Tuesday, January 30, 2007

People Search

2 more days and we can start! It really took me enormous self-control not to start before Feb 1! My KnitPicks dpns have arrived ... the points are sharp but they are really heavy! I am wondering if I should use bamboo needles instead.

As Debi has stated in the last post, the members are being split into 2 groups for the convenience of managing. Among those who are in my group, a number of you don't have a blog and I would like to have at least a way of contacting you. So, the following ladies, if you read this, please send me a message giving me your contacting email address:


Thank you very much.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Less than a week to go....

Hi fellow FPS-er!!

The moment of truth is fast approaching and there's a flurry of activity among us!
Some are making final decisions about what yarn to use (me included!) some are asking the age old questions....metal or bamboo? What needle size gives the nicest fabric and shows off the lace to it's best advantage?

Lots of swatching is going on and lots of itchy fingers are eager to get started....in fact some have already given in!!

To make things easier once we get started Agnes and I have decided to split up the participants into two groups.

Agnes' Group:

2trees Agnes Alison Anita Ann Barbara Beth Bonni LHWB Knits Carine Colette Dallas Dawn Denise/CT Dorothy Gail Heidi Janette Janina Janine Julia Kathy Katrina Kimberly

Debi's Group:

Debi Kris Laura Leah Leslie Linda Lotte Louann Meg Melanie Melissa Melissa Miriam Morgen Nancy Opal Peggy Polly Rebekah Rochelle Roseanna Valerie Vicki

These groups are to make posting of pictures and progress reports easier so if you have any updates and/or pics, just email them to your group leader and we will post/link for you!

We have 46 participants scattered across the US as well as in Europe and Austraila! It's so exciting that knitting is knitting no matter where you do it and it's something we can all share across miles and oceans!

Let the final countdown begin and don't forget to visit your fellow FPS-ers and say hello!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Are you ready?

Has the pattern arrived? Got the errata marked on the magazine? Decided on the right needles? Wound the yarn into cake? Cleared up some of the WIPs? So, you are all set?

I am working furiously on one WIP ... the husband's sweater ... so that I can start the KAL with one less project piling in the basket.

If you are going to swatch, it would be best to swatch the Lily of the Valley pattern to try out the wonderful tips Debi gave us on nupps, just to see which one you like most. To add to those, you can read this from Amelia:

"My method for working the nupps was as follows: K into front, back, front, back of stitch. Return all 4 sts to L needle. K 2 tog twice. Lift the first of these sts over the second and off R needle. Nupp complete. The attentive among you may note that this creates a four- rather than five-stitch nupp, but this is easy to work and not, I believe, to the detriment of the appearance."

Last but not least, I present to you Katrina with her first Forest Path Stole on her wedding day:
Yes, you read it right. This is her first and she has actually joined us to make a second one! That's how much she loves this pattern.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Nupps...the bane of the Laceknitter's existance :)

Howdy fellow FPS-ers!

Is everyone excited about our rapidly approaching Feb. 1 start date? I know I am!!

I know I've referred to the lace patterns used in the FPS as "easy lace" and they really are in but there is one little detail that can bring even a seasoned laceknitter to her knees.....


The nupp is that little bobble that is traditional in shetland and estonian lace knitting patterns and is how the "flowers" of the Lily of the Valley pattern are formed.

Nupps, altho beautiful, can be a major headache for the laceknitter to execute!

I've knit a nupp or 100 in my time and here are my tips for nupps that won't make your eyes bleed or tear the hair from your head!

1 - Make the nupp stitches very LOOSE !! This makes for a better looking nupp

2 - The way the pattern has you make the nupp (k1 tbl, yo, k1 tbl, yo, k1 tbl in the same stitch) makes the stitch so tight it's impossible to get your needle into them when you have to purl all five of them all together on the return row. This is because the yo's have no "base" and just tighten up on the needle! My solution is to substitute k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 in the same stitch. The purls give the nupp some stability and I find it much easier to purl 5 together on the next row - and it looks just a beautiful as "traditional" nupps with no major anguish or eye bleeding involved!

