Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shhhh...It's a Secret

I can't post any photos because everything I've completed lately, or that I'm still knitting, or that I'm GOING to be knitting, is meant to be gifts at Christmas.

Suffice it to say that the fingers are flying.

First Snow, Kerhonkson

By Diane di Prima
for Alan
This, then, is the gift the world has given me
(you have given me)
softly the snow
cupped in hollows
lying on the surface of the pond
matching my long white candles
which stand at the window
which will burn at dusk while the snow
fills up our valley
this hollow

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jane Eyre

Jane's Ubiquitous Shawl
I just finished knitting, blocking, and photographing this shawl. It took almost 1400 yards of sport weight alpaca yarn. I knitted it during a KAL (knit-along) organized by the WWMDFK? group on Ravelry. WWMDFK? stands for What Would Madame DeFarge Knit?, a book edited by Heather Ordover of the Craftlit podcast, and published by Cooperative Press, which features patterns inspired by a variety of characters from classic literature. This particular shawl, known as "Jane's Ubiquitous Shawl", was designed by Erica Hernandez as a tribute to that most upstanding heroine, Jane Eyre.

Whew. I think that's enough links, thank you! Now, on to Christmas knitting...

 "Next day, by noon, I was up and dressed, and sat wrapped in a shawl by the nursery hearth." - Jane Eyre, Chapter 3

"I folded my shawl double, and spread it over me for a coverlet; a low, mossy swell was my pillow." - Jane Eyre, Chapter 28

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Thicker than rain-drops on November thorn.
Fragment 8 By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Handspun 3-ply Blue-Faced Leicester
November? Nope. Wovember. Click the link and you'll see what I'm talking about.

As Wovember settles in - or I settle into Wovember - I am surrounding myself with wool. As of today, when I sit down to knit I am literally covered in the stuff: I'm working on Jane's Ubiquitous Shawl as part of a knit-along for Craftlit's reading of Jane Eyre. The reader, Elizabeth Klett, is doing a marvelous job of portraying the mood, landscape, and persona of heroine. The project uses 10 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light - almost 1500 yards of yarn. The KAL started in late October and ends in December, but for some reason I'm feeling driven (in a good way) to power through and finish before Thanksgiving...probably because of all the Christmas knitting I hope to accomplish. This shawl currently looks like a great lump of charcoal-gray fuzzy stuff. I anticipate the miracle of blocking, and hope that I will end up with a large square of lacy goodness when I am done.
The center section of Jane's Ubiquitous Shawl

Zig and I are making plans - BIG plans - an actual BUSINESS PLAN - for opening a yarn shop. We sat on the beach this past summer and brainstormed (well, MY brain was storming and Zig was recording the thunder and lightning) ideas for creating the be-all and end-all yarn and fiber paradise for knitters and spinners. It was fun to come up with a list of things, people, and events that would have to be in place.

Now we're (well, he) is slogging through the work of figuring out if this idea is even remotely feasible in a financial sense. What to call the enterprise? How much inventory to stock? Where to rent a storefront? When to open for business? Who to hire, if anyone? Why does our chosen location need a yarn shop?

Whether or not we actually see this through, and end up the proud owners of a fiber-related business, remains to be seen. But it's SO interesting to take the idea - the dream - and tease it apart into its separate elements (mission, location, financing, store layout, hours of operation, inventory, education, special events, licensing) to see how we could actually open for business.

Apologies for the long absence. In lieu of blogging, I have been knitting a LOT:
Jidai Raglan Pullover in Berroco Vintage DK

Wingspan shawlette knitted with Colinette Jitterbug Sock in "Mardi Gras"

Norah Gaughan's Ostrum Cowl in Berroco Boboli
Polka-Dot Ribbon Scarf

Penelope Shrug knit in Quince & Co Finch

Quick  broken rib scarf in Misti Alpaca Chunky
 and doing a bit of spinning, as well:
River's Edge Fiber Arts Mountain Mist 60/30/10  Merino Bamboo Nylon in "Riverstone" colorway

Monday, September 3, 2012

Time Folded

Green Pear Tree in September

By Freya Manfred
On a hill overlooking the Rock River
my father’s pear tree shimmers,
in perfect peace,
covered with hundreds of ripe pears
with pert tops, plump bottoms,  
and long curved leaves.
Until the green-haloed tree
rose up and sang hello,
I had forgotten. . .  
He planted it twelve years ago,
when he was seventy-three,
so that in September
he could stroll down  
with the sound of the crickets
rising and falling around him,
and stand, naked to the waist,
slightly bent, sucking juice
from a ripe pear.
"Robin Red Breast" Gotland 2-ply
August is gone and I don't really know where it went. That tends to happen in August. Now it's September and I'm back at school, beginning my 29th year as a children's librarian.

