Herding Cats

Happy Blanket beginning

Where did the last week go? And why do I always forget that this country totally loses the run of itself for at least a month around Christmas? What with all the parties, concerts, shopping expeditions and general mayhem, it’s like herding cats trying to get anything done that involves scheduling more than one person (moi!) at a time. Now of course you know that I never exaggerate, except as a form of artistic expression, or if there’s an R in the month, or maybe if the mood takes me- but this time I’m serious. It took four attempts to have a one-on-one meeting with the headmaster of the school next door about my starting to teach the sprogs to knit in January, and I’m the one doing him the favour! I don’t mean to boast, but being stood up is a new experience for me, and not one I’d have repeated if I didn’t feel strongly about bringing the good stuff to the kiddies.

Alright, I was boasting, I need the boost. My assorted war wounds have been acting up, and the downstairs neighbours threw a party last night that continued (loudly) until breakfast time, so I completely overslept and missed the one hour of daylight when I was planning to take some FO photos for you… (Did you notice how I casually slipped the “FO” bit in, as if I’d always had a clue that it stands for “finished object”? I’m working on my coolth).

Ah well, all the more pics next week, hopefully by then University life will have calmed down a bit and I’ll be able to access the beautiful mineralogical samples I wanted to show you, as well as some lunar rock if you like. Yep, sorry if anyone’s disappointed, no green cheese at all, but still very pretty under the microscope. Which reminds me, I have been warned by my DS that the world is scheduled to end in less than two weeks, again, so I’d really better make next week’s post good, and go out with a bang, along with the rest of the planet…. Sounds like the perfect excuse to open your presents early!

In the course of this week I accepted a challenge from my dear fellow blogger Susan, to get her knitting chunky lace, so I’m working on a pattern for a very straightforward scarf. Watch this space, and ask Santa for a ball of Cushendale Boucle Mohair (200m/100g) and some very fat needles. Susan, I’m leaving you no loopholes!

Did you like the colours above? me too.

Camilla Gugenheim's Happy Blanket

I was looking for a nice relaxing longterm project, the kind I need to have on hand to pick up occasionally in between more cerebral projects, and one that is indubitably practical as well as decorative. This Happy Blanket by Camilla Gugenheim (free on Ravelry) leapt out from the screen and hugged me, so here we are. My stash contains leftovers of Drops Delight (remember my Noro jacket?), so my conscience is clear so far. However, the terms of my yarn diet do not allow buying any more until I have a) used up my bribe stash while b) continuing to approach a healthy weight, so this blanket will experience a long gestation, just like an elephant ( have you ever seen baby elephants out side the zoo? I have, in Sri Lanka- they are adorable, especially when they go swimming in deep water and you can only see the tips of their trunks…) Ok, I’m back, blame the lack of sleep. Did I mention that I’ve lost over a stone/10kg, and gained three shawls, so far? As my compatriot Liam Neeson says (in “The A-Team”), I love it when a plan comes together!

So, apart from a whole pile of admin, work , financial stuff and other mundane things that insisted on cutting in to my precious time, what’s new? Well my vintage lace shawl is shaping up nicely, if slowly.

Triangular medallion Shawl

It’s going to be triangular, so that’s the bottom tip on the lower left, and the neck edge is still under construction. The second-last medallion is still on DPNs (double-pointed needles) waiting to be joined on. The ruler is approx. 18 in./ 45cm long by the way, but the lace will stretch hugely when blocked, just wait and see. I love that bit, when it stops looking like a stringy jumble!

Unblocked medallion Lace

I am try not to think about all those ends to be darned in- I’m usually quite pernickety about weaving them in as I go, without a needle (as in the Happy Blanket above), but in this case they need to be left to the end, to avoid puckering during blocking.

lace half-medallion

Because of the triangular shape of my version of the shawl, half-medallions like this are needed all along the neck edge (6 of them; there are 15 full-size ones).

2.5 lace medallions

These knit up really quickly on a circular needle, I had quite a production line going at 4am this morning, as the beat vibrated up through my toes. It was either that, or stomp down stairs and commit manslaughter. By the way, it is really not true that I use these useful pointy sticks called knitting needles to chastise antisocial neighbours or wannabe sex fiends!

I have a perfectly good geological hammer for that.

Half-medallion inserted

There are 5 separate operations involved in inserting the half-medallion: the centremost 17 sts are knit as part of a filler motif, and 19 sts on either side of that are grafted to other medallions, leaving 2 groups of 9/10 sts at either side to be knit into a half-filler motif, which I have yet to devise…..

Half-medallion joining

See? There are 5 rectangular gaps like this along the neck edge, like a jaw in bad need of a dentist. They are just going to have to wait until my overworked brain starts working again!

However, here’s a sneak preview of  the edging that goes with the shawl:

KAL Lace Edging Swatch

I don’t think I’ll have enough yarn to do such a deep edging myself (diets only work if you’re consistent!), but all that faggotting is truly pretty, maybe I’ll just leave out the central leaf pattern….? I’ll let this simmer in my subconscious , I think, the perfect solution is down there in its shadowy depths.

So now it’s 10 minutes before my – admittedly self-imposed – publishing deadline, and it occurs to me that all I want for Christmas, apart from sleep, more yarn from Coolree (and of course World Peace) is: time. Time relaxing with my DS, time to catch some fresh air and maybe even sunshine, and time to learn Tunisian crochet and finally get stuck into one of Aoibhe Ni’s sumptuous designs which are sitting in my Ravelry library waiting to make me happy. I am counting my blessings and running out of fingers.

Oh, hang on. Some new neighbours would be nice.

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24 thoughts on “Herding Cats

  1. Okay… love how you veer from one subject to another with such pizazz! Taking into account the lack of sleep due to rowdy neighbors (at least they could’ve invited you to join them!) I count at least three tangents to your post – my favorite of course is when you mention moi (the gauntlet’s accepted my friend – bring it on!) – the second favorite being those baby elephants. TOO CUTE and the third being your successful yarn diet result… good job, my friend!

      • Oh, I’ll have excuses… and lots of questions, I’m sure. Still, depending on the yarn required, I do have home-spun merino wool left from that friend…

    • It’s about pushing out my boundaries, and having fun, too_ plus I’m getting to meet several hundred like-minded lace fans during the Knitalong!

  2. a) now YOU have made ME laugh 😀
    b) I think I may need a geological hammer
    c) the lace shawl is bee-you-ti-ful and I may need to make one
    d) tunisian is really not too difficult at all, and very very fun – if you know how to crochet it will take five minutes to teach yourself! not even joking!

    • A geological hammer is a girl’s best friend- I’ve even used mine to smash in a “shatter-proof” livingroom window when a neighbour’s apartment was on fire and she was unconscious inside from smoke inhalation. That felt great on many different levels!
      Re c): the KAL doesn’t officially start until Jan 1st, come on and give it a go. Support and fun along the way….

      • Oooh, I didn’t know there was a KAL for the shawl… I believe I have some yarn stashed that will work, in a lovely teal colour. Where do you sign up for the KAL?

  3. Well, my blog is all *about* being on a budget! I’ve just joined up, this will be my first ever KAL – pretty excited!

    • I know you and I have a lot in common, we are going to have fun with this, and maybe you’ll even start to like DPNs, just a little bit!

      • I may have been exaggerating *slightly* for comic effect, but they can be a total PAIN! I will have to sue them until the medallion gets big enough to magic loop, if I use the superfine laceweight mohair I’m considering…

      • Look on the bright side: you’ll be an expert by the time you’ve finished- that, or you’ll have invented your very own circular cast-on with circular needles and become famous….

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