Tuesday, September 18, 2007

She's Baaaack and I'm Gone

One thing I'll say for Dolores–the grass never grows under her feet. She's been fairly mum about exactly what happened on the tour, although she did confide over an evening cosmo that once the balance sheet was totted up she'd turned a profit of $147.46, not counting tips.

I admitted that I was impressed she'd ended in the black, given the costs of touring with a large troupe and the specialized appeal of her somewhat esoteric act.

"It's all in how you spin it, cupcake," she said. "When you've been in the industry as long as I have, you learn it's not what you got in the box, it's how you wrap it up. I may not be your typical pre-packaged Hollywood bimbo but I know how to bring the boys to the yard."

"Plus it helped that in Peoria they paid us $100 to get out of town," said Harry.

Whereupon there began a heated discussion, and I withdrew to my bedchamber.

More Baby Knitting

In my ongoing quest to earn for Abigail the title of World's Most Knitted-For Niece, I've started an Elizabeth Zimmermann Tomten Jacket. It's in three of her books: Knitting Workshop, Knitting Without Tears, and The Opinionated Knitter.

This is another of Elizabeth's patterns that, like the Baby Surprise Jacket, has become a classic and for good reason. The design is so ingenious that simply by changing your gauge you can size the thing to fit everybody from infant to adult. Sewing up is minimal. The possibilities for modifying to suit your taste or needs are myriad. The finished product scores in the highest percentile of the adorability scale. What's not to love?

Abigail's Tomten will definitely have a hood. And to jazz it up, I'm also throwing in color patterns. Now, like much of Zimmermann's work the piece is done entirely in garter stitch, which is often striped but seldom in my experience worked with frequent color changes within a single row.

But I knew there must be a way. And sure enough, dear Montse Stanley in the Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook has it: Garter Stitch Jacquard.

I can't offer a detailed explanation this morning, as I'm off to visit my folks in Indiana in an hour or so. But here's a photograph to show you the stylized leaves around the lower edge of the jacket.

Tomten Jacquard

I enjoyed this so much, I'll work up a demonstration/description of how it's done over the next day or so.

But first, I have a date with a Megabus to Indianapolis. Over and out, friends, until I report from deep in the cornfields.

50 comments:

Longhorn Diva said...

Do Dolores's act doesn't 'play in Peoria'? (snort)

And COLORWORK GARTER STITCH??? If garter stitch is square, not distorted, could that mean any existing letter chart or needlework charts could be used and look recognizeable?? I. Am. So. Happy.

Thank you for getting me all hot and bothered over the possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the bus travel...hope you have a better experience than last time!

Amelia said...

Garter Stitch Jaquard?! Really?! I didn't know you could DO such a thing! That is so FREAKING cool.

Now, my uncles are (on the whole) nothing to complain about, but I have to admit Abby's got it pretty darn good.

Lise in NJ said...

My son (now 19 y.o.) enjoyed several Tomtens, and you're right, you can't beat them for cute. The great baby big eyes peeking out from the hood is a precious effect. Can't wait to hear about the Garter Jacquard -- looks wonderful!

Rita said...

Your ongoig story about Dorothy and Harry are so much fun to read, I laugh more now than I have in a long time. Thank you. There is no question that you are well on your way to be the best uncle. What you give us in the meantime, is a lot of anticipation and sharing your joy, and that my friend is a huge gift to your considerable readership.
Have a nice visit with your folks
Rita

Anna-Liza said...

Oh, I am really looking forward to your tutorial! Those stylized leaves are enchanting! Good luck/have a great trip. I love visiting my folks, but the getting there can be something else.

chemgrrl said...

Oh, if you're going to Indy, get thee to the Mass Ave Knit Shop. You will not regret it.

~from she who lives not *in* a cornfield, but within spittin distance

p.s. colorwork garter stitch? Kick ass!

Yvonne said...

Harry has got to be the knitter's equivalent to Elmo. heehee.

DataGoddess said...

So did your folks live here when you were growing up, as in do you know which yarn shops you need to see? Someone already mentioned Mass Ave, there's also Stitches and Scones in Westfield.

If you wave in the general direction of Fishers, I'll wave back :-)

Valerie said...

