Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baby Got Back

I don't know if you'll have missed me, but I sure missed you.

It's been some couple of months, kids. Between work (happily, lots of it) and family tragedy (sadly, lots of it) something had to give; and ultimately the something was the blog.

Dwelling on the past isn't much fun. Dwelling on knitting is. Let us commence to dwell.

During the hiatus I turned out some fun stuff. There was this early twentieth century Uhlan Cap for the Deep Fall 2012 issue of Knitty.com,

Uhlan Cap

In the same issue, I consulted with Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark on the design of this sweater, Shoreside,

Shoreside Pullover

which was based on the Edwardian Child's Middy Jumper from the previous issue. (My friend Abigail agreed to serve as an appropriately aristocratic and languid model for the photographs.)

I started writing a monthly column with cartoon for the Lion Brand Yarns newsletter, which has been giddy fun as they let me run amok on the page. You can see the first four installments in the archives here, here, here, and here.

And there was a whole lot of teaching, which meant time with knitters. Even at my lowest, time with knitters was wonderful. Knitters, they are good people. Knitters know how to comfort and knitters know how to laugh.

There wasn't much time for personal knitting. Just one small piece. A friend of mine–she lives just across the alley–has had a baby. Her first. She is three things–a friend, a good person, and a knitter–which meant she was eligible for a knitted gift. The only question was what to make.

Hat? No. Too simple. This is the woman who showed up, after my grandmother died, with a home-baked pie and a gallon of coordinating artisanal ice cream. She baked me a pie when she was eight months pregnant. She gets more than a hat.

Blanket? No. Not enough time; and even a baby blanket takes up a lot of room while you're working on it. I've spent most of the time since that entry in July away from home, traveling. I needed something portable.

Sweater? Bingo. Interesting, substantial, portable. But designing something was out of the question, so I needed to pick somebody else's pattern.

That's when the postman arrived with a large, heavy packet covered in British stamps and smelling excitingly, even through the wrapper, of old paper. A kind reader in England had decided to send over his collection of vintage British patterns, 1920-1960.

There are times, that being one of them, when the only thing to do is collapse on the settee and marvel at the kindness of relative strangers. The packet's arrival coincided exactly with my grandmother's final trip to the hospital, which was followed by an agony of watching and waiting as she slowly, slowly slipped away. I put the stack of patterns next to the bed and read them at night when I couldn't fall asleep. When I left home, I took a few with me to read on planes and in hotel rooms.

In booklet from Lister & Co. Knitting Wools, Ltd. of Bradford–which had lost its cover but looks to be from the late 40s or early 50s–I found the cardigan I wanted to make. I already had the wool to hand–dear, old St-Denis Nordique–and the classic style was a perfect match for mother's taste.

Here's the finished specimen.

Quinlan's Sweater.

I loved working it. It's flat, in pieces, sewn up–a method I am beginning to appreciate more and more. I'd never entirely give up working in the round, mind you, but there are occasions when seams are the better option. More about that in another entry.

The design had several nice grace notes–indicating a level of attention to detail that's often sadly lacking in modern baby patterns. For example, working the ribbing at the hem and cuffs with a smaller needle. Such a small thing, yet the result is a garment with a better shape and a more elegant finish.

Quinlan's Sweater.

Then there's the main stitch pattern. You think it's cables, right? Looks like little cables.

Quinlan's Sweater.

Well, it's not. It's an increase, plus a slipped stitch passed over–listen, if you want, I'll jot down the exact pattern in the next entry–and on the right side it ends up looking cabled. But on the wrong side, just check this out.

Quinlan's Sweater.

It looks like ribbing. Nice and neat. No weirdness. This stitch pattern is new to me, and I like it very much, and I think it has enormous potential.

On the other hand, there was also the usual rigmarole about button holes on one side for a girl and on the other side for a boy. That drives me batty. I am not a fan of shoving tiny kids into gender-specific clothing in the first place, and why infantine genitalia should have anything to do with buttonhole placement is beyond me.

Ultimately, after giving the pattern's honestly rather dismal two-row buttonholes a fair shake, I ripped back and decided on loops of I-cord.

Quinlan's Sweater.

I am painfully enamored with the buttons. Had an interesting time picking them out, though. I went to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston–a wonderful place, and I'm lucky to have it–because of their immense button selection. I was hunting around, finished sweater in hand, when I was accosted by the world's pushiest button salesman. The fellow absolutely would not leave me alone.

"What sort of button do you want?" he asked.

"I'll know it when I see it," I said.

"To go on that sweater?" he asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Oh," he said. "Baby buttons are over here."

He indicated a wall of blue duckies, pink kitties, day-glo plastic daisies. You know, the usual. Fine in the right place, but not on this piece.

"No, thank you," I said. "I don't want baby buttons."

"But it's a baby sweater," he said.

"I know," I said, "but I don't want baby buttons on it."

"But they're real cute," he said.

"But I don't want them," I said.

