Keep them open
Monday August 17th 2020, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Knit,LYS,Politics

I’ve mentioned Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco from time to time.

I got a Buy 3 Get 1 Free! email from Kathryn.

She’s only doing curbside because her county doesn’t allow customers to touch anything inside the store. You can’t pick up a book. You can’t squish and gauge which merino is softest. You have to know what you want.

Well I do. So I called and ordered fourteen skeins of Rios in Ravelry Red, with a conversation with my friend Afton to the side and headed on up there.

I asked Kathryn how it was going.

She said that while the county had everything completely shut down for two months, her landlord was only willing to cut the rent by 25%–while knowing her sales were zero for that time. After that, no breaks, no nothing, pay in full or you’re out.

So she is scrambling to make that rent.

You walk in her store (back when you could) to find cubbies along the walls on up to the ceiling, narrow aisles with more cubbies and more yarn above your head. Yarn yarn yarn. It’s a small space with a huge inventory. She doesn’t just sell Malabrigo, but that’s what I come for the most and she has more of it than anyone I know.

She’s not tech savvy and doesn’t have an online shop, but she will mail if you know what you want. She told me people have come to her after being able to find only a skein or two online elsewhere of something–whereas she’ll have a full bag or even two, enough to actually do a big project.

I showed her my ocean afghan so far. Most of it came from her. She was quite pleased.

I almost, almost bought the two bags of Rios in the Jupiter reds and browns colorway, but I was already picking up that red for a future afghan and had a request in for Matisse Blue to make another ocean afghan because a family member preferred that as the background; she’s checking to see if her yarn rep has it.

I texted Afton from the curb about that bag of Cian she had–my ocean’s background color, and got an enthusiastic, YES!

And so between the two of us we were able to help Kathryn out a bit and cheer her on. And, selfishly, to help keep my favorite yarn source going.

And then I went to the post office to mail Afton’s off to her.

Last week, the place was just deserted.

Today, the parking lot was full right after me. People were wearing masks and social distancing at the blue marks on the floor in a line that went from the two clerks (there used to be at least three if not four during the day, this being the main one in a major city in Silicon Valley) clear across the long room past all the post office boxes to the far window. They were not walking back out to try UPS because it might be shorter–they were walking in, seeing how it was, visibly taking it in stride one after another and putting that commitment of their time into this.

There was an outcry when, along with banning overtime and removing thousands of sorting machines, post office boxes in poor neighborhoods where people might vote were being removed last week–so Trump’s Postmaster General donor buddy had them stop doing that: instead, they put big red plastic locks on so no mail could go in.

We can fight back.

I paid for Priority and for insurance on not what I paid but what it would cost me to replace those ten skeins at full price plus pay for shipping and insurance again. More than I had to. Because I wanted to. They offered, as always, stamps, and I considered, but I’d just bought them twice and I wanted to look forward to an excuse for a next time. And frankly, I didn’t want them to run out for the day because, man, they just might.

All those patient-looking people behind me with that long long long wait were surely in it with the same determination.

The Post Office is under attack. Long live the post office.

Mail yarn. Make stuff with it, and mail that, too.



But can she knit?
Tuesday August 11th 2020, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Life,LYS,Politics

In my mother’s day it was, But can she type?

My grandmother was a member and later president of the Congressional Wives’ Club back when the idea of a woman running for the Senate was considered unthinkable, when the wives were to wear proper white gloves and hats when calling upon one another and to support their important husbands.

Before their landlord priced them out during the first high tech boom, I used to drive to the biggest yarn store around, Straw Into Gold, in the western, flat part of Berkeley near the freeway, not far from the Oakland line. They had everything: spinning wheels, looms, classes, yarn in cones or skeins, and they were the American distributor for all things Ashford of wheel and loom fame.

Except parking. That could be a problem.

There was another warehouse-type building across the broken up alley from them that looked like it had been converted into housing, how legally so one could only guess. (This is not far from where the too-flammable Ghost Ship later came to be.) On its wall facing Straw, someone had written an angry warning, Do not pee against this wall because there are cameras and we will report you if you do.

