That’s Much Better

It’s been almost a month since I last posted anything and I thought I’d check in and say something.  I didn’t go anywhere; I just didn’t post.  Maybe I’m following the growing trend to not blog so much.  Hard to say.  I would love to say that my absence from blogging was due to competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics, which, by the way, took place just a mere 200 miles to the north, and which has been a almost a life long dream of mine to go to, but which will have to wait for a more convenient time in my life.  If I were to do such a thing, I’d compete in Ladies Figure Skating (something I once aspired to do after watching Pegging Fleming in the 1968 Olympics on TV as a child), or Short Track Speed Skating, or Slalom, or Curling.  If not Olympic competition, I’d love to say that I went someplace marvelous and vastly different from where I live for some sort of exotic vacation.  No, I was just home, nose to the grindstone, knitting and taking care of my family.

During my absence I re-knit Andrea’s Shawl and customized an Anthropologie sale purchase.  First, Andrea’s Shawl Redux.  The remake went along quite well, and after I’d completed the edging (see post entry of Feb. 9) with the leftover purple Mink Yarn, I decided to put aside doubts and hesitation and frog the first shawl and continue on.  Mink Yarn is lovely stuff, and it seems rather unassuming at first, but as you work with it, it gets softer and fuzzier.  The flip-side is that it’s delicate and gets knotted when fiddled with a bit and the knots inevitably lead to breaks.  So there were lots of breaks in Mink Yarn during the making of Redux, and so lots of ends to weave in.  But Redux worked-out great and now I have a bigger shawl and I just love it.  I want more Mink Yarn, too, but I am still determined to work through my stash as much as possible.

The other yarn I used was Michell & CIA Indiecita 3-ply Alpaca in brown.  All the details for Redux are the same as for the original Andrea (see my post for Jan. 28), just that I made the large instead of the medium this time.  With such light yarn, it still fits nicely under a coat or sweater.

One other difference, is that I ran just shy of enough Mink Yarn to finish Redux.  In fact, I had just 6 inches (15 cm.) left of top edging for the shawl to be finished when I ran out of Mink, so I ripped-out the top edging and used the Indiecita instead.  I’m fine with it.  I’m just glad the top edging doesn’t curl like it did in the first one.

Now with my Anthropologie sale purchase.  I forgot the original price of this sweater coat, but I think it was $138, and I bought off the sale rack for $29.95, figuring that at that price for 100% wool it had potential for me.  I don’t know what is with the design of it, but it had this wool felt accordion-like thing wrapped around it’s midsection like a bad dream or something out of a science fiction movie.  I’m sure it looks great on someone, but I don’t need extra attention to my midsection. You know?

It used to have a belt and that was missing at the store, but I can’t imagine that it did much good.

So I carefully took my seam ripper to it and, oops, made a couple of holes for which I knotted the ends together, and, ta-da! A cool-looking sweater coat.

It had no buttons or buttonholes, and I like a little closure.

So I found a nice clasp at Button Drawer (“no minimum order”) and the rest is history.

What else I’ve got going on is that I went for a CT scan to check if I am in the clear on my thyroid cancer (from back in 1997), and I found that I am.  Great!  And then the doctor found some other stuff my body’s been up to that isn’t ideal: both kidneys are in bad shape.  Who knows why?  But I guess we’re going to find out.  Definitely not news that cheers me up, but maybe it won’t be so bad, I’ve heard that the body can function pretty well on a small percentage of viable kidney.  I’ll be visiting with a nephrologist (kidney specialist) in April to see what this all means.

From here to there.

So, no sooner had I finished Andrea’s Shawl (which I keep calling Amanda’s Shawl, for some reason), than I decided it would be frogged.  Within 24 hours after posting about it and, utilizing the leftover mink yarn I had on hand, I began a new one, Andrea’s Shawl Redux.  I’d figured that rather than out-and-out ripping it out, and being thereby committed to not having my Andrea’s Shawl at all, you know, in case I’d lost my resolve to make a new one, I’d take the conservative approach and start a new one with the leftovers first.  I decided to go as far as I could with leftover yarn, all the while periodically checking with myself on how I felt about the thought of ripping out the first shawl.  I just didn’t like the way the whole first one ended-up:  a bit too small for all my effort and my work on the top edging was just plain disappointing.  The top edging curled because I was too hasty, too sloppy, and my perfectionist tendencies just couldn’t accept it.  Besides, I couldn’t stand the thought of a triangular “shawl” that barely covered my shoulders, so, there you go…  I’ve finished the bottom lace edging of Redux (Phase I of the four parts of the shawl), and have now ripped-out the first attempt.  It was only two week’s worth of knitting time that I’d spent on the first one.  So, here I am with a frogged shawl, and who knows when I’ll get there and finish the new one.  Typical of non-committal me, I still might not complete my second attempt so then I’d be without one altogether, but that’s the journey, isn’t it?

Color me purple.

Amanda Shawl is done.

What a pleasant project it was, and I like that it has some lacework in it and that the bulk of it is stockinette.

Stripes are not my usual thing, but I’m trying to step outside my “usual” and do things that stretch me and push me out of my comfort zone.

It’s a fairly easy knit, although I have to say that I hate it when I have pick-up tons of stitches to knit with as this pattern calls for.  The instructions come in PDF format, providing both written instructions and chart for the lace work, but my only criticism is that the chart is so small, it was too hard to read easily as I went along, so I went with the written instructions.

My gauge was slightly smaller than called for, so it made the shawl smaller,  and instead of the medium-sized one I’d hoped for, I ended-up with something closer to the small-sized one, and measuring 44″ across the top.  I knew it was smaller going into it, but felt that a larger needle would have made for a looser knit.  It’s okay, I’ll live with it. I think…

Progress at about a week ago.

Pattern: Amanda’s Shawl by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Great Northern Mink (sheared)/Cashmere Yarn in purple and Michell & CIA Indiecita 3-ply Alpaca in brown.
Needle: 4 mm (US 6)

I don’t know what it is with me and purple lately, but I’m all about purple.  There was Ribbed Mini-Scarf in purple Shokay Shambala yarn, then there was Veste Croisée in purple La Droguerie Alpaga Plumette, Shawl Neck Cardigan in purple Elann Quechua, and then there was the purple Great Northern Mink (Sheared) Yarn I used for Amanda Shawl.