A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Tale of Two Knitters

Once upon a time, long, long ago (well, actually, only back last spring, but then all really good stories start this way), there were two knitters. One lived in Virginia and one lived in California, opposite ends of the continent, but thanks to the mystery and wonder of the Internet, they met through two Yahoo groups, KnitRedKnitAlong and TalkKnitting, and formed a close friendship. They were very similar in many ways, and the Virginia knitter talked the California knitter into signing up for an online shawl-making class through Needlecraft University, where they would both learn to master knitting lace from charts and become wizardesses (help, here Ruinwin, there must be a better word) in the world of shawl-making.

Unbeknownst to each other, both of these two antique knitters decided to follow a trend set by younger women, and quest after the elusive Clapotis. This being something of a Holy Grail amongst knitters in the past year, it required a commitment to finding the perfect yarn before beginning. They each began their search for the perfect yarn for this project, one that would drape elegantly, and show off a multitude of favored spring colors. By some quirk of fate, karma, or whatever mysterious force you believe in, both knitters ended up at Elann, deciding at approximately the same time to order this yarn:

Beautiful shades of blues, greens and yellow Posted by Picasa

Now, upon arrival, the California knitter, and your illustrious author, decided that this colorway was just a little too bright for a Clappy, and set the yarn and the project aside. A few months later, while attending the Black Sheep Gathering, she found the yarn she had really been looking for, an alpaca in pinks and pale yellows, and started mulling over what else to use the sparkly Berrocco Twist to make.

Meanwhile, the Virginia knitter became totally enamoured with shawl-making, ordering a few more patterns and planning at least two more shawls (that I am aware of, she may confess to more after this). One really called out to be made from the Berrocco Twist waiting at her house, but she lacked four skeins. This past weekend, Sallee issued a plea to her fellow listknitters for anyone having the same dyelot of the yarn begging her to make a shawl, while I was cleaning up my stash, and deciding that this yarn would be perfect for another tank top in the same pattern as the hot pink one I finished for myself (you can see me modeling it a few posts back). My daughter insisted that these were "my colors" and, it only required 400 yards (half what I had on hand)!

Looking to post a link to Sallee's blog while describing my new shawl pin, I clicked there on Sunday to find, staring me in the face, the photo just posted above (which I blatently stole), of the yarn my daughter and I had just been discussing. As you may well guess, I was astounded! What was Sallee doing with my yarn? I read her post, and grabbed a skein to confirm what I already knew in my heart; we had the exact same dyelot.

Of course, I wrote back right away, as any good knitblogging friend would, to reassure her that I would share. It will be close, as she needs four skeins, one of which I may need to tap into a bit to finish the tank top (which, by the way, I have already started). I promised to help her tink with the shawl pattern if needed to assure there will be enough, and also decided that the single crochet edgings on my tank will be of a bright blue pearl cotton that I bought at a closeout, without any clear intention, except that the color was fab.

Sallee has a business making speciality totes and purses out of the most beautiful quilt cottons, and I had ordered a knitting bag and selected my fabric online a few weeks ago; we are including this yarn as part of my payment to her; don't you just love how the spiral continues! She is sewing away as we speak and I will post a photo of my knitting bag when it arrives.

So, while attending my seminar yesterday, I was able to get through the mindless portion of the front of Nikki's top (up to the part where I need to read the chart right straight along to make diagonal holes to thread a pretty ribbon through), as well as determine that I had to drop down a second needle size than the tank called for in order to use the Berrocco Twist. As a warning to Sallee and others contemplating this yarn, it knits up loosely, wanting to slide through your hands and off the needles, and it can be split easily, but with the right gauge, the results are lustrous and nicely firm. It will make a pretty top and a fabulous shawl.... now, Sallee and I need to start plotting how we will get together from opposite sides of the country when our projects are done for a meeting and photo op!

The other interesting thing I learned yesterday was that work efficiency surveys have shown that up to 40% of workers' times are spent on re-working (repairing other peoples' mistakes, inadvertently doing the same thing over, etc.). Now this made me feel a whole lot better about the mistake I found just before lunchtime in row spacing on my eyelet ribbing, forcing me to spend an hour ripping and redoing while listening to the lecturer. It also gave me greater patience when I realized that I would have to take out the eight rows or so I had done on the blue tank, as the needle size was too large. I was able to get back on track last night, with the correct needle size and a few new rows on the needles.

A final note: I was excited to get an email from my friend that these felted purses are for, telling me she was back from vacation and ready for me to mail them today.

Felted purses, ready to ship Posted by Picasa


Blogger KnitNana said...

LOLOLOL! Birdsong, you have another career in the making my dear - your story-telling is fabulous!!! Ah, no problem that you "stole" my photo - I'm as amazed as you at our similarities and our preferences. I just know the new yarn clapotis "chose" for itself at Black Sheep is perfect and one I'd love as well. All this is indeed such serendipity! Something that seems to be happening more and more in MY life at least...I have started the shawl, there are more in my mindworks, and oh dear, a Berroco pattern I've just found for fall, is a poncho with SLEEVES! Not one for ponchos, I'll have to see this pattern upclose before I commit. But the yarn used - "Foliage" - is gorgeous (my colorway is Asters).

Too many projects not enough time...I LOVE your bags for your friend, too!

And not to worry, your tote is in the making!

11:31 AM  
Blogger Ruinwen said...

Your purses are beautiful and very unique! You and Sallee will make a great team!


5:34 PM  
Anonymous Suzann said...

I love those purses, Birdsong! The colors are brilliant, and the fun fur accents are so happy. Great work!


6:32 PM  

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