Thursday, June 29, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

Getting ready for the Mystery Shawl 2 to start. Hmmm. which yarns? Kidsilk Haze or Zephyr?
Will need to make up my mind soon, because the first clue comes out on July 7.
You can join here:

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I love the mailman...

  • ...and I love the UPS guy, too! Look what I got in the mail yesterday, clockwise from top:
  • Gloria Penning's Old World Treasures, a collection of beautiful lace cloth;
  • Valley Yarns burgundy 2/14 alpaca silk, 1736 yards, which is a half a pound, from WEBS;
  • Beaded stitch markers (18 of them);
  • Dark teal laceweight wool (2550 yards) from
  • I know, I know, I ordered and paid for this stuff, so I know it's a bit daft to feel as though I got an unexpected present. But in the face of Mr. E's plight, this is all a very welcome diversion indeed.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mr. E Update

They think they might have a name for what's ailing Mr. E - besides looking worse, if possible, from today's visit to the vet.

It's Cushing's Disease (or Syndrome). Apparently quite rare in cats, it is the effect of malfunctioning pituitary or adrenal glands. They tell us it is treatable, although a preliminary online search tells us that the prognosis is not so great - provided the animal survives surgery to remove any tumors. Treatment is going to be tricky. And expensive.

The vet took a skin biopsy, pulled a bunch of loose teeth, shaved off a lot of Mr. E's remaining hair, and sent Mr. E home with even more medication.

We are going to do our best for you, Mr. E.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Having bought a whole pound of Zephyr for the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl (elswhere on this blog), I was planning on enough left over for another shawl.

Leftovers? Zephyr (50/50merino/silk) is a leftover like filet mignon is a leftover!

It was a marathon job, but I finally got the rest of the cone wound onto a niddy. This is a 2-yard niddy, meaning that one pass around all four corners equals 2 yards.

I have 2125 yards, all ready for the dye pot!

What color? What color?

The Wee Knitting Muse will help, I hope. I'll just have to wait until she gets around to it...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A tadpole from the Frog Pond

I won some new lace patterns on eBay yesterday - Yaaay! Before I elope with the next pattern that shows up in my mailbox, I thought I'd better be true to some projects already started/spoken for. I spied the purple merino/silk I spun a few months ago that had a false start as a Fir Cone shawl. When I started it, I chose Fir Cone because I wanted a very simple motif that would not overwhelm my humble handspun. Plus, I'ts a no-brainer to figure out the increases on a triangle shawl with Fir Cone. Easy pickin's right?

Well, not so fast. I wasn't too sure after I'd knitted a few repeats whether I really liked the fabric. Did I listen to the Wee Knitting Muse whacking me up side the head? Of course not. I kept plugging away....

I had knitted nearly the entire shawl when I decided that the fabric was just too dense, and that the yarn wanted to be something airier. So... a-waltzing to the frog pond I went. My big ball of reclaimed yarn sat on my dresser until this weekend, when thumbing through my pattern binders, I fell upon the Diamond Fantasy shawl!

Eureka!! Yarn and pattern entered my head at the same time and the Wee Knitting Muse sang in my ear (she's fickle, though - so I'm hoping she doesn't box my ears again when I'm nearly through). What's more, I'm following a pattern, which means the increases are already figured out for me. I love charts done by somebody else.

This pattern is airy, but not intricate, and I have enough yardage to make a full-size shawl. So last night, I cast on and proceeded. The picture shows the first few repeats.

Friday, June 16, 2006


It was crushing to find that the vet is no longer so optimistic about Mr. E. He thinks MR. E has some other major problem, but couldn't answer what it is. Mr. E will make a return trip to the vet next week providing he survives, when Dr. L will take another stab at seeing why this kitty is so ill. Meanwhile, he sent me home with eye ointment, a topical anti-fungal, another medication to help process food, more antibiotics, and instructions to routinely flush out a newly discovered wound on Mr. E's paw. Hoping for the best....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Posting has been a bit slow (already!) because we have a new member of the family who is demanding a lot of attention.

Mr. E showed up in our back yard last week, starving, shaky, and frightfully skinny. He fled when he saw us, but the prospect of food soon overwhelmed him.

Finally, we were able to gently bring him in. We took him to the veteranerian right away, although we feared that we were too late to save Mr. E.

Mr. E is a cat with a large frame, but he only weighed 5 pounds. But believe it or not, the vet gave us encouraging news.

