Friday, May 28, 2010

I do still knit...

In fact, I even finish things once in a while, although I wasn't sure when that would happen with this one.  The ruffled edge border of my finished Citron shawlette (designed by Hillary Smith Callis) has a whopping 600+ stitches per row!  I was a little worried it wasn't big enough, and contemplated adding another section, but couldn't bear the thought of how that would increase the stitch-count of the ruffle.  After washing and blocking, it turned out to be just the right size!

The shawlette is designed to keep your shoulders warm on a cool night, or to be scrunched up a little and worn more like a scarf or cowl when it's cooler still.

The yarn I used is mostly wool, so it's a little too warm for a cool Mississippi summer night (when the temperature drops just below 85 degrees).  It seems like more of a fall color, anyway, unless you're standing right in front of the daylilies blooming their little hearts out in my front yard - like the shawlette, they're full of tones somewhere between yellow and orange and they keep multiplying...)

Citron was a really fun knit, and relatively quick, and I'm sure I'll do it again.  This shawl is going to Gray Center tomorrow to be entered in a silent auction.  I'm a little nervous, except that my sweet mother-in-law is going to be there and already declared she will bid on whatever I make.

Goodbye, Citron, and good luck!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Row

The one thing I was looking forward to about chaperoning the senior retreat this weekend was having some time to knit.  We rode school buses out to Camp Windhover, where the eighteen year-olds got to be eight-year-old campers again, roasting marshmallows, staying up late in their cabins telling stories and secrets by flashlight, swimming and splashing in the lake, playing red rover and capture the flag, and sailing down the zip line.  Not being much of a lake swimmer or a zip liner myself, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit and knit something simple that would let me keep an eye on the kids at the same time.

I knit one row.

I did keep an eye on the kids, although I didn't need to - they were exceptionally well-behaved eighteen-year-old-eight-year-olds (the school bus was not well-behaved, but that's another story).  There was so much else to look at, though, and that's what kept me from knitting.  I looked up, and saw this.

I looked down and saw this.

I looked out toward the lake and saw this.

I looked at the sky and saw this.

It was the last glimpse of blue sky.  When the rain and thunder started, we retreated the the cabin porches, and that's when I finally knit a row, sitting on the swing and listening to the rain fall on the leaves and tin roof over head.

Now there's only seventeen squares and twenty-four rows to go!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

When I was growing up, my mom and my grandmother almost always had some kind of needle and thread in their hands... 

I can't remember exactly when my grandmother gave me the best sweater ever, but I know I wore it in fourth grade.  It was as soft as its camel color, with wide bell sleeves and pretty tortoiseshell buttons down the front.

At the edge of the sleeves and around the bottom of the sweater was a lovely checkered border of rich dark browns and black followed by...fringe!

The best part, though, the part that made it the best sweater ever, was not the softness or the swing or even the fringe.  The best part was the raccoons.

I loved raccoons when I was little, the way kids usually love cats or dogs.  I had raccoon stuffed animals, raccoon figurines, raccoon stationary, raccoon t-shirts, and the best raccoon sweater ever.

The sweater still lives in my closet, and now that I know how much joy it brings to give someone a hand-knitted item, every time I see it I am thankful for mom and Mamama and humbled by their love.  And by their patience with my raccoon phase.  Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Purls of Wisdom

In honor of Dame Julian of Norwich, the 14th century saint whose feast day is today, some purls from her beloved work...

Before God made us God loved us, and when we were made we loved God... And thus is our soul made by God and at the same point knitted to God... And that is the reason why there can and will be absolutely nothing between God and our soul... Furthermore, God wills that we realize that all souls which shall be saved in heaven without end are knitted in this knot, are made one in this joining, and are made holy in this holiness.  Revelations of Divine Love, chapter 53

Artwork: Icon by Robert Lentz.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Day Seven: Day of Rest

It is the last day of Knit and Crochet Blog Week, and our final topic is yarn: Blog about a particular yarn that you have used or own in your stash...

I'm not sure I have a favorite yarn (yet!), but as I looked through my stash I realized I do have lots of yarn in the same colorway - a mingling of blues and browns and greens.  I really don't wear much blue, and don't decorate with it much.  But I love blue and breathe deeply and restfully when I see it.

Blues and browns and greens and even pinks became even more beloved after I traveled to the island of Iona, off the southwest coast of Scotland, two years ago.  The water surrounding Iona, part of the Inner Hebrides, is impossibly blue and clear (and cold!).  The sky shimmers blue and gray and purple.  The rock lining Iona's shores is some of the oldest exposed stone on earth.  And the grass grows bravely and green right up to the water's edge.  Iona is holy ground in the Christian tradition, and is a profoundly peaceful place.

As soon as I saw color 268 in Noro Silk Garden, my heart sped to Iona, and I knew that it would become my entrelac shawl.

These yarns are also in my stash.  I found the Opal sock yarn in the color Fantasie at a little yarn shop in Oban, where we would catch the first of two ferries to Iona.  There's a Deborah Norville Serenity sock yarn, in a color named Aquamarine.  I have two skeins of Araucania, a chunky wool handpainted yarn, in color 201.  And the scarf is a combination of two Rowan yarns - Damask and Kid Silk Haze.

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the God of peace to you.
-Ancient Gaelic blessing

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Day Six: Scarfie

Day Six of Knit and Crochet Blog Week invites us to revisit a past finished object...

Meet Scarfie.

Like most of my son's possessions (especially the stuffed variety that inhabit his bed), it has a name that is at once endearing and descriptive.  Scarfie was knit up quickly about six years ago when my son, having watched me make several prayer shawls, asked for a blanket of his own.  I was still a pretty new knitter, with an underdeveloped stash, so I pulled out yarn leftover from my very first finished object and made him a scarf, promising to knit something bigger for him later.

From the very start, Scarfie has lived on my son's bed and has served, despite it's scarfliness, as a blanket for hugging as one falls asleep at night.  Scarfie has served as a blanket for the smaller stuffed animals, and has starred as a fully-alive character in countless imaginary stories (he once was cast as a grape-juice drinking alien from Venus.  It was a long story.).

Scarfie rode to school around my son's neck last year, but he was told by his buddies that purple wasn't really a guy color, so Scarfie decided to stay at home from then on.  For one brief shining moment this winter, though, when an inexplicable amount of snow fell in central Mississippi, Scarfie went outside to fulfill his created purpose.

I suppose, though, Scarfie fulfills his created purpose each and every day.  It doesn't have to be snowing for him to warm my son's heart, which in turn warms mine.