Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rally 'Round Dolores

I didn't really want to hear the answer, but I asked anyway.

"Dolores," I said, "Why did the front desk just send up 400 yards of red, white and blue bunting?"

She was too busy talking on her Bluetooth to answer, but Harry chimed in.

"We're having a rally!" he said. "With cookies and balloons and speculating pundits and everything! What's a pundit?"

"Harry, shut up," said Dolores. "I can't hear what Mr. Gore is saying."

"Mr. Gore?"

"Yeah," Harry whispered. "He decided to throw his weight behind Dolores because she's the only candidate made entirely of natural fiber."

"Does he realize that's the only natural thing about her?"

Dolores shot me a look.

"Could you please," she hissed, "take this into the kitchen or something? I'm hammering out my stand on the environment. Go ahead, Al honey. No, nobody important, just some people I hired to set up the folding chairs. What are we saving this week, rainforests or whales? Both? Who the hell has that kinda time? Pick one."

The kitchen was full of cookies. Mrs Teitelbaum, smeared liberally with red and blue frosting, was attacking a lump of dough with my best rolling pin and humming "We Shall Overcome." I reached for a cookie and got a rap on the knuckles.

"Those are for members of the media only," she said. "You have to show me your credenza."

"Credentials," said Harry.

Mrs Teitelbaum bristled. "I don't care if this is a political setting," she said. "There's still no excuse for that kind of language."

I gingerly picked a sample off the pile. "What exactly is this supposed to be?"

"Well," said Harry, "Dolores wanted them in the shape of the Fibertarian Party logo but we couldn't find a sheep cookie cutter, so Mrs Teitelbaum used Rainbow Brite instead."

"And she made the eyes out of–"

"Olive pits," said Harry. "That part was my idea. We had bunches left over after Dolores's martini fundraiser last week."


The candidate herself bustled in. "Numbers," she snapped. "I want to know how many, and who. Gimme the big names first."

Harry riffled through his spiral notebook.

"Well, I'm still waiting to hear back from a couple of people. We have 'maybes' from Aerosmith, Donna Summer, and the guy who played Schneider on 'One Day at a Time.' Julia Roberts says she still hasn't forgiven you for what you said about Mary Reilly to the Washington Post so forget about it. Laura Bush is a yes, but she'll be wearing a blonde bouffant wig and please remember to put 'Carmelita Dupree' on her nametag. And Mrs Teitelbaum's friend Rose is coming and says it's okay if you want to use the folding tables from the senior center, but they need them back the next morning for the poetry slam."

"Word," said Mrs Teitelbaum.

"This not good, " said Dolores. "I need a halo of celebs around me for the big speech at the end. Get on the horn to Julia's people again and tell them if she doesn't show up smiling in something sexy I'm going on 'The View' to talk about Dying Young."

"Check," said Harry.

"And did you go through the entire A list in my address book?"


"Who's left on the B list?"

"Winona Ryder, Anne Murray and Yo Yo Ma."

"Shit. Okay, if we can get Julia and Aerosmith that should fill up the frame pretty well, but I want one of those goggle-eyed Obama-style choruses weeping joyfully in the background. What's the estimated turnout as of this morning?"

Harry tap-tapped on his calculator. "Not counting you...eleven."

"Eleven hundred? I'm glad we booked the bigger party room at the Best Western"

"Um, no. Eleven. But with you it's an even dozen!"

"Eleven? How the hell am I supposed to demonstrate my overwhelming groundswell of support with eleven people?"

"Well, it's ten people, really, because I was counting Tinkles and he's a cat."

"He's very politically aware," said Mrs Teitelbaum. "Every time Mary Matalin says something on 'Meet the Press,' he throws up on the rug."

"Dandy," said Dolores, munching morosely on a Rainbow Brite. "I have a handful of nobodies, an incognito first lady dressed as Dolly Parton and a vomiting cat. This isn't a political rally, it's a new season of 'The Surreal Life.'"

Knitting Up the Cabled Sleeve of Care

Given the state of the household, knitting is more than ever a refuge. I'm almost finished with the first sleeve of the as-yet-unnamed Lorna's Laces Fisherman Yarn sweater. (The basic pattern is Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage sweater from Knitting Without Tears, Knitting Workshop, et al.–like the Seneca Sweater, but this time I plan on saddle shoulders instead of raglan.)

I knew I wanted to put cables into this project, but I didn't want to knit a cabled sweater. Not yet. So I decided on a little Aran braid running up the outside of each sleeve from wrist to elbow, a simple four-row repeat from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury that appears far more complex than it actually is.

Lower Sleeve

If you look carefully, you'll also find I've worked the paired increases on top of the sleeve, a Joan Schrouder innovation I read about in Janet Szabo's fantastic book, Aran Sweater Design Putting the increases above instead of below apparently yields a more anatomical shape. I also love the look of the new rows branching out from the central motif.

Knitting the braid was so diverting that I reached elbow-length in a flash–and realized I hadn't considered the transition to plain stockinette. After frogging several half-assed solutions that I didn't even bother to photograph, I decided to try 'unbraiding' the braid so the individual ribands would appear to flow upward and melt into the fabric. It proved to be quite simple, really. An outward twist here and there, a sneaky purl increase to separate the two central strands, and voilĂ .


