Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Mattress is Down

Veterinarians have a strange sense of humor. Here's a joke they tell over and over again with a perfectly serious face:
"Your dog will be feeling much better by tomorrow. Keep him/her quiet for two weeks."

Sunny, our little dog who loves to play violent fetch and tug games and jump on and off us and the furniture, hurt her back.

After Sunny had a cortisone type shot and was supplied with muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory drugs, I heard the vet joke.

Then the kindly vet elaborated on the seriousness of the situation even giving me written instructions that say
"Restrict Activity for 14 days."

It was horrible to see Sunny in pain with her back seized up and so inflamed she had a temperature. I'm grateful that Sunny is well medicated and feeling better.

Now, where are the instructions on how to keep her quiet?

One thing we've done is to pull the mattress off the box spring and onto the floor. Creaky old Bob and I are having a difficult time getting in and out of bed, but it keeps Sunny from jumping on and off. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

FLAK Progress

FLAK body with about four inches knitPattern: Follow the Leader Aran by Janet Szabo

Yarn: Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool

Color: Antique Rose

Needles: US #5

Gauge: 22 stitches/4 inches in Moss Stitch

I've started FLAK Part 7, The Body.

After deciding to knit the body in the round, I picked up stitches all the way around on a 40 inch Addi Turbo needle, and started knitting. And knitting, and knitting, and knitting.

The heavily cabled body is slow going, but not boring and certainly rewarding. I have almost four inches completed from the underarm down. I don't want to know how many hours of knitting that represents. Some things are better left a mystery.

Only eight more inches of cables and two inches of ribbing to go for the body.

FLAK underarm faux seamKnitting a stitch pattern in the round always leaves a jog where the pattern doesn't line up quite right.

I've solved that problem by putting a one purl faux seam under each arm. I like the way this looks plus it takes care of the jog in the stitch pattern.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

When In Doubt, Knit Socks

The Doubt
At the end of last week after I wrote about my Eris V Neck Conundrum, I took a break from the project and knit a sock.

Once in a while I would go look at my Eris collar to see if I liked it better. I didn't. Not only that, my dissatisfaction spread to Dorothy, my Eris knitalong friend, and she became critical of her collar.

By the end of the weekend, we mutually decided to reclaim our Peruvian Highland Wool for some other project we could love more.

Eris is frogged and the yarn is packed away for now.

The Socks
Embossed Leaves socks in progressPattern: Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt from Interweave Knits Winter 05

Yarn: Austermann Step, 75% wool, 25% nylon with Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil

Color: 03

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch in stockinette

I wasn't sure who these socks were going to fit. The pattern calls for 64 stitches which is an inch too big for me. My favorite fit is 56 stitches.

Imagine my delighted surprise to find this stitch pattern fits snugly to my leg. So I decreased the gussets down to 60 stitches, enough stitches so I could still run the leaves down the instep, and claimed the socks for myself.

Curious about the Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil in Austermann Step? It makes the yarn very soft. It also leaves a slight oily feeling residue on my hands, making them feel like they need to be washed. Since I haven't worn the socks yet, I can't comment on how they're going to feel on my feet.

The yarn store sells this yarn for $21.75 a skein. I fell for the color, bought it out of curiosity, and said it better be super wonderful or I won't be buying any more of it. At least not at that price. I've seen it for less in online yarn stores.

It's nice yarn. It isn't going to replace Opal as my favorite.

Something to Smile About

Sydney showing where her head isGranddaughter Sydney answers the question, "Where is your head?"

What a smart girl.

Only three more weeks and I'm flying across the country to give her a big kiss and ask her where her head is.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

F is for the Fifties

ABC Along Button

The Fifties were my grade school years.

Picture of a painted turtleOne of my most memorable summers was the year a painted turtle (not the one in the colored picture) wandered into the yard and my parents gave me a large, old washtub so I could keep it for a pet. I arranged the tub interior into a mini habitat with "land" and "water". The turtle seemed to be content in it. But, how would you know with a turtle?

Marguerite, little sister Doris, and the turtle, Prince Albert Red RattlerDetermining the turtle's sex was beyond me and anyone else I knew. I decided it was male and named him Prince Albert Red Rattler just because I liked the sound of the name and thought it suited him.

Prince Albert ate worms. The worm needed to be in the water, where it would wiggle. Prince Albert would catch the motion out of the side of his eye and plod down to the pond area of the washtub. After watching the worm for a few seconds, he dipped down in the water and slurped it up like sucking down a piece of spaghetti.

