Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's snowing hard

Can't go to the library, the snow's too dense to drive, and too wet to walk in. Excuse number one on this "definite snow day." So, I took lousy pictures of my w-i-p: top picture looks like I've got excessively shiny clean teeth and am sending tons of glowing love outwards.

Went, as is now my wont, to Tuesday's knit-along at WEBS, where the prospect of no leaving home today brought out twenty-five women to knit ensemble for three hours. I do this also on Thursday mornings, and knit my twelve-row repeat as assiduously as I can, having now crept a third the way up the second sleeve. My aim is to finish this sweater before February 1, or on February 1, when WEBS is having a special pre-Super Bowl knit-along, from 1-4. My goal: to have finished the sweater by then, so I can steam-block it with their blocking board and fine steamer. (If I were, instead, to wash and block this monster at home, it might take a week to dry.)

I talked my way into admittance to a special knitting class, starting in late winter: Advanced Fearless Finishing, led by WEBS' knitting guru, the go-to teacher for design and serendipity: Dori Betjemann: here's the course description:

Advanced Fearless Finishing

The Fearless forge on... to pockets, pocket linings, zippers, hems, facings, and other edging options! Certain cast-on and bind-off methods beyond the basic ones will be studied, and students will learn when to select (or substitute) them to enhance a garment structurally (not decoratively - that’s another class!). A toddler-sized sweater, hat and swatches are the projects, and homework is necessary. Your hard work will be rewarded when you apply these techniques to your knitted garments!

I'm skipping the two prereqs, even though Pixie, the head of WEBS education and a fine fellow, said my "sixty sweaters mean nothing," --OUCH--in terms of the graded sequence of skills taught in the two earlier classes. But I think the only thing I don't know, that's taught in the second class, "Fearless Finishing," is how to alter stair-stepped shoulder directions to short rows using the 3-needle bind-off. I can figure that one out, right?

Anyhow, I might find a second class to take as well, so I can bring new expertise back to Knitting Etc., yay.

Okay, enough snowy-day blogging. I'm going to do some school work!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Decorative Welts

I'll post better pictures, when I finish--I still have an arm and some front bands for the left side to knit--but wanted to show, among other contrasts, the "decorative welt," connecting cabled front band to front body, and arm to body. Among the things these pictures don't show: the attached i-cord, on the other side, the edge side, of the cable band.

not spending money

I've been living in Northampton, a sprint, a dash, from WEBS, for three weeks now, and am so proud that I've bought only a single set of Lantern Moon circular needles (and those with a Christmas gift certificate), to enhance the now endless experience of knitting "Puzzle Me This": even on size 8 needles, this jacket is going into its third week. I've made a vague phrased resolution to spend almost nothing, which will make the meaning of "nothing" and "almost" interesting to parse as the weeks go by. I'm loyal to the core to Knitting Etc; I've brought a generous but not overwhelming stash with me, and want the challenge of devising projects in relation to that stash; and I'm on a budget, as doubtless we all are more conscious of being on these last many months.

Since I can't make a dash for "Puzzle's" finish line, since it's a steady and lengthy haul, I took a break last night and started a lovely and popular-on-ravelry beret/toque/tam: "Selbu Modern."
The pattern's picture is above, not my hat's pic, which will follow. I'm using about five colors of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, which I brought along with me in my sabbatic stash. And enjoy being on size 2's after all the almost-aerobic workout of knitting the Noro Kochoran, a thick yarn on an only mid-sized needle. And oh, that sweater/jacket is dense.

My favorite discovery working with this "puzzle" pattern: when you do a three-needle bindoff in reverse, the "wrong" way, it's called a "decorative welt." Much of my joy in knitting is in the language, and this phrase lifts my spirits, connecting with make-up artistry and costume parties: "No problem, don't worry, it's okay, it's just a decorative welt."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

while I'm knitting that Puzzle...

I'm plugging away at "the Puzzle" sweater, will finish today the body, and get to add some cables as I start the arms--hoorah for difference. Meanwhile, I wanted to share some elephants and other past sweaters, adorning Baby Ryland (who's about to pop out of his elephants) and Ainsley and Eliza, around Christmas time. Sweaters and Sweeties: what's a nicer combination?!

Monday, January 12, 2009


In the frozen tundra of winter, a reasonable person ought never complain about bright sunlight. But I've found a minor gripe ( and can always gripe, when push comes to shove): In the sunlit air above my lap, as I knit this morning, the short angora bits on my Kochoran sweater-in-progress swirl like sperm without direction, lifted, lilting, looking to make a nose sneeze, landing gently on my dark green fleece vest. Yogi, above, has no sperm, so he unwittingly chooses to sleep next to the angora bits: "It's a lovely day to lie near this sweater." Pheromones at work.

