So- you’ve been filled in on the screen printing aspect of my summer. I’ll probably go into more detail about some parts of that in the future, but right now it’s knitting time! You may have noticed that most of my prints are yarn-themed (of course!)- so where’s the yarn?
Here it is!
I recently finished my first Orenburg lace project- this pretty little scarf made from a cashmere/silk blend I got in Boulder, Colorado. Orenburg has a rich history of shawls and scarves like this. The traditional ones are huge- 6 foot square sometimes, but they can also be triangular. The women who knit them spin incredibly thin cashmere and then ply it together with a silk thread for strength.
The finished shawls these women make fit through a wedding ring- some people call them wedding ring shawls. The women who made these shawls use them as a sort of demonstration of their knitting abilities to their prospective husbands. Mine fits through a ring, but that’s not really a huge accomplishment, considering its size:
I have plans to spin and knit my own full size Orenburg shawl, but that’s a year or two down the road.
It’s probably my love of social history that makes me enjoy knitting things like this, because I feel like I have some sort of connection with those women. There is history in those stitches, and it’s more than just the history that I put into them. Also, I know it’s the middle of sweltering July, but I haven’t stopped carrying this little scarf around with me since I finished it.
I usually am not a huge fan of scarves, but this is mostly because the wrong sides of them are often not paid attention to- and the wonderful thing about Orenburg shawls and scarves is that they’re totally reversible! Since they’re done completely in garter stitch (not a purl in sight!), it’s very difficult, near impossible, to find a right and a wrong side. I love it!
What else have I been knitting?
I didn’t knit this, but I love it as though I did. My Great Great Grandmother knit this for my Dad, back when he was a baby. This is the first knitted object I’ve seen that has been passed down through our family like this, and it is beautiful. Granny made it only 6 years after the invention of acrylic yarn- so even though yarn snobs such as myself may think now that it’s squeaky, at the time it would have been a luxury. And we all know that acrylic is better, in most cases, for baby items anyways.
It has a garter stitch square middle, and a scalloped border knitted on, with another (very Orenburg looking) border knitted on again. It’s positively beautiful, and I love it. I’m going to attempt to recreate the pattern, which I believe Granny made up as she went along.
History! Seriously, guys- I’m dancing with excitement!
Right now, I’m just past the heel of the first Nightingale sock! I’ve been wanting to knit these socks for years, and as a 21st birthday gift to myself, I finally decided to start them! I had a false start with the toe using the wrong size needle, and they’re a little tight getting on, which makes me nervous- I think I might rip back if I can figure out why that happened. Colorwork socks are bound to be a little snug, though. My mom told me I was crazy for knitting these- but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of other qualities about me that are more crazy than bird socks.
Here’s a project at the opposite end of the spectrum that I’ve been working on! you may recall those beautiful colors from a video I made a few months ago, while I was still in the process of spinning it:
I finally decided that what this yarn needed was something simple to show off its colors and textures- so I chose the Boneyard shawl. I think it’s a beautiful display for this yarn. The colors flow through the repeats, and the purl rows and just a bit of interest without being too distracting. It should turn out to be a shawl I can use to keep warm during the coldest of winters!
When you knit, assuming you do- do the memories of whatever you’re doing while you’re knitting ever lock themselves into your project? Can you look back on your knitting and tell exactly what you were doing at the moment a particular section was knit? Maybe I’m just weird. I have a pair of socks that are forever embedded with the Canterbury Tales, because I only worked on that project when I was in Dr. Davis’s Chaucer class last semester. Every time I look at the toe of the right sock, my mind bursts into “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote….” well, you get the picture.
I also have a not-quite-finished-yet shawl that I only work on while watching Star Trek:
It’s a beautiful Malabrigo shawl, and it’s going to make me very happy if I ever get it done, but it will still always remind me of Star Trek (TOS). I suppose it should be no surprise that I like knitting in class so much- all I need to do to study is have a look at the knitting! Or better yet- If I can finish a project over the course of a semester in a class, I can wear it to the final- It’s like having a little cheat sheet for my brain!
There. The big things are caught up with. I’ve saved a few surprises for down the road, but you now have all the background information you should need!