On Wings

Yesterday’s day off seems to have sort of been what I needed. I’ve still got a bit of a stuffy nose and cough, but I’ve turned a corner for sure, because it’s clear that I’m going to live, and I don’t mind that, which isn’t something I can say about every day of the last week.  I really did spend yesterday doing something close to nothing – and made excellent progress on my wingspan,  though I thought for sure I would finish it, and that didn’t happen.  Against my will, I fell asleep on the chesterfield, and as I’m sure many of you have noticed, holding knitting is far less effective than knitting it. 

Did I tell you how I came to be knitting Wingspan? Truth be told I was in a weakened state.  I’d had this cold for a week and I was right at the end of the little teaching tour, and I was in River Colors Studio in Ohio, and everyone there was so nice and so charming, and I’d been so good about not really buying anything. (Actually that’s sort of a lie.  I bought a big fleece from Beth when I was at the Spinning Loft – but I don’t think that counts.  Fleece isn’t technically yarn and besides Beth cheats.  She washes you up a lock or two, and puts the fleece near you so the fumes get to you- and this time she even spun me a sample.  That’s not fair – but it does work, and I have the fleece in the living room to prove it. )  Anyway, I was in the yarn shop and students started coming in, and a bunch of them were wearing Wingspan.  Now, I’m not blind and I don’t live under a big knitted rock, so I’d seen this pattern around – and it didn’t interest me much.  Sure it’s sort of a cool construction and it looks fun, but there was something about the jazziness of it that didn’t scream my name into the night, and life’s too short to knit things that can’t even mumble in your direction.  So that’s what I thought, and then all these students came in (clearly this pattern and yarn combination had run through the shop like a virus) wearing Wingspan knitted out of Kauni.

I’ve got a soft spot for Kauni, as I do all colour-changing, self-striping yarns, and while the rainbow Kauni in wingspan was a little bright for my taste, there were knitters there wearing it knit out of the more subtle, lovely colourways – and once I’d seen three, I started to get a little suggestible. I’d finished the Color Affection and had started a little sweater for Lou, but I wasn’t feeling it. (Never mind that I wasn’t feeling much, except for some fairly strong feelings about human frailty as it relates to viruses) and somehow, when I got into my car to drive home from Lakewood, there was Kauni in my car. 

I started it that night when I got home, and now I’m really, truly almost done, and what a fast, fun, knit this is, and I really think that knit out of a lovely subtle shade of Kauni (EF) that it’s sort of classy and cozy looking. (I totally get where the urge to knit it out of the rainbow shade comes from too. It’s supremely entertaining to watch the different wedges emerge in different colours, and I can see how that entertainment would only be more exciting with more colours. I’m resisting through.)

The pattern calls for 8 wedges, but I’m going to keep going as long as the yarn holds out (probably 9 wedges, so not a huge modification.)  I totally would have finished today, but with the Bike Rally looming (and still feeling like I’ve made a big mistake to sign up) I’m swapping out my usual knitting time with coffee in the AM for putting my bum on my bike and going for training rides.  This morning was 30km, and it didn’t go too badly, which is a big change from Sunday morning when … well. I don’t want to go into it, but let’s say the world has one less chipmunk in it, and I have one more bruise.  (Unrelated events, sadly.  It was a bad day.)  There’s an excellent chance I’m not quite built for this.  (Maybe I am. Who knows – it’s a family team this riding the 600km this year – I’m riding, Ken’s riding, my sister is riding, Amanda is riding, and so is Sam.  Megan’s taking a year off because of work, but Pato’s doing it. That’s most of us, and if my sister can do it, so can I – or die trying.)

This afternoon I’ve got a ton to do, from writing to cleaning to shopping to… well all of the stuff I should have done yesterday and didn’t, all lumped together with what I have to do today, and will.  Top of the list, tweaking my speech "This is your brain on knitting" (if you were in Sarnia or London to see me lately, you’ve probably heard it) so I can tell it to a hometown crowd tomorrow night when I’m the guest speaker at the Downtown Knit Collective. 
Looking forward to it – way more than the next training ride, and a tiny bit less than finishing Wingspan.

