Archive for July, 2019

Remember when I said the wedding shawl was trying to kill me?  Now I think it’s saving my life.  M-i-L is having a bit of a health crisis, which requires a lot of time and attention, as Steve and I are 1) closest and 2) don’t have four small children to cart around and 3) have neither full time jobs nor night classes.  It’s exhausting.

I had a second interview last week (for a job I really want), and a first interview (for a job which sounded much worse when discussed with the recruiter than when I applied on the web page).  Wedding planning is progressing, and Abby is doing a really good job of not passing her stress along (trying to make sure venue and officiant are available at the same time should be simple, but it’s not).

Now I’m at a point of the knitting where it’s a relatively straightforward lace pattern. It’s actually fairly relaxing, though I wish I had pointier needles.    I’m trying to make sure I put in a life line once a week no matter how much or how little progress I’ve made.  The plan is to remove the one before the last, so that any time going forward there will be two lines threaded through.

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Wedding Plans

The wedding plans continue to move forward.  Abby and Alex have found one venue they really like, but it’s not available for a full year – I could have told them that.  I think I did tell them that.  In any case, there are a couple of tentative dates now, both in July of 2020.  So, yay!  That gives me a full year to finish…

The Wedding Shawl

Which is going pretty well at this point (touch wood).


The nupps show really well in this picture, you’re going to have to take my word on the beads, but that word is ‘beautiful’.  There is also a lifeline on row 14 (which doesn’t show up at all, but it’s there and it does the right thing).  I’m currently on row 18.

The KP Luminance is wrapped in yarn socks from Slipped Stitch Studios.  They also do the right thing.

Not the Wedding

I had three interviews last week, two phone screens and one face to face.  I have a second FtF interview at the same place in the works for late next week.  I’m really liking this place, and not just because it’s within easy walking distance of my house.

The ointment for Captain’s eyes is helping.  Definite improvement after a week, although he is beginning to lose patience with the process.  Yes, beginning, after a week of having his eyes dosed twice a day.  Have I ever mentioned how mellow Captain is?

So, now that the shawl and the cat are starting to shape up, my mother in law’s starting to get health issues.  Or, rather, her recovery from the stroke may not be as miraculous as we thought.  I’m sure there will be more to come in future posts.


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Wedding Shawl

I cast on on Monday, and worked rows 1-4.  It went well, the beads were perfect, no nupps yet.

Tuesday (yesterday) morning I woke up and realized that I must have skipped row 3 and went straight to row 5.  I had worked a row with beads and YOs both, and I remembered quite clearly that there was a row with beads only, no YOs.

I was quite productive for that morning.  I had a job interview, so I wasn’t planning to knit early in the day.  I calmed myself down, reminded myself that I had worked both ends of the shawl the same way, so it was up to me to decide if I wanted to frog the whole thing or declare it a ‘spontaneous pattern revision’ and just go with it.   I was leaning towards soldiering on, and succeeded in putting it in the back of my mind and going to the interview.

I got to this one on time (go me!), and found that the interviewer and I had similar ideas about things (like documenting calls).  It felt really good.    Then I ran a few errands, and got back home with a thank you card, a bag of kitty litter, and lunch.

By the time I was ready to knit my head was in a good place.   My mood was much depleted by realizing that I had mislaid my notions box (it’s here somewhere), and bolstered that I’d worked row 3 perfectly.  I’d apparently dreamed the beads only row.   One day and I’m already dreaming about it?  Yeesh!  I need that job for more reasons than just money, apparently.

Other Things

I took the cats to the vet for their annual today.  I say annual, but it’s been longer than it should have been.  Nothing too dramatic, but a couple of things to keep an eye on.  Ideally Comet should have his teeth cleaned (for those of you who don’t know, this is a major procedure for cats, as it needs to be under general anaesthesia).  I’m not sure how I feel about the risk, and the expense is a bit much while between jobs.  He also has hairballs (we knew that) and should be brushed regularly.  He’s become more patient with letting me groom him lately (the vet says that he might just be less flexible with age) so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Captain has lost some weight, and has an eye infection.  He needed to lose the weight, but since he hasn’t been getting weighed every year we don’t know if it’s a sudden loss or not.  She also gave me some ointment for his eyes, which he allowed me to administer with nominal objections.

It definitely could be worse.

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I think this shawl is going to kill me

So, on Monday I actually wound the first ball of the lace yarn for Abby’s wedding shawl.  I used my trusty nostepinne and an amish swift.  It took basically the whole day.   Now, mind you, I have the time to do that at this point (the advantage of being between jobs).  There was a little bit of awkwardness at first, with that laceweight yarn trying to escape and tangle, but I kept an eye on it and it was fine. it was even pleasant and meditative, and I even got some Netflix in, but still…   I had to put the swift and ball up where the cats couldn’t get it in order to break for dinner.


So I gave in and decided to use a ball winder.  Of course, my old one is broken.  I asked around to borrow one, but couldn’t get hold of it.  I decided not to get another decent one from Knitpicks (my go to) because it’s a lot of money to spend on something I only plan to use once.  So I got a cheap one on eBay.  It was about $12 (a fraction more than half the price of the KP version).  I figured it wouldn’t be as relaxing, but it would take me a couple of hours to do what it took all day to do with the first skein.

