I bought Susanna Lewis' book Knitting Lace, A workshop with patterns and projects a number of years ago thinking one day I would knit the sampler of 92 patterns. After I finished the St Kilda, I knew I needed another large project (I knit socks for the small ones), so here we go.
The Shetland white handspun was solar dyed a couple summers ago - not enough for a larger project using one color, and the musket was spun many years ago.... so why not play with the yarn? This time of year a person gets very tired of drab colors but the musket works well - so like dirt under a blooming clump of daffies, eh?
I am using a size 6 circulars with 60 stitches - about 10" wide and only repeat of each pattern. I decided to knit 80" per panel. I don't know how many patterns for that - I thought originally 23 but now I wonder if 15 is a better guess. I will add a garter stitch border, sew the panels and hang them over my doorless closet in the study. Right now one of my thread crochet curtains (linked lines pattern) conceals the hodgepodge of books, spinning stuff, notebooks, project bags and usually Tazzy cat. My study is too small for the use I make of it and closet doors too.
Anyway, that's my spring project. I am up to the 11th pattern now and very happy to be knitting this lace - a somewhat mindless project.
Always with help - Teddy will be 15 this summer...is that possible?
The sun is getting hot and I need heavier curtains to shade the plants.
That should do it til fall when the sun changes position.
This morning I heard a flock of killdeer flying over the house. There was a quick glimpse of a goldfinch yesterday. Not to mention my garden awakening with daffodils and other spring bulbs. There's just something about yellow, isn't there, this time of year.
I finished knitting St Kilda (Liz Lovick's pattern) using handpun fingering yarn I spun from a shaela Shetland fleece "Fiona" I bought July 2013 from Dawn Driskoll.
M and Dori helped with the psong and photographing...but we'll try to get a better shot later.
New laptop. Same e-mail addy.
Daffodils blooming and it's too nice to be indoors!!
I'm still diligently knitting St Kilda's pattern (and knitting and knitting and knitting) .... and reading and ordering books:
read: Carol Shields: Happenstance, Unless and Stone Diaries (recommended by Mary B)
Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson's Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits (I am still waiting for the 2nd part of Pegasus to be either written/or published. Is that Ebon?)
Peter S Beagle's (writer of The Last Unicorn):Tamsin, Innkeepers Song, We Never Talk about my brother, Sleight of Hand
Barbara Hambly's last half of her vampire series (James Asher) (highly recommended) Blood Maidens, Magistrates of Hell and The Kindred of Darkness
I'll have a new e-mail address once I get a new laptop or tablet (my current one is 8 yrs old...). Next week maybe. I have other things on my mind now that the weather here is improving!
I crocheted this runner (one half shown) from an old crochet magazine late last year. It's been put away and I remembered I didn't show this to you. It's about 8 feet long - crocheted of size 10 thread with a size 6 hook.
Then I knit several items from Liz Lovick's book "Magic of Shetland Lace" with the usual modifications - this time without the lace trim. This is the Crescent Shawl - knit on size 6 needles. I started with a pair of Cyndy's handmade wood ones then changed to circulars - we were driving almost to KS state line and I didn't want to take a chance of breaking the wooden needles. I spun the roving of Shetland/Romney (Hoover) and Shetland (Flame) blend in the colorway "Jungle Refuge" that Jacqui gave me years ago.
The Shoulder Shawl (also without the lace trim) is knit on size 7 circulars of alpaca handspun in different colors from different farms from the last dozen years. It was a good memory exercise as I recalled just when I got the different fleeces, from whom and when i dyed what I did and why and what projects these are left overs from. This ended up about 3 foot square which is perfect lapsize.
Now I am knitting the St Kilda shawl after making a cowl of the same pattern. The cowl is from leftover fawn alpaca from the Shoulder Shawl (and I still have 2 oz left of the yarn!)
And this is being knit on size 6 circulars with "Fiona". I saved this yarn for this project so it seems time to knit it up.
