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!
November 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Well, it’s been a while since I showed you what I’ve been knitting on.
And for my friend Ben, I worked on a pair of mittens from a pattern book from the 1940′s, provided scanned by the V&A (WWII era; Essentials for the Forces). I guess this comes as no surprise, but I took them for a test drive (well, bike-ride) in the cold the other night, and was very impressed with how warm they were. Hands are still pretty much the same, 60 years later.
October 29, 2012 § 6 Comments
Okay, first things first: I had a great time visiting my parents this weekend.
We went to SAFF and had a really wonderful time. I– perhaps disingenuously– told them that it was “more of an animal show,” which meant that when we talked in to the main building,
I thought, Man, I should not have come to this one.
- My Dad
I mean, if you’ve been to fiber festivals, you know. It was funny (to me) to hear them exclaim over the size of it:
“I had no idea there were so many people who are in to this sort of stuff!”
“Well, the Maryland one was even bigger, and I’ve heard that the New York one is even bigger than that.”
Since I’m going through some sheep withdrawal, I really did mostly want to see the animals. They were showing when we walking into the barn, which was so, so adorable to watch:
The little Shetlands and little children having broken the ice, we went inside to walk around to look at everything for sale.
It was like going to a boat show or something. It’s very obvious what everything is, but, on the other hand, there’s a specialized and specific vocabulary for everything– it was hard to know what to say to people. You know, ‘Nice… boat-thing?’ ‘Nice… yarn?’
- My Mom
It was so nice to see a friend, and get to talk for a while. I hadn’t even thought about the possibility of running in to someone I knew, so seeing her was a really wonderful surprise.
You can see that I’m wearing my Cormo Rusticus.
I did go home with a little yarn– enough Corriedale from Sue Bundy of Solitude Wool– basically, the two women who run this are the stateside Sue Blacker, and I can’t say enough good thing about them– to make a sweater for a friend of mine who (I hear) has nearly worn his first sweater out.
And my parents?
By the end, once I saw how everything fit together? I got in to it. I was glad to get to see it all.
So that makes it a success all around.
October 10, 2012 § 6 Comments
I’m not sure how it happened, once I finished my self-assigned interminable sock knitting, that I immediately turned around and started knitting more socks.
Because that’s exactly what’s happened.
These are even Nancy Bushes– they’re the Estonian Socks from Folk Socks (a 1994 classic that was just re-released last year). I’m working in Shepherd Sock, which I’ve never used before. I’m coming to terms with the superwash merino & nylon content.
Namely: is the environmental effect of eschewing superwash wool really worth it if the socks you make wear out in less than a year?
Anyway, it’s fun colorwork & a fun pattern, and I have less than two weeks to make the pair (and on US sz. 0 needles!).
October 3, 2012 § 4 Comments
Nevermind all that I said about spending time sewing this month. I’m knitting something so cartoonishly knitterly that I feel like a look-at-how-kooky-this-girl-is sitcom actress:
CAROLINE sits down at the café table across from NIC, pulls a fuzzy pink half-knit mitten from her bag, and begins working.
CAROLINE: So, how was the show last night?
I mean, this actually is what I did on Saturday afternoon.
Anyway, I’ve stumbled into a newfound but very real love for angora. I haven’t ever worked with it, since it always seemed to be too much for me. It’s not my taste. But I think the qualities I used to find so jarring– it is undeniably fuzzy– are now maybe what draw me to it. Angora cannot be ignored. It does not apologize for itself.
I will leave you with this shocking thought: I’m thinking a good bit about a day-of-the-week set of angora-lined pulse warmers. Lord have mercy.
September 27, 2012 § 5 Comments
Because I was (and still am) pretty excited about ombré effects in knitting, I was particularly drawn to the unique way that Bohus knitting uses texture to help blend and incorporate color (in short: sometimes there are purls). But I didn’t want the colorplay to dominate the entire garment, so, for Cora I left it as a yoke detail.
This croqi reminds you of Selma Blair’s character in Legally Blonde, right? Severe black bob, an even severer expression– somewhere between petulant and pugnacious.
Anyway I opened up my copy of Poems of Color, which was a Christmas gift from my parents, and swatched around.
This is what I came up with.
photo © Caro Sheridan
Anyway, this is me. I’m wearing my most beautiful wool pants and a nice wool fedora (despite my fears) from Rag & Bone’s Fall 2011 collection (this is the one thing I bought when we went to San Francisco back in January– it was even more expensive than my emergency-room visit! (turns out, I had an ulcer!))
photo © Caro Sheridan
I’ll be the first to say that this design doesn’t even come close to approaching the level of intricacy and precise blur for which the original Bohus Stickning garments are so rightly famous. This is an approximation– a taste, I guess, of what’s possible.
September 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’m having so much fun with these.