This was not an incentive to spend too long around there once you walked out their door.

And that is the area around where Kamala Harris grew up, with UC Berkeley, where her mother was a researcher, up the road a bit.

And look where she is now.

I had two candidates I was undecided between and glad I didn’t have to make the final call–but when my daughter texted me to say it was Harris, something in me went YES!!! I knew. I just knew. Yes! She was the right choice and we will be well served having her as Vice President. I can’t wait.



Jump starting that mojo
Tuesday July 28th 2020, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Knit,LYS

Three skeins of variations in gray Rios from Imagiknit to augment the two that I had that were just too few and too far apart–and they turned out to be the perfect gradations between. I could not have picked out better ones myself.

Finally, I had my palette for the next step. Because I’m picky that way.

A dolphin has begun.



Lockdown day 39: the other green
Thursday April 23rd 2020, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Knit,LYS

So, it was like that yesterday, and I sat down and got four rows into the next fish before it was time to rest my hands and call it a night.

It was only after that that I went, wait a minute….

Ohmygoodness. It was true.

I had ordered the Ankara Green to mix with the blues at the top of the future waves. I hadn’t even glanced at the Water Green because it looked lighter than anything I wanted to deal with.

But that’s what it was and after opening that bag yesterday I’d immediately paired it with what had been an orphan skein: if one critter was going to be multicolor to the point of overdoing it, well, as Eleanor Roosevelt says, repeat your mistake and make it a pattern.

And then it’s not a mistake anymore.

This sure wasn’t.

I emailed Uncommon Threads, thanking them profusely and enthusiastically–it meant I hadn’t had to wait a week for the mail from someone else for me to be able to start in on the next fish in colors Uncommon didn’t have–but letting them know in case it messes up their inventory.

I won’t need that Ankara for awhile anyway.

But I put in a second order of it now because I wanted to say thank you. They’d totally rescued me.



Lockdown day 38: knitters just know
Wednesday April 22nd 2020, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Knit,LYS

You guys!!

I spent more time working out the design, even made paper cut-outs of fish with circles of tape on the back to be able to move them around my drawing while keeping them to scale.

And I went through all my Rios, ie all my soft superwash worsted-weight merino in the house.

Amazing how much that stuff gets used up.

Being with other colors changes how you perceive them: context matters, and there were a fair number of perfectly nice skeins that just weren’t going to work out with what I’d done so far. That not-bright with that bright but not that one with it.

Which of course means that some of what I’d originally planned on using next, but that I’d kept mentally dragging my feet over the more and more I got into what I was doing so far… But I’d been reluctant to order more sight unseen and right now that’s the only option–it’s not like anybody can go browse anywhere. I’d been avoiding the issue until finally I had no choice.

Rios, it turns out, is a popular yarn to order online when you’re stuck at home. For good reason. It took some searching.

I did, though, I found what I wanted–and inwardly lamented that I was going to have to wait till it came from the east coast. Plus Illinois. I did not want to lose my momentum, but the very next row was where I was going to need to start the next fish in some new color and that yarn just wasn’t here. What I wouldn’t have given to have been able to dash out to Cottage Yarns–you couldn’t ask for a better Malabrigo inventory than Katherine’s.

I did spot some light seafoam green at Uncommon Threads a few miles up the road, though, and thought that would be good for the mixing of blues and light at the tops of the waves to come. Their Living Coral was redder than my Glazed Carrot, cool, some of that, too, for the clownfish that I’ll be doing after the ones coming up. If I’m going to be a perfectionist I might as well be a perfectionist.

They didn’t even charge me for shipping.

All. Day. Long. I wanted to knit on that afghan but not if I couldn’t do it right. Color (quoting my friend Constance) is everything.

I was out back watering the mango after dinner and when I came back inside, Richard was wandering down the hall calling my name, holding a pretty little paper bag by its handles. “Where did you go?” He’d seen someone running away from the door and clearly, this was meant for me.

