Monday, May 08, 2006

My Knitting is Full of Holes

Meet Glencora



The Glencora Baby Shawl is finished. There was a question in the comments awhile back about what exactly a "baby shawl" is. Good question. I've been calling this a baby shawl because that is the name given in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac, whence comes the basic pattern. I've decided that for me, a baby shawl is a baby blanket you'd rather not see dragged around on the floor by the intended recipient.

Here's the dossier.

Pattern: basic method for center from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac; patterns inserted from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (Vol. I) and Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting. Knitted-on edging, "Wave," taken from Heirloom Knitting.

Yarn: Dale Baby Ull, pale yellow and pale green (2 skeins yellow, 1.25 skeins green)

Finished size:
roughly 3.5 feet by 3.5 feet

Comments: Knitting this was more fun than playing Twister with a room full of frisky Marines. (Almost.) When you begin the center on dpns, work over a table unless you wish to flirt with insanity. Now that the shawl's finished, it'll be wrapped up and laid away to await a baby, as yet unborn, who might need it.




Squaresville


One of my favorite things about the whole knitting/spinning game is that you can be simultaneously productive and peaceful. On Saturday I installed myself at my favorite coffee shop, listened to three hour-long Zen lessons and knit like a demon on swatches for Susan's State of Maine lace stole.

It don't get much better than that. I'm not sure I believe in auras, but if I have one I'm sure it turned blue. Or pink. Or green. Or whatever color is the opposite of "murderous rage."

The design for the stole has changed considerably since my first sketch many months ago. I've tried about two dozen stitch patterns, and it looks like six or so will show up in the final object. A few details have been firmly settled. It's going to be made from Zephyr, it's going to be pale gray (the colorway is "Steel"), and I'm knitting it on a 24" US size zero circular.

Most of the lace swatches are done now, so the charting has begun. I'm doing it the old-fashioned way, since at present I haven't found a Mac-friendly charting program that looks inviting. Anyhow, I'm supposed to be trying to live a mindful life. Nothing makes you mindful like the prospect of erasing and re-drawing the contents of 400 itsy-bitsy squares if you don't pay attention.

More Buddha for Your Buck

C and I went out for a stroll this weekend and wound up at Architectural Revolution, a dashed amusing shop in our neighborhood that sells all sorts of goodies from Asia, South America, and the Middle East. I was looking for a small statue of Buddha, and as our local Buddhas Galore franchise has been replaced by a Baby Gap this seemed the best place to go.

Dolores, as usual, came along.

"Whoa," she said. "It's smells like 1973 in here."

The saleswoman behind the jewelry counter bristled slightly. "That's patchouli incense," she said. "Sir, perhaps your pet could wait outside?"

"I'm gonna go look at whatever's in the next room," said C, and vanished.

"She's not exactly a pet," I said.

"Damn straight," said Dolores. "I prefer to think of myself as his life coach."

"Um, yeah, okay...well, let me know if you or your...coach...need anything."

"I've been thinking of getting my nose pierced," said Dolores. "You got anything in silver, with rubies? That's my birthstone."

"I'm having nothing to do with this," I said, heading for the back room. I found C standing in front of a display of cat carvings from somewhere in Mexico.

"Was there blood?" he asked.

"Not yet," I said. "Now help me pick out a symbol of enlightenment before my aneurysm kicks in."

The selection was extensive, ranging from Buddhas about a half-inch high in brass to a bronze Thai Mega-Buddha roughly as tall as my mother (and with her signature penetrating gaze). There were clay Buddhas, and metal Buddhas. Fat Buddhas, skinny Buddhas. Buddhas reclining, sitting, and standing. Buddhas that lit up. Buddhas in really cute hats with slimming, vertical lines.

"How about this one?" asked C.

It was Indonesian, about ten inches high, wooden, carved, and painted in very cheerful greens and yellows. The attitude was meditation. The open eyes were intense but the overall expression was serene.

