Scarf! Done! And other Randomness!

It turns out that I did manage to finish that simple scarf I showed you last week pretty quick after all. I knew I would have a little extra knitting time on Thursday and Friday, because although I hadn’t mentioned it, I had a little minor surgery scheduled for Thursday, and had pretty much read Joe the riot act ahead of time to the effect of “You will be in charge of the kids and I will be left *!?%& alone for a couple of days!”

I was actually a little wound up leading up to Thursday because of the less-than-stellar performance Joe has given in caregiving after the births of both girls, and I was trying to play it cool, but then of course it all exploded the night before, and I ended up crying on his shoulder in the kitchen at midnight. Either Joe has grown much in the last two years, or my explosion hit home or some other magic occurred because he did a great job of letting me relax and recover from what turned out to be a pretty darn easy procedure.

Some of you may remember me asking about a certain procedure several months ago, and it is that one. Let’s not go into further details, other than to say that I have no regrets at all whatsoever – even if it turns out to be less effective than I have hopes for it to be, it was a nearly painless procedure and recovery (I do have a very high pain tolerance, though) and I scored a day of near-total leisure out of it the likes of which I have not had since -oh- Julie was born.

But back to the knitting…I thought I was going to blog last night, and I took these pictures yesterday. The scarf looks like a rumpled rag in its unblocked state.

Daisy cat loves to be around my knitting, but I think she was actually a bit freaked out that I was arranging it around her like that.

Oh, and by the way, here is the status of the current pair of socks – both well past the heel, and I’ve knit on them a bit more this evening, so they’re even farther along now.

I always do get a little nervous when my supply of mindless stockinette-in-the-round gets a bit low, so I went ahead and started toes for the next pair, which also served as good samples for the sock class I just started teaching on Saturday. I needed at least one sock set up on double-points to serve as a visual aid in my little lecture on the various needle choices one has when knitting socks – double-points, two circulars, magic loop, two socks on two circulars or magic loop (gods help us).

And since we’re totally sidetracked from the scarf at the moment, I may as well go ahead and show you the skein of yarn that followed me home from the store. It’s Opal cotton-wool-nylon blend sock yarn, just another self-striping variation. Wrapping up the blankie project had me thinking about how sock yarns come and go, and how I’ve passed up some lovely ones in the past that are no longer available and that I would really like to have. Also, I’m sensing a trend in the market away from some of the lovely self-striping commercial yarns that have been available in the last several years. I don’t think they’re going to go away altogether, but I’ve made up my mind to go ahead and buy a skein here and there when it strikes my eye. Plus, I need more cotton-wool stash – I like the socks, and I have a box of cotton-wool scraps waiting to get big enough for another project one of these days. Yes, I do think I should have two heirloom blankets for my two girls eventually.

And now back to the scarf. I had been worried when I started it that my one-of-a-kind skein of 267 yards of handspun Blue Faced Leister wool averaging about sport or DK weight might not be quite enough for a good-length scarf. So I intentionally picked an open lace pattern, to stretch it out a bit, and I chose a rather narrow width just to be sure. If there were enough yarn after all, I could always just keep knitting it longer, therefore allowing enough length to wrap it several times around my neck. Turns out I had about the right amount.

It looks pretty ratty and scrunched up in this picture still, but you can see the strands of sock yarn that I ran down the sides to aid in blocking.

Then I got the sucker wet and pinned it out. It looks much better stretched to its openwork limits. Like a torture chamber for lace.

In case you’re curious, the way I like to block lace is to use strong smooth yarn in the same way one would use blocking wires – run it through the edges, and then just pull it tight enough to make a mostly straight line. The additional pins along the edges help keep the lines from dipping too much. I tie a slip-knot at the ends and poke a pin through the loop to hold it in place. My poor guest bed acts like a giant pin cushion, but at least the vinyl gingham table cloth keeps the water out of the mattress and the checkers are very helpful in lining everything up straight. This method works even better on pieces that are less long and narrow.

