28 September 2007

Things I'm definitely not buying... and one thing I am

Oh dear. I knew my shite photography skills would not capture the quality of this Sundara "marine over willow" laceweight silk, which arrived last night. Her photo is better than mine, but neither really do the colors justice. I opened the box and was, honestly, ravished.

(Oh, and, by the way: I got some Sundara! A little miracle!)

This Aran silky merino in "pine over gold" fares even worse under my shutter finger. The colors are mostly teal, with hints of dark greens and a little brown and gold. And they smell like horses. Indescribably delicious.

However, I am not buying yarn. Not me. No. Neither am I buying magazines (including Martha!), novels, doodads from Etsy, handbags and other bags, shoes, coats, sweaters. Knitting patterns, also no. And no more yarn. I have enough. And I want to trim the pile(s) of things waiting, patiently, maybe with a touch of evil, for my attention. My life essence. It's nearing the end of 2007, and taking stock suggests that once again, I have started more than I have finished. I cannot give myself fully to the Moth while so many other worthy projects are stacked up in view.

Um, neither can I give myself fully to the Moth when I go and recklessly start a Feather-and-fan Comfort Shawl. Dadgummit! I'm infected. See?

Not using any yarn I don't already have, though! From left, it's Manos in Wildflowers; Fleece Artist Basic Merino Socks in, yep, Wildflower; Colinette Tagliatelli in Forest; and Ella Rae Classic in the enigmatically-named "11". Might need a bit of brown in here, and there's some in the stash.

Last week at work I did something rather daring, and brought Moth to a meeting. I paid for this minor act of independence with a case of nerves and some errors in my lace. The upshot is that I'm still not done with the first section. I miscounted repeats, and this week has been a reiterative round of fixes and errors. Still, onward! And my mad knitting insurgency continues at work, but with Feather-and-fan.

There is something I plan on acquiring, though, and it is Sabrina Gschwandtner's book KnitKnit. I saw it yesterday in the Coop, and it's breathtaking. There are no projects in there practical enough for me to knit; had there been I would've run screaming. (No. More. Patterns.) It's inspiration only. I foresee a bigger, madder, more rebellious insurgency in my knitting soon.

(P.S. Locals take note: the entire run of KnitKnit the periodical is available for viewing at the Fogg; you need only make an appointment. Shall we go together?)

23 September 2007

Block Party!

So many things to report! Max headed over this past Saturday for some Moth KAL action and knit-aide, and a mini-spinning lesson. I crawled around on the front lawn with my bum in the wind:
Outdoor Fun Blocking

....blocking Simone's lovely Gothic Leaf Shawl. The neighbors have no idea what to think at this point. The shawl, well, it's just lovely! It blocked out evenly and the cashmere plushed up even more.

I was bound and determined to get some spinning time in this weekend, as I had back-burnered all other tasks while working on the shawl. So I picked up one of my bundles of Citrus merino from HelloYarn and got to work! I have (so far - I have 2 bundles, this is the first) about 350 yards or so of the plumpest softest yarn ever. Here it is on top of the rest of the unspun stuff:
Citrus On Citrus
Quite thirsty-making, no?

So now it is back to the Moth! Max has completed her first section of repeats - I have some major catching-up to do. I'm already thinking about how and where I can perform X-TREME blocking - she'll be quite large when done, and those baords just won't handle it.

20 September 2007

Reunited, And It Really Does Feel So Good

Four Shawls
(clockwise from top left: Icarus, Crystalline, Hanami, Gothic Leaf)

I present to you four lace shawls. And the drama surrounding 2 of them.

In early August, I headed down to The Jers to see family and for a mini-vacation. I had just completed the Icarus Shawl, so I brought that, and I also brought along my First! Ever! Lace! Shawl!, the Crystalline Shawl. On my way back up to Boston, I visited with my grandmother, where she promptly kidnapped the shawls to show off to her Bridge Ladies. A week or two after that, I called down to see if she could send them up here - I wanted to enter them into a fair. So to the post office grandma goes!

That was August 23rd.

The shawls never arrived. I had hope (albeit, minimal), but my grandmother was HEARTBROKEN. DEVASTATED. I explained to her that I am a process knitter, it's okay, I still have hope, etc. But I could hear it in her voice every time I spoke with her that this was making her crazy.

On Tuesday she returned home (from bridge) to her envelope of the shawls! With a big sticker stating "Address Does Not Exist"........I have lived in the same place for EIGHT years. My house was built in the 1880s. I receive mail and deliveries.

Anyway. They're back! Here are some individual pics of the two missing shawls (taken at grandma's):
Icarus Completed
Icarus - knit with Misti Alpace Lace.

