November 15, 2012 § 1 Comment
For the past week, I’ve looked out the window of the coffee shop where I work and watched a beech tree strip itself, top-down, of its leaves. Winter is coming and no mistake.
It’s a month to revel in the particularly human pleasure of being proof against, which is why it’s so apt, in November, to celebrate WOOL in all its forms and uses. Even if it weren’t for WOVEMBER, I’d still be wearing wool in approximately five ways (socks, pullover, jacket, hat, scarf) every day of the month.
I’ve had two pieces of mine featured on the WOVEMBER site this past week–blog posts, both from this and the JMF blog–and I’d be criminally remiss if I didn’t call attention to them. One is about the Maryland Wool Pool, and the other is about Shearing School. It’s fantastic company to be in–I’m humbled and grateful (and proud and excited!) to be included. Thank you so much, Felix, and all my best for a warm & woolly Wovember!
August 24, 2012 § 6 Comments
It’s done, and I love it!
The cables are gorgeous, the fit is perfect– cozily one-size-too-big– and the Sabine really is shown off to its best advantage. My only complaint is that I’ve already promised this sweater to my sister for her birthday in October (and I should probably send it to her early, so that I’m not tempted to wear it any more than I already have).
Charlotte asked for long sleeves instead of 3/4 length ones, and a simple crew neck– both modifications that I’d definitely have made for myself.
The pattern’s repeated on the back, and the sleeves are left unadorned, which I like.
Of course, I’m wearing it with running shorts.
I guess if I were going to knit another that I’d work it in the round, and knit the sleeves seamlessly instead of setting them in. But, really, that’s it. I’ve also been thinking that, if you were to take out the waist shaping, this would work just as well as a man’s pattern. One more thing to add to the list, I guess.
August 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
August 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Well, I finally found the time to cast it on.
I’ve been knitting this while watching Game of Thrones, and, I’ve got to say, the plot’s just about as twisted and internecine as the cables.
Seriously, though, I was expecting to be twisting one column of stitches around another– I was NOT expecting to be cabling a cable. The chart’s just complex enough that I keep having to refer back to it, which doesn’t go well with television, and really doesn’t go well to my self-assured, never-rip-back, forge-boldly-on knitting style.
I guess it’s good, every once and a while, to knit a pattern that’s smarter than you are.
The Sabine is doing nicely– springy like a wool, but cool like a cotton– and I particularly like this forest-green colorway, Foliage. It’s fun.
August 8, 2012 § 2 Comments
Here’s a picture I took of my current knitting on the living-room floor. I’m working on a Ladybower in Black Chadwick from Louisa Harding’s Little Cake (as far as names go: the dress version of the sweater is Wightwizzle, if that gives you any idea.) Between the close fit and the way the cables undulate when stretched, this sweater’s going to be– I think– pretty sexy.
I’m already trying to keep myself from buying a pair of black jeans to match.
August 3, 2012 § 3 Comments
Juniper Moon Farm will be debuting a really fantastic yarn this fall. It’s called Herriot (yep), and it’s a DK weight alpaca yarn in 10 different natural colors (as in, undyed, straight-off-the-alpaca!). I’ve been involved in putting together the pattern book, which is another tale for several other days– one that I really can’t wait to share with you. The story of this sweater begins at the exact point when I saw this yarn, because I knew exactly what I was going to make with it.
I think a common trait among anyone who makes things is that she carries around a mental (and opportunistic) list like this one: “If I ever happen to encounter [x] sort of fabric, or wood, or yarn, or ground, I’d do [y] with it.”
My list, ever since the fall of 2009, when Kate published the pattern, had included the entry (x=slightly over 1000 yds drapey alpaca DK, y=Manu). When Herriot arrived from the mill early this spring, I knew my yarn had arrived.
As soon as the Herriot arrived, though, there was the matter of that aforementioned pattern book, so I wasn’t able to get to cast on for this sweater until June. (Not that this was a bad thing! I spent this past spring doing some really neat work that I’m really proud of, and can’t wait to show off!) Plus, I felt pretty guilty nabbing sweater quantities of a fantastic new yarn, so I waited until the not-quite-used up skeins of yarn came back from our wonderful test knitters, and then used about 10 of those already-orphaned skeins.
As soon as I was finished with my last book-related knitting project– as it happens, I was in the car on the way to TNNA with Susan– I set it down and picked up work on Manu. I’m lucky that the construction was so simple, because it made for perfect car-knitting. Things don’t get more oceans-of-stockinette than an extra-long seamless yoked cardigan with a pleated neckline– I think Kate describes it as “knitting a giant box.”
I worked the slightly-more-fiddly finishing– the pleats, puffed pockets, blousy sleeve cuffs, and the miles of i-cord trim– while on vacation (!) in Chapel Hill. I’m really, really happy with how it turned out. I know I’ll be using Herriot in the future– I’ve got other projects on my mental list that are clamoring to be made!
