Sunday, July 20, 2008

Christian Killing (of acrylic, that is!)

There are some wonderful blogs out there on how to do various things in knitting that you wouldn't otherwise find out about. This is one of my new favorites - how to block acrylic yarn when you use it in lace knitting.

I personally prefer using wool for comfort shawls, because of the "lamb of God" thing maybe, and "good shepherd" - there are a lot of sheep references! Plus it has an earthiness to it, even when dyed bright colors, and it is a link to the past that reminds me that my problems are nothing new, people have been around a long time, and there is a continuity. Then for comfort shawls for people who are bedridden I always think about how wool can prevent bedsores because of its ability to cushion so nicely.

Still, there are times for using acrylic. Wool dissolves in acid, so if it gets vomited on it will get holes. Not good for someone going through chemo, or babies either for that matter. Some people do have allergies to it as well, and some may need something that can be easily laundered, for instance someone with an incontinence problem. So in our prayer shawl ministries let's give them the best that modern technology can offer - man-made fibers!

When you apply hot steam to acrylic, called "killing the acrylic", the fibers relax and then set in the new shape. You must be careful because too much heat can melt them together. But with a soft yarn like Caron Simply Soft, it makes it even softer, with a nice sheen and a lovely drape. And the good thing is, once you kill it, it stays that way! So it can be washed and dried and never needs to be blocked again! The other nice thing is if there is a texture in the pattern you like un-blocked, with acrylic you can block it selectively. I'm working on the Dorothy Day shawl right now (and haven't found any errors yet, hooray!) and am thinking of not blocking the candle flames, so they can stay puffy.

I just heard of an even softer yarn called "Oh My!" and will look into that one!

Friday, July 18, 2008

LIA Sun Shawl

This shawl is dedicated to Tami Duncan and her foundation, the Lyme Induced Autism Foundation. Tami's son was one of those growing number of children, disproportionately boys, who are being diagnosed with autism. But Tami found out that the symptoms of lyme and those of autism in children can be easily confused, especially when the lyme affects the nervous system - children can become hypersensitive to stimuli or insensitive to it; their mental functioning is impaired and they do their best to cope with a world they cannot describe to those of us not experiencing it.

Because of the serious threat of children with lyme being misdiagnosed with autism and going years without treatment, she started a foundation to bring awareness to this problem - lyme is, after all, treatable while there is no cure for autism. You can find out more about it on their website: (they have especially good conferences with top doctors and scientists from all over the world presenting, and make recordings of the lectures available to those who couldn't go!)

Through lyme treatment, which can take one to two years, the children who had previously been diagnosed with autism can make such huge developmental strides that they will no longer meet the criteria for autism or sometimes even for autism-related disorders. That makes this shawl seem appropriate for this cause - having a child who has autism come into their personality and make connections with the world is like watching a sunrise; a new beginning, and that is what Tami has done for her son and is trying to help other families do as well.

But as a prayer shawl, you don't need to give it to someone affected by autism, give it to anyone who likes sunshine or could use a little of it!
The Pattern
Gauge is very important here if you want a shawl in a grown-up size. I used about 500 yards of Peace Fleece worsted weight on #10's and got 4 rows per inch, before blocking - any less and it will be a very short shawl, so up the needles a size or more if you have more than 4 rows per inch. This project was started to use up the yarn left over from the HomeAID shawl (below).

This can easily be made into a round blanket - you just need to start on double pointed needles and go around - the shawl would be round if I hadn't left out the "wedge" between two of the sunbeams, so the pattern would be a tidy 8 repeats instead of 7 with the last sunbeam tacked on. But since I've never knitted on double pointed needles, I can't tell you how to begin it, sorry!

I think this would look nice in a fuzzy pale yellow; also it would be cool to use three strands and start with all yellow, then change one to white, then another to white and end with all three white; or something similar! If the gauge is big enough, this looks good without blocking so would be good for an acrylic as well, but the sides would curl in some so an edging pattern may need to be used or just the two edges steam blocked.

Every other row is purled.

Cast on 24 stitches.

Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: knit
Row 4: purl
Row 5: (k1, L, k1) 8 times [L = lifted increase - knit one, then pick up the stitch under the one you just knit and knit into that one as well.]
Row 7: (k1, L, k2) 8 times
Row 9: (k2, L, k2) 8 times
Row 11: (k2, L, k3) 8 times
Row 13: (k3, L, k3) 8 times
Row 15: (k3, L, k4) 8 times
Row 17: (k4, L, k4) 8 times
Row 19: (k4, L, k5) 8 times
Row 21: (k5, L, k5) 8 times
Row 23: (k5, L, k6) 8 times
Row 25: (k13, yo) 7 times, k13
Row 27: (k2 tog, k11, yo, k, yo) 7 times, k2 tog, k11
Row 29: (k12, yo, k, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k12
Row 31: (k10, ssk, yo, k4, yo) 7 times, k10, ssk
Row 33: (k11, yo, ssk, k4, yo) 7 times, k11
Row 35: (k2 tog, k9, yo, k7, yo) 7 times, k2 tog, k9
Row 37 (k10, yo, k7, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k10
Row 39: (k8, ssk, yo, k, yo, k9, yo) 7 times, k8, ssk
Row 41: (k9, yo, k3 tog*, yo, k7, ssk, yo, k, yo) 7 times, k9 *[k3 tog for the rest of this pattern means slip two together, knit1, pass two slipped stitches over - so the center stitch comes out on top.]
----------------THIS IS WHERE I CHANGED TO ORANGE-----------------------
Row 43: (k2 tog, k7, yo, ssk, k, yo, k8, yo, ssk, k, yo) 7 times, k2 tog, k7
Row 45: (k8, yo, k2, k2 tog, yo, k2 tog, k6, yo, k2, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k8
Row 47: (k6, ssk, yo, ssk, k3, yo, k7, yo, ssk, k3, yo) 7 times, k6, ssk
Row 49: (k7, yo, k4, k2 tog, yo, k5, ssk, yo, k4, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k7
Row 51: (k2 tog, k5, yo, ssk, k5, yo, k6, yo, ssk, k5, yo) 7 times, k2 tog, k5
Row 53: (k6, yo, k, yo, k2 tog, k3, k2 tog, yo, k2 tog, k4, yo, k, yo, k2 tog, k3, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k6
Row 55: (k4, ssk, yo, k3 tog, yo, k5, yo, k, yo, k5, yo, k3 tog, yo, k5, yo, k, yo) 7 times, k4, ssk
Row 57: (k5, yo, k, k2 tog, yo, k3, ssk, yo, k, k2 tog, yo, k3, ssk, yo, k, k2 tog, yo, k3, ssk, yo, k, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k5
----------------THIS IS WHERE I CHANGED TO RED------------------------------
Row 59: (k2 tog, k3, (yo, ssk, k2, yo, k4) 3 times, yo, ssk, k2, yo, ssk, k3) 7 times, k2 tog, k3
Row 61: (k4, (yo, ssk, k, k2 tog, yo, k2 tog, k2) 3 times, yo, ssk, k, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k4
Row 63: (k2, ssk, (yo, k, yo, k2, k2 tog, yo, k3) 3 times, yo, k, yo, k2, k2 tog, yo) 7 times, k2, ssk
Row 65: (k3, (yo, k3 tog, yo, k2 tog, k, yo, k, yo, k2 tog, k) 3 times, yo, k3 tog, yo, k2 tog, k) 7 times, k3
Row 67: (k2 tog, k2, (yo, k3 tog, yo, k2) 7 times, yo, k3 tog, yo) 7 times, k2 tog,
---------------------THIS IS WHERE I CHANGED TO BLACK--------------------------
Row 69: (k2, (yo, k, yo, k2 tog, yo, k2 tog, yo, k3 tog, yo, k2 tog) 3 times, yo, k, yo, k2 tog, yo, k2 tog, yo, k3 tog) 7 times, k2
Row 71: (k2 tog, yo, k3 tog, (yo, k2 tog) 18 times, yo) 7 times, k2 tog
Row 73: (k2 tog) repeat until last stitch, k <-- I didn't do that one but wish I did!
Row 75: purl
Row 77: bind off very loosly

Revised and renumberd on 4/12/09

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Sun is Coming!

If you're doing the HomeAID shawl in the colors I did, save your extra yarn!!!! I got an inspiration and am busy designing a sun shawl with the same colors - a big yellow sun with sunbeams coming down. Talk about a warm, happy image!

