Yarn Along ~ Counting to One Thousand

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny and her knitting bookworms this morning on a Yarn Along……………

I’ve always seemed to look at the glass half empty instead of half full.

In recent years my tendency to look at that half empty glass has started changing.  It all began with Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts.  After reading it I began a personal challenge to live fully right where I am, each and every day.  I joined the Joy Dare and began counting things to be thankful for until I got to 1000.  It has been an amazing journey.

Ingratitude seems to be something that dwells deep within our makeup.  When Jesus healed the ten lepers only one returned to thank him yet all ten lives would be dramatically changed for the good from that point onward.  That is pretty much says it – 90% ungrateful and only 10% giving thanks!

On top of my journal is the beaded beauty I have been working on, Danse Macabre.  Have I mentioned to you in another post that it has 1000 beads in it?  Yep, 1000…… I only remind you because I have shared with you ONE THOUSAND GIFTS on this Yarn Along today.  If you struggle with the ‘half empty’ as I do, this is a book for you.

 

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Yarn Along ~ Revisiting the Eliot Family

Several books have been read since I last joined Ginny and her peeps on a Yarn Along.  After reading Kate Atkinson’s two books about the Todd family, A God in Ruins and Life After Life I thought needed something a little more uplifting – not that Atkinson’s books were downers because they weren’t, they were very well written and I enjoyed them.  I just needed something familiar, a family that I have revisited more than once, the Eliots of Damerosehay.  This is a beloved trilogy that captured my heart and my imagination along with countless others who are fans of the bestselling author Elizabeth Goudge. Brilliant author!

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Every family has its particular bright stars, and David and Grandmother were the particular stars of the Eliot family, people in whose presence life was more worth living, people who warmed you, like the sun and lit the whole world to a richer glory.

In my knitting world I am working on two shawls, both mystery knit alongs.  One has gone in time out because I goofed three rows down and it was alarming enough for me to set it aside before gathering fortitude to tink back.
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The second shawl is stunning and I am thoroughly smitten with the beautiful twisted stitches, tedious but well worth the effort.   I feel like a tortoise working on the border but my Ravelry friends assure me they are in the same race going at the same speed.  The border itself uses almost a whole skein of yarn so I need to keep reminding myself of that.

What about you?  Have you read any books lately that I might like to add to my list?

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Fragile

 

Did you know that the fragile land above the treeline, called the Alpine Life Zone, begins at eleven thousand feet above the sea?

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Have you ever stood where trees are unable to grow?

This fragile land, where the tundra meadows are a colorful mass of wildflowers, only has a growing season of six to eight weeks.  There are some 250 specie more than one occasion I have stood shivering in the middle of summer clad in jacket and woolens – wind whipping around me – to ask myself,  “How can anything possibly survive this harsh environment?”
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The flora hugs the ground in dense mats to mitigate the severe mountain climate.  Close to the ground they were designed to survive harsh conditions including winds up to 200 mph, dry air, low soil moisture and fierce sunlight.  Incredibly, their rate of respiration and photosynthesis is much faster than a plant at lower elevation.  Even their colors are vibrant because pollination and growth need to happen quickly because their growing span is so short.  Each of these specific characteristics speak to me of intelligent design, a Creator.
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In Rocky Mountain National Park you find signs posted in this alpine zone warning one to stay on the trails in order to protect the alpine tundra.  The reason isn’t because these flowers are so very delicate that they are easily killed for they obviously can withstand the harsh climate far better than myself.  Signs are posted because of the heavy, concentrated foot travel the the Park sees every season and that concentration can harm them.

I am thankful for the lessons of the fragile land above the trees teaching me that hard things make one strong.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that word FRAGILE.

I’m feeling rather fragile these days.

My husband and I have decided the time has come to put our mountain home up for sale. For three weeks I have had a heavy, concentrated time of decluttering.  Anything that is heavy and concentrated  may run the risk of causing harm.

Contents of boxes that have not been opened in seventeen years have been sorted through.  Decisions have been made on what to keep, what to give away, what to toss.  I’m weary.  The rushing, the racing, the trying to get things done by a self-imposed deadline has done nothing other than cause brain-numbness.

Shouldn’t this sorting process of belongings that once defined my life be an enjoyable process?

