because there is nothing better than friends bearing gifts of yarn.
See, I fell in love with the laceweight that Margene is using for her Icelandic shawl. I emailed her to ask where she had gotten it, and she told me that the Plain and Fancy yarn company didn't have a website and they only went to one wool festival a year, the Estes Park Wool Market.
Hmmm, I thought. Don't I know someone who's going to the Estes Park Wool Market? Someone nearby? A kind and generous person whom I could possibly convince to schlep wool halfway across the continent for me?
It's true what they say, when you need something, you should ask your local librarian. Carole brought me this yarn all the way from Colorado, via Utah!
Probably no one remembers this but me, but after I saw Claudia's Birch last year, I was determined to have a persimmon orange shawl. I really wanted my wedding shawl to be orange, but couldn't find laceweight orange yarn at the time and wisely decided that 3 months before my wedding was not the time to be learning to dye. I am still really happy with that decision, but I still want an orange shawl, someday.
And Carole and Margene just happened to pick me out orange yarn! They're like Psychic Friends bearing gifts of yarn, that's what they are.
Now, what shawl should I knit with it? Decisions, decisions...
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
because there is nothing better than friends bearing gifts of yarn.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Well, this weekend was a complete washout, so I had to shelve all my gardening plans (I stupidly invited my garden club to "tour" my "garden," all five square yards of it, so my standing weekend plans are weed and plant, weed and plant).
Since I could neither weed nor plant, I broke out the sewing machine, the one my hubby very sweetly gave me for Christmas. In a perfect world, I would like to be able to make most of my own clothes, because I loathe shopping and I am difficult to fit. So far, I am the queen of the elastic waist garment, but I am trying to stretch--hahaha!--my horizons a bit.
First, I stuffed my dummy. My, that sounds disgusting. Let me tell you, stuffing one's dummy can be a powerful incentive for a diet. Horrifying amounts of polyfill sacrificed their lives for my dummy.
Then I dug through my fabric stash to find the blouse I started three years ago. Please, allow Dummy to model it for you:
I put the blouse away three years ago because it was too low cut in front. The shoulders have since been pinned up and it seems I need to seam-rip them, bring them up about an inch, and correspondingly extend the armholes down an inch.
Is this going to happen? Why, no. Instead I decided to finish the blouse as begun, and wear a tank top underneath it for modesty's sake. But in the future, now that I have Dummy, I can adjust and pin patterns right on her *before* I sew, and maybe things will fit.
But before I can finish the blouse, I need to find the sleeves. Opps. Seems they've gone missing.
Instead, I made some of the Heather Bailey headbands (pdf)
and an elastic waist pair of shorts
and a super-quick elastic waist skirt.
And I'm still plugging away at the Swirl Shawl, whose pattern appears to have many holes (I'm feeling so punny!) in it. I fear she will not be a success.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
And here we see, once again, Swirl Shawl off her needles (doesn't that sound like a knitterly euphemism for stone-cold-crazy? As in, "she knit that %&^*$ shawl again? she IS off her needles...")
This time, the frogging is the result of a math error (now that IS a euphemism, it's really the result of laziness). I remember thinking as I started the first border, "hmm, maybe I should calculate the repeat multiplier for the second border BEFORE I start the first border." But then I decided that it would all work out.
It didn't all work out.
The first border pattern has an eleven stitch repeat, but not just any combination of eleven stitches will do (that's the part I ignored above). Each second-border-repeat utilizes three first-border-repeats, so the first border has to result in a number of repeats divisible by three. For instance, 429 stitches creates 39 eleven-stitch repeats (429/11=39). 39 first border repeats will provide the necessary stitches for 13 second border repeats (39/3=13).
Oh, and I strongly suspect the pattern is missing a row. But if I can't see it, it doesn't exist.
So I happily continue long after others would have moved on to one of those fetching Icelandic shawls in the book that finally got delivered Saturday, hoping my math calculations are correct this time, even though I really truly do think I'm missing a pattern row. La-la-la-la-la, ab,cd,efg,hijk, lmnoI can't hear you!
I have been told that a flaw of mine is this stubborn refusal to give up on things that are clearly not going to work and a waste of time, just because I am hell-bent on beating them into submission. Just in case you were feeling compelled to point out that personality trait in the comments. I am aware.
