Friday, June 30, 2006

Doncha Just Hate It?

When you run out of yarn this close to the end.

Creativity and the yarn stash to the rescue, resulting in finished hat, flanked by the two rescuers, a lovely basic wool on the right and an English kid mohair on the left, which courageously held hands throughout the final 10 rounds or so of this hat. Tell me this looks like I intended it all along.
At any rate, this is Hat No. 1 for Afghans for Afghans. Back to our regularly scheduled lace obsession, at least till next week.

Poetry, Sorta

Holes, a single thin line stretching.
Why am I making lace?
A fabric barely there.

I turn old soon, and I don't like it.
Regrets, regrets.
Children are spit-spliced onto parents.
I suppose I should have had some.

Art Saves Lives, the pin says.

I made quilts to find out who I am.
I put the pieces together so the seams disappeared.
Splice a whole cloth from yards cut up and sewn back together.

When does my lace tell me who I am now?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Budding Prosperity

Ah, vacation.... It was great, and there was too much to tell you about, so let's just leave it at two things: It was sunny most of the time (a miracle for the Northeast right now) and I went to two yarn shops. Two lovely, lovely yarn shops. I can't imagine how that happened.

On the knitting progress front:

First, I'm about one-quarter through Joanna's Prosperous Plum Tank. It's working up beautifully in Rowan's Calmer yarn,

although I'd say my ssks leave something to be desired, compared to my k2togs.
Ah, well, it'll make it look handmade, right?

Second, it's less than a month till the July 21st deadline for donations to Afghans for Afghans, so I'm going to whip out at least one child-size hat between now and then. This is the beginning of Sally Melville's Canadian-Winter Hat, from her book The Purl Stitch, in Phildar Superwash Lenox Bulky yarn. A quick-and-dirty, I hope.

And finally, one beautiful bud on my New Dawn rose.

If the mosquitos hadn't been biting my every extremity, I would have taken you a better photo, but I sacrificed enough blood in northern New Hampshire, so this is all you get.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


First day of vacation. I feel better already. So low-key, in fact, that this post is going to be short on blather and heavy on pictures.

First up: The Garden.

Nice, eh?

Then, a short photo-essay on What I Did on my Summer Vacation, Day One, Morning One:

Emily of Emily's Needlework, my LYS, gave me the mug, gave me the Yarn Harlot bumper sticker, and sold me the aqua Rowan Calmer, for Joanna's Prosperous Plum Tank, and the bright blue Sesia Windsurf, for the Lotus Blossom Tank in the current IK. Oh, and Elsebeth Lavold's Book Number One of patterns - the Viking Knits Collection. Now I'm ready to vacate. I love my LYS.

Looking for lace content? I give you the Lacy Cables Shawl, one-third complete. Ta-da!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Let's Get This Straight

This summer I am knitting ALL six of my lace projects named previously (I don't remember all their names now: my mind, what's left of it, is reserved for bigger and better things). I consider this extreme knitting, and extreme insanity as well. Plus, I have somehow acquired two skeins of Schaefer's Anne this past couple of weeks (see, up above ^) and I am resolved to design my own lace patterns (heavily borrowed from Barbara Walker, no doubt) and make scarves from these beauties. And I believe I just ordered four skeins of linen with which to make a beaded lace shawl.

So, as it's Father's Day and that means it's time to check progress on the lace front (there's an obvious connection in my overheated mind), I present to you my one-quarter-completed Lacy Cables Shawl:

And my maybe 10%-completed Arrowhead Shell:
The others? Well, let's just say I have two vacation trips coming up in the next two weeks and I expoect to take many of my little lacies for a summer tour of northern New England. First, we'll be going to New Hampshire, just west of Mt. Washington, for the regional meeting of the Dragonfly Society of America. Then over the 4th of July weekend, a friend and I are going to Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, where we will chase yet more dragonflies.

I would not be at all surprised if I come home with more yarn than I set out with. I can't imagine how that might happen, but it just might.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


It's a photo! Blogger is letting me post photos again! Yay! OK, so here's the blankety-blank column of knit stitches that should have been purled - see in the middle of the pic that column anchored by the pin at the bottom - that's the little ba**, ahem, darlings.

