Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When Life Doesn't Follow the Knitting Script

Sorry it’s been awhile since my last blog entry. I have been knitting away on a project that demanded a lot of time and concentrated attention. I just finished last night -- the knitting portion of it anyway -- but I can’t say that I am thrilled.

Maybe this project was too loaded emotionally for it to have any other outcome. It is a very lacy blanket made out of whisper-soft/thin alpaca. My plan was to give it to my daughter to use as a christening blanket for her daughter who is scheduled to be born in a few weeks. I have been working on it since the first of the year, but it has been a project on my mind for decades.

I have spent a lot of time dreaming of scenarios for my life and for those I love (chiefly my children). Before they were born I just knew what they would be like, what they would look like, how they would conduct their lives. But since my children never read those life-scripts they created their own and oft times it was obvious we were not sharing the same plans.

This christening gown is turning out to be one of those out-of-synch scenes. The pattern which I have been planning to use for at least 20 years, turns out not to be the pattern I ultimately decided on. Turns out that the baby’s father is not Christian so the whole christening thing might be moot. But I have invested too much thought in its creation to back away from it. And so I picked up needles, fussing and fretting over the pattern after casting aside my first choice.

I am not a confident lace knitter and so I would work on this project only when I was sure there would be no distractions. It is on very fine alpaca and a size 4 needle and I toiled over just about every stitch. It is finished but instead of a sense of accomplishment at a dream come true, I am just tired. It would seem that my theoretical blanket is much better than my reality blanket. Just as those theoretical children (you know the ones: they sleep through the night at a week old, never whine while teething, never suffer terrible twos and a quiet respectful children even as teenagers) usually bear little resemblance to their real counterparts, so this blanket lacks the splendor I had been anticipating.

I’ve been assured that when I block it, the lace in this blanket will truly bloom. Right now it’s just a wad of fabric in my bag. In truth, I enjoyed knitting booties and sweaters that called for no real effort better than making this carefully crafted blanket.
I fear that like many of my imaginary scenes, the one involving a christening blanket will be better in my head than in real life. I thought that making it would be pleasure in every stitch. Ha! I thought my first grandchild would rival any royal baby in her white finery in church, swaddled in the webby-fineness of her hand-knit blanket.
Now I’m not sure there will be a christening.
Not sure that the blanket is as beautiful in real life as the one I created in my head. Not sure of anything.
My priest told me to bring the blanket to church and have it blessed, so even if there is no christening, the baby will be wrapped in a blanket that has special spiritual intentions surrounding it. But still I’m not happy.
Maybe I need to let it sit for a few days then revisit it. Maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder and I will find the beauty in it. Maybe it needs the baby to make it really come to life.
-- Lucia Herndon

Friday, April 24, 2009

I told you I had some amazing customer projects to share! Look at this, a store-warming gift from wonderful customer, Diana:

This is Celestine from Berroco. Now, wow and impress your friends - it's a dodecahedron - a shape with 12 sides.

Thank you so much, Diana! We love our dodecahedron!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mini Shrug!

If you are anything like me, you read your Tangled Web email in March and ran right out to get the materials for the Plymouth shrug/vest. Mine knitted up quickly over the course of a weekend and I immediately started wearing it everywhere.

As soon as my 8 year old daughter saw it, she decided that she absolutely had to have one. Of course I wanted to make her one--it would be so much easier to make than some of the other things she has requested in the past (intarsia sweaters with 6 million flowers anyone?). But, of course, there was no pattern for a smaller version. So, I improvised. Turns out, my first attempt was a little small, but it fit my 4 year old daughter perfectly!!

Here's how I did it!

Yarn Requirements:
1 skein Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton
1 skein Tofutsi

Size 9 (I used a 24" circular)

Cast on 72 stitches.
Work in K2, P2 rib for 4".
Follow the instructions for decreasing on the original Plymouth pattern (36 sts).
Work in K1, P1 rib for 8".
Follow the instructions for increasing on the original Plymouth pattern (72 sts).
Work in K2, P2 rib for 4".
Bind off.
Follow assembly instructions on the original Plymouth pattern.

If you don't have the pattern, you can still come pick it up at the shop.

I have adjusted the pattern again for an 8 year old and am almost finished with it. I increased the number of stitches I cast on to 76, and I am working the first and third sections for 5" and the middle section for 10". I'll let you know how it comes out!

- Stacey

Friday, April 3, 2009

Annual Sale This Weekend

Our Annual April Sale starts today! 20% off everything in the store and up to 50% off selected items. Now's the time to stock up on needles, patterns, books, yarn! Treat yourself to some Lantern Moon needles or buy yarn for our February Lady Sweater Knit-Along, which starts on May 13!

Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 12-5pm

Call the store at 215-242-1271 if you have any questions.