This is going to be a stretch
Thursday October 05th 2006, 5:46 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Knit

Today, UPS rang the doorbell: my new computer, with a monitor I can actually see on. I loved that Newsweek had an Annie Liebowitz shot of Bill Gates using a monitor like the one I was using–and even more when I noticed the caption said that picture was shot in ’94. Yeah, there was a reason mine was getting hard to read.

So, while my husband was getting the new setup in place, the doorbell rang again. The yellow DHL truck, bringing me my manuscript from Martingale for my review. I’ve been going through it, and there, on one page, was what to me was a hysterically funny note: “Alison. It says on this scarf that it’s 55″ wide. It’s really stretchy, but we could only get it to 8″.”

Five POINT five. I guess if I didn’t quite see the period I didn’t notice because I was so used to not quite seeing them? I can just see the looks on the editors’ faces! Too funny!

treble play
Wednesday October 04th 2006, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Knit

(Oops. Got that bottom twirly part backwards there.)

When I joined the Knitlist in ’98 or so, it was to ask a specific question: did anyone know of a lace design with a musical motif? A treble or bass clef, perhaps? Quarter notes?

I got no responses other than quite a few from fellow musician/knitters saying that if I found one, please tell them where? So I drove an hour up to Berkeley, to Lacis, where Kaethe Kliot had the biggest collection probably anywhere of lace knitting books–and she knew quite well what was in every one of them. When I ran my question past her, she thought hard a moment, then shook her head emphatically no. Then, in growing excitement, she told me, “But you could design one!” (Having no idea what a newbie I was.) She carefully explained to me exactly how one goes about committing a design in one’s head onto a lace chart, not quite believing I didn’t already know how to do that. Everybody knows how to do that.

I don’t do charts. I only barely did lace at all at that point. I was in way over my head and I knew it, so I nodded my head with what I hoped was enthusiasm as she went on. Her assistant chimed in with a few helpful tips. I went home with a lace book in hand–in English, not the German book that she assured me I could follow just as easily, once I figured out the unfamiliar notations; I threw in the towel after she mentioned there were errors in the German one, but that it wouldn’t be hard to recognize them. Get me out of here!

This past February, Rosemary Hill of Designs by Romi had some beautiful shawl pins on display at Stitches West, but I didn’t quite see–what, I wasn’t sure. Recently, she added some hammered metal ones on her website, and it was, alright, now we’re getting somewhere! I sent her a note: Rosemary. Is it possible you could do one of those in a treble clef motif? I thought, if I can’t knit one, maybe I could wear one anyway.

She thought that was a cool idea, and the result is that I, the daughter of an art dealer, am now the proud owner of the first piece of artwork (other than Lisa Souza’s gorgeous yarn) I ever commissioned myself. The first sterling treble clef shawl pin.

I still need to work out that lace design. I still don’t do charts. But nowadays, if I wanted to enough, I could knit that idea to match that pin. Meantime, though, I can now wear my announcement of my love of music along with my knitting. (Um, pardon me while I turn that twirly thing back around the way it belongs…)

Postscript–Kaethe Kliot, of the WWII generation, has since passed away, but Lacis lives on.

Technical info: the yarn is Kidsilk Haze, aka Cracksilk Haze among quite a few knitters (nice stuff), knitted on size 5mm needles. I was once given ten skeins of it in a light dusty purple, and for this particular shawl, I overdyed two skeins’ worth with Jacquard Acid Dye in Crimson.

Keep the home fires burning
Monday October 02nd 2006, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

Now, let me tell you about that persimmon/coral scarf there, and why I made it the color I did. I hopped out of bed one day last week and set up the dyepot on the stove before I did anything else, having figured out just what I wanted it to be. I couldn’t wait to see it become what I was picturing!

I didn’t already tell the story because first I emailed my brother and sister-in-law to make sure I’d gotten the story right. Which came back very funny: no, SHE did this, I did THAT. But the core of the story was right on. And it is this:

My parents had long since given up on my younger brother ever getting married. And he didn’t want to be bugged about it. So it was a complete surprise to them when he phoned them to tell them what the girl he was going out with (Mom: he’s dating?!) had done.

They were supposed to have a date one particular evening. But, it turns out, Bryan’s apartment building just happened to be on fire. Larisa showed up at his place, looking for him, couldn’t find him in the crowd milling around, so when the firemen weren’t looking, she dashed past them to run into his place to save him. She saw no sign of him and came back out, and finally, very gratefully, I’m sure, found him–he was busy trying to find out what had happened to HER, meantime.

And Mom was saying, he has to marry her! Nobody else could possibly live up to that story!

And, actually, yes, they did get married. But just before their wedding, it was his birthday, and I, living near the redwood forests, found the perfect birthday card. It was a picture of a small boy looking up in complete awe at a giant sequoia. Open the card, and there were the words, “It’s your birthday. Time to count the rings.”

So you know who that diamond pattern scarf had to be for (although I still gave her her choice; she did pick that one.) I dyed it the color of the soft flames crackling in a fireplace on a romantic evening in their dream home they recently finished building. I’m a month or so late with it, but hey, you guys: happy anniversary.

S’no *WIP, it’s the seven scarves
Monday October 02nd 2006, 6:37 pm
Filed under: Knit,To dye for

The yellow is what I started out with for all of these. And now you see why, when we bought a new car several years ago, it frustrated part of me that, not really loving any of the colors it was available in, I couldn’t just dunk it in a pot with some simmering water and fix that. I prefer being in control of the colors that represent what I like.

Sorry for the delay on pictures there; Picasa, the picture arm of Blogger, just wasn’t behaving for me and was waiting for the resident expert to come play with it. Hey, Richard, Picasa es su casa.

*WIP=Work in Progress. You know, one of those highly technical knitting terms.

But no moths
Sunday October 01st 2006, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Knit

Going through the closet looking for something else, a very-long-utterly-forgotten ziploc bag tumbled down in front of me, a close-out from a yarn store going out of business over a dozen years ago. It’s purple. Angora. I instantly recognized the tag in it: why on earth do the French use a sketch of the rear end rather than the face of the bunny? (No, wait. Please. Do not answer that.) You got it–my very own Boule de Neige. Ten skeins’ worth! Too funny.