Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Look Ann, No Pins!

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Dear Ann,
You see before you Core, a jacket in Rowan Denim, shade Memphis, sopping wet and blocking away on my dining room table. Core was so wildly popular throughout All of Rowania that it appears in Magazine 23 and again in Magazine 29. It looks like a real jean jacket, with cute pocket tops, placketed cuffs, and faux vertical seaming front and back.
I feel a lot of pressure about blocking these days. Thanks to you, I feel like I oughta use more pins, or at least some pins. Thanks to Becky, and her perfect, impeccable, immaculate Bobbly Jacket, I feel like I oughta let it dry for 8 days and perhaps sew a dozen hooks & eyes on it. At a minimum, I feel like I oughta get out the tape measure.
So, after much fiddly knitting of moss-stitch cuffs, pocket tops, cuff edgings and collar, the usual tedious sewing in of ends, and the dreaded, white-knuckle, fight-or-flight insanity of trying to ‘slightly stretch’ the button and buttonhole bands, I threw all 10 pieces into a hot wash, dried them in the dryer, and admired the faded, shrunken, softened results. Then I promptly plunged the whole shebang into cold water, squeezed it out as best I could, and laid it out on the dining room table. Voila. I even used a striped sheet. Are you happy now?
The measuring tape is not my friend. I got the stitch tension right but the row tension is all wrong, so the thing is 23 inches long instead of 21. Oh well, I thought it looked a little short in the book, all along.
I’m sure you wonder where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to (don’t you?). The last few days have been filled with autumnal activity. You know:
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My annual dabble in postseason baseball–this year, it’s the Yanks versus the Red Sox. There I was, proud in the crowd for Game 1, but my courage came unstuck: I had my knitting with me, but couldn’t summon the nerve to get it out and knit so Hubby could snap a photo for the blog. What can I say; you try knitting in Yankee Stadium.
And there’s the annual October quest for tasteful, high-class Halloween decor with a touch of whimsy:
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What would Martha say? I think she’d say, Go For It! Halloween is all about: Pumpkins + Buttocks = Fun.
Stay tuned: Tomorrow is Core Sew-Up. There will be silver buttons.
Love, Kay

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Have to confess that I really want to make Core,but not sure if I can up-size it in a flattering yet jean jackety way. i might have a go with Air in Calmer – Core’s slightly tartier sister.
    And Kay,you don’t need to block Denim.The washer & dryer did it for you.A quick steam press,on the wrong side,before assembly is all you need.Really !
    It’s going to look fantastic on you.

  2. I like to knit at baseball games. But, I agree it would be tough during postseason–and against the Red Sox. Love the jacket!

  3. You are no less a knitter for not knitting at The House that Babe Built (and created a curse for….). Lord knows I wouldn’t do it! I have been known to stop knitting during sporting events that I am merely watching on the couch b/c I am soooo high strung if one of *my* teams is playing that I fear losing sts, or worse yet, impaling the dog on my needles. And sure, there might have been a wee bit of heckling, but that would only have been due to the dismal game one play of our boys in pinstripes!

  4. Knitting at baseball games, haven’t been to one in years. But I can attest to knitting before the start of NASCAR races and during long cautions (red flag cautions). Of course the tire rubber and grime that gets thrown up into the seats close to the track do cause a slight problem, besides getting in your eyes. Thank goodness for upgrades to the top of the speedway!

  5. Who knew that a mention of Yankee Stadium was going to stir up our sports-minded readers!! What I’m really afraid of is being the object of the despiccable Yankee chant: a 2 syllable word beginning with A. This is a word that is very descriptive, but chanting it at umpires, Boston fans, knitters, etc. is just plain poor upbringing if you ask me.
    I really admire the Nascar Nitter. That takes guts.
    One thing I love about Yankee fans, though, is that the fan who caught Ortiz’ home run to the upper deck, threw it back. (I think it was Ortiz. I’m strictly a post-season fan. Next week I will not remember who the opposing team was, let alone the names of their players.) You gotta respect that, throwing back a playoff home run ball, literally casting eBay thoughts to the wind.
    Emma!!!! I knew you didn’t have to block Denim–I just knew it!! I’m running this soggy mess down to the dryer again RIGHT NOW!!! Thank you! (Plus I fear that wet-blocking stretched the shrink out of it and exacerbated my row gauge ‘issue’.) Love, Kay Go Roger! Keep your shirt on (i.e., no lethal bean-balls!!) and pitch your heart out!

  6. PS to Emma–I do think Core is easily up-sizable. You don’t even have to do the math. In the Denim Collection book, Creek is sized up to Men’s XXL, which was big enough for Hubby, who is bigger than you (and I will brook no argument on THAT). Creek is just Core with a different texture stitch in the center panels (Creek is a bit nicer, really; the center strips have a flattering chevron motif, framed with small cables). The shaping is the same. If you like Core better, you could just do plain moss stitch in the center panels, and plain stockinette trim up the sides instead of cables. Creek also handles the sleeve plackets in a less fiddly way, I think. They are knit in, whereas for Core you have to sew a separately-knit bottom edge to the sleeve. Go for it. I will let you know how mine wears. The pieces are in the dryer as we speak. Love, Kay