"What kind of baby sweater has adult buttons on it?"

"This baby sweater will."

"You're not a father, are you?"

"No," I said. "I'm a mother."

Whereupon he disappeared, swiftly, into Ribbons and Trim.

Before I sign off, I have to show you a couple of photographs from the pattern book. I got all kinds of flack once for including a picture of a scowling baby in one of my Knitty columns–as though babies are born with fixed smiles on their faces, and to suggest otherwise is tantamount to child abuse. Seriously, people sent me hate mail for it.

It's true that modern baby models are usually sanitized to the point of inhumanity, but I don't care for the practice and refuse to cater to the Anne Geddes set.

I prefer the bébé vérité approach of the art department at Lister and Co. Knitting Wools, Ltd.  They showcased old-fashioned English infants who look, as they should have, like little Winston Churchills. The one who modeled the pattern that I knit was obviously having a fit of pique, unimpressed by the fuzzy toy the photographer's assistant was shaking at her.

Angry Model.

However, there are limits. Had I been the editor, I would have drawn a blue pencil through this page, which includes what I dearly hope was an accidental juxtaposition of photograph and spot illustration (click to embiggen).


I giggled madly, I admit. But I would not have wanted to deal with the letters that followed.


Anonymous said...

Now THAT made me giggle. I hope things are getting a little bit better for you.

Rabbitch said...

I snorted, I did. Thank you.

Lynne said...

Definitely giggle-worthy.

Glad to see you back again. My sincere condolences on the death of your grandmother.

Erin said...

oh my. I laughed so hard I may have peed.

Beth Gray said...

So good to have you back. You were missed.

SockStar/CaroleNJ said...

Great sweater - BET PICTURE Lol

Cari said...

Condolences on the loss of your grandmother.
Exquisite baby sweater - right down to the buttons. Laugh out loud finish. So happy to see you back.

LeTissier said...

Fabulous! As always.

patricia said...

Welcome back. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother.

So...is there an adult version of that sweater?

trainlady said...

The buttons are perfect.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your grandmother. I hope that every day feels a bit better.

Katie said...

Please accept my condolences on your grandmother's passing.

Glad you're back, you have definitely been missed.

Cherye said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother!
My mother died on Sept. 2 and it's hard to go through!

I am really very glad that you're back. Nice sweater, great buttons, and thank you for the wonderful much needed laugh!

Cherye said...

hI'm so sorry about your grandmother!
My mother died on Sept. 2 and it's hard to go through!

I am really very glad that you're back. Nice sweater, great buttons, and thank you for the wonderful much needed laugh!

Amanda Haugland said...

Love and good thoughts to you. And thanks for the giggle with that last photo.

Allison Mosley said...

Oh, Dear Franklin. How you make me smile, chortle, laugh and gawfaw out loud. Thank you for your wonderful posts, your elegant knitting and the breathtaking photographs of them. <3 You, Sir, are a light in a dim world. <3

Belinda said...

Many sincere condolences for on the death of your grandmother.

Those buttons are truly fantastic!

mozzez said...

A lovely emotional post. Welcome back. Condolences for your grandmothers passing. Cheers for sending the annoying store clerk packing! I love the baby sweater, and the picture of the toy soldier shooting a gun at the baby was priceless!

Anth said...

Ha! I totally laughed out loud. I too love the old pattern books. The adults in the old books are terrifically fake though.

Sorry about your grandma.

Jeanne B. said...

Absolutely adore the sweater, would love to upsize it for me because I would wear it (in lilac or eggplant).

And you know my thoughts have been with you this whole time.

Cami said...

Dear Franklin,

Thank you for coming back. I have missed your wit and wonderful writing deeply.

Please accept my condolences on your grandmother's death.

Unknown said...

I am so sorry for your loss - that must have terribly painful.
On a brighter note, I just wanted to say how glad I am to have found your blog recently (via a podcast interview from some time ago; I was catching up on old episodes). A very entertaining read and I am looking forward to reading more!

Margaret said...

I was worried that you were growing weary of the blog, and selfishly, that we would have to go without your heart felt perspective on life (including knitting.) But obviously, you were dealing with something much bigger. I am so sorry for your loss. The vintage pattern photos are priceless and I think that babies should be able to be babies, no matter what mood they're in. Welcome back, you were soooo missed.

Lynn said...

I saw those buttons and squee'd. I have a bajillion of them, in two sizes, in my button collection. So, naturally, I heartily approve your choice. And also how you sent that "idjit" packing. And the juxtaposition of clip art and baby photo! I laughed so hard I nearly woke my poor dear husband up. (Sometimes silent, helpless laughter is not quite as silent as one would hope.) I am so sorry for your loss. I bet she was an amazing woman.

Nadya said...

Three wildly disparate comments:
1. Yes! We missed you. Please tell the nice people at Lion Brand that I am resubscribing to their newsletter purely on the strength of your column. Which I have not yet read.
2. That stitch pattern is the awesome. It demands be to be used for a scarf.
3.My heart goes out to you at the loss of your grandmother - I know from your writing how dear she was to you.

