Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Thorny Situation

So yesterday I probably could have finished the new shawl.  I've completed the body rows and am working on the border.  The problem is I decided to do some yardwork - perhaps you've heard me whine about pruning the dwarf palm trees before.

The palms are quite pretty and border the back fence of our yard.  When we moved in, they were young and each of them had one main trunk.  In the 9 (wow - can it be 9?) years that we have lived here, the darned things have only gotten to be about 6 feet tall, but have expanded in circumference significantly by splitting off to have multiple trunks.  More trunks means more pruning.  As the fronds age, they turn yellow, then brown just like leaves on any other tree.  Pruining is required to clean off the old fronds periodically, and I always put it off as long as I can.  Why?  Nasty Thorns.  In the picture above, you can see an example of the thorns that grow at the base of these otherwise peaceful looking fronds that innocently wave in the ocean breeze.  They are long, they are strong, and they are surgically sharp.  They regularly pierce through my rubber coated gardening gloves as I prune, forcing me to use language that makes even the neighbor's dog blush.  And, as if frequent stabbing wasn't enough punishment for trying to do a good deed, these thorns also seem to contain some sort of toxin or irritant that causes the knuckle joints in my hands to swell and ache.  This happens every time I prune these trees, and I never seem to learn.  Next weekend when I finish pruning the half that are left to be sheared, I'm going to try Mr. Wendy's leather gloves.  If that doesn't work, I'll have to see if I can find a suit of armor on Ebay.  

This morning I am still picking bits of thorn tips out of my hands.  The worst injury was a thorn that stabbed under the fingernail on my right index finger, and then left a quarter-inch thorn tip under there.  Had yesterday been a weekday I probably would have had the doctor dig it out under local anesthesia, but instead I took matters into my own hands, literally, and extracted it myself using a needle and strategically gritted teeth.  Needless to say, my hands were too achy to knit or type much yesterday, and I spent the rest of the day watching TV and playing Words With Friends.

So here's what the shawlette looks like now - too funny looking, huh?!  I completed the body rows that are worked flat and lengthwise.  The number of stitches had increased toward the end to the point where I couldn't see what the thing was going to look like since it was all bunched up on the needle cable.  Then to start the border, I picked up stitches on the sides and cast on edge, and am knitting the the border in the round.  It's mostly a garter stitch border to keep the edge from rolling, but there is eyelet detail along the scalloped lower edge of the border which should be cute.  I have either two or four more rounds to do before I bind off - depending on how the yarn supply holds out.  I've been monitoring it by weight as I've worked, and at this point, it appears I'll have enough yarn to complete the four rows I would like to do before BO, but that could be cutting the yardage really short.  I'll work two rows, and then make the executive decision as to whether I can squeeze in two more at that point.  I like to use up as much of the yarn as I can, but I don't want to make it so close that some people might run out before they finish due to personal gauge differences.

Wish me luck - my next post should show the blocking in process!



  1. wow, can't wait to get my hands on this baby..
    gorgeous boss lady babe..... Sorry about your poor sore hands from the pointy stickers....

  2. Jeannette (knittingintexas)August 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Owwie :(
    Take care of yourself. And you know that you've always got lots of test knitters available.
    (me, me, me!!)

  3. Lookin' good. I can't wait to see it either...or make it, I should say. I love shawls and I love your patterns.

    Hmmmm sorry about the hands, maybe you need to look into a pair of Kevlar gloves...or better yet, take out the palms and put in something more friendly that will not try to kill you.


  4. Ewww, thorn under the fingernail; I believe in some places that is considered TORTURE. I think I would have to hire someone to do that nasty job! Can't wait to see the shawlette finished & blocked.

  5. I'm siding with dialua
    cheaper in the long run.
    It's the trickle-down theory. :)

  6. I agree with Kathy - Kevlar gloves the kind the butcher uses to hold a fish while fileting.

  7. Chief Executive Babe, you can borrow my long handled loppers. It helps.

  8. YOW! it hurts just to read about it! and they look so pretty and harmless. i will be looking at palm trees in a whole new light now! they are evil. just saw the shawl blocked. lovely and very unique! it is refreshing to see a shawl that doesn't resemble all the others out there. good job!



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