Old Shale aka Feather and Fan

March 30, 2010

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The Old Shale pattern, nowadays better known as Feather and Fan, is a famous and well-known old Shetland pattern with deep scallops.

It comes in many variations and one can play around a lot with it.

I have used this Feather and Fan pattern as a base in several of my designs and I simply love how easy it is.

Feather and Fan in detail

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The basic pattern of Feather and Fan is a 4 row repeat, in which you work with 18 stitches:

Row 1) Knit
Row 2) Purl
Row 3) (k2tog) 3x, (yo, k1) 6x, (k2tog) 3x
Row 4) knit

Repeat row 1 to row 4.

When you do this 4 row pattern repeat, at the start your piece will look like this:

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See how nicely it scallops? I love it.

But when you bind off, at the end, your piece will look like this:

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Don’t ask my why. It just does that.

At first I had no problems with that. I have made many scarves like this and it didn’t bother me at all.

Nowadays, it does bother me. I don’t find these aesthetics pleasing anymore and I want both ends of my scarf looking exactly the same!

Feather and Fan with multiple of 3

For the Feather and Fan scarf I am working on right now, I am using two different balls of yarn: Lace Merino Silk by Karabella, and Kidsilk Haze by Rowan.

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For needles, I am using 24″ circular Addi Turbo Lace Needles. They are less slippery than the regular addis, and I love how the ends are so pointy. Perfect for lace!

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The Feather and Fan shawl that I am working on right now has more scallops.

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I casted on those 18 stitches, with multiple of 3. So this means 18×3=54 stitches.

I also throw 2 more side stitches in the mix so all in all, at the start of this pattern I will instruct to cast on 56 stitches.

And besides that, I am altering the traditional Feather and Fan pattern a tad little bit, but I will talk about that in my next post.

I specifically want the two sides of my scarf to look exactly the same.

To achieve this, I am taking my first two balls and knit the pattern up until I run out of yarn:

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I put that piece aside without casting off, and start a new piece exactly like it with two fresh balls of yarn:

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After I finish my second half, I will join the two pieces together using a technique called “three needle bind off”.

In my next blog post, I will show you how to do that.

Okay, that’s it for now!

Thanks so much for reading and until the next entry!


Finished: Springtime Bandit Shawl

March 28, 2010

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PatternSpringtime Bandit Shawl
Designer: Kate Gagnon Osborn
Yarn: 2 balls of Venezia Worsted by the brand Cascade
Needles: Addi Turbo 24″ circ. US# 9
Cast on date: March 21, 2010
Cast off date: March 25, 2010

This one makes me swoon

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I only wish you could see this shawl in person, feel its gentle touch, revel in its vintage appearance and have it caress your shoulders.

Dear reader, this one makes me swoon…

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The lace pattern, which reminds me of flower petals or leaves, sway gently this way and that way, making my head spin in delight.

The border has more “open” feel because of the many yarn overs. A welcome change of aesthetics after the more “closed” feeling of the swaying flower or petals section.

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Oh my lordy, what beauty. I want to cry.

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And yet again, the yarn Venezia worsted by the wonderful and affordable brand Cascade, does not disappoint. I have only good things to say about it as you know by now!

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On to the next project

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No time to rest on my laurels, but onward to the next project!

I am using two balls of Merino/Silk Lace by the brand Karabella and two balls of Kidsilk Haze by the brand Rowan.

These two lace weight yarns are going to be knit double stranded into a luscious feather and fan scarf.

I have made this scarf with slight variation on the Feather and Fan pattern before, but now I am ready to write it out and put it in pdf file for you.

It will have a vintage feel to it… I love everything vintage!

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Thank you so much for reading, my dear friend. Hope you have a wonderful Sunday…


Learning how to read a chart

March 25, 2010

Reading Charts

Unlike Evelyn A. Clark’s Flower Basket Shawl pattern, the Springtime Bandit pattern by Kate Gagnon Osborn does not provide fully written out instructions.

When one considers to knit the Springtime Bandit, be prepared to read charts.

I have always avoided charts, and prefer the fully written out instructions, but Kate forces me to finally get over my fear and gain confidence in reading charts.

One learns most when one is taken out of their comfort zone.

Thank, you Kate Gagnon Osborn. I now am no longer afraid of charts. I am an empowered knitter thanks to Kate!

Don’t talk to me! I am counting. Okay?

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Knitting lace requires my full attention. I remember when I first started to knit lace, complete silence around me was absolutely mandatory.

No tv, no radio, absolutely no talking and I would even still my own thoughts.

Oh man… let me tell ya, there is no messin’ around with lace. One yarn over too many or too few can totally offset everything!

But, dear reader, as you may know, a knitting problem CAN ALWAYS BE SOLVED. So don’t let me scare you here.

Knitting lace is also a lot of fun and the results…ah the results are STUNNING!

Tricking newbies into knitting lace

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When I worked at the yarnshop Closeknit on Alberta Street in NE Portland, I often times tricked fairly new knitters into knitting lace.