3 - Another option is to knit the nupp as written (k1 tbl, yo, k1 tbl, yo, k1 tbl) but instead of the p5tog on the next row you slip 4 stitches, K1 and pass the 4 over. this works well but I find it a bit sloppy looking.....your mileage may vary!

I hope these pointers are helpful.

Now we have over 40 participants, how about sharing where's everyone's at - who's swatching, who's chosen their yarn, what needles is everyone using, any tips y'all would like to share?

One last note, has everyone heard Addi is coming out with a pointier version specifically for laceknitters? Thoughts anyone? Beuller? :)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Here are the files

Hello ladies (so far all of us here are ladies. But of course, if there are gentlemen interested in joining, you are most welcome ... just give Debi or I an email.), as Debi mentioned in the last post, I did obtain some files relating to the FPS pattern, thanks to Kimberly who knitted the stole in 13 weeks (that sounds fast to me ... anyone dare to break her record?) to wear at her daughter's wedding. Perhaps having an actual occasion you want to wear the stole may motivate you more, don't you think? I may have a wedding to attend in August ... Anyway, I have uploaded the files to a sharing site and here are the links:

Birch Leaves
Right side triangle
FPS Tiers Spreadsheet

Just click on the various links and you'll be taken to the pages where you can download the files. When I downloaded the files from Kimberly's email, Yahoo! checked them for viruses and they are clean. If you are worried, you can check the files you download from the site using your own anti-virus software.

Kimberly has also kindly shared her experiences of knitting the project:
"This is a very long shawl when completed. My friend was contemplating making it shorter as she is several inches shorter than me. In the end she made it the same length as mine. If you want the length shorter don't knit as many tiers.
After I completed the border and started working the 'blocks' I found it difficult to have all those stitches on the long needle after the first couple of tiers. I put each completed block on a stitch holder and worked each pattern with a double pointed needle, leaving the other stitches on holders until I needed to work it.
As for the cast on make sure it is VERY LOOSE. This comes into play when you block the shawl. My friend's cast on was not as loose as her bind off and it made it a little difficult to get the shape even when I blocked it. Once I had knitted the beginning border, I stretched the cast on edge to see if it became larger than my knitting. I tried several cast on's - long tail, back loop, etc and settled on what I call a knitted cast on."

She also gave us tips about blocking the stole, but I think I'll leave that for later ... after all, we haven't even started, right?

Have you visited the blogs of other fellow Stole-Alongers? I put all the feeds to their blogs under a folder "FPS" in my Bloglines. This way I would be able to read any new posts they put up. Melissa has been practicing with entrelac ... go and see the lovely entrelac piece she made. Valerie received her yarn and after swatching, discovered that she didn't like the seed stitch and is considering doing garter stitch for the border. Any thought for her? Also, a couple of you have actually started ... but I am not going to tell you who! hahaha ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Way too quiet in here!!

Come on fellow FPS-ers, let's hear some noise!!

How is everyone doing?

Has everyone chosen their yarn yet? Done any swatching? Got any pics?

Practiced some entrelac? :::evil grin:::

I have a question for the group......charts or words? Do you mostly prefer charts to the written out instructions?

Agnes has obtained a copy of the written instructions which she will soon post but personally I feel this is pretty easy, straightforward lace and perfect for those knitters who swear "I can't read charts"!

I took a 15+ year knitting hiatus between the late 80's and when I returned to the fold in 2002. Prior to my return I had never knit from a chart....even complicated Arans had the pattern written out line by line.

I was VERY resistant to using charts - you know, everyone hates change :)
But once I stopped being so stubborn and took the plunge, I've never looked back! I now find charts so user friendly and uncomplicated, especiallly since you can "see" the pattern - a built in failsafe for the dreaded "lace knitting screw up"! You can even use colored pencils to color code the symbols so you have even more visuals...

So what say you, my knitting comrades....charts or words, that is the question!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Afraid of Entrelac?

I can't believe it! I mean what started out to be a little cozy group has grown into one with 26 members! Not that little anymore, but still cozy, I assure you, nonetheless.

