Tuesday, February 28, 2012


In April, Nancy Bush, a rock star of the knitting world, will be in Houston offering two classes for local knitters.  I am fortunate enough to have made the cut to get into the class.

Making the cut does not mean that I have the skills needed to master her lace knitting techniques, it just means that I followed the rules for submitting my money to pay for the class.

I have long admired her work for many years in Piecework magazine. Her specialty seems to be knitting techniques from Estonia and other Baltic countries.  I don't know if it was one of her articles but once there was an article about a knitted wedding shawl, about the size of a double bed quilt, that could be pulled through a wedding ring.  AWESOME!

Quick, do you know where Estonia is located?  (hint: further north than I thought :-()

Anyway, I got into her lace class while the other day will be spent on knitted gloves, a topic that does not interest me in the least.

I decided that instead of just going in blind to the class I would pick up her book on lace knitting and read up on her work.

'Knitted Lace of Estonia' is a beautiful book with lots of narrative and an excellent selection of knitted lace patterns as well as information on how the knitter can create their own patterns from the many motifs and construction details provided.  There is even a DVD  that adds a personal touch to the book's contents.

After reading the introductory chapters I decided to take the plunge in and try one of the patterns.

My choice was the 'Lily of the Valley Scarf' on page 90.  I didn't have the yarn called for in the pattern so I used a skein of Noro Kiramaki, a wonderful variegated lace weight yarn multicolored from beige to brown to pink to lime green.  It is similar to their Sekku line with the only major change is that the rayon is replaced by cotton.  Kiramaki is not being made any more so you would have a hard time reproducing this:

The number of mistakes in this scarf are almost too many to count but by the clever camouflage of the variegated yarn means that they do not stand out from the correctly knitted portion.

For fun I ran it through a ring to see if it would fit. (it does!)  It also camouflages the subject of this post.

After a couple of weeks of knitting diligently from this wonderful book, I blocked the scarf, to straighten out some of the knitting.  As I sat on the couch last evening to clean up the loose yarn ends Alex hopped onto the couch for a game of fetch with his knarly old Nyla Bone.  The scarf stuck to the bone and, as I was trying persuade him that he didn't want my scarf,  he leaped off the couch to prance around the living room, dragging it behind him.

I carefully corralled him (no dogs were permanently injured in this procedure...but he could have been!) and unstuck the scarf from his bone.

Pause for the air turning blue from my cursing as I discovered that several rows had their yarn broken in one area.  Huge hole that I darned together.

So that's the whole story.  Nancy Bush's beautifully patterned scarf has turned into something I will wear VERY carefully as Alex bushwhacked my satisfaction in a job well done by reminding me that nothing is more important that quality puppy time.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Long And The Short Of It

This weekend has interesting around here at Alice's House.  The long of it started with the completion of a project that took me approximately two years, ten months and three days to complete while the short of it took about thirty minutes.

Let me explain. 

First, the long of it...

Back in early April 2009, I visited the Knit Picks site and came across a posting for a knit-a-long for the Classic Lines Cardigan.  A nice simple cardigan with a couple of advanced techniques just to make it interesting.  (Photo from Knit Picks).  

Classic Lines Cardigan Pattern

I read a couple of posts on how the arms and body were a little skimpy so I added a couple of inches to my basic measurements in order to pick a size.  Glad that I added the extra inches as the final product is anything but skimpy.  In fact it looks rather over-sized to me which is bonus to me.  So rather than looking/fitting like this: (Photo from Kelly at Knit Picks)

Mine looks like this:

Despite the crappy picture you can see mine is very loose, much  longer and my neckline looks more like the one in the pattern.  Here's a better photo that does show off the wonderful yarn - 

The subtle stripe is obtained by using two strands of Shadow for every row and an additional strand of Shimmer every few rows.  The more solid color is Forest Heather Shadow while the stripe is Bayou Shimmer.

I did learn some lessons with this project.  One is that I can do anything I put my mind to but that doesn't mean I can do it well.  The steek wasn't so bad but I discovered that my row counting for the front bands  left a lot to be desired.  (Hey Al, six rows are not the same as nine rows!!!)  The other thing I learned was that every knitting pattern designer has their own ideas when it comes to sizing.  It would have been helpful if the chest measurement given was for the wearers' chest or the garments' chest, as an example  Of course, if I had read the blocking diagram I would have realized that the sizing was based on the garment and not the body that would wear it.  Lesson learned again....read and follow the instructions.

I am cuddled up in my extra extra large sweater today as it was just above freezing this morning when I walked the dogs and I am still feeling a bit of a chill.  I will probably not do this pattern again but if i do I will not almost three years to complete it!

The short of it you ask?

I got my hair cut the other day and lost about ten inches of length.  It is really short but I think it will work for me.

Here's the back:

And I think you can get a concept of the front from this crappy shot:

I love wash and go hair !

So that's it... the long and the short of it..literally.

Have a great week...and stay warm!