Sunday, July 24, 2011

In love with lace

The lace shawl is 3/4 of the way completed, and I am totally in love with it. It amazes me to see such a delicate piece coming off of the loom, yet the stitches are sturdy and holding together as beautifully as if they were made out of a heavy yarn. I know the shawl will "bloom" even more when it is blocked and the lace opens up. I started with several lace pattern ideas, but in the end, chose to make the shawl with only one, that I'm calling "Hydrangea Petal."

This shawl is being made on a CinDwood 1/2 inch gauge hat loom with 59 pegs. The yarn is Knit Picks Shadow Tonal in Blue-Violet. It will take 1 skein of yarn to make the entire shawl, and the entire skein fits in a teacup. I'd love to hear what you think - are you going to start stashing some lace yarns?
Copyright 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, all rights reserved.

Friday, July 15, 2011

On and Off the Loom

My looms are busy, and the shawl project is moving forward. The first photo gives you an idea of what it looks like when a lace piece is in the works. I start with the idea in my head, then place it on special graph paper for the visually impaired. This creates a huge map of the idea, but usually not the actual pattern. From the chart, I create the first written draft of what I think the pattern will be, using my favorite giant legal pads and 20/20 pens. From this draft, I begin the looming. I'm thrilled to show you the start of a shawl made with lace weight yarn!

Even this early into the project, I will be writing a second draft, trying to get the pattern into an easy to read format, and adding in the changes to the pattern that are being made as it is loomed. The second photo is a close up of the lace work. It will look very different once it is blocked out, but you get an idea at least of the first layer of lace with a little flower in it.

A nice break from the lace pattern is the JulyRavelry Loom-a-long, here in the third photo. I'm making the Leafy Sea Dragon Scarf in Chroma worsted in the Sunrise colorway. The loom is a CinDwood 1/2 inch gauge loom with 35 pegs. The lace is also being made on a CinDwood 1/2 inch gauge loom. There are a very nice group of loomers in the loom-a-long, and we will be working on the scarf all of July, so you have lots of time to join us.

Off the loom is the June Loom Class project, the Sea Glass Wrap, made from Anny Blatt Fine Kid in Arctic. With our cool, foggy summer, this has been my favorite wrap to wear right now.

Also off the loom, a small chunky scarf with a V-back. I know I've shown you this before as a shawl, but the first versions were frogged, and this little scarf is the keeper. It was made on the purple KK hat loom with Wool of the Andes Bulky in the Garden Party colorway.

What is on your loom?

Copyright 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Farewell to the Knifty Knitter

Love it or hate it, most loom knitters started with a hat on the big yellow ring of the Knifty Knitter round loom set. We complained about its bulky pegs, limited size, and the need to double our yarn, yet it has always been a staple of loom knitting.

Now, the Knifty Knitter looms are gone, and I am a little sad about it. Yes, I've hoped for more inexpensive options, and especially more sizes, and a better nylon instead of the scratchy plastic, but I never hoped that the Knifty Knitter would disappear altogether.

What are the new options? For the original round set, Michaels has a version that is very similar, and in some ways, better for the vision impaired. The round set has the same number of pegs, and is made in a brightly colored plastic that is much better for working with light colored yarns. The gauge on these is still "large", but the pegs have been moved slightly to the center of the ring, changing the overall position of the pegs a little, and making the gauge slightly smaller than the old KK. The plastic appears smoother than the KK looms, but only time will tell as to how they hold up.

Boye is producing a set of rings as well, with the peg count changed so that all the rings have an even number of pegs. The difficulty with these looms is that the looms come with all the pegs loose, and they have to be inserted into the looms. Martha Stewart also has put out a loom (looking much like the old "Dream Loom") with multiple pieces for different loom configurations. This set also has the pegs loose. The pegs in the Martha set have a very small "top", which lets the yarn slip off very easily.

As for my favorite KK loom, the 48 peg purple hat loom in the nice, smooth nylon, 5/8 inch gauge, it looks like this loom is not being replaced. What a shame, as this was a very nice loom to work with!

The KK long oval looms have also disappeared. Michaels has a new set with squared-off ends, that look like they are a wider gauge than the old KK looms. Boye is putting out a set with ends that unlock and open to allow for single knitting. I have not seen these yet, but they sound like a very nice option for loom knitters, and would help with some of the awkwardness in single knitting on a long loom.

If you have used any of these new looms, I'd love for you to share your comments with us.
Copyright 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tea on Tuesday

Deep Dish Blueberry Pie

A July tradition, fresh blueberry pie!

6 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried
6 TBSP. sugar
3 TBSP. flour
1 TBSP. butter
1 tsp. Kirsch
pastry for a double crust 9 inch pie

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9 inch deep pie pan with the pastry. Chill. In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar and Kirsch. Taste for sweetness, and if ok, add the flour and toss gently. Pour into the prepared shell and dot with the butter. Top with the second crust, and cut vents on the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. REDUCE TO 350 degrees, and bake another 25-35 minutes.
Copyright 2000-2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy, Renee's Tea Party. All Rights Reserved.