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First up: a finished shawl. I love this shawl. It is completely my color – a softish green but not pastel, more of a light olive green. I’ve dubbed it my Spring Swallowtail. It may be that other seasonal Swallowtails will be knit. Evelyn Clark’s patterns are so simple to follow and always turn out great. Early one morning last weekend I finished the shawl but it was a hectic weekend so no photos were taken. This week has been busy too as our lavender market season is about to begin so again photos were delayed. This morning despite the wicked Oklahoma wind we tromped out to snap a few shots.
After a near catastrophe last night when I was wearing the shawl and the new pup Tess did her usual happy dance and jumping routine when I walked out the door Chris thought I should stand on a ladder to get a good photo of the shawl.
I am petrified of ladders. It’s a well known fact.
This attempt did not go well. I climbed three rungs up and clung to the ladder too afraid to go further or spread my arms to show off the shawl. Despite attempts of reassurance that I was only three feet off the ground I couldn’t – just couldn’t – move.
Truth is that I’m not afraid of heights – just ladders. Especially shaky ladders. And combine a shaky ladder with gale force winds and you get one terrified woman.
Plan B was much more to my liking. While I slowly descended from my yard high perch trying to keep the shawl safe and to keep myself from plummeting to certain death Chris went to get the tractor. The big tractor – not my little green John Deere, the Massey Ferguson with the bucket. You see where this is going right?
I hopped up in the bucket of the tractor and he raised it high. No puppy to pester me – no rickety rungs to give me white knuckles – just me in the wind about six feet off the ground. Much better!
I kind of look like I’m about to take a swan dive don’t I?
You should have seen me on the ladder. It was much worse!
Yeah, the center seam of the shawl is a bit off center – but people – it was entirely too windy to be standing in a tractor bucket high above the ground trying to center up your pretty green weightless merino wool shawl.
Trust me – these are good as it is going to get on a day like today!
Second up: Sunday night during knit night with Cathy I cast on a new project. You knew that was coming right?
Here is a peek at Haapsalu Spring Stole inspired by the Haapsalu Sall and Knitted Lace of Estonia books. This is just the border but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s coming along. The yarn is my Saffron Threads colorway in North Pasture Alpaca yarn. It’s nearly cobweb weight but the rich color seems to take up a lot of room visually. I’ve added a few little tiny garnet stones above and below the two rows of faggotting. I splurged last year and bought one strand of these stones at The Bead Merchant in Tulsa. There is just enough to include two rows of 40 stones on each end of the stole. The stones are of course intended for jewelry so the holes are very small. Instead of placing them individually I had to string them on the fine yarn before casting on. They do float a bit with this kind of placement but I think they look good and add a little bit of shimmer. Agreed?
Third and last – but certainly not least – is something absolutely wonderful!
Since I began dyeing I’ve been skeining and reskeining (putting yarn into dyeable hanks and then sellable hanks) by using a niddy-noddy. Now a niddy-noddy is a perfectly fine tool for use now and then, but halfway through a thousand yard skein your arm starts to scream like it did back in junior high gym class when you were forced to do those wicked little circles with your arms held out at their full wingspan. Remember the groaning? Remember the pain?
Here is the solution to the screaming arm pain I’ve been experiencing. Chris scoped out several versions online then built this yarn winder for me! There are ball bearings surrounding the center of the cross beams. After dyeing the dried yarn hank is put on my trusty swift (one of the best Christmas gifts ever) and then threaded through an eye and round one of the dow rods on the skein winder. Then it’s extremely simple to start the winder and keep it moving at a smooth pace by turning the “wheel” like you would if you were using one hand in the center of your car steering wheel. (I never do this in a car as I remember that this is a big no-no according to my high school driver’s ed teacher Big Wally. I respected Big Wally despite the fact that he wore high-water pants. Plaid-flair-legged-double-knit high-water pants at that.)