Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Karabella Lace fir cone shawl center, blocked

I just love blocking lace! And whatever others may say, I do enjoy knitting lace with this yarn. While it has shrunk back a bit, I think it is no more than I would expect. I used a 3.5 mm (3 US) needle.

Before blocking, the piece measured about 16x16 inches. Here it is in a field of Veronica...

Pinned out, it measured about 29x29 inches. I left it to try overnight, unpinned it in the morning and it immediately shrunk 1 inch to 28x28. I left it undisturbed for another 8 hours. It shrunk back one more inch in that time, to 27x27.

When I returned from work, I could resist no longer and took it for another whirl in the garden.

I just measured again and it is now 26x26 inches. The bumps that you can see in the first picture show no signs of re-appearing. For now, I have a 60% increase in size from the unblocked state. Quite respectable, but I will check again in the morning. Now, I'll get back to the pink blanket.

PS. No one has guessed the answer to yesterday's question correctly yet! Keep trying.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A True Tale, and a Contest!

Really. I was standing at the stove yesterday evening, making chili. I had sauteed the onions and garlic and the meat was browning. I was in the process of opening up the cans of tomatoes and kidney beans, when my husband came in and reported that there were 3 police cars at the neighbour's. Seeing that I was at a delicate point in the culinary process, I continued working while hubby went out to join the growing crowd of neighbours on the pavement.

Various scenarios played out in my head as I drained tomato sauce into the pot. Had E. returned home from caring for her aged parents in Philly to find her house burgled? Worse, had she discovered her husband collapsed in a heap? I scraped the last of the beans out of their cans, put the whole concoction on extra low heat and went to join the little crowd.

At that point E. herself was outside holding court. She had arrived home and before long had become convinced that there was someone walking back and forth on her second floor, stepping on a creaky floor board. Crouching near an exit, she called the cops. For the record, they arrived within one minute, which fact I was very pleased to learn.

They beckoned her outside and 2 of them quietly entered the house with guns drawn (!). They listened and heard the same noise she had heard and took it very seriously: a loud creaking from time to time.They went from room to room, searching the place thoroughly. They eventually had E. show them all the nooks and crannies where someone could be hiding. They checked everywhere with no luck, but were very impressed with the number and nature of the nooks and crannies. After they were fairly certain that there was no one hiding in the house, they replaced their guns in their holsters and drove off.

So. After the police were gone. E. brought the neighbours in. Four of us stood in various parts of her downstairs and listened for the sound. We heard it. It was exactly like someone stepping on a seriously creaky board somewhere above the kitchen ceiling, near a doorway. I got fed up and went back to stir the chili and while I was away the mystery was resolved.

What was it? The house settling with the change of season? The death throes of a suffering rodent trapped between the walls? Tell me what you think! The first person to correctly guess what was causing the mysterious sound that brought a total of 5 cop cars to our quiet neighbourhood wins a skein or 2 of yarn - I haven't yet decided what kind, but it will be decent!

In knitting, I am deep into the feather and fan border of the pink baby blanket (featured in my last post). I've had to give myself a good talking to to keep myself from foreshortening the border before the optimum proportions have been attained. I think the border should be at a bare minimum half the size of the central square. The feather and fan pattern is making me loose my mind. I tell you it is putting me to sleep.

Here is the state of my alternate project, which is much more tempting to me at this point:

I believe that I have successfully worked out how to knit the fir cone pattern on the bias. Only after a good blocking will I know for sure whether I will get a square. I am not sure what I'll do next. I could continue with the borders as laid out in the pattern for the Fir Cone Square Shawl in Oberle's Folk Shawls, or select a border stitch from Heirloom Knitting. Suggestions will be appreciated.

And here is the state of Spring in our neck of the woods: