Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bulldozer Wanted

Remember a while back when I put up pictures of my workspace? I'm not going to do that today. I can't, because at this moment I can't see my workspace. What Vesuvius did to Pompeii, a month of heavy travel has done to my apartment.

All systems have broken down. The window box is beset with rigor mortis because I forgot to water it. The stack of knitting magazines and books has slid into a pile and begun to compost. Where the table was I now have a cairn built of yarn ball ends, orphaned double-pointed needles and junk mail that hasn't been shredded because the shredder is full. I opened the refrigerator and something inside wished me a good morning. I either have to clean up, or move out.

Cover BoyI am a disgrace to my very tidy grandmother, the one I wrote about for this month's PieceWork.* She was a housemaid for years. She taught me the importance of clean baseboards and scrubbed windowsills when I was only five years old. If she saw this living room she'd slap my eyebrows right off my face.

Before I begin to dig through the archaeological layers, I have to show you the little hoodie I made for Abigail. The pattern is the Baby's Neck Down Cardigan #982 by Diane Soucy, published by Knitting Pure and Simple. Me, I am a lover of the Knitting Pure and Simple patterns. They're well written, reasonably priced, fun to knit, and easily adapted.

I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the "Franklin's Panopticon" colorway and I think it looks well.

Hoodie in Use

Abigail tried it on and the fit is excellent, although she has quite long arms and so I'm going to rip back the cuffs and give her another inch or so of sleeve to allow for growth between now and fall, when she'll most likely wear this.

Panopticon Hoodie

I should mention that while Abigail was a very agreeable model, she wasn't inclined to follow my instructions to "Sit still for a second, honey." I understand now why the photos for so many baby knitting books are shot against an infinite white drop. I always figured it was because it looked airy and pure and innocent, but no. It must be out of practicality. You can just put the kid in the sweater, chuck her on the floor under the lights, and follow her around shooting madly while she crawls and wiggles and so forth. Very sensible.

Do you love the wee, colorful buttons, or what?

Finished Hoodie

This is my first piece with real buttonholes. I confess I did not follow the pattern's instructions, but instead used this one row version, adapted from a technique first published by the incomparable Maggie Righetti. It eliminated the need for marking the band with safety pins and all that tomfoolery.

I just picked up the band stitches, counted them, calculated proper button placement as taught long ago by Meg Swansen (thanks, Meg!) and knit them in. Maggie Righetti famously wrote that "Buttonholes Are Bastards" (it's a chapter title in Knitting in Plain English) but these four lined up like obedient little ducklings.

I bought the buttons at Loopy Yarns immediately upon my return from Indiana. And I do mean immediately. After an extended (five hours, as opposed to the usual three) ride on a Megabus full of drunk students and alumni from a certain university in the state of Ohio, Pride-bound gay guys throwing attitude,** and a flock of evangelists going to a revival who decided to have a hoot-n-holler hymn-sing en route, I decided it would be a good idea to inhale yarn fumes and calm down before I killed somebody.

So I wheeled my little bag from Union Station right over to Loopy, which you should know is presently having a rather incredible sale including deep (25% off) discounts on Rowan and other good stuff. Vicki and Zoƫ were sweet and understanding and helped me find my center (and a perfect ball of fine white cotton) while keeping me away from the sharper needles in the rack.

As much as I adore travel, it's good to be home. At least, I think this is my home. Anything could be hiding under this mess.

* It includes my first-ever published pattern–a ridiculously simple little lace edging that's supposed to look like a row of coal company houses in the Pennsylvania hills. The same issue includes an entire, new Estonian lace shawl from Nancy Bush. Boy, do I have some kind of timing.

**Dudes: if you're riding on the Megabus, you have no business throwing attitude.

62 comments:

holli said...

Franklin, the hoodie is adorable, as is the model. I love the new colorway. Now get cleaning, dammit!

Cheryl :) said...

