Saturday, November 26, 2011

Knit Something Day: the Gallery

My feet at right, shod in a fave pair of elderly sneakers. Please note that the left foot has recovered from its break and torn ligaments.

This morning's Providence Journal documented the success of yesterday's Rhode Island Coat Exchange, one of the two significant events of Buy Nothing Day, the other being, of course


The responses to my request for photos were heartening, and I share them with you here, listing the participants alphabetically by first name. My goal for next year is that even more knitters will send me photos of their KSD WIPs. In the meanwhile, perhaps you'd like to participate in the tiny poll over to the right, so we can glean something edifying from the responses. (The poll runs for a week. Many thanks!)


Deborah Newton photographed this amazing cotton doily, about which she wrote:

What will I be knitting this weekend?  Well, I am sending this picture of a doily my brother-in-law Bob found at an antique store in northern RI-- it is knitted in what appears to be sewing thread!  It's worked in 4 quadrants, with a kind of leaf motif at the center, all at a stunning gauge of about 16 sts per inch!!!

I will be trying to chart it and work a swatch of the patterns in a heavier weight yarn, but one that is still fine by knitting standards: Manos Del Uruguay's delightful SERENA, a fine gauge mix of 60% baby alpaca, 40% pima cotton.  I'll let you know how it turns out!  


From Heather Craige:

I am making a pair of thick hiking sox for my darling daughter, Toni, for Christmas. I am using a brick red shade of Encore Tweed because it can go from feet to washer to dryer to feet without special care or anxiety.


Irene  DeVerna of Eneri Knits sent along this cardigan-in-progress, saying:

I'm working on Amy Swenson's 'Watershed' pattern, which is a lacey open cardigan in Madeline Tosh Vintage (Ginger).


And who says a WIP can't be useful before it's completed? Joan Wilson provides the salient details of her gorgeous afghan:  

The Absolutely Fabulous Hand-Dyed Throw Kit by Colinette

Waterlillies #10, D. Pattern Knitted Stripes

The kit comes with eight different yarns including mohair, various wool combos, and cotton.  Bought on an over 90 degrees day in LYS for extra % off......  a totally therapeutic knit.


Judy Korgen sent along this image. If you check out the pattern book behind the toy, you can look ahead.  Judy says:

I would title it “Knitting a Giraffe with Patons Astra yarn—designer:  Sarah Keen”

It looks a little gross, but this is the order the parts are to be knitted.  I have started the head.


Neuroknitter, designer and dyer extraordinaire, sent along two photos of her latest WIPS.  She writes:

The booties are made with WEBS Franklin sock yarn, hand dyed in slate, golden pear and pine green. (I have 2 friends at work who are expecting.)  The cuff is the beginning of a sleeve of "Virgin" by Mette Handberg, the first sweater featured in Norsk Strikkedesign.  Oogyknitter and I are each making the sweater as part of our stranded knitting initiative for 2012. I decided to start a sleeve in place of doing a swatch.

Oogyknitter, Neuro's BFF and knitter extraordinaire referenced above, offered these photos of her latest endeavors. (By the way, if you want to see the prodigious creativity of both Neuro and Oogy, please check out their fascinating blogs, linked to above.)

She explains:  

I have a couple of things in the works that I can share without spilling too many beans :)

The first is a cat toy in Highland Wool yarn.  It will eventually be felted and stuffed with catnip!  I'll be making a few of these for feline holiday gifts.
The second is an Icelandic Sweater with Horses in Lottlopi yarn.  I've included a pattern picture because I've just cast on (whilst awaiting the delivery of yarn needed for actual Xmas knitting!  I shouldn't be working on it, but since my holiday knitting is on hold until the yarn arrives, I needed something to do over the next few hours/day!).


Yours truly must confess that at the moment there are more than a few ongoing projects in my basket o' yarn. These fall into different categories of workability. Some are mindless (e.g. in garter stitch), others require brain-cleansing concentration (lace). I've chosen just one for public display, socks done in the German "On Line" Supersocke Relax-Color, a self-fair isling yarn that I particularly love. It's thick, very soft, and feels great to knit because the fiber (75% wool, 25% polyamide) has undergone some kind of aloe and jojoba oil treatment.


And Stephanie Steinhaus of Unwind Yarn (in Burbank, Los Angeles!) sent this photo of her cowl, knitted from, as she reports:

Rowan Creative Focus Worsted
Stacy Charles Stella
Stacy Charles Luna
All three held together 

Isn't it elegant? You can read more about Unwind Yarn in my article "California Dreaming," out any day now in Interweave Knits Accessories December issue. It was one of the several lovely shops I visited last March in LA.

Well, dear knitters, thanks for your wonderful contributions. If there are any stragglers among you,  and you really want to send me photos of your Knit Something Day projects, please do asap and I'll post them in the near future.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's turkey time

Everywhere I look I see another one.


