Craft-wise, it has been a bit of a busy week:
- An order of fine (30/2) silk yarn finally arrived, and it is gorgeous! I am starting to knit test swatches for my tiger lily shawl. Iâ€™m also experimenting with different textural effects that Iâ€™ve learned from this Japanese knitting shawl. Iâ€™m knitting it up on #2 needles, which produces a fine lace with just enough openness.
I had planned to do the tiger lily using handspun yarn, but finally elected to use a machine-spun yarn. Iâ€™m not a sentimental spinner; I spin only when I canâ€™t purchase the yarn I want. For a pure silk yarn, itâ€™s easy to buy it machine spun, and while itâ€™s not quite as nice as handspun (looks less â€œaliveâ€), I donâ€™t think the difference is enough to worry about. Iâ€™d rather use it than spend another 150 hours spinning, especially since the book project is taking up most of my spare time.
The tiger lily shawl is going to be a six-petaled shawl with three themes in each â€œpetalâ€: strength/courage, power, and joy. For strength Iâ€™m using a braided cable (though I may change my mind on that), for power a set of crowns, and for joy a string of lilies of the valley on either side. In the center of each petal will be a heart with a crown in it. At least, thatâ€™s the current plan. I have been designing motifs for it and playing around quite a bit; I expect to spend almost as much time swatching as knitting.
- Iâ€™ve started a batch of sun-cooked nectarine preserves. Iâ€™m not as impressed with this as I am with the strawberryâ€”partly because I think strawberries taste better in jamsâ€”but itâ€™s still coming out quite well. Itâ€™s in its second day of drying; I may take it in this afternoon if itâ€™s thick enough. Iâ€™m really thinking of it more as a sauce to eat over ice cream than a jam/jelly; I donâ€™t eat jams but I do like vanilla ice cream with fruit toppings.
- I did a first-run batch of dye samples. Itâ€™s very hard to get even coloration on fabric dye samples, especially raw silk, and the dye isnâ€™t fully exhausting (Iâ€™m dyeing at a 2% depth of shade). But I have a set of very nice samples using yellow, turquoise, and Washfast magenta. Iâ€™ll probably do the second half of the set this evening.
- I finished the first piece of the pentagonal shawl, and have been analyzing it to see how they got the pentagon. There are five other identical portions to goâ€”Iâ€™m already knitting up the second oneâ€”and I plan to use them as a learning/study tool, so I understand exactly how the shaping is working at any given point. This pattern has really been a godsend, both in learning a totally different knitting style and in understanding shaping of geometric patterns.