Mystery stole 3: modelled shots

Finally!  Modelled shots.

From the front, with ‘wing’ pinned across:
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From the back, showing the ‘starting’ end:
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Those who have experienced Ally Pally will no doubt recognise the background to these shots, and quite possibly the somewhat yarnshocked expression, too.  It was the end of a very long day (not counting all the travelling still to be done).

I’m delighted with the quality of the finished product, especially my spinning, and I had so many nice compliments on it at the show, I was quite blown away.  The ladies at the Wensleydale Sheep stand were especially appreiative, spotting longwools from quite a distance away (the wool is 50% wensleydale, 50% teeswater, so they were spot on).

MS3 is finally blocking!

The knitting on this beast has actually been finished for ages, but pinning something like this out to block takes forever – and I couldn’t decide whether to buy any blocking wires, and the studio was a mess (i.e. the floor was not available) and so on…  And frankly, I’ve fallen well and truly out of love with this project, which is a shame.  I think it’s the first real project knit with my handspun, and it’s certainly the first time I’ve spun yarn specifically for a certain project.

It’s the risk of the ‘mystery’ aspect, of course – and I knew what I was signing up for when I started (except, of course, I didn’t – that’s rather the point).  That is, I knew that I didn’t know, and that there was a chance I wouldn’t like the pattern when all was said and done.  And now it is finished – it’s certainly not one I would buy in a fit of bouncing enthusiasm, wishing everything else was finished right now so I could cast on.

Is it the asymmetry?  Possibly.  But then, I like both ends of the stole, and asymmetry doesn’t normally bother me too much (I’m noticeably asymmetrical myself).

Maybe it’s the join; I love the border of the first half of the stole, and it does seem, well, rather ungraceful to have it stop so abruptly for the wing to start.

But I finally sucked it up and did it – put away all the yarn boxes, hoovered (you wouldn’t want to block laceweight wool on the amount of mud that the pup had tracked across the carpet), found pins, measuring tape and a camera, gave the stole a bath and went for it.  I do apologise for photographing a cream stole on a cream carpet; I appreciate this is not the optimum arrangement for contrast, but, well, it’s the only carpet I had available.  I will try and plan my knitting more photo-congenially in the future.   However, I will say that there really *is* a lot more detail available in the larger versions (click for bigger..)

Before blocking:
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18" wide
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wing section 24" long:
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‘other’ section 39" long:
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After blocking:
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21" wide, wing section 32" long:
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‘Other’ section 49" long:
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It most certainly doesn’t have ‘laying flat appeal’ – the blocking equivalent to ‘hanger appeal’.  There are clothes that can only be effectively sold if displayed modelled; on a hanger, they just don’t ‘work’ for a shopper’s eye.  I think the same applies to this thing, laid flat.  But some of the modelled shots I’ve seen have been stunning; I can only hope the same will happen here (and that I can persuade J to do an official photo-shoot once it’s dry).

Off the needles!

Finally – after starting in late June, spinning up a storm and knitting for what feels like *forever*, Mystery Stole 3, aka ‘Swan Lake’, is off the needles:

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J says it looks like I knitted a slug.  I say, it needs blocking.  And then modelling.

Mystery stole 3: end of clue 4

And as promised, better pictures this time!

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(As always, click for bigger.  Including, I’m afraid, my foot…)

A closeup of the first section, my favourite part of the stole so far:

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I’m spinning the yarn for this stole myself, and the second skein was started partway through clue 4.  I knew the second skein was somewhat lighter than the first, but it’s really pretty obvious in this photo:

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I’m not worried though; it will never be so clear when worn!

Mystery stole 3: end of clue 3

Just a real quickie because I haven’t updated in ages: the mystery stole is progressing well!  I’m only one and a half clues behind the leader now – I’m 50 rows short of finishing clue 4, and clue 5 is the current one…  I’m unlikely to catch up this week – but maybe next.  I may even be among the first to finish!

Lookin’ good:

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This shot was taken at the end of clue 3.  As always, click for a much, much larger version – where you can even see the beads!  I’ve been very lazy and not really stretched it out much for these shots; I’ll try and get a semi-respectable stretch on it (without actually wet blocking it) at the end of clue 4.

Very exciting things happen in clue 5; without giving the surprise away (in case anyone is holding themselves on tenterhooks), I can definitely say things take a turn for the unusual.

Clue 1 complete!

Just a real quickie: I finished clue 1 of the mystery stole knitalong today  I’m still rather behind; the second clue was released to the waiting world on Friday, and of course some had finished it before their coffee break…  Still, I’m not racing, and I’m happy to be a Slow-Bee!  🙂

By way of proof: a real quickie photo (not particularly stretched out and certainly not pinned or anything):
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Getting started: Chart A

In two days time, the second clue for the mystery stole will be released.  And I’m only on row 36 of clue 1.  Row 36.  Out of 100.  And this portion is increasing 2 stitches every right side row, so I’m not even a third of the way through this first section yet!  In fact, my rough and ready maths suggests I’m about 15% done – less than a sixth!!  I dread to think what the ‘workload’ will be like in subsequent weeks.

