I have no new pictures ready of my crafting endeavors, but will make it up to you by helping you have a chance to win either sock yarn or roving from Jessa Lu in her post-tax season contest... you have til midnight Thursday to get over there and enter... and be sure to let her know in the comments that I sent you - I get an extra ticket into the drawing!
I have been knitting a baby blanket for the upcoming grandbaby in white, pink and blue variegated Lion Jiffy... I promise a photo will be taken tomorrow, as I have more knitting time at a meeting. You all may be shocked to hear I am using fiber with the "A" word in it but really, there's nothing more practical for harried parents of newborns than being able to throw something into the washer and drier and get to use it again soon... believe me, I gave birth three times and even though it was eons ago, I still remember the fatigue and the never-ending laundry. Plus, the yarn was free - how could I resist in times such as these? The color choice is appropriate too, as we won't know the baby's sex until the end of this month, but I want blankie-knitting to be finished before hot weather arrives. Also, I just learned of a family in need of little girl items because all along they had been told that baby was a boy; well technology is WRONG sometimes, as proven by that pretty little girl's birth.
I have also been at the hooks, making a shell shawl from The Happy Hooker... not enough done to show you yet. This yarn will be another surprise to some... TLC Cotton Plus, which is a cotton/acrylic blend. However, this item is a summer shawl, to be worn next to mostly bare skin, and I have always been a bit sensitive to many of the woolies. And I live in California, where summer swelters, at least in the daytime, even in the higher altitudes. Cozy wool shawls are winter-only items here.
As most loyal readers know, I am a lace lover. So, why would I crochet a shawl instead of knit one? I wanted to share my observations on the process from both sides, one hook or two needles. When knitting lace, I have been able to work my way down to very fine threads over the years. The first shawl I made, long gone now, was from a dark brown worsted, with an embossed leaf pattern, and was a really heavy item when done. I then crocheted a worsted weight one for a friend who had found the pattern in a magazine. The crocheted one, using the same weight, was airer and more wrappable... something I had just learned by the experience. I did a few crocheted stoles using net stitching and realized I could get some pretty big holes but still have a fabric that was stable, didn't stretch out of shape or snag.
Then, I decided to make myself an Elizabeth Zimmermann Pi Shawl, round and able to fold in half... it was a great knitting experience, but this shawl, which I still have, is hard to keep on my shoulders.... it always wants to come unfolded and slide off. I also have a vintage feather and fan stole, from about 1930, that I wear periodically, and it is a cozy delight, knitted in fingering or sport weight. However, it too wants to fall off, probably because it doesn't cling to itself.
Some demented whim led me to make a red stole from a pattern in Knitting Goddess several years back.. this shawl was knitted on oversize needles, with many of the red yarns held double, and the fabric was alwasy catching on things that I passed, such as doorknobs... not at all practical, and I finally frogged it a couple of years ago and repurposed the yarns into several more wearable items.
These experiences led me to trying some of the pretty fingering weight shoulder shawl patterns that have been popular of late. They cling to the shoulders, don't involve lots of extra yardage to tangle myself in, and can be pinned in place with a decorative shawl pin. I also made a lily of the valley shawl out of a delightful cotton/rayon yarn, and it is probably one of my favorites. I have made several lightweight mohair-type shawls as gifts over the years, and they are very wearable. Some of you will remember the sagas of my making Seraphim and Spring Things... my two all-time favorites. I am also in the process of making my very first laceweight stole, Queen Sivia, so why do I need to make another anyway? Well, if you are asking that question, then you probably aren't a shawl maker... I feel as if I could always make another shawl! This time, I am taking advantage of the properties of crochet to make a very light and airy design using a worsted weight cotton and large hook. It is a fun and interesting process, though much harder on my hands than knitting or typing (its those double treble stitches on the shells, sigh). I will keep you posted!