Friday, December 28, 2012

Scarves, Shawls, Slippers, Verse

When I started this blog, I thought I could write two blog posts a week. Now it seems that two a month is miracle enough! Perhaps 2013 will lead me to write more often; we shall see.

For now, I'll try for some catching up. I'll start with knitting (of course).

I finally finished the scarf for the Seita Scholars - and was very pleased with how it turned out. I liked using the random stripe generator, and three colors were easy to manage. In fact, Jim & I recently picked up some black, brown, and gold yarn, to make a WMU scarf and hat set (which is waiting in the wings).

I also finished my Pie Wedge Shawl. The above picture is not the best, but it gives a sense of the size and drape of the shawl. It is so lightweight, and yet cozy warm. I am delighted! I am eager to show it off! (I am keeping it!)

Another Pie Shawl shot

I finally finished this striped scarf. I used a Kauni yarn that ran through shades of red, along with a charcoal yarn, and was pleased with the result.

But knitting a scarf with that yarn weight (sport) just about drove me over the edge. I worked on this, off and on, for seven months, and bound off the instant it seemed to have reached a decent length. I think it looks good on Mr. Owl here, although it did seem a bit short on the recipient (I think he was happy to get it, even so).

I did two bits of Christmas knitting (not counting the Kauni scarf; although it was delivered at Christmas, it wasn't actually knit as a Christmas gift).

These are slippers that I knit for Jim. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. I used Shepherd's Wool yarn, which is a delight to knit with, and - as you can see - they felted nicely. Jim says they are a tad big, so I need to felt them again (carefully!), and then I may add a sole - both to prevent wear, and to prevent their being slippery (it's bad form when knitted gifts lead to broken bones).

I knit the slippers holding two strands of yarn, so progress was much faster than with that Kauni project!

This is a shawl that I knit for a friend. The pattern is for a prayer shawl, but I think of it more as a "hug shawl." The yarn was from my stash (one of Jim's contributions). It was an absolute delight to knit with, and created a cozy fabric. We included an owl charm, which you can just barely see in the above photo (near the corner of the shawl). (The charm was made by a local artist, Amy Culp.)

This, by the way, may be one of my quickest knitting efforts. I started this on December 4, but then had to frog, and started again on December 11. I finished the shawl just two weeks later, on Christmas Eve. Lightning fast for me! (Thanks to Jim for helping me find extra knitting time.)

This rather blurry photo shows the owl charm, and also the lovely wale of the shawl.

I also want to share a bit from a poetry book I picked up, Susan Blackwell Ramsey's A Mind Like This. (I was Christmas shopping in our local bookstore, and succumbed to temptation.)

I first heard of Susan Ramsey (aka Rams) when Stephanie Pearl-McPhee visited Kalamazoo; she blogged about it here.

(If you go to that link, and look at the first audience picture, you can see my friend Jess and me, in the third row. We went there to celebrate Jess' birthday. It was not long after that visit, that I fell down the knitting rabbit hole...)

Anyway, the poems in this volume are delightful, full of humor and wit and insight. Here is a snippet from Mariah Educates the Sensitive, in which Ramsey asserts that no one is really allergic to wool, and sings its praises. The poem ends,
Wool is proof of a benign, personal God,
is grace, divine intervention at its best.
It's why sheep are mentioned in the Bible
more than any other animal.
I made that up,
but you believed me, proving
you've had your own suspicions
all along.

When mercury freezes,
hang your quilts on the wall.
Curl under wool.
Wool knows you're a mammal.
It's sympathetic, doesn't just conserve
body heat - it radiates it,
melting your bunched muscles
into something capable of sleep,
making sure your dreams
fill with green fields.
Other poems that I particularly enjoyed are  Mount St. Helen's, May 18, 1980, and The Kalamazoo Mastodon:
. . . we may contain,
just beneath our asphalt, below our brick,
something big and buried, something wild.
Find yourself a copy, and enjoy!

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