Here comes the sun
Here comes the Son
The sun brings warmth and light to the darkness
The Son brings warmth and light to the darkness
"You are my sunshine"
Let your light shine!

What better to bring a little lightness to someone in despair than to give them the sun (Son)?

I could go on but I'll go knit instead.


Oh what a glorious dawning
Oh what a breaking of day
When Jesus came into my hearts door
And drove all the shadows away.

Sunrise with Jesus
Walk with him all the way through
Sunset at evening
Reflecting it’s glorious hue.
Rainbows and flowers
Oh for the smile of his face
Wonderful Jesus
Oh tell of His marvelous grace

The sun has now risen to noon time
the flowers of life are in bloom
for He who illumines my pathway
Dispels all the darkness and gloom

Sunrise with Jesus
Walk with Him all the way through
Sunset at evening
Reflecting it’s glorious hue.
Rainbows and flowers
Oh for the smile of His face
Wonderful Jesus
Oh tell of His marvelous grace.

The evening of life is approaching
The sun must go down in the west
The beauty and splendor of sunset
Eternities dawn with the blessed

Sunrise with Jesus
Walk with Him all the way through
Sunset at evening
Reflecting it’s glorious hue.
Rainbows and flowers
Oh for the smile of his face
Wonderful Jesus
Oh tell of His marvelous grace

Eschol Cosby


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Navdanya shawl is debugged!

The borders on the edges aren't as messy looking in real life as the camera made it appear!

I finished the second knitting of the Navdanya shawl, using the directions I posted up here and I believe I've found and corrected all the bugs, so it should be working great now!
This is the part that gave me the most grief!

This one was knit in recycled Cashmere I got at the Twice Sheared Sheep on ebay - I used around 1600 yards but knit with three strands together for most of it - the one skein was only 330 yards and when I used that up, about 12 rows from the end, I knit on with just two strands for a lacier edge.

I really love how this turned out in a lacier yarn! Thus far all the pictures I've seen are of it in the Worsted Weight. This was knit on size 10 circulars, and cost around $23!

Thank you to my friend Martha who was willing to pose in this shawl for me! She raises dairy sheep and sells the most incredible cheeses at grower's markets in Chester Co. PA! Her brand name is Highland Farms.

How to knit the HomeAID Shawl

Loosly inspired by South African art, this shawl is dedicated to HomeAID for Africa.

Not everyone wants a shawl that is earth tones, pastel, or something "quiet". There are lively, colorful people who would more appreciate a lively colorful shawl, even in times of trouble. Maybe it reminds them of life instead of grief. If you want to knit a shawl for such a person, this may be the pattern for you!

There are a lot of color changes in this. If you use wool yarn you can felt the two ends together instead of tying a knot. This is what I did: I knit to the end of the row where the color change was to occur then cut the yarn with about 3/4 inch hanging past the last stitch. Then I un-knit the last 3 stitches, putting them back on the other needle so I'd have long enough yarn to work with. I frayed the ends of the old and new color yarn, untwisting and pulling the strands apart then wet them and rubbed them together in my hands until I felt heat from friction. If you do it right, the join is as strong as the rest of the yarn! You overlap them about 3/4 inch. Then re-knit the ones you un-knit and continue on in the new color. Here is a helpful video guide to joining yarns: It's about halfway down.

If you'd rather use acrylic, you can try weaving all those ends in, but that can be a pain. Another option is to put tassels on the ends of the shawl and include the yarn ends in the tassels.

To begin the shawl, cast on a multiple of 12, plus three. I started with 123 stitches (I like that number!) Knit a row, purl two rows, then knit two rows and you're ready to begin the triangle pattern.

Here is the chart for the triangle pattern: The sides show the colors I used for each row - 3 rows of red, 2 rows of orange, 3 rows of yellow; then 2 rows of orange and 3 rows of red. The white part is the actual repeating pattern.On the first row of the triangle pattern, you need to knit two together, but since it's like knitting stockinette and there are bumps on the stitches it works much better to flip the stitches before knitting them together. Just slip the stitches as if to knit onto the other needle then pass them back, not like a ssk but only to flip them so they're facing the right way to knit them together. You can click on the chart to see it larger.

