Monday, August 31, 2009

Groovy Kind of Love

When I'm feeling blue, all I have to do
Is take a look at you, then I'm not so blue
When you're close to me, I can feel your heart beat
I can hear you breathing near my ear
Wouldn't you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love

Pattern: Madli's Shawl
from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush
18" x 58"
Yarn: KnitWitch Mystical World - color Atlantis
80% superfine merino/20% silk - 670 yds/50 gr

Needles: Size 4 circular

I couldn't be happier with this yarn or the finished shawl. I bought one skein of this yarn back in April at the Stitches South vendor market. The pattern for Madli's shawl calls for over 1300 yards of laceweight yarn so I obviously did not have nearly enough. Because I got an entire Lilac Leaf Shawl out of less than 825 yards, I deluded myself into thinking I could squeeze this one out. But those nupps, beautiful as they are, really eat up the yarn.*

So I compromised and only knit the nupps on the two end edgings and I knitted them both first, setting aside the second one to graft on after completing as much of the center as I could with the yarn. I was able to get 28 out of the 31 repeats called for by the pattern, and it even blocked to a bit longer than the one in the book and wider as well. I'm quite happy with the size:

While knitting this I intended to give it away and had a recipient in mind. Now? I'm not so sure I can part with it.

When I'm feeling blue, all I have to do Is take a look at you, then I'm not so blue When I'm in your arms, nothing seems to matter My whole world could shatter, I don't care Wouldn't you agree, baby you and me got a groovy kind of love We got a groovy kind of love

*see an absolutely stunning Crown Prince Shawl covered in yarn-hungry nupps here on Grumperina's blog.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What a doll!

I've said before how much I love the creativity of Mimi Kirchner and the wonderful art dolls she makes.

I've listened more than once to CraftyPod's podcast interview with her because I loved the enthusiasm with which she discusses her work and how she came to it.

Now there's an Etsy video so that I can both hear and see Mimi talk about her process:

Isn't she fabulous! Wouldn't it be fun to hang out with her for day and paw through all the goodies in her studio?!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Soggy and Happy

It rained all night (I think) and it was a very wet, rainy day today. I may be soggy, but I couldn't be happier to welcome the much needed rain and to enjoy the cooler temperatures. It hasn't even hit the 80s today!

Not too much planned around the cul-de-sac this weekend, so perhaps I'll have a chance to peacefully knit on the new shawl.

I am in LOVE with the yarn color [#1409 here].

I am working once again from Evelyn A. Clark's book "Knitting Lace Triangles". This is definitely one knitting book that I wouldn't won't to be without - so versatile; so satisfying. You can mix and match the lace motifs or go with one of the ones she's already mapped out for you. I'm using her Sunshine & Shadows recipe and hope to maybe eek out a few extra repeats.

It's pictured here on the languishing Schwalm embroidery. Haven't put another stitch in it since mid-July.

Do you have a favorite knitting book? One that you wouldn't want to be without? One, perhaps, that you'd love to start at the beginning and knit your way through every single pattern? There's one knitter out there who feels this way. Wow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sock Detour

I've been powering right along on the plain socks. I'm using an old ball of Lion Brand Magic Stripes and it's a tad bit thicker than the sock yarn I've used lately. I think I should have gone with size 3 needles.

I've finished the gusset decreases and I think the sock and I are going to take a detour. This detour may be slow and have a few bumps in the road, so there is no way to expect this pair to be finished for Summer of Socks. Que sera, sera.

A friend that I worked all 12 years of PTA with would like to knit socks. She mostly knits garter stitch scarves right now. I suggested some tag-team knitting. I'd get the sock started and let her take over.

Perhaps once she gets this one finished - and really it's just knit, knit, knit from here through the toe decreases - I'll help her get the next one going.

While we get that going, I've used the other DP WIP Tube to wind up a skein of lace yarn.

I didn't find any tempting sock yarn in the mountains, but I did make a very quick detour on the way home over to Silver Threads and Golden Needles where this skein of Cascade Alpaca Lace in a gorgeous Caribbean Heather called my name. Or called Evelyn A. Clark's name. Maybe both.

The clerk kindly offered to wind it into a ball for me, but I didn't want JP to have to wait any longer than necessary and I kind of like winding balls by hand.

I find the DP Wip Tube just perfect for this. I can put one free end of the yarn into the inner tube, close it inside with the outer tube and start winding. When I'm done, I just slide off the ball of yarn and I've got a center-pull ball.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Sound of Settling *

I had SO much fun knitting the Birch Leaf socks. Those were busy, busy socks with something going on all the time to keep a knitter's attention. Also it didn't hurt that the Brooklyn Handspun yarn was so yummy.

