Chiagu Blog

Sale extended!

Posted on September 05, 2016 | 0 Comments

Use code labor25 and enjoy 25% off Koigu yarn.  Orders that are more than $75 are shipped free.

Besides KPPPM fingering/sportweight we have some Koigu Bulky and Koigu Lace yarns.  Take a look!  Sale ends Sept 7th.

Posted in 25%, bulky, end of summer, koigu, kpppm, lace, sale

Introducing Bulky and Lace Merino!

Posted on July 15, 2016 | 0 Comments Koigu Bulky and Lace

At this year's Vogue Knitting Live customers asked if Chiagu would carry Koigu Bulky Merino and/or Koigu Lace Merino. I then posed the question to the newsletter subscribers.  In each instance the responses ran about 50-50, there was no clearcut winner.

After playing with sample skeins of each weight, I decided to get a small amount of yarn in both bulky merino and lace merino. I have 3 colors in each weight and they are in limited quantities. You can find them here and they are 15% off until July 31st.

I hope to order more of each, let me know what colors you would like to see.

Posted in Bulky, Koigu, Lace, Merino

Leila Pattern: Coming Soon!

Posted on April 03, 2009 | 2 Comments

Leila went with us to Aruba so we could take pictures for the pattern . . . but somehow we ended up shotting in a corner of the hotel that hardly denotes the location! Oh well, at least it was sunny and the picture came out well! I wish the top edge hadn't rolled like that, but I think this picture shows the shawl off pretty well. It won't be the only shot of the shawl in the pattern, but it's currently the top contender for the front cover. What do you think?

I've been fighting with the chart for this pattern and think I've finally found a compromise between giving a chart but not leaving out the words. Unfortunately I think the pattern is going to be over 10 pages long because of all the different charts, but I've never heard of a knitter complain that a pattern was TOO detailed before, so I'm thinking this will be OK with most people! I'm including instructions written-out as well as the charts, and both versions (shawl & shawlette) will be included.

I've given myself a deadline to publish . . . now let's see if I can meet it!

Oh, and volunteer test knitter? Your pattern will be in your inbox this weekend! I promise!

Posted in knitting, knitting pattern, lace, shawl

Finished and Blocking!

Posted on March 02, 2009 | 4 Comments

I finished this shawl and even managed to block it right away over the weekend! It came out really well, and the pointed border I had played around with (really easy to make, just YO's and double decreases) turned out even better than I expected! I'm so pleased with this design I'm moving right along to the pattern-writing and layout stage, I'm hoping to offer this pattern for sale sometime in the very near future.

I decided to offer two sizes of this design, this full size, knit in a light fingering weight yarn, and a shawlette size, knit in thicker fingering for a quicker FO. Here's a shot of that sample:

I'm using Blue Moon's Socks that Rock in the color Tanzanite, which really looks as gorgeous as it looks in this picture. I've only knit a tiny big with STR, I think this is my second project, and I am really surprised by how much this yarn winds back up on itself as you work! The color totally makes up for it though, I'm not a huge fan of how their yarns pool and flash in sock knitting, but in something like a triangle shawl, where the stitch count keeps changing, the dye style really looks super-interesting and adds a little extra something to the pattern.

I'm much further than this with this shawlette now, might even have it done tomorrow . . . I've decided to name this design "Leila," and since coming up with a name is one of the hardest parts of designing knitting patterns for me (honest!), that bodes well for the publication date for this shawl. With any luck I could have the shawlette size done & blocked, and both photographed, and the pattern up for sale next weekend. That's my official goal anyway . . . let's see if I can keep from getting sidetracked!

Oh, and if anyone is just itching to get your hands on this pattern ASAP, and might be interested in test knitting it . . . well, leave me a comment and I just may drop an advanced copy in your inbox for your testing pleasure. I've never done that before but since so many other (better-established!) online designers are doing it, I thought I'd give it a try!