They did?! Seriously?!

It was from Uncommon Threads. Niiiice.

I pulled out the seafoam green and compared it to what I had and suddenly one ball at the bottom of the bag whose tag and colorway name are lost to me leaped out at its new best friend. “That’s IT!” I exclaimed in delight. I could do it! I can do it now! I started doing it now! It’s perfect, both with what has been and with what will be.

Man, that felt good. One fish two fish red fish not-blue fish. Thank you, Uncommon Threads!



Inviting
Saturday November 02nd 2019, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life,LYS,Politics

I was at Fillory yesterday, sitting at the large table there visiting with friends and knitting away as people came and went around us, when I found myself getting up to check on the yarn they were winding up for me.

Usually I start off by picking out a skein, paying for my afternoon’s entertainment with it, then pulling up a chair to knit the previous week’s ball into a hat while the staff turns the new hank into a ready-to-knit ball and then they come and bring it over to me. There’s a line at the ballwinder? I’m in no hurry.

But that all just felt too passive this time.

There was a customer I don’t remember seeing before: browsing, going to the clerk to ask a question, looking around some more, kind of hanging back from other people the whole time. She’d been in there about ten minutes.

It wasn’t the head scarf that caught my eye, it was that she seemed so unsure of herself. Maybe she was a beginner and we all looked like experts to her.

But maybe not. Her clothes and accent marked her as an immigrant, I’m guessing from Africa, and I know that rather than the welcoming country we used to be our government has of late made it harder for those not born here, no matter how they arrived, to feel at home.

Often of a Friday afternoon every seat of that table is filled, but this time there were several nice chairs open. Good. I invited her to come and sit and knit with us, if she would like to.

You should have seen the transformation in her face! She had not expected to be welcomed. She had not expected to be claimed as belonging.

Practically speaking, she probably didn’t know if it was a formal class or group or what, but clearly, intruding on it would never have occurred to her. That particular good time and camaraderie she was quietly observing over there was for others.

But we were just random people and she had every right to be right there with us. I knew that it would make our group all the better if she did.

She smiled and shook her head no.

But she was just transformed and she stayed happy and that made all the difference to me, too.



Time to get that head warm again
Friday September 27th 2019, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,LYS

The newborn size hat on the right was the one I made on the plane from the Plymouth superwash merino I bought our last full day in Alaska, knitted as a twin to what the white one had been.

I took these to Fillory Yarns today. One employee, when I described what had happened, said, well with the 50% silk content on the one you could maybe stretch it.

I guffawed and showed her the one on the upper left, saying, that had been my thought too till I saw it.

So my question of the day was, which wool could go through the washer *and* the dryer? Because it’s going to. And I don’t mind but I don’t want the kids disappointed again.

We read labels together. We both swooned over a particular superwash merino/silk/yak mix in the most gorgeous shimmering deep red, such perfect softness for a new baby, but there was just no way to know.

Finally she reached over to one of the less expensive lines and said, My grandsons do everything to the sweaters I made them out of this and they’ve come out okay.

It was the same Plymouth wool. I guess I lucked out up north after all. I touched a few skeins and somehow the bright red, a color my daughter loves, was softer than the white, which felt like my skein of white: certainly not bad at all, but not like cashmere. Huh. Usually it’s the dyeing process that diminishes the softness ever so slightly; I have no idea why this was the opposite, other than that red just got luckier in its choice of individual sheep?

A skein of it came home with me. I should already have mailed the white hat. I hope to get two to the post office come Monday.



I ran and did that
Thursday August 22nd 2019, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

It wasn’t upside down when I took the picture. Nor when I sent it. Again. It’s doing what it wants to do. I think this was Queguay colorway, Malabrigo Mecha, anyway.

See, I knit someone a hat, and looked forward to giving it to him at church.

Didn’t see him. But he’s always there! Nope.

Knit another hat. In case his son visits him again, and you couldn’t leave him out, right?

Didn’t see them.

