Zen Ziggity

The minute I saw Ziggity she was on my "to knit" list.  I waited while Kirsten had it test knit and watched daily until she published the pattern.  I felt sure the colors I had set aside would blend, would look like part of a piece, as was my vision of my version.


Ziggity had her way with me, as she was entertaining, interesting and enjoyable, whist being easy and charming.  In fact, Ziggity finally took over my knitting desire completely and kept me rapt and enchanted. Her pretty upper border (you can see a tiny little bit in the photo below) attracted me in the the beginning, but when the knitting started I was slightly intimidated. It didn't take long before I had the hang of the repeat and found it very easy to remember.


The yarn also has an ease about it, with its subtle shading and warm hues.  Ziggity and madtosh danced through my fingers and swayed my heart.


Now that she's finished I love her more.  Ziggity is easy to wear, her shape is long enough to wrap and stay, plus she can be worn in many versatile ways.  I love this shawl and have been wearing her daily.

My Ravelry Zig

Flying By

If it's the end of November, which means Vicki was here two months ago! How can that be true!?  Two months? Alta Retreat seems so long ago, but also like it was yesterday. Memories of autumn colors, the relaxing weekend, and the visit of a friend, are beginning to fade into the hubbub of life. It's hard to believe we're in the midst of the Holiday season and approaching a new year, a New Year, Christmas. Wow, just WOW!

Vicki was very focused on her Different Lines shawl whilst knitting during the Knitters Retreat. Because of dedication and focus she finished the shawl and we were able to fit in a photo shoot before she left.  This is old news, I know and you've seen the picture of her beautiful shawl before, but this is a day I love to relive.

It can't be that long ago, can it? In any case, Vicki gave me one of her beautifully dyed skiens of "Virginia", a lovely soft pink she named for her grandmother.  Inspired by Vicki's Different Lines, a shawl I had been unsure I would like or wear until I saw how lovely hers was, I started one of my own with her beautiful yarn.

The pattern was just as much fun to knit as Stripe Study, but different enough not to be redundant. It was pure entertainment.  The short rows are quite amazing as they create a wide end and a short end to the stripes. Veera, the designer, has an eye for the elegance of asymmetry.



Simple techniques and stitches can create quite an impact when used in creative, unique ways.  The shawl is light and airy, the fabric created with light fingering and a slightly larger needle.  Ravelry details here.


This shawl is very dear to me, as it's made with the gift of hand-dyed yarn. It's a treasured hug from a dear friend.  Thank you, Vicki!

To Dye For

Inspired by Vicki and her make.do.dye for Project Spectrum, I went out on a limb and knit a Holden Shawlette with undyed yarn.  The yarn, a mystery stash yarn of 50wool/50silk, was perfect for a soft and delicious wrap and the intent from the beginning was to follow Vicki's lead and dye it.

The dye pot was stuck in the back of the pantry, covered in dust, unused for who knows how long (a long time!). At the beginning of this adventure there must have been an inkling of desire or I wouldn't have inched my way out onto the limb. Deciding a color was difficult (constant state of indecision is me). I didn't want green (duh), didn't want blue (knit with enough blue lately), didn't want yellow, or gold, and was unsure about red. That doesn't leave many options, but something about the fall colors, and warm red-oranges, enticed me.


There was no scientific formula, just a seat of the pants kinda move, as I mixed up a teaspoon full of dye in rust, a big pinch of scarlet, and a dash of brown, then dumped it into the dye pot (with a couple tbls of vinegar), right on top of the already wet shawl. In truth, I should have used more scarlet but, as I said, it was a seat of the pants move.


The pot cooked for 30 minutes, but as it neared the end, I could see the shawl was saturated, the dye not quite exhausted. With hope I tossed in a skein of white junk yarn to absorb what was left and it did the job! It turned a very weak orange which left the water clear. I did not take pictures of any part of the process until the shawl was blocked. As I said, this was a seat of the pants move, but I’m rather delighted.


