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The 6′ Shawl – Event Horizon Pi Shawl

I must be crazy but I joined a Knit-a-Long for Donna Druchunas’ Event Horizon Pi Shawl, a gorgeous creation in lace from her newest book Stories in Stitches 2. The shawl is circular and starts with a light center and ends in the deepest black. It is also an incredible 6 feet in diameter.

Photo courtesy of String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns

Photo courtesy of String Theory Hand Dyed Yarns

A great yarn dyer that Donna knows made up kits for the shawl project in hues of teal to black, red to black, purple to black and grey to black. Living in Fogland as I do, I decided I needed to make what I call the “Foggy Grey Matter” Event Horizon Pi Shawl. The yarn is simply gorgeous, it’s so extremely soft for sock yarn. If you can get your hands on some String Theory Caper sock yarn I would highly encourage you to do so. I can’t stop fondling the lace that comes off my needles.

Right now it’s the shape of a Rastafarian beanie and at 560 stitches growing larger by the day. I am almost done with the second of six skeins of yarn so I have a long ways to go.   I am knitting the larger shawl, at 6 feet in diameter, and the owners of String Theory did me a huge favor and sold me one of their test skeins of yarn so that I could have enough to knit the larger size.  They’re my heroes!  I feel quite honored to be able to make a unique shawl even more unique because of their kindness.

Foggy Grey Matter Pi Shawl

and a closeup:

Foggy Grey Matter Pi Shawl

This Friday through Sunday is Stitches West and I have a shopping list which includes buying up all the stitch markers in the joint, because the handful I have will be quite inadequate once I go up to the next chart in this project.  If you want stitch markers better get to the Market on Friday before me!  If you are going, let me know, we will be doing meet ups for tea and snacks whenever my ankle gives up, which will be several times during the day!

If you want to buy a kit to make yourself a shawl, go here.  It’s not too late to join the KAL on Ravelry!  I have a feeling I will not be finished by Pi day.

The Drama of The Kauni Cardigan

In 2007 when I was a beginning knitter I got ambitious after reading the Yarn Harlot’s blog about the Kauni cardigan. I was on fire, I *had* to make it, it looked so cool!

Photo:  Ruth Sorensen's pattern

Photo: Ruth Sorensen’s pattern

Knitters from all over the world, were making this cardigan and the color variations were fascinating.

If somehow you missed hearing about it, the Kauni cardigan is a geometric patterned 2 color stranded fair isle style cardigan knit in the round and steeked, using 2 balls of Kauni fingering wool 8/2 Effektgarn EQ yarn – or the rainbow yarn – at a time, a gorgeous and modern pattern by Ruth Sorensen. According to Ravelry there are 383 cardigans in progress out there and I bet there are even more because in 2006/2007 Ravely was still in beta mode with a long waiting list for membership.

The Kauni yarn was not easy to get. I found a Danish website and ordered from there and it took several months to arrive. The lady was so sweet though and gave me two skeins of Kauni sock yarn in bright red as a thank you and for apologies for the VAT and export taxes I had to pay.
Kauni yarn!

My first order of Kauni yarn

I had never knit in the round before and made many mistakes. I remember it was in August in 2007 and I was sitting by the pool in the shade at my late beau’s home, in my damp swimsuit and wet hair, trying to cast on in the 90+ F heat, counting the hundreds of stitches and joining in the round until I got it right, I think it took several weekends to get going properly but I was determined and excited. Then I ran into trouble.

Kauni cardi 1_edited

Interesting color combinations but you have to go with the flow

I made an error with the pattern and had to start over. Then I joined a KAL (Knit A Long) and learned about the different techniques for the bottom hem and decided I wanted to do a folded hem without a ribbed band, so I started again. Then my gauge was off because I was a new (and very loose) knitter and after knitting a good third of the sweater body in the the XL size the darned thing was over 70″ in circumference! This was a major ooops, I could have fit two of me in there.
King-sized Kauni_edited-1

My circus tent Kauni, even Pogo was amazed. Miss that cat.

So I started again, and tried the Large pattern this time and things went swimmingly. I finished the yarn body and it was the right size and looked nice! But I ran out of yarn.

Kauni cardi 4a

Finished sweater body, ready for steeking. Love the color combinations here.

Another order was placed to Denmark and I ordered a boat load, literally, thinking I would make an identical, as much as one can with the variables with the yarn, for my sister.

A few months hiatus occurred until the yarn was delivered and then I cut my first steek. It was tremendously exciting. I did well, steady hands and heart. This was somewhere in the spring of 2008. I picked up the stitches for my first sleeve and breezed through it. I have a vague recollection that I did some modifications to the sleeve but who knows, I kept going. Why did this matter anyway, I thought.

Then life intervened, I left my job under traumatic circumstances and severe illness, I was on a medical leave and simultaneously unemployed. It was so nice to be “fired” while on medical leave, never mind the legality of this, and so it wasn’t until the fall of 2008 that I tried to knit Sleeve #2. Things were not going well. I was still very stressed and traumatized and not quite well yet, I was tense and my gauge wasn’t matching the gauge of the sweater body. I looked as if two different people had worked on the project. I breathed deeply, frogged the sleeve and started over. And again. And again.

