Lace, #@*%!

Lace knitting is not something that comes easily to me. I have done a couple of cardigans in lace that came out OK, but I’ve yet to finish one shawl. Shawls have been all the rage in the knitting community for some time and I think this fashion trend started due to the plethora of incredibly beautiful (and expensive) hand-dyed yarns. So many knitters had single skeins of these yarns sitting in their stash and soon patterns for gorgeous shawls needing just that much yardage were everywhere.

I just ripped out a poor attempt based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi Shawl. This is a clever shawl pattern with mathematical logic and shawl lace knitting really doesn’t get much easier than this. Even so, I struggled to stay interested in the project; it just looked like a big brown lump of – well – something one might step in out in the field. Maybe a better choice of yarn would have made all the difference.

I have picked up another lace shawl project that’s been languishing as a UFO for quite a while, Icarus, and this time it seems to be clicking.  The yarn is Malabrigo, dyed a beautiful tonal color called “marine” and I can’t wait to finish it and wear it. Yes, I’m making mistakes as I go along that I have to go back and correct but it’s getting easier. Lace knitting requires constant vigilance, which means for me, a distraction-free environment, never working on it when tired, and no working on it while chatting at my craft group (or anywhere else).

Good online tutorials abound and Ravelry has many groups devoted to the subject of lace. At Knitter’s Review, you’ll find tutorials and links to all things lace: books, yarns and patterns.

Great info on proper cursing with symbols: http://fomagrams.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/how-to-curse/

Advertisements

off the needles – Napkin Rings

I was hoping this project, bamboo napkin rings, would be perfect for quick and easy sellable items for the upcoming Mother’s Day sale at Clay Space. Maybe I don’t run in the right circles since I don’t know anyone who uses napkin rings anymore. I like the bamboo yarn for these and the reverse linen stitch which gives them a nice texture with just a little sheen.  Martha’s site has many cute ideas for making them and encourages their use so I know many people out there must enjoy them.

I thought about slippers, but who wants to buy wool slippers in May? Then I thought about trying some knitting with fine gauge wire to make beautiful delicate jewelry. I even have a book that tells me exactly how to do it, Wired Beautiful. This book is filled with wonderful projects and clear step-by-step photos. Maybe other good ideas for projects will come to me in time.


Weekend in the Garden

What a great weekend we had for time in the garden. My first task was to put up another chicken fence. The girls have had the run of that area and I know from experience that they will eat just about anything they can. We use a combination of cattle panels from our local farm supply and inexpensive bird netting. Then, I topped it off with some bird “scare” tape.

These type of panels are relatively inexpensive, are easy to cut into shorter sections, or even bend for some great effects. This is my new rounded gate.

As usual, I’m later than most at getting in my peas, but I prepared my bed and planted a variety new to me called Sugar Sprint. I also starting digging out one of my raised beds for the potatoes. It’s a good idea to rotate beds for potatoes to avoid the various issues that potatoes are known to have. Every gardener has their own tried and true methods for growing potatoes–the raised beds have been working for me. I dig them out deeply, at least a foot deep.

I’ve been planting only German Butterball potatoes for the last few years and my yields have varied. Basically, when I pay more attention to them by hilling them up properly and watering sufficiently, I get better yields. Potato salad, roasted potatoes, scalloped potatoes–you name it–this variety has been good every way I’ve prepared it. This spring, I’m also planting the classic, Yukon Gold. My chitted potatoes will probably go in the ground in a week or two. There’s a common belief in the gardening world that planting potatoes around St. Paddy’s Day, or even earlier, is a good time no matter where you live.