My plectranthus plants have made it through the winter, and lo and behold: they are starting to flower! Well, this one is. A little bit. If I were to show you a longer shot of the plant, you wouldn’t actually be able to see any flowers, because the three you can see here (two in the foreground, one in the back on the upper right) are literally 100% of them so far. But I think this is a solid sign that after six damn years in southern California, I have finally learned how to keep plants happy in this climate. In my first year of grad school, I bought a whole bunch of plants that died of neglect within four months — because I just couldn’t remember to water them often enough, and in more humid areas that’s less of a problem — and I was so wracked with guilt (yes, plant-death guilt) that I didn’t try to grow anything else for years. At the end of my third year of grad school, I inherited a peace lily from my ex, who had received it as a gift at his office and was leaving it behind when he was moving away, and I’ve managed to keep that alive just because it refuses to die. I think of that plant a lot like Holly Golightly thinks of her cat: we don’t belong to each other, I just water it occasionally as long as it deigns to stick around. These plectranthus plants that I bought last fall represent the first time I’ve been particularly invested in any plants in awhile, and I’m really pleased that they’re doing so well.

I’ve finally come to my senses (read: changed my mind a third time) about that Hedgehog Fibres cashmere, and realized that I don’t need another raspberry-red rectangular scarf. So instead, I have begun knitting it into an Ishbel:

Ishbel, as you know unless you have been living under a rock and/or are not yourself a knitter (and bless your hearts, you non-knitter readers), is a wildly popular scarf/shawl pattern that Ysolda released about a year ago. I love Ysolda and her designs dearly, but I was a snob about this particular pattern when it came out: I was a real lace knitter, a lace-knitting ninja capable of executing complex charted patterns without a lifeline while pounding shots of tequila. This pattern, by contrast, is cited by zillions of Ravelers as their first foray into lace knitting and is eminently non-intimidating. But simple is exactly what I needed with this highly-variegated yarn, and when I realized that a little triangle scarf might be just the thing to distinguish this project from the one I just finished, I found myself thinking of Ishbel again. It’s zipping along, providing a break when I get bored of all the stockinette involved in my Audrey cardigan, and it’s delightfully weightless.

My Audrey cardigan is coming along, but it’s not much to look at just yet. I’ve finished the fronts and the back, done the shoulder join, and knitted one of the sleeve caps. I’ll show it to you again next time, I promise. I have, however, gotten started on yet another a new project:

This is the very beginning of what will be a sort of modernist log-cabin blanket that I am knitting for some friends who are getting married later this month. The blanket will NOT be completed by then, but I figure I’ll send them a nice card and an IOU, and by the time it starts getting chilly again they’ll have a brand-new stylish blanket to keep them warm. I’ve been wanting to knit one of these since I stumbled across the basic recipe a few months ago, and I think it’s going to be fun, but the finishing is clearly going to drive me batty. There will be a zillion ends to weave in (I’ll do them for each block separately as I finish it, I suppose), and ultimately I’ll have to sew together a million of these squares. Expect melodramatic cursing of self, friends, marriage, God, etc. Fun for the whole family!

3 thoughts on “Beginnings

  1. That Ishbel is lovely! I think shawls are lovely, but I just haven’t figured out how to wear them. Maybe the little neck-scarf-sized ones like that will be my entry into the world of shawl knitting?

    I’m a big proponent of weaving in as you go. I can’t stand weaving in lots of ends at once so spreading out the weaving in makes a big difference to me. I also have yet to do a project that involves any significant sewing together because I fear I will hate that even more than weaving in ends (which I think I hate because it feels like work, not like fun). But the project looks really cool, which is generally enough to drive away most of the insanity caused batty-driving things (at least for me). Looking forward to more updates and pictures!

  2. Good choice on the Ishbel! That lace pattern blends the colors in the yarn together in a really cool way.

    And congrats on the plant! That pix is beautiful!

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