Beyond Devastated

by Lee Louise

For a month or so now, I have been knitting Denise Bell’s Lerwick Harbour Hap from Ultima Thule:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lerwick-harbour-hap—full-hap

I promptly bought the book when I saw it at Denise’s Lost City Knits booth in the Stitches South 2016 Marketplace last April. I also bought five skeins of her Foothills Fingering, a luscious 100% merino wool, fingering weight yarn, in colors that I love. Natural, orange, red, yellow and mud (I don’t know what else to call it, it might be green or it might be brown, but I love it):

hap_yarn

And (drum roll!!) I started knitting on May 6. First I made an inner square of orange garter stitch, then on May 13 I started knitting feather and fan stripes outward from the edges of that inner square, with the other colors. Let me tell you, this yarn is fabulous! Soft as silk, and a treat to the fingers. And, about 800 or more yards later, I have yet to find a single knot. The quality of this yarn is beyond wonderful, and the softest of all is the undyed natural.

I finished the feather and fan border on June 4, and reluctantly set it aside while I knit lace and socks.

On June 20, I picked it up again, and started the outer lace border. Lace and rope cables. Gotta love it:

 

Then, at a Sit and Knit on the evening of June 22, disaster struck!! I was sitting on a kitchen chair and holding the bulk of the shawl in my lap when… the shawl fell OFF my lap, and about 30 stitches came off the left needle. This included dropping the stitch where the outer border joins the body of the shawl, and that stitch ran merrily down several rows, so that about two inches of outer border were no longer connected to the shawl. Gravity is NOT our friend.

Slightly devastated (is that even a possible state of being?)

So, after salvaging what I could at the Sit and Knit, restoring the stitches to my needles as best I could, and marking dropped, and potentially running, stitches with safety-pin-type stitch markers to prevent them from dropping further, I set the whole thing aside. Brushed the yarn fuzz off my hands, as it were. Symbolically turned my back on it.

Surgery on the Hap. That is what was needed. Also, I needed time to quit hating it…

Beyond devastated (I couldn’t even bear to take a picture for historical purposes, which I regret now. A blog requires religious documentation of the state of one’s knitting when one is in the depths of devastation, as well as pictures of hap-pier times.)

On June 24, surgery was performed successfully. I added a rubber band at the base of the right needle to prevent future loss of stitches from that quarter. The little white thing that appears to be glowing? That is the rubber band:

hap_3

There was considerable un-knitting before I could start knitting again. I am once again in love with my Lerwick Harbour Hap:

hap_4

 

Chookie-Chookie

by Lee Louise

Someone had a birthday. Someone turned 3 last weekend. It is always a joy to visit with my children, and see the grands:

I will be the first to admit that I am not the world’s best photographer. I have not yet mastered the snapping of beautiful, clear shapshots:

24_June_2016_1

but I include that substandard photo because we gave Grandson #3-04 a Tonka metal bulldozer for his birthday — there is it, in the fuzzy, out-of-focus foreground. I much prefer the picture my daughter sent:

24_June_2016_4

but you can’t see the bulldozer in her picture, and the bulldozer is, ostensibly, the subject of this post. That is to say, it is the chookie-chookie.

The bulldozer brought back happy memories of long ago. My parents had a shelf and a box in their living room closet, devoted to toys and games for their grands, my children and my sister’s children, to play with when they came to visit. (I have a shelf of children’s books and a tub of toys in my own family room to keep small persons entertained. We call them Grandma’s books and Grandma’s toybox.) There was one toy in particular that brought hours of pleasure to my father and my children. It was a small yellow metal bulldozer, maybe 4 inches long by an inch high. I fondly remember him playing with them. My dad would manipulate that bulldozer, often following (chasing?) a child around the room, or running it along a child’s arm or leg as they were held captive in a high chair. All the while, he would make bulldozer noises, “Chookie, chookie, chookie…”  And that’s how all bulldozers became chookie-chookies, and that is what we gave him for his birthday.

The chookie-chookie was a big hit. When he fell asleep that night, he fell asleep cuddling his new chookie-chookie.