I was in a hurry when I reached for a box in the storage room that caused another box  to come crashing down.  Five fragile angel figurines given to my daughter by her grandmother on every birthday for sixteen years instantly broke into small pieces the second they hit the cement floor, china pieces scattering in multitudes of directions.

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I sat on the floor and with tears in my eyes and remembered another time, twenty-six years earlier when in haste, while moving furniture the bed had knocked a shelf where my other daughter’s birthday figurines sat and they too were smashed.

This hurrying, this not being patient – have I not learned this lesson yet?

My patient husband carefully glued back together these fragile figurines after I handed the pieces to him in a box lid all jumbled together like a jigsaw puzzle and sadly asked, ‘Can you fix these?’

Can I only hear my life sing when I am still?  

Why am I in such a hurry?

I am thankful for the lesson of these fragile figurines,  broken because I was in a hurry acting like my life was an emergency.

Have you ever seen a fine, filmy cobweb on grass or bushes or floating in the air in calm weather  – gossamer?

Lace shawls are like gossamer.  They are very light, thin and delicate  giving the appearance of being very fragile.  I am knitting one right now with silk as fine as gossamer thread right now.

The knitting is slow, each stitch is very gingerly executed and with great care the beads are placed with a very tiny hook.  There are 900 beads in this shawl pattern. The silk yarn is as narrow as an embroidery floss.  My state of mind is much different knitting lace than it is when I knit other things.  I’m very, very careful.

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As fragile and delicate as lace appears there is something about it that may surprise you. Lace does not resemble lace as you know it until the very end when, after soaking to open up the fibers it is then stretched and pinned beyond what seems like the breaking point.  Only then, as it dries, does it open up and becomes beautiful gossamer ‘floating on air’.   Although the delicate thread looks like stretching would damage or destroy it, instead it creates a thing of beauty.

I am thankful for fragile hand knit lace shawls because I am learning as I stretch them beyond what I think they can bear so is adversity in my life.  It produces beauty in me if I turn toward it to see there is a purpose.

Adversity is the ‘pruning’ process by my God to cut away the things in my life that don’t produce fruit.  If I resist this pruning I become hard and bitter and consequently miss the fruit He is trying to develop in me.

What is fruit?  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

 

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Indeciveness

There is a mystery shawl knit along about to start that I will be participating in and I am in a state of indecision.  Anyone who knows me, knows I vacillate when it comes to choosing colors – should I pick this one? that one? no, no, the other one?

I asked the ladies in the Romi’s Studio discussion group on Ravelry their opinion and it was a almost a virtual tie so now I come to you and ask, “Which combo do you like?”  This will be a mystery knit along with clues released weekly so I can’t give you any particulars except that it will be a triangular shawl knit in two colors.

Option 1 – Tart and Whiskey:
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Option 2 – Whiskey and Well Water:
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Option 3 – Whiskey and Rainwater:
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Yarn Along and Shetland Dialect

My reading today for the YARN ALONG is more along the historical research lines.  I’ve not knit any serious fair isle for a while and got caught up reading Ann Feitelson’s classic The Art of Fair Isle Knitting while looking for a pattern I wanted to knit.  Every time I delve into this book I come away with some new bit of information for the gray matter.  There certainly is a reason it is a cherished classic!

First off, I found the pattern I wanted and gathered up the hanks (skeins) of Shetland wool for the slipover (vest) I will be knitting for the hubby.  He will look quite handsome in his Hillhead Slipover when I makkin’ off (bind off).

If I have any clews (small balls of leftover yarn) I plan to make some dags (fingerless mittens) for myself.  I am using Jamieson’s Spindrift, a traditional Shetland Yarn.  The surname ‘Jamieson’ is as common in Shetland as our ‘Jones’ is in America.

Hillhead Slipover

This afternoon I will use the thumb method to lay up 300 stitches on the wire (needle) because I learned that in Shetland, casting on is almost always done with this method.  They claim it is quick to do and the path of the yarn and the results are almost identical to the widely known American method, the long tail cast on.

I will be “Takkin’ my makkin’ “ , bringing my work with me, in the car this afternoon.  I will be certain to finish the sweerie geng (the first row) before I get out of the car because there is a superstitious saying in Shetland, “You shouldn’t get up until you’ve completed the entire sweerie geng – otherwise the garment will never be finished.”