64 thoughts on “On Wings

  1. Please do not die trying. We like you to much and you often make our days. You are valliant to go on the ride and as a mother I thank you for it. Wingspan has been on my shortlist but sill working on the Affection but if I can figure out how to give up sleeping I will so that one shortly. Yours is quite fetching. Hugs and take care of yourself.

  2. Very pretty Wingspan. So glad you are feeling better – viruses totally stink.

  3. And me with some Kauni recently purchased at the Frolic…
    So do I stick with the intended project or have a go at Wingspan, who held the same kind of interest…until now! Catkin! Colour Affection! Wingspan! Shoulders have never looked so good!
    Glad you’re feeling better.
    We would all get so much more knitting done if our families quit dirtying their clothes and didn’t have to eat. I’m just sayin’.

  4. I am a new knitter, only knitting scarves and socks. What size needles did you use for this piece? Hope you are feeling better. Love reading your blog, and seeing the projects you are working on, it inspires me to knit more. thanks

  5. I’m a big Kauni fan too (it’s what I used to design and knit my Trellis Waistcoat), but I’d never even heard of it until last fall when I attended a series of workshops with Lucy Neatby. Need I say that she was wearing EQ, the “rainbow” colourway? There are a couple of new colours out there on Lucy’s site, EFL (Moody River) and EPA (Cowichan), and they might be calling my name.

  6. the day they invent a bike that I can knit while riding, outside on sunny and shady trails, I am so there. dragged myself 8.4 miles on Mothers day, and had time to knit. a good day.

  7. Well… would that Kauni be good for Color Affliction? It looks like it would be pretty as one of the colors for it…. I may have to go find some.

  8. River Colors Studios is a lovely shop, and what makes it lovelier, is that it’s right down the street from a Malley’s. Which is a combination candy shop and soda fountain/ice cream shop and completely local to the Cleveland area. I highly suggest hitting one the next time you’re in town.

  9. Hey Gal, looks like you knit in your sleep because you sure get more production out of a virus than I do! Been there, coughed & wheezed that! Not a shawl fan of any sort but that one looks interesting, must be the Kauni. Get well soon, baby yourself a little, the house can wait.

  10. Didn’t you have three babies without pain intervention? You can do the ride. It will be hard, but what you’re doing is super important. No one is ‘built’ to ride 600km over a weeks time, they are made.

  11. If I can run, you can ride. And I have recently been able to run 5 miles in an hour (and 5K in 30-and-change minutes) without killing myself on the treadmill. 🙂

  12. Aside from tempting me with yarn I cannot use (wool allergy – really) I would like to say that you seem to get more colds than anyone I know. As someone who can tip over into a lengthy asthma bout if I contract a virus I will use almost any means to not go viral. I have a lomation(spelling?)based tincture I get from a local herbalist and I put it on my tongue a few times a day at the first hint of invasion and do this daily during flu season. Have not had a cold or the flu in three years.
    Now that I have seriously tempted the fates, I am off to knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, and do a “I’m having too much fun to get sick” dance.

  13. I used to get colds. Then I started spinning as in the bicycle class kind. I do it a lot. And I haven’t had a bad cold in three years.. There is a clear medical connection between immunity and being in decent physical shape. So Steph- the cycling will help you all around. When I almost died training for and climbing 56 flights of the Hancock for a challenge event with friends last year… the feeling at the top was so worth it…(too bad I more or less ruined a knee and climbing stairs is really not for overweight 60 year olds)
    I will miss you at Squam this year. I am working away at a Color Affection using total lever
    knitting since you converted me.. It is kind of tedious.. but beautiful.

  14. I guess I was living under a rock–as I hadn’t seen wingspan. Thank you for the link. It is a beautiful patterns. And I’m tempted. But I must return to speed knitting baby sweaters. : )

  15. For those who believe such things, Venus went retrograde today, which suggests creative endeavors may hit “snags.”. But here you are tempting me with another pattern and beautiful colorway! And I have such an urge to knit. Good thing it is easy. :-). Thank you!