Mr. E has an internal infection and bad teeth in addition to the obvious starvation and skin issues, but has no other apparent major health problems. We'll know more when the doctor looks a little further during his next examination.

Mr. E is quarantined in our basement sewing room for now, which he clearly dislikes. We have other cats, but Mr. E isn't healthy enough to join the rest of the population yet.

He has been devouring about a pound of high-calorie food a day. If my math is correct, it is the equivalent of a human eating about 25 pounds of food per day.
It's working - he's gained a whole pound! (Dontcha wish you could eat 25 pounds of cake a day only gain a pound a week?)

We have an appointment tomorrow, and we hope we will be able to report good progress for Mr. E. And maybe we'll be able to knit some, too.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Where there's a lap...

There's a cat!

...that would be Hizzoner, Mr. Dylan.

Friday, June 02, 2006

It's a Wrap!

Here's my glamour shot for the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl. It feels as soft and luxurious as it looks, and I'm proud of it.

I've loved working on this one, and I learned a lot, too (see some posts below).
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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Frost Flowers and Leaves

Yaaaaaay! It's done. (Pic here added later.)

I just finished the Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl on Sunday. It's blocked and drying in the basement at this very moment. The pattern, by Eugen Beugler, is published in A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swansen. See a picture of it from the book on the Frost Flowers and Leaves KAL .

Here's a beginning picture taken on April 2.

The center of the shawl is on size 3.5 mm dpn's, 5-1/2 inches long. I believe this picture is taken when I was through row 38, or at the end of the first part of the first chart.

You can tell that I was about ready to switch to circulars, though I putzed along on the dpn's for another ten rows or so until I was sure I had enough to go around.

By the way, I've unvented a way of making that first all-thumbs Emily Ocker circular cast-on a little easier. Well, really, it isn't the actual cast-on, it's managing the dpn's after the cast-on. Look for more in the next day or two, along with some more pictures of progress and some of the things I've learned so far about knitting lace in general.

I've been keeping stats on this shawl, partly to urge myself on, and partly to confirm for myself and others that this was not a small undertaking.

To wit:

  • This shawl is 6 feet square by the book, except that mine is a bit smaller (5'4") because I knitted it with size 4's (3.50 mm) instead of the recommended size 6 (4.25 mm) needles. But every one of those wee stitches in the pattern were knitted!
  • This is lace knitting (as opposed to knitted lace, according to some experts), with pattern stitches on both sides.
  • The pattern calls for 3600 yards - or a little over 2 miles - of yarn. I'm using Zephyr, 50/50 silk and merino, 30wpi. Color is "Mushroom".
  • The pattern begins with 8 stitches. The final row before the edging has 1388 stitches for one round. Yikes!
  • There are 134,784 stitches in the shawl before the edging.
  • There are 192 stitches in the edging for each 10 bound-off stitches of shawl, making the edging another 26,650 stitches...
  • ...for a grand total of 161,250 for the entire shebang (not counting frogging and tinking, another significant number!)
  • It has taken a solid eight weeks to knit.

it's freshly off the needles and unblocked -just plunked down on the kitchen floor so I could snap a picture. After dragging it around for eight weeks, it could stand up by itself, so I'm not concerned about it getting dirty by being tossed onto my less-than- pristine floor. Those are foot-square tiles, so you can see that unblocked, it's just about 3-1/2 feet or so square.

Now, isn't that better? It's been washed in Eucalan and has been blocked on an old (vacuumed, no less!) rug in the basement.

I used blocking wires on the shawl body, and I used a cotton crochet yarn around the perimeter of the narrow edge, pinning with wild abandon after I stretched the shawl to it's beautiful dimension of 64 inches square.

I had threaded the cotton crochet yarn through the perimeter before washing it because I had intended to try the "Russian" (aka "string") method of blocking. Turns out I would have needed to round up three more people (one for each corner) to help stretch the shawl. My impatience got the better of me though, and considering I would have felt obligated to mop that kitchen floor to invite that many people over, I just proceeded on.

I didn't do a wonderful job of blocking, anyhow - I had foot surgery recently, and crawling around on the floor for three hours wasn't a very smart move. But I really couldn't wait to see how it came out! I can always dress it again later. Meanwhile, I am content that nothing has unraveled, and it looks pretty good from here.

I'll take a glamour shot later in the week so you can see it in it's full glory. In the meantime, you can see the things that helped, or didn't, in making this shawl.

Knit on.