And here we have the dropped-and-purled-up-again stitches - see that sinuous ditch leading ever upward, there in the middle? Don't they look fantastic? Don't they set off the lace on either side? (Say yes, or I'll scream; it's been a bad week.)

And here we have the house number post that Earle carved - if you see it, drop in!

In other news on the fiber front, I took a trial class in weaving on a Japanese Saori loom. Saori Worcester offers classes in weaving on Saori looms, which are simple, two-harness looms, designed to be easy to use and easy for many people to use, because different warps can be interchanged on the same loom framework. This little mat was just my playing around with various yarns - nothing planned or special, but fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Character Building, Dammit

I knit because it's fun, allegedly. So why is it irritating the blue blazes out of me right now? I have an exemplary character, thank you, I don't need any more!

Example A: That Lacy Cables Shawl of mine. Simple, really. I've been enjoying it. Beautiful yarn, the occasional cable here and there, lovely thing. Except for the realization that my shawl was not turning out like the one pictured in Knitter's. This shawl has five vertical columns of lace, punctuated by cables. The five columns are separated by two stitches. In the magazine photo, those two stitches look like they're purled, but it's not really clear. The chart shows blank cells for those two stitches, meaning k on right side, p on wrong side, whiuch I've been doing.

But having gotten through a little more than a repeat of the 36-row lace pattern, I had this little nagging thought in the back of my mind: those stitches are supposed to be purled.

Nonsense, I said! The chart is wrong, clearly! Some fool made up an incorrect chart, and I like my shawl just the way it is, even if it is different from the photo.

But I didn't like my shawl, not really. I wanted those two purled stitches to set off the five columns. And I took another look at my copy of the chart.

Why, look! There are TWO blank cells in the legend for the chart! One says K on RS, p on WS, the other says P on RS, k on WS. Hell...

So I looked at the original chart in the magazine. Lo! The second cell in the legend is shaded in! As are all the two-stitch columns in the chart!

Damned photocopier did away with the shading. So I spent last evening undoing 46 pairs of knit stitches (the yarn held up admirably, by the way) and redoing them as purl stitches. That's one of four such columns of 46 pairs of knit stitches, mind you. I took myself out to the Adirondack chairs in the backyard and settled in for a relaxing evening of dropping stitches.

The phone rang. The mosquitoes AND the black flies found me. The Carolina Wren decided to sing loudly practically right in my ear. The fledgling Chipping Sparrows were lisping inspidly and constantly, begging for food. Earle wanted to show me the house number post he'd carved and set in the ground and then go for a walk. I went. So much for progress on my knitting.

By 9 PM, I had fixed one column, except for the rows I had inexplicably missed. My admiration for this yarn has increased yet again - it's hairy, somewhat like mohair, but with a bit of effort, it frogged and knit up and frogged and knit up, again, and frogged again, dammit all to hell, and reknit up, AGAIN, with no real problems. I, on the other hand, was completely exhausted and went to bed early. Now I want you all to tell me how much better this looks with purl stitches between the lace columns.

Once Blogger lets me post photos. Grr. I think I need a better/easier/different blogging platform.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Run, Run, Run

Let's see if I can get off a posting in the 30 minutes I have between more-or-less finishing my dinner (two string cheese sticks, a fancy granola bar and an apple; I'm still working on the apple) and zooming off to the Planning Board meeting. Did I mention that I just got appointed to the Planning Board? And that I have a meeting or something scheduled for every night this week, except Friday, and Friday I should go to the mall and use up my $60 worth of JJill coupons. And you wonder why I don't post more often.

No rest for the weary. Oh, and I have to go get changed for the Planning Board; I can't get away with wearing the jeans I wore to work. That just Isn't Done around here; we take our civic responsibilities seriously.

Knitting: Go to the Jager Icelandics web site and buy all their yarn. It's great. No, wait, leave it all for me. No, wait, I'm supposed to be saving up for a wheel. No, wait, I want the knitting world to know how great their laceweight is.

OK, while the photo is loading, I'll go get changed. I hope I can still fit into at least one skirt that goes with the (knitted-by-me!) top I've got on. And a public service reminder: Don't eat baked beans the night before a Planning Board meeting, even if it was a graduation party.

As I was saying, this yarn is stupendous. Incredible depth and diversity of color, lovely sheen, really nice feel - hairy, but not scratchy, and with a nice lanolin overtone, works well on my needles.

