Monday, April 5, 2010

Stopping In For A Bit

How nice it is to have warm weather again!  Spring is slow to appear here in Wisconsin, but there are sure signs all around.  Birds are returning, the grass is growing again, the weather is slowly warming up.

I used to be unappreciative of Spring - what a ridiculous notion!  How could I not revel in the warmth, be inspired by the rebirth of new life all around me, stand in awe as I think about the long journeys of migratory birds?  I can't say I took Spring for granted... I am, after all, a Minnesotan... but these past few years I have looked forward to it more and more.

I wish that Spring had the power to return life to my knitting as well.  It seems to have gone into hibernation and is too stubborn to be awoken by the beautiful birdsongs.  I have started a new semester (trimester, really - my last as an undergrad!) and find little time to do any knitting.  My senior recital is on April 10 and I have been spending every spare minute I have practicing and preparing for that.  I hope that once it's over, I might have a bit more time to get back to my knitting.  My course load this term seems entirely manageable and my classes are incredibly interesting, so I find myself in the library studying even when I have already completed all of the assigned reading for that day (dork, much?).

As far as knitting goes, Evenstar has stopped growing.  I haven't worked on it since the middle of March.  I have only knit two of the four clues that have been published so far.

There is just something about it that's off for me.  I can't put my finger on it though.  This is just one of those projects that I am not overly consumed with a desire to knit on it all day every day.  The yarn is absolutely wonderful (you can't argue with silk, alpaca, and cashmere).  I honestly think it may be the needles.  I'm using Addi lace needles for this, and I just don't know if they're my favorite.  Also, because the yarn is made with somewhat inelastic fibers, the yarn doesn't have much spring to it, which I think also adds to my feeling that something isn't quite working.  And to be completely honest, I don't think this pattern is that great.  There, I said it.  I really can't be too critical as I know that I can't design something like this, but for me, I don't know if I'm going to be happy with the end results.  I'm thinking about ripping it and using the yarn for something else, but I'll give it a bit more thought before I do that.

Of course, there is a project I have on the needles that I do love to death and want to knit all day every day.  It would be the long-lost Autumn Arbor Stole by Anne Hanson.

I started this shawl back in June '09 using the recommended yarn - The Woolen Rabbit Whisper Merino Laceweight - gifted to me by my sister for my birthday along with the pattern (they came as a kit).  I'm using the Mystic Mountain Pine colorway (I think) and it is absolutely gorgeous.  I don't think you can tell in this picture how many colors there really are in this hand-dyed yarn.  I love knitting each and every single stitch just to watch the colors flow through my fingers.  The pattern itself, as I tend to expect from Anne Hanson, is deceptively easy and entirely intuitive.  I have to ask though, do the colors look splotchy or pretty?  I can't decide.  I have a feeling that when it's all blocked out it'll look better (and the pattern won't be as obscured).

Here's a close-up so that you can maybe see the colors a bit better:

Really though, a picture just can't do this yarn justice.  It is absolutely gorgeous.

...and that pretty much wraps up what I've been doing.  I haven't touched any other projects, and haven't even knit an entire pattern repeat on the Autumn Arbor Stole, so I can barely say I've even been working on that.  I just had some spare time this afternoon (class got out early) so I thought I would blog to give you all a bit of an update about what's going on around these parts.

I just love Spring!


  1. And, of course, good to see you surfacing here and there.

  2. Peter...I actually like the color....I bet when you block it will look less splotchy. I love the Woolen Rabbit yarn. I used it (roasting chestnut colorway) on Anne's Twinings stole. Love, love, love.

  3. Wow! your recital is this Saturday! Good luck!

    I'm sad you harbor bad feelings towards your Evenstar shawl. I started on Hiya Hiyas and hated them. It gave me an excuse to go out and buy Addi Lace needles; that made a world of difference, especially for the occasional crazy stitches the designer puts in there. It went from nerve-wracking to doable.

    As for your stole, I adore the colors. I know what you mean about enjoying every stitch. I've worked with a beautiful worsted weight yarn on clear acrylic needles in dappled sunlight; that was a nice time! But I chuckle at the fact that you are colorblind and still understand that delight. How can that be?

  4. I think the colors in the Stole are absolutely gorgeous, they make it look like moving water. They are so pretty!

  5. I haven't even started my Evenstar. I was feeling a little ambivalent about it when Clue 2 (I think it was 2?) didn't line up, but I have to admit that after seeing pictures of the latest clue, I really like it. I think the twisted stitch columns and the arches are a wonderful architectural contrast to the leafy bits in the first part. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

    I think the colours in your stole are beautiful, but to my eyes, they are a bit blotchy and do sort of obscure the pattern. If I were you, though, I'd keep going, or maybe block what you have so far and see what happens.

    Good luck with the recital! Or should that be, "Break a leg!" Or is that just for plays?

  6. The Woolen Rabbit yarn you are using is gorgeous; Clumsy did good! I haven't had much time lately for knitting or blogging, either. It's inspiring that you're focusing so much on your senior concert. Good luck! I'm sure the lack of mojo is really just lack of time, and a desire to focus on this momentous occasion.

  7. Hey, sometimes the mojo needs a rest, you know? And I think you'll be surprised with the shawl. Often it's the borders, or the last third that really makes us fall in love with a design. I know it's that way with me at least.

  8. Needles make all the difference. The lace needles are good if your fabric isn't dense and in that case I'll change to KnitPicks needles as they are pointed but not sticky. Both shawls are beautiful!!

  9. The colors are gorgeous - reminds me of the ocean more than mountains, but that's just my thought. I think the yarn and pattern will be fine, but if you are in doubt - after all, it's your feelings that matter most - then block or pin it out so you can stand back and get a good look. You should be enjoying knitting something like that, not worrying about it. ; )

  10. I haven't worked on Evenstar after the second clue, either. I'll get back to it eventually, but it has become one of those "if I have nothing else going on" projects.

    I think the colors for AA look great--very water color-y.

  11. Not blotchy! Beautiful, like moving water....