Posts Tagged ‘mystery shawl’

The Sea Change

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.

Shakespeare – The Tempest

My Summer Mystery Shawl is deceased. Dead on arrival. Pulled off the needles and mourned appropriately (meaning I didn’t fling it across the room, but only sighed as I tucked it away to rewind the yarn later). Somehow, as I got to the last 10 rows of the third repeat of Clue 3, it became clear I had Screwed Up ™. I had 9 more stitches on one half of the shawl than the other. How did I not notice this before I was 95% finished with the shawl? Those nine stitches allowed the pattern to still work out almost perfectly. I still cannot see how I added (or subtracted from the other side) all the extra stitches without noticing. The pattern is not muddled or messed up looking on the body of the shawl itself, but the problem was when it came time to bind off, one side would be ready to bind off several rows before the other side, and there was no fixing that.
Edited to note that I went back and discovered there were several mistakes posted in the patterns, and because I was away from the computer so much while all these were coming out, I never checked to see if there was any errata! Maybe the fault is not all mine afterall! Remember, knitters, ALWAYS keep an eye open for errata!

Ah well. It was a lovely distraction while it lasted. I am going to turn that handspun yarn into a pair of fingerless mitts now, I think. It is silken and beautiful, but not really right for a shawl, I now believe.

I was supposed to cast on the June socks too. Beautiful German cabled pattern called Falling Tears. They were intended to be knit for my grandmother for Christmas (remember, most of this Sock Club is about getting my Christmas knitting done), but the pattern is intended for a Size 9 women’s foot, and I cannot see a way to shrink it down for my grandma’s dainty size 7 feet. I needed smaller needles than I currently have just to make it a size 9. I guess they will get knit eventually, just not for Grandma, and just not this month.

Instead, I went back to the May yarn. A KnitPicks self-striping yarn intended to become a pair of Jaywalker socks for my Dad. Instead, with a mind too frazzled and hands too sore to function well, I chose to cast on the most vanilla of basic socks and start a pair of toe up striped socks to end up under the Christmas tree most likely, just not for my Dad.

I am pulled too thin to wrangle intricate and beautifully structured cables on a pattern called Falling Tears, and I am too raw and hurt to knit something for the man who is literally pulling the yarn and unraveling my entire family.

My extended family is in a state of flux at the moment, and will likely remain so for a very long time to come. Byram and I are strong, united, and we adapt well to sea changes, but it doesn’t mean that the ride won’t be rough.

Sapphire Joust took a lot out of me this year, as I knew it would. That wasn’t the problem. The trouble came in the fact that Sapphire happened at the same time the unraveling yarn of my family began to pick up some serious speed. Additionally, between the three tick bites I picked up over a two week period, I picked up something more sinister: my symptoms line up best with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but it could be Lyme or one of the other 24 different tick-bite transmitted illnesses (thus with the sore hands; painful joints is one of my symptoms). Either way, I am on a very potent broad-spectrum antibiotic, and the rubber band that is my life feels like it was stretched until it finally broke, and I am curled up and broken and useless right now. J.R.R. Tolkien described it through Bilbo Baggins as feeling like butter spread too thin over toast. That is me. That’s where I am.

We are going to be okay. Really. In life, you have to hike through the valleys to reach the mountain peaks, and I know that. My family will rally together, support my Mom, act as the safety pin you use to catch a running stitch, and we will pull her up back to safety. I am going to get over whatever crap I caught pretty soon. My husband, daughter, and I will grow and adapt, and love and learn. Tonight, I am going to pitch a tent in our backyard, light a little fire in our firebowl, and we are going to roast marshmallows and “camp out” per a request Grace has made (very earnestly).

Life is good, even if right now, we are in the midst of a sea change and our little boat is a-rockin’ and we are too close to the rocky shore for comfort. I will knit on, pray on, live on, and on the other side, I will be stronger and smarter for it all; my household will look and feel different, but change always comes. It is up to us to either embrace it or adapt to it, but you cannot reject it.

I wish you a happy Father’s Day weekend.



So, what day is it? June 7th? Sounds like the perfect day to debut my April 2011 SCSC socks.
I actually finished them on Saturday (yes, the April socks were finished in JUNE). Wet blocking did wonders for what otherwise looked like a stranded mess.
Pattern: Vellamo
Yarn: KnitPicks Stroll Solids, one skein each of Aurora Heather and Mustard (Mustard is being discontinued)
Needles: 2.75mm DPNs
Modifications: My only modification was to change the cuff. I felt like the socks were so fancy they needed a showier cuff, so rather than a 1.5 inch 1×1 ribbed cuff, I went with a picot edged cuff. My first ever picot edge. I am a little disappointed that the socks are not all that “clingy” since I don’t have a nice stretchy ribbed cuff to help hold them up, but they look like some fancypants knitting, so I can live with them being somewhat saggy.