I had decided I'd only look for really yummy sock yarn on our trip, but nothing I found lived up to my expectations and I came home without any.

Not only that, I realized that August is practically over. [Where has this summer gone??] That means the Summer of Socks 2009 - which only runs until Sept. 1 - is almost over. I know it's all "low stress" and all, but one little pair of socks?? That didn't seem like much to show.

So I pulled out a ball of fairly boring self-striping sock yarn from the stash and started a really basic, plain sock. I'm going to be giving these away and to a non-knitter who, maybe, isn't that familiar with all the truly yummy sock yarn choices and won't feel as disappointed.

So is it "low stress" to try to get the pair done in the next 7 days?? It's madness, isn't it?

*from another Death Cab for Cutie song.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oh, My! answers

True Blue Madli - pleasant vacation knitting

Here are the answers to the puzzle clues from the previous post:

1. oven mitt
2. Old Maid
3. Oscar Mayer
4. orange marmalade
5. outboard motor
6. open mind
7. Ozark Mountains
8. office manager
9. Ole Miss
10. original meaning
11. Orlando Magic

12. owner's manual
13. Outer Mongolia
14. oxygen mask

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh, My! Car games

The Noah 'Bud' Ogle homestead - 1863

For all our years together, whenever JP and I take a car trip we usually play some sort of word game to pass the time. In the past it has often taken the form of designating some subject (ex: city names) and taking turns coming up with an example for the each letter of the alphabet in turn. Exciting times. [I'm making fun here, but we really do enjoy it.]

This trip we had a new game. The morning before we left JP heard most of the Sunday Puzzle radio program. Since he remembered (most of) the answers we played this one a bit differently with me trying to come up with the answers and him trying to recall the prompts. Ah, recall - the new game for Baby Boomers!

I thought you might like to play along, too, so I'm posting the clues here and in the next post I'll provide the answers.

Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase that starts with the initials "O-M."
ex: an expression of surprise = Oh, My!

Ready? Here goes.

1. protection for the hand while cooking
2. a card game played by children
3. a famous name in hot dog and luncheon meats
4. a fruity preserve spread on toast
5. it might propel a boat for water skiers
6. what you should maintain when considering a new idea
7. a chain of peaks in Arkansas and Missouri
8. supervisor for secretaries and administrative assistants
9. nickname for a Southern university whose mascot is the Rebel
10. what a conservative jurist might look to in the Constitution for help in deciding cases
11. NBA team for which Shaquille O'Neal first played

Since he was unable to recall all the clues, I came up with about three more answers not used by the program which had to satisfy us until we arrived and he could access the program on the laptop.

12. a booklet accompanying a product to explain details of use and care
13. a highland region bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south
14. something available to passengers on planes; it's use demonstrated by the flight attendants

Thursday, August 20, 2009

cares will drop away

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
John Muir (1838-1914)

The Smoky Mountains get their name from the natural fog present in early morning and especially after rainfall which appears to the viewer as plumes of smoke. I tried to get pictures of it for you, but you know how it is - pictures never do nature justice.

I haven't ever read any of John Muir's writings, but I can completely agree with this quote. I believe I have stored up some freshness and peace from this trip and hope to make it last for many months to come.

I mentioned visiting a couple of yarn shops. In the olden days whenever I went out of town, I always pulled open the nightstand drawer and pulled out the phone book in order to look for needlework shops. Then I had to flip to the front to try to find some sort of map in order to try to find the place. The internet makes things so much easier. I can search out shops before I go and even get directions and make a few notes.

The first shop I visited was Smoky Mountain Spinnery. I can't really tell you too much about this place as I was there such a short time. The shop is very nice but small and JP was with me feeling much like a bull in a china shop. I don't think there was anything breakable, but he was exhibiting that trapped look. Well it is awfully difficult to shop in those circumstances, isn't it? As he had forgotten to bring along a book and as there was nothing else of interest to him nearby, we left too soon after arriving.

Later in the trip we drove to The Knitting Nest a shop owned by sock book author Antje Gillingham. I loved that there was a little detour sign outside seemingly pointing all to the yarn. I was alone to wander this shop and could pick up and put down every single skein if I wanted because JP was happily reading in the fabulous public library nearby.

Do you know I didn't buy yarn at either store!

We returned and I resumed knitting on the blue shawl, taking time out to get a good picture of it for you.

All of this visiting has given me, once again, a better appreciation for my humble LYS. I see it often enough and tend to take it for granted, but I realize that it really does have a very nice selection of yarns.

Vacation Knitting

We've been on vacation - not too long, and not too far away.

We were in the Smokies where we honeymooned a little over 34 years ago.

I love trees and I love the mountains. It has been a few years since we were up that way and it was nice to go back.
And, as a bonus, it was indeed cooler.