When I got the gauge right I realized the two sleeves didn’t look the same in the colors. How could this be? After frogging Sleeve #2 a total of nine times I made a martini, looked at the pattern and my knitted work and it hit me. I did not follow the pattern correctly on Sleeve #1. The words written on Ruth’s pattern mocked me.

God fornøjelse/
Good luck

In my glee and haste and stress I really messed up and there was only one thing to do – frog Sleeve #1 and do both sleeves exactly as written in the pattern.

Meanwhile I was feeling better and formally on unemployment and looking for work. It was 2009, the worst recession in recent memory hit the United States. Even temporary agencies were not hiring. I had a temp job for a total of 8 days. I was frantic. In 2010 finally I found work after I my unemployment was “adjusted” to reflect the income I earned in 2009 – a whopping $40 a week. But my new job was lovely. The bag containing the Kauni cardigan mocked me from my knitting corner. I knew I needed to work on it but I just lost the heart to rip my hard won work back to balls of yarn. I know it’s only a sleeve but still it felt like utter destruction.

Fast forward two years….

Last night that I had a really harrowing experience trying to meet friends for drinks after work. I injured my ankle that is healing from surgery and got on the wrong bus because I wasn’t paying attention and I am taking pain medication and the stupid MUNI busses all have signs on the front that say GO NINERS or GO GIANTS and not the actual bus numbers and I missed that I got on an Express instead of the regular bus.

Don’t mistake me, I love our sports teams but these “team spirit” signs are really irritating when you are trying to figure out what bus is coming. Anyway, the bus driver finally relented and stopped in the middle of a block in a very bad part of town South of Market Street. I couldn’t walk, let alone, run away from the two different fights that broke out on that block or the man with the hypodermic syringe who was waving it in a stabby fashion at everyone near him, or the thuggish guy who asked me if I had a cell phone and then kept hanging around me. I walked a block with my cane looking as pissed off as I could and called an Uber to come and get me. It took 10 minutes, by then I was about ready to fall apart. I went home instead of meeting my friends, sobbed in the Uber while the driver handed me tissues and water, and took more pain medication and flopped on the bed with my TENS unit and ice packs until I calmed down.

To re-establish normalcy I looked at what was in my knitting corner and lace was out of the question. Then I saw the Kauni cardigan and thought, “F*** it, I’m going to do it.” And I did, I unravelled the entire Sleeve #1, it took several hours to do and by 9:30 pm I was done.

Since tonight was a disaster, I'm frogging this sleeve

Starting to unravel Sleeve #1. Isn’t it gorgeous though?

Looking at the cardigan I fell in love with it all over again. Sleeve #2 awaits me this weekend. I made a vow to my dear knitting buddy E___ that I would not start a new project until I finished this cardigan, and I will finish it before the end of the year.

Please wish me God fornøjelse.

Weather Waits For No One

20120415-210440.jpg
no change from last time

My pretty Sky Scarf began on January 11th and I have kept up pretty well until mid-March when I reinjured my shoulder and when I finally saw someone about my ankle.

Apparently last year when I sprained my ankle (for about the 8th time) two days before my shoulder surgery I tore the cartilage inside and had an avulsion fracture. The bone has healed but the cartilage won’t unless I take *measures*.

Measures, meaning no walking, no exercising, wearing a big ole boot, contrast bathing nightly and possible surgery. I had a very painful cortisone shot that seems to have made things worse, and if it is not better in two weeks then it’s surgery time again.

I’m trying to stay very chirpy and positive during this time, therefore in that spirit I am happy to realize I may have lots of opportunities to knit in my future!

Up until now I haven’t felt like knitting mostly due to shoulder and to new injuries from using a cane and crutches. Time marches though and the weather waits for no one. I have dutifully been logging the weather every day for my scarf:

3/21 blue and grey
3/22 drizzle –
3/23 rain
3/24 rain
3/24 rain
3/25 stormy but dry
3/26 Blue sky & dark clouds
3/27 Grey and cloudy
3/28 rain
3/29 cloudy
3/30 torrential rain
4/1 cloudy
4/2 partial clouds
4/3 rain
4/4 clear
4/5 clear
4/6 cloudy
4/7 sun
4/8 sun
4/9 cloudy
4/10 rain
4/11 blue and rain
4/12 blue and rain
4/13 rain
4/14 sun
4/15 overcast

There is a lot of catching up to do!

Conceptually you would think of the changing weather reflected in the yarn would be interpreted as discrete stripes but I have been fascinated by the gradations in the fabric.

Our coastal patterns of fog followed by a few brilliant days of sun then a drastic awakening to moth-grey overcast and fog are predictable; the subtle arrival of our winter storm systems were not though. Perhaps it is a mechanism of awareness?

