The child's tomten is done, save the zipper installation. It's beautiful. I was so-so about it until I added some white trim, and now I am thrilled. Except that I need a small break from garter stitch, I can't wait to make another. Pictures soon; right now the sweater is draped across a drying rack in the basement after its bath in wool wash.

I'm temporarily cured of my finish-itis, and I've started something new.

This the twilight scarf/stole from A Fine Fleece (which is a fine book).

This yarn... very, very special. It is naturally colored vintage shetland lace yarn that once belonged to my mom's cousin Ruthie, an avid knitter, who died of breast cancer in the mid-1980s. My mom kept the yarn after Ruthie died, but she never used it, and when I made my last trip to Kentucky this past March, I brought it home with me. (Remember doodlebug's sweater? The blue Patons Beehive was from that collection as well.) My mom isn't sure how old the yarn is. She inherited it over 20 years ago, but her cousin may have acquired it years before that, possibly while she was living in Scotland in the 1970s.

The yarn comes in four colors, and there are no brand labels with it. There is LOTS of it. I don't know the yardage for each skein, but there are at least 4 or 5 skeins of each color, and the yarn is so light there has to be a couple hundred yards per skein.

It's good, honest wool, sticky and delicate and airy, a fragile single-ply. I think it's beautiful.

I don't know how to combine colors in lace, and I'm not sure I like the look of that, so I've decided to knit a project for each color. I don't know how close my mom and her twin sisters were to their cousin (they come from a huge farm family and they have something like 40 or 50 first cousins), but it seems a fitting tribute to knit something for my mom and each of her twin sisters out of Ruthie's yarn. They all have birthdays in the fall, so I'm shooting for those deadlines, but I'm making no promises. I'm starting with simple designs for two reasons: 1) I don't have much experience with lace (yet) and I don't want to get all frustrated and screw up a lot. I know enough to know that fixing lace is a pain in the ass; 2) The yarn is not especially refined. The natural colors are heathery and the thickness of the ply isn't terribly consistent, so I think it is best showcased in a simple design. I'm not really a lace knitter so I could be totally wrong.

Oh, and I'm using my new Addi lace needles. Love 'em. Love. Them. All the k2tog and ssk are a total breeze. However, these needles are so expensive that I only have the one pair and I think that from here on out every lace project I do better work on 4mm size!


Anonymous said…
I got rather nostalgic while reading your blog. I am touched that you want to make projects for the 3 women of my family. Ruthie was one of Marlo's kids, and their family was always "on the go." So they were over a lot, and Ruthie herself was Tom's age, 5 years younger than me. She was a very pretty girl, and had a ready laugh.

Anonymous said…
Oh, yes, and she also lived in Iceland for several years. Iceland is also known for its knitting, and she did a lot of it when she was there.

Anonymous said…
What a great project for such special yarn!

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