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Archive for August, 2008

Hey there . . . I know I have not been blogging too much recently but still . . . I am feeling very lucky for the people and stories I’ve encountered on the internet . . . from my very first blogging buddy Mick to Needles & Vectors, a blog I just discovered today, I wanted express my appreciation to all the varied ways that wonderful people and ideas and experiences come into our lives.  This is a thank-you for the other knitters in the world — yay knitters!  Also a thank-you for the other bloggers — including my cousin who is solving the world’s problems here — yay bloggers!  And of course . . . put ’em together and you get a huge double-yay for knitbloggers!  To me this is all just part of learning how technology, something that has the potential to be so isolating, can bring us all together.  It amazes me how quickly I can zip across the country and see through someone else’s eyes a new perspective on life.

I will be spending the weekend sprucing the house up for a little get-together next weekend at our place, doing some knitting, and poring over a very cool wedding gift: The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen of the Moosewood Cookbooks.  I spent last weekend with my college roomates on our annual (and far too short!) girls’ weekend in Tahoe, and they tosted me with the most delicious champagne and princess cake and sent me home with what looks to be an absolutely kick-ass cookbook.  Yes, I will cook the meats as a gesture of my love for The Baron, but I am trying to find increasingly healthier ways to eat and cook and be in the world, and veggies seem like a good start.  Who knows, I might even find the new “it” dish that will keep my belly full and happy all winter!

On the needles at the moment: I’m turning the heel of my second of the Oriel Lace Socks for Glamourous, and I’m cranking away on the Goddess Knits Anniversary Shawl.  I got a lot done traveling to and from Tahoe, but I am working chart 4 B, which has 95 rows, but I’m on row 17 so there’s not really a light at the end of the tunnel yet.  After sleeping on the baby blanket of it all last night, I think I’m going to try swatching for an Aran something using some variation on the KnitPicks Swish Bare (undyed) in my stash.  Stay tuned!

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Dreaming a Baby Blanket

Big news in baby-land: close friends who have been struggling for years with starting a family finally “matched,” and now they’ve got a baby to adopt. The pictures of the little guy are so cute and this couple has gone through so much time and trouble and tragedy . . . there is always a chance that some bureaucratic snafu will hold things up, but in the meantime . . . time to start planning some knitting!

Because starting a family has been such a long road for these two, I want to give them a handmade gift that really reflects the depth and intensity of what they’ve been through. I’m thinking blanket. A complex blanket, perhaps an aran piece, (I’m not as interested in color-work or lace) worked from a substantial, heirloom quality yarn. I’d love to be able to incorporate some kind of theme of three . . . maybe a 3-strand braided cable or intertwining trees.

I’ve been browsing Ravelry like crazy and I’m going to be brainstorming all weekend but I’d love suggestions about yarn or pattern . . . especially since this baby is fixing to arrive in three months instead of the usual nine!

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So far, as a knitter, I seem to be pretty good at keeping my works-in-progress to a manageable number (say 3 or 4 at most) and finishing most everything that I start. It speaks to my overly methodical brain, I think, that even my knitting is pretty organized and systematic.

On the other hand . . . I’ve lamented in the past the fact that I have such a hard time getting a project started. Picking out the yarn, swatching, getting it all up and running . . . sometimes it just seems like an insurmountable task. So I live in a teeny bit of fear about that (hopefully) distant day when I will be itching to knit, needing to knit, and find that I have nothing substantial on the needles.

Finishing the Frost Flowers & Leaves Shawl felt like a monumental achievement, but I always believed I’d one day cast off. It makes me wonder, could I tackle an even bigger project? A few days ago I saw the Harlot’s picture of the Cape Spear Coverlet . . . and I thought . . . maybe. The bedspread is basically just a large rectangle with a repeated pattern throughout. Would I want to knit something like this? I imagine that after the first few repeats the pattern would become automatic, simple, perfect for the mental-health “I-must-knit-now” kind of knitting. I am so incredibly tempted. Would I knit this exact antique pattern? Perhaps I’d throw in some leaves or something along the edges, or a shell motif. What yarn would I use, and how would I know I had enough? Already, just typing those words, I’m thinking to myself, ok, start with a large swatch, like a doll’s blanket, then measure the gauge, do the math, figure it out. I could do this, right?

