confessional

along with the amazing abundance of flowers we have this year comes an army of butterflies—all types, colors, and sizes. they seem to be concentrated out back, where the hostas are thick with blooms.

they especially love the base of the huge old oak tree that shades that whole area—i’ve been noticing for the last few years that there is a weepy spot at the bottom, which always smells like rotting fruit and sometimes, there are so many butterflies clustered there that the bark appears to be moving (unfortunately, whenever i’ve gotten close enough to take a picture of that, i did not have my camera in hand).

i don’t know squat about butterflies except that they are very pretty, so i can’t tell if the sticky stuff is something coming out of the tree that attracts them, or is it a substance they produce and put on the tree.

it’s a lot easier to catch them at the hostas, where they seem to sun themselves after a stint on the shady tree.

so now that i’ve distracted you with something pretty from the back yard, i can make my confession that i’ve got very little new knitting to show—again.

there’s a good reason, really; i’m completely addicted to my remaining secret project. right now, there is no deadline and i could be working on it at a more leisurely pace while accomplishing other knitting. but no—i’m totally immersed. it’s just turning out to be sooo exactly what i wanted it to be (even though i’ve had to back up a couple of times to rework some bits) that i can’t tear myself away.

the parts i had to rework were totally worth the trouble and now it’s even better for it. just a few more days and it will be finished (i swear). i don’t know when i can show it to you (maybe sooner than i think), but when i do, i just know you’ll be excited, too.

in the meantime, i haven’t completely ignored all my other knitting, it’s just a little random and, publicly at least, not growing all that quickly.

beckie came over the other night after work for dinner and knitting—we had a wonderful meal with lots of swiss chard from the garden and afterward, we settled in for some knitting. she’s swatching to begin her jackie jacket
with some gorgeous briar rose fourth of july, which she acquired from chris in a trade, a wonderful mix of deep olive, teal, and a little gold. by the time she got the swatch done it was too dark to take a good photo, but it looks aMAZing (you can see she’s in her happy place).

i worked on the baby blanket while we talked; david made coffee and chatted with us for a while, then wandered off to work somewhere else.

though it seems i haven’t worked on it much, the blanket is actually coming along rather nicely—the rows of plain knitting go quickly, so when i do sit with it, i can get through a bunch of them in no time. last night, i moved it to a larger needle—evidence that it is becoming sizable despite being a photographic blob.

having two large projects on the needles at once (and one of them secret) means that there is a lot of monotony in my knitting from where you sit, i guess. with the shawlette out the door, the secret project nearing completion, and just a scarf left as a small takealong project, i’m afraid you’re going to get bored and i’d hate for that to happen.

(don’t be fooled—that’s absolutely just code for “i’m getting itchy to start something new”).

yes, i confess something else—when i’m not working on the secret project, i have NOT always been working on the baby blanket—i’ve spent several recent evenings tossing my stash, winding yarn, trolling stitch dictionaries, and swatching to pull together a new project to start (or three).

our nephew amad has a birthday alter this month and i want to make him some socks—i can’t resist his enthusiastic appreciation and undying fandom for them.

(by the way and totally off-subject: his baby brother micah, born at the end of july last year? omg, he started walking a month ago. not just walking either—we received a video of him running all over the place, carrying stuff, and chasing amad. i have a sneaky suspicion there is something to fear in that, but for now, i just replay the video every few hours and marvel at him with tears in my eyes—he’s adorable).

anyway, back to amad’s socks; i can’t decide if i should just make three pair of socks that are mini versions of ones that david already owns (amad would be over the moon), or design all new ones (he’d be over the moon about these too but the “uncle david” ones would probably be preferable). maybe the best solution is a mix of both . . . a new design or two and a replay of an older one.

i pulled out a selection of yarns that should stand up to boy antics with no sweat. woodland bamboo blend in a bright bamboo green from mackintosh yarns, and from kollage, sock-a-licious in blue heaven, and luscious in sea. they are all a little different in fiber content; i thought a variety might be good for his climate and it’ll be nice to try out the new blends in smaller socks.

few little socks to have on the needles is a good idea, since i have no new ones going at the moment.

but where my heart is truly wandering is to my next lace shawl project. since i have two big things on the needles right now and some big patterns underway, i’m not quite ready yet to start another big shawl, but a shawlette? oh yeah.
another confession—i’m hooked on knitting and wearing the little shawlettes. ever since i made that small pine and ivy in my handspun silk/cashmere yarn, i crave to knit them. and they are just right for me to wear—taking them along on travel is a brilliant way to have that extra layer along without using any suitcase space.

so, with shawlettes on the brain, i wound up this gorgeous skein of spirit trail penelope, which i’ve been dying to knit.

