Chiagu Blog

New design swatching

Posted on April 19, 2013 | 0 Comments


New yarn came in the mail yesterday! Woohoo!

I got 5 skeins of Cascade Eco Wool from Webs' Anniversary Sale and immediately wound one up and started swatching. I've got a design all sketched up and planned and I'm super excited about it. Now that the swatches are dry, I can figure out my gauge and cast on.

It won't be done anytime soon and it's a heavy winter sweater, so I definitely won't be wearing it anytime soon, but I really can't wait to see it finished. I'm planning to submit this one to Knitty though, so won't be showing any other progress photos. You'll have to use your imagination . . . at least for now!

Posted in knitting

Um, it's March.

Posted on March 06, 2013 | 0 Comments

How the heck did that happen? Again!?

February was a blur. I remember a bunch of work stress. Missing planned events/meetings. Pouting over not getting to go to Quiltcon. And reading half of the 5-book Game of Thrones series (which I'm loving, although book 3 is annoyingly repetitive). That's not much to show for an entire month!

But you know what else I did in February? I knit! For realsies! Look:

That's the new shawl design I started in late January from the Cephalopod I got at VK Live. On Monday I finished the short-rowed half-circle main body and started to do the edging. You might notice that what you see above is off the needles . . . that's because I've since ripped out that edging and will be redoing it. The big spaces are a bit too big for what I have in mind so I'm going to redo that to make them about half as big as they are here.

Here's a closeup of the now-ripped-out edging:

(this photo's way better in terms of color by the way)

The technique I'm using for this edging is pretty much made up on the fly, except for the fact that I thought about it and planned it out for a while before actually trying it.

After knitting the main body, the edging is started by first crocheting a sc-and-chain row along the long edge of the shawl, and then stitches are picked up along that crochet row. It's a lot like doing a provisional cast on, except you never rip the crochet out. In fact the provisional cast on is where this idea came from! I can't even tell you how long I've had this concept swirling around in my brain waiting for the perfect design to use it on. It's perfect for this design and I can't wait to see the shawl with its edging on!

I'm honestly really excited about this shawl. I love handpainted yarn knit up in garter or stockinette, especially when you're changing  directions throughout the piece. In this one I've got short rows mixing up the colors and will soon have a border knit in the other direction with a "barely attached" look that lets in some much-needed negative space . . . I seriously cannot wait to see how this one finishes up!

Here's to a more vocal and productive March. I'm aiming to have at least one new pattern for you this month, so stay tuned!

Posted in knitting

Rhinebeck Rhinebeck Rhinebeck!

Posted on October 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

This year I drove up to Rhinebeck just for the day on Sunday with my new friends-made-through-quilting (who also knit!) Nancy and Chris. I've decided that going for the day is optimal for me as opposed to staying in a house for the weekend, as being there more than a few hours means I end up buying way too much stuff! Last year I stayed in a house with several other women and it was OK, but not great. The way I did it this year was perfect! And since I love to drive I actually think the 4-5 hours driving there and back is a bonus =)

Because I've been to the show many many times before and it was Nancy & Chris's first times, I was the defacto tour guide. So when I suggested we start with the souvenir tent and a pit stop, they readily agreed!

I always go to the souvenir tent first because they usually sell out of Rhinebeck-branded stuff before the end of the show. Since we were there on Sunday, they had already sold out of some things but I found a good souvenir for me:

A Rhinebeck project bag! Love those Warhol sheep!

After our pit stop we went all the way to the far end of the show, where I found the book-signing section and stumbled across my buddy Dana signing copies for her book! I know Dana from Knitty City (aka the best yarn shop in New York City!) but didn't even know she had a book out!

So I got her to sign a copy for me:

I'm planning to dig out my bead stash and make a necklace or two from this book for Christmas gifts. They look so unique!