Posted in handpainted yarn, knitting, lace, shawl knitting

Finally: The Chuppah Post

Posted on December 30, 2008 | 11 Comments

I'm not quite sure why it's taken me so long to sit down and write about this. It feels silly to feel so much emotion towards a piece of fabric . . . I'm not usually the soft-and-fuzzy type, so it's especially out of character for me to feel this way. I can't quite explain what it is that stopped me from writing, or that's making writing it now so hard, but the closest I can get to a description is that knitting this chuppah felt like giving birth to something. I think what I was "birthing" was my spiritual life. I have never been a religious person and our wedding was the first time I really thought about what I believe in, what rituals mean, and made a conscious decision to think and care about these questions. The chuppah symbolizes the home the couple will build together but this chuppah, handmade with my own hands and skills, also symbolized my creating a home for us.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it "perfect," even though I knew that I would be the only one who could possibly see any imperfections. I chose the Frost Flowers & Leaves Shawl pattern from Gathering of Lace for 2 reasons based on the fact that I'd already knit it once before:

  1. Since I'd already knit it, I knew I could do it and that I really enjoyed knitting the lace
  2. After finishing the first shawl I felt it was the most beautiful piece of knitting I'd ever accomplished. I wanted our chuppah to be that beautiful, too.

When it came time to block the thing, after rushing through the knitting worrying about blowing my deadline (I overcompensated and finished months early), I procrastinated and procrastinated until practically the last minute. I remembered blocking the first one and how much work it was, and was honestly dreading doing it again this time. And wouldn't you know it, all that worry was warranted! The border didn't quite fit and required massive amounts of pinning and re-pinning the blocking wires. After over a hour of struggling with it I called it quits and decided it wasn't going to get any better.

In this picture, you can kind of see the problem (you can also see how ugly the border join is, but don't look too hard please!). I think what happened is that my row gauge for the border was too loose, so there was too much fabric all around in comparison to the middle. Since the yarn I used isn't as stretchy as most lace yarns, when I pulled and pulled at the middle lace section, it only opened up so much. There was no way it was going to stretch enough to compensate for the border's oversized proportions. I hoped it wouldn't be too obvious and let the thing dry on my parent's living room rug.

Then, the day before the wedding, I realized that i hadn't yet figured out how to attach the chuppah to the poles. We'd borrowed the poles a few days earlier from Adam's family's temple, at which point I found out that the poles were not wooden-colored like I expected, they had been wrapped in white ribbon. Now, most people are probably happy to find out that the chuppah poles have been lovingly covered with white satin ribbon. Me, I freaked out! The white was WHITE, and my chuppah was off-white. In all my planning, I had imagined that I would attach my off-white chuppah to the wooden-colored poles using clear fishing line, to give the impression that there was no seam at all. When I saw the white-white poles, I knew I couldn't let my chuppah directly touch the poles because next to the bright-white, my chuppah would look dirty.

This is what I came up with as a compromise:

You can see just how white the poles are in this picture!

I ended up using some of the purple ribbon left over from our favors to tie long lengths connecting the chuppah to the poles. It actually ended up looking purposeful, since the wedding colors were white/cream and purple and the chuppah and poles ended up perfectly matching the color scheme! I originally thought I was going to tie the ends of the ribbons into bows, but it looked too sugary-sweet. Leaving the long ties looked a little circus-y if you looked from up close, but from far away it looked just right.

And the too-big edging? It proved to be a problem after all. No matter how far apart the poles were spread, the chuppah never lay flat. All 4 sides dropped down even though the middle was as taunt as possible. I actually didn't get to see the chuppah planters get set up because I was hiding (which, by the way, I think is a ridiculous wedding "tradition," but when I peeked my face out I got MOBBED by people and learned why women hide from a practical perspective!), but I gave the florist strict instructions to place them as far apart as possible so the chuppah would be as flat as possible. In the end, the thing wasn't flat at all, and the poles leaned in at a precarious angle from all the strain they were under.

But you know what? Everyone thought every single one of these things was done on purpose, and I got nothing but compliments!

But then again, no one's going to tell the bride her hand-made chuppah looks anything but perfect, right?

Project specs:
Pattern: Frost Flowers & Leaves Shawl from A Gathering of Lace, with fewer repeats to adjust for bigger gauge
Yarn: 11 skeins Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit, in Luminosity
Needles: US size 6
Started: January 2008
Finished: March 2008 (knitting), June 2008 (blocking/finishing)

(all pictures except the yarn end one copyright Laurie Rhodes Photography)

Posted in chuppah, Finished Knitting Projects, knitting, lace, wedding


Recent Posts