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


Dear Kay,
I’m finally home, after a week in Martha’s Vineyard which I can only recommend TOTALLY. What a lovely, unreal place. So watery–everywhere you look, there’s some pond or ocean or bay or sound. We had to wade across a stream to get to the beach. Crazy. And the ferries–you can’t even get to Chappaquiddick without getting on a boat, and Chappaquiddick is, like, forty yards from Martha’s Vineyard. Why build a bridge when you can have a three-car ferry?
At one point I went totally stupid and sat in a chair staring out at these two Teletubby rabbits who wandered into the yard. It was all so supermagical that I concluded that the rabbits had to be fake–the ocean, the warm scent, all of it. Eet ees ridiculous, that place.
I have so much in my head that it’s going to take a while to dump it all out of my mental tote bag.
Atlas Shrugged
I have to confess, my pre-trip knitting planning was shockingly bad. I was so full of knitting–I had eaten so very much knitting at the Country Kitchen Knitting Buffet this summer–that I honestly had a moment when I thought I’d go cold turkey on knitting for a week, just one week.
Shyeah, right. The night before we left, I lurched around the house in a panic, realizing that there was no way I could survive plane trips AND a week in a rental house without a little something to tide me over. So I grabbed the first bag that looked likely, which contained my long-neglected Silk Shrug.
Remember: this was the project that launched the Slogalong last spring, when I was in full-out procrastination mode. (More on the Slogalong in a minute.)
It turned out to be the perfect vacay knitting: I was 3/4 finished with the big part, and after such a spell away from this project, I was all happy again to be working with such lush yarn. Blue Sky Organic Alpaca Silk. Not a summery yarn, but I really did love wallowing about in it. As long as the breeze was blowing.
Once I finished, it was time to add the 6″ k5, p5 ribbed edging. The tube of the shrug was so curly that I really didn’t want to proceed without at least a LITTLE blocking. In a rental house, you never know what you’ll find (dog ashes, dog blue ribbons, general dogginess), so it was six closets before I found an iron.
Remember acetate, acrylics, and sheer acetates? This thing should be in the Smithsonian.
After digging up some beach towels, I commenced to steaming, doubtful that I was going to achieve the boardlike smoothness that I love.
Oh, it was boardlike all right. Smooth as a pancake; the Alpaca Silk loved being steamed by a 1978-vintage iron, lemme tell you.
This project has defied photography all the way, but here’s the finished shrug. It looks like a sweater for the Headless Horseman:
And here I am wearing it. (Glad you can’t see the contortion I achieved in trying to take this picture.)
Love it, loved making it, will love wearing it someday when it’s not 101 degrees around here.
Slogalong Update
Maybe you’ve forgotten about the Slogalong, but I haven’t–and neither have the stalwart sloggers who have been FINISHING PROJECTS RIGHT AND LEFT! WAY TO GO, SLOGGERS! HIGH FIVE!
The curious thing is that once people finish one slog, they immediately pick up another UFO and start slogging again. Having just finished my Silk Shrug Slog, I now totally get it. It’s addicting, this slogging. I’ll show you my new slog next time; it’s an oldie but a goodie.
I think finishitis and slogitis are related.
PS Before we left for the watery island place, my final act in Monteagle was a calligraphy class. I just love doodling, always have, so when it was announced that a calligrapher was coming to teach people how to write with pen and ink, I threw down my needles. Roundhand, honey! Copperplate! None of that goofy Celtic Italic Olde English stuff; this class was going to teach me how to write like Laura Ingalls Freaking Wilder. In two days, I learned a lot, but I mostly learned that it’ll be a while before I write like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Always with the dipping, that inkpen. Easy to go all wobbly. Teeny pointy nib, a jar of black ink none blacker–so addicting. Confirms (once again) that I was born in the wrong century.




  1. Weird! I clicked back from the archives and here was your new post! Love the shrug and the calligraphy looks really pretty too!

  2. Cool calligraphy! I feel as though you should be inking some Important Documents Circa 1787 or maybe, in a more modern twist, working at Miami Ink. Or something. Maybe write a letter or have a party just so’s you can hand-write the invitations.
    I can see this year’s Halloween costume: Ann as the guy from Memento. Notes to self in calligraphy all over the place.

  3. “Pie.”
    Of course. It’s all so clear now. There is no other word that should be calligraphed, ever.

  4. Yea for finishing! Very nice, too.
    I love penmanship, caligraphy and all things inky. What a fun class to take!

  5. Your calligraphy is beautiful! Absolutely gorgeous. I’d love to learn.

  6. Wow oh wow. I so totally want to write like that.

  7. Mmmm, wobbly pie.

  8. Nice Pie, and great slog/shrug. What the heck colour is that, anyways? On my monitor here it looks black in one picture, then beige… or one could say taupe, and then finally perhaps charcoal. I think I might need a tutorial in how to put such a thing on… the bottom and the head-hole are the same, right? Oh, it’s too late at night for me….

  9. Ah, Martha’s Vineyard . . . one of my favorite places! (And, you do know that Chappy’s “real” name is Chappaquiddick, right?) We’ve taken him up there for vacation every year we’ve had him, too!
    And, your calligraphy is lovely. I use to write letters to friends with dip-pens all the time, just for the fun of it, but I’ve never been able to master anything resembling calligraphy. (Or, um, decent handwriting, for that matter.) It looks great!