Hmm...I wonder if Montse Stanley's garter stitch jacquard is the same thing as Barbara Walker's garter mosaic?
Thanks for bringing to my attention. What a wonderful thing to have an extensive library....knitting or otherwise!

Anonymous said...

that is soooooo cool

Darci said...

Can I be your niece? My daughters are blessed with such a wonderful aunt and trust me you will reap the rewards later. She is the first who thy call with great news as well as tragedies. She is the ying to my parenting yang.

Deb said...

What a tease, to post that beautiful picture and then leave! I can't wait for the technique. I made a Tomten for my youngest and it was great fun to knit, but jazzing it up with colorwork - genius.

I'm surprised they didn't ride Dolores et al. out of Peoria on a rail... hee hee.

Dee said...

Very pretty. Abigail will be the best-dressed baby in town.

Have a good time on your trip home!

seizuresalad said...

Love the colourwork and look forward to your explanation. I'm knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket as I speak, it would be neat to include a motif like that around the sleeves, for instance.

Have fun with the parental-units.

jillian said...

All I can say is "oooohhhh, aaahhhhh". That is inspired!

FiberQat said...

Wear your "I learned to knit in prison" shirt.

MonicaPDX said...

"...how you spin it..." ::major snerking:: Very cool on the Tomten with colorwork! That is a gorgeous jacket; I remember the first time I saw it in VK back in the 80's, I just fell in love with it. Never knitted it, but now I'm wondering if I could use one in adult gauge! (LOL, may have to be really bulky yarn.) The leaves are beautiful.

Enjoy the visit, and may you not run into any tactless naifs on the bus this time!

Joanna said...

Can't wait to see the colorwork tutorial .... hope Harry has not suffert too much from exposure to odd elements will on tour.

Angie said...

You are simply genius! I love the Tomten, will you be my brother?

noricum said...

I love the colourwork! I think I can guess how it's done, but I look forward to your tutorial. :)

Michell in CO said...

You and Dolores make my day--love all your blogs. Can't wait to learn about the jacquard. I did a Surprise Jacket and really loved it--so much more than I thought I would. Learning the color aspect would make it even more fun, but I'll bet it works better on the Tomten, since the construction on BSJ can make it harder to predict outcome, shall we say. Yay EZ!

red dawg said...

Will you be my . . . thang?

Woof.

Sarah said...

How cute! I just finished knitting a tomten for a friend's baby (I went with a long collar instead of a hood) and just loved it. I can't wait to hear more about this garter-stitch colorwork thing...I'm very intrigued!

Knit Wit said...

What?! You're coming here? What? Where?

And to whom should I address my complaint about the perpetual Indianapolis/cornfield comparison. We're an actual, really big city with rush hour and pollution and everything, you know :)

FloridaMo said...

Well of course she ended up in the black, we know she's not a RED sheep...

Jo said...

Garter St---plus colors?!? All I can say is Wow! One lucky, lucky niece! Want to adopt me, too? I've read that you can knit the Tomten in any size at all!
Oh, and kudos to Dolo for her rave(ing) reviews that I'm sure rolled in everywhere, except perhaps Peoria. :)

TracyKM said...

Do you have tips for sewing up the BSJ? I'm not afraid of sewing up things, don't mind it really, but I just can't seem to get this one to look good. I've tried crochet, but it didn't work at all.
What about mosaic knitting to fancy up garter stitch garments? Would that be the same sort of thing? (Not mosaic, as in the little squares with the dec running diagonal, I mean two colour mosaic knitting, making colour patterns using slip stitches and garter st).

KarenJoSeattle said...

Poohey, I really, really don't have time tonight to dig out Monse and find those directions. I want a colorwork Tomten.

At least I don't have time because of knitting stuff.

Kristen said...

AACK! Indy? Definitely hit the Mass Ave Knit shop (which isn't on Mass Ave). And, um, my Mann-loving boy happens to be an inhabitant of Indy...

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Have fun in Indiana. Are you limiting your visit to Indy or will you be in other cities, too. I really like Columbus, Nashville and Bloomington.

Joe said...

pssst...do they have the internet in Indiana yet?

You might want to check first.

Lorraine said...

Did you ever see the "Twilight Zone" episode where the little boy wishes everyone into the corn field?
Avoid that kid at all costs.

