Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Aristocracy Fixation

It's been so long since I posted any project photographs, I decided I'd better show you something in order to preserve my meagre allotment of knitter's street cred.

(If you're a new reader, welcome. Also, apologies. This is a very odd knitting blog in that actual yarn makes only occasional appearances. I keep meaning to post the latest ten rows of my whatever and never quite get around to it. So I draw pictures to distract you. Now you know the custom of the country.)

Here's the Regicide Scarf, front (right) and back (left).

I am still deeply in love with this yarn, which is Four Play from Brooks Farm. I can't believe how much yardage was included in the skein for a mere $14 or $16 (can't quite remember which). The scarf is 6 inches wide and a bit over 4 feet long, and I still have a good 1/2 the ball left to knit. That's generosity.

As you can see, the reverse of the scarf has the pebbly texture of reverse stockinette, because that's mostly what it is. There are traces visible of the King Charles Brocade diagonals, but they disappear at two paces. I quite like the look, especially in the variegated colorway.

C was away this weekend in New York City, so I spent a lot of time on another project as well, the square baby shawl from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. I'm working it in Dale Baby Ull.

The shawl pattern is simple (two paragraphs or so) but includes a lot of fun stuff, like Emily Ocker's Circular Cast-On (done with a crochet hook). If unaltered, it produces a very simple square with faggot stitch dividing the four plain stockinette quarters.

I decided to put Version II of the Tulip Lace from Barbara Walker Volume I into each quarter, with the strong central line of the stem running diagonally to the corners of the square. I also plan on a lace edging using some Shetland pattern or another, courtesy of Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting. My first attempt was good, but not what I'd hoped for. I frogged it all completely, started over, and am much happier.

Pictures forthcoming. No, seriously.

I finished the beginning of the shawl during the final minutes of the last episode of The Pallisers, and so in honor of one of my favorite characters from English fiction I have re-named the project "Glencora." (Susan Hampshire, I love you.)

A scarf commemorating a dead king and a shawl named after the fictional Duchess of Omnium. Boy, some democrat I am.

Cast On: Episode 17

Thank you for all the enthusiastic comments about Episode 17 of Cast On. My dominant feeling is relief. Relief that my trusty essayists (C and Buzz) turned up trumps in both writing and performance. Relief that I got my bits recorded. Relief that said bits successfully arrived in Wales. Relief that I did not, in fact, sink Brenda's ship by rambling on incoherently and then making everybody listen to bluegrass.

People have been asking to see the sweater with the Latin inscription worked into it. It's here.

My Former High School

A concerned parent from Honolulu also wanted to know the name of the awful high school I went to. Here's their Web site. My disappointment at learning that the place hasn't been shut down and replaced by condominiums or a Pizza Hut knows no bounds.

I was particularly amused to find the following listed as an aspect of the school's educational mission:
Celebrates the value and dignity of each person and nurtures the development of the whole person.
I guess the faculty are no longer allowed to publicly single out members of the student body who ask questions like "Why are there no female authors on any of our reading lists?" as "stupid fucking faggots."

They've probably also dropped the lesson in biology class where AIDS is explained as God's punishment on men who sleep with men. And the attempts in gym class to find out who was gay so that they could torture the suspects.

(Before anybody starts an anti-Catholic or anti-Catholic school tirade in the comments, don't. I have [extremely] bad memories of this particular school. I don't allow slams at any religion on this blog, and I'll delete them without exception or apology. So hold your fire.)

And Finally

Hot gay cowboys on pretty horses.

See? You forgot all about how I didn't take pictures of the baby shawl, didn't you?


Mel said...

South Carolina public schools were hardly better. 'Nuff said on that topic.

I think you could make the argument that the name "regicide scarf" does have a certain democratic ring to it. The yarn is very nice. I'll be keeping an eye out for them at Rhinebeck this year.

Oh, and my belated congratulations on the Cast On episode. You did not disappoint.

Linda said...