The neighborhood kids and I spent the summer digging worms and feeding them to Prince Albert. He ate everything we gave him.

One afternoon we decided to see if he could eat 100 worms. It took the better part of the afternoon to dig, feed, and count. Yes, Prince Albert could and did eat 100 worms.

In the fall it was time to let him go at a creek in the country. (This was my parents idea, not mine.) Prince Albert was so fat he couldn't get his shell closed. I hope he buried himself quickly in the mud for his winter nap before some predator ate him. I'm sure he didn't starve during hibernation.

For the record: We did not live in a dump. Dad was adding two bedrooms onto the house and sister Doris and I managed to pose right in front of his construction trash pile.

Marguerite dressed up for her eighth grade graduation in 1959In the spring of 1959, when I was fourteen years old, I graduated from eighth grade complete with nylons, low heels, and a white graduation dress.

Under that skirt was what we called a 500 yard crinoline. It supposedly had 500 yards of nylon net sewn in gathered layers, each layer with more yards than the previous.

Picture of crinoline from the 50sWe washed, starched, and ironed our 500 yards of nylon net in an attempt to get the fullest skirt we could manage.

The crinoline was worn to school on days I wasn't wearing a "tight skirt". Girls were only allowed to wear slacks on Friday. They had to be dress slacks with an ironed crease. No jeans allowed.

Each time it was worn, the crinoline hung limper. I had to repeat the starch and iron routine often. Only someone young and silly would do that much work to wear something so ungainly and scratchy. And I was that in the 50s.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Eris V Neck Conundrum

Completed Eris collar that needs to be reknitPattern: Eris by Girl from Auntie

Yarn: Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool

Yarn Color: Dusty Teal

Needles: 3 for cables, 5 for body

Gauge: 5 stitches/inch, 7 rows/inch on stockinette body

If "error" is defined as a variation from the pattern instructions, I'm sure this collar has a few errors in the triple decrease row down the center of the vee. The errors were an attempt by the knitter to try and make it look better.

The first time I knit the vee, I knit it according to the pattern. After looking at it, I was convinced I hadn't done it right because it looked so messy. I frogged it and knit it again, paying more attention to places I thought I could make it look better. I couldn't. It doesn't.

Swatch of Eris collar according to pattern to see if it really looks as awful as it looked the first time I knit itIn an attempt to not completely fray the yarn in the vee, I decided to do some swatching to see if I could improve on things before knitting the vee a third time.

This swatch was knit exactly according to the pattern on with larger needles so I could see the stitches better and determine if it was possible to somehow manipulate them to look more tidy.

I couldn't. It doesn't.

The decreases down the center look like a bad job of sewing the two pieces together.

Swatch of Eris collar to try and figure out something that looks good to meIs it possible to make vertical double decreases every row and have them look nice? That was the question I was asking as I knit this swatch. Parts of the decreases in this swatch look better to me, especially that chain at the top of the swatch. Overall it's not something I would be proud to say I knit.

I have spent two days on this now. I'm ready to just do something and move on. In other words, I'm frustrated.

The pattern is detailed and well written. If I were to fault it, it would be for lack of good clear pictures of what the more complex details look like when knit without errors.

Maybe I'm missing something important in the pattern and, if done properly, the vee looks orderly and pretty? I can't tell without a picture.

Knowing myself, I can give myself good advice:

Go knit on something mindless until your frustration passes and pragmatism kicks in. Then, you can do what's needed to get past this part of the pattern, realizing you're never going to be completely happy with the way the center front of the collar looks.

Maybe, when you stop fussing, you'll have a brainstorm of something that can make the vee look less messy.

Maybe one of your blog readers will come up with a good solution to make this look nice.

Or maybe this yarn would rather be a beautiful Aran.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Knitting Peace Revisited

Last August, motivated by the stress of having too many things on the needles, I came up with a plan for Knitting Peace.

I've come up with two simple guidelines I believe are going to make my knitting life more enjoyable and productive:
  • Have no more than two projects at a time, a weekday project and a weekend project.
  • The weekend project will usually be CIC knitting, unless I've completed my CIC goals.