Still, I have only been working on it for the last two evenings, and managed a grand total of four rows last night – two of which I had to re-do this morning as I’d ended up with an extra stitch from somewhere.  It is looking gorgeous, though:

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I didn’t increase the needle size in the end, so this is being knit on 3.75mm circulars, and I think the contrast between stockinette and YOs is about perfect.  I did indeed choose to go with the gold beads, and the effect is really very subtle: these are only size 8/0 seed beads and they nestle right into the fabric.

Melanie, the stole designer, has designed this to use a different beading method to what I’ve used before.  The beads are not pre-strung on the yarn, but when a stitch is marked ‘beaded’, you actually place the bead on the stitch you are about to knit, by taking the stitch off the left hand needle, pulling it through the bead (a very tiny crochet hook is the tool of choice here) and replacing it on the left needle before working it.  I don’t have a crochet hook that tiny, so I’m making do with a bit of wire out of a twist-tie thing – and it still isn’t fine enough!  So I’m using that to pull a piece of thread through the stitch, then using the thread to pull the stitch through the bead.

The advantages of this method are that:

  1. …you don’t have to spend ages pre-stringing beads before knitting
  2. …the beads don’t fray the yarn as you push them along all the time
  3. …the beads sit on both legs of the stitch and can’t shift around; they are visible on the front and back of the fabric and have no tendency to ‘hide’ on the purl side.

On the other hand, it means you need your beads and beading ‘tools’ with you at all times.  This is not a very portable project, and it does require quite a bit of concentration.

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Taking a break…

All skeined up and…

…ready to go!

Now, some overachievers may have finished the first clue of Mystery Stole 3, but me, I haven’t even cast on yet.  Mind you, I did have to spin the yarn beforehand…

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Here we have 201 metres (219 yards, or about 25%) of heavy laceweight/light fingering weight 2-ply.  It’s actually come out slightly heavier than the sample yarn – 24wpi as opposed to 26wpi, 3100m/kg as opposed to 3,822m/kg).  That’s actually a fairly significant difference, but I’m OK with that – the yarn feels much nicer anyway!  Less stringy; somewhat softer, but still pretty tight spun.  I’ll probably up my needle size to 4mm to compensate for the size difference, though.

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The one remaining choice is the bead colour.  The yarn is a soft ivory colour with a lot of lustre for wool (to be expected; it is a longwool blend) and I think the crystalline white beads on the far right are way too harsh.  I’m also not keen on the pinkish ones; the combination looks rather twee to me.  The champagne colour on the far left is a very good match to the yarn colour; it would provide a subtle extra shine.  BUT – I think I’m going to go for the gold.  Why not??  Not all white yarns will work with gold – but this isn’t really white, per se.  And if I’m going to go for beads, I definitely want them to be seen…

One more yarn close-up to leave you with…

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  ..I should be winding up and starting later this evening.  Fingers crossed!

Incipient madness?

OK, we all know I’m not a joiner and get far too competitive and get frustrated when I don’t have enough creative input on a project – all of which clearly explains why I’ve signed up for Mystery Stole 3.  Also, I don’t have enough of any one laceweight yarn for the project, so I’m not just knitting along, I’m spinning along, too.  Because I don’t have enough to do with my time as it is.

Actually, it’s a great incentive; I currently have no ‘must do right now’ project burning a hole in my brain, so joining in with a group of other people and finding out what I’m knitting as I go along seems like a whole bunch of fun.

I’m spinning some Wensleydale/Teeswater blend top for this yarn.  On Monday night/early Tuesday I managed to sample 18 metres of 26wpi 2-ply yarn.  For reference, Zephyr Wool/Silk, the yarn used by the stole’s designer, Melanie, is 30wpi, so I’m not a million miles out.  And in my defence, I thought it was 24wpi when I started spinning my sample, so I’m pretty pleased with my precision spinning!  (Luck.  It was all luck.  Believe me.)

18 metres, 5.3 g.  Cute, no?
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It swatched up pretty well too, on 2.75 3.75 mm needles:
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I’ve spun about 20g of singles tonight; that’s about 1/10 of what I need to do for the shawl.  Not including plying.  Hmmm….

I have to thank Dawn for clueing me in to this KAL.  If you want to join too – hurry hurry hurry!!  The gates close on July 6, and the first clue will be released this Friday! (June 29).

I also need to apologise to all the people whose lovely comments I haven’t replied to yet.  I will, just as soon as I find out how not to be a crappy correspondent.

Also, Ravelry?  Totally awesome.  Come find me there as I slowly enter my data – my username is yarninmypocket.  I need more hours in the day, and days in the week.  Bigtime.

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