Friday, October 16, 2015

Finished: Elizabeth Shawl

As I have mentioned before, my maternal grandmother is the original crochet person in my family.  I grew up with crocheted ripple afghans she had made and gifted us, and she started teaching me when I was about eight.  She stills talks about the lovely crocheted lace doilies made by the other women in her family and her friends.

When I became aware that her eightieth birthday was approaching last fall, I decided to make her a lace shawl as a birthday gift.  I selected the lovely Elizabeth Shawl pattern by Dee O'Keefe and Malabrigo Silkpaca in Polar Moon to match the description my mother gave me of "grey with some blue in it."  I cast on with my new Hiya Hiya interchangeables and knitted away, in evenings, over holidays, and on the train.
I spectacularly underestimated how long it would take me to finish this shawl.  I started in September 2014.  It took over six months from cast on to bind off, and I finished when I did in large part to having started to send 8+ hours a week on a train, primarily knitting.  The shawl then sat, unblocked for months, until I traveled to visit my grandmother in person.

The pattern was easy to use and in my opinion quite well-written.  The yarn was soft and the color lovely.  It was also extremely slippery on my metal needles, but that doesn't bother me much.
Upon my arrival at my parents' home and shortly before my grandparents' arrival to visit, I was able to take over a spare mattress and an hour of time from one of my brothers, who helped me pin out the points.  Much of dinner was spent sneaking off upstairs to check on it and then remove all the pins.  I have, unfortunately, only terrible pictures of the final shawl.  I also failed to take any pictures of my grandmother's reaction.  She first laughed at me for having missed half of dinner, and admired the shawl until she had to put it away to keep it safe from the dogs.

I think that was a good response.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

And . . . back!

I have been absent. I apologize.  My last post coincided with my current research project careening towards publication, a couple of job applications resulting in interviews, preparations to travel back to the US, preparations to move to a new country, and preparations to speak at a research conference.  Now my research project has been approved for publication and is being prepared for journal submission, the job interviews have all resulted in polite and distant “thank you for your interest but we will not be pursuing your application further” emails, the trip to the US happened and was awesome, the move to Germany is mostly complete, and the conference talk has been successfully given.  I am looking forward to a slightly more relaxed daily task-list, even if my day-job is now job-hunting.

Several blog posts will shortly be forthcoming as I recount the best craft-related aspects of my adventuring, and ballroom tip posts will be reinstated soon.  On that point, please leave a comment with any requests you may have.  I have more ideas, but I’d love to hear what you want tips on.  How to do ballroom hair styles?  What to bring to competitions?  Let me know what you want to hear about!

It's good to be more settled.  I have so much to talk about!