The scarf is turning out very nicely! I've been experiencing some technical issues with my MP3 player so I haven't listened to you on Cast On yet, but am looking forward to it now that all is fixed.

(Honestly, I just had to post something. There must be a problem with Blogger or something. I can't believe no one has left a comment since yesterday!)


Stitchy McYarnpants said...

Ok, I was all set to commen on the knitting you posted and how I often look at that stitch, but then decide it's not going to look as good as I think it's going to and that you just proved me wrong because is really beautiful.

And then you post a hottie on a horse and I lost it. Good heavens, that guy is way more gorgeous than the stitch pattern, and I'd much rather wear him around my neck!

But still, nice scarf.

Anonymous said...

I love Susan Hampshire as well.
Love her in "Thomasina", loved her in Noel Coward at the Savoy in London.

Franklin, are you sure the guy in the black hat and red tartan shirt is totally gay?
Gee, I'd like his phone number, just to make sure.

Cheryl:) said...

non-athletic fuller-figured blondes faired no better in gym classes

Anonymous said...

Howdy, Franklin. While listening to my iPod over lunch today, Tammy Wynette came up. It brings back a memory of something that I thought for sure Dolores would have mentioned yesterday. She mentioned your fabulous impression of Olivia Newton-John but not Tammy. I love it when you do "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad." With that blonde wig you almost look like her - except shorter and hairier. If you can get C to do George Jones, you'd have quite an act. Hey - another great idea for that video podcast I keep saying you should do!


Unknown said...

First of all, the yarn was $16 at Rhinebeck, but I think it's $15 on their web site...either way it is truly a bargain.

Second, if anyone wants to bash the Catholic religion, feel free to do so on my blog comments. I encourage it highly.

Finally, I find the objectification of nake horses to be completely unacceptable. Could you please leave them a little dignity? Go read the play Equus if you insist on equine porn.

Elisabeth said...

One of the most amusing things I have ever heard was from the director of religious education at my former church, who said this to my husband (after hearing that he was no longer a practicing Catholic):

"I'm sorry. It's probably our fault. I often find myself saying to people, 'And on behalf of the Catholic Church, I'd like to appologize for the horrible way we've treated you.'"

Oh, and I agree with Cheryl on the gym class thing.

Anonymous said...

Just listened to Cast On - very smooth and went down a treat. Really liked the music you(?) chose and the essays were just right. Hope you do this again.

Lucia said...

Ah, gym class, aka "where we remind the unpopular kids that the abuse we heap on them during the rest of school is just a warmup, as it were."

(I too am speaking of public school.)

Thank goodness I can move right on from that to drooling over yarn and cowboys.

Aidan said...

I would never direct this harsh rebuke to anyone by name, but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE:

A well-bred person would never ask a lady her age.

Such a faux pas most certainly requires a written apology and flowers.

And Franklin -- I didn't know you did Tammy! You know they are currently casting the part of Brother Boy in the Sordid Lives cable series. I can just hear you shouting "Shoot her in the head, Wardell!"

Anonymous said...

When will this country stop abusing our children and sending them to gym class. We are constantly on the look out for harmful things--covering fence tops with big squishy bolsters so little Jonny won't impale himself while playing little league comes to mind. (I mean, how many kids get hurt by fences?)

Yet we continue to throw Jonny to the wolves of gym class.

Anonymous said...

The resilience some children have to find to get through their school years is awful.

Anonymous said...

-ahem- um . . . Ok. I embellished the truth just a trifle in an earlier comment today. Franklin is not pleased that I said he wears a wig and lip synchs to Tammy Wynette. I lied. I'm sorry. He doesn't.


But don't you think he SHOULD? It would be a hoot! I love the idea of him playing Brother Boy. "How long is this whole dehomosexualization thing going to take?"

Anonymous said...

The yarn used to be $15 on their website but it went up to $16/skein immediately after Rhinebeck.

Gorgeous. I'm gonna have to try that stitch on the most-of-a-skein that I have still in my stash because I want it to be something GOOD. Like that.

Anonymous said...