A Study in Stripes

Vicki posted pictures of her beautiful Different Lines yesterday. Did you see how it draped so beautifully around her neck?


My shawl, Stripe Study, has been around my shoulders from the minute it was finished. Kim's glorious yarn makes it soft, drapy, warm, and lovely to wear. Lucky for me, Vicki took a couple FO shots when we visited Silver Lake. (Can it really be over a week ago? she wailed.)


Last night I was able to take a few close up photos in my garden.


At first glance the stripe pattern seems quite simple, but the shawl is knit with short rows which create an asymmetrical pattern. One end has thinner stripes and the other end has wider stripes.  I used a chocolate brown (Godiva) and a soft pinkish tan (Woodrose), in Woolen Rabbit Lark.


Usually, garter stitch stripes looks odd on the back side, but the garter effect created an interesting pattern, and almost third color. No need to worry if you have this shawl on "wrong", as both sides look beautiful.


I may be following Vicki's lead to make more than one of this Striped Study, but I'll definitely be trying Different Lines, too. The creative use of stripes is rather addicting, interesting to watch as the shawl grows, and very fun knitting.

Whale Tale

It all started when Yarndude posted his Blue Whale.  It was an amazing creation of complimenting and contrasting knits and purls.  Desire came to the fore and off I went in search of the pattern, which was just out of reach.  It was February and the pattern would not be published date until April.  I waited, checking the designers page every day in April, and then one day, there it was...mine for the taking.


Blue Whale almost turned into my Moby Dick but, I refused to be Captain Ahab and let this one get the best of me. From the get go I had troubles, all mine, as per usual. If you make this incredible work of art let me give you a tip. Go through and mark (highlighters are great for this) all the make ones (left and right) in the pattern, don't leave any of them out and, also, make sure as you knit you "make one" on the correct side of the marker (markers are a must).

Now, dear knitter, do not think this shawl is difficult, because, the truth is, once a textured section is set up knitting across the row, there and back, is effortless. After I started the first section twice (must pay attention to ALL make ones), the seas calmed and the sailing was smooth.


The most fortunate part of this whole experience was the yarn, received as a gift, which happened to be dyed as if to capture the depths of the sea.  (String Theory's Caper Sock, color Slate) The celadon greens, earthy browns, stormy purples and muddled blues, created a tonal eddy of color. The MCN creates a sheen even the camera lens could not defeat. Not even my miles of frogging daunted the quality of the yarn.

As the ball of yarn grew smaller and smaller, I knew I a storm was brewing and, instead of taking heed to check the yardage, I just knit on, asking for trouble Into uncharted waters I sailed as the waves grew heavier. I am not good at due diligence and, as I've said, all the troubled seas were of my own making.


With only 4 rows of a 6 row border I knew, by the very small ball of yarn, binding off would be a crap shoot. I nearly made it to the end (15 stitches short), but was too disheartened to take out the border and start again.

I felt as if this poor shawl would end up to be nothing but a rag.  It poofed and pooched, with the top border looking puckered and haggard. I was so unsure the shawl would be worth blocking. It looked more like a drowned rat than a beautiful, elegant shawl. Knitting is an act of faith and I confess, my faith was wavering.


I should have known better, should have kept the faith as this it was not a white whale. Swimming in a sea of suds gave my whale new life. Its metamorphosis was almost instant, as the drape of the yarn infused new life into the incredible design. I tenderly pinned her into shape and set her free to roam new seas.


Stunning she is in her new glory.

The Sun, The SUN!

The sun has been playing hide and seek and we're a little sick of the game. Over 10 feet of snow still sit in the highest elevations and every river in the state is headed for flood stage as the temperatures wearm.  It’s a damned if you do, damned it you don’t kinda year.


CuratioRav_linkredyarnball was a lovely cure for the gloomy mood which had descended with the never ending days of gray and rain. The sunny color helped lift my mood and the easy lace kept my focus enjoyable and light. 

Knitting with Kim's gorgeous red, New England Red, and the luxuriously soft Pearl yarn felt like I was holding the summer sun in my hands. It made me feel gloriously warm.


