Sunday, March 17, 2013

And One for the Road Home

I swear this isn't going to become an All-Edgings-All-the-Time knitting blog. I'm just having trouble setting the damned things aside. They're so cute. So varied. They grow quickly, which is exciting. And since they're theoretically endless, you can stop whenever you want, if you want to stop.

I played with one more on the way home from the Craftsy shoot; I had tucked a few patterns into my luggage to fill in idle moments. As it turned out, there were no idle moments until I was on a plane hurtling back towards Chicago. Shooting went very well–in fact, we wrapped early–but when I wasn't in looking deep into the hypnotic blackness of this


I was usually sleeping. Shooting a class is fun, but it taxes a fellow's stamina.

Thanks, by the way, to all of you who asked here (and on Twitter and Facebook) what my class is, and when it will appear. As of this writing, I'm not allowed to reveal the topic. The launch will be in about four weeks. You can expect me to make a great deal of noise the minute Craftsy gives me the go-ahead.

Now, back to the edging.

This one is by Jane Gaugain, and it's first thing I've worked directly from the book I found in Cambridge. The yarn is that same Zitron Lifestyle I can't seem to put down.


You'll find it in the Appendix under the decidedly un-fanciful title, "Knit Edging, for Collarets, Cuffs, Petticoats, &c." I had to force myself to stop working it and bind off so I could photograph it for you. I think I'll be making some of this (in thread, of course) as an edging for a miniature dress I'm working on. (Not for me. I'm small, but not miniature.)


Sl 1. Slip st as if to purl with yarn in front.
Yo2. Yarn twice around right needle.


CO 7 sts.

Row 1. Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, yo2, k2tog.
Row 2. Yo, k2, p1 (into 1st loop of yo2), k2, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 3. Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, k4.
Row 4. K6, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 5. Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, yo2, k2tog, yo2, k2tog.
Row 6. K2, p1 (into 1st loop of yo2), k2, p1 (into 1st loop of yo2), k2, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 7. Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, yo2, k2tog, yo2, k2tog, yo2, k2tog.
Row 8. K2, p1 (into 1st loop of yo2), k2, p1 (into 1st loop of yo2), k2, p1 (into 1st loop of yo2), k2, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 9. Sl 1, k2, yo, k2tog, k9.
Row 10. BO until 6 sts remain; k3, yo, k2tog, k1.

Repeat from Row 1 as needed.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Another Test...

More futuristic telephonic bloggery. Checking to see how seamlessly I can shoot a photo, retouch it, and post it using only the telephone.

This is the little Bavarian porcelain dish my grandmother used for her bedside rosary. Now it sits by my knitting chair.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

One For the Road

I'm off to Denver tomorrow for a pretty exciting new adventure. I'm shooting a class for Craftsy.  Friends of mine (Gwen Bortner, Amy Detjen, Edie Eckman, Fiona Ellis, et al.) have already done it and have nothing but raves about the experience. I look forward to trying it for myself, and have been enjoying not only working up new samples (topic to be announced, so I can't show them to you yet) but picking my outfits.

Bow ties. Absolutely bow ties. I've always loved them. It's nice to be able to come by good ones easily again.


Before I leave, here's one more nineteenth century edging from Weldon's Practical Knitter that you might like to play with. It's called "Willow Leaf," and it makes me long to sweep everything off my to-do list and work this all the way around a throw for the armchair I knit in.


CO 12 sts.
Knit 1 row.
Row 1. Yo, k1, yo, k2, k2tog, k2tog, k2, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 2 and all even rows. Sl 1, k1, p10.
Row 3. Yo, k3, yo, k1, k2tog, k2tog, k1, yo, k2otg, k1.
Row 5. Yo, k5, yo, k2tog, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 7. Yo, k3, k2tog, k2, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 8. As row 2.

Repeat rows 1-8.

You'd want to use this in a closed loop situation, of course–a pillowcase, a handkerchief, a cuff–because as you can see, an open stretch of it is going to give you odd shapes at the beginning and end. I suppose you could sit down and figure out something to take care of that, but you'll have to do it because I have to go to bed.

The Fiber Factor

You've probably already heard about The Fiber Factor, Skacel's forthcoming Web series that will put a group of aspiring handknits designers through their paces. I'm excited–I get to be a guest judge. I'm already pondering which sunglasses to wear; and practicing saying, "This confuses me," while tilting my head like a dimwitted puppy.

Applications for spots on the series are still open, but not for long. If you're going to toss your knitted hat into the ring, you only have until March 24. Opportunity, as that nice Mr Sondheim wrote in Into the Woods, is not a lengthy visitor.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Here Is Some Pretty For You

Last weekend I taught a day of lace (History, Methods and Styles of Lace followed by Lace Edgings: Before, During, and After) to a gung-ho group of students. One of them brought a surprise: a box of nineteenth-century knitted lace stockings.

I thought you might like to see them, and though I'm still learning to love the camera that lives in my new telephone I was able to take some tolerable photographs during our intermezzo.


They are family pieces. The knitter (who prefers to remain anonymous) says they were made by her great-grandmother (who was married in 1819) for her grandmother–a sweet and all-too-rare example of a knitter's handiwork being lovingly preserved and properly documented.

All are white cotton. There are knee-highs and thigh-highs. The knee-highs have ribbed tops.


The thigh-highs were obviously extra-special: turned-over picot hems, lacy tops, and then a row of eyelets just below for threading a ribbon tie.



The leg patterns were beautifully varied and the workmanship was impeccable.



And how to do you make a gorgeous gift like this even more special? You knit the recipient's initials and the date into it.


Notice that the initials are upside-down, just under the fancy leaf-lace top. I wonder if this was intentional (so that the wearer would see them when she pulled them on) or whether the knitter was halfway through when she realized what she'd done; and then decided she was absolutely not going to start over again. Hey, it happens.

Nineteenth-century knitters...knitters just like you and me.

Less Impressive Socks

The new Knitty is out, and as ever my column is in it. This time, by coincidence I wrote about a Victorian sock. A kid's sock. A flat kid's sock. A flat kid's sock knit from an 1870 pattern I just absolutely hated.

Blow Me, Thou Winter Wind

And the crabbiness continues over at the Lion Brand Yarn blog, where I wrote about spring, or the lack thereof; and drew a spring chicken.

Is this any way for a grown man to make a living?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Testing. Testing.

I have stepped (reports of dragging, kicking, and screaming are almost entirely false) into the present century with the purchase of a new phone.

The old phone, which ran on paraffin and started with a crank, had begun to draw stares and laughter from cruel little children. I am not a technology hound, but one has one's small vanities.

Adjustment creeps apace. This is day two. On day one, I mostly stared at it warily while venturing an occasional timid tap at the screen. Imagine the elderly Queen Victoria attempting to enter her Facebook password; it was like that.

With inexpressible relief I got back to knitting, which is also touch sensitive but doesn't suddenly beep or disappear or take your picture if you put a finger wrong.

If you are reading this it means I successfully brought both together. This is my first blog post via phone...and if it goes well, this little gewgaw may allow me to post more often-even when I'm on the road. Here's hoping...

I'm even going to try to put in a picture.  Can you see it? Hello? Is this thing on?