Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Contest Winner Plus Factory Report

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Dear Ann,
I feel like the guy in the New York Lotto commercials. The winner of a minty fresh copy of Michelle Edwards’ new book, The Knitter’s Home Companion…. IS…….Zoe, who left the following recipe suggestion:
I am a big fan of Soulemama’s broccoli soup. It makes a ton so it is good for quick dinners or lunches all week. I like to put some grated Parmesan on top, my husband likes cheddar (and yet we continue to live in harmony!).
There is a lot of chopping, but then it just cooks all on its own. I calculate 4 pointsplusTM (not including your cheese of choice).
It is even better if you make some Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day to go with it.

Zoe, your book is on the way. Everyone else, thanks for sharing your fave recipes. There is enough creative crock-potting in there to keep us all busy for a good long time.
Meanwhile Back At The Scarf Factory
I’m proud/not proud to report that I’ve made 4 1/2 Gaptastic Cowls, in the handy scarf-size version. Mostly proud. Although I generally don’t knit to order, I do love to please the young-uns. After they get to a certain age, opportunities to do so with knitting are rare, the young-uns being mysterious and picky in their tastes. So, when there was a universally envious eighth-grade reaction to Carrie’s Gaptastic, I cast on a few more for chums.
First, though, I had to make a second one for Carrie due to…
[SENSITIVE PERSONS: avert your eyes; everybody else, throw salt over left shoulder, followed by keening and/or ululating and/or symbolically throwing yourself into a washing machine]
…the tragic accidental felting of the first.
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I know, this one looks the same as the first. But it’s not.
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See? Soft, drapey new one on the left. Boardy, felty old one on the right. (There are coasters in my future. Can always use more coasters.)
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Moving on. Here’s another one, modeled by its recipient, Danielle, who has been this stylish since at least age 5, when I first laid eyes on her. Malabrigo again, in a colorway of browns with pale pink. “Bosquet” something.
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(Ignore–if you can– the cuteness in the background; it shall be discussed in an upcoming post.)
Here’s the fourth, which has yet to make it to its recipient for a photo shoot. Again in Malabrigo, but superwash this time. Chosen because the recipient requested purple, it’s a dark and dusty plum with a denimy slate blue breaking through. I love the color, but making this scarf reinforced my distaste for the feel of superwash. It feels like it has a coating on it. It has a wrongness to it, especially when applied to a kettle-dyed yarn. (I realize it’s kind of funny that I should be so critical of a process that could have saved Gaptastic the First from its untimely passage to the recycled craft supplies pile. But that’s how I feel.)
The half scarf is, I believe, in Nashville. I guess if you leave a half-finished Madeline Tosh scarf on the needles at a knitter’s abode, it’s foolish to think you’ll see it again. It’s a great colorway for you (being a brownish, purplish, no-name color–Rowan would call it “contusion”). It didn’t have anybody else’s name on it. I barely remember it. Enjoy!
Happy Tuesday everyone!
Love,
Kay

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. I can relate (I made 3.5 of the cowls), and I am now making my 8th hat for the “Lotus Hat Gang” of 2nd grade girls. At least I’m busting some stash, right? I just can’t start a clique and don’t want to leave anyone out.

  2. Am really curious about how G1st looks felted.
    How do I get some houseguests that leave nice yarn behind? Every time my SIL stays, she just leaves another curling iron.

  3. That’s a whole lotta scarves. Do you get one out of the deal? ‘contusion’…has Rowan’s marketing/yarn naming division offered you a position yet? I have a nice greenish-beige yarn that i like, beautiful shade, but the offical name should really be ‘sinus-infection’. Or maybe ‘heathered mucus’ Knitters are a poetic bunch.

  4. Can the Tragically Felted (I have thrown salt over shoulder as I wrote that) not become Something Fabulous for Olive? even if it needs to be (whispers) slightly more felted?
    I’m sure she would like a little felted coat, suitably Blanket Stitched in a non-too-folksy way (she is a Manhattan Dog after all, not at all folksy herself, just super-cool-nonchalant).
    Well done on the production line though. I am seriously impressed.
    B x x x

  5. I WOULD ululate, but it always scares my dog. The felt/notfelt picture reminds me SO wincingly of what I did to a pair of almost-new socks knit in cushy Brooks Farm FourPlay: 50% smooshy wool, 50% silk, zero percent superwash. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth and yes, ululating. (That’s how I know about my dog.)
    That said, just look at all those gorgeous cowls! Really, really pretty, each one! The coasters will just be a nice bonus.

  6. I am currently knitting my third Gaptastic Cowl, with the yarn ready to go for the fourth. They’re like chips…can’t just have one. LOVE the pattern and the mindless knitting. I love the color of Carrie’s the best. MMMM!

  7. I am currently knitting my third Gaptastic Cowl, with the yarn ready to go for the fourth. They’re like chips…can’t just have one. LOVE the pattern and the mindless knitting. I love the color of Carrie’s the best. MMMM!

  8. I just recently finished my first Gaptastic Cowl. I’m curious about the recipe for the scarf version as I find the cowl a bit bulky for Seattle weather. Care to share? Thanks!

  9. I feel for the felting – I felted (accidently) my entrelac manos del uruguay scarf. I still wear it – just a little shorter and narrower!

  10. I love it (and glad you can please a teen with handknits). That said, sad as you are, the coasters will match the carpet and the comforter I think!!!

  11. Been meaning to ask you two, why are superwash yarns so popular? To me, superwash feels slimy and sticky at the same time. Spent a mini fotune on some Mad Tosh, and their Mara pattern came out great, but even the drape was disappointing. Some of the soul of the wool was gone. Seems like more and more of the kettle-dyed and hand-dyed yarns are now superwash – Wah!!! I’ll take my wool straight up, please.

