Monday, February 17, 2003

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

For my Achim and all his tone-deaf pigs...and for anyone who's ever tried to teach the mentally deaf.

Mairzy Doats and Gansey Doats
I have spent this snowy weekend (about 21" worth or so) working on a challenging design project. I wanted to make Achim a sweater (it's a surprise...I have to tease him about something) and having used cashmerino for his socks, I figured that I'd do an entire garment out of it. It's good stuff, great stitch definition, soft as shit...and I just can't afford the cashmere I'd love to use for him.

Compromise, compromise, compromise.

The yarn is a blue-purple--more blue when put against another blue, more purple when against purple. Very nifty and unique shade. And it immediately said to me, "Make me into a gansey." And so I dug out my copy of Gladys Thompson's Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans, which I've had for about 20 years. You never know when you're going to need some book. That's why I have so many.

Gansey construction is not all that difficult and I've kept most of the traditional elements, including armhole gussets. (I haven't designed any kind of raised stitch garment in a long time. My last Aran design was more than 4 years ago.) It's knit in the round, of course, with a centered 6-stitch cable that runs from the bottom of the ribbing to the neckline. The body will have three bands of raised stitches each separated by 2 welts of reverse st st. The yoke will have squares of various traditional stitch patterns, bisected by the centered cable. Unlike Loopy, who just finished her Guernsey recently, I am NOT going to bore myself silly with a stockinette body.

Needless to say, I've already got 6 inches done and am well into the first band on the body. See what being stuck in the house will do?

As soon as I have enough on the needle, I'll do a photo and publish it here. This may be the first design I charge for, simply because of the amount of design work involved. Directions and charts will take a lot of time.

And sizing will take even longer. I am not a believer in offering only one size, unless the design's parameters warrant it. And then I would probably discard the design idea anyway...I want people to make my designs, not be discouraged by them. Many times I've been totally frustrated because a particular garment was available only for a 34" bust. That ain't me. One sweater I've always loved is Cape Cod, from Fishermen's Sweaters by She Whose Name Must Not Be Written. I will never make this sweater because it's written for a size 36. And I'm not even going to attempt to resize it.

Shopping Trip Part II
We've agreed to wait on Part II. I think it's smart--in the next couple of weeks, I will be immersed in selling my house, getting rid of my late husband's business, which takes up the entire basement, and getting the daughters to move out too. Achim is leaving Friday for Australia for another 6-week stint. When he comes back the beginning of April, he's planning to take me to Europe for 3 weeks towards the end of the month. It's my birthday present. The diamond bracelet he gave me for Shopping Trip Part I is the most beautiful piece of jewelry I've ever received. But the most important thing to me is him.

So when the time comes, I'll let you all know. And it will come.

Stay warm, stay handy. And naturally, stay rare.

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