For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Shrugomatic For the People

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Dear Ann,
(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:
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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:
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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:
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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.!
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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.
Love,
Kay

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Yeehaw! Talk about Bonanza…what else are you gonna do with all that Denim besides shrugs for pixies?

  2. Every time I read about your denim fetish, I think I need to try me some of that! Oh and I totally agree with the whole Zara comparison – it certainly isn’t like “wool.”
    Carrie is looking very movie star. And very old.

  3. Your denim fetish inspired me to knit socks out of indigo dyed cotton. I’m using the Amble pattern from the six sock knitalong because it’s bumpy and has teeny weeny cables.
    I hate knitting it, but I’m real curious as to how it will fade. And the sock itself is super comfy.

  4. I love the OSW for little girls. Might need to make one for my Caroline.

  5. Kay, dear, Kay,
    While you were watching your Yankees beat my RedSox, you COULD have taken some 12 or 16″ ciculars, knitted off the last row of the OSW and seed-stitched in the round. No seams…and therefore, no excuses.
    I LOVE the little shruggies for my nieces, I must say. I have made one in linen and one in the new Rowan Soft Baby.

  6. O.k., sheep that I am, I have finally given in and bought the OSW pattern, and am going RIGHT NOW to dig the yarn out of the stash. Those are just too cute for words. I can resist no longer.

  7. Holy crap. So why didn’t Mary B offer up a trade, then, eh? Not fair. *tantrum-tantrum-tantrum*
    Okay, I’m over it.
    “You ain’t heavy…..you’re her sister…….” (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
    Love those little shrugs on little people. Or twiggy 16-year-olds. Not so much for me. Still a Denim (of the Rowan type) virgin. Sulk.

  8. Dearest Kay, das, wer mir die Weise des Denims gezeigt hat! This is Denim karma you’ve built up, my dear. For it is you (yes, YOU!) who has shown me the way-of-the-Denim. And for opening up to me the righteous path to schnell und trendy, you have been, and will continue to be, suitably rewarded. You have also inspired me to use an on-line English-to-German translator to spice up this post, but I’m not sure what that’s going to get you. Schnitzel?

  9. Nice shrugs Kay! Who wouldn’t go shrug schnelling if they had such a sweet model under their roof. Do you know how many 3rd grade non-knitting moms are cursing you at this very moment, having heard of the 1st week of class shrug?

  10. Oiky is busting at the seams. I’ve managed to get a copy of Denim People out of her. Now it’s on to the yarn! Tally Ho!
    PS – Have you and your husband discussed the plan in which you lock up Carrie? She is a beauty, you all are going to need one big stick to keep the boys away!

  11. I, too, am a Rowan demin fan. I made the bag on page 52 in Bags – A Knitter’s Dozen because it is made out of Rowan demin. Love the yarn, love the bag! Easy peasy, too. I am so envious of your German denim! Can’t wait to see what you make with it.

  12. I made one in denim too… and I do wear it, despite my age and my D-cup of the same age.. :-)

  13. I’ll take a shrug for my 4-year old cousin, please.

  14. I thought about you this weekend, Kay. Rosie’s Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia had their sidewalk sale and was clearing out Rowan Demin for $3 a ball.
    I bought more for my sock quest.

  15. First, I appreciate how generous Kay makes me look by using her macro close-up lens to photograph those skeins, each about as big around as my thumb! And I’m dumbstruck that the yarn is twice as big as that which she normally uses — as this stuff is pretty tiny anyway.
    And Norma, don’t even start with me. I wasn’t a liar when I offered the yarn to Kay, but by the time I got her address …. well, by that time you already had mine! And I’m gonna be thinking evil thoughts of you all evening when I can’t get that song out of my head!
    (Almost as bad as Kum-bah-yah, eh? Or how about “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” or is that song just a Catholic nightmare of my youth?)
    I’m wondering: If I started a blog (I’m not), and spent a lot of time talking about a hobby (say, the collecting of antique silver, or tennis bracelets, or gold bullion), do you think people would send me samples out of the blue? I mean, that’s what happened to Kay, right?
    I dunno … I think I might could pull it off….

  16. Are you certain they’re not just calling “tank tops” “camisoles” these days? Please? Then again, since everyone is wearing “camisoles,” even my pseudo-conservative sister, with nary a blazer or holey sweater or off-the-shoulder sweatshirt (this, my favorite bit of 80s wonderfulness, refuses to reappear) to cover it, I suppose the under-tens can wear them. She is terribly appealing.

  17. ….30 dishcloths? 30 shrugs? yes! carrie’s friends are all going to want one….hey, birthday party favors!

  18. I have a confession: I have never knit with Denim. I’ve seen it. I’ve touched it. I’ve worn the yeans. (Woven, not knitted; which I guess is sort of like shaken, not stirred.)
    But of course you mention my favorite yarn which is the sproingy fun that is Zara. Ahh!

  19. I’m older than 10 but am poky-shouldered and flat-chested enough, should I go knit myself an OSW :D) ?

  20. I just finished my fist OSW last night for DDIL#1 in a heather blue woolease – I know, I’m cheap! It turned out sooo cute and I can’t wait to see if it fits her. Yes, she is pokey-shouldered and sorta flat-chested. So then I started one in Knit Picks Crayon pink for my DGD who is only 6. I don’t know – I’m thinking it’s going to be too big. I probably should’ve made it smaller – I made it the smallest size. I didn’t (DUH) think about resizing the pattern. I’m one of those girls who always rounded out the curve for you brainiac girls – teehee!! Next will be a black one for DDIL#2. They are addicting!! I’m neither pokey-shouldered, nor flat chested and my upper arms haven’t been exposed to the light of day in YEARS – so, I’ll just have to watch my girls wearin’ o’ th’ OSW’s!!

