It's been dark and gloomy around here. Not just as far as the weather goes, but on the domestic front as well. The Moth has taken over my life, even though I now have no hopes of finishing in the top two (did I think I had a chance against those women? The Designer and Hurricane Vanessa? hahahahahahaha . . . . . uh, no ). I am knitting diligently in order to finish sooner, but in the meantime, all else suffers. Pizza for dinner again. Laundry piling up. Cobwebs forming on the wheel. And the husband? Well, let's just say that I've been neglecting him too. I'd rather knit unto sleep than do ::ahem:: anything else. (okay, season one DVDs of Battlestar Galactica have had something to do with that too). I've been knitting every free moment of the day ever since a week ago Saturday, and at 5 o'clock on Tuesday, after nine days of stolen knitting time, I've just finished the part of the shawl known as the double leaf border.
Which leaves me on the brink of the 17 rows of the corona edging. According to my calculations, I have knit almost 47,000 stitches up to now. In lace. It's no wonder the laundry pile is turning to compost. And what can I show you for it?
A murky picture taken at noon yesterday. The yarn does not play nicely with flash photography, so you'll have to trust me that it's looking really lovely. Again, the colours don't translate to the blog since my camera runs amok with the blue end of the spectrum. It's really more of a cinnamon or sherry quality than the rosy mauve you're seeing here. I can't quite nail down the name of the precise shade, but I see some of it in my kitchen's cherry wood cabinets and the first copper beech leaves that have fallen to the ground. Taking inspiration perhaps from the shawl in progress, the Mister poured me a glass of Porto Rosso the other night that matched the colour perfectly. yummm. I highly recommend some, whether or not you're curious about the colour.
You may or may not know that I spent the greater part of my childhood in Rothesay, New Brunswick.
As in, Canada.
Not New Jersey.
There are some things I miss about living in Canada, politics and universal health care aside. Like Ganong Wintergreen mints. Shoe bags. August. Ski-doo as a verb. And Shreddies.
You can go home again.
This week, my girl Kate trundled through here briefly from her exile in Montreal, bringing with her the best hostess present a ex-landed-immigrant ever got. TWO boxes of Shreddies.
And of course, I played my part as a member of the Spindicate. Here's Kate with my Tina. You'd never know this was her first sit at a wheel. I do think she needs some practice where I'm not looking over her shoulder every second, so I sent her off with the Joy, to be returned when I see her next. A few months should do the trick. That, and the Indigo Moon I tucked into her luggage. I'm sneaky that way.
I tried my best to tempt her with plain old yarn at Three Bags Full (where Alison waved the J-Knits at her) and Circles too, where we met up with Kellee and Maryse. There was knitting on the floor. There was a Sunrise Circle Jacket shop sample. There were children for Tadpole to flirt with. There was Blue Sky Alpaca (okay, that was just me). There was the ever-gracious Allison and a brief encounter with Judy. There was cheese fries and clam chowder at Doyles.
I think we convinced Kate to come back to Boston sometime.
Oh, you're wondering how the race is going? I'm on the brink of the next chart at 16 repeats. I took it off the needles to look at how big it is.
Answer: It's Big.
I honestly wonder how I'll finish at this point: Vanessa has quite a reputation given her St*rmore legacy, and I know Cheryl whips out lace in her sleep, and Carole may be a Dark Horse, but she's steady and capable of late nights and long hours when it comes to the knitting. And now Anne the designer is in on it too, and she certainly has an advantage over us when we hit the edging chart. Beth is on my tail (13 repeats Beth, how you doing?) and Erin is psyching the rest of us out.
So how about this: in addition to adding to the prize kitty, I pledge to you this: For every knitter who is officially in the race by Friday night who manages to finish The Wing of the Moth shawl before me, whenever that might be (but I think we're all aiming for about ten days to two weeks from now), I will donate $25 dollars to Sustainable Harvest International, my favorite charity. The link to their site has been living in my upper right side bar for about a year now, and if you're interested to know why they move me, go check them out. I have had the principals over several times, (Florence is the kind of person who gives you hope for humanity) and one of my heart's desires is to travel with them on one of their work camp sessions. Everyone who goes has the time of their lives, both in the spirit boosting hard work and in the participation in the residents' transformation of a once depleated landscape back to nourishing planting and diverse tree cover.
