Wednesday, September 28, 2005

not quite 20 questions

Seemingly unrelated but all a subset of my brain this week.
Jump in, please. Mind the gooey gray matter.

1) I'm trying to find a fiber producing farm, any animal, any finished product (can be yarn, wool, fleeces) that's been around for more than 2 generations. Preferably not in the New England states. But must be in the US somewhere. For a project I'm working on. Any suggestions ?

2) If you've ever been to a yarn shop called And the Beadz Go On in Wickford, Rhode Island, is it worth the detour from the highway?

3) Will stockinette knit on different size needles with the same yarn felt at the same rate? If not, does looser knit fabric shrink less? What happens if I don't use a zippered pillowcase to hold the knitting in while its in the washing machine ?

4) I want to make fun of people who make tiny outfits to dress up their bunnies and take them to the fair. peopleShould I feel guilty about this? Aren't my hobbies passions distractions equally subject to ridicule? Hello, remember karma? What if I enjoy taking pictures of them and think they're kind of sweet in a creepy way? What if Yom Kippur is coming up in like 2 weeks and I know full well this'll be one more item on the list of snarky or mean spirited remarks for which I'll be apologizing?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

(summer) it ain't over till....

v.1 ... 'till the last summer knit project is done

The shrug. 09shrugFin09 The shrug must be the most challenging object to photograph without a human model. This one fits about a size 6-8 person but you'd never know to see it draped here. See those little squared off front corners? On a person, they're further back under the armpit and don't show. I look too beefy in it to model. With noone shrugworthy around today, its fence or nothing.09shrugFin14

pattern: Shimmer with modifications.
yarn: Cherry Hill Farm supersock merino, definitely not just for socks!
needles: size 6us
changes: since the yarn is much finer than the pattern suggested, I used a larger size number of stitches to end up with a small size garment. Don't be silly, of course I didn't swatch it. But I kept an eye on it, OK?
I skipped the lozenge back but added honeycomb stitches around the wrists and across the back to create eyelets, so I could weave in some ribbons. Just for fun. You have to know the sister who'll be wearing this to understand why it'll work. It also made the lower back edge a little firmer, and I think thats a good thing on a shrug.09shrugFin07
what I'd do different and/or the same: loved, loved, loved the yarn, so soft. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat, only this time I'd buy enough of the same dye lot. I'd also make sure if I saw the perfect hand dyed silk ribbon somewhere to buy it, not assume it'd be easy to find when I was done knitting. Especially if where I saw it was on vacation 2000 miles from where I live...

v.2 ain't over 'till you been to the fair
Where some had a better timepeople than others.people Overheard near the ribbon winners in the needlework barn, this sniffy little statement: "well, some people have entirely too much time on their hands! " .
And , as lovely as natural wool is, you can still make a fashion mistake with it:people ain't over 'till the naked lady swims
Around here, this is what really puts a fork in it.
Last week was the 14th annual neighborhood all women last full moon of summer naked ladies swim night . The night teenage boys stay home grimacing & shuddering at the thought of all their moms' skinny dipping down the street. About fifty of us, full moon, clear skies, the beach, much champagne, lots of noise.
Summer. Hate to see it go.

Friday, September 23, 2005

eye spy sky

So I was floating on my back late yesterday afternoon and thought, "Now this is some piece o' sky for Sandy."

Pretty good for coastal New England, on September 22nd, hey? I love September around here. The air feels great, the water is warmer and clearer than it was in summer, the jellies have left for ....wherever it is they go.

Thanks for all the comments on my MOAUFO (mother of all unfinished objects, see my last post below). You gave me a fresh look at the old project. I wish I could reply to comments. Blogger doesn't make it easy.

I decided a felted bag is the way to go. I'm not sure how it'll turn out. The good news is I'm not very discriminating when it comes to totage.

But how to do it? The knitting is directional. Simply making a horizontal fold and sewing it up won't work, half would be upside down. OK, maybe I am just a little discriminating.

First , after careful consideration I recklessly chopped off the ribbing on the bottom and started knitting a flat stockinette lower border that should become the base of the bag. moaufoEdge This may not have been strictly necessary but it never fails to amaze and entertain me that you can do this without having the whole thing unravel. detailFreaky.

I'm taking Nona's suggestion - or my interpretation of it - to knit a long strip that can become the end sides, felt the pieces and sew them together into a bag after cutting the large sweater back in half vertically, to form the main sides.

My plan is to felt the big back and the yet-to-be-knitted long strip,plans1
a friend assured me this'll shrink more in length than width, please felting mavens, tell me its so.

Once I cut them up & reassemble, a new bag will be mine. plans2 Acknowledging the serendipity of felting, and my inexperience with same, I may end up with the Mother of All Screwed Up Felted Totes . But I'm enjoying the path along the way.

Friday, September 16, 2005

the mother of all unfinished objects

Don't worry, it has a happy ending.

Once upon a time we decided to have a baby. We went to work on it in the usual way. Seasons went by. We were having fun but were still childless. I realized we were going to have to take some action, some serious action, to make parenthood a reality.

I did what anyone in my situation would do. I researched. I looked at books & magazines on the subject, I paid extra close attention to pregnant women, who by the way, were waddling around EVERYWHERE.

I had to knit myself the most awesome maternity sweater ever.

It had to be big, and it had to be colorful. Keep in mind it was the 80's and even skinny non-gestating women were wearing XL oversize colorfully patterned sweaters with their leggings. Don't believe me? Watch any Cosby re-run . Uh-huh! Told you so.