As I knitted this Sky Scarf I observed the fabric lengthening under my hands to display the breakup of blue skies to partial cloudiness, to light overcast skies, to multiple light and moody clouds then to sprinkles and showers, a subtle ombré of the sky bleaching out the blue and deepening into dramatic tones.

It is utterly fascinating and magical because we have no control over the weather, it just *is*, and most of the time city people don’t even register what looms above them in the sky, just a mental note. Do I need a warm jacket today, an umbrella, where are my sunglasses, or the inconvenience of it all when the weather changes and one does not have an umbrella.

I am more British than I care to admit and wouldn’t mind carrying a furled brolly over my arm on a daily basis. Perhaps the San Francisco brolly equivalent is a scarf, as my dear friend Anna never leaves the house without a scarf of some kind coiled around her throat.

Next year at this time I will be wearing this scarf cuddled around my neck and I hope to be reflecting on my hard earned perspective that my ankle should be pretty normal by then, and what a wacky couple of years it has been with me getting so very hurt over stupid accidents and how little it all matters right now. I will run my fingers over the seed stitch for the months showing March and April, over the beautiful shades of our rainy season, how the rain washed away my physical pain and where happy blue skies always pop up, suddenly, and then just as suddenly, fade to grey.

Sky Scarf Update and a Setback

It has been 60 days since I started my SF Foggy Sky Scarf for the Conceptual Knitting sky scarf project.

Our past few days of rain is rather attractive, don’t you think?

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Everyone has been saying we haven’t had much rain this year but you can see by the bands of the grey mixed with black that I am using to depict rain that we actually have had a goodly bit of soggy weather and a lot of fog in a variety of shades.

This scarf is so soft and velvety, it is going to be a joy to wear next winter.

Today it has been a week since my accident on the bus where a woman fell on me, spraining my healing shoulder. This makes three times strangers have hurt this shoulder and I have had enough. I am lucky that she did no permanent damage, unlike the other times, and today I was able knit a few rows if I leaned in a certain way and didn’t move my right hand. It was rather a desperate attempt at achieving normalcy and I think I’m regretting it right now. Someday soon though I will be healed up enough to knit again.

Meantime I’m cuddling a gorgeous skein of yarn from Stitches West. Stitches West is an incredible compilation of yarn, designers, dyers, producers, spinners and stalls filled with knitting and crocheting accoutrement; if it’s about yarn they are there.

My pal E___ and I went and brought L___ along for her first visit and we had such a marvelous time. E___ and I came across this one particular stall resplendent with huge skeins of yarn bt Dyelot Yarn that were richly multi hued and incredibly fabulous.

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You would not believe the squeals of delight coming from us. It was rather amusing to the people nearby to see us holding the yarn and crooning, “Ooooh, feel this! Ooooooooh…”

20120317-130037.jpg

We decided to each get a skein of yarn from which we would knit large scarves. Each skein came with a choice of a pattern so we each chose a different one so that someday we could do a swap. The pattern I chose is an eyelet lace pattern knit lengthwise and the color way is Tres Santa Fe, how appropriate as I love SFe so much.

I discovered, much to my surprise, when I unrolled it the other day that it is enormous amalgam of six different yarns.

20120317-130239.jpg

Aren’t these colors luscious? E____’s skein is in shades of grey, so stunning. I cannot wait to have my shoulder healed up enough so I can actually wind up into balls and then start knitting.

It’s going to take about a month before the sprain heals and another few days before the feeling in my hand returns. But in the meantime I can squish and play with this gorgeous skein and pretty soon it will be under my needles. It’s yarn therapy! And I am hoping for more rain.

Knitting “Recipes”

Posted on

Ever try to cook something and find you didn’t read the recipe well enough, and end up realizing you should have allowed more time, or started a day earlier, or purchased x, y or z from the store before starting?

Everyone has had that, “Oh, ugh” feeling, and it happens with knitting “recipes” too.

My pretty Cedar Leaves Shawlette is no exception.

Cedar Leaf Shawlette

I knitted the shawl body in a bang up fashion recently and have been having a ball adding the leaves along the edge, but somewhere along the line I had that dreadful feeling.

Gee, the edge of this shawl is awfully curly.  It’s stockinette, just how much blocking am I going to have to do to get this to lie flat?

(methiks to myself)

Curly edges, oh crap

Well, after I added all the lovely leaves, I started poking around Ravelry looking at the other shawls people had knitted from this pattern, and wouldn’t you know, I messed up on the first six rows of the knitting.  I should have knitted six rows of garter stitch, but instead I did six rows of stockinette.  The directions helpfully said:

Knit six rows.

Hmmm. Well, there we are.

So I decided at lunch today to pick up all the stitches along the curly stockinette edge and knit a few rows of garter stitch.  It took all of my lunch hour, less the time it took to eat half of a corned beef sandwich, to pick up the stitches and knit one row.  I know it will be worth it in the end because I wasn’t about to unravel the dang thing.

Next time, Heather, read the recipe better and do a bit more research on other’s people’s photos before starting a project….

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