Saturday, August 26, 2006

Beads, Lollipops, Lace Points and Shrubberies.

In order to even get at the keyboard, it is necessary to sweep half a dozen books to the floor. Plenty more down there already. Lyn said she likes the idea of my library but says she has books in every room. Oh Lyn, believe me, so do we! The library is just for the main body of volumes. What can't fit in there is in the living room, the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, and on the stairs. Was it A. L. Rowse, the eminent historian, who once said he never trusted a house that didn't have piles of books all the way up the stairs? (Wonder how he felt about bungalows?)

(And Rho, Sophie was genuinely asleep in that last posting's picture, with her head on Irish Trees: Myths, Legends and Folklore, which was honestly on its way back to my study shelves. But of course when I went back for the camera, she woke up to see if there was any cuddling to be had and wouldn't put her head down again. Now Tasha will pose the second she sees a camera...) And now you've got a Turkish spindle from Jenkins Woodworkingtoo, Rho! May you have happy years together and so much pleasure using it. Isn't it wonderful to have something made by a craftsman by the banks of a creek in Oregon? Everybody should have some of Ed's stuff. I'm going back right now to look at his circular needles. Apparently he'll put your name on if you want. In an age of standardisation and bulk manufacture, someone like Ed is to be treasured.

Rachel, you wicked creature, telling me about the Dremel tool. I looked it up immediately and want it NOW. It's just the kind of thing for us girls who have small jobs to do, but want to do them well and properly (and not have to haul out DH's beloved, big clunky, awkward stuff). Asked DH's advice and he tactfully asked when my birthday was, knowing full well it was three weeks ago (the day before his). That's why I love him. I said early September of course...

Spent most of this morning trying to get the edging right on the Elann lace crop cardi. It is not an easy task.

Normally when faced with a simple instruction like 'work a row of single crochet up one front, round the neck and down the other side' my instinct is to gallop straight ahead, get it done as quickly as possible, and move on to something more interesting. But coming a cropper over the Anny Blatt (still languishing in the WIP basket whence I hurled it in a fit of rage) has made me more cautious. A measuring tape was found (no matter how many are known to be in the house, they all manage to hide themselves when really needed). The fronts were measured. Several times. Pins were inserted at one-inch intervals. Several fell out again and had to be located seconds before questing furry paws came by. Deep breath. Start to work up one side. Stop every few minutes to check. Lose some more pins. Discover at least two caught up in other parts of the cardi. Wonder briefly how judges at show would feel if discovering sharp objects rather more suddenly. Would this prejudice chances? Probably.

Now quite ready to work down the other front, keeping in mind all those carefully counted single crochets between pin markers (such as still remained) but couldn't, because the neck needed to be worked first. Now the neck of this Elann pattern has a very pretty set of points, created by the lace repeat. The idea was to emphasise the shape of each point with the crochet work. But would they be emphasised? They would not.

They look fine here, but as soon as any pressure at all is put on the neck (like wearing it, for example), the points flatten out and disappear. The lowest point was tightened, the upper point gathered, but they still wouldn't stay pointed. Will have to try blocking under a damp cloth. That or crocheting a linking chain from point to point all around the neck.

This pattern calls for a small bead to hang from each point at the bottom. No suitable beads to be found anywhere in Cork. Decided to empty cupboards, old sewing boxes, button collections. Still nothing. In despair, hauled out rather nice little carved jewellery box which was sadly overcrowded anyway, and went through that.

Here it is on the window sill, minus much of its contents. It has a bit of history this box. I found it in Eastern Europe over thirty years ago, before the Iron Curtain had creaked open. I think it may once have been a lady's dressing box - there are some ancient stains of make-up on its mirror. But it is beautifully carved and redolent of another, more gracious age. Over the years broken necklaces, unwanted bracelets, bits of this and that had been shoved in and forgotten. It needed a good clean out and tidy up, and it got it today, although that wasn't the original intention. I even found a necklace with beads of about the right size and shade.

Once that's done, it will be time to get moving sharpish on the socks. One needs a good deal of quiet time alone to tackle the heel-turning, undistracted by television, dogs, even DHs.

Speaking of DH, he cleared his car out yesterday and left all the detritus of months in a neat heap in the garage. Sophie got in and found a toffee lollipop, leftover from some kids' event he'd been photographing. By the time we discovered the larceny, she was in puppy heaven on the lawn, holding the stick firmly between her paws and slurping the ball of toffee with her pink tongue.

I was worried that the toffee might stick her teeth together but she disposed of it no problem.

Muffy on the other hand has been behaving rather oddly lately. She's spending a lot of time in the shrubbery and we hear the occasional roar out of her from time to time, deep in the bushes. Every time we bring her in, she heads out again, back to that shrubbery.

