Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Jersey knitting idyll

We've spent the past several days far away from the the grim realities of Nascar, PA. at my in laws in Bergen County, NJ.

Things I love about this:

-going into the city on Christmas Eve, unfettered by the normal congestion, getting a parking space and visiting with family in the most possibly relaxed way

-having coffee and klatsching (her expression) with my MIL

-being in a close proximity to a Whole Foods Market where I can get my favorite hippy yogurt

-having guilt-free hours and hours to knit to my heart's content

-visiting a new yarn shop!

To wit: Yesterday I went to Teaneck and checked out a fantastic yarn store, The Skein Attraction. The shop is right downtown, is very accessible and owned by Julie Friedman and her two lovely, helpful daughters, Shaina and Adina (see pic below). They have an excellent selection of yarn, patterns and needles.

The thing that most impressed me was the kind, careful help that Shaina and Adina gave their customers. There must have been at least 10 knitters all clamoring for help on a variety of projects, and they were incredibly patient with everyone. I bought a yarn I'd been dying to try--Filatura di Crosa Zara--and made another Center Square Hat. Yes, I am a creature of habit. When I find something I like, I stick with it, as evidenced by my strong attachment to this pattern, Summer Knitty's Fetching, and Triscuits. I am happy with how this yarn worked with the pattern and am not ruling out doing several more. LOVE this store, if you're in the area, check it out...

Things I didn't love:

Inexplicably, my customary yarn stop, Majestic Yarns, in Ridgewood, had the following highly distressing sign posted on their door:
Now, I realize that occasionally things happen...but come on people! I braved major traffic and aggressive drivers to make my way over there. Closing early? WTF?!! Sorry, I don't care if you are a major Karabella crack den, I'll be spending my ca$h at other yarn joints from now on!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Making Christmas knitting my b*tch!

Yes, a vulgar title for this post, but I feel like a dominatrix (or shall I say domiknitrix?) today as I have officially vanquished all those Christmas w.i.p.s, whipped them into shape and knitted them into submission. They are all done. So it's back to my regularly scheduled self-indulgent stitching, people!

Above you see the Darling Resident Marxist Curmudgeon's Koigu socks. I hope he enjoys them. Christmas and the requisite profligate spending and general gift mania tend to engender a lot of analysis and hang wringing on his part and generally take him to the dark place. Hopefully these will coax him off the ledge... They were done on the recommended 3 dpns, but turned out slightly too slouchy. Next time--and there will be a next time as I have a lot of Koigu in my stash--I'll do some ribbing and try them out on 2s. As I've been trying to get away with doing socks out of non-sock yarn on big needles, this will be a rude awakening, no doubt.

I made what I hope will be my last pair of Fetching for awhile. I am just tired of this pattern (5 pairs in 2 months, yeah, it's getting old), but pleased nonetheless with this particular pair. They are for the above mentioned grouch's mom--I love her to death--and I know she'll get a lot of wear out of them. I cast them on yesterday morning and finished them today before lunch time. I made them out of a yarn I'd never tried before: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Cashmere in the color 'petrol'. It is luxurious but costs a pretty penny, so I doubt that I'll ever use it again for anything larger than a hat, but it was a treat to work with.

I hope you all out there are set to enjoy the holidays in whatever way you see fit. Our gang is going to NJ/NYC tomorrow, just in time for Christmas traffic jams in the Lincoln tunnel and last minute hemmoraging of ca$h in Manhattan...peace to all!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Now that's more like it!

I am exceedingly happy with my second attempt at the Center Square Hat as the soon-to-be discontinued Maratona (sob,sob) shows off the pattern much better than that stodgy ol' tweedy Rowan. What was I thinking? Please. People, this is a seriously fast knit. If any of you are flipping your Holiday knitting wig right now I highly recommend this pattern. Use any dk or worsted and hold two stands together using an 11 and you'll be done, as they say in Georgia, in a New York minute. This particular model is going to my best friend from high school who is always thoughtfully sending me and the tiddly winks presents that arrive in time and demonstrate a lot of thought on her part. So I'm hoping that the "joy of a hand knit gift" (yes, it's a treacly sentiment) will be all hers when she opens the box.

