Friday, September 12, 2008

Something Old and Something New

It's my BIRTHDAY! Wait a minute. No it's not. It's just feels like my birthday. At the risk of embarrassing my friend Theresa at TDoesWool look what arrived in the mail! I won Theresa's birthday blog contest and this is my present from her. She included beautiful Noro yarn, a Longaberger Basket, a handcrafted key chain from Iron Oak Forge, a bouquet of dried flowers, matching buttons, sea shells, wool wash, tea, and a lovely card. To say I was floored when I opened the package is an understatement! Can we say WOW together!



May I just say that Knitters (please note the capital K) are the coolest most generous people in the whole world and Theresa is a perfect example of this. All of the little extras she included in her gift expresses her giving nature. If you are not familiar with her blog then pop on over and say hi ho to this very special lady. I have been a huge fan of hers ever since she began blogging and just one visit and you will be too!



I'm just thinking aloud. Maybe the Noro Blossom yarn (bulky weight yarn - 3 skeins) should be a Brulee Scarf? A Cloud Bolero? A Mobius? All of these options are free patterns that I think would work well with this artistic and beautiful yarn. I would love to hear your suggestions!

Now for Something Old.....

It's hard to think about old projects when I have such new and tempting yarn in front of me! Nevertheless old projects have been on my mind lately because I have been working on my Cora Shawl again. No groaning out there. It's been a year since we've look at this project and I should think you would be happy to know I'm no quitter.


The mystique of The Cora Shawl and part of it's draw for me is that it is knit with Shetland wool. I love the history and art that is associated with Shetland and Fair Isle and someday I will tackle a Fair Isle project. If you are interested, there are a number of books that discuss Fair Isle and Shetland. I happen to have The Art of Fair Isle Knitting, History, Technique, color & Patterns by Ann Feitelson. I like the personal stories that Ms. Feitelson shares in this book and of course the patterns are all beautiful.

For now I'm content to knit with the Shetland wool and think about the lives of those who made a living from the raising of sheep in this cold desolate region and the hearty crofters who spent their lives there.

I'm currently up to 812 stitches per round so it's pretty slow going. It will be over a 1,000 stitches before I start the edging. Actually, this might be a good time to make a memory - because seeing this shawl just might take you back a few years - as I'm unlikely to finish it anytime in the near future. It's becoming a comfort blanket for me, of sorts.


Lastly I would like to share a book I just finished reading, Raven Black, by Ann Cleeves. It's a thriller set - you guessed it - in Shetland. While the plot is certainly not centered on knitting, you will enjoy the references and bits about knitting that form the backdrop and color of the story. It's not literature but it did win the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award and I found it a very enjoyable read. Mr Puffy and I have agreed upon a total of 4 out of 5 stars!

Edit Update:

I was honored with a comment from the Authoress herself, Ann Cleeves, and since it was addressed to all of us Knitters I wanted to post it on the blog itself where we can all read it:

Hi to all you knitters.

I was delighted to see a copy of RAVEN BLACK on Mr Puffy's blog and to find out that there's so much interest in Fair Isle out there. I spent 2 years on the Isle when I left university and have been visiting friends in Shetland ever since - that's where the material for the mystery novels come from. WHITE NIGHTS, the second book in the quartet is published in the US on Monday, and though there isn't a lot about knitting there, there's quite a bit about sheep. When I was on Fair Isle I learned to knit a bit, but was much better at hand clipping sheep than I was with the needles...The shawl sounds a labour of love.

Did you know that Shetland women knitted their own wedding veils and tradition had it that the work was so fine that it could be pulled through a wedding ring? If you make it to Shetland you must visit the new museum in Lerwick which has fantastic examples of the work.I don't know where you all live, but I'm doing a book tour of the east coast from September 25th.

I'll be showing a DVD of the islands, talking about the books and even handing out Shetland homebake recipes. Check out the events page of my website for details - http://www.anncleeves.com/. It would be lovely to meet you.Thanks again for the mention of the book!

Mr Puffy is hoping those recipes will come with American baking instructions!!!

25 comments:

Bridget said...

Wow what a fantastic package! I think I would sit and look and touch for days before I did anything with it!

Good luck on your Cora Shawl. The final product is beautiful, but I'd be lucky to make it halfway in the pattern ...

The book sounds interesting - and it looks as if Mr Puffy might want to even read it again!

Windyridge said...

Mr Puffy never ceases to amaze me with his sophistication and taste!

Denise said...

Wow, what super goodies, congrats to you :-)
I've not seen that shawl before, I can't imagine having 1000 stitches on the needles - good luck with that.
I'm currently reading the Thirteenth Tale for book club next week - have you read it? I'm really enjoying it, set in Yorkshire England and some what of a mystery/ghost story.
Ike is headed our way but we are in Austin so should just get some heavy rain and winds, I'm planning on being home all weekend, should make for lots of knitting time. I just knit a bunny! Will have to post again soon to show him off:)

Monika said...

Wow- I'm floored too! Such a wonderful prize! The yarn looks interesting. Is it soft?
I love Mr. Puffy's picture. Is it just me, or is he getting more photogenic every time? Thanks for the book tip! I see if my library has it, or even go and buy it, read it and take it with me as a gift to the one person I'll meet in Austria, who can read English books. Is it O.K. to give away a book one has read?

amanda said...

