It's Friday night here in Lake Plaasbegone and it's been raining cats and dogs (thankfully not nieces and nephews) all day. My recently overseeded and fertilized lawn is growing greener and taller by the hour. Add rain to tall grass and you get a dachshund who doesn't want to go out to do what doggies do outside. There are no more stubborn canines on the planet than dachsies. I've seen them more stubborn than my sweetheart, Miss Emme, but she holds true to the breed's reputation just fine thank you very much.
Much has transpired since my last post. The highlight, without question, was a visit from my nephew's wife, Mary Catherine, and her daughter, Isabella. When Tyler and Mary Catherine eloped, I was a bit concerned that Tyler had rushed into marriage before he was ready. Well, I don't know much about that, but I do know that he's the luckiest sailor alive because his wife is a gem. With each opportunity I have to spend time with her, I am more and more impressed with what a wonderful woman she is. Little Isabella has the best mommy! MC and Isabella came to visit just after Easter. MC arrived bringing a delicious lunch with homemade chicken salad and lemon bars, all beautifully packed into a picnic basket. Wow! And everything tasted as good as it looked! My parents were simply delighted by the whole experience.
I. being the great-aunt with the camera, took lots of pictures of Isabella. Mom and I brought out two of the Beatrix Potter stuffed animals from the family collection for photo ops with Isabella. We took pictures with the same Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck when Tyler was a toddler. The 3 ft. tall Peter Rabbit is a treasured part of my Beatrix Potter collection, but the Jemima is destined to go to Isabella as she just belongs with Tyler's family. Beautiful Bella was quite taken with Jemima and her shawl and bonnet, so it's a perfect match.
On the knitting front, the Orkney Pi continues to grow. This photo shows the shawl with three sections completed. Section four is progressing at a slower pace given the fact that each round contains 1280 sts. and takes about an hour to knit. Depending on which option I choose, this section will have ~130-160 rounds in it...that's a lot of knitting time!!!! I've got the monster on a 60" circular needle and am plugging away on it. It's hard to get photos at this point, so there probably won't be any until the shawl is completed.
The Orkney is having share time with another shawl. Call it "and I have promises to keep". Sometime after Christmas I was feeling generous (or maybe foolish?) and volunteered to help lead a summer lace shawl KAL at my LYS, the Yarn Haven. The target audience is knitters with some lace knitting experience, or at least comfort in working basic lace stitches...not complete newbies. I thought about the shawls I've made and patterns that would be easily accessible to Sandy, the shop owner. I also took into consideration the flexibility of the pattern in accommodating various yarn sizes and differing options for the finished size of the shawl. The more versatile the design, the better I thought. And so I chose the Flower Basket Shawl (FBS) by Evelyn Clark.
I knit the FBS as my 2nd ever lace shawl...right after the red Kiri shawl. I don't remember it being a difficult pattern and it's very pretty. I pitched my idea to Sandy a couple of weeks ago and she thought it sounded wonderful. I dropped in to the store earlier this week and picked up some blue Misti Alpaca Lace yarn to knit a sample for the shop. Sandy just got the yarn in stock and I've been looking forward to trying out this very popular lace yarn. The yarn is fabulous. Enough said there. I pulled out my FBS pattern and cast-on Tuesday night. By Thursday morning I had a couple of repeats of the Lower Flower Basket chart completed...and was tinking back to fix mistakes. The pattern suggested US5 needles, so I grabbed a US4 Addi-Lace needle. I don't like how open my lace looks, and I found it rather challenging to read my knitting. In fact, the knitting seemed more challenging than I remembered too.
I started to freak out. Should I frog and start over with a size 3 needle? Uh, I'll have to knit forever if I do that, and I need to get this sample done fast! So I'm forcing myself to live with the very lacy FBS. I'm not keeping it, I rationalized, and everyone else will think it looks awesome. OK, fine. But what about the pattern???? What if everyone really is a newbie and they all get confused and frustrated the 1st week...and it all becomes more than I can handled myself. Yikes???? What have I done???? Needless to say I didn't sleep very well last night with all these crazy thoughts swirling around in my head. I'm a little less freaky tonight, but I still have doubts. Sandy does have beginning lace classes going on right now so I just need to chill out and trust that things will be OK. And I think I'll have Sandy get an alternate pattern in stock for those who want to play along, but really aren't ready for the FBS. Evelyn Clark's Leaf Lace Shawl will be the perfect alternative. Now I just need to stop freaking and knit. Why oh why do I have to be so detail oriented? Most folks wouldn't even have the idea that they needed to freak out over the "what if" possibilities. I can't stop thinking about every little detail that could go wrong.
And one last parting note.... My Tennessee Vols and Lady Vols basketball teams. The guys played their hearts out...and did quite well. But they showed the same weaknesses in the SEC and NCAA tournaments...and it cost them both times. Combine that with the toughest bracketing and it's hard to feel bad that they lost to a hugely talented (translation=NBA quality) Louisville team in the sweet 16. A better bracket would have had them playing in the elite 8 before losing, but brackets are what they are. The Lady Vols survived a terrifying night at the elite 8 when Candace Parker dislocated her left shoulder twice in the 1st half of the game and couldn't play for much of the game. Yeeeouchhh! The national semifinal game is Sunday night and Candace says she's ready to play. Great! The flip side? They're playing the same fierce LSU team that beat the Lady Vols in the SEC championship. It's gonna take a miracle for Candace and the LV to get to the championship game, let alone repeat as national champions. What a tough break!