Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Update

It's Thanksgiving time here in the US: food, family, friends, fellowship. And being mindful (what a marvelous word!!) of the most important things in life. Before going any further, then, let me first THANK MY READERS from around the world. You have stuck with me, and your continued support makes this whole enterprise worthwhile. :-)

Wow. Nearly a month between blog posts. *Again*. Sorry about that folks! I guess it's not all THAT surprising, though, given how Fall Term classes generally tend to work: slog, slog, slog to the finish line... I inevitably find my time & energy to be severely limited at this time of year, so I haven't had much of either left over for knitting lately, much less taking pictures & writing about it.

We can blame Facebook too. I resisted joining FB for a long time, mainly out of fear of what might happen if my students gained access to my personal page (Oh, horrors!!). But on November 11th I took the plunge & joined after all, in connection with an upcoming high school reunion (class of 1985: you do the math). Now that I've gone & done it, I have to say that it was a really good decision. Not only have the students behaved well so far, albeit under stern warnings, but I have also had loads of fun getting back in touch with people from various of my past lives. I've already amassed 99 FB friends, and that's twice as many as I have on Ravelry!! But my goodness, what a tremendous time-sink it can become. The reality is that when I come home from work at the end of a long day & feel really tired, I can either get some knitting done or spend some time on FB before I collapse, but probably not both.

So I haven't had much time to knit. Yet despite the need to keep the blog alive, I've been waiting to reach some project goals before taking pictures and working up a post. Progress has been slow, but fortunately, in the last week or so (and especially the last couple of days, because of Thanksgiving Break), I have finally begun to see some real results...

First, I now have less than 100 rows left on the 2nd half of my Magic Carpet Ride stole. HOORAY!!

I am excited to see what it will look like when blocked, because of the intricate pattern and luscious colors. I am using a colorway of KnitPicks Shimmer (70% baby alpaca, 30% silk) called "Galaxy" — a mixture of rich burgundy and several shades of purple — that has since been discontinued. The beads are 8/0 extra dark smoky amethyst AB and match the yarn to perfection. Despite being knitted in two halves, the pattern has managed never to become boring, because the combination of motifs changes and evolves as you go along. The original design is 12" wide by 60" long. In order to make mine somewhat longer, I have added a number of repeats to several of the panels (keeping both halves identical, of course).

For this series of pictures, I pinned out different sections of the second half of the scarf to show off the various patterns as well as the beadwork.The first two photos show the lower portion of the scarf, just above the bottom edge, and the subsequent ones (reading from left to right and top to bottom) gradually work their way up toward the mid-point, where the two identical halves will be grafted together, or (perhaps more likely) joined with a 3-needle bind-off. As always, click on any of the images to take a closer look.

The other big news of late has to do with the second beaded lace project that I started at the end of the summer, i.e. the one I've dubbed "L'Autruche Parisienne" ("The Parisian Ostrich") as a combined hommage to the magnificent hand-painted yarn (Twisted Sisters Impressionist Zazu in the colorway named "Paris Rain" after the the 1877 painting "Paris Street; Rainy Day" by Gustave Caillebotte) and the exquisite lace pattern ("Ostrich Plumes Stole" by Anne Hanson of KnitSpot).

I ran out of beads in mid-September, after less than 5 pattern repeats, and the project went fallow while I was waiting to order more & got distracted by other, more pressing things. In fact only yesterday (November 25th) did I finally revive it. But I am on vacation in the latter part of this week — and knitting goes fast on size 7 needles — so all of a sudden I have finished the first skein and started the second. I am now through nearly 7 out of 11 (or maybe 12) pattern repeats. Oddly enough, the skeins seem to be going a bit further than expected, so I anticipate having to place a 3rd bead order in order to complete the pattern as established.

I had quite frankly forgotten how buttery soft the 100% merino wool truly is. It feels fabulous in the hand, and I think the lace fabric after blocking will be a dream to wear.

The biggest problem has been trying to get a photo that will show the colors accurately. The yarn is a mixture of khaki and several shades of green and teal, verging on navy blue in places. It can look very different, depending on the light, and most photos come out either too olive or too blue. I pinned out the lace twice yesterday under different lighting conditions and took a series of pictures. Here are the best of the lot, showing a representative range of hues and tones. Again, click on any one to take a closer look.

My two ongoing sweater projects (i.e. Stornoway and Peggy Tudor) are mostly on hold right now, as I work to get these lace pieces finished ASAP. It may take a while, with the end-of-semester crunch on the horizon. But even so I promise that there will be more to post here very, very soon, once my most recent Earthfaire order arrives. Yummies...


  1. Very nice! Did you ever think of beading Princess? ;) Kidding! 1985 ain't so old, I'm class of 86 myself.

  2. Hehe. I doubt they make beads small enough for the gossamer CashSilk, and even if they did, I certainly wouldn’t want to work with them!! We all have our limits, right? ;-)