07 February 2008

The Ice Queen Cometh

Well! Purple Ice is finished and sent off to her new home.

I love the way she turned out. The black currant flavor color of ksh is one of my very very favorites and I found the perfect beads at my local bead shop.

Pattern: Ice Queen (by me) from Knitty, version A stockinette with version B chart
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Black Currant, one ball plus 2 yards (arg!)
Needles: Addi turbos size 5 and 7 (I used the smaller needle size from the garter stitch version, even though I knitted stockinette, to tighten up the gauge a little bit because my friend has very short hair and I wanted it to be a little more snug)
Measurements before blocking: length measured to bottom of scallop: 18", circumference at top: 23"
Measurements after blocking:
length measured to bottom of scallop: 22.5", circumference at top: 20"

Hopefully, my friend will enjoy wearing this one!

I've noticed that in threads and on blogs, several people have talked about their Ice Queens being too short and/or running out of yarn. We'll tackle the length issue first!

My guess is that the problems with length are most likely due to one of two things: blocking, or lack thereof and/or using a different fiber for the project. Above all else, it is absolutely imperative to block your finished Ice Queen. Those of you who may not have knit lace before will be used to being able to wear sweaters and hats and scarves without blocking. Sure, they look a little bit rough, but they still look good! Well, lace is an entirely different creature. When you take it off the needles, it is not ready to wear. The looser the gauge, the more it will need to be blocked to achieve its finished measurements. Ice Queen will seem much too short. But a nice wet block will fix you right up!

To block, fill your sink with cold water and add a touch of wool wash (doesn't need to be rinsed). Submerge the lace and swish gently to get it thoroughly wet. Remove from water and gently squeeze to remove excess water. Lay lace as flat as possible on a large dry towel and roll towel. Squeeze. Here is the part where I confess that I always walk on the towel to get all of the water out. Works like a charm! Lay out gently and pull length. It will also become narrower. This is good. You want it to be narrower so it will be a bit more snug. Ice Queen does not need to be pinned, only patted into shape. This is what it looks like laid out to dry:

It will dry fairly quickly. The whole process takes about an hour, perhaps a bit more when the air is damp. Not much time for a great result!

The other possible problem in regards to length is in using a different fiber. For instance, merino is very springy and will not hold a block the same way the mohair/silk blend does. If you use a different fiber, please be sure to swatch and block your swatch! There is a good chance you will need to knit more chart repeats, and therefore need more yardage.

Second: running out of yarn. Heh. I ran out of yarn on this one with ten stitches left to bind off!

But this is how much yarn I had left over from the blue Ice Queen shown in the Knitty pictures.

Huge difference, eh? I thought running out of yarn was due to differing gauge among knitters, but I think it may have more to do with different dyes and/or the amount of moisture in the air when the yarn is being skeined. It is measured by weight and not yardage, so it really wouldn't take much added moisture to throw a 25 gram ball of yarn off by several yards. I am in the process of measuring the amount needed to do a picot bind off on both top and bottom, at the request of a sadistic helpful Ravelry member. And then I'll post it all over the place. :)

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Blogger Gudrun Johnston said...

That Black Currant colour is sooo scrumptious!

12:15 PM  
Blogger thursday said...

Thanks for the lace tips (I'm still not ready for this one though!). I love the color of this one, and the matching beads look great!

12:38 PM  
Blogger Glitter said...


2:19 PM  
Blogger Ronni said...

That color is gorgeous! And I'm grateful that you're going to do that calculation because now I'm terrified that I will run out of yarn... Better buy two balls just in case.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

It is so lovely!

5:08 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Oooh pretty. Makes me wish i could wear mohair. That's a gorgeous color!

5:18 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

This blackcurrant version is stunning Rosemary!

5:44 PM  
Blogger Monika said...

Your purple Ice Queen is very beautiful! I still haven't knit one, but sometimes it's good to wait and listen what people have to say. I need to find a place to get some beads and a hook, I want to try this. :o)

5:48 PM  
Blogger Sereknitty said...

Oh, so lovely! That black currant colour was the perfect choice. Your friend will be delighted!

5:58 PM  
Blogger lv2knit said...

Thanks for all of the helpful tips. I am in the mood for a few smaller projects and this one is in my queue! Just need to finish my Sweethearts!

6:02 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Just STUNNING, Romi! Definitely my color. Doggone it, I wanna cast mine on but I'm forcing myself to finish a gift first. I have lovely star-shaped beads from EarthFaire to use for it.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Maud said...

Beautiful colour! I'm very temtpted to start this one too.

9:11 PM  
Blogger cyndy said...

The Black Currant Queen is my favorite!

Thanks again for a fabulous pattern, it is so interesting to see the "many moods" this pattern can convey, depending on the combination of yarn and beads....

5:02 AM  
Blogger mle said...

Absolutely gorgeous!! that Black Currant color is perfect!

5:40 AM  
Blogger a friend to knit with said...

that is so gorgeous!!
i am sure your friend will LOVE it!

6:05 AM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Rosemary- The thing I'm asking myself is, why don't I have that color in my stash?

I must be nuts.

10:00 AM  
Blogger del said...

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! Wow. Did I say it was gorgeous??

10:06 AM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

Absolutely gorgeous.

See you in two weeks! (I hope!)

1:28 PM  
Blogger Cindy/Snid said...

I won't say gorgeous... but it is beautiful! I think that whole moisture factor is going to be an interesting thing for me here in humid country... it is very different.

3:00 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

Absolutely gorgeous, especially in that divine color!

7:37 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Gosh, your Black Currant Ice Queen may possibly be even more beautiful than the blue one! I simply can't decide. I just love it.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Galaneia said...

I have a question about the pattern.
The instructions say to cast on 156, but also says that the pattern repeats 6 times per round. The chart is 24 stitches across at the base. 156 doesn't divide evenly by 24, 156/6=26. Is there something I'm missing about the pattern? I'm feeling very confused.

3:36 PM  

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