Blog Archives

FO Friday: The Haruni Shawl

Haruni Shawl 

Pattern:

Haruni by Emily Ross

Yarn:

Sundara Sock Yarn in Lunar Landing (1 skein, 370 yards)

Needles:

Signature Needle Arts circular needle, US size 7 (4.5mm)

Susan Bates Crochet Hook, US size 9 (1.25mm) for beads

Boye Crochet Hook, US D (3.25mm) for fringe

Other Materials:

Miyuki Japanese Seed Beads (6/0 round) in Heavy Metals Mix, 2-20g tubes

Modifications:

Lots. I knit the body plain (similar to the body of the Ishbel shawl). I used my yarn scale and Excel to calculate how many petals I could get out of the single skein of yarn I had. I added extra clusters of petals at either end to maximize my yarn use. (And I ended up with only 3g of yarn when all was said and done). I added beads along the stem and the edges of each petal, using the crochet hook method.

The crochet bind-off was new to me. A little slow to execute, but again, well worth the effort. It might have looked a little bit better with a slightly smaller hook. I’m very glad I learned how to crochet before I tackled this!

Time to complete:

Less than a year. 🙂 I cast on for this in May of 2011, right after MDSW. I finished the plain portion in a week or so, and then it sat through the summer and into the winter, while I bought beads and figured out what size to make. The dark yarn and the beads made this project slow going.

The verdict:

Love, love, love it! This may be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made.

Advertisements

Sneak peak at the Haruni Shawl

Blocking Haruni

I had exactly 3g of yarn left and 18 beads when all was said and done, so yay for the scale and spreadsheet method—I was able to use up as much of the yarn as I possibly could.

It uses a crochet bind off that I hadn’t used before. Can I tell you how glad I am that I spent some time this winter learning how to crochet?! So much easier to wrap the yarn the proper way than the way I was doing it before. Pinning out all those tiny loops was slow going, but the end result was worth it. The finished shawl is gorgeous. It’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made.

Haruni up close

Haruni, up close and personal

It’s also almost impossible to photograph properly. The color is mostly a dark blue, but it’s not even close to solid, with varying shades of blue, gray, green, purple… The beads I used range in color from blue, green, purple, gold to black pearl gray. They pull out the colors in the yarn exactly as I hoped they would.

I got loads of compliments on it at the HYP. Many people were familiar with Sundara’s yarn, and apparently this colorway was in very high demand. (And everyone agreed that it was hard to photograph. Several people tried, and the results were about the same as what I’ve gotten. Here’s hoping a sunny day will help!) I lost count of the number of times people asked what the pattern was.

So I would definitely count this project as a success!

Techniques: Beads and knitting

I still haven’t gotten good pictures of the finished Haruni Shawl, but in the meantime, let’s talk beads and knitting.

Haruni was my first shawl with beads. The original pattern didn’t call for beads, so I drew up my own version of the chart (which I had to do anyway because of my other modifications to the design) and marked where I wanted to place my beads. I knew there two basic ways (with loads of variations, of course) to place beads on your knitting: Stringing all the beads first, and placing the beads as you go.

The first method sounded like a lot of work, and (depending on how the pattern is designed) sometimes the beads can migrate to the back of the work, negating all that effort. It also causes extra wear-and-tear on the yarn, but since I was using a tightly-spun sock yarn, I wasn’t as worried about that aspect as I would have been if I’d been using a laceweight cashmere yarn.

The second approach, which is the one I opted for, was to place the beads as you go along. This can be done with a piece of orthodonic dental floss or with a tiny crochet hook. I tried both and found the crochet hook to be slightly easier to work. Plus, since I was using multi-colored beads, it gave me the flexibility of being able to select each bead individually so I could avoid placing two identical beads right next to each other. I also liked the fact that I could place a bead, then knit the stitch, so even if I dropped a stitch, I was less likely to lose the bead.

