Sunday, September 05, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Thank God kids never mean well—Lily Tomlin

I know for a fact that as children, neither of my daughters ever meant well, except on Christmas and Mother’s Day.

My granddaughter Liz carries on that fine tradition.

Pre-Teen Yarn Shopping
The aforementioned Lizzy, now 12 and a punk sk8or (those of you with adolescents will understand this fashion trend), still likes to hang with her Grammy, and will ever so often become enthusiastic about “learning to knit.”

Lizzy has learned to knit on at least three separate occasions since she was seven. And does a mean garter stitch. If she ever successfully knits 6 inches worth, she will be taught to purl. That’s my rule, and I’m sticking to it.

On Friday, Elly and I went up to the Yarn Loft in Sparta to pick up our copies of Simply Shetland (more on that later). Lizzy was happy to come along in the hopes, probably, that Gram would buy her some yarn for yet another stint of learning.

Liz hadn’t been yarn shopping with me in about 2 years. So it was interesting to see her reactions to the selections available. I told her I would buy her two skeins of her choice for her birthday. And I let her loose in the shop.

I really thought that she’d go for the frou-frou. After all, this crap is what appeals to girls her age and I figured her garter stitch was good enough so that she could handle a novelty yarn.

Much to my surprise, she walked around, touched every skein of frou-frou and with every single one, said, “Ewwww this stuff is gross!” Her comment on a bright yellow eyelash? “If I knit a jacket from this, I’d look like a chicken.”

Is this the flesh of my flesh, or what? She ended up choosing two skeins of Kureyon with which she will knit a scarf for her mother. And a Leisure Arts “Learn to Knit” book. This time, she may learn to purl.

Oh yes, and she selected one skein of Regia Mini Ringel so that Gram could knit her “really short socks.” Here’s the first one, knit at Yankee Stadium yesterday during a tedious game, wherein the Yanks lost—again.

Simply Shetland
I wait all year for the Jamieson book. It’s totally displaced the magazines in the sphere of my knitting anticipation. And as usual, this was well worth waiting for. You can check out some of the garments on the Simply Shetland web site.

I don’t think that the designs are quite as good as the three previous books. That said, anything in these books is far superior to what you’ll find anywhere else. The type is large, the directions excellent, the designs classic. And often, one design is made in several different colors. Excellent idea. They've done this in previous books. I've never seen any other publisher do this.

I particularly liked the Sand Lodge pullover, a complex Fair Isle. This I will make, after I’m done with Queen Anne’s Lace. And Gregory Courtney has done some nice men’s sweaters (he also designed two of the scarves). I suppose I could be persuaded to make one for John, possibly Courtney's Glen Orchy pullover or maybe the Hjaltland pullover by Mari Dembrow.

Even the scarves show a great deal of thought in their design. There are three of them: a lace scarf and two textured stitch scarves. I would absolutely make any of them, and I’m not a scarf maker.

Carol Lapin, who I like very much, both as a person and as a designer, has several designs that were, um, OK. I do think she’s capable of better work. These designs seemed like rehashes of older creations, particularly Kaleidescope 2. I’m very tired of the chevroned look, although the colors in the jacket are spectacular, as they always are in Carol’s garments. However, it was Nadine Shapiro’s Cosmos jacket and vest that I thought was great fun, even though I hate intarsia. The jacket’s motif is so reminiscent of the Mary Quant logo. I could almost be persuaded to get over my intarsia dislike and make this set. Quite funky.

I wasn’t wild about the coat. But I’m never wild about knitted coats. And I could live without the ruana. More modular knitting. Let’s get over the modular knitting. It’s beginning to be a stone bore.

My only beef about the book’s layout, and one that I have had with other knitting books, is the color charts. I don’t like color charts for Fair Isle knitting. Symbol charts are far easier to read, in my opinion. Even better is a combo of color and symbols.

All in all, this is a book to buy. When you figure you get 21 decent patterns for $24 USD, that’s certainly better than wasting $6 four times a year on Knitter’s, wherein you’ll see maybe one decent design. Maybe.

Sob Sister
God, I thought I was going to commit hari kari with my circulars the other night. I have been working on the Forest Path Stole sporadically, maybe once a week. The other night, when I should have worked on something stupid, I picked up the stole and worked what I thought was the last panel on Tier 10.

It wasn’t. I chose the wrong stitch pattern, the Lily of the Valley. It should have been the Birch Leaves.

I’m going on record now to say that ripping out laceweight bobbles is impossible. I had to cut the entire panel. Knitting surgeon at work. I haven’t published a picture of it in a long time, so here’s as much of it in its unblocked state as I could fit into a photo.

I’m back on track now, and a better human being for having cut the panel, I’m sure.

It’s cloudy today. No lake. Just knitting. Tomorrow I go to adopt a 7-year-old cat named Cleo, who’s living unhappily with two other cats and two dogs.

Just so you don’t think I’m an animal hater, you know? Cats are rare and handy creatures. As long as you remember that they’re not human.

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