Eureka, dudes. Here was not only the smooth transition I wanted, but additional width (from the releasing of the previously cabled stitches) exactly where I needed it.

I'm not the first person to do this, but it was the first time I've ever done it and I figured it out on my own. It was one of those savory little knitting triumphs, the likes of which non-knitters will never know. Doesn't it just break your heart to think of those people?


LittleWit said...

Tell Dolores if she's still looking for sheep cookie cutters they have a ton on display in Karstadt in Germany :)

TO in SP said...

Today's entry was just the tonic needed for a frustrating day. Thanks for the smile.

NeedleDancer said...

I'm weeping for the knitless..
How awful to never know that joy of unventing!
Luckily, that nifty innovation is bewitching, so my tears are drying as I contemplate how to do it myself...

Carina said...

See if Kucinich, my fave former presidential contender will attend and give Dolores his delegates. :)

Oh, and I love the sleeve. That is gorgeous!

tadlewog said...

i LOVE the color, and the cable, and the transition. can't wait to see the whole thing!
(go fibertarians! all eleven! :)

pacalaga said...

I have a sheep cookie cutter I could donate to the cause.

M-H said...

Very clever. And you're right - it's such a buzz to figure it out just the way you wanted it to be.

Marin (AntiM) said...

Oh, lovely use of "ribands." Also, "Eureka, dudes..."

I'm guessing the poor, sad non-knitters also don't get to use "ribands" and "eureka, dudes" nearly as often as the fibre-friendly.

Rachel H said...

A very savory little triumph indeed. Beautifully done.

Anna-Liza said...

That is freakin' brilliant. The sweater, not Dolores. (But don't tell her I said that).

My verification is "oiytdck". That has to be a swear word in some language.

Lizabeth said...

Sweet! I'm going to use that idea in a sweater myself, I think.

dale-harriet said...

Harry? Tell Dolores I'm doing my part. I wear BOTH my Fibertarian button AND my Dolores-in-the-starry-thong button everywhere. I put posters at my LYS; I have a telephone tree and Dov (my skein of alpaca from CO)is organizing the cats. I'm going to get a grocery cart to take skeins to the polls if they have no other way to get there. And I haven't heard back from Oba-a-a-ma, but I hope Dolores has had her people call him to consider being VP. FIBERTARIANS UNITE! (oh, and Franklin? Nice sleeve....)

Linda said...

One day I'll be brave and knit without a pattern. You are so empowering when you talk about that, Franklin. The sleeve is looking so lovely.

Lynn said...

That sleeve positively rocks.

Sasha said...

The sleeve's looking awesome! I'm in LUFF with the increases on top of the sleeve - looks excellent! Looking forward to seeing the whole kit'n'kaboodle. Hang in there, tiger, I'm sure Dolores'll run out of steam or interest soon enough!

CatBookMom said...

Gotta love it when a little tweak like that makes the cables/braid look so carefully thought out ahead of time. I figured out something like that in reverse for a couple of cabled scarves, so that the seed stitch hems wouldn't flare; the decreases slid right under the edges of the cables. ;-D

Eleven people at a rally. Hmm - didn't read Al's name in there, Dolores!

kmkat said...

Perhaps you could suggest that everyone who buys a Dolores t-shirt or button or bumper sticker sign up to attend the rally. I'd be there in my Fibertarian tee, but Hilary called me to fly somewhere with her. Apparently her DH is busy that day.

Sue said...

heehee credenza!
Love the sleeve. It's so beautiful!

Kat said...

Gorgeous sleeve!! I love the increases on the top of the sleeve. All hail the great Saint Joan!

Kat with a K said...

Okay... can I get on the A list for the next martini get together???

Oh... and the sleeve is divine. Weep not for the non-knitter, they don't know what they are missing....

Joy said...

Love the cable and its resolution, the sleeve, and the color! Please bring Dolores to Knitting Camp - looking forward to meeting you both!

kaykatrn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kaykatrn said...

"More anatomic"? Certainly pretty.

N said...

MMM, Lovely sleeve and lovely transition. All in all a very elegant solution. Mary Frances and her friends would be proud :)

ashidome said...

"It was one of those savory little knitting triumphs, the likes of which non-knitters will never know. Doesn't it just break your heart to think of those people?"

Indeed it does. Not only do they miss out on the challenges and triumphs, unless they have a knitter that loves them, they have no hand knits to give them solace.

Absolutely gorgeous! I can't wait to see the finished product.

Sweet Camden Lass said...

It's beautiful.


Evelyn said...

"Who's left on the B list?"

"Winona Ryder, Anne Murray and Yo Yo Ma."


Cracked me right up.
Cool cable effect too. You are a polymath!

KarenJoSeattle said...

Hey, I'm knitting an EPS sweater with saddle shoulders and a different Barbara Walker braided cable up the sleeve, except I plan to take my sleeve cables all the way up the shoulders. And I'm doing a slightly larger braided cable (BW again) on the front. So more of a cabled sweater than yours but not a CABLED sweater. I'm at about the same point.

