In Full Bloom

On the last day of fall, the day before winter (finally) descended upon us, Smith and I went to the farm for for a photo shoot. The sky was as blue as blue can be and the temperature belied the November date. Smith looked around the fields emptied of crops where he spotted an old rusted truck and he thought would be perfect as a backdrop to photograph my elegant shawl.

Check out the shadow

We had some fun and he captured some great shots of the shawl in action, but I think he was more enamored of the truck.

Skethguru fun

I had some fun with SketchGuru while he took more pictues of the truck.  15761335895_589038cfb5_z

When I saw Cactus Flower I fell head over heels for its beauty, but admit to being slightly intimidated by the construction. The side knit border was new to me and it looked oh-so-complicated, but I decided to step forward despite my angst. As it turned out, there wasn't anything about the pattern I couldn't do and, while I knew it would take me a long while to knit, I was surprised it only took 3 months.

Cactus

As I neared the end of the border, the fear  of not having enough yarn struck. My friends were also fairly sure I'd run out, but I knit and weighed, and right after sending Kim a panicked email, I realized I would make it to the end. As it ended up, to my relief, I had a tiny little ball of yarn left.

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Blocking this shawl took a lot of pins, more blocking wires than I'd anticipated, and about an hour of time. But, seeing the end result of a well stretched lace is worth the time and trouble of proper blocking. 15752213102_d9ae373ace_k

Cactus Flower by Romi
Kim's elegant Woolen Rabbit Lucent
Inspiration and encouragement from my virtual grrlfriends

When I finish a long-time project I feel a little sadness, but that is abated by the joy of wearing something so beautiful every day and I have done so even since it came off the needles.

My Ravelry Here


The WIP Goes On

And on and on. A while ago Kim said she felt the border of Cactus Flower was never ending and it made me realized how much I had yet to knit. At this point I am 11 or 12 repeats into an 18 repeat border and, I must say, it is starting to feel endless. It wasn't until I'd reached the halfway point that my attitude changed to the "endless" feeling. 

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Why had my attitude changed when I was now, actually, on the downhill side? Had I forgotten that I am all about the process? Oh yes, I love a finished project, but I also love being mindful of knitting while I knit. There is entertainment in each loop of the yarn over a needles and being conscious of the action of creating lace. Each nupp brings me joy (after it's completed) and each 38 row repeat gives pleasure, along with a feeling of accomplishment. The process of knitting is all about just that, the process.

By changing my perception, my new perspective has yielded much happier knitting time. Completing each row takes me closer to wearing this beautiful shawl over my shoulders and the advantage is I am enjoying each row as it happens. I no longer look at how far I have to go, but at how much I've accomplished.  It is the process that brings joy.

 


5 Shades of Gray

When you have an excellent experience knitting a project, you have all the confidence you need to do something similar again. Last year I took on Kirsten Kapur's Mystery Shawl and won big with my Germinate a shawl I have worn almost daily since its finish.

Homeshot
Not the best photo, but I like it

The minute I heard about the gradient yarn from Black Trillium I knew I had to use it and, of course, I fell for shades of gray. Crater to be exact. It was the idea of gradients that enticed many a friend to step into the mystery with me.

Blacktrilliumyarnshawl

Some knitters are afraid step into the unknown, take the clues as they come, and wait for the mystery to reveal itself. Knitting time is precious and the fear of ending up with something you don't like is visceral.

I've knit mysteries shawls I've ripped out, giving up after the first clue, and, in the end, I was happy I did. I would not have liked the end product, but I trust Kirsten and her design process. She has a multitude of shawls I'd like to knit and I was very happy to follow her into a mysterious place.

Shawltree
Just as I did with last years mystery, Germinate, I have worn this Mystery Shawl daily since its finish. How the gradients would fit together, the flow of the design from one pattern to another, as well as the border of the last clue, were all amazing to watch as they fell into place.