Back in early July, my friend Maggie came to visit and casually let it slip that she’d just visited our friend Jay, and that the socks I’d knit him had seen better days (actually, verbatim: “So, I’m supposed to mention to you in a sort of an offhand way that they’re super worn-out, and that maybe you could just make another pair, if you have the time.”).
With that in the back of my mind, I went down to my old-but-new-again LYS last week, in search of something suitable. Lorna’s makes a spot-on Carolina Blue, it turns out (and exclusively for Yarns Etc!), but businesslike, it’s not.
I went with a yarn I’d never used before– Online Supersocke Silk in a granite-like gunmetal grey color. Online, a German yarn company (Ganze Banderole auf Deutsch? Absolutely.), is distributed by JMF’s distributor, so that extra familiarity made it all the nicer. The silk content– 20%– really made the slipped stitches shine, and gives (I think) an attractive look of precision & exactitude to the whole thing. You can tell that these don’t have any mistakes in them.
The pattern, aside from the skyp stitch, is a pretty uncomplicated one, but it’s very popular (also, it’s free! Thank you, Adrienne!). The herringbone running down the center of the ribs is really unusual, but looks especially great, I think, with this yarn.
I’m flying through these, so, soon!
September 19, 2012 § 3 Comments
I’ve been working on this since last year– November 20, 2011– but things have ground to a stop.
This pattern, Kate Davies’ Funchal Moebius, is graphic, striking, and a simple knit. Since it was released last year during Wovember, I decided that I’d use my own fingering-weight handspun to make it– the gold is some Corriedale that came with my spinning wheel, and the white is Tunis from Infinity Farm in Cedar Grove, NC (I wrote about going fishing there, a few years ago).
However, therein lies the problem: I’ve done 4 pattern repeats out of 14, and I’ve run out of the Corriedale yarn. I sure can’t buy anything like it.
I’ve got plenty of roving, luckily, but it’ll be a challenge to replicate yarn I spun 2 years ago. We’ll see how it goes.
September 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’ve talked a bit about how very proud I am of the work that I did with Pamela Wynne on the Juniper Moon Farm Herriot collection, but also I wanted to take the time to talk here about the genesis of my designs. It’s fun to tell a story.
After swapping our inspiration photos and outlining how we wanted to organize the collection, we decided to go ahead and make our sketches. It’s incredibly nerve-wracking, let me tell you, to casually send over a sketch (or seven) to someone whose work I admire as much as I do Pam’s. Especially since my fashion illustration (ahem) leaves a little to be desired (Truly. Susan was giving a trunk show out West, and the shop owner said something like, “Wow, if we’d seen from her sketches that these garments would look this good, we’d have been even more excited about the Herriot collection!” So, well, maybe I’m not anything as blunt as a bad drawer, but I’m certainly an inexact visual communicator.).
(I learned wisp-hands, by the way, from the illustrations for the terribly-embarrassing-moments section of Seventeen– illustrated girls without fingers were always, you know, walking into the boys’ locker room or dropping tampons in public or something.)
So, that turned into the Egbertine Hat. You can see that I scrapped the tassels, as well as the two-color garter st border. Why complicate matters?
I didn’t know whether to be proud about the fact that I wasn’t the only one with ombré beanies on the brain this summer. I can’t really be sad about being outshone by BT Fall. I mean, goodness gracious.
photo © Caro Sheridan
The Egbertine Cowl is one of my favorite pieces in the collection. It’s simple, attractive, as easy to knit as it gets, pleasantly weighty, and the softest thing in the world. But the best part is that it’s a honest-to-goodness pantoum.
The pattern runs from black to white and back around, continually recontextualizing each of the ten colors in relation to the others. The interactions of color are subtler (but therefore, to me, more exciting) because we’re working with a specifically limited color palette– only natural shades. These ten colors and their gorgeous interplay will show up again, in Margaret.
photo © Caro Sheridan
Until then, enjoy, y’all, and deeply ponder how wonderful it is that a longish cowl is also a visual representation of a poetic form.
September 12, 2012 § 8 Comments
It is a fact commonly acknowledged that, when under duress, knitters turn to their knitting. It’s how we cope. Life may be tumultuous, but it helps us to maintain complete control over something, and work at it one stitch at a time. It’s also apotropaic– a way to keep hard times at bay, and, well, it’s a verb for keeping warm. I am no different from any other knitter– except maybe that I’m so dependent on my knitting that the real warning sign is when I’m not knitting. That means trouble.
Anyway, since I’ve just moved and changed jobs, I’ve been redirecting my nervous energy into a sweater that I started at the beginning of the year:
I’m very, very proud of how it’s turning out. There are lots of little clevernesses in the construction that I can’t wait to show off, the fit’s pretty perfect, and the yarn, of course, is one of a kind.