  12. Well, that just made me become a member of Ravelry, and might send me to Knitty City this weekend for supplies!! Hoping for a face-to-face sighting of Carrie or cohorts in the cowl!

  13. Oh, so sorry about the Gaptastic felting. Have to say though, no matter how weird and icky superwash feels, I have much Malabrigo and many knitted items from regular Malabrigo, and if you want to see scary, I can show you two felted sweaters, two hats, and a really really nasty pair of mittens. Just from wearing them. And waaay beyond help from defuzzers. The seed stitch cowls should fare better,however. I certainly hope so anyway, because they’re gorgeous.

  14. Kay, you are such a wonderful mom! My own dear mother, may she rest in peace, churned out crocheted vests for me and my 8th grade friends, circa 1969. I couldn’t wait to get home from school to see what new vest I would be wearing to school the next day with my love beads. Some kids liked after-school cookies, for me it was after-school knits.

  15. Confused: Do you join in the round with a twist, or not? The pattern doesn’t specify either way, but the word “infinity” makes me think you twist on purpose …?
    I can do it by accident so easily …

  16. LOVE’em! Gotta make some for the women in my family! And, you just can’t beat Malabrigo. I actually made the Anything Wrap (from Fall 2009 Vogue) from the washable Malabrigo to try it out (for my Chicago daughter who likes her knits washable) and she loved it. It really stretched out after washing though, and we had to block that thing like nobody’s business to get it back to the ‘right’ length. I’ll stick with regular Malabrigo after this. I love that yarn.

  17. In admiration of your cowling, but really distracted by the details in the background..
    That’s all I have to say.

  18. I cast on my own Gaptastic the day after I saw your first. I’ve rarely taken it off since I finished it. Were I not So Very Pregnant, I’d make myself another one. Nice, mindless knitting. Mine is 13″ wide, which is Just Right in my mind.

  19. I really need to get a copy of Ann’s book. I keep looking at the pictures and having knitterly lust for all of the projects!

  20. Cut out an impervious to rain, back part of an Oliver sweater out of the lovely felt, and pick up sts to knit the chest and leg part. I have a sewn dog sweater pattern, that works great with felted sweaters (less bulky that that….). Yours is too stiff for the whole thing, I think, but it would be great for the back.

  21. We’ve all had our tragic felting accidents. I don’t want to renew the pain by describing mine, but trust me, you are not alone.

  22. How many stitches do you cast on for the scarf length? Your scarves are awesome!

  23. I need to knit.

  24. Coasters from the accidentally felted. Good idea. I’ll have to try that sometime.

  25. So much (as usual) in this post!
    First and foremost, Carrie continues to grow ever-lovelier, and appears to be navigating that tricky eighth grade year gracefully.
    Also, I have so far never felted anything by accident, thanks to a hyper-vigilant mother who never let anything made of wool go near the washer. (That made felting-on-purpose all the more exciting for me later, I think.)
    I was once betrayed by Dale of Norway, however. Two of the three colors of “machine wash” yarns I used to make a striped pillowcase did not felt. One did. :(

  26. Because I’m Compulsive That Way, I went to the Jimmy Bean’s Wool website and confirmed that the lovely brown-with-pink Malabrigo on the lovelier Danielle is the Sotobosque colorway. (In case anyone here besides me would like to buy it.)

  27. Lemme just say I didn’t look like either one of these girls in the 8th grade. And I didn’t at 28, either! (Scarves are quite nice, too. Pity about the felted one.)

  28. now we have our own fashion magazine bon

  29. I have made 15 cowls this winter…. gifts for Sophie’s 8th grade friends and many for friends of mine.. i have to say the gaptastic is my favorite as well!..used the old sheep shop… bought from the remainder bin….

  30. I’m totally with you: the teens like, you must knit, and knit again. I mean, really, we’re knitters. How can we resist it when the kids think what we do is cool?

  31. The cowl tragedy is a good lesson in resourcefulness. I am more interested in the winner of the the book. Zoe, is this by chance the Zoe of the bread world?? Who would have thought two of my favorites things in life would come together on one blog?? Or am I the last one to find out about this!!

  32. Please share the recipe for the scarf version. The gaptastic I made is a beauty made from Montana yarn-dark charcoal but you would need to live in upper Alaska or maybe Finland to wear it!

  33. I admire your stamina. I’ve been slogging away at cowl #1, ever since you posted your first one, and I’m bored silly. Even using handspun is not adding enough entertainment value. I’m just hoping the end result is happy and pleases the intended 16-year-old – trusting Carrie’s judgment in these things.

  34. Great Knitting. Lucky Recipients. Carrie More Lovely Every Day–God Bless.
    LoveDiane

  35. Totally share your feelings about superwash, but you put it much more eloquently than I thought it! I had to buy superwash for a prayer shawl but at least it’s better than ick-rylic.

  36. My second Gaptastic Cowl is blocking/drying on the ironing board as we speak. I’m kind of itching to cast on a third one, especially after seeing your lovely Malabrigo pink and brown version. For some reason, this is currently the perfect TV-Knitting project.

  37. For those bored by this cowl, which has been in my queue for ages, look at citrine, on ravelry, by army of knitters. I am not a super fast knitter, but I think i did it in 3 hours. I have never gotten more compliments on anything (and, as a commuter, I loved how it could be on the neck or over the head while waiting for the bus). Totally different than gaptastic, but I think I shall love them both!!!