"Field of Dreams" shetland 3-ply
This summer I spun more yarn than I ever have in such a short period. Now that work intrudes, the wheel sits more than it spins, but that's okay - a significant dent was made in the fiber stash.

"Big Bang" BFL 2-ply
Very little knitting happening, since finishing the Elm socks a few weeks ago. I've started the 8th pair of socks for the year - just a vanilla pair but with most lovely Cherry Tree Hill sockweight merino. This knitting competes for attention with the Penelope Shrug I'm knitting from Quince and Company Finch in a deep charcoal gray. Usually I can find a few minutes during lunchtime at work, but the first few weeks of school are too busy to breathe, let alone knit.
"Northern Lights" Targhee - what I'm working on in early September

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Ends

At Popham Beach

By Thorpe Moeckel
Haze of wave spume towards Small Point,
       Seguin Island Light like a whale's spout—
maybe life washes itself here, cools off.
       It never comes clean. See all the sails up
and full in the windy parade of skin
       and sand and brine. Soon the rocks will pluck
each wave's feathers. Soon the beach
       like the moon, waning, will be 1/8th its size.
Somewhere else—maybe Ireland—the tide
       will bottom out then. For now the sun
blesses the bodies at home in theirs,
       and those less so, to ruin and ruin's aftermath—
whatever that is—and the waves rolling in,
       little snowplows, nimbus in miniature; how
the beach fishhooks east, one child—
       is that mine, or some spirit I was one more
usher of?—face up, arms and legs
       scraping a temporary angel in the sand.

Still in Maine, though it is our last week here. Sigh. Difficult to leave, but I do love my little house in the Hartland hemlocks.

Spunky Eclectic "Little Fishes" Merino Top 2-ply
Still getting lots of spinning done, with a bit of knitting, too. The "Little Fishes" merino top, pictured below, came in at 554 yards. That might be the finest (as in thinnest) I've spun. Planning to use it for the Holden Shawlette.

Spunky Eclectic "Robin Red Breast" Gotland fiber
Also just finished thwacking 194 yards of worsted weight (methinks - I forgot my WPI tool at home) Gotland sheepswool. It's very hairy - coarse, even - but the color is pretty-Spunky Eclectic's "Robin Red Breast" - the April 2012 shipment.  Photo of the finished yarn is forthcoming...

Just began spinning, for a fingering weight, the May 2012 Spunky shipment - "Big Bang". Man, this is lovely BFL top. The colors are to die for. So lustrous, too. I'm catching up to you, Spunky Club!!! "Only" May, June, and July shipments to do. But then comes the August 2012 shipment...and then school begins and spinning time disappears...if I've got to have a problem, that's a pretty good problem to have.
Spunky's "Big Bang" Blue-Faced Leicester Top fiber - yum!

I'm actually using some of my handspun this summer - knitting up a quick, bulky garter stitch scarf using Frabjous Fibers' "Stained Glass" merino - spun during the winter of 2010. Size 11 needles. Easy pattern. Graceful Shawl.
"Graceful" Shawl using bulky handspun
Sock knitting continues with the second of Cookie A's "Elm" pattern from The Knitter's Book of Socks by Clara Parkes. Decided to make these for Zig, as the leg is very slender and thus will fit him well.

Cookie A's "Elm" Sock #1 for Zig
I did some SERIOUS stash enhancement over the last two weeks, visiting two local yarn shops - Eagle's Nest Yarns in Waldoboro and Purl Diva in Brunswick, as well as scoring some locally produced yarn and fiber at the Pemaquid Farmers' Market just up the road from us. So much for stash reduction/control.

Now it's off to the beach for some sun, reading, and knitting. More later...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wait...There's More

We are in love
 Snowy Woods Sweater, which doesn't look anything like a snowy woods, but rather more like a beach lined with wild roses, is done. It fits like a dream come true. Maybe we'll call it Wild Beach Rose Sweater?

And this is the loveliest Hollyhock flower I've ever seen.

Saturday, July 14, 2012



Spunky Eclectic "Birds 'n' Berries Targhee 2-ply

Spunky Eclectic "Abstract" Corriedale 3-ply

Snowy Woods Sweater detail

Spunky Eclectic "Little Fishes" Merino Top

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Is it really progress when there are not photos?

On the Seashore

By Rabindranath Tagore
On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.
The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances.
They build their houses with sand, and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds.
They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl-fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.
The sea surges up with laughter, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children, even like a mother while rocking her baby's cradle. The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.
On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.