If you don't get picky about an occasional pair of socks or a completed project not sewn together for many months, I've done well with Knitting Peace - until last Friday when that evil Dorothy MADE me cast on Eris two weeks ahead of schedule. (Joke)

Seriously, FLAK was waiting for the next installment to be published. I had every right under the guidelines of Knitting Peace to cast on anything thing I wanted. The only project in process was the Catharina Shawl for CIC.

This evening, Janet posted the 7th installment of FLAK which is the entire body from the armpits down. Full of cables. A big, time consuming knit.

I now have two sweaters, FLAK and Eris, going at once and need a plan to maintain Knitting Peace.

So, this is what I'm going to do:
  • Finish Catharina and consider my CIC knitting done until the next challenge is announced in April.

    Doggy school was cancelled tonight (teacher has the flu), so I spent the time finishing up Catharina until I ran out of yarn. I had to order another skein. There won't be any more knitting on Catharina until more yarn arrives. Then there are only six very long rows to go and the shawl is done.

  • Knit the Eris collar and upper body until I get to the mindless stockinette stitch. If the five day weather forecast holds true and it really is too cold to work outside this week, I may be able to get that far by early next week.

  • Start back on FLAK once Eris becomes mindless. When fingers get sore from cabling, pick up Eris and knit stockinette. Try to stay calm and not mind that Dorothy is getting way ahead of me on Eris.

  • Knit a few linen lace swatches from my Stahman book and start plan my next Faroese shawl. (This does not fit in the Knitting Peace plan at all. But it's spring and I want to knit a linen shawl! It will have to wait until the FLAK body is done or I find a way to rationalize the violation of my carefully thought out Knitting Peace plan.)

  • Knit Heather's Embossed Leaves birthday socks on trip to Idaho, April 19 to 26.

Don't hold me to any of this. It's a plan just asking to be changed. For tonight, it gives me Knitting Peace.

There is no reason to hurry with FLAK. It's heavy, it's wool, and I won't be wearing it until next fall. Hey, that sounds like the start of the rationalization needed to start the linen shawl.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Start of Eris

Who is Eris?

Eris is a Greek goddess whose greatest joy is to make trouble with her Golden Apple of Discord. When she throws the apple among friends, their friendship comes to an end. When she throws the apple among enemies it results in war. In fact, she started the Trojan War with her apple.

This does not bode well for the Eris knitting project Dorothy and I both started last night. I almost wish I never had Googled the goddess Eris. Fortunately, I'm not superstitious about knitting projects named after evil goddesses, so I'm guessing we'll be OK.

Dusty Teal Peruvian Highland Wool from ElannFor me, Eris is a cool challenging sweater pattern designed and published by Girl from Auntie, twenty skeins of Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in Dusty Teal, and a fun knit-a-long with Dorothy at Missouri Star.

If I have Dorothy pegged right, there won't be any discord. Not even if someone throws a golden apple at us.

Swatches knit for ErisI confess that my past has not been full of successful swatching. Whenever possible I pick up the needles that my judgment tells me will work and start knitting, adjusting later.

Occasionally, though, when I have a pattern I want to follow, I do swatch. Eris is in that category.

Eris is knit top down in one piece and requires three different gauges to make the construction work: the stockinette gauge for the cabled areas, the stockinette back and forth gauge, and the stockinette knit in the round gauge.

I wasted used three skeins of yarn knitting all these swatches. Some of them are the same needle, different gauges, helping me understand that I do subconsciously adjust my fabric tension to meet expectations in gauge.

One valuable reason for swatching is to get the unwashed and washed gauges of the yarn recorded. All calculations, like getting the right sleeve length, will be done measuring the unwashed fabric and converting it into the size of the washed fabric.

Eris Collar through the first page of Chart B RightHere is the beginning, the start of the right side of the collar.

What fun! Cables and short rows. Just perfect for a Friday night knitting party of one. (Actually it was a knitting party of two, separated by about 2,000 miles.)

I stayed up too late and made it though the first page of Chart B. It was slow going, especially at first, because I didn't find the Eris cable charts intuitive. Substantial time was spent looking at the chart key and taking to myself.

Perfectly enjoyable. Now I want to get this posted and go knit some more.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Winter and Catharina, Both Almost Done

In the past week we've had 60 degree weather, 25 degree weather, thunderstorms, high winds, snow, more high winds, and some minor flooding. Great weather to stay inside and knit if you don't want to get soaking wet or hit in the head with a flying tree branch.

This evening it's winter again - cold, and snowing.

