Posts Tagged ‘Starshower’

Blocking to the Rescue

October 23, 2018

Pretty much from the time I cast on the Starshower shawl-cowl, I began thinking about blocking it when I finished. It was knitting up kind of stiff, even though the pattern was lace-ish, and didn’t have the drape that I was hoping for.

Did I swatch before I started? Why, no I didn’t. Thanks for asking. And while I really like the purple-grey yarn with a hint of sparkle, I couldn’t find the yarn band, so I was completely clueless about the weight.

Did I let these details hinder my project? Of course not! At last week’s neighborhood book group gathering, I worked the last pattern repeat.


Wine, cheese, crackers, and cake — and not a copy of the book, Before We Were Yours, in sight! At a doctor’s appointment on Friday, I binded off (or is it “bound off”?) and plopped it into the sink when I got home.



When I stretched it out on Hannah’s bed for blocking, I was pleased that it felt looser, softer, and a bit larger. Sure enough, after it dried, it had a lovely drape and a softer feel. It’s designed to be worn either as a cowl or a snug shawl around the shoulders. I’m not sure which I prefer, but I’m glad to have the option.







Beginner Brioche (Not Bread)

October 15, 2018
Continuing my quest to learn new things (and no, I’ve not finished the crochet cowl), I went to this month’s knitting guild meeting to learn to do the brioche stitch. Coming from a family of foodies and talented bakers, I’d only known about the edible brioche. The knitted version is a deceptively simple-looking, extra squishy stitch that is often knit in two colors. The guild instructor brought a sample of this Beginner Brioche Cowl.
Looks a bit like stockinette stitch — rows of knit stitches in columns of alternating colors. As I said, deceptively simple. Something I learned: counting is different in brioche. Each row is worked twice, and a single stitch plus an accompanying yarn over (which, for some reason, is referred to as its “shawl”) is counted as one stitch. Go figure! We started with one color brioche. I made the mistake of using the dark grey yarn I’d brought. Pro tip: stitches are easier to see in a lighter color. Nonetheless, I was able to work a few rows of real brioche. brioche-guild After everyone had worked a few rows in a single color, we ripped them out and dived in to two-color brioche. The instructions provided were all words — no diagrams or photos – which added to the challenge. I found myself chanting quietly as I worked across each row. The meditative aspect of knitting in action. twocolor-brioche I was pretty pleased with the way the grey knit stitches stood out from the orange purl bumps. But when I turned it over, I could see that I’d done something wrong. See how the grey cuts across the lovely orange column? back-brioche Being a novice briocher (is that a thing?), I couldn’t figure out what exactly I’d done wrong, but I knew that the error extended across a row. Looks like a purl that should’ve been a knit. Maybe. Although I ripped out the second swatch at the end of the meeting, I haven’t given up the possibility of a future brioche project. Maybe the Beginners Brioche Cowl in a couple of beautiful colors of bulky weight yarn. I’m open to all suggestions and recommendations. In the meantime, I’m making good progress with Starshower. I really enjoy the pattern and love the yarn — just hoping that it softens and drapes more once it’s blocked. starshower-cowl

Socked in at the Summit

October 10, 2018
It wasn’t until college that I learned about “leaf peepers.” Having grown up in Maine but never having thought very much about the changing colors of autumn — except that I loved the season — I didn’t realize that people travel hundreds of miles — often by bus tour — to view the brilliant foliage. (Yes, I was naive!) Last weekend, Patrick and I joined our friend Paul and son Ethan for a day hike in New Hampshire. The 2.5 hour drive provided opportunity for lots of knitting on my latest project, the Starshower shawl-cowl hybrid.
(Wish I could remember what yarn I’m using, but it was unlabeled in my stash. I’ll poke around and see if I can find the rogue yarn band in the bin.) Fortunately, we had no expectations of solitude or a quiet ascent. The small parking area at the trail head was full when we arrived at 10am, so we joined a dozen or so “overflow” vehicles along the dirt road and began our ascent. We passed and were passed by a range of hikers and dogs — small and large — on the steady climb over rocky trail and switchbacks. Recent rain and mountain springs made the going quite muddy and occasionally slippery, especially on moss-covered rocks. On a clear day, Osceola’s summit offers expansive views of surrounding valleys and peaks in the White Mountains, but when we arrived 1 3/4 hours after starting, it was shrouded in misty clouds.
As we ate our lunch and stretched out on the rocks — joined by 20 or so other hikers, about half of whom were Quebecois visiting for the long Thanksgiving weekend — the sun threatened to burn through the clouds. Standing at the edge, we watched the air currents flow up from the valley and glimpsed birds flying through the mist. Suddenly the clouds opened, giving us a view to the bright carpet of leaves across the valley and nearby peaks, including a ski area.
After five minutes or so, the curtain closed, and we were again surrounded by swirling clouds. We took that as the cue to begin our descent, returning via the same trail. Our route from the National Forest provided a brilliant reminder of the season’s beauty. Count me among the leaf peepers for life.
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