Monday, January 28, 2008

Seize The Day When The Sun Shines!

It's still taking an age for physical energy to return after the flu, but interestingly the brain leaped ahead in the recovery stakes. Quite suddenly one day during the week, there was an irresistible urge to start several new projects, all at once. That of course was on top of those already started in the recent past, and entirely ignoring those languishing in the WIP basket from good old 2007. Ah well, what does the song say?

Let's look to the future
Forget the past
You're not my first love
But you're my last
(for now, anyway...)

So what's on the needles? Those endless red/grey socks are still forging valiantly upwards to the knee. After twenty pattern repeats on the leg, gave in and moved to 1/1 ribbing just for the change. 20 rows of that done so far (and doesn't 1/1 take forever? You can't get a good run at it) and STILL lots of yarn left. Some day. Soon. It has to be soon. One sock is now upstairs by the knitting chair, the other downstairs in the kitchen. Each gets a row or two done whenever I'm passing. There has to be an end to this.

And there might have been. This posting could have incorporated a Socks Finished fanfare. But on Wednesday morning last, there was a sudden explosion of sunlight. (It happens like that sometimes in West Cork, and when it does you have to dash for the camera PDQ.) Rushed out with the lime green shrug in Stella silk/cotton and draped it on a tree to take its picture.

Look, I know it's still a bit shadowy, but be grateful! That was the first sunshine we'd seen since - oh, I think mid-November. AND it didn't last long. But you can sort of see the outline now. Reading from right to left, you have the moss stitch cuff worked in the round, a sleeve separating, coming together and separating again to form slashes, with a cable either side (they twine with each other at the joins) and then an extension to form a cropped body section with another cable at the bottom, front and back as well as the cable edging the neck. Working on both back and front at the same time, with two separate balls of Stella silk/cotton, to avoid the Oh No Now I Have To Do The Front As Well syndrome. Can't do anything about the second sleeve but grit teeth and hope the shapings can be reversed from memory (no, of course notes weren't taken. What do you think I am, one of those brilliantly organised and visionary creators like Amy Singer or Wollmeise?)

And SPEAKING of Wollmeise, I was tempted, taunted and totally traumatised by the divine suggestions emailed to me by Angeluna (who is in the habit of throwing casual ideas across the Atlantic knowing that I'll dive on them like a hungry cormorant). Well actually she suggested some beautiful socks from Yarnissima first, and of course I had to buy and download the fascinating Fratello socks...

(Yes, it was SO your fault, Angeluna! You play upon my weaknesses, i' faith you do! You KNEW I was vulnerable after that darn flu...) These have to be made in a fairly light, semi-solid colourway, to show off the crafty cabling and twisting. Maybe that organic grey?

Where were we? Oh yes, the Wollmeise. I can't remember quite how the link came about, but I think Angeluna said she was going to make those as well, and quite suddenly, after years of sternly resisting anything so pointless and unnecessary as wristwarmers, I had a Road to Damascus moment and realised existence was sad and depressing without starting a pair IMMEDIATELY. So I did.

Found some Cherry Tree Hill sockweight in a divinely decadent mix of emeralds and blues (had intended this for Sock Madness last year but didn't use it after all - ah Sock Madness you were SO.MUCH.FUN, when is the next one starting?) and got going right away. This is one beautiful design. When I've finished the wristlets I'm going to make a neckwarmer to match. Not perhaps a full moebius yet, but definitely a matching neckwarmer.

I'll get back to that in a minute, with a nice treat for you in the way of Richard's spectacular pictures. No, no peeking, no scrolling down, you have to wait. Hey, I said NO!

ALSO started was a crochet lace top. Now this is one I'd begun in one kind of yarn (Noro Silk Garden Lite, frogged from an Ekeby Vest, don't ask, that was 2007, it's gone, gone do you hear?) which didn't work. But although the yarn didn't work, it was clear that this pattern would be absolutely perfect for my Blue Heron beaded rayon, which was currently languishing in the early stages of a Swallowtail Shawl in the WIP basket.

Now Lynn, I'm sorry about this, because I know you were eager to see how the beaded rayon worked out with the Swallowtail, but needs must when the devil drives, and I hadn't got further than a few inches on the shawl anyway. Sorry, pet.

Here is the beginning of the crochet jacket. It's going to be light and floaty and gorgeous and will be divine over a white top. It needs a bit of attention when working the increases which will form the (sort of) raglan sleeve, but other than that it's a delight to play with and very relaxing. You work out and downwards from the neck, increasing until you've enough for the sleeves (yes, just like a top-down knit sweater) and then work the body separately, returning to the sleeves later. That way I can make the sleeves to fit the amount of yarn left, which is handy. It will be pinned with something in the way of a spectacular brooch, I think.

Interruption from Tasha, aka Natasha de St Petersburg II. She says she is somewhat exasperated at having to complain once again about the unnecessarily extreme attention given to Muffy the Yarnslayer and Sophy Wackles. Who is top dog, she enquires. And who looks the prettiest on any occasion? She is right of course, so here is Tasha, first in queenly transit mode.

(She commands the other two, lesser mutts, to draw her around in her little red wagon when she so desires. A sort of royal chevauchée or procession. You have to admit she has presence.)

- and here she is at table with DH, discussing the finer points of social etiquette . A lady through and through.

And that reminds me, Vicki in So Cal, will you EMAIL me, please, please, please? I know you lost your dog recently and my heart is aching for you. But I can't find your email address anywhere - it must have been in the system that got eaten up mysteriously a few months ago. I've finally managed to put a link on the sidebar, so we'll see if it results in even more millions of spam messages. If it does, we'll have to consider Plan X(iii) (b). Or not.