If the angora rabbit's hair is so long, where are these spermy bits coming from? And how does she keep her hair on?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Committed now to "The Puzzle"

I paddled by all the sweater patterns I was contemplating on my last blog entry, and will sink or swim, instead with "Puzzle Me This," from Cheryl Oberle's new book, Knitted Jackets. My "Puzzle" will only somewhat resemble this photo, given the Noro yarn I'll be using, and given that I'll make it about four inches longer (and given that I don't have long blond hair or earrings). I sacrificed a pattern with vertical-running lines, which would be more "flattering," but am otherwise happy with the prospect of this project. Elongated (vertical) slip stitches will break up the body's garter stitch, while the texture of the cables, on the front borders and the sleeves, and the saddle shoulders will create narly texture (I did a "Gretel" slouch beret with cables in this yarn last winter, and, though you hardly see their definition, the cables make the beret rock, to my mind--and these cables will be a prize to knit after a long body experience with garter and slip stitch. So, stay tuned.

I will get going on this during evenings this weekend, since I'm not going to Boston this week (but next, when I have evidence of all the shots my dogs require to enter a new "boarding experience": I have to ask my Ithaca vet to fax the shot records to me somewhere up here).

I had dinner at my son, d-i-l, and Ainsley and Eliza's home last night, testing the "Tibetan" in Tibetan Terriers, by leaving the dogs out in a snowstorm, as the temperature sank to 23. We offered them shelter in the garage, somewhat warmer, but they , instead, romped for three hours in the fields, or sat facing into the blowing snow, stoic, majestic, patient (and, yet, eager to go home when I finally emerged). How I love being "neighbors" with my kids! Ainsley was proud to bestow on me her Christmas gift, candles she'd dipped at Yankee Candle, and wrapped in hand-colored paper. Eliza wondered where my knitting was, and requested some more stuffed- animal blankets, "because I take very good care of my animals."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

tredding water

I've got the world's last 2000 yards of Noro Kochoran #46, a discontinued colorway: I won't tell you where I am in Massachusetts, so you don't come steal it. I swatch and can't decide.

I've got the last nasty cold of 2008: ditto. I hawk and blow and sit down to rest.

Without, yet, the energy to commit yarn to needle, to begin a sweater/coat with this Kochoran, I wander ravelry, choosing and rejecting, and rechoosing just the pattern I want, and one I can have in an instant not a return U.S. mail. I'm both too tired and sniffly to knit and too impatient to wait for olde-fashioned presses (such as SchoolHouse) to pack up and post a tiny pattern.

Tonight, the options I hover among are "The Dream Coat," one that is perhaps too frisky and "many-colored" for this Josephina, though the vertical lines and the mitered squares are both appealing:
And the Adult Surprise Jacket, that ubiquitous Baby jacket of Elizabeth Zimmerman, grown up by popular demand. My reservations on doing the ASJ have to do with the mess I made of the one BSJ I knitted a year or so ago: I couldn't make sense of the stitch marker placement for the decreases, so didn't have a precise set of lines, one of the trademarks of the sweater. Were I home, Hickory or Suze could explain to me in a heartbeat.

But I'm somewhere in Massachusetts, uncertain and tired.

And there's "Imogen," even the name--especially the name?--I love, another vertical (knit side-to-side) jacket:

And "Tilt," a cardigan with vertical lines below (sort of like the base of the Einstein coat), with wonderful diagonal yoking, and i-cord seaming :
That's sort of where I am in Massachusetts. If anyone is reading this and has a shareable opinion, please share (

I probably won't start knitting until the weekend, as, when I've got the zip and zing, I am setting up my schedule of working in the mornings, on a sabbatical grant book project, going swimming and to Weight Watchers; swinging by WEBS to, daily, not spend a penny. And catching my granddaughters, with six other three-year-olds, doing third position, tap, boogie-woogie, and tumbling, at "Dawn's School of Dance," the hottest show in Pioneer Valley on any given Monday night. I'm going to Boston overnight, to see my daughter before she flies to Seattle for a week of interviews for next year's residency programs; will pop down to Connecticut for lunch with Me Mum. And keep getting organized about my "real" work, with a library carrel at Smith College across the street (do I give my whereabouts away?).

Remember, opinions please!