Wrapping up

Published on Sunday June 1st, 2008

Epic Lace Knit 2007-2008 has drawn to a close, and I think I’ve dragged the coverage out just about long enough. The fat lady has sung: the bride warmed her shoulders with her lilac lace during the wedding supper, and called it the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen and required that everyone admire it during her speech of welcome on the dance floor. That’ll do for me! So let’s say our goodbyes to the Mediterranean Ivy Lace:

I have the prettiest new sister ever, don’t I?

Final specs:

Mediterranean Lace by Maureen Egan Emlet, from A Gathering of Lace

Modified as a rectangular stole by working the ivy lace chart for the “wings” only, 16 repetitions. If you’re planning to knit this, note that 17 reps would have been a better number for picking up multiples of 42 sts for the edging. I would have run out of yarn, though. Speaking of yarn:

Most of 3 skeins (~1500 yards) ArtYarns Cashmere 1, in a color I call Pale Lilac. It isn’t listed on their website anymore, so it may be discontinued.

US#2 Addi Lacepoints for the body; US#0 regular blunt Addis, 48″, for the edging. Curse their stumpiness. I’d rather be cast into Tartarus than pick up 1200 stitches with them again.

Cast on in August 2007; finished in May 2008. I could’ve produced a baby in that time, folks. (And honestly, Marika would have been just as excited. But it wouldn’t have been as soft and pretty, and now I can sleep at night besides!)

So what’s next? I’ve just started the lace portion of my Indigo Ripples skirt. I think I’m going to like the fit a lot – I lengthened the stockinet upper part by a couple of inches for modesty, as I want to be able to wear this thing to school without scandalizing my colleagues or scarring the children. And yesterday I basted together my quilt sandwich and began hand quilting it. I’m going to do a mixture of hand quilting around some of the large flowers and machine quilting long vertical lines as given in the instructions. We’ll see how it turns out! But I’ve had to put the crafting on hold today. I’m blogging while I watch the conclusion of the Giro d’Italia, but then I need to get back to my major task of the weekend: I’m the faculty reader for a young man who has produced a 480-page historical fiction/biography entitled Aeneas of Rome as his graduation project. That’s graduation from the eighth grade, you understand. He’s been working with a classical scholar and a college English professor. The chapters open with quotes in Latin and Greek, with his own translations. The kid is going places. But he has to present his work to the faculty for review on Tuesday, so I’ve got my work cut out for me!

I drink from the keg of glory

Published on Monday May 19th, 2008

5.18.08 5:58pm: Endless crochet bind-off row ENDED! This post made possible by play-off hockey, the prolonged human interest stories leading up to the Preakness Stakes, Master and Commander, the Giro d’Italia, a couple of rides on the MAX train while hunting wedding presents for my brother (who isn’t getting a lace stole), and Shakespeare in Love. I plumb forgot to call my parents on their 34th anniversary. But in case you missed the ice-cold reward:

Hendrick’s gin and tonic with hefty spears of cucumber = best summer drink ever.

My nemesis is now pinned to the carpet in an empty house (awaiting remodel to become classrooms) at school, safe from the predations of Mingus the cat and Lark the puppy. We’ve gone from this:

… to this:

Somebody bring me the finest muffins and bagels in the land.

Into the suitcase

Published on Friday May 16th, 2008

Debby’s comment on the last post gave me the right analogy as I head into a weekend of insanity: Mr. G flies east on Sunday night to begin Best Manly duties for my brother, so there’s packing and cleaning and organization to do; an herb garden to plant with our neighbors; dog care to orchestrate; wedding gifts to plan and buy; absence from my job in the face of a huge looming project completion to prepare for; a fundraising run for Room to Read to participate in. Oh, and the Ivy stole to finish.

Four more rounds to knit on the edging, and then the beastly crochet chain to finish it all off. Debby and I share a love of knitting while watching professional cycling, so when she told me to dig into my suitcase, I knew exactly what she meant. Commentator Phil Liggett loves to say, when a rider hits the slopes of a tough climb at the end of a grueling day in the saddle, “He’s digging deep into his suitcase of courage now!” So into the suitcase I go, my friends. I should have some pictures of this life-sucking beauty for you by the end of the weekend.

Meanwhile, the weather couldn’t be less conducive to knitting. We’re taking aim at 97 degrees today (that’s 36 degrees for you Celsius folk, and much hotter than usual for May in Portland). The kids at school have been lobbying all week for their favorite hot-weather PE game, Drip-Drip-Drop. It’s like Duck-Duck-Goose, except that instead of tapping your friends on the head as you make the circle, you’re sprinkling – and then dumping – water on them. It sounds much more appealing than picking up the cashmere (thank goodness it’s laceweight – if Saxton and Marika lived in the southern hemisphere I could be knitting a Wedding Anorak or something). I got up extra early this morning to water the more tender plants and to sew the hem of my new sundress so I’d have appropriate garb to weather the stickiness while I knit like mad this evening.

So look out, world: I am turning a pedal in anger now! Bring on the mask of pain! I will not crack!

BAT report

Published on Monday May 5th, 2008

A week ago, Claudia threw down and announced a pledge to replace at least one car trip per week with a bicycle trip. That’s just the kind of challenge I can get excited about, since I have 1. a conscience, 2. a body that could use a little more exercise, and 3. a meager salary that doesn’t go far at the gas pump these days. She’s calling the effort Bicycles As Transportation / Knitters for Alternative Transportation: BAT/KAT. So Mondays are now BAT update days.

On Friday night, Mr. G and I pedaled down to our favorite theater for a $3 movie, pizza, and microbrew (we love Portland). Some Like It Hot was playing, and I’m happy to report that it’s still a delightful date movie 50 years after it was filmed. Saturday I rode to the yarn store to meet Katrin instead of driving, while Mr. G cycled to the annual giganticus tech-entrepreneur-geekfest known as Bar Camp. And yesterday we took the bikes when we went to meet Mr. G’s dad for dinner. That’s three BATs apiece: they’re all within two or three miles of home, exactly the range where we’d be most tempted to hop in the car, but the bike trip takes only a minute or two longer. We also walked for the groceries all week and took the MAX train when we went shopping for a purple tie for Mr. G to wear to my brother’s wedding. Since my job requires me to drive over 30 miles on weekdays (I carpool, but I still hold myself responsible for the environmental impact of the trip), I like to leave the car in the driveway all weekend whenever possible.

Now I feel like I need a marvy little sidebar BAT/KAT tally graphic. Too bad I don’t have skills like that.

And the knitting? The Ivy stole has crawled up to row 26 of the edge chart. I’m halfway there, except that the rounds are still getting longer. I don’t think I could conscionably use the word excruciating to describe knitting cashmere (hey, how has unconscionable survived in our lexicon but conscionable is obsolete? Add it to the list with words like wieldy and whelmed, I guess), but this edging is like the last 2.2 miles of a marathon. Why, Skacel, why can’t you make a #0 Addi LacePoint? What daft manager signed off on a plan to make #1s and #00s but nothing in between? I may have cast on an Indigo Ripples skirt for some much-needed stockinet on #5s.