Monday, February 26, 2007

The Letter P

I'm finally on the home stretch with Parthenope. I can taste it. Five more rows -- straight vanilla rows alternating knit a row, purl a row -- and this girl will be off the sticks. And for some reason, I think I may very well be a little sad to see it go.

I'm not quite sure why. I started Parthenope right around Thanksgiving, had to rip out a full beginning or two because I was having some problems with the pattern. I've had to e-mail Courtney and Wendy two or three times with questions about said pattern. I finally put her on a diet -- partly to help it fit me (I'm very petite) and partially to save my sanity. My husband has been laughing for months (literally) at the yellow and calling the poor girl "The Big Bird Shawl." To add insult to injury, photos of knitting lace are pretty boring and given Parthenope's size (really people, it WILL look like a blob), I've neglected to share her growth with you here on the blog. I've loved and loathed this project simultaneously for the past three months.

Finding out that I was pregnant in the midst of the whole thing put the brakes on the knitting. I slowed down to do things like get extra sleep, eat more (it's hard to knit and eat yogurt) and deal with two brothers who are sticken with cabin fever and dreams of blizzards. My assistant, er, associate, at work quit at the absolute worst time of year and took off on a whirlwind trip around the world and I had to recruit (note that this is why I did not really pick up on the pregnancy -- stress makes you skip). But through it all, Parthenope has been there, even with last-minute holiday gifts, the Diamond Fantasy Shawl and other little things.

As it turns out, I'm pretty sure I started Parthenope right around the time our little bundle of joy was created. Had I known I was pregnant, I probably would have done Parthenope in blue. (I have a house of men, and I presume this pregnancy will produce the same, though there are many, many people who are going to blast me for saying that. Everyone wants a girl ... no pressure here!) But I didn't. I picked a sunny yellow -- odd for me, honestly -- and through the past three months of dismal weather, holiday stress, unexpected pregnancy, work nightmares, etc., a ray of sunshine has been growing in my knitting basket as well as my belly. This week she will be reborn as a full, beautiful yellow square. We'll have to wait a few more months for the other blessing.

Parthenope has become the pregnancy shawl. I have a sneaking suspicion that she'll be the first thing to go in the baby's layette ... because, boy or girl, this shawl has already draped the baby in handknit love as I sit and knit and knit with this in my lap.

I honestly can't wait to show you ... let me slog through those last few rows.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Diamond Fantasy

Over the weekend, I finished the charity shawl. As I cast off Diamond Fantasy, I panicked. Two skeins of Koigu ... same colorway as Charlotte's Web ... and the thing looked like a hankerchief. I immediately cast-on for another super-fast knit ... using my precious merino/tencel blend from Ellens Half Pint Farm (purchased at Stitches). I've been knitting, knitting, knitting on it -- and making great progress.

This morning, in the wee hours, I looked at the Diamond Fantasy and felt a bit sorry for it. Koigu shouldn't sit in a wad without a good block, after all. At the very least, I should give it a shot, right?

Obviously, I forgot the wonder of blocking lace. The teensy weensy kerchief blossomed this morning into a shawl that is 60 inches from wingtip to wingtip and 30 inches from the center point up. Here it is on my queen-sized bed:

You can't really see the head and foot of the bed, but the shawl is only about 16 inches short of spanning the length. I think it's big enough, and perhaps my panic was a bit premature.

Here's a closeup of the lace itself:

And a tight look at the edging:

Will this do for the charity silent auction?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Long and Short of Things (Plus A Long-Term Project)

It's been a rough (but very interesting, as usual) couple of weeks here at Chez Spinneas. In my last post, I was slogging along on some lace projects, and since it's been so long (I've had my reasons) I thought an update might be due. For those non-knitters visiting today, I'm also trying to avoid "knitter-ese" or at least spelling out the abbreviations. Apparently my last post was pretty hard for those-without-sticks to comprehend.

The Long of It: I'm finally a mere 14 rows from finishing the edging on Parthenope and moving on. This shawl has taken me a long, long time. Pictures wouldn't show you much (it's LACE, after all), so I'm withholding until I can give you a good pic of Parthenope with Pins or a nice finished object (FO) picture. But the end is finally in sight, and that is making me happier than you'll ever truly know. This pattern has been wonderful, aside from the little nuances that make every designer different, it's been a joy to knit.

The Short of It: Remember in my last post how I said I was starting a pi shawl with that skein of Helen's Laces yarn? Well, it got frogged (non-knitters, that means that I "ripped it, ripped it") because the varigation was really muddying up the pattern. Since this particular shawl is being done for a silent auction taking place next month to raise funds for a very special school, the shawl needed to be done just right. So I shelved the pi in favor of Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy Shawl. I swatched it with a skein of Fleece Artist merino sock yarn, and loved the way the shawl was shaping up. The varigation worked, gauge worked, everything worked. Except the color (it's a varigated brown). On a high from reaching the edging on Parthenope, I bought some Anne (non-knitters, that's a yarn) and swatched it out. I hated it. The Anne is a nice pewter color, but it just didn't look right in this pattern. So I hit the Koigu in my stash and pulled the final two skeins of the colorway I used for Charlotte last year. It has beautiful greens, purples, blues and grays, and it's working out beautifully. I'm on the fourth of seven repeats of the second chart (non-knitters, that's fast and furious progress), and I'm on target to reach my deadline with it. The Yarn Harlot finished hers with the same amount of yarn, so I'm holding strong that the Koigu will hold out for me. I'm on the second ball, and since it's extremely difficult to match Koigu colorways, keep your fingers crossed for me. I have faith that things fall into place.

Long Term Project: Things fall into place for sure, and I've almost always tried to take things as they are dealt to me. One of the few times I didn't resulted in a huge karmic shift that forced life to bite me in the ass. So what is the long-term project?


Yup. The Yarn Sniffer is six (seven just after this one arrives) and his big brother is eight (nine later this year). So after years of having kids that can dress themselves, feed themselves and sleep through the night, I'm having a baby. Had my first doctor's appointment yesterday and it turns out I'm 11 weeks. It's a good thing I've been through this before -- I'm a week away from my second trimester. Nothing quite like a good old fashioned case of denial coupled with a doctor's busy schedule to put things in a holding pattern.

We're actually quite thrilled about it. Even the boys are happy. We won't know whether it's a boy or a girl for a few more weeks, but when we do, I'll be sure to share.

In the meantime, let me share a different version of the ultrasound picture -- cropped and rotated by my husband -- that seems to show that this little peanut is already on the move:

His original intent was to just zoom in and rotate so that the head, arms, belly and legs were clear for folks. But when he showed it to me, I started laughing my fool head off saying that it looked like the baby was standing up in full walking posture. We've dubbed this picture "Fetus Taking a Stroll." I apologize if it isn't funny to anyone else, but I think it's absolutely hilarious.

So, the 29-week countdown begins!