Friday, April 15, 2011

Be brave and knit with all your heart -- something magical and wonderful may happen

I continue to become more and more fascinated with Fair Isle knitting.  Using two hands, strand by strand, row by row, the storybook of colors unfold.  In August I began a search to find Ann Featonby's Hibiscus Cardigan pattern.  I could only find it online sold in kits, and I didn't want a kit, because I wanted to substitute a couple of colors.  My wonderful friends at Websters yarn shop found the single pattern for me.  Excitedly one Saturday afternoon, I picked up the pattern, and diligently read through it.  There was a word that I was not familiar with -- Steeks?  Steeks?  I couldn't even understand what that word meant.  Was it a word?  Was it part of the English language?  Or something else?  Of course Ravelry helped me discover what  a steek meant?  I read through some free patterns and read more in Beth Brown Reinsels' newsletters about steeking. 

It means to compose your beautiful fair isle pattern and then disect it with scissors straight up the middle -- EGADS!  Was I ready to do that?  Be brave and knit with all your heart!  I kept chanting that mantra in my head -- took a few deep breaths, loaded the stiches on my needles, and knit.  I took my time enjoying the fair isle design and watching it unfold under my quick, frantic fingers.

I'm a fast knitter, and the rounds of beautiful mauve and dark green hibiscus pattern quickly cascaded down my arms until I had what looked like a . . . . .large pillow case.  It didn't resemble a sweater at all. The time had come -- all the patterning was done .. . I had put in the hours and "put in the knitting."  It was time to CUT.  I couldn't cut into it.  Fall came and family birthdays so I knit birthday presents.  Winter came so I knit stockings for Christmas. 

All of a sudden it was 2011 -- be brave and knit with all your heart!  I hate to have unfinished projects, and that beautiful Hibiscus pillow case was calling to me -- "cut me, cut me . . ."

When I'm not knitting, I'm playing with my cairn terriers.  We go to dog shows.  I make it a game to wear a beautiful knit sweater or shawl at the dog shows.  That way, even if my dog doesn't win, I know that I have the most beautifully handknit article of clothing in the ring.  In March I was flying to Alaska -- hoping to finish my little Ivy and get complete her championship.  All of a sudden I pictured myself wearing the Hibiscus Cardigan in Ivy's championship photo.  Could we do it?  Could she win?  Could I cut the steek and finish the sweater?  Would I be wearing it to Alaska?

Be brave and knit -- something magical and wonderful may happen:  It did! 
I took my scissors and cut the middle of the cardigan -- something magical was born:

and something wonderful!  Ivy obtained her championship in Alaska on March 26th!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clara Baby Dresses

Baby dresses, baby dresses, baby dresses . . . for over a year I've been in love with the Clara baby dress pattern.  I've added beads, delicate edgings, and little i-cord ties.  I've made matching hats and little socks to go with the dresses.  I've made them in almost every choice of the Isager 2 colorways.  I've given them as Mother's Day, special friends, Easter, and also new baby presents.  There is something more than sweet about the soft Isager 2 50/50 alpaca/wool blend!