Monday, April 23, 2012

Crazy? I'm halfway there!

I've reached the halfway point of the tatted antique wristbag [pdf pattern here]. I'm going to have to deal with all those loose ends soon as they are driving me nuts.

Halfway means (obviously) that one side is complete. I'll keep adding sections in the same manner and it will remain one flat piece until that last section connects to the first. Not so sure when that will be. But, hey! It isn't like there is any real hurry for this. : )

In the meantime I have received my May/June issue of "Piecework".

Let me remind you, it is the LACE issue and it is another outstanding one.

It should be on the newsstands May 1. RUN out and get one.

There is knitted lace, bobbin lace, tatted lace (a bedspread! GASP!), reticella needle lace, Clones crochet lace, a little known, nearly forgotten German hand-knotted lace technique, and several patterns including one by Galina Khmeleva [that's it pictured on the cover].

I've hardly had a chance to look through it but I look forward to spending some quality time with this one.

$6.99 is the single-issue price. An incredible bargain. What a treasure of information!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Miss Rumphius Shawlette

Pattern: Wendy's Summer Mystery Shawlette

Yarn: Quince & Co. Finch

100% American wool

221 yds/50 gr color Lupine 116

about 1.5 balls

a joy to knit and blocked wonderfully

Needles: size 6 KnitPicks options

This post is going to be less about the finished shawlette and more about the inspiration behind it.

Back in January I saw a cousin. I was wearing my Summer Mystery Shawlette at the time and she commented favorably upon it. I decided right then to make one for her. I had been hearing about the Quince & Co. yarns and wanted to try them so I began browsing and as soon as I saw the color Lupine I knew what I wanted to do.

( Barbara Cooney : August 6, 1917 – March 10, 2000)

My #1 ALL-TIME favorite children's book author and illustrator is Barbara Cooney. Her artwork is lovely. What a treasure! I absolutely canNOT choose a favorite book. Each time I consider them and pick one, I immediately think of another that I love equally well. ALL are wonderful. She has authored and/or illustrated more than 200 books and twice was awarded the Caldecott Medal.

Her book that inspired this knit is "Miss Rumphius"

A synopsis of Miss Rumphius:

Alice was a young girl who dreamt of doing wonderful things, just like her grandfather. She wanted to travel the world, then come home and live in a house by the sea.

Her grandfather approved, but told her "You must do a third thing. You must do something to make the world more beautiful."

Alice grew up and she did just as she planned. She traveled the world, then came home to a place by the sea. She planted lupines outside her bedroom window. Then one spring, an old back injury began to bother her and she could do nothing but stay in bed for a long time. She was sad that she was unable to plant more lupine seeds. At the same time, she had in the back of her mind her grandfather's instruction to her. She had no idea what she could do to make the world more beautiful.The next spring arrived, and Miss Rumphius was up again. Much to her surprise, she discovered a patch of lupines growing where she had not planted any seeds. She realized that seeds from the lupines she had planted had drifted on the wind and planted themselves. Suddenly, she knew how she could make the world more beautiful. She bought bags full of lupine seeds, then spent her time walking and scattering the seeds as she went. The seeds grew into lupines, which produced more seeds that flew off, so the lupine fields grew bigger every year.

About this book Ms. Cooney said “Miss Rumphius has been, perhaps, the closest to my heart. There are, of course, many dissimilarities between me and Alice Rumphius, but, as I worked, she gradually seemed to become my alter ego. Perhaps she had been that right from the start.”

So today's PSA is this: There is no age restriction for reading books for children. If you aren't familiar with her books, look for them the next time you are in the library or bookstore. I know you won't be disappointed. You may LOVE them as much as I do!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Changes in Fairacre

A quick post to remember a favorite author who died earlier this month on April 7. Dora Saint who wrote as Miss Read, was 98.

Mary was thoughtful and sent me this link to the obituary in the NY Times. I liked it best of all the ones I read as I thought it expressed her writing most clearly and summed up succinctly:

"There is ample humor, little real menace, no sex and not a jot of intemperate language."

I cannot now recall how I first happened upon Miss Read in the stacks of my library, but I am ever so thankful that I did. For many years I repeatedly checked out, read, and reread the books until Houghton Mifflin began reprinting some titles in paperback.

In particular, it became an absolute custom that I would read "Christmas at Fairacre" at some point during the holiday. The library's edition contained only the two stories "Village Christmas" and "The Christmas Mouse", but when it was republished I bought the hardback edition that also included the additional story "No Holly for Miss Quinn". I always waited for just the perfect, quiet moment during the rush of Christmas to reread it and it was, and continues to be, a balm and a treat every year. For that reason, it probably remains my favorite of all the books.

Weather and changes in the seasons play a large part in all her books as this sample, included in a different obituary clearly shows:

Although nearly blind for the last years of her life, Dora was always fully alert to the weather. The pace of life might have changed in her fictional villages as the years passed, but the joy of a hint of warmth early in the year, as in Winter in Thrush Green (1961), never alters: "It was one of those clear, mild days which come occasionally in mid-winter and lift the spirits with their hint of coming springtime. Catkins were already fluttering on the nut hedge behind Albert's house and the sky was a pale translucent blue, as tender as a thrush's egg-shell."

Saint believed that "happiness is the result of an attitude of mind."
Rest in peace, Miss Read.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why knot?

Awhile back I mentioned working with my new yarn from Quince & Co., their fingering weight Finch. A couple of other projects jumped ahead but I have finally settled in with it. I'm working another of Wendy's Summer Mystery Shawlette. Such a pleasant pattern.

These skeins have 221 yds/50 grams so I needed two. Just before reaching the point where I needed to add in the second skein, I luckily happened to read Jean Moss' blog post where she had embedded this YouTube video for how to join your yarn by making a double knot. Jane Richmond is the mind behind this tidbit. Interesting, yes?

I would have thought knots were frowned upon in knitting. Perhaps they are. Not long ago when knitting the Stonechat Shawlette, I encountered a couple of knots in the yarn. Very small, quite fine knots. The yarn was already wound in a ball when I received it, and I happened upon the first knot mid row and decided to leave it there. That yarn was dark and handpainted and I was never able to even able to spot the knot afterwards.

I figured I could try it here, when I still had a good twelve inches or so of the working yarn and, if I didn't like it, I could cut out the knot and work in the new yarn as I have before.

Well I have to tell you that I now embrace knots in knitting. I was lucky in that the knot just happened to fall in the three-stitch garter edge, but it is invisible. I am not sure how it would have looked if it had happened in a yarnover section, but really that tight double knot was so thin, no thicker than the yarn on either side, that I doubt it would be noticeable even there.

I left that first photo large. You should be able to click on it to see it more closely. Can you spot the knot? Even knowing where it is it still looks better to my eye than an area where ends have been woven into the knitting.

Neither of these photos show the color correctly. I'm using Lupine which is a purple. Sometimes in sunlight at little too purple for me, but this is intended for a gift anyway.

Yarn is nice to work with and I am really looking forward to seeing how it blocks.

So the next time you need to add in more yarn, depending on your project and inclination, why not knot?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Joyful Eastertide

A warm spring day last week and I walked across the square and found a new old postcard.

This one mailed from Martland, Nebraska April 9, 1909. Easter was April 11 that year.


"Dear Par (?) It won't be many weeks before you will see me for I want

to get through next month. We are both well and hope you all are.

With best wishes

As ever May"

Hoping your Easter is JOYful.