I took some photos and put together a small tutorial to show you how I did it. In the interest of thoroughness, I am using Sundara sock yarn, a US size 7 (4.5mm) Signature Needle Arts circular needle with stiletto tips, a US9 (1.25mm) Susan Bates crochet hook, and size 6/0 seed beads. (I strongly recommend using a very tapered needle for this method—the stilletto tips from SNA are perfect for this—so that you can replace the bead and knit it without distorting the surrounding stitches.)

  1. Scoop up a bead with the tip of the crochet hook. Turning the hook so that it faces up, insert the hook purlwise into the next loop on the left knitting needle and pull the loop off the needle. Placing beads, 1
  2. Using your finger, slide the bead down the hook and onto the loop of yarn, making sure that all strands of the yarn pass through the bead.Placing beads, 2
  3. Replace the loop onto the left needle, making sure that the stitch is oriented correctly. Keeping the stitch at the tip of the needle, use the tip of the right needle to knit the stitch. (If you try this with blunt-tipped needles or if you try to force the width of the entire needle, you’ll end up pulling yarn from the surrounding stitches and distorting your pattern.) Placing beads, 3
  4. Once you’ve knit the stitch and dropped it from your left needle, you can push the new stitch fully onto the right needle.  
    Placing beads, 4
  5. Admire your knitting and your pretty beads! Placing beads, 5
  6. Resist the urge to place beads on all of your knitting projects. (I have found that husbands and boy children are somewhat less enamored of beads than I am…)

What projects have you knit with beads? What technique did you use? Any suggestions for me?

Indecision

I’m knitting on the Lanesplitter (it might be 60°F and drizzly on Sunday!) and on Haruni (it might be 75°F and sunny! And I’ll be inside, where I won’t need a scarf! But I want to wear one anyway!), which probably means I won’t be getting either one done in time.

I’ve still got 8 rows to go on Haruni, but I’m stopping to place a bead every 7 stitches or so, so it’s slooooooooow going (an hour for one RS row and one WS row, without distractions). (Did I mention that life is nothing but distractions right now? Really, the universe just looooooves to mess with my all-too-limited knitting time.) Plus, it’s dark yarn, with dark beads, so I can really only work on it during daylight hours, while sitting at my (white) kitchen counter.

I’ve also got 8 rows to go on the Lanesplitter. Those rows got a LOT faster (three knit rows, one purl row; zoom, zoom, zoom), but then I’ll need to graft the edges together, pick up stitches around the top for the waistband, knit said waistband, buy some elastic, and sew the waistband down. And it will still probably be too hot to wear in warm weather…

Ty-Dy Cotton

How could I resist such pretty colors?!

But in the meantime, I’ve got another knitting project in the germinating stage. I found out that my son’s teacher will be moving away at the end of the school year. She had a baby at the start of the school year, so I’m thinking that I should make a sweater for her daughter. Something cotton (they’re moving to Georgia) and with a bit of girly lace on the bottom. I have two pretty skeins of Ty-Dy Cotton that I picked up a while back that I’ve been wanting to use, and this seems like a good purpose to put it to. I did allow myself to poke around in my library of stitch dictionaries the other day, and I found a scalloped lace pattern that I think would work nicely with the self-striping nature of the yarn. But I’m not going to let myself swatch until these two projects are done, either before Sunday or after.

Really.

Good news, bad news

The good news is… I got a chunk of knitting time in this weekend, and I am almost done my Lanesplitter skirt! I could easily finish it in time to wear it on Sunday.

So what’s the bad news? It’s supposed to be 70°+ on Saturday. Not exactly the best weather to wear a wool-and-silk knit skirt. 😦

See, this is why I prefer to knit cardigans. I frequently wear a cardigan in place of a jacket, since I can pull it on in the morning when it’s cooler, and then take it off and on through the day, as I’m inside or outside or dealing with overactive air conditioning, etc. They are really year-round wear for me.