  16. Good thing you generally use your influence for good. Not only am I dutifully practicing lever knitting every day and not trying the technique with dpns or circs for 30 days, but suddenly I find that the Color Affliction pattern is in my stash. When home tonight, Wingspan will be downloaded.

  17. Crap, I have some lovely Kauni in my stash that has just been waiting and waiting and now…I needed another project to cast on like I need a hole in my head. Maybe after finishing the color affection from camp.

  18. Good luck with the training and the rally–what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? You are a more adventurous woman than I. I sent $10 to Pato because he was a bit behind everyone else.

  19. Girl, get that out of my face. My friend Terri was describing it this morning and I was thinking it was a good thing I hadn’t clicked through, and here you come. I’ve got three sides and most of a middle of a lace chuppah to get done well before October 19 (before September, if I’m smart. Yes. Well.) I ain’t cicking through on no clever constructions. Even though my LYS has Kauni. And it might make good travel knitting. And is intriguing …

  20. I have to say.. I am smitten with yours.. but it strangely looks woven in your pics and I think that is why it is calling me. I’ve seen one in handspun and really? It is a keeper, no matter what the yarn. CONGRATS on a beautiful knit!

  21. My little wingspan is out of 2 ply, blue face leicester I spun. A great pattern; I WILL do more than 8 wedges next time.

  22. You’ve inspired me once again. I printed out the pattern for Wingspan ~ thought it might be nice to use up some of my leftover sock yarn.

  23. I SO totally GET it! SO TOTALLY! We have small differences though.
    I am thoroughly thrashed with allergies since the oak trees and whatever the (H)-else is blooming is causing the nose/eye thing.
    The sports part is that our team has won our section in golf..team play and will go to finals on June 6. Still have to continue playing to stay limber.
    Our cat had surgery (yea! 11 weeks ago) for a cancer mass in her lung and hubby and I are trading time away from home to be with her.
    I am sick to death of a pair of socks that need an inch 1/2 before starting the toe decreases.
    I am also old enough to know that “This too will pass.”
    Poor chippie. Our local relatives are hosting a memorial.

  24. I wasn’t all that taken with Wingspan myself. I too thought it was interesting but not something I wanted to make or wear. Then I saw what Rav’s LanArta did with her’s, oooh baby! And – Uh Oh! Guess what I’m thinking about Wingspan now!
    Look at your own risk: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/LanArta/wingspan-2

  25. Oh, I’m just sick that you were RIGHT HERE IN CLEVELAND. And I wasn’t. Aargh! Come back again soon!

  26. Just to make all knitters here dizzy, I’d like to share something. I am less than fifty metres of sock yarn away from being completely yarnless. The nearest yarn shop is two hours by bike, and I can’t afford it until my paycheque clears. The next wool-purchasing opportunity isn’t until the farmer’s market on Saturday. I need to figure out what to do with my evenings.
    Curse you, Qualicum Beach!

  27. Dear Steph:You are a pusher. All I did was bring my daughter to one book signing/reading by you and now she’s raiding my stash to make a wingspan. Although I am holding the pattern hostage until she finishes my laundry! So glad you are feeling better.

  28. You can totally do the ride. I am 47 and have taken up running (ok, so I’m running slowly) this year after being told the deformed bones in my back meant I’d never be able to do this, as a teenager. On the weekend I ran 7.5 km raising funds for breast cancer research. A 30km training ride with a cold is really impressive, and you’ll have great company and great support. Go for it, and expect your cheer to improve as you shake the virus. You can do it!

  29. How did you get as close to me as Lakewood and I didn’t know it? I must live under a rock. Further evidence of rock dwelling is the fact that until I read this post I’d never heard of a Wingspan. Feeling quite suggestible, as you put it. New knitter, much to learn.

