Saturday, January 30, 2010

Name That Pattern

So, darling daughter that she is,  asks me if I can make a "tunic."  Of course I can make a tunic.  Crochet, knit or sewn - I can make a tunic.

"What kind of tunic?" quoth I, the mother.

"Saw it at the studio"  said she who teaches dance to support her grad school habit.

"Long or mid-thigh?"

"Kinda long - not too long.  Y'know.  Like a tunic"

"OK.  Was it knit or crochet or fabric?"

"Knit!  I'm sure it is knit 'cuz it doesn't look like crochet and you can see through it.  It had a boat neck.  Isn't that right?  (now, given I never saw said garment, how would I know if it is a boat neck?  But she is only in grad school - not logic school.  Allowances must be made.)  Yeah, I'm sure it is a boat neck line because it goes straight across and has kinda sleeves like those bat-wing things.  Just not big bat wing sleeves.  Y'know?"

Please know how extremely proud this mother is feeling at this point in the conversation.  Daughter actually knows words like boat-neck, knit, crochet, tunic and can refer to sleeves as bat wing.  Clearly, I have extreme mothering skills and have imparted vital life skills to daughter.

"What color do you have in mind?"
"The one I saw is not really a color.  Just plain, like you wear in a ballet studio"

"Oh!  Now I get it.  A loose flowing tunic that is above the knees and done in a blush or taupe.  Something suitable for teaching.  But not a ballet skirt."  At this point, I started feeling smug as though our minds were now tethered in the mystical mother/daughter bond.  I was already mentally sorting through the stash and thinking gauge.  

"Well, not exactly."

Oops.  My creative train had already left the station and was half way to Destination Ballet Tunic.  Not exactly?  What part of the conversation did I miss?  Tunic.  Knit.  Boat-neck.  Bat wing sleeves.  See through - aka gauzy.  Muted lack of color for a ballet teacher.

"Let's rethink this.  Yes, I can knit you a tunic.  If you see this teacher again, perhaps you could ask her about her tunic."

"MOM!  It's a tunic.  I see it several times a week when I go teach.  It's on a mannequin."

"Well, then Missy. (It is possible that my mother snippy mode began to show just a tad)  Why don't you use that fancy handy dandy all in one miracle of an iPhone and take a picture of what you want?!!!  

Pause.  No comment.  That got her.

"Guess that works."
Now, I ask you - is this a tunic?  Are those bat wing sleeves?  Do you see color?  Geez Louise!  What kind of daughter did I raise?    At least it is knit.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Knitting In The Morning Sun

I'm not really knitting in the morning sun.  It is more that the morning Soleil is completed - blocked and all.

I love this pattern  (  for several reasons.  The lace at lower edge is easy and beautiful.  And the side shaping nips in the waist enough to complement the feminine frame without  paying homage to a corset. 

A huge mistake was made by yours truly.  Mind you, for over forty decades my height has been stable.  Oh sure, heels might occasionally bring me up to my full driver's license stated height, but essentially nothing has  changed for quite some time.

I should know because every morning I look in the mirror at the hem of my pants with the hope that perhaps a miracle has occurred.  Alas, sameness is my lot.  I should know better.  I have done better on many other projects - both knit and crochet.  But this time, I followed the pattern like a lock step lemming. 

Look at the photo for a hint of visual evidence of the mistake.  And no, the mistake is not the total length.  That part is to my liking.    Mind you the pattern is wonderful.  Absolutely nothing wrong with the pattern - - as long as one is not on the petite side of life.  So all responsibility rests squarely on my shoulders.  (She typed with a wink) Yes, the fault is within the work of my knitting arms. (She added to the typed words with a wink and a groan)

All my fault.  Pass the chocolate please.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Round And Round No More

Finally, the forever round and round of stockinette is over.  Mind you the Soleil stockinette is not entirely mindless and one is blessed very so often with the opportunity to subtract or add four stitches per round.

Nevertheless, mind numbing repetition ended and the neck has been split.  Not only the neck, but it is now time to split off the back and make real progress toward completion.

This whole journey with yarn is sometimes lonely.  Sitting and making little loops for hours, days or weeks only to be followed by joyous celebration amongst others who also sit and make little loops for hours, etc.

There are actually whole swaths of time when I do not produce little loops.  Really.  Truly.  Take yesterday for example.  Distraction from little yarn loops.  Distraction in the form of the January/February issue of Piecework.    Rush out and pick up a copy if you do not subscribe.  This is the fourth annual Historical Knitting Issue!

Brilliant.  Kudos.  Awesome.  Every article is a jewel.
  • New pattern stitch from Barbara Walker - yes! 
  • Victorian patterns - real history here
  • Jewish Lithuania survival knitting - humbling words
  • Latvia mittens
  • Stocking from Plimoth Plantation
  • More, more, more
I'm telling you.  Get this mag.  Where else can you get a pattern for knitted chain mail? 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Addicted To The Letters C & O

That's right.  I Cast On for another project.   I figure it is OK because I finished Maggie Mae and another K2Tog scarf.  Not only finished two items, but it is quite possible that the math and pattern writing for Maggie Mae is done correctly.  Only thing left to do is find a willing guinea pig or two to test the pattern.