Yarn: Herriot in River Birch
Needles: US 5 circulars and DPNs
Timespan: June 21st – June 27th
January 27, 2012 § 9 Comments
You guys, let me show you something unbelievable.
Last night, the Plotted and Pieced Blouse (I admit: it’s my favorite piece in the collection) hit #1 on Ravelry. Never, ever, ever would I have dreamt it.
The response to my Findley Dappled book has been wildly exciting and totally incredible. I’ve spent today and yesterday being absolutely worthless– reading the wonderful comments you’ve left on the blog, counting up my ravelry hearts like a miser, going through your wonderful emails and facebook comments and tweets, and being generally verklempt & kittenheaded.
I will express myself through animal pictures.
At first, I was slack-jawed. Utterly shocked.
Then, I blushed. Powerfully. I was shy, nervous, and a little embarrassed for being as proud as I am.
Because, in my heart, I feel like this!
I have never in my life received such a heartwarming gift as this litany of positivity. People who don’t even know me– strangers!– are saying nice things about me! On the internet! I’m not being sarcastic!
And this is all the sweeter, because I know exactly how hard everyone worked to put this book together. Susan took an enormous chance on me when she asked me, back in the summer, if I’d write a book of lace patterns. Zac did all my farm chores while I sketched, swatched, and scribbled my way through the fall. I’ve promised multiple firstborns (mine. That’s probably a problem.) to my patient, long-suffering, wind-swift Test Knitters. Alison taught me how to actually write a pattern, with her red Mark-Changes pen of Technical Editing. Joel’s photographs are so beautiful that they shocked me– I had no idea my designs looked that good! And Lauria did everything (as in: EVERY. THING.) in between.
I am beyond pleased, and so happy that you all like it. I can’t wait for you to be able to start knitting– I have a feeling I’m going to be overwhelmed all over again.
This post is cross-posted from the Juniper Moon Farm blog, because, really, you should read it!
January 3, 2012 § 4 Comments
Elizabeth Zimmermann begins her Knitter’s Almanac with an Aran sweater (“a challenge,” she says, and promises “Simpler projects will follow”), and this sentence:
“Once upon a time there was an old woman who loved to knit.”
This is one of the most simple, pleasant, and memorable opening lines I know of (“an old woman’s knitting, ἄειδε θεὰ”).
Setting out to follow, this is the shape my beginning has taken:
Several Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries, the 2010 reprint of Aran Knitting, a buried sketchbook, open Ravelry page, and, of course, Knitter’s Almanac itself
(also pictured: camera battery charger, wallet, chocolate bar, US 4 circular needles, WOOL.)
The wool in question is Cormo Rusticus, a unique and one-time woolen offering from JMF (you read, didn’t you, that we’d all set some aside for ourselves?). It’s creamy, luscious, and utterly unlike anything I’ve ever knit with before. It really is exactly identical to the stuff that the sheep out there are covered in– although that’s obviously no surprise.
In lieu of reinforcing the so-often-imposed dichotomy between softness and scratchiness/sheepiness (and the perhaps concomitant moral imperative– to which I so often fall prey– to choose the sheepy and scratchy over the silk/alpaca/mass-produced-merino and soft), I won’t be telling you that this wool is “So cozy, yet so sheepy– it’s a perfect marriage!”, because I think that’s the easy way out, and that’s boring.
Really, the adjective that comes closest is creamy. It’s like the inside of a perfectly-cooked bean. Tender. With substance. Coherent. Two ticks to the smooth side of gritty. It’s perfect.
Anyway, let’s talk about cables!
And, because I am, after all, in debt to the Divine Elizabeth, I can’t not put a Fishtrap Cable on either side of the front.
There are two Sheepfold cables on the back (of course),
two Aran Braids underneath either armhole,
and two irresistably-named somethings that Barbara Walker calls Sausage Cables.
And there are two panels of Gull Stitch, flanking the 10 steek sts (I like to give myself lots of room).
If you’d like to knit along with me, I don’t think I can recommend Cormo Rusticus highly enough. I’ll be posting pretty frequently about the making of it here on my blog, so stay tuned– or, better still, knit an Aran with me!
ETA: Ravel’d here! How could I have forgotten!?
January 2, 2012 § 2 Comments
April 12, 2011 § 3 Comments
“A healthy lamb is a joy to behold. It’s bright eyed and alert. Whenever observed, it’s either nursing or sleeping. After a couple of days if lambing pen space allows, a healthy lamb may be seen playing. Single lambs often keep themselves occupied by playing ‘king of the mountain’ on mom’s back while she is lying down.”
–Laura Lawson, Managing Your Ewe and Her Newborn Lambs
photo shamelessly swiped.