Curatio's architecturally constructed lace is uncomplicated and unique. This isn't a lace you can become complacent with, as the design may seem straight forward and simple, however, it actually a case of simple elegance.  Kirsten has many little tricks that keep the lace aligned, strong, and elegant. Between the yarn and the design, sat a very happy knitter.  Curatio single handedly cured the gloom.

Happily Hamamelis

No matter how many picures, or the setting of the camera, I have been unable to capture the true, the electric blue nature of this shawl.  The photos do not show the blue and purple flashing against the electric turquoise, which all in all creates a neon like color.


Even though Hamamelis spent too many months on the needles it was not because she acted up, it was because I was distracted by other shawls, other needs, the desire to give to friends and family. Hamamelis was always considered mine, as giving her to someone else seemed the wrong thing to do. Once she was back in progress the knitting went smoothly and quickly. She entertained all along the way.




Wild Woman did a happy dance when I wrapped Hamamelis around her. A little electric blue, to brighten gray and rainy month, has been the right way to go.

All That Matters


Saturday was the day I gave the Haruni ShawlRav_linkredyarnball to Margaret. As an unexpected gift should be, it was a complete surprise, and seeing the shock on her face turn to joy, gave me a gift in return (oh, and the hug!). We were together for the next couple of hours and she wore it regally.


Margaret is Suzy's Mom, which means friendship from Margaret has been given twice over, squared if you will. She knew Suzy would love knitting socks, she knew Suzy would like my blog, and she knew Suzy and I would be fast friends. She knows everything, except how deserving she is of this gift.


Knitting this shawl, with this beautiful yarn, for a beautiful person, was a joy, but seeing it wrapped around her shoulders, with a smile on her face, was all that mattered.
Raveled hereRav_linkredyarnball

A Beautiful End

Thank you, dear blog readers, for your warm and heartfelt wishes as we step into 2011.  The end of 2010 was a little hard to swallow as so much of my knitting time went "bad".  What can you do about knitting that doesn't want to cooperate, live up to it's "good" name, or give back the time and effort you put into it?  You can't do anything! Except, perhaps, remember the good knitting, the beautiful knitting, the rewarding knitting, and the knitting that made you smile from ear to ear!

The last project I finished in 2010 made me feel as if I could fly.

Susan's Fog Lifter was the bright spot in my last few months of knitting.  Fog Lifter, named for the fog it helped to lift after my surgery, also lifted my spirits and put a smile on my face. Two balls of beautifully dyed wool (400 yds each) from Plain and Fancy Sheep & Wool Co. (no web address), made a generously sized wrap, a  warm and cozy wrap. (Here is a link to the Fog Lifter Susan knit for my birthday and it is an oft worn shawl.)


The rhythm of the stitch pattern was easy to get into, and yet, it was interesting enough to keep me on my toes. The crochet bind off was new to me and it was a fun technique to learn and add to my knitting repertoire.  This shawl was so much fun to knit...you know you want to knit one, too!!


Fog Lifter: Raveled Here

Perfect Backdrop

Silver Lake is a special place, one of peace, friendship and beauty. It's a spot that draws us on a regular basis, one we can travel to quickly from our home. The short walk around the lake, about a mile, is just enough to calm the soul and enrich the spirit. Silver Lake is also a perfect place to photograph finished project, to show a creation of ones own.


Traveling WomanRav_linkredyarnball (a free Ravelry download) was happy to travel up the canyon for her debut. If one is known as a traveling woman, then she should travel when she can. Silver Lake will not be her last stop, as she unfurls her wings for a flight across country, to adorn the shoulders of a friend.


Happily, there was sufficient yarn to add a repeat and make the shawl a little larger, even if there was a little deep breathing during the bind off. Ten yards was all that was left (with a sigh of relief).

After struggling the last few months to find my love of the process, it has returned with a flourish.  Traveling Woman, in combination with the divine yarn, assures me she will be the warm hug I cannot give in person.

Raveled hereRav_linkredyarnball