This has been a busy week, so knitting has taken something of a back seat. I did finish the hand-dyed silk shawl, and I'm very pleased with the result:
Because of the pattern, the shawl is very soft and drapable. It makes a nice covering for the shoulders for the summertime, but will also draw up and make a lovely accent scarf with a winter coat. I don't keep many of the things I make, but I'm keeping this. I want it as a memento of my Alberta trip. If you want to see what this artist has to offer, check out her website at http://www.handmaiden.ca/.
On the needles at the moment are the EZ square baby blanket, now approaching the half-way point, the Tofutsie sock, and 2 baby sweaters. I have meetings coming up this weekend, so I have 2 sweaters worked past the armpits, so all I have is mindless knitting to finish the bodies. Besides not having to count, I've also discovered that doing this partial start lets me get past the starting of the new skein of yarn, which sometimes results in a wad of yarn that has to be knit up before it becomes a tangled mess.
For those that like novels that have a knitting theme, I have a new one to recommend. Ann Hood's new book is The Knitting Circle, and I found myself moved by this book beyond all expectation. Those who have recently experienced profound loss might want to wait on this one; what unites the main characters is their separate losses. As I read I was reminded of my own losses, which brought new feelings of grief and loneliness I would rather have kept safely hidden away. But the book promises from the very beginning that all will end well, and it does, although not always in predictable ways. The book will never make it to anyone's list of great literature, but it was profoundly moving in its own way.
But having finished that - and then sat up half the night knitting on the baby blanket so that I could just sit with the feelings for a while and not be overwhelmed by them - I needed something light-hearted. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off has not disappointed. I recognized myself in this book as well, but in ways that I could laugh at, even though laughing out loud when I read distresses Calico and Bart, who think beds are for silent snuggling.
The only other accomplishment this week was to finish the quilt from the Strip Mine class. I needed it for the start of a new tv series, so that meant it had to be quilted quickly. I ended up doing stitch-in-the-ditch around the stars, then a kind of meandering through the scrappy parts; I used a variegated thread in autumn colors that blended well with both the top and the back. As I kind of warm up after being away from the studio so long, I made a few stretched star blocks and a couple of blocks for the Celestial Migraine block-of-the-month. I'm trying to spend a few minutes every day in there, even if all I do is pick up pins off the floor.