Shrugomatic For the People
September 12, 2005
(Readers please note that beneath this post there is a note from Ann explaining that the dog has eaten her homework for today and she will be back tomorrow with more Future Search. Meanwhile, I will do my best to entertain all 3 people who are into denim, shrugs, and/or denim shrugs.)
Don’t get me wrong–I’m loving the Elaborate Search For the Perfect Yarn. But I’m loving it with the smugness of one who has already found her perfect yarn. Yes, denim. Denim made out of cotton, a fiber that is favored by less than 10% of the voters. So I guess I’m some kind of a nut. Which doesn’t bother me in the least, tra la. Someday, y’all will catch up to me. For now, we are the few, the proud, the denim lovers. Belinda! Ann HB! Sarah W! Wendy! And Wendy! Heck, the whole Ring of Wendys! Join me in a verse or two of the Denim Solidarity Song! (First verse: Knittin’ cotton, Lord, Kumbayaaaaaa! Second verse: Someone’s shrinkin’, Lord, Kumbayaaaaa!)
Meanwhile, my tendency to find something I like to knit and then just beat it into the ground—continues. I have made 4 more child-sized One Skein Wonders. The One Skein Wonder has been my salvation from the slough of warshrag knitting. Thirty dishcloths into the thing, I was starting to run out of dishcloth cotton (just stop and let the enormity of that sink in, baby: I am RUNNING OUT of DISHCLOTH COTTON), and also getting just the tiniest bit embarrassed at my own plodding repetition. I mean, how long can I call it ‘zen’ or ‘meditative’ or ‘great car knitting’? The fact is, I needed to break the stranglehold of the dishcloth. And the One Skein Wonder was there for me. But since the only people I know who are poky-shouldered and flat-chested enough to look great in the One Skein Wonder are under the age of 10, I have been making them solely for little girls. If you know a little girl lacking a foxy shrug, send her my way. I’m not even kidding. Little girls look so cute in this thing that it is almost too much to bear.
In the picture above, we have a weekend’s worth of production at the Big Bone Gal Shrug Factory. Top to bottom: Blue Heron rayon/cotton in striated reds and pinks for Julia (age 9), Schachenmayr Nomotta Blue Jeans, a heavyweight indigo-dyed cotton (MORE about that LATER) for Carrie (8.5), and Filatura di Crosa Zara, a DK merino that is so springy and non-itchy it could pass for Rowan Calmer, for Emma of Berkeley (age 9). (More sacrilege! Comparing royal MERINO to peasant COTTON! Where is the lightning bolt and what is taking it so long to smite me?) Since the picture was taken, I have also whipped up a teeny-weeny one in the Zara, for another Julia, age 4.
Why, you ask, are all of the shrugs sitting there on the table without their ribbed edging? Silly, it’s because of that flaw in my character. You know the one where I procrastinate seaming? Even if, as in this case, the seams are exactly ONE INCH LONG? I kept finding an excuse to cast on another shrug instead of sewing the seams, picking up stitches, and finishing one. (Like you never do that?)
A confession: until now, I have never knit anything top-down. I’ve read Barbara Walker’s book, Knitting from the Top. I’ve read Elizabeth Zimmerman. I agree with everything they say about knitting from the top and how it makes it easy to tailor a garment to fit and yadda yadda yadda, but I’m a Rowanette after all, and the habit of making things in pieces is strong in my soul. But KNITTING FROM THE TOP DOWN IS SO COOL. Look:
When you want to see if it’s long enough, there is no measuring or guesswork; you just hang it on the nearest available Shrug Model! A few more rows to cover the top edge of Carrie’s camisole. (Moment of silence for those who know Carrie personally: Yes, she’s wearing a camisole. Later, there will be a bracelet and the universal girly gesture known as Does My Hair Look All Right? At the start of third grade, the world is changing, too fast for me.)
Here’s the finished Denim Wonder, front:
And back (note bracelet and fixing-of-hair).
Not Just Schnell But Also Trendy!
Recently the Denim Goddess has rewarded my idolatry with some beautiful gifts. Scenario A: Mary B. of Richmond (who ought to blog but just won’t get with the program) supposedly was de-stashing. This was a total lie, of course, as she immediately went over and got some of Norma’s de-stashments, but I politely went along with the fiction, seeing as there was something in it for me. Oh no, I said, I promise I will NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES send you ANYTHING back. Never never never. I will take on the huge burden that those 5 skeins of German denim are imposing on your storage capacity. Please, I insist! I said. Let me carry your load, sister! And so I received these tasty items:
This is the same stuff as Rowan Denim, but double the weight. 6 strands instead of 3. 50 yards instead of 95. MMMMmmmmmmm. Just enough of the medium shade for a chunky shrug. And it says, right there on the label, that it is ‘schnell und trendy mit wash-out jeanseffekt’! That’s so ME–without the wash-out jeanseffekt, I am nothing! How could I not cast on immediately? Thank you Mary B.!
I also received, out of the clear indigo sky, a package from Ruth P. containing Rowan Denim in the light shade (Tennessee), with very old labels displaying my friend the Rowan Cowboy (yes, he’s from Yorkshire, but he’s a cowboy, dammit! I have it on good authority that the Marlboro Man is from Dorset! Hoss was from from Leeds!). The yarn is wound on spools, which I wish they still did as it is the tidiest thing ever. Until I saw this yarn, I had thought that Tennessee was a new shade introduced only a couple of years ago. In fact, it must have been re-introduced. I’m already knitting it up. (Ruth P., please email me! I wanted to write you but the address on the package seemed incomplete. I promise, no onerous and unbearable stash burdens will result. Thank you so much!)
Okay, now you can carry on, like the Man of La Mancha, dreaming the impossible perfect yarn dream. You go girl! I’m behind you all the way.