Cotton Queen

I am slowly slogging through the rewriting of my design for the dratted multi-yarn,

take 2

but my heart just isn’t in it at the moment. The project is working up nicely; I’m just tired of working on it. Luckily, the yarn support I mentioned in previous posts has arrived! Turns out it had an excellent reason for being delayed, but now it is here and smooshy and lovely and a perfectly timed dose of “new” to consume all of my attention.

cotton

It occurs to me that both of these projects are made of cotton yarns, and thank goodness for that because there are no days in the local forecast with highs below 90. I love summer anyway, but it’s a little easier to love with weather-appropriate yarns.

Vacation Knitting

Last week I promised a post on the project I took along to Montreal, so here goes. Since the yarn support I’m waiting on didn’t make it here before I left town, I started a new, somewhat experimental design with some variegated cotton I had laying around. Variegated yarns are always a little dicey to play around with – so many things can wind up looking wonky.

But, I had hopes! So I brought along the full pack of yarn and a couple different needles and other supplies to allow for mind changing as I worked. Then I spent about half of the drive up and back (about 11 hours each way) and lots of time in Montreal, plus all of last week, working on…this:

rewound

Sometimes designing hurts.

Montreal

Hubby and I are back from a week in Montreal, and very grateful to my little sis for again house- and pet-sitting! Ready for a few highlights? It’s photo-heavy!

montreal skyline

First off, the hotel we stayed in had such amazing views we almost didn’t want to leave it! From one side of the impressively affordable suite, we could see Vieux Montreal, the St. Lawrence River, and Habitat 67. From the other side we could see a good chunk of downtown and Mont Royal. It was pretty stunning.

mont royal and downtown night view at night downtown view vieux montreal view

Even though we deliberately got a room with a kitchenette so we could take advantage of Montreal’s famous farmers’ markets and bagels, we had a surprisingly hard time finding any! We did manage to find a few local treats to sample though!

food truck maple ice cream vignoble william st. ambroise apricot

We spent plenty of time touring around Vieux Montreal’s beautiful old buildings and museums (And ice cream shops. So many ice cream shops.)

notre dame de montreal bank marche bonsecours  habitat 67scandal exhibit bubbles

And spent a day exploring Mont Royal too.

mont royal distance mcgill mont royal fountain mont royal beaver lake chateau view 2 chateau view 1 mont royal chateau mont royal cross

Of course, being hockey fans (if not especially Habs fans) we had to go to Centre Bell. We chose to do that on the only day it rained, because the so-called underground city meant we could walk there without ever actually going outside. Pretty amazing.

locker room bowman visit game worn richard hockey sweater

All in all an excellent week, with plenty of built-in knitting time as well! More on that later!

Blocking Round Lace

So those of you who have worked with lace before probably know about those handy blocking wires that make blocking straight edges so much faster and easier. But what about knitting with no straight edges? What if you’ve knit a circle?

You can’t just…not block it.

unblocked lace

Eww. Blocking lace is not optional.

1. Soak it.

This is pretty much the same as with regular lace. Give your work a nice, thorough soak in cold water. Then go and gather up all of your t-pins. Seriously, all of them. However many you think you need, I promise you will need more. Once your knitting is good an soaked, gently squeeze it until it no longer drips. Don’t wring; felted lace is a tragedy.

soaking

2. Pin the center.

Bring your damp knitting over to your blocking area (mine is a collection of cheap foam squares from the dollar store) and center it. Keep in mind that your blocking area needs to be much larger than the unblocked piece would suggest. Now, if your piece is pretty solid in the center, one pin may be enough. If it has a bit of a “belly button” like my example here, I recommend 4-5 pins to keep it from stretching more in one direction than another.

center pins

3. Pin every point and scallop.

Seriously. All of them. Even the ones that are nowhere near your edges. Start from the center and work your way out, always matching each pin with one on the opposite side of the knitting. This helps keep in symmetrical. If your edges don’t have any points or scallops, you’ll want to put pins in the edge every inch or two as well. Told you you’d need all the pins!

many pins

4. Walk away.

Make sure your lace is safely away from the reach of any pets or small children, and then walk away. Just go away and leave it for a day or two until it’s completely, beyond a shadow of a doubt bone dry. If it’s not totally dry when you unpin, the lace will just scrunch up again. After all the time you just spent pinning, having to redo it would just be a crying shame.

pinned out

5. Unpin and enjoy!

Once your sure it’s dry, go ahead and put away all those pins. Doesn’t that look better?

Steamy

Okay, I put this one off hoping it would be up on Ravelry soon, but I am tired of waiting! The final pattern in my series with Salt River Mills is a two-fer. The pretty lace cowl Steamy comes with bonus boot toppers! This is another fairly quick knit, working up in as little as a weekend.

steamy cowl

The deceptively easy dropped stitch pattern adds fabric quickly, and really shows off the fuzzy halo of the Suri-angora yarn. It’s also quite stylish!

steamy toppers

For more info and pictures, be sure to check out the pattern pages on the North American Suri Co. site. When it is finally up on Ravelry, I will update this post to include that link too.

Tangled

The next pattern in my series with Salt River Mills is the fun cabled cardigan Tangled!

tangled front

This great, slightly retro sweater is completely covered in awesomely tangled cables. Combine cables with the textured aplaca yarn, and you have one fabulously warm cardi. While its yarn twin Furrowed is ideal for beginning knitters, this one is designed for the more adventurous set.

tangled back

For more info and pictures, be sure to check out the pattern pages on Ravelry and the North American Suri Co. site.

Ice Blossoms

The next pattern in my series with Salt River Mills is a gorgeous lace scarf called Ice Blossoms. Ice blossoms (aka frost flowers) are a natural phenomenon that occurs when thin ribbons of ice are extruded from pores in the soil or cracks in plant stems during the coldest parts of winter. There’s nothing quite like a shiny “flower” in the dead of winter, whether they’re from ice or a cozy Suri-silk blend!

ice blossoms detail

The best part about this elegant lace scarf? It’s completely reversible! I am a serious sucker for reversible scarves, and reversible lace in particular. For more info and pictures, be sure to check out the pattern pages on Ravelry and the North American Suri Co. site.

ice blossoms close

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