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!
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!!!