  30. I must be another “under a rock” dweller. Lakewood is a manageable drive for me and I had NO IDEA you were going to be there. I am so sorry to have missed you. :0/

  31. Sorry I will miss your DKC talk tomorrow!
    I am sure it will be an excellent evening.
    I am very confident about your bike ride with family and friends. It will be a riot and go very quickly. Thanks for doing it for us and the foundation!
    Lisa R-R (Cheri’s daughter)

  32. Ditto the Ohio thing, I’d have at least thought about it. Columbus next time? Wondered if you’d mentioned the wingspan as it was at the top on ravelry today and I had already made one (Phew!)

  33. Very pretty! I’m sure you’ll do GREAT and simply ASTOUND everyone during the 600km. Bodies can go a lot longer than we think. I’m glad you’re feeling better and the knitting is simply beautiful. Things seem to be looking up! (A moment of silence for the chipmunk)

  34. You can do it! The bike rally will be amazing, and before you know it, it will be over and something you’ve done before. I wouldn’t even be surprised if you signed up again next year…

  35. Rumor has it Joe, Millie and the squirrels have signed up as a team. Are you sure you can beat them?!?!?

  36. All this talk of fundraising … sigh. I am scheduled to take part in a 5 km walk/run event on May 20th – in the Bluenose Charity Challenge. My training has been delayed and curtailed due to torn ligaments in my foot. However, I WILL take part (my doctor seems relatively optimistic) at a more-or-less brisk walk.
    I am walking for the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia, a subject which is near and dear to me. The tiny URL of my sponsorship page is here: http://tinyurl.com/cjq3nad
    And I will be very much appreciative of anyone who throws some money my way.
    There is even an income tax receipt for those who pay Canadian income taxes!

  37. All this talk of fundraising … sigh. I am scheduled to take part in a 5 km walk/run event on May 20th – in the Bluenose Charity Challenge. My training has been delayed and curtailed due to torn ligaments in my foot. However, I WILL take part (my doctor seems relatively optimistic) at a more-or-less non-limping walk.
    I am walking for the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia, a subject which is near and dear to my head, if not my heart. The tiny URL of my sponsorship page is here: http://tinyurl.com/cjq3nad
    And I will be very much appreciative of anyone who throws some money my way.
    There is even an income tax receipt for those who pay Canadian income taxes!
    Thanks, Janey

  38. Welcome to the wingspan club, Stephanie.
    Now when you do the next one (and you will, they’re like peanuts, cant eat just one) consider all the places you could put beads, like in the first “long” row to outline the wedges and in the row before the cast off to show off the top edge. Ask me how I know… Christmas drawer has a good start on this year’s pressies.
    Have fun,
    Julie in San Diego

  39. Gabrielle @ 7:28 pm – You are a shining, SHINING example of why a well filled stash is essential to a knitter’s life!
    And don’t listen to anybody who tries to tell you different…

  40. So glad you got some rest. Beautiful wingspan. Can’t wait to see photos of the finished shawl.

  41. Sometimes seeing things in the wild, as it were, can be much more dangerous than professional pictures.

  42. Glad you’re feeling better; I was in the sock class at River Colors and wanted to give you a cozy afghan and tell you to curl up in a corner. SO enjoyed the class! I must admit, I only recently downloaded “At Knit’s End”; I’m not a Yarn Harlot groupie. BUT… You’re awesome! I see what everyone gets jazzed about. Thanks for coming to our lovely River Colors!

  43. All I want for my birthday is Kauni. I bought a rainbow skein at New Years and it never even saw I had other yarns. Oh the smell, the colors and the roughness that lets you know it was part of a living breathing (and still living breathing) sheep. And how it is so beautiful after you wash! I gave that shawl/scarf to my daughter and covet it every time I see it on her.

  44. I am blown away by all the different variations of this shawl and the unique look it gives to each. I wasn’t sure if it was something I would want to knit either, but then I saw your colourway (which is just beautiful) and all the possibilities and…if the TBK list gets any shorter, Wingspan and CA may end up in the queue.

  45. Hello I just wanted to say hi and say that I really like your blog and it has inspired some of my knitting projects and I’m sorry if this is awkwardly
    worded but I’m really nervous.

