Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Keeping It Low

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Dear Kay,
Even as I write, Yoram Bauman, the world’s first and only stand-up economist, is sitting in my kitchen eating a waffle.
He’s in town for a gig today (here! Come laugh your way through the recession! Here‘s his tour schedule), and Hubbo has been showing him around town. The sights so far have included Music Row, Lower Broadway, and my father. For somebody from Seattle, it doesn’t get more exotic than that. We had beer-can chicken last night. I would post a photo of it, but the last time I posted a photo of beer-can chicken, we lost at least three vegan knitters from our readership and I frankly didn’t blame them. It’s kind of worrisome to see.
I know you’re wondering why my bloggage has been so subpar of late. No, I haven’t had a brow lift, though I just learned that someone younger than me has had one and it’s left me wondering about how low one’s brows one need to be in order to have them surgically rejiggered. I mean, if I couldn’t see anymore, I’d want to pick them up or something. Oh whatever. You know what I mean.
No, it’s only a combination of mundane forces that has left me off kilter, out of whack, unbloggy. Nothing big, really, but there have been painters in the house for more than a week, with no end in sight, as they do the sort of trim painting and ceiling painting that leaves the house looking exactly the same as it was before, only less beaten upon by children. The paint fumes have me hallucinating, so I ditch out a lot.
Another unsettling development: at my advanced age, I have started taking tennis lessons. I’ve never played tennis in my life, but after a spring break trip that involved five days of flailing around, I’ve got the BUG. The FEVER! I have this great book that the tennis guys in South Carolina gave me. It has their top ten tennis tips–it’s like the Ten Commandments, I swear. “Tennis Tip Number One: Low. You can’t be too low.” ISN’T THAT THE TRUTH?
Another factor is that the knitting I’m doing is just totally unlovely, even though it’s a lovely enough projeck. It’s a top-down sweater, the cover girl from Interweave Knits’ Spring 2009 issue, Andrea Pomerantz‘s Diminishing Rib Cardigan.
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I’m using a choice Rhinebeck souvenir, a batch of handspun from Twin Ponds Fiber Farm in Lykens, PA. So authentic that they don’t even sell it online! This Border Leicester/Lincoln and mohair concoction features the wool of a sheep named Padmae. The natural silver-gray color is really amazing. Padmae, you’re a genius to be such a warm, beautiful color.
But on the needles, top-down sweaters look like a big pile of nothing, you know? So here you go: my big pile of nothing.
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The clever features include a tubular cast on and cast off and an integrated I-cord edging down the front.
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I am concerned that the stockinette on the top part is ferociously curly, and I’m not sure that blocking can fight that.
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Same with the collar–it’s very foldy right now, and it’s not supposed to be. There are hundreds of versions of this sweater on Ravelry–some of them look kind of curly and foldy. Has anybody out there made this, and if so, did the front behave for you?
OK, hold on–I just found Andrea’s blog post about these issues, and I admire the forthright way she talks about the foldy curly situation. I wish I’d seen this before I cast on, so that I could add a buttonhole at the top. Maybe a little loop?
Love,
Ann
PS Movie of the week: I finally saw Julie/Julia on Netflix. Didn’t you just CRY at the end when Julia Child gets the first copy of her book in the mail? So thrilled for her.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Am I first? Wow!
    EZ would say put in an afterthought button hole. I have never made one, so I know it sounds frightening. But you are a brave knitter, so perhaps you could try it…for me.
    I have done an after thought pocket and that went well; I was fairly brave for that because the item was going to be felted anyway.
    Wow, a stand up Economist! You know I’m just waiting for the Merle Hazard variety show to come on prime time. Merle has a lot of talented friends he could recruit for the show.
    Amy

  2. I must send that stand-up economist link to #1 Son, the one with the undergrad degree in economics. (He says he majored in it in order to understand his enemy.)
    Au contraire, dear Ann, your top-down sweater looks like a pile of fuzzy warm loveliness. Beautifully fuzzy warm yarn, mmm.

