FO!

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Wow, it’s about time I wrote another blog post. I hope this will be a jump-start to better attendance here at my blog.

So, here is my latest FO (finished object).  It’s a lap blanket made for our excellent friends, Mike and Karla, who recently moved from Atlanta to Michigan.  When I learned they were going to Michigan, I realized they would need something warm.  I also wanted it to be symbolic of their years in Georgia and to speak to their locavore souls.  Thus, I made a quick trip here — Southern Estate Alpacas in Adairsville, Georgia, and bought some of their locally raised alpaca yarn.

The whole enchilada

The whole enchilada

So the lap blanket is not only warm, it’s connected to their old home in Georgia in a profound way.  I sure hope they enjoy using it as much as I enjoyed knitting it.  You can see the pattern in detail on my Ravelry page right here.  I’m calling it the Back to Square One blanket.

Close up of Back to Square One blanket

Close up of Back to Square One blanket

It’s a very fun knitting technique I found in a pattern by Artemis Ardornments—you basically start with a straight line of stitches but little by little “zip up” the center by doing k3tog decreases in the middle, thus making the diagonal line in each square.  It was a perfect combination of easy knitting — all garter stitch — but with a little twist that makes it interesting.

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See the diagonal line made as the decreases zip up what was a straight line into a square?

I did 5 squares by 6 squares, and I picked up and knit the edging in broken rib pattern.  Then finished with a stretchy bind off.

What have you finished recently?

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FO!

I’m joining Ginny for Yarn Along and Nicole for Keep Calm, Craft On, to show you my latest finished object, modeled by L’Oiseau:

The finished Oriental Lily!

The finished Oriental Lily!

I blogged about this pattern (it’s Oriental Lily from Ravelry) in this post.

Now if she’ll just wear it.  I was able to get this modeling session only because I promised that she could take the dress off (and put on her Sleeping Beauty costume) immediately after I took the picture.  Sigh . . . it’s a tad big for her, so hopefully her taste in clothing will change soon and she’ll wear it before the cold weather ends.  Right now she wants to wear only costumes: some days it’s Alice in Wonderland, some days Ariel or Sleeping Beauty, some days Dorothy (y’know, the Wizard of Oz Dorothy).

What is your latest FO?  Please show it off — Click the link below and then type in your URL:

FO!

Now, don’t go getting offended.  FO doesn’t stand for what you think it stands for.  It means Finished Object in knit-geek-speak.  I’m joining Ginny for Yarn Along and Nicole for Keep Calm, Craft On to show you the latest thing off the needles:

L’Oiseau’s new hat

And here’s where I blogged about it and explained the specialness of the beads: https://etcfarmsblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/yarn-along-2/

I’m very happy with this little number, and super happy with how the beaded tassel turned out.  The beads were gifts from various friends at our baby shower years ago, so it has special meaning.  I’ve learned that the multi-colored round bead was made by our friend Steven.  Still hoping to ID the others as friends see the photo and claim their bead.

As for current projects, this is still on the needles:

Oriental Lily sweater in Noro silk garden yarn

But it’s a bit longer than it was in that photo.  Hopefully it will be finished soon and join the FO club!

What is your latest FO?  Click the Mister Linky button below to linky-link to your blog and let’s do show and tell! Please come back and leave a comment too. P.S. If you want to see all the links from other readers, you have to click the button, too. (But you won’t be committed to linking, so don’t worry!)

Ya-ya (yarn along, yarn along)

Yarning along with Ginny while also Keeping Calm and Crafting On with Nicole:

My current project is Oriental Lily in wonderful, wonderful Noro Silk Garden:

Oriental Lily and The Week

As for reading, all attempts to pick up a book and get serious about reading it have resulted in heavy eyelids — even at 11 in the morning!  So I’m sticking with nice, easy, modular reading in The Week.  I’ve said it before in an earlier Yarn Along, but here’s how I feel about this magazine: luff, loaf, lurv it!

I actually have some finished objects to show you — how’s that for excitement?  To quote an episode of I Love Lucy, one is swell, and the other is lousy.  The swell one:

Happy scarf times

I’m very pleased with this scarf — I wanted something like a keffiyeh (but please don’t consider that a political statement–I just like scarves with fringe or tassels and I’m much too shallow to worry about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, although I do care about it when I’m not thinking about my clothes), I wanted it to be a long, narrow triangle with ties long enough for 2 wraps around the neck and definitely tassels.  The shape turned out rather strange

scarf, unfurled

I think it looks a bit like a Dr. Seuss illustration on its own, but I do like it a lot when it’s all wrapped and fixed up around my neck.  And it is a great warmer.  The yarn is a mill end cotton that I picked up at Earth Guild in Asheville 4 years ago.  (Love you, Earth Guild!) I bought 2 massive cones for a total of $16, and I’ve knitted 3 objects from it, with most of one cone still left.  A slouchy hat to wear with the scarf will probably be next.

Here’s the lousy one:

[Note: There is no picture of the poncho yet, because the battery on my camera went dead as I was trying to snap it.  See?  That poncho is cursed.]