"He's kinda cute," I said. "And he'd match the rug."

"He's fifty percent off," said C.

"Wrap it up and charge it," I said.

We went back to the front room, to find Dolores and the saleswoman lying on a pile of velvet cushions and giggling madly. There was a dense cloud of smoke over the two of them that did not smell like patchouli.

"And so there I am in Morocco," Dolores was saying, "sitting in a hamam with Marlo Thomas and this Ethiopian hermaphrodite, and Marlo suddenly drops her towel and says–"

"Ahem," I said.

"Oh, hi," said the saleswoman, sitting up. "Hey. Did you find, you know, what you were looking for?"

"Maybe he should try Hare Krishna," said Dolores. And the two of them collapsed in another fit of giggles.

"Your life coach is awesome," said the saleswoman. "I mean, wow, she has lived."

"Oh hush you," said Dolores, batting her eyelashes.

"No, I am so serious," the saleswoman continued. She looked up at me, "I mean, just being around her makes me want to totally reconsider my living situtation. You know what I mean?"

"Intimately," I said.

"Listen, you guys go ahead home," said Dolores. "Lupe here goes on lunch in a couple minutes and she's going to introduce me to this guy around the corner who does wicked tattoos. I'm thinking getting a little something cute inked on my tuchus. Maybe a rosebud. Or a butterfly."

"How about a warning label?"

Whereupon they both started giggling again.

We were about halfway back to my apartment when C turned to me and said, "Remember when you decided not to get a cat because it would just be too much trouble?"

"Shut up," I said.

64 comments:

Nancy J said...

It's full-of-holes fantabulous, Franklin!

Aidan said...

o. my. dog. you blow me away. i know for a fact you were out late last night. when do you have time for such creativity? a hamam with marlo thomas and an ethiopian hermophrodite...i think i wet myself a little.

Ted said...

Fabulous.

The shawl is very nice Franklin. You've got blocking down.

Re: mindfullness. Having ripped rounds of lace with well over 1200 stitches, I can assure you that erasing 400 little squares is a mindless walk in the park. Wait'll you start the WRS. (You've tried Stitchpainter, from Cochenille, I expect?)

I look forward to meeting the Buddha, even if she is an imaginary sheep.

Namaste.

Ethan said...

Marlo Thomas... honestly. I laugh everytime you post. I may have a little crush on you and your wit.

Joe said...

Great job on the shawl, it's beautiful, and only your photography could have shown it in all its glory.

Congrats on a job well done.

All the Way With Knitting said...

Hideous and Kinky Dolores.......I'm thinking about all my afghan dresses and the gallons of Patchouli..love it but Frankincense is better.Dolores I think men of your species like Bulls might have had rings forced into their noses to be led..don't do it girl like foot-binding and Jimmy Chou shoes if you follow.

Mary Tess said...

Beautiful shawl, Franklin. I'm especially impressed by how nicely the edging turns around the corners. Now that you've completed the shawl will the Almanac-Along become active again?

TheAmpuT said...

Wow, that is gorgeous! Made my heart skip a beat.
Now let's see who works on getting a bun in the oven so their WeeLittlePerson can be the recipient.
~bonnie

Andrea Rusin said...

Aristotle called it "quiet industry". Or maybe it was Plato. Some dead guy. I'm going with Aristotle, though. It was Plato who called knitting a "knack" rather than an art, so we don't like him, on general principle.

AuntyNin said...

Between the gorgeousness of that shawl and the twistedness of Dolores's adventures, I now have to clean coffee out of my keyboard.

Still, both the beauty of the shawl and the humor of Dolores are much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Franklin, the shawl is well and simply stunning.
And that Dolores...I think she was my roommate in college (but I don't really picture her as a West coast girl)!
-Lynn

Pamela said...

Love the shawl. Your blocking looks great.

Jason said...

Beautiful shawl!

A'tuin said...

Thanks for answering my question, Franklin. It looks beautiful.

moiraeknits said...