While waiting for Installment 7 of FLAK, the body, I've been knitting swatches for Eris and knitting on Catharina.

The Catharina garter stitch and easy lace pattern are the perfect break from FLAK cables.

Pappy and CatharinaPattern: GS Catharina from Stahman's Shawls and Scarves

Yarn: Worsted weight Peace Fleece, 30% Mohair/70% wool.

Color: Ukranian red.

Note: Knitting this shawl as a working shawl for the CIC caretakers. Red is their most requested color.

Needles: Addi Turbo #7

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch, 6 rows/inch

I'm on row 133, about half way through the amount of lace planned for the border. The present, unblocked length in the back is 23 inches. The wingspan 55 inches.

Right now there are 335 stitches on the needle. By the time I bind off, there will be just a few short of 400 stitches on the needle.

I'm going to be very close to using up every last inch of 20 ounces of yarn I bought. Catharina will have a garter stitch edging because there won't be enough yarn to make the lace edging.

Catharina toward the endCatharina has been a very enjoyable knit and I'm looking forward to knitting a second Faroese shawl from Stahman's book with linen yarn.

I'm going to swatch a few of the lace patterns in linen before making the final decision, but I'm leaning toward Elizabeth, a pretty garden basket lace pattern.

Pappy looking sweet and innocent as he helps me inspect CatharinaDid you notice that some of the lace is turned under on the right side of the top picture? I didn't notice until Catharina was back on the needle and it was too late to take more pictures.

I think maybe Pappy turned it under when he jumped on the bed and got in position to join the photo shoot.

Does he look guilty?

No, he looks innocent and sweet because he is.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

John's Birthday Socks

John's Birthday Socks out of Opal Lollipop 1211Pattern: Basic Sock

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Lollipop 1011

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch

This yarn started out in Idaho. I bought it in Coeur d'Alene last October. Now it's headed back to Idaho transformed into socks for son John to celebrate his March 18th birthday.

Hope he loves them. And hope he feels the love knit into every stitch.

Green Austermann Step yarnNext family birthday sock recipient is daughter Heather in May. She asked for something in green. I have some beautiful Opal UNI-Solid green in my stash and I have this - Austermann Step yarn with Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil.

It's a rare day when I buy sock yarn that isn't Opal, but I couldn't resist this so soft and so pretty yarn.

Since I've never used Austermann yarn before, I may knit it up for myself to try it out.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Famous Sweater at Doggy School

It's not unusual for family members to visit doggy school to sit and watch the class. They usually find it excellent entertainment.

A few months ago a distinguished looking gentleman showed up in a drop dead gorgeous yellow Aran sweater. I was totally distracted trying to sneak looks at the sweater while working obedience with Pappy.

At first I thought it had to be store bought, because it was too perfect to be hand knit. After more stolen stares, I decided it must be hand knit because it was too detailed to be store bought.

Finally, during a break in the action, I had to ask. It was the right thing to do because the man, Rick, was so totally proud of his sweater he could hardly wait to tell me about it. He even stood up so I could admire it in more detail and from all angles.

It was knit by his wife, Mary (mother of black lab, Kirby), for her Level III Master Knitting submission. Needless to say, Mary was awarded her Level III. Rich called her over and had her show off a necklace with three diamonds that he gave her to celebrate her success. She had the necklace on under her doggy school duds, so I'm assuming she wears it all the time.

Mary was quiet and a acted a little embarrassed about the sweater kudos, but Rick wasn't shy at all. He told me there had been a magazine article about his sweater. He didn't say which magazine. I assumed he meant Cast On, the TKGA magazine. (TKGA, The Knitting Guild of America, runs the Master Knitting classes.)

Then last week, inspired by my FLAK progress, I started looking through my old Twists and Turns, Janet Szabo's newsletter for lovers of cable knitting. When I picked up Fall 2003, there it was! A picture of and a pattern for Rick's Aran.

I'm tempted to knit it. And, if I do, I won't be wearing it to doggy school.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Start of GS Catharina

Stahman Shawls and Scarves buttonThere is a Yahoo knit-a-long list for the Stahman Shawls and Scarves book.

Myrna Stahman occasionally posts to answer questions. After reading her book and starting one of her patterns, I place her right up toward the top of my Most Admired Knitters list.

And she gets extra points for being from Idaho, home state of the sweetest grandbaby.