I would present to them a sample of my Long Fingerless Adrienne Gloves, and told them they should try knitting those.

The pattern consists of the Feather and Fan lace, however, the “yarn overs” are replaced by “knit in front and back” which results in scallops without “negative space”.

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When the knitter would come back to the store and showed me with glee their finished Adrienne Gloves, I would congratulate them with such a beautiful finished project and then, after the facts, I would reveal to them that they had knitted a lace piece.

You should have seen the expression on their face. PRICELESS!

I always LOVE to empower knitters…

Ready to do lace? Go with Feather and Fan!

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If you have never tried lace before, and you think you are ready to, I would recommend you to give the Feather and Fan pattern a try.

It is, in my humble opinion, the easiest lace pattern out there. The following links will direct you to a couple of patterns I offer for free:

Feather and Fan Scarf

Long Fingerless Glove Adrienne

To the experienced knitters out there: if you know of a fairly easy lace pattern for newbie lace knitters to try out, leave a comment in the comment section. I am sure we all can benefit from it!

Almost done with Springtime Bandit

Just a few rows more and I am done with my Springtime Bandit. I am having some troubles with the last bit of the edging part; the rhythm is completely throwing me off and I am making mistake after mistake.

However, I keep on going because I know that the result will be stunning.

And I want my Springtime Bandit. Really bad.

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!


Finished: Flower Basket Shawl

March 23, 2010

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Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl
Designer: Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: 1.5 balls of Venezia Worsted by the brand Cascade
Needles: Addi Turbo 24″ circ. US# 9
Cast on date: March 17, 2010
Cast off date: March 20, 2010

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I am completely smitten by this project! All the stars in my knitting heaven ligned up and the result is simply gorgeous…

The yarn: Venezia Worsted by Cascade

Hands down and bar none, this delicious merino/silk blend called Venezia worsted by the brand Cascade is my all time favorite yarn. It is absolutely a pleasure to knit with, but most importantly, it holds up so very well.

I have made many project with this yarn. Remember my Tubey sweater?

Finished Tubey

And how about my “Attitude Sweater“?

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Need I rave more about this yarn? Nuff said, methinks, but just in case you missed that blogpost I dedicated to Venezia, read all about it here:  Cascade Venezia

The pattern: Flower Basket Shawl

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This wonderfully written pattern is easy to read and easy to follow.

Besides lace charts, Evelyn A. Clark also provides the fully written instructions. This is especially convenient if charts are a bit of a challenge to read.

What I also love about this pattern, is how multiple gauges are given (lace -, fingering -, dk – and worsted weight). Also, one can choose what size to knit (shawlette, small shawl and large shawl).

I am so happy I chose this pattern for my very first triangular lace project. It was literally easy peasy cruisin’!

Blocking lace…sigh…

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To see your knitted lace reveal its complete beauty once it is washed and blocked… dear knitter… this brings me infinite joy.

This part leaves me gasping for air, while my heart skips a bit or two…

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Oh the beauty… I am not deserving of it…

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Oh Nancy, stop being so dramatic. What’s next?

Next up is a triangular shawl called Springtime Bandit, designed by the very talented Kate Gagnon Osborn.

I first learned about Kate’s design talent, when my friend Elizabeth wore her Springtime Bandit Shawl:

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I fell in love with it and for a year now, I have been wanting to knit this beautiful shawl. I even wrote an entire blogpost about it: Springtime Bandit.

A year ago, I could not find a suitable yarn in a suitable color.

But guess what…I found the perfect match:

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Yet again Venezia worsted but now in a deep blue!

It goes so well with my new cherry bomb earrings. I am such a girly girl…

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!

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Flower Basket Shawl in detail

March 21, 2010

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The Flower Basket Shawl (FBS) is off of my needles. Yay! I am so happy with this project. I knitted this project with lots of love and meaning.

Next, a very detailed description of my progress will follow. Lots of technicalities! Are you ready? Let’s go.

Provisional Cast on

This pattern starts with a provisional cast on, which is a method completely new to me. It was challenging to fully grasp what I needed to do but thanks to a wonderful tutorial over at the blog”Get it knitted”, I was able to figure it out.

Click here for the tutorial.

It took me several try outs, but I got it in the end! It is quite nifty…

Wonderful lace rhythm

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First of all, the pattern is so very well written. Easy to read, precise, and no where in the pattern was there a challenging spot for me to understand.

Thank you, Evelyn A. Clark, so very well done. I love it!

The flower basket lace pattern looks deceivingly difficult, but I have discovered it to be very easy. It has a wonderful “rhythm”, and I just wanted to keep on going and going. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Joining a new ball

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For joining a new ball of yarn, I choose to apply the “spit splice” method.

Step 1: Split the ends of working yarn and new ball of yarn in two.

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Step 2: Now you have spliced each yarn end in two. Of the two divided strands, cut one strand, so that you have a short end and a long end.

