Sunday, March 6, 2016

Progress is good....

If akin to the movement of the earth's tectonic plates, LOL!  More on that in a minute. I have to share
what a wonderful time I had last night.  Two friends of mine from St. J's, Mike and Sue M., and I went to the home of a colleague, Meg and her DH, Harry. and had the time of our lives. Mike plays in the bell choir at St. J's, and, though he works in another field altogether, is an accomplished musician and composer, with the credentials to prove it - a Master's from the Peabody Conservatory here in Bawlmer.  He also plays Irish music on his fiddle like nobody's business.  Mike and some of his cohorts were the musical entertainment at a Ceilidh (pron. Kay-Lee) held at our church to raise money for our outreach program.  I was hooked immediately.  When Meg told me her entire family were well versed in Irish music and that they had house concerts and sessions afterward with anyone who brought their instruments, I was lucky to attend.  

The first few times I went, I had to satisfy myself with the concert only and some nice times with some lovely people, because the DH works graveyard and needs the car back before 10.  Not wishing to turn into a pumpkin, I dutifully left before the next phase of the fun began.Not so this time.  Mike drove.  He also brought his fiddle.
And. What. A. Treat. 
Every single solitary person in that room knew EVERY one of the beautiful melodies by heart.  There were flutists, pipers, drummers, guitarists, and fiddlers.  As Sue and I watched from the back of the room (not far from the wine, LOL:)), I so wanted to join them, but I don't know one of those tunes and my flute would have done me no good.  I later told our hostess that I felt like a kid who came to a pool party but forgot his bathing suit, LOL:).  From what I understand there are opportunities to learn at different places not terribly far from me.  Would dearly love to learn more and might just go see what it's all about.
As for the concert, we were beguiled with the incredible talents of Laura Byrne (flute), Rose Conway Flanagan (fiddle), and Pat Egan (guitar and vocals). Laura is classically trained and Rose has a lifetime of learning from her father and others in her home, being second generation Irish, while Pat was the one of the trio directly from Ireland. Each one of them were incredibly talented.  It was a joy to listen to them.  There is nothing in the world like live music, but I will be looking to get some of their CDs.  Who knows? I might learn something!
KNITTING:
So there is one finished object for my ravelry page - my version of the Nennir Cowl from knitty.com by Lucy Hague:




 Modifications: Worsted weight wool instead of fingering, did cabling pattern only once, then switched to a mock rib pattern for the "back," made it long enough to reach around the neck, attached with 3-needle bind-off. Looking forward to wearing it hopefully tomorrow!

Am still working on the other project that has maintained my focus this month - the Garland Necklace Yoke pullover.  It is slow going right now because I frogged quite a bit of it.  It was truly way too big, as I had increased far too many stitches after the ribbing, so I ripped back down to the ribbing, added some more ribbing and then increased only 10 stitches.  So far, I am getting a lofty fabric that seems to be the right size for me.  Decided to do this with only one strand of the Unspun Icelandic for a drapier, lighter and, as previously stated, loftier fabric.  Now to get through the next 16 or so inches to the armholes....:)
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And then, the sleeves, the joining and the COLORWORK:)!!!! I am a firm believer in delayed gratification, can you tell?:)
Hope someday to see a larger version of this:
in these colors:

God be with you 'til we meet again!+

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Refashioning....?


I remind myself that even artistic legends like Michelangelo struggled. When he did the Sistine ceiling in fresco, a medium he wasn't familiar with, the first few sessions were stressful and trying for the artist. But he persevered and created one of the wonders of the art world. I recently read that Michelangelo had his frustrations in learning to employ the fresco medium when he created his masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel.  Creativity has its times of frustration. I cannot tell you how many times I've tried creating what I thought would be a gorgeous, complex, interplay of lace and simple patterns only to find out that the only accurate descriptor was "complex." What followed that was a session of frogging -or worse, allowing beautiful yarn to languish in a project bag, never realizing its full potential (a crime against nature, in my humble opinion). (Oh dear, what hubris, my knitting in the same paragraph as the Sistine Chapel!)
Anyhoo...
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Let's ignore for the time being the possibility that this pullover will be a weeeeee bit large.  That's OK, I like baggy sweaters. But that lighter strip of blue.  Not so much, especially since it's in the mid-chubs region of my torso. I think I should at least tink/frog back and continue on with the darker blue, saving the lighter blue for another part of the sweater (yoke background, maybe?) or even a sleeve or two - or - maybe better - a vertical stipe on a sleeve???
More to come....
God be with you 'til we meet again+

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Finally:)! A Finished Object and Gaining Ground!

 John, the DH, is finally the (sort of) proud owner of the finished Dryad. Finally done with something.  I've been knitting this thing on and off since 2011 or 2012, LOL! It's nowhere near as long as I would have liked to have made it, but I was starting to run out of yarn and John doesn't tie his scarves anyway - he simply crosses one end over the other and lays it flat on his chest.  He seemed to make good use of it during our recent cold weather snap.  Happy he likes it, though S has been eyeing it.  To prevent another scarf snap-up, I started working on an Elfreide for her in a pine green color. Of course, that one will probably be done by August - just in time, LOL:)!

