Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The Swallowtail is done! I took a quick photo, and now I'm about to block it. I'm very hopeful it will leave my hands at the end of this week or early next week and finally go live with my friend who should have had it back in Sept. After trying three different patterns for this yarn, this knitted up so quickly it almost makes up for all the other trials (and errors!)

I'll photograph again in a couple of days when it's dry from being blocked!
Well, I had to show it being blocked too, didn't I?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another Eclipse

Just a year ago I wrote about an eclipse here, so having another one this week made me realize I've been at this for a little over a year. Naturally, I expected to do a lot more with this blog than I have! The photos alone are a big learning curve for me, and I haven't got the faintest idea how some of the bloggers I most admire do such interesting things with photos!
(Empire State Building with Lunar Eclipse)

It's snowing hard here, and the birds are singing so it's quite a contrast. I will have no photos because my camera is on a holiday in Colorado with my husband and older son, the homebrew master. Trust me, it's beautiful outside!

I have finished the body of the Swallowtail shawl and am partway through the first larger border. The next border is only 10 rows, and then I'll switch yarn to the violet for the final border. I really, really want this done by March 1, so I can give it away to my friend before she has her reconstructive surgery. I can't believe I'm not sick of looking at this yarn yet since I've been fussing with it in various patterns since August! (from Knitting Daily photo gallery)

Earlier this week I learned that Elizabeth Lovick will be leading a KAL (knit along) on one of the yahoo groups, EZ as Pi. Liz is the woman who sent me the wonderful Ronaldsay which I spun and knit into Chris's gansey which should show up on the slide show to the right. I'm going to join this one, and have been looking at the Jamieson and Smith site lusting after all the colors and weights of Shetland. The KAL starts next week, so I should just go through my stash, especially since I do have some wonderful lace yarns.....they're just not real shetland.....sigh...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Beware the "Power of Seven"

Hmmmm...while I was happily knitting away on my new Swallowtail Shawl with my twice frogged Art Yarn called Alfabeto, I was tagged by the mysterious "Power of 7." Unfortunately I have to pass along this curse to other bloggers who'll be named shortly. It was very sneaky BadCatDesign who got me. Go take a look at her blog, where you'll be happily lost in lace knitting for many hours!

Here are the rules for us 'taggees:'

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.

The evil spirit who got me is BadCat, who is extremely interesting and I suggest you go read about her!

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

Here are 7 things you may not know about me:
1) In what feels like another lifetime entirely, I studied both ancient Greek and classical Latin. I got degrees in both. I also learned to weave then....it was the mid 70s.
2) I love to sing. I'd rather sing than talk any day. I've had the good fortune to sing with some great conductors in some great halls, like Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher, and even NYState Theatre where I sang while the Mark Morris Dance Co. danced!
3) Someday I'm going to learn bobbin lace. Really, I am. When I do I will weave a lovely linen square and surround it with bobbin lace for a handkerchief.
4) Not so surprisingly, I am a cat person. All my cats have had Greek names, which has been the greatest use of my many years of Greek studies. Also, I give boats Greek names.
5)I am very right brained. It's hard for me to figure out a sequence to accomplish anything, but I somehow manage to finish a few things every now and then by what seems like magic.
6) I'm a terrible housekeeper, perhaps because I'm right brained (I can't figure out the order in which to accomplish good housekeeping). However, most people don't realize this weakness in me because I hide things whenever people come over. These hidden items are often lost for years.
7) And almost no one knows this about me: I was born in Texas. I come from a lllloooonnnggg line of Texans on both sides of my family. I moved away just before starting school, but was back in Texas for a few years during middle school which was in the late 60s, so I was part of the first attempts at desegregation. I was bused from the "good" part of town into the less desirable part. There were no school buses for this, so at the tender age of 12, my friends and I braved riding the city bus across town until our mothers panicked and formed a carpool. In hindsight I realize we were too young to be afraid of the situation, and too young to understand how our parents felt. There was a lot of violence in the beginning, and I think most of us knew to keep it under wraps or our parents might die of anxiety. In the long run I found it a valuable experience.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

Hmmm....Like my tagger, BadCat, I might opt for less than seven. Here are the unfortunate chosen:

Cally Booker

Kathy Spoering

Jennifer Lovallo

Rob Osborn (the amazing homebrew guy!...and my son!)

