Monday, January 14, 2019

"When I walk with you I feel as if I had a flower in my buttonhole." ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

We have been back in Florida for two weeks now. It's amazing how easy it is to slip back into our routines. Knitting group for me, golf for Bruce, and of course - all of our Florida friends. I am reminded again of how fortunate we are.

Yesterday we made a trip to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. I know that I post pictures from here every year - but you are getting it again! There is always something new to see and hear.

I feel like this one needs a chalk outline!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

“In the madness, you have to find calm.” ~ Lupita Nyong’o

Christmas is less than two weeks away, and this year, for the first time in several years, we will not be on the road. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me! I know that things change, that children move away, that the locations for celebrations are not a fixed point on a map. I am very happy however, that the point on the map this year is my own home.🎄

Our December so far has been reasonably slow-paced, and this makes me happy as well. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy holiday festivities as much as the next person, but I really love sitting in my chair by the fire and reading, knitting, looking at the tree and soaking up the “all is calm, all is bright” part of the season, as the chaos of world swirls around outside my door. It is a bit of refuge from the daily onslaught of bad news.

When I completed the brioche shawl that was the focus of my previous post, I noted that I would be moving on to an “appetizer” sized project next - smaller and simpler. Pictured above is that project. The Arnica Baby Cardigan is such a sweet little sweater. I fell in love with it, and with these colors when I saw them used by another knitter. I went to my LYS with the photo on my phone and absolutely copy-catted the other knitter’s color selections for my own.

I think it came out beautifully, and while there is no recipient for it currently, it never hurts to have a baby sweater “ready to go.”

It’s unlikely that I will post again before we head south. So, I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and a very Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"No one succeeds without effort... Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance." ~ Ramana Maharshi

Finally! The Rebel Two shawl, by Lesley Anne Robinson, has been in my mind and on my needles for the better part of a year. I discovered the pattern while wintering in Florida - probably in January. I became instantly obsessed! I purchased the pattern and the exact wool and color used by the creator. I knew that it was done in brioche, which I had never done before, but I thought "How hard can it be?" Ha! I realized immediately that I had no idea what I was doing.

 By the time I looked into classes at local (not so local) yarn stores, brioche was definitely popular, however I was too late for any of the classes. I then began looking into possible classes for when we returned home in April. This time I was in luck. I took a two-hour beginning class and learned a bit, but it really took endless practice at home to master the basic stitches. I followed this up with a Craftsy class taught by Nancy Marchant, the queen of brioche. This class made all the difference. Finally, I practiced all of the pattern stitches until I felt confident in them, and I then began my Rebel Two Shawl, which I have called My Rebellion. 

It didn't take me long to abandon the original yarn as it split too easily - just an added level of frustration I didn't need. After a few other yarn tries, I settled on a gold and purple that contrasted nicely and knit up well.

I am sure that brioche comes easily to some people - but not me. It was like rubbing my belly and patting my head. My saviors - lifelines. I put them in every right before every increase and/or decrease row. And boy - did I ever rip back to them a lot!

What I can say with a certainty is that I learned an awful lot working on this piece - a lot. I can also say that I am very impressed by my perseverance.  Really and truly. And, it is entirely possible that Bruce is happier that I have completed this project than I am! It became an obsession, and one that I talked about constantly.

Another thing that I learned after I blocked the shawl is that regardless of how careful I was, regardless of the number of times I frogged back to a lifeline, I still found many errors, including a dropped stitch way back toward the beginning. The take-away is that in future brioche projects, when checking my work, I need to pull the stitching horizontally in order to see everything (which is what the blocking did). There was no undoing any of the errors, though I could take care of the dropped stitch on the backside. I know where the bodies are buried, so to speak. I'm not going to point them out to you however!

Will I do brioche again? Yes, but I'm taking a bit of a break!