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


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Monday, March 29, 2010

Yup. A very grey rainy Monday here - the sort of day that would make staying in bed till 10 o'clock such a treat. In fact - if it weren't this particular Monday I would call in asleep. But it is this particular Monday and it's going to be a truly fun day at work. We're getting a lesson from the website guru on how to make our library website Good and Fun and Better and Workable. I've been waiting a month for this day and would get there even if all this rain were snow!

There has been knitting sighted at TheCastle. I'm at the tip of the traingle with my border stitches.
The instructions are a little different from what they usually are when corners ane tips and points are involved. Usually they'll say DJ or TJ for double join or tripple join - which makes perfectly good sense to me. With this shawl they say to ... bah. don't have the book right here - but it has something to do with every other even row do something and ... well. really ...

I have posted a cry for help on Ravelry's Victorian Lace Today group so let us hope someone responds. Otherwise I am going to just wing it. The edging is a double six repeat (12 rows butyou join only the even rows to the shawl edge) and there are 3 stitches at the tip so I may just do what looks logical and forget the instructions.

Real photos will come when I've finished this thing. I have, it seems, at last memorized the pattern so this other side of the triangle ought to go a little faster.

And now it is Monday and I must hustle to get ready for work.

posted by Bess | 7:35 AM


Your day, indeed your week to come, sounds rather the opposite to mine, as does your body! I am totally inflexible as well as very unco-ordinated! I probably would benefit from yoga or tai-chi but don't have the patience at the moment. One day, maybe.

Enjoy your relaxing week - it sounds marvellous!

By Blogger KathyR, at 6:54 PM  

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Monday, March 22, 2010  

Halcyon Days

Isn't it funny how you never know how strung out you have been till you are suddenly released from the mental bonds that had been tugging on you. I had one of those days yesterday - a day of utter and blissful calm. There was nothing my lizard brain was telling me I had to do - and I would not have listened to him anyway. All essential chores had been done on Saturday, BD was happily playing with his new boat and the day was mine, all mine.

In February, when I was suddenly barred from exercise of the calisthenic sort, I finally succumbed to the lure and allure of yoga. Yoga has been whispering to me for over 30 years, ever since Himself bought a Hatha yoga book and tried to do sun salutations. There was something so foreign and so antipathal to TheQueen about that book that even watching BD try to perform them made me uncomfortable. Fast forward 3 decades and yoga has been both feminized and westernized enough (think pastel yoga costumes from Gaiam dot com) to make me feel more welcome. Now it was just finding the time since I had lots of yoga videos in the library and there is a class offered in town. That last was too advanced for such a rank beginner, especially of the hyper flexible type, like me, but the Yoga for Beginners really meant what it promised - and I spent a week poking through it. Short end of a long story - I am now a yoga convert. The transformation was almost instantaneous and the results have been amazing. Balance, calm, focus, and strength all in some fairly low stress movements. I have pulled a hamstring because I really am hyper hyper flexible. I could still put my foot behind my head only it looks disgusting so I quit doing it some years ago. as the yoga instructor said "ahh 40 ways to do it wrong"

So, after a leisurely morning with a favorite breakfast in bed, some gentle chat with Himself, lots of dog lovin' and the relaxing pleasure of Not having to have a fire in the stove, I spent a blissful hour on my yoga mat. I have recently managed the easy version of Tree Pose. I can actually pull my heel into my groin but I can't lift it that high yet. So I balance my foot on the inside calf of my other leg and oh my .. what a thrill.

One of the things that always turned me off about yoga books and magazines was the stupid smile on the faces of people standing or bending in the most contorted positions. Imagine my surprise, one day, when I finally stood in some position or another - each part of my body balanced on top of it's supporting part and suddenly my whole face relaxed and then spread into a softened smile. I am sure to a non-yoga observer I would have looked bizarre but I understood then that A. we go around all the time unbalanced and in cramped posture and B. when everything is Just Right one can't help but smile. It is the natural position of the face! wow.

So. There was yoga yesterday and then there was a walk with the dogs to photograph the Daffodil Walk (viewable on facebook) so that next fall I will know where I need to plant more bulbs ... and I know what I will ask for for my birthday too. And there was fiber play. I ripped out a hat that I hate .... to get at the yarn I want to use when I have mastered that Brioche stitch ... and there was lace knitting. I was happy to discover that I'm almost at the apex ... the half way point ... of the lace edging. Maybe this thing won't take so long after all. and Pride & Prejudice on the video. And luscious shepherd's pie for dinner.

The only thing missing was wheat dolphins and it's really too early for them. They won't come along till mid April when the wheat is taller.

And the week? this week there is absolutely nothing on my desk that I don't want to do. It should be a blissful happy week. I think, if anything un-blissful comes along, I will just put it in a box and save it for A Different Week. In 2049.


posted by Bess | 7:22 AM


Time out - yes, I can completely understand. I have a few projects there, myself, waiting for the day that I can stand the thought of working on them once again.

I am glad to hear that you are conquering your personal health mountain. Winter can be a difficult time to do this, but, for you, Spring is arriving with its promise of new life and hope - a wonderful time to look towards a year filled with new strength and vigour! Enjoy the daffodils and other spring flowers as they appear.

It is interesting to read your comments on the brioche book, too. I have this on my "wish list" so it's good to see others who like it also.

By Blogger KathyR, at 7:33 PM  

It's so nice to see you back here. I've been following you on Spark People as I continue to work the plan - or attempt to.

Your lace is so lovely!

Oh, to live somewhere that has enough winter that spring is noticeably wonderful! CA weather is close to perfect, but Spring and Summer tend to just sneak up on me!

