Category Archives: Mystery Stole 3

The Thrill of Victory, Etcetera, Etcetera

And the 2008 Summer Olympics, and thus Ravelympics, conclude!

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I have a confession to make, first.  I am an Olympics junkie.  Hence the blog silence (as well as the vacation/post-vacation work overload trifecta). 

I watch very little television, nor many current movies if it comes to that.  I (gasp) have never seen American Idol, nor Survivor, nor The Sopranos, nor Lost.  Probably haven’t seen a lot of other shows I don’t even know about.  (Yep, nothing to talk about at the proverbial water cooler.) 

But put the Olympics on, and I’m glued to the set!  My children & husband are starting to resign themselves to the fact that for two weeks every two years, they have to yield the TV to me.  Given that I let them watch pretty much whatever they want the other 102 weeks, I think it’s reasonable.  Too bad vacation and work got in the way this time for half of the Olympics.  Ah, well.

Even while at camp, I could participate in the Ravelympics at least (and of course, we had camp Olympics events of various sorts, too.)

So here are my personal Ravelympics results!

First, my Country Manor scarf.  The name is a play on words; this yarn was handspun from Twisted Fiber Art’s Festive Roving in the Netherfield colorway (a Jane Austen reference), and the spinner, Kirky (a fellow Twisted aficionado), named the yarn Country Manners (see her etsy shop here).  So I twisted the name a little. 

This scarf was inspired by Barbara Walker’s Seafoam stitch, which I made a shawl from in the past, and by the Morning Surf scarf, recently featured in Spin Out magazine.  Though I have the Morning Surf pattern, I had only glanced at it in passing (and didn’t care for the modification to stockinette between the drop-stitch rows when I had seen it in the magazine, because I like reversibility in a scarf), so I started totally from scratch in designing my own.  I also wanted the ends of the rows to be closed, especially in this chunkier yarn where there were fewer stitches, to give the scarf structure.  Lastly, I saw a reference somewhere on Ravelry to modifying the Seafoam stitch by using fewer wraps and thought I’d try it (it takes severe blocking to block the extra wrappage out, plus I wanted the handspun to go further).  Hey, I like it!  I may rewrite my Seafoam stitch shawl (Coulee Shawl in my Ravelry projects) with this in mind and try knitting it again, then publishing the pattern.

(Unblocked above, on our cabin clothesline, a little wonky.)  Because I was making a scarf; designing the scarf pattern, small though it is; and working with handspun; the scarf was eligible for more than one medal.  I proudly received these on the Ravelympics Podium:

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The other two projects entered in the Ravelympics were WIPs.  Nay, not just WIPs, but UFOs.  My father’s Oktoberfest socks were my main priority, and they accompanied me to camp many places.  The yarn was untangled and rewound, the modified pattern stitch recalled, steady progress was made, and the second sock was finished back at home, actually around one of Michael Phelps’ last races.  It was rather amusing, because it seemed like every third commercial was a beer commercial, and here I had my beer sock in my lap.

I’m not going to show it to you, because it’s slated for the upcoming late September birthday (never mind that it was due last birthday; I still want to present it ceremoniously!) and I don’t want to spoil the presentational effect.  But if you’re on Ravelry, here it is.

I thus was awarded a medal in WIP Wrestling!

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(If these had been new socks, the medal would have been in the Sockput, ha!)

However, I’m sorry to say that my third entrant did not cross the finish line.  I knew there was a good chance that this athlete might scratch.  She requires a lot of apparatus and a lot of training time. 

Swan Lake (symmetric variation) was up to here

(row 190 of 334 of this half) at the official end of Ravelympics.  (As you remember,

 this is what it will look like, though I knit a little further on this half too after the photo; this isn’t quite to row 334 yet….)

I am motivated to keep going and finish this!  Therefore, I knit some more yesterday until the televised closing ceremonies, by which time I had fnished the inverted “V” and am on the plain (as plain as it gets) section, with “Cat’s Paw” motifs in the center, and split “Wings of the Swan” motifs on the edges.  It goes a little faster from here.  Then, for the symmetrical variation (for us part-German types who just won’t wear a one-wing shawl), you join the two halves with a perpendicularly knit section.  Cool!

