Mittens, and hats, and even huggable bunny toys…these are all well and good. Accomplishments even. What separates the little girls from the Grown Ass Women? The real knitters from the dabblers? The bad asses from the run of the mill jackasses?
I will tell you: knitting an actual piece of clothing, a wearable piece of clothing. And today, I join that Grown Ass Women’s Knitting club. Someone needs to knight me with a pair of straight needles – barring that, I think I’ll just have a glass of champagne and snuggle with my dog.
For many years, I’ve tried and failed, in some cases spectacularly. I spent a weekend with a friend in Bloomington, Indiana (our menfolk were there separately on a bachelor party), knitting away on a cardigan, only to reveal that I apparently made a cardigan for a two-year old. I’ve also made sweater parts, only to fail in the grafting/sewing stage, and then ripped apart the work in deep and abiding frustration.
So what did I accomplish? An actually pretty gorgeous cardigan from Berrocco (although I did not use their yarn) called Aidez. It’s slightly long, mid-butt length, with long sleeves, no buttons, a semi-cowled-ish collar, and utterly awesome cables and mini-patterns. Ear of corn, trellis and cable patterns made this challenging but also supremely fun. The front panels have the ear of corn pattern, easy but very pretty in 8 rows, and the sleeves have sort of a variation on that theme in the seeded wishbone pattern. I can see myself repeating this for something else, a blanket maybe? The trickiest pattern was called simply the Left and Right Cross- Stitch Cable. You had to wrap the stitches twice around to create the cable, and drop them in the following RS row. Once I got the handle of it, it was fairly straightforward, but I guess I was expecting more from a all the work required of that cable pattern, hrm. It just kind of looked like a regular old cable. As Eddie Murphy said, “These are just some regular old crackers.” I couldn’t find the Berrocco in a light oatmeal color as the pattern indicated but I found something similar, soft and off-white. The only challenge with this yarn was that it was a little fuzzy. But dang – over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I made this Grown Ass Woman’s sweater.
And huge hat tip to the lady who is responsible for the (apparently short lived but loved by me) Grown Ass Women’s Club, and always good to review her definition of Grown Ass Women. Take note, all you women under 35. Haters gonna hate. Grown Ass Women stand tall.
I’ll refrain from mentioning the Tyler the Creator song, and also the Fred Astaire song, because I don’t like either of them. But I do like the hi hat, and I made a high hat. More importantly, I made a pattern that is on the COVER of a pattern book! The pattern was done in pink, and on this adorable child on the front cover, it’s super cute. I found similar yarn to hand jive, which is yarn that’s thick and thin in different spots – the only other pattern I’ve seen that calls for this yarn is Ysolda Teague’s Urchin pattern, which is also a good one. But I made mine – two different ones in slightly different sizes for my nephew (Griffin, age 8 and Thea, age 3).
Of course I neglected to actually bring these to Christmas, and they’re still sitting here in our apartment. As I look at these, in a nice creamy white, soft, unusual yarn, I am proud…and then scared. Jesus, are these big wizard hats? They look a little Saurumon, but wait – maybe they’re Gandalf? Ok…ok…Gandalf the Good, Gandalf the Gray. Whew, catastrophe averted.
Man, what’s cuter than babies at Christmas? Nothing. What’s creepier than naked Santas in a Finnish nightmare about the legend of Santa Claus, aka Rare Exports?
Me, crazy old lady, the only non-breeder in Park Slope, knitting things for my friends adorable childrens.
Hopefully I’m not as creepy as him. Actually he’s not even Santa. But watch the movie, it’s adorably creepy and very Spielbergian. In the best way possible.
In any case, I found a great pattern that inspired me to knit for the babies Ryan, Jackson, Barrett and Jacob. Best thing about knitting for babies? It takes about 2 seconds, or one long flight across the country or to another country (except eastern Canada). Actually, I take that back…I might have completed one to and from Toronto.
How cute did this turn out? I got the yarn at Seaport, using hand dyed Malabrigo Silky Merino in Natural and Ravelry Red. I doubled the yarn to get the best effect and it worked great (I used size 7 round and DPNs as well). Cute as pie and fun. Will post some photos of the kids wearing them; the pattern comes in several sizes for several size baby craniums.
“Badly done, Emma!” I have been a poor blogger these many months, but since it is the end of the year, and the last time I updated this blog was roughly a year ago, it seems good to recap the knittings etc.
A new job, with global responsibilities (and thus long plane flights – so far no one has restricted knitting needles, even the Ukraine) has taken a bite out of knitting, but oddly enough, not as much as the last job. If I could find a one-word theme for knitting in 2011, it was “chunky”. Pretty much goes for me too, but mostly on the yarn side.
