As I noted before, life around here is about to get REALLY interesting. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to post much over the next two weeks. Complications have arisen in the house rehab/move cycle and in our family schedule. We have to take down our main machines tonight or tomorrow, so I’ll be relying on an unreliable laptop for the near future. Plus once we head over to the new house it’s not entirely clear that we’ll have electricity and/or connectivity right away; and once we do there’s the minor problem of getting everything hooked back up again. Although things seem to be taking forever, progress is being made on many fronts. I hope…
In the mean time, I’ll report on some TANGIBLE knitting progress:
It’s done!? All shrunken, stuffed, and sewn. I had put it on temporary hold until I could retrieve the pillow form I knew was lurking in the storage cubby (it’s the one that used to stuff The Smallest One’s crib pillow, the target child for this effort). Form retrieved, pillow done. I’m even pleased with the from-memory color match to her comforter and sheets.
It’s not much, but there’s not much time to work on anything, so please bear with me.
Where are the reports on the other projects?? I decided to use the deadman switch option. I’ve broken them up into a couple of separate entries, and posted them with future dates. That way something will appear in this space over the next week or so. If I get lucky and can regain control of the helm here at String Central ahead of the date I anticipate I’ll?intercept and rewrite?those forward-stored posts. In the mean time at least this space won’t become a total dead zone until mid-July.
I’ve been to keep the trivia of life from occluding my flow of knit-related entries, or from letting daily happenings stomp all over my posts. That’s about to get somewhat more difficult.
Please don’t be surprised if I miss the odd day (or week) between now and August. For example, in the next six weeks we close on a new house,I ammarshalling an army of contractors to rewire, repair the plumbing, and do the floors and (possibly) roof. I personally have toremove all of the old fiberglass insulation improperly installed in the attic, rip down several massive ivy vines invading the stucco and pack all our stuff, supervise the move to the new place, clean the old place,and unpack. During this period the kids end school, the little one begins day camp, the big one gets hauled to horse camp. Also during this period we take our annual week out in North Truro on Cape Cod.
Why a vacation in the midst of the chaos? It’s paid for (we have to reserve it in January); and it’s at a place that gives ‘dibs’ on next year’s rooms to this year’s occupants. I first stayed there when I was a teen, and have been going back ever since we relocated to this area. It’s ona quiet, (mostly) unchanged part of the Outer Cape just south of Provincetown, right on a bay side beach. About all that’s different in this particular place since the ’70s is that the curtainsof the efficiencywere replaced sometime between ’74 and ’95.No phones, no computers. Just books, sandy children, knitting, and paella cooked on the grill.We may come back early, or I may ziphome a couple of times if my presence is needed, but we AREgoing.
Which place is it? I won’t tell you. I want it to remain undiscovered, but if you know that area if I say we’re about a quarter mile from Day’s Cottages in a hotel that straddles Rt. 6A, you’ll have a very good idea of where I’ll be.
(We are NOT staying in Day’s Cottages.)
KNITTING PROGRESS – LACY SCARF, PILLOW, ENTRE DEUX LACS TEE, CRAZY RAGLAN
Good news on the Lacy Scarf! Aftera minor failure of the on-line ordering system (graciously rectified by the ownerafter aphone call)I finally got the skein of the Greenwood Hill Farm 2-ply laceweight I need to finish the scarf. I spent last night ripping back about a quarter of the finished edging and the last diamond panel of the center. My plan is to extend the center section by about six inches, reknit the diamond panel, then finish the edging all the way around. This should take a couple nights of work. I am not sure whether or not the thing will require blocking. We’ll see.
The fulled pillow is stalled. I just haven’t had a moment either to make a pillow insert to the exact dimension needed, or to run to the crafts store to see if I can improvise a solution with off-the-shelf stuff. It sits here on my desk, buttons in a baggie, just waiting.
Entre Deux Lacs Tee is moving along. I’ve finished two of the ten strips needed, and am about a third of the way through the next one. The bowling ball sized lump of yarn seems barely diminished, which is a good thing.