And the flame is extinguished….

L is for (Seasons of) Lace

For my L entry for the ABC-Along, I wanted to celebrate the loveliness of Lace, as well as mention a new KAL for all Seasons, Seasons of Lace.

(If you click over and are intrigued, I think you can still sign up today! But there is anticipated to be a Winter of Lace, also . . . yet now is the Summer of our Lace Content!)

So why did I sign up for this AND Summer of Socks? Me, who doesn’t consider herself much of a joiner?

Well — in the summer, I figure I’m knitting Lace and socks anyway! Sometimes both together:

(The Preteen’s Fern Lace sock which I designed and made last summer.)

Too hot to knit anything much heavier.

I have Nora‘s Lace-along projects to happily work away at: Forest Canopy,

which has progressed minimally, and Wendy‘s Diamonds and Purls,

which saw a lot of progress in Chicago but not so much since (derailed by Hypnosis socks briefly!).

Fortunately, for Seasons of Lace, the rules say this:

Projects that are started before June 21 are still eligible to enter the Raffle Classes as long as they’re less than half finished on June 21, and they are worked on and finished before the end of the the Summer of Lace.

So these projects ‘count’ as Summer of Lace projects (assuming I finish them before September 23rd! Groucho voice here: “I soitanly hope so!”). Which means I could win a random prize or a judged prize for them, potentially.

Those should keep me busy, along with finishing Hypnosis sock #2

(wrist knitting-itis is doing much better), and frogging and restarting the meeting sock.

(Summer of Socks socks need to be totally knit between today and September 1st. The Meeting Sock will count since it will be totally redone.)

Then, what next? So many things I want to do! So many socks, so much beautiful lace!

(I supposed I could finish the Mystery Stole 3…..

It’s so lovely, it deserves to be finished, even though it’s (a little) more than half done and doesn’t qualify for Summer of Lace. Or I also started the MS3 in cream laceweight, barely, very pretty, that could happen. A Ravelry group just started for “UFOlympics“: (Ravelry link) Instead of a knitting challenge, finishing UFOs while watching the Olympics! Either of my MS3 shawls could qualify! (Let’s not even talk about the socks!)

But I want to start something new, whine, whine, after I finish the above projects (FC is fine, but basic; Diamonds and Purls is fun, and I’m plotting beads for the edging, Wendy said I could, so that will be exciting — definitely not burned out — but still not in the mood to go back to MS3 after I finish them). So maybe I will join UFOlympics but start something new in the Lace realm when I finish the above two Lace projects.

It’s hard to believe I never knit any significant Lace until starting Mystery Stole 3 last June. I’m certainly addicted now.

It’s looking like a favorable forecast for a lovely Summer of Lace!

Nicely, Nicely

The title being a continuation of the movie musical theme which often finds its way into these virtual pages (Nicely Nicely Johnson is a character in Guys and Dolls — he’s the one who sings, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat”).

Today, however, no boat’s being rocked; the post is in recognition of Astrid nominating me for the Nice Matters Blog Award!

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Awarded to “those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. ”

Here’s the corollary: “Once you’ve been awarded, please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.”

Not that I don’t know seven other bloggers who are deserving, but 7 is reminiscent of chain letters to me, so I will limit my nominees to those that spring immediately to mind. And they do not have to feel obliged to pass it on. I would have nominated Lisa, the Tsarina of Socks, and Beth at Chocolate Sheep, but Astrid and Lisa (respectively) beat me to them.

First, Lisa at knitnzu.com shares an interest in the natural world (especially of the Northern United States) and knitting with me, and is generous with information and thoughtful comments. Her blog has crazy funny dogs, glimpses of talented family members and life in Maine, and fun knitting.

Second, Sarah-Hope at whatifknits [“ideas, inquiries and irreverence”], a fellow Cotton Commando in the recent DishRag Tag, writes an articulate blog full of wonderful knitting, original designs, art, travel, and cats. I always enjoy reading her well-written and intriguing posts from the opposite side of the US from Lisa!