I am thinking of trying a hurry up offense and finishing the Haruni Scarf instead. (And kicking myself for not finishing up the Tweed Vest, since it is a lace, button-down pattern that would go nicely over a short sleeve shirt this time of year…)

Argh. What’s a knitter to do?

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

Okay, to keep me honest, I’m going to institute WIP Wednesday here at Laura Gets Crafty. Right now, I’m spending most of my time on my Lanesplitter skirt (although as I mentioned yesterday, progress was somewhat derailed last week).

Lanesplitter UpdateSo here’s what it looks like right now:

I calculated that the finished skirt will have 58 garter-ridges (4 rows each) when it’s done. I have 47 ridges done now. So 47/58 = 81% done. Of course, when I get all the ridges done, I’ll still have to graft the sides together, knit the waistband, sew in the elastic (oops, need to put that on my shopping list!), and weave in my ends. So let’s say that I’m about 75% of the way through.

I haven’t knit at all on my Haruni lately. So no new pictures of that. I have about 10 rows to go, plus the crochet bind off. So let’s put that one at about 75%. Each row (with stopping to place beads every few stitches) takes me almost an hour to knit across and purl back, so it’s sloooooow going now.

And really, that’s all I’ve been working on, so let’s leave it at that, shall we?

What’s on your needles right now?

Knitting Monogamy

We’re healthy again here. (Or at least, recovering.) So the knitting has resumed, albeit slowly.

I’ve been thinking about knitting monogamy. I used to be extremely monogamous with my knitting. I’d start a project and keep plugging away at it until it was done. I’d carry the same project everywhere with me, knitting on it in waiting rooms, in the carpool lane, at long red lights… pretty much anytime I had enough time to pull my project out of the bag.

And then something changed. For one thing, I became a better knitter. Instead of tackling that first pair of socks (just to see if I could do it) or that first hat, I’m an accomplished enough knitter now to know that I am more than able to finish the project. So perhaps I don’t have anything to prove now. And for another… like most knitters I know, I have a (cough, cough) rather long queue of projects I’d like to knit (and the ever-increasing yarn stash to accommodate those projects). So casting-on for one or two (or three or four…) projects makes me feel like I might actually get to them all. Or maybe I just (as the Yarn Harlot says) have a really bad case of start-itis. Whatever the cause, it’s become pretty clear that I’m about as monogamous about knitting as Tiger Woods is about women.

But it’s not entirely a bad thing. Some projects are more portable than others. It’s a lot easier to pull out a small sock when you’re sitting in a waiting room than a whole sweater. But a stockinette sweater knit in the round is a perfect television-watching project. You can knit and knit and knit, without ever taking your eyes off Downton Abbey.

And sometimes you’re just not up to a complex project. I love my beaded Haruni scarf, but I’m nearing the end, so I have well over 200 stitches per row. Knitting a single row (pausing every four or five stitches to place a bead with a tiny crochet hook) and purling back takes me almost an hour. And the yarn is dark, and the beads are slippery, so the only place I can work on it is sitting at my kitchen counter, with the lights turned up all the way. Not exactly a good project for the carpool lane!

And sometimes you just need to take a break. After an intricate row on the Haruni, the simplicity of my Lanesplitter (knit three rows, purl one) is a breath of fresh air. And when I get tired of picking vegetable matter out of the Noro Silk Garden, going back to the lovely, tight plies of Sundara’s Sock Yarn is an equally welcome change.

The biggest downside to this arrangement is that it makes for rather slow progress on the individual projects. I’d love to post more pictures of my works-in-progress, but honestly, they look pretty much the same. A few more rows, a few more beads, neither still bearing much resemblance to the finished items they’ll become. So I suppose knitting philandering requires a bit more patience on the part of the knitter (and also the recipients of the knitted items, if they’re destined for others!).

How about you? Are you a monogamous knitter?

Tuesday is Tools-Day: I love my scale

Yarn ScaleThis scale, that is. (I’ve never owned a bathroom scale, and after having two kids, I’m not planning to buy one anytime soon!)