The others aren't too worried so I suspect it may be a twig that looks like a rat. Or perhaps a rabbit went in there a week ago and she assumes it's still there. Muffy's body weight is fine now, after that dreadful time when she just wouldn't eat, but the brain power isn't at quite the same level. She wouldn't even come in when it
was bucketing with rain the other evening; just lay doggo under the car, keeping an eye on that there shrubbery...

After all, she's probably reasoning, if she doesn't protect house and home against dangerous invaders, who will? (The other two of course were lounging inside, watching her amusedly through the French windows). I wonder what is keeping her so enthralled that she has to guard it at all hours and in all weathers?

In what remains of the evening, is it to be the beads on the bottom of the Elann cardi or turning the first heel on the Interlacement socks? Probably better to leave the socks until tomorrow. They need a morning brain. Sewing on beads, however, is reasonably safe even at this late hour (and a statement like that is certainly asking for trouble.)


Anonymous said...

What a box..what mystery .It could have belonged to family. Mum has very vague memories of the Russian side of the family in London but when her parents died they lost touch.We used to have an emporium of treasures in Reading that Holly would have loved.She adores costume jewellery.
That has to be the cutest picture of a dog makes me want to send her lollipops but I guess they can get diabetes and teeth problems.
The cardigan is looking lovely so no rushing now you impetuous old thing ...hark who is talking !

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Now, Jo, is everything back in the box in a neat fashion? That is the question.
I was in my LYS this morning (have to stop this shopping for more yarn) and Jen mentioned that a lady from Dublin was in her shop this past week and I think Jen can take a large holiday now from this lady's enthusiasm and the story of the lack of fibery goodness in Dublin! This lady bought a LOT, but there is lots there for you to see!
I bought 19 balls of Rowan Cotton Rope this am for $2.00 a ball. There is a beautiful cardigan in the Rowan 39 book and it requires 15 balls, but a girl never knows when she will get to the project and I certainly would never find the dyelot. Do you go along with that kind of reasoning?
Good luck bead sewing!

Anonymous said...

Good on you, Muffy. One can never be too careful with shrubbery.

Wicked? Moi? Yes, thank you. I also answer to Cheeky quite often, and with reason.

rho said...

The look Muffy is giving you is - "Will you come in here and LOOK at this Mom
-- Geeze"
And she was perfectly happy under the car - no rain falling on her and she could watch her hedge in peace.

And the lollipop picture of Sophie had me smiling big time and showing Rich - who had a big smile too.

Oh the sweater is looking great. And you are going to have such fun turning the heel tomorrow - honest -- it is magical.

My spindle is so beautiful -- I am trying to come up with a way to take a picture that will do it justice. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Just love your dogs!!!! I'm getting very excited about your sweater for Bantry. How long do we have to wait to see if you get the ribbon???
Peg mentioned the Swallowtail Shawl. My whole knitting circle went nuts over it. One is already finished in Knitpicks Silky in a deep red and it is gorgeous. I got Lavold's Silky Wool in Mustard for it. Can't start yet as I have a summer sweater to finish (OK, here a summer sweater goes until December) and had to drop that to knit a pair of clogs to be felted and sent to Ireland for a September 8 birthday. When I'm good, I can easily finish in a couple of days. Sure hope so. I'm still saving my Sea Silk for Ilga Leja's Urban Goddess, but keep eyeing her Antique Lace Vest and the HM Stormwater Shawl.
Beads, beads, beads. Was a jewelry designer in one of my not long past "lives" and hoard beads, boxes and boxes of beads. Buy them at garage and estate sales, broken or not. They do compete with my yarn storage space. Hope I never have to move.

Anonymous said...

enter your pup's photo at the fair!

Charity said...

The Elann sweater is looking beautiful! I love the bead idea... looking forward to seeing your progress :0)

Anonymous said...

Love the view through your window. I spent many hours going through my Grandmother's jewelry boxes, quite a fond memory. Great photo of Sophie, definitely found herself a treat, had me smiling also. Good pup, Muffy, you just never know what or who might be lurking in the shrubbery.
Cardigan looking lovely, can't wait to see it with the beads.

Anonymous said...

jo! the elann cardi looks beautiful! i wouldn't worry about the neck yet—the judges won't be wearing it . . .

those dogs are tres cute!

i've been reading about hap shawls and wondered if you could tell us sometime, in your own words, what they are, and the purpose they serve in daily life. in your own words and experience i mean. thanks!

Dez Crawford said...

You should submit that photo of Sophie with the toffee pop to an animal photo contest. It's a winner. I am not kidding.