Mine was to be even more huge and even more multi-colored. My favorite yarn at the time was Brown Sheep Lambs Pride. I bought enough to de-nude a whole flock of Nebraskan sheep. Then I bought a few skeins more, because who wants to be caught without that last skein. (sadly I've lost this instinct but that's another story).
This is my cardigan pattern. Instead of fashionably, ridiculously oversized- what were we thinking- MOAUFO03I cast on for an even larger version. Good for the full nine months with room to spare. I knit, and knit, and eventually finished the back, and both fronts. I started a sleeve. I was working on other things as well, so this undertaking spread itself over a stretch of time, during which it proved to be as successful as other less pleasant fertility efforts.

Check this out. Its ,um, sizable.MOAUFO05

Long story short: 15 years ago this week, we got the call we'd been waiting for. From an orphanage in Colombia . In a flash I stopped thinking about the sweater. I started thinking thoughts like- WTF were we thinking? We're really going to be parents? Ay Caramba!

And so, my masterpiece became a UFO. For years, I'd take it out each fall and do a few rows, assuming I'd still love to wear it, and honoring how much I'd already finished.

Just last year it occurred to me - duh!- I don't have to finish it. No way would I wear this massive unstylish blanket of faux fair isle, even if it were finished, blocked and buttoned.

If this were a really good story I'd end by telling you that I'm using all that extra Brown Sheep yardage making sweaters for my now 15 and almost 12 year old sons. I'd be lying. They don't like to wear wool. (?!)MOAUFO09

I've been saving the back in case I think of a brilliant morph for it. I was going to felt it and make something, but Kay mentioned that Brown Sheep in yellow doesn't felt. So it might just be weird and pucker-y. I'm open to suggestions.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Two sleeves, done. sleeves I'm happy to report the color shifts are not this drastic in person. The more subtle shadings seem to be sleeping in today. Better photos when its completed, I promise. Only the tiny back, cast on, left to go.
Will it soon be done? backstart
I guess that's why its called a shrug.

This one's been the source of amusement lately. I've been dragging it around in progress to end of summer gatherings. So far, no male has ever heard of one. Most laugh at it. Do I have unfashionable friends or are knitbloggers the only people who discuss shrugs without then saying "you-know-I-mean-like-a-shawl-but- it-has-sleeves-but-no-front-so-less-than-a-sweater-just-a-little-thing".

One friend suggested I make a dickey to go along with it, that way my sister would have a modular sweater gift. I didn't want to admit to him this could work. In a deconstructionist punkish kinda way. Its all yours, Teva Durham. Seriously, she could pull it off. By me, it'd just be weirdness.

But my inner designer's been tickled. I had a quick browse at knitting books and found some real inspiration. Alterknits by Leigh Radford was full of good ideas, like a tubular oversized scarfy/shawl pattern that was so simple you wonder (well, I did) why I couldn't think of it myself: knit Kidsilk Haze in a large tube, then run some sheer silk fabric in the same shade through it, embellish edges with beads or other trinkets. Other than the boredom of knitting an enormous tube in stockinette, what a great gift it'd make. Also, sweaters with ribbon crocheted into the edges for a finish. If this sounds ugly in a "kutesy krafty" way, take a look at the book, it works. It wasn't so much the patterns as her way of looking at & using the materials that got me going.

Then, a Nicki Epsteins book was all about the patterns. Or rather, parts of patterns. This one full of edges and borders fired me up. Instantly I thought of simple sweaters with funky edgings and colors. ooh ooh ooh. On to the fall knitting!

Friday, September 02, 2005

more thin air

By now you must know about the relief effort that Margene & Susan are spearheading. Wow is all I can say. Sitting at home and seeing the misery in New Orleans, I feel powerless and insignificant. Put my donation with others, it reaches over $ 10,000 . That saying about it takes a village? Always true.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Meanwhile, please enable the sniff control on your monitor panel, setting it to sage, cedar, some mint, with a hint of chiles roasting at the roadside stand . aaah. That's good. We're back to the New Mexico/southern Colorado roadtrip.

In the mountain town of Creede, Colorado ,
creede2 creede1

close encounter of the fiber kind, part 2

In a bend at the foot of a steep mountain face, a small building with handlettering, "Homespun Yarn".

And the smaller sign under it: closed.

I went for an ice cream instead. I am nothing if not resilient. And it was just too beautiful out to fret.

close encounter of the fiber kind, part 3

Sunday in Taos, I declared it a go-your-own-way hour. My way was into a yarn shop. Now I know, know, there are some wild & wonderful yarn purveyors in the Taos area but this wasn't one of them. As I stepped out of the shop, boom, a deluge of rain hit. Pelting, driving, get soaked in a minute rain. I ducked into the next storefront, Common Thread. Finally! Not yarn but piece goods from all over the world, and a wall of buttons in boxes. Buttons that made me want to knit cardigans, or bags that need closures or simple sweaters with decorative buttons sewn on just for the sake of 'em.

Wish I could show the ones I gave away already.

This button is destined to be the single closure on something like the Cutaway.

This one, I can't explain.catbutton Maybe it was the angry cat face against the martian blue background. Maybe we'll use the elevation excuse again? Its smaller than it looks , here's another of the same size, with blueberries for perspective.fridaI believe Frida would have liked the juxtaposition.

That was enough shopping for me, I returned to soaking in the surroundings on backroads. chimayo2

close encounter of the finest kind

Joshua sold us roasted ears of corn with lime & chile powder, in Chimayo. He wants to be a doctor who fixes hearts when he grows up.chimayo
He stole mine.