Between each triangle pattern, do two rows of purl and then two rows of knit in black. When you do this, the "right side" flips, so your "right side" for the next section of triangles is the "wrong side" of the last series. This makes the shawl reversible.
Every other time you use the triangle pattern you start it at the middle, so the points of the triangles line up. When the pattern meets the edge on the last row - if it begins or ends with a "W", you only knit two together there instead of the three, because there isn't a yarn over past it.

So here is the whole pattern.

First, knit a test swatch of two rows purl, two rows knit, one repetition of the triangle pattern, and two more rows knit and purl(in one color is ok) and wash and block it to get your gauge. This can give you a rough idea of how many rows of the triangle pattern you will need and how many repetitions of it you need for the length you want. On mine the triangles were 3.5 inches wide. I wanted mine around 22" wide and 42" long. This pattern is very versatile because you can make it into a lap quilt, or a scarf, or enlarge it for a larger person (because we can't all be thin like supermodels!)

I used Peace Fleece Worsted Weight yarn on #10 circulars. I cast on 123 stitches in black.

Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: purl
Row 4: knit
Row 5: knit
Change to red yarn
Row 6: k1, (yo, k2 tog*, k10) 10 times, yo, k2 tog
*(slip 2 stitches, one at a time, to flip them then put them back on the original needle and knit them together)

***********Count very carefully on this row, make sure there are 11 stitches between each yarnover!*******************
Row 7: p1, (k1, p11) 10 times, k1, p
Row 8: k1, p1, (yo, k2 tog, k7, ssk*, yo, p1) 10 times, k1

*if you don't know how to do the slip, slip, knit stitch - ssk here's a helpful video of how to do it:
Change to orange yarn
Row 9: p1, k2, (p9, k3) 9 times, p9, k2, p1
Row 10: k1, p2, (yo, k2 tog, k5, ssk, yo, p3) 9 times, yo, k2 tog, k5, ssk, yo, p2, k
Change to yellow yarn
Row 11: p1, k3, (p7, k5) 9 times, p7, k3, p1
Row 12: k1, p3, (yo, k2 tog, k3, ssk, yo, p5) 9 times, yo, k2 tog, k3, ssk, yo, p3, k
Row 13: p1, k4, (p5, k7) 9 times, p5, k4, p1
Change to orange yarn
Row 14: k1, p4, (yo, k2 tog, k1, ssk, yo, p7) 9 times, yo, k2 tog, k1, ssk, yo, p4, k
Row 13: p1, k5, (p3, k9) 9 times, p3, k5, p1
Change to red yarn
Row 15: k1, p5, (yo, K3 tog*, yo, p9) 9 times, yo, k3 tog*, yo, p5, k1
*slip 3, one at a time to flip them, slip two back for a ssk, the slip the third stitch over
Row 16: p1, k6, (p1, k11) 9 times, p1, k6, p1
Row 17: k1, p6, (yo, p2 tog, p10) 9 times, yo, p2 tog, p6, k1
Change to black yarn
Row 18: purl
Row 19: purl
Row 20: knit
Row 21: knit
Change to red yarn
Row 22: k7, (yo, k2 tog*, k10) 9 times, yo, k2 tog, k6
*(slip 2 stitches, one at a time, to flip them then put them back on the original needle and knit them together)

***********The yarnover should be above and slightly to the right of the one underneath it, so the stitch directly above the yarnover below is used in the k2 together********************
Row 23: p7, (k1, p11) 9 times, k1, p7
Row 24: k5, (ssk, yo, p1, yo, k2 tog, k7) 9 times, ssk, yo, p1, yo, k2 tog, k5
Change to orange yarn
Row 25: p6, (k3, p9) 9 times, k3, p6
Row 26: k4, (ssk, yo, p3, yo, k2 tog, k5) 9 times, ssk, yo, p3, yo, k2 tog, k4
Change to yellow yarn
Row 27: p5, (k5, p7) 9 times, k5, p5
Row 28: k3, (ssk, yo, p5, yo, k2 tog, k3) 9 times, ssk, yo, p5, yo, k2 tog, k3
Row 29: p4, (k7, p5) 9 times, k7, p3
Change to orange yarn
Row 30: k2, (ssk, yo, p7, yo, k2 tog, k1) 9 times, ssk, yo, p7, yo, k2 tog, k2
Row 31: p3, (k9, p3) 9 times, k9, p3
Change to red yarn
Row 32: k1, k2 tog, yo, p9,(yo, K3 tog*, yo, p9) 8 times, yo, k2 tog, k1
*slip 3, one at a time to flip them, slip two back for a ssk, the slip the third stitch over
Row 33: p2, (k11, p1) 9 times, k11, p2
Row 34: k1, (yo, p2 tog, p10) 10 times, yo, p2 tog
Change to black yarn
Repeat from row 2
To end, purl 2 rows, knit 2 rows, purl one row, then bind off loosely.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's coming! New Pattern! - HomeAID Shawl