I've also finished a pair of socks.  It's funny about sock knitting: I generally have about 2 or 3 on the needles, but rarely do I post about them, which is weird.  I usually put them all together as one large ongoing project.  I love my hand-knitted socks.  There is nothing like it for cold weather, especially if they are superwash wool - the best of both worlds: hyperabsorbsency of wool with the ability to wash it in the washing machine. And they are SO COMFORTABLE! 

I suppose one of the reasons I don't post pics of socks too much is it entails showing a picture of somebody's legs (usually mine -ew..). The most recent pair I've knitted is actually the second of its kind.  The first pair disappeared (sigh - long story), so I knit them again.  I also include here another pair I knit a couple of years ago, just to prove I can do it;):
Sorry about the swollen ankles.  Blood pressure meds were doing this.  Hopefully the new script will change all this. But this also illustrates how healthy these kinds of socks can be.

OK, that was boring, even to me.  Socks are so mundane, but they really are cool to knit, because they knit up relatively quickly and are such a joy to wear. Alright, enough already with the socks.

As you might have gathered from past posts, I am a HUGE fan of all things related to Elizabeth Zimmermann, Schoolhouse Press, Meg Swansen, Cully Swansen, Amy Detjen, and Knitting Camp. Knitting Camp is actually an item on my Bucket List.  Their new, updated website is a joy to negotiate and if I could only shop one place, that would be the one. Every so often, a new pattern is posted, either singly via mail for a hard copy in a plastic sleeve, (new!) download, OR through the Wool Gathering newsletter.  Initially published by Elizabeth Zimmermann herself, and continued by Meg and  now Cully Swansen, Wool Gathering comes out twice a year and always includes at least one marvelous pattern.  I have so many SHP patterns in my ravelry projects list and the yarn for each of them ready to go. Two I want to work on for the first half of this year are:
Saddle-Shoulder Aran
Am chugging away at this one and enjoying every minute of it - about 6 more inches and ready for the armholes.  Once you get the hang of the patterns and especially if you don't need a cable needle (and - don't hit me English knitters - knit continental), you can really move along with this. The challenge to me will be in the saddle shoulder shaping and finishing. I have noticed some errors I can live with and have tinked or frogged back for the other errors. So don't judge....
and the second is the Garland Necklace Yoke pulli from Wool Gathering No. 92, both creations of Meg Swansen.
I am going to re-start the Garland Necklace sweater because I got the gauge really wrong the first time, so I frogged it. Am using the PlΓΌtolopi a/k/a Unspun Icelandic.  All the current rage, given the popularity of Mary Jane Mucklestone's beautiful Stopover KAL with the witty and prolific Mason-Dixon Knitters, this beautiful Icelandic yarn has been available through Schoolhouse Press since about 1961. There is little to no wait for it once you've placed your order, because they maintain stock here in the good old U.S. of A. And not for nuthin', but the price is outstanding! I agree with the comments on the Mason-Dixon blog: this wool is light and airy.  You can knit more than one strand for a heavier gauge or single stranded on a larger needle for a light, airy, yet warm and comforting garment. I've knit a shawl that felt like pure heaven in this stuff - cannot wait to get back to it.  It takes a little bit of time to get used to this yarn, because it is practically unspun (hence the name), but even if it breaks apart, a little spit-splice and you're in business. 
I adore Mary Jane Mucklestone's work, her talent, and her ironic sense of humor.  I've taken her class on Craftsy and thoroughly enjoyed it (please do more!).  I also have at least two of her books and will likely buy more.  The Stopover is beautiful and I will probably do it soon.  For now, though, I'm going to follow through on the Garland Necklace pullover.  However, you can never have too many Loppeysa (don't know the plural for the noun in Icelandic, but I will learn it some day:)!). 
And I'm always behind the curve on the Latest Thing anyway, LOL (still have to knit one of them there Clapotis(es).....).


In other news, work keeps moving along.  We've had some snow days that have slowed things down, but things are otherwise, well, things. 

J is working hard in Cleveland as a brand new immigration lawyer.  Liz, her SO is wonderful to her and to all of us. In fact, she is just plain wonderful.
S is looking at law school and has already been getting a slew of acceptances and financial offers of aid while she works at a local college.
Our Only Begotten Son, Danny G is performing at Everyman Theatre in two more plays for their 25th Anniversary series: Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire
E and R are both working so hard, we rarely see them - R is finishing up her Master's project, having already finished her thesis(!!) and E is working away for the Big Supermarket Corporation, managing a store in the City...
D and D are raising two daughters - a teen and a tween - and plugging away at making a living. One of the D's is looking into a new career.
K and K are raising three children and working their own careers.  One of them is considering a new one, too.

I am getting tired just reading all this.  

Well folks, I should go to choir prax tonight but am feeling lousy  - just got my first flu shot.  Yeah, I heard ya.  Like I said, don't judge:)

God be with you 'til we meet again+