Jaimee Drew said...

Franklin, I'm glad to hear your voice on my screen again. I'm quite sorry to hear of your loss as well. Sending the good thoughts your way.

Sally said...

I have so missed you! Just thought this morning that if I didn't see a post soon I would try to contact you and make sure all was well. I'm so sorry about your grandmother. The loss of a treasure.
The baby sweater is positively lovely, and the buttons are perfect.
The soldier shooting the surrendering baby is ghastly funny! Why are there so many of these among knitting pattern books??!? You've found a gem for sure.
Carry on, dear Franklin. xoxo

Beth said...

Dearest Franklin,
I a deeply sorry that your grandmother has passed. In reading some of your previous entries about her, she seemed like a wonderful person.

The sweater is, as always, gorgeous. The baby will look stunning, and Momma is lucky to have you for a neighbor, and vice-versa.

Big virtual hugs. I missed you.

SusieQ100 said...

Ooh, Lister & Co.! I remember my Mum knitting cardi's for us when we were kids (in fact, she made all our clothing).

On a sadder note, deepest condolences on the death of your Grandmother.

Renee Anne said...

I do love adorable baby things...too bad mine is getting too big for some of it :(

And I've been missing you.

Anonymous said...

So glad to see you here again.
Stitch pattern, yes, please. Wonderful sweater with grand buttons.
Can't wait to see the fabric stash.
Thankyou for the giggles.

Anonymous said...

So, so good to have you back! And so, so sorry to know of your loss.

jo said...

How brilliant. Bradford is a Yorkshire town steeped in woolly history. It's great to look back and see the sense of humour coming through from those days. Yorkshire wool week was celebrated last week btw and the industry is starting to thrive again. Join us next year? Welcome back Franklin we have missed you . Jo from baa ram ewe in leeds.

Cybèle said...

Good to see you back Franklin. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother.
I did have to laugh out loud at the pushy button sales person. So did my 13yo.

Dragonstar said...

I so sorry for your troubles, but very glad you have such good friends. Congratulations on your successful button search - and on eventually getting rid of that salesman! I laughed out loud at the last picture. I love your sense of humour!

Doodlywhatsits said...

Sincere condolences on your loss, I never knew any of my grandparents and have always felt I have missed out.

I am so glad you are back, your blog is one that I always turn to as soon as I see there is a new post and I have missed you so much.

Sarah said...

I missed you. I am sorry for your loss but I am glad you had knitters and vintage patterns to comfort you. Oh and the buttons are perfect.

Maria (viola33) said...

Beautiful baby sweater! A very neat pattern, not only all the details you've mentioned but also the collar trimming, perfect!

My condolences on your grandmother's death.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back!

ccr in MA said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother.

The sweater is fabulous, and I just love how you got rid of the pushy salesman. As for the final picture, well, thanks for sharing the laugh!

Christine65 said...

Love the sweater - that green is fab. And the baby photos. I'm glad I'm not the only person who thinks most babies look like Winston Churchill either. But not my babies - so much hair at birth they looked like baby chimps.

jeanfromcornwall said...

I had hoped your long absence was not due to any touble - Damn! I am sorry for your loss. It is never easy.
Glad you kept your sense of humour through it all. I want to meet the button salesman - but only after I have worked up a few biting put-downs.

Claudia Wood said...

So very sorry for the loss of your grandmother.

I missed you and am glad you're back on the blog.

"I'm a mother". LOL!

Love the sweater and the buttons.

Michelle said...

I did miss you! I'm glad you're back.

I'm very, very sorry for your loss, Franklin. May happy memories of your grandmother comfort you as you mourn her passing.

That baby sweater is exquisite! And I love the buttons, too. Duckies. Pfeh.

Gail said...

I'm so sorry to learn you've lost your dear grandmother. And yes, we did miss you. I hope we'll be hearing from you more often :-)

Miss Sandra said...

"It's true that modern baby models are usually sanitized to the point of inhumanity, but I don't care for the practice and refuse to cater to the Anne Geddes set."
Thank you, I concur.

Cristin said...

So sorry for your loss.

I knit a sweater for my son when he was 3 months old, and in my favorite picture of him wearing it he's screaming his head off... because that's how he ALWAYS looked when I shoved that thing over his head. Adorable, yet realistic.

Aubrey said...

Good to see you again, hon. I did the same thing as you with my father last December. HUGS, and condolences. And great sweater! Please do post the pattern, or at least that "cable" stitch.

CityMinx said...

so good to hear from you again! i tried to make the Lion Brand event, but wedding planning has taken over my life. so sorry to hear about your grandma - i still think of both of mine every day...
and yes! please post the pattern! it's lovely

MIB said...

Franklin, glad you're back, but so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Glad you had vintage knitting patterns and the kindness of strangers to bring you some comfort at that time. And the sweater is lovely! I did a shawl for my grandmother with that same faux-cabling, and it was a lot of fun.