As we continued through the big back building, N+C found lots of felting stuff to look at. They went into this section to look at fleeces:

While I stayed safely outside the perimeter repeatedly saying "I can't take on another hobby. I can't take on another hobby." I'm proud to say that I managed not to buy anything for any new hobbies this year. Woo!

While Nancy bought felting stuff, I forced myself not to even look at the felting supplies. I ended up coming away with only these felted balls:

They're gorgeous aren't they? They're actually dryer balls! You use them instead of dryer sheets (which I don't use anyway), and you can put essential oils on them if you want to add some scent to your drying clothes. I love the idea of adding some wool to my laundry routine!

Oh and you see that dark blur in the upper right-hand corner of the photo? That's Arnold's nose. Most of the pictures I tried to take of these dryer balls looked more like this:

Because apparently to Arnold, these things look like toys for him. Of course. I am going to have to remember to keep these away from him so he doesn't destroy them!

In the way back of the big back building, I spotted this antique quilt:

I vaguely remember always seeing quilts in this general area, but until this year I didn't care too much about them. Now that I'm a quilter these beauties stopped me dead in my tracks!

This one is made up of all half square triangles, all hand-pieced of course. It was dated to the 1900's and was on sale for only $500, which I thought was very reasonable given the amount of work and the age of the piece. I'm guessing they don't do too well selling antique quilts at Rhinebeck though . . . oh and you see the two ladies to the left of the picture? That's Nancy lifting her glasses to take a closer look, and Chris's arm taking her own (doubtlessly better than my iPhone) picture.

Ok, what next? After we finished the big back building, we took a lunch break. I ate a burger covered with roasted garlic (and yes, N+C told me I stunk for the rest of the day) and french fries. They were wonderful. The fried fair food is definitely a must for me at the show!

After refueling and making another pit stop, we went on to see the other half of the show. N+C picked up a few more things but I kept not finding anything I *had* to buy. It was actually kind of annoying me that I hadn't bought yarn yet! We decided to make a detour to check out the sheep, and spent kind of a long time oogling and even petting them. My favorite were these guys with their long bangs:

And this little guy:

Can you see that he's got a stripe down his middle? His front and rear were gray and his belly was white! Here's another picture where you can hopefully see what I'm saying:

Absolutely hysterical and adorable. I wanted to take him home and introduce him to Arnold.

I was surprised that so many of the sheep let us get really close to and even pet them. I petted one for what seemed like forever, and when I went to move away he seemed like he wanted me to stay! Fascinating.

After the sheep we went through the rest of the tents and finished the whole show. I picked up a little present for Dave (no picture because I haven't given it to him yet) and N+C each got a few more things. When we got to the end of the show I *still* hadn't bought any yarn and I was pretty annoyed about it! So we went back to a booth I'd lingered at earlier, Hope Spinnery. I'd actually wanted to buy some of their yarn last year but my budget was already blown and I couldn't do it, so this year was the year! Here's what I came away with:

I'm planning to do yoked colorwork pullover with these beauties. The brown and white are undyed wool (LOVE!) and the the yellow and orange are naturally dyed. I love how each of their colors tells you what was used to dye them:

Oh, Weld and Cochineal, of course!

I'm pretty excited about this new project, but am forcing myself not to even cast on until I get some overdue things finished first . . . we'll see how long I hold out.

At this point in the day it was around 4 and we were all losing steam, so we stopped at the 4H booth to refuel:

My hot apple cider totally hit the spot. It's my first cup of this season and I can't wait to have many many more! I just love hot apple cider.

After we snacked we all looked at each other and basically all said at the same time that we were ready to go home. We were exhausted!

So we packed up and said goodbye to Rhinebeck and headed home. My GPS took us some weird way out of town that involved driving on local roads for a while (I will never understand why a GPS will give you different directions when going than returning from a place) but we made good time home. Much of the ride home was spent discussing what a Chiagu booth at Rhinebeck might look like . . . so you may be hearing way more about Rhinebeck in the future . . . maybe. We'll see.