In other news, the week before Sapphire, I cast on the Summer Mystery Shawl that Wendy Johnson of WendyKnits started publishing. I wanted a distraction and something to invigorate my will to knit once the event was over, and it seems to have worked. I cast on in the handspun green merino/tencel (or it might be bamboo) blend I bought on Etsy last year and spun last Autumn. I don’t know how I feel about the yarn. Having never spun something like that, I didn’t know what to expect. I overspun a lot of it, and some of it is underspun. None of it is especially consistent. It is knitting up a lot like pure silk with little give. I think it will look nice once it is blocked out, but right now, I am somewhat taken aback by the mess every time I look at it.

Anyway, Wendy has put out all of the charts now, but the main body chart came out the day I was loading the Uhaul to go out to Sapphire, so I only started that chart over the weekend. I am taking my time with it, but the project is speeding up as I go because I am getting very familiar with the chart and because each right side row drops off two stitches.

I bypassed May’s Sock Club socks altogether. I had a feeling when I set up the club that May might wash out and sure enough. It doesn’t hurt that the socks are intended for a pair of Size 12 feet, and those feet belong to someone on my Not Too Happy With list, at the moment. I had little heartache in skipping over those socks. My June socks are waiting to be cast on very soon. The pattern is Falling Tears, and the yarn will be more Knit Picks Stroll in Dusk colorway. My main delay is that I need to replace my 2mm DPNs and I really need a 2.5mm set too. I think this sock is going to need me to go down a size from my normal 2.75mm needles.

Maybe this weekend I will have time to cast on while I am back at Tom Scott Park for Warfighter.

I am really suddenly looking forward to the event this weekend. We won’t have an “encampment” to speak of. It will just be Byram and I alone in our normal location, and there is a better than average chance that one night, it might even be me by myself. He will understand (I hope) when I say that the idea of a night alone in a tent, completely by myself, is deeply appealing right now. In the wake of Sapphire, of autocratting, of my job, of life in general, I feel a bit like I have had a 60 grit beltsander applied to my soul and I need some time to heal up. I need some quiet time. I need some solitude.

You wouldn’t think going to an SCA event would be the balm I need, but the way this weekend is looking, I think it is going to be perfect.

Now, I would like to leave you with some photos from my lost month of May.
Grace and I are exploring the River.

Admiral Achbar gives us a warning from what is one of the most random tags I have ever seen in the City.
My Beloved. Both of them.

A blooming magnolia; the scent took me straight back to my childhood in Hampton.
One of the most hellacious storms I have ever driven through.

My goofy girl and her wax lips.

Going for a run with a little added weight.

The Civil War memorial on Belle Isle.

And Grace.

Gnawed Upon

Work has eaten me alive. Not much time to post and I am sorry for it.

Swallowtail is growing.



Pretty beads. Pretty city in the background.

Summer may be in her final weeks, but you wouldn’t know it. Its hot.


I have a tiny ball of maybe 8-10 yards left of hand-spun Swallowtail yarn left. I tried and tried to spin Sunday night and last night and lost a lot of yarn to breakage and underspun lumps. I figured I was too stressed and tired to spin. Then I had the brilliant thought that I hadn’t oiled Ms. Louet in a few go-rounds and she was overdue. Spinning commenced, but it was 11:30 and I simply spun up what I had predrafted and had not destroyed in bouts of under-lubricated spinning.

For the record, the spinner was well-lubricated. I was drinking Jefferson’s Reserve Oak Barrel Stout, and I adore that beer. You have to since it is roughly $11 for a FOUR pack. I figured if I was so stressed, a little beer would help. It didn’t, but my blood pressure stopped spiking every time the yarn went *twang*.

I hope to achieve some spinning tonight. I promised Mom Chinese for dinner (since we ordered Chinese after she went to bed on Sunday night without so much as asking if she would want some shrimp fried rice; guilt is a powerful force in my life, but I am Catholic after all), and I want Grace to have some time in the pool too. Maybe I can spin on the deck while she plays in the pool, provided I can keep her little fingers out of the flywheel and her hand out of the balancing hole on the wheel. I have nightmares of an emergency room trip and a little pink cast on a broken little wrist….


Kiss Winter Goodbye

This might not surprise you, but I am into more than just string and pre-string (that is unspun fiber for the uninitiated). I like shiny things too, and a few years ago, I got into making rosaries.