Diane said...

I still miss my Grandmas. On a brighter note, that sweater is charming and I like the more "adult" color. I agree, it needed proper buttons.

The stick-em-up picture made me giggle a bit, too. So did the reminder of the baby picture you took for Knitty!

Kathy said...

Love your wit and sensibilities!

New Jersey Laura said...

Welcome back! So sorry to read about your grandmother, and sympathy for your loss. That's rough. As EZ would say, you knit on, with confidence, through all crisis. And thanks for the laugh.

Pam Sykes (aka Pretty Knitty) said...

Your cap intrigues me...I'm not sure if that's because my hubby always has a cold head in the winter (thermostat 58F at night) or that it reminds me of American Horror Story. Either way, must knit cap.

So sorry to hear of your loss. Glad that you are able to keep perspective, offering laughter as the best medicine for broken hearts...way better than dwelling on sorrow.

BTW, your neighbor is one lucky momma. I wish I had been your neighbor during my pregnant years.

Jaxie985 said...

So glad you're back, Franklin, you crack me up.
Much sympathy for the loss of your grandmother, it's so hard to lose someone close to you.
I read the columns in the Lion Brand newsletter, and as I say, you always make me laugh.
Can't wait for you to reveal that stitch pattern, it might become a favorite.

Tara H. said...

I'm so, so sorry for the loss of your grandmother, Franklin. I understand what a hard time of life it is.

It's great to have you back, my husband and I love your ironic humor! I'll definitely be sharing this post with him!

Unknown said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother, Franklin...

Welcome back to the blog - I sorely missed reading your entries. You always make me giggle (at the least) and snort coffee out my nostrils (nearly always). This morning's entry was a coffee-up-the-nose-and-out entry!

The baby sweater is divine. You fulfilled one wish of mine - an adult version of the child's middy and that made me poetically giddy when I saw it a few weeks back. Now I've got to figure out an adult version of this baby sweater with the adult buttons (I'm with you - this sweater screams serious buttons, not duckies and birdies and bears). The faux cable stitch is a keeper - gotta figure that out and use it!

Love the pic of the "Baby Winnie" look-alike. I think most newborns look like Churchill - or The Buddha. And the pix of the hands-up baby juxtaposed with the shotgunning soldier toy is priceless. It's now on my office door.

Thank you for the laughs this morning -

Linda said...

You were so missed. Glad to see you back and so sorry for your loss. One of life's suckier happenings.

Bonnie said...

I love the sweater--the color, the stitch pattern, the buttons, all of it. That's a lucky baby.

Anonymous said...


How wonderful to have you back!

I'm sure you can see, from ALL the comments in such a short time, how much we all missed you.

I lost my parents when I was in my early teens, never knew any of my grandparents and have no sibs... I have enjoyed your family stories and can't even begin to imagine the hole in your heart....

And now, upward, onward, forward with glad heart and happy memories!

The sweater is WONDERFUL!

Lee in Iowa

Laurel said...

It's lovely to have you back, but I'm so sorry for your loss.

The sweater is gorgeous. Love the pattern (yes please give us the details!) and the color and yes, the buttons too.

Kristine said...

Lovely, lovely, sweater - your buttons were just exactly right.

So sorry about your grandmother - it is never easy, is it? I hope that things get better soon. We missed you!

Moondancer5 said...

My condolences, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I'm glad that in the middle of it all you had such a nice gift from someone to help pass the time.

The sweater is just gorgeous and I love the pattern, I hope that you do publish the instructions. It can be really hard to find a good baby sweater for boys and this one is so cool.

The button story. I should really feel guilty about how much I enjoy hearing how you just slap these suckers down. My hero.

Kate said...

we missed you very much, sorry to hear about your wonderful Grandmother.

The green baby sweater is very cute
a grown up version would make some of your readers very happy

drMolly, the BeanQueen said...

What beautiful sweater! I have been making baby sweaters lately - friends, great nephews, and great grand-daughter!, but not near so fantastic.
The button tale is wonderful. More power to you!
I send my heart-felt condolance for your losses.

Karen P. said...

I am so glad to see you back. I assumed that you were busy but basically okay because other people (such as the Yarn Harlot) would surely let us know if permanent harm had befallen you.

Thank you for your constant flow of creative ideas and examples of the unexpected paths we must often travel in life and art.

Judith said...

The last thing my mother said to my daughter was, "that's some baby", of my grandson, then about 7 months old. Those losses are hard and never quite go away, I share your grief and wish you comfort. But my grandson clearly needs that sweater (sized up a bit), pretty soon. glad as we all are to have you back. Signing up for Lion brand newsletter now.

wendy said...

so sorry to hear about your grandmother. They broke the mould when they made that generation. On the baby gender thing, a dear friend, sick of folk asking if her very pretty, daintily-dressed baby was a boy or a girl started simply answering,'I don't know' and wandering off.

