Long overdue

It’s dreadful how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything here. Life has taken a very busy turn of late & I feel like I can’t keep up with it all. Funnily enough, life has a way of slowing things down for you. I took a spill a few days ago – a pretty spectacular one – and I’ve been trying to ice my hurt knees, chest & shoulder while still preparing for my Mom’s impending visit – an incompatible pair of objectives. Talk about lousy timing. Well, I was elevating my knees & complaining (I’m not a good patient) when my husband’s voice drifted in from the other room ‘You know you haven’t updated your blog in ages!’ I realized he was right, so whilst I am still immobilised, here it is.

I’ve been working on an Aran cardi for a while now, and since the weather has turned warmer, I feel a distinct lack of interest rising every time I take it out & work on it. It’s a temporary phase, and it will pass, but it’s slowed the forward¬†momentum on this project considerably. Nope, sorry. Can’t share pics on this one yet, but I will in time.

I bought some lovely Isager wools a few months back & have been playing around with pattern ideas as I want to make it into a lightweight wrap. Isager has a few nice patterns along the lines I was thinking, but somehow, they seem a bit too reminiscent of fishing nets. I’d like this wrap to transcend seasons, and the fishing net look would really only be acceptable to me in summer.

I also got some Isager alpaca #1 – it’s amazingly soft, yet it doesn’t feel wimpy or fragile. That will become a lacy scarf later in the summer.

Both of my Isager purchases really impressed me. They’re very good quality fibers, but they’re so beautifully spun. The wool #1 is a single-ply lace wt. – I usually stay away from single plied yarns because I’m not terribly fond of felted garments, and all it takes is a small indiscretion on laundry day to make that happen. However, I just couldn’t resist it – it feels quite soft against the skin, with what I can only describe as a Shetland character – it’s got substance for its weight, and will not create an overly-drapy fabric. The spin is tight & amazingly even – no slubbiness at ALL. I haven’t swatched either yarn yet, but I think I will love them.

I’ve been going a bit stir crazy while enduring enforced bouts of resting & icing my knees, so I’ve been reading lots of knitting books & magazines. Have you seen the latest Interweave? It’s better than most of their prior summer offerings, I think. The patterns are a bit more sophisticated than the usual tank tops & camis. Also the latest Rowan Magazine has a nice article about knitting outdoors that pokes around through history a bit – we tend to think of ‘knitting in public’ as a recent issue, but folks have been knitting in public since forever. There’s also an article with mini-interviews with recent Rowan Award recipients. I haven’t got a lot of respect for ‘haute couture’ these days, particularly where knits are concerned, but these up & coming students bear watching – Rowan has an uncanny talent for spotting & nurturing the knitting talents of tomorrow. I’ve also read a few books on traditional Aran & fair isle knitting, watched every movie on the house (not really), and started listening to the audio book of Julia Child’s “My Life in France” which has the unfortunate side-effect of making me unreasonably hungry. I dare you to hear about buerre noisette and shallots simmering at length and NOT get unreasonably hungry. I’ve developed an interest in Julia since seeing Julie & Julia. I didn’t care for Julie, but Julia stole the show (as I understand she did in real life, too).

I’ll leave you with a photo of my ever-present companion/shadow – he likes me being immobilised, I can tell.

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Le Chapeau Diabolique (C’est fini!)

front view

Ok, It’s done. The fifth try was the charm. The first time I frogged because the lace pattern I chose didn’t look very pretty when it was done. So I dragged out my extensive resources & found the forest lace pattern I used here. The 2nd & 3rd times were trying to get the jogless mojo going, and the 4th time I abandoned hope & did the body of the hat in purl, but it bagged out unflatteringly. So, I decided to compromise, in a way, and do a slim cable up the back of the hat – while not as attractive as the idea of truly jogless garter, it’s MUCH less distracting than the stupid curved seam, and it got the job done. See?

rear view

rear cable detail 1

rear cable detail 2

Here’s the top view – I did a 5 way decrease & abandoned the cable at the point of decrease, as it would have twisted along with the decreases & looked weird.

top view

I also expanded he lace pattern on the brim a bit, because I wanted the lovely tree-branch effect to show up well. My Aunt lives on land that abuts parkland, and she frequently likes to walk in the woods behind her home – the tree motif is really appropriate for her.

forest lace edging

pleat detail

IMG_1544

Perhaps the forest lace isn’t a perfect match for the pleats on the scarf, but it’s a good complement. The pleated edge drapes beautifully, and I felt that a similarly ribbed hat would look somewhat less elegant.

I didn’t commit this pattern of mine to paper yet, and am not inclined to do so unless someone expresses an interest. At least not yet.

It’s a rather burdensome thing to knit for a knitter ~ you want to make sure it’s perfect, and interesting, and wearable… it’s a lot to consider, but worth putting the time & thought into, I think. We give things we admire to those we love, but it should also be a gift that suits, in the end.

So the hat & scarf set are done, soon to be wrapped & gifted to my favorite Aunt – a brilliant knitter, and a wonderful person, BTW. I hope she likes it.

hat & scarf

Things in my life have taken on the feel of a runaway boxcar this week, with more things to do than there are hours available in the day & a number of important projects brewing (which I shall reveal in time). This makes me not only tired, but perhaps not the most entertaining person, so my goal for the rest of the year is to find myself the breathing room to make me a more fun & amiable person to be around. ‘Cause this sucks.

My next goal is to whip out a few more FOs in time for the Christmas rush, and finish the Darcy cardigan in time for Christmas. I had originally hoped to get it done in time for Rhinebeck, but it wasn’t meant to be.

And on a decidedly more positive note, I have a party to go to. tonight!

kakie!My father-in-law is celebrating a birthday today! And while I didn’t have the time to make a home-made cake, I did manage to do the personalization. (I think it shows, too.)

This hat kicked my butt…

That’s not a phrase you hear every day, huh? But it’s true. I frogged & reknit so many times, the yarn started to look a bit worn. Here was my last – & final- attempt at jogless garter. I must now concede that there is no such thing – not really.

grrrrrBeyond the wear & tear on the yarn, I am sick to death of redoing what should have been a quick & easy project…SO! I decided the only obvious solution is to redo the garter bits as pure purl. It won’t match the scarf, exactly, but it also won’t look like there’s a big ol’ nasty mistake in the hat, either. It’ll be finished tomorrow & I’ll post a pic then.