Yuckity, yuck, yuck, yuck!  This is the Sheer Poncho, blogged about hereIt is so tight, especially the bind off, even though I did the most elastic bind off I know.  It feels like a straight jacket.  It will soon be frogged, because I cannot stand to let that gorgeous Malabrigo yarn go unworn.  That’ll teach me to knit projects that are created and modeled by tiny 20 year olds. 

Good thing the tasseled scarf turned out so well—it helped ease the “I spent 3 months knitting this piece of *#@*” depression. Hopefully L’Oiseau’s Oriental Lily will continue my positive streak.

A World Without Spinning?

L’Oiseau and I recently watched Sleeping Beauty, and I remembered (with a jolt!) a small detail of the story: after the threat is made to the princess’s life, the king orders that every spinning wheel in the kingdom be destroyed.  In the Disney movie, there’s even a scene that shows a big pile of spinning wheels on fire.  Oh, my eyes!

It occurred to me that they neglected to show the scene years later when every person in the kingdom is either naked or dressed in tatters.

Where would we be without spinning?  Sure, knitting and weaving are important, but without spinning, those pursuits couldn’t have been possible–what would they have knitted or woven with?  I’m a knitter, and I very much want to begin spinning, partly because I realize that’s where it all begins.

It’s not often that I consider the immense history of this family of hobbies that I love so much, but it’s a long one.

Beyond the central necessity of spinning to pretty much every fiber-related pursuit, there is so much evidence that the act itself is extremely important to good and full human experience.  Some historians believe that the first drop spindles, which came around 5000 BC (!) may have been the inspiration that led to the invention of the wheel around 3500 BC.  And any discussion of spinning always brings to mind Mohandas Ghandi’s suggestion that all Indians spin for an hour each morning in order to realize the meditative effects of the practice.  I’ve been told that he once said that more people spinning would result in less violence in the world (but I haven’t been able to find the exact quote).

I know that technology has evolved so that the act of spinning is no longer necessary for creating fiber, and some would say it’s an arcane activity, but I have to wonder what the world would be like if that simple act hadn’t come about so many millenia ago.

The Ladies Who Blog

So I was adding to this blog my list of Blogs I Read, and they include:

The Blog Maven

The Yarn Harlot

SouleMama

Frontier Dreams

A Year on the Farm

Now if I could just find blogs called The Kitchen Witch and The Schoolmarm, you would have a picture of 90% of my life through blog names alone.  (I’m intentionally leaving out The T.V. Junkie–my guiltiest pleasure.)

So I got to thinking about these ladies who blog–not just the 3 I named up there, but also Woolly Moss Roots, Bird and Little Bird, Small Things, and many others that I’m only just beginning to discover.  We’re all living and blogging about homesteading or, at the least, a “back to nature” approach to life.

Our subjects are centuries-old pursuits: knitting, sewing, spinning, writing, reading, gardening, farming, child-rearing, housekeeping, cooking.  But we’re talking about these things through this technologically advanced wonder-machine under my fingers.

My thoughts on this dichotomy were put to words well when I met a fellow teacher recently and told her about the blogs I like to read.  “They’re mostly earth-mama, back to the land types,” I said.  “And these people use computers?!!” she exclaimed.  “Yes, and quite well,” I told her.  (She had never even read a blog, so there!)

Our pursuits have been practiced and refined over millennia, but we learn about them and discuss them via a technology that’s just a few decades old.  What advances are ladies (and some men, I know, but primarily ladies) making in these pursuits by having such a fast and easy way to share our work and ideas?

In my home, there are no video games, no MP3 players, no iPods, no iPhones, no blue-ray disc player, no TiVO or other digital video recorder.  We get by just fine without all that fancy electronic gadgetry, but we could never give up this slim little rectangle and the wireless modem that connects it, and me through it, to all of you.

I know there are homesteading, organic-living women out there without even an Internet connection (or maybe even a computer) but I don’t know any of them.  How would I meet them?

Yarn Along

Two posts in one day?  Whattup?!!  Well, L’Oiseau fell asleep at 6 pm, and I gotta take my chances when I get ’em.

Ginny at Small Things asked everybody to post what they are reading and knitting, so here’s mine:

Books, magazines, yarn, etc.

I am knitting Sheer Poncho in Malabrigo Lace 100% Baby Merino wool, color is Black Forest (No. 179).  I’m trying feverishly to finish it, so I can wear  it this fall, and so I can get started on Oriental Lily for L’Oiseau.

I am reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren — so many people rave about it, but so far, my jury is still out.  Also, The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips — this I love, and I’m learning so much and feeling very proud that I’m preparing myself to be an orchardist “one of these days.”

But my top favorite read, as always, is The Week.  I cannot say enough good things about this magazine.  It’s a compilation each week of the best of print media from around the world.  The editors at The Week read everything I wish I had time to read and distill it for me into this publication.  It covers news, politics, science, entertainment, real estate, business news, sports, drama, movies, food, art openings and exhibits.  It’s just fantastic.

Thanks for the invite to chat about reading and knitting, Ginny!  Two of my favorite things also.