Sean said...

enjoy your trip...and as always, you've intrigued me with this garter jacquard stitch. I've found only vague references in my library (absent of the Reader's Digest book.) I can't wait for this tutorial!

YarnMom said...

I had the weirdest dream last night, in which I met you and behaved with the most outlandish devotion. In two days I knitted you a sweater out of some green mylar/cashmere (I don't know what it was, but there were definitely silvery strands plyed in there) blend yarn, which had an almost quilted appearance.

Then someone used it as a coaster, and spilled something on it, so that when I gave it to you there was the most terrible staining...

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your trip, and do go by Mass Ave knit shop.

Be aware though--
-it's a DARK shop. If it's overcast, the lighting is pretty poor (unless they've boosted the lights since I was there).
-the owner brings her kids in (not a problem), but she tends to let them run amok, and they crash into other customers and displays (a bit of problem for me).

It's still a FANTASTIC shop, so go see.

Phyllis
:)

dhi said...

Franklin Dear,
Please take new pics while in Indy. The last one of you on SisterSue's blog makes me nervous that your little stint with the "All Men Suck" brigade has left you underweight and at risk --trust me, you DON'T want to pick up a corn worm while travelling! ;-)

And rock your super-sexy socks off knitting on that bus! Keeps the pervs away, that's for sure.

Mwuah!
Auntie Dhi

Marlena said...

Love that look! I saw a thumbnail of that photo in Flickr, and I thought it was embroidered.

David said...

Let us hope that it is a long time before Abigail reaches the age of disdain for any homemade garments, as Uncle Franklin seems frighteningly focused at the moment.

Amy said...

Ooooo. Ahhhhhhhh. Lovely!

sacramentoknits said...

I really enjoy your following your knitting adventures. I find them very inspirational. Quite frankly the adventures of Dolores scare me a little. I wondered if you had seen the Hemlock Ring Blanket? Just thinking of you and that baby spoiling goal...

Sweet Camden Lass said...

Stephen Fry has started a blog!

http://stephenfry.com/blog

This is the sort of vitally important information that one *has* to know.

The garterstitch is so very cool too.

Jane

sarah said...

Awesome colorwork! Can't wait to see the demo! : )

Shelda said...

That's gorgeous, Franklin! Who knew you could do that? Amazing. Can't wait to see more details.

That Montse Stanley is one clever cookie!

rams said...

You're lucky there aren't knitting knijas honing in on your particular cornfield, determined to chain you to your keyboard until that tutorial's Public Knowledge.

knititch said...

it looks great. try out meg's suggestions for knitting the body and the sleeve stitches together (the same way as one makes the shirt yoke for the seamless hybrid). it adds class. she mentions it in the opinionated knitter.
it is just so great to knit for all those little relatives and i think tomten is the most adorable knitting. here in copenhagen my niece was stopped at some occasions in the park by americans who wanted to know where they could buy a tomten (that is so weird). and it seems to grow with the child in the nicest of ways.

Carson said...

cornworms?
*shudder*

so glad you have a bedchamber to withdraw to, albeit briefly

Lety said...

I really enjoy your blog and the guest spots on Cast On--very funny! I think Buddhism is way cool and as a fellow recovering Catholic, I can see what is attractive about it. (Personally, I couldn't give up eating dead animals. Apologies to Dolores.)

I'd like to present you with a moral dilemma: What would you do if you found a m*th in your stash? Would your love of wool or your spiritual beliefs win out? Would you smash the bastard into next week or donate your stash to him/her and all of his/her relatives for their winter home/feast?

Rosi G. said...

Aahhh the Tomten. I love this jacket. I've knit two. My girls love the sweaters for school so that their uniforms aren't so blah. Got your comment on my pink and brown one on Ravelry! Thanks! ;)

The deep, set-in sleeves are one of the aspects of this design that make it so different from all the eleventybillion baby sweaters out there. I like to accentuate that with a big block of a different color when starting the sleeves so that the design really shows. :)

Seanna Lea said...

Ooh. I really like that! I love working garter stitch (perfect for parties where there is comraderie but not an overflowing of the potent potables), and that looks like the perfect way to jazz it up a bit at the beginning and end.