I finished knitting the triangular shawl that I started while visiting my father in the hospital, worked on at the Knitter’s Review Knitter’s Retreat, and finally finished last week. The shawl requires 4 skeins of Quince Tern (a fingering weight yarn that’s 75% soft wool and 25% tussah silk). It follows a simple 8-stitch pattern that is repeated for 6 rows, then offset for the next 6 rows. The edging is worked simultaneously with the body of the shawl, then incorporated into the bind-off edge to be continuous around all three sides.
When I took the piece off the needles, I was surprised to see that the bind-off edge (which I thought would be the straight side at the top of shawl but forms the two ruffly sides in the photo below) produced a more pronounced “V” shape than the two selvedge edges (the two straighter edges in the photo). Veteran triangular shawl knitters probably know to expect this, but I was afraid that my triangular shawl would have four corners.
With a bit of a sinking feeling, I soaked the piece for 20 minutes, spun out the water, and set about blocking it. The thing about blocking lace shawls is that it’s absolutely necessary, but it’s fussy work that takes a lot of time and requires a large, empty space. My friend Lori has an entire bin of finished lace shawls (at least 20) that just need ends woven in and blocking. She says she prefers knitting lace shawls to blocking them, and after inserting blocking wires through every blessed edge stitch, I understand what she means.
Fortunately, the wires did their job—the stitches opened up beautifully and a perfect triangular shape was revealed. Unfortunately, the shawl was just too big for me to get a decent photograph, even when standing on a step stool. You’ll have to wait until Quince’s photographer Carrie Bostick takes a professional photo. This is the first project on my list of things to do for Quince & Co (see November’s post titled Back to Knitting)—it should be available from their website in a few weeks.
By the way, I still haven’t heard from Debbie, the winner of Getting Started Knitting Socks. Please, Debbie, contact me so I don’t feel like the girl who hosted a party that nobody attended!

The winner of the Thanksgiving book raffle is “Debbie”, who asked for Getting Started Knitting Socks on November 27 at 10:04 am. Debbie, email your mailing address to me at annbudd@annbuddknits.com and I’ll get the book to you. I enjoyed this raffle and was interested to see which books are most in demand—the most-requested books were The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, and Knitted Gifts.
For those of you who did not win this time—keep in touch. I noticed that the little clicker at the bottom of my blog page says that there have been 45,763 hits since I started my Blog last January. I’ll do another raffle for the people who post comments the day the clicker turns to 50,000!

Normally, I’m not all that keen on Thanksgiving. I don’t particularly like turkey and I just can see the point in cooking all day so everyone can eat too much and end up beached on the couch or floor for the evening. 
But this year is different. I am exceedingly grateful to serve up a complete turkey dinner to both of my parents. This will be their first outing since my mother broke her hip in September. I’ve cleared the furniture to make room for my mother’s wheelchair and my father’s walker and I promise to sweep up all the dust bunnies before they arrive. And I’ve planned the best dinner ever! Last week I ordered a complete Thanksgiving dinner from Trattoria on Pearl, a Boulder restaurant owned by the parents of kids that have been in school with my boys since kindergarten. They delivered (yes, I didn’t even have to leave the house) the full dinner late yesterday: a 12-pound turkey soaked in an herb and spice brine, stuffing, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes, green beans in balsamic-shallot butter, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, homemade bread, and pumpkin crème caramel. All I have to do it put the turkey in the oven 3½ hours before I plan to serve, then add the other dishes to the oven at specific times so that it all turns out warm and ready at the same time! I’m still chuckling at my cleverness.
And to celebrate this season of thanks, dear readers, I’m hosting a raffle for the Ann Budd book of your choice. All you have to do is tell me which of my books you’d like and why (the “why” part is essential). Please, only one entry per person per title, but you can enter for each title you’d like. Check out my website to see a complete list of my books. I’ll draw a name and announce the lucky winner Wednesday, December 1, 2010. May you all be spoiled brats!

As some of you know, I had to cancel my first trip to SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat; sponsored by SpinOff Magazine) this October because my parents were not doing well health-wise. Being a new spinner, I was disappointed to miss out on all the friendship, lessons, fiber, and tools that I’m sure I would have brought home with me.
But my friend Sarah (who I was to room with) just gave me a surprise souvenir of  several ounces of a luxurious blend of Polwarth (?) and silk as well as an adorable little crocheted bag decorated with llamas. Now think about this—I finked out on sharing a room with Sarah and she came back with gifts! The balance is definitely tipped in my favor on this one.
I don’t know when I’ll get to spinning the fiber—I’m dreadfully behind on my editing work—but in the meantime, I‘ve got the bag on my desk and smile whenever I look at it.  

Thank you all for your concern and good wishes for my parents. My father gets to go home today (after the better part of four weeks in the hospital!). My mother is holding steady in the health care center. I am knitting again. Here’s a photo I took of them on my father’s 89th birthday last February (I knitted that sweater for him in 1980 and he still wears it almost every day in the winter).

