Monday, July 23, 2012

New Knitter

Last week we spent a few days with cousins down in Swansea.  I was swatching, and my seventeen year old nephew watched a while and said, "that's so cool . . . can I try?".  But of course.  Poke in here, wrap around, pull it forward, slip it off.  Poke in here, wrap around, pull it forward, slip it off.

We went into Newport the next day and I grabbed a hank of Cascade 220 and a pair of size 8's at 'Knitting Needles' on Thames Street.  We also toured the Vanderbilt's Breakers Summer Home - no pictures allowed, but I tried to mentally file away every textile I saw.  (My husband got in trouble with the staff for touching too much in a do-not-touch establishment.)

When we got home I gave my nephew a knitting lesson, and off he went.  This new knitter has epilepsy, the kind where his day is interrupted with petit mal seizures*, sometimes a bunch of them, sometimes a few of them.  Many of the things we take for granted are challenging or unsafe for him - riding a bicycle, swimming, climbing busy stairs in school, crossing a city street.  All the while he glides along with tremendous grace, humor, and popularity.  His medications give his hands tremors, and he presses on like a champion,  poke in, wrap around, pull it ...forward, slip it off.

*brief spells of vacant stare and mild shaking - his needles safely stay put in his hands.

I do believe this is some of the best, most tenacious knitting I've seen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dye Time

Summertime is the perfect time for outdoor dyeing.  I set up our propane burner and get out the ole dyepot, and it's hard to stop.

The blue and the gold yarn shown here are a blend of llama and cheviot wool that comes from my brother-in-law's flock. More about his Riverbank Farm here. His fleeces are spun at MacAusland's Woollen Mill on Prince Edward Island.

The red yarn is also from my brother-in-law, but it is a bulky spun from the cheviots only.  It started creamy white and I dyed it bright red.  These mittens were knit last fall with the same.  I was hoping for a more intense red, so I overdyed the remaining wool with more red, some orange, and a splash of purple.  The purple yarn is some Bartlett I bought years ago from my neighbor (it started yellowy tan), and I've since dyed it twice.  Done now.

My husband wanted to be working in the back yard too, so he got out my Dad's rock drill* and made a favorite new home for my laundry line.  When I was a kid my Dad fed a pipe for an outdoor spigot through the back of a huge rock at our camp, so we had water coming out of a rock.  Now I have a laundry line out of a rock!

*My Dad bought the rock drill and used it a few times, but his true delight came from scheming with my husband which rocks to drill and split, and then supervising the work.

I'll be running a drop-in-and-dye demo/workshop all weekend at Fiber College in September.  Bring your bedraggled yarns that are lingering unloved in the back of the stash and I'll show you how to transform them into your new favorites!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I am working on a sweater that is knit from the top down with set-in sleeves that are knit simultaneously.  I see other folks working sleeves from the top down using short row construction after the yoke is complete, and their work looks tidy and well thought out.  Somehow, that process feels fiddly to me, and my results are a little sloppier than I care to admit.  So simultaneous it is.  I love the concept that it can actually be done.

Mathematically the armscye is really interesting.  I'm afraid I've spent more time exploring the math of the armscye than is socially acceptable.  In my head (and on my computer) I have knit several sweaters lately, ranging in sizes 30 to 52 in 2 inch increments.

This sweater is about to go under the knife.  I'm not satisfied with the transition from the saddle to the top of the sleeve cap.  It is a lace issue, not so much an armscye issue.  I am crazy about the twisty lace running down the sleeve - I call it Waves and Spray.  The lace has to be narrowed down to fit on the saddle of the smallest size - I can do a better job than what I've done here.  It does not read well currently.

The yarn: Nash Island Light in finch.  Oh my Stars.  New England wool with grip, but no chaffe.  It is the drape and texture that I search for in a knitted fabric. 

On my ipod: Marly Bird's podcasts.  Thank you Marly for making my time on the treadmill fly by.  Your interviews are engaging and upbeat, and you motivate me to get moving.  Not sure how I'll cope when I run out of podcasts ...

To be clear, I was not wearing the one-armed unfinished woolen sweater while on the treadmill in July.

So I have a question: what armhole style works best for you and why?  What do you not want in an armhole? (besides say, a leg).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Our local parade is always a joy to watch, especially on a beautiful day.

My boys

If ever you're in the Town of Wolfeboro on a Wednesday night in the Summer, the Cate Park Band plays from 7 pm until 9.  Bring a chair and enjoy a cool breeze off the Lake, a fantastic vanilla soft serve from The Dockside, and a big band having a good ole time in the gazebo (they're having trouble squeezing the growing band into the gazebo - it has become a popular pastime).

Another not-to-be-missed place in Wolfeboro is the Wright Museum, a collection of World War II artifacts including letters, homefront living items, uniforms for folks at home and soldiers, some knitted items and references to the role knitting played, posters and photos, and a huge fleet of working vehicles.  The parade always runs a few of them.

Here in New Hampshire we have the opportunity to meet our Presidential candidates in person.  I have taken advantage of this privilege many times.  Today I didn't even have to go out of my way.  Well Hello! 

The guys with the curly wires behind their ears - I wonder if they're ever able to relax.  I'm surely not cut out for their work.