Narragansett Turkey (a heritage breed) #1 of Coggeshall Farm, Bristol, Rhode Island
Naragansett Turkey #2 of Coggeshall Farm, Bristol, Rhode Island

Bell & Evans, purchased yesterday at Dave's Marketplace, East Greenwich RI

in trees.

Espied today roosting in a greenhoused calamondin tree.
The Knitting Goddess has oft remarked to me that she hates holidays, much preferring ordinary life. I am beginning to understand the wisdom of this view. Why do we futz around for these events, allowing ourselves to be buffeted by the Stürm und Drang of lengthy travel, artificially-induced interpersonal dynamics, gluttony, acid reflux, and the deep boredom of chitchat with people we don't know?

The yin-and-yang of Thanksgiving at my house this year:  everyone invited has canceled at the last minute. This is providential, as the dishwasher--an almost new Bosch--died last week. Thus, all is in balance. (File for future reference in case you're contemplating the purchase of this brand. It's the second Bosch that died within weeks of purchase. The first was replaced gratis by the merchant. Stay tuned for an update after the repair-guy arrives later today.)

We are left with too much food, most of which we'll freeze. Our Thanksgiving will be minimalist, just H & moi, the turkey-craving cats, and the always-ravenous Lola who will repeatedly proffer the paw, roll over, dance unbidden in circus-dog circles, and whimper pathetically while her people serenely enjoy their repast.

Gentle knitters, thank you for reading this blog so loyally. For that I'm truly grateful. I look forward to seeing your photos of what's on the needles on Friday (send them to me!), as we celebrate Knit Something Day (November 25). May your Thanksgiving meal be tasty, and may peace be with you and your yarn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When does the life of a knitted object begin?: An Existential Query

Recently I began probing some of the deeper questions raised by knitting. For example, if you wear a knitted sock does it become animate? Or is it animate before you put it on? The sock exists, does it not? Does not the knitter of the sock transmit and transfer deep positive energy into the sock as part of the knitting process? Can we therefore consider the sock animate?

This chain of questions led me to further contemplation. For example, when does the life of any knitted object begin? Is it at the moment of conception?

And what exactly is the moment of conception? Is it defined as that time when the pattern designer has finished writing the pattern? Or as the time when the knitter has finished reading through the pattern and decided to knit the pattern? Or as the time when the yarn destined to become part of the pattern is cast onto the needle? Or as the time when the knitter begins the first row?

Or, does knitted life begin when the object is a blob of semi-differentiated cells?

And, if you should decide to undo a piece of the whole, or even the entire that a morally-defensible act?

Well, while I'm in serious mode, I wish to remind you, gentle knitters, that the day after Thanksgiving--November 25th, which is soon upon us--has three names:

To those of you who unabashedly celebrate the three C's of Black Friday--Consumerism, Capitalism, and Craziness--I hope you at least patronize your LYS or another knitting-related boutique. To those of you who, like me, enthusiastically celebrate Buy Nothing Day, besides staying away from stores, please donate a coat to your local collections center. And to those of you who celebrate Knit Something Day, please send me a photo so I can post an image of your handwork on this blog that all may admire your creativity!  We all look forward to seeing what's on everyone's needles!

Friday, November 4, 2011

By the book...

A few posts ago, I extolled Deborah Newton's newly-published Finishing School, a book that's wonderfully inspiring, readable, and filled with practical advice. Neuroknitter, my pal in New London, Connecticut, had occasion recently to follow one of Deborah's great tips (on pages 84-85 of Finishing School)--that of using small anchor buttons on the underside of a garment to firmly attach a visible button.

While using a clear plastic button to anchor the visible button is generally recommended, in some cases yarn colors are complemented by buttons that echo the yarn. On this collar, which can be worn buttoned into a turtleneck or open, the buttons create a beautiful counterpoint to the yarn which is, by the way, hand-dyed. Neuroknitter's color inspiration came from Georgia O'Keeffe's 1934 painting "Barn with Snow."

The reproduction here doesn't do O'Keeffe's colors justice; suffice it to say the dyes Neuroknitter used (ProChem's "One Shot" Chinese Red, Slate, and Mouse Grey) are fairly close to the painting. Neuroknitter used Webs's Northfield DK, a merino-alpaca-silk blend, and it took the dye beautifully.

Likewise, I found the answer to a dilemma in The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Volume Six, "Edgings," also just released. 

I've been doing a sweater for more than a year that is not just a WIP, it's a model of knitting evolution.  So, having finished the traditional parts of this cardigan--back, fronts, sleeves--and sewed it together, and inserted a belt, I decided it needed a ruffle.  Voilà!  I found my ruffle in this lovely Stitchionary, the review copy of which serendipitously arrived just last week, the only kind possible to knit from stitches picked-up along the edge.

It's the "increasing ruffle" on the left side of the page, and so far it's working out well.

The ruffle is in an interesting grey yarn, "Woodland" by Classic Elite--65% wool and 35% nettles. The nettles impart a subtle luster and silky feel.  The rest of the sweater is done in different oddballs of Noro, Lamb's Pride, Manos, and some variegated mystery worsted.