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Ready For My Sew-Up

Dear Ann,
It’s amazing the amount of knitting a person can get done when there is no computer handy. Despite martyrdom in the kitchen over the Thanksgiving weekend, I managed to power through the back, fronts, second sleeve, and collar of the Checker jacket from Tadpoles and Tiddlers. Here it is, waiting for me to give it button bands, buttonholes, and a good hot shrink ‘n fade in the washing machine:
And here’s a close-up of Checker’s zigs and zags: very competently done, if I do say so myself.
Why was I, the archetype of a frolicking, detouring, serial caster-onner working on a single project as if on a mission from God? Because it’s the Very Last Thing I Will Ever Knit For a charity Silent Auction. Well, at least it is the very last ‘choose a custom-knit sweater’ I will ever knit for a Silent Auction.
The Silent Auction Fantasy is that a true believer in better living through handknits (i.e., someone like me) will see my item in the auction catalog, recognize it as a priceless heirloom, bid it up through the roof, select a charming and fun project for me to knit for their kid, and send me a lovely handwritten note to follow up several gushing phone calls.
The Silent Auction Reality is that the auction powers-that-be lumped my custom-knit-sweater with a Mulan figurine and a gift certificate to Toys R Us, a very nice lady bought the bunch for a pittance, chose Checker (which, as photographed by Joey Toller in T & T, shows the adorable child model but not the fiddly diagonal texture pattern, the pockets, etc.), and is now audibly waiting for me to finish it so she can give it as a gift. The part that really hurts, of course, is the Mulan figurine.
Never again.
But I am enjoying sailing through Checker, really I am!
Love, Kay
P.S. What are those white things, you ask? Trash bag twist-ties, which make nifty stitch holders.




  1. Kay–I LOVE that sweater. Shoulda done it in a scratchy acrylic just for punishment. And you even did the pockets. I would have left off the pockets, collar, and buttons, too. Once again, you’re a better person than I.
    I can’t quite figure out how you managed such prodigious output while stirring the gravy and making casseroles. I had absolutely no cooking responsibilities yet somehow ended up doing only six inches of a crummy scarf. Pathetic!

  2. Too right,never again !
    Don’t you dare,or I’ll come over to sort you out ! :0)
    Experience has taught me to be stingy with my knitting.I only ever knit for those who will really appreciate it.
    It’s looking fantastic,by the way.

  3. Dear Ann & Emma,
    I am one of those hard-headed people who has to learn by experience. Ah well. She really is a nice lady and I still hold out some hope that she will swoon with joy when she beholds Checker. Believe me, when I got to the ‘place pocket’ part of the instructions, I hesitated, weighing the Knitting Ethics of my situation. You can’t even SEE the pockets in the photos. She isn’t EXPECTING pockets. It’s for an infant who doesn’t USE pockets.
    But let’s keep in mind the interests of the innocent babe who will wear this garment. This being an oversized Rowan pattern, the kid will surely still be fitting in it when he’s 4 –an age when a boy without pockets may fail to form the crucial male habit of putting his hands and all sorts of grimy stuff he finds, into his pockets.
    Plus, I really like putting in pockets. The first time I did it, I was amazed at how cool the procedure is. How elegant. Cast off the pocket edge; knit across the lining. Wa-la: a pocket.
    The reason I had so much time to knit was that all my houseguests went to sleep at 9 p.m. Leaving my way clear to sit knitting in silence until 1 in the morning. Bliss, I tell you. Sheer and utter. Love, Kay

  4. Kay – great idea about using those ties as stitch holders – I have reverted to pencils in times of crisis….
    Re the log-cabin quilt – like you I found knitting it a very enjoyable experience, one that I would happily repeat. I do like the idea of hot colours one side, cool the other – shall remember that for next time……Incidentally, the recipient of mine. grandson Rudi, l5 months old, walks about dragging it with him, and goes to bed with it every night.

  5. Never again! But one thing is for sure – someone who KNOWS the value of knitting will see that infant wearing the sweater and appreciate it.

