Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yarn Along: Camp K2tog

My sister and I just spent an amazing week together, which we planned out for months.  We spent most of our evenings working on Maggie Rabbit kits and knitted dresses for said lucky rabbit.  The rest of our time was spent swimming, eating wonderful food, visiting with a dear friend who drove out to see us, and visiting a yarn shop per day, sometimes two.  I'm working on a post all about them, so stay tuned!  
My finished rabbit got left behind in New Jersey, so the dress will just have to be modeled by this fair lass:
She was lying around without a stitch on when I found her.  She looks much more dignified now, if a little smug.

I'm almost done with Knitting Around--a must-read if you want to know more about Elizabeth Zimmermann's life.
One of my earliest memories has always been of a day when I pestered my mother to teach me how to knit.  The female half of my mother's family knit uninteruptably, and they rather scorned the females of my father's family who knitted exclusively mats and potholders.   
"Well," said my mother, "If you're good all day today, I'll teach you tomorrow."   
A woman of her word she was, so I was GOOD... all day.  The next day, Mummy was sitting in the dining room, knitting around.  I can see that sweater (jersey to us, of course) to this day.  It was bright green, in stocking-stitch, on four needles (no circulars in those days), and destined for me myself.  So I perched on her lap and she put her knitting in front of me. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Yarn Along: Travel Knitting

After agonizing over what projects and books to bring with me on vacation, I finally settled on my Penelope cardigan out of handspun, a trusty vanilla sock, and at the last minute, I tossed a languishing work in progress, a cardigan for Lucy, into the mix.  I've been really enjoying reading Knitting Around, one of Elizabeth Zimmermann's books, which my long-suffering mother-in-law gave me for my birthday after I made her watch the TV series with me.
Back to the knitting.  Somehow, I churned through all of the handspun in just a couple of days, so that project is on hold until I can spin up the extra roving I ordered to complete it.  The sock is too mindless to knit on for long without becoming bored, but Lucy's cardigan is really misbehaving.  It has little lace leaves bordering one of the edges.  I had put it in time out when I realized I had made a mistake with the last leaf and didn't have the heart to rip it all out.  So I started there, carefully figured out where I was in the pattern, and knit the leaf again, only to realize upon completing it that it was reversed, with the right side of the leaf on the wrong side of the cardigan.  Infuriating!  It's in time out again, until it learns its lesson.  In the meantime, I think I'll embrace the boring old sock, and reward its obedience.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

5 signs you're addicted to fiber: vacation edition

1.  You bring your spinning wheel on vacation. 
2. You find knitting in the strangest of places. Then photograph it. 
3. When visiting a new city, you look up yarn shops instead of going sightseeing.
4.  Your friends and family instinctively know where to find gifts for you. 
5. You pack multiple projects just in case you magically knit faster than you ever have before. And yet you still worry a little that you'll run out of things to knit...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yarn Along: inspiration

I've finished The Shell Seekers, but only just begun a project inspired by it.  I used to do that all the time--matching up my knitting and reading.  While searching for something to knit with my handspun, which is a bit stiff and bulky, when I came across this free pattern for a simple sweater.

The woman modeling the sweater was just as I had imagined Penelope, and she was glorying in the beach, which became Porthkerris in my mind.  I just have to share these photos with you.  They were taken by Carol Feller, who also designed the pattern.

 My version is coming right along, surprisingly quickly.  My yarn is thicker than what the pattern calls for, so I'm knitting a size smaller than I am, which should give me a perfect fit.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Yarn Along: Anti-Knitting

I'm working away on my red socks whenever I get the chance, but mainly I have been spinning this in the evenings:

I dove head-first into The Shell Seekers, which contains several references to knitting.  I love it when that happens.  The main character, Penelope, is in her 60s, and there are a few mentions of her unfinished knitting, strewn about her cozy, cluttered house.  Her grown son, Noel, is a good-looking, no-good, grasping jerk, who is scheming to sell his grandfather's masterpiece, a painting named The Shell Seekers.  As if that's not enough, he slowly reveals that he is...gasp!...ANTI-KNITTING.

He goes snooping in Penelope's attic, looking for art he can hawk.  In order to get a better look, he goes on and on about how the attic is a fire hazard and ought to be cleared out.  He describes the contents of the attic to his sister as,
"Everything.  Old boxes; chests of clothes and bundles of letters.  Dressmaker's dummies, toy perambulators, footstools, bags of tapestry wool, weighing machines, boxes of wooden blocks, piles of magazines tied together with string, knitting patterns, old picture name it, it's there.  And like I said, it's all a hideous fire risk."
He wants to get rid of it all, which his sister tells him their mother would never agree to.  He replies,
"All right, then sort it out. But half of the junk up there is only fit for a bonfire, like the bundles of magazines and the knitting patterns and tapestry wool..."
Olivia is perhaps beginning to sense his vendetta against knitting.  She questions him.
"Why the tapestry wool?"
"It's alive with moth."
I know--scary stuff!  Sent chills down my spine!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Research: Magical Knitting

I've written before about the splendid knitting in Call the Midwife.  The final episode of Season 2 started out strong.
 The girls are knitting away on squares for a blanket.  If you look closely, you see that some of the squares are crocheted.  Bold choice.  I love the idea of mixing the two together in one blanket.
 Later, when all of their nerves are frayed, and they are trying to distract themselves from their worries about a dear friend, the midwives start assembling the blanket.

  Odd, it looks as though this "knitted" blanket is made entirely of crocheted granny squares!
 No matter, it will still keep the cold out.

And let's hope it can magically cure Chummy as well!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yarn Along: lots of irons in the fire

I've been enjoying all sorts of knitting books lately, but I want to devote a whole post to them soon.  I just started reading The Shell Seekers, which my sister recommended when I lamented that I had nothing to read (in my house full of books...)
 Another vanilla sock.  I bought this yarn at Rhinebeck the first year I went, and it used to look like this:
I overdyed it with Kool Aid, and now I like it more.  I didn't expect it to be such a joy to knit, so sprongy that it simply zips along my needles.  Now I understand why it's so popular.
 I've also been reveling in this TARDIS sock, which proves once and for all that colorwork knitting goes faster than normal knitting.
And now, the slowest of all knitting, lace with beads...I knit 17 stitches at a time, usually.  Still very much on the first row, still fumbling the teensy crochet hook.  It's a shawl named for Emily Dickinson, because it looks like a spiderweb scattered with dew.
The Dews drew quivering and chill -   
 For only Gossamer, my Gown -  
My Tippet - only Tulle -
I must admit to feeling more like Whitman's Noiseless, Patient Spider, though.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013


I finished up the second sock on our drive home from a visit to NJ.  These socks were with me every day during my work at the museums.  And yet they still took me three months...infuriating.