Crystalline Shawl
Crystalline Shawl - knit with.........I can't remember :(

I'm glad to have them back! Meanwhile, more lace was made: Hanami (more, better pictures to come), and the Gothic Leaf Stole, for Simone:
Simone's Shawl

I completed Simone's Shawl (well, it still needs blocking) in less then 2 weeks. This was knit with the most luxurious Mongolian Cashmere.

I put everything on hold to knit this up - I know myself enough to know that I would have waited until the last minute otherwise. Expect more posts on spinning soon........I have some catching up to do.

19 September 2007


Just saw this on Daily Candy. $275 for a hand-knit, cashmere scarflette. Another reason to learn to knit!!!!

16 September 2007

Got buttons?

The Moth grows, and grows more slowly now. At the ambitious outset I’d planned to do a daily 8-row repeat; I’m a full week behind now. I just don’t know when I shall be done! It hasn’t lost its charm for me, but I’m back on my academic-year production schedule now, and I'm nursing some tennis-elbow-like injuries. But I must like knitting lace well enough, because I just ordered some wonderful Sundara laceweight in “Marine over Willow.” (I do love her naming conventions.) This color looks like old denim - old as in well-worn, and old as in vintage. Lovely.

Got buttons? I have. Went to Windsor Button yesterday to pick up some little pearls for my new Spencers. The best size, I think, is 3/16", because that will fit perfectly inside the ox-eye without being hidden. But 3/16" buttons were $0.59 each, so about $18 for the 30 I need. Erm... no thanks! The fellow there pointed out this bag of Ralph Lauren buttons, $5 for a few hundred, plastic (sadly) and 5/16", but still smaller than the size Rowan recommends and not too bad-looking. So if you’re making yourself some Spencers, I gotcher buttons right here; you have only to ask!

Thrifting, we regulars agreed this week, was shite. I did acquire some boring items of a practical nature for fambly members, but nothing that made my heart sing until I spotted an ugly quilted bag (sparing you, dear readers, the sight) attached to these acorn-finialed wooden purse handles. So satiny! Together with this corduroy dress (the only piece of clothing left from my daughter’s infancy) they’ll make a nice woodland-creature knitting bag.

Work has been tough lately, enough so that for the first time in years, I’ve been experiencing that well-known Sunday afternoon dread. The kind that starts on Sunday morning. Early, if I wake up in the middle of the night. The antidote is a good long walk in nature.

So last Sunday afternoon we went to the Arnold Arboretum, an enchanting place we don’t often go because of its grumpy-making Jamaica Plain location. But it was perfect this day. All cool and clouded over. We wandered lonely in the conifers, and even the bonsai house was deserted.

Some of the bonsai are over 300 years old. This one, though, looks positively pre-Cambrian.

We haven’t decided where we’ll go today. But I’m feeling a quantity of dread that means a long, long walk, sandwiched in between Moth rounds. So see you soon! I hope your Sundays and Mondays are all good.

10 September 2007

I Make Lace, I Spin, I Block Lace, I Spin More.

Ah, so much to report! First off, a lovely time knitting this past Saturday, where I worked a bit on Wing O' The Moth with Max before setting mine aside for a wee bit. Simone has asked me to knit a shawl for her for her wedding, so I figured best get started on that.
Simone's Shawl

This picture does it absolutely NO justice - the yarn is stunning (Jade Sapphire's Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply) and the pattern (Sivia Harding's Gothic Leaf Stole) is simple enough to memorize and work through. I'm barreling through this (Simone gave me the yarn and needles on Saturday afternoon, here it is Monday and I have 1/3 of it complete).

For some bizarre reason, the warm weather of last week had me spinning a whole bunch. I managed to make it through my August Fiber Club acquisitions:
August Yarn

This is about 170 yards of Lincoln fiber, 2-ply, kind of coarse, maybe sport weight? I'm not good at that part. This is the August selection from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber of the Month Club.

HelloYarn Club August

This is Mollusc, the August selection from the HelloYarn Fiber Club. This spun up to about 260 yards of fingering weight.

I've been enjoying these fiber clubs - I'm trying out fibers I don't think I normally would have picked up, as well as learning more about the different breeds. Also, trying out different spinning techniques. Though I find I continue to spin to yarn weight that I prefer to knit with.

My last item today is this poor picture of the completed hanami Shawl, blocking:
Hanami, Blocking

I'm happy with how this came out - the yarn was stunning to work with, the pattern was easy enough to follow. I worked the first half of these charts upside-down, then flipped at the mid-point - I wanted to have the leaf pattern on both ends. This went fairly quickly, and I would consider doing it again, though I think I would make it a wee bit wider.

