Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Icarus Finished!

With sore hands and a stiff neck, I bound off the last of the hundreds of stitches just in time.  The auction was Saturday night.  I finished knitting by 8pm Friday night, wove in my ends around 9pm, and left it blocking overnight.  Phew!  

With 1,369 Icarus projects on Ravelry, I'm not going to spend any time discussing this pattern (which is beautiful).  So let's talk about this yarn.  I LOVE this yarn.  This is lace weight cormo from Elsa Wool Company.  It is divine.  I owe many thanks to Melanie and Stewart, the grooviest yarn sellers on the planet, for carrying and recommending this yarn.

This is not a true representation of the color - the other pictures capture the silvery gray.

Cormo sheep are a cross between Corriedales and Saxon Merinos.  The resulting yarn is unbelievably soft and luxurious.  The yarn is undyed and is the natural color of the sheep.

But don't just believe me, here's what Clara Parkes has to say in her review of Elsa Wool Company's Cormo:  "Cormo is one of my favorite fibers.  It has all the tenderness of merino but with a little more character and succulence."

Succulence.  Yes.  It is delicious in the hands and on the needles and it blocks like a dream.  This is a woolen-spun yarn which means that it is spun with a core of air in the center resulting in a warm, light, and lofty yarn.  Perfect for a shawl.

Icarus made his ill-fated wings out of wax.  Make your Icarus lace feathers from heavenly cormo!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Deep in the Madness

No, not March Madness.  That's Liz, not me.  I'm deep into lace madness.  I committed to donating an Icarus shawl to the Waldorf school for their auction on Saturday.  Is it done?  NO.

I added an extra repeat on the main body (back when I was proceeding at a leisurely pace), so now I'm up to 427 stitches and have 40 rows before I hit the edging.  I need to be done by Thursday night because my parents are coming to visit Saturday.  I thought that I might try to clean the house Friday while the shawl was blocking.  So I think I'll be up early and late trying to bang this out.  

Good thing there's basketball to watch on TV.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Blessingway Blanket

How do you help prepare a friend for a birth?  Advice, baby paraphernalia, a pre-natal massage?  What if your friend is having her third baby?  And is an experienced home birther?  And is a doula?  What then?

Well, this was the conundrum for a group of us women who are friends with Melissa.  Something different was needed at this Blessingway.

Something to thank Melissa for all that she has given.  Something that would represent in a small way her strength, intuition, beauty, and deep love.  Something that might fortify her for labor but also wrap her in the love of her soul sisters during those difficult hours with a newborn.  

So each friend who could knit (and even some who couldn't) picked up needles or crochet hook and made a square ... or several ... and presented them to Melissa at her Blessingway - the squares infused with our thoughts, wishes, prayers, and blessings.  The room just glowed with love and joy.

The squares were arranged and rearranged and then handed off to me.  I seamed, joined, and bordered.

The blanket is now home.  Wrapped around a new little person who was born joyfully at home cradled in the love of her mother and father.

Welcome Pippa!

*Many thanks to Kindness Girl for the first three photos!

Friday, March 06, 2009


After my last post of a steaming pile of failed knitting projects, it was time for a little self-reflection. I had never had so many repeated failures and frustrations, and so few satisfactory finished objects. Knitting less meant knitting worse. It meant finishing nothing. And for a product knitter like me, knitting and producing nothing was worse than not knitting at all.

It was time for a new paradigm of knitting for me. Knitting less isn't just forgoing a morning knitting session to hit the gym for me. I've had to release some of the mental energy that I was giving to knitting to give it to other areas of my life. I just don't think about it as much, and my failed projects were indications of lack of thought. I don't have the time or the inclination to think through design challenges. I don't have the energy to frog and re-knit the same project until I get it right again and again. I need the simple, the rewarding. Not instant gratification, necessarily, but the old, reliable standards of knitting.

Thus, I turned to EZ, the quintessential source of all that is classic, reliable, pleasureable knitting. Two of my dearest cousins are both expecting their first babies, and since both have wonderfully unique aesthetics, I was able to perfectly match those classic EZ baby sweaters for each of them.

First up was for Ellie's baby. She's expecting her first girl any minute now. Ellie has a very feminine but quirky, vintage-y, arty personal style, so the February Baby Sweater was the perfect choice.

A two skeins (and a little bit of the third) of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in a yummy, grape-y purple, some beautiful silver rose buttons, and a little label embroidered with the initial E, which she, her soon-to-be-born daughter, and I all share. It's yummily soft and absolutely feminine without being overly twee. Classic.

Teri's baby is due in about a month. She and her husband have chosen not to find out the gender of their precious firstborn. In these cases, I usually knit something in a deep red color, since I think all babies look beautiful in red, and am not a fan of the insipid yellow, light green, and white sweaters these "surprise" babies get. However, Teri has a good chance of having a red-haired baby, since her husband and many of his family are vibrant redheads. Thus, their baby is receiving a Baby Surprise Jacket in an amazing green from Dream in Color (Happy Forest). This was my first time using this yarn, and it will not be my last. It was wonderful to work with, and the colors are vibrant and bright.
Teri and I happen to share the same last initial, so this sweater gets a "K." I am sort of obsessed by these cute little tags, so I'll take any excuse to sew and photograph them. I know nothing about embroidery, but these look better than I would ever expect.

You can check the details on my Ravelry page if you want to know more. But in the meantime, expect to see more old reliables, the trieds-and-trues from me in this space for the next little while. I'll be spreading my wings in other spaces in my life right now.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Perfect day for a penguin

Sometimes a silly little sweater can make you smile.

I have to admit, Isabel's new penguin sweater is so darn cute. And, a snowy day for a photo! What could be better!

This was a very easy project. I pulled some Cotton Ease from the stash and a pattern from Knit Simple Magazine (Winter 07/08), and it came together in no time.

Plus, Isabel really wants to wear it. We are both smiling!