Nanette's Needles

Since I’ve finished the first shawl, I’m on to shawl #2. (Ok, there’s still beading to be done on the first one, but it’s been blocked so it’s officially finished, right?)

Little Shells - BackI searched for a pattern that was similar to the Annis Shawl, but without the nupps. I found what I was looking for in Little Shells Shawlette, by Holly and Ella Knits.  It’s a shawlette worked in lace-weight yarn with lots of openwork and a border with fun points. It looks like it should come out to close to the same dimensions.

It took me several tries to master the starting rows. Definitely a different way to start. “Cast on 3 sts and knit 7 rows. Pick up 5 sts along the right edge and 3 along the bottom for a total of 11 sts.” That actually becomes the part of the shawl resting along the neck. It works.

The part I’m having trouble with, and that has caused me to rip everything back to cast-on at least 5 times now, is the lace section. My lace section looks nothing like the picture. That could either be because it hasn’t been blocked (being still on the needles) or I could be misinterpreting the directions. The pattern uses “YO” as a “M1″ and I finally had to do the math to understand every YO was actually a M1. (Heaven forbid I should do the math first;-) But it doesn’t look right.

I’ve actually got 2 versions on the needles right now. The second is a smaller copy so I can check the lace part of the pattern.

Yes, yes, I know. That should read cockle shells but it just wouldn’t work for a title.

Petrie Shell - FrontI found this really neat pattern called Petrie  Shell on Knitty. I think this is the second pattern I’ve done from Knitty. The Annis shawl was also from there. The cool thing about their patterns is they are all free and Knitty has a common list of knitting terms. (Yes, I like Knitty.)

This shell looked so simple and I love the draped boat neck. For all it’s simplicity, though, there are still a few techniques for me to learn. Oh, and other thing that appeals is it looks like it should go quickly. My daughter wants me to knit one for her as well so this is going to keep me busy for awhile. Yes, I’ll do another MIL shawl. It’s only spring! (For another couple weeks, anyway.)

Valley Yarns RainbowThe pattern calls for a 100% cotton yarn and, of course, that’s not what I plan to use. I plan to use a wool blend of roughly the same weight. Another reason why quick is important, cause if it doesn’t work out…

I couldn’t help it! I’ve been watching this yarn on Webs and finally broke down and bought it. (I’d give you the link, but Webs doesn’t have it anymore.) It’s actually a much more intense color than it looks online.

Valley Yarns Rainbow

I’ve knit the gauge one needle size up from the pattern I’ll be using (next post) and got the exact pattern gauge! I thought that was pretty good. Especially considering this is a thick-thin yarn.

I finished knitting the Annis shawl.

Annis Scarf - Before Blocking

Annis Scarf - Before Blocking

Once I got past the greased pigs - I mean the nupps, it wasn’t so bad. Unblocked, the edge has a pretty, lettuce-edged ruffle. But you don’t really get the lace effect.

Annis Shawl - Blocked

Annis Shawl - Blocked

Blocking stretches it out so the detail is visible. I don’t think you can see it from this, but I’ve started beading it. I’ll post more pictures when I’m done beading. This shawl is destined for one of B’s grandmothers. My MIL is the one who inspired this one. But I intend to make 2 – 3 of these shawls. I’d like to do another like this only without the nupps.

I’m done!

Afghan Panels With Yarn Ball

I’ve finished the afghan panel. I had to add about 6 inches after the last knitting ministry meeting but I finally finished it. I also finished stitching it to the other panel and dropped it off at Margot’s house on Sunday.

With this one out of the way, I’ve made good progress on my lace scarf project. (Remember the nupps?)

It’s been so long since I’ve posted and I just wanted to get this out. I’ll post more on the lace scarf – and the new yarn I bought…

AKA Nupps

 

Lace - 10 Rows

I’m on row 10 of the lace pattern stitch. Isn’t it gorgeous? The pattern says to use 32″ circulars and I’ll eventually have to. But right now I’m enjoying the ruffly look;-} Using stitch markers to mark each repeat has been a lifesaver. I’m also thinking about adding beads to the points. I’ve been thinking about different ways to add the beads after-the-fact – but that’s grist for another post.