Anonymous said...

My condolences on losing your grandmother. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Forget the baby sweater, who is the guy modeling the Uhlan cap? Does he come in my size?

Eileen said...

I am so sorry about your grandmother, and the chaos and worse of cleaning out her place.

LOVE the baby sweater. I usually make vintage baby patterns, though the Jimmy Beans Presto Changeo is a great modern one that I use. Absolutely with you on the buttons! I almost never use the "baby" buttons (wish I'd been there when you sent that button salesfool off with a couple of fleas in his ear).

Also love the tweaked Edwardian sweater. I'll be taking a closer look at that.

Glad to see you blogging again, but I do understand about priorities!

Anonymous said...

First of all, my sympathy to you and your family on the loss of your grandmother. Grandparents are such wonderful people in a person's life. I still miss mine years later.
Secondly, my mother learned to knit in England in the late 1950's early 1960's. She loved the wool shops, the needles and the patterns. Upon our return to the states she often lamented over not being to find such fine patterns. Upon her death I became the owner of her beloved sweaters knitted in England and her needles.
Your work is beautiful and the baby sweater is gorgeous. Your writing is entertaining and I have missed your words.

Lisa/knitnzu said...

Gawgeous sweatah deah!

And I loved that scowling baby... Don't listen to the haters!

Hugs about your grandmother... chin up, eh?

Nrthwoods Knitter said...

so glad you are back

DutchJan..you know Who I am said...

I really Really REALLY have missed you and coming home and finding this entry is just Lovely...I mean Really LOVELY.
Such a great read...as always..
Love you..you made me smile

Barleygold said...

I giggled madly too about that photo/illustration combo!

So sorry to hear about your grandmother. Lovely to have you back blogging.

Peg in Kensington, California said...

My condolences on the death of your grandmother. She sounded like a wonderful person.

The sweater is stunning. I love the color and the pattern. And no junky plastic button of any ilk should grace that sweater.

I am happy to see that you are back.

Anonymous said...

Dear Franklin - My deepest condolences on your grandmother's death. Reading about her in your writings was a glimpse at the wonderful person she was. Blessings on her, you, and the rest of your family.

The sweater is adorable and I love the buttons. Like you, I very seldom find "baby buttons" appropriate for most baby items.

Take care - Joe-in Wyoming

Maryanne & Duke said...

So, so sorry to hear about your grandmother. She sounded like a lovely lady.

When I was in the hospital last year, and unable to knit, I read old posts from your blog. They cheered me up immensely. So thank you for the much-needed lift, then and now!

Colleen said...

Oh, thank you thank you! I laughed so hard I cried...I needed that today! It started with your motherness, right down to that gun!

On the subject of infant models....a book, maybe Dale of Norway, had a baby sitting on a dock, in a sweater and hat *wailing*. "ohhhhh, Poor little thing, he's so adorable, but poor thing!"...I asked in the shop as I leafed through the book, "why did they put that photo in???" The answer? because *everyone* responded with that same "oooohhhh" that I did ;-)

Donna in VA said...

That stitch looks a lot like the one used on Belle Epoque socks http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/belle-epoque-3

Nancy E. Banks said...

Missed you very much.
My sincere condolences on the loss of your grandmother

Amy said...

SO glad you are back!

Lucy said...

I actually loved the scowling baby photo. I loved the way it looked evil, even. But it never occurred to me to write to say so. As usual, people only think to write if they don't like something.

Anonymous said...

Hoping things are getting bearable. Condolences on the lost of your grandmother.

Re sweater: pattern,color and buttons go together great. Seriously knit worthy baby!

LochKnitsMonster said...

Hell yeah I missed you. Welcome back. Glad things are getting better.

Julia said...

I am sorry for your loss and offer you digital hugs and large fluffy balls of virtual alpaca yarn as comfort.

In regard to the angry baby photo in that Knitty pattern, I thought it was perfect. It was a pairing of "tiny thug face" with "frilly hat". How is that NOT funny??

Anonymous said...

hugs to you . glad you are back, you were missed.

Ellen the yooper said...

I missed you too! Your blog entries are special like special treats to me, like realizing there's a bit of chocolate in the cupboard I wasn't expecting when a new one shows up.

MerryBrown said...

Missed you so!
So happy you are back!
Sorry about your loss.
These things suck, and there is no way to get past that.
Take care of yourself.

=Tamar said...

I'm glad you've returned.
Sorry about your troubles.
Pleased by your retort to the salesperson.
Yes, please do post that stitch pattern. It would be especially good for scarves, beanies, sock tops, etc.

Sandra said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing. It's good to see you back. I was about to call the authorities and report the author of one of my favorite blogs MIA!

Kathryn said...

I'm glad to see you back, and sorry for your loss. What a beautiful sweater! Day-glo daisies definitely would not have worked. I, for one, would love to know the stitch pattern.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother. My beloved Grandfather died this past Spring. Never easy to see them go.

