For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Seven of a Kind

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Dear Kay,
Big doings around here. I won’t recap the entire weekend, because I’m saving it for the HUGE AND DISHY NOVEL that I’m going to write someday, but it was Dad’s 75th birthday, and we managed to get all seven of his children, families attached, from six different cities, in one place for an entire weekend. You know, at the circus, how they have that guy who spins twelve plates on sticks, balances a ball on his nose, and juggles eggs all at the same time? Like that.
But it happened, and it was great. If any of you has a complicated family out there, let me tell you: even a complicated family can come together. It can be done, and it will likely involve a lot of barbecue, bacon, and butter sculptures of your dad’s head. (Actually, brother Aubrey used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and I can’t believe he actually made the thing at all. It is quite low in cholesterol.)
Happy birthday, Daddyo–it was amazing.
Speaking of Elaborate Projecks
The shawl. Ye olde Print o’ the Wave. Don’t get me wrong–I’m still craving the finished product, all right. But for the love of PETE, this border. Oy!
Of the 80 little wavey repeats, I’ve finished 37, which puts this thing almost at the halfway point. If this is the Paris Dakar Road Rally, I’m in Tripoli, I’ve busted my radiator, and my driving partner won’t stop talking.
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It’s big enough that I had to do a Photoshop Photomerge to tile this thing. (Please, I encourage you to go tile something in Photoshop Photomerge. It is just the coolest.)
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The driving partner who won’t stop talking is THIS NEEDLE. This needle is holding all the stitches that are being lovingly, tediously, slowly knitted together with the border as I’m blasting through the Sahara. This needle is wholly unreliable–it drops a few stitches every once in a while, it worms its way into the border, it is in the way. If it weren’t so freaking essential to this border, I’d take a corner hard and hope he falls out the door. But no–we are in this to the bitter end, until the last 33 repeats are done. I’ve drawn a line down the bench seat and told it never ever ever to cross that line.
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A problem potentially more vexing than the irritating needle is the possibility that we’re going to run out of fuel. I don’t really see how this three-inch ball of yarn is going to make it through 33 more repeats.
Love,
Ann

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51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Seven, that’s impressive! The family parties 30 years from now will not be so fun, I think, with all our 2 or 3 kid families.
    You can keep going with that yarn, and get 27 repeats done, or you can rip back now and make up a skinnier border. Or maybe you can make it to 33 more… Keep going! You can do it! Oh, I don’t know!

  2. we had a big ole family reunion thing for my grandma’s 75th birthday too, got her 3 kids + their kids and her 3 stepkids + their kids, plus a whole bunch of other relatives and family friends and old coworkers and whoever else we could think of…and the whole thing was a surprise. it was exhausting!
    (but really fun)

  3. Good luck! *Arm outstrechted holding bottled water*

  4. Umm, Ann, I had to complicate things for you and pardon the back seat knitting but….don’t you have 43 repeats to go, not 33?

  5. Hee.
    Love the road rally analogy. I nearly snorted Diet Coke out of my nose.
    And the I can’t believe it’s not butter sculpture is just… frightening.

  6. Ummm. My sister claims that if you’re running out of yarn knitting faster means it goes further. (Yeah, I know. Let’s not talk about the mental sanity of my sister). Erm. This is the point at which (were that project in London) it would be put away for many months until on discovering it again I would think ‘what the hell did I ever want to knit that for?’, cast it off (thereby freeing up the needles that have driven me to search through such projects) and give it to the rabbit to line her basket with. (It has happened before). Either that, or beg some more yarn from someone quickly. Because in my maths universe, 80 minus 37 does indeed equal 43 not 33 as Kristy says and I don’t think you stand a chance with that titchy ball there, I’m afraid.
    On the other hand, many, many, many good karma points must have come your way for managing such a super fabby party for your Dad so the universe might do a squiggly thing with the time warp continuum and let you finish after all. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  7. I was wondering how 37 repeats done and 33 to go came out to the 80 needed… but wasn’t going to mentioned it. However, since Kristy did, I guess I can too! You’ll be fine. I think. I hope. I pray!
    We did a 70th Birthday for my Mom in March. Best thing my sister and I did was have it catered! We surprised her with some old friends and by bringing in family from out of town that couldn’t really afford to come. So the catering made the rest of the ‘do’ doable! :) Glad you had such a great weekend!

  8. You know any of the women in that picture could have a husband running for political office any place in the south :p
    Ann are you sure your husband isn’t running for Governer?

