Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well, it feels like spring, its not late September .. but it is warm, sunny, we have lots of windows open, and we ate lunch outside, the kids are in tee shirt sleeves, unofficially to me its spring. I also know this because for the second weekend in a row we have aired the house and cleaned under and behind and in those places that usually get ignored. Spring cleaning. I know also because Bear has been working in the garden, cutting the grass, clearing weeds and wanting to buy new plants. Spring it is, it must be, and I'm still knitting, stitching as well but mostly knitting. Today I am so close to the heel of Bayerische, so close, Hemlock Ring grows as only center out blankets can ... increasingly slowly, and I got sidetracked by some lovely vintage wool fabric into making a pinafore dress for Poppy.

First Bayerische, these are starting to feel like the never ending socks, I know they grow longer, and that each night I work on them is a pattern repeat done ... but gosh - they seem to have been on the needles f-o-r-e-v-e-r. In reality I started knitting these on May the 12th ... making it only a little more than 3 months, 103 days to be precise ... which is a long time to be knitting the same pair of socks. For me that is .. socks are usually quick little numbers that take only a month and a half at best. Some one, any one please stop me if I cast on for a knee length fiddly chart driven sock after I'm done .. only joking ... the masochist in me is thinking of knee high colour work socks ... just kidding (I think). I do need a few more pairs of shorter socks - two pairs ran wore out earlier this year ... and when I go to my sock draw too many days after wash day .. sometimes it is bare of hand knit socks. Truth is I've cast on 10 other projects since starting Bayerische .. and finished 9 of them.

The other project is growing both fast and slowly, Hemlock Ring, fast because there is pattern work every 5th round, slow because the stitch count is getting higher and higher with every 5th round. I'm at line 41 of the Feather and Fan section, so that means I'm on my 88th round, There are 122 rounds in total, but because of the every increasing numbers of stitches ... I'm not even half way there. I have 312 stitchs right now,, which takes a lot longer to knit around than the 8 I started with, the cast off round has 568 - longer still. There was a little frogging earlier on, I had tried to knit without section markers .. which was not a good idea, so I frogged and reknit with markers in place and now all is fine, my stitch counts and the pattern match up. The huge eyelets that from the base of each of the petals are cute .. and look - as I knit it seems like a little Octopus within is watching me, or Owl .. I can't decide. My handspun gotland is turning out to be much fuzzier than the yarn JF used in his version, I'm not sure how much detail will remain visable after the washing and blocking .. instead of clear crisp detail my yarn has a halo of fuzz and a silky heavy hand so should be nice and weighty and warm even if the detail is hard to see.

A few weeks ago there was a fabric sale at work, one of the ones where a member of the public brings in fabric to 'sell to the student's. Staff count as students at those sales. The content of those sorts of sales are usually hit and miss, often as not complete overpriced misses. The last sale was about average on fabric but great on price - I scored amongst other things a great length of vintage wool Challis in a very retro paisley print. I thought it would make a stunning little pinny for Poppy, so set about drafting a pattern and testing it. The way the process goes, is one makes the pattern and then cuts a toile out of inexpensive fabric to test it before making the final garment. I was going to use calico (the traditional toile fabric), but decided to use up some left over denim. Some times I take short cuts, I had the pattern made but had not traced it off and added seam allowances .. so I just chalked them in place before I cut. I love doing this, just knowing how and practicing my craft gives me confidence :-D

And this is the finished dress, hanging in the wardrobe ready for school tomorrow ... not perfect, but good enough. Poppy requested the velvet band ... and who am I to say no. My idea is she could wear it with a dark or orange merino skivvy and black tights and either black or pink shoes (she has both), but in truth Poppy will probably try to wear it with a teal merino, and stripped hose .... she has a style all of her own making. And excepting the days she wears her dusky pink and white heavy weight angora hand knit jacket with her yellow flip-flops, with an old opp-shop tee shirt, and her green teal bike pants ... she usually looks ok.

And the practice dress, the toile? Well it fitted so well I dug around in my notions stash and found a pretty velvet ribbon trim, and some snap tape. I plan to finish this ... so after over-locking the raw seams and stitching on the trim ... Poppy will have two new dresses. I am planning a sort of easy finish, old fashioned pinking and edge stitching to stabilize the edges .. the denim is very heavy ... so I want to keep the edges a single layer.

The weekend is nearly done, I'm looking forward to reaching the heel on Bayerische tonight .. and turning it Tuesday (Spinning monday night so no knitting). Work tomorrow, Monday, where I'll decide if I'm pushing a point with some colleagues or letting it go ... some things just become to much trouble to protest much over, and other things are worth a fight. I've mellowed on this one since Friday ... but only in I can see a way to leave it be and address the taught content gap in the classes I teach rather than across all the courses we teach.

Take care
na Stella


Renee said...

They're lovely, both of them.
We're supposed to be in the depths of summer here headed for fall and it feels like spring too. Odd weather in Canada this year.

Suzanne said...

Your ducks, literal and figurative, seem to be lining up nicely. It is so impressive that you can just take an idea and turn it into two dresses over the course of a weekend. Must be very satisfying.

KathyR said...

Yes, definitely Spring! But of course I have always advocated that Spring comes in mid-August here. Do you have lots of blossom out on the trees as well as camellias, rhodies and magnolias opening up? Th pinafore is lovely and the denim one will be cute as well. Bayerische is coming along nicely. Once you have turned the heel it will all be downhill from there!

Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh, I love both of Poppy's news dresses -- I love that you are able to create something so lovely and useful in a weekend (and I love that you understand about kids needing to do their own thing sometimes when it comes to clothes). Good luck with the work thing, I know how that is, and I hope it comes out right.