Kudos on the sweater, buttons and buffoon bashing!

And, welcome back. You have been missed!

ClipSnap said...

O what joy to see you back! Happy dancing and SQUEEE-ing! Tempered of course with sincere condolences on your grandmother's passing.

Diane E. said...

Sending sincere and from the heart sympathy for the loss of your dear grandmother. Love the button story! I had just printed out your Uhlan cap pattern yesterday - have two men in mind to knit that for and maybe me too :-) Your sweater is wonderful!! Love the pattern, color and buttons. I have missed your post...I know you're re-grouping with lots of things but when the "dust settles" - have you ever published that cute hat you knit up for a gift a while ago?

Diane E. said...

PS - I like your fall colors way better than the Pantone ones - next years colors stink - maybe you can suggest ones for 2013 - you have a better eye and better taste :-D

rachely said...

Wait, wait, I have a big old pile of old knitting patterns that I'll never use--can I send them to you?!

Cheryl said...

Grandmothers= gold. My heartfelt sympathy for your loss. Missed your writing and knitting antics, and so glad to have you back in the blogosphere

Mary Lynn said...

The sweater is wonderful as is the color. While I have at times knitted up pastel stuff, I generally think babies look their best in bright and virbrant things. And the green is fabulous, as are the buttons. Those tiny stupid baby buttons are a pain in the butt to do up too. What a brilliant idea to use regular size, easy to use buttons.

I am so very sorry about your grandmother. I am glad that you were able to spend time with her and she with you. Cherish those memories.

Snorted at the last picture.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back. Love the green baby sweater, especially the buttons. Sorry to hear about your Grandmother.

Deborah C. said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother, my condolences.

Adorable sweater, with perfect buttons; I'm glad I've learned to laugh silently, I needed to with this post.

beth said...

Thank you so much. Your comment to the button pusher and the baby under attack brightened a day that sorely needs brightening. I hope you have no more family tragedies for as long a while as you need to recover from these recent ones.

Mary Ellen Langieri said...

So sorry to hear about your Grandmother's passing. I miss my Granny so very much still. The sweater rocks though and we (here where we live in NEPA) have come to call it the fruit loop stitch...the first time I came across it was in a sock pattern called: Loksins. Using it right now to design a shawl.

Do take care and know that you are loved!

Terry said...

Condolences on your loss. Grandmas are special, and from what you've written about her, yours was especially special. It hurts. The only consolation is all the wonderful memories.

Glad to see you're back.

Knitsiam said...

Welcome back, with sincere condolences on your loss.

Love the sweater - and the buttons.

Jennifer said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother. Try to turn your thoughts to times of laughter with her whenever you start to feel the loss. You simply can't lose those fun memories.

Very glad to have you back with us

Anonymous said...

Please accept my condolences on your grandmother's passing. Deb

Anonymous said...

I missed your blog updates, so am glad to see you back. I am sorry to learn the reasons for your long absence. My condolences on the death of your grandmother.

Yvonne said...

Franklin, I am sorry for your loss and tragedy. Please know that I miss you. This post was completely worth the wait. I love the sweater. What a lucky recipient.

Sara J said...

The sweater is lovely! and the hat reminds me of a chainmail helm re: http://www.historicroyalpalaces.com/butted-steel-chainmail-helmet.html#!

I'm so sorry for your loss, I know I will be losing my great grandmother sometime soon, and I dread it.

Thank you for writing.

LindaV said...

OMG yes we missed you! Glad you are back, and I am very, very sorry about your grandmother.

And the final picture is as priceless as they come!

Cindy said...

I also love your RSC pattern; that also kept you busy. Thanks!

lindaroo said...

Ahh, so good to have you back. You've been missed. So sorry for your loss; thank you for coming back to us.

twinsetellen said...

I was thinking about you the other day and am so glad to see this post. This fine post with a good giggle at the end.

I am sorry you've suffered lately; life is rich but it isn't all easy.

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Gerri said...

nMy condolences on your grandmother's death. You and she are blessed that you seemed to know her life was a blessing to you.

As for that guy at Vogue, I really don't think most fathers would pick out ducks any way, however they happened to stumble into a button department.(An aside, knowing Vogue, it was fun to picture him sliding on down to Ribbons and Trims.)

Julie McC. said...

So happy to hear from you. So sorry for your loss.

Unknown said...

So good to hear from you again. I'm sad to learn of your grandmother's death. Love the sweater, the color, the clever pattern and the great buttons. Poor Baby, "Don't shoot!"

Denise L. said...

Very happy to see you back; very sorry to hear of the reason for your absence.

The stitch pattern you describe is used in one of my favourite sock patterns: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/braided-gem-socks

Lucretia said...

My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved grandmother. And, I'm sooo happy baby got back!

Sandy said...

I thought you had become bored of us! You don't call, you don't write, what's a girl to think?

I'm terribly sorry about your loss. Grandmas are always the best.

Wendy said...

