Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hanh, reading "How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan, knitting mittens, and thinking about casting on a hat.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pushmi-Pullyu or an Endless Alpaca

I have been working on the Endless Alpaca Scarf since the beginning of February. No, it is not a scarf for an alpaca with no end; it is an alpaca scarf that feels endless. The Neverending Story of knitted scarves. The knitter's equivalent of Lillian Hellman's "two people and a ham." (eternity!) It is currently 147 cm long, and between 20 and 30 cm wide (Go Metric!), depending on if you squish it together or spread it out. It kind of looks like a freshly plowed spring field, doesn't it?
It's Mistake Rib (knit 2 purl 2 on an odd number of stitches), hand-dyed, almost-black alpaca yarn with flecks of brown (not much relief), 65 stitches wide on size 6 needles, about 527 rows. I'm quitting when this skein (the third) runs out. Or in 15 minutes, whichever comes first.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

One from the Archives

See? I have knit the Swedish Dubbelmossa before (in undyed, Un-spun Icelandic from Schoolhouse Press. Probably silver and cream. It was a long time ago, but Hey! The yarn is still available. To make the tassel I spun the un-spun.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stop Me if You've Heard This One

The good thing about crossing the blog desert is that when you get to the other side, you have plenty to write about.

I can safely post this now because it won't spoil the Christmas surprise. (I know some of you are already planning next Christmas, but I'm talking Christmas 2008 here. And yes, I did in fact send a Christmas card last week. I prefer to think of it as "Overcome By Events" rather than mere procrastination.)

For the last several years we have drawn names to exchange gifts in my family. I love it. Not only do I get to laser-focus my holiday schemes on one special person, but my brothers, sisters, sisters-in-law and brother-in-law are thoughtful givers and gracious receivers.

This hat is for Doug:

When Doug was a little boy, he had an aquarium snail named Douglas, and a glass catfish named ... Douglas. I see a pattern (bad pun intended.) So just in case you can't tell this is Doug's hat, there is a knit in reminder. It says DougDougDougDougDougDougDoug and 08080808080808080808 when you turn it inside out.

Swedish Dubbelmossa from Handknitting With Meg Swansen in undyed, 100% alpaca sport-weight yarn (maybe 850 yards) purchased directly from the farmer, Bearlin Acres, at the Pennsylvania Knitters' Day Out. You can feel that this is not "big mill" yarn. It is a bit denser, but very smooth. In fact, alpaca is a little slick for my inexpert colorwork tension, but it was an absolute joy to knit. Linda even told me the names of the animals from which the fleece was sheared, but I forgot.

I have actually knit this pattern twice (a rarity for me). About 12 years ago I knit it for my Dad in Unspun Icelandic. Even though this one is softer and maybe warmer, the first one has a cachet that cannot be duplicated.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I love Bluetooth

Bluetooth is my favorite technological marvel (today). It is how I get photos from my phone to my computer. Just say "send this over there" and it does, like Mike TV in Willy Wonka. Pure magic. Back in August, I lost my little plug in bluetooth thingy. Without my crummy phone photos to inspire me, I haven't blogged since. But this

was enough motivation for me to track down another little magic bluetooth USB box. This is the center of Erdbeere designed by Herbert Niebling, in KnitPicks Shimmer Sunkissed alpaca/silk blend. Even though peach and salmon are not my favorite colors, the yarn was such a dream to work with that I didn't care about the color. (Besides, Cass liked it so I was confident someone else, somewhere would. Just not me.) I cast on July 10th and started binding off the 1,728 stitches of the last row on November 20, 2008. There are 133,368 stitches in this puppy. It is 6 feet in diameter. US Size 3 needles and about 1884 meters or more than a mile and a half of yarn.

The photos were taken outside my post office, minutes before sending it off to Connecticut. Last June I had done a circular shawl to raise money at the Virginia Rainbow girls' Grand Assembly for the Alzheimer's Foundation. That shawl went home to South Carolina. Afterward a sweet woman approached me, asking if she could pay me to knit another. Sorry, I don't do commissions. I can't bear to turn something that gives me such pleasure into a job with deadlines, stress and expectations. Knitting is a gift and so are most of my finished objects. Besides, a project doesn't always turn out the way it was envisioned.
The thing was, Kathy was not asking for herself, she wanted it for her friend who had been so delighted by the shawl and disappointed when she did not win it. I thought this kind of friendship was something special. So I secretly knit this shawl and mailed it off to Kathy in Connecticut. If her friend likes it, Kathy is going to make a donation to Virginia Rainbow's charity this year, the Virginia Lions Hearing Aid Bank Foundation. If she doesn't like it (it is very different from the original blue one) they can use it to raise money for their own charity, Camp Sunshine, at their Grand Assembly this weekend. Either way a good organization gets a few dollars. And I get to say, "I knit a Niebling."