This time through The Art of Fair Isle Knitting I discovered a glossary of Shetland Knitting terms and thought I would have a little fun with you.

Joining Ginny today on a Yarn Along around the world…………….

 

 

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UFO Thursday ~ Twinings

Twinings has not been touched since June and I thought I would pull her out of the UFO pile to work on today.  If you recall, I have a little bit of accountability from my Saturday knitting group to stick to my UFO list I made at the beginning of the year.  Being altogether faithful to this list?  Well, let’s just say I’m trying……. there is a shawl I really do want to cast on and it is using stash yarn, mostly.

 

Twinings

Twinings appears to be approaching the halfway point.  It is knit in two parts and then grafted together in the middle.  I know, right?  It has been a very long time since I cast this on, maybe a couple years, it doesn’t even have a cast-on date on it’s Ravelry project page.  The laceweight yarn I am using is Fyberspates Scrumptious in the ‘Water’ colorway.  I made one of these for a friend to wear to her son’s wedding and I did it in record time.  Maybe that is why I am prolonging this project out. No doubt my shoulder has some lurching memory of how it ached throughout the speed knitting.

The shawl I am longing to start is Romi’s Simee Dimeh.  I thought it would be a perfect stash busting project!

 

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Simee Dimeh has a very interesting stitch design.  TEXTURE seems to be the current trend in knitting this year and Simee Dimeh definitely fits into that category.  I can’t wait to see how this design is constructed.  I usually learn something new every time I knit one of Romi’s shawls.
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This is the first round of colors I have pulled from my stash for Simee Dimeh (I think if I say that name enough in this post I might remember it).  What do you think?  Before I start it I will throw out some options again for some advice.

I was blown away this week by the Yarn Harlot’s blog post on fixing a section of knitting where a mistake has been made a few rows back. The unhappy solution is usually to rip out those rows and re-knit them. But what if your project has over 350 sts per row? Ikes!

(Yarn Harlot’s Shawl)
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Enter this genius method, where only the incorrect section needs to be ripped and re-knit.  It’s best explained in pictures, so pop on over to to Stephanie’s site, and be amazed!

Posted in Knitting Tips, Lace, Shawls, UFO Thursday | Leave a comment

Yarn Along on a Productive Day

Piping up and tagging along with Ginny this afternoon on a YARN ALONG….and reading what her peeps have to say about books and knitting.
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It has been a productive day for me as I juggle household chores, working on a third Clayoquot Togue hat for the new grand baby and finishing up My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Frederik Backman.

With the opening chapters of this book, I wondered whether it would be one I could stick with to the end.  The language was a little too ‘colorful’ for me, the child a bit too precocious and the make-believe world of Marabous a stretch out of reality and seemingly pointless.   And then there was a sudden death……

“People in the real world always say, when something terrible happens, that the sadness and loss and aching pain of the heart will “lessen as time passes,” but it isn’t true. Sorrow and loss are constant, but if we all had to go through our whole lives carrying them the whole time, we wouldn’t be able to stand it. The sadness would paralyze us. So in the end we just pack it into bags and find somewhere to leave it.”

The story appears to be an intricately woven fairy tale designed to help a precocious granddaughter cope with being ‘different’.  But about half-way through the book you realize the people living in this granddaughter’s house are actually the characters in the make-believe world of Marabous.  It was a fabulously written story of a grandmother’s influence on her grandchild and upon others.  The grandmother is not what she appears to be…… but…… I share no more so that you can discover for yourself.

“Death’s greatest power is not that it can make people die, but that it can make people want to stop living.”

“Because not all monsters were monsters in the beginning. Some are monsters born of sorrow.”

“Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild’s ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact. A grandmother is both a sword and a shield.”

“Because if a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal.”

Have you read a good book lately?  If you are curious about what others are reading and knitting then join us on a Yarn Along!

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Two Sock Tuesday ~ Fish Lips Experiment

Nine ladies.  Nine ladies will be coming to my house Friday to learn the infamous FISH LIPS KISS HEEL.  We planned this sock adventure at our last Friday Fiber event when someone asked me, ‘Have you ever tried the Fish Lips Kiss Heel?’  I had not, but it was a heel technique I had planned to learn sometime this year.

