Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Graduation, Cleo!

You might recognize my daughter from her frequent modeling stints on this blog. Today she graduated from high school. Cleo had a stellar senior year, qualifying with her partner for not one but two national debate championships and serving as president of her high school's student body.

Cleo is headed to college in North Carolina in just 2 1/2 short months. You know what that means, fellow knitters: projects for Cleo that are light on wool and heavy on silk, cotton, and bamboo.

Let the new chapter begin!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chinoise Wrap

Years ago, Vanity Fair magazine quoted some tastemaker or other as saying, "I thirst for orange!". Well, orange seems to be having a Moment once again. It's a time-suck vortex but have a look at the Trady-Twist fashion and color forecast.

So, when I saw Kimmet Croft Fibers Softie Lite in the Rust colorway at my LYS, I bought four skeins. It's a fingering-weight mix of merino and angora. I had in mind Susan Pandorf's Chinoise Wrap. In fact, I've been obsessing on this pattern since it was released. I must really like Chinese lanterns. For years, Sarah James' Chinese Lantern sweater has been among my very favorites.

The Chinoise Wrap lace is about an 8 out of 10 on the difficulty scale. Every row is lace, with no plain knit rows. Don't you love the slight halo of the angora?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

An Exercise in Increases and Decreases

After finishing an afghan of endless seedstitch, wouldn't you know the very next thing I make begins with four rows of seed stitch. Oh, but *after that*, is there fun aplenty!

You may think you're knitting Smariek's Embossed Turtle Cloth but, really, you are practicising all kinds of increases and decreases. Just on the increasing side, there are:
1. M1 - knit into the back of the stitch in the row below the first stitch on the left needle, then knit into the front of the first stitch on the left needle.

2. M1Fs - lift the running thread between the stitch just worked and the next stitch and knit into the back of this stitch.
M1P - purl the stitch in the row below the first stitch on the left needle, then purl into the first stitch on the left needle.

and my favorite because I felt so slick after pulling it off the first time:
3.M2 - K1b, k1 into front of the same stitch, then insert your left needle behind the vertical strand that runs downwards from between the 2 stitches just made and k1b into this strand to make the 3rd stitch.

You increase and decrease for 45 rows of pattern and you've got a turtle. If you make it in Sugar 'n' Cream (100% cotton), you've got a turtle dish cloth.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

College Afghan - Off the Needles

Oh, I agonized over this afghan for my younger daughter. She wanted something simple, something in one color only, something most certainly not in squares like a granny afghan.

There went my plans for making her a Babette Blanket in 17 different colorways of Koigu. Instead, I ordered a sensible amount of Cascade 220 Superwash in one of her favorite colors, cast on quite a few stitches using two strands of yarn and #10 circs and started hacking away at rows and rows of seed stitch.

Oceans of seed stitch. Acres of it. Giant industrial vats of seed stitch.

Months later, it was time to bind off and add a crochet border: this one. I worked rows 1 - 3 only using a G hook. The ribbon was an afterthought. My daughter can change the color if she likes or take it out altogether. I hope it stays in for awhile. I hope it and the afghan keep my kid warm and safe and happy and fed and well and all the things a mom can't do in person when her kid is many states away in college.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Starry-Eyed Knitting

Have you seen the interview with Cookie A., she of the fabulous and iconic sock designs, in the new KnitCircus, free and online?

The existence of knitting stars often surprises non-knitters. You know you've passed into Knitting Dweebdom when you'd (much) rather meet any knitting star than any movie star. I haven't yet had the chance to go to a knitting convention, as in Stitches Midwest or the upcoming mitten summit, both in Chicago. Online, it's been a thrill to bump into interactions with Norah Gaughan, Anne Hanson, Sivia Harding, and Jane Brocket. Has a chance conversation with a knitting star has happened to you? Leave a comment - I'd love to hear about it.

Back on earth and the Little 1950's Ranch House in the Big Woods, I'm knitting and knitting and knitting away on the big pink college afghan for my younger daughter.
It's getting to be time to decide on a border. I'm thinking crocheted border, something a little spiky and pointed, rather than rounded.

A pair of mansocks came off the needles on Saturday. These are something like the third pair of Nancy Bush's Conwy socks. It's a great unisex twining cable pattern knit without a cable needle, this time in Patons Stretch Socks (41% cotton, 39% wool, 13% nylon, 7% elastic). Tom likes the stretch in the sock and said, "These are the best-fitting ones yet." With that particular mix of fibers, the socks should wear well.