Affording the yarn is a whole other story. I’m becoming more and more committed to the idea of quality yarns. I’ve gradually been realizing that I can really knit — that I’m able to produce final products that look like something (even if that something is a rastafarian jellyfish . . .) and have some reasonable measure of utility. So it makes me want to invest in really quality yarns that will produce heirloom quality garments. I mean, why not, right? If I am going to spend a year knitting a shawl, it should be worked from the best yarn I can get my hands on. If I spend two or more years on a blanket, shouldn’t it also be the best yarn I can find? I love working off of cones . . . I wonder if there is a skinny cashmere blend I could work with. Is it crazy to knit a wool blanket with laceweight? I suddenly feel obsessed with this idea . . .

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A friend remarked to me the other day that everyone we know seems to be having babies. It’s true . . . and I guess it’s just that time of life. My little cousin just had her first, the cutest little boy, and I spent the weekend with a high-school girlfriend who is now the mother of two. It’s such an interesting experience, being with someone I know well who has actually created another person. Totally crazy.

All of this is just to say that I’m slightly obsessed at the moment with knitting baby things. Sure, there’s the lace and some socks on the needles, but there are a bunch of little-kid sweaters that I’m just itching to cast on. I’m procrastinating posting a round-up of the Trellis Baby Sweater in large part because I’d like to make a second one, modified to eliminate as much finishing as possible. We’ll see if I ever get there!

In the meantime, here is the finished Trellis Baby Sweater, a free pattern from Knitty. The yarn is a bright-purple shade of Rowan All-Seasons Cotton, which I got from Mick in exchange for the yarn leftover from my Peacock Feathers shawl. I love how it turned out . . . please humor my larger-than-usual picture!

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The one change I made to the sweater: the large cables down either side were written to twist the same way and I wanted them to wind in opposite directions . . . it just seemed more symmetrical to me. It’s a subtle difference, but it made the OCD knitter in me feel better.

My other favorite thing about this sweater: the buttons. They are wooden toggles that I picked out with help from the button lady at F&S Fabrics on Pico. My mother-in-law, an amazing quilter, gave this store a very mixed review — too crazy and too expensive — but their button selection is amazing. They literally have an entire wall of buttons and I’ve always gotten good advice there. I’m especially pleased with these toggles so I’ve given them their own glamor-shot:

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I hope that sooner or later I’ll get some photos of this sweater in use!

Now that I’ve met my friend’s new baby boy (he’s 6 months old and the most giggly, smiley baby ever) I’m going to try and get the second edition of this sweater done.

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. . . instead of working all day, I got to knit!

Check out my Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery shawl:

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So, yes, like most lace it currently looks like a big o’ ball of mush. I’m not even sure how I feel about these bright colors, but for some reason I absolutely cannot put this sucker down. I’m almost done with chart three (of a total four charts) although there is an option for additional increasing after chart 4. Not likely!

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Yes, I’ve finished my Trellis Baby Sweater (now in the possession of one very tired mom and one very new baby) and I’m making progress on my Oriel Lace Socks and the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl. More on all of that later.

For now, I’m excited to show off my knitting in action. Not being modeled for photos for the blog, not on display right off the needles — these are bona fide action shots of Glamorous wearing the Frost Flowers & Leaves shawl. Here’s the side view:

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And the view from the front:

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I think I am a process knitter as much as I am a product knitter . . . so far I’ve been able to let my finished pieces go happily off into the world . . . but it really made me happy to see this particular labor of love actually being used.

And of course, who can resist a glam shot . . .

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