Many people have raved about this heel and many people have told me I needed to give it a try even though the Eye of Partridge flap heel is my favorite heel.  I am skeptical the FLK heel will replace my favorite but I am all about learning new things so will enjoy this little sock adventure.  Somehow, it fell into my lap to learn and teach it so today I am getting ready for Friday.
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Having an accurate tracing of your foot is part of the Fish Lips Kiss Heel and knowing exactly where your ankle bone is another component.
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Twin stitch knits and twin stitch purls — interesting…..

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Boomerang ….very interesting…

Two Sock Tuesday ~

I have finished the first sock for this month’s  SOCKS FROM STASH challenge.  We were to find the oldest yarn in our stash and knit some socks with it.  I am finding that I adore this yarn.  Funny how that is because it would have taken me years to consider knitting a pair of socks with it just because… well, it was crumpled up in a bag with the original misshapen sock and was at the back of a well filled drawer.  This is why it is good to join groups that challenge you outside of your comfort zone (remind me of that when we have to pick the ugliest yarn in our stash.)

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First Friday Fiber of 2016

The first Friday of the month is when my fiber group meets.  We were eager to get together because we didn’t meet in January and some of us had not seen each other in a couple months.  Even before it was time for show and tale, we jumped in sharing what lovelies we had created since the last time we were together.  Well, actually, it was more like we started pawing through each other’s baskets in curiosity …. that is how it goes when you love fiber.

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Karen shared her beautiful DOODLER by Steven West made with her very own Spruce Dragon Yarn.  She had enhanced the shawl with beads which I thought made it even prettier.  I really must add DOODLER to my list of things to knit in 2016.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist walking around the house of our hostess to take some photos of her beautiful weaving.
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Someday I hope to be able to weave beautiful towels like Nancy does.  She is a real pro though and has been doing it for a long time.
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Someone always brings gorgeous roving that we all drool over…..

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And someone always has some spun up that we all marvel at….

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We can count on Emma wearing one of her very unique scarves.  This one was a gift from her sister and we had to examine it for a bit and figure out how it was done.
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It was called ‘Nuno’ felting.  Silk was laid between strips of roving and then felted in a hot soapy bath by vigorous rubbing.  Karen said it was a great anger management technique. We held it up to the light for more scrutinizing…
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Cherie told us that one of her goals was to weave with her handspun fiber and this wrap was her first big project doing that……..

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She then told us about her trip to Iceland last month and showed us some unspun Icelandic wool, something Iceland is notorious for to fiber lovers.  Apparently, there are great tourism deals if you go to Iceland in December!  And then, she talked about us forming a weaving group on this side of the mountain so we wouldn’t have to trek so far. I’m in! She has already picked out a project we can each weave.

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A couple of us are just learning how to weave. Last month Cherie taught some how to weave these cool washcloths with “scrubby’ loops. Carol brought the strip she had woven and got advice on how to cut them apart, fold them under and finish each washcloth off.

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Shari usually has something unique to share and this time she showed her ‘foot’ spindle she had used Christmas money to get.

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Her foot was pretty busy kicking the wheel to keep her spindle spinning. It may be a little bit too much work for my taste but she is having a blast with it.

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Marilyn had designated the month of January as ‘for the dogs’ and I somehow neglected to take pictures of the dog coats and food placemats she had crocheted.

I always leave this group inspired and with some new tidbit of knowledge. Today I learned that instead of using yarn for a header when weaving, you can use plastic bag strips like Nancy did in this picture. Karen uses the last bits of toilet paper when you come to the end of a roll. Imagine that!

Our hostess showed us what she does in her basement…….

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See the plastic bag header?

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What a fabulous day!  I’m already anticipating next month’s gathering.  I believe we will be crossing the mountain and heading north.

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Ambiguous Cowl – Clue Three

Part 3 brings me to the inside of the cowl that will be folded to the wrong side of the Front.  The pattern on the front of the cowl had a decidedly traditional look whereas the inside has a modern flare.  The inside chart has much less stranding with four rounds of single color knitting per repeat and no long floats to catch on the backside.

All the knitting for Ambiguous is finished and after a good long soak in a warm bath it has been measured and pinned out to block.  All that is left to do is to fold it in half and graft the top and bottom ends together.

Ambiguous Clue Three

Happy Knitting!

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