I also left behind a little hat for the new baby who is due to arrive next month:

(Same hat, modeled by a stuffed owl on the left, and by an apple on the right. Made with self-striping sock yarn and the Easy Peasy Newborn Sock Hat pattern.)

My Pair of Socks, Revisited

by Lee Louise

I know I must move on and, indeed, I have gotten my hap shawl out again and started knitting the outer border. But I give you one more picture of my remarkable accomplishment from last weekend (the last one, I promise — I.Will.Move.On — I will Not post another picture of these socks):

pair-of-socks

Pair of Socks

And here is Cathy, who finished her Dream Sock today:

go_to_Cathy

Consider the Daylily

by Lee Louise

I’ve posted images of this painting before, but somehow I can never get enough of it.

Hillary-daylily-1

It hangs on the wall of my kitchen, easily visible from where I sit at my computer. I could sit and look at it all day, and all night. I don’t, of course. Sometimes I type and make blog posts too. The greens are so intense, so alive. Hillary truly is an artist.

It’s June in Memphis, and the daylilies are blooming. There are three (at least three) patches of daylilies in my gardens. There are daylilies near the road by the mailbox. There are more daylilies in the back yard, up the hill towards the shed. But the patch that made me stop and get my camera out on my way to work one morning is near the driveway, halfway between the road and the carport. Beauty like this, I reasoned, deserves to be documented:

What I didn’t know at the time is someone was documenting the documenter:

Taking-pictures

A Pair of Socks

by Lee Louise

I am thrilled to announce that today I finished a pair of socks. That is, a pair as in two. I guess that may mean I finished two half pairs of socks today.

First, my Faux Entrelac sock is done, from the turning of the heel to the grafting of the toe. Done, done, done!!

Washed and modeled:

gum_drop_7

The other half pair of socks I finished today is child sized, made over my Go-to Sock Pattern, officially known as Priscilla’s Dream Socks (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/priscillas-dream-socks). I used Cotton Fleece for this iteration of the sock. I have used this pattern before and will use it again. The short row heel and toe, with the Greek zigzag bind off, makes for a very wearable sock. Made in sock weight yarn, the zigzag bind off is not nearly so prominent as it is here, in worsted weight:

Some of my Tuesday Knit Night friends have finished socks too. Here’s Sandy and Elizabeth, proudly displaying their very own Dream Socks:

 

The Multi-Tasker

by Lee Louise

Meet Sarah the Camera Shy. Writing this post has been rather stressful all around, rather like pulling teeth, as I nagged Sarah to share some pictures. This picture, one that I snapped last night, is typical Sarah as she sits in a corner of the couch reading, knitting, listening to stuff, and watching TV. All at the same time. I give you Sarah the MultiTasker:

Sarah-2

 

Sarah is a master of lace knitting:

meandering-lace-1

as well as cabling and entrelac:

Her cross stitching is exquisite. She prefers intricate patterns on the theory that it gives her more time to “have fun with it.” *end quote*

x-stitch-dragon-1

I am fond of saying that I taught Sarah to read when she was three years old. It’s true that she started reading at that age, but she has never admitted that I might have had any part in “teaching” her to do so. She just smiles enigmatically. It is also true that Sarah is a speed reader capable of reading a 500 page book in two hours. With total comprehension. I stand in awe of this capability. At one time her father and I tried to screen her reading, by reading what she read. That was an epic failure — we couldn’t keep up.

 

My Cumin Scarf

by Lee Louise

Cumin is a seed within a seed, a fact that I learned by listening to The Seasonings, an Oratorio, by P.D.Q. Bach, S. 1 1/2 tsp. Given that my source is P.D.Q. Bach, you may want to take my teaspoon of cumin with a grain of salt. The image has remained with me, however, and as I knit my Scarf in a Scarf kit from Skeino, in color Aida, I came to think of it as my Cumin Scarf. The color is about right, after all.