Bonnie at Très Bon Babble is an amazing sew-er and great knitter as well; some good food to be found in her pages here and there too! I am in awe of her ability to whip up a sewing project. (All I can think of is my Home Ec days; the only sewn project I’d still be willing to be associated with, is the initial pillows that spelled out my name….) She is also a fellow Cotton Commando (you become friends when you strategize together, not?) and a very Nice person. She sent me a cheer-up card recently, when I was feeling sorry for myself — it worked!

Another most Nice fellow Dish Rag Tagger (what can I say, we all bonded!) is Marcia Louise at AndSewKnitBegins, who just started a blog, inspired by Dish Rag Tag and (she says) my posting of her kool Kool-Aid dyeing projects, when she was blogless. She is an warm and awesome person, the epitome of Nice. Her blog is brand new and hampered by a recent crashed hard disk, but she definitely deserves the Nice Matters Award! She also sucked me into turned me on to the International Scarf Exchange 5! Which is really fun!

One last Dish Rag Tagger, who deserves the Nice Matters award, is Laurie at Knitting Garden, who had captaincy thrust upon her by random draw by Emily, and who gracefully rose to the unasked-for challenge with enthusiasm and positivity. She also independently knit the Mystery Stole 3, and signed up for the International Scarf Exchange 5 as did I, so we have much in common! (Except she’s finished her Mystery Stole and I haven’t…) Her blog is full of knitting and family, always enjoyable.

An enabler of the highest water, a sock artiste and a very friendly blogger is Deb of Cashmere Dreams (on a Kitchen Cotton Budget) — a blog title we all can relate to!  It is only because of her that I am the proud owner of some beautiful Wollenmeise.  Not only did she make the ordering happen, and let me in on it, but she tenderly hand-washed all the poor waterlogged yarn that had met with shipping disaster.  And she and fellow members of the Como Saturday morning knitting group made me feel so very welcome on our trip to the Twin Cities.  Now I’m coveting Kauni. . . . don’t tell my husband.

And lastly, I haven’t seen on her blog that she’s been nominated, so I am hereby awarding the Nice Matters Award to Wendy of WendyKnits, who is generous with free patterns and knitting advice, as well as breathtaking knitting, original patterns to beat the band, and beautiful Lucy the cat pictures. Like Steph, she’s also used her blogosphere name recognition to benefit a worthy cause and is unfailingly polite and — well, just Nice, a pleasure to read! The interactions I’ve had with Wendy have been always smile-inducing.

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Thanks, you guys! You’re great!

SOOOOO — I promised some current knitting, as opposed to yesterday’s featured knitting which was 15 years old!

I have been knitting a pair of Fetching fingerless mitts for The Preteen:

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The yarn is RYC Soft Lux yarn. I’m liking these, and more importantly, The Preteen is too. (She is in love with green currently, and she asked for a pair of “fingerless gloves with cables”. Hmmm; you don’t think she saw the pattern for Fetching which I had printed out and left lying around, do you?) I’m about 1/3 done with the second one.

Here’s my other work in progress (besides Oktoberfest, which is still awaiting full healing of my knuckle; the Irish knots are just under so much tension to do, that they make the little finger knuckle laceration feel quite unhappy).

Earlier this week, it was a tiny dreamcatcher:

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Yesterday, it was a snood:

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I would gladly wear the Harmony needles as hair jewelry, wouldn’t you?

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Today, here it is, an apparently tangled mess in lovely shades of autumn colors:

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I put a lifeline in right after taking this photo. . . .

So this will be a wedding shawl for a friend, who also is my pastor! The yarn is mill ends of Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca lace weight, overdyed twice by me to get the effect I wanted. As I mentioned, I am designing the pattern based on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Pi Shawl, with assorted lace patterns that I liked/fit the stitch and row requirements reasonably well, and that had some significance. This post is already rather long, so I will detail the dyeing adventures and the designing work at a future time. But this yarn is lovely to work with, lustrous, richly colored and soft. Which is good, because I anticipate working on this pretty intensively for the next several weeks. Why, yes, the wedding is three weeks away — how did you guess?