$25 a knitter. C'mon guys, make me put in a few zeros!
Today's image is from a t-shirt that reader Kelly (knitteriam from the comments) sent me in honour of all the piratey goings on around here this summer. It was a wonderful surprise, and unaccustomed to blog presents as I am, I am beyond tickled. Thanks, Kelly!
It seems a suitable illustration for my thinking today, focusing as I am on getting some knitting distance in on the Moth Shawl. Thanks to some other lace knitters, it's no longer just a lark: suddenly this is serious business! We're racing.
The Knitting Olympics was a gentle event. Everyone knitting toward their personal best, or at least breaking a small sweat. Then came Sock Wars, winner take all, kill or be killed (and incriminate the postal service while you're at it) And now, Cheryl has made a race out of our collective enthusiasm for The Wing of the Moth Shawl. Go check out the rules on her blog. You can play too, and you don't have to do any knitting! Just place your bets, win prizes, and cheer on the knitters. I'll be digging around in the stash for something to add to the prize kitty too. And in the interest of full disclosure, I have several big time commitments over the next few days, but I did get up early this morning to put in a few rows.
I'm ten repeats of the fircone field into it, but the way. I may be the leader at the moment, but Anne is coming on fast, and Beth is without spouse for a few days. Who knows how long we can keep this up?
Socks, sure. Race is written all over socks.
But for a shawl? Exploit it as they may, my love is pure. However, just so you guys know what you're up against, I do have about 160 stitches on the needles.
If you read around here (as opposed to only look at the pictures, and you know, being a reader, how little this blog really has to do with the pictures) you know that I've been hovering over at Anne's blog waiting for the arrival of the Wing of the Moth Shawl pattern. While I appreciate her courtesy in working out all the kinks before she launched it on us, I could have cared less. I just wanted to be knitting the thing, and if there was an error (could a thing of such unearthly beauty have any flaws at all? nay, NAY!), I'd work it out, so besotted was I with the glimpses she's given us. So last night, I saw that it was available, I paypaled my six and a half over to her and had the pattern printed off in a flash.
Then I saw that she recommends fingering and sock weight yarns for the shawl. Damn. The beloved jade Skacel Merino is most certainly lace. A light lace even. I would end up with a too-small shawl, and need I remind you that I'm a hulking six footer, and too-small shawls look like skimp on me ?
Again with the damn.
I called Beth to have her talk me through it. She would tell me what to do! Instead, she rooted through her lace bin and told me about all the loverlies she has in there (her lace bin must look a lot like my sox box stuffed with exotica and just-in-case wonders), thinking perhaps to work me into such a lather of envy that I would have to go out and buy something. There was talk of Sea Silk. There was chatter about KSH . Why, I wondered, have I never picked up a few skeins of Douceur et Soie for such an emergency?
And while I was listening to Beth massage her yarn, finding things in the corner that she had forgotten about, musing about the possibilities of mixing dyelots and subtle striping effects, I found in my own meager little lace pillowcase a skein of Fleece Artist Baby Kid Mohair. From the Gaspereau Valley Fibers booth at Spa two years ago. I had never known what I would do with it, I just loved the colour. It's kind of like an old Beaujolais gone over to the undrinkable side, fruit and acid exhausted, with only the whispers of what might have been. But the colour . . . the colour! There is 900 meters of it. How much do I need for the Moth? 900 yards. And mohair lace weight is number one on Anne's suggested yarns. Happy Dance. The Joy of Stash. The perfect yarn.
The envy shifted sides of the conversation as I sighed over it, and Beth wanted so much to see it as soon as I could manage to get it up. So on a slow Saturday afternoon, while the blog world slumbers, this is for Beth. And the photo skimmers.
and for Cheryl: I am not racing. But I am into my third fircone repeat. How are you doing?
In a continuing series of short blog entries about argyle sock progress, I bring you the finished Happy Socks, aka, the Dunkin' Donut Argyles, aka the socks you'd wish I'd finish already and get on with the knitting you care about.
To briefly sum up: the pink and the green yarn is JaWoll Superwash, and the orange is Dale Baby Ull. Yes, that is a star toe you see there. I was feeling like trying something new there too, because intarsia and teensy needles just wasn't crazy enough, I know.
And if you're new here and are curious about such things, the chart is back a few blog entries along with a tutorial on how to make some of your own. And yes, they are knit flat. Don't ask me why, please.