  3. Did you notice the one on Ravelry with a zipper colsure on the top part? It looks really nice to me.
    Your sweater looks warm and soft.
    Francis

  4. Great bunch of links, Ann– ‘specially to Andrea’s blog and to the clasps and such. On the movie front, I keep meaning to recommend “Millions” to you, so here goes. Alex Etel and Lewis McGibbon are perhaps the two best child actors ever. (Just be sure you get the right movie– release date 2004– as there’s some other older and completely unrelated movie with same title.)

  5. I really hate the unblockable stockinette curl. Especially because I always think I can block it.

  6. Yeah, curl. It happens.
    Julie/Julia! Yes yes yes! I love when Julia’s husband is translating the French cookbook for her…
    Why does your silvery-grey yarn look rusty-silvery-chestnuty to me??

  7. Glad you are back!! Miss your cheerful “voice” on my screen. Have fun with the economist!

  8. Oh, there you are. I thought maybe you’d run off, turns off you’ve run off with a tennis pro. I’m pitiful at tennis, even my litte Mii person falls down when I play on the Wii; my daughter in law the tennis champ just cringes.
    Gorgeous sweater in gorgeous yarn. I’m knitting a hat from my first ever straight-from-the-sheep yarn and I end up just petting it most of the time. Luscious.

  9. Love your blog – tennis is the best – a lot like knitting – you can enjoy it until you pass on :) – do take care not to get tennis elbow tho’ – it will totally cramp your style.

  10. Love your blog – tennis is the best – a lot like knitting – you can enjoy it until you pass on :) – do take care not to get tennis elbow tho’ – it will totally cramp your style.

  11. Love your blog – tennis is the best – a lot like knitting – you can enjoy it until you pass on :) – do take care not to get tennis elbow tho’ – it will totally cramp your style.

  12. Maybe it’s because I live in Seattle, but I know of Yoram. He is indeed very funny! Hope you’re having fun :)

  13. Ooo… You look good on the iPad!!!

  14. I love the sort of slouchy look of your sweater on the needles, though I for the life of me couldn’t remember what the diminishing ribs sweater looked like on the cover (my suspicion is that the model was either yellow or coral and my brain has just tuned it out, stupid brain).

  15. Love your sweater. Love the design discussions about the sweater from you, Ravelry members, and the designer. If the neckline is going to be floppy, it sounds as if it will need a lightweight closure option. Maybe a frog closure in a silvery-gray tussah silk? Or your loop idea, with a beautiful button? I’m looking forward to the finished product.

  16. When we paint I want to use low-VOC paints because I cannot stand that smell.

  17. I loved Julie/Julia–that WAS a cool ending, I thought. Tried reading the book and didn’t like it at all. Thought the “flavor” of Julia’s “My Life in France” spiced up the movie nicely!

  18. Great grey loveliness to complement my own grey stocking stitch nephew gansey. The colour is different in each shot, so I surmise Padmae has all those colours in her grey.
    Good on you for the painting. A few years ago I did all the baseboards because that’s the first thing I would do if we were moving. We’re not, so why not enjoy them ourselves?

  19. Brilliant writing. Foldy. So get that. Best to you with all your knitterly adventures…

  20. Dear Ann,
    One question: did you toast a frozen waffle for Bauman, or make him up one in a waffle iron?
    LoveDiane

  21. Just saw Yoram. Oh, to have been able to serve him a waffle and beer butt chicken too! you are one lucky lady. My advice on the tennis front: if your partner can’t serve, protect your head.xxoo

  22. Hmm. There’s something in the air (maybe just paint fumes) in NYC.
    We’ve been painting our apartment for the last three weeks and we have at least one more week to go. I could live for the rest of my life without looking at any more g.d. crown molding two inches from my nose. GRR.
    Thusly, no blogging, knitting, or energy to be even remotely interesting.
    I’d drink myself into a post-painting stupor, but then I can’t actually drink right now.
    I am as dull as watching paint dry. Which is about all I’m good for right now anyway.
    (the sweater looks good, by the way)

  23. I made this sweater for my mom out of a gorgeous two toned blue ribbon and it laid perfectly flat. There needs to be a closure at the top or it slips right off her shoulders. We threaded a ribbon through the neck edge. C’est magnifique!

  24. Bless your heart………the tennis bug. YellowBallFever, as I call it, is a STRONG disease and it does take away from knitting time….especially when you are lying comatose on the couch in pain b/c you moved muscles that you didn’t know you had! Keep it up and enjoy it. I would play every day if the world would let me!

