Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Stopping the Chill on the Back of My Neck

All this focusing on shawls and pretty things for around my neck brought to mind task that I needed to do before we get deep into winter.  It is time to give my shaws a good airing.

From the time I started knitting, these small shawls have been my badge of honour, a reminder to myself that I was more, that I could do and be anything.  They were shield through some very hard times.  Through the last couple moves, they were tucked aside and only a chosen few that had been pulled out, were worn regularly.  I had my large shawls tucked in my sweater chest, and that has been enough though I wear something at my neck almost everyday for at least part of the day.  The back of my neck is always cold.  Seeing these pretty things laid out across my bed makes me want them back in service doing the job they have always done..

I currently keep my shawls and scarves, each tucked in a bag, in an underbed storage box and while it works, it is more a pain than anything.  It is an irritant to get them out and put them away so they end up sitting quietly unworn or in an untidy pile on my dresser.  Harrumph.

Some of my favourites, the delicate Viajante, the brilliant turquoise Aestlight, the pretty golden Eye of Partridge shawl made from  gift yarn from Brian.  I will never forget Brian's retelling of his first visit to the yarn store, nor Barb and Marcene's laughing as I told them.  And that brilliant Noro shawl on the end.  

And my first knitted thing from my first real spinning in that soft undulating blue or the Kureyon green shawl that always was commented on when I wore it.  I treasure the memories of that stormy day at the yarn store, matching yarns to make striped shawls and that plain blue lace scarf above?  It remains the only thing I ever won in any contest. It is such a beautiful thing. And way at the back is the softgreen shawl I wore in Kiev to Anthony and Olga's wedding. 

And light summer colours that remind me of friends and my pretty yellow Oscilloscope Shawl that I mean to knit again.  It was so much fun.  And there at the back a treasured prayer scarf.

And that bright blue summer wrap whose colour taunted me daily at the store until I bought it.  The shawl is Tuscany from No Sheep for You and still is one of the most fun knits I have ever done, and the Damson in the blues and blacks and the soft cream to black of my small Multnomah Shawl.

I need to find a better way to store these pretty things, something with easier access, but also where I can see them.  When they are out, they will be worn and I really want to do that again.  They will do much to keep the chill of winter away.  

Here at home, I dress pretty simply but I have to work to keep the painting clothes and pajamas from being my dominant style.  Now that winter is here, with all these pretty shawls in view, I am really determined to wear them...with my painting clothes and pajamas.   Time to turn up the heat on the back of my neck and on my style.  

Monday, 15 October 2018

On the Way to Fiery Red

It was such a lovely weekend.  Our east of the city knitting group got together Saturday down at the coffee shop.  I had the lunch this time.  It was delicious.  Perogies very close to as good as my daughter in laws.  Very close.  And then I just knit.  And did stuff that I wanted to do. 

Getting together with other knitters was a good time to get out my shawl and work on it.  Garter stitch and socks are the very best knitting get together knitting ever.  

I've been picking away at the second section of the First Point of Libra Shawl slowly.  About two weeks ago, the rows started to feel short.  Since the rows started to feel shorter,  I've moved my right side marker after each time I worked on it.  I needed it to keep me going.  It is a lot of gray.  Without that, it felt like I was getting nowhere and that marker was proof that some days, I did a lot of work on the interminable middle.

I am thrilled to say I am out of the interminable middle!

Late Saturday, I picked up the stitches for section three and without blinking, knit four garter ridges in the lovely yellow from the Wildfire colourway of Sweet Georgia's Party of Five Tough love Sock gradient.   

You can see how the gradient flow in this section one picture.  Section three has you work along one long side of the down facing triangle starting with the first colour that you worked, giving you a nice uninterrupted colour flow, a very clever colour construction!  

You continue on, working the rest of the gradients in this section, slowly getting through the warm rich russet and that brilliant fiery red.

I'm about halfway through this project.  The first ball of the grey Semi Solid Hat trick yarn is almost used up and the gradients were about half used in section one.  It is starting to have the lovely draping weight that fingering weight shawls have when they are knit to the size this one will be when it is done.  

This pretty shawl was one of the things I marked as a project I wanted to complete this year on my personal Ravelry challenge.  I had ten projects, some WIPs, some new knitting that I wanted to see completed this year.  Six of the ten are done and this one is not too far behind  and will be completed easily.  I think.  Not that I want to jinx myself.   

Last week I struggled.  That is gone and I have a few tricks up my sleeve this week to make sure it stays gone. Right now, I feel as if all my cylinders are firing and I am ready to go where knitting takes me.  

But first laundry.  Sigh.  Because life.

Friday, 12 October 2018


I did not knit at all yesterday and I am good with that.  I wound yarn instead. 

I wound for anther vest, but this time, I think it is going to be a Shalom.  Shalom was on my mind when I purchased it and I think that is what it will be.  A nice fingering weight Shalom out of very lovely yarn.

It was well behaved on the winder and made for a much more pleasant experience than winding the Malabrigo.  I still do not know what it was about those skeins that was so difficult but it sure was. 

I did wind some other stuff in the morning but my entire afternoon was devoted to this. 

This is a very fine silk and camel blend that came home with me from a trip to Interweave's Knit Lab  few years ago. 

Very Fine.  Very Fine.  It is extremely soft and delicate feeling.  I have no idea what this yarn should be, only that it should be something delicate and light and gossamer.  Not something like the shawls from Gossamer Webs, though this yarn is ideally suited to knit one such  shawl.  I just don't feel I want the struggle of knitting a lace where there is patterning on every row.  That is a level of complexity I am not really interested in at the moment.  It has the potential to become a wedding ring shawl of the Shetland tradition or perhaps an Estonian heritage masterpiece. Winding this did not happen fast.  It took 4 hours of winding.  With breaks, it was my whole afternoon.  It isn't something I am planning to knit right away and I did debate stopping. 

I've been struggling lately, with staying in the moment, with keeping a positive outlook.  It is  function of the season, the shorter hours of sunlight.  Some of it is the deadline knitting and a long list of things people ask for.  I know they would be treasured and I do want to knit these things but somehow, that list takes away my ability to explore knitting simply for the joy of it all.  The list makes me feel as if it is a job, which is just silly.

In one of my breaks, I came across a post from Wil Wheaton on Facebook, that made me start thinking about how very much in my head this is.  Then, a friend linked to something on Youtube and I watched it and others and found enlightenment at the end of my little foray. The start of my journey was the very delightfully silly Two Set Violin Chicken videos.  Just google it.  If you are feeling down, might I suggest 'Pachelbel's Chicken'.   No way can you not laugh.  Eventually I came across this video of three people who are a hundred or over.  And I felt better.

It's just them talking, about joy and life and about just living for today.  The joy just seeps out of them, their eyes, their faces.   

"I'm a hundred and two...and a half",  
'If I'm making a cake and it fails, it becomes a pudding.", 
"It's really a wonderful wonderful feeling"

Hard not to be uplifted by them. 

For now, it is enough of a victory to simply have wound this very fine lace.  It took all afternoon.  I have a small  blister on the side of my finger and my right hand is a bit stiff from holding the ball for the four hours it took to hand wind,

but, I stayed with it to the end.  I now have an incredibly fine ball of yarn ready to knit something wonderful.  And that pleases me. Even in a stash full of yarns ready to knit into something wonderful,  having just one more skein, one more particularly lovely yarn ready to knit, pleases me.

Joy is contagious, even if it took meandering on the internet and a ball of cobweb silk and camel yarn.