Archive for October 2007

I mailed out the gloves on Friday and decided to knit something for myself this weekend. It couldn’t be anything large, as it would take too long for it to be done and I still need to finish Oona’s pullover. I decided to cast on for a beret. Oona and I can share it (she’s 11 and almost as tall as I am… although that isn’t saying much!) it and I can put my new merino from Woodland Hill to the test.

Merino is quite prevalent nowadays and I hesitated upon including it in my sampling, but I’ve only ever worked with merino yarns from larger mills and figured that trying out a minimally processed example would be beneficial.

I took down my copy of In Sheep’s Clothing and looked up merino; there, I learned of its Spanish heritage and how its export from Spain used to be a criminal offence punishable by death. Yikes.

The merino yarns I’ve known have all been soft and this one proved no different in this regard. But it looks a little different than its commercial counterparts: if you look at it closely (click on the above pic to do so), you can see that it looks ever so slightly felted. I don’t know what makes it so, being woefully ignorant of the spinning process, but I like it. Berets are traditionally felted, so it’s a go.

Doesn’t mean I want to learn how to spin, though. I don’t. Really. There isn’t enough time in the day.

Being on the road, I just cast on a probable amount of stitches using an enclosed reverse stockinette band. As with most knit hats, this should be approximately 10% smaller than the head’s circumference. I probably should have started with even fewer stitches, as this edge is both narrow, shallow and doesn’t even have a true cast on edge, but I’ll thread a narrow elastic if it turns out too wide.

Had I been knitting a tuque or other plain cap, I would have simply continued until it was an inch or two above the ears and decreased for a dome shape. With berets, a sharp increase round is worked right after the band. The number of stitches to be increased varies not only upon the gauge but on how trim or floppy you’d like your beret to be. Mine’s trim, so I added 10 % to my own head circumference. Here’s how it looks so far on my obliging model:

I’ve got to run, but I’ll write up the pattern if there’s enough interest. Or would you rather have the recipe?


Oh, and by the way: Melanie Falick now has a blog!

Pam on the beach
More in the 13 questions series… This time, it’s Pam Allen’s turn – Pam has been one of my favorite designers for at least 15 years and it was work like hers who inspired me to pick up knitting needles in the first place.

1. Childhood ambition?
To have a fascinating life.

2. Best/worst weather (choose one)?
Balmy evenings with warm breezes when you can be comfortable in a T-shirt or with just a light cardigan.

3. Favorite food?
Way too many to name: Fried clams, oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins, Milano cookies with milk, salad after too many meat-and-potatoes days in London.

4. Current book?
Short works of Leo Tolstoy alternating with chapters from Financial Planning Demystified.

5. Guilty pleasure?
Uncounted Milanos with milk.

6. One quirk?
I love housework.

7. Something you’ve never done that most people have:
Watched an episode of Seinfeld.

8. Favorite drink:
Alcohol? Rioja in a jelly glass.

9. Oddest job you’ve had:
Peeling vegetables under a bare light bulb in a cold-water sink for an elderly couple who lived on Rue St. Michele in Paris. I peeled the vegetables; they boiled them for their noon time dinner.

10. Last song you listened to (on purpose, not on the radio):
White Stripes live version of Jolene.

11. Cities/towns/villages you’ve lived in, in chronological order:
Born in Charleston, West Virginia Chicago, Illinois Paris (college year abroad) Camden, Maine Dover, New Hampshire, Portland, Maine

12. Teenage ambition?
To get out of high school as quickly as possible.

13. Movie you’d most like to be a character in:
Harold and Maude (Maude)

More Pam
Pam is the creative director for Classic Elite Yarns, as well as the author of ‘Knitting for Dummies‘ and ‘Scarf Style‘, and the co-author (along with Ann Budd) of ‘Wrap Style‘, ‘Lace Style‘ and ‘Bag Style‘. She also writes a weekly web-letter for CEY.

This is going to be a quickie, because a dear friend will box my ears if a certain pair of gloves isn’t in her possession reallyreallysoon.

Rhinebeck was all that I’d heard. Stitches was equally fun, and people made it so in both case. I spent most of my time with Carol, Laura, Mindy and Alison, but also met a long list of very cool women (and a few guys!).

Not to worry – I still like the yarn. I’m on a breed specific kick this year. Check out the haul above(from left to right): Connie’s Creations (sadly, there’s no mention of which breed of wool this is…), Greenwood Hill Farm Merino, Morehouse Merino, Foxhill Farm Moorit, Foxhill Farm Cormo, Four Directions Lincoln, Meadowland Farm Border Leicester and some Jacob wool (I’ll have to look in my receipts for the name of the farm). With the exception of the merinos, I only purchased single skeins.

Oh, and I got a niddy noddy. Pretty, isn’t it?

Ok, back to work!

I’m off to Stitches in a few hours. Hope to see you there!

I wouldn’t say Halloween is a huge deal in our house, but that’s only in comparison to folks who really go all out – we do enjoy the whole costuming bit very much. I used to make them all from scratch when Oona was little (the exception was her first – we were out of town so I painted a city skyline on her onesie to accompany her “Godzilla” slippers).

Sadly, personal knitting wasn’t the whole thing to be tossed aside as my knitting ‘career’ grew (sounds funny, doesn’t it?) and I started to recycle by transforming garment into costumes. Munchkin was quite considereate in asking for cape based costumes for the last couple of years (skirts transform into capes very quickly), but I was not to be left off the hook this year: miss wants to be a vengeful murdered bride. I worried. Where would we find an affordable wedding dress? I can barely handle my email, never mind a *wedding dress*. And, no – I don’t think she would have gone for “elegant-minimalist-vengeful-murdered-bride”. She may be nearly as big as I am, but she still wants everything pouffy and shiny.

Well, she certainly has her wish: we have lucked out with the ghastliest confection I have seen in a long time. It would make M.A.’s museum of vintage horrors proud, don’t you think? While we waited in line to pay for our treasure, a couple of nice ladies reassured me that the blood stains would come out (yes, really) and that I’d be beautiful in it (gah!). I didn’t have the heart to tell them I’d soon be destroying it.

Anyhow – step one is complete; the dress now fits Oona (kid’s so tall that I hardly had to take anything off. But that’s another story). I’ll post more pictures once the costume is completed.

By the way, are there any Canadian things that are sought after in the States? I know some smuggle peanut butter and I’ve been told that Cadbury candy bars and maple syrup cookies are worth considering (apart from the ubiquitous smoked meat and bagels), but is there anything else? And is it all edible stuff?

I’m going!

Ok, enough exclamation points; there’s knitting to be done.