Thursday, June 14, 2012

Veil of Isis - Part II

Aeris's annoy-o-meter
Battle of the bips
Giving Kevin’s mom a lacy tablecloth made using thin crochet thread and the Veil of Isis pattern wasn’t happening.  I had forgotten that the table tends to feature into the epic skirmishes between Aeris (the tubby Tuxedo wearing boy) and B√ľndchen (the feline femme whose namesake is apparent in her hallway runway strut as well as when she poses reclining in a sunbeam).  These battlefield pictures were taken by Kevin recently.  In the first one you can clearly see Aeris’s “annoy-o-meter” (aka tail) swishing back and forth so fast that it is blurred.  The cold war stare-down quickly escalates into a volley of paw batting, with both attempting to “bip” the other.  From the second picture you can witness the speed of this exchange.  I imagine that they’re not only sparring for supremacy in the house, but also “bipping” and beating boredom.

Oops… Less on kitties, more on knitting; right, getting back on track.  As I progressed through the pattern, I became even more enamored with the project.  I liked the weight of the cotton thread while still being airy from the lace pattern.  For some reason I was extraordinarily pleased with it, regardless of the fact I had no idea of what to do with it once finished.  As the Veil of Isis became larger and larger I did have one point of anxiety, beads.  The pattern calls for using beads, and after seeing pictures, I agreed that it was a beautiful accent especially in this case.  It’s a shame I know next to nothing about beads.  I figured I had a while to mull things over and do research since I planned on using them only in the border.

Delving into the odd crafting area where beading and knitting intersect was a little intimidating.  Ultimately I got the most out of the free webzine/e-zine Knitty’s article Seduced by Beads.  Sivia Harding, the author of this instructional gem, lays out the abcs of beads, sizes and what weights of yarn, as well as how to incorporate the beads.  Armed with a general idea of what to look for I ended up purchasing some *cough cough* inexpensive seed beads (size E – or 6/0) to use on my size 10 crochet thread).   I attached the beads using  a ridiculously tiny crochet needle (which looked more like a sewing needle that had a funky bump at the tip)that to my delight and surprise worked amazingly well.

Since I had worked from the center outwards binding off was a much longer process than usual.  Still while binding off, I couldn’t resist occasionally spreading out the finished areas of the Veil of Isis to admire it.  After the knitting was complete and all the ends were woven in, I gave initial blocking the good ol’ college try (I don’t have any foam boards/large cardboard).  I just pinned it out on the floor and figured that it’d be good enough considering I still have no plans for the finished project.  That being said, I’m still oddly pleased and proud of it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Veil of Isis - Part I

Passing another knitting milestone, I recently finished my first major lace weight project.  People that know me can vouch that I have a hard time resisting a screaming deal.  That little quirk, coupled with my insatiable greed for yarn, led to a purchase of yet more yarn that I had no specific project in mind for.  Oh, and it wasn’t just a little bit of yarn.  This goliath ball of “Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread” (Jumbo I think they called it), advertises that it is over 1.5 miles long.  Now that, ladies and gents, is yarn gluttony.

After sitting in the corner for untold months it’s time had finally come.  For some reason my brain and fingers were itching to create something with it; but what?  After perusing finished projects using this yarn on Ravelry, I was struck by all the crocheted tablecloths.  Nostalgia had kicked in hardcore.  Growing up my mother had a few very special white lace tablecloths.  I have a hard time thinking about them and not having my mind immediately jump to the memories of pancakes and weekend mornings.  At that point it was just a matter of finding the right pattern.  Looking for a square pattern, and one that was knitted and not crocheted, oh yeah, and free was a bit of a tall order.  Yet lovely Ravelry came through again with their advanced search functions… have I mentioned recently how much I love Ravelry?  What a great marriage of programming and knitting/crocheting it is?  Anyway, what came up was the gorgeous pattern “Veil of Isis” by Andrea Jurgrau of Bad Cat Designs (gotta love the name).

Worked from the center outward it seemed to be a perfect combination of easy but not boring.  Well, easy after you get the idea of how the charts proceed (tip:  chart on page six was irreplaceable for understanding it).  Still, juggling my eensy weensy size 2 knitting needles and the thread wasn’t the easiest start.  I must say that the phrase “ham fisted” occurred to me at alarming frequency during the beginning rounds.  Once the project became large enough to put on circular needles and I had my “Eureka” moment about the pattern, it was a joy to work.  The audiobooks helped me eat through the rows and rows of delicate lace.

Confession:   I started out with the intention of giving the finished product to Kevin’s mother, Kathy.  She’s so colorful, welcoming, encouraging, feisty and sassy.  She also appreciates handcrafted items more than anyone else I know, which makes her a target for my endeavors in yarn.  When I’ve visited her, she’s served me a number of luscious homemade meals at this square table full of character and warmth.

While I recalled that it was square, I wasn’t sure exactly how large it was.  No worries, I was working it from the center outward.  In the meantime I asked Kevin to be my spy.  His mission was to measure the table and take a few pictures without her knowing.    Around the time the Veil of Isis was large enough to transition from double pointed needles to the circular, I received the pictures.  At that point I realized that I had overlooked not just one, but two problems.  You think I would have been smart enough to see the foreshadowing the blog name gave me.

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