I just took a flurry of artful photographs to "prove" what I've been up to, but I can't find the $%#@(! camera cable to do the $#%&*@ upload.


Add that (the cable) to the list of miscellany that Zig will hopefully ferry up here tomorrow.

Yep, I'm in Maine, and all I have to say on that subject is, "It's GLORIOUS".

So, on to fibery goodness. Photos to follow, and then this will all be "really" true.

  1. Handspinning catch-up game - have completed the January 2012 Spunky Eclectic shipment of "Birds & Berries" Targhee. A lofty, softy 2-ply, approx. 488 yards. As is almost always the case, I fall in love with the colors AFTER plying. The color elves at SE are brilliant! Also on the fast track to completion is February 2012 SE "Abstract" Corriedale. I spun this into 3 bobbins of singles, approx. 237 yards each. The fiber is resting. It must be exhausting to be spun/twisted/wrenched into submission. Next up is March 2012 SE "Little Fishes" Merino Top, which I just finished weighing into (almost) equal 1.04 ounce bumps. Can't recall if I've done a 4-ply before.
  2. Knitting: I rescued the "Vitamin D" cardigan from deep hibernation (or was it a cryogenic freeze?) and hauled it up here with me, but I haven't touched it other than to refresh my memory of the pattern and where I currently am in it. I am plugging along on the low-bandwidth "Snowy Woods Pullover", and have completed the body to the yoke, one sleeve, and most of the second sleeve. Hoping to join all three pieces for the yoke later today.
"Abstract" Corriedale" fiber from Spunky Eclectic
The fact that I can't put up the related photos really really really really really bugs me. I guess the next best thing is to post older pics of the projects, even though they've already been posted.
"Birds & Berries" Targhee fiber from Spunky Eclectic

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Afternoon

excerpt from Joy in the Woods

By Claude McKay
There is joy in the woods just now,
       The leaves are whispers of song,
And the birds make mirth on the bough
       And music the whole day long

Remember that album - "Nights in White Satin"? Right - The Moody Blues. I think they still play, but mostly for public television fundraisers.

Into the second week of summer vacation now. I have been surprisingly disciplined in my handling of all this free time: I have a daily schedule. And I stick to it. Actually, the schedule is only for the morning, but it helps me make sure to exercise and complete at least one chore on our (much too long) to-do list. Washing windows, painting the deck, cleaning out Stu's room, etc.

Bears are still about, all too frequently. The two juvenile males were around for much of the day Saturday, probably because Abe was cooking short ribs for much of the day, and the aroma is simply too delicious to resist.

Pimpelliese Shawlette knit is Malabrigo Sock "Carine"
I finished something today! That's two things since my last posting. Here they are:
  The shawlette is for a good friend at work, but the tunic is for ME. It's shown with a blank tank top underneath, as the knitting is loose and purposely full of holes.

No spinning for almost two weeks. Not in the mood.

I'm reading the second in the "Fifty Shades" trilogy. Horrible writing but mysteriously compelling - obviously, since I bought book #2.
DeGraw Tunic knit in Tahki "Ripple"

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Promised Photos - Here They Are

Spunky Eclectic "Birds n' Berries" Targhee - January 2012 shipment

Barely-begun Elm Socks made with String Theory Caper Sock in "Lichen"
Very-boring-but-will-be-lovely DeGraw Tank in black Ripple yarn
Completed String Bag made with Knitpicks Cotlin in "Clementine"

Pimpelliese Scarf made with Malabrigo Sock in "Carine"










 Early June Meditation at Lakeside

By Colette Inez
Fire alarms, a far off wail.
fireflies twitch in the grass.
At summer’s doorsill we stand,
a seasoned couple in good weather.
It seems no great matter a comet hurtles
towards the sun, that a child’s
charred bones will slip into earth.

In the city the firemen
have put out the fire.
We are here and not there.
Look at the dream
we have: a field of mullein, a lake,
two flies trapped in a hub of silk.

This night belongs to an interpreter
of wasps, aphids
in the mouth of a ladybird beetle
carrying red spots
on the dark ground of her back.
We count her years by them,
we who have learned
to eye seconds on a watch,
to burn old calendars, accounts.

And this night belongs to the author
of fire in the arsonist’s heart,
to comet tails and summer births
where frogs, and bugs
claim their brief patch of dark.

No one cares if we swim naked
in a lake whose fish gulp shadows
and trembling stars.

The child’s mother will buy a casket
with money from the firemen.
Our thoughts are dry when we think
in summers to come
we will be red cinders
rising from a burning house.

Ilene String Bag made with KnitPicks CotLin in "Sprout"