I sold a couple of them, and I made a few custom orders. There is something very appealing to me about making rosaries. They are traditional but unique. They are historical but modern. They are practical, but a bit of a luxury. I used semi-precious and glass beads, fresh water pearls, bone and wood. I have used silk to string them, and metal to wire them.

My favorite I ever made was all freshwater pearls for ave beads with garnet pater beads. It was stunning; expensive to make, hard to let go of.

I never sold more than a handful because my ability to reach out to people who might be interested was very limited 4 years ago. Now, thanks to <A href=”http://infiniteyarns.etsy.comMy Etsy Shop, I have the ability to reach beyond my work and circle of friends.

I put three rosaries up for sale today. One I called the “Ice Rosary” when I made it. Silver and clear dichrioc glass beads paired with clear quartz rondelles made this rosary kind of shimmery.


I have a green glass one that makes me think of Saint Patrick’s day and celtic rosaries:

Emerald Isle

And my favorite of the ones I still have because, as I have mentioned, I have a problem with blue:
My Blue Problem

If these sell at all, I will probably offer an ad for custom rosaries, the price and delivery time being based on the requested materials.

In knitting news, the Vernal Equinox is coming along. I am more or less taking my time now with it. The final pattern is still a week a way and I have about 3 and a half rows left to complete of the 22 rows of this pattern. It is less of a joy to work on now that I know just how imperfect it is; now that my mistake with the wrong yarn has come to light and the shawl has no hope of being just right.

It is now an endurance challenge. Can I keep it up when the whole thing might be ruined beyond redemption due to the change in gauge? It might look okay or it might look awful; I cannot tell at this point since the whole thing is so bunched together on the 29″ circular needles. The only way to know whether it is okay or not is to finish it and take it off the needles. So the challenge lies in finishing it, for better or worse now, not knowing whether it looks okay or is ruined beyond use.

I am committed to the bitter end. And this ending might be quite bitter. There is just no way to tell.

In the meantime, I am still doing my penance on the cobweb weight blue lace. I think I will cast on some socks this weekend too. I have this neat looking Patons Kroy sock yarn:

Next Socks

I am considering using that yarn for Cookie A.’s Monkey Socks. Her socks, as modeled in that issue of Knitty, are in pretty Spring colors. I will work mine in a colorway that is a final nod to Winter.

I am ready to kiss winter goodbye.


I have conceded the fight.

Adamas is no more, at least, for now. I unknit and knit, purled and knit, cursed and wished I had more booze in the house, and in the end, it was too mangled to recover and the more I tried to fix it, the worse things got. I ripped as much as I could rescue, but Zephyr doesn’t rip very well and I lost some of the yarn.

I am kind of devastated becuase, it is simple. Crazy simple. It is the kind of lace people recommend as a first time lace knitter’s project. I mean, Clue 3 of the Vernal Equinox shawl was harder than this pattern, and I managed that, but I couldn’t keep Adamas straight.

I should have known how it would end when very early on, there was one miscounted row that off-set the center “spine” of the shawl by one stitch. Being intimidated by ripping back Zephyr (it really is never the same once you have ripped it; it loses some of its shine and gets a little fuzzy), I let it slide. It wasn’t until there were some missing yarn overs and one of the little diamonds melded with one of the large diamonds, and then I dropped a stitch, and then I got off count, and then all of my diamonds were off-set, that I conceded defeat and, almost in tears, started carefully ripping back.

I was angry that I kept skimming the pattern and assuming I knew where I was in the chart – I didn’t.
I was angry at myself for not marking my repeats – I know better.
I was angry at my rough hands for snagging the Zephyr constantly. I am trying to rectify that, but I have the hands of a scullery maid and not much is helping.
I was angry at my needles for being too blunt and making each SSK stitch a little taste of hell.
I was angry at the Zephyr for being too beautiful for my wretched skills.

My confidence is totally rattled. I want to try again but if I screw up again, the Zephyr won’t survive another rip. The truth is that I am totally in love with lace, particularly Estonian-style lace, but my skills do not match my love.

Lace is tough to practice too. I am doing alright with the Vernal Equinox shawl, which is all lace, all the time, but I am working on 5.25 mm needles and a sport weight yarn. Try it again in a lace weight on 3.5 or 3.75 mm needles and see if I succeed. And try finding lace weight yarn that is inexpensive enough to ruin…I figured I was doing pretty good paying $12 a ball for the Zephyr. And how about needles that work well for lace? I am killing myself with my stupidly blunt Boyes. Clovers aren’t any pointier. I don’t know what easily obtained brand of needles is out there that would be pointy enough to make knitting this lace easier.

