Posts Tagged ‘Belle Greene’

Problem Solved

Some time ago I described a painful beading incident which occurred when I was working on the Belle Greene shawl.  I’m now working another beaded pattern,  the Diamonds in the Ruff collar (from Defarge Does Shakespeare).  This is the project which called for the Bead Biz purchase at the Alpaca Festival.  Once again, I’m working with small beads and a really tiny crochet hook.  I’ve made two changes in the process, which help with both speed and safety.

First of all, rather than working the stitch and then threading it through a bead, I’m just beading the unworked stitch and slipping it to the right hand needle.  As long as I do it consistently it works beautifully.

Secondly, I’ve got a new crochet hook.  One with a soft  grip and, more importantly…

beaded hook

Comet wanted to cuddle with the pattern

covered hook

Therefore, camera time

…it has a cover. Now, as long as I cap it before putting it away, there will be no more ‘painful incidents’, even if the cats do knock my project bag on the floor.

You can never be too careful.

But, seriously, it’s a stunning design, and I’m enjoying working on it when I stop the cat from lying on it.

In addition to the seed beads, I’ve gotten the ribbon and some focal beads for finishing


I think it’s going to be stunning.  Now, if I can just be sure to finish by Christmas…

Blog Giveaways

I didn’t win the “Wonder Clips” from A Simple Homestead, the luxury yarn basket from Expression Fiber Arts or the pattern and yarn from Aroha Knits.  I did win the Arciform sweater pattern from Aphaia.

I entered the Expression Fiber Arts November/December yarn basket drawing (15 December) and the Knitting Pipeline drawing for Wool Baby Patterns ebook (26 November).


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My Weekend with Pictures


I experimented with my phone’s “panoramic” feature here

The festival was delightful.  It’s held in the same space as the Sheep and Wool festival, but at only 6 years old it hasn’t ‘grown into’ it yet.  Many of the vendors are housed within the buildings, some share barn space with livestock.



The alpaca by herself was named Luna.  One of the other two was called Teddy.  The bunny (from Akers farm) reacted by petting to grooming itself. I don’t know enough about rabbits to know if this was a happy or dismayed reaction.

I had a nice conversation with one of the Akers farms vendors about angora as a fiber.  It seems to have more of a halo than mohair, and she tells me it’s nowhere near as nasty to frog.  Anyone have any experience?


I also saw a nice drum carder demo (alpaca, not angora) at the Spinning Mill booth.

Spinning Mill


Naturally there was awesome yarn.  Much of it was from Maryland farmers, but there were plenty of other yarn vendors as well.

Grey Meadows

Grey Meadows Buck's YarnThis backlit picture is the Grey Meadows Alpaca Farm booth.  Each skein is labeled with the name of the animal who provided the fiber.  I got a skein from Buck .  200 yards of a skinny sport/heavy fingering.  I don’t know where that’s destined to go, but who can resist when you know their names?

IAstral also purchased a skein of Astral yarn, but I managed to lose the receipt so I don’t know what booth it case from.  That one is a mixture of Alpaca, wool and Tencel.  It’s a lovely grey, and I have some wool-tencel yarn which coordinates nicely.  I’m thinking a shawl/mitts set is in the future…

Non-Yarn Goods

I also picked up a string of beads which coordinates beautifully with some pink  laceweight I got in a yarn grab bag from Knitpicks.

Bead Blitz

I got amazing chocolate from Parfections , both ghost pepper bark and coffee crunch bark, and some roasted pecans.  Very good stuff.

Whole Experience

I ended up spending a couple of hours each day at the festival.  I scouted on Saturday and got the Astral yarn, then came back on Sunday when I realized that I needed just the right beads for the lace project (and because that skein of ‘Buck’s yarn’ was calling to me.

Fiber festivals are the best place to show off your yarnwork.  I got lots of compliments on the Tam of Rassilon on Saturday, and on the Belle Greene shawl on Sunday.  The shawl led to a recommendation to find Tudor Roses, which sounds delightful.

The low point came on Saturday, when I wandered into a swap meet of some sort, and encountered some people who were shockingly bad tempered in contrast.  I think it just goes to show that people are nicer when they’re doing something associated with something they love.

It was a really lovely time overall.  I would have loved to be able to strut my stuff in a skein and garment competition, but they didn’t have the volunteer power to run one this year.  If you’d like to change that (or even just to find out more before next years festival) check out the Facebook group.