So last Friday, being at Fillory for the informal knitting group and always feeling like I should buy a skein to pay for my afternoon’s entertainment, I hunched down at the display of Mecha yarn and said a little prayer, a bit of a joke to G_d: See, when I picked out the color he didn’t want to disappoint me so he didn’t come, right? But if I pick out what he wants then he’ll be there, right? So which one should it be?

This skein leaped into my hand. I worked on the afghan while the staff wound it up for me.

Sunday’s coming. It needed to be finished.

I even got the ends run in, just to make sure I don’t get tripped up at the last minute by procrastinating that part.

To be continued.



Climb every mountain
Friday August 16th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,LYS

Went to Fillory to hang out and knit among friends for awhile and it suddenly hit me that wait–this thing is actually somehow almost done!

It’s taller than wide already. It’s certainly stretchy, but in its relaxed state it’s about 41″ wide, whereas I usually consider 45″ square to be the minimum for a receiving blanket.

I didn’t know when I started it small that I would be able to find more of not only that discontinued yarn but that dye lot–and I had no idea those little 50 gram balls would go as far as they have. But then, this is a much smaller blanket than the monster 1700g Rios one was. It’s for the baby to drag around behind her once she’s walking and to take everywhere she goes, and you don’t want big nor bulky for that.

It is 70/30 baby alpaca/mulberry silk. Super soft, not super practical, and yet it leaped onto my needles that first day and demanded to be for that granddaughter.

One friend held it today and swooned at the softness and totally made it feel like I’d gotten it just right–she had no way to know how much she was helping.

I debated out loud about adding an edging; the consensus was, it’s fine as is, especially for a drag-around lovie.

I’m still torn. Maybe add just at the sides rather than all the way around? Because small as it already is, it’s going to go through the hand wash cycle in their laundry.

Where the baby alpaca will want to shrink the fabric. Whereas the soft single-ply spinning means the 30% mulberry silk will make the yarn want to stretch out, most likely lengthwise. Plus there’s the lace parts, which will flatten out wider and who knows how that’ll come out.

The middle part is knitted mostly solid to give a sense of the immense height of the snowy Alaskan mountains above–but also for there to be no yarnover holes right where it’s most wrapped around that baby in that climate.

Really the only answer is to give it a quick rinse and blocking when the main part is done and see what size it is then and call it from there.

But I’m finally at the point where that is something I get to worry about now and it actually surprised me.

Somehow I am only at the start of the tenth ball and there were twenty-one. If disaster strikes and she needs a new lovie like the old lovie (good luck with that–this was seat-of-the-pants designing all the way) I’ll be able to make one. If I don’t add that edging.

Remind me if that does happen, that on that chart I (mostly) used for the moose, I added a stitch’s width to its muzzle because it looked too deer-like.

I’m pretty happy with this.



With a cherry on top
Friday June 28th 2019, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,LYS

Hung out at Fillory aka Green Planet Yarns and saw–Renee! We did a mutual double take in disbelief and then big hugs and it was great to see her and catch up a bit. We met when I was doing a book signing at Warren‘s yarn shop in Marin a dozen years ago, with a Stitches or two thrown in since.

Meantime, the pie is all gone and there are enough tart cherries for two more.

My my. Whatever shall we do.

(Burning the crust just meant we could skip the empty calories part, we figured. So: the new silicone crust-edge cover? Yeah no.)



They knew the place
Friday May 31st 2019, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,LYS

The real simple solution: I put a lid on the trashcan this evening. Stifle it, eat-eth. (With apologies to Carroll O’Connor.)

The yarn store in the beach town: I went to Fillory this afternoon to show my friends who go there on Fridays that “this is all your fault” as I showed them the afghan project with a grin.

It is safe to say they approved.

One of the staff there didn’t know how to cable six across seven stitches or how the fourth one stays the middle one going straight up as the others pass over, so now those two have helped someone else learn something new as well.

While I was there, I mentioned last Friday’s incident about the tangling yarn on the skein winder, and when I got to “she went to cut it” the three women nearest me gasped audibly.

I told them thank you. It wasn’t just me, then.