So now that I've satisfied my self-imposed rules for casting-on something new by getting these socks off the needles, I am awaiting Anne's Wing of the Moth shawl pattern which she has promised to make available today. I have mistakenly credited Miriam with this shawl a couple of times, so I want to make special note to anyone who may not be familiar with Anne's beautiful pattern that hers is the design I have been pining for. Today I am checking her blog about once every thirty minutes, and while I wait, I have cast on with some of my Web's booty, Donegal Tweed colour #880, for Kate's Sunrise Circle Jacket. One thing off the needles and two things on? And I wonder how I get myself into trouble.
Avast! Just hoisting t' jack on this one, matey, t' keep ye aprised o' t' stockin's progress.
(Warming up the timbers for International Talk like a Pirate Day).
And there's button for the Arrgyles too, a gift from blogless Kathy, if you're thinking you might like to knit them someday, or just like the idea of it. There will be no official knit- along, because you know, Pirates aren't really the joining type, unless there's plunder involved. And speaking of plunder (as in bandwidth), don't forget to save the image to your own server, please.
I said, "Beth ! I haven't seen you in ages. We should do something."
Beth said, "How about Saturday?"
I said, "How about Webs? Let's fill my van up with bloggers head out there"
It took some choreography to get Cheryl, Erin, Laurie, and Kellee all together with sufficient caffeine to make the drive, but we did it with the precision and grace of a circus clown fire brigade on contraband Ritalin, and that's about where the energy stayed all day (until, that is, when Kellee and I took 90 minutes to get out of Valley Fabrics). There was a brief visit with Cate next to the Cash Iroha. She is a pro when it comes to Webs, since the place is located precariously close to her checkbook. But it was Cate's kids who really impressed me with their happiness to be in a yarn shop. Wow! How do you train them to do that?
What? No shopping cart? Who were we kidding? Go get a shopping cart now!
There were light shows as the flashlight came out of my boat tote to aid the search for skein number nine in colour number 88 of the Donegal Tweed that is a perfect yarn for the Sunrise Circle Jacket that has been a leitmotif in my recent dreams. (The dancing bear was wearing one. The naked man peddling oranges had one in his slipper pack. The ice cream at the Roller Coaster museum my sister was building was all shaped like little Sunrise Circle Jackets). I think it means something, and there in Webs, is the very yarn I knew all along it must be made in. Coincidence? I think not.
There was a lot of gasping in disbelief and a lot of brainstorming about best ways to deceive the family as more yarn sneaks into the house (Disguise it as groceries. No one ever helps put them away! You can hide the Filatura cashmere behind the corn flakes for weeks!).
There were magic tricks as Kellee would walk down an aisle, thrust her hand into a hole in one of the many many many giant lazy-boy-sized boxes and ::VOILA:: pull out skein number ten to add to the nine others I was cradling.
There was proselytizing as Kellee (she was busy) stumbled onto a rich vein of k1c2 Angora Soft which at first no one believed would knit up nicely, until she pulled out a swatch of that. very. yarn. and waved it reprovingly under all our weak little noses. Before long everyone in the entire warehouse was carrying a bag. People I had never seen before in my life were taking some home so powerful was Kellee's conviction. Between the six of us I do believe -- and I don't think I am exaggerating at all when I say this -- that we bought 150 skeins of it between us. For $1.50 a ball. Why was it so cheap? It smells like machine oil. But dude: it washes out! Kellee said so.
We filled up the way-back of the van with yarn, taco-fied our hungry selves at Bueno y Sano (order the fish taco), and topped off the afternoon at Herrell's. We also made a reverent stop at Linda Daniel's jewel of a shop, Northampton Wools, because you just gotta go see the local. They have their own book for their shop patterns. How cool is that? I bought a reversible cable scarf kit in loden for the Mister as a souvenir. They also had an orange Sunrise Circle Jacket on one of the shop models knit up in CE Skye Tweed. I still prefer the dried blood colour of Donegal I bought. But it's a sign I tell you.
So you see, it was a crazy and wonderful day. We didn't get back to regular Boston orbit until after dark, and I finally stumbled into my kitchen, forgetting entirely to hide any of the yarn, around 10. The Mister immediately handed me a glass of wine and took a pizza out of the oven.
He so deserves that scarf.