Since Astrid talked up my flower pictures, I’ll leave you with one:

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Some confused lavender which is re-blooming now. ‘Sokay!

Where’s the Knitting?

Here’s the knitting!

First, although I’m embarrassed since I’ve made so little progress, here’s Mystery Stole 3, getting close to the ‘wing’ part but not there yet:

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But it’s posed on the blocking mats! Hooray! Here’s the picture before cropping, showing the mats better, and the blocking wires, and a photographer toe or two. For scale, these are two mats together, each about two feet in diameter.

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Here’s a pair of fingerless gloves, out of the same yarn that I’m making a log cabin blanket out of. I got a suggestion to wash this slightly stiff and prickly yarn with conditioner. I was going to make a swatch and try it — but then decided to make something useful instead. (Have I washed them with conditioner yet? Well, no.)


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They look better on, less like a pair of tubes.

Here’s a very soft and very bright bulky mohair scarf, which is knitting up incredibly fast. This will be for sale at an upcoming event to benefit breast cancer research.

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Next up is a ballband dishcloth I’m making for my husband’s upcoming birthday. I will be making the mirror image dishcloth when I’m done with this one, black with white slipped stitches (kind of like that old Star Trek episode where everyone was in negative — some alternate universe or antimatter thing, I forget).

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Call me weird, but I think the ‘back’ looks cool too!

I finished The Preteen’s first sock, my design, and am working on the second! Her birthday is in 4 days. Can I do it? I hope so! I think I can, I think I can. Dedicated knitting time coming up in the VERY near future will help!  Here ’tis, modeled by the birthday girl-to-be herself.

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The progress has been slowed by the fact that I lost this sock for about 3 weeks. I am naturally optimistic and not unaccustomed to misplacing things, so I figured it would turn up but was starting to get worried. Then we ate at the new local sushi restaurant — which we had eaten at, oh, about three weeks earlier. The proprietor saw me come in and ran over with the sock! Apparently, it had fallen out of my bag when we ate there last time and she didn’t know my name, but knew we came in every so often so put it aside for me. Hooray! Hard to make progress on a sock you don’t have in your possession. Which reminds me, apparently I left sock #2 at work, so will have to go back and get it tonight before leaving tomorrow. Disorganized? Me? Why would you think that?

On the sock theme: the following socks were the second pair I ever made; or, I should say, the second pair I started. They’re two-at-a-time top down socks from a knitty pattern. I messed something up after turning the heel, put them down and then they got seriously packed away somehow. Ran into them several days ago (while looking for something else, of course). Fixed the boo-boo (it helps that I’m now more experienced in the wiles of socks) and knit another inch! Once I get the birthday and charity knitting done, I’ll work on these also — they have a simple but pretty lace pattern which you can’t see in the picture.

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That enough knitting for you?

(And that’s not even close to all I have on the needles! Gah!)

Well, here’s some bonus yarn.

Repeat after me: “It’s Always A Good Day When Yarn Comes In The Mail!”

This came from Fearless Fibers on etsy:
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This is: Aran weight merino in colorway “Hendrix” (love it!); sportweight superwash merino in colorway “Autumn Reflections”; 3 skeins of worsted weight alpaca/wool in colorway “Duck Season” (Deb threw in an extra skein, isn’t that wonderful? should make warm accessory wear for our frigid winters); and 1 skein of superwash merino fingering weight in colorway “Smoke”. Mmmm. I’m loving it. I need to figure out something very special to do with 420 yards of Hendrix.

Last, the traditional garden picture. You’re probably tired of echinacea by now, but this one looked like it was exploding.

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Lizards and Skinks and Snakes, Oh My!

This is a fair warning to those who are phobic about reptiles: Reptiles Were Us this weekend.

This past weekend was the Great River Folk Festival here, an occasion I rarely miss. Now, that may not immediately say “Snakes” to you! But an ever-popular stop in the Children’s Area for the last several years is the Coulee Region Herpetological Society. An amazing number of kids want to pet the snakes! And skinks, and lizards, and tortoises, and even a little alligator.

On Saturday, the Herpers were short on reptile people due to a competing event (Gator Fest, doncha know!) and so we volunteered to bring Trinity the corn snake and help out.herp-society-at-grff.jpg

Here’s the Gothlet, who was very good with the snake and with the kids. She herself also got to hold a python that day, and the next day when there were more people and reptiles, she hung out with many more reptiles and fell in love with a blue-tongued skink. “It’s so mellow! It just hangs out on my shoulder! I want a skink — please?”

Hmmm. We’ll see. She does love the reptiles.

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Here the girls are, reading Eragon. (Note the Knitter shirt, by the way.) Fortunately, Trinity was confirmed to be a girl; there had been some doubt. It would be hard to change the pronoun after a year.

Anyway, in between the reptile fun, I did make it to some music workshops and vendors, though the vendor who has been there the last several years with home-grown wool/yarn (Navajo-churro and Jacob sheep!) wasn’t there to my regret. Her farm is in one of the general areas pretty affected by the recent flood, so I wonder if she was home dealing with the aftermath. Hope all is okay there.

Right before all this excitement, I acquired a knitting-related toy:

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Blocking mats!

These were at Sam’s Club (store only) for $20 — eight panels of two-foot by two-foot thick foam mats; should block almost anything! I have no spare beds and no carpeting, so bigger blocking is always a problem. Looking forward to the Mystery Stole 3 finish, I was not sure how I was going to do that. Well, now I have the mats — I just need to finish the stole!

So what’s up with that? Well, I have been slowly reknitting what I frogged (I had initially decided to shorten the stole, and after seeing the ‘wing’, decided to restore it to its written length; which meant, because there are two patterns happening with different row repeats, I had to frog it back a ways to where the ‘excerpt’ had been made to shorten it; then I needed to reknit the frogged part plus so much more). So I’m not even quite back to where I was when I decided to frog, as far as the clues. Sigh. Mentally, it’s a challenge to re-knit for me. But I can make great strides, since the part I’m on does go faster than the prior sections. (It’s just that I’m getting into some deadline knitting. Like three birthdays and two charity events in September, all of which have designated knitting. So MS3 is taking a back seat.) Sometime this week, I’ll take a picture of the stole on the blocking mat.

Did some stash organization today. Umm. I really do need to discipline myself to put it on Ravelry just so I remember what I have. But it will be incredibly embarrassing. I think I could open my own shop. Except I can’t bear to sell most of it….

Hey, remember me telling you all about Deb’s awesome rendition of Lizard Ridge?

The judges at the Minnesota State Fair agreed! Congratulations, Deb!

I will be seeing the prize-winning afghan in person this weekend when we make a road trip! We will be going to the Minnesota State Fair on Labor Day; and Deb’s invited me to hang out with the Saturday morning knitters so I can meet her & friends in person and . . . there will be a transfer of certain precious and long-anticipated treasure . . . hint, it came by sea and air, starts with W and ends with e, and the colors are unbelievable. Oooh, I can’t wait! It may be the Preteen’s and my husband’s birthdays that we’re celebrating this weekend, but I’m getting some presents too!

“Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

So said Elizabeth Zimmermann.

My knitting hero.

Like EZ, I knit when I’m happy, I knit when I’m sad, I knit when I’m stressed. I sometimes don’t have time to knit when I’m really busy, and then I get cranky (crankiER, I should say).

So, despite the recent sadness — I have been knitting.

Not so much Mystery Stole 3, I must say; travelling is not conducive to this kind of lace knitting, and neither was camp life for the most part. (Though the part I have gotten to now is the most straightforward of the stole, so not quite so difficult to do on the go.) Plus, deciding to frog and reknit clues 4 and 5, after I changed my mind about shortening it, made me lose momentum — I purely hate reknitting, so it’s a mental block. But I did wake up at dawn and go knit or read several mornings; here we* are by the lake:

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*we = ‘Odile’ and I

At camp, then, I mostly knit four fingerless gloves, a good take-along project — here are two of them on their happy new owner!

