Monday, August 20, 2007

The Shibori Scarf

Shibori Scarf, finished

Dear Blog-

What a difference a couple of days can make. Since you have been good enough to listen to me complain about everything these last few weeks I thought I would let you know the good bits, too. Saturday morning as I was teaching, my Dad left me a voice mail that Mom's room had been changed at the rehab center. It seems her crazy-making roommate had hung up on one of my sisters the evening before when she called to talk with my Mom. My normally mild-mannered mother raised the roof and within about 5 minutes she was moved to a different room, with a very nice and eminently sane woman, and the two of them get on like a house on fire. Mom was a different woman when I went to visit her that afternoon, looking like my 'real' Mom again with the devilish twinkle in her eyes. What a relief that was to all of us.

And so yesterday, being the first day in 7 that I didn't have to go to work (I love my job, but, really, everything in moderation), DH got up early and we went out for breakfast (there being no food in the house) and from there we went to the grocery store and bought pretty much everything we clapped our eyes on. It is a good thing - as Martha would say - to have food in the house, just waiting to be eaten. I was afraid that soon we were going to turn on each other, and it wouldn't have been pretty. And we also got laundry detergent, thank God, so yesterday I played hooky from Mom duty and washed lots of laundry and changed the sheets. I never thought I would be grateful to spend my afternoon doing several loads of wash, but there you go. So our little ship of life is headed back to the shores of Normal, and that can only be a good thing.

I also decided yesterday - in between a quick run to Trader Joe's and dropping DH off for a Starbucks fix, and when I would have to go back and fetch him home from the aforementioned - to do the felting on my Shibori Scarf. You may remember that I had originally planned on working beads into the knitting, but between doing most of the knitting sitting in the hospital, and not having the right-sized hook with me when I started the scarf while sitting in the car place waiting room, waiting for my a/c to be fixed, the bead thing didn't happen. And I regret that mightily now, it would have made the whole thing beyond cool. But I made the decision yesterday morning that there was no way in HELL I was ripping that scarf out and starting over. So I went with what I had. The idea of beads, and the finished scarf, did set off a whole lot of thought bells in my brain, so I will be revisiting this whole thing and using beads when I do so, you may rest assured. So here is the finished scarf before felting...

I didn't want the colors to stripe horizontally, so I knitted the scarf on the bias to get more interest and movement happening in the fabric. This is done with Morehouse Merino in the Zaandam colorway. Loved it. But then, I love pretty much everything they do.

Next I sat down with scarf and beads...

I had a variety of sizes of wooden beads to work with, and as I was looking for some odd shapes as well I also got some half eggs. These did not work so well as the beads, making holes in the finished fabric, so I won't use those again. But it was worth a try.

Now to look at the fabric before starting...

With variegated yarns and felting, I find I usually like the purl side of the felted piece better, as it gives a better play of colors than the knit side does. I decided to stick with that here as well, and worked using the purl side as my 'right', or public, side.

Now to place the beads...

I didn't want to over-analyze the thing and spend too much time deciding which bead went where, because I felt that could ruin the process. Just put the little devils in there, with the idea of the larger beads being towards the bottom edges, and then graduating to smaller beads as it went up.

Beads in place on the whole scarf before felting...

The scarf after felting, before removing the beads...

So I am in love with this process and ready to go to the craft store and get a whole lot more sizes of wooden beads. This is too much fun.

Last night, as well, I started to work some more chart rows on my MS3. I'm on Clue 7, the final clue, and I am ready to see the finished shawl. But two nights ago I dropped one of the slipped sts at the beginning of the chart row, and try as I might, I couldn't get the picked up st to look right - I had this big hole suddenly happening in a line of nice, neat, uniformly-sized yo's. So I did it. I took a deep breath and decided to frog back to the beginning of Clue 7. If I didn't, I knew that forevermore I would be really, really bothered by that spot, and so it just made more sense to deal with it now before I got too much further. I've never had to frog lace before. I've never used a life-line because I always count on my wrong-side rows, so I catch any mistakes right away. But there is no counting on this wing section, you are on your own. But I determined where I wanted to rip back to, placed a marker at the side stitch in that row, took a deep breath and pulled my needle out of those sts. This is another instance where spending too much time thinking about what you are doing is really counter-productive, you just have to do it. So I ripped it out, row by row, until I got down to the marker I had put in earlier.

I used a size US 0 needle to pick up the sts at that point, and then as I transfered them back to the proper needle, I reoriented them if I had picked them up backwards, and re-worked any sts that the yarn had pulled out of. Voila! I read the sts and found that I had ripped back a tiny bit too far, and that I was ready to work a WS row before working the last chart row of the previous clue. I did all that and worked 3 rows of the chart for Clue 7, and feel much better about the whole thing. It really had to be done.

So now, Blog, I am going to close this and go eat breakfast - because we have food and I can do that - and because this morning is going to be spent driving about Tucson, doing what needs to be done to get DH and his car back on the road. This is another thing that just needs to happen, it is past time. If you are the praying sort, send us prayers that DH will have good news about Thursday's job interview today, and that Mom continues to improve and is back in her own home soon. If you are not the praying sort, send us good thought instead, those are much appreciated too.

Til then, keep knitting-


Anonymous AlisonH said...

That scarf is very cool, and the colors are absolutely gorgeous. Ooh aah! Best wishes to your mom and dad, meantime, and to you and your hubby, too, as you cope with it all.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

No fair, Alison beat me to it! Aaah, the scarf is amazing, and it looked quite fun to felt. Just lovely!!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Windyridge said...

Very pretty!

10:45 AM  

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