Randomly on a Tuesday

1. I have no idea what happened to the last 2 weeks.

2. That’s a lie. There’s just been so much that I find myself ready to quote Inigo Montoya. “Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

3. I have been to Seattle and back for the last Madrona, and I did it all in snowstorms everywhere I went.  (It was appropriate somehow that the weather was so dramatic, I felt like there should be some reflection of how significant it was to me that the event was ending after 20 years.)  I’ve been lucky enough to be going to that for 15 years or so, and I owe Suzanne more than I can say. She was my role model for how I’ve run my business for years, and I’m so grateful we’re friends so that even though Madrona’s over, my relationship with Suzanne isn’t.

3. Usually at Madrona, I organize and MC the Teacher Talent Show but this year I also took part and that’s enough said about that, except anyone who was there should be able to tell you A) that it was absolutely epic. B) That I am never, ever doing anything like that again. C) That what happens at Madrona stays at Madrona and there’s a media ban, so you’ll just have to wonder forever now.

4. I finished the Jacob project, and I love it desperately. Let’s recap, shall we? I started with a little Jacob fleece that Judith gave me, and sorted it into it’s component colours.

Then I carded those on my little carder, making batts that fit into my plan of a gradient.

Then I spun them up into  2-ply yarns, a tiny bit heavier than lacewight.

Mission accomplished, I chose a pattern that would let me use every inch – in this case, working from the top-down, with a variable number of repeats so I could adjust to the yarn amount, and even a border pattern that I thought would look just fine with a few more or less rows.  Dover Castle.

I can’t tell you how well it came together -and how quickly, and how much I nailed the landing.  I finished with about 30cm of yarn left.

It was like a poem.  I love it when a project goes to plan, and this one did, from beginning to end.  Here’s the shawl – finished, but pre-block.

Then, having arrived at Madrona, I blocked it on my hotel room bed (slept in the other half, I’m not very big and I’m an edge sleeper) and voila!

I was so delighted with it.  As a few of you predicted, it was Judith’s birthday present – and such a lovely circular gift.  She gave me the fleece, I gave her the shawl, and we both got what we wanted in the end, I had such a good time playing with that fleece – it made me want another one.

5. I am not sure why I don’t feel bad about giving her the shawl.  I love that thing, but was quite content to see it on her shoulders.

6. Maybe I am a better person than I thought.

7. Wouldn’t that be nice.

8. I finished two other projects but I’ll show you later. I don’t want to upstage the shawl. (I also did a whole lot of other stuff. You’ll see.)

9. I leave for Port Ludlow in the morning – and we’ve got one spot left at the Spring Retreat. (Technically we were full, but then there was a cancellation and now we’ve got one spot again.) If you are a last minute type, here’s your big chance.

10. There’s also a spot at the Learn to Spin Workshop on Friday. You can sign up just for that if you like – and we can loan you a wheel. It’s at Port Ludlow from 9-4, we provide lunch, and Judith will teach you to spin. (I think Judith could teach a porpoise to spin in a 6 hour class, you’ll do really well.)

11. Probably not a porpoise.

12. Maybe a porcupine.

80 thoughts on “Randomly on a Tuesday

  1. It’s so beautiful – beautiful to look at, and also so beautiful to see two people be so loving and generous and kind to one another, with only delight at being able to give such joy. Beautiful.

    • I came here to say exactly that!

      Also, that I had a dream last night about sorting a fleece into its component colours, and I’m pretty sure that was Stephanie’s fault. I’m not sad about it, either!

  2. Isn’t that just the truth about knowing when we are ready or willing or intending…to give something beloved and cherished, away. Yes, a little dose of altruism amidst the good acts that litter life, but we see it, feel it. Good for you. Bask, dearie, just bask.

  3. The shawl is absolutely gorgeous! And gifting it back to Judith was the perfect circle. You are a better person than you believe because most of us cannot give ourselves the credit we deserve. Namaste.

  4. I wish you had a pic of Judith modeling the shawl!
    I have a Jacob lamb fleece sitting in my stash… I am feeling very inspired… I’m just not sure I can do it justice, but maybe I will try anyway…

    • May I give gentle encouragement to try your hand at it? Maybe start by sampling a bit? I know, myself, that I sometimes save things “until I’m ready” and then a year goes by and I still don’t feel ready… and I know that can go on indefinitely.

      How about if you take a stab at your Jacob fleece I’ll sample my gradient of BFL/silk I’ve been saving to see what I can make of it! 😉

    • I have a drum carder you can come over and use. I’m happy to give you a short tutorial on something less precious if you’re so inclined.