This pattern is super easy, hardly worth calling a pattern. If you’re interested in knitting something similar, here’s what I did.

Cast on 31 sts.
K 1 row plain
Repeat next two rows till you’re almost out of yarn:
Row 1: K3, YO, K2, sl 2 sts as if to knit at the same time, k1, pass slipped sts over (centered decrease), K2, YO, K1, YO, K3, centered decrease, K3, YO, K1, YO, K2, centered decrease, K2, YO, K3
Row 2: K3, P7, K1, P9, K1, P7, K3
K 1 row plain
Bind off loosely.

Lace doesn’t get much easier than that.

Oh hey! Those bags I ordered from messie on etsy showed up in like one day. She is so fast on shipping, and she even waived shipping charges since I ordered more than $30 worth. I always get complements on her bags when I’m out with a project in one of them. They are quite handy and super-cute. Perfect for a sock project.

Here’s what my family was doing on Friday while I was laying around knitting and watching movies – Joe took the girls to the zoo, and I pulled pictures off the camera when they came home. They love the area where they can stick their hands in the pools full of fish.

This picture cracked me up because that is such a typical Julie pose and expression.

Oh, and I’ve been wanting to show off these drawings of Julie’s – I think I will have to frame at least one or two of them. The ones on the left are just a couple in a series she did over the last couple weeks – they are people floating away with balloons. The one on the right is a picture of the ficus tree in our living room. I love it so much I confiscated it. Julie loves doing art projects, and she’s had a little leap forward in her abilities lately. Yes, they are totally typical four-year-old art projects, but they are *my* four-year-old’s art projects, and so are utterly precious to *me*.

I’m off to bed, to drift off to sleep pondering which main project I’ll pick up tomorrow – another lace scarf? One of the many sweaters in the wings? The entrelac socks? Oh, the possibilities! Oh, the decisions!

8 Responses to “Scarf! Done! And other Randomness!”

  1. SwissKnits! says:

    Glad surgery went well, and that you got the rest you needed and deserved!

    I too get nervous and frankly unhappy with out mindless sock knitting. It’s self imposed this week, because I *have* to get my nephew’s mitts completed and out to him… but I day dream of my sock knitting constantly!

    Julie’s expression is 100% you Shelly. Too cute!!

    Thanks for the hints on blocking lace without the wires!… good to know.

    Rest up, and have a great day!

  2. yarndork says:

    Those pictures are simply gorgeous! The drawings, I mean. You have an artist on your hands. One hint, which you’re probably already doing, but put the name and date on the back of the drawing. There will come a day when you won’t be sure…

    Glad to hear your surgery and recuperation went well too. Nice socks!

  3. melonkelli says:

    Glad you got a break and your surgery seems to have gone well.

    I love the pictures — my sons love to draw. I recently purchased a couple of these frames (http://www.dynamicframes.com/artframes.htm)
    so I have a place to put their art.

  4. Tammy says:

    Glad surgery went well and hope you recover quickly! I had surgery last year at this time and it took a while to get back to “normal”.

    The pink/blue stripes you picture are very pretty. Are you knitting two socks on one circular ? It looks like it in the picture.

    I also like your artist’s drawings -so happy and cute!

  5. Jess says:

    What an artist! Those pictures are fabulous!
    Glad your bags made it to you quickly. You always pick such great prints. :)
    Glad to have found your blog!

  6. Ashley says:

    All your projects look so fabulous and I love your socks! You look like the perfect person to teach a sock knitting class! :)

  7. Alaina says:

    Your girls are so cute :)

    Love the pictures – socks look awesome as does the scarf…

    Good luck with your recovery…

    Take care.

  8. Rositta says:

    I’m sorry to bother you but I have tried to do your scarf and either I’m missing something (brain dead from anesthesia) but I end up with 6 stitches left? Help please…ciao

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