Fantastic Voyage

Chris and I just got back from an *amazing* vacation. He won an RSVP vacation through an online sweepstakes - a week-long cruise to the Mexican Riviera. It was a total blast. This is me, getting ready to parasail on the beach at Mazatlan.

Knitting-wise, I took a teddy bear project with me. I got a little over half of the pieces done in the airport and on the plane - I have the head pieces, ears, soles of the feet, and body front; I need to do the body back, arms and legs, and make it up. I will have photos of that once it's put together. I'm making it with one strand of Lion Brand suede and one brand of their Tiffany eyelash held together; it makes a dense fabric with a really soft wispy nap. This will be a present for one of my neices or nephews; haven't quite decided which kid gets which bear yet.

More photos from the cruise on my journal: http://oakenking.livejournal.com

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More Monmouth

All this talk about the Monmouth cap has had me reading up on it a bit and I got interested in some of the little details, especially after noticing in this example that there are some apparent increases/decreases in the hem to make the brim a bit wider and the brim where the hem turns is clearly more than just a simple purl row, though it's not clear if the hem was knit to the outer edge & the two sides cast off together or if there might be something else going on.

So I posted a query to the glb-knit listserv, primarily to see if Sarah Bradberry had any more to offer, but also to see if anyone else there might know more. Sarah suggests that the brim might be some sort of braided slip stitch turning row. She's also hinted that she's playing around with fulling, which was done with the original caps, and might have something about it in the rewrite of her hat book, which she's working on.

The Zen of Purling

I was caught knitting at work today, bored out of my mind, catching glances from customers and coworkers alike as I did my best to pass time. Someone finally asked how long I had been knitting and how I learned. Three years ago I passed a J. Crew window display with the most beautiful sweater I had ever seen, but was dmaned back to reality by the $300 price tag. I was first depressed that my financial situation was so crappy that I couldn't be worthy of having nice things. ("Quality and Expensive are neither the same nor better than one another," my grandmother used to say). Then I grew irritated and pissy that I couldn't have THAT sweater. That irritaton grew into an aggressive stomp to the nearest bookstore where I picked up a copy of "The Idiots Guide to Knitting." From there I went to Joann's and got myself on the mailing list and with each coupon I received, I'd purchase one skien of cashmere. Within 6 weeks I had that sweater, made myself and looking every bit better than the one in the window. The action of knitting is one that can lend you into an active contemplation, where the body and mind are quietly seperated into an almost meditative state. But, even more than this moment of frozen suspension of the world around me, I have found that I have learned tolerance (from patterns poorly written), patience (from mistakes made in haste), and the absolute art of self reliance.

Side to side sweater

Someone was asking about a side to side sweater. Here is a raglan one I did last winter in Plymouth Outback Mohair: A very good value~ 52" chest sweater in 4 skeins for a total cost of $45. It is very comfortable and light, not too warm, and was a very fast knit. I decided that I prefered it in reverse stockinette, although I have the same yarn in a different color and may do saddle shoulder side to side in regular stockinette, just to compare the finished results.
The decrease bands in "X's & O's" cable were knit separately and added afterwards. The collar and waist rib were added last. (I will probably take off the bottom rib and put on a rolled hem: I don't like the rib in mohair. The collar is doubled over on itself. Note how good the variegated yarn looks side to side: Kind of a rorschach test pattern. I get lots of compliments on this easy and quick sweater.

somewhat fancy

This was my senior studio thesis project for my BFA in 1990. It is a hand-doubleknit scarf, fully reversible as you can see. Some of the yarn was handspun by me: The fuzzy carmel colored one is Collie (leftovers from a commissioned sweater/blazer that I spun/designed/knit~ I can't find pictures of that creation, don't ask)

The scarf is NOT a tube, but a flat piece of fabric. Similar to double weave, but identical front and back, where as doubleweave is the reverse front to back...like a negative. It is approx 7 feet long and mainly wool, silk, collie, angora, with a little linen, mohair, and rayon thrown in. It has held up pretty well for 16 years of use (although I keep it for "special" as you can imagine).

PS: The collie yarn is fabulous: Incredibly soft and furry, doesn't shed...you just want to "roll around nekkid on it". The sweater/blazer was done for a collie breeder who wanted something to wear while showing his dogs in the cooler months: It was a shaped cardigan like a blazer with a shawl collar: Made in sock weight collie plied with a fine tussah silk. It was gorgeous, and he had it lined. I don't know how warm it was: It was done to his measurements, and