Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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By Blogger Bess, at 4:15 PM  

Huh? What did I miss?

By Blogger Margaret, at 8:30 AM  

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Thursday, May 20, 2004  

Whoa. A weekend in the 90’s? This sounds foreboding. When did it become July?

It is twice, in 24 hours, while perusing my fiber-related reading, that I’ve come across references to Colonial House - the PBS reenactment show. I haven’t a TV, so it’s airing passed under my radar. Having been reminded, though, I’m again prompted to write up a little memoir of my experiences, really living the colonial life back in the fading twilight of the hippie era of oh, say, 1975-81.

I had promised Annie, some time ago, that I would send her an account, but really, it is a very long, funny, silly, tragic, happy story - but mostly long, so I have never yet gotten around to putting it all down on paper. There were many years when I told the story - or at least, parts of it, but even those days have faded into the background, so deep in the memory you begin to wonder if you actually did those things, hear about doing them, or just thought they were the sort of thing you might do. But we really did - live in a tent for 2 months while BD built a little house in the woods, and cooked over a campfire till we could upgrade to a wood stove, and went to the grist mill for our flour, and pulled our water up in buckets out of an open well, read by kerosene lamps, raised a little livestock and in general, followed the pioneer lifestyle. There are even photos to prove it!

Building my Little House in the Big Woods. The only time in my adult life I weighed 120 lbs.

A year later we had built something better! He was the happiest child!

Believe it! This was an up-grade from getting our water from the spring box back in the woods.

We used solar power to heat the bath in summer.

Christmas of 1978. Hope it shows the interior - but the photos are all so dark. No electricity, you see.

What do you know - it really IS a tar paper shack!

Is this some sort of sign? One more reference and I sit down with pen in hand? I really ought to write it down before I start forgetting bits or BD begins to embroider.

The silk shawl is almost at the halfway point. It’s knit from side to side. You begin this diamond lace pattern on the side edge, increase a stitch every other row on the bottom edge, and when you get half way through your yarn you begin decreasing every other row along the bottom. Nice theory, but the halfway point still has to take into account the 20 row diamond pattern. I’m using some silk I dyed with Jen last February and I have only some 380 yards of it. This shawl is for a tiny person, so it doesn’t have to be very big, but I do want to squeeze as much shawl out of this yarn as I possibly can. As I neared the end of the first hank it looked as if I could just barely make a complete pattern. A rough measure of the yarn left came to 37 yards, a rough estimate of the amount needed to knit an entire pattern counted up to about 39 yards.

The fiber is silk. There’s no stretch or give to it. You can’t really knit tighter without changing the drape of the shawl - which nobody wants to do right down the center back, anyway! So. A little agonizing. A little thinking. A little discussion with a knitting bud via Internet, and Eureka! And the answer is:

Don’t do the increases along the bottom edge in the last pattern repeat. This makes a center panel instead of a center pattern, and the change over - the half way point - will be half way through the pattern repeat, assuring enough yarn to complete the second half, since I should only need 19.5 yards to knit half a pattern. The point of the shawl at the back gets nipped off, but that won’t matter any. And it gives a nice extra 3 inches of width to the entire garment.

I'm finding I absolutely love working with silk yarn, especially in a loosely knit lacy pattern. I’m using size 10 needles to knit it and it has the most wonderful drape. The pattern is the first one in Gathering of Lace - an Amy Detjin pattern that was also published in Knitters magazine some years ago. It’s easy but interesting and very pretty.

It is also proof of why I need a committee to accomplish anything. My brain works so much better when I’m talking it over with someone else.

So - 8 more rows and I begin the decreases. Busy knitting ought to finish it by Memorial Day. Happy happy news.

posted by Bess | 8:10 AM