I bought the kit from the Skein-o booth at Stitches South 2015. The hardest part was choosing from all the delightful colorways! I loved the golds and oranges and browns in this kit:

cumin-scarf-1

and so that is the kit that came home with me. I also loved the pinks and purples, the greens and blues, and etc., etc. Take a look and see if you could possibly pick just one: http://www.skeino.com/knitting-kits/scarf-in-a-scarf-knitting-kit-884.html

In May 2015, I had foot surgery.  As planned, this was my first knitting project as I recuperated from foot surgery in mid-May of that year:

cumin-scarf-2

The mindless garter stitch was just the right kind of knitting for a brain enhanced by painkillers. I think that I only missed one buttonhole, the last one. (I know that I unknit about 8 ridges to put it in; now that I’m thinking coherently again, I think I should have just used a little embroidery to pull the garter stitches apart to form the semblance of a buttonhole.) I might have missed one or two buttonholes earlier in the scarf and backed up for them as well, though certainly not 16 whole rows. I just don’t remember. What’s remarkable is that I was actually able to count those ridges between the buttonholes!

The stitching was heavenly, I do remember that. The coordinating scarf adds just the right touch:

cumin-scarf-3

Merino and silk is now my blend of choice…

Kiwi Green Shawl

by Lee Louise

I loved knitting the Pembroke Wrap, a triangular shawl designed by Angela Rangel (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pembroke-wrap):

I loved the kiwi-ness of the Lamb’s Pride Bulky kiwi green yarn:

Kiwi1

I think I knit my Kiwi Green Shawl in the latter half of March 2016, because I know I bought the yarn on March 17 at a St. Patrick’s Day sale. I actually made it to see how quickly I could finish it. It took me 3 or 4 days of dedicated knitting, even with having to unknit 3-4 rows at a time here and there, when I didn’t pay close enough attention to the chart in relation to my knitting, and a full time job. I wanted to see if I could endorse the Pembroke Wrap  as a lace beginner’s project, and I can, with reservations. If the beginner is familiar with reading charts, and is Very Careful, she can do it!!

Using a bulky yarn makes it extra easy to see how to unknit the lace patterns, something that a beginner needs to be able to do. (It’s so much easier to unknit SSK, for example, in a bulky yarn than it would be in a lace or fingering weight yarn. So much easier to see! The extra bulk gives you something to hold on to!) All the geometry of a top-down triangular shawl is here — your garter tab cast on, a garter edge along the top, yarn over increases, two identical triangles making up a larger triangle. A confident beginning lace knitter can make this pattern.

Note to self: Block the shawl and add one more picture here!!

Faux Entrelac Socks

by Lee Louise

To be completely honest, this has been a hard week for me. I haven’t posted on the blog as often as I had planned when I launched it, and my knitting has also suffered. I don’t like to complain, although I am capable of complaining quite eloquently and at great length. (It’s a gift I have.) Suffice it to say that I have endured some pain this week, and I don’t deal with pain well. Finally today, my feet are not swollen nor does my head hurt, and that makes me happy. Tonight, I will blog.

I knit and I crochet, and I am developing classes in both disciplines, which I hope to teach locally and regionally. I belong to an informal Sit and Knit, and the membership has been indulging me by letting me lead workshops in a variety of knitting techniques. Short rows, mosaic stitch, entrelac and, most recently, socks.

Once I start thinking, living and breathing socks, I find myself knitting socks. (Bet you can’t knit just one! I know I can’t!) There is one pattern, in particular, that I have been planning to knit for some time:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fruit-stripe-gum-socks-featuring-a-spiral-rib

and, with people sitting and knitting socks all around me, this pattern is now started. I love letting colored yarn do the work for me. It may LOOK like entrelac, but let me assure you that it is not. The imitation entrelac is formed by a simple 6-stitch lace pattern repeat — no turning, no knitting backwards, no picking up stitches. I went stash-diving, and I’m using Felici, a self-striping yarn from Knit Picks (gotta confess, the Felici originally found its way into my stash specifically so I could knit these socks). I find that I am totally happy with the yarn. It is soft and pleasant to work with. I guess that’s the 75% merino wool working with me.

To date, my progress looks like this: