Or at least I feel as though it is. That's part of the 'Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern' from Victorian Lace Today, in Mini Maiden 'Periwinkle'. A rod for my own back: 'shoulder shawls' don't really appeal to me, I prefer something a little more like a hug (especially if it's to be a gift). So I added 5 pattern repeats. Which wasn't a problem, as the body stitch pattern is easily memorised. I was (I can't believe this) actually looking forward to my first knitted-on border, my first 'fully-fashioned' (ie pattern stitches on every row) lace. Gah. Only 12 rows, but can I remember them? I must have the pattern in view at all times. And it seems to exist in a parallel universe where time runs more slowly as soon as I pick up the needles: the rows are short, I seem to be constantly k-ingtbl into a shawl stitch, and yet the border creeps along more slowly than I'd have believed possible. The virulent green bit is another learning experience: the pattern called for a provisional cast-on, leaving the first row of stitches open and ready for a crochet border (I am so looking forward to that...). I decided that knitting a pattern repeat in a contrasting yarn would have the same result and allow me to learn the pattern. OK, one part of the plan worked. I have learned something else from this, though. The finished shawl will be very... Victorian. The large bold body pattern, surrounded with lots of twiddles (the knitted-on border, finished with crochet loops) is very reminiscent of Victorian parlours [site is slow to load, but the 360° works well] with boldly patterned walls and decorative dust-traps on every surface. It really should have been red or dark green or gold, not periwinkle. Probably all three. Anyway, it's not to my taste. I find I prefer more finely-detailed lace. Shetland here we come...
There's not been much other knitting lately, everything seems to have stalled. I don't like what's happening with the colourwork on the heel of the Gairloch Socks, so when I finish the shawl I'll sit and work out what to do about those. The Alpaca Thing is laughing at my lack of stamina. I've got lots of work, too: I've assessed, touched-up, or drawn from scratch about 300 illustrations in the last 3 weeks, with another 100-odd to go. My own typesetting project is drawing to a close, but we're so far behind that the next volume isn't far away, and I've got lots of other stuff in the queue... I need to find some energy! I'm swatching for the Cinnabar pullover from IK, but I need a 6.5mm Addi or other shiny needle for the linen stitch; I should, I could use the Denise set but they feel so clumsy by comparison with Addis. After reading so many good reviews I've given in and ordered a set of Knitpicks Options from GetKnitted. That's a cheering thought. Another cheering thought... for me, at least. Some might disagree :-) I have a Big Birthday soon. Half a century. I've started to think about all the things I've seen and (with luck) the things I've yet to see! A semi-birthday present materialised on the route of a walk through London on Saturday:
I have a thing about skeletons and bones, skulls in particular. I like them. I think they're wonderful structures, amazing feats of engineering, and for me they symbolise both life and death. This ring from The Great Frog incorporates all that; I love the contrast between its meaning for me and the Heavy Metal 'skull with rats' design (the rats are investigating a gaping hole in the back of the skull :-). I must confess that I also enjoy shocking people who don't know me. The other birthday gift is under discussion: he wants to buy me a really good spinning wheel, something that I'll use and love for decades (he is a keeper, isn't he?) and my sister wants in on it too. I've been reading reviews wherever I find them, paying attention to the wheels used by noted bloggers and professional spinning folk. I think... I think my dream wheel may be a Schacht Matchless double treadle. But it's a lot of money and my spinning wouldn't do it justice. Yet. It's very tempting, though.
Update: I've just been told he's made a Management Decision and ordered a Schacht. I'm thrilled for two reason: 1. I'm getting a new wheel! and 2. I don't have to faff about it anymore. So that's 3 birthday gifts, more than enough for a half-century :-)
Back to work. I have to finish something so I can invoice someone so I can justify drawing up a shopping list for the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. I wonder if anyone there will have a Schacht I could look at?
PS. I've just remembered I should have mentioned: the handspun Wool Peddler Shawl was delivered to my mother's door the day before her birthday. When I rang to wish her Many Happy Returns she was wearing it, or at least said she was. It's a great success! Hurrah!