By the time I dropped the ladies off in the city I was done for and came straight home to dinner and the couch.

All in all we had a wonderful day and I can't wait for next year's Rhinebeck, whether I'm vending or just shopping again!

Posted in knitting

Learn to knit lace with the Loida shawl!

Posted on September 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

Today I'm excited to introduce you to my new easy lace shawl design, Loida! You can purchase it here.

I designed this pattern with the beginning lace knitter in mind, and wrote it with plenty of commentary, descriptions, and notes.

When you buy the pattern, you actually get two files:

1 - A 3-page "Getting Started with Lace Knitting" guide
2 - The shawl pattern instructions, in two written forms (verbose and concise) and in charted form.

What's in "Getting Started with Lace Knitting"?

In this 3-page-long introduction, I cover basics of knitting lace. Everything from typical lace stitches, complete with the why of how they're used in constructing lace to the how of actually working them (with links to videos!). I also talk about reading lace patterns, keeping your place in the pattern, reading a chart, and more.

And the pattern?

As for the pattern itself, it's my most detailed pattern to date.

It's almost like 3 pattern versions for one design:

There's the "concise" instructions, which are what a typical lace pattern like this would look like. They're written out and charted.

Then there's the "verbose" instructions, which take the written part of the concise instructions and explain them. You'll see row instructions followed by notes, comments, hints, and tips.

And of course the pattern is fully charted, so if you want to skip all the words (and there sure are a lot of them in this one!), you can just go to the last page and start knitting immediately. (can you tell that's what myself I normally do with patterns? ha!)

The Shawl Itself

This shawl is like my perfect version of lace knitting: beautiful and elegant finished project that can be worn with anything without overwhelming your outfit (or you!), plus a fun-to-knit, easy pattern where every-other-row is purl only. I love patterns where the wrong-side rows are all the same, as it means you can totally zone out for about half the project!

That's especially great when you're near the end of the shawl and the rows are super long. Just as you feel like you can't work one. more. purl., you turn and start knitting and yarn-overing (no that's not a word) again! Such a wonderful pace for a project.

In case you can't tell, I'm rather enamored of this project and pattern!

Launch Special!


To celebrate the launch, I'm offering the pattern for only $3.00 until October 1st 2012, when it will go up to the regular $5.00 price.

Buy pattern here

Want to knit along?

I'm finalizing the details and will announce the KAL shortly, but you can go ahead and sign up for the discussion list now by clicking here.

And yes, there will be prizes . . .

Looking forward to hearing what you all think of Loida!

Posted in Chiagu, knitting, knitting patterns

It's starting to feel a lot like fall . . .

Posted on August 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Not really weather-wise (it was over 80 degrees here yesterday) but knitting-wise! I see knitting blogs springing back into life, and find myself actually wanting to knit again. I'm already dreaming of that first perfect fall day where it's cold enough to wear a sweater but not so cold as to need a coat . . . I can't wait!

And at this rate, I'll have at least one new sweater to wear by then. Yesterday I finished the body of that cabled pullover I showed you, oh, forever ago:

I had to redo the neckline twice, but now it's perfect and just waiting for a button or two on the placket. Knowing me and my momentum problem, I immediately set up for and started a sleeve, and have that first sleeve about half finished now.

I went back and forth on the sleeve: should I do it in plain stockinette, or should it have a cable panel in the middle of it like I'd originally planned? In the end I chose to split the baby! For my sample, I'm making one sleeve plain and one sleeve with the cable panel. The pattern will include both sleeve versions, so you'll be able to make either one of each, two plain, or two cabled sleeves, whichever you prefer. I'm pretty proud of that solution!

This design doesn't yet have a name and I've been pretty stumped trying to come up with one. I tend to name designs either after unusual women's names or street names in downtown Manhattan . . . I'm considering "Peck Slip" but not entirely convinced yet. If you have any suggestions I'm all ears!

Posted in knitting

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