Yes you can
A friend of mine went up to Lacis in Berkeley for the first time. Lacis is both a shop and a museum of all things lace; it was founded by Kaethe (I was told, as best as my hearing could tell, to pronounce it Katy) Kliot. Who as a refugee from post-WWII Germany funded her ticket to America by resurrecting old doily patterns to make cotton tablecloths for American soldiers to send home.
And then she spent a lifetime finding and publishing and selling every lace book title you could possibly hope to find. When she couldn’t find fine enough knitting needles for certain types of work, she manufactured her own.
Ruth marveled that she’d missed out on discovering such a marvelous place earlier and wanted to know if any of us had ever been. This is what I told her:
Years ago I bought, from Kaethe Kliot herself after she helped me find it, a book on Shetland lace whose price was marked in British pounds so I had no idea what it was going to cost me. (It was not inexpensive, as it turned out, but I had been able to find it nowhere else.) But what it gave me was the memory of talking to Kaethe herself before she passed. One of the things I was there to look for, I told her, was a musical treble clef and base clef done in a lace pattern; was there such a thing?
She glanced upwards and searched mentally through her vast library for several long seconds, then was quite certain as she looked at me again and said, “No–but it wouldn’t be hard, here’s how you do it…” and she was quite excited to be part of an unexpected collaboration here. Excited for me, clearly knowing how much I would love the discovering in the process.
At the time, though, I was barely started at being self-taught on doing lace and there was no way. But what she did was make it so I had hope, or at least wanted that hope, that someday, maybe, I could live up to what she believed I could do.
I actually still haven’t ever knit such a thing, but now it’s only because I haven’t bothered to. By now I know I can.
But I loved her for her faith in me and I loved, too, that there was an entire warehouse of knitting books and a woman who knew every pattern in every one of them. Who wanted everybody to be able to do anything they wished they could do.
Edited to add: I just found the Lacis tribute to Kaethe, here, with pictures of her work and of her. I have visual memory damage specifically for faces and yet I recognized hers instantly. With great fondness.
Doesn’t have to be pink
A quiet day, a bit of knitting, a sick husband, here, honey, drink some juice, drinking some myself while trying not to catch his bug…
And with all that is going on in politics I happened to stumble across this: a cooling treatment that helps chemo patients keep their hair through it all, and the study was done right here at UCSF.
Well, huh. If you can’t afford the cooling scalp, maybe a plain icepack or two? You know, we could definitely design a hat with a giant pocket to hold them in place, and you always want a layer of fabric between you and the colder side of the pack anyway to keep the skin from freezing.
Those sewn-square pussy hats would be about the right shape to add to.
Knitting diplomacy fail
I think maybe that was a mistake.
Yesterday we had our lupus support group meeting, and rather than have someone present info on some medical topic of the day it was requested that we come prepared to talk about our hobbies, our creative outlets, what we do that we enjoy.
I had no idea MR quilts, but wow does she ever. She brought some small ones to show us and I wished out loud that my mother, who also quilts, could have been there to see them.
The conversation continued around the room till me, the last in line. I said that if I took this out of its ziploc it was probably never going back in, and seeing the badly bulging bag coming out of my tote on that rainy day there was a chuckle around the room.
And so they dutifully admired the afghan project.
And then the leader of the group asked me the same question she’d asked the quilter: “How long did it take you to do that?”
“Well, usually an afghan takes me about an hour an inch but this one is taking two.”
Her eyes kind of bugged. “TWO HOURS an INCH?!” I could see any possible hope of interesting her in learning to knit instantly vanishing. Hard.
I knew that explaining untangling the balls of yarn and dropping and picking up every fourth stitch every sixth row down four rows certainly wasn’t going to help the cause, talking about five or six hour (or more) cowl or hat projects wouldn’t rescue it–I had already lost them all.
But hey, nice afghan.
(And now you have some context for yesterday’s tongue-in-cheek post.)
Have to use up all the yarn by then. All of it.
Wednesday February 08th 2017, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Knit
One week and two days till Stitches West. Not that I’m counting or anything.
Edit alert: Lisa is right and I had it written down wrong in my calendar–it’a the 23d-26th, not next week. You mean I have to wait longer?
Don your mark. Get set. Go!
Saturday February 04th 2017, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Knit
We went out to dinner with good friends Nina and Rod and parked behind a red Prius that had this on it.
Looking later, I didn’t find that one, but that’s why this one, a plain ball of yarn with needles, is now on its way here–just in time for Stitches West in two weeks.
Wednesday February 01st 2017, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Knit
Done in the lace pattern in Karen’s Water Turtles shawl, just the instructions shown between the asterisks, since there are no side edges.