But, I digress.  On to the new!

This is Soleil by Alexandra Virgiel from Knitty (Spring 2005) and can be found here.

The pattern calls for three repeats of the lace edging, but I've only done two.  No reason, just felt like it.

What you see is Cascade Venezia in color 169.  Venezia is 70/30 merino/silk.   This is a perfect blend for wearing under a suit jacket year round here in southern California and it works well for much of the year elsewhere around the globe.    The pattern is designed with waist shaping for those who like zero ease. 

Try clicking on the photo to make larger.  Can you see the stitch marker?

Tip of the day:  put a "B" marker at the beginning of the round.   That's my tip and that is about as brilliant as I get on a rainy holiday weekend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Maggie Mae Sleeveless Pullover

Maggie Mae is finished!

Pattern is forthcoming.

Notes thus far:

Noro Taiyo - 3 balls
Size 6mm circular needle (US #10) - 24 inchSize 5.5 crochet hook (US I)
Waste yarn for provisional cast on

Gauge = 4 st/inch  Because the entire top is worked side to side, this gauge does not indicate the final length of the garment.  The cotton content of the Taiyo, the weight  and the downward pull all combine to make the final length approximately 21 inches.

When adding a new ball, every effort should be taken to continue the color patterning for a smooth color change. 

Reverse single crochet edges the neck and arm openings.  Matching the shade of the edge to the body is personal preference.

The waist may be narrowed or expanded by additional rows of stockinette below arm openings.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Planting Seeds

The math is working out just fine.   Thank you for asking.  What you see here is the under arm area of the seed stitch vest.  The seed stitch is broken up with a stockinette band. My plan is to eventually graft to the provisional cast on at the other under arm.  Since I prefer not to graft alternating knit and purl stitches, the stockinette is required. 

The only seams on this sleeveless pullover will be at the shoulders - just a few inches each.  Surely that is tolerable, even for those who abhor seams.

Those who have observed the progress are thus far voicing a sense of fascination about the vertical stripes created by the Noro Taiyo.  And I must agree.  The striping and play of color is working out very well.

Another two inches and the major knitting will be done.  Here it is.  All stretched out for measuring.  So very close to being done!  Another two inches and it will be time for the grafting and seaming. 

The math has come back to haunt me.   Mostly it is correct.  At this point in the making, I am rethinking the zero ease issue.  A huge HMMM. 

And yes, much chocolate has been consumed in the making of Maggie Mae. (Do you like the name?)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just Need Patterns

I went shopping.  With friends who qualify as "enablers."    It all started out as a day trip down to the North Coast Knitters meeting to hear Tanya Alpert speak.  
You might know Tanya from her recently published book Haiku Knits.  Check out Tanya, her book and store here.  I have been working on Tanya's Riverbed - last post is this one.   We decided to check out Tanya's shop in Solano Beach before the meeting.  What can I say but "Score!"  There are absolutely no plans for any of the purchases.  Guess I'll be looking for patterns pretty soon.  

  • Fiesta from Manetto Hill Yarnery in color 8025 - 575 meters on SALE for 40% off.
  • Blue Heron Cotton/Rayon seed in Dusk.  Not on sale, but somehow it appeared at the counter and I said, "why yes!  I'll take this also"
  • Silky Merino from malabrigo in Vigo 470 - 200 grams.  Gotta love anything malabrigo.  Can't go wrong even if it hangs out for a while before deciding what it wants to become.
  • Organic Cotton dk from Sublime in shade 143 - 770 meters that will probably end up being worn by a daughter.  
And an update on the making of Riverbed.  Sleeves are almost completed.  The fun part of going to Tanya's shop was taking a good long look at the original.   Actually, taking a good long look at many original works of art.  If you are fortunate enough to be in soCal, go down and visit with her.  You will be inspired.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Practical Knitting

The FFO (first finished object) of 2010 is a practical knit.  Once again, the basic knitted dishcloth pattern has rescued me from disorganization.  The pattern is all over the web and Ravelry and may be so ingrained into the knit community as to be almost part of every knitter's genetic code.

A trick, which I have successfully used in the past, it to make two exactly the same size to make a bag for stuff.

The current stuff needing to be organized is an external drive for the laptop with associated USB cord.  The plan is simple.  Make two squares exactly the same and then, utilizing a crochet hook, slip stitch together on three sides through the  eyelets.  Crochet up a sturdy chain - or make an i-cord - long enough to use as a tie.  Weave the chain around the eyelets at the top.

Voila!  A quick and fantastic bag for stuff. 

Try a tiny one for lipstick & mirror.
Consider one for collecting loose change.
Make one for protecting peripherals when you need to toss them into a larger bag.

No matter the use - very practical knitting.