Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lost in the (Oak) Woods

And here it is, the green monster aka  Cobblestone Pullover completed just after my last post. It required very little finishing...just a few ends to darn in and the underarm stitches to graft. And seemingly, I'm not destined for the dreaded "boyfriend sweater" experience - he's worn it nearly every evening since it was finished and says he loves it.  It fits beautifully and the fabric is supple, drapes nicely and I hear it is comfortable to wear.  Yay!

Yep, once again, it's been awhile since posting.  No excuse really although I had a week long trip to the Okanagan visiting family and since returning, I continue to pursue my New Year's resolution of cleaning and sorting one drawer/cupboard/trunk/bin/shelf  a week all year. Can't recall if I mentioned this in my last post but because I felt so defeated and overwhelmed by the nasty build-up(s) that lurk behind closed doors and the lack of space to stash new acquisitions, I decided to try doing it in teeny chunks.  I made up an Excel spreadsheet and it appears that based on somewhat reasonable/realistic divisions, I'll still be doing this well into 2010.  The bonuses are already apparent six weeks in...forgotten and misplaced treasures have emerged from the nether regions of every cupboard so far and I'm not even out of the kitchen yet. Imagine the gems that await in my full-to-the-rafters workroom, not to mention  the joy of having access to the surface of my work table once again.

Spring appears to be on its way out here on the Pacific coast.  The snowdrops have been in bloom for a couple of weeks, the rhodos are showing some pink and the robins have arrived in force. Yesterday I gardened (second session of the year) and hung the clothes out on the line where they actually got dry...okay, almost dry. Sadly, today is windy and cold and I'm happy to stay in and work on my alpaca lace shawl and pity my fellow North Americans to the east who are still blanketed in snow.  I'm using the laceweight two-ply spun from the dark brown alpaca fibre I acquired from Blue Stone Alpacas on my fibre safari last fall.  It took forever to spin and I had to pay a lot of attention to consistency but it seems to be paying off. The deep brown suggested a leafy/woodsy motif so I chose the Gnarled Oakwoods wrap by Anne Hanson from the last Twist Collective newsletter.  It's really lovely although now that I'm into the third iteration of the 40-row repeat, I wish I had added one more section across (the pattern calls for three) to get more width.  No, I'm not about to tear out 90 plus rows of lace and start again. My hope is that it will magically expand with blocking but I suspect it may not end up wide enough for my liking.  I had envisioned this as a lightweight travel piece that would cover me from neck to ankles and just the width of my body - I'm a smallish person - on long plane and train journeys. I hate those icky blankets the airlines provide (do you really believe they wash them between usings?...not likely!)  The shawl (scarf?) is knitting up so light and airy that an extra panel would not have added much bulk.  Too late now...the thought of doing a second one is too overwhelming to consider just now. 

This is my first major commitment to lace and I'm finding it quite a challenge.  I keep forgetting to do the yarnovers at the end of the repeats and since the wrong side is a purl row, by the time I notice, I have to tink back two whole rows and part of another.  Also, I think perhaps the yarn is a bit underplied in some parts as it separates easily and I end up with surprise extras.  

Part of my Okanagan visit involved a couple of days with my latter-day hippie daughter and her partner in beautiful wintry Cherryville.  They are avid chain maille makers and they have taken to incorporating coloured rubber rings to add stretch and of course, colour to their work.  It seemed to me that these rings would make great stitch markers so I cadged a dozen each in white and yellow.  They work brilliantly for the lace as the colour shows up well against the dark brown yarn and they are flexible and soft and a little clingy so they don't slip too easily through the stitches.  I know these can be ordered in the bazillions online but I'm not sure what I would do with all the extras.  Unfortunately, they only seem to come in black at the hardware store - fine for pale yarns but pretty much invisible otherwise.  If anyone out there knows of a source that supplies a range of sizes in a range of colours in stitch-marker quantities, please share.


Sarah said...

Lovely update - thank you! And good to see you yesterday. As for those forgotten yo's... you should be able to pick them up on the purl row. It'll be a little tighter, as you are just using the yarn from between two sts instead of adding more, but will work if it's only a couple of forgotten yo's.

ninidee said...

Thanks Sarah, and thanks for the tip on the yo's...I've been doing that although it feels like cheating. But what the hey - it all comes out in the blocking, no? I liked Monike's take on it...it's not as though anyone is going to notice a bit of fudging here and there on lace...