  9. OOOOOOOPS!!
    What are you going to do?

  10. I suppose it would be equally annoying to put a seat belt–er, rubber band–on the end of the offending passenger to get it to behave.

  11. Seems like the right thing to do to a butter substitute… as I cant belive its eatable. Never met one that was in my opinion..

  12. happy 75th, ann’s dad! he’s looking mighty patriach-y sittin’ there surrounded by his kids… nice!

  13. At this point, I would say, stop knitting and order some more yarn. After all that work, it’s the least that you can do. How vexing when tthat happens.
    happy b-day for you pops… and brothe Aubrey did a good job on that sculpture.

  14. Laceweight has a miraculous way of just keeping on when you think it has just about quit.
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you get such a miracle.

  15. Sounds like a great party…did you take a picture of the not-butter sculpture? I’m with ML as far as wrapping a rubber band around one end of the needle. Good luck…lace can really surprise you on how far the yarn can go when it wants to…keep talking nice to it.

  16. Bravo for carrying the road rally metaphor unmixed to the end of the post–that was amazing!
    I just corralled family for my grandmother’s 90th this summer, it was tons of fun–we’re a bunch of geeks and librarians,so instead of butta sculptures, there were spreadsheets, singing, charades and imovie retrospectives. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

  17. If the circular needle is getting in your way and even occasionally losing stitches, why not run a scrap of smooth yarn through the edge stitches and take them off of the needle? The scrap yarn can be tied in a bow to make it east to release stitches when necessary. I’d even be tempted to leave it there if it wasn’t in my way, and slide it back out sometime later. If you don’t want to take all of the edge stitches off of the circular at one time, just try it with enough to get the needle out of the way. And maybe put a point protector on the needle so you don’t have to worry about losing those stitches.
    Disclaimer: I have not ever knitted a shawl, let alone this one. I have done several small lace projects. And yes, I am a completely self-taught knitter, so sometimes down the road I find out I’ve done things not quite right, lol!

  18. I sure hope that 3″ ball of yarn does the trick, because my current laceweight skein is down to less than three inches across and I haven’t even gotten to the border yet. (I have decided that if need be, the shawl will be very pretty with a contrasting border…)

  19. Aw crap. I can’t even convince myself to finish the body of the shawl . . . must bribe with beer or something.

  20. Best of luck! I’ve been thinking about knitting that shawl, and watching you knit it has been even more tempiting than looking at the original pattern. This way I get new pictures of it every so often, and I love the yanr you’ve chosen for it! Hope it lasts…

  21. Nice family photo.
    Beautiful shawl. I hope you find more yarn or this yarn holds out… I thought experienced knitters never ran out of yarn?!

  22. That photo in Real Simple Food — it’s got dust jacket author photo written all over it. Get going on that novel, Ann — except maybe not until Mason Dixon the sequel is safely launched?

  23. It’s really fine yarn – I wound 1375 yds into a shockingly small 6″ ball. I am having a good time watching the edging, having taken a class with Galina Kheleva that gave just the ountiest introduction to Orenburg lace. But that is the way the border on my sample square cum washcloth (I couldn’t work the size 1/lace weight yarn at the time so I went size 8/big cotton). Keep trekking!

  24. A bust of one’s parent should always be low-cholesterol. It is a rule.
    I’m praying that you have a backup source of fuel available … somewhere?

  25. Knit fast, honey; then you’ll have enough yarn to finish.

  26. This is the stage of the border where I put it aside for awhile. Keep with it! (And Andrea at Seaport could probably get you more Blue Heron if you needed it.)

  27. Every year at the Iowa State Fair, there is a butter cow. Along with various other things carved out of butter.
    http://www.iowastatefair.com/entertainment/buttercow.php
    Your brother did a mighty fine job and he should start showing at state fairs (although, the dairy council would probably prefer him to use real butter). :)

  28. As has already been said, run a smooth strong cotton thread through the stitches and pull the needle out. You can then work the edging with 2 dpns, picking up stitches from those held on the yarn as you need them. I leave the line in until the stitches are knitted into the edging, you could leave it in until you were finished but I work on a “pull as you go” method
    I have done this, several times, usually when I want to use the needle to start another shawl because I’m sick of the never ending border on this one.

  29. First, what a loverly family photo. As for the butter-head–a bit frightening to me–just the glow in the dark colour is scary.
    Second, Seaport Yarn is just a few mere blocks from my office, so holler if you need reinforcements, I’ll run over and grab some yarn for you!