Duhhhhhhhh...what baby shawl?


Sneaksleep said...

I am making every effort to focus on the pretty yarn and cowboys, and not to have nausea-inducing flashbacks to middle school.

Anonymous said...

Franklin.... I am a new reader and I do not knit, but I just love you! Thanks for the smiles you leave me with everyday.

and the cowboys..I have to agree... yummmmy!

Anonymous said...

I love the Brooks Farm yarn - such beautiful colours - but hate the website. It doesn't tell me recommended needle sizes or stitches-per-inch and, as I'm in Australia and don't know what an ounce is, I have no idea if one would knit lace or aran with it...

The more I hear about churches in general and Catholicism in particular, the worse my opinion of Christianity becomes.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Franklin. Your podcast was both charming and entertaining. Have you thought of doing one on a regular basis?

goblinbox said...

Yay hot gay cowboys. Now, what were you talking about? Oh, yeah, that yarn IS pretty.

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time poster.
I'm a Chicago girl who has relocated 4-evah to Melbourne Australia. Your blog is most excellent, and I would like to bring you a gift of thanks, some pretty pretty Aussie fleece (Polwarth-it's lovely)to spin when I come back to Chicago in June. I may have to post it or leave it on your door step as it'll be a whirlwind visit. I'll leave my email address at the end of this post if you're interested. This blog attracts such quality commentary I don't feel like I'm opening myself for trouble...maybe.

My husband attended a Catholic school here in Melbourne. You should've gone there. He hates sport and managed to convince the powers that be that Bridge could indeed count for PE credit. He created a Bridge club and he and all the other
PE dodgers gained their PE credits playing Bridge three times a week.And generally there was no girl bashing or spirit crushing, just tedious tasks like analyzing the lyrics of "I am a Rock".

Leslie said...

Darlin',please don't apologize for blog-wandering away from knitting. I love Susan Hampshire too, and Phineas Finn; and because of you I'm seriously considering going to the opera.

Anonymous said...

Well, Franklin, you can imagine my joy the day they demolished my own much-hated school! I still have the newspaper photograph of the rubble, and whenever I come across it, it brings a smile to my face! Aloha! Wendy

Anonymous said...

thank you for filling in on brenda's podcast! i've been enjoying all the subs; each of you is different and refreshing!

Rabbitch said...

Mmm, cowboys. What baby shawl?

Anonymous said...

I listened to the first few minutes of your Cast On episode today on my commute home, and how funny and sad it was to hear the role reversal. Late this afternoon a very patronizing male coworker of mine seemed shocked and dare I say impressed that I had heard of Alan Greenspan and knew that he'd retired.

While he just pissed me right off, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at your co-commuters comment.

Anonymous said...

ugh, catholic school...constant humiliation, bullying, beatings...

now for a pleasant thought - my dolores mug arrived today; I cannot wait to drink something spirited from it in tribute to Her Wooliness!

anne marie in philly

Anonymous said...

this post made me laugh so hard that i cried. and that's a good thing when you've just broken up with your boyfriend and are moping around at work. at least i can now say that i'm crying from laughing instead of crying from love life issues.

the scarf is beautiful :)

kathy b said...


I LOVE the cowboy images. The horses are incredible. More more more. When is there going to be a rodeo near us ? Do you ever go to Arlington Park for the horse fix? I think I saw the Illinois State Fair rodeo event dates for this year. Anything else?

pacalaga said...

Sorry, but cowboys of either persuasion don't do much for me. I'd rather look at Dolores. (or you!)
I love love love your regicide scarf. I need to make something with that pattern for myself. And I definitely need to figure out this whole podcast thing so I can go hear yours.
Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the Catholic school bears the same name as the evil kid from The Omen? Just sayin'.

FiberQat said...

You did a beautiful job on the Regicide scarf, Franklin. I wish you much luck and patience in your next project (yep I peeked). Jaggerspun Zephyr is what I've heard recommended.

