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Imperfection, Tasty Imperfection

Dear Kay,

Coming up for air here to show proof of knitting. I hope you all are getting done whatever it is you are trying to get done. Around here it’s college applications (the road to hell is paved with supplement essays) (if you don’t know what those are, YOU ARE LUCKY), exams (reliving the Civil War with an eighth grader, and I’m not just talking about history), and daily care and feeding of two teenagers. (We made hot wings.) (This recipe got massive thumbs up from the household.)


This top-down, in-the-round, sock-yarn-gauge, simple pullover is the kind of knitting I DREAM ABOUT. Carol Feller’s new pattern in Brooklyn Tweed, Carpino, is making me  happy on a daily basis. I did a try-on yesterday that was very promising.

The star here, I have to say, is this Madeline Tosh Sock yarn. I could stare at it all day. Maybe the other day I did. The colorway here is Ink. Isn’t it just the inkiest? None more inky. I am crazy about the imperfection of it. When a pattern is as plain as this one (and I say “plain” as a high compliment), any irregularity in the yarn is going to show up fast.

Here, for example, you can see where the second skein starts:


I was actually sort of thrilled when I discovered this. Maybe I’ve done so much knitting at this point that my standards are all wonky. I seem to be willing to frog back to a mistake in a way I used to avoid, but I’m craving imperfection in other ways. So weird. I think this means that I am not planning to stop knitting anytime soon.

The front is a yarnover lace pattern that feels sort of thick, thanks to all the knit-two-togethers. I love it so much. I keep holding it up to the light. It’s so simple, and so beautiful.


I’m about to wind the third skein, and I’m hopeful that it is weird, too.



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  1. Applications, various deadlines, financial aid disclosure statements – all a big bowl of hell for your first college-bound child. Well, for YOU. When number two and possibly three come along, it all seems easier.

  2. Just wait financial aid forms still lurk! Good luck


  4. Beautiful, inky ink! Those MadTosh colorways manage to be even better than the names they have been bestowed. Tart! Flour Sack! (swoon). But I don’t envy you the winding part. Not sure what happens in the big magical Mad Tosh skein factory, but it can make for hours of tearful winding at my end, a step I now leave to the pros.

  5. Sometimes knitting is all you need not to go right over the edge. I get flashbacks just thinking of DD#2 and the college admission process. Especially the meltdown ( in a public place) precipitated by my asking what her backup plan was. Thankfully, she got in ED#2.

  6. That Inky Blue is the best colour ever!
    Sweater will be beautiful

  7. Avoid Wake Forest!!! Seven supplemental essays! Fortunately it wasn’t one of my son’s choices, but I shudder to think if it had been. There isn’t enough knitting in the world for that.

  8. I think the hell of the application process is designed to make you appreciate First Break Home with your college freshman, when you discover it all Turned Out Fine. A year from now you will look back. Not fondly, but back.

    I love Ink, but I love Stovepipe even more. All that Inkyness with an extra dose of Soot mixed in.

  9. My condolences regarding the supplemental essays. I’m sure that hellish is an understatement — and at the holidays!! However, the sweater is gorgeous. The Madtosh Inky goodness is a perfect fit for that project.

  10. “I think this means that I am not planning to stop knitting anytime soon.”
    Oh, I do so hope so! Or not! Whatever one means that you continue knitting and writing and writing about knitting. I also hope that Son the First inherited some of your facility with words, so that there is maybe a teeny bit of enjoyment to be got out of the endless essay writing. (And that he appreciates a Certain Knitter’s editing experience as well.) But maybe these are vain hopes…

  11. I am pleased that I have no clue about supplemental essays. My 13 yo is applying to some high schools that require a paragraph about why you want to go to this school, but she scrawls them in pencil and no one worries too much.
    I do love that stitch pattern. I once made a fishnet Christmas stocking in that pattern, I believe. In black acrylic with gold sparkles. It is a very fine stocking indeed. Huge.
    Good luck with essays and any other upcoming stressors.

