Was it just a year ago that I was knitting that lovely, rich red afghan from bulky yarn? I had hoped to have the afghan back from the publisher for use this winter, but it's not here yet. I've heard that a number of the items knitted for the book it will appear in are going to be displayed at the big needlework trade show in June, sponsored by TNNA. Then maybe it can come home!
The book the afghan was made for is called Successful Lace Knitting: Celebrating the Work of Dorothy Reade, and it's by Donna Druchunas. That subtitle is really important. Dorothy Reade was really important, and most knitters haven't heard of her. Among other things, she was instrumental in helping get Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers Co-operative going in Alaska. You can read some about that in Donna Druchunas' earlier book, Arctic Lace.
While Donna was working on Arctic Lace, she got intrigued by Dorothy Reade's story. First she did more research. Then she got a group of contemporary knitters to make projects based on a couple of dozen of Reade's original lace patterns. The resulting projects—by a bunch of amazing designers, and one by me—are wonderfully inspiring.
Here are my previous posts related to the project:
- First post, on beginning it.
- Second post, on the inspiration and the peculiarity (for me) of knitting with bulky yarn.
- Third post, with blocking photos.
- Fourth post, completely blocked and about to disappear from my life for quite a while.
I have just caught sight of the afghan again, for the first time since the end of February 2009! I got to see this photo that was shot for the book, which will be released in a few weeks:
I hope that young woman has some nice tea or cocoa, and that it was a cool day when they held the photoshoot, so she could enjoy the experience of being warmed by the afghan.
If you pre-order the book before its publication date through Donna's
website, she's making a contribution for every sale to the Musk
Ox Farm, which needs some fundraising. They're all closely related—Dorothy Reade's knitting adventures, Oomingmak, the Musk Ox Farm—and this is a great idea that Donna has had, and
you'll get your money's worth both in the book and in the form of
deferred benefits by supporting research into how to help maintain musk
oxen, and supplies of their lovely underdown fiber, qiviut. The official pub date is May 11, 2010.
Meanwhile, a few thoughts on the afghan, somewhat scattered because I'm still reviewing the edited manuscript for The Project. . . .
The inspiration for my afghan came from a bulky-yarn afghan a friend made for me forty years ago. It shows almost no wear, despite regular use as a central part of our family life:
That's my daughter, doing homework (grad student) with the help of Tussah. They're both pretty cozy.
The only problem is that when they are wrapped up in the afghan, I can't use it. Therefore I decided to seize the opportunity of the Dorothy Reade lace project to make another afghan that would meet the same sorts of needs.
Before next winter.
If anyone who reads this is at TNNA (it's a trade show, so only open to people like yarn shop owners) and the afghan is there, please give it a pat and tell it I'm looking forward to seeing it again.
Here's more info on the book, with more photos of the projects.
Meanwhile, The Project has been intense enough that I haven't been able to plant any seeds (we were going to start our own plants this year, and we got the supplies). It wouldn't have taken much time. I just haven't had any moments to spare.
We will have a garden. Last year we built the raised beds, and this year they're already in place.
Last year we also discovered that our biggest challenges in gardening are hail and squirrels. We'll have to see what this year's hail situation will be like. This photo, taken today, indicates that the plans we've been making to keep the squirrels out will all be put to good use.
I missed the really good photo opportunity, where this character was digging so far into the bed that his (or her) whole front half was in a hole. We didn't even plant much in that bed last year—several squash plants (all but one of which were eaten by squirrels) and a few herbs. Three of which were perennials and should have come back up. Except I think they were eaten by squirrels.
Note the wire covering on the small bed in back. We're getting more official this year. We've already got a wire-covered frame to fit over the larger bed. We need to create similar protective caps for the other two.