Next up: more pictures of Simone's shawl, some talk about socks, perhaps some UFOs.....

09 September 2007

High-temperature knitting bee

Simone, Stacie, and Alayne braved the heat, the additional lack of air conditioning, and the yet-additional-on-top-of-that fact that I’d had my oven on for rosemary shortbread (fresh-picked rosemary from the herb garden) to come over and roll in some wool today. Those are Simone’s shapely gams at the north; Stacie in the east, Alayne in the south, and there you have my peasant-shaped flippers in the west. Simone said that her outdoor thermometer read 124° (it’s in the sun); I’m certain the actual temp hit 100°.

What would Stacie do? That is the question I ask myself when faced with a gnarly lace problem like a bad stitch count. Yesterday I had the opportunity to ask in person. Answer? If you just can’t figure it out, fudge it. Turns out that’s what Alayne does, too. And so, permission granted! Jesus and Mr. T (above) look on approvingly.

Who knew that the Moth smelt soooo good? Stacie is taking a wee break from hers while I catch up. I’m halfway through the fir cone section; should be done in another week.

And in thrifting news, this wonderful score, a Hable-like vintage curtain too short for a window, but just right for a skirt. And that will bring me to 13 skirts. Not up there with Soulemama (and more power to her, because hers, like mine, are mostly thrifted), but I might have to let an old one go after I make this addition to the wardrobe.

I skimmed Nina Garcia’s Little Black Book of Style this weekend (from the library), and I didn't find much of note in it, but I was inspired by this Andrée Putman quote: “I love America and I love American women, but there is one thing that deeply shocks me: American closets. I cannot believe that one can dress well when you have so much.” Now, if there’s anything un-American about me, it’s probably my closet; still, this women has my attention. Stay tuned as I ponder this topic more, much more, before actual deaccessioning begins.

07 September 2007

Knit Night Cupcakes

Ok. Who's making these for knitting tea tomorrow at Max's?

Business in the front, Dorothy Hamill in the back

Who on earth is this person? I think her name might be Doris. She has to get by on a little less than she’d like, and it’s hard. She probably has a crush on another soccer mom but can’t admit it to herself. And she spends way too much time fundraising with her alumnae group. Doris should take up a nice hobby like knitting.

No wait, that’s me, after painfully growing my hair out long enough to donate it. Those last couple inches were ghastly—I look terrible with really long hair, though not nearly as gnarly as I do now. And before you all delurk in your hundreds to tell me it isn’t that bad, trust me: it is. Hint: Business in the front, Dorothy Hamill in the back.

Now when I went in to the salon, I expected I might have to explain a few things. Turns out they send a big packet of 10" braids to Locks of Love every week! As I learnt from the website, there are a number of medical reasons for hair loss in children, and lots of kids needing hair. So if you’re thinking of going short, do please think of donating. (Note: the salon did a great job for very little money. I have nothing but admiration for their work—I just don’t look good like this.)

In knitting news, Wing o’ the Moth continues to rocket along at eight rows a day. That’s a pattern repeat daily, which means I’ll be on to the next pattern two weeks from starting, or the 16th of September. Stacie is graciously waiting for me there...

02 September 2007

Moth race!

Stacie and I got together today to jump–start my Moth and progress on hers. This KAL, you may remember, is the most KAL of all KALs, because not only are we knitting the same pattern, but we’re using the same yarn (Hello Yarn Lace Weight wool) in the same green/brown colorway.

Dueling Moths, looking deceptively non–competitive as they sun themselves during some of the last beautiful hours of summer. The Moth in front (mine) isn’t really harboring any illusions it could ever catch up—just kinda pretending for a minute.

Here is a truer picture of the relative sizes of our Moths. Stacie has got through about four repeats of the first chart; today I did one. A good start! Not ready to say that lace knitting isn’t my cup of tea. But I do think I’ll cast on for another pair of Spencers or something just to have going in the background...

“Bumpers are for bumping”

That᾿s what Stacie said when she steeled herself to drive home after we put our Moths down. I live in a pretty kindly neighborhoood; nobody blocked her in. She did it her own self, for the simple pleasure of parking right in front of my house. Here᾿s the back of the situation; nothing to work with there:

Here᾿s the front; looks like she has about 2 3/16" of racing room:

Et voilà! The full catastrophe. We᾿ll have to ask Stacie how many turns it took her to get out, because I didn᾿t have the heart to stay for the whole thing. My neighbors prolly watched, though.