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I Have Finished Something

Dear Kay,
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It’s kind of cosmic, really. If you keep decreasing and decreasing, you can actually make a project disappear. Vanish, just like that! I finished Birch last night and had that dog-catches-car moment: now what?
This morning, after tenderly packing the darlings off to their hi-kwalidy preschool and second grade, I got down to brass tacks. Or pins, or whatever. We have discussed my love of blocking, the hypnotic flow state that comes with sticking pins along fourteen feet of shawl edge. I had to rent out the convention center downtown to get enough room for this thing. Three hundred pins later, I still don’t think I pinned it enough, but my thumb kind of hurts now and I keep yanking the little balls off the ends of the pins.
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Reminds me of the days when Granddaddy Allen used to cure coon skins on the side of the barn. Oh, not really. I’m Alabama, but not that Alabama.
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The bug guy came through as I was waving Rowenta around in a steamy way, and he did not say a word. Man has seen it all.
I know you’re thinking, Nice, Ann, but I’m still seeing a little Jemima Puddleduck in this project. What I heard from Hubbo last night was even more damning: “Creepy! Very Morticia Addams.”
The heck with all a ya.
Love,
Ann

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. ann
    so happy to be the first to say, “well done.” it is lovely. now the thing with this shall is it DOESNT have to be jemimah puddleduck if you don’t want it to be. i see fun and funky…or is it just me?
    ok. i WILL make birch. i just don’t know when.

  2. ann
    so happy to be the first to say, “well done.” it is lovely. now the thing with this shawl is it DOESNT have to be jemimah puddleduck if you don’t want it to be. i see fun and funky…or is it just me?
    ok. i WILL make birch. i just don’t know when.

  3. Ann, it looks lovely. I had the same kind of ‘not enough space/running out of pins (and the heads keep coming off)/struggling to get a straight line’ blocking experience. It’s worth it though! Mine’s intended to be a giftie and there WILL be tears if the recipient doesn’t like/appreciate it!
    Sharon
    x

  4. Gorgeous… I am speechless (and rolling in shame for not doing that last 1800 stitches).

  5. Beautiful job! I was feeling a little stymied on my birch progress, thinking perhaps I would put it “away,” (and we all know what that means!) but now that I see how fab yours is, I simply must keep going…thanks for the motivation!

  6. How lovely Birch is. Good job.

  7. Gorgeous! You will not hear one mention of Emima-Jay Uddleduck-pay from this quarter. I truly would like to have a coupla drinks with your Hubbo though. I find his insights on knitting, though few, to be most trenchant. I hope his quip about Morticia (who was FOXY! by the way) will not make you self-conscious about wearing Birch, but on the bright side, Halloween is just around the corner. I doubt it will look spooky at all–it will be a cloud of lacy fuzz wafting about your translucent ivory shoulders. Or a white t-shirt. Either way, an overall impression of shut-up-and-kiss-me. Congrats! xox Kay

  8. Was a T-square involved?
    And don’t take this the wrong way, but why so many pins?
    Simply curious.

  9. Gorgeous ! Stunning ! Sissel and I salute you.What a clever girl you are :a beautiful shawl and a new skill.
    Well blocked too. ;-]
    x

  10. Lis–I’ll spot you the Kidsilk Haze if you’re wanting to be my Birch twin.
    Sharon–You’re GIVING YOURS AWAY? How shall we ever recognize each other when we attend the World Conference of Rowanettes? Keep it, and give ‘em some crummy gloves or mittens . . .
    Polly–As I recall you were about 29,000 stitches into your Birch, and if that’s not enough Birch, the heck with it.
    Leigh–Stay the course, stay the course. Once you hit that twentieth repeat, the last seven slide away like a melting popsicle.
    And Kay, re the pins. Don’t you know better than to ask ME about blocking? Go ahead and reference my OTHER blog, http://www.annsblockingblog.com. I wish I’d taken a before photo of the thing before I blocked it. It was a long, narrow kind of a mess, not an iscosoles triangle as it ended up. (Iscosoles triangle? Whuh? Who does she think she is? Thomas?) Birch was not a willing participant in the blocking: between every pin was a swoop, a curve pulling toward the center, and the only way to beat the cobwebby (creepy!) curves was to keep pinning. I could have pinned more, even, but as I said my thumb kind of started to hurt. But in all, a very satisfying shape changey blockarama.
    x0 Ann

  11. PS No T-square (what do I look? compulsive?), but I did find a really old yucky bedsheet with stripes which got me halfway square. Wish I’d found that gingham sheet from 1985. Would have been perfect.

