Tuesday, March 31, 2009


My pair of 7", size 4, stilletto-tipped, bell-capped Signature Arts needles have arrived.

There is nothing more tortuous that having a super-duper, extra-special, pretty, shiny, new toy and not being able to play with it.

But I have to finish the Lilac Leaf shawl first. Then, and only then, I can start a new project.

I am placing lifelines on the first row of every repeat now, so that eve if I drop a lace stitch, I only have to rip back so far and can only be set back one day. It's really, really busy at work right now, and I'm working late most nights, so I'm getting up early and staying up late to squeeze in some knitting time. If I knit 15 rows a day, I can finish the center panel in 7 days. Then I'll need at least a week to finish the lace border for the end, and then I'm going to need to find someone to give me the courage to Kitchener stitch them together. I'm already nervous. And THEN I will still need to block it. Which I think I can get done before April 29th.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but this is another prayer shawl. My boss, of whom I am quite fond and to whom I feel great loyalty, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will have surgery on the 30th. I am making this shawl a prayerful experience, and I plan to give it to his wife before the surgery. It may sound weird, but I'm the kind of person who, in the absence of a positive way to focus my nervous energy, will give life to all kinds of horrible uglies.

Knitting and praying for health, happiness, and grandchildren seems far more positive and productive.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I think it is coming along quite nicely...

It is an enjoyable piece to knit. I like it a lot, and have already have a second shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia planned. I ordered a pair of Signature Arts needles with stiletto tips -- size 4, 7", with bell caps. They should arrive any day now, which is exciting, but I can't use them until this shawl is done, because I want to present it to the recipient before April 30.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hug A Teacher

I may have mentioned that I am working on the Lilac Leaf Shawl from Nancy Bush' Knitted Lace of Estonia. I love lace knitting, and really felt like this was a good "next step" for me and that it would present a challenge. (The pattern is entirely charted, which alone presents a challenge, since I am chart-challenged.) Little did I know that it was going to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated.

I did okay -- a couple of false starts and a rip-back or two to the lifeline. And this was only in the initial border section. But I started to get the gist and understand how the lace was engineered.

Then I came to nupps in the pattern. If you don't know what nupps (rhymes with soups) are, look here. I tried to knit nupps. I really tried. I failed. And tried again. I failed again. I failed so badly that I had to rip back 9 rows to a lifeline and then trudge forward again. I did not want to rip back again, and I also didn't want to admit defeat. And I also really wanted to knit this shawl.

So I did what I should have done in the first place. I called a teacher. A really good one. Her name is Kristi, and she works with Myfanwe, and she has two darling dachshunds. In addition to her day job as computer maven for Myfanwe's law firm, Krity has a second, super-hero job at Loopy Yarns. And, as it turns out, Kristy is an accomplished nupptress. She learned from the Mistress of Nuppage, Nancy Bush, herself at Stitches Midwest. (I want to go, but Myfanwe doesn't think it's a good use of family funds.) Even though Kristy had taken today off, she met me at Loopy for a 2 hour lesson.

This is Kristy.

In the 2 hours it took for me to successfully get my arms around nupps and to successfully knit two rows of my shawl -- the first row containing nupps and the row in which the nupps are resolved, Kristy knit this lovely specimen.

This is a picture of me. I am, obviously, very happy. Why am I happy? Because I have mastered a new skill.

I know they don't look like much, but look there at the top row. Those little bobble-like things are nupps. Nasty little buggers. But there they are!

I went home, brewed a pot of tea, put a couple of madelaines on the tea tray, and knit a bunch more since then. I'm now finished with the border. And I'm through with nupps for 280 rows! Woo hoo!

It is going to be a very busy week, but I hope to get in a few rows every day. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'm On A Roll!

Norbert was feeling under the weather today, so Myfanwe stayed home with him this morning while I went to work, and then I relieved her at lunch time and she went to work.

Norbert is doing fine -- he's currently splayed in a recliner in the family room watching a program on how pneumatic drills are made. With plenty of rest and relaxation, he'll be good as new tomorrow.

As for me, I've managed to find something to do to help me pass the time! A pot of tea (Supreme Breakfast), some fruit shortbread, and a little knitting on the Lilac Leaf Shawl.

What? You can't see? Here -- let me show you a close-up.

Those fruit shortbreads are really quite yummy. They taste like they may have a little graham flour in them.

Oh -- and if you wanted to see closeups of the knitting...

I'm half-way through the first border motif. The next motif contains nupps -- rhymes with soups -- and I'm a wee bit nervous about them. I'll let you know how they go. (I'm going to put in lifelines a row or two ahead of the nupps, in cake I really mess up.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let's See Now...

I had a lovely evening.

We had friends over for St. Patrick's Day dinner. It was your basic Irish American fare. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, soda bread, with a choice of Guinness, Miller Light, or Kaliber, the NA made by Guinness. For dessert I served coffee, tea, and bread pudding.

After our guests left, I got in a few rows on my latest knitting project -- the Lilac Leaf Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia. I'm only half-way through the border -- and I've had to rip out and restart a few times -- but I'm enjoying it. (I don't feel bad about having to re-start the project twice because Stephanie Pearl McPhee had to start over eleventy-four times, and she about 243 times the knitter I am.) I'm knitting it in Lacey Lamb lace weight in a dusty rose color. Someone I am very fond of has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, so I am knitting this shawl as a gift for his wife and using the knitting as an opportunity to pray for my friend's well being.

Tomorrow morning, before I go to work, I'm going to put a lifeline in on row 30. Then I know I won't run the risk of having to rip the whole thing out.

Pics another day. It is late and I'm tired.

Happy Spring, dear ones!