  10. I have that iron on my diningroom table right now. It was my great-grandma’s, and she died in ’74, so you can push back that estimated date!
    It is interesting having an iron that predates quite a few synthetics!
    Oh. and when I was little I thought I was Laura Ingalls Wilder… there may have even been a pinafore!

  11. OK so I am fantasing about calligraphy lessons by the beach…how splendid.
    My family and I are just debating the merit sof Muskoka, ON versus Cape Cod…..and you’ve tipped me in that direction. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Guess where I was last week? Right across the water from you in Falmouth. It was unbelievably hot and humid there, was it any cooler on the island? Glad you had a great time and I just love that calligraphy. That style is much more interesting than the one I learned ages ago.

  13. Guess where I was last week? Right across the water from you in Falmouth. It was unbelievably hot and humid there, was it any cooler on the island? Glad you had a great time and I just love that calligraphy. That style is much more interesting than the one I learned ages ago.

  14. The shrug is lovely and I am so happy for you that you are done with it but really – really I must say how beautiful the calligraphy is. I just love it. You’ve done such a wonderful job of it, particularly considering you are fresh off the two day class. I have a real live inkpen-that-requires-a-jar-of-ink and I love it but I don’t do it nearly often enough. Maybe we should try calligraphing tags for our knitting?…

  15. Wanna hand letter my wedding invites? It’s very purty but far more than my patience could bear, I think. That and I’d be sure to tip the ink bottle over.

  16. I’m ignoring my slogs and starting new projects left and right. Congrats on finishing (one of) yours!

  17. That’s gorgeous calligraphy in the none-blacker ink! But make sure to keep the ink away from any precious knits. Except the cute shrug, since the ink would just blend right in.

  18. Now you know, there isn’t much that’s better than an afternoon spent knitting on the Vineyard. I hope you had a porch or balcony – a house on the Vineyard without one is just sad, very sad.

  19. OMG! That is a picture of MY old iron, bought in 1982. 6 months ago, I finally bought a new iron, so now I know the joy of “burst-of-steam”. I’ve been hoping for all these years that my old iron would break, but it stubbornly kept working. I still haven’t thrown it away – I’m off to do that now. πŸ˜€

  20. Hey! I thought I lost that ol’ iron! Circa 1978? That’s the year I spent the summer on the Vineyard in a cottage on Trinity Park. Do you ride the Merry-Go-Round and catch the brass ring?

  21. The shrug is fabulous. Love the charcoal color. I’m like you, wanting to have this beautiful penmanship, but not really wanting to devote enough practice time to get it. They do have felt tip calligraphy pens that achieve the same effect and are much easier to use than the ol’ pen and ink. Maybe not as black ink, though.

  22. Nice shrug! And your hand is impressive. Lovely control.

  23. Ooo… I can see why you want to learn to write like that… so pretty! Congrats on finishing a UFO. πŸ™‚ I plan on taking a practically-UFO with me to the lake in a couple of weeks… hopefully that’ll do the trick. πŸ™‚

  24. I think it’s over 100 outside today. It’s hard to even think about the shrug. (It’s fabulous btw!)But that calligraphy has me thinking about pie a la mode …

  25. The shrug looks great! I’m inspired to get mine out and finish her up!

  26. I love the Cape though my one trip to the Vineyard as a kid was a nightmare of hungry younger brothers, socked in fog and late ferries, an incident best forgotten. In any case check out the Wikipedia on Chappaquiddick. Apparently the channel appears and disappears so that may be why they don’t put in a bridge.

  27. That was my first iron! – the one I bought when I moved into my first apartment, in 1973. Mine was pale yellow, and the only reason I replaced it just a couple of years ago, was that mineral-ly water had gummed up the steam holes so many times there was always the danger of having burped-up rusty-looking splats of steaming water erupting on my nicest (the only ones I iron) clothes.
    Love the calligraphy! That top photo is downright inspiring!

  28. Your penmanship is good. Your shrug is beautiful! Way to slog it out. Also, the iron cracked me up. I think my Mother had that same one not five years ago.

  29. Shrug is gawgeous. Calligraphy is gawgeous.
    Martha’s Vineyard? Also gawgeous. And the bunnies there? Tas-tee delicious. No joke. I ate some crazy delicious bunnies on Martha’s Vineyard. Right after I saw some really cutie ones on a hike. But don’t worry, I think they only cook the mean ones.

  30. Oh how I adore Copperplate calligraphy! I practiced this for years and still have all my practice sheets. I’d come home from work and sit and copy poetry for an hour every day and loved it. Alas, I don’t have a steady hand and was never very good at it. I haven’t done it for 15 years, but I’ve saved all the books and pens and hope to get back to it someday…umm that is if I can ever finish my umpteen zillion knitting projects.

  31. That’s it. You simply MUST hand-write your next book in this lovely caligraphy. It would be a grownup and elegant version of wishjar. http://www.kerismith.com/blog/
    Elegant penmanship, overlying sharp-witted Mason-Dixon prose. It would be killer.

  32. I have been dying to learn copperplate. Did you get any good resources for materials? Does anyone know…

  33. Gawgeous Copperplate, simply GAWGEOUS!
    Another pointy stick hobby ;o)

  34. Viva Copperplate. Love the Vineyard.

  35. I’m on the ribbed ruffle of my shrug–never joined the official slog-along. Turns out I procrastinate about EVERYTHING. How much yarn did you have left by the end? I’m fearful of not making it to six inches!
    Your’s looks bee-utiful!

  36. Did you know you can buy calligraphy markers? http://www.dickblick.com/categories/calligraphymarkers/


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