Posts Tagged ‘jane’

Unbroken bough

April 16, 2014

I’ve wanted for a long time to actually knit with Shelter from BrooklynTweed.  It’s my kind of yarn for a certain kind of knitting.  It’s ~ sheepy.  Some call it a little “crunchy.”  I don’t judge wool by its softness.  I find that an utterly subjective yardstick that’s rarely relevant in my world: I’m able to wear any kind of wool next to skin.

BrooklynTweed Shelter ~ Tent

BrooklynTweed Shelter ~ Tent

That said, I’m also stuck in the realm of accessory knitting for the present.  Too much happening around this Owl’s nest to dream of executing a garment.  And with a lot of my time spent at a construction site, I needed a second really warm hat since I kept misplacing my favorite Rosebud.

It was high time to pull out some Shelter in the colorway Tent (somewhere between the 1st and 2nd photos) and get it on the needles.  But which needles?  Frankly, I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time swatching for a hat.  I did the next best thing: I asked Jane about her experience with Shelter.  She indicated that it did relax with a bath, so she suggested that a US 7 needle and I’d be off and running.

I knew the pattern I wanted to make was Leila Raabe’s Bough.  Cables and texture for a nice woolly yarn, sure to keep my ears warm.  I did

Bough hat blocking

Bough hat blocking

spend some significant time searching the “Helpful notes” on the projects in Ravelry.  Several people indicated the hat was very large.  I do have a large noggin and a lot of hair.  But if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a hat that won’t. stay. on.  Hmmmm.   Time for some fiddling.

Some knitters indicated trouble with Shelter and breakage.  I had experienced that with Shelter’s skinny sister, Loft, but I knew how to work around that, cables or no cables.  (And no, I do not use a cable needle, just some nice slick Addi Turbo Rockets.)

Frankly, it worked up like a dream.  I used the Magic Loop technique and experienced neither breakage nor laddering.  The yarn performed perfectly.

Pattern:  Bough Cabled Hat & Cowl Set by Leila Raabe

Yarn:  1 sk BrooklynTweed Shelter in Tent ~ about 4 yards left without making pompom

Modifications:  C/O 91 stitches, then increased to 105.  Also added one row to the end of the pattern, using k2tog or p2tog as needed to close the hat more, as I did not intend to add a pompom.

See the tree?  Bough?  Get it?

See the tree? Bough? Get it?

Unblocked: Ribbing unstretched measured 15 inches

Blocked:  After soaking in lukewarm water and drying over an inverted vase (as you see here), ribbing relaxed to 19 inches unstretched.

Project marriage: 10  These were indeed made for each other.

Daisy chain

January 8, 2014

I am blessed to know fantastic women.  Smart women.  Funny women.  Talented women.  Above all, generous women.

I don’t know all of them as well as I would like.  In some cases, I simply know they are wonderful.

This story starts with L.  We have moved in parallel circles for many years, but we are barely acquainted.  Nonetheless, her recent cancer diagnosis caused me great sadness.  Word that she was leaving nothing to time and toxic medication, and instead, shaving her head clean of her long dark hair added to the shock.  I wanted to do something for this woman I hardly know, but it needed to be something worth doing.

Which brings me to Jane.  She is one of those very special women.  Being around Jane is like finding instant calm ~ instant transportation to a warm hearth somewhere you’ve not been to, but know you like very much to sit ’round.  Jane fought cancer and won.  She is comfortable discussing it on her blog and with others.  So I asked her, “What can I make?  What did you get, or wish you had, that made things one bit better?”

Jane told me of a cashmere cap knitted for her by Jennifer.  “It’s something no one thinks of – when you go to sleep at night, your head is exposed, and it’s cold.  I wore it to sleep, and around the house.  I still wear it.”  That cashmere hat is one of Jane’s most prized possessions, made for her with love from one of nature’s warmest and softest fibers by the hands of a friend who dyed it, too.

