If you’re Rhinebeck-bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night–details here.

The Chenille Inquisition (Part 6)

Dear Ann,
I know at this point I’m sucking all the fun out of the Elfin Knitalong for you. But what about my needs? I need a sweater in Fine Cotton Chenille and I’m not going to quit posting about it until it’s a done deal.
One thing I did, after reading all that scary stuff about ‘bars’ appearing in chenille stitches and how to avoid them by knitting on the tippy-tips of the needles, was to attempt to do just that. Here is my swatch, a good start on the ‘Rupert’ colour-block scarf from The Chenille Collection:
You can’t really see it in this photo, but when you hold it up to the light, it looks like open-work. Bars aplenty. Rampant bars. And this was after my best effort to follow Rowan’s bar-avoidance methodology. My conclusion: it’s impossible to avoid bars. (In more ways than one.)
But that begs the question: Are bars so bad, so terrible, so wrong? The fuzziness of the chenille, its light-reflecting qualities, and its many other good points, make the bars beside the point. They are a characteristic of this yarn as knit by mere mortals, and we must accept that and move on and get cracking on my selected knitalong sweater:
Paris! As in France! As in poodles!
As in, I’m just kidding!
What I really want, and this is my final selection, is:
Sassy has a Rowan difficulty rating of only 1 skein. This means it will be the hardest thing you have ever attempted to knit, but maybe not. It requires only 7 skeins of luxurious Fine Cotton Chenille (which we should start calling FCC just to draw communications wonks to our blog by mistake). OK, it does require you to do lots of ribbing, which I know you hate under the best of circumstances, but remember, we are viewing this knitalong as a Zen journey of spiritual growth. Like the humble oyster, we are going to transform our irritants (Kid Silk Haze ruffles, for example), into lustrous, if irregular, pearls.
You are not going to keep ripping out in search of rib perfection. It is all going to fuzz together in a fabulous Sassy cardi for your pal, who will enjoy it for life and leave it to someone very special in her Last Will and Testament (Codicil No. 1: Knitting). (By which I mean: Lis, who has shared with me that in case of my sudden demise, she will be at my apartment immediately to sort through my personal effects. Weeping and keening, to be sure! That’s what friends are for. Thanks Lis!)
The FCC is in the mail, with the pattern!
Love, Kay



  1. girls, i have the sassy pattern waiting to be done!! with some light pink fine chenille i bought in one of the rowan closeouts years ago! i plan to make the v-neck pattern however….

  2. Kay–Bars? We’re going to go ahead and call that stuff “openwork.” “Lace.” “Stitch pattern.” There will be no bars in this sweater.
    I love it. Sassy is the word. I think it will be great in navy, especially when you wear that white t shirt under it and those khakis.
    And as long as it’s a pattern without the slightly-stretch-the-buttonhole-band-to-fit instructions, I’m thrilled.
    I have the pattern–my Rowans peter out at 18 or so, so I’m good for that part.
    I hope you change your mind so we can continue this selection process well into the next year. Conceptual knitting has always been my strength.
    love, Ann

  3. C’mon, Carolyn! We’ll start our own Sassy knitalong while everybody else in the world is doing Elfin.
    x0 Ann

  4. ‘The Fancy Stitch Pattern Formerly Known As Bars’. That’s the ticket.
    Glad you like it. The yarn is a bit twitchy. It tends to want to make itself into a twisted cord of its own free will. But it’s really cool.
    Love, Kay

  5. This Sassy you keep speaking of, I like it. But even better- POODLES! There’s no way not to knit that. There just isn’t. The fun that you, Kay, would have knitting it is not to be overshadowed just because Ann would have so very much fun knitting it. And in the spirit of fun and sharing, the pattern could be modified to include KSH ruffles. 🙂

  6. i have dibs on the watch, too. now, must i remind you in looking through the annals of lis and kay that you once said to me, “just remember, in case of sudden death, i get your watch, right?”

  7. Lis,
    Well that’s true but that was a long time ago. Since that particular watch has predeceased you (it was SO COOL), I don’t think I have dibbies on anything in particular. Seriously, it gives an odd sort of comfort to know that you really would ensure the integrity of my stash and collection of Rowans. ‘I, Lis, am in charge. No yarn will leave this dwelling without my authorization.’ xox Kay

  8. Rene–I know!!! what you’re saying about Poodles (a much better name by the way!). It’s way cool, in a funky retro way. 10-15 years ago I definitely would have gone for it, as I dressed up more then and would have been confident that everyone would know that I was wearing it with a wink. Now, though, in (early!) middle age (so early! barely started!), one has to be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS WITH PICTORIAL CLOTHING. You start out with a witty little poodle-themed jacket and before you know it, you have 17 Christmas Tree and/or Snowman sweaters and no pals to go out for a drink with. (Well, maybe in Omaha. I’m from Omaha, so I can say that. You can definitely go out for a kahlua & cream in Omaha wearing a Christmas Tree or Scotty Dog sweater. That’s fact, not opinion.) (Cherished Omaha readers (i.e., my relatives): Don’t be mad. You KNOW this information is correct. Right now, look down. Is that, or is that not, a picture on your shirt, specifically, a picture of Harry Husker?)
    Which is all by way of saying, I’m not knitting Poodles any time soon. YOU go, though, Rene!! Send us pix! xox Kay


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