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August 18, 2008

Mother & Daughter Knit-Along

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Erica was here for a long weekend and we had a great time. The only time we were able to fit in a knitting lesson was on the afternoon of her last day here. She needed help with the slip-knit-psso (SKP) and reading the lace chart for the Dragon Scale Scarf. We both bought yarn last year to make the scarf and I finished mine in May 2007; her yarn, pattern and needles traveled with her to Florida and understandably, she wasn't motivated to finish a scarf in Florida. Earlier in the weekend, she'd seen the red Malabrigo Laceweight ("Torero" colorway) that Vanessa sent me. She clearly wanted to claim it, so I suggested that she try it with my Addi lace needles while I cast on with her yarn ("Purple Mystery" colorway) with her needles. We agreed to share both scarves when they're finished -- I'll wear the one she knits and she'll wear the one I knit. It's a no-pressure knit-along since she starts school next week.

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I discovered that I knit a lot looser now than I did last year. Some of it might be due to my using a different needle this time, but it just feels like I'm more relaxed while I knit. It also seems like I knit a tiny bit faster than I used to.

We flipped through Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman and made a few observations that we're usually both drawn to the non-sweater projects first. We love scarves, handbags, afghans and pillows. After reading the article about Canadian knitters in the recent Vogue Knitting magazine, I think I understand why. We've never lived anywhere where the winters were so cold for so long that we needed to depend on wool sweaters for more than a few months. Instead, scarves, hats and occasionally, gloves or mittens served as warm accessories that could easily be shed when we entered a heated home. Consequently, I don't think I could ever knit too many scarves.

I withdrew for a while after we got back from Oklahoma. I've been reading, listening to music and limiting my online time to concentrated bursts. I've been feeling a little overstimulated and anxious (seriously . . . does this get better? Mid-life hormonal changes are incredibly not fun) so I didn't web-surf or knit much. I've really enjoyed reading more though -- a good story lifts my spirits. What did you read this summer that you loved?


May 01, 2007

Finished Dragon Scale Scarf

Finished Dragon Scale Scarf
Click photo for more details at Flickr

April 30, 2007

Transitions

I'm in a state of flux right now, but it's not a bad thing. It's just necessary.

My sister left yesterday and we both feel inspired and ready to reach for the changes instead of running from them. While our parents are making adjustments in their respective life stages, we're considering some changes to their care, and we daughters are continuing to work as a team. When we get on the other side of this, I might feel better about sharing some of the things we've been through. I know my blog has been quiet lately and that's why.

Thanks to Sallie, I have new information regarding my Dad's genealogy. My sister also found an envelope containing our mom's Japanese family history -- a certified copy provided by my uncle, circa 1988. Now all I need is a translator (we're working on that), to figure out which one of my ancestors was a samurai. My uncle had mentioned a long time ago that he was working on getting the family history together for me but I didn't realize he had sent it to my mom.

I'm almost finished (still) with the Dragon Scale Scarf and have chosen my next knitting project -- it literally came to me in a dream. It's a project I've had at the back of my mind, but didn't really think I'd actually KNIT it or wear, but I dreamed that I just needed to knit it and it's very plain and unspectacular. How do you like how vague I am?

Also in the works -- a design project. I'm hesitant to even put out there that I'm designing something -- but I am. It's something I'm hoping to teach as a class in the Fall for beginning knitters who are new to knitting in the round. Sometimes simple is best.

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April 06, 2007

Dragon Scale Scarf Part Two

These are the last in-progress shots I'll share till I'm finished:

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I've mentioned to some of you that I'm trying to stick to ONE knitting project until I'm finished. I am allowing myself to either work on swatches or socks on the side, but for the most part I am remaining project-monogamous.

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The in-progress shots help ME to see that I'm keeping a decent pace and staying on track. Otherwise, it just feels weird for me to stick to one thing. If it gets too monotonous (rarely), I get up and wind some yarn or clean out my knitting basket. I daydream about what to choose for my next knitting project. I haven't made a final decision yet, but I want to choose something that won't require the purchase of more yarn. I'm not ready to go completely stash-less, but there are some things I've been wanting to work on and finish. Should it be another lace project?

My own little exception to this project monogamy rule is that I can allow myself to start or work on socks at any time -- limited only by the number of free DPNs I have in my knitting basket. There's my Twisted Yarns sock yarn that I keep admiring -- I can start it guilt-free if I want to:

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So do you knitters prefer sticking with one project or would you rather have several going at once? My own practice has been to enjoy several knits at once. However, I'm starting to see the appeal of having one at a time to focus on. And FOCUS has been the key -- even though I daydream about my next knit, I've stuck with this one project long enough to get a rhythm and not have to rely on the pattern while I knit. And the most amazing thing is that my mind and hands seem to know what to do next. I can feel immediately when a stitch isn't right and I can correct it quickly (within no more than five errant stitches) and I'm not getting as frustrated as I was when I started this scarf. I know that to some of you, none of this is new! But I just had to share that I do see the appeal now.

It's about to be the weekend again and I hope yours is wonderful. Have a Happy Easter if you celebrate it!

April 02, 2007

Dragon Scale Scarf

I first cast on with the blue Malabrigo laceweight to start the Dragon Scale Scarf on Friday night; then again on Saturday night; finally again on Sunday morning. I lost count at seven failed attempts to get past the first repeat. The pattern was straightforward, the needles are wonderful, and the yarn is awesome. But apparently I shouldn't knit in low light or when I have too many distractions.

So with great lighting, by Sunday afternoon, I had a tiny bit of progress to show:

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And by this afternoon, I had noticeable progress:

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So I learned that I have to stick to knitting lace during the day when the lighting is best and the kids are at school. I also have to keep track of my glasses.

And every night, I read this at my son's request.

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For some reason, I think it inspires my knitting.

March 30, 2007

Knitting Pure & Simple Jumper Jamboree

My coworkers knit this wonderful set of sundresses from a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern:

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(clicking on this photo will enlarge it)

We were each given the broad guideline of choosing a cotton or cotton-blend yarn to knit these. I shared with you all the trouble I'd had with mine (prior to frogging and reknitting) and I was able to overcome it and end up with something satisfying. I enjoyed the pattern enough to make a Silk Garden version with a ruffle -- it can be worn as a top. Now I just have to knit the pants to go with it.

So here are mine with the others:

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Pattern: Little Girls Sundress or Jumper- Knitting Pure & Simple #266
Yarn: Plymouth Jeannee - 2 skeins (retail price is under $4 USD per skein)

And this little bundle of soft laceweight yarn came home with me yesterday:

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It was insanely economical and I saw something knit with the red version -- amazing! Last night I cast on for a Dragon Scale Scarf and confirmed that I totally do not have a quiet, lace-knitting environment even when I have a straightforward pattern. I also decided that I can't go another day without some Addi Lace needles.

Thank you all for humoring me with the Maker vs. Designer discussion. I know that many of us are called to creative endeavors outside of knitting, as am I. I just reject the idea (from the book) that we need to go to great lengths and take several weeks to determine what we are called to do. I believe we either know it or we don't -- that is, on a daily basis, we are either avoiding it or embracing it.