I am aware that some of you are feeling a little bit intimidated by the idea of entrelac knitting, which is going to be one of the major techniques involved in this project. If you are a reader of Debi's blog, you'd know she made 2 very beautiful entrelac projects last year. But for me, I am a 98% entrelac virgin ... I got my 2% experience from a false start on the Forest Path Stole using a wrong yarn and got to one-third of the first tier! ;) So, I can testify to what Debi told you about entrelac in her latest post ... it does look harder than it actually is!

But to further help you with the technique, here are some useful links which would help giving you the idea how to approach:

Entrelac Handout - there are instructions as well as some further useful links at the end

Entrelac at a different angle

The Yarnpath - Robbyn has pictures accompanying her instructions, which should be very helpful

Freckles & Purls - who doesn't love a free pattern? Allison has a free entrelac scarf pattern in PDF format on her blog ... just look for free pattern on the sidebar

So, if you have the time, you can try the technique out making a scarf over the weekend ... nice!

Forest Path Stole Stats

Hi everyone! I hope y'all are getting excited as February 1 draws nearer!

For those of you that are waiting for your patterns to arrive or have an interest in joining but are still a bit on the fence, I thought I would post the stats. This way our participants can be looking for yarn in their stashes or LYS while waiting on the pattern!

According to IK:

Finished size: about 30 inches wide and 85 inches long after blocking

Yarn: 2625 yards of laceweight yarn - a smaller 71 inch long stole can be made with 1750 yards of laceweight yarn

Needles: Size 3 (3.25 mm) 24 inch circular needle and a set of size 3 (3.25 mm) DPNs (you will be using the DPNs to do most of the knitting on this stole as you will use 2 DPNs to knit each "block")

Gauge: 19 sts and 24 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in seed stitch, blocked (but for me, the one of the nicest thing about knitting stoles/shawls is who really cares about gauge? hee!)

Notions: stitch markers, stitch holders, blunt tipped embroidery needle, blocking wires or nylon cord for blocking

So there you have the particulars everyone, hope this helps!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I have swatched too!

I finally wound my ginormous hank of yarn this weekend! It took me 90 minutes with a ballwinder and swift...whew!! But it was all worth it cause I love my swatch sooo much!! Here it is...

The color on my monitor is a little bright but the varigation is exactly what I wanted for my FPS! I'm so happy!!

I used #3 (3.25 mm) DPNs. I swatched with both a Crystal Palace Bamboo and a Bryspun and I like them both equally. I'll make a final decision closer to Feb. 1.

I washed and blocked my swatch and I'm thrilled with the fabric and how open the lace is.

I can't wait to get started!!

Has anyone else been swatching yet?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Another beauty to aspire to...

Here's another example of a gorgeous FPS and an adorable kitty for you Agnes!

Thanks for sharing Darilyn! :)

I have swatched!

Hello fellow KAL-ers! So far we have 11 of us here ... what a cozy little group! But I think a few more would come later. As Debi said, this is a casual group ... so just relax and have fun.

For those of you who are still undecided, just take a look at Krys' and Karen's finished stoles and you would hardly resist the urge to make one for yourself ... or someone else!

Since I don't have to wind my yarn (I am using JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk on cone), I can start swatching right away:

When it comes to swatching, I am not the most patient person in the world. Here I just did enough of each lace pattern for me to see if the yarn and the needles (KnitPicks Classic Circular US3) work well together and if the lace would open enough. I think it is good enough. I am happy because the KnitPicks circulars are really awesome for lace knitting.

I think that's about it for now from me. Once again, welcome ... and remember to subscribe to the blog through Bloglines (there is a button on the sidebar).

Come in, get comfy!

Welcome everyone! It's so nice to see that y'all share the insanity passion that is the Forest Path Stole! I hope we get more participants but no matter what I think we're gonna have some fun!

If anyone has "how to" links they would like to share, you can post em in the comments or email them to either Agnes or myself.

Has anyone been aswatchin' yet? If you have your yarn picked out and want to share, again leave a link in the comments or an email to Agnes or myself and we'll post pics for you!

I haven't swatched yet but as soon as I gird myself to the task of winding my ginormous hank, I will...hopefully this weekend!

This is a pretty casual KAL so please feel free to add anything you'd like to share or see...help Agnes and I make this KAL the best EVER! :)

So, would it kill ya to comment? Hee!