Friday, March 20, 2009


Today is officially the first day of Spring. Both boys were prepared for warm weather. Doesn't work that way! At least it's sunny today. Spring brings thoughts of outdoors and rebirth. And yardwork. I called tree people for estimates for getting rid of the giant death-trap tree in our front yard. I called a landscape designer about fixing the horrible mess we made the last time we tried landscaping. Also on the to-call list is a contractor to re-do our front portico. I resealed the granite in our bathroom. Last week I cleaned out some closets and got rid of stuff that we hadn't used in years. I guess it's the Spring cleaning bug.

The other thing Spring brings is a desire to knit something less heavy or dark. The Tilted Duster I'm working on is both, unfortunately, and I have little desire to pick it up right now.

A Spring shawl would be nice, I thought. Something I could wrap around me on crisp Spring evenings at baseball games. Or perhaps a smaller version, a pretty scarf to brighten up my wardrobe. I haven't decided which yet. Luckily, I found a pattern that will work for both. I'll knit until I decide and then either knit some more, or start the lace patterning.

The pattern is Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague. (Non-Rav link here.) The yarn is some of the birthday order yarn from Yarn Chef, the yellowy color named "Afternoon Delight." (Insert bad memories of '70s music here.)

The pattern is nice, because, like Icarus, it starts of with lots of stockinette, but ends up with some very pretty lace. I like Icarus a lot, but always felt that the balance between the lace part and the stockinette part was a little off -- I wanted more lace on the bottom. Ishbel has that.

I cast on using US size 4 needles, which is what I have used for shawls in the past, and got a little way into it before deciding that I wanted a lacier look. So I ripped it out, cast on with 5s, and once again, decided I wanted a lacier look. Now I'm on the third version of this, on 6s. The yarn is a laceweight, it looks similar to other laceweights I've used, but it wants to knit up thicker. I'm not starting over for a fourth time. Hmmm.

Here's where I am, after my third try of the day:

This next picture shows the color a little bit better, but still nowhere near accurate. The yarn is less off-white than the pictures convey; it's a lot more yellow, with daffodil and lemon yellow, and pinky-orange streaks:

I think I'm going to ask for a nicer digital camera for my birthday. I'd like to have this done in time to wear to Maryland Sheep and Wool. I should be able to do that, right? We'll see.

Yesterday the mail brought Interweave Crochet and Spin-Off, so there's some fun fibery reading in my future, too.

Back in the real world, I'm rapidly losing my ability to focus on what's going on here in Washington. Yes, the economy's a mess. Yes, letting AIG pay out ridiculous bonuses with government bailout money was stupid. No, storming AIG's compound and making threats against employees isn't going to help. I'm all for a little populist anger, it's true. I think that sort of passion and focus has been missing from Washington for a long time. But the posturing is ridiculous and diverts everyone from focusing on ways to fix things.

Also, I'm afraid that all the nutjob conspiracy theorists -- you know, the ones who thought Bill Clinton was running drugs out of an Arkansas airport and was really a Russian spy simply because he once visited the country -- have returned. There really are people out there who are convinced that President Obama is some sort of Manchurian candidate, whether it's on behalf of the Muslims or the Socialist/Communists (and none of the conspiracy theorists really have a handle on what those words mean). I just hope this doesn't mean that we'll be back to the days of the well-funded nutjobs trying desperately to link Obama to something unsavory. Ugh.

And a final note to Sharon -- when I was in Artisan Confections the other day, the owner mentioned that they have classes every now and then. Mmmm! Chocolate making classes. Tempted?


Scott T. said...

are you sure we have to have the tree removed altogether?

Jeanne said...

The shawl is going to be pretty! I've been seeing that pattern a lot lately, and it is gorgeous! I'm also in the mood to dump my winter sweater and cast on for something more spring like....

Sharon said...

That shawl will be beautiful--I love the simplicity of the stockinette on top, and then the delicate lace on the bottom. You are so talented!

I'd love to take one of those Artisan classes. I checked the website and noticed that there's on this Saturday night. Let me know if you're interested and I'll register.

Off to the Hill now--


Loren T said...

Sharon, I didn't even see that! When I get back from my morning volunteer/shopping rounds I'll give Artisan a call to see if there's still room available.

Loren T said...

Bad news, Sharon, the class is already full. They don't often do weekend classes, which are easier for me to schedule with Scott's overworking hours, so we should just keep our eyes on the website.

Sharon said...

Sounds good. Thanks for checking. This is the first I've come up for air all day. My ex-husband's long time girlfriend (a lovely woman), (who you may know: hungarian Jew, probably your age, amazing baker)took this class and said it was excellent.