Wednesday, August 30

Knitting progress

I am on vacation for 2 weeks. Part of the time I went camping:

I know that horrifies some of my more civilized friends. But when camping there are only 3 demands - food, shelter, and warmth. We got them covered.

I also have been knitting. Here is Icarus:

But then I was painting. I don't have any pictures of the progress, just the muscle aches. More when we move the furniture in.

While I let the paint dry, I picked up my copy of Maggie's Ireland. This is a beautiful book that I saw at the Stitches Market (alas, $40) then went searching for online and found it for $7. Sorry, until we divest ourselves from the post-secondary education market, there will be severe investment restrictions. I thought at first this book would be a fun walk down memory lane, because the setting is Northern Ireland, where we have lived and visited. The cover is the Carrick-a-Rede bridge where my sister posed for about the same picture (if only I could scan!). The knitted garments are a version of haute couture - nothing a process knitter wants to work because they are artistic. But as I slowly picked through the book, I found a hat:

I decided to use some very special hand-spun that I found in the DuPont Square farmer's market when I was in DC last fall.

Now I need a new coat.

Saturday, August 26

There are universal truths

Knitting lace is all about repetitive motion. Knitting and knitting and knitting. The grand collections of our grandmothers were not the result of this practice though. These piles of doilies, tablecloths and bedspreads came way after knitting and knitting and knitting. The knitting and knitting and knitting was that first project because before getting that done, there was knitting, ripping, and knitting, ripping and knitting, ripping.

I bought 2 skeins of lace weight yarn at Stitches Midwest. This seemed like such an economical buy. A whole project from such a small investment. Wind it into a ball and knit the thing up. I thought I would try Khmeleva's sample shawl first. I cast on my brand new gift, bamboo needles, squinted at the instructions, looked at the picture and knit. Then I ripped. I tried again and got to the end of the first side. I showed Galina in my class, because I found "too many" stitches to pick up. She peered at it pulled tight on the table and said I knit too many rows. The really gifted, experienced knitter can count the "holes" in this pattern, the yarnovers, and see the number of rows knitted. Oy. I contemplated adapting but I ripped.

Sitting at a table next to the Stitches Market, I tried again. I cast on, knit away, kept making mistakes so ripped again, but finally got back to where I started. At home, I decided the sane path would be to practice this pattern on big yarn on big needles. I pulled out the SNC and size 7. Phew! Even though I had to finish the last edge in a different color, I found the magic of knitting the sample shawl all in one piece (it's really magic! Try it!). I might send it to a daughter because it's a fabulous wash cloth.

I felt like my first project should be a shawl in the Aut Interweave Knits. I tried it. It beat me up. I couldn't see the picture. Lilies of the valley? Huh? Then I took a look at Icarus. Wow - straight knitting over and over on bigger needles with a little sompin, sompin at the end. This was still hard. I knit, ripped and knit again. Then I ripped it out while sitting in the (almost) solitude of the park on Lake Michigan Rd and I found my stride.

I continued to knit through the 6 hour drive home listening to Arthur and George and I have been knitting again today, watching Tiger fall apart but pick himself back up.

There are some truths about lace knitting:

- there will be ripping
- write down the pattern row you have finished. Pencil and paper are knitting tools
- the lifeline marks your progress and just might save your sanity

- practice makes perfect
- it's not if you make a mistake but when you make a mistake

More gems of wisdom from my classes with Maureen Mason-Jamison and Galina Khmeleva as I encounter problems and remember that I have been warned.

Friday, August 11

Laceweight yarn is thread! The yarn is beautiful and soft as it's sitting in the baskets in the booth but then you get it home, put it on the whirlygig - and it turns into thread!

I bought 2 skeins at the Stitches Midwest Market. This is how 1325 yards of Superlamb in Mallard looks before winding into a ball:

I finished at 8:20am today. Ha!

But there was some entertainment along the way:

Monday, August 7

Generations of confunded charms

I have been confunded by family bitterness - children, sisters - so all I have done is knit and read Harry Potter:

That's the Mason-Dixon warshrag, courtesy of Julie's investment in the book. The purple varigation forms almost a 90* angle through that front dishcloth - very nice, I think. I am thinking of a very clean friend to get the third cloth I am making.

But before all that madness, Julie and I, can you guess:

There is further proof of our exploits at the Yarn Harlot's page. Julie and I pondered the improbability that there were no Hyde Parkers at this event in Beverly when the TWO WOMEN IN FRONT OF US turned and asked if we were from Hyde Park after hearing Julie mention "the #6." Those who need to know will know what that means.

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