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This is handpainted yarn I purchased on Etsy: it’s fingering weight merino/Tencel, and the colorway is named “Goth”. I love it! The second pair of fingerless gloves in this same yarn is for the Gothlet….

And, as above, I knit a little on MS3, and a bit on the Ribby Shell (just divided for the armholes, no pic yet). And I made Saartje’s booties on the long ride home, no pictures yet. Two days ago, I made this cutie-patootie hat from this pattern:

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(It needs a real head to show it off better.)

And I took my camera to work to document my work project:

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This is a Log Cabin blanket (if you click the link, scroll down to February 15 post) made with sport weight hand-dyed sock yarn. I’m liking it so far. The only problem is that this yarn is not particularly soft (I don’t want to make socks with it, I don’t think, for that reason). So even though it would make a lovely bright baby blankie, it’s just not soft enough for me to give to a poor innocent babe. Maybe it will soften after washing — I should try washing a swatch. Otherwise, I suppose I could knit a really soft blanket the same size, then knit them together with a border or I-cord. Then at least the baby side would be soft!

So, I guess I have been knitting, though I didn’t realize till now how much!

Back to my garden now; here’s a floral picture or two for you.chrysanthemums.jpgpink-phlox.jpgmonarch-on-lanceleaf-coreopsis.jpg

Fly, be free!

Did you feel the disturbance in the MysteryStole-o-sphere this morning?

First, The Theme Was Revealed. For once, I am feeling smart; the theme is Swan Lake and that has been the only real guess I had come up with, as documented twice in these very pages. This guess was based on black or white being the recommended colors, and ‘perhaps not appropriate for a wedding’. (I was questioned on Swan Lake fitting in with this, and though it’s a ‘romantic ballet’, basically, the lovers die — as usual in classical ballets — so as such, not necessarily wedding material!) (In my usual parenthetical way, let me add that last year I saw Swan Lake in a Russian touring production, and the ending had been changed to make it happier, interestingly.) I wasn’t convinced of Swan Lake as the theme, though, because the motifs didn’t seem to me to be swanly. But the lovely Celtic-looking border is apparently called “Wings of the Swan”; and the ‘floral’ pattern just knit in clue 4 is called “Cat’s Paw”, inspired to be part of the shawl by the dance step “pas de chat” which is part of the “Danse des petite cygnes”, Dance of the Little Swans or Cygnets in Swan Lake. (The scrollwork inside the triangle end was abstract but inspired by Odile’s costume in one production; the honeycomb pattern was — just lace.)

So cool!

Here’s the last photo reposted so you and I can look again and see these motifs.

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But that’s not the upheaval in The Force of The Stole.

Melanie, as I suspected, had something up her sleeve in this next clue, and the second end of the stole is destined to become — a wing!!

OK, besides the French, English, Irish and Welsh blood I mentioned in my last post, I have a lot of German too, OK? And my German love of symmetry was severely challenged. A point on one end and a ‘wing’ — an elongated quarter-circle — on the other was sounding very goofy when I pictured it worn with the ends hanging down. But then, after seeing a sketch Melanie did, and picturing it with the point hanging down and the ‘wing’ thrown over — it could be very cool!

I have to remeasure — I may want to ‘take back’ the shortening I did, with this in mind.

There is a Symmetry option: to reknit the first part and graft the two pieces together in the middle. I may well do this with my laceweight shawl, which may be for someone else.

As you can imagine, however, there is great angst as some really don’t like this. It is more asymmetric, if you will, even than Melanie’s Hanami stole, which is beautiful but not for everyone; I’m not sure I would knit it for someone else unless I knew them really well. But such is the nature of a mystery, y’know? And there’s always the extremely symmetric option, so — c’est la vie, c’est la guerre. (I am just so French now after the Montreal trip….)

So the title of today’s post is about taking wing! Being free to connect with your inner anarchic knitter! Taking Clue 5 and running er, flying with it! Go for it, take a chance! I’m going to — wish me luck!

Here’s something for EyeCandy Friday to leave you with:

Balloon flowers in bud, bloom, and seed:

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I think of these as maiden, mother, crone. Balloonflower version.