You.Are.Amazing! No wonder you have no time to redd up (as we call it here in Western PA). Abigail looks adorable in her hoodie. I wish my son had an uncle who was so devoted.

MX said...

Excellent and beautiful model. Oh and the sweater is delightful! Great job!

Renee said...

I love your article!

Mary said...

Ohhhh, I like that colorway. Cute model too!

CCC (Crazy Cooking Camper) said...

Beautiful! Abigail is SO precious and looks adorable in this hoodie.
And I really like the colorway. I can envision so many projects with this color scheme!!!

Knitterary said...

Perfect buttons, perfect buttonholes, perfect yarn, perfect baby! And really, housework will always wait. Babies will not.

Lynne E. said...

My PIECEWORK came in yesterday's mail. As I was flipping through, I saw one photo, and thought, "Oh, that's a nice edging--I wonder if it is another by that famous designer of crocheted lace who was featured several issues back." Well, it wasn't, but it was Franklin Habit's design! Way to go--it's a lovely knitted edging, and I'll definitely have to try it out.

Geek Knitter said...

I have to thank you for starting my morning with such a wonderful dose of laughter. I needed that!

zeghsy said...

i love that you called the buttons wee. hehee...

Jenn said...

the hoodie is adorable, and I love those buttons!

Laurel said...

That sweater worked up so nicely. Not only is Abigail gorgeous, but those colors look stunning on her!

quinn said...

Keep the eyebrows. Your fans would miss them! :)

Bobbi said...

I thought Delores had the little French Madi uniform...oh, wait, that's not for cleaning...I get it!
Abigail looks great in her Uncle's colorway!

Christy D. said...

That is a great little sweater, in a great color on a great baby. You should be proud on all counts.

I know it must have been bad, but I'd have enjoyed being an onlooker on the bus full of Pride-going men and the hymn-singing evangelists. I'm sure it was an interesting combination :)

Enjoy your day of digging out. I'll be digging myself out here, so you're not alone.

Kelli Simone said...

Your blog is a highlight in my day it's always good for several hard laughs!

I am already stalking stores to find your yarn. Lovely hoodie.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl (commenter no. 2) says that western Pennsylvanians say "redd up" meaning "tidy up". . . oddly, I just discovered this word last month while reading Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South", first published in 1855. Gaskell included a glossary of terms local to Manchester/Northern England so her civilized Southern English readers could follow the dialect.
Go figure. Lots of emigration from Northern England to Pennsylvania?
Gretchen
PS: Lorna's Laces did you proud.

anne marie in philly said...

are you SURE it's not some dolores party leftovers saying "good morning" to you?

and are you SURE dolores didn't leave all that mess during an after-hours shindig with her buds from the golden horseshoe?

kewl hoodie on a pretty model!

I don't envy the bus ride though; those 2 camps (and I use that term with tongue resting firmly in [face, not butt] cheek) side-by-side (not by sondheim) would have made me VERY uneasy.

why yes, I am feeling very robin williams-y today, thankyouverymuch.

smooches! :-)

Anonymous said...

Love the colorway and was thinking baby gift when I saw that sock yarn at Threadbear this weekend. Cute model, too. Do you think there's a virus spreading between homes causing all that messing up, because I have it, too! Blogless Jean

sarah b. said...

Love the hoodie. That colorway is so fantastic! I want some!!! But I am on a diet.

christina said...

We had a major excavation of our bedroom last night (yeah I KNOW) and our living room is next.

That hoodie is adorable. I'm going to have to not only buy the sock yarn but (multiple) of the worsted now. THANKS! Luckily I heard TKN's shipment is on it's way so we won't have to wait long.

Sue said...

the hoodie turned out fabulous! I love the colorway, Just adore it.

Tara said...

OK seriously: who the heck cleans their baseboards????

Patty said...

Beautiful sweater on a beautiful child! And hilarious commentary on your MegaBus ride....I have my Megabus seat reserved to come to Chicago for Stitches Midwest, wish me luck!