I adore Dolores.

And the shawl is breathtaking!

The Purloined Letter said...

Beautiful shawl!

And, as always, a hilarious post.

Send Dolores to the nation's capital for a visit one day. We'll put her up on our blow-up bed and ply her with take-out from our favorite Ethiopian restaurant.

Nelly O said...

*ahem* I still haven't been put in touch with that fireman.

Kathleen said...

Beautiful, classic, understated, gorgeous. I love it. I hope you're proud. REALLY proud.

Of the shawl, I mean. While Dolores is of course beautiful and gorgeous in her own uniquely ovine way, I would never describe her as understated.

Just so we're clear.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Dale Baby Ull superwash? Does it block like regular wool? I've always wondered, and it just occured to me that I should just do a swatch and block it to find out. Duh.

I guess that's my homework...

LaurieM

Beth said...

Just don't let Dolores go get a dye job while she's in that condition. Though, you might come out with some fabulous self-striping yarn.......

Cheryl said...

Oh my that shawl is absolutely beautiful... makes one wish...oh, nevermind.... have you ever considered adoption??

Anyway, I love my sassy Dolores shirt and I wonder what a tattoo on Dolores would consist of??

A cat would probably be easier.....

pacalaga said...

That shawl is so incredible, I could almost cry.
However, I was saved from shedding tears at work by Dolores, as always.
I wish I was Dolores, but I'd like to keep my current hair color, please.

iowakitkat said...

Love the baby shawl. How perfectly fragile looking...

And Delores? I assume she was born and ... ahem ... bred in Montana, where the men are men, the women are ugly and the sheep (all execpt Delores) are nervous

Ann said...

I'm working on a center-out baby thing myself, Franklin, tthough mine is much more random.

And with thick fuzzy yarn.

But there's 4 skeins of Baby Ull right over there

Paul said...

"more fun than playing Twister with a room full of Frisky Marines" FRISKY Marines. That's SUCH a great picture!

The shawl is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the great photos and the wonderful laughs!

Susan said...

Somewhere on the web are instructions for using Excel (that works on a Mac, doesn't it?) to use for knitting chart patterns.

Very beautiful baby shawl pale sherbety - yum!

bess said...

love the shawl--it is amazing how quickly you have come to embrace lacework=and to think-now you will start on size 0 needles, with your next knitting adventure!! have you ever read the Tao de Ching? the translation by stephen mitchell is really beautiful--Bess

filambulle said...

Brilliant. You are such a writer. Thanks again for being, and for being you.

Rana said...

OOOOOO! Gorgeous shawl!

(Am I the only one who wants to see a picture of the Buddha? Would that be something you'd consider posting?)

judith in Ottawa said...

I second the Excel suggestion.

Love the shawl. Love you.

marie in florida said...

i get most of my buddhas at second hand stores. i have one that's plastic, i believe it's from a claw machine! LOL....
the shawl is wonderful. i'm proud of you.

Lisa said...

The shawl is absolutly gorgeous! You should be so proud.

As for Dolores...is it illegal if ones sheep is packing weed?

Anonymous said...

am amazing shawl from an amazing knitter!

and hey (or should that be hay), dolores, it's a nice night for it, smoke 'em if ya got 'em, the patchoulli will cover up the telltale smell. but not the tat on the tuchas.

PS - my word verification is "kogjid"; a new yarn, peut-etre?

anne marie in philly

MarQ1 said...

If you have played Twister with a roomful of frisky Marines, we'd like a description of that too. And as long as your taking pictures...
Nice baby shawl, too. The colors are calming, unlike most babies.

FiberQat said...

And what lovely holes they are, m'dere! Keep it away from the urping ones; drape it over a table instead. Or your altar if and when you get one. See if you can borrow the Princess Shawl pattern from Ted so you can get your edging started. Or the Spider Queen. Hey, mindful knitting means ultimate concentration!

AngeliasKnitting said...

