Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Season of Magic Colors

November is a month full of magic and color. Tumbling leaves first grace the air and then cover the ground, glistening in the rain and in the soft rays of sun. Cobwebs bridge wide distances, creating a lace work so fine one stands in awe and admiration.

Fog and humidity in the air leave their imprint in the most precious ways, generously decorating even the finest blades of grass, the dark steaming clods of earth and the spider webs with drops of water that turn into liquid silver with the sun. Just being able to see these wonders must make one feel content and happy, as it is said so beautifully by Zhuangzi: Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness. 
Before sunrise against a grey and misty morning sky

Jewellery - made by Nature
The months of October and November were busy because of travel and keeping the garden in shape, mainly picking up branches and hundreds of dry twigs that the trees had shed during a mighty 2 1/2 day storm with peak speeds exceeding 90 miles/hour. I kept completing my projects, resisting starting yet another new one.

Early sun lifting valley fog

Sunlit caleidoscope of colors - but even in the grey of drawn, there is poetry and magic - silvery spider lace webs gllistening in the morning dew, shimmering fields and meadows, frosted trees...
Oak Tree Branches - Silhouette against the Evening Sky
The POP Blanket is almost finished, a very nice, easy and highly addictive pattern by tincanknits. The modules are perfect for TV-Watching or as a Waiting-Room-Project. I am trying out various options for joining the modules, hand-stitching or crochet, borner or not...

Ordered the CC yarn at Jimmy Beans (USA): Red Heart Boutique Treasure in the colors 1) Abstract / 2) Watercolors / 3) Horizon . The MC is from Cascade Yarns, Ecological Wool, in Natural. Purchased from Laine et Tricot (France).  Out of curiosity I ordered square dp needles from Jimmy Beans. Pattern starts with circular Emily Ocker CO : the square birchwood needles feel good, nice points, not at all cumbersome.
1) Emily Ocker CO
2) Increased stitch count by picking up the right leg of the stitch in the row BELOW the one you have on your left needle (not with kf&b and not by knitting into the bar between two stitches) to make a truly invisible increase, leaving no hole and no nub. Here is the best tutorial I could find for this technique, from TECHknitting
3) Knitting the corners: I knit the individual corners by knitting forwards (knitting) and backwards (tinking), starting with the short-rows. The corners are very uniform this way plus I did not have to turn the work at all. Here is an excellent tutorial for this technique. After a couple of corners this really speeds up the corner-rows with every module, plus for me it improved the uniformity of stitch tension in those short rows. In my next project involving short rows, I will use the ingenious Japanese short-row method by Susanna i.e. in the blog of Purlwise.
4) Binding off: Used a crochet hook the size of the needles and made a sc-bind-off.
5) Blocking: I use a plywood board and nails outlining a square, hook in the stacked modules, about 8 at a time per square. I cover the stack with a wet towel wrung dry. After 12 hours the modules are perfectly blocked and dry, keeping their blocked shape.
6) Joining modules to make a blanket / finished blanket pictures to follow in upcoming post.                        
POP Modules for the POP Blanket
The other project still to finish was the truly beautiful No. 42 Motif Wrap by Kathy Merrick.All I need now is a model to present this lacy shawl, which will be followed by another one with different colors and materials, called "Profusion des Fleurs".

This special Crochet Vogue issue is already out of print (although still available for the I-pad!)  I am glad I made an on-the-spot decision to buy it - mainly because of the No. 42 Motif Wrap. The softness of the fine Rowan Kidsilk Haze and the lacy pattern create an absolutely beautiful wrap, light and warm at the same time. I blocked each motif individually and then hand-stitched it together according to the motif color pattern. Then I crocheted the final edge row. 

Please note: I ran out of blue kidsilk haze, which is used for the final edging, so the edging of last five medallions was made with green Kidsilk Haze. Check your second to final colors of the medallions to find out which other color/s might be best for the final edging. Otherwise you might want to order 2 skeins of blue. Or maybe I am just a crocheter on the loose...

The wrap is completely reversible, of course! With its generous length, I can see it being used as a dazzling and luxurious Summer Sweeper Coat!

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