Yesterday our church knitting group met again and worked on the Caps for the Capital project. So far we've done about 25 hats. It's been a lot of fun seeing the different hats that people are coming up with, from complicated fair isle numbers to very basic garter stitch affairs. One pleasing aspect to the project has been that knitters of any ability and level can participate. We'll send them out next week and hope to boost the total number of hats from Pennsylvania on the Save the Children interactive map.

Since I am on a bit of a roll with the whole Maratona hat thing, I decided to quickly knit up a hat for my father in law. I cast it on last night and finished it today while my class was taking their final exam. It occurred to my how unfair it was that while they were racking their brains trying to write cogent essays about the French New Wave, I was blithely stitching away on knitting autopilot. Then I remembered that I would be the one reading those essays later that day...and night...and the following day and night...and suddenly I didn't feel quite so bad!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fair Isle mania...

Indeed everywhere you turn these days, there seems to be a huge buzz about Fair Isle Knitting. The most recent Vogue Stitchionary is all about knitting with color, Interweave Knits has been featuring many intriguing Fair Isle patterns in every recent issue to date, and the newest issue of Knitty is laden with color patterns a-plenty. Never one to shy away from a trend (yes, I was rocking stirrup pants and asymmetrical hairdos with the best of them in the late 80s), I am fully absorbed in the mania. Just call me the perfect lemming/target consumer! Sadly Fair Isle can't be churned out at the rapid rate that other objects can as they do require attention, counting and a general level of concentration that say, socks on size 5 dns do not. However, I am enjoying myself immensely...the biggest challenge so far has been keeping the tension even so as to avoid the puckered look. The recent issue of Knitty has a good little article about that that I found to be helpful.

For those of you looking for a quick Fair Isle knit and a killer stashbuster project, might I suggest the Center Square hat featured on the splash page of said knitting publication? I cast it on last night at 9 and finished it several moments ago. I am not entirely convinced that I love the decreases at the top, but the pattern is very easy and seems uniquely modern. Unfortunately the Rowan Harris DK that I used from my stash doesn't show the contrast as well as I would have liked, but I'm hoping my next one will show the pattern off more. Yes, I have found my perfect Christmas gift--move over, Fetching, there's a new quick knit gift in town!

The Children's neck down pullover from Knitting Pure and Simple is almost done. All that remains are the sleeves. I am realizing that sleeves are the second sock of the sweater world--so very tedious.But I am trying my best to get them done asap because Mademoiselle has spoken loud and clear: she wants that sweater immediately!

I have also been working on two other projects. One is a random free-form hat that ie allowing me to use a bunch of Dale of Norway Neon Falk from my stash. As you can see, that is one loud yarn, but I love it as I still worship at the altar of all things Scandinavian. In the same vein, I am also slowly working on a pair of Gotland Island mittens from the Folk Mittens book. This is definitely not knitting to be undertaken while trying to do anything else, this is sitting at your kitchen table with the chart knitting. But I am enjoying it as it's allowing me to channel my innner Swede!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bipolar Knitting Frenzy and a weekend of firsts...

Gee, with this type of rapid production of finished objects, you'd think that I have no life and that I spend all my precious free time whiling away the hours in front of the fire, knitting away. Errr...umm--euh, right! Moving on...

The scarf you see the Darling Resident Marxist Curmudgeon sporting here represents a series of firsts. It's the first time I have put fringe on anything--I'm not normally a fringe type of person (if that type of person does indeed exist), but this yarn is so odd, somehow it seemed appropriate. It's also the first time I have ever done anything is garter stitch only. Strange but true! I am an avowed stockinette hag, and don't normally like the garter stitch look, but again, there it seems fitting. This scarf is also the first time I have made a scarf for the above-mentioned individual. "Oh wow, I love it. Is it for me? Thanks I'll wear it all the time, I really like it so much. Thanks Bunny!" (Yes, we have cutie pie nicknames, don't people like us make you ill?). After the outpouring of heartfelt gratitude, I didn't have it in me to disabuse him of the notion that I had actually made it for someone else, so it'll have to be another pair of Fetchings for the originally intended recipient! The scarf was made out of Zitron Turmalin that I picked up here. I knocked it off in a few hours and am pleased with how it turned out.