  21. I hear the call of the denim and totally admire Carrie’s one skein wonder… (nice bracelet too by the way) but you know what I’m really wondering…. Where can I get some of that double thinkness schnell and trendy denimness. DOUBLE THICKNESS. That would be utterly perfect and I have to have some. Um, yes, despite my supposed stash reduction programme.
    I am so sad…

  22. I would like to note that I did suggest the Almighty Denim as a Perfect Yarn. Us ten-percenters have to stick together!
    How did you adapt the OSW for a 4-year-old. Because I have a three-year-old. A three-year-old with very good taste – she was examining my Kepler-in-progress (in Rowan Summer Tweed) and my Saffy-in-progress (Almighty Denim) and pointed at Saffy and said, “I like this yarn better but do they make it in pink?”
    I wonder if we could convince Rowan to make Denim in Pink? I guess I could dye some Ecru for her…

  23. I may have to get me a OSW pattern (with Carrie modeling those things must be selling like hotcakes). I have 4 daughters (including a 13yo who just knit her best friend a fuzzy fleecy scarf for her birthday- while in her ice hockey gear waiting for practice to start!- and is collecting a group of girls at her new HS who want to learn to knit- “Mom do you have any extra yarn I can give to Carlie and Molly? How about needles?” – I can see a trip to Home Depot/Michaels for dowels and Fimo clay to make lots of cheap needles in my future.)Oh, and the Marlboro Man (who died of lung cancer-moment of silence-shoulda been the Altoids Man) rode the Flint Hills of NE Kansas! (near my alma mater Kansas State U- aka Moo U or Silo Tech). But he may have had a British accent. And you ain’t seen Hoss (or Pa, Hop-sing or Little Joe) ’til you’ve watched Bonanza dubbed into Japanese! (ah the TV of my Army brat youth!)

  24. Because of your pictures of the pixie wearing OSW I bought the pattern and can’t wait to knit it up for my 3 daughters–13, 8, and 4. They will look sooooo cute. Also, I hate to finish anything. I get the the very, very, very edge of finishing and then I put it aside to start something else. Blocking….? What is that all about anyway….

  25. Alright, dear Kay, do I get a OSW from you if I were to confess my flat chestedness and petite size 4 despite being close to 29 years of age?
    And I just caved in and used the very Schachenmayr Nomotta Blue Jeans to get a feel of the denim effect! More on my blog…

  26. I love the old ball of demin! It’s such a great object, I don’t think I could bring myself to use it.
    Mary B, I like the way you think. I’m considering a cupcake blog.

  27. Dadburnit, ma’am, you done gone too far by saying ol’ Hoss is from Leeds. ‘Tain’t so, and you best take it back before I come over there and make ya. I’ll show you some denim, by cracky. (I don’t know what that means, but I’m trying to stay with the denim theme.)
    I get a little touchy where Hoss is concerned. My man Hoss, I should say, who’s one-half of my perfect man. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, he is dumber than a sack of hammers. But he’s also loyal and true and if he tells you he’s going to do something, then dadburnit, he’ll do it or die trying. That kind of fidelity is hard to find, and that’s why he’s one-half of my perfect man. That, and he’s burly, and I like ‘em that way.

  28. Kymm, Keep your shirt on and put down the hammers for a cotton-pickin’ minute! I was jest a-funnin’ and a-bustin’ on ol’ Hoss. He was my favorite Cartwright! I got no use for pretty boys like Little Joe!
    I’m guessing that you’ll join me in my letter-writing campaign to get Rowan to BRING BACK THE COWBOY LABELS!!!!!!
    Cow-BOY! Cow-BOY!! xoxo Kay (Awaiting hate mail from the Little Joe Fan Club.)

  29. As president and founding member of SAMASFOW (see Ann’s entry below), I hereby bestow upon you permission to mention cotton in the same breath as merino, for of the non-wools it is the finest of fibers, capable of the most lovely stitch definition and worthy of wear in weather both cool and warm. So great a fiber is cotton, that I have a great deal of it in my own stash, much in the form of Denim (20 skeins, to wit, at 220 yards each, it is lovely I tell you!) Knit on!!!

  30. Me without my shirt on–there’s a terrifying image.
    There was a lively and extended discussion at one of the other sites I frequent debating the Hoss v. Little Joe issue. A few even chimed in in favor of Adam (he looks perpetually constipated to me, but I guess some wimmenfolk like that look) and Pa (three dead wives? He’s not getting anywhere near me). Someone also mentioned Hop Sing, stating that since he cleaned, cooked, and knew how to take orders, he was an excellent choice, but I’m sticking with Hoss.
    I’ll write letters to bring the cowboy back iff’n you want me to. Jes’ tell me where to send the varmints. And I promise that’s the last time you’ll see my faux-cowboy dialect.

  31. Sister Kay, it’s been your unwavering testimony that’s led me to the alter of DENIM. Have had too much fun with my swatch testing and am going for the full-body dunk today. Time to actually cast on. Yeah!
    Love the old cowboy label! I can see the Den-M-Nit logo on the side, but I’ve found my mileage varies, even if it is all from the same factory (see the swatch-off on my most recent blog entry).
    Finally, the shrugs are too cute. Ah, third graders … corralled a dozen of them at Rachel’s 8th birthday party this past weekend, so I know exactly what you mean!

  32. completely adorable!
    i’ve been collecting shrug patterns forever. they’re irresistible. i may actually finish one this fall.
    that’s some good-looking denimishness.