I haven’t mentioned the Crazy Raglan yet. I did end up going back to the clearance sale at Wild & Woolly in Lexington after the weekend. I came home with a bag of Regia 6-ply Crazy Color. It’s a DK-weight machine washable wool, in a somewhat self-striping combo of red, blue, yellow, white and turquoise. I’ll use it to make a top-down raglan style pullover for the small one, probably worked at sport gauge because I like this yarn better knit slightly tighter. The pattern is something I whipped up using Sweater Wizard, customized a bit after the original output. I’ll be casting on for this one prior to heading off on vacation. A plain stockinette small piece in washable yarn sounds like relaxing vacation knitting to me,as I’m not at all sure I’d like to get my entrelac project’s boucle hand-dyed wool full of sunblock and sand.
A NAME GENERATOR MORE TO MY LIKING
I see tons ofpeople posting name games, quizzes and other web toys on their blogs. Some are cute. This one isn’t. (I miss Brunching Shuttlecocks.)
Somewhere out in the dark of nightlurks Mark Newport; a fiber artist with time, imagination, and a fullattic of vintage comic books.
Mr. Newportknits head-to-toe superhero suits. You canpurchase his one-of-a-kindSpiderman; Mid ’60s Batman; Daredevil (with nifty ribbed hood) or Mr. Fantasticoutfits. If he selected a nice, springy wool,he’s probably figured out what I never could as a kid – howReed Richards wasable to stretch his arm to ten feet long butneverburst out of his suit. (Later when I got older I thought of the implications of being his wife Sue Storm, but that’s another speculation left over from a more innocent time.) My embroiderer and comic-collector selves also really appreciate the oddity ofMr. Newport’s embroidery on papercomic book samplers, too.
Mr. Newport’s work is being gathered into an upcoming exhibit at the Greg Kucera Gallery in Seattle, Washington. Be warned however – he overembroiders or embellishes many types of printed matter in addition to comic pages, including what in a more genteel era would have been called "French Postcards." The gallery’s site does explore those materials as well.
Yarn Reviews at wiseNeedle
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Since yesterday 24 new reviews have been logged in. That’sthe most reviews received in one day since early ’95, when the collection was just starting out! Knitters everywhere will be extremely grateful as they find your comments on all those yarns. I’m particularly impressed with the blog community, and the way that it’s rallied behind this project. I feel like I’m back in ’94,part ofa happy band of knitting zealotsspreading their shared banner throughthe electronic ether. Thanks also to the folk from the KnitList who slogged on over to the site to add their experiences to the pile. I also really appreciate all the people who took time to say they’d miss the yarn review collection if it disappeared.
I’ve still not decided what to do to make the collection self-supporting, but I did get a couple of good ideas to chase down, both left as comments on yesterday’s page and mailed to me directly. I notice that other people don’t have the ethical/editorial independence problem I see with accepting ads from yarn makers or retailers. One person wrote to suggest that I offer a "buy me" sidebar, with a list of vendors appearing whenever a review is pulled up. The logistics on that might not be feasible, especially considering that many individual yarns have the half-life of a mayfly, and the indexing would have to be done by manufacturer’s line rather than individual offering. Plus, I’m afraid that if I become dependent on money from industry sources, the collection will become less impartial as people become hesitant to criticize the same stuff they see advertised. Also I might be swayed (even unconsciously) to favor advertisers over non-advertisers. Perhaps I’m too much a stickler here. More thought is needed.
Another intriguingidea was to see if sellers of knitting inventory software might be interested in licensing the database. Another was to sell bags or tee-shirts with knitting-related stuff on them. If anyone has had experience with Cafe Press or similar collateral services, could I beg a little guidance? (You can send me an eMail off-blog at using the "contact" link at the right.)I also got a suggestionto add a line of for-pay patterns to the free ones already there. I’m not convinced though that anyone would pay for these as the more complex ones are working descriptions rather than stitch-exact direction sets; and the less complex ones are so intuitive that I can’t believe people would plunk down a fee for them. Then again, there are people selling other simple patterns on the web and on eBay at surprisingly large prices…
Some people asked for a closer view of the ceramicbuttons I’ll be using on the fulled pillow. Here they are, both with and without the little yellowplastic onesI’ll be using to hold them on.
