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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yesterday was the kind of day that stamped on the brain once and for all: WINTER has arrived in the Big Windy! It was an amazing combination of ice, wind, temperature and fortitude by all creatures creatures great and small who ventured out into the wild.

Best things going on a day when the wind chill is minus 15? Two words near and dear to a knitters’ heart and hand, scarf and hat. It was amazing to see the apparel of the masses on the subway, the streets and hallways I passed. Almost no one was hatless or without a scarf and in many cases, they did not come off once a person went inside!

I had on a felted number that I made long ago that is so warm it can only be pulled out on sub-zero days. But it isn’t really very pretty (awful color)! But who says you have to look frumped while staying warm? I went home and wanted to dig through the rest of my hats because I also had a bulky alpaca number I made (and re-made) that was a beautiful aqua blue. But, like a lot of the things in my house, it’s disappeared through either packing or give away after the flood this fall. I’m hoping it’s in a box somewhere where I stuffed it in the frenzy and will pop up like a happy crocus does in spring, to delight me once more.

In the meantime, I’m working away on some new ones!

This is a WestSide cap I’m making from some plain grey yarn I scored at a garage sale long ago. There were three little skeins and I knew they’d come in handy one day. The label reads: Fleece Gold (!) Knitting Worsted 4 ply Pull-EASY Skein 98% Knot Free (how they do that?)

It was from a company called Regon Worsted Co, INC in Portland, OR (sez right there: Pioneers of Western Yarns).

I wonder in what might be considered knitting’s heyday (the 50’s? the 60’s?), how many yarn companies were making those workhorse kinds of yarn? A lady in Chicago told me you could buy great wool worsted yarn at the grocery stores here, I think it was Jewel. Imaging going into Safeway or Kroger and seeing a whole huge display of yarn, maybe right next to the cereal ;p

I’d be a goner, since I Love to Buy Yarn. And then just look it. And touch it. Oh, and knit it, too.

This is going pretty fast — can you see my hair peeking out at the crown?

Friday, December 12, 2008

While Chicago et Illinois, has been busy going to H*ll in a you know, I’ve been busy making hats!

The cool blue of the Cassidy cardi I’m knitting threw me into a stash-diving frenzy one evening after an especially brutal day of newsmaking on the streets…

Our sitting (for how long?) governor was pinched by the FBI for what they characterized as a “political crime spree” that left many of us standing in the freezing icy rain for hours as he was transported, evidence gleaned and oaths uttered.

Even the most temperate citizen of our Fair City was aflame with disbelief; from the politicians to the fry cooks, it was a moment like no other.

Not mentioned? Did the President Elect really need such events to drain away the positive energy and momentum he’s been building for weeks now downtown at the Hilton, introducing his team, trying to seed confidence in a New Year’s horizon…

I’ve been on the beat, even on his bus, following in close proximity for day after day the press conferences and events as he readies his ship to sail. Even I was struck dumb by the proceedings!

By late afternoon on Wednesday, following a bad cold, I’d lost my voice completely, which was probably a good thing because I couldn’t think of anything good to say about the house the Guv built any way. o.m.g.

So instead of off with his head, it’s On with some Hats!

I’m on a slow cool blue grey riff right now. It calms me. It soothes. And it’s going to be alright.

Women’s Wear Dailey weighs in on the Guv’s coif: “Jack Lord from ‘Hawaii 5-0’ called. He wants his look back…”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

For the love of math, and math alone, some days I just love the knitting.

It doesn’t hurt to be a Stone Cold Row Counter, either.

How else could one start a project, marinate it for a few months, pick it back up and Carry ON?

My Cassidy cardi (Carodan Farm Worsted Weight Yarn; Color: Lt. Blue) was just one such item. I finished the Left Front, then got about 2/3 done with the Back before high Summer waylaid it. How to continue and match the pieces?

Like many of you, I make a working copy of the pattern then do Mark-Up. In the margins, I keep track of rows in various places (length of ribbing, length to underarm, length to shoulder, total length, etc) as reference points for the entire sweater.

If you notice, sweaters knit in pieces already have this functionality built in. They usually start you out with the Back Piece first. Here you will find the Rosetta Stone for the Fronts. Many times, knitters email me with shaping questions about cardigan construction and I always refer them back to the Back.

Now, this requires a slight leap of imagination, because the Back, as is, is the Mirror Image of the other pieces and not the doppelganger…

All of the shaping information one needs to make the Body and Armhole areas of the Fronts are already accomplished on the Back.

AND, the concept works in my favor here as well. When I dug my cardi out from the Marination Chamber, I simply had to count the rows to the top of the shoulder from the Left Front and know that I could easily match the length with no prob…

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