Thursday, May 30, 2013

Of Course!

 I re-prioritized my knitting queue to take full advantage of the late afternoon sunlight that streams into my front windows in the summer—so important on small gauge projects with complex knit patterns worked in dark yarn.

Putting Down Roots by Fiona Ellis knit in Rowan Felted Tweed
The very day I cast on Brewing Day, a storm moved in, and storms are in the forecast every day for the next week.

On the plus side, it sounds like the drought may be over...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Call the Midwife Season 2 Finale

It’s a funny thing, how just one thing out of place in a fictional work can throw the reader/viewer out of the fictional realm hard and fast. Even - or especially - when it’s a fictional realm that we’ve come to know and love, and that one thing out of place is on a topic that we know and love. That was the case with the final episode of Call the Midwife, season 2.

In this episode, the Sisters put elderly Sister Monica Joan to the task of knitting blanket squares, in the hopes that it will keep her mind and body occupied (and out of trouble) as the midwives go about their business serving the families of Poplar. And in a later scene, you see that two of the other midwives have been asked to take over the task, and you see then actually knitting small garter stitch squares with knitting needles.

The problem is, the resultant blanket is very clearly made up entirely of crocheted granny squares. Crochet is not knit. Knit is not crochet.

It may have been an artistic choice, given the colorful effect of granny squares across an entire blanket. But if that were the case, change the damn dialog to say “crochet”!

Okay. My rant for the morning.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring Crafting Overview

I returned recently from a delightful long weekend at Yarn School in Harveyville, Kansas.

The essentials I carried with me included a great fiber friend, her spinning wheel, and my two (yes two) spinning wheels: my Ashford Elizabeth 2 I’ve owned since the tail end of 2008, and a Kromski Polonaise, purchased just a week or two before.

It was a busy few days that included a carding class, dyeing class, spinning, and a visit to an alpaca farm.

My spinning has improved substantially, and I look forward to more improvement with the educational intensive I received there.

For one reason or another, I haven’t been able to spend more than 30 minutes a day in my craft room, and many days absolutely nothing gets touched. But I do have high hopes and intentions to get some actual sewing done very, very soon.

In the meantime, I’ve finished sewing in the base horizontal and vertical lines in my Craftsy 2012 Block of the Month quilt, which allows me to remove all the basting pins, fold it up, and store it out of the way. That’s important, because the layer cake-like craft organization scheme is appearing more and more like a landslide, and I end up wasting critical minutes and hours looking for tools, parts and pieces. Like an entire three weeks passed before I found the storage box for my sewing machine bobbins. And I kinda needed those, ya know?

While I don’t consider it to be actual sewing, I have been chipping away at my Vogue 1004 project, which is sort of a tutorial on how to adjust patterns to fit. I’ve basted the skirt, bodice and sleeves, and thus far have based the bodice to the skirt. Next up is the hem on the sleeves and skirt, but I’m setting the entire project aside for now to work on what I consider to be an actual sewing project (meaning, sewing something that I hope to wear), Vogue 8815 Misses Top.

I find that shopping for apparel fabric is incredibly difficult. I think that part of this stems from a lack of choices at the fabric store. So many fabrics seem to be intended for the quilting market, for example. As I gaze at the wall of bolts, I don’t see a shirt. I see a quilt block, a curtain, or an old lady smoking a cigarette hobbling her way in to a casino.

I don’t have this trouble with choosing paint for my home—something I know a lot of people fret about. But I think in part I realize that much fewer people will have the opportunity to judge my home interior than will have the opportunity to judge me if I step out in public wearing what is clearly a home-sewn garment in a truly odd print or fabric choice.

On the knitting front, I finally reached the point on the stockinette stitch front of the Aran Necklace Camisole where the front and back could be joined. But in following those instructions, I uncovered a buried direction on the matching back (already to the join) that I had not followed. That is, that I was supposed to slip stitch ever edge stitch on the wrong side to form a finished edge. That did not happen. As I finished the front I mulled over the problem: do I join and pretend all was done as intended; or do I reach the join point on the front, then frog the back and begin it again? I ultimately did the latter. It’s stockinette. It’s mindless knitting. And I will appreciate the finished effect. So there.

The “finished” back and front begun, taken before a tough realization.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Another Telegram from the Trenches

Three months of my spring were dedicated to knitting Erika Knight’s baby nightie for my nephew’s new wife and the couple’s first baby. Knit in Mandarin Petit cotton, I had to use #2’s to make gauge. Suffice to say, that equated to many, many hours of knitting that gift and doing little else.

There was a shower conflict (bridal, baby) and the baby had been born a month ahead of schedule, so I couldn’t pass it to her directly. Instead, I sent it home with the grandmother and texted her husband that I had done so.

No response.

Earlier this week (a month later) I received a card thanking me for the baby sweater. That sentiment was repeated this weekend in person.

Given that the sleeves are short in comparison to the body, and that there is a line of snaps at the hem, this was a very clear indicator that the young mother had not given the hand-knit item more than a cursory examination, and that it is highly unlikely it will ever be worn.


No resentment, no anger. 


And sooooo never making anything for that family again.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Telegram from the Trenches

I successfully located my apex this morning, and it’s not where Vogue indicated it would be.