Pulled up at Starbucks this morning and the first thing I noticed was this:

I often feel when things “get in my face” the way this did, it is a higher power saying “Mary Ellen — look at this and LISTEN to the message…”.  So, I stopped long enough to snap a photo and smile.  Be the “nayslayer” (newest nickname).  Stay positive.  Stay in the moment.  Maintain the equipoise of my heart.  What comes to mind for you?

It is always a great day when I am able to wear a newly completed project.  Last summer (er…cough…Spring…cough) JoAnn Squier gave me a pattern from the May/June 2009 issue of Piecework magazine.  It is an Orenburg lace shawl with awesome charting.  Just my thing.  JoAnn was absolutely on the mark.  When we went to Lake George last summer, that is exactly what I knit…most of this shawl in about 10 days.  It was awesome knitting…lace based on a piece of bias plaid fabric from India…the ultimate contradiction in terms.  But then, the lace edging…I got bored/busy and put it down…until two days ago.  Feeling inspired by all the beautiful yarns Andrea showed us, I picked this up and voila!, two evenings later it is complete.  Yay!

Olga's Indiski Shawl to Knit

The shawl used almost, but not quite, 2 skeins of Schaeffer’s Anne sock yarn in the colorway, Clara Barton.  I chose the red because, in Victorian England peddlers who sold yarn were easy to recognize by their red shawls…that and I had two skeins handy at the studio.  There are 20 other completed projects on Ravelry in this pattern and each was more beautiful than the next.

1994: Old Shale Baby Blanket made for my firstborn

Sixteen years ago, and it may as well be another lifetime from this vantage point, I had just changed jobs and was going to be working for Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.  I was thrilled and excited.  Of course, being young and still reasonably in love, my husband and I celebrated as young couples do…in several rooms of our then first home.  We had been through infertility…every imaginable aspect.  We were told we would never conceive.  Guess what?  We did.  This is the blanket I knit for our first born child.  His name was Lucas.  He lived thirty-eight days that are forever imprinted on my mind and in my heart.  When our son, Brian, was born he used it…and used it…and I smile with the warmth of all those memories.  It was absolutely worth taking the journey.

Of course, I keep it at the studio now.  Nobody has ever really noticed it.  This past week, though, Barbara decided she wanted to knit it.  I cannot unearth this pattern, even though I came across it just recently.  I looked all over.  So, we sat down with the blanket and wrote out the pattern.  Here it is:  old_shale_baby_blanket  (click on those highlighted words and a pdf file will open for you and your knitting pleasure!)

Old Shale Baby Blanket

materials:  800-1000 sock to dk weight yarn, US 5-6 32inch circular needle, tapestry needle

gauge: about 6 sts to the inch

Cast on 176 sts and knit 6 rows (garter stitch).  Then work the following rows:

  1. k3, [(k2tog x 3), (yo, k1) x 5, yo, (ssk x 3)] X 10, k3
  2. k3, purl to last three sts, k3
  3. knit across row
  4. knit across row

Complete rows 1 through 4 a total of 50 times, or until length of blanket suits you.  Finish with 6 rows of garter stitch (knit every row).  Bind Off using stretchy bind-off as follows: * k2 sts, then insert LH needle through these two sts (like SSK) and knit them together, k1; repeat from * until all sts bound off. Fasten off yarn and bury ends using the tapestry needle.  Block lightly with a steam iron.  Take photos of the blanket with its intended Baby!

Fiber-Isle Baby Cable Shawl

We sold out of this shawl pattern last Sunday.  Knitting it now, I can see why.  It is easy to follow and the wrong side row is a pleasant break from following the chart (also not very taxing) on the right side row.  Lisa and I are working on this shawl in a British rare breed of sheep called:  Manx Loughtan — a breed of sheep with four horns on its head.  The yarn is not very soft but I am a wool-o-phile and am loving every minute of this knit.  One 40 row pattern repeat is complete and there are only four of these to do!  More to follow…love the edging for this shawl!

Photo by the YarnHarlot: take from her TV during 2010 Olympic Curling Matches

Take care and feel free to share the baby blanket pattern.  Have warm days and restful nights…most of all get2ntn!xox m.e.