Why do I like this yarn? It’s intensely satisfying to knit up – so fast, so easy, I actually don’t mind knitting with big needles (all the way up to 19). It’s usually on the softer side, it’s cozy, and I don’t see it as being more expensive per gram or hank or anything (although I don’t do much math when it comes to purchasing). The downside: everything I knit sucks as a finished product, exceptions being scarves, some kinds of hats, and blankets. I would like to graduate beyond that, but if I had a second theme for 2011, it would be the unraveling of finished projects that never went anywhere, that is, projects I either never wore myself or didn’t think worthy to gift to another person. Even now, looking at the posts from 2010 here, I have been in love with super bulky yarn for a long time. First was buying Twinkle‘s books and then her yarn, and I did graduate a bit to bulk/super bulky in Lion Brand Yarn after they opened a cool NYC showroom. I highly recommend shopping there, by the by.
My 2012 knitting resolution: divorce yourself from super bulky! Be not tempted by the quick and easy path! To the dark side! Sorry, it’s Christmastime and my darling husband is out, so I’m watching Star Wars while knitting and drinking. And, as Jane Austen said, “I am afraid that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.”
In no particular order, the next couple of posts will feature highlights of my Chunky year. And thus, my path to learning finished objects that are *not* chunky begins…you must unlearn what you have learned:
I came home from a long day’s work to find my fabulous husband not only cleaned our house (and took out the trash), but bought a Christmas tree, decorated it, and strung lights on our non-working fireplace. He is a prince among men, truly. So it’s fitting that I finished the hat that I did tonight, as we watch Avatar on our tv under the glow of multicolored lights and the afterglow of Zinfandel. I completed my 1897 cap.
I say the 1897 cap because it is reminiscent of this very cool version of Twas the Night Before Christmas that my parents always read me on Christmas Eve. I can’t find the illustration, but the “mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap…” had this old guy with a long, trippy cap and an actual nightgown.
Unfortunately for me, I was trying to make a beret. On Ravelry, I found this cool All Day Beret pattern, and the left and right diagonal stitches are quite nice. I cast on 54 stitches (you need a multiple of 4 for the pattern), and while that was fine from a gauge perspective, I didn’t use the larger needles once I finished the ribbed brim, and thus it never really ballooned out quite the way a beret should.
So, next time I’m going to increase the brim to 58, and way increase the beginning of the actual hat, like to maybe 80 or something. By the by, I’m using a lovely Plymouth Yarn called Paca Tweed in color #100. It’s sort of an oatmeal color with flecks of charcoal and caramel. I doubled the yarn to get gauge and it was still pretty soft. Greg is nicely modeling it in this photo here, he liked it even though it was an 1897 hat vs. the expected beret.
I just got a promotion, is all! And my workload blew up. And, I got engaged to the most fabulous man of all time. So, I’ve been working harder than a one armed paper hanger. And I bought a weekend house. So shit’s been cra-zy. The nice part is that when I’m up at my house (in Barryville, NY – the southwest corner of the Catskill mountains) it’s all knitting all the time. There’s vodka, a fireplace, wild turkeys and not much else.
Here’s a photo of our lovely upstate abode. I met the builder and saw the bones of the house in January, and closed June 1. All in all, a relatively painless process and it’s been incredibly fun since then. It’s small, but with an open floor plan design and tons of windows that really let the outdoors in, it feels huge.
Greg is up there with a bunch of dudes this weekend, which is why I’ve got a free pass here at home, watching Jane Austen movies and drinking sparkling shiraz by myself. Think the dudes are having a good time. No bears just yet, but they’re killing lots of zombies in Left 4 Dead, which is my new favorite Xbox game.
I’ve started the Concetta cardigan, which is an awesomely simple, well-designed shaped cardigan. Two big buttons, slighly belled sleeves and a funnel neck give it a really modern shape, and I re-allocated an ill-devised plan for a wrap sweater’s yarn supply to make it happen; it’s a nice Berroco wool (Peruvia) in a pretty green called Peat Moss. Sounds very Wuthering Heights, which I guess the sweater is too.
So, achingly close to completing Cloud Bolero I ran out of fricking yarn. I had bought a boatload of Debbie Bliss alpaca silk, lovely stuff, in a couple of colors. One was “denim”, a gorgeous light navy. Ran out of it. Local yarn shops, like Stitch Therapy here in Park Slope, offered advice on replacement yarn but had no Debbie. Knit NY on 14th street in the city, no dice. Called several others…apparently no one ordered more DB alpaca silk, and no one had that color left. Enter the wonders of the introwebs, where I was able to buy two skeins of the exact yarn needed from Seaport Yarns (apparently their last two!). Came quickly, packaged well and I was able to finish Cloud Bolero yesterday. Or so I thought…again inching toward completion, literally maybe 4 picot edges left to do I run out of it AGAIN! So I spied a lonely sock I never completed the partner for and cut it up (it was partially knit wit the same yarn I’ve been using). Eh voila!
This is the first time I’ve used the picot edging. While Ysolda’s pattern instructions on picot were pretty straightforward, I found some nice visuals and more explicit instruction in Knitty’s archives:
And so, I have a finished product I am proud of. I need a little fancines, either ribbon or a cool brooch to bring it all together but it’s a nice finished object. Especially needed after my Briar Rose Disaster. Wee!
Also, it’s a gloomy, wintry morning in Brooklyn. I’m knitting, drinking tea and watching Chinatown. This movie is amazing.