Closing image – some lovely felted hats from the Wild Rose Suri Ranch:

Wild Rose

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All Blocked Out

Project Completed

At the end of April I posted about my plans to wire block the Belle Greene shawl once it was finished.  Now it’s two months later and the shawl is done.

Honestly, I do like the way it looks right off the needles.

Belle Greene curveThe lace has a lovely organic look, and the back of the shawl has a really pretty curve.  It’s enjoyable as is, but I decided I want the more classic look for this, with the open lace and the straight back.   The way to get that is to block it, and I had no intention of pinning out each and every point in the border.

Belle Greene soakingSo I soaked it first, then threaded the wires through the garter stitches and the points.

Belle Greene garter wireThen I did the same thing with each of the individual points – you’ll notice there are two different weights of wires here.  The curve was just a bit too long for two of the heavier wires, but using a third seemed overkill.

Belle Greene point wireSo I stretched out the whole shawl until I was happy with it.

Belle Greene blocking Yes, if you look very closely and critically you can see it’s not perfect.  That’s OK.   I’m still the kind of person who feels I deserve a pat on the back just for doing all the finishing stuff at all…    I can always re-block the shawl if it starts to bug me…  Maybe I’ll do that before next years Sheep and Wool, because I expect them to notice all the little imperfections.

As soon as it was blocked I wore it to trivia.  It must have brought me luck, because I got the final question, and propelled our team to victory!  Here I am with the shawl (and ‘photobombed’ by my friend Colleen)

Belle Greene worn

I have to say, when I’m wearing it I don’t notice any of those imperfections at all…

Blog Contests and Yarn Giveaways

I didn’t win the ‘yarn chicken’ giveaway from PDX Knitteratti.  No new giveaways this time.

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  Status of Current Projects

Goat Bag cast on


After studying the swatch, I’ve decided that 4.5 mm needles work just fine for a bag.  I’ll be knitting a No-Sew Felted Bag by Invisible Insanity (she had documented it on her blog, but that seems to be no more).  It’s an interesting design, one with end tabs

which become pocket flaps.  Rather than using a combination knitted on/crochet provisional cast on I’m just using a knitted on cast on, but I worked it over two needles held together for the provisional portion (the second one being a 3.25mm).  I’ve also got two whales of reverse stockinette bordering the flaps, to make it easier to pick up the bag body later on.

Expect future posts which show this better, along with other modifications as I get to them.  The body of the bag is straight stockinet

te, so I’ll be adding in some colorwork from 150 Scandinavian Motifs to give it some action.

picotty with heel


The picotty socks are my current relaxing project. Something I can pick up and work on when I’m tired or distracted, but still want something to keep my hands busy.

I’m working them in tandem, so when I finished the foot on the first sock I switched to the second.  I’m just in the middle of the heel of the second sock.  It’s sort of fun to see how the crochet version of the short row works.

Belle Greene final stretch


I’m coming down to the stretch on the Belle Greene shawl.  There are only a few more inches of the beaded border to knit on, then it’s down to the wire…  I mean, time to break in the new blocking wire set.  Once that’s done I’ll have to track down a black light and see if I can get it to really glow.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I won the Mont Royal sock pattern from Snapdragon crafts.  These are beautiful,  and I can’t help remembering the last time I was in Montreal*.  I’ll have to decide whether I want to do these in wool or in cotton, but they would look amazing in spring green.

I entered PDX Knitteratti’s ‘yarn chicken’ giveaway for a random element of her stash.  No end date posted, but it will be soon.

Happy 4th

That’s it for now.  I’m hoping that the rain is done and we can enjoy our cookout this afternoon.  This year I’m contributing BBQ spareribs, squash, cherries and blueberries, all from local farms.  I hope all of my countrymen enjoy a beautiful and fun holiday.

* We went to Mont Royal to scatter my great aunt’s ashes.  There is a surreal and funny story which goes along with that.

The family didn’t have the permits to do this, it was probably not legal at all, but it really seemed the best way to say goodbye. So we went up there with the ashes, and said our goodbyes, and cast the ashes into the wind… which blew the ashes back into our faces.  It also blew the ashes into what had looked like an abandoned car, but then two rather confused heads bobbed up…  I think we had interrupted something romantic and/or clandestine.   My cousin, David, is a film writer, and I’m sure this scene will make it into something or other, sooner or later, because it totally fits his sense of the perverse.