  46. Hi Stephanie- I really want to hear the “this is your brain on knitting” talk, but I know you can’t make it to everyone’s LYS. Any chance of a recording being made available for purchase? I”d buy one. Glad you’re feeling better.

  47. It struck me after reading yesterday’s entry that a day off when you’re sick isn’t a day off. A day off is a day you don’t work when you’re NOT too sick to move.

  48. I can see the attractiveness of a Wingspan done in Kauni. Very pretty colorway for that.

  49. When was the last you visited your aunt? We knitters in Kingston would love to see you again. Can we have a sock class? How do I sign up for Perth?

  50. You sound like you’ve had the same crud I have been dealing with for the last week. I also had mouth surgery on top of it. I feel like I’m on so many meds I don’t think I could handle doing anything more complicated that stockinette stitch right now. Wingspan looks like it could fit the bill.:)

  51. Oooooh pretty color-changing yarn!!! 🙂 I am in love with striping/patterning/varigated yarn right now, as you, Ms. Yarn Harlot, have infected me with the sock knitting bug.
    I swear it was you. I used to use nothing finer than a number 3 weight, and then I start reading your blog and the skein of wool/bamboo sock yarn starts looking kinda good to me and maybe it accidently followed me home. Fast forward about six months, and 4 skeins of sock yarn followed me home last time I was yarn shopping. I only wish I’d known it was this addictive on the trip my husband and I took to La Crosse last November. The yarn shop I visited had most of their stock on sale, and I didn’t get any because I did not yet know its fine, fulfilling alure.
    I am working on a short row heel on the first sock of a pair I am making my husband out of Ausermann Step (the kind with aloe. I MUST FIND MORE OF THIS STUFF!) on DPNs (bamboo, although I recently bought some metal ones, I do prefer bamboo). I barely recognize myself. 😀

  52. Seriously consider pulling out of the bike rally. No one is immune to flukes. In a 2000 Lung Association fundraiser in Kingston. I found myself in a 200 KM/ 2 day ride where 1.6 km into the darn thing I collided with a senior participant, which left my hip badly bruised and my collar bone broken. I was off work 9 weeks and couldn’t even wipe my own arse. Good thing that was pre-knitting days. I’m just putting that out there for your consideration. No one will think less of you. We all know you are capable of doing it but seriously, should anything happen(God forbid, and so do I), could you stand not knitting for 9 weeks? Just sayin’

  53. “Against my will, I fell asleep on the chesterfield, and as I’m sure many of you have noticed, holding knitting is far less effective than knitting it.”
    Effective at what? It appears to have cured you. I’m going to try that with my next cold!

  54. Do you have any advice for raising enthusiastic bikers? You’ve blogged about long family bike trips and as my daughters get older I want to do that too. Right now at nine, they rarely ride more than around the block, or as a family we will hit the local bike path but never more than a couple of easy miles at a time. How did you get your girls interested in longer trips? And how old were they? I hope you are proud of them, now that theyve grown into the kind of girls who do thebike rally. I hope mine do too!

  55. Lovely Wingspan! Based on comments from one of your prior posts, I downloaded the pattern and started one last week. I used up many bits of leftover sock yarn – the result is rather ‘patchwork,’ but someone might like it. My next one will have long color changes. The bike ride is payback for those summer vacation rides you made your girls do – I think your intent was for them to feel empowered by completing a difficult physical challenge. Looks like your message got through loud and clear! Good luck!

  56. Ever think of doing a podcast with your speeches on them for those of us that can’t attend?

  57. This is for Gabrielle who is almost yarnless and broke….. send me your address and I will mail you yarn.. I have had so much donated to my charity group that we will never ever be able to use it. Seriously.. What do you want to knit? Jane

  58. I’m glad that your shall is looking good and helping you heal. A day off with knitting makes me feel better about 90% of the time.

  59. Ooh, I have some kauni sitting in the stash – bought because it’s just so cool. This wouldn’t be a bad project.

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