Friday, October 31, 2008

If you read this blog, you've seen the likes of this sweater/jumper before: this is my fifth "Samantha," Kate Gilbert's delicate gift for baby girls. My first, for one and the other of my grand daughters, was in a very large, four-plus, size; then I did three little baby sizes; now this one, about an 18-24-36 months size (it grew a little as I washed and blocked it), in soft salmon (Filatura Di Crosa Zara), machine washable wool.

I'm off to visit my twins for Halloween--one's a turtle, one a fairy/butterfly, both with wings/carapace homemade with gusto and glitter glue--so will pack and mail Samantha when I return. Its recipient is Maggie, the newly adopted daughter from Colombia of a favorite mentor/doctor in Boston, of my daughter (quite evidently I haven't yet met Maggie--or her parents; but hope to, at least at my daughter's graduation next May from medical school).

I liked knitting for this little person, the idea of her.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Last weekend my sister asked me to knit her an interesting vest. And so I did.

As we cruised through a LYS in Connecticut where we were sharing a family reunion, she drew close to various turquoises, some Noros with variegated blues: "those would all be fun, turquoise, or something else bold and primary, perhaps variegated."

I had my assignment, as well as some freedom of choice, in patterns and in yarns: dandy.

But some things went awry in the course of that straight-forward project.

Back home at Knitting Etc., I drew close to Schaefer's turquoise "Susan," knitted up in a beaded scarf as well as in a sample vest. I liked this Schaefer glistening cotton, even if I wasn't going to go with the pullover vest pattern. I liked the turquoise base of this variegated Schaefer yarn.

On the internet I found a Classic Elite cardigan vest pattern with enough interest to keep me knitting--lots of right twists for faux cables, eyelets composed out of k2togs, slip stitches, yarn overs, and so forth: see above, Wicked Eyelet Rib Vest.

Okay, I've got my pattern, free on ravelry. It calls for or recommends a lot of cashmere: $$$$.

I'll get my yarn in Schaefer mercerized pima cotton, Susan: $$.

Ooops, the shop's out of the turquoise-based colorway. I'll substitute "Althea Gibson," in violets and beiges, not so bold and not so primary, but that's okay. . . . .

Off I went for four hours with right twists to create my faux cable ribs, having a good enough time with this fairly springy cotton. But even after changing from Addi metal needles to bamboo needles, I was unagile with the slipperiness of the cotton, which made me brace it against thigh or chest or grasp backloads of it in my left hand. But that's okay. . . .

The slipperiness, the not turquoise, the not cashmere, the not inexpensive cotton alternative to the expensive cashmere. (But my sister's pretty rough and tumble, go as you go, with her clothing, so I was thinking a machine-washable alternative was going to have a safer future in Wisconsin than something from a special goat.)

Wrestling with this world of ambivalence, after four hours I stretched back and stared at about six inches of the faux cable, watching it flop about.

And then admitted to Suze that I didn't like it. She and I let forth with its old-lady qualities, its tame colors, its overstretchiness: it doesn't shape, it sags; it doesn't drape gracefully, it hangs like donkey ears.

What to do?

Of course, and two hours later:

"The Wicked Eyelet Mesh Bag."

(With thanks to Ashlee's grocery bag pattern for the top, and to untold caps for the circular-with-decreases bottom.)

Or perhaps it's a legless bathing suit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Finished; now what?

I like this even more than its imperfections warrant. Guess I became good pals with the sweater through all the seed stitch, oh lah, so much seed stitch. Off you go, Aran Cables with Heart.

out with the old, what's the new?

Today I think I can and will finish the Aran sweater that 's been hanging about since August. I've finished one saddle shoulder insert, need to do the other quickly, attach arms to body, work the collar, sew on heart buttons, block, and Ta-dah. I've so enjoyed working with this superwash Dreams in Color yarn, even if the cables are less pronounced than they'd be if the yarn were not variegated. The yarn has a spring, that's pleased me through a harrowing amount of seed stitch.

Tomorrow I leave for a long weekend, with friends and relations in Connecticut, so will want to find a new project for the road--not actually for the road, since I'm my own driver, but for quiet times while away. I have nothing pending but this pink Aran sweater, a rare moment of clean transition, a chance to plan.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Big Nameless Baby in Chicago

To be fair, Ted and Mirja have probably named him by today (when Social Security wants it in writing), but their little boy, born on the Thursday evening of October 2, arrived a week late and a name short and a pound heavier than he might have had he been born on my birthday in September. I lept to my needles, and kept myself off the street over the weekend by inserting snowmen and snowflakes on this superwashable one (was actually on the street Sunday morning for our neighborhood Block Party, so am speaking metaphorically).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

POROM times two

Here are two "Porom" hats, designed by Jared Flood (at brooklyntweed), knitted from my stash in Blue Sky Alpaca. Blocking them on balloons works nicely. The first, on the right over a purple balloon, had a few mistakes, but was also larger than it should have been, larger not in the amount of slouch, which will be fine, but in the ribbing brim. I'd gotten gauge with needles one size smaller than the pattern had suggested, yet still, the softness of the yarn, I think, the give, made it harder to get tight enough stitches.

So, Porom over the pink balloon is knit on yet smaller needles--4 and 6, rather than the pattern's 6 and 8-- and I think it will be a good fit. And it has no mistakes, which is desirable when its recipient is Hickory, the owner of our yarn shop. Heh. She won a lottery/raffle we had at one of her baby showers, where everyone predicted the date-0f-birth of the Steven and Hickory's baby. The prize for the winner is anything she'd like knit from my stash.

Hope it suits her.

Baby Maren

Now this is a treat, to see one's little "Samantha" top go far away and come back, photographically. I don't know the woman, but suppose it's baby Maren's grandmother, in Connecticut, where baby Maren, who lives in Florida and whom I also do not know, was recently visiting.