I spent last weekend at the Knitter’s Review Knitting Retreat (in western MA), hosted by the Clara Parkes herself. I taught a morning class on cast-on techniques, and afternoon class on bind-off techniques, and another morning class on the mathematics of knitting (which really should have been named “Intro to Sweater Design”). I had been nervous because I hadn’t spent much time prepping for the classes, but they went well. I did some serious yarn shopping, too. There were booths for Quince & Company, Foxfire Fiber, String Theory, Spirit Trails, Briar Rose, and Kathryn Alexander yarns. I am keeping a positive outlook that my parents will stay healthy and let myself get yarn to make several pairs of socks as well as three (3!) sweaters.
Now, I am in Portland, Maine, where I’m staying with Pam Allen, the Queen of Quince. This morning I got to see my purple scarf photographed (by Carrie Bostik Hoge). It is knitted with Tern, a wool-silk blend, and will be available on the Quince & Co website as soon as it gets tech edited.

Then I got to tour the warehouse. Just look at all those bags and bags and boxes and boxes of yarn. Talk about heavenly fumes!
I had so many ideas of what to do with the yarn that I agreed to knit a new project for Quince every four to six weeks.
Here’s the tentative list of what I plan to knit in the next year:
1.     Not-Very-Lacy Shawl out of Tern
2.     Textured Cap out of Lark or Osprey
3.     Girly Baby Sweater out of Tern
4.     Baby Socks out of Tern
5.     House Socks out of Puffin
6.     Child’s Chunky Sweater out of Puffin
7.     Baby Sweater out of Chickadee
8.     Cabled Socks out of Chickadee
9.     Cabled Hand Warmers out of Lark
10.  Cowl with Decorative CO and BO out of Tern
11.  Reversible Scarf out of Lark

Now

 that I’ve announced all these projects, I’ll feel compelled to finish them. I’ll keep you posted as I make progress, one project at a time.

Over the summer I worked out instructions for toe-up socks that look just like top-down socks. The pattern was made available on the Quince & Co website a couple of weeks ago. Problem is, I failed to specify the type of cast-on to use. I am such an idiot!
You should use a method that casts on stitches for working in the round such as Judy’s Magic Cast-On or the Turkish/Eastern Cast-on. You can find instructions for these methods online through a Google search.

I managed to finish the scarf I’ve been working on for the last few weeks in between hospital and nursing home visits. I used Quince & Co Tern in a lovely grape color (I’m sure it has an inspired name but I can’t find the label). I used size US 5 needles and about 1 1/2 skeins of yarn. This yarn contains 25% tussah silk, which gives the yarn a marvelous heathery appearance. I still need to write up the instructions, then the pattern (and yarn) will be available through Quince & Co soon.
Next up is a triangular shawl in my favorite olive green color.

Even though I’m not knitting much these days, the multi-size, multi-gauge toe-up sock pattern that I worked on earlier this summer got posted on the Quince & Co website yesterday. It’s included with the patterns for each of the five Quince yarns. Buy the pattern—I’m buying a lot of gas these days to visit my parents.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your good wishes where my parents are concerned. Both and stable and on the road to recovery. We’ve arranged for my mother to visit my father today—it will do them both a world of good.

It’s been three weeks since my mother broke her hip and things had just started to settle down so that I felt able to knit again. I’m about half way done with a lace scarf. But the fates have other plans. Monday my 89-year-old father was taking his daily 20-mile bike ride when a woman passed him on the right and caused him to lose his balance and fall. He’s now in the hospital indefinitely with 7 broken ribs and a punctured lung. Obviously, I’m having trouble knitting again. Between visiting my dad in the hospital and my mom in the rehab nursing home, I wonder if I should change careers and become a health-care provider

My 81-year-old mother broke her hip a couple of weeks ago (when in bed, no less) and the surgery and recovery have been a roller-coaster ride of emotions. In the past, I’ve turned to my knitting in times of stress, so I am surprised that I’ve had little desire to knit. Because I feared she might not survive the surgery, my fingers wouldn’t hold the needles while I kept my father company in the waiting room. As she drifted in and out of awareness in the days that followed, I was too distracted and on edge. In retrospect, I think that I was afraid that I might not keep on top of her early recovery if I let myself drift into a knitting calm. It may also be that knitting is too closely related to work for me and I needed a complete break.
Thankfully, my mother is now settled in a nursing home and I’ve at least partially settled back into knitting—there are still times when my mind wanders and my fingers forget to form the stitches. But I did finish a simple triangular shawl out my spindle-spun yarn (the fleece was a gift from Anne in Reading, PA). I didn’t have enough yarn to include a lace pattern across the top edge, but I was lucky to end with a complete pattern repeat and 6” of yarn to spare.
I’ve also swatched another lace pattern (shown below) with Quince & Co Tern for either a scarf or shawl. I’ll ponder the possibilities when I visit my dear sweet mum today.