If you're really good, I'll post a photo tomorrow night of what I've knit so far with it...

Friday, June 02, 2006


[Editor's Note: Kindly excuse the lack of photos. I have tried for three days to upload photos here, and nada is the result. Use your imagination; that's likely to be better than my photography skills anyway. Sorry!]

Apparently, I'm only supposed to have one teammate (aka lace project) for Amazing Lace. And right now, I'm smitten with six projects (well, more than that, lots more, actually, but I'm only counting lace projects here) - how can I choose among these beauties?

Mohair, for those cool nights of late spring and early summer. Four ounces of hand-dyed mohair plucked, a decade or more ago, from Elaine Eskesen's shop in Damariscotta, Maine. It's destined to be Eugen Beugler's Ostrich Plumes stole from the Spring '96 Interweave Knits. However, first I have to get by the slight problem that half-way through the first repeat, I have 5 more stitches than I should have. Just a little jog in the road to paradise...

Sea Silk, for the sticky days of August. Here we have a lovely ball of pink and green Hand Maiden Sea Silk, just waiting to be knit up into, into, ... well, hell, I know I had that pattern around here somewhere. I think it's Evelyn Clark's
Flower Basket Shawl from the Fall '04 Interweave Knits, but I'd know for sure if I could just find the damn pattern. I know I tried knitting a swatch on circs and the tips kept sliding right out of the yarn, so I bought myself a pair of bamboo straights, which are, by some miracle, with the yarn, but the pattern .... well, maybe by my next post.

Cashmere, for always, in subtle grayed blue. Which is about how long it's going to take me to knit the
Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting. Especially since when I tried to swatch, the yarn broke on row #3. That would be the first row of real laciness, after two rows of garter stitch. Prediction: This one's just for show, at least for this summer.

Jaeger's Trinity - silk/cotton/polyamide fibre, pale icy blue, for a lovely summer knit. This will, whether it likes it or not, become Katherine Hunt's really lovely Aguave lace pullover, from Knitter's magazine, Summer '05. However, I'm already up (down?) to a third swatch, as swatch #1, with the suggested needle size, was way too big. Swatch #2, with needles two sizes smaller, is still too big, even after washing, so it's on to swatch #3, on, coincidentally, size 3 needles. Here's a pic of Marguerite's finished Aguave - lovely, isn't it? This is the only photo of Aguave Google would find for me, but it's a good one!

Cascade Pima Tencel, deep purple, for those mindless days of summer, when all you want is lots of smooth, sleek stockinette, with just an arabesque here and there to liven things up. Now that I'm finished casting on three times, and have finally figured out that ssk is not k2togtbl, and even conquered that odd double decrease, more or less, I think this Arrowhead Shell by Barbara Venishnick, from Knitter's, will fit the bill. If I don't run out of yarn. I bought the right amount, but somehow it's going by awfully quickly.

Rowan Felted Tweed, wool/alpaca/viscose, tweedy light green, because you'd think I'd know better for summer knitting, but I don't. This is for the gorgeous Jean Moss Eriskay Cardigan, from the Fall 2000 Knitter's magazine. This knit up beautifully, I almost hit gauge on the first try, but then I realized a dreadful fact: This is not lace. This is twisted stitches, not a yarnover in sight. Hell....

Enter Plan B: Conveniently, I went to the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Fest this past weekend and there I found, in addition to the spinning wheel of my dreams, this beautiful Icelandic laceweight yarn, in the colorway Gemstones, a green/blue mix, from Jager Farm Icelandics, of Haydenville, Massachusetts. I'm saved. And then, browsing through old knitting magazines as I was drifting off to sleep, I came upon Gayle Roehm's Lacy Cables Shawl, from Knitter's of Fall, 2001. I have the right yardage and the pattern even calls for Icelandic laceweight! Clearly, this is destiny calling.

There's not a chance that the Amazing Lace-Mistresses can coerce me into choosing just one of these.

Of course, we can predict that about a third of the way through any of these, I'll get frustrated/bored/seduced by a new pattern or yarn, or maybe even by spinning, and these luscious summer shawls will get stuffed in a bag or a box or a basket, somewhere.

I never was good at yarn monogamy. But a heady summer fling with all of these, all at once, well, sure!