It rained a bit but not enough to dampen our spirits.

I did manage some progress on the True Blue Madli shawl in between long bouts of duck watching. Duck watching I found to be extremely relaxing.

The ducks weren't terribly interested in my progress. I guess they had other things on their mind.

I did visit a couple of yarn shops. I'll tell you more about them later.

I'm still in vacation mode and think I'll add a few more rows to the shawl. My mind is already thinking ahead to a different project.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another one & other

I confess to being almost simultaneously fascinated and bored by the 4th plinth project. While I don't know what I would do given one hour of public forum, I did think this woman had a creative plan.

What one word describes what you would like to see more of in this world? Love pretty much encompasses it all, but I suppose empathy was the one that first came to my mind.

Oh, and while she was atop the plinth.....her first grandchild came into the Texas!

Friday, August 14, 2009

One & Other

Forget 15 minutes of fame. What about a whole hour?!

Surely, if I've heard about it, you've heard about it. I'm talking about One & Other; Anthony Gormley's 4th plinth live art project at Trafalgar Square in London.

I just checked in on this one - a swing dancer. [Slide over to about 29.10 minutes to see them dance the Charleston ala "It's A Wonderful Life".]

Much more lively I thought than tossing paper airplanes aloft.

Personally I find the website a bit hard to navigate, but perhaps that is just me*. Besides I don't want to spend too much time over there. Still an interesting project. However, an hour could be an awfully LONG time. What would you do??

Lots of pictures on Flickr - search 'plinth'

*ETA: I've gotten a bit better at navigating and have found a spinner
and a knitter promoting a fundraising knitting project for the humanitarian medical aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mmmm, coconut

It's like those people at Mars are reading my mind!

I wonder if this could count as a fruit serving??

They are really, really sweet. But who's complaining?

Anyway, speaking of palm trees, I'm experiencing serious Bag Envy over the fabulous palms embroidered on a bag on this blog, and I can't even leave a comment to tell her how much I love it.

She doesn't just do lovely embroidery. While you're over there, click on 'tatting' in her sidebar to see some truly perfect tatting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Luddite Laptop

With the Brooklyn Birch Leaf socks put away, I've returned to Madli's Shawl and once again I'm making good use of the tin Kay provided.

JP teasingly calls it my laptop so it now has a name - the Luddite Laptop.

Oh, yes, we are easily amused over here at stringplay, no?

One thing I've found with these Estonian patterns, they are fairly easy to UNknit. And there is always UNknitting around here.

There is only 670 yards in this ball of handdyed yarn. It is not nearly enough.

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided it would do for Madli's Shawl which calls for a 1300 yard ball. So for this first Madli, I'm going nupp-less. I did knit the nupps in the two end edgings and pre-knit the other end edging so I could use every bit of the yarn in the center section.

It's a lovely pattern I think, and I hope to knit it again with all the nupps*in place.

*nupp (rhymes with soup) is a feature of Estonian lace knitting used to add texture. According to Nancy Bush, since Estonian shawls were typically sold by weight, the nupps added weight and commanded higher prices. Also, they cannot be duplicated by machine and were proof the article was handknitted.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brooklyn Birch Leaf Socks

Pattern: Birch Leaf Socks
by Nancy Bush in "A Gathering of Lace"

Yarn: Brooklyn Handspun Signature
4 ply merino superwash sock yarn
480 yds/113 grs - color Moss Man

Needles: size 1 and size 0 dpns

Whew! Just in time! The 5-day forecast is just peppered with these threatening red-hot thermometers! I think I can safely fold these and put them away for a few months!

This is a lovely pattern that I enjoyed all the way through. It is perfect for a chart-loving knitter. The yarn was a real treat as well. It is one of those tightly-spun fancy sock yarns and I could easily get spoiled.

I even have a good bit left as the handy tin will attest.

Now I think I'll take that magnetic ruler and use it to hold up the chart for the Madli blue shawl and get back to work on it.

INSIDE, of course, with the a/c on!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rug Hooking

Have you tried it?

I never have. It is one of those things that I would love to do at camp. Give me a week, provide the necessary supplies and equipment, and let me try it out.

It's one of those things that I think I'd like to do once. You know, get it out of my system.

Years ago when I was active in the lace club and attended the fall demonstrations at the Sandy Springs Festival, we were often placed near the rug hookers and I always enjoyed seeing their creations, both finished and in progress. I try to not pass up an exhibit if I see one in the area.

For some time I've enjoyed seeing the ones at Kinship in Color. Today I saw some wonderful hooked purses at Fish Eye Rugs. I love how she showed the magazine ad for a mirror that was her inspiration.

What inspires you?