Aaaaaaaaa

A mystery leaves clues throughout the story, but the final reveal is left for the very end. The mystery shawl does not reveal its true story until it is blocked, the lace is unfurled, and the richness of the color and pattern are shown. Only after that does one understand the truth of its beauty.


From Dark to Light

Do not look at the picture in this post if you do not want to see Through The Loops Mystery Shawl

I have been knitting on the Mystery Shawl and haven't wanted to show pictures in case someone wanted it kept a secret, but I'm going to show it today because it's the only thing I've knit for the last 3 weeks. The Black Trillium Gradient has worked well until Clue #3 when the contrast in shades created strong striping. The stripes were knit in order to mitigate a solid line of a new color and, in the all of it, I truly think it will work out. The eye should pass right over the stripes when seeing the full effect of the color-shaded lace.

Mysteryclue3andbeyond

It looks pretty nice, don't you think? This is through clue #3, so I have two more clues to knit. I'm working on clue #4 now. The color in the photo is bluer than the actual yarn which is charcoal gray. I'm looking forward to a dramatic end to this shawl as the last shade is nearly black.

During my quiet time this weekend an unexpected thing happened. I started listening to William Faulker's "Light in August". I listened as a did a few chores and listened as I grocery shopped. I listened as I cooked and I listened as I knit. I became so rapt in the story I couldn't break free. It was like a python had wrapped around me and help me as tightly as it could. There were times I did not breath, as the descriptions of time, place, people, and emotion held me fast. Finally, after hours of listening (around chapter 10) I realized I had to break free. It took all I had to stop the book and come back into my own life. I'll have to wait for another day to resume the story, as it held too tight a grasp on my mind.

Have you read a book lately that held you in its pages?

Check out Ginny's blog. Knitting and reading posts were her idea. You can join along, too.


Shades of Gray

Unique title, don't you think?

Sweatering

Gray, rainy days provide extended time to sit with ones knitting and I spent part of my rainy afternoon with Hayward. The dolman sleeves have long raglan seams with many, many, many decreases. Even though, I used a very visible decrease that Susan shared with me, the charcoal gray fabric made the decreases hard to see.

I marked every decrease with a coil-less safety pin and used straight pins to hold the body and sleeves together at every other decrease. It's what I had to do to see and ensure I matched each decrease with its partner. I sat under a strong light and slowly sewed together the seam, which, at first, felt like an arduous adventure. Dark gray fabric and old eyes, even with correction, made it difficult to find a rhythm. Once rhythm of mattress stitching was attained, seaming went smoothly and I was able to completely seam one sleeve. Over the next couple of days I hope to sew in the second sleeve and complete the other side. I should have a finished sweater by the weekend!

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At this time I have a "thing" for one shade of gray, as Merle will be knit with a charcoal gray Silky Wool that's in the stash. I've also cast on my next shawl, Promise Me by Boo Knits, with Anzula Milky Way, in (you guessed it) Charcoal. It seems I am keeping up my reputation of knitting in color streaks and the color of moment is CHARCOAL!

I have a one track mind.


Toss Up

Perhaps, I should have had this post ready yesterday to participate in Ginny's Yarn Along. Instead, I'm tossing up a knitting post today.

In reality, I didn't have time to knit this weekend (too many outdoor things to do) and knitting hasn't been a big part of my week, so far.

Faultinourstars
I remain one clue behind on Kirsten's Mystery Shawl (now named!), Germinate. (I love the name!) If I put some effort into it, the beautiful edging could be completed this week, and effort shall be put into it...other projects shunted aside. Eye on the prize.

My reading has been varied, but as sporadic as my knitting. I've enjoyed the last few books I've read (or heard). While they weren't all 5 star books, they were enjoyable to read (ratings on the sidebar). The best of the lot was A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, which is my favorite book of the year. Hands down.  Currently I'm reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and I can highly recommend this one, as well.