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Step 3: Connect the short end with the opposite long end. Dip your finger in water (or use some spit – yuck -), wet the strands just a bit, then rub the two strands thoroughly between the palms of your hands. This is called the “spit” method. This makes it felt and it becomes one!

Now twist the long remaining strand around the connected strands.

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Step 4: Now, the shorter strand remains. Apply again the “spit” method.

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TADA! Connected and you are ready to continue!

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Casting off loosely…

Most of the time, a pattern will tell you to cast off loosely. I always have a hard time with casting off loosely but found a way to fix my problem:

For casting off, I always use a needle size that is twice bigger than my working needle size.

So, since I am working with needle US 9, I use needle US 10.5 to cast off. Works well for me!

Time to Block!

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I always submerge my piece completely in water with a just a drop of Eucalan.

I gently take it out of the water, and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Then I roll it in a towel, push hard on my towel to squeeze out even more water!

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Pinning fun!

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For blocking you need pins and blocking wires. I don’t have both but substituted pins for safety pins, and blocking wire with just a smooth yarn.

Next I applied Yarn Harlot’s ingenious technique for lace blocking.

Click here for her wonderful tutorial!

I meticulously followed her instructions and it is simply grand!

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Phew! All done! Now, I relax and wait for my shawl to completely dry. Cannot wait, cannot wait!

I think I deserve a cupcake…

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Thanks for reading and until very soon!


A new chapter in our life

March 18, 2010

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Today, while waiting for my husband at a fountain, somewhere in downtown San Francisco, my heart skipped a beat when I saw him walk up to me with a bouquet of fresh spring flowers.

Feeling rather giddy I told him that I casted on a very special knitting project. “It is a lace project and it is to always remember the start of this new chapter in our life”, I revealed to him with, I am sure, sparkle in my eyes.

But my dear reader, this project is also to commemorate and to give thanks for the beautiful time I have experienced in Portland.

For this occasion, I have decided to cast on the Flower Basket lace scarf, designed by the one and only Evelyn A. Clark.

Flower Basket Lace Shawl and Scarf

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It was Eunny Jang who, through her blog, introduced me to this gorgeous piece of lace. Too new of a knitter, I could only dream about knitting lace. But I promised myself, that one day, I am going to knit this piece.

And that day, my dear reader has come! Oh joy!

With some Venezia worsted by Cascade, and Addis US#9, I have started this special project today and am very happy with it so far.

The lace pattern is fairly easy, and has several “anchors” in each row which I can focus on for when things go awry. And believe you me, things do go awry in lace knitting.

I simply cannot wait to finish this project!

Good match with my vintage inspired style

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The color, the yarn and the project have also been carefully chosen with regard to my wardrobe. See, I love vintage inspired dresses and shoes and I think that this lace piece would go so well with my style.

I already envision myself struttin’ with my gorgeous lace shawl, carrying with me the wonderful memories of friends made and good times had in Portland. All the while, walking hand in hand with my husband, with whom I feel closer to than I have ever felt in our marriage.

Life is truly grand…

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!


San Francisco!

March 17, 2010

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Now that the chaos of packing up and saying goodbyes has dwindled down, I can finally take a moment, pause and write a  blog post.

What in the world just happened? Really, too much and to chaotic to write about in detail. One thing is for sure a reality: I am no longer in Portland anymore. As of last Monday, I am located in the city of San Francisco!

Feeling immensely THANKFUL

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For the past 3 years I had the wonderful opportunity to connect with the knitting and crochet community in Portland. A big conduit for many many connections I have made was working at a yarnshop Closeknit on Alberta Street in NE Portland.

Words cannot express my gratitude towards this cute little yarnshop and its community. You have welcomed me, embraced me and nurtured me to become a happy and confident knitter.

You have encouraged me to become a better knitter, to design, and in the end given me confidence to actually offer my patterns for sale. Your support of my work, means so much to me.

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My friendly community

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When I came to Portland in February 2007, I realized that I did not know a single soul. With no family and friends around, and a husband that was absent due to traveling for work, I remember how alone I felt.

However, I was determined to build my own community in Portland. And I did it with the help of so many kind people, knitters and non-knitters alike.

I am simply floored by the friendliness and immense kindness that you have given me. That, my dear friend, is a gift for which I will be forever grateful.

Let’s stay in touch

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Let’s stay in touch, shall we? Keep on visiting me here, on my blog.

And you can always see what I am up too on Twitter! I do some funny things, you know… like hiking up a steep San Francisco hill with my high heels on… trying my best to still look elegant.

Also, you can find me on facebook, and of course on Ravelry! I would be so honored if you would befriend me.

And I always LOVE to hear your comments. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to hear from you. The way you reach out to me, really touches my heart.

Thanks again… thank you for everything!

Your friend,

Nancy Ricci


Aw…shucks…

March 6, 2010

Over at the Closeknit blog, they wrote an article about me…

Aw, shucks, you guys…go check it out:

Goodbye and Good luck

Tomorrow, Sunday March 7th, is my very last day…

Come see me…

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