Friday, March 27, 2015

Turning Toward Spring

Spring brings me renewed energy. I am working on inside projects before outdoor gardening season begins. Although it is tempting to clean out perennial and herb beds, I wait until the first week or so in April leaving weeds and last year's growth to protect plants from fluctuating temperatures. Ten days ago, temperatures reached 80 degrees but yesterday afternoon rain turned to sleet and the roofs were covered with frost this morning.

Recently, I finished two knitted projects created without a pattern. Although I will never be a designer, it is nice to know enough to make my own simple projects. I finished a sweet little shawl out of yarn I purchased at least five years ago. I knit a garter stitch triangle, increasing on the edges and spine until I had the number of stitches (including edges, center stitches, plus a multiple of the 18 stitches) necessary to repeat seven motifs on each side.

I have also been working on baby knits. The little green antler cardigan is done all but sewing on the buttons and being photographed. I made a hat and mittens for a niece expecting a baby in July. I referred to Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns and Stephanie Purl-McPhee's Knitting Rules for a general idea on size. The idea for the purled row in the stripes comes from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Hats. I have knit three or four variations of this striped beanie in different yarn weights for other children in the family.

I find my writing also reflects the season outside my window.  I am almost finished with a small group of poems created during the winter from writing prompts. I am looking forward to new knits and new thoughts in the colors of Spring. The season turns ever so slowly. I am taking notes on its arrival. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Shawls, Shoulders, and Spring

The March days are growing longer and this week's temperatures are considerably warmer in Nebraska. Yesterday, in solidarity with the local public school teachers and students on Spring Break, I sat on the deck in the sunshine and read "Old Mrs. Harris," a short story from a book of Willa Cather's collected short stories, articles, and essays. Reading early and less well known work by an author reminds me that all writers were once beginning writers.    

Last week I finished this shawl to give as a gift. The Red Robin Shawl pattern by Helen Stuart is well written. She includes a small spread sheet stating percentages for each section so the knitter can use up the entire skein of yarn. Once the blue shawl was blocking, I finished the pink raspberry shawl. When I cast on the pink shawl, I knit garter stitch rows until I had a multiple of stitches needed for a pattern repeat of eighteen stitches plus the center and edge stitches. Then I knit a feather and fan border because I enjoy knitting that pattern. My encapsulated (frozen) shoulder joint was healing but I needed the easy comfort knitting that I find in simple shawls. Although today's knitters and designers have updated shawls in interesting new ways, the little pink shawl is not one of the new fashion forward wraps. I think I it will join a few other sturdy shawls I use for keeping my shoulders warm during winter's cold.

After two months of physical therapy, the range of motion in my shoulder is near normal. I have been discharged from therapy with instructions to diligently stretch and strengthen the joint and surrounding muscles for at least two more months. I will be following the recommendations as well as taking frequent breaks and using good body mechanics while knitting as I don't want to repeat the experience. Besides, the warmer temperatures and sunshine are calling me to the garden. I want to be ready to pull weeds and thin perennials. Green shoots of crocuses and daffodils are just up above the ground. Spring is around the corner.