Marsha Knits

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Name: Marsha Brofka-Berends
Location: US

Marsha knits . . . and reads and cooks and edits and gardens and hikes and thinks and eats and photographs and sings and writes and travels and plans and hopes and . . .

22 April 2007

A knitalong for two

Ever since SP9 ended, my spoiler, Lynnette, and I have kept in touch. One thing we discovered is that we're both new to lace knitting--"new" as in "haven't done it before but would really like to." We also discovered that we both have a fondness for dragons. "Hey," we thought, "wouldn't it be fun to do a lace project together?" After a few e-mails back and forth to discuss several possible patterns (the "Heere Be Dragone" shawl was mentioned but quickly determined to be not-a-good-idea-for-a-first-lace-project), we finally settled on the Dragon-Scale Scarf from Heritage Yarns. By coincidence, we both started our scarves at the same time (around Easter weekend), but house-related concerns (and not having the scarf and my camera anywhere near each other whenever I thought to take a picture of the thing) have kept me from posting about it until now. As you can see, I'm nearly two feet into it (I started a new skein at about eighteen inches). I've opted for a heavier yarn than the pattern calls for: I'm using the fabulous Patons SWS that Lynnette gave me, and I love how the scarf is turning out. The pattern's twelve-row repeat isn't difficult but is interesting enough to keep me from getting bored! I doubt that I'll be ready for Heere Be Dragone after this, but maybe one day, after I get a lot more lace knitting under my belt!

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05 February 2007

A big thank-you to my SP9

Now that I've completed that editing assignment, it's time for me to tell you all about the amazing package I received from my SP9 a few days ago. Fortunately, Blogger decided to behave today and let me actually upload some photos. Ever since Google made everyone switch to the "new" Blogger a week or so ago, lots of people have been having all sorts of problems with their blogs. Grrrrr. How is it that one day Blogger works just fine, then the next day it acts all weird, then the day after that it's working again? I mean, it seems like it's not broken, but hiccuping or something. I wonder sometimes if some sadist who sits in a windowless room at Google has the job of pushing the "let's screw with people's heads" button that makes Blogger work intermittently. But I digress... As I mentioned the other day, last Wednesday's mail brought a heavy box of goodies from my SP9, Lynette. She sent me a note a few days earlier telling me to expect it, but I was quite taken aback by its contents, since she'd already been so generous with the first package she sent to me a few days before Christmas. Anyway, as soon as this second box arrived, I opened it up (camera in hand, of course!) as Sylvia and Jan looked on. First, there was a layer of yarn: one dark-gray (color 64) skein of Cascade Yarns Pastaza, which is 50% llama and 50% wool (and feels so incredibly soft); and one skein of Noro Big Kureyon in color 20 (brown-gray-stone). I adore both of these colorways and am already brainstorming for ways to combine them (perhaps in a pattern from Hip Knit Hats that Lynette sent me...). As if these two skeins of yarn weren't enough fun already, imagine my glee at discovering four skeins of Patons SWS (in the Natural Navy colorway) in the box. This stuff is 70% wool and 30% soy, and I have been itching to get my hands on some of it ever since I first heard of it. I'm really looking forward to working with this yarn, but I haven't even begun to think about what I'll do with it...any suggestions? What's that, you say? Not enough yarn in the box? Apparently, Lynette thought so, too, because underneath that top layer of yarn she tucked away two more balls of knittable goodness. The first, a ball of Muench Touch Me Due (the "Due" variety is a more tonal version of the regular Touch Me) in copper and gold tones. Now, I should mention here that Lynette and I have chatted a bit about my aversion to acrylic/synthetic yarns. She said there were some pretty good ones out there, and I said I hadn't run across many of them yet. Well, this yarn definitely falls in the "Okay, so it's synthetic...by OH MY DOG it is pretty nice stuff!" category. I may never knit up this ball of yarn. Maybe I'll just keep it in my knitting bag so I can pull it out and stroke it ever once in a while, as though it's a cat that doesn't purr (or throw up on the kitchen floor after eating the Mighty Bites that Sylvia dropped on the floor). The second ball of yarn at the bottom of the box was something entirely unexpected. All of the yarn Lynette sent me was fabulous stuff, but this ball takes the award for Most Unusual Yarn I Have Ever Seen in My Life. It is called Fique, and according to the distributer (check out their site for an amazing collection of unusual yarns), it is a "very sturdy and unusual pineapple fiber from South America, grown in Andean mountains. It is hand-made. Perfect for weaving mats, window covering or knitting & crocheting hats, bags, etc." What am I going to do with this stuff? I have no idea! But I will have fun experimenting with it! My hunch is that it will end up as an accent on a hat or maybe a scarf... Last, but certainly not least, the bottom of the box was covered with non-knittables: a package of German-made Sniff tissues in a fun floral print, a packet of citrus-scented Soak no-rinse wool wash, a big tin of lemon verbena (yum) hand salve from Bonny Doon Farm (just what my winter-dry hands need!), and a bar of Santander dark chocolate--which, I'm amazed to report, actually survived the weekend here without getting eaten by me!--from Colombia. Lying at the very bottom of the box, hidden by all of the other treasures contained therein, was a copy of the new edition of Knitter's Companion, which I have already consulted about half a dozen times in the past few days. Thanks, Lynette, for being such a great secret pal! I feel thoroughly spoiled and will very much enjoy working my way through the yarn and other goodies that you sent. And although I'm sure you didn't plan it, you may be pleased to know that you gave gifts to the rest of my family, too. Sylvia had a blast with the heart-shaped post-it notes that you used to label everything--she especially enjoyed putting them on her dad. And Jan...well, he enjoyed making Sylvia happy by letting her cover him with those post-its. So thanks again from all of us!

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01 February 2007

The end of SP9

The Secret Pal 9 exchange officially ended yesterday. For me, it ended with a bang: I received a second package from my secret pal! Unfortunately, I'm under a work deadline and don't have time to post about the package right now. (I'm editing mathematical copy. Yes, it is mind-numbingly dull. No, my eyes haven't started bleeding yet...but check back after the weekend to see if there's been any change on that.) I took loads of photos and have a big post planned--I'm hoping to get to it within a couple of days. For now, though, I'll just say "Thank you!" to Lynnette, who did a fabulous job spoiling me (and has a terrifically clever name for her blog)!

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