  6. That log cabin quilt is amazing! – really beautiful colours.
    Well I’m sure you’ve learnt your lesson as far as auction-knitting goes – but you’ve done an excellent job & I do hope that the eventual recipient of Checker loves it & makes full use of the pockets!

  7. Kay — If putting in those pockets isn’t proof of craftsmanship for its own sake, I don’t know what is! You never know; maybe the baby’s mother is a knitter or wannabe knitter who will swoon appropriately. Or maybe she’ll just appreciate it; non-knitters can be so awestruck by a handknit item that you get your “props” anyway.

  8. Kay–Lucky you on the snoozy houseguests. My problem was pyromaniac children who wanted to stay up to watch the last log die down. They’d have stayed up all night if I hadn’t herded them to bed.
    Now, onto important matters. Kay, your Log Cabin blanket is so very inspiring that I have been patting my bozillion shades of Lightweight DK and wondering if I might try one myself. As I mentioned earlier, I’m looking for a nice, long stretch of DK. You winged it on the colors, yes? Do you remember how much yarn you used for each color? I have tons of colors, but usually no more than 120 meters of each, so I don’t know if I could get a long-haul outside strip in one color. Maybe I could bisect the long pieces into two colors using close relative shades? Maybe I could bisect all the strips into two close shades (and LOSE MY MIND!). Thoughts? This project seems almost like quilting: figuring out color patterns and relationships.
    I can’t believe this, but I think I have to buy that Urban Knitter book for the pattern. Tell me I have enough knitting books.

  9. I love the checkery thing. Actually that tadpole book is one of my favorites. I wasn’t going to mention this but … Kay, you don’t seem to do well in auctions.. do you?

  10. Polly–Ouch ouch ouch but as always you speak the truth. Like I said, hard-headed. In some circumstances, a virtue. Helped my forbears get through all manner of privations while Taming This Wild Land. Same DNA, today, gets me stuck in a relentless cycle of auction disappointment.
    Ann, Ann, ANN!!!! Welcome to the Log Cabin Club. (Isn’t some Republican clique called that??) Or am I mixing it up with the Kitchen Cabinet?) Personally I think 120 yards at 5 stitches per inch should get you through even the longer strips if you stop at crib blankey size (I was able to do my longest strip in just under one ball). A ball of the DK Cotton is only 85 meters. Emma or Polly, please chime in if my math is terribly off.
    On the other hand, seeing as how you’re kind of a nervous first-time log cabinner, you COULD ensure that you will have enough yarn by doing multiple squares, say 16 x 16 or 20 x 20 (approximate–make the first square the right size, and then make all the others with the same number of strips–no measuring and they will be exact matches), and then attaching them together in a 9-patch or even a 6-patch–that would give you the real quilty effect. This is certainly one of the many Log Cabin projects on my official list of Things I Will Knit In My Lifetime.
    It will be lurvly in wool. Much lighter and less draggy, although as Jill’s Rudi can attest, a draggy blankey is awfully nice.
    Do not buy the Lily Chin book just for this pattern. You will learn nothing from this pattern that you cannot learn On The Job. At this point, log cabbinning is in the public domain, especially as Jill has tweaked it beyond recognition. I declare Jill’s Log Cabin to be a Totally New Pattern.
    On the other hand, you DO need more knitting books. I like using stacks of them as nightstands. For this use, hardcover is preferable.
    Thanks everybody for your support and kind words.
    Love, Kay

  11. I have to share my preschool silent auction experience, which happened today! I usually knit preschooler hats for such events, as they are less time consuming and I think the preschool gets more bang for my buck, so to speak. Anyhow, I knit this really cool skull and crossbones pirate hat (two squares sewn together, with a skull on the front, and black and white stripes on the back). On the lost and found table at the school today was a COPY of my hat done in chunky acrylic rather than double knit wool. I thought it was kind of funny.
    You get extra points for doing a sweater, and custom at that! It’s beautiful, and I hope the recipient, or more importantly his parents, really appreciate it!


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