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Archive for August, 2008

Travel knitting

I’ve had a busy past few weeks. I’ve had some fun moments as well as a few stressful ones, and very little time to blog. I have, however, managed to sneak in some knitting.

I have found that I generally like to have three projects going at once. I always like to have a lace shawl on the needles. There is something supremely satisfying about lace. I enjoy sitting down in the evening and having something technical to work on. It seems that most lace knitters like to tackle their challenging projects in the morning, when they have more energy, clear minds, and good light. I, however, am one of those people who tends to have the most energy in the evening. I find it easier to relax and focus after dark. So I bought a good task lamp, and I tend to reach for my lace sometime after supper.DSCN0179

Like a lot of good wool lace, this looks like nothing so much as a wadded up tissue. In reality, it’s a Shetland shawl. Or, at least, it will eventually be a Shetland shawl.

For the yarn, I’m using Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb, which is a touch heavier than traditional Shetland cobweb-weight wool, but much softer and very springy; no trouble getting it to accept any kind of decrease. So far it has been perfect for this project.DSCN0182 When I stretch out the work, you can see just how springy the yarn is – that little wad of crumpled-up tissue is actually ten inches of knit lace!

 

 

 

 

I’ve also finally started a sweater for my husband. He picked out the pattern and the yarn colors; I’m just doing the knitting. The pattern is out of Sweaters from a New England Village, a lovely book full of nice Fair Isle patterns which is sadly out of print. I’m using Harrisville New England Shetland yarn, which is great for the colorwork and should steek well.

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As my friends know, I like to knit a lot “on the go.” I tend to haul my knitting around everywhere. However, neither of these projects are particularly portable. The sweater, as you can see, has many balls of yarn that have to go everywhere with it. I carry it around in it’s own box, which doesn’t fit so well into my bicycle pannier. I can take it with me if I drive, but not on the bike and certainly not on our upcoming airplane trip. The Shetland shawl is just plain difficult – not the type of knitting that I want to work on while chatting with friends. A dropped stitch in that pattern is pretty much disaster. (Yes, I do knowDSCN0183 about lifelines.) So, I decided that I needed to find a project expressly for travel knitting. I took myself down to the yarn store for some Baruffa Cashwool, one of my favorite lace yarns. I chose a light color, so I can still work on it in less-than-good lighting conditions. Then I picked out the pattern for Laminaria, which I had seen in the spring issue of the free online magazine Knitty. So far it is excellent for travel. The pattern has some fun new stitches to keep me interested, but the pattern is repetitive enough, and the yarn easy enough to work with, that I can still chat with friends and pay attention to my surroundings without losing my place in the pattern or making egregious mistakes.

This shawl uses several Estonian lace stitches, which I have never done before. They are fun to do and not so difficult to execute with good springy wool (although I wouldn’t want to tackle them with silk, which has very little give). The first section reminds me of little flowers.

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I also have good news to report: today is my last visit to the neurologist! I’m starting to think that the Migraine Nightmare might be over. I haven’t had more than three migraines per month since March. Life has definitely improved since last year.

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