Your solution for uncabling your cable looks great. I should write that down for future use, but I never do.

Kate R said...

Franklin...Clever,that's the word for you. you are one clever writer and artist. Mary Matlin inducing cat barfing...genius!

Rabbitch said...

There are people who don't knit? Gah!

I'd be there for the rally but apparently I'm busy being a fibre maven.

This is the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on (so far).

Sock Knitter said...

Absolutely!! And it's looking simply gorgeous ;)

CarolineF said...

That is a lovely sleeve.

Everything hangs on Dolores's selection of a great campaign slogan, you know: "Yes We Can" or "I'm Your Girl" or whatever....

Megara said...

Stupid Atlantic Ocean for being in the way of me getting to the rally!

The sleeve looks fab, are you just going to have a plain body with that or are you going to use the cable again?

Moe said...

Listen, I'm from Nova Scotia...I know some people that might be able to get Dolores Anne Murray...just sayin'.

Amber in Albuquerque said...

Uh...I don't know how to break it to her, but "The guy who played Schneider on 'One Day at a Time'" DIED. Not too long ago.

I'm not surprised you all missed it. I think it might have happened during your recent evacuation.

nobody said...

Harry, You didn't tell me there would be cookies, change my RSVP to yes.
Franklin, your elbow is fantastic!

Carol said...

I love the cable transition - it's fantastic! Love the color too.

Kristen said...

It's been ages since I've thought of the fine acting talents of Pat Harrington, Jr. ;) Dolores, honey, I'm there in spirit! I'll look for sheep cookie cutters--this being the Easter season and all they have to be here somewhere.

(PS The mental image of a senior citizen poetry slam was almos too much to bear!)

Donna Lee said...

Being a fairly new knitter, I still follow patterns faithfully. I don't have the guts to strike out on my own. Although, now that I think of it, what's the worst that could happen? I have to frog something?

Jennie said...

Mmmm, cably goodness. Love that unbraiding thing.

Are you going to share that method with the world? So, so great.

spinningleaves said...

*wiping the tears from my eyes with a spare fluff of merino*
I bow before the twin gods of Franklin and Dolores. Although now that I have equated Dolores with Artemis I'm wondering at my choice of analogy...of course that leaves you with Apollo, so perhaps you won't quibble too much?
nonetheless, thank you for tears of joy when my sky is weeping.

Anonymous said...

I just checked imdb.... Pat Harrington, Jr. is still among the living. What a relief!

Anonymous said...

Break my heart to think about those people? Nope. I'm one. Guess what? You are, too. Neener, neener, neener....

Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

Oh ... I am so happy to be a knitter. The nonknitters, know not what they miss. Oh what a pitty.

Love, love, love the braid on the sleeve and the way you worked it out at the top. Nice!

MonicaPDX said...

Cool sleeve!

As for the political rally--thanks for the laughing-myself-silly endorphins. I think Dolores should kidnap Al for it, y'know? Just think of the PR!

FiberQat said...

If you go back to my Christmas cookie entry, you'll find a sheep one there. I'll make sure there are enough to go around when I have her over for one of her coffees and put the cats out so that Buster doesn't chase her entourage into a knotted mess.

Lovely cable. Simple is so nice. I'll have to try that kind of increase some time.

diannar rubidge said...

Does it ever get old having people praise your blog? Hope not because that is what I am doing, here and in real life. Your writing is wonderfully funny and totally unusual, with the bonus of good knitting advice. Gadzooks.

Can't wait for your book.

nosenabook said...

I was excited to see Dolores and Harry wearing shirts with the
Fibertarian logo on them. Nice.

Kathy said...

Another post, another giddy realization that I adore you.

Kathy said...


Guess What?

Chicken Butt....

I'm just sayin'.... it would make a great shirt.

KnitNana said...

Perhaps Dolores could call Bill Richardson?
Gorgeous uncabling - oh, and cabling, too!
Keep knitting the election will be over one of these days...and you'll at least get your kitchen back!

=Tamar said...

Don't worry about the actual attendance. Bribe the photographers; they can make 50,000 look like a dozen and vice versa.

My verification word is vnmufibs!

Sarah said...

I bought a copy of the Janet Szabo. You enabler, you!

Mind you, I've been coveting it for a while. I'm very intrigued with the outer sleeve increase, it seems like such an obvious idea when someone else does it!

I love the braid. V manly :)

Denise said...

So do the ribs run all the way up to the top of the sleeve?

firefly said...

Don't weep for us non-knitters, because we have the vicarious pleasure of visiting here but none of the frustrations of knitting one mitten too small and the other too large (something I've done myself in the distant past). Those who can't knit, watch in awe.

And oh, I love the color of this yarn. It looks like Maine sky with the faintest touch of cloud.

Juno said...

It does break my heart. Poor bastards.

Tigger said...

Tell Dolores she is cheeky. (Yes, I KNOW she will kill me for saying that. Oh, also tell I'm too far away for killing.)


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