The Persian’s Done!

The Persian Ulmus is done, in spite of me.  I mean, how hard can it be to simply slog on until it is time to add the lace border?  Not at all…unless you slog way past the point.  I thought this was being one of those instances when you knit and knit and the thing just doesn’t seem to grow.  Finally, I counted stitches and found out I was way over.  Much frogging, then tinking, and the edge was picked up without incident.  We’ll not speak of this again, I think.

The weatherman was forecasting a day of rain yesterday, a spin-off from Florida’s tropical storm.  Early in the morning I hustled the Persian off the blocking board, and began considering sun spots for a photo shoot.  They were taken!  The Meezer Ulmus was photographed in the apricot wing chair, but now Minky was napping there,  with her head on my “If I’m sitting, I’m knitting” pillow. Torrie was in the cat seat, just beyond the keeping room table. I took the camera to DH’s office to show him our cuties, and when I returned to the keeping room, Torrie had piled in with Minky. There was nothing to do but wash her – what Minky does best.  (I just love how Minky always washes with her eyes closed.)

I got the message, “meezers rule”!  No meezer was thrown out of their chosen nap spot during the taking of these photos.  The Persian simply spread its wings over the table to be admired by all.  It has a more subtle beauty than the high contrast of the Meezer Ulmus.  Different moods for different days, eh?

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Introducing the Persian Ulmus

We were blessed with 2.9 inches of rain this weekend.  It had been a long, dusty stretch of time, and we are thankful for rain.  This morning the sun is shining, and the hoped-for photo shoot went off on schedule.  Without further ado, I give you the Persian Ulmus:

The yarn is Malabrigo Sock , in colorways 852 Persia (on the left) and 416 Indiecita (on the right).  At first, I thought “What have I done!”  As the knitting went on, I fell more and more in love with the combination.  I am amused by the number of times a knitter has said this same thing in the Ravelry Ulmus KAL.  It’s not an ugly duckling, but an “ugly Ulmus syndrome”.

The rich blend of colors makes me think of a Persian tapestry, so Persian Ulmus it is. 

Geeks don’t waste time counting

Yesterday I cast on for my second Ulmus, this time in Malabrigo sock yarn.  (I’ll share details and pictures tomorrow, after this rainy weather passes.  Why, yes, I’m bragging – we’re getting rain!)  After knitting the set-up charts you have, let’s say 45 stitches on the needle.  (I am changing numbers for the sake of the illustration.  You are clever knitters, and it wouldn’t be fair to the designer to use the real ones.) The next instruction is to continue repeats of the rows of the second chart until you have 395 stitches on the needle.

Whoa – 395 stitches.  Visions of repeatedly counting to see if I was at the 395 mark danced through my head like a nightmare.  Not gonna do it!  So I started playing with my calculator:  395 – the 45 I already have = 350.  I could see from the chart that doing one repeat of the chart rows would add 14 stitches.  So, the question is:  How many times through the chart (14 stitches)  would equal 350?  Type 350 in calculator, divide by 14,  = 25.

Okay, 25 repeats of the chart will do it.  Where to write that down do I won’t lose it?  How to remember, through TV shows and movies and interruptions, that it’s 25 repeats?  Time to use my Geek powers! My counter application for my PDA, CountAble has multiple counters, and the ability to count down as well as up.  I set “pattern repeats” at 25, and knit away.  Every time I finish a chart repeat, I click one down.  When it says “0”, it’s time to add the lace.  Much less stressful.  Having invested a few minutes of thought, I don’t have to think about this again for days…except to remember to use the counter.

Finishing Friday

My Meezer Ulmus came off the needles last night, and was blocked in short order.  It was just the right size to use the diagonal of one panel of my blocking board as its long edge.  Then it was a simple matter to pull each point out to the sides of the board and pin them…no measurements required.  With the Ulmus pinned to just one panel I was able to pick it up and take it out to rest on the drying rack in the garage, free from Meezer wallowing.

This morning I pulled the pins, and was very pleased with the final results. 

The slip stitch pattern takes on a more subtle color blend after bloccking. Pre-blocking it reminded me of a woven fabric I had seen at a woolen mill in Wales. 

