Some unmanliness, and a skirt

Published on Wednesday October 1st, 2008

Mr. G: Nice sweater in the tub, btw.  me likes!!

YT: It’s a skirt! 😀 But now I think we may have to take a picture with me
wearing it as a sweater. You didn’t notice its lack of sleeves?

Mr. G: … well…uhm…well…uhm.  You usually add the sleeves at the end and I thought you were perhaps pressing it out to take some photos before finishing it up.  ok ok… I didn’t look THAT closely… I just liked the texture/pattern and the ruffle at the bottom (shh..mum is the word about liking ruffle!)

YT: A gent is allowed to like a ruffle fluttering about his lady’s knees,
isn’t he? Hell, why else have we been sewing ruffles to our clothing lo
these many centuries?

Mr. G: it is still not MANLY to state that one likes ruffle.

YT: I have to warn you, it’s getting very tempting to share this dialogue in
a blog post.

Mr. G: can it be anonymous?

Nope – sorry, honey. I don’t think there’s any way to sell the readers on the notion that a random anonymous man happened by our bathtub and peeked in at the garment blocking there. I guess it could have been a plumber (lord knows we need one to look at our two leaky sinks), but he’d have to be a pretty forward plumber possessing intimate knowledge of knitterly habits, and I’m guessing there aren’t too many of those. But we can, finally, show some pictures of the Indigo Ripples skirt I’ve been picking away at all summer long.

Note its distinctive skirtiness. Les specs:

Indigo Ripples skirt, by Kat Coyle, Interweave Knits Spring 2007

Classic Elite Soft Linen, 6 skeins, Kentucky Blue

US #5 needles

Mods: I lowered the waistline, altered the gauge and CO number, and lengthened the stockinet portion for a measure of modesty. (I’m wearing it with a black skirt underneath, and it’s still a little sultry for a K-8 school workplace – I think this will have to be a date-night ensemble, so it’s a fine thing we already know Mr. G likes the ruffle!)

I also dispensed with the i-cord drawstring and sewed one from my fabric stash instead. Here’s a close-up of the lace portion: I love the optical effects of those shifting mirrored increases and decreases:

I don’t know how many knitted skirts I’ll be making; ultimately I have my doubts about their practicality. But I like this one, and I loved working with the Soft Linen yarn, a wool/alpaca/linen blend that should be perfect for autumn wear. I totally concur with Clara Parkes’s review of it, and I’ll be interested to see how well the fabric holds up to, well, nether wear.

Thanks to Mr. G for the pictures, which look a lot more va-va-voom than I was feeling: we’d just returned from a long weekend of backpacking, and I was walking like a horseless cowboy. But more on that next time.

Blue September

Published on Thursday September 4th, 2008

Thanks to everyone who has responded to the Knit Local idea. We’ve got a new group flourishing on Ravelry – invite yourself in if you’re interested! I envision it as a resource for crafters trying to find local producers, research the origins of various yarns, discuss local yarn substitutions for popular patterns, and spread the word about small companies they love, as well as a showcase of beautiful knits made from local materials. Perhaps it will spawn swaps as fiber enthusiasts from different regions exchange hard-to-find local gems.

While I’m dreaming about the directions Knit Local could take, I’ve also been knitting. I’m thisclose to finishing my Indigo Ripples skirt: only another ten inches of the (seemingly interminable) bind-off row remain, and the quest for a suitable drawstring, should I opt out of the five feet of i-cord.

I’ve got a cabled hat going for my brother’s belated birthday present, in a lovely alpaca grown in our hometown by a farmers’ collective called Honey Lane Farms. This stuff comes in 52 colors, and it’s soft as a baby’s bottom.

Speaking of babies, I’m bog-bog-bogging along on a Baby Bog Jacket for the little man across the street, whose first birthday is next week. I’ve passed the “thumb trick” arm divide and I’m getting ready to toss in a handful of shortrows and a measure of shoulder shaping. All that garter stitch makes good carpool knitting, now that school is back in session.

Oh, school. The year promises a steady rolling boil in all the pots on the stove, requiring precise timing and keen attention, but will be fulfilling if I can keep a cool head while coaxing all the projects to fruition. I haven’t even counted the minutiae I’m responsible for this year on top of the major publishing efforts; I’m just taking it as earning my stripes in this place where everyone gives all they’ve got for the kids and one another and the broader community.