it’s a sheeny silk/merino blend in the falcon’s eye colorway, a deep blue-gray with washes of gold.

being that it’s summer, i’m thinking fireflies . . .
i did some swatches and i think i know where i’m going with that; i just need to sit down and plot it out on the computer to get started.

then i took out some bamboo/merino leftovers from the woolen rabbit to swatch another motif i’ve had my eye on for a while.

this one reminds me of pea vines and i thought it was perfect for a sock at one time, in kim’s kashmir yarn. but when i swatched it, i didn’t like it—i just thought it needed to be knit in a bigger yarn with a little more bounce and definition. so i tucked it away in my head for another time. then the other day, when we were emailing about her new bamboo lace yarn (to be unveiled this week, i hope!), it occurred to me that it might work with this pattern.

i don’t have that yarn yet, but i wanted to make a swatch anyway, because i needed to practice up on nupps.

i find them challenging . . . i don’t know what the problem is, but i’ve worked them several different ways, with knitting needles and crochet hooks. i’ve got every book imaginable to guide me and am trying any technique i can find and so far, i’m not all that happy with any of them (this is why they’ve been absent in all of my other designs). not to mention how they slow me down.

i haven’t called cookie yet, but that’s next if i can’t get what i want pretty soon.

the ones above are too big and i don’t like the stitches at the base.
the ones below are ok, but they seem a little small and are barely showing on the face of the fabric.

but at least show up some—most of my attempts kept popping to the back side (???). i have ways to go, but i think i’ll get there eventually. and if all else fails, the motif does look ok without them (but that’s not really an option for me at this point, heh—nupps MUST be mine now). wish me luck.

so you see, all sorts of random stuff and not much to show for it. i need to buckle down. in fact, it’s getting late and i should do that right now.

31 Responses to “confessional”

  1. nancy schwartz sternoff says:

    ok i own that gorgeous falcon eye from jennifer at spirit trail! so i cannot wait to see what you are planning for it.

  2. Jody says:

    That’s an Admiral butterfly you’ve got there. I see them flitting around our hostas too. If your tree is leaking sap they no doubt like the sugar it provides. I think you’ve been quite productive! I am looking forward to seeing your secret project! I like that swatch too. It would be lovely worked into a shawl.

  3. Oh, I’m hoping the secret project is maybe a sweater? I need more temptation in my life – not!

    Nupps are ok,, but I find it’s just as pretty to substitute beads (not to mention easier on the hands).

    You are a good auntie to make so many socks for Amad!

  4. Lesley says:

    Fireflies!

    A firefly shawlette would be the most wonderful thing! We don’t have them where I’m from (Alaska), so when we visited relatives in Philly, I was always completly entranced. Even though I live on the East Coast now, and I am an “adult”, I still stop and watch for a few minutes when they are out.

    I have this magical skien of amazing pink/orangey yarn that would be perfect. (I realize that I haven’t even seen the stitch pattern yet, but this yarn has said fireflies to me from the moment I got it.)

    I will go impatiently knit on les abeilles now. :)

  5. turtle says:

    oooh, i agree, a firefly shawlette! Love the fiber colors as well and sounds like you have an extra busy month ahead of you! My daughter has college orientation this month, then off to idaho next month. I am so not ready for this!

  6. JelliDonut says:

    I love those “pea vines” and can’t wait to see what you do with them.

    I’m rather partial to butterflies, since I’m owned by a Papillon.

  7. Jocelyn says:

    I love the sock yarn you’ve pulled out for the boy socks — such wonderful colors. I should also mention how much I adore shawlets; nearly done with the lace section on les abeilles, just in time to knit the garter stitch section during tomorrow’s meeting! :)

  8. Angela says:

    Hmm…learning a lot from your blog…Swiss chard = silverbeet in my world. Arugula is rocket and cilantro is coriander but I’m still trying to fathom kale, collard greens and rabe…one day!

    Love Les Abeilles, just need to find the perfect yarn. Wonderful to have a shawlette that has pretty edges on all sides and a pretty strip in the middle too. Your attention to detail is a real treat.

  9. amanda says:

    Fireflies! I like that idea (even without seeing the stitch pattern). I don’t know if there is any one other thing that so succinctly says ‘summer’ to me, other than maybe lemonade. Good luck with the nupps! I’ve not really tried those yet, although there are quite a few lace patterns with nupps I’d like to knit…someday…!

  10. Laura says:

    I am full of envy for your loads of Swiss chard from the garden … mine kind of bombed. Oh well!