With a little help from Obi Cannoli who is 9 months old. Her coat still is amazing - the colors are highlighted in bright light - the orange and the browns. Trying to get a photo of her.... well, these are the best I could do today.
There is a big snow storm coming in. M and I finished all the garden chores (cleaning up stalks, moving piles of leaves to other parts of the garden to decompose, putting down mulch in bare places, losing my good pocketknife, searching for knife, not finding it but finding more bulbs emerging - and grass to yank up... but not til later).
Spinning a dark grey (or is it brown) Shetland fleece ("Jubilee") from 2010 or 2011 - time to clean up the stash. Finished a Shetland black fleece "Bella" and plied it last week. Both from River Bend Farm in NJ. These remind me why I love Shetland so much.
Anne Tyler’s new one is on preorder Spool of Blue Thread
Kathleen Norris Amazing Grace – a Vocabulary of Faith, The Cloister Walk
Jeanine Davis-Kimball Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines
Penelope Lively Perfect Happiness, Treasures of Time, According to Mark, Next to Nature, Art, Going Back
Robin McKinley Pegasus, Shadow
Whenever one of Penelope Lively’s characters gets a dog, I brace myself. Something awful generally happens and the dogs in the books I’ve read by her are not well described.
McKinley, on the other hand, comprehends dogs. Her border collie in Shadow is perfect. If I had read Shadow before Riley came along (impossible – he’ll be 10 in May), I would have had to name him for that dog – they are so much alike. I am not sure I'll ever get another herding dog - but I'll reread Shadow whenever the urge tries to fell me.
Verlyn Klinkenborg Several short sentences about writing, More Scenes from a Rural Life, Making Hay
Today I read Making Hay. VK wrote this when he was a young man (this is his first book – written in the mid 80s) about helping his relatives put up hay. He’s a townie. Right there I am intrigued and here we go:
“On a turn at the field’s far end, the steering suddenly goes dead. I have flattened a front tire. This, to me, has the appearance of inevitability. I had a level field, simple machinery and an easy task. I planned to cause no snickering. It might have been worse. The steering linkage could have snapped and the throttle jammed, causing me to siderake every crop between here and the next steep ditch. A clutch of farmers would circle the wreck saying, “Never saw anything like it. You ever?”
(omitted a bit)
“But somehow this is where I have wanted to be all along, square in the middle of a farm section with the tractor shut down. Around me, tilled land boxes the compass. The stubble-field wheels through the atmosphere and a southerly breeze arises. I face into the wind and a booming echo assails my ears. I feel like I am being squashed against the sky, a diminutive bug on a divot in a bleu celeste saucer. The sun falls forcefully into the wind-hollows, raising sweat on my arms and brow. We are reaching the time of day when the earth sheds its chroma.”
February 2nd, six weeks til spring equinox, the wheel is turning and we know that soon soon soon, we all will be squashed against the hot summer sky.
Today, however, the daffodils are breaking thru frozen snow-laden ground. A chicken carcass is cooking down on the stove and I long to throw the windows open to let in spring air (it's below 20 though). I have a few ounces of a 2 lb black Shetland yearling fleece to finish spinning and plying then what? Something with color, I expect. And maybe silk. We'll see.
Remember the Gee's Bend garter stitch Shetland/rambo sweater? That's where I began. I used the leftover yarn from 2 small sweaters I made for Christmas gifts (and neglected to photograph them for the blog).
I started at the bottom and worked sideways. I then picked up stitches along the top and cast on for the sleeves as I reached the armhole. Then I pretty much played around for the yokes.
I knit the back yoke/back of sleeves in one piece, the left yoke and front of that sleeve in one piece and the same for the right yoke and sleeve. Then I grafted the sleeves and shoulders at the top. I then picked up each color for the front band. I had enough blue to knit several rows around the entire sweater (thankfully I had 60" circulars on hand).
