Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reaching For "Normal" (Life is not for the weak)

Hats? What's with the hats? For those of you who kindly expressed concern over my recent stress, I present hats! Not lace, and knit by my sister rather than me, but important because they signal at least a partial reduction of my stress. These hats are for our good friend, Louise who you may have heard me refer to over the years. She has posed several times as a shawl model. Once with a Swallowtail shawl (which she then proceeded to keep) and once with the Hyrna which she decided was not her color so she let me keep that one. She even was nice enough to lend me back the first lace shawl I ever spun (which she owns of course) so I could take a picture of it for this blog (pre blog, pre digital photography). I have known Louise for over 20 years and she has been in the hospital for weeks, hence my stress. The great thing is that she looks like she may be on the mend and needs hats since her hair, alas had to be sacrificed. Thank you to everyone who has been wishing me well. I think the good vibes may have helped us both.
As I try to reach for something like "Normal" I have started back to knitting on the International Shawl and have added the leaf pattern that fleegle found in Pitsilised Koekirjad by Leili Reimann. I have a corner shot of the shawl bit it's getting really crowded on this needle so I'm not sure it's the best shot. I'm not going to make it very deep since I still have to fit in "Something Shetland"after the leaf pattern. The increases in the corners happen every other row and the pattern shaping in the corners are strictly, "By Guess By Golly" if you catch my drift. This is a seat of the pants deal as you can see. The leaf pattern is # 114 for those of you who have the book. Unfortunately, I don't think this book is available right now but there is a new book on Estonian Lace coming out by Nancy Bush called, "Knitted Lace of Estonia: Techniques, Patterns and Traditions" Nothing lowers stress better than retail therapy so I have already placed this book on pre-order at Amazon and I have high hopes it will be a fun one to knit from:-)
Below the shawl I have a shot of my new shawl pin. I got it from Romi and it's beaten copper. Very pretty, about two inches in length, the pin is shaped so it does not slip out so easily from the shawl. She has lots of lovely pins and is well known for her lace patterns including Muir and Ice Queen to name a few. As you can see, I have now spun up two colors of merino/sari silk fiber from Enchanted Knoll Farms . One with more pink/red to it, the other mostly green. It's not a thin yarn by any means so I really have to give this one some thought as to what I will do with it. It's the first "Superwash" wool I've ever spun and I did not really like how it felt or spun very much. Think of hair that has been permed one too many times and now feels kind of dry and lifeless. It's still soft, but I'm used to wool that feels "alive" with the scales still on those hair shafts. I still have some more superwash I can try in a different color but if it continues to feel crappy this may be the last time I buy any since I don't make socks. The bobbin of brown singles is the Madder dyed BFL from "A Verb For Keeping Warm". It actually looks nicer than what shows on the screen but there is still only 4 ounces of it. 4 ounces will only get me a triangle shawl or a good sized scarf. I will have to give this more thought. Maybe I can get more? Ha! Fat chance! Oh Well. That's all that there is for now. I am sending good vibes to everyone out there in knitting land as you did for me while I lived in dread. I hope everyone who has a 3 day holiday coming up enjoys it. Happy And Healthy Knitting to you All!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Playing Catch-Up (Trying to Get Current)

It's been awhile since I was last able to post. I've had some unusually stressful things happening lately so I've been spinning more than knitting. Stress was one of the reasons I first learned to spin and the relaxing yet productive nature of this activity never fails me. If I didn't have my crafts to keep me relaxed I'd be a quivering mess of "whips and jingles" as my friend Louise would say. That said, you can see that I did manage to knit a colorful little baby hat out of Lorna's Laces "Angel" in 70/30 Angora and Lambswool, colorway "Lorikeet". One 50 yard ball makes this hat with very little left over. It's for my niece who is expecting.

Since nothing helps me more when I'm stressed than a bout of shopping, I also had to have yet another Japanese knitting book. "Vintage Knitting in Tradition" which I picked up at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in "J" town in SF. Of course, I got it for the lace but it has some very lovely cable sweaters and Fair Isle type sweaters as well. Yeah. I know I have a heck of a lot of books on lace, but I really do think I will get to some of these. In particular I like the simple stole with the "birds eye lace" center and the pretty leaves on the ends. That one looks like it would be relaxing!

The next few pictures are of yarn I bought, put away and proceeded to forget I ever had. The blue Claudia Hand painted lace weight yarn was from Communknity, the cone of Habu 2/48 superfine merino in green and the two cones of Louet Lace Linen 20/2 in Speckled Salmon are from Article Pract. The skein of Whisper (merino wool laceweight) in oranes/greens and yellows was an impulse buy at Imagiknit and the Suri Elegance from the Alpaca Company (colorway Misty Morning) is once again from Article Pract.

I managed to spin up the pretty green batts from Spritely Goods and I'm using part of it for a Knit-A-Long on Ravelry with a group called "One Shawl To Rule Them All". Their group Icon is the Eye Of Sauron. You can't beat that with a stick! They voted on different free patterns to knit or crochet for this group. I am knitting the Woodland Shawl as an Elven pattern. A little on the simple side but hey, it's a knit-a-long so it has to be something most people could actually finish. I think I will have enough yarn left over to make something else. I also bought several batts of fiber from Enchanted Knoll Farm (thank you very much Opal for infecting me) They are black superwash merino with Sari Silk mixed in. The batt with the red and pink silk is called "Raven" and the one with the green is " Araucuna". I have a particular lace project in mind for these if they come out well.

I am going to start back in on the International Shawl and I'm going to "wing it" ie knit whatever I can, however I can do it. I need to do this because I have yet another co-worker who is to retire and I would like this shawl to be for her. So if you see me screaming and ripping out my hair in the future, it will mostly likely be my failure to make this shawl as pretty as I would like it to be. Don't blame fleegle if it sucks since I'm not as elegant as she is with the blending of the lace styles. Hers will be polished. Mine will be...well let's just say it will be finished! We also serve who sing in the chorus :-)