What do I do now? The answer is to keep working on the Vernal Equinox. I have 10 rows left of Clue 6a. I only did 2 rows last night before I got the bright idea to go mess with Adamas. I need to stop looking up lace shawl patterns, finish what I have started, and go knit a sweater.

The Yarn Harlot has seriously inspired me to give February Lady a try.

Right. Because I suck at lace and I haven’t done a sweater yet. Yeah, this is a totally good idea, but hey, I am not planning to do it out of my own handspun. That would be, in the words of my beloved husband, cray-to-the-zee. Unless you are Stephanie. Then, not crazy, just cool.

By the way, it is Ash Wednesday. If you are interested, take a look at what Father Rolheiser, one of my favorite Catholic writers, has to say about beginning Lent.

Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras. Shrove Tuesday. Fat Tuesday. Carnival.
Today we feast. Tomorrow, we repent.
It doesn’t matter that it was in the low 30’s. We grilled steaks-


We ate King Cake – shipped overnight to us from Haydel’s Bakery, straight from NOLA.

King Cake

I drank. Gin and tonic if you care. There is no pictorial evidence.
I repented early of that choice.

I am plugging away at the Vernal Equinox shawl still.


Just looking at that picture, at the soft, thick lace, the delicate diamonds, and the rich color, makes me happy.

I can has knitting time now?

Maimed Lace

We are less than a week from March.  My nose is stuffy, my eyes itch, there is this nagging cough, and a general feeling of spring-time ick.  All these things point to a turn in the weather, right? 


Wrong.  It was 28 degrees again this morning; it’s supposed to get to 21 tonight.  I know the lettuce and spinach I planted yesterday likes cold; I hope it likes this kind of cold.  All that being said, the low for Thursday, the LOW, not the high, is supposed to be 50 degrees.  You can’t see it, but I am dancing a jig in anticipation.


Other things that have me vibrating in place with anticipation – Clue 6a for the Vernal Equinox shawl came out this morning.  It is only 22 rows.  The last clue was 20 rows and I thought it would be a slow knit, but I was done in two days.  I am reluctant to say this one will be quick; we are expanding to 437 stitches across by the end and that is going to take some time to work.  The final clue is supposed to come out next Friday, March 6.  I am excited.  I can feel my enthusiasm waning and I am just ready for it to be over; I wish, just a bit, that she had not split the final clue in two.  I can has finished shawl now?  Still, I am waiting with bated breath for my 11 a.m. front desk shift for an hour of intermittently-interrupted knitting (all kinds of alliteration in there!).


Also, I am anticipating $20 to appear in my Paypal account at any time now.  Paypal tells me it is processing and due to arrive today.  I am annoyed because The Copper Pot has wool I want, and including shipping, I will get a hand-dyed 4 ounce roving (in colorway “Big Sky” which is NOT a blue as it’s name suggests, I swear) and an un-dyed half pound Corriedale roving for exactly the amount I will have in my Paypal account, once that $20 arrives. 


In other knitting news, the lace I posted yesterday is Adamas by Miriam Felton.  I have managed to completely bungle the current row because I was flying along without stitch markers and I even managed to drop a stitch (though it was rescued).  Having badly mangled it this early on has my confidence shaken and I am getting a strong urge to just rip it.  I am resisting that urge and leaving it alone until Clue 6a is done, at which point I will probably tink this poor, maimed row, and reknit actually employing stitch markers this time.  If I had just used markers, I would have saved myself an hour of hair-pulling frustration last night. 


Actually, I do blame some of Adamas’ issues on a crappy movie.  I am a huge fan of the old cartoon Futurama, and since its revival on Adult Swim, they have been releasing direct to DVD feature-length movies.  The first one was fun.  The second one was a stretch.  The third one, which we rented over the weekend, actually caused me to become dumber as I watched it.  I was knitting right along, and about the time the cast fell through a hole in Mom’s Secret Laboratory and landed in Middle Earth was about the time my knitting went all sideways.  So really, it wasn’t entirely my lack of organization or skills; I lost 21.2% of my total brain capacity as long as that DVD was playing.


We turned it off eventually and put on the Oscars; my brain function only gained back about 5% at that point; Hugh Jackman couldn’t save me.  Fortunately, Big Love came on and restored full brain function, but by then, I had abandoned the needles for fear of being dumb enough not only to maim Adamas beyond repair, but maybe injuring myself at that point. 


Some people say “Friends don’t let friends knit drunk.”  I say “Friends don’t let friends knit with stupid television.”