By Anonymous Diann, at 11:38 PM  

Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

By Anonymous sfauthor, at 8:05 PM  

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Sunday, March 21, 2010  

When good knitting goes bad

Ahh - that cashmere shawl. Yes. Well. Poor thing. That was one of the knitting projects that gave me trouble and I've put it in time out. First off, I couldn't find the chart and didn't feel like figuring out the pattern. Second, I forgot how to join the lace edging to the shawl body. The final cut came when I realized that people who live in houses heated with wood should not knit white cashmere. Not in winter, anyway. Poor thing, it began to grow so dingy I couldn't tell if it was grey or if the winter light bouncing off the snow outside the window was just making it look that way.

I expect my knitting to get a little dirty and I expect white knitting to get a little more dirty but I didn't want to ruin this lovely project just so I could knit through the worst winter we've had in years. I believe we'll be talking about The Great Snow around here till ... well, till the next one. Let us hope that is not for a good while.

It was odd how much I dreaded this year's snow and ice and snow and more ice and more snow. Normally I really HEART snow and an excuse to stay home from work and cozy up in my favorite knitting spot but this winter hit me hard. At first I was puzzled about why I was so cranky but in retrospect I realize it was because of a health situation that kiboshed me the end of January and left me shaken. I am okay now but for a long time, certainly throughout February, I felt on very shaky ground.

Anyway I am positive that is why I had such a difficult time finding a project that clicked. I'll pick up the cashmere when I'm done with this present shawl, which, btw, is being knit in Prism Yarn's mohair and now that I'm looking for it, I can't find the ball band. It came in a big 900 yard skein so I knew I could get a shawl out of it. It's nice to knit with, though of course, no mohair is nice to tink back and in lace knitting one tends to do a good deal of that.

Both these shawls have enormously long borders and finishing them is going to take hours of knitting that seems to progress not at all - but then one day I'll look down and see I'm almost done and feel a little wistful. The great pleasure of knitting shawls is that you never have to worry about fit - a shawl doesn't have to fit too closely and of course - it's a shawl - it is not intended to show off curves or hide lumps. A shawl is intended to put you in a new mental space - half way between still wearing your pajamas and ready for the prom.

What is new though, is this book.

Wow! Who would have thought there was that much to know about a single stitch! I am staggered. I bought this for the library (after securing the promise to check it out from all my knitting friends) but I see I shall have to own my own copy. This is the Barbara Walker of Brioche stitches. A warning - to enter into this realm you will need to learn a new language and new chart symbols. I suspect the learning curve will be fairly steep at the beginning, but it is chock full of photos, written descriptions, good definitions and chart explanations. For those intrepid enough to start the journey I believe the treasure of knitting knowledge achieved will be worth the effort.

Even if you are not tempted to start the journey I advise you to stop by knit shop or book store and have a look. There really is a lot to see.

And now - it is breakfast time at TheCastle and the daffodils are singing to me to come out and admire.

posted by Bess | 8:22 AM


Good to see you back -- was thinking Facebook was your only communication medium these days! LOL!

Beautiful work on those shawls, Dear Heart! I'm drooling!


P.S. Is Doggie staying close to home now?!

By Blogger Margaret, at 10:22 AM  

Indeed, it is good to see you back! Mind you, your blog has not been neglected nearly as long as mine has. I have so much to say and then so much I will choose not to say - but mostly no desire to say anything at all!

I love your work on the shawls - beautiful! I did think you would have shown your progress on the lovely cashmere one, though. Maybe another time?

By Blogger KathyR, at 5:41 PM  

And here I've been missing even more of your wonderful writing!

Plus another knitting book to check out. And I need another knitting book like a hole in the head, not to mention I haven't been knitting lately. I really ought to finish those wrist warmers . . .

By Anonymous Judy, at 8:15 AM  

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Saturday, March 20, 2010  

Return from the deep

Deep winter, that is. I can't believe I let the entire month of February and most of March drift by without stopping in even once, but that is what I did. Evidently the snowy winter of 2010 shut me down rather deeper than I would have expected. There has been knitting, though - so I shall celebrate the First Day of Spring with some Proof of Knitting photos.

This is the cover shawl from Victorian Lace Today, done in KnitPicks lace weight merino. This was my first attempt at a large lace project with a knitted on lace border. The shawl knit up fairly quickly - maybe took a month of my desultory knitting - but the edging took quite a bit longer. Not because it was difficult - it was surprisingly easy - but because there were forty million miles of it to knit. And Christmas Knitting interrupted everything for about a month. And of course, November was the pits in my life.

I loved everything about this shawl except grafting the edge of it together ... the very last thing I did. By this time I was more interested in finishing it than in making it perfect, so the seam is ... how shall I describe it ... it is rough. It is also insignifigant so I blocked it, admired it, folded it and put it away. It is intended as a gift - at some future date.

Then came that wonderful moment when I could legitamately start a New Project! And there I was stumped. Nothing I started worked out right. The yarn fought me, the pattern threw me, I didn't have size 4 needles - or at least, I couldn't find any . There was a good week of fruitless snow bound knitting done before I settled on another VLT project: The Shoulder Shawl

The body of this shawl was an even swifter knit with even more miles of edging to attach. This is a trickier edging though - what is called "Real" lace because there are stitch manipulations on both the knit and purl side. I've completed 10 repeats and I still haven't learned the pattern - but I bet I will before I'm done.

And so. The First Day of Spring marks the Return of TheQueen. I am also blogging about my glacially slow weightloss efforts over on Spark People so if you are ever curious about what else I am doing, you can read there.

Welcome Spring!

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posted by Bess | 6:08 AM