tended to make my fingers ache. It drapes nicely and I'm glad I didn't make it any larger than Andrea's instructions....any bigger and it's lovely drape may have changed to flimsy and floppy.
I enjoyed the beading. It's hard to buy beads (for knitting)in Adelaide. It's been a huge learning experience for me to figure out which beads complement the yarn. I think I would like more tranparent beads. However, I'm thrilled with my shawl.
Thanks Andrea for another wonderful experience. The instructions to this lovely shawl are clear and the group is delightful.

From: Deb Silverman
Ravelry: GablesDeb
Yarn: JaggerSpun Super Fine Merino 2/18
Needles: US 3 with 32" cable (Harmony needles)
Finished Size:59" x 28"
Comments: I knit 2 additional repeats of Chart A Rows 27-42 after Chart B3. I'm glad that I did!

From: Debbie in Alabama
Yarn used: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 Color: Ruby
Needle used: 2.5mm
Finished size across top and down center-back: 68 X 33.5
Comments: I added 2 extra repeats of Chart A. Was a very enjoyable knit and the end result is beautiful. Thanks!

From: Elaine Jones
Your Blog or website: http://www.jonesclan.netbut/
my knitting pictures are all on Ravelry under Driftwood
Yarn used: 2 ply Shetland wool / angora rabbit
Needle used: US #2
Finished size across top and down center-back: 64" x 32"
Comments: I didn't have the special beads, so I improvised a cross in their place. I followed the pattern as given without any added repeats.

From: hmmm Mary Rose last time I checked :)(She is so sassy!)
Your Blog or website:
Yarn used: Colourmart Silk 2/28
Needle used: Addi Lace Turbo size 00(US)
Finished size across top and down center-back: 55 inches across the top, 36 down the center
Comments: I used the "repeat Chart A" modification to get this size from my very small needles. This was a fabulous design, the inclusion of specialty beads made it a very fun knit. I am awed by your ability to take a simple theme and create a truly elegant design. I love it!

From: Michele
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk Lace - Cassis
Silver-lined Gold AB beads - size 8/0 + heart beads
Needles: 3.25mm or US3 Addis Lace
Size: 35" x 65"
Comment: Thanks BadCat! Another beautiful design. Happy belated birthday! More roses for your garden! :)
From Pam Long:
Size 2 needle
ColourMart 55% Cashmere, 45% Silk, 3/45, one strand Dust (gray)
and one Strand Bonbon (pale pink)
51 inches across top and 30 1/2 top to bottom

From Sina:
many thanks for sharing your designs.
My American Beauty was knitted with LaceMohair 700m/100gr, colour Old Rose, purchased at
I used 1 skein and a very little bit from the second skein for the last 5 rows. I used 4,5mm cir-needles.
Wingspan measurement: 2.10m, down the spine: approx. 1m
My ravelry-name: Sinaida
blog: (only in German)

From Sue in California:
Yarn used: Colourmart 2/27 cashmere, color watermelon
Needle used: US 2
Finished size across top and down center-back: 56" by 30"
I did one repeat of Chart B1 and 5 repeats of the section of Chart A
Used the recommended beads from Earthfaire, as well as small heart beads from them
Looking forward to the summer project!
From Susanna:
It is 72" long and 36" tall at the center. I'm tall so I like the final product. Also was 20 beads short so only beaded edges and center for the first beading section on chart D. No heart beads, which is still 5 short if I had them. :) Knitted pattern A, A repeat, B1, B2, B3, A, A, C, D...Also slept through the first row of chart C and did a double YO at the center so did a ssk and K2tog on the next row to fix stitch count. Liked the look that is why I left it. Info is on Ravelry if you need anything else. Thanks for another fun knit!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Vacation Review!

So I have been back for one week, and if I didn't still have the nail polish on my toes I would not believe I had ever been away...that is how quickly the glow of a fine vacation fades once I return to work. I will share a small vacation review in the hope of rekindling the relaxed feeling I had while I was away! I will let you all know if it works. So we flew to Barbados and got on a really big sailboat. Actually, they say it is the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. I didn't research that, but it seems plausible. The first morning on board, we had the required "muster drill." Here you can see I am preparing for any emergency by casting on a simple but satisfying vacation project. I am making sure I can knit while wearing my PFD, just in case...
This is a shot of our ride, anchored off one of the several islands we visited. Isle de Saint, I believe. Our ride is the one with all the masts, in case you were wondering!
Here is a shot of BadKitten, through the porthole of the swimming pool. There are three saltwater pools on deck, but the largest is also the skylight into the dinning room. It is really cool. I took this picture from inside the ship, on the landing above the dining room. BadKitten says it is hard to smile under water...
They had Beck's on tap...
This is a shot looking up toward the sails, just after sunset one evening.
This is one of many gorgeous flowers on Isle de Saint, which is one of the Island we visited. What a lovely place...
Here is my darling, looking very happy riding a horse on St Lucia. You could ride the horses right into the water. The horses liked it too.
BadKitten also loved swimming with her pony. The water was really nice.
You can see I made some progress as I wait for the tender to pick me up and take me back to our ride in St Lucia.
This was a sign I just loved, in Antigua. Who knew that reflexology has this much to offer??
They made very good Mojitos, as you can see from my almost empty glass. I think the emptiness of the glass is the only reason I am not smiling.
By the time we pulled into Martinique, I had made some significant progress. What do you think? My knitting matches my sandals!

Cruise line: Star Clippers
Ship: Royal Clipper
Ports: Barbados, St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St Kitt's, Isle de Saint, Martinique, Barbados
Project: Not yet named
Yarn: 2/28 angora/lambswool dyed by me
I'll be back next week with our American Beauty wrap-up, including final photos of my project and your projects. Until next week, knit on!