  5. The teacher talent show at Madrona was EPIC! Particularly the grand finale!! And that’s all I’ll say. I was also thrilled to get to see the Jacob Fleece as a FO in person and with Judith! It is so lovely and a fitting gift! Hope your trip to Port Ludlow is less dramatic. One of these days I’ll make it to Strung Along Retreat too.

  6. The shawl is fabulous, and I’m so glad the Knitting Deities didn’t harm it. Instead, they sent snowstorms to teach you better manners. Yes, snowstorms to teach manners to a Canadian — the Deities must have been drunk that day. Have fun in Port Ludlow!

  7. I think that is my favorite shawl pattern. I know it’s my favorite color scheme. Well done, girl! Both the work and the gifting

  8. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of perfect balanced ending that writers strive for – completing the circle with a sense of rightness – but which real life so seldom achieves.
    It’s gorgeous.

  9. A friend who lives not far from Port Ludlow just posted a picture of crocuseseses. If you see any such thing you might take a moment to consider the feelings of those of us who live in your latitude, and how fears freeze so easily.

    (It’s a darling shawl)

  10. The shawl is absolutely lovely, and my eyes filled with tears when I read it was given to Judith as a birthday gift. <3

  11. That shawl is so beautiful, and you’ve put it to best and highest use. Happy happy birthday to Judith! Love that circular gift.

    Madrona: You couldn’t pay me enough to do what you did. I gave extra money to the charities because of that. ‘Nuff said. It was fun.

    Wishing you a fab retreat at Port Ludlow! Wish I could go.

  12. Steph, You and Judith gave each other a beautiful gift. You both got the joy of being with the little Jacob sheep’s contribution! A beautiful thing and a beautiful shawl!

  13. It’s really true – there is more happiness in giving than receiving. You and Judith both proved it!

    I live 20 miles north of Seattle and still have snow in my back yard, grrrr AND – I loved the Princess Bride quote. Gotta dust off the DVD …… Inconceivable!

  14. Probably you don’t mind it going so much because you made a nearly identical one in the past decade, doing the same thing to a wee jacob fleece. So I think you’ve got your own shawl stashed about somewhere!

    (not that it isn’t also a perfect delight to imagine Judith wrapped in such kindness and joy)

  15. Love the shawl and the all the work that went into it!!! I also love the post! I am looking forward to seeing more posts!!!

    Spring is coming to the Northern Hemisphere and I can hardly wait to be warm again!

    • I can’t wait to feel warm again, too! <3
      The daffodils are doing their darndest to push through the last of the snow around here, but the air temps still say "Winter"…

  16. PERFECTION!! (all the way around).
    I hope Judith wears it this weekend!
    (and I hope the last spot fills, come an join us, it’ll be bright and cheery!!)

  17. Gorgeous. I’m weird, I know, but apparently, this shawl is giving me texture goosebumps. I adore it before blocking. I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to block it. *hide behind hands*

  18. To gift a hand-knit is a reminder to the receiver that even if you are not with them, you still love them. The drape of that shawl around Judith’s shoulders should be a great reminder of what your friendship is all about.
    As the era of Madrona ends, a new festival is born. Hurray for evolution.

  19. Oh it’s just….everything! And I do love the full circle gifting…who knows? Maybe it will make an appearance gifted to you on a special day?
    There’s a shawl in one of my knit groups that has been gifted six or seven times in as many years and the recipient is always surprised!!

  20. You’ve knitted many stunning things over the years (read: every baby blanket), and also many things with a heart and a story (again, every baby blanket), but there’s something about this shawl and its heart and story that just launched it to the top of my list. The sheer beauty of the shawl itself, the gifting from start to finish, and the wonderful friendship woven throughout; it expands the heart.

  21. Hi Blog! I’m hoping someone can answer my question–I didn’t hear back from an e-mail to Strung Along, but I know all the organizers are busy. I can’t go to this Strung Along but I’d like to plan ahead to go in the future. About how much does it cost? Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • You can find the information at http://www.yarnharlot.ca/strung-along-retreats/. Specifically for Spring, “The cost of the retreats are $895 and includes three days of really beautiful meals, three full days of classes, fun surprises, and all your materials. (It doesn’t include accommodations, but the Resort provides our retreaters with a special rate and there’s some shareable rooms, if you’re coming with a friend. We can’t help you sort out who gets first dibs on the tub.)” You can follow the link to Port Ludlow to find their current rates for budget planning. I hope you are able to go in the future!

  22. Such a beautiful shawl — and such amazing work that has gone into it. A real masterpiece! Lucky Judith, lucky you.

  23. As hrd as it is. All things come to an end. A really good knit. A spactacular weaving project. Childhood. An excellent meal. And, Madrona. I also thought about Sock Summit when it ended it’s very short run. I did not get to attend either of these events. I simply never have the thousands of dollars it would have cost me in plane fair, hotel, class fees etc..
    So, I miss then without ever having had the chance to attend. Well. Such is life in a strange way. All good things come to an end. Maybe new adventures are yet ahead and maybe, before I end, I might just get to attend…..just one…
    Congrats on the shawl and Happy Birthday Judith.