  11. janna says:

    I love the idea of a firefly shawl! I only recently discovered that that lightning bugs are only found east of the Rockies. I knew we didn’t have a lot of them in Texas, but I figured it was just too hot. It never occurred to me that there are places that don’t have them. One of my favorite things about moving back to the midwest was all the fireflies. I can’t imagine a childhood without them!

  12. Angela says:

    Call Franklin, the Panopticon. He’s the nupp master.

  13. Laurie says:

    How wonderful – you have Red Admirals! We’ve had a bunch of huge tiger swallowtails hanging around this year, and I saw my first Monarch today.

    Seriously loving that baby blanket – and I have a grandbaby coming in January!

  14. Susie says:

    The colors for Amad’s socks are perfect for a little boy! What would make them absolutely perfect would be Uncle David socks!!

  15. Evelyn says:

    Is that a Hadley cup I see on the table? My mom has a lot of Hadley dishes and I rarely see them anywhere else.

    I absolutely love your shawls and am on a lace knitting kick that won’t stop. I also love your teasing us with all the beautiful yarns you get.

  16. Eleanor says:

    The idea of a ‘firefly’ shawl was really enticing, as was the yarn, so I just put through an order for one skein of the Penelope yarn in the colour “Forest Pools”. Hopefully you will be inspired to your usual level of beauty and I will be ready! Will one skein be enough.

    I don’t know why we do this. I have so many projects to finish, I do not need another. You have the knack of creating a product that people crave.

  17. Angela says:

    I loved that Amad was so in love with his socks! How incredibly sweet. That boy has guaranteed himself some fine knitwear for tbe forseeable future, I would guess! Makes me think it’s time to knit another pair of socks for my favorite (and only) niece!

  18. Kim says:

    Oh yay!!!!! A picture of Beckie!!! BECKIE I MISS YOU!!!!! Can’t wait to see your Jackie!!!

  19. Teyani says:

    butterflies. how sweet! (Yes, I have a real thing for them)
    And for someone who has mostly hidden knitting, there’s a whole bunchha yarn in this post! Yay!

  20. juniperjune says:

    i’m glad that you’re getting on a shawlette kick, because i am too! i’ll be excited to see what you come up with.

    and i feel your pain about nupps; i’ll be interested to hear what your solution ends up being. i wrote a snarky blog entry awhile ago about my double-cheating method; maybe it will be of help? http://doublepointed.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/nupp_hack/

  21. Shelda says:

    Merike Saarnit is a good person to talk to about nupps, if you happen to be teaching at the same venue sometime. I took a class with her about nupps and other bobbles, and she had some variations I had never seen before.

    I look forward to some more shawlette designs. I think they’re just wonderful to knit, and as you say, so very wearable.

  22. Kim says:

    Pretty, pretty, pretty! I think you might like what I am sending you next week….just sayin’

  23. kyrie says:

    mmmmm. Love that Penelope. Jen does some amazing colors. I am knitting her a sample Boxleaf Wrap out of a new silk. Love how it’s turning out! Between your pattern and her yarn – definitely a fab combo!

  24. Natalie says:

    The firefly idea sounds intriguing. Can’t wait to see how it develops.

    Nupps? Good luck with them! It took a while for me to get the look I was expecting but knitting Miralda’s Triangular shawl by Nancy Bush was great for building experience! And pointy needles made them much easier too.

  25. Susan in Guelph says:

    A firefly shawlette…what a delightful concept! I check your blog daily in wonder and anticipation, Anne, noting (with a chuckle) that your secret project announcements are to this knitting fan like the base of the old oak tree is to butterflies….

  26. twinsetellen says:

    Dang. I read through all the comments hoping to find the secret to nupps. At least I got to see some lovely butterflies and received the promise of a new shawlette. I do love shawlettes – so perfect for the over-air-conditioned workplace. And talk about instant gratification!

  27. Melanie T says:

    i can’t figure out nupps either… i feel honored to be among other nupp haters… especially you!

  28. Michele says:

    Hey lady,
    Don’t worry about the darn nupps-use some pretty beads instead!! That swatch design has a really neat detail about it.

  29. Can’t wait to hear what you learn about nupps. I have done an entire shawl of them, as well as “Annis” from the most recent Knitty, and mine always seem to want to lay sideways – so you can see the hole where the stitch tying it up goes through. Not quite what is expected – everyone else’s seem to look more like satin stitch in embroidery. Keep us posted!

  30. lolly says:

    The pink baby blanket is gorgeous and also, I keep scrolling on down to that shawl – les abeilles – (what a name!) I’m sure I’ll be knitting that some day… :)

  31. Tara says:

    Ooh! A new lace shawlette design, yum! I’m thinking of casting on your Abeilles later this week, just got a few projects to polish off first…