This weekend I was also able to complete the Lite-Lopi scarf from Weekend Knitting. I started it back in March and then, as per the dictates and demands of my usual attention span that is similar to that of a gnat, I put it down sometime later that month. I love this pattern so much, as you can easily memorize the pattern and be off and running. I thought it would be a good idea to make a matching hat, which is also pictured here. I was told by someone to cast on 90 sts for the hat. Which I stupidly did. I worked all Friday evening on it, and guess what? It came out frightfully too big. Now, along with Conan O'Brien, I myself am sporting a gigantic Irish head, but this hat was way, way beyond any head size I've ever seen. I was annoyed, but take the blame. So I decided to felt it, another first for me. I just threw it into the washing machine and let 'er rip. What you see pictured below is the result. I am thinking of making a series of them and calling them 'placemats' and giving them to someone for Christmas. I know, a shitty gift, but I'm desperate over here!!

At the yarn store on Sat., the tiniest kiddie winkie asked me if I'd make her a blue sweater with white snowflakes. Given that I am a terribly selfish knitter who has basically only ever made socks and mittens for her family, I felt that it was time to shed my self-oriented knitting ways and 'give over' as my Lancashire relatives would say. So I bought some Kraemer Summit Hill (love this stuff btw) and rocked hard on it all day yesterday. As you can see, I am far enough along to have finished one set of the fair isle snowflakes, which is exciting.

I'm going to enjoy this spurt of bipolar knitting production while it lasts, because let's face it, I can't keep this up forever. My house is filthy, the laundry is piling up, my cooking has taken a turn for the worse, and the student term papers are staring to trickle in...but for the time being, I am a maniacal knitting fiend.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Post-Thanksgiving this'n that...

Thanksgiving afforded much time for lollygagging around and klatsching (as my much adored MIL loves to say, she's from Joisey, after all). The highlight was seeing family from far away and of course, having lots o' knitting time. I finished my Big Print socks, and due to my father's freakishly thin ankles, I ended up giving them to my FIL, who was, "touched beyond words. Speachless." It's certainly nice to give a FO to someone who lavishes you with praise, that's for sure. Luckily I have a lot of Big Print, so yesterday I casted on another pair for my dad. Only 40 stitches! My parents brought with them another FO of sorts for me to feature on my blog.
Last Christmas I made my dad a Rowan vest that was, many might recall, Fred Flintstonesque in its' shaping. I include a before and after picture, just for laughs. Luckily in Minnesota there's an expert knitter around every corner, so my mom had her Scandihoovian friend Jean from The Yarnery in Saint Paul work her magic on it, and voilà, suddenly I appear competent and crafty! Speaking of crafty, have you seen the new magazine Craft, yet? It's put out by the same people who do Make, which is also a alt-DIY publication . I subscribed as I am a major lemming, and the first issue arrived, replete with projects like knitted robots and LED powered garments. I tried to explain to my très L.A. brother Bruce and his living doll boyfriend Jon that it's part of the whole indie crafster scene, but they were laughing too hard at my description of what it means to be a riot grrl knitter to really get it. In any case, check it out because it's super cool!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Land Speed Record!

