Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I finished a shawl made of the mohair from Brooks Farm that I got at Maryland:

(That's under three months since the Festival: unusually fast turnaround for me.) I'm happy with it, but it's making me reconsider my plans for the other color I got: this is a little less than 3 sts per inch, and I don't know that the yarn wants to be knit much denser than that--it's just too fuzzy--but the patterns I'd been looking at are about 4 sts per inch.

Meanwhile, I've been working on the Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks:

Here's mine so far:

(I have reason to believe it will look better when it's blocked. Here's my reason:

I swatched.)

The yarn is OPY (Other People's Yarn): Cherry Tree Hill's "Possum Lace." It's 40% merino, 40% possum, and 20% silk. (As you'll know soon if you don't already, I'm a sucker for silk blends.) I'd always been pretty skeeved out by possum fiber, because it comes from dead animals--in Australia or somewhere, they're a plague on the landscape, so people kill them, and someone had the bright idea to shear the corpses. Ew. I mean, the animals are such a problem that groups like Greenpeace are o.k. with killing them, but still.

But at Stitches last year, this stuff just ambushed me. And in "Java," which is not anything like my usual colorscheme. Courtney called it my "roadkill" yarn.

I love it. Well, I'm not actually in love with the color right now--maybe because it looked different in the hank, maybe just because the light where I'm usually working with it isn't flattering. I don't hate it; it just leaves me cold. But I couldn't be having more fun with the project as a whole.

(In fact, I didn't know it was possible for me, personally, to get this much pleasure from a knitting project separate from the color; color is that important to me.)

The fun is in the feel of the yarn, which is absolutely luscious, and in the pattern. All Fiddlesticks patterns are very well written--comprehensive, detailed, accurate--but the design is also beautifully worked out. There's a lot of symmetry in the pattern, and it's got great rhythm in my hands (the little chant you do to remember the repeat: "right, over, two, over, double, over, two, over, left; three, over-left, over-left, three, right-over, right-over, three;" repeat . . .).

On Saturday, I crossed over onto the last chart, the one for the edging, and I can't put it down. 233 rows down, 17 rows to go (plus the bind-off).

P. S. I drafted this in the morning. In the afternoon, I wound up the third skein of yarn (which I'll need for, like, the last 6 rows), and learned another thing about why this project has been making me so happy: it didn't have any anxieties about whether I had enough yarn, whether I was fudging dye lots, etc. I learned this because the last skein, while still the same dye lot as the others, is visibly different. There's a pale green, almost a mint color, that comes up once in awhile but appears nowhere in the other two skeins. I'll have to blend the two by working two-row stripes until the old skein runs out (or until the project ends, which may be sooner). I'm sure it's going to be fine, but now I'm all stressed out about how much it will show, having the little floats from carrying the two yarns up the side edge, etc.


Kathy Merrick said...

Lisa, so ethereal, this shawl.
I must confess, however, that the possum yarn makes me think of the great vacation we took our kids on to New Orleans and the Atchufulaya swamp near Lafayette, La.
We went on an evening swamp tour with the owners of the inn (and Kurtwood Smith, "Red" on That 70's show).
As the darkness fell, all around you could see nutria sliding in and out of the water.
I know possum are not rodents, but all the same...

Lisa M. said...

Actually, plenty of people who've been much closer to (live) possums than I have say that they're horrid little beasts. I have one friend-of-a-friend who swerves to try to hit them when she's out driving.

Anonymous said...

You can read about the Australian possum at
I believe (although I am no wildlife specialist) that the Australian possum we are talking about is a different species (though both are marsupial) than the kind that live in America. My kid reads LOTS of wildlife books, so I've gained a bizarre motherlode (pun intended) of knowledge about critters.