not so unrealistic after all

Posted on Posted in Bare Naked Wools, designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects


did you have a good thanksgiving weekend? ours was just great—with much appreciated downtime from our usual pace at home.


we got to spend a few days in a fantastic part of vermont with family, at my cousin’s home on lake champlain.


our first night there was thanksgiving eve and after supper i finished up what i could of my skirt project, which i’ve been knitting in our kent DK, color driftwood.


now you can see a lot better what is going on at the hem—the same motif as the top of the skirt but larger and more dramatic, due to the increased stitch count of each panel. i filled in the negative space at the lower edge with the twisted rib to keep that from curling.

it reminds me a little bit of those huge ski jump runs they set up for olympic competitions, so i’ve decided to name it interlaken; for some reason the ski jumping in those particular games sticks in my mind.


but, with just two rounds to go (one of them the BO), i ran out of yarn, as i expected. time to put this project away until we got home. i was in bed by 10:30 pm that night and had my first truly full night of sleep in ages.

with more than a few fabulous cooks onsite to share the work of holiday preparations, i was able to get out on a sunny TG morning for quite a run along the western lake shore, then down and around hyde point, robinson point, and pearl bay—about twice as far as i’d planned. when doing a new route, i’m not a good judge of how long i’ve been running.


while heading outward and south, the wind was so strong that it blew my legs sideways as i went so that i kept kicking myself between strides (stop that laughing). i was glad i went south first—later, on the road back north i had a nice tailwind to make up for running so much further out than i’d planned. no worries; i needed to work up an appetite for the afternoon meal . . .


back at the house, the teenagers were up and dinner prep had swung into full throttle. some of us helped in the kitchen while some of us made the tables ready—with eighteen people total for dinner we had two.


many hands make light work and this dinner was no exception; with so many good cooks around, the scope of dishes prepared for both meat eaters and vegetarians was incredible.


with everything from maple-glazed parsnips to a warm salad of shaved brussels sprouts to caramelized cauliflower, plus vegetarian shepherd’s pie and the usual trimmings of sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, etc, etc.


and every bit of it was just scrumptious. don’t even get me started on the desserts . . . i was so taken in by those that i forgot entirely about snapping photos, haha.


after dinner and cleanup, we all settled in for an evening of conversation, reading, puzzles, and knitting. my niece and nephew completed the puzzle they’d been working on all afternoon and posed for a proud photo. they are getting so big—every time i see them they seem to have grown several inches.


david and i each cast on for new projects—he’s been working on his blanket squares quite monogamously since january and brought some of those along to continue. i wonder how many blocks he has finished now? i know he’s got piles of them . . .


however he also needs a new hat, so he packed up a skein of stone soup DK in river rock to switch off to (he’s become a real knitter this year, now with multiple projects in play!). he loves his squish me cap, but somehow managed to shrink it and tho he still wears it faithfully, it doesn’t slouch as it used to (see above).


within a few hours he was well along; you know how these hats are—nothing short of addictive. he’ll be wearing this new one very soon.


meanwhile on my end of the sofa, i continued on the new shawl i’d cast on that morning while i watched the sun come up and waited for the temperature outside to rise a bit.


i am knitting with our finest lace yarn, cabécou brillant, which is a lustrous 2-ply mohair/silk/coopworth blend.


it’s very fine for an artisan lace yarn, with a thousand yards per four-ounce skein, but i’m knitting it on size 6US (4.0 mm) needles for a very airy fabric; the yarn will bloom to fill in the fabric with a lovely halo. i’m knitting with the champagne shade, which we have spun with the brown and red mohair—the more rare color that we get only in small quantities.


the color is a like parchment, which is perfect for the design i’m working on. my blocked swatch here is in the sel gris shade; the motif is adapted from an old lace book and its solid areas remind me of the dry, papery leaves that cling to dead plants at this time of year, before they tear away during winter exposure. in this yarn, they will flutter just like the real thing, with the barest movement of air.


much as i am entranced by their translucency, i am even more taken with the negative space in this pattern—those delicate skeletal structures joining the leaves are exact replicas of the membranes that line the casings of seed pods left behind by our asiatic lilies.


the representation is so uncannily organic that it brings the yarn into a whole other dimension for me. i just love it when a composition of yarn and shapes comes to life like this, sigh.


hard to believe it now, but that swatch once looked exactly like this homely, crumpled fabric, too—the magic of blocking will open this up and smooth out its surface so that it sparkles and dances with the same light.


can you tell i’m excited about this one? i’m naming it physalis for now; while physalis pods don’t have the cool-looking membrane between the segments, they do have the same papery texture and transparency i find attractive and the name is wonderful. i can’t find a specific name for the lily pods, or i might consider that (any botanists or horticulturists out there who might know?).


though much more gray and even windier on friday morning, i went for another fantastic long run—it’s amazing what a difference it makes when i get a proper night’s sleep.


i never thought i could do two long runs back to back, but i felt at least as good the second day. and though i started out intending to do a short recovery run, i ended up doing an even longer one, this time north and out to bow and arrow point and back (chalk one up also for not knowing the terrain very well; it looked WAY shorter in my maps app).


but with scenery like this, it’s easy to keep going and going, just to find out what’s around the next bend.


the point is a cape that ends in a super-pointy spit of land upon which a YMCA camp stands; unfortunately, the very point is closed to the public. but the cape is still a nice run.


the road back took me past an old graveyard and a lot of farmland.