June is for Shawls

My procrastination is born of the lack of necessity. The need for Chicane is far into the future and, as summer heats up, the desire to show her off has waned. (We'll talk about fit issues at another time.) Let's talk about the other desire that has taken over my knitting time, the desire for lace, for beads, for red, and something to top it off nicely...a little mystery.

Redder

My attention is taken by two beautiful designs made of two beautiful yarns. I am completely enamored of Cookie's fine handspun, as I knit it into a lacy, exquisite shawl. It is a slow process. Beads need to be placed as I knit across the row, which means, I stop, pick up a crochet hook, insert it into a bead, pick up the yarn, and slip it through the hole in the bead, then set down the hook, and (at last) knit the stitch. The resulting effect is worth the time. Overall the beads will shimmer and an elegant shawl will come to life.

Strawberriesfields
The lace section has just begun, there are many, many more rows to come. Be patient, my sweets, as the end result should be stunning.


An Age Old Knitters Lament

There are a couple of reasons why I didn't want to cast on for either Occitan or Marin. You see, I'm easily overwhelmed and distracted by more than one project, plus at this point in time, I am not a fast knitter. The days of 12 sweaters a year are over. (I knit 11 that year but I had a good excuse for not reaching the goal.)

My production is limited and I'm not a fan of an overload of WIPs, even less a fan of UFOs waiting in the wings. However, there are times when a pattern just won't let go, the idea of knitting it, of wearing it, or of wanting it, just does not abate. One must do what one must do. And I did.

Redbeach

Even though there are more projects on my needles than usual, I have been knitting, a little here and there, on them all and I have not forsaken the elegant and, eminately enjoyable, Beach Glass

Three projects are more than enough, but the finish line for each is a little further away.  One must do what one must do, which means I'll just keep knitting.


The Way Things Go

My usual MO is to stay focused on one or two projects, and I was doing well until Marin and Occitan came along. Their draw was strong, a draw that has been unusual as late, so I decided to jump in and see where this case of startitis would go.

Marinme

The beginning of Marin seemed to go quiet well and I was excited to be knitting with Kim's yarn (Kashmir Sock). But then, (cue ominous music) the pattern got a little confusing, the chart more so, and even starting again (and again) has had me in a befuddlement. I vented to Cheryl, who had also found the pattern confusing, but she was further along than I. Talking to her helped me get things straight (I hope), but without her advise and support I may have remained befuddled and, in the end, given up.  May the third fourth time be the charm. (I will keep you posted.)

Loveoccitan

Because of my befuddlement with one project, I decided it was time to start another. Perhaps, thought I, I am a glutton for punishment, but with high hopes, I started Occitan. Right from the beginning everything went smoothly and I was able to understand the instructions and line up the increases properly. I am so relieved, and quiet delighted, with the results of yarn and pattern. The color, Cumulonimbus, has happy written all over it.


What is Is

Knitting along on my brilliantly blue/purple shawl I realized the end was in sight! Unfortunately, it was the end of the skein...the END of the yarn!  I do not have Susan’s powers, or prowess, of the skein because I don't pay close attention to the pattern/shawl/yarn ratio. I did not think to use a digital scale or calculate yardage. This grrl, meaning me, knits with total blind faith and that's why she gets into trouble. That's me...blinded by hubris. (This is my MO, as you know.)

The garter edge was nowhere near the needed 24 rows, let alone the lace border and bind off. How does this happen? Why am I so clueless? Seriously.

I am blithe...and unrepentant.

Shawlisintrouble

The ball winder was a big help, with about 10 rows of garter and 24 rows of pattern to rip (that is all the way back to the orange pin!). Happily, the swim in the frog pond turned out to be successful, as was getting the stitches back on the needle and then, tinking back one row.  I am, once again, ready to start the edging.

Truly, I thought I had enough yardage, but everyone knits differently and it's up to the knitter to know, to pay attention, and do the calculations. I didn't even think about checking, and so, I will be making the small instead of the medium, which is just fine.

I remain unrepentant…it is the process.