  12. Be happy you don’t have art students – supplemental essays and a portfolio, complete with paragraphs regarding each work. I will say my daughter wrote her common app essay on her own topic, I think that alone got her into a few schools where the admissions folk were just so tired of reading the same essay!

  13. college apps– our youngest is a HS junior and he is # 5
    Child thinks WE are way too relaxed about the process
    It is hardest for the first of the offspring
    knitting can only help

  14. i just have to say thank you for loving the imperfection in your (gorgeous!!) carpino. i knit a carlmont hoodie last winter and noticed at some point in the knitting of it that one of the skeins i used was darker than the others. it’s tosh dk in the cherry colorway and it makes me happy every time i look at it. it bothers me that there’s a definite line across my chest when i wear it, and yet at the same time it doesn’t bother me at all. i love the yarn and i love the pattern and i adored knitting it and now i adore wearing it.

    knitting is funny, isn’t it? i wouldn’t have bought a sweater with an unintentional line across the front, but because i knit every stitch in that sweater and i love the yarn so much i love the sweater.

  15. Such a pleasure to read about the sheer enjoyment of knitting! I think we all share this in our own way. I have been noticing lately how my knitting tastes have changed and evolved, just as my love for the craft has deepened. For example, I also do not mind frogging. In earlier years the need to frog back would have frustrated me so.

    Knit on!


  16. Some of my most favorite projects are the ones made of Madelinetosh yarns…its the imperfections of the color that give them the richness and depth without fighting with the patterns for attention. Love that yarn!

    On a different topic…I just saw a post on Ravelry from someone who said she wasn’t seeing your posts on her Feedly feed…made me realize that I wasn’t seeing them either! There I was, thinking y’all were just being quiet, but I looked back and I haven’t had a post from you in 61 days! I miss you on my Feedly feed! Is there something I can do to fix it??


  17. I did a whole family of Christmas present hats this year in tosh dk. I can’t decide if my favorite color was Ink or Cousteau, but absolutely LOVE this yarn and the gorgeous variations in the colors.

  18. Sorry to hijack the thread, but just saw Kay’s big cowl is up on ravelry. I actually think I can keep to my stash bust for this one! Sea wall repairs seriously curtail yarn purchasing.

  19. Ok I am just going with sympathy here, the 8th grade/senior boy onetwo punch can make a tough year on a mom. I lived through it but I’m just gonna say, I developed the skill of having an instant headache that year. Like one minute everything was Ok, and then bam! Drama and headache. Hang in there. Inky yarn has to be helpful for one’s equanimity.

  20. What a coincidence–I just had a discussion about a college essay that isn’t done and some pieces of applications that somehow didn’t get sent when the other pieces were… It got a little loud. Instant headache is right.
    On the bright side, I was yarn crawling with my buddy Evelyn the other day, sorting through the MadTosh selection, and I was quite taken with a color called Dirty Panther. The name describes it perfectly, and it was lovely in every weight.

  21. Ugh, the college application process. It is its own brand of hell.

  22. Ooooh, now you see that stripe where you change skeins would drive me NUTS. Totally, utterly, raving mad. Just can’t do it. x x x

    • Wait til you see the sleeves . . . it’s going to really send you around the bend . . .

      • Ha! I’m sure it will make me all twitchy. I do love my flat, solid dyes.

  23. I just finished a baby blanket using MadTosh Chunky in Milk. It is my favorite yarn ever, but the stripes!!! Initially I was fine with them, just like you. The color was spectacular. After about a month, though, and one really wonky skein, the stripes began to torture me. The baby was already born, so I had to keep going, but soon I was thankful that the baby lived thousands of miles away, just so I wouldn’t see the stripes ever again. To top it off, the blanket grew 10 inches when I washed it!!!

    In the future, I’m saving MadTosh yarn for one skein wonders. No stripes ever again.


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