Thursday, April 28, 2011


A knitted wedding cake in honor of the Royal Nuptials, featured at London's All the Fun of the Fair.
Loe where she comes along with portly pace
          Lyke Phoebe from her chamber of the East,
          Arysing forth to run her mighty race,
          Clad all in white, that seemes a virgin best.
          So well it her beseemes that ye would weene
         Some angell she had beene.
         Her long loose yellow locks lyke golden wyre,
          Sprinckled with perle, and perling flowres a tweene,
         Doe lyke a golden mantle her attyre,
          And being crowned with a girland greene,
          Seeme lyke some mayden Queene.
          Her modest eyes abashed to behold
          So many gazers, as on her do stare,
         Upon the lowly ground affixed are.
          Ne dare lift up her countenance too bold,
          But blush to heare her prayses sung so loud,
          So farre from being proud.
         Nathlesse doe ye still loud her prayses sing,
         That all the woods may answer and your eccho ring.
--Edmund Spenser, Epithalamion

Gentle readers,
Perhaps some of you, like me, will be glued to the tv starting tomorrow morning at 4 a.m. EDT.  An event such as the wedding of  Prince Wills and the iconically-named commoner Kate Middleton offers us six or so hours of nonstop knitting time, as well as inspirational pageantry. For those of you who work quickly, you might have a look at the patterns in Knit Your Own Royal Wedding by Fiona Goble (Ivy Press, 2011).

Whether or not you can spare the time tomorrow, the publisher's video will undoubtedly help you appreciate the seismic  event:

Yours, knitting regally,


Thursday, April 21, 2011


Last weekend, participating knitters willingly crawled from LYS to LYS in Rhode Island to experience the Great Rhody Yarn Crawl, and I hope they had a great time. Restrained by my superego, I visited only one emporium, Eneri Knits in Exeter, on Friday afternoon, wedging myself between appearances by the magical weaver and fiber artist Jan Doyle and local author Ann Hood, whose writing about knitting has earned her high praise well beyond New England.

Those of you who recall my post last summer about Eneri Knits, know that the shop is a new venture for Irene DeVerna, and of special interest to me. I think of yarn shops as much more than places to buy yarn and knitting accessories. The best of them fulfill an educational and social mission, and they have distinctive character, like any person or friend. At any rate, it's been fascinating for me to see how Eneri Knits is evolving, and I was able to sit down for a few minutes and chat with Irene about what's been going on in the past nine or so months. I'll devote a future post to this because there's a lot to say. However, since my last visit the inventory has grown impressively, and the positive energy has amplified.

Even though I was at Eneri towards the end of the day, there was a steady stream of people coming in to browse, chat, and buy. Irene told me that it had been like this all day--customers were even waiting outside the door before she opened at 10 a.m.!  The next day was, in Irene's words, "fantastic! Saturday was so crowded in the shop, that my husband had to escape to the Celestial Café [next door] to get some air!"

It seems that a fine yarn tradition has been inaugurated--the Slater Mill Guild is planning another such weekend next year.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We Brake for Alpacas

Driving to New London today, we saw this sign on the road in North Stonington:

We braked.

Besides the six alpacas, there were a nubian goat and a very woolly sheep.

We saw no people. Perhaps another time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Prospective delights

Friday begins the first annual Great Rhody Yarn Crawl. Sponsored by Slater Mill Knitting and Crochet Guild, it runs all weekend. (Click on the GRYC link for a map and a "passport" to download.) I plan to visit an LYS or two to check out the merriment. Word has it that an interesting mystery guest will appear at Eneri Knits in Exeter on Friday between 5 and 7 p.m., and I'm rather curious to see whom that might be. Perhaps I will meet you there, gentle reader, as well.

Last Wednesday, at the weekly meeting of the Langworthy Library Knitting Association, our beloved founder, Jane Green, brought in her handwork for show-and-tell.

She knit this for a specific reason--namely, that she and some friends will gather, on the 29th of this month, to view the broadcast of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in Westminster Abbey, and as it is a lengthy production, they will require some fortification. Tea and cakes are the preferred refreshment of this discerning fan club, as we are six hours earlier than London, where no doubt folks will be quaffing more potent celebratory beverages:

I gave her sack and sherry. I kist her once and I kist her twice; And we were wondrous merry.
Please admire the beautiful delicate roses knitted from variegated sock yarn.