Meantime, I don’t seem to get very far with it on any given day. It seems to take forever just to knit a single row. Let’s see – 363 stitches with a complicated stitch pattern…

Right now I’m on row 10 and have encountered – the Nupps. If you haven’t encountered nupps in your knitting before consider yourself lucky. They remind be of bobbles, only I don’t remember bobbles being this difficult.

Nupp Detail

The arrow is pointing to the first part of a nupp.

A nupp takes 2 rows to complete. On the RS row you knit several times into a single stitch. In this case it’s “*k1, yo* 3 times, k1″; essentially increasing 1 stitch to 7. On the following WS row you knit all 7 stitches together (k7tog) to get back to a single stitch. It’s harder than it sounds. Imagine trying to round up 7 greased pigs and you’ll get the idea.

I couldn’t do it. Every time I tried to k7tog, 2 or 3 stitches would start to slip off the needle. Or I’d actually get all 7 in position and the working needle (the right-hand needle) couldn’t pull the yarn through because the angle wouldn’t work. So on Monday I took it with me to my knitting ministry meeting. There I presented the problem to a roomful of experienced knitters. (Knitting nirvana.)

Apparently no one had encountered the problem of nupps before. After trying it themselves some ideas began to emerge. One of the first suggestions was to switch to metal needles. 

I’d been using U.S. size 8 bamboo needles because bamboo holds slippery yarn so well but I was already aware that the point of a bamboo needle is bigger than the point of a metal needle of comparable size. But since I was planning to transfer the whole shawl to circulars once I was done with the lace pattern stitch, I didn’t really want to buy a set of metal needles in the interim – if there was an alternative.

Another suggestion was to perform the k7tog with a smaller needle and then transfer the resulting loop. A smaller needle made sense. In fact, I was offered a variety of needles to experiment with. I finally selected a U.S. size 3 metal needle tip from a circular needle set and it worked wonderfully.

It worked so well that when I saw a big blunt metal darning needle in the store the next day I bought it and took it home to try tackling another nupp with it. It worked just as well as the small circular needle tip. I attached a separate length of yarn to it so as not to lose it and have been happily nupping ever since.

Darning Needle

Having the darning needle anchored to a piece of yarn was an admitted stroke of genius on my part. In the three evenings I’ve been working on just this one row with it, I would have already lost that needle 5 times. You know, standing up and having it try to roll under the sofa, burying itself between the cushions, getting dropped on the way to putting my knitting back in the basket…

I’ve decided that assembling the shrug will have to wait awhile. I’ve been dying to work with the silk/alpaca lace-weight yarn I bought late last year. So I cast on 363 stitches – twice. Do you know how long it takes to cast on 363 stitches? I’ll tell you. It takes a loonnnngggg time.

Casting on is normally not a problem for me. It’s knitting that first row after the cast-on I find difficult and it’s hard enough in a DK- or worsted-weight yarn. I find it darn near impossible in a lace-weight.

After a few repetitions of the pattern stitch I was tearing the yarn off the needles and casting on again. This time I used the two-needle cast-on (I’ve also seen it referred to as the French method) where it looks like you’re knitting. But instead of keeping the new loop on the right-hand needle you transfer it back to the left-hand needle as the new cast-on stitch. It take a little longer for me to cast-on this way, but it results in a stronger edge and almost the equivalent of a completed first row. And that makes the actual first row easier for me to knit.

I was good. I cast on 363 stitches for the second time and I had every two repetitions marked with a stitch marker. (I didn’t have enough to mark every repetition.) I knit the first six rows and found it a little difficult to keep track of where I was through two repetitions but it wasn’t impossible. Somewhere in the first half of the seventh row I had to back up due to a miss-count but then I started forward again. Four repetitions later I saw the hole.

After I came back from the store with more stitch markers I cast on 363 stitches for the third time.

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