I've finished the swatch for a new pattern, with an African theme, for my next new shawl. I'm thinking of calling it the HomeAID shawl, after a local group here - HomeAID for Africa. I wanted to name it after the founder of the group, but she's a humble person and I don't know if it will honor her or just embarrass her, but she is a hero for me. She read a book "We Are All The Same" about a little boy named Nkosi, in South Africa who was orphaned by AIDS and then found out he had it as well. He actually spoke before the United Nations World AIDS Summit. It's a very touching story, and the woman I am speaking of read it and had to do something about the problem of AIDS orphans in South Africa. So she started a nonprofit, selling hand-painted silk scarves and sending all the profits to organizations in Africa for children affected by AIDS. So far they've raised over $100,000 for AIDS orphans in Africa!

The greatness of this woman and her organization is only dwarfed by the fact that this is not unique - there are many, many wonderful little fundraising organizations springing up, from Beads For Life to Alex's Lemonade, showing that regular people can make a difference!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

OOPS! - errors

I'm re-knitting the Navdanya shawl in cashmere I got from The Twice Sheared Sheep; and I'm only on line 35 and I've found a lot of errors, including a missing line in the pattern! If anyone has already printed this out and started it and is wondering what's going on I am so sorry! I'm fixing errors as I come across them so the ones I've found are already fixed now.

Someone has volunteered to test knit the Dorothy Day shawl and hopefully will be keeping me notified of any errors she finds but if you find some please let me know as soon as possible so I can fix them before they mess up somebody else.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dorothy Day Shawl, part II

This is the second part of the pattern that begins here (click the word "here").

Here is the rest of the pattern, which I just got up on Flickr, but a little blurry because for some reason it shrank everything down and I had to enlarge it.

To begin, cast on 29 stitches, 5 each for the front and center panels and 7 each for the two candle panels (after 5, 7, 5, 7, & 5). Put in markers where one pattern stops and the next one starts or it will get too confusing! I just tied some contrasting yarn around the knitting needle there. You pass these to the next needle whenever you come to them in knitting. Knit the next row, then purl the next row, then begin following the instructions for the different panels, which is just the slow increase for three of them and the beginning of the candle pattern for the other two.

First, the two front panels and the center one have what I call the "slow increase" on the edges. There is a yarn over every knit row, but only every other one of them is actually an increase because every other time you counter it with a k2 tog or ssk to keep the same number of stitches, so it gets wider at half the rate of the candle patterns, which gain two stitches every knit row (or something similar!)

Center Panel

For the center panel, wait until you have around 15 stitches to start it, then begin the cross pattern.

You can see it a little better here.

Front Panels

On the front panels there are two little crosses near the bottom. I started them the same row as the top of the last candlesticks. I centered it but you can put it more toward the corners too.

Edges and Finishing

I used two patterns for the edges, the first is centered on where each panel joins, the center of each candle panel, and at the edges.

The other fills in the gaps and starts the last knit row before you bind off.

This is blurry - you can see it a little better on flickr.

The top one starts 6 rows before the end. It is the one that goes where the different panels come together, centered on the candle panels, and half of it on each bottom corner (knit from the ":") I don't know a better way to tell how to do it than to say you find the center stitch, line up the ":" in the chart with that and count stitches to see where to begin. I've supplied the numbers but in case you can't read them, the first row begins 4 from the center stitch, the next (knit row) 8 from the center and the last one 10 from the center stitch.

Kind of centered between these "flourishes" are a simple pattern on the last knit row before you bind off, which is three sets of \,O,K,O,/,K . You can try to center them but it doesn't show much if they're a stitch or two off center.