But I had done nothing about it after getting no answer from my Facebook private message asking if I could send a note to the owner, and I still wondered what the right thing to do was. Just leave it be? I mean, I could imagine a new mom running on no sleep doing something stupid in a moment without thinking straight.

Or it could be what it looked like–that a depressed clerk didn’t care and she wasn’t going to put up with any more of this. But I don’t know, and I don’t want to blame nor judge. I don’t want to be mean any more than I want her to be.

We discussed how best to bring it up.

What it came down to, as it had at the first, was, if I were the owner I’d want to know. And as they pointed out, People don’t want to go back after something like that.

Exactly.

Okay, so, I guess that means I will try after all.

But they loved how the afghan they’d helped mentor into existence was coming out, and that and their own projects were more fun to talk about.

Then I came home just in time to watch, from inside, a Cooper’s hawk do a figure eight around the awning poles fifteen feet away in pursuit of dinner and then a loop back around the first pole. Whoosh! And away!



Yarn then chocolate. Priorities.
Monday May 27th 2019, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Knitting a Gift,LYS

Alarm went off, we got up, got ready, got out the door, got onto the main road…

And in a split second of wait, where is everybody, had a good guffaw at ourselves and turned back into the neighborhood. Oops. Yeah we had a nice vacation day Friday but today’s one, too, remember? Not to mention what it was a remembrance for. With real thanks to all those who’ve served and the differences they’ve made.

Not long after that he asked me what I wanted to do with the day, then, now that we had it.

Well, we’d already avoided holiday beach traffic for good reason, so I threw out an in-my-dreams: Imagiknit and Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco.

Was I serious?

Well, actually, yeah, I’d love, but only the purest of love would make him offer to take me to a yarn store, much less one that far away… I’d bought these three extra skeins at Fillory that were just plain too off to feel good trying to mix dye lots with and I’d been trying to reconcile myself to the thought of not only buying more but buying quite a few more. That project devours yardage. And I had to see it in person.

Imagiknit’s website said they had nine. If it didn’t work we could check Cottage on the way back to see if they’d gotten more in stock. So because my husband really is that much of a peach, off we went. And he knows that that’s one yarn store I particularly do not get in and out of quickly even when I’m trying to be good–they have all my favorites. And I so rarely get there.

I spread the afghan-so-far on their counter and the young woman manning the register pronounced, simply, Wow.

That right there made it worth the trip to San Francisco.

The other, gray-haired woman went looking for the last skein but it had apparently been bought while we were on our way there. She sent us to the second room with the stronger lighting to get a better look at the colors, apologized about that missing skein and said that if we call ahead next time they’re happy to reserve… I assured her it was okay.

I had the afghan spread out again and this time Richard took a good look at it.

I’d bought ten? That’s four skeins? That’s not enough! he said decisively (he was right), and urged me to buy all seven they had that matched.

This time, (with the shop’s permission), I took one of theirs outside into the direct sunlight to see if it matched there, too. I’d made that mistake a week ago and I wasn’t going to repeat it.

The one difference, which the older woman pointed out, was that the shop’s was more nearly solid of a color while mine had more little bits where it was lighter here and there.

I could alternate rows.

The purple was the right purple, and what were the chances I’d get that so perfect anywhere else. I bought them.

They had a ball winder and swift set-up but winding the skeins was a do-it-yourself over in their classroom space. Back to the brighter room.

I had memories of friends telling me their ball winder’s gears had been stripped by people who’d cranked it too hard and the wrong way. I was not about to ruin theirs, and I’d kept him long enough; I was ready to just go.

But it was a mechanical thing, and mechanical things are toys to entice and figure out and use and feel great about and my ever-loving sat down with that first skein, got the nod from the woman to make sure he was doing this right, and set to it.

Six skeins later his arm was getting tired and he asked if I’d mind doing the last one. Not at all.

He got to wind the soft wool for his baby granddaughter in happy anticipation of getting to meet her soon, and being able to be participate in that afghan meant a lot to him.