This project was bugging me. It was on a circular needle with a poorly-made join, the yarn was many strands of cobweb-fine silk and cashmere plied together on my wheel rather than all originally millspun as one, so little bits of that yarn kept snagging against that join. And then I’d have to try to work the silk (it was always the silk) back into its new stitch.
It was my thrown-in-the-purse mindless project for those times when I’d really rather be getting that blanket worked on which is really too big to lug around.
Said blanket was stalled out anyway while I waited for more Rios. It came today (wow Webs was fast!) and wonder of wonders, it matched, and I was itching to get to it.
This was somehow demanding to go first no matter how I felt about it. Just one hour, I told myself. Just do one hour. Sit down and who knows, maybe you’ll even finish it and that would feel great. (I knew it would be more than an hour, and it was–all it had needed was for me to get started so I could keep going.)
Bad photography aside, it’s turquoise and as it came off the needles stitch by stitch I thought, this is actually really nice. What was my problem?
It is blocking as I type and I need to cast on a different purse project. Let me find a different pair of needles first.
Monday January 30th 2017, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Knit
So now there will be a scientists’ march on Washington, and one expects that all those who believe in science will be with them in person or in thought. One must be prepared for such things: and so, the brain hat pattern. Please pass it along.
Less visible of a statement and more of maybe an in-joke (if joke is the word) but certainly a cool project would be the double-helix DNA scarf that I remember its creator knitting for her thesis advisor while working on her PhD, back in our Knitlist days.
One single skein. And then another.
On my way out the door to Al’s memorial service I stopped a moment, looked at the finished cowls in ziplocs, and one leaped out at me and into my purse as if the others didn’t even exist: that one. It had been sitting there waiting to be discovered ever since I’d made it. I even ran the yarn ends in recently in anticipation but had put it back away–it wasn’t its time at the time but now maybe it was.
Talking to one of his grandchildren afterwards whom I’d met when she was a little girl, she was wearing a blouse…and the blues were a match. Well there you go. From me and her grampa, with love, since she used to see me sitting knitting waiting for my girls to come out from their music lessons with him.
(I was wearing a cowl in a similar shade playing backup plan just in case but when she exclaimed over hers and how good it looked with what she had on, I couldn’t improve on that.)
Tonight we went off to a semi-annual Saturday evening church meeting, and the local Mormon mission president and his wife were among the speakers. Now, my brother and he were great friends growing up together and her grandmother was my sister’s favorite teacher at church and I’ve wanted to knit for her for several years now before they finish their assignment and go home. Which is coming up. I just never know when they’re going to show up because they float between a lot of different wards.
I was still wearing that other blue.
So I asked her afterwards if she liked the color. Why, yes she did. Could I, then…? She was quite surprised and quite delighted, and started to say something to the effect that but then you won’t have–and I laughed. “I’m always knitting.” Matter of fact, right there in my purse was yet another cowl. And it was, fancy that, a near shade of blue to hers. So there you go.
It felt good. It felt really really good. That’s why I make random cowls, because they like to run out and go play just like that.
I love that yarn stores across the country were reporting shortages of pink yarn, and that Malabrigo dyed extra due to the demand, sure that it could not arrive in time but people were asking for it anyway.
I laughed at reading that the chunkier yarns went first. Well, yes, you can knit those faster.
The original pattern, for which the New York Times said Malabrigo Rios was the recommended yarn, was as simple as it gets: knit a length with ribbing at the ends, fold it in half and sew the sides and let the ends of the square stick out for the ears once you fit it over a round head. The beginneriest beginner can do it.
I loved the photo someone posted of a planeful of women on the way to the march in DC, some with their hats on for the camera. I grew up in the DC area. I remember the marches and the hitchhikers along the roads afterwards, the sense of being part of history even as an onlooker. I fervently wish I could be there, heck, I wish I could be at the local one but I just cannot risk the sun time with my lupus.
Not to mention that my friend Diana’s memorial service, saved for after the holidays so that people would be able to come, is tomorrow. Diana herself would have changed the date in a heartbeat had she known about the march but it is what it is and I will be cheering her on her way and her loved ones in their grief. And that is how we create the changes for the better around us: one person at a time in each moment as it comes and to the best of our abilities.
I love that Kate at Dragonfly Fibers, in my husband’s hometown of Kensington, MD, posted a picture of 1,500 donated handknit hats, many of them with a note from the knitter to the wearer. She had volunteered to be a distribution point. These had filled her van and she had that many more to put in.
Every single one has been spoken for now.
I love that the project has sparked an interest in knitting nationwide. I love that some entrepreneur designed one fast and got it out there with more realistic ears, mass produced, even if it was $35 and they’d forgotten in their rush to even say what the fiber content was. (So, probably acrylic.) The more hats made, the greater the chance that everybody could have one.