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Summary for the squeamish:  I’m fine, my stuff is OK.  Verbal description of not goodness behind the cut below the (non graphic) picture.


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Works in Progress

Belle Greene Shawl

Belle Greene Border in progressI’ve been making slow progress on the beaded, knit on border of the Belle Greene shawl.  It’s not that I’m not thrilled with it, it looks beautiful, and I’m looking forward to showing it off.  The beads make it a non-portable project at this point, which is enough to slow it down.

A knitted on border is similar to a K2Tog across, except that you cast on a number of stitches after the end of the shawl and knit those in a lace pattern.  The K2Tog takes place at what would be the ‘cast off’ edge of the shawl, and forms the inside of the lace border.  Then the K2Tog stitch is slipped and the next row of lace knit.

It should be simple, it doesn’t change anything, but at the same time…

I know it’s not just me, because my sister (and knitting guru) has admitted that she finds knitted borders strangely anti intuitive and hard to ‘read’.  I think I have to agree with her.  Here I am, just about at the end of the thing, and only now does this fairly simple four row chart start to make sense.  I don’t know why that is, but it’s been that way for me.

Oh, well.  I do love the look, and I’m looking forward to breaking in my new blocking wires, so that’s something.

Summer Socks

By the time I finished my TARDIS socks it was already too warm to wear them.  Not that I’m above wearing handknit socks with sandals as a matter of principle, but it’s unseasonably warm and uncomfortable, and I don’t want to resent something I’ve spent so much time working on.

So I decided to give cotton socks a try.  Actually, they’re a cotton, wool, soy and chitin blend from SouthWest Trading Company called TOFUtsies (yes, this is yarn from my stash.  I’m still trying to keep to the diet) and the pattern is a surprisingly open mesh for socks.  I have no idea if it will be functional, but it’s fun.  Especially as I’m doing the (solid) toes, heels and cuffs in pink, and the mesh in blue.  Depending on how it works I might start making more socks in summer appropriate fibers, stay tuned to find out!

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the yarn from Agrestal or This Knitted Life or the shawl pin from Michelle’s Assortment.  I entered a Pattern Naming Contest from Fiber Dreams (official deadline past, but she may be open to more suggestions if you hurry.)

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Doom BagFO

knotI’m very happy with the way the Dice Bag of Doom! turned out.  I had knit two longer tentacles, and ended up twining them together to form the drawstring.  I gave one a bead to ‘hold on to’ and that gave me a nice cord stopper for when the bag is open – it holds itself closed pretty well, because I have one tentacle coiled around another.  It all works very nicely.

Doom Bag with Eyes


So that leaves me working on the Belle Greene shawl and essentially nothing else (the Stereo Cuffs are still waiting on a wrist measurement for the recipient).  I love that shawl, and I’m almost done with the knitted on beaded border, but honestly I need a brainless project once in a while.  So I started hooking a mobius hat using some stashed Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  Yes, I am a bit of a yarn snob, and I generally prefer natural fibers, but that particular big box acrylic and polyester brand is one of the first yarns I really enjoyed working with, and I still really like it.  I suppose it’s a ‘guilty pleasure’ yarn, but I can’t work up a lot of guilt for that one.  True,  it’s not putting money into a small, locally owned business when I buy it, but the Lion Brand company is family owned and operated, and seems to have a good reputation within the industry.  What guilt I feel about it is centered around the fiber content – this stuff is unfortunately not at all biodegradable, so I do try to limit my buying of it.


Yarn ScaleSo I gave in and picked up a new yarn scale.  Actually I just got an inexpensive kitchen scale from Target.  It’s about the same price as a new ball winder or swift, and it is really useful, both to estimate the remaining yardage in a ball and to divide yarn into equal portions for socks, or to figure out when to start work on the border of a shawl.  Basically, the longer I went without one, the more I felt as though I really needed it.

Besides, I think it’s pretty (and I’m always a sucker for aesthetically pleasing tools and equipment).

Yarny News

You may have noticed that Neil Gaiman is on the cover of Knitty. It’s part of a promo for a new pattern book Geek Knits.  You should check it out.  I’ll be ordering my copy very soon…

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I’ve entered the This Knitted Life giveaway for two skeins of yarn (10 June).

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