Four hours of knitting later, sun light, artificial light: if I didn’t know where the second dye lot comes in every second row, I wouldn’t know of it at all.



Cutting remarks
Saturday May 25th 2019, 11:14 am
Filed under: Family,LYS

(It reminded me of the Rose Window. Pictured with a $4 trinket of a pendant/key chain thing, bought after the Notre Dame fire because one of my daughters did a semester abroad living in view of that cathedral every day. It finally showed up in the mail yesterday, just in time to meet its match.)

The story. He had the day off for the holiday weekend. Yonder daughter took the day off. Me, I’m always a little off…

We knew the holiday traffic today would be horrendous so we chose Friday to do our day tripping fun stuff. Pack things to drink, she said, we’re going to be driving for like two and a half hours, easily. Andy’s for the best cherries (and into the insulated case they go) then across the mountains to the beach town/touristy stuff/best chocolate/lunch at some new-to-us restaurant. Oh, and (not that we needed it at that point) the ice cream/sorbet for the dairy allergic that’s made in-house at that place that uses fresh fruit from the local farms. Go.

And so we did all that. I managed to drop the handmade mug with the balls of yarn motif that I’d bought at Stitches and shatter it outside the ice cream shop, but at least it cowabunga-ed off my car door holder in Surf City. Somehow that fit.

Anything else you guys want to do here before we head for home? Gotta beat rush hour.

Me, looking at my phone for choices and directions: Yeah, let’s try out one of the local yarn stores!

Them: Like you NEED more yarn! (with a slight groan.)

But hey, there was one right over there, turns out, just one block over from the ice cream shop. Well that’s handy.

I walked in there and a skein facing the door, set low in the bin, leaped out at me. Gorgeous. I did a quick cursory look around the rest of the shop but knew nothing else would live up to this. Shame there wasn’t more. It didn’t have any kind of a ball band but it was in the dk wool section and it wasn’t like it was hard to guess what it was.

Wait. There were two more at the bottom, tucked way under. I pulled them out and considered the variants in the hand dyeing, the fact that all three were different enough that you would always know where the skeins had changed, and opted for just the middle one for a cowl, or potentially a grandbaby sweater with solid colors to border it. Black? The Rose Window?

Maybe the ball band for the first was stuck under there where those came out of? I reached, and there it was, a little smushed from someone else having crammed it back in after knocking it off the skein. I smoothed it out, put it back on for the next person, thinking, c’mon, people, it’s not hard to be a little more polite to the shop and the other customers than that, and took the one I wanted to the front.

Where I told the unsmiling clerk that my family had told me I had ten minutes. (And with that, I instantly announced we were tourists they would probably never see again, not potential regulars. I didn’t know that that might be going to matter.)

Michelle popped her head in the door and grinned, It’s been nine. Just saying!

I grinned back.

The clerk did not. Everything about her screamed major depression. I wanted to help somehow if I could in what few moments I would have with her.

She asked if I wanted it wound. I would, actually, very much, thanks.

She set up the swift and the winder, and I was a little sorry that the shop owner had gone for the expensive wooden type without springing for the powered version that frees the staff to pay all their attention to their customers while it winds, like Green Planet/Fillory has. I would think that that would pay for itself over time, but whatever, not my business.

The woman cut off more yarn than I would have liked when she cut the knot tying the two ends together, but whatever.

She didn’t maintain the tension and neither did her set-up. It kept tangling. She stopped and freed the strand three times.

On the fourth time, there were only five rounds left on the swift. She picked up the scissors. (!!!!!)

Saw that I was watching, a little stunned. Oh right.

She put the scissors back down.

I said something to the effect of offering to wind the rest of it by hand myself and she took it off the winder and did exactly that.

That picking up the scissors thing was so automatic on her part that on reflection I realized it wouldn’t have been the first time she’d done it. Get rid of the nuisance. Toss the end of it. The customer would never know.

Now I need to figure out how to let the owner know. I googled to find a picture of her to make sure this wasn’t her, and it wasn’t–wrong face, wrong generation.