  30. Your Dad is kind of hot, Ann, Seventy-five or not! The butter sculptures……kind of odd. I assume it is an east-coast kind of thing. But hey, I live in Seattle, where we do everything with coffee, and throw fish in public for entertainment, so what do I know?
    The shawl, beautiful! I will pray for your sanity, AND for your yarn to hold out!

  31. Hey Ann
    Despair not – on Aug 25 you posted
    “A thousand yards of yarn in a four-inch ball. What to make with it? ”
    That was after winding the Blue Heron mercerized cotton into a ball.
    so if you’ve got 43 more border rows and a 3 inch ball left…you may have enough for a second shawl!!!
    Grins.

  32. How come no picture of the not-butter sculpture? Please post one.

  33. Eeeeeek! I hope the yarn holds out!
    I have 9 children so I can understand how difficult it must be to get everyone back together like that. I hope ours won’t be so far spread out from us when they are grown.

  34. Thank you, Ann…I think now that I will *not* try to knit this thing as my first lace project…as my friend Ann would say, “I don’t thing that there is enough chocolate, Xanex, and alcohol on earth,” to make me want to knit that….not now. Any suggestions for a newby lacer and an absolutely gorgeous lace weight baby alpaca and silk?
    Ang

  35. I am so stunned by the I Can’t Believe the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter sculpture that I totally skipped right over any knitting content you put in there. Holy Cow! do I even want to know how he did that? would I believe it? could I comprehend it? what does it mean? what’s it all about? alfie.
    oh, btw. good luck with the project, it looks great!

  36. That not-butter head is awesome! Did it melt?
    My Dad is one of 12 kids and yeah, it’s just like that juggler. But louder. Wheeee!

  37. I’m glad someone else said first that your dad is kinda hot. He’s got that Suthun Gentmun thing goin’ in a big way.

  38. I ran out of yarn around the same place – about three-quarters of the way through the border. I had to order more :-(
    Good luck, though!

  39. I have this same yarn, and I am willing to send it your way to finish your shawl…I had it in mind to make the same shawl, but now I can see that I won’t have enough yarn anyway, as I already tried to make part of something else with it, so I don’t have the full 1000 yards. Let me know!

  40. Oh that not-butter head ! We were just talking about what to do for my dad’s 75th in January. Now I feel so inadequate. Our best idea was dinner and a jazz combo. Food sculpting didn’t even cross a single mind. sigh.

  41. so, wait. you dont have a mini skein hidden somewhere??! ;) hehe

  42. You
    Should
    Have Saved
    This Post
    For HALLOWEEN!
    I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter, in the shape of someone’s head? So you can, what, take a KNIFE to your father’s head and smear a little of his cheek onto your DINNER ROLL?
    Sounds like you may have a yarn saviour in the comments above, someone who has the same and will send you some, but – that little ball, all those repeats, the grueling desert drive?
    You’re giving me the willies, lady!

  43. Here in MN we have a long tradition of butter sculpture. At the state fair in August, all the dairy princesses have their busts carved in butter, whilst sitting in a giant, slowly rotating glass sided cooler. There’s an article with pictures at the New York Times if anyone wants to check it out. But they use the real stuff, which has to be a much easier medium than I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. He must be very skilled. Also, you don’t often find lace knitters and butter sculptors in the same family. No wonder your dad looks so proud.

  44. Our 7 got together at Disney World in Orlando to celebrate #2’s retirement from the Navy in April ’04. The Other Half and I couldn’t make it, as he was ill, but we treasure those pictures. I hope that you will make many and frequent occasions to all get together since it’s really important. And take lots of pictures!

  45. I HATE the end-of-project, am-I-running-out-of-yarn drama. Just went through that with a top-down pullover. Had to rip out cuff #1 to complete sleeve #2 and then use another color for cuffs. GRRRR!

  46. Oh my god I JUST CANNOT BELIEVE that’s NOT butter! ;-)

  47. How many fathead jokes were there?

  48. Which one is Aubrey in the picture?

  49. Is that SOLID sculpture?

  50. I have those Ralph Lauren sheets you have arranged around the oleodaddy! Now I’m gonna crave saltines whenever I go to sleep. (My older sister would spread our saltines with margarine and we would put a second one on top and squeeze to see the worms pop up though the holes. That’s a serving suggestion.)

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