It's Monday morning, St. Patrick's Day, so I suppose I should say "Top 'o the Morning to You!" But then that would be a terribly Irish thing for a little Dutch/Deutsch girl to do, now wouldn't it? My mother always wore *orange* on St. Patty's Day to make sure folks knew she was Dutch. I thought it was a bit strange then, but I think it's cool now. but enough of that....
The wild, weird weekend is over. Tennessee basketball fans are not happy. they did not get to see their team play in the SEC tourney because of the change of venue required by the tornado that hit downtown Atlanta. Then the team lost in the closing seconds of the semis to Arkansas, which was stunning. Even more stunning was the fact that the worst team in the conference this year, Georgia, won the SEC tournament by overcoming outrageous odds. You have to be happy for them, because it was such an amazing feat! The the NCAA announced the brackets for the "Big Dance" last night and we got a no. 2 seed (not happy, but not surprised) in the East bracket...which has the strongest teams including No. 1 North Carolina. That's like ranking TN 8th, or the lowest among the No. 2 seeds. That a really rotten deal. Placing the Vols in the East sends them first to Birmingham where they should win their 1st two games, then on to Charlotte. Upsets notwithstanding, the Vols will have to get past a tough Louisville team to arrive at the elite 8 with the golden opportunity to play North Carolina...in North Carolina. Good luck guys...you're gonna need it :-) It was pretty interesting watching Bruce Pearl & the guys maintain their composure at the post-announcement press interviews after getting such a raw deal. So much for having the highest RPI and playing the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation...and winning almost all of the games. It didn't pay off as much as it was supposed to.
So enough about the Vols, let's talk knitting :-) Being sick with a nasty virus and lots of basketball tournament games to watch make for productive knitting time. I just finished off the 1st 100g ball of yarn on my Orkney Pi yesterday. I'm up to row 154, which is the latter part of the 4th repeat of the swirling diamonds/640sts section. I should start the 5th and final repeat tonight, which places me a couple of days ahead of schedule and ready for the next clue which I think comes out on Friday. Designing Pi shawls by inserting various lace patterns into the distinct sections of the shawl is not as simple as one would think. Oh, the process of choosing your favorite laces and using them is simple, but getting the right combination to produce an cohesive and esthetically-pleasing look is challenging. i say this because I've seen some less than attractive (to my view) Pi shawls. But trust Liz Lovick to know just how to put classic Shetland Lace patterns together to get that just right look. It's a great shawl!
With the Orkney Pi being so time consuming, and sickness keeping me at home (no need for portable knitting), the Swallowtail Shawl has been neglected for more than a week. I'm using the white Jaggerspun Zephyr I had in the stash left from the Spring Things Shawl which I frogged because I ended up not liking the design. I knew I had an issue with the lace patterns chosen for Spring Things, but I also blamed the yarn for my unhappy experience. I just couldn't see what it was that makes so many knitters go "Zany for Zephyr." I used Zephyr for one of my earliest shawls, a Nancie Wiseman design, and it turned out OK, but not wonderful in my view. But the idea of knitting Lily of the Valley nupps in white lace yarn has been in my head for more than a year now, so the white Zephyr seemed perfect for Swallowtail. To cut to the end of the story, I get it. After knitting the upper body of the Swallowtail with the Zephyr, I now get why people adore this yarn. It is wonderful for lace work!
Success in lace knitting is in the details. Each little detail must be evaluated, then carefully combined to yield success. You have to choose the right fiber(s), the right yarn, the right needles, and the right patterns. When one or more of these is off, then knitting is frustrating and the result less than pleasing. Find the right combination and knitting lace becomes a joy to work and the project a treasure. You don't have to use the most expensive yarn or the most complex or fancy pattern to knit a stunning piece of lace. But when a project is thoughtfully planned then executed with reasonable precision (not perfection), the end result can't help but be something wonderful. My somethings wonderful are starting to accumulate now that I'm a confirmed lace knitting addict, and I'm amazed at the joy these little beauties bring into my everyday life. It's something wonderful indeed!