Of course, there was perfect symmetry in Jennifer having made it.  My good friend always overwhelms me by simply thinking of me, not to mention the unexpected gestures, big and small, that come my way from her Virginia home where Spirit Trail Fiberworks is located.  She does this while managing her business and raising two outstanding young people.  (Small wonder I stay up into the owl hours to finish booth samples for her.)

So I knew what to make.  Next, what yarn to use?

A harder question than it might seem, given that there are many colors one would not choose for a person who is not well.  Of course, one of the advantages of having a *cough cough* virtual yarn shop in your

Great Northern Yarns Chamonix - mink + cashmere

Great Northern Yarns Chamonix – mink + cashmere

house is that there’s plenty to shop from.  Which is where Luann comes in.  The skein of Great Northern Yarn Chamonix (color is true in project photo, not skein) was my “sherpa reward” for driving some of her stash to the Knitter’s Review Retreat last year.  Using yarn from the older sister I never had whose life and mine have been intertwined in more ways than coincidence could explain just fit.

Daisy Hat

Daisy Hat

The pattern marriage was simple: Daisy Hat by Irina Dmitrieva.  The pattern is written for a worsted-weight yarn on small needles.  I was knitting for a not-petite person, but one with no hair.  A head with no hair is far smaller than one with hair.

So I improvised.

Crowning the daisy chain

Crowning the daisy chain

The Chamonix – 70% mink, 30% cashmere – lacked much of anything in the way of natural elasticity.  It is a DK weight.  So I made the large size using this finer yarn and took the needles down to a US 1 and US 2 Addi Turbo.  It pretty much knitted itself while I got out of the way.  And after a bath, it softened and fluffed up just like Clara said it would.

Within a week of receiving her hat, L. was wearing it to work.  In addition to the most lovely note, she called me.  She talked about how good it felt.  The Yarn Goddess apparently smiled on the endeavor: my improvisation fit as if it was bespoken.

STF Elysium 100% cashmere in Ruby

STF Elysium 100% cashmere in Ruby

I asked if she’d like another.

It’ll be finished in the next day or so.

All because I know fantastic women.

Secret Squares

February 7, 2012

Updated 2/10 to add FO pix

Sometimes it’s soooooooooo hard to sit on a secret.

Ask more than 100 knitters to sit on a secret and, well, somebody’s sure to spill the beans, right?

NOPE.

With the recent arrival of HappyStasher’s darling twins, now, it can be told.

Secret Square No. 1

It started on a Thursday night in November with this.

A square of garter stitch.  Actually, two of them.  Executed by the two fastest garter knitters I know, Jane and Bullwinkle.  They cast on with the first course, and by the time the guest speaker was finished, so were the base squares.  Let’s call them Secret Squares, shall we?

It looks kind of like a tangled mess of needles on the table, no?

Yep.

But there is a method to the madness.

Follow those fingers!

Four skeins of yarn, four circular needles, four knitters and a boatload of good wishes.  It makes for a lot of intimacy with your fellow knitters at the beginning, loads of laughs, some occasional tangles, weird kinks in the back, and more fun than a game of

In slow motion ...

Twister!  (I think I just dated myself.  Oops.)

Okay, slowing it all down … each knitter has one circular needle and only knits the same row ~ but four skeins of yarn (Briar Rose Fourth of July) travel around the square.  So instead of the knitters moving, the yarn moves in a spiral around the base square.

Secret Square courtesy Amarula

After a weekend of knitting, each blanket has been touched by roughly one hundred aunties and an uncle, some new knitters, some very wise and experienced, still others Knitting Royalty.  A stitch might be twisted here or there, but every stitch carries the love of someone who was wishing our dear HappyStasher well, and missing her at the Knitters Review Retreat.

FO photo courtesy Amarula

The box carrying them arrived at its destination a few days ago.

It’s time she knew the story, and how much she is loved by those who sent her two blue-green woolen baby blankets as our long-distance hugs for her darling bebes.


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