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. I’m also experimenting with different textural effects that I’ve learned from this Japanese knitting shawl. I’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. I’m not a sentimental spinner; I spin only when I can’t purchase the yarn I want. For a pure silk yarn, it’s easy to buy it machine spun, and while it’s not quite as nice as handspun (looks less “alive”), I don’t think the difference is enough to worry about. I’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 “petal”: strength/courage, power, and joy. For strength I’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, that’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.
- I’ve started a batch of sun-cooked nectarine preserves. I’m not as impressed with this as I am with the strawberry—partly because I think strawberries taste better in jams—but it’s still coming out quite well. It’s in its second day of drying; I may take it in this afternoon if it’s thick enough. I’m really thinking of it more as a sauce to eat over ice cream than a jam/jelly; I don’t eat jams but I do like vanilla ice cream with fruit toppings.
- I did a first-run batch of dye samples. It’s very hard to get even coloration on fabric dye samples, especially raw silk, and the dye isn’t fully exhausting (I’m dyeing at a 2% depth of shade). But I have a set of very nice samples using yellow, turquoise, and Washfast magenta. I’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 go—I’m already knitting up the second one—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.