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.


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.

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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.

Hammy Yarn Along

Hamamelis hogs all my attention, as her lace has unlocked its secrets and I can't seem to get enough. The last repeat is falling into place and will be followed by rows and rows of garter ridges, the simple elegance of which pleases me to no end.


A minor (as it turned out) catastrophe befell the yarn (fortunatly not the shawl), as a dog (who shall remain nameless), whilst in the midst of an panic attack, defiled the unsuspecting ball. I did not see the nasty creature dog leave my side, but alas, he stealthily cause havoc and hardened my heart. Thinking about the yarn in its abused state saddened me.  I couldn't leave it in its state of disgrace and, of course, I could not knit with a tangled mass, and so, in the quiet hour(s) of the early evening, I carefully set to untangling. 

As the knots and tangles slowly fell from my fingertips, I listened to American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a delightful distraction. I’d have to classify myself a fan as I've read, and loved, several of his books. Instead of a picture of my iPod, the picture shows my favorite summer book, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I've read it before and, hopefully, by reading it again, summer (or at least spring) will make an appearance.

I'm happily joining Ginny, of Small Things, in her Yarn Along.

Yarning Along

This post cold also be called "At Last", as I haven't touched poor Hamamelis since January! Back then I was struggling with the pattern and watching every stitch I made. With patterning (garter stitches) on both sides, I was easily confused and couldn't (quite) see the design.


This week I picked the shawl up again and, even though I'd stopped in middle of a repeat, things fell into place, the design was apparent, easy to see and keep straight.  After a only a few hours of knitting, much progress has been made and I feel excited, and relieved, its going so well.

Most of my reading actually involves listening and, because of the iPod, the number of books I've read has increased. I listen when knitting, walking, and even working (slow days can be deadly dull), but the past year I decided I must take time to actively read a book.  The heft of the book, the feel of the paper and turning the pages...there really is nothing quite like it. I read one or two books a month this way and have started using the library for more than downloads or CDs.

At the moment I'm reading "How to Knit a Heart Back Home", by Rachael Herron (one of my first blog buddies!) and enjoying the beauty of a romance unfolding.  As you can see from the cover, knitting is involved, too.  On the iPod is "The Love of My Youth" by Mary Gordon.  The story takes place in Rome and her writing is lovely, which makes this a perfect book for the ear.

Today I join Ginny in her YarnAlong.

Scre-e-eching Halt

The minute I started the border of Haruni I tried to conjure the spirit of the Queen of the Last Inch. She often finishes a project with inches to spare. Sadly, I do not have her powers and her force was not with me.  I swear, only Susan has the touch. 


Luckily, someone on RavelryRav_linkredyarnball was willing to part with a partial skein and, as soon as it arrives, I'll be able finish the last four rows, along with the crochet bind off, which eats up the yarn! The flowers of Haruni will soon be adorning my friend's shoulders.


Knitting with this glorious red has my fingers itch for more! Truth be told, I have the lace projects lined up as far as the eye can see. While lace is a good companion, and I believe creating holes is a nice thing to do, delusions of grandeur may be returning.  I'd love to hear what shawl has recently captured your imagination.  Are you knitting lace, too?

Color Full

Since finishing Henley (photo shoot soon, I promise), I've felt like a weight has been lifted from my knitting time. Henley never felt like an obligation, but I didn't feel as if I could ignore her. It feels good to have a beautiful sweater to wear (finally!), but the relief in finishing is palpable and most refreshing. Now, onto other good knits.

Last year I made a promise to knit something blue at all times and, as it turned out, it was easy because it took such a long time to finish anything. Henley is finished, but I still have a sock project on the needles in same color, Forever in Blue Jeans. We shall discuss the sock at a later date, but suffice it to say, it grows, as it is portable.


I still love the color blue, but with Henley on the needles for 7 months, the craving for new, bright color grew. The "new yarn shelf" in my room tells the tale of how I have been attracted to anything directly opposite blue on the color wheel.


The shelf holds potential for a summer run of shawl knitting, which I’ve already started. My dear friend Margaret deserves a shawl and HaruniRav_linkredyarnball, with its elegant edge of petals, is perfect. (How I love this glorious red.) I’m carefully knitting my way through the edging and hope for a finish in the next few days.



While my knitting is not (always) about the project, it feels good to have a sense of accomplishment on the heels of finishing Henley. The vibrant red gives my spirits a needed boost and the warmth of giving a hand knit gift fills my soul.

Sending Lace Prayers

(click button for Blue Sally's blog)

Every stitch was created with the prayers and healing thoughts.  It is a gift to be able to give time, love of process, and a beautiful handmade creation to someone you love.  My heart is full of thoughts for the recipient and grateful to hear she improves each day.  From across the miles this is not all I can do, as I can continue to pray for her strength to return and for a continued healing. 


Fountain Pen by Susan Lawrence, published in Interweave Knits Spring 2009 knit with Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin, Kornblume

On the Other Hand...

..there is reason to knit for friends when they are well, when you want to let them know you care.  Sending hugs, and love, is never a bad idea.  This skein of Casbah wanted to be a small shoulder shawl and the simply lovely Traveling WomanRav_linkredyarnball fit the bill.  The yarn is deliciously soft, which is perfect for keeping ones neck safe from cool fall breezes. Milkweed was knit with the same yarn in a rich blue and it's quite delightful.


As it turns out, Sock Mojo turned his back and hightailed it out of town.  It might be because I wasn't feelin' any love for him and I just couldn't get into sock knitting.  The call of lace was loud and he knew my attention had waned. Poor guy just could not compete.  A lace project, small and portable as a sock, presented itself, and its proper accompaniment (the yarn) also became clear.  It felt quite right to eschewed Mr. Sock Mojo and turned to my love of lace.  One must follow ones heart, so...there you have it. Plain and simple, lace wins.