To this list of two prospective delights, I shall immodestly add another: my article, "Stitch and Seed:  Summer's Bounties," in the summer 2011 issue of Knitscene Magazine, on sale starting just about this week at many LYS, including Eneri Knits.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On not following rules

Since childhood I've had a proclivity for ignoring the rules, whatever the rules may be. Yes, this contrarian streak seems to be hard-wired. It has gotten me into trouble sometimes, but more often than not, led to interesting discoveries that yield longterm, reverberating insights.

Molly, alter ego.
You may have noticed that I didn't post for the last day of 2KCBW--the Second Annual Knitting and Crocheting Blogs Week. I just grew tired of responding to the prompts, and the last one, inquiring as to my favorite places to knit, seemed a giant yawn, so I thought, Why bother? This is a fairly mild instance of Not Following the Rules. It also reminded me of why I hate board games.

In knitting, not following the rules has had a more creative effect. I've sometimes taken a fairly basic pattern and altered it to suit my taste. Usually this isn't a preplanned exercise, as in the most recent case, but something that evolves as I knit. About a year ago I began making the "Chic Bolero" pattern from Classic Elite Knits: One Hundred Gorgeous Designs for Every Occasion.

Obviously this is a straightforward, unembellished pattern. When I sewed the pieces together, I realized the sweater was going in a new direction. As is my habit, I didn't use the specified yarns (sorry, Classic Elite), and once everything was attached, I decided the body of the cardigan needed to be longer. I added a section below the ribbing, creating eyelets. These will be threaded with a belt of some sort--either a ribbon or an I-cord. (My experiment was validated by the Knitting Goddess, who told me she encourages knitters to adapt professional designs to their own whims.)

While I'm on the subject of original designs, I will draw your attention to a beautiful new jacket from Richard Muto's expert hand. It's of woven mohair bouclé, sewn, knitted, fully lined, and bedecked with freshwater pearls and crystals! Here it is, modeled by Jan Doyle.

"Oceancrest," by Richard Muto.
As you'll recall, I profiled Richard Muto, the Rhode Island Laureate of Fiber, a bit more than a year ago. You can read about him there, and on his Facebook page, or you can catch him at the Carolina Fiber and Fiction Center, where he teaches spinning. Because Richard is such a force in my world of handcrafted textiles, I will continue to provide you with periodic updates on his design career and teaching gigs.

Finally it's spring in Rhode Island. We planted a huge fig tree on the hill, 

moved some of the dwarf citrus trees to the deck, and have been luxuriating in the sudden influx of sun.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2KCBWDAY6: Dreaming in color, plausibly.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011

(Technically 2KCBW has ended, but I had a busy weekend, so I'm behind.)
Something to aspire to.Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? 

I am lusting to knit this coat of many colors, featured in Classic Elite's "Celebrated Classics" booklet of 2007. The design is by Liz Nields. What I find so compelling is that it's worked side-to-side in four separate sections, then grafted together via the Three-Needle Bind-Off.  While I've done that bind-off, I've never knitted anything side-to-side, from cuff to mid-back. Even though I'm now involved with a few projects, including finishing another cardigan, I have been assembling a palette, inspired by the Misti Suri Alpaca I mentioned on my first post of 2KCBW, wherein I discussed yarn I hated and yarn I loved.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

El día de los inocentes: 2KCBWDAY5

Ivan, Italian Greyhound, Boston resident
On April first 2011 I drove north 85 miles through intermittent rain and sleet. I visited Ivan, Amy, David, and Tina in Brookline. We had drinks and an early supper. Then I drove to Boston, paid $20 to park, and went to Jordan Hall, only to find that the concert I'd so looked forward to had been CANCELED! WTF????!!!!

I thought this was some kind of unfunny April Fool's joke. It was not. AND, I was informed by a lady with a clipboard, that the cancellation, owing to Andsne's indisposition, had been announced earlier on Facebook and on the Celebrity Series website...she seemed to think it was my fault for not checking before I left home. (Note: I may be the only person in the world who doesn't "do" Facebook, and for this I have been punished.)

To say that I was dismayed is an understatement. Yes, I'm getting a refund, but that's not the point.

Gentle readers, please enjoy this very cheesy video of Leif Ove Andsnes playing Mozart. Despite the visual infelicities, his extremely beautiful interpretation will thrill you, I hope. Andsnes's technique and lyricism are simply gorgeous.