I too was a gym class victim--one lovely classmate thought it funny to scream in my left ear, causing permanent damage. If I hadn't told myself "I may be fat but I'm not stupid." every day during those awful years, I'd be a mental mess.

To all those recipients of abuse: stand tall. We got through it. We're better than our abusers. To hell with them.

Michelle said...

Hi Franklin,
Just wanted to add to the accolades you've received on your podcast - I really enjoyed it!

And I'm with you on the Four Play love...I'm working with it right now and I definitely envision more of this yarn in my future!

City Wiccan said...

Thank you . . your scarf inspired me to start my own spring scarf. I'm making a similar design. I just love your photograph of it too!

As for highschools . . . mine was horribly homophobic too! I once had been harassed and had a death threat on me . . . I was dragged into the principal's office and told that it was my fault, I shouldn't have come out. Don't you just love highschool??

I'm looking forward to this cast on episode.

Carrie K said...

Schools in general, I think. Maybe it's the age group. Hmm. Except some never seem to age out of it.

Anywhoo - thanks for the direction to the finished Latin Sweater! It's amazing. I love the Magnum/Dementia placement, however accidental. You know what Freud said, right?

Norah said...

Love the scarf and the pics of the hot gay cowboys, especially the one in the plaid shirt. (Yes, I know he's gay but I can look, can't I?) The Latin sweater is amazing.

Elemmaciltur said...

LOVE the cowboy photos!

I don't think I've commented on the Cast-On blog yet about your episode, but it was fab!

Anonymous said...

Franklin, you used those essays as such an effective warm-up that you sounded the true pro at podcasting. Props to C and B for propping you up, but you truely were outstanding (upstanding?)

Please do it again!

Anonymous said...

OK, here's the thing. I have been thinking, lately, of a wedding ring shawl. Not for me, you see, but for my lovely daughter. The thing is, I'm not a very good knitter, and I figure it would take me a very long time. A Very Long Time. But I think that I have a plan. After all, you wrote (and I read) that you really have no use for the lovely shawl you are about to embark upon. My daughter is surely going to get married one day, so she could make great use of the shawl. See? Problem solved! And you wouldn't need to rush, after all, she's only 13, and probably won't be getting married for, oh, ten or fifteen years. Let me know.
(By the way, in case the tongue in my cheek didn't make it onto the screen, I was just kidding)

Anonymous said...

I tried to listen to your Cast-On episode online and couldn't get it to work. So I HAD to go out and buy an iPod Nano. Thanks for forcing me to keep up with the times! Loved your episode!
I love Dolores, your cartoons, sense of humor and the fact that you want a cowboy too! I may even move to Texas to get myself one! Ride 'em Cowboy!

deirdre said...

I feel so fortunate to have happened upon your podcast hosting stint - I was working on a finicky project involving beads and invisible wire and wondering why, and in my laughing lost more beads than my dogs had the energy to track - I forgot the finickiness, and actually enjoyed the process - thank you so much, can't wait for more...

Anonymous said...

"Greetings from Sweden" Love your blog and Podcast. I just thought I would leave your a comment and say how truly gorgeous your Regicide Scarf is. The colours in the yarn just really bring the pattern to life. I stared out my knitting adventures also with EZ's Knitting without tears book it was a great companion in the "wastelands of the knitting world of the 80's" when I learnt.

Anonymous said...

just heard about cast on and am catching up - starting at the beginning.

love your episode. you have such a kind voice; i think you could use the following effectively and with no snark taken, in response to 'are you learning to knit?'

"no sweetie, this is an advanced skill."

that tale raises my hackles. i'm a degreed professional librarian (girl-type), and when i worked in public service had countless old men sidling up to the reference desk wanting to 'teach the lady something'. similar thing.

as i write this, snarky as i tend to be, i have reached a new insight:

"this person thinks that what i am doing is a simple-minded little thing, because i, through my great skill, have made it *appear* -- effortless."


thank you for that!

IrreverendAmy said...

Pacalaga, my thought exactly. Damien? Bad, bad omen.

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