Everywhere I go in the land of Knitting blogs that I peep in on, knitters are all hepped up about holiday knitting. This knitter is no different. The full-on family onslaught of both sides of the family begins tomorrow, and I hope to have the other sock in this pair for my dear old Dad finished shortly thereafter. I have completed a land speed record, as I cast that sucka on at 7 p.m. Saturday, and after a leisurely day of Sunday knitting, which included a three hour period of church knitting when I was working on the baby caps and helping others (it was a lot of fun but semi-exhausting), and minimal knitting this evening, it's finished. I used the same ol' sock pattern I always use (at this point, why even buy any more sock related books? I always seem to default to the tried-and-true memorized pattern anyway), but this time with a twist. I've discovered the key to speedy sock completion is to not use sock yarn! This was done out of Big Print on--get ready--size 5s! Socks on biggish needles, a minor revelation. Now don't get me wrong, I am still a major floozy for your Opals, your Koigus and your Trekkings, but it's just a nice feeling to finish a sock in a 36 hour period once in a while...speaking of Trekking, our little pal the Lone Knitter has a fabulous tale of lust to tell on her blog regarding #126 and the inexorable attraction normally sane knitters feel for it. I can relate to her mania, as I am frequently in the grips of a similar obsession. I satisfied my own little Trekking fancy by picking up this skein earlier today at my LYS. It's #181, a color that just popped and begged to be taken home. It was still in the UPS box when the owner showed it to me, I felt like those kids in Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang when the childcatcher is luring them out of their hiding place with the lolly pops and sweets. I don't mean to suggest that my LYS owner is as dastardly as that nasty fellow, she's more of a playground pusher type. Ha!

In any case, I hope to be done with sock numéro deux sometime Weds. afternoon, just in time to start panicking about cooking the T-giving meal, and then shortly thereafter, beginning drinking...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Caps to the Capital

We are starting a knitting group at our church, and like any good knitting group, we needed a service project. So, after trolling around the web (my speciality), I suggested the Caps to the Capital project. And since I'm the person organizing the group, hey, it's my decision! You see it modelled here on my daughter's newly rediscovered American Girl Baby (she's been playing with it recently in an attempt to prove that she's still interested, so will I please-buy-her-another-one-for-Christmas?). The Darling Resident Marxist Curmudgeon would insert a commentary here about how it is indeed this type of excess that has utterly contributed to the misery of many in the developing world, but we'll leave that to your imagination.

Next Sunday afternoon we'll have our first meeting and hopefully teach some newbies to knit and make some caps. Today during the announcements our priest turned to me and asked me to say a few words about " new knitting ministry". I almost died (laughing? of shock? embarrassment?) at these words, but I did my best to hold it together and not totally humiliate myself as I tried to sound coherent and not like a weird person that you wouldn't want to spend time learning to knit from.

If you're not familiar with the initiative, the charity is organized by Save the Children and is an attempt to collect as many knitted and crocheted caps by January 2nd as possible. These will be distributed to newborns in underdeveloped nations where sometimes just the warmth of a hat will make a big difference. Click here to download the info kit.

I made my hat out of Ornaghi Filati Biberon on size 6 dpns, it took about 2 hours from start to finish. This wool is a merino, not unlike Polo, but without the microfiber. It's Italian (with a cute WWF pandaesque logo), I'd never seen it before, and got it at my LYS-home away from home, Stitch your Art Out, near State College, conveniently located on my commute. This hat will be a prototype to bring to the group, hopefully they'll be inspired to make a few as well. This project has the potential to be a major stash buster, so I'm looking forward to making as many as possible when I'm in between projects.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Sometimes I just love my little knitblogging pals.Marnie from Gingersnaps and I are constantly on the same wavelength regarding projects we're jonesing to begin...The Lone Knitter posted a pic of her finished Silk Garden Beanie and suggested it as a way of using an extra skein of Silk Garden. Well of course I am a copy cat extraordinaire and had to give it a whirl. I love this little beanie and sported it with pride to work today. Of course I made sure not to wear the Klaralund at the same time, because matching is, well, totally dorky. I have my tough chick reputation to uphold... The above pic is the beanie on top of our last pumpkin that isn't a festering mess, because that would be, well, totally gross. Below you see it pictured from above.

I also found out last week that I won a drawing over at Karen's Musings blog, so anyday now I will be receiving two handspun skeins in the mail. I LOVE getting parcels in the mail, just love it. And not because I have some pathetic thing for the UPS/Fedex/Letter Carrier. I just love the thrill of getting something in the mail that isn't a bill or a scary letter from the borough telling you that you are behind on your taxes (it's a Pennsylvania thing--the tyranny of the borough).