    • Barbara,

      Just a note to say that I met your lovely daughter and grandson by asking about the hand knits she was wearing, which you made. Raising a family doesn’t pay $$$, but you have riches untold.

  24. What a beautiful story. The reading of it makes my heart happy!
    The shawl is stunning and a finish with 30cm of that precious yarn left is a serious win in my book.
    What a lovely human being you are!! <3 <3

  25. That shawl is beautiful.
    We had an epic snowstorm here on Sunday… about 30 inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours. Monday morning I woke up with chest pains. I live a 1/2 a block from the hospital and really didn’t think I was going to make it out of my house… I managed, and walked to the hospital… I brought my wallet, my phone, a skein of yarn and a circular knitting needle.
    In the 2 days I was in the hospital, I taught 4 nurses, an orderly, the maintenance guy, 2 nurses aides and the doctor how to knit. (I’m fine, all the test results were normal or better, apparently I pulled a muscle )
    You wouldn’t believe how many people were interested in the knitting. The ER nurses were sending other nurses in “Go look at that thing she’s making. It’s so pretty” (I was working on a shawl from Meg Swansen’s Gathering of Lace that I’d scanned into my phone as my next project).
    It was amusing and amazing to me how many people were interested in learning how to knit. “I love the look of that scarf you came in with. Did you make that?” “Could you teach me to make a sweater?” “This yarn is SO SOFT! All the knit stuff I see in the store is so expensive or it’s itchy.” “I have a new nephew coming, could I learn to make something for him?” “I have an afghan my grandma made that I love. I’d love it if my kids and grandkids had something like that to remember me by.”
    Mostly people under 40, but I brought my hospital room mate over a crochet hook and a skein of yarn with a pattern on the band.. She hasn’t crocheted in 30 years, but has been stuck in the hospital for 6 MONTHS! After a few minutes she remembered how and was thinking her husband would like the scarf … and maybe he’d bring her the blanket she started for her daughter that’s been in the closet since she put it in time out 30 years ago.
    That’s me… I spread knitting joy wherever I go… I’m going to bring a stack of my knitting teacher business cards over to the cafeteria. Maybe I can get something going for winter. (I teach most of my classes at the Farmers Market in the summer).

  26. There are a lot of Jacob sheep in the world. There are a lot of Jacob sheep raised to furnish fleece for handspinners.

    Go find another fleece to covet and convert.

    You share a lot. We have never been under the illusion that your physical stature defines how “big” you are.

  27. It’s “more or fewer rows”, not ‘more or less rows’. Rows are countable – you can have 5 rows or 105 rows. Countable things are ‘fewer’. Knitting, for instance, is not countable. We don’t say ‘ I have five knittings”. Non-countable things are ‘less’.

    • All true, of course.
      And I can Grammar Police with the best of them.

      But under the circumstances, it feels a bit (k)nitpicky.

  28. That is one of the most beautiful shawls I have ever seen. The natural colors make it special! I think it’s wonderful to give a gift like that, and I hope that one day you will have a chance to make one for yourself too!

  29. I can’t adequately express how much joy I’ve received from following your acquisition of, spinning and knitting up of that sweet Jacob fleece, nor how many times I’ve read it all again. I’m sure however much I have loved this chapter in your knitting life it pales in comparison to the joy given to the recipient of the awesome and perfect shawl. Many blessings to you for all you do everyday.

  30. Once again, I am awed. Maybe someday, I will finish a project in a timely manner . . . . .

    On another note, I am sad that Madrona is over. It was always one of those “maybe someday” things for me. Opportunity missed.

  31. That shawl is so gorgeous! I can’t imagine taking a fleece all the way like that. What an accomplishment. And what a great way to give back!

    I’ve been looking for a while for jacob yarn that was spun without being separated into colors. Finally found come at Rhinebeck last year, and I was so excited to discover it that I didn’t look closely enough at it and my credit card was suddenly in my hand! Unfortunately, it’s so disgustingly dirty – urine stains and tons of plant matter and soil falling out of the hanks. I’ve decided that the only way to use it is to risk ruining it. The plant matter doesn’t bother me so much, I knew when I bought it it was rustic stuff. But the yellow is too gross. So I’m soaking the hanks in hydrogen peroxide. Pretty sure that will kill off any germs – although I may be inadvertently experimenting with creating superbugs in my bathroom. It also seems to be getting the yellow out and not lightening the darks too too much. I’m going to follow up with washing with Soak with some conditioner mixed in. We’ll see!

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