Speaking as a British child of the early 1960s, I think we all looked like that - my surviving baby photos bear a startling similarity to your patterns, though admittedly without the homicidal toy soldier!

Sorry to hear of your sad loss, but it's good to have you back. You've been missed.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are back. Was that the grandmother for whom you knit the purple 90th birthday shawl? You did her proud.

Evelyn said...

You're back! And if you think you're getting away without line by line instructions for the fake cable stitch pattern, you are wrong! Fess up!

Suzy said...

Franklin, we are so glad to have you back! The sweater is darling; thanks for sharing it with us in tiny little Eureka.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I missed you and Delores and Harry!

Deborah Hale said...

I've missed you dreadfully and am so glad you're back! I did read your articles in the Lion Brand newsletters so I knew you must be busy, but still... And deepest sympathies on the loss of your grandmother.

katie metzroth said...

sorry for your loss.
The green sweater is perfect.
I'm glad you are back.

Natalie Servant said...

Sorry to hear about your loss.

I love that not-cable pattern - and I think I've just used something similar in a pattern, along with too many other people recently.

That last picture had me giggling for far too long. What a gem.

Fe said...

I am glad you are back, Franklin, and so sorry to hear of your loss. My commiseration.

Beautiful child sweater. Lovely balaclava. And gorgeous sweater tunic...(?) But, really, lovely work, as always.

Thank you.

Judy11 said...

Franklin - I am delurking to send my condolences to you on the loss of your grandmother. It was just yesterday I saw the lovely picture of her in the special Swallowtail Shawl you had made for her birthday. May wonderful memories keep you strong and hold her close in your heart.

I am a relatively new follower, having found you several months ago through my knitting daughter, your book, and Stephanie's blog!! I have been catching up on the blog from the beginning. I was so afraid I had found this delightful blog to read and then you were gone. So happy to have you back! So excited I will get to meet you in person next month!!


Pinkskatinggirl said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I missed your writing.

Anonymous said...

My condolences for your loss Franklin. You two seemed to.have a strong and sincere relationship, truly not something everyone shares with a grandparent. May the cherished memories help you through the rough times.


Anonymous said...

My condolences for your loss Franklin. You two seemed to.have a strong and sincere relationship, truly not something everyone shares with a grandparent. May the cherished memories help you through the rough times.


Deb said...

Beautiful sweater!

Good for you for sticking to your guns about the buttons. They can make or break an outfit.

I'm sorry about your grandmother. It's always hard to lose someone you love.

Robin said...

I love the scowling baby. Babies have a huge range of emotions,often within seconds of each other. It's also how they get what they want, like "get this thing off of me."

Robin said...

I love the scowling baby. Babies have a huge range of emotions,often within seconds of each other. It's also how they get what they want, like "get this thing off of me."

Robin said...

I love the scowling baby. Babies have a huge range of emotions,often within seconds of each other. It's also how they get what they want, like "get this thing off of me."

Robin said...

I love the scowling baby. Babies have a huge range of emotions,often within seconds of each other. It's also how they get what they want, like "get this thing off of me."

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Anonymous said...

Sending you uplifting thoughts of peace as you mourn your grandmother. Beautiful sweater!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Selfishly, I'm thrilled you are back. I, for one, missed you greatly.


Anonymous, too said...

You have my deepest sympathy over the loss of your grandmom.

Glad to see you're back. How did Harry enjoy the jubilee celebrations?

Laura said...

My condolences over the death of your grandmother. No matter how long and rich a life they've lived, it just doesn't seem fair to lose them, does it?

And it's SO nice to see you back to the blog! I've been checking periodically, hoping that you were just on a rather long hiatus instead of giving up completely, as at least one other favorite knitting blogger appears to have done (I won't name names, she knows who she is), so it's a delight to finally see a new post from you!

Is that baby sweater out of copyright yet? If so, is it possible for you to publish the pattern? It is really, really adorable!

Unknown said...

I am sorry for all you've been going through. <3

I sincerely hope you write that pattern down. Love.

Gloria said...

Missed you so much! Glad you're back.

Condolences on the loss of your grandmother. May her memory will burn bright in your heart.

Andrea said...

So glad to have you back, but very sorry for the hardship in your life.

brsmaryland said...

Yes, you were missed!
Sorry for your loss. Grandparents are so special, especially grandmothers.
Beautiful sweater...and the buttons are perfect.

Seanna Lea said...

I'm sorry about the loss of your grandmother. I completely understand how that can feel as there has been too much family tragedy over here too.

58Teresa said...

oh no you didn't dis my autumn.

threadmistress said...

Missed you so much! Sorry to hear that the reason for absence was such a sad one. So glad to have the laughter back!

Marina McIntire said...

We've all been missing you! My sympathies on your loss.
And I love the sweater (sewing up, though, is one of my bugaboos). I'm making my second pair of SKYP socks, that use that same stitch pattern. Really nice!
Welcome back.....