I just couldn’t quite love the idea of putting the Donald’s worst denigration of women on my own personal head. But after the marches tomorrow, I imagine every one of those handknit hats (and maybe even those manufactured ones) is going to be a treasured family heirloom and a proud story for the great grandkids to come. I imagine the knitters of the donated ones and the wearers finding and befriending each other, having already together promoted the ideals our country stands for.
I just so much love that everybody’s doing what they’re doing.
I got requests, and then more requests, and then I would have had to make three for those guys and then for these other guys too and and and there just seemed to be no way to do it right–my heart was with them but if I stopped knitting the afghan I might never return to it. It was a little overwhelming, knitting-wise. I bailed.
I finally wish I’d at least made one, too.
Don’t have any chunky pink but I can double the strands…
Sunday January 08th 2017, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Family
Not much of a blog post, but I did get past the twentieth repeat tonight. At the rate I’m going, that’s about thirty hours of work so far.
Thirty-odd repeats to go and then the top edging.
On the way
This didn’t get finished in time.
In part because I ran out of yarn. I had made a baby hat, weighed it, measured it, and thought yeah I have plenty to make a matching sweater. Well but no I didn’t: there was no third skein different-dyelot emergency backup like I thought, either. Oops.
I searched my stash. There was more Malabrigo Rios but there wasn’t any Bobby Blue nor one that would do as a contrast color.
I do love that I got to use the musk ox needle (bought as a souvenir there last summer) as both stitch holder and working needle on this particular project. It needed to be part of it.
I’d started at the back, added and subtracted for the sleeves and then come down the front. I had not planned on a cardigan but somehow in the adding and subtracting stitches I discovered the knit 2 purl 2 was going to turn into a knit 4 at dead center–man. Someone goofed. (Note that I was totally winging the whole thing–there is no pattern.)
Typing that out it hits me that I could have added two more stitches and turned it into a cable going down from the V. If I’d thought of it in time. I would probably have just made it but with zero left to finish that neck a little more neatly.
Adding a button band and around the neck meant more ribbing and more yarn and I just plain didn’t have it. I would need to see the colors in person and had no way to get to a shop. Post-concussion, I’m not driving yet.
So it didn’t go into Michelle’s luggage to be proudly hand-delivered to her big sister and brother-in-law in Alaska tonight.
I did show off to Richard that all those funny angles I’d been knitting actually looked like a baby sweater now.
We all piled into the car and he asked, Which airport?
Oh, okay, not San Jose, good thing I asked.
We were almost there when he asked me, Do you want to go to your yarn store in South San Francisco on the way home?
Me, surprised: Yes! Sure! Thank you! It hadn’t even occurred to me or I’d have brought it with! (Thinking, this not-driving thing gets SO old and here he’ll be taking me to the very place that dyelot came from!) I opened my phone and checked their hours. We were good.
And that is how once again we ended up at Cottage Yarns together at rush hour to Kathryn’s surprise. Remember those skeins of Bobby Blue I bought to go into stripes in that afghan? I asked her. They weren’t bright enough. She nodded. I did a hat and sweater instead–I need contrasting, or something, for the button band.
She knew right where the Bobby Blue was and opened the bag with the same dyelot mine had come from.
And we were good to go. And did. And drove home in the mildest rush hour week of the year.
Out for a stroll
Friday December 16th 2016, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Family
Finished the hat and cast on the next instantly: the bug has decisively bitten.
Meantime, we decided to test drive the walker idea in the real world and went out for a scoop of Smitten ice cream, which is inside a large grocery store.
Strolling the aisles, Richard watched my walking-on-jello gait a moment and remarked, “You know, if you ran into any of your friends you would really scare them.”
Naaah. They’d get a scoop and come join us and make Ministry Of Silly Walks jokes, just like he and Phyllis and Lee did when they dropped off the walker.
Running right along
Thursday December 15th 2016, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Knit
I knitted all day yesterday. Iced my hands and went right back to it. Started 440 yards Tuesday, finished it tonight, and started in on a hat that is now a third done.
At some point (“Check back in 24 hours for further updates ” just now on restoration of our ‘net service) I’ll be able to show them off.
And the walker. It is dark red. It is borrowed. It is wonderful. It is time.
Tuesday December 13th 2016, 12:33 am
Filed under: Knit
Our ISP is having a meltdown in our area and promises to restore service around 1:00 am. I’m just not that dedicated a blogger. Signing off on Richard’s phone’s data usage for the night.
Stitch consistency: getting it right
Wednesday December 07th 2016, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Knit