Besides, the sun is out this week, and September in the Northwest, when it’s good, is very, very good indeed. All that blue knitting might reflect inaccurately on my mental state, so here’s a glimpse of what’s next:

I’m not going to blog it just yet because it’s a secret something for a special someone with an approaching birthday who sometimes reads here. But tune in on Ravelry to glimpse the pretty in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, thanks to everyone who’s written with kudos and excitement about my Footlights Cardigan. I’m loving the absinthe-green version just as much as the yellow one.

(Even if I did accidentally knit an extra repetition of the lace pattern on the second sleeve.)

Wrapping up

Published on Sunday June 1st, 2008

Epic Lace Knit 2007-2008 has drawn to a close, and I think I’ve dragged the coverage out just about long enough. The fat lady has sung: the bride warmed her shoulders with her lilac lace during the wedding supper, and called it the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen and required that everyone admire it during her speech of welcome on the dance floor. That’ll do for me! So let’s say our goodbyes to the Mediterranean Ivy Lace:

I have the prettiest new sister ever, don’t I?

Final specs:

Mediterranean Lace by Maureen Egan Emlet, from A Gathering of Lace

Modified as a rectangular stole by working the ivy lace chart for the “wings” only, 16 repetitions. If you’re planning to knit this, note that 17 reps would have been a better number for picking up multiples of 42 sts for the edging. I would have run out of yarn, though. Speaking of yarn:

Most of 3 skeins (~1500 yards) ArtYarns Cashmere 1, in a color I call Pale Lilac. It isn’t listed on their website anymore, so it may be discontinued.

US#2 Addi Lacepoints for the body; US#0 regular blunt Addis, 48″, for the edging. Curse their stumpiness. I’d rather be cast into Tartarus than pick up 1200 stitches with them again.

Cast on in August 2007; finished in May 2008. I could’ve produced a baby in that time, folks. (And honestly, Marika would have been just as excited. But it wouldn’t have been as soft and pretty, and now I can sleep at night besides!)

So what’s next? I’ve just started the lace portion of my Indigo Ripples skirt. I think I’m going to like the fit a lot – I lengthened the stockinet upper part by a couple of inches for modesty, as I want to be able to wear this thing to school without scandalizing my colleagues or scarring the children. And yesterday I basted together my quilt sandwich and began hand quilting it. I’m going to do a mixture of hand quilting around some of the large flowers and machine quilting long vertical lines as given in the instructions. We’ll see how it turns out! But I’ve had to put the crafting on hold today. I’m blogging while I watch the conclusion of the Giro d’Italia, but then I need to get back to my major task of the weekend: I’m the faculty reader for a young man who has produced a 480-page historical fiction/biography entitled Aeneas of Rome as his graduation project. That’s graduation from the eighth grade, you understand. He’s been working with a classical scholar and a college English professor. The chapters open with quotes in Latin and Greek, with his own translations. The kid is going places. But he has to present his work to the faculty for review on Tuesday, so I’ve got my work cut out for me!

Off task

Published on Wednesday May 14th, 2008

How is it that the come-hither of new projects is most compelling just when it’s most critical that you finish what you’ve already begun? It should be a law, like Murphy’s. Sarah’s Law of Distractibility, maybe. Barring disaster (and we all know Disaster is skilled at the limbo and the high jump), the Mediterranean Ivy lace is going to be the most beautiful work I’ve ever done. But even the plain rounds take more than an hour at this point. When I was twelve or thirteen, there was a summer I spent with my friends Lizzie and Alice, nearly always in their swimming pool when we weren’t riding our horses through their woods and fields. We trained hard at underwater swimming, one end to the other and back again, hot blackness rising behind our eyes as we strained through the shallows to touch the wall and erupt gasping for oxygen. That’s what each lap of this stole feels like now: push a little further every time, right to the limit of punishment to the eyes and fingers. Five days left to knit, including all the time it’s going to take to crochet a single chain of edge loops.

So what led me to blow all of Saturday morning, the only crafting time I had that day, sewing an oven mitt? (And yes, I forgot to photograph it again when it was finished.)

Good question. It was for Mother’s Day. But that’s not much of an excuse. And still I itch to cast on six new projects. Fortunately, the knitting gods are keeping me on the straight and narrow: I discovered that I’d twisted the join in the Indigo Ripples skirt (which I never do), and that despite (or because of?) my math and swatching it was coming out six inches too large anyway.