On Wednesday I called my sister Alice.  She’s both my beading guru and my lace knitting expert.  I asked her what kind of beads to get (I was thinking clear, silver lined, in size 6/0 or 8/0).  She said not to get lined, as the silver does wear away over time (yes, we both know, this shawl is going to be worn once, but it’s intended to last).  She also said that 8/0 was death on the eyes, even though 6/0 is a little big for laceweight, and that she thought Abby would really enjoy A/B (opalescent) beads.  Her thinking was that clear was a waste of effort, go for the matching color.  She also very strongly suggested Japanese rather than Czech beads, because the holes are more uniform.

So I went to JoAnne’s – no Japanese beads.  I went to Michaels – they had Japanese, but no A/B.  I was tempted to just get the Es and call it a day, but they only had 11’s and 8’s, and, again, it’s going to be a lot of work now, and probably a single photo shoot, but it’s something I really want to do and do right.

So I looked for a local bead shop.  Bead Soup is pretty close.  I called ahead, and she said that they had ivory A/B in both 6/0 and 8/0.  I went down to Savage Mill and took a look, the beads she showed me were a perfect color match, and I thought the 8/0’s were the perfect size (I have tiny crochet hooks, and if the holes are consistent I was confident).

Then I went home and swatched.  Got gauge immediately.  Added beads to the lace pattern, and I was happy with the color and the size of the beads, but the pattern just didn’t work.  So I cast off the swatch and started another one, with a slightly smaller and distinctly pointier needle.  This time it clicked (I just swatched the edging, the body pattern looks really straightforward.)

Two Swatches

I only used one row of beads, if you look closely at the rectangular swatch you can see just a hint of shine.

Then, yesterday, I wound the second skein of yarn.  Remember the ‘couple of hours’ plan?  Um…  Nope.  Not the way it worked.  The ball winder really wasn’t happy clamped to the table, and the yarn guide didn’t snap into place well, and so I had to keep an eye on it, and that start up weirdness with the swift?  Yeah…  HUGE snarl.  And I didn’t want to put it aside and risk the cats getting into it, so basically I was up until dawn this morning.  No, I mean literally by the time I went to bed the sun was up.  I’m definitely too old for this.  The second skein broke several times, so I have two yarn cakes.  The first one isn’t too bad, but the second one is full of slubby bits and knots…

The shawl calls for knitting two pieces and grafting them.  I figure if I knit them both at once on a long circ I can knit to the end of the second cake, if I’m in the middle of a repeat I can use just enough of the second cake to finish and kitchener.  It’ll work.  (I’m determined).

This is going to be a long haul project.  I usually have a ‘TV’ knitting project going, so if my brain turns to mush I can switch over to that, but I don’t anticipate having any knitting mojo left over.  Maybe I’ll spin a bit, but I’m not even sure of that.

I’m really preparing for this one. I’ve got two separate tiny crochet hooks (one for  beads, the other for the Chinese Waitress cast on and nupps) and I’ve learned the hard way (think tetanus shot) to be careful with those possibly falling on the floor, so now they’re capped with wine corks.  I usually want just the right amount of background stimulation when I’m concentrating on lace.  I have somepodcasts, several new Big Finish productions (and a library of old ones) and three new books from Serial Box.

I’m ready for this…  I’m ready for this…   Wish me luck!

Everything assembled and ready to go

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So here are a few more FOs I’m particularly pleased with, which didn’t get into last week’s FO post.

First, a cute little pouch and a new technique from a great class I took from Nancy Bush at MD Sheep and Wool this year.  It’s an Estonian colorwork technique is called roositud, and it’s one of those things which seems so simple and obvious once you see it demonstrated.


Basically, the contrast color is woven in as you knit!

I also finished a skein of handspun.


Alpaca, merino and silk, fingering weight.  I’m pretty pleased with it.

And, a much anticipated crochet project which got done really quickly once I started it –


This was  a gift for my friend Colleen, who is both a huge trekkie and the best personal chef in Baltimore.  So she needed an insignia potholder.

Finally, a really great oddball project, made with a bunch of leftovers and some of my handspun.


The purple, which is the one yarn which failed to felt well, is my handspun.  I was probably told that the fiber was superwash, but by the time I got around to using it I had no idea.  MUST be better at using Ravelry’s record keeping.

So the bag is about as big finished as the yarn skeins which went into it.

I actually broke out the sewing machine and lined this one. I did manage to get the old dear up and running, but I may have put her out of true in the process. No, I was not foolish enough to try to machine stitch the lining into felt, but even so I did something wrong.

There might not be many more FO posts for a while. I’m starting on a wedding shawl for Abby*, and it’s going to be a massive undertaking.

I’ve got some lovely silk laceweight yarn from KnitPicks

It took me most of yesterday to wind one skein, and I plan to work both halves at once, so if I must stop short I can just kitchener it together and call it finished.

* We’ve discussed it. I know she doesn’t intend to wear it with the bridal dress, obviously it isn’t likely to be worn more than once. I want to do it and she is excited by the idea, and yes, it will be worth it.**

** Before Steve and I got married, back when ‘Parental Advisory’ labels were a new thing, I was bothered by the whole music censorship movement. Various parents (not mine) told me ‘when you have kids, you’ll understand’. Now I have grown kids, and I still don’t get that, but the fact that I am willing (no, eager) to put this kind of work into a project which will basically be used in one photoshoot, it makes not logical sense, but it’s so right. When you have kids, you’ll understand.

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