water and mountains formed a backdrop in nearly every direction. there’s something about a farm property that has settled into quiet for the winter; while i’m sure the house and barn had plenty of activity to fill their spaces, the fields were soothingly at rest.

after a hot shower and a good stretch, i headed to the kitchen to start making turkey sandwiches, first for my mom and and our host’s mom, then one for me. and after that, more knitting. i’m telling you, this was one of the best mini vacations ever.

i honestly can’t remember how the rest of the day passed except that it was relaxing and i’m pretty sure i had a nap at some point, haha. we all convened for a good dinner of risotto made by my cousin along with the butternut squash soup i had brought, made entirely of things form our garden. once again, everything was delicious and the company was the best part.


up early the next morning, i decided to cast on for another project—something more mindless and easy on the hands that i could manage easily in the car. we were heading home later that morning. can you guess what it might be?


can you guess now??


it’s my prototype for slow dog noodle, the red scarf project! i’m knitting this first one in undyed shades of confection sport while awaiting the dyed samples to arrive from rita at yarn hollow (they arrived today, yay! we’ll show all in a post later this week; you won’t be disappointed). and yes, we will be offering sets in the undyed shades too, although you could buy some now if you wanted to.


i’m using white chocolate, cookies n cream, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. i’m knitting the wrap size to get an idea of what the yardage requirement will be. i’m working size 9US (5.5 mm); i think this is about as loose as i would go with this yarn and pattern. i’m still getting excellent stitch definition and a nice even fabric; the bigger needles give it a super-light and airy hand. the combination of the very springy corriedale fiber and this very stable stitch pattern makes for a fabric which will keep its shape nicely despite the loose gauge.


as it turned out, i did most of the driving saturday, so i didn’t get much car knitting in, but i worked on it that night at my mom’s house while we watched a couple of movies on TMC and then also on sunday afternoon on the way back to ohio (i drove the first half; david the second).


even though i’m knitting the length of the wrap in each row (it’s a side to side construction), the stripes just zip by—after a few more hours put in on it last night i was into the third shade already. in this version, i’m doing a half repeat in each shade and the repeating the sequence again for the wrap width. my next sample knit will be with the red yarns and i’ll take advantage of the closer gradient colors to work from dark to light at the center and then back to dark again (there can be several combinations, including a random one!).

i had thought i would release the pattern before we left for our break, but i’m glad i waited; while it wouldn’t bother me to release it with my sample unfinished as i did last year, i really needed to get a better idea of the yardage estimate, since it starts with a very long cast on—we need to know more or less how much yarn each stripe will require (and now i do).

now i have a set each of one ounce and four ounce skeins, so i can start on a red sample any time. later this week, i’ll be able to show you that and get the pattern posted for purchase.


after breakfast on sunday morning at my mom’s, i remembered that i’d promised her i’d cast on the large number of sts for her next project—an hourglass throw knit in this gorgeous briar rose abundance, gifted to her by darling chris when my mom had her knee surgery several years ago.

chris thought she would enjoy knitting a big project during her recovery, but as it turned out, my mom wasn’t feeling up to such a big project. since then she’s had a few items in her queue that she wanted to complete, all the while talking about how she was getting closer to starting this throw in “that beautiful yarn form your friend”.


finally she has cleared her plate of afghans for the grandchildren and now it’s time to knit for herself; this gorgeous colorway will look stunning in her living room. so the last thing i did before i left was to cast on and place all of her markers, then work the first row to set up the pattern for her. she can take it easily form there.

i told her it should be done by christmas, right? she just snorted.

alright then, time for me to go for the moment; i have knitting to do myself. i’ll be back in a day or so to tell you about IMMERSION mini club—our winter/spring voyage into the wild blue yonder.

signups open today for everyone, yay!

10 thoughts on “not so unrealistic after all

  1. Gorgeous photos of where your cousins live, what an interesting running route you had. I think I would have stopped for a nosey around the graveyard! Interlaken is a good name for your new project, it is the central hub for many alpine excursions. I remember you posting a photo of that pink yarn before and liked it very much. So pleased your Mum is working with it.

  2. Lovely blog post as always. So nice to see family pics too at such a lovely spot. Can’t wait to see more as projects progress. Thanks for sharing as you do-it is a delight.

  3. So glad you got away to a beautiful peaceful place with family and friends! Truly a thanksgiving! I absolutely LOVE the new lace patten and can’t wait to see the finished piece….also really looking forward to the red scarf! The Abundance yarn for your mom’s blanket is beautiful; it will be stunning when finished!

  4. What a lovely post. The pictures from your run are beautiful. I am glad you had such a relaxing get away. I am so looking forward to the red scarf project.

  5. A much needed relaxing get away. So glad you had a nice time. Anxiously awaiting the red scarf project….loving it.

  6. Congrats on rest and running…you deserve time to yourself. Love that cabécou lace…divine! I bought some cabécou in Rhinebeck but not sure it was lace… Can I just say how impressed I am with David’s knitting! Way to go! As for that lovely skirt, I bet that will look lovely on you.

  7. You deserve some down time…I think your down time is equivalent to my busy, busy time haha! What a glorious place to spend Thanksgiving. I understand what your mom was experiencing after surgery…the aftereffects just wreck havoc with concentration. She sounds like a sweetie. Glad your safely home–take time for some sleep!

  8. My botanist friend says the seedpods of lilies are called capsules. Not a pretty name, I think, but there you go.

  9. What a gorgeous array of pictures…from the holiday meal and landscape to all the sneak peeks at projects on the needles. I don’t know how you fi d time to take the pictures of everything, let alone get so much done to photograph!

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