5 skeins of Ukranian Red Peace FleeceAfter reading all the glorious, well-written instruction for knitting a Faroese shawl top down, I decided there were so many new things it might be best if my first attempt was not in slippery, fingering weight linen yarn.

I was delighted to see the first patterns in the book were suitable for working shawls that tie in the back. Perfect for the CIC caretakers. So last week I ordered and received twenty ounces of Peace Fleece to knit the GS Catharina Shawl. Even the shawl name sounds Eastern European.

Beginning of GS Catharina ShawlPattern: GS Catharina from Stahman's Shawls and Scarves

Yarn: Worsted weight Peace Fleece, 30% Mohair/70% wool.

Color: Ukranian red.

Note: Knitting this shawl as a working shawl for the CIC caretakers. Red is their most requested color.

Needles: Addi Turbo #7

Gauge: 4 stitches/inch, 6.5 rows/inch

The caretakers are generally large ladies. They like red and they like their shawls large so they can tie them in back. They work in very cold conditions and need all the warmth they can get, but they also appreciate something pretty. I'm hoping this project is perfect for one of them.

GS Catharina can be lace from the shoulders down. For warmth, I've elected to knit boring garter stitch until the shawl is twenty inches long with 315 stitches on the needle.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hanover Jacket Done

Hanover Jacket being worn

Pattern: Hanover Jacket from Jean Frost Jackets

Yarn: Elegance, 70% baby alpaca, 30% silk DK weight from Knitpicks

Yarn Color: Barn red

Needles: #3

Gauge: 6 stitches/inch, 8 rows/inch

Isn't it about time this jacket was moved to the completed project list? Yes!

It's been sitting in a knitting bag for months waiting to get sewn together. It feels so good to have it done and in the closet.

It's not that I don't want to show you my head, my photographer chopped it off.

Back of Hanover Jacket

The jacket is truly barn red, like old barns. The color in the top and bottom picture is most accurate. This picture of the back is way too red looking.

The leaf motif is on each front, the middle of the back, and the bottom of each sleeve.

Sleeve of Hanover Jacket

I'm mostly pleased with the project.

The pattern was well written and fun to knit and the Elegance yarn is an easy, smooth knit.

This yarn at this gauge is a little limp and drapey for a sweater that is supposed to be a jacket. On the plus side, it has a beautiful, silky sheen.

I've worn the jacket several times and it holds its shape well. It's not very warm, but that's OK. It's almost spring here in SW Michigan. I saw a robin today. Always a good sign that winter is on the way out.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

FLAK Sleeves

FLAK sleeves done except for cuffsPattern: Follow the Leader Aran by Janet Szabo

Yarn: Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool

Color: Antique Rose

Needles: US #5

Gauge: 22 stitches/4 inches in Moss Stitch

The sleeves were knit in the round on two 24" circulars with decreases every seventh row.

Oh how I would love to finish up these sleeves by knitting on the cuff, but I don't think it's the right thing to do at this point in the knitting.

The neck without ribbing is so sloppy that I can't be sure about exact length for the sleeves. So, for right now, I'm going to stuff the two attached balls of yarn up the sleeves and leave the cuffs until I can try on the sweater with the neckline and body completed.

My FLAK project is back in the knitting bag until Janet publishes the next installment.

Pappy sitting in the chairPappy was all relaxed, sleeping on his back with his feet in the air and his tongue hanging out.

Then he heard me getting out the camera and woke up in case my movement meant it was time for a walk.

I was disappointed that I didn't get the ultra-relaxed sleeping picture, but this is a nice shot of my fuzzy boy.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Spring One, Winter Zero

March snowfall on treesSpring and winter spent the day duking it out in SW Michigan.

Winter kept up a continuous snowfall.

Spring fought back by raising the temperature above freezing so the snow was unable to stick and accumulate.

This is a morning picture of the wet snow settled on the tree branches. It was beautiful, especially since it was so warm the snow melted off the roads and I didn't have to cancel a lunch date with a friend.

By this afternoon, more snow had melted than remained. Even though the snow kept falling, it was a losing battle for winter. Rah.

The only blizzard type snow we've had all season was the storm on the day before Thanksgiving when Mom and I were trying to fly to Virginia.

Most Michiganders are still expecting a heavy snowfall this year. March isn't too late and we can't believe we're going to get off so easy this winter.

