Monday, March 26, 2012


It is ... a prickly time for me.

Seriously, I can't believe anyone survives their dissertation with their sanity intact!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

pinning out the wedding shawl

My wedding shawl. Yards of "print o' the wave" lace knitting in ivory alpaca.

I wore it at my wedding, and at a family wedding. And now I've delicately pinned it out for a friend, who is considering wearing it for her own wedding (something borrowed).

Pinning it out -- hundreds of little points in a row -- is a meditative act. I don't have reason to do it often, maybe just once a year. But whenever I do, it makes me happy.

Simple beauty.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Madder Root

A few weeks ago, I did my spring garden clean-up. And in pulling out the dead stalks from the madder plants, I accidentally pulled up a bit of a root as well. I thought you'd like to see it ... vibrantly orange/red, glinting with bits of soil.

I managed to get one madder seed to germinate in 2009, and it grew into a wild, tangled patch over the last few years (for evidence: see the 2010, 2011 updates). If it weren't contained in a whiskey barrel, it would have taken over that corner of the garden!

Madder needs at least three years to grow before you're supposed to harvest the roots for dyeing. This should be the summer of harvest. To be honest, I kind of lost my fervor for natural dyeing. But perhaps it'll be the excitement of these madder roots that will bring it back ...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


I finished the canary-yellow shawl. What a BURST of sunshine!

I have to admit, up until the blocking I wasn't sure I liked it. The yarn -- a light fingering superwash wool -- made a stiff, uninspiring fabric. It seemed small. And lumpy.

But blocking works wonders. The fabric relaxed. The lace bloomed into its glory.

The garter stitch edges, which had been horribly blocky and curling

Stretched out into delicate tendrils

It's like watching a tight, wrinkled rosebud unfurling into a lush, loose rose ...