Now - after all the whinging and complaining about endless rain and stray peeks of sunshine and Ireland being a sponge and all, on Sunday my native land decided to throw in a surprise. This after a whole ten minutes of sunshine on Wednesday, I would remind you. DH had to go down to furthest West Cork on a job, and I decided to go with him, as two weeks or more confined to barracks had made me yearn for fresh air, no matter what the weather.

But it got better. And better. The further we drove, beyond Dunmanway and Drimoleague, Dunmanus and Durrus, the clearer blue became the sky and the warmer the sunshine. We drove right to the south west tip of Ireland, at Mizen, and then turned up on to Brow Head, one of my favourite places. Sophy Wackles came along for the ride, and she had a wonderful time leaping through the thick grass, climbing stone walls, and reading messages left on bushes by animals passing earlier (Meet Me By The Gate Tonight; Warning - Farmer's Really Cross About That Hen; I'm A Big Bad Rabbit And Nobody Crosses Me, that sort of thing. She loves a good browse.)

Here she is, enquiring about the progress on the Wollmeise wristlet which I'd brought along to give it a taste of knitting en plein air. In the background is one of the towers built for defence at the time of the Napoleonic Wars; this specific one, however, was later used by Marconi to send the very first signals between Ireland and America, around 1904. And down on the cliffs below the tower is a little precipitious path leading to a tiny pier from which, even earlier, boats used to put off to meet liners coming across the Atlantic. The liners would throw a sealed barrel overboard with newspapers and the mail, and the boatmen would row it ashore, take it up to the nearest road, and send it on to Cork. If the horses were quick enough, the Cork Examiner could thus trump the London Times with the latest American news, and indeed often did. Pretty peaceful down there now though. The Internet has taken over from boats and barrels. That, one supposes, is progress of a kind.

It was simply wonderful to be out there in the fresh air with the breeze blowing green scents from the grass and the gorse bushes, and to hear choughs calling and blackbirds singing. It did great things for the flu recovery.

Now - here, especially for you, is one of DH's best. I asked for a really really nice picture of the Wollmeise wristlets in progress and he obliged with what I think is one of his best yet.

Howzat? The knitting is looking pretty good (that Wollmeise is a genius!), but with a backdrop like that, you have to admit it's got some serious competition! Isn't he the best, and am I not lucky to have him?


Sallie said...

Lovely, lovely photos, Jo. Thank you for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

Dude. I am taking the next flight to get there...provided I figure out where that is.

And beautiful knitting, too!

All 9 Muses said...

The wrist warmers look positively like they have come from the sea. Lovely colours on a perfect backdrop. So glad to hear you're feeling better.

Angeluna said...

Oh Jo, I'm so glad you got some glimpses of sunshine, more than glimpses with those last photos. How romantic. Richard definitely has a future as knitting photographer extraordinaire. And those Wollmeise gauntlets are fantastic. You beat me to it and I'm the one who sent you the pattern.

Loved seeing Tasha Regina de St. Petersburg II and her flawless manners. And little Sophie checking her messages.

Charity said...

Oh, my, Jo, it sounds like you've been in a creative frenzy! :0) Love the wristwarmers, totally beautiful.

pacalaga said...

That scenery did me well too and I wasn't even in it.
Sock Madness coming soon, dear Jo - I saw an announcement of prizes at the blog, and hints of signups on the horizon. Rest up!

Anonymous said...

That shrug looks YUMMY.

LOVED the description of the doggie messages -- so true, so true. When I open the door and my cat stands there sniffing the air before putting the dainty paw outside, I ask, "Reading your mail?"

Dez Crawford said...

The wrist warmers look like you pinched them from a chilly mermaid.

Thank you for all the lovely pictures. I will get there one day. Yes, I will.

So glad you're feeling better. I was off the rails myself for the entire first two weeks of this month.

Wool Enough said...

That shrug is quite amazing. I love the design, love the colors, love everything about it. Can't wait to see more pix.

LaurieM said...

A fun read with a spectacular photo finish! Thanks for entertaining me over lunch.

Angela Cox said...

Love that picture of Tasha with D.H ! THe flu has left me with sinus problems but otherwise my mojo is back !!!

MmmYarn said...

That is one beautiful view you have there -- the ocean, and lovely green yarn, and even more lovely wristlets-to-be. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jo,

Lovely post as always, the only problem is that you make me quite homesick for Ireland (I lived there for 11 years).

I thought of you when I saw this scarf: - I bet you could make a few beauties from your 'stash'.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Just read that Sock Madness patterns are being test knit as we speak, and sign ups are just around the corner. Strangely, I immediately though of you...

Anonymous said...

wow - great photo! I'm on that plane with thea! karen

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous view! I'm glad you got some sunshine on your face. Honestly, I don't know how you do it, as I am an absolute slug after a week of clouds. Once spent a November at East Anglia and thought I would die for sure for lack of vitamin D.

Maybe one must drive through several villages whose names start with the letter D to find the sun? Seems like a plan.

Thanks for another great posting!

Irish Sallygardens said...

The knitting on the rock looks like a wonderful mysterious form of moss creeping in the sunshine

Cindy/Snid said...

By the way, I have awarded you the "You Make My Day Award" You can check out my blog for details, and thanks for making my day!

Meg Wolff said...

Nice post & wishing you a sunny day. Love, Meg

Val Grainger said...

You have been tagged by Val from the Woolly shepherds diary! ( You have to provide 5 facts about yourself then tag 5 other sites who will all provide a link back to the person who tagged them!!!
So 5 facts….
1. I love beer….especially Pelforth Brune!
2. I am very untidy!
3. I drive a bright yellow car
4. I make my own bread
5. I also save small children from tooth decay by stealing sweets

I love your site by the way!!!

Anonymous said...

Where can a knitter find the patterns for Celtic Memory Sweaters and vests. C-A from Strathmore

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