Your Dolores stories crack me up! Good thing I'm never drinking while reading your blog.

The baby shawl - OMG! - beautiful! Almost makes me want to have another baby (you know, so you have a baby to give the shawl to). :-)

Dianna said...

Beautiful! If it needs a home...

the contessa said...

You are one funny guy Franklin. A cohort of yours, Guido Stein, recommended I mention you in an article I am writing on men who knit for the Aussie magazine I write and edit. It's called GET CREATIVE. We do a US version too. I have just had a look at some of your posts. Too funny. I love Dolores and her purple suitcase. Keep it up - all of it.

Mel said...

Lovely, quite lovely.

You've also just reminded me that I'm not certain which box my Buddha is still packed in. I miss him.

boobookittyfug said...

Anyone who wants some Excel files of knitting graph paper that I made, let me know off-list.

Franklin, I don't say this enough, but every one of your posts is a delight. Thank you.

Carol M.

hey! my word is "architect" (arkutek)

Kate said...

The Shawl is pretty,pretty and Dolores? Well, she's pretty.......

Thanks for another great read Franklin - they're well worth waiting for.

All the Way With Knitting said...

If you put Dolores on a blow-up bed ..the ciggie burns will have it flat in no time ,then somehow I can see you'll be sleeping on it while she snuggles under your finest duck-down .She can sleep on the couch but check the smoke alarm .

Sarah said...

The shawl is gorgeous. Thank you so much for the definition. So many times have I read that term and wondered. I love to knit shawls, and I like to have something around for those unknown future babies; this fits the bill.

Linda said...

Oh Franklin the shawl is beautiful and you're a wickedly funny man.

Anonymous said...

Franklin - that is the most beautiful baby blanket (shawl) I have ever seen! That will be one lucky baby!

DianeS said...

And those are mighty fine looking holes! Your lace design and knitting is something to strive for.

Personally, I'd rather have frisky Navy men. Sounds like something that Dolores has done in her spotted past.

Sandra said...

What?? WHAT did Marlo say???

I've said it before, and 'll say it again - I adore Dolores. God I love that ewe...

Deborah C. said...

And damn fine holes they are! As others have posted, instructions, via Marilyn a/k/a The Knitting Curmudgeon, are available for charting knitting patterns in Excel. It's much easier than erasing real paper - the screen doesn't wear through. Maybe Dolores would like to visit NYC sometime? I think she'd fit right in with my family.

Nancy said...

Easy to use charting software for the mac will be available soon! I wrote Knit Visualizer for Windows first (since that's what I had) and am porting it so it does all the mac-friendly things (who said putting the menu bar on top of the workspace was a good idea?). Check it out at http://www.knitfoundry.com/software.html

There's a free demo, and you can also download the manual to see what you can do with it.

Oh yeah, Fabulous shawl! (as if you really didn't know)

Andra said...

Franklin, you are a genius. You knit wickedly well. You write with wit, humor, and intelligence. Clearly Dolores knows where the good stuff is. Thank you.

Jon said...

That shawl is gorgeous...did I mention I was having a baby? bawahahahahahahahahahahaha

We have a Buddha-type store here on the mall...I was thinking of popping in before August {wink}

Claudia said...

Great lace - and your Dolores just cracks me up! Thanks for all the lol!

David said...

Why aren't you writing sitcoms? Have you SEEN the wasteland that's out there right now? You are needed.

milady_vilya said...

Thank you for posting Franklin, as walwasy you make make my day wonderful.

sahara said...

Damn Franklin, Glencora is so beautiful, I can't even speak!

Liz said...

Haven't looked in for a little while, but thanks for posting the shawl pictures. It looks beautiful.

I wonder how mine will block out...

Nit One Perl Two said...

I am so happy I found your site. It appears we have more in common than knitting! I'll let you know when I complete the "world renound" triple lindee patern!

Anonymous said...

Is Glencora named for Lady Glencora in the Palliser novels?

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