What’s spring without a little bit of startitis?
Inspired by the recent crocus in the backyard, the (sometimes) sunny and warmer (well, it’s getting there) weather, and an accidental discovery of the yarn hiding in my knitting bag, I cast on last night for Crocus Pocus. The yarn is Knitting Notions Classic Merino Bamboo, colorway Lilac, which was actually purchased quite a while back to make this little shawl.
So far, so good, and very fun!
I think I’m beginning to actually believe that Spring might make an appearance this year. January-February dragged on so long, with such continual poundings of snow on snow–I’m not sure it would have been bearable if the Olympics hadn’t arrived to distract–that it’s almost unbelievable that it could be warm and sunny and cheerful outside again. Granted, this being NE Ohio, it is still perfectly possible that we could see snow again in the next two months, but I’m holding out hope that the worst is past. After all, the crocus are spreading their cheer throughout the neighborhood.
I think the arrival of improved weather has also spurred me to uncharacteristic finishings–not of knitting, alas–but of just about everything else on my to-do list. I even managed to wash my car yesterday, a task I typically loathe. The upside of all of this busyness is that I’m now looking over my decimated to-do list and wondering whether I should like to start a new book or a new knitting project. Not having a big list of obligations hanging over one’s head is quite liberating! (We shall ignore the fact that a serious Spring Cleaning is in the near future for the time being.)
When I was out on some errands yesterday (how wonderful to be out without gloves or coat!), I made a brief stop at Borders and while there started browsing the knitting magazines. They happened to have a British magazine that I had only heard of in the last few months, on Ravelry, The Knitter. Several months back I was half-following the progress of a dedicated group of knitters who had decided to recreate an antique Shetland Shawl pattern and make it available to other knitters. The result of their labors is The Queen Susan Shawl. Their story is shared in Issue 15 of The Knitter, which is what first drew my interest to the magazine. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of pretty patterns I found inside.
My favorite is Loch Maree:
Although I will freely admit that just about any sweater in this shade of blue will draw my attention, I happen to find this one particularly pretty. Maybe now that I have a little spare time…
Being a British import, the magazine itself was on the pricey side, but between the number of patterns I’m actually interested in (as compared to recent issues of IK), and the quality of the layout–not only is it pleasingly arranged, with a photo index of all patterns at the front of the magazine, but the paper is also a nice heavy weight, which I feel sure will hold up to much knitting–I don’t feel cheated of my money. However, looking around past issues on Ravelry, I’m not sure every issue would be as exiting to me. I’m just happy I stumbled upon this one!
Thanks to my Olympic knitting, I was also behind in starting on my latest KAL adventure. (Side note: why do I do these things? I never manage to keep up…)
I have been reading Susan Pandorf’s blog for some time and purchased a number of patterns (although I’d only actually started one before the KAL), so when I saw she was doing a Lord of the Rings inspired KAL I was intrigued. Even more so when I saw that the theme would be “Evenstar” and that it would be a circular “Pi” shawl. Despite my past failings at these things–and the delay that would occur thanks to the Olympics–I capitulated and signed up.
This is the start, in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Silk Thread II, colorway Winter Solstice. I believe this is actually the third start. For some reason I can never start a circular shawl in less than three attempts. Sigh. (Made worse in this case by the very slippery nature of the silk.) I used my favorite circular cast on, the disappearing loop method. It’s a bit fiddly but I like the result and that I don’t have to worry about joining in the round.
I’m actually halfway through Clue 2, (the KAL is up to Clue 3), but if there’s one thing I’m more behind on right now than the knitting, it’s pictures! With the time change and plenty of forecast sun, I hope to remedy that soon, though.
Let’s see, the Olympics have been over a good 10 days now, and I’ve yet to post my final progress…I think that really sums it up!
This is actually a pretty good (by pretty good I mean shows the whole thing in its bumpy, compressed glory–not that it reveals the pattern or anything) picture of my progress to date.
And a close-up:
There are several reasons why I didn’t finish by the (self-imposed) goal:
- A head cold at the start of the Olympics severely hampered my initial progress.
- Indecision. Was 12 repeats of the Yucca Chart enough? If I measure down the center and add 30%…or maybe I should just stretch and measure…or maybe…?
- Answer: 12 repeats definitely not enough for my goal size (super-big). Let’s make it 16.
- The purl-back rows are really looooong. And slightly boring.
- Well, I was watching the Olympics, now wasn’t I?
- And finally, I really didn’t have enough time to knit a shawl this big (unless I took off a lot of work).
I didn’t really expect going into this (realistically) to finish, so I can’t say I was too disappointed. On the contrary, I’m thrilled to have as much of this much-delayed shawl finished as I do (initially planned as a Fall ’09 project). As of this moment, I’ve finished the (16) Yucca repeats and the transition chart. Bring on the Agave!
Or not…I may have started something else last weekend…
To Be Continued….