  7. Kay–I’ll just pretend we’re standing by your dryer, watching your sweater shrink before our eyes. “Wow. Look at that. I think that row tension issue is resolving itself right this minute.”
    You certainly have been knitting on the sly. I love the idea of Core: recreating one kind of garment in another medium. What about trying for a kimono, or a biker jacket?
    Could someone explain how one controls row tension? I say it doesn’t matter nearly as much as stitch tension (she said, sounding like she knew what the hay she was talking about). I mean, if your row tension is off you kind of just knit a little less or more. Most patterns give you a length measurement to follow, so what’s the diff? As for Core, I’m a 23″ kind of person myself, being shortwaisted and looking even more deformed when I’m wearing a short sweater.
    And as for blocking, Her Emmaness has spoken. I bow to her denim knowledge. You won’t hear me giving you the bidness about the shocking lack of pins in your effort.
    As for what you’ve been up to, indeed I was just asking Becky what hole you had climbed into. I figured you were actually out there catching fly balls or escorting darlings to hi kwalidy field trips to the opera or something.
    Thanks for the pumpkins! Brilliant!
    Love,
    Ann

  8. Ann–I have the same conceptual difficulty with paying any attention to row gauge. If I can get the stitch gauge correct, I just knit the thing until it measures the right length, and damn the torpedoes. Unfortunately, this approach is inexact with Rowan Denim, because it’s going to shrink, something like 10%. For other yarns, due to my inaccurate row gauge, I usually make my increases or decreases closer together than the pattern calls for, because otherwise it’s already too long before I get to the required # of stitches. This requires math, something I shirk all the time. But I learned my lesson on the sleeves to Deco, a jacket in Rowan 31, which still await re-knitting because I have to make my increases much closer together to avoid ape-arms. It’s that or the chopping block. xox Kay

  9. First it was Newton with F=ma, then Einstein with E=mc^2. Now we have Kay’s unique insight that pumpkins + buttocks = fun, which too is bound to have revolutionary impact.

  10. HUBBO SPEAKS.
    Git! Shoo!! Scat!!!!

  11. i have some old rowan denim (old like purchased in 1988!!) that i am now thinking is quite likely to become Core. altho i do also think it looks very short in the pictures and i am not one to like the possibility of my belly showin’. so thanks for the mention of creek i’ll have to look and see how much yarn it takes i think i have 17 or 18 balls. i am going (hopefully soon) put up a post of the original sweater i wanted it for and the other options i’m considering and you’ll have to let me know what you think!!!

  12. SCAT is right. How can I talk about Hubbo if Hubbo is in here with us? From now on (this is just between us) the code word is Chenille. Whenever I talk about “Chenille,” you will know what I mean.

  13. Ann, I’m a step ahead of you on that.

  14. Dear Chenille,
    LOL! LOL! LOL!
    You’re the world’s cleverest husband!!!
    Now SCRAM!!!
    Love, Kay

  15. Carolyn, Core is not too short, particularly if I’m knitting it. It just looks short on those skinny long-waisted girls who pose for Rowan in hot pants and stone cold expressions. If your waist is normal to short and you wear regular pants with it, it’s quite jean-jackety. On the right person, it’s purely Mom-like. (I’m not saying you’re the right person.)
    Ann, I’m trying to picture WHAT THE HELL is going on down there. Is Chenille (that’s Mr. Chenille to me) posting away on a different computer in another room, or has he commandeered the Mac under some theory of Droit du Seigneur? Have a friendly chat with him. Explain that what goes around, comes around. Hint that some of his Bowflex pals might find it sorta funny to learn that in his free time, he goes by ‘Chenille’, for example. Do what you must, but handle it! xox Kay

  16. So, did it actually shrink? Maybe your row gauge was fine, but the yarn is possessed. My “L”YS owner (the store is 150 miles away and I pass six others to get there), a knitter of fearsome talent, production and experience, curses Rowan denim to this day because hers didn’t shrink, even after BOILING the sweater (she got kinda frustrated after the fifth run through the machine) and she ended up with a sweater that was irretrievably too long. It looks nice, she says, but only an orangutan could wear it. That was enough to scare me off Rowan denim for life! (Especially when there’s all that Calmer calling my name so very sweetly.)

  17. Oh Evelyn, please try Denim! It truly does shrink, even for me with my elongated row tension. And here’s one of Denim’s secret benefits, which I highly prize: You know how when you knit something in cotton yarn, and you weave in all the ends on the back of the work, and then as the thing gets worn, they keep trying to pop out to the right side? (At least mine do!). THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN WITH DENIM. Why not? I think, because when the stitches shrink, they squeeze those woven-in ends tight, kind of like what happens when you block wool. Also, the last half-inch that you leave after trimming–that feathers out into a little wispy pom-pom of white-tinged denim, which may also help it stick. A cool feature, no?
    I’m still sewing, by the way. At times like these I wish I were a needlepointer and could just send my finished thingy off, strings a-danglin’, to the shop to be ‘mounted’ in a professional manner. But that is just not the ethos of Our Craft, is it? We finish our own damn stuff no matter how torturous it may be to do so.
    Thanks to all for the kind comments about our new look, and our pumpkin-butt. I, for one, pledge to scour the streets of New York every day to bring our readers fresh weirdnesses. Luckily it’s not difficult to find here. (We know there must be weirdness in the South, dear Ann, but we’ve seen The Prince of Tides so we don’t expect you to volunteer any of it. Lowenstein!!! Lowenstein!!) xox Kay

  18. Kay–Those two little pocket flaps make me tired. So much sewing up.

  19. Kay–You know dang well that I’ve got as weird a deal going down here as anybody could cook up. I like to think of life in Nashville as Flannery O’Connor meets “The Ice Storm.” Suburban Gothic.
    See Anomie, n. A state where norms (expectations on behaviors) are confused, unclear or not present.
    Love ya!