Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It’s Alright Now

Okay, it’s officially December. I can tolerate all the Holiday Hype much better after December 1st. So now you can go for it! And I will behave myself with decorum.

Hey, I even put up a seasonal bouquet in my front door basket! I was hoping to get some winter pansies for it but never saw any good ones. So after I finished tidying up my veggie garden yesterday afternoon, I used some of the old oregano stems with lovely purplish seed heads plus some of my neighbour’s fir twigs that had blown over to my side in the wind to make a nice bunch. Because it’s only in a plant pot with no water or anything it probably won’t last too long but that’s fine. Looks nice for now. Though I had to weight it down with rocks to make the thing stay put!

This morning it finally feels like winter. There’s quite a frost for the first time and it’s clear and cold. Nice change after all the rain we had in November. Glad I finished up the garden though I’m not sure that the fall rye seeds I planted so late will do much. That stuff is pretty tough though so I’m holding out hope that it will still germinate before the birds eat it or it freezes to death. So now the back yard is all done! A little bit of cleanup remains on the east side of the house and some in the front garden, but another afternoon’s work should see that finished too. Who needs a gym for a workout? I have my exercise – and a blister on my thumb from the clippers. Ouch. Yes, and I was wearing my super-good gardening gloves too.

Sadly I regret not using the last of my woad. Things just didn’t align. I think it might be too late now that they’ve had some frost. Plus I don’t really have anything that I want dyed at the moment. Not to worry. It can go in the compost and I’ll begin again next spring. I have some of Bleu de Lectoure’s woad if I need blue in the meanwhile.

So what have I been up to besides gardening? The Woad Hat is washed and blocked and hasn’t dried enough yet for a photo. I knitted a swatch for the Shalom sweater. I’ve washed and blocked it too so I need to wait until it dries to assess where I will change the pattern to fit me. Funny thing – I’m not quite as tall and skinny as the designer! And it only comes in one size so mods are necessary for a lot of people. I love when they kindly document their changes on Ravelry. What a great resource! I have a lot of ideas there to contemplate.

I finally had a chance to photograph the completed legwarmers:

Candy Legwarmers

CandyLegwarmersFor: Princess Pink

Begun: November 22, 2009

Completed: November 29, 2009

Yarn: Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Socka mit Rosskastanien (horse chestnut!), 420m = 100g, unknown colourway since the label is stuck! Long repeat in this printed yarn, nearly 2/3 of the length. Used about 60g (275 yds).

Pattern: “Pickles – Little Girl Legwarmers” by Beth LaPensee (, free pattern

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns, set of 5, 3mm

Mods & Comments: Used 52 sts and sock yarn alone. Mohair not a good choice for a child whose daddy is allergic to animal hair! Superwash wool is tolerated.

Knit leg 1/2" longer and top ribbing 1.5" longer for a finished measurement of 15" long (2" longer than pattern states). Hopefully these will fit for awhile. If they're a hit, I can make more pairs.

The yarn softened up a lot in the finishing but some pink colour came out in the wash water staining the adjacent white area slightly pinkish. Rinsed further in Synthrapol and water was clear. I’m hoping that they won’t bleed any further now.

This kid loves her skirts but plays outside at kindergarten in the dead of winter. This granny was thinking that warm over-the-knee wool would supplement her nylon tights to keep her from getting cold.

I also got a copy of Barbara Walker’s “Knitting from the Top” from my guild’s library. The library card attested to the fact that I took this out before in 1994! However, this time it finally makes sense to me. Perhaps I must be a more experienced knitter now? Anyhow this is quite an amazing book when you consider that Barbara practically invented the top-down approach to garment construction. Don’t be put off that it only has a couple of black and white photos, a few line drawings and a whole lot of text. It is incredibly complete in covering design considerations for sweaters, capes, skirts, pants and caps. Unfortunately I haven’t yet been able to find a copy to purchase unless I order directly from Schoolhouse Press which has reprinted the original or Amazon in the US. Canada doesn’t seem to have any copies available at the moment for some reason.

Now that I have a couple of top-down items off the needles and one more that will soon be going onto them, I’m becoming quite fond of this one-piece method of construction. Not that I actually mind sewing pieces together (unlike a lot of knitters!) but why make flat pieces like dressmaking when you can use the 3D sculptural qualities of knitting to advantage. The one thing that really stopped me in the past was the fact that most raglan and circular yoke garments don’t look good on my sloping shoulders. Who knew you could do set-in sleeves in one piece? Yes, Wendy Bernard covers this in her book “Custom Knits” but I also need a shoulder slope and I was disappointed that she doesn’t include this modification in her designs. She has square shoulders! At least compared to me. This book has the clues I need to make a sweater from the top that will fit and flatter me properly. I see an experimental garment in my future.

Might be the distant future though at the rate I’m going. I’ve got nothing portable to work on currently and the ones I want to make or have already started and stalled need some calculations and design decisions made. I’ve been avoiding them. Have I mentioned I’m calculexic? I need to draw pictures because I can’t imagine shapes well in 3D and write down numbers because they don’t stick in my head. I need quiet and concentration – and my pet calculator.

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