Really, it's not so much that I'm hell-bent on beating the pattern into submission (although--don't get me wrong, I am), it's that I find the problem-solving wildly entertaining. Doesn't that make it sound less psychotic?
P.S. Oh, for you yarn fans: I'm using a Shetland laceweight. It's a medium laceweight, but sticky and wooly. It's dirt cheap and considering this is kind of an oversized swatch--at this point done more to work the pattern out than to actually create a shawl--cheap seemed good. And it holds up to frogging extremely well.
Posted by Martita at 12:30 PM
Monday, June 12, 2006
Yes, dear reader, I must confess that Claudia is exactly right: after I wrote that post, I totally fished that puppy out of the trash. I took the loss of Swirl Shawl pretty hard, for three reasons:
1) I feel compelled to knit lace (probably because this time last year, I was consumed by it), and my Icelandic shawl book hasn't arrived in the mail yet.
2) As I knit Swirl Shawl, I had gradually increased the needle size so that, when folded in half, it nestled perfectly around my neck like a snuggly little ferret. Of course, I discovered that my needle increases had been successful only after I took Swirl Shawl off the needles and into the trash.
3) If ever completed, Swirl Shawl would be so gorgeous. Here she is, as a doily.
(The pattern is online, free, but the link is broken right now so I can't steer you there).
But if she were ever to be completed, she would have to be less boring. That spiral pattern is beyond endless in laceweight yarn. I was bored stiff by the time I got to doily size; I would never make it to shawl size. Climate change would put New England under water and dinosaurs would return to Earth before I got to the border of Swirl Shawl in laceweight.
I fished her from the trash to see if there was some way to create the spiral pattern while only knitting a semi-circle (thus eliminating half the knitting!). This is the only time in my life I've ever wished I had progressed beyond pre-calculus, because my head hurt just thinking about it.
As a full circle, my only recourse for getting to the good stuff quicker would be knitting with heavier yarn. So I tried casting on with old, motheaten white medium weight laceweight (sort of halfway to fingering weight). It showed the pattern even better than the alpaca had, but I don't have enough of that yarn to complete a mitten, much less a shawl.
I then cast on with leftover laceweight merino from my wedding shawl. It is infinitely more pleasant to knit with than the alpaca--it's springier, softer and far, far less hairy. But the difference in diameter between the merino and the alpaca could be measured in microns. It might be slightly heavier, but oy, still endless.
And then, out of desperation, I cast on with the Icelandic laceweight I bought at Cummington. This stuff is really heavy--very nearly fingering weight. It knits up really quickly, but it's so heavy I fear it'll have no drape and be stiflingly hot when folded in half.
The swirl really plays up the variegation. I can't decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing: it turns Swirl Shawl into Psychedelic Shawl, which could be cheesy hippie or kind of fun.
While I kind of like the coloration, I think Swirl Shawl needs a lighter yarn. Surely I can find a medium-weight laceweight with some color variation, for that tie-dyed, dropped-acid hippie shawl look.
Maybe my book will get here today...
Saturday, June 10, 2006
BORN: March 2006
DISCARDED in the bedroom trash can that the dog rummages through:
Yea, verily we dwell in the valley of sorrows, for Swirl Shawl no longer swirls among us; yea, a whole skein of Knitpicks alpaca laceweight has been bequeathed to the trash; and yea, what was once beauty is now debris.
But we must find the light in our sorrow, our beacon of hope. For now, where Swirl Shawl might once have stood, will stand Icelandic Shawl; for now, eyes and fingers will not be tried by manoevering hairy thread into stitches; and for now, arthritis might be forestalled yet another day.
And the pattern remains for future generations to be stultified by. When their televisions break, when their GameBoys are no more, when People Magazine ceases to grace the earth, and minds need dulling, Swirl Shawl, with its endless lulling rhythm of "knit one, yarn over, knit two, yarn over, knit to last two stitches, knit two together" will soothe those fevered brows into the blessed relief of sleep.
Go bravely into that good trash can, Swirl Shawl. Grace the garbage with your elegance and spirit. We will always remember you. And someday, we'll think, "well, maybe I could try again..."
And then the sharp crack of a friendly palm will jolt our downy cheek and we'll remember that Swirl Shawl has already had its day, and failed its audition.
Rest in peace, Swirl Shawl. We wish you a happy eternity in Knit Heaven. We know you will find many fine and valued friends there.