Friday, May 18, 2007

Knitting a Graduation Present

My knitty friends on the EZasPi Group cast-on for our latest KAL a couple of weeks ago. This time around you could choose to knit a pi shawl or a sweater, each using teh same mystery clues to the theme "Bugs in Your Garden". It didn't take me any time at all to decide to knit a shawl as that's what I had been anticipating and looking forward to knitting. Deciding what yarn to use for this project, like all my lace projects this spring, has been excruciatingly difficult. I guess that's only fitting, as nothing has come easily this spring--not the dissertation, not the every day life stuff, and not even knitting. I've purchased several skeins, hanks, and cones of lace yarns in fibers from merino wool to baby alpaca, cashmere, and even silk but none of them seemed to fit my shawl projects.

I cast-on twice and knit clue one for this pi shawl and both times I felt the yarn was too fine or the needle size too big. But it was time to celebrate my graduation, so I put the lace projects aside and knit on my jaywalker socks in the few moments I had to spare for knitting. I have learned that in knitting, just as in life, when things aren't working out, the best thing to do is to put it aside and be patient. The solutions usually present themselves in time, and this pi shawl project is no exception. My answer arrived in the form of a graduation gift from Sandy at the Yarn Haven. A few days after Sandy's card arrived in my mailbox I went over and picked out the lace yarn I had been admiring for 2 or 3 weeks, but had refrained from purchasing. With Sandy's gift, I was able to afford the yarn you now see pictured here. Thanks so much Sandy!!!

So, on to the Bugs Shawl. The Yarn is the Merino Lace from Cherry Tree Hill in the Green Mountain Madness colorway. Now Cherry Tree Hill Yarns is located in Vermont, hence Green Mountain is a perfectly fitting name for this yarn handpainted in shades of blues,teal, and greens punctuated with charcoal gray. I didn't like the gray all that much when the yarn was in its enormous 8 oz./2400 yd hank, but once the yarn was wound into a ball I saw the beauty of the dark grays against the blues and greens. To me, the colors look like the waters of the Tennessee River, or the Little River that flows out of the Smoky Mountains, so it's a perfect backdrop for lace bugs. I am using US4 needles to achieve a fairly tight knit since there are large areas of stockinette stitch surround the butterflies, dragonflies, and gnats.

Once armed witht eh perfect yarn for my shawl, I cast-on and knit like crazy to catch up with the others in our KAL. I cast-on Tuesday night and knit through row 8 of clue 2 that night (the top photos). On Wednesday I graduated from dpns to a 24" circular needle and knit to row 4 of clue 3. Then yesterday I knit into the wee hours and made it up to row 18. I took a white pillowcase and my shawl outside this morning and stretched it on 2 circs to take the last several pictures. I'm afraid those will be last distinguishable photos until the end as the shawl will be too big to spread out flat. But hey, my new camera sure does take great close-up photographs!

So I'll end with a photo of the big honking ball of beautiful Tennessee River water yarn. The bugs are constantly in and on and over the water and I can't wait to see this ball shrink as my shawl grows into another major accomplishment in my life that I can treasure forever. Knit on!

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