I want the clerk set straight, certainly not fired–but even more: I want her to get therapy. Because she’s clearly just barely dragging herself through the day and her issue is a whole lot more than cutting off nuisance yarn and cheating customers.

And maybe, trying to be charitable, it was just a stupid brain-dead moment from the habit of cutting the knots at the beginnings. But it sure didn’t look that way to me.



At last at last at last. Thank you Carol!!!
Friday May 17th 2019, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift,LYS

First, I want to thank those who tried to help me online.

A few days ago I spent an hour carefully knitting–and then ripping back, one loop at a time–a single row, the 279-stitch first pattern row of that baby afghan.

So I thought I’d ask Holly for advice, but we had so much to simply talk about and catch up on in each other’s lives that it just didn’t factor in. It frankly would have felt out of place to interrupt with something so mundane.

Plus I knew I had Friday afternoon as my backup plan. That’s when Carol and Krista would be at Green Planet Yarns/now called Fillory under the new owner. Surely, if anybody…

There was an open seat by Carol. I pulled out the yellow third Barbara Walker treasury and asked if I could ask for help. Sure! (I looked behind me: the little table where the old version of the shop had had a consultant whose time you paid for was gone. I’d never needed that but I would have been happy to on this.)

I told my friend, I have counted this every single way one could and it doesn’t work: you can’t knit a three by three cable with seven stitches!

The gleam in her eye–she knew what she was about to do and how it was about to feel for both of us.

But you can, she told me: you go back and forth past a center stitch.

I looked at the book. “How? You can’t have an odd number between.” I didn’t see anything other than a normal 3×3 crossing. Everything was symmetrical, there was no wobbling from an extra stitch nor from one side not being cabled when the other one was. “You do need that extra stitch further up in the pattern, but not at the bottom. Right? So the count should adjust for that, right?”

She wished for a cable needle. I reached into my purse for one. She took up my knitting and pointed at the book and showed and told:

“See that one square that’s outlined darker on the chart?” (It was at the sides, where the repeat began and ended.) “That’s the center stitch. It doesn’t move.

Now. You put four stitches on the cable needle and put it behind. Not three. You knit the next three stitches from the left needle, as one normally does; then you knit the first stitch on the LEFT side of the cable needle, then the other three right to left like normal. That one stitch stays at the center between the two sides that way.”

I had never heard of nor seen such a thing. Not that it was hard. It had simply never occurred to me.

“And it would make it so you have the right number of stitches for the lacework above that cable.”

“Right!”

Then she had me do it, too, while I only just managed not to grab it right out of her hands to instantly try it the nanosecond she was done explaining.

I felt a great kinship with my old friend Monica, the longtime knitter who almost yelled, That’s IT?!! when I showed her how to do a simple cable and how all cable work was a riff on that.

I had wanted to knit page 146 for–well, I’d had that book for twenty years. Only for the baby on the way had I finally wanted to enough. Only for her had I gotten to where I could, with Carol’s help. It was so easy. I had been so stumped.

“My granddaughter-on-the-way thanks you.”

“Your granddaughter-on-the-way is very welcome. It’s funny how we have gaps in our knowledge,” said Carol happily.

And then, with the help of a great teacher, suddenly we don’t. We don’t at all. We are all filled up and brimming over.



So two
Wednesday May 01st 2019, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,LYS

If you knit an Alaskan toddler a hat, he’s going to want to put it on, and if he puts it on he’s going to want it to stay on. Malabrigo Mecha (from Cottage Yarns) is soft and warm and it feels good.

He doesn’t like the folded brim thing so much, though: it makes it harder to get the thing on and off on his own.

He did manage to snatch Grampa’s for trying on, pretending not to be seen by pulling it down over his eyes while running away peeking out trying to make sure where he was going. Chase me! runrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrunrun

The day he turned two (or was it the day after) he grabbed the remote and pushed buttons till he managed to turn the screen on and pick out Shaun the Sheep cartoons. All by himself.

That mantle shelf up high gets lots of good use.