No photo shoot in this house is complete without Meezer intervention. “But Meowmy, you said it was a Meezer Ulmus!”  So I did, Torrie.

Ooh, a package!

Recently Margene at Zeneedle had a comment contest in which she marked the even hundreds of comments as the total approached 50,000.  That’s a lot of blogging/reading/commenting!  I was fortunate enough to be one of the winners.

Then sadness entered the blog, as Margene posted a brief note that tragedy had come to her family, and she’d be back after a while.  We could only pray for God to hold her family in his arms. When Margene was ready to blog about the tragedy, we learned that her great-niece, Charlotte, had died at the very tender age of 15 months.

Life trumps blogs, folks, and in such sad circumstances I expected the contest to be canceled.  Yet Margene values her friends, and sent an email that she would be shipping my prize shortly. She had inquired about my favorite colors and treats.  (Never met a blue or green I didn’t love.  Treat = tea, and here I don’t care for green – go figure!)   Yesterday it arrived!

LSU is playing in the College World Series, so my description may sound a bit like play-by-play.  That’s a three-base hit, Bob.  On first base is Soft Spun, out of Brooklyn Handspun.  It’s wearing the team colors “Winter’s Welcome”, blue/green/white. This is one cushy yarn, and the fans just love it!

On second base is Tarajulie, a strong slugger of black tea.  Tarajulie’s hitting record is for a nice, heavy-bodied, malty, sweet cup of tea.

On third base, waiting to steal home and the hearts of the fans, is Sunshine.  This soap is from blessed juno, and is a real star of the team with essential oils of orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, and litsea cubeba.  Sunshine is superfatted with shea butter, and can throw as well as bat.

Thank you, Margene, for such a lovely prize package.  My cats were fascinated with the soap fragrance, by the way.  I forsee much hand washing, followed by kitty hand washing.

Oh, did you miss the game last night?  I now have only 12 rows to go on the two-color section of Ulmus, and LSU has one game to go to be the College World Series champ.   Second game tonight – knit on!

Who, me?

Yes, I know I’ve been unusually quiet.  I’ve been over here, on the sofa, knitting.  For the record, the Easter Monkey socks are done.  I won’t bore you with another picture…it looks just like the first one. . . and that’s good.

Unfortunately, for my total number of projects, I continued to read blogs.  Oh, the wonderful things my friends are knitting.  I succumbed to Ulmus, by Kirsten Kapur.  Choosing the yarn for this shawl required two day’s research.  I read all the Ravelry’s KAL posts, saw everyone’s color choices, and diligently searched the on-line yarn shops.  As is often the case, I fell in love with one color, Persia. Then the difficulty was finding a contrasting color to play second-fiddle.  I finally settled on Indiecita, the color the designer used for background/lace in her example. It looks much “bluer” in person.

I had to order from two yarn shops to get these two colors.  Both shipped promptly, but while I waited… from my closet came this small, sock-yarn voice, “Pick me!  Pick me!”  It was the Down Home Art Yarns Sock, in Riverbed, by Ray at knitivity. (Click the link for his excellent colorway photo.)  I personally think of this colorway as “Siamese Cat”.  It was purchased as Ray began again after Hurricane Ike, and has been waiting, patiently, for just the right pattern.  (You’ll have to humor us in Louisiana.  We tend to tell time by hurricanes.)   Let me just say that I love Ray’s yarns, and wholeheartedly recommend them to you.

The KAL spoke of colorwheel oposites, so I tried some Lorna’s Laces butterscotch, orange across from blue.  It wasn’t a pretty picture, dear readers; you’ll not have to look upon that combination.  Frogged! Then I remembered the generous skein of Knit Picks Bare in my sock yarn stash.  It played nice, indeed. As of last night, my Ulmus has 22 ever-increasing rows until I get to play with the lace section.  I’m happy!

The collective wisdom of the Ulmus KAL is that you can’t knit just one.  I do plan to knit the Malabrigo yarn, just as soon as this one is off my needles.  After all, this is my first Malabrigo!