Hello, my pets. Are you ready for Thanksgiving, if Thanksgiving is a thing that you do? Is your homestead reasonably neat, your menu planned, and the turkey ordered? If the answer to that question is not so very much, then this post will be a perfect distraction for you. You’ll be able to breeze through it in minutes, be entertained by my unwillingness to swatch, and go back to stressing about whatever it is that is currently stressing you.
Firstly, let’s acknowledge the important role a good café plays in civilized urban life and, more to the point, in enjoyable public knitting. My local favorite café is appropriately called The Local, and it has all of the benchmarks of a good coffee joint: damn fine coffee in its many glorious forms, tasty food and fruit juices, really lovely workers, a diverse mix of customers, and comfortable chairs, all in a clean and handsome setting. It’s also within easy walking and biking distance. Gracious me – why live in an urban setting if you don’t live within walking distance of a bookstore, a café, and a good bar? Your requirements might differ, but those are mine.* Oh! I also like having decent craft supplies nearby, but I’m willing to drive to meet those needs. Anyway, I bring this up because much of the knitting for today’s project was done at The Local.
In fact, I taught myself how to knit jogless stripes at The Local. Thanks to TECHknitter and the instructions at TECHknitting, I mastered the fine art of slip-stitch jogless stripes (link here to the specific post). The entire TECHknitting blog is a font of knitterly wisdom, and I praise TECHknitter for their generosity in sharing it with the universe for free.** Anywho, I can knit jogless stripes like the dickens now, and yes, I am rather pleased with myself. For those of you who are concerned with such things, the slight “tell” in the picture above that slip-stitch jogless stripes produce will practically disappear when the finished object is blocked.
Alas, this lovely cape was not destined to be blocked. Nope, no sir. It was finished, though. In fact, before it met its fate, it was worked on in our living room on Halloween after a deep-cleaning binge; in Alameda’s movie theater before watching Venom on Election Night; and whilst gossiping about sewing in my mum’s living room. It also made a cameo at the Alameda Free Library’s rockin’ fun knitting-crochet group last month. And it spent quite a lot of time at The Local, of course.
In fact, The Local is where it was ripped down to its component yarn balls last Wednesday. Deep sigh. I liked the cape very much, but it had several wonky features. For example, due to my unwillingness to swatch, the cape was a little too snug at its base. You see, in my attempt to skip swatching, I used a chain cast-on, which produces a lovely edge that I thought would be a good indicator of the piece’s eventual gauge. Indeed, it is a good general indicator, but it was off by a ½ stitch, an error which became obvious when the garment was tried on. And the way in which I decreased at the neck left much to be desired, too. I used a k2tog decrease that produced ten crisp lines that gracefully swirled upwards, but unfortunately each of those decrease lines had little puckers at their bases. This was all very fine and good for the two in the front of the cape, but those puckers looked ghastly on the back. Ha! No, the back was not at all flattering.
On the positive side o’ things, I LOVED the ribbed turtleneck, the orangy-red and heathered gray color combo, which really popped, and the pleasant balance of the four-row stripes. I was also pleasantly surprised how suitable the yarn was for clothing, as it is meant for weavers and was purchased at a trading post in the Navajo Nation. I’m reasonably sure that the yarn is Top of the Lamb made by Brown Sheep Company, but that will have to wait until next spring’s visit to the Southwest for confirmation. I do know for sure that when the yarn is worked with size 10.5 needles (USA), the resulting stockinette fabric has a good hand and a nice drape…
Now, those of you who knit must be staring at your screens and saying to yourselves, that silly git just spent three weeks knitting a full-sized swatch! Um, yes, I did. And you know, I’m okay with that, although I obviously take the concept of “process knitting” to a new level. Besides which, I learned so much working on this project, including a few new-to-me techniques. And given the fact that I have QUITE A BIT of this yarn and am very likely to purchase even more the next time I’m in Teec Nos Pos, AZ, the lessons learned on this failed cape project will be applied to future projects. In fact, I’ve already knitted six inches of the cape’s successor, an oversized turtleneck tunic in the same yarn based on a design in Vogue Knitting’s Very Easy Sweaters. Hopefully this tunic makes it past the blocking stage. If it doesn’t, I don’t bloody care. Knitting, no matter what its success rate or whether it’s worked in public or private, keeps me reasonably sane and makes me smarter in the process. If only I could say the same of dusting…
And with that thought, it’s time for me to sign off and for you to get along with your day. If you’re anxiously prepping for this week’s holiday, I offer unto you the Mister’s wise counsel, who frequently takes me in hand and tells me to calm down: just keep it simple, he says. Mind you, I rarely listen to him when it comes to freaking out about a holiday, but perhaps one day I will. I hope that this post’s simple silliness has distracted you a little bit and caused a smile or two. And so with best wishes for you and yours this Thanksgiving, and until next time – with much fondness and affection, yr little munakins
*The Mister, practical man that he is, also insists on having well-paying work nearby, and he feels strongly about having easy access to a good mechanic for the Beastie.
**As a side note, I have a hard copy of the article this person wrote for Interweave Knits in 2009 about jogless stripes in my knitting and crochet tear-sheet binder.