Kristen said...

I also love the hoodie and the Abigail, but I'm posting to congratulate you on the Piecework article. I enjoyed it a lot, and thought you did a great job combining the history of the company town with the textile elements. I hope you'll write more for them.

Anonymous said...

one of the first things my kids learned to mimic me saying..."i'm SO proud of you"

marie in florida

noallatin said...

Franklin,
I love the sweater. I'm looking for a pattern for 2 grandnieces/nephews I've never seen. I'll have to look into the one you used.
BTW, which PA mining town are you referring to? I spent the first four years of my life in United, PA and the next seventeen or so in Johnstown. My mother was one of the first women to go down into a coal mine in our area. She was touring it either for work or the PA Human Relations Comission.

Laura Sue said...

Hi! An off-topic comment--but my husband just sent me this link and I think you and Delores might like it. http://www.thestage.co.uk/images/hamlet/200818H.gif He had to tell me that the reference is to "The Jersey Boys"--a musical about Frankie Vallee and the 4 Seasons.

Phro5gg said...

Hoodie and model are quite lovely.

Bus ride sounds very "interesting". 3 groups of people I would never think could survive together in a small confined space. Sounds more like a plot for a future Broadway Musical.

As for cleaning, I sometimes think that houses should have a large drain in the middle so you could just hose things down when they got too bad.

dale-harriet said...

I got my Piecework yesterday; I was happily reading it cover-to-cover as usual...and did not even REALIZE that was *YOUR* article!! I believe the word is "WOOOOT!!" Now then - regarding redding up (and I just wrote about it, myself - must be a seasonal thing) I feel obligated to tell you - some of it might not have been your doing. My counterpart in Chicago had a small, intimate party for a few Fibertarians at which Dolores perfor...uhm...that is to say, SPOKE. Some of the effluvia might be from that. My colleague tells me there should be money in the campaign budget of the Chicago branch for a visit of Merry Maids. This is between you and me, I promised Harry I wouldn't tell. Just sayin'.

me said...

Lovely hoodie!

Now I'm concerned - I'm taking that bus next month. Is it normally that scary?!?

Anonymous said...

Love the hoodie. I just made it without the hood in Lorna's Laces in Monet's water lilies color way. It is minus the buttons but I'll take care of that tomorrow. Shopping for buttons is way better than housecleaning!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful surprise to find your trim pattern in Piecework! And I guess I should be appeased until the Oct release of Nancy's book - what with all! those seven stitch nupps to try out :) Terry

Helen said...

To 'redd up' or 'redd out' is a Scottish expression, also found in Northern Ireland. My mother always used to give the house a good redd out on New Year's Eve so that the new year would come into a clean house. The divine Mrs Gaskell probably had some Scottish neighbours.
Abigail is gorgeous: I think we may have to have a niece face-off.

Kath said...

Your Megabus ride reminds me of the time my group and I showed up at a Renaissance Faire (in full period costume AND attitude) to find that the fair grounds shared the parking lot with another facility, which was currently hosting a convention for a certain very conservative religious group. That made for some interesting interactions. Huzzah!

nosenabook said...

Please take care while excavating.
Your model is beautiful, of course, but I especially admire how interested she seems to be in everything around her.

Anna-Liza said...

Yeah, I've been eyeing that shawl, too. But first I have to finish this endless-stockinette baby blanket.
Your article and photos were great! I bet they ask you for more.

Jenn in Albuquerque said...

I got my Piecework Saturday and saw your article and was so delighted. I have just started reading your blog. I'm from a coal town near Pittsburgh. My sister is going to her husband's family reunion near Uniontown so I sent her the particulars about the museum. I see someone has advised you to redd up. It will get done. The article is wonderful. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Anonymous said...

