Thursday, May 24, 2012

On Lilac and Lopi

The lilac is in full-bloom as evidenced by the above, and our weather has been balmy and sunny, reaching a high of 31C or 88F on Monday, May 21.
We've got all sorts of lilac growing all over, most of it where we don't exactly want it, but when they're in full bloom, we forgive them their location, and enjoy their heady scent and beautiful blooms.
These were all started from seed by a previous owner, so bonus points there, but eventually we're going to have to relocate some, and hopefully they'll take in their new location.  The ones above aren't perfectly white, but have a light, light lilac tinge to the blossoms before they open.  They are superbly beautiful.  This year I picked a few vases' worth, and the smell in the house was unbelievable.  It's just a shame they don't keep well as cut flowers.

Besides the great weather we've been enjoying, last Monday was a holiday, so all the better!  It gave me the opportunity to sit under our new steel-blue umbrella and enjoy its lovely cast while knitting a long-forgotten UFO.
I started this Védis Jónsdóttir design called Nú last October or November, right after I received my big batch of Lopi from Iceland.  It was supposed to be a quick knit - maybe a day or two worth of work - but through a bit of carelessness, I ended up making the wrong size sleeves.
Try as I might, I couldn't get the yoke decreases to work properly since I had 4 extra stitches, and since these decreases form an integral part of the design, I couldn't really fudge a "knit 3 together", although I gave it my best shot.  Bulky yarn is unforgiving like that.  The project was stuffed into a bag, and stuffed into a Rubbermaid bin, and clear out of my consciousness.

So the project languished until Monday morning.  Armed with a free day, sunny skies, and nothing on the agenda,  I sat outside and pulled the yoke back.  For some obscure reason, I had even proactively grafted the underarms already, and once I unpicked my grafted stitches, I could pull the arms back.
Working with 12mm needles is hard work.  The stitches don't flow, instead, they need to be pushed on the needles with coercion, every stitch requiring effort to load it on the needle, knit it, and push it onto the next.  (Note to self:  bulky yarn and fat needles do not a quick project make).
To top things off, I needed to use the dreaded magic loop method of knitting, because I couldn't find 12 mm double pointed needles.  I cannot fathom why anyone would knit this way, unless it's under duress.  Give me my 12 mm double-pointed needles, and no one gets hurt.

But spurred on by a gentle breeze, I had one sleeve knit back up again, in the correct size this time, of that I made doubly sure.  I was on a roll, and I know myself well enough that I needed to take full advantage of my mood, lest this project fall off the radar for another few months.  The next sleeve didn't exactly fly off the needles either, more of a push/knit/push slog-fest, but soon it was done, too.  I joined sleeves to body, and started in on the yoke, and from there on, the finish line was clearly within reach.

At 10:30 PM, with ends woven in, I called it a night.  I just had the underarms to graft, but even that was accomplished during my lunch-time at work the next day.

So, with one less thing in the UFO basket, my knitting resolution for 2012 won't exactly hold, but finishing one more UFO makes me feel infinitely better about the Sweet Georgia CashLuxe Fine yarn I just bought on-line to make a Colour Affection Shawl, known in knitting circles as the Colour Infection Shawl, because it's gone viral as some knitting patterns do.

Sometimes I amaze even myself.  And what I didn't realize, despite the dire remarks all over the website, is that Sweet Georgia is dyed-to-order.  Naturally, I am just chomping at the bit to get my eager little hands on that wool.  But what it's done is buy me some time (4 to 6 weeks?) to finish my Rams and Yowes blanket before my order comes in.  It's back on my radar with a progress report forthcoming.

Resistance is futile.  I will be assimilated. Of this I am sure.


Miriam said...

I was just wondering this morning how things were going for you at Shim Farm, and now tonight, here is your blog post! You might wonder WHY I was thinking of you, and it's because I was looking at the shawl I began last winter and quickly got 90% finished and then sort of just forgot about. Now I understand the UFO syndrome! You have inspired me to just get on with it, and get it done!

I love lilacs, too, and it's my chief regret when it comes to not being able to smell because I'm always so stuffed up. I could live with that state of affairs 11 months of the year, but not May, not when the lilacs are blooming!

Shim Farm said...

Yes, yes, yes and yes!

My apologies, but my laptop has been giving me fits, and came back from the repair shop just today. It was still functional, however, it became a desk-top due to a malfunctioning connector. Do you know how HARD it is to keep a laptop on a table without moving it? I had to train myself to not grab it and put it on my lap, that I just sort of gave up because it seemed impossible to do!

Oh, you'll be so proud of yourself when you finish your shawl. Show it some love and get it done! (Spoken like a true enabler, eh?) That said, how's the Lopi sweater coming along, hmmmm?

The lilac are just lovely. I've tried every trick in the book to get them to stay nice as cut flowers, to no avail. I feel so guilty, cutting something and bringing it into the house, knowing full-well I'll only get 48 hours out of the blooms, but this year, I broke down. The smell is simply divine, too bad you can't partake!

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