ReneeRothmann said...

thank you Franklin for coming back. The pattern is great, but your writing, as usual, and your wonderful perspective, are what I missed the most.

Stefaneener said...

Welcome back! Delighted to see you; very sincerely sorry for your loss.

Marie said...

What a great friend you have, she's going to be thrilled with this lovely cardigan. Welcome back!

Some Denny love o you said...

Hugs to you dear man.
Hugs and handspun to you.

Bethany said...

You have been missed. Deepest condolences on your grandmother's passing.

jr said...

So glad you are back. Missed you terribly. Very sorry to hear of your grandmothers passing. Sending you warm thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy you are back. So sorry about your grandmother. Loved the baby Winston Churchills! Adore the baby sweater!!

Mundi said...

That baby in the pram could be Margaret Thatcher???

Cheryl said...

I'm so very sorry; losing a beloved grandparent is hard. It is good to hear from you again. Love the sweater, and want to make it.
Cheryl xxxooo

Lisa from western Mass said...

So sorry for your loss, Franklin. Glad you're back; many of us were concerned by your disappearance!

Elizabeth said...

So sorry for your loss-- when my mother died and my brother followed, your blog was one of the things that made me realize it was possible to smile again. I wish I could do the same for you, but lacking that gift, you are in my thoughts.

Helen said...

"I'm a mother."

I SO WISH I'd been there.

Kersti said...

Franklin, my dear, you NEVER wrote "My parents pressed my sister and I into willing service." Tell me it was a Knitty subeditor.

And, say, is it really the done thing over where you are to say "enamored with"? On the British side of the pond it's "of", not "with". You were always such a stickler for style - one of the many little joys of reading your blog.

Well, I guess you have had a lot on your mind. Good to see you back, anyway.

JK_in_KC said...

So glad that you have returned to us. I am very sorry for the loss of your grandmother. She clearly enriched your life in many ways, and helped make you the Franklin we love.

Anonymous said...

Thrilled that the blog and you are back. I'm very sorry for your loss. It was good that you were able to be with your grandmother towards the end. Please accept this virtual hug (())


Jill said...

Thank you for the laugh, as always. I had hoped your long absence was due to traveling and fun only. My condolences. And thank you for the nostalgia trip. In a former life I was responsible for the period clothing at a living history museum. Budgets were tight and we often used modern buttons that, from a few feet away, gave a period impression. The one you chose was a favorite. I must have sewn hundreds, if not thousands of those over the years.

Leigh Paradise said...

Welcome back, Sir. You were greatly missed. I'm sorry for your loss.

RoianaB said...

Dearest Franklin,

I am so very sorry for your loss - been there too, it's a hard road and there really aren't any words for it. Love and Zen hugs for you.


P.S. PLEASE Dolly, never go away again!!!

P.P.S. Signed up for your weekend at DFW in the spring, apologizing in advance for overenthusiastic FanGirl behavior ;)

Yvonne said...

Welcome back, Franklin. So sorry to hear about your Grandmother's passing. I hope memories will warm your heart.

The baby sweater is perfect!

Anonymous said...

Yes, we missed you, and I am so sorry about your grandmother. She sounds like she was an outstanding woman. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Franklin, it's so lovely to see you again! I'm so sorry about Grandma. Lovely pictures of her many hats!

Heather said...

Still Laughing. That is marvelous!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing.

Glad the knittters have eased your pain somewhat.

Lovely cardigan - lucky child to have such a generous, sweet mother, and thoughtful and expressive neighbour.
Love the pattern, any chance you'd share?

Unknown said...

My theory on the page layout shown at the end: the art director must have just gotten back from a three-martini lunch.

Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

Oh that last picture - priceless!

Lady J said...

I'm a long time lurker and 1st time commenter. I'm THRILLED that you're blogging again - I've really missed your humour and knitting smarts.

I totally agree with you about babies not having to smile or be Anne-Geddes-d in pitctures of them. Until I had my second baby I didn't think that babies laughed spontaneously at all, or even smiled much. My older brother once described my first baby as "Sendakian-ly pleasing" (read "Outside Over There" or "Higglety Pigglety Pop" if you want the visual reference). I really like pictures of severe-looking children - much more like real life. That said, I was ESPECIALLY delighted by that final image. I burst into loud (inappropriate?) laughter over it. Just brilliant. Best knitting pattern photo EVER. Thank you so much for sharing it, and for returning to the blog.

Philomina said...

Waterfalls really are amazingly beautiful and powerful forces of nature! Great list and great pictures!


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Cathryn said...

I have a similar experience! Old patterns for baby bonnets, four designs, one for a girl, one for a boy, two unisex. The one for a baby boy has intarsia (I think) guns on the sides of the bonnet...aimed directly at the child's temples. I was giggling and gasping in horror at the same time.

Cathryn said...

Also, my condolences on the loss of your grandmother. It's always hard, but it does, with time, get better. Meanwhile, make sure you take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well, and do things to comfort yourself.

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