  25. You will overcome the curlyness – I have no doubt. Can’t wait to see the finished sweater. I am in the middle of Sweater Quest and I love the interviews with you and Kay…had no idea they were in there, what a nice surprise! A adored the Julie/Julia movie. I am a huge fan of Julia Child, I met her at a book signing years ago and she was exactly as she seems, signing her books, chatting with people, drinking wine.

  26. OK…Julie and Julia made me get out my copy of MTAoFC, dust it off and make something! BUT, I confess, the whole movie was put off kilter when they had that scene where Julie finds out that Julia Child said she “hated her”. I can’t imagine Julia Child saying that…it made me very sad, and changed the way I felt about the whole thing.

  27. I also just watched Julie and Julia, and I believe that Julia Child said to the reporter that she did not like Julie Powell’s BLOG. I can’t blame Julia Child for that, as I remember when I first looked at JP’s book, I thought that the idea of it was exploitative, and can only imagine how Julia Child must have felt. I skipped the book, but went to see the movie for Meryl Streep’s performance and the Julia story, both of which were wonderful.

  28. Top down sweaters, Julie & Julia and tennis lessons. You’re living my life Ann-girl. Oddly enough in the next week there will be wall painting also.

  29. play doubles you get to blame your partner

  30. You may have inspired me to pull my big pile of nothing (same project) out of spot in the closet where it got banished when it stopped inspiring me. I bet it’s further along than I remember, and maybe I’ll just git ‘er done, already. And I could wear it in the right season. What a thought!

  31. On Julie and Julia: the book is great. Julie Powell starts as his totally irritating, self-absorbed thirty-something and ends as a person who has done some appreciable growing up. As for the movie- -Meryl is a goddess but Stanley Tucci stole my heart. The great line, “you’re the butter to my bread” is all the more poignant given that his wife was dying of cancer or had died around the time the movie was filming I believe. Good luck with the sweater- -sometimes process is more important than product!

  32. I am making a handspun sweater out of what appears to be very similar yarn in this color. I would call the color more brown/grey, it has a lot of brown in it. It could be my computer monitor, but having just taken a workshop recently on “Color” I’m finding it interesting that you see it as silver grey. Hmmm.

  33. I’ve knit the DR, and worried about the curly and the flippy parts. I used the recommended yarn (mostly), so I can report that with Savoy, it all blocks out. As to the closure, if you drop the neckline with short-rows and shape the sweater to fit properly, you don’t need a closure. See mine.
    Re: the tennis–I know of a group of accomplished knitters who knit as a pastime. Obviously, the two go well together.

  34. er, that’s tennis players who knit as a pastime.

  35. I just finished making this sweater, and I found that blocking did cut down substantially on the curling, but not completely. I have decided to be at one with the curliness, because the sweater is supposed to stay open anyway. It is a great sweater, my only problem would be that the flared three quarter sleeves make it difficult to wear under a coat. gets all bunchy.

  36. Long-time lurker here but when you mentioned Lykens, PA I had to pipe up. I grew up in that area and it is beautiful! So glad you turned me onto ANOTHER fiber producer in my childhood town. And yes, I adore the color.

  37. Oh that yarn!! Heaven.

  38. Yoram is an inspiration! Especially to mothers of sons with phDs in humanities. Am going to ask around at Portland State where we’re taking classes…has he been here? We’re close to his place of origin…bring him on!
    Very pretty sweater. How lucky you look good in shades of brown so can wear all those natural sheepy colors. Have you seen movie “Sweetgrass” you and Kay would appreciate.
    love from the other coast, naomi

  39. Gorgeous yarn … beautiful sweater!
    Julie & Julia has been my favorite movie for a while. I keep watching it and enjoying it more each time!

  40. I saw no less then 4 patterns I want to try. I have made 1 adult sweater in my life. I’m a bit terrified.

  41. The DR sweater was MY FIRST SWEATER! It turned out wonderful! The curli-ness settled down once I blocked it. I have to use a shawl pin because it’s a little big. Agreed, coats are an issue with the bell sleeves. I have pics on ravelry (wishfulhippie). Overall a successful first sweater!