812 stitches?? Yowza.
I too will start fair isle one day, perhaps one day soon.

Thanks for the book suggestion. I am bad at making time to read (since I just want to knit in my free time) but will try and check this one out.

amanda said...

You lucky lady you! That cora sounds like a real handful. I'd be dumping it for a while to play with the new Noro if I were you! :D

Kelly said...

wowee! Nice package!
I can't believe the number of stitches on that shawl, CRAZY!!! Good luck finishing it!

t does wool said...

I'm thrilled that you are enjoying everything! and really,Claudia,any one of those patterns would be a great choice...now I did Brulee so I am partial...and that you for the book referral-I will look it up!

knitting dragonfly said...

OOOO pretty, quite a haul there. I think the shawl has lovely colors! Bravo, to you to keep at it.
Vicki

tiennie said...

Enjoy all your unbirthday gifts!

Ann Cleeves said...

Hi to all you knitters. I was delighted to see a copy of RAVEN BLACK on Mr Puffy's blog and to find out that there's so much interest in Fair Isle out there. I spent 2 years on the Isle when I left university and have been visiting friends in Shetland ever since - that's where the material for the mystery novels come from. WHITE NIGHTS, the second book in the quartet is published in the US on Monday, and though there isn't a lot about knitting there, there's quite a bit about sheep. When I was on Fair Isle I learned to knit a bit, but was much better at hand clipping sheep than I was with the needles...

The shawl sounds a labour of love. Did you know that Shetland women knitted their own wedding veils and tradtion had it that the work was so fine that it could be pulled through a wedding ring? If you make it to Shetland you must visit the new museum in Lerwick which has fantastic examples of the work.

I don't know where you all live, but I'm doing a book tour of the east coast from September 25th. I'll be showing a DVD of the islands, talking about the books and even handing out Shetland homebake recipes. Check out the events page of my website for details - www.anncleeves.com. It would be lovely to meet you.

Thanks again for the mention of the book!

Diana said...

What an awesome package! Kudos to you for picking up an old knitting project and not abandoning it.

Silvia said...

That's a great package- I'm voting for the scarf- it's really cute. I'll put that book on my to read list,and I have to second Denise's recommendation ofthe 13th Tale- a great story- eery,in fact!

raining sheep said...

Blogworld is such a wonderful place, full of love. What an incredible package. There is so much stuff in it, and it's all so great. I have made endpaper mitts which are an introduction to fair isle. They were hard and took me a long time :) but maybe one day I will try again.

Channon said...

What a great package! The Cora Shawl is rather impressive already.

I think I need to go order that book... Perhaps Sissy will enjoy it too?

Firefly Nights said...

Congratulations on the blog contest win. It was a great gift.

I like the bolero, but I think the yarn is asking to be a Moebius.

If you're working more than 800 stitches per row I can see why you put the Cora shawl aside for long periods. I'm doing a triangular scarf and just have a couple hundred stitches per row but it makes me wish I was doing a rectangular one instead.

Great picture of Mr. Puffy. Give him a hug.

Sherry said...

Lucky you! You received wonderful gifts from Theresa. Plus you received a comment from the books author. Next thing you know the books publisher is going to try to contract with you & Mr. Puffy for photos. Mr. Puffy's photo with the book and the ocean rocks, etc in the background is quite becoming.

Marie said...

Oh, yes, it is a fabulous package. I just love the colors in the yarn. I have no idea what you should knit it up into. I would just want to stare at the colors for a long while. Good luck deciding!

How nice of the author to leave a comment on your blog.

Alison Boon said...

Lucky lucky girl. Such a lovely prize. The book sounds great and how interesting to have a comment from the author as well.

Tracy said...

Hi, Claudia! Great to be back and catch up with you & Mr. Puffy here! :o) Congrats on the package...what fun! Such scrumptious yarn and projects...That shawl sounds a killer though 800+ sts--Yikes--good luck! One day I hope to master fair isle...Thanks for the book tip :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Ann Cleeves said...

Traditional Fair Isle knitting with a number of yarns - usually from a natural coloured fleece as a background and more brightly coloured dyed wools to create the pattern - really isn't that difficult. Even I managed a couple of hats while I was there!!

Legend has it that the patterns came from Catholic images found on a ship called El Gran Grifon, which sank on the Isle during the Spanish Armada in the sixteenth century...

Hilary said...

How cool that Ann Cleeves has been commenting! Thank you for sharing your recommendation of her book -- looks like a must-read!

Re: the Cora Shawl, even just a little bit of progress is still progress! Just think how proud you'll be when you finish.

Whoa -- nice package from Theresa!

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Hobbygåsa said...

Wow, you are a lucky girl-what a great gift! And you keep up the good work with the shawl, it will be beautiful when finished. Thank you for the book tip also, next time I order books from Amazone I think this will be in my order. When I read English it is usually knitting patterns or blogs, so maybe it is time to read something else lol:.

Hilary said...

Hey there! I've nominated you for the I Love Your Blog Award. Come by mine to retrieve your ribbon!