4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, I'm off to warn the taggees of their taggedness.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Almost finished frogging the Muir before I realized that I should at least take a photo. This yarn is Alfabeto from Art Fibers in San Francisco. It is 76% silk, 19% mohair, and 5% wool. It doesn't rip out easily, and I sure hope I remember that little edge picots should be avoided in future unless I'm working with very smooth yarn! On the other hand, this yarn simply will not break no matter how much tugging I do! Two out every four rows begins in a picot which I have to tease apart with a blunt tapestry needle. I console myself that it is somewhat faster than the actual knitting!

If I need to supplement yarn to re-make this as a Swallowtail Shawl I will buy some coordinating Sylph.

Okay, I'm heading downstairs to start threading the clerical stole warp!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Life is good! I'm getting my mojo back, I'm full of ideas and excitement to carry out some of them! Whew!

I've started all kinds of things in the past week. Maybe I'm manic/depressive, and this is my manic stage? Hmm.... I basted together the back and one front/sleeve of the Sunshine Circle Jacket (already knitted twice, too big each time) for Lauren (future daughter-in-law) to try on, and it fits. Whoa....I'm in shock, and I'm celebrating! Onward with the 2nd front/sleeve.....

After gestating (for months) ideas for weaving a minister's stole for the soon-to-be-ordained, wonderfully-nurturing, first-female-minister-I've-ever-met, today I actually made the warp. It's a mixture of things that finally came together into something intriguing. I bought a large 1/2 lb. hank of 8/2 tencel from Heritage Yarns in Missouri at least 2 years ago. When it arrived I didn't really want to make scarves with it. I started a warp, but then rewound what I'd done back onto the hank. Today that hank suddenly came to mind, and luckily I found it without too much effort. I took four solid shades of tencel that coordinate with the colors in the painted tencel, and I shaded from dark at the edges to light in the center. I blended the four shades to create seven shades. I held one strand of painted thread with one or two strands of solid to get the shading. I wound the warp on my AVL warping wheel and wound it in 2" sections onto my 16S mechanical dobby AVL.

Tomorrow is a free day since my normal tapestry class is canceled this week, so I will thread that warp. What an exhilarating feeling to have made a decision and started the project! I have a twill in mind, a pattern that creates the illusion of woven ribbons, but I have back-up ideas if I don't like the look.

And life gets sweeter yet! Last week I happened to see a lovely little shawl on Knitting Daily. It's from Interweave Knits, Fall '06, and it's called Swallowtail Shawl. When I saw it I dashed upstairs to get that issue and grab some kiwi green mohair. I started knitting and have barely taken a break until today. I'm about to start the final border so I can vouch for how quickly it knits up.
Partway through the body of the shawl I realized that this pattern is the ideal solution for my Art Fibers silk yarn which was never really destined to become the Muir shawl. When I run out of the painted alfabeto I can just start one of the borders with a coordinating solid color and continue in it.

All is well now...... I think I'll make a marguerita!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Squeezing lemons

I've gotten some great ideas from fellow knitters and friends on how to make lemonade with this Muir shawl! I feel nurtured by your sympathy and by the interesting ideas for how to save this project! For now, I'm just going to move on. I don't give up easily on things, and sometimes I need a slap in the face to make me walk away from a project! I'm going to look at this hiatus as the gift of freedom to move on to other knitting and weaving!

But... if/when I come back to this project here is the idea that most appeals to me now: block the partial piece to a square, knit the lace edging, and have a little shawlette! Voila! Thank you, Lea Ann! (This idea is from my oldest friend who is not even a knitter!)

I am getting back on track with my little-man-in-the-boat-historical-piece (from one of the Devonshire Hunt tapestries). I've also warped and woven the hem and first border for my new tapestry. It's not much to look at yet.

An update on my son's friend Sarah who suffered the terrible accident back in the fall. She has mostly adjusted back to her regular life and does not have any noticeable brain impairment. Truly a miracle! She is staying in Rochester even though she is not in classes this semester. What an amazing recovery!

This morning there is heavy fog, and it is lovely! We are having some confused weather! It was as warm as April and just as sunny over the weekend, snow yesterday, and fog today. I'm thinking about the ground hog and Shrove Tuesday, and crocus, snow drops, and taking a moment to cut some forsythia!
When life hands you lemons, ask for tequila and salt and call me over!!