I’ve been dwelling on tools a lot lately, and one tool that I use quite frequently is one that I don’t carry around in my knitting bag. My yarn scale (which is actually a small digital kitchen scale) hangs out near my yarn winder. It comes in handy for splitting skeins of sock yarn in half to ensure I have two equally-sized socks. (And for making sure my son’s Pinewood Derby car is under 5 ounces.) But I use it for a lot more than just that.

Last year, I was on a shawl/triangular scarf kick. I’ve made a Traveling Woman (that’s the red shawl in my avatar), an Ishbel, a Clothilde, and a Multnomah. They’re all lovely, and I knit them all in sumptuous yarns (Madelinetosh Pashmina and Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! yarn). Because the yarns were so nice, I wanted to make each scarf as large as possible, without running out of yarn at the end. This is quite the knitting feat!

Enter the yarn scale. And my other favorite-tool-that-doesn’t-fit-in-my-knitting-bag, Microsoft Excel. For each of these top-down scarves, I cast-on and knit a few rows. Then I stopped and weighed my yarn. Made a note what row I was on, then continued on for a dozen more rows and weighed the yarn again. Then I went into Excel and plugged in the number of stitches I had on the needles when I first weighed the pattern. Then I calculated how many stitches I was adding each row, and added up the number of rows I’d worked to get to the second time I weighed the yarn. From this, I calculated how much yarn (approximately) I was using per stitch, which gave me a ballpark estimate of how many stitches (at that gauge) I could get out of the yarn I had left. Then I could look at the pattern again and adjust it to use more or less yardage. I knit the Ishbel as written. I started the lace portions of both the Traveling Woman and Clothilde a little sooner, so I could get in an extra repeat of the lace pattern at the bottom. In all cases, I made the shawls as large as I could with the yarn I had to work with, while still leaving enough yarn to bind off comfortably.

For the Haruni shawl that I’m working on now, I changed the body of the shawl to be plain. I calculated that if I followed the rest of the pattern as written, I would still have more yarn left over than I wanted. So I modified the ends of the shawl to add an additional cluster of petals, thus using up as much of the yarn as possible. (And since I was already calculating in Excel, I was able to calculate how many beads I needed for the spaces where I planned to place them, so I was able to buy the right amount.)

This approach is useful for sweaters, too. I used my scale while knitting my Rhinebeck sweater. I knit the sweater top-down, and I wanted to make it as long as I could, while still having enough to do the cable detailing at the hem and bind off. I measured how many grams of yarn one row took, and then I calculated how many rows I could knit with the yarn I had remaining. Worked like a charm!

So I’m curious. Surely I can’t be the only knitting nerd who loves the scale??

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

Haruni Shawlette - In Progress

Lace looks like yarn vomit while it's still all mushed-up on the needles, doesn't it?

Sigh. I’m sick. Again. For variety, this time it’s a stomach bug instead of a head cold. I’m not any more thrilled about it.

I pulled out a long-languishing project from my WIP basket the other day, a beaded Haruni Shawlette. I am, of course, modifying the pattern all over the place (adding beads, using a plain Ishbel-esque body, and re-working the petals at the end to make the most of the limited yarn I have to work with, some yummy Sundara Sock Yarn in the limited-edition Lunar Landing colorway). But it’s gotten to the tricky bits near the end, and once again, I am just feeling too stupid to tackle them right now.

Haruni in progress (beads)

Look! Yarn vomit with beads!

I tried to take some pictures of the beads, but it’s pretty hard to get them to show up. And the colors look rather horrid, despite my best efforts to futz with my camera settings. Believe it or not, this is the same yarn you see in the blog header.

Fortunately, the Lanesplitter skirt is much simpler, so I am going to keep going with that for now. It looks pretty much the same as last time, so I didn’t try to photograph it again. And I’m still plugging away at the linen stitch scarf. The ball of yarn doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. I think it’s taunting me!

Hopefully next time, I’ll have more progress to show.