Here you see my most recent package. I ordered this on Friday and it came today, how's that for speed? I saw this yarn over on Samantha's Aquaknits blog and had to obtain asap...her brand is sKNITches and I love, love, LOVE it. One skein is a walloping 440 yards, that's a lot o' stichin' that's going to be going on. The colourway on the left is 'carousel' and it's a self-striping affair, whereas the variegated on the right has the enticing name of 'brown sugar'. I'm frantically trying to finish a Koigu sock from August so I can get this yarn on the needles.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Yarn Karma

No sooner had I written the phrase complaining about "patterns and the extra yarn left over" than I hit a road block with my most recent pair of Fetching(s). The pattern calls for one ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, and comes with the caveat that you will use the entire ball and have only a yard or two of the yarn left over, so you better unroll your gauge swatch (not a problem, didn't do one!;) in order to make it. Now, I like to live dangerously. I'm living a charmed life in many regards, but apparently my yarn karma is not so hot, because somewhere during the picot bind-off, I ran aground and had no yarn left with which to complete said bind-off. So, why don't you just go buy another ball? Umm, yeah, because I got the yarn in Pittsburgh and it was in the 35% off bin because there was only one ball left in the entire store. And when I bought I thought I was so lucky and vaguely had the feeling of getting away with something. Ha! The joke's on me! Well, luckily my stash contains a horn of plenty where yarn is concerned, so finding another worsted in a squint-and-the-color-looks-the-same kind of way wasn't a problem, thereby counteracting the bad yarn karma. Which means that maybe my yarn karma isn't that bad after all. So tell me, this incident has me wondering: what is your yarn karma like?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Best F.O. EVER!!

This here is without a doubt my best knitted garment (that is not a sock or wrist warmer, which is incidentally a bizarre item indeed, and caused the DRMC to say that I looked liked 'the Artful Dodger', but let's move on) ever. The Klaralund is a perfect example of a project that you grow so sick of, you put it away far out of sight, even though you only have--get this--5 inches of one sleeve to finish. Yes, this was my Knitting Olympics project, and you'll notice that I proudly display the Gold medal nowhere on my blog!! In any case, a few weeks ago I decided to pick this baby back up and knock it out.

Now, I cannot take all the credit, as my best pal Babs' mom, Big Babs, did the finishing on it....yes, you knew there had to be a catch somewhere, right? She did a phenomenal job. I went over to knit with the two Babses, who are the most fun knitters anywhere to hang out with--you enjoy their conversation so much that you forget you have a family and stay for hours and hours, and also to have her show me proper finishing techniques. Now, most people who know me will say 'Oh, right, once again trying to manipulate others with abusive emotional passive/agressive techniques into doing things for her', but I SWEAR that my primary aim was for her to show me, which she did...and then she offered to do it for me....and I am very, very happy with the end result and thank her again for her lovely work that is allowing me to sport my Klaralund with pride. Thanks Bib Babs ! And thanks Little Babs for lending her to me!;)
I did it out of Noro Silk Garden #84, which is a beautiful yarn. My only complaint about this pattern is that the errata sheet contains some pretty serious modifications, like, you need about 4 more balls of yarn than the pattern calls for. After I busted a** trying to obtain the same colorway, dye lot, etc., I finished the sweater only to discover that I had 5 balls of yarn left over. I have found that patterns tend to overstate the amount of yarn needed, or maybe I am a tight knitter. In any case I am very happy with my Klaralund as it is the perfect combination of japanese-swedish ingenuity!
This 9 month delaying technique was sort of perfect in that it allowed me to experience the thrill of finishing something with only a 1/2 day's worth of toil. Picking it up again makes me wonder what my problem was in the first place. I have a lot of projects in the delayed finishing queue, waiting to experience the last several hours of work that will transform them...Green Gable, there's hope for you yet!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fetching cont'd

