A Visit from Our Scottish Friends, an Unfortunate Cookie, and a New Project
January 12, 2011
New year, new year. I’ve been replacing Hubbo’s vanished Parisian hat with another one, this time using yarn that showed up at my house on Saturday when our friends Landy and Matt showed up from the Firth of Forth. North Berwick. Near Edinburgh. (Edinburgh! Now THERE’s a destination. Who’s up for Edinburgh?)
Landy brought me a skein of authentic Shetlandish woollyness that she found at a Scottish crafts fair. It’s so close to the source that it is practically emitting sheep sounds. It let me know that it wanted to be another hat for Hubbo, so I cast on while yakking away with Matt and Landy as they put away at least six gallons of tea. We pondered some terrible cookies from Trader Joe’s.
The Terrible Cookies
I can’t really capture how bad these cookies were. So promising on the topside, all glazed and gingery. So mystifying on the bottom: some kind of papery underpinning that left us arguing over whether it was food or not-food. Has anybody else had these things? Am I some kind of cultural incompetent to miss the charm of these Weissellas? I have German ancestry, but I’m telling you, there is no charm to be found in these things.
SPEAKING OF SHEEP SOUNDS, I will be sharing one of Matt’s BBC Radio documentaries in a few days–he is a producer of extraordinary radio programmes. Here’s a preview of Matt’s sheep tale. He finished it here in Nashville, and I am proud to glom the reflected glory. Matt produces documentaries that make NPR look like TMZ. (OK, here’s TMZ for those of you who claim innocence. As IF you don’t keep up with Charlie Sheen’s divorce proceedings.)
Wish they lived less than 4,000 miles away, you know?
The New Project for 2011
You’re looking at an entire snow day’s worth of knitting. Snow day knitting is second only to airplane knitting in terms of wide-open horizon, of boundless opportunity.
It’s about six rows. It is a testament to our longstanding Mason-Dixon Rule #93: “No project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough.” This little strip of knitting is the most taxing piece of knitting I have ever done, and I’m including my first attempt at Fair Isle.
BUT I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
It’s corrugated ribbing, using Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Rowan Felted Tweed. You probably can’t tell, but it’s the bottom of a cardigan, the dreamy Galvanized Cardigan by the talented Amy Christoffers, from the Winter 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.
The minute I saw this sweater, I knew that it was going to be my next sweater. Such a great idea, to go mixed media on the corrugated ribbing. So great to have long cuffs of it. So gray. A cardigan. So exactly the sort of thing I wear on a daily basis.
I had the exact yarns in my inventory. I cranked a swatch, and bingo: 24 sts/34 rows on a size 4. Sweet PERFECTION.
Then I started the actual corrugated ribbing thing. What I didn’t anticipate was that I’d done corrugated ribbing in the round, but never flat. Corrugated ribbing is a simple idea: k1 in one color, p1 in another. Repeat. You have to flip yarns front and back all the time, but you get a groove going and it happens steadily enough. However, in THIS case, you have to work both right-side and wrong-side corrugated ribbing, oh and also one of the yarns is basically human hair, so HAVE FUN WITH THAT.
It makes a beautiful pattern that you can’t get any other way. Believe me, along this trail of tears, I considered duplicate stitch, I considered ditching the Kidsilk Haze, I considered ditching the corrugated ribbing altogether. But once I got an inch’s worth of this stuff, it looked so clever, and so striking, that I wanted to be best friends with it forever.
PS I’m not done with those cookies. I just found a review of Weissella cookies by Portland, Oregon’s Sarah Gilbert. I’m telling you, I love Trader Joe’s, but these cookies are too hard for me to understand. It’s like a cheese with one of those rinds you don’t know whether you’re supposed to eat or not. I don’t need that kind of anxiety when faced with a cookie. I’m going to go ahead and declare Weissella cookies The Official Not Cookie of Mason-Dixon Knitting. We are un-endorsing these things. Somebody needs to get back into the kitchen and try again.