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Friday March 16, 2007

knit blog

“Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous: the Slammer Years”

That’s a little quote from an associate of mine, made in the lobby of the Fed Court building in Chicago. He was talking about the trial we were there for – one Conrad Moffat Black – the notorious and controversial British Peer of the Realm.

These days, and for many weeks to come, The Esteemed Realm of said Lord consists of a courthouse, and my peers are very concerned the amenities just might not be up to snuff for someone of such lofty prominence. The Cafeteria food! The manky Public Restroom! The Gaunlet!

That’s where I come in – the first and last things Mr. Black sees coming into and out of the DFBldg is multitudes of cameras. Canadians! Brits! Yanks! The interest in this man is at an international high – and the Brit paparazzi especially like to get up close and personal with the lens, leaping and pushing towards the man until he’s the center of the rugby scrum. Close by his side is Mrs. Black, rumoured to wear a 26 carat diamond engagement ring, which, used in a WonderWoman move could just possibly blind and blow up all those buzzing mosquitoes with a little flash feedback.

Frivoulous Sidebar: Fellini, the GrandMaster film director, is the Pappa of the Paparazzi – his character in “La Dolce Vita” – a boy called “Paparazzo” (Mosquito).”

This playoff is going to continue for weeks and weeks this Spring and already, the media players have dug in for the duration. In the roped-off access area is a sea of canvas folding chairs, whose occupants occupy their time between takes with all varieties of distraction. My portable non-electric device has always been a sock! Not for me the video iPod which might land on the marble floor in a flurry or into a passing pocket.

I love me sock! LoTech Safe.

The Moss Agate #1 went to see Mr. Black this week and, as always, caused speculation and commenting by my Peerage in tow. This time, it got international attention – and a tiny seal of approval by one Brit who just juttted out his lower lip and quickly shook his head affirmatively. Some of my Very Own mates were confused by this colourway and one told me it was either too late or too early to be knitting Christmas socks – I’ll agree they are very festive!

Late in the day, when I was up to the start of the toe, I reached a conumdrum. This sock lives in my parka pocket. All alone lives she, no tools or stash to keep her company in her downtime between stitching. Before I could continue, I needed to get a fix on my gauge, because as usual, I didn’t write anything down and had no pattern with me.

I did have time to think and I did have this…

knitting patterns
meet my new little Gauger, a business card,
which in the US is always 2″ x 3.5″ –
really good in pinch!



Ready to Roll! Full speed ahead! Seams everywhere!

I love seams. I love a nice strong shoulder line with support and muscle; the look of the set-in sleeve; the civilized behaviour of the sides.

All my seaming dreams come true in this pretty – it is fitted and ready to be finished. I will sew the body pieces together and then do the hood, then the band.

Michelle writes: “I see that you’re blocking before adding your button bands – I’ve always been loathe to do this, thinking that the ‘unblocked’ yarn/button bands might cause puckering once blocked….but do you find this is not so?”

I always (99%) block everything before any finishing. Button Banding is not an exact science but I’ve found it goes much more smoothly after blocking. The bands are thicker and firmer than the body of the sweater and in my experience, shouldn’t change much once they are blocked out.

The trick is to find the right pick-up ratio that doesn’t flare or pucker. For this gauge (4.75 sts per inch) I will pick up, on the Front edges, 4 sts for every 5 rows. That means, looking at the edge sts, pick up 4 in every row st, skip one row stitch.

For some reason (cough, cough, digital digital) it has been incredibly hard to shoot this sweater! The color in combination with the cabling just defies me at every turn. Interesting. I keep finding out more and more about the cranky nature of digital — what a brat it is! ;p

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Mother Nature continues to gobsmack Midwestern natives. Today, it is going to be in the 70’s (normal temp about 50). Warmth on an unseasonal day is always accompanied by WIND.

I will gladly wear a headband…

Accompanying me on the #66 is the Back’O’theTwist. It is seemly to be cabling so close to St. Pat’s – something in ye olde DNA hearkens to the call in a very big way this time of year and I just can’t resist.

Next to socks, cabling is my very favorite knitting thing to do.

No cable needles were used on this sweater – all coils were of the small stitch variety and easily exchanged on the fly! The yarn is not too splitty – had a few knots that were driving me crazy – but makes eye-popping ropes. I’m looking at it right now from across the room and it just JUMPS off the fabric.

I can’t wait to wear this and see how/if I really like the fiber blend of the yarn. It is 25% Alpaca, 25% Mohair, and 50% Wool. Hmm. The first two in that list generally drive me bonkers if they are used at 100%, but in combination, maybe the Wool will be the Chairman of the Board and boss those 2 around. I’m hoping.

Last on the plate – a plain hood. This is a work sweater, and it needs that hoodie but also needs to be flexible around the neckline when paired with a parka.


This weekend is Chicago’s giant St. Patrick’s Day parade! Check out the City’s website – especially the Queen contest. Especially interesting? How fashion changed from 1972 to 1991 in the last two pictures on the page…

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