This pair of Fetching is brought to you courtesy of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, a luxurious blend of wool, cashmere and silk. Luckily I happen to have a ton of this stuff in my stash, and I can eek a pair out of just one ball. I am loving this pattern and am planning on making this my default Christmas gift for one and all. This weekend my peeps and I went to Pittsburgh and I finally got my grubby little hands on the yarn that this phat (sorry, my kids were watching Yo Mama! on MTV) pattern was intended for, some killer Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and it was 35% off to boot!
When I was there I also picked up my newest fetish object--Blue Sky Alpacs 5" DPNS! From the moment I laid eyes on them I knew that they would be mine all mine (insert Lon Chaney Halloween laughter here). What was it about them you ask? Was it the special handy decorative tin with alpaca motifs and Taj Mahal designs on it? Was it the fact that they've been featured in every even slightly hip knitting mag this season? Was it the soft, sleek wood? Their diminutive stature? Was it their shocking price? (I won't reveal the actual number as the DRMC does read this blog from time to time and while he would be all in favor of the free trade practices of the company--these needles are "made in India by people who are treated well and fairly", he would faint at the price, let's just say they're the Colinette of the knitting needle world --wink wink!) Yes, it's all of those things. And they are the best dpns I've ever had the pleasure of using and now I want them in every size. Yes I always was a bit of a Veruca Salt type. Anyway, I am working on my third pair of Fetching in the DB Cashmerino on them and it is by far the most enjoyable pair so far. The gauge is smaller and the stitches have great definition. If you are experiencing a lull between projects I am strongly recommending this one, it's so fast and the payout is satisfying. I will be moving on to bigger things soon, like finishing the Top Down Cardi for the above-mentioned Marxist, but for the time being I am really enjoy these as they're making me feel like the kind of knitter that often finishes things...

Sunday, October 15, 2006


When this pattern came out in the summer Knitty I couldn't have been less interested. However a combination of the chill in the October air and reading other people's blogs has given me a serious attack of the lemmings and so I just had to try Fetching. The directions state that you can get the yarn after work on Friday and by Monday morning have a nifty pair of hand warmers for your Monday commute. I did indeed get the yarn after work on Friday (ok, out of my stash, but still!) and these little beauties are ready to go for tomorrow's commute! I used some Classic Elite Lush #4415 that I got on remainder last spring at Purl and that I'd completely forgotten about. I really enjoyed this pattern a lot, although the thumb was slightly tricky. I somehow need to figure out how to do this better on the next pair. On the left hand I stupidly did a knit cast on: You'll notice that it's curling at the bottom, hopefully blocking will take care of that. I did the recommended cable cast on (which happens to be my favorite cast on anyway) on the right hand and you can see what a nice edge it gives. Live and learn to read the directions more closely is the take home message... I love this pattern and can't wait to try it in the recommended Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blue Ribbon, yee-haw!!

Let me just say right up front that I positively live for any type of competition. If the opportunity exists to beat someone else out, rip their heart out of the their tiny chest and stomp on it, well, I am so there. Much of this intense desire to win comes from several foundational moments in my childhood and adolescence.
1. Coming in dead-last in every event at Field Day in elementary school, and feeling so ashamed about it that I brought home the 'participant' ribbon and telling my parents that "I won". Yes, how sad.
2. Never being the top seller of anything, EVER. Mainly because I hate selling things. But still.
3. Making it all the way to the finals of the Minnesota State High School French contest. Grand Prize: trip to France! Blanking out on stage in front of at least 500 people, forgetting lines of Jacques Prévert poem and suffering utter and complete humiliation. Added bonus: getting beat out by the &*!$*&^* drama people, you know, those over-achieving over-actors that feel they must participate in any possible performance, even if they don't even particularly LIKE French in order to showcase their thespian ways...bitter much?
4. My family inexplicably winning a year's worth of Clark Candy bars when I was about 11. This meant that for one year every day after school, my brother and I ate about 7 each of these things. I know this seems like winning, but trust me, this had negative outcomes on the waistline and kept me in husky jeans throughout junior high.

