Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Sublime Sweater

This sweater is nothing extraordinary.  Just a comfort knit.  The equivalent of mashed potatoes and a warm hug.  But wearing it at home lounging about with nothing to do is sublime after working long hours these past few weeks.

The soft color reminds me of sand and being at the seashore and, for some reason, Spring too. I guess I've been thinking a lot about Spring lately because I've purchased some flower seeds (from a haunted farm no less, The Little Ragamuffin) and I will be tossing these seeds about hoping some take hold this Spring.  I should probably make more of an effort to see that they survive, but you have to be hardy to survive up here and I'm not the coddling type.

I also feel the need to try something different and so I've begun the process of developing a bread starter using just the wild yeast and bacteria found in Topanga.  I'm following the technique explained in Tartine Bread (thank you Raina for the recommendation) and I'll report back on how this turns out.  Years ago I kept a sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour and I have missed the crusty rustic breads that a well developed starter makes.

I've noticed a few bloggers have been sharing the books that they are reading and I'll do the same.  I'm reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  I love a book that takes me to a place that I've never been and this story takes place in Ethiopia which is colorfully depicted with interesting characters.  If you haven't discovered Good Reads you will find it a great resource for finding books (it's the Rav equivalent for reading).  I also enjoy Hege's blog Cloudberry as her taste in books is similar to mine and she takes beautiful photos set in Norway.

Particulars:  Sublime Pattern Book 603, Exquisite Cardigan, 9 skeins Sublime baby cashmere merino silk dk (shade 0122); US 6 needles.  I heavily modified this pattern including changing it from dropped sleeves to inset as I wanted a more fitted sweater.  The yarn is wonderfully soft and a pleasure to wear.

The Misadventures of Simcha

I don't know what he's chewing on.  But I am getting a little worried about the UPS man.  His truck has been parked outside for several days now and there is no sign of him anywhere.

Until next time be well and love well.  Spring will be here sooner than you think and ~ in the meantime ~ enjoy the pleasure of loosing yourself in a good book!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Lumberjack Shawl

I call this my Lumberjack Shawl because that's the name of the colorway and because it suits the personality of this shawl so well. Something I would know because I have a history with lumber jacks having come from a family of manly men who know something about felling trees and living off the land.

My dad grew up in Raymond, Washington a place described by Wikipedia as "a wild and wooly lumber mill  town" where the lumber industry was part of everyone's life.  My dad's family lived next door to a logging company; my grandfather worked as a lumberjack (for about a week); my dad's brother Keith spent his Summer working as a Whistle Punk (the person who signals when the logs are ready to be hauled); and I was almost killed by a logging truck when I was a child.  If you ask my dad to tell you about lumberjacks he'll be able to tell you everything you ever wanted to know, and then some.

Which is a long way of saying that I have an appreciation and understanding of what makes a lumberjack and to give context as to why I chose this yarn and how knitting is a very personal journey for me.  The yarn itself is also special because it was handspun by my very dear friend, Monika who writes the blog Smoking Hot Needles.  Monika is an incredibly talented fiber artist and besides spinning yarn she also writes patterns and you may recall that I knit her Kyla mittens a few years back which I still wear and enjoy most mornings.

When Monika spun this yarn she knew it would make a fabulous shawl so she divided the roving so that when the skeins were joined they would blend seamlessly into a continuous fabric.  Skillful and thoughtful she's a pro in every sense of the word.

Particulars:  Pamuya Shawl designed by Alexandra Wiedmayer who blogs as Karigan's Husky World; 698 yards(8 oz) Falkland wool; 2ply; colorway Lumber Jack; dyed by FatCatKnits and handspun by Monika Smoking Hot Needles (shop link).  I loved knitting this shawl as it's very easy to knit but still creates a complex looking fabric.  Mods:  I used US 5 needles as I used a slightly heavier weight yarn I also used more yarn than the pattern calls for.  The heart necklace I'm wearing was made by the very sweet Tracy of Pink Purl who has an etsy shop called Prana Light where she sells spiritual and inspirational items.  There is a better picture of this necklace in a post years ago called Romantic Beaded Scarf.

Until next time, be well and love well and I encourage you to think about where you came from and how you can make that history part of your life.  I'll leave you with a glimpse of my Dad as a young man who I admire more than I can say.