Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ruisseau Joubert

This past Christmas my big kids gave me an awesome gift.  They all pitched in together, which is a gift in itself if you ask me as a parent - it's always nice to see the close bonds they've re-developed together as adults... it had gone very typically missing for awhile throughout their teen years. I'm glad to see it back! And together they chose thoughtful gifts that were so meaningful and perfect for me.

G and B made me a huge pan of candy cane fudge.  So very decadent and delicious - I may or may not have hidden the pan in the back of the fridge away from little hands and nibbled it mostly in secret so I didn't have to share often.  N and A picked out teas and a mug. (I wholeheartedly recommend the Earl's Garden - I'm just finishing the last sip of it as I type - and Read My Lips from David's Tea by the way! It's so good and even more impressive given it was picked out by two non-tea drinkers!)  J and M picked out yarn.  

They had me laughing as they told me the story of how they picked out the yarn.  J of course, with his story telling abilities, told it much better, but the lengths they went to for that yarn was so touching.  They went into Wolesley Wool and were immediately overwhelmed. So when the clerk asked if they needed help they, of course, said yes. She started asking all sorts of questions: “what does she like to knit?” - “Everything” / “What colour is her favourite?” - “All of them” etc. Finally they got the clerk to look here on the blog and Ravelry trying to get some hints. J was unimpressed with me. He said, “Mom. You list all sorts of yarns you use, and you say this one is good for this reason or that is good for that reason, but you don’t give any hints of what yarns you’d LIKE!!!!” Ha ha! I guess I’m just a big ol’ enigma!

Look at those glorious fall colours!
Anyways, the yarn they chose was the very gorgeous Sweet Georgia Tough Love in the Maple colour way.  The crazy thing was, that as I wound my first skein of the Sweet Georgia it hit me.  This is exactly the yarn I envisioned dying myself all fall long, except hadn't because I was pretty sure that by the time I was done dying it, it would look a whole lot like mud and not a whole lot like the gorgeous colours of the trees along the Ruisseau Joubert I cross every day taking Little Man to kindergarten.  Long after every other leaf in the vicinity had blown off the trees (about 30 seconds after turning colour), the trees along the creek stayed full of leaves in an explosion of colour.  Reds and oranges, yellows, browns and greens.  Every day I saw those breath taking colours and every day thought, "I need a yarn that looks like that."  I couldn't believe that the very yarn I had dreamt of possessing for months was right there on my swift and had been chosen without any idea how truly perfect it was for me.  Of course I had to name my shawl after the creek given the colour of the yarn!

The Maple was far too pretty to hide in my shoes as socks, plus they'd given me two skeins of it, so I had plenty to do a much bigger project.  I wanted something fairly simple that would highlight the yarn, so chose Laura Aylor's Sunstruck.  Squishy bias knit garter stitch and an asymetrical line seemed perfect.  I chose to do mine in just two colours and I was really happy I did.  For my second colour I chose Berocco's Ultra Alpaca Fine in the Pea Soup Mix colour way.   I really enjoyed knitting the shawl and the short rows were addictive - which still seems odd to say given I used to avoid anything requiring short rows as one would avoid the plague - but they are actually very easy to do and watching the shape of the wedges emerge was fun.  

Starting the border stitches

My shawl was too long and too big for the blocking  
mats I had so I layered up quilts on the spare room bed
My shawl itself was completed in a fairly short time, but I was a bit daunted by the edging.  The top one required picking up about 375 stitches and the thought of that had me stalled out until last weekend.  In reality, I picked up the stitches one evening before bed then when I finally started actually knitting the border I did it in small snippets of knitting time over the course of two days.  I don't know why I waited so long.  Like most things it was much easier than I was imagining.  

Then it took me several more days before I blocked it.  Again,  I'm not sure why.  I ended up just spritzing the corners and edges lightly with water to block it as it certainly didn't require anything more than that.  I had dispensed with such frivolities as gauge swatches given I had lots of yarn and wasn't worried about fit and so had already ended up with bit a larger shawl than the pattern called for, which I'm absolutely fine with it, subscribing to the theory that with a shawl (and my broad shoulders) bigger is almost always better.  The more snuggly warmth and all.  However, I really did not want to aggressively block it into ridiculous proportions so I was pretty cautious.

LA LA LOVING my new shawl -
it's like a warm hug from my kids when I wear it!
This makes my fifth Laura Aylor pattern in the last six months.  I did Skerwink as a test knit, then Haycove, also as a test knit, then there was (BF)G's Fox Point then of course my beach in winter I just finished and now Sunstruck. I wonder which one of hers I should cast on next? I keep gravitating towards Paper Birch, but then I also want to do Serra, but then there's Brier Island and Cinnamon Toast as well and Sirocco would be perfect for spring... all of which are in my pattern library so I can't even narrow it down that way.  Want to help me decide?  Which one would you choose?