  12. Congratulations on a job well done!
    It’s been cool here in the UK so I’ve worn my Birch for the past few days – be prepared for total strangers to come up and admire it, touch it and in some cases drop heavy hints that they’d like one!
    I miss knitting this so much I may start another.

  13. Ann, Ann, Ann. Wowza! Divine, amazing, superb. And I can say that with all honesty because I have seen a Birch in person and know I am not knitter, woman, or alcoholic enough to ever attempt such a feat. Good grief, Morticia? Smack the husband. No, harder. Tell him the Rowanettes will come get him if he doesn’t bow down to your Birch NOW. Or at least some time today…..
    You go girl!

  14. ann!!! deal!!! and quite frankly, i dont mind the jemima puddleduck or morticia adams references. (kay is RIGHT, she was hot, so much so that gomez was always lusting after her!! and this was in the 50′s!!! (i saw it in reruns thank you!!))

  15. GORGEOUS! (And daaaaaaaayum, you knit quickly!)

  16. You ‘bama babe ~ your Birch is gawgeous! I’m nothing like a Rowanette with only Smooch under my belt, and I’m having a b*tch of a time with the wave/shell lacy thing on my needles now, but, dang, I wanna give this one a try because yours is so lovely. How many skeins of KSH are involved? I’ve actually got some in the stash . .

  17. Maggi–My pal ‘Bama Babe can tell you exactly, but I think only 3 skeins required. (Too lazy to look.) When a yarn is only a micron thick it goes a long way.
    I’ve been in such a square-shaped garter-stitch worsted-weight groove the past coupla months that I am mystified at how many people out there are swooning with delirious pleasure at the prospect of knitting Birch! It totally takes all kinds dude! The Big Tent of knitting has room for us all!

  18. Maggi–Kay’s right: just three light n fluffy skeins of Kidsilk Haze, 690 yards in all, a third of a mile of it, enough yarn to reach the top of a stack of 99,360 Rowans. Piece of cake!
    x0 Ann

  19. gawjus! good job!

  20. Help! I’m getting ready to start this shawl but a gal on a knitlist I’m on said that she’d started it and thinks that in this pattern ‘yfw” really means “yo”. What did you find? I’m scared to get started now until I know something. Your shawl is beautiful by the way!

  21. Beverly! I just looked at the pattern again. It does say yarn forward, for heaven’s sake. I did them all as yarnovers! Never even considered doing yarn forwards. Jinkies! Is my Birch all wrong? Doesn’t appear to be, but if it is, I’ll have a nice long time to get used to it . . .
    Try the pattern on some easy yarn, and let me know what happens when you do yarn forwards instead of yarnovers.
    Weeeird!
    x0 Ann

  22. Beverly and Ann: Lord knows I’m no font of lace-knitting instructional wisdom, but Beverly’s friend is right. ‘Yarn forward’ can be British for ‘yarnover’ in American. I read that somewhere, but I have been confused because some British patterns do say ‘yo’ and sometimes they also mean ‘yarn forward’ American-style when they say ‘Yfw’. Usually you can figure out which is meant by how many stitches they say you are supposed to have on the needle, because yarn forwards don’t add stitches, and yarnovers (Americanese), do add stitches.
    If I’m dead wrong about all this, I’m sure someone (everyone!) will tell me as soon as I finish hitting the ‘Post’ button. And anyway Ann, your Birch is the proof. It looks JUST like the picture in the book. Surely it would look all wacky if you’d done it wrong.
    Good luck Beverly. Be strong.

  23. We had this yarn forward/yarn over discussion on the Rowan list. I took it to mean bring the yarn to the front, so when you do the next stitch of the pattern, it creates a loop. If you do it as a yarn forward, that entails brining the yarn forward and knitting a stitch. That adds too many stitches…so, just bring the yarn to the front and continue to the next stitch, looping the yarn back over the needle to do so. Hope that helps!

  24. Thanks, Lisa! Those British people have a different word for EVERYthing. In my odyssey to figure this out I also discovered the YON, yarn over needle, which is no help at all.