Yes, these events have turned me into one twisted sister. But all I can say is this: Today the losing stops, because I am a blue ribbon winner. My hat won first place at our local community farm show! Yes, I beat out crocheted toilet roll dolls and kleenex box covers and brought home the bacon. So exciting. My prizewinnings top an impressive $4.

This was my first forray into the world of the community farm show, and let me tell you, it's serious business. People get VERY wrapped up in it. There are people there that you didn't even know existed in your town until seeing them set up their displays of giant gourds and preserved beets. I am not making fun of this event, but it was not at all anything I have ever experienced. I happen to know of two personal relationships that have disintegrated as a result of unhappy outcomes in the judging. These people are not fooling around, and even though my category was nowhere near as competitive as the Angel Food contest, I am still holding on to that ribbon for a long time!

Monday, October 02, 2006

A new fall romance

I have always loved the change of seasons, and perhaps no season augers better for knitters than fall. I am loving the new projects I've been working on and am so relieved to put some of those dastardly summer projects away. Green Gable, you were a gas for about 3 weeks in July, but frankly the romance is over and we'll have to pick up where we left off next spring--seeya! Ditto for you Lisa Knits Ribbed Shell. You're offically on ice and out of the rotation. Casting aside these erstwhile projects has given me time to devote to more long standing relationships. During the past several weeks I've rekindled my affair with Klaralund (where there's only remaining about 5 inches on one sleeve) and last year's Christmas sleeve is now a full-grown sweater, just delivered today to the finisher. Yes, I am an aristocrat... No seaming for me! I am really excited about my newest technique--Fair Isle knitting. I took a class at my LYS on Friday and made both hats over the weekend--yes, I said both hats. Both are in Peer Gynt, that retro Scandihoovian classic yarn that has not changed its label in about 50 years. Need less to say I am gaga over Fair Isle. I know that part of my interest stems from the fact that my great aunt owned a yarn shop in Manchester, England and was supposedly a master Fair Isle knitter. My mom says that as a child she remembers sitting at her feet watching her work all of those different strands without looking at her hands. In any case, I feel like suddenly my brain has opened up and knitting is brand new again. We learned the Philosopher's Wool yarn technique, which requires your left hand to knit Continental and your right hand to knit English. Sounds kooky, huh? At first knitting continental felt like driving on the wrong side of the road, but now I am in love with it. Out teacher was so patient and her kindness reminds me of one of the things I like best about knitting--the transmission of knowledge that happens between knitters. I enjoy being part of that. As you can see, I'm super excited about this new development and I'm sure it's only a matter of time until I become a major Kaffe Fassett hag.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Top down madness

It used to be that lit. crit. academic types like myself used to hear a term like 'top down' and immmediately think of some sort of materialist critique of political economic systems. Now as a knitter I hear the term and have a little frisson that has nothing to do with Marxism. I now know the real thrill of top down, it's not just for economists anymore! I am working on the Knitting Pure and Simple's Men's Top Down Cardigan and I am loving it. It's a similar vibe as that of the Green Gable, except since it's a cardigan, it's not knit in the round. It has the easy sleeve shaping and progresses very quickly. I'm doing it in Kraemer Yarns Summit Hill, which is a nice, springy machine washable worsted yarn from Bethlehem, PA. So far I am really liking this yarn, it had a beautiful hand and is looking like it's going to be a winner. I am also reveling in the lack of seaming involved with this sweater. I have sworn off seaming, for good. Luckily I ran into a woman who lives a block from me that does finishing on the side and charges about $25/sweater. I do have several WIPs that will need it, and I will not hesitate to darken her door. In any case, here's to hoping that the A.D.D. stays at bay long enough to make some headway on this project and that I don't loose steam. Pictured below are the baby socks that I finished about 15 minutes before I had to leave for the party where I was to see the nice girl from Iowa, who graciously thanked me for them and seemed to enjoy them. Knitting for appreciative Midwesterners is a true delight!