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Suprised during Repairwork

This week I got a chance to mend a beautifully knit cardigan.  The style was complex,  there were several different sorts of fiber and many colors of ecru.  The finishing work was loverly.

So the problem was that the neckline on this oatmeal-colored DK wool cardigan was a scoop front.  To finish it off, instead of a “standard ” ribbing, they had made this wonderful pleated ruffle with another lace-weight color of ecru.  To attach it, there had obviously been live stitched picked up off of the DK body.  And now, the three inches or so of the right front lace had separated from the boy of the sweater.

It was a sensitive repair.  Because of the way the lace would fall when the sweater was hooked shut  it was probable that the inside of the seam would show at times. I needed to graft live stitches, using the best match for yarn I could find.  And all this would be happening on the right front of a scoop neck – just where the cleavage might be, and where a languid hand might be poised during a coquettish moment.

Well, it seemed a bit much to charge the customer for an entire ball of yarn, so I went to my stash to find a match.  Look!  There was a  possible suspect in a swatch I had made for another purpose a few years ago.  Great!  No need to dig any further.

After picking up all the stray stitches on both sides, I decided not to do a graft, but to simply bind off the lace stitches, then sew them to the body as a general seam.  Wow, was I happy with the results!  Looking good!

As I was admiring the rest of the sweater for possible holes or seaming needed, I was really enamored of the workmanship. It had a princess seamline, knit in and not sewn in later.  It had pleats around the bottom put in a slipstitches.  I thought, “Wow!  this is really an heirloom caliber job!”

Then I noticed the commercial labels sewn into the back collar – Size S, Made in China.  Well, handmade for sure.  And no slouch either.

Gloves as Cat Toy

After years of sitting on my lap while I knit, my 10-year-old cat is pretty jaded about yarn passing by his paws.  Or passing over his back, or under his tail.  So, I’m surprised to find a new, really effective cat toy… the unfinished knitted glove.

Here’s my recipe so that you can do this at home:

1)  Knit the bottom part of a glove – up to the part where the pattern divides for the knuckles.

2) Knit the index finger.

3) Wrap and tie off the index finger, leaving a 18″ tail.

4) Try on the glove  and check for the fit of the index finger.  Flip the yarn tail in front of the cat.

If it works for my cat, it should work for any feline.  Let me know if it doesn’t – I’ll give you your money back!

TV Knitting

Last night I was watching the Golden Globes to look at all the dresses.  Not a one was knit!  Which seems very backwards to me, since they are all out to reveal as much as possible and still get on TV.  You can do so much of that with lace…  But there weren’t even wraps!  Which again seems counter-intuitive, because it was drizzling.

Then I stayed up to watch “The Pursuit of Happyness“.  What a great movie!  I cried and screeched “No!” several times.  It was Sunday, so no Craig Ferguson was available.

Needless to say, I got a lot of knitting done.  I finished, washed and blocked the unfelted version of my In N Out Mittens, included as a pattern on this blog.  I am really happy with them.  I cannot say enough great things about this yarn.  I hope to include a photo soon.

And I worked on the black cardigan a while, like a good girl.

Then, as the clock struck midnight, I cast on for the Knitted Purls KAL.  Can’t start before January 18th!  This game is to use the wonderful colors and variety of sock yarn, which many of us have stockpiled, to make something besides socks.  I ripped out a half-done pair of socks for this – I love this color for a lace glove.  The bamboo in the yarn gives a really nice sheen, which looks gun-metal silver in this black/spruce green/red yarn.  The colorway is “Cardinals in the Pines”, and that is exactly what it looks like – deep winter woods with flashes of red.  Should be very sultry made up in this way.

I am going with a glove pattern from an internet friend of mine “Ms. Create” called “Plumes”.  It’s great of her to share her ideas.

Ravelympics

I signed up for a Ravelympics team today!  I thought this was a lot of fun in 2008.  I had challenged myself to do 8 different market bags, and got 4 done.  This time I want to do one really big one – big enough for my trombone mutes.  I am planning Medano Beach by Heidi Kirrmaier.  I will use stash yarn made from hemp and cotton.  I have 4 colors, and I know the stripes will be randomized, not regular like the pattern photo. 

The game is to cast on a project during the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, and have it done by the Closing Ceremonies.  My family thought I was crazy last time, but I really did get a lot done.  But I must have the black cardigan finished by then.  And I am in the pit orchestra for a local production of Annie, opening 2/18. 

Anyway, that’s the plan.

Library Knitting

I had some free time yesterday and wanted to work on my unfelted In N Out mittens.  I was unsure whether I might have to buy another ball of the red color to finish.  So I did not want to drive all the way home and then possibly have to return to the area if I really did have to buy another ball.  And I did not want to knit in the store or in a Starbucks, due to the temptation to spend money.  So I decided to go to the local branch library.

I found a really comfy spot, with sunlight streaming over my shoulders.  As I started to knit I was humming John Denver songs.  It was intriguing to listen to the buzz of activity all around me.

It was a busy place!  I had no idea that so many elderly gentlemen came to read the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.  Over there was a mom and daughter, apparently both in the same community college course for certified nursing assistant training.  And the computer bay!

The librarians were not ever asked about books, it was all computer trouble-shooting and training.  They were doing a great job!  And very busy!  Teaching this guy how to use a mouse, and that one how to set up formulas in Excel, and defending their entire computer network to another guy who insisted that it was making his email crash…  Wow, has their job description changed!

OK, so back to the knitting.  Anyway, I have generally found that chairs that feel good to read in while sitting straight up, generally feel good to knit in.  But not these chairs.  I know that the knitting public was not in their minds when they decorated the space, and I would not expect that.  It was just interesting to me to find this mix of chairs that suddenly were for one purpose only.  So I could only knit for an hour there.

And the mittens?  I don’t think I’ll buy another ball of yarn.  What I have will be just fine, and I think pretty as well.  I hope to have the unfelted version pattern to post soon.  But, it may not have any photos embedded in the pattern unless I can find a working camera somewhere…

I Wants M’Own Pair

I finished the In N Out Mittens for my husband, using the same yarn as his hat so that they would match.  But I saw some yarn in another local yarn shop, A Knitted Peace, that has tweedy flecks in it that I was actually dreaming about.  I mean, it was showing up in my dreams!

This yarn is Queensland Kathmandu, and the color I like so much is the dark red color they call Brick Red.  It calls itself an Aran yarn, but if it is, its a pretty light weight.  Really, I would call it a plain old 2-ply worsted.  I will make a pair of In N Out Mittens for me, and size out the pattern for non-felting.  I am aready done with one mitten.  I added another color, Steel, so that I could illustrate how the egress flap works better.  Plus, it looks pretty good.

How does this square with my deadline for Valentine’s Day for the black cardigan?  Well….

Knitting in Black

I promised a friend a knitted item as a payment for a painting she was exhibiting.  I thought she could use a pair of mittens or perhaps a market bag.  But what she wanted was a very specific kind of shawl-collared cardigan!

Trouble is, she wants  it in black, for fancy things.  And sparkley too.  Oh dear!  I don’t know about you, but I find black projects hard to work on, in general.  Especially in the winter when so much of the knitting time needs to be in electrified room light.  But here goes!

Found some mill end knubby cotton/rayon mix that she likes.  And the price is really right.  I plan to use the pattern from Custom Knits  by Wendy Bernard called Indigo Playmate Sweater.  The deadline is Valentine’s Day.  Here goes!