After two weeks of intensive laundry treatment, it appears that the fulled pillow has reached its maximum shrinkage potential. It’s not as small or as tight as I’d hoped (you can still see the ridges), but it’s much softer and about as small as it’s going to get:
The pillow is unstuffed here. I haven’t sewn on the buttons yet – they’re just placed where I intend them to go. Each button unit is made up of a flat ceramic piece with a large center hole, plus a pale yellow plastic button to hold the ceramic in place. The Boston Globe page underneath the pillow is cut about the same size as the pre-washed size of the pillow (actually the pillow was about an inch longer, but I was too lazy to tape a one-inch strip on the end of the newspaper).
One interesting thing to note – the different colors of this yarn did not full evenly. As you can see, the yellow shrank more in both length and width than did the green or blue. I’ve test-stuffed the pillow with an old lumpy form I had in the closet, and the unevenness of the width isn’t as evident as it is when it’s laid out flat and unstuffed as pictured.
I continue to make progress on my two at-hand projects.
I finished the center strip of the lacy scarf on Saturday night. The center strip took almost one entire skein of the hand-spun lace weight Merino. That rate of consumption put the last stake in the heart of my first choice of edging (with minimal modifications). I did’t think I would have had enough yarn to do one that wide.
So as I predicted, it was back to the drawing board. I spent my knitting time on Sunday and Mondaymessing around with stitch dictionaries bothhard-copy and on-line, usingthe little bit of yarn leftover from Skein #1, swatching out possibilities. Disappointment. Overall, I felt like a cable TV viewer – I’vehad hundreds of choices, but nothing to watch.
I started with several possiblities from books, then tinkered with them. I even drafted up a couple ideas from scratch.I wanted to use diagonals and/or diamonds to mirror the motifs on the scarf end. The thing should be rather demonstrative as the bulk of the body is so plain. I neededmy edgingto be no wider than 12-14 stitches at its widest point. Asawtooth or point detailwould make going round the corner easier.
After extensive fiddling with dozens of patterns (enough to actually wear out my short length of practice yarn from all the knitting up and ripping back), I cycled back to my original pick.It had the best combo of diagonals and I liked the balance of opage to openwork areas. All that effort wasn’t lost though. What practice did do was give me a better feel for how patterns can be changed around. My initial efforts at modifying the pattern book original were pretty tame – taking out a small insertion detail. This last time I chopped it right in the middle of a vertical pattern element, narrowing the thing down by half. As you can see, it’s working:
Stitch counts on the eding range from 10 to 15 (the body by contrast is 27 stitches wide, butbecause it’s a ribbing, it looks narrower than that).
To attach my edging, I’m using the same pull-a-loop method employed in the Forest Path Stole. It’s fussy, but it makes a very airy join, with no heavy column of attachment stitches. I will work from the point shown, rounding the first corner to the center of the end. Then I’ll weigh my remaining yarn. That should give me a handle on yarn consumption. If I’ve used more than a quarter, I’ll rip back and slash another three columns from the edging’s repeat, then begin again.
Fulled Pillow II
The fulled pillow went through five wash/tumble drycycles over the weekend, keeping company with the family’s regular laundry. I didn’t expect much in terms of total shrinkage. I’ve used this yarn before and it takes quite a few tries before it’s sufficiently de-lanolined to full.
It did start to fuzz up around Wash #3. I can still see garter stitch ridges, but the individual stitches are getting harder to spot. The pillow has also begun to get denser, and a small bit of shrinkage has occurred, but it’s not worth photographing yet.
Original dimensions were 26 x 14 inches (66 x 36 cm). Right now it’s roughly 23 x 13.5 inches (58.4 x 35 cm). I do note that the yellow stripes account for about half the shrinkage so far. The blue and green ones haven’t tightened up as much. I’ll keep washingthe pillowuntil I’m satisfied but as laundry is only done on weekends, you won’t be hearing about this piece again until next week.