A bamboo porcupine

Old needles

Years ago a very dear friend, Mary-Anne, sent me a bunch of bamboo DPNs. She didn’t have need of them any more, and knew that I liked bamboo, so sent them along. The needles are all six inches long, and range from US size 0 to size 10 or so. I tried on numerous occasions to use these needles. They’re beautiful, just what I needed, and from a dear friend. The needles are a brand I’d never heard of, but what does that matter? Unfortunately, it seemed to matter a lot. The bamboo split. Every time I knit more than a couple of inches one or more of the set in use would split. I got splinters in my knitting and in my finger. Ugh. I moved my knitting to the tried and true, after removing them from a different project, and proceeded without mishap. Drat. Frustration reigned.

For years now these poorly crafted bamboo needles have sat in a drawer, taking up space, being a source of annoyance (touched with a pang of guilt, because they were a gift I’d never use again) whenever I happened across them. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I was at my LYS, sitting knitting, chatting with a friend, and somehow this set of needles from Mary-Anne came up in conversation. It was suggested that I put them in something, and display them, reclaim the drawer space, make art out of them, and not worry about the fact that they split.

bamboo-porcupine

A few days later Dave and I went to Michael’s. I happened to have a 40% off coupon that was burning a hole in my pocket when I saw some little buckets and things in one isle. I wandered over, saw a couple things that would probably work, but nothing was quite right. Dave joined me, and we agreed. Nothing there to use the coupon on. There were a lot of glass vases on the wall at the end of the aisle. Hm. Looked there, too. Ended up wandering throughout most of the store, looking around. Most were too tall, too wide, too… something. Returned to the glass vase section. There it is. A square vase that’s only 4½ inches on all sides. Perfect! Next stop: the grocery store. Our local market sells a lot of things in bulk. I’d originally thought of putting rice in the vase to hold the needles up, but Dave suggested that something more colorful might be fun. Oooh. The French green lentils are just the right color. I put a few scoops of them into a bag, and continued with the grocery shopping. When we got home I wasted no time. The lentils went into the vase, and the needles into the lentils. Dave thinks it looks like a porcupine, and needs to be arranged better. Perhaps. Perhaps not. For the first time in years I’m enjoying the bamboo needles my dear friend Mary-Anne sent to me. They’re right next to my monitor, so I see them all the time. Thank you, my dear. You are in my thoughts.

The Black Pearl

I’ve been knitting away at the shawl with the delicious Black Pearl yarn from The Yarn Sisters. After a lot of trial and error, a lot of frogging, my plans for a crescent-shaped shawl with this yarn went in the bit bucket. It seems the yarn wants to be knit into a triangle. About this time I was browsing through stitch dictionaries, and happened on a lovely little seahorse stitch. It has lots of lace with some lovely little cables scattered around, and oyster-bed-1it looks fabulous with the clam stitch I already had. I haven’t done a border down the side of a triangle since I designed Tilia, and thought it was high time I did so again.

I actually took this photo a week or so ago. If you look closely you just might be able to see the beads I put in the border between the clams. After taking this picture I frogged the whole thing (again), and restarted without beads. I made a couple other minor tweaky little changes. You can see how nicely the seahorses and clams play together.

I actually, finally, finished up the body of the shawl, and started on the border. I’ve actually started the border several times. This last time I was pleased with the way it looked, but by the time I was about ¼ of the way done with the border I’d used up nearly half of the remaining yarn. This obviously wouldn’t do. Yesterday I frogged the border (again), and made significant changes to it, so that I wouldn’t run out of yarn. It was clear that though I love the dolphin border, it used up just too much yarn. Having both clams and faggoting in the border were mandatory, so I had to come up with a little something that looks ocean-y, and takes up much less yarn. I decided on a classic, easy-to-knit edging to finish out my border. An added benefit is that it’s actually considerably easier to navigate than the lovely dolphin border.

oyster-bed-4

oyster-bed-3

oyster-bed-2

Last night I actually managed to get to the same point where I’d stopped and frogged the border earlier in the day. I just weighed the yarn. Instead of having a scant 8.5 grams of yarn left, I now have 10.5 grams of yarn. It’s definitely going farther. Hopefully I did the math right, and I’ll actually make it to the end this time. I have more confidence. See that purple line running along between the bottom of the body and the start of the border? That’s my lifeline. There seems to be a two-part rule: If I need a lifeline, I never have one; If I use a lifeline, I never need it. Rules are broken all the time, so I can’t even count on this one. Fingers crossed.