Love the sweater, the colorway, and your adorable model. When my daughter was little, I always made neck down raglans and made the sleeve as long as needed to reach her wrist, then knit the cuff, which got folded up for the first few months and then gradually unfolded. In NW PA, it's sweater weather for about 11 1/2 months of the year, (my mom always said we had 2 seasons - winter and the 4th of July) so I usually got a whole year of wear doing that. Love your blog - usually I just lurk, but I had to post after the adorable pictures of your niece and your mom in the last one. thanks for sharing.
Lin

Cobbalicious said...

I looooove that baby jacket! I think baby garments may be the perfect destination for all those variegated yarns -- the ones I'd never wear myself but I slobber all over the colorway, y'know?

Kristen said...

I have often said that I need a good old fashioned housewife to look after my abode. I long ago gave up on even trying to reach my mother's height of household fastidiousness. We've reached an agreement whereby when she visits, she pretends not to notice that I forgot to dust the top of the refrigerator (again), and I pretend not to notice that she noticed. Works well.

Carrie K said...

OMG, you're in Piecework! My subscription finally paid off!

Cute model. Nice knit.

Carrie K said...

OMG, you're in Piecework! My subscription finally paid off!

Cute model. Nice knit.

Sara in WI said...

What a great article, Franklin! Congratulations! And you are surely right about getting into the right issue with Nancy Bush! That shawl may be my at Camp project....either that or the gorgeous lace edging pattern that I found 'someplace' in that issue. now get your cleaning done, as we all must, before July gets away from us!
Sara in WI

Deborah said...

I read your articles and they were great! Where can I get your colorway? Abigail looks great and so does the cardigan!

Anonymous said...

What a bus combo. Every time I'm in Indiana, I see something weird.
I'm picturing a big song/dance number ala West Side Story with that group on the bus.
Michelene

Yvonne said...

She's the cutest. Absolutely the cutest.

Kathy said...

Hi Franklin, I have never posted befor and I do like your blog. I have a question not a comment. My nephew is moving from Okla. to Buffalo, New York to attend graduate school there. I want to knit him a scarf. Would you please reccomend a pattern and yarn. Thank you so much. Kathy

Nell said...

The only thing cuter than that sweater is the model. Good luck with the cleaning!

Anonymous said...

abigail has gotten *so big*, so *fast*! wasn't she born, like, an hour ago? in your next abigail post, you'll be telling us you're felting her some seat covers for her car. wonder what colorway you'll be using for *that*!

- mary, a local librarian

Toni said...

ohmigod!I have been looking to improve my button holes. Thanks for the link. At least Abigail posed for you, I can't get my little grand daughter to model in this summmer heat. Consider yourself admired

Emily said...

Adorable. The sweater and the kid.

Hazel said...

I have that issue! I was so pleased - there is an ad for your book too :)

Also, I gave up on Megabus when they ran out of diesel on the North Circular!

Freecia said...

Ohh discount on rowan. Thanks for posting that. Thank goodness I decided on taking a larger bag for my weekend jaunt to Chicago. I just need to convince the non-knitting person that he totally wants to go to a yarn store while on his birthday trip.

I mean. come on. Rowan discount!

Essie said...

Franklin, I saw a preview of Piecework and your house border is beautiful. Congratulations!

snapesgirl-62 said...

Your niece is a darling, and a fantastic model. The hoodie and your mother's baby surprise jacket are fantastic looking on a very lucky little girl.

Time to clean up, before the thing in the refridgerator starts to collect protection money.

Jo said...

May I ask, which Pennsylvania mining town?

Captain said...

I hope your home excavation unearths many beautifully preserved treasures. If you need to borrow any brushes, just let me know.

{I keep failing the "word" verification. I guess "nxatrzet" must be some new drug. I wonder if it will help my eyesight?}

LittleBitt said...

I just subscribed to PieceWork, (can't ever have too many magazines or books) because my Grandmother gave me a copy of your article "Needlework in a Pennsylvania Mining Town" and was quick to point out it was her family in the photograph! ! It was a wonderful article with beautiful photos. You have a great way with words, and are a great fiber artist! Keep it up!

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