If we do get a big snow, it will be short lived. The ground has started to warm, the days are longer, and spring is fighting hard to kick winter right out the door.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Missing Pictures

These are the pictures I don't have yet and my excuses for not having them.

Picture of FLAK sleeves
I've been knitting and knitting and knitting. Both sleeves are almost done to the cuff. I'm really tired of knitting on them. I am looking forward to knitting on another project for a week or so before the next FLAK installment is posted.

There will be a celebration picture when the sleeves are done. Soon.

Picture of Son John's Birthday Socks
This is my pick up project when I have a spare minute here and there. Or when I need some easy knitting to take a break from the FLAK sleeves.

Both socks are just a few inches from the toe decreases. They will be in the mail by the end of next week in plenty of time for his March 18 birthday.

There will be a picture when the socks are done.

Picture of Hanover Jacket
It's done. It's sewn together, blocked, and it fits.

I wore it to lunch with Mom on Friday. We both shivered while taking pictures out on her deck, but the pictures are all fuzzy and not suitable for posting.

I love the way the jacket turned out. There will be another photo session soon so I can post some pictures.

Picture of Yarn for Eris
Inspired by Brenda, Dorothy and I are doing a very informal Eris knit-a-long starting April 1.

Mine is going to be knit in Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool, color Dusty Teal.

The yarn was shipped Tuesday, but it didn't arrive today, as hoped, or I would have taken a picture.

Fortunately, I have two skeins of the same dye lot in my stash, so I can swatch this weekend even without the yarn delivery.

And now I'm logging off to go knit on FLAK sleeves.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

E is for Emerging

ABC Along Button

Backyard view on March 2 at 10 am10 am on March 2, I went out into the cold, dreary yard to see if I could find little hints of green, little harbingers of Emerging spring.

In this picture the small area of lawn that we have is on the left, in front of the creek. It is dormant and brown.

The unmowed acreage is on the far side of the creek. The trees are bare. The landscape is almost totally without any pretty colors.

We live on a wooded five acres. The oaks shed their leaves after it's too cold to rake so the leaves don't get cleaned up until spring.

I needed to push oak leaves aside in order to check for Emerging greenery.

Daffodils emergingThere are naturalized daffodils scattered here, there, and everywhere. They are the hardest and most dependable sign that spring is actually going to happen.

They don't let oak leaves stop them from their quest for sunlight. The daffodil leaves are strong enough to chop right through the dead leaves and keep on growing.

Daylilies emergingIn an almost sunny part of the yard, the daylilies are Emerging.

They are anemic looking from being hidden under the oak leaves. The next mild day we have, I'll get the rake out and uncover the shoots so they can get some sun.

There is snow forecast for this afternoon. For today, the daylilies are probably happiest buried out of the weather.

Sedum emergingI never would have thought to look for sedum in early March until Kim in the mountains of New Hamshire showed her sedum heads poking out of the earth.

Shoving a few oak leaves aside (do you see a pattern here?), there they are! Little sedum plants Emerging from the frozen ground. They don't bloom until August, so they're really getting a head start on the season.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Experiment in Linen

I love knitting lace. I hate blocking shawls. If blocking was a one time deal, I would just do it. But, if I knit beautiful wool shawls they need to be blocked every time I wash them. Since I live in fear of moths, that would be often.

To further feed my reluctance to knit wool shawls, my family and friends don't want them for gifts. They don't want to hand wash and block a shawl, even if it is beautiful.

Now I have this wonderful new book, Stahman's Shawls and Scarves, full of lacey Faroese shawls. I want to knit every one of them.

After Fluffy Knitter Deb raved about knitting with linen - no blocking, throw it in the washer and dryer and it looks beautiful - I have to try it. That's how I ended up with the UPS man delivering this today.

Gray linen yarn from LouetTwo 100 gram/580 yard cones of fingering weight, Euroflax linen in grey.

According to Louet Sales this yarn is machine washable and dryable. After washing, the "yarn will become very soft, with a beautiful, lustrous silky effect."

If all goes well and I have time, I'd like to have a shawl done to wear to my nephew's wedding the end of May. But this is not at the top of my project list, so I don't know if I'll make that deadline or not.

According to Deb, linen is challenging to knit because it's slippery and maintaining tension is difficult. She recommends using Inox Gray (Teflon) needles to help the situation.

I'm looking forward to having a swatch party with this yarn. But, for now, back to my FLAK sleeves.