Friday, December 21, 2007


The secret Christmas knitting is coming along nicely, and I'm cruising through the to-do list before we take off to see our families. Well, I guess that makes it sound a bit more like smooth sailing than it has actually felt. In the last week Mr. M and I have both succumbed to a nasty sinus attacking cold. I'd rather pass on the exhaustion and sniffling, but having limited energy has helped me accept (perhaps more quickly than usual) that I had some unrealistic expectations standing between me and this lovely Christmas season. With those out of the way, I can enjoy the few treasured decorations that have made it out, the warm glow of the one garland of Christmas lights, and the big plate of Christmas cookies from the neighbor (um, who I haven't given anything to). With my new laissez faire attitude, would you be surprised to hear that I have also started reading Middlemarch? I think there will be a post musing on the themes of love, marriage and faithfulness but perhaps today I better cut to the crafting content....

vintage skirt, thrifted

So, how about that shawl? I worked my way through some samples, and the Shetland and the batt were a real dream to spin. Once I got it knitted up though.... meh. The fabric just wasn't as visually interesting as I had hoped. Then the dangerous little voice in my head then suggested that it might look nice woven... maybe as a plaid. Where does stuff like this come from? I don't even know how to weave!

Vintage skirt, from Mom

So anyway. Now I have plaid on the brain and I'll probably have to take up Cheri on her offer to teach me to weave on one of the guild's loaners.

Anyone know of some good articles on planning a plaid pattern?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Batty (in a good way)

Before we sold the house, I found some batts that were so amazing that I was afraid to link to them. I mean, what would I do if y'all bought these up before I could lay hands on the tweedy, woolly, goodness? Fortunately, I managed to destash some yarn that wouldn't knit up to gauge (take that!) and lay my hands on two of the lovely, fluffy things.

When they came what fun it was to open the package. That little bundle of fiber on top is a freebie. Love that. You rock artclub.

And inside:

Words fail me when it comes to these. So let me just say I packed them away for the perfect project. Now I'm suddenly struck with the urge to knit a feather and fan comfort shawl.

R-L: Black Shetland, Rambouillet, Romney, and mystery wool.
I'm thinking that if I alternate these somehow I can come up with enough yardage for the shawl. Right now I'm trying to envision it. Should I try to go from light to dark or dark to light? Both of those are very dramatic. I like how they draw the eye over the shawl. The problem is that I may not have enough of the multicolor batt to make it the the center of attention by sticking a big, thick, splash of it in the middle.
I could go for distinct stripes. Of the examples on Ravelry, I generally like the 2-4 row color stripes, although there is at least one example of broad stripes (varied in size) that is quite attractive.

I also think one of the darker wools is probably unnecessary. Right now I'm leaning toward saving the Rambouillet for another project. I think the deeper color and greater gloss of the Shetland will give the shawl some sparkle. Somehow the Shetland is the only wool in this group that is not "matte" and I don't want the whole thing to just fade away. I'm also wondering if the red will overpower everything else... but it is winter and I'm feeling the need for color.
I asked Mr. M what he though of the various color combos and he pointed out that fiber always looks different when spun (!). So I guess the next step will be some sampling :)

Heck or High Water

Gratuitous cat photo

So what has been going on hereabouts? There was a birthday which brought me to a nice balanced feeling age. The actual day was a bit hectic as it was a Friday AND I was called to substitute teach for the first time in this school district. Not to fear though – the math teacher left me a photo seating chart and an entertaining math movie. Mr. M made the evening special with a pizza dinner and chocolate sheet cake both of which he prepared from scratch. Delicious.

I then headed off to visit my family during their Thanksgiving break. Mr. M couldn't get away until school got out, but I was able to get a few extra days with everyone. Lots of talking and long walks and good home cooked (and baked!) food. Being one to draw out the festivities, I managed to get a second birthday celebration - spanakopita, Greek salad and Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte for dessert. For my family, a great deal of life revolves around cooking and eating. The food might be fancy or simple, traditional or exotic, healthy or indulgent, but it is always wholesome and made with love. I look forward to getting to pick the menu for my birthday meal. Contemplating all the possibilities is part of the fun!

Of course, some birthday cash was spent on bundles of fibery goodness (Shetland, Gotland, Wensleydale, BFL, Rambouillet) that I am certain will make individual appearances on the blog later on. Perhaps after my dye kit comes?

While at my mother’s house I communed with the cats. This blog is sadly deficient when it comes to kitty snapshots, but I couldn't ask Mr. M to forgo breathing when I married him… so the little allergen bombs can’t live with us. Aren't they cute though?

This one is aloof...

After our return home there was more substitute teaching, followed in short order by a natural disaster. We were without power two days but our little neighborhood escaped relatively unscathed. Our friends with a fireplace and a propane stove took us in and we spent several delightful evenings with them holed up chatting and reading. When we did venture inland a bit we saw this…

Can you make out the mudslide and downed tree?

With all that it really is amazing how quickly they have been able to restore power and clear the roads.

Still there? Well, here is one of my current projects…

These are the gloves I promised my brother last Christmas. Shameful really, but I have an awful time once I know it’s not a surprise. I hope they fit.