I used size 7 circular knitting needles - 29", 47" and 60". The yarn was bought at Wal-mart - something called Home Spun - machine washable and dryable. I don't have a yarn band handy to refer to. This sweater took 4 of a red variegated, 1 1/2 of the blue, 1/2 of a solid red and 1/4 of a blue variegated.
The special person this is for?
My wonderful DIL. For many reasons.
Inspired by the Big Top shawl in the Autumn PLY, I dug out some leftover handspun. I had the camel/silk leftover from the camel scarf and wanted to use up some fawn alpaca handspun as well as incorporate the lovely merino Souza "Pacific" colorway that I spun last summer and plied with white alpaca.
I began, as usual, with the best of intentions but as usual veered off the pattern and wandered around for a while.
I used a size 6 47" circs to knit most of the item then went to a longer circular 60" but size 7 circs. Worked just fine. I had enough of the merino/alpaca to single crochet several rounds.
Margaret Atwood: Maddadam, Stone Mattress
Penelope Lively: Dancing Fish and Ammonites, Family Album, Pack of Cards, the Road to Litchfield, Passing On, City of the Mind, Judgment Day, A House Unlocked, Spiderweb, Cleopatra’s Sister, Making it Up
Robin Hobbs Fools Assassin
It’s nice when my book order comes in different packages spaced a few days apart – the Margaret Atwood books (Maddadam and Stone Mattress) arrived first so I was happy to dive right into Maddadam – I had looked forward to the 3rd in the sequel for some time. Toby is one of my favorite characters so reading more about her was wonderful.
I also watched Charlie Rose interviewing Atwood and was delighted to hear about a project she was invited to participate in. I can't recall the name of the project - unfortunately my dial–up is very slow (snowing) so I can't find it. I don’t watch videos on line (again, dial-up) but if you can find the interview, it’s worth watching. One reason for living a long long long time (too long, I’m afraid...rats) would be to be alive when the books are revealed. Oh.... to know reincarnation works and how to work it to be in the right time and place!!
Robin Hobbs’ The Fools Assassin has been waiting in a corner of my book list for a while now. It did not disappoint – and I summed it up for M "It’s essentially 3 male buddies and a baby on a quest". I look forward to the next 2 books in the trilogy. Hobbs, as usual, lays the groundwork nicely in this first book and the Hobbs formula remains satisfying. I tip my hat, always to M, for bringing the first Hobbs trilogy home from the used bookstore and thus embarking us on her lovely world.
Valerie and I have discussed Penelope Lively many times over the years and she asked me last fall if I had read Dancing Fish and Ammonites yet. I hadn’t. Now I have. And some things she wrote about sticks with me:
"Archaeology recognizes old bones as likely to have been powerful bones. If you survived the demands of warrior culture and managed not to get picked off while leading the tribe into battle, then you got the lion's share of resources: food, creature comforts. Bones are intriguing, illuminating - this extraordinary surviving evidence of a life, for those who know how to read it."
This fits very well with the Adrienne Mayor's books on fossils and Amazon warrior women... and secondly, that is what I learned 30+ yrs ago when I was introduced to endurance riding and how to condition a horse for the sport. One of the veterinarians wrote in an (1980?) article that when his horse was dug up thousands of years from now, he wanted the archaeologists to be impressed with his horse’s bones and how well he did the job of conditioning. That has remained with me as a truism about so many things in life.
Lively’s book A House Unlocked is filled with wonderful things – here’s my latest favorite:
" As an activity, gardening is a combination of immediacy and imaginative projection. Perhaps that is why it is so satisfying – a fusion of physical endeavor with a dream of things to come. A garden is perilously unstable. A few decades of neglect and it melts into the landscape, its existence to be read only by the perceptive. It becomes archaeology, with some tenacious growths hinting at what once was there. Gardeners know this: the fragility of the present is set against the robustness of digging and planting, the emphatic qualities of earth and roots and stems. To garden is to seize the day."
I'm crocheting the edging around the camel/silk, fawn alpaca and merino/alpaca afghan/shawl/something or another. I really like how it came out tho I have a lot of ends weaving to do. Photos later...