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Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Denim

Dear Ann,
I’m dying to know how your deviled aigs came out. In my family, we are mustard, Hellmann’s, salt & pepper people. We don’t think about it too much. But if we did, we’d be looking askance at pickle relish. (Needless to say, we don’t go in for decorative pastry-bag piping of the yellow part back onto the white part. That is some kind of decadent, Martha-Stewart-meets-Marie-Antoinette notion. You use a tablespoon. A dusting of paprika if you are bringing them to the PTA and you’re feeling insecure. I have credentials! I grew up knowing somebody who had an official Tupperware deviled egg carrier!)
Our 4th was its predictable, traditional self. I was gratified that a huge bowl of onion-free potato salad was made just for me, and the baked beans were awesomely caliente. The main non-eating activity was the Reading of the Declaration. Nobody had the New York Times, so we had to print it out.
It was Rose’s maiden voyage. Surrounded by supporters, she did extremely well.
Each year I realize that I have forgotten how whiny the Declaration of Independence is. Halfway through, you want to say, “So leave already! Don’t let the door hit you!” But the listing of King George’s outrages continues. He was fatiguing us into compliance! We have tried and tried to get along with the guy, but we’re SICK of it!
It was a decidedly anti-monarchy moment, but I declared myself the Queen of Lo-Light Photography.
I am slowly putting the finishing touches on the baby sweaters knitted on our vacation. I had tossed 4 balls of each color of Rowan Denim and this booklet into my bag, so it was all denim baby sweaters, all the way. I ran out of yarn for the second sleeve of this one, which turned out to be a 5-ball sweater.
It’s called “Baby’s First Aran.”
I checked with Benedict, and what do you know, he didn’t have an Aran, so it’s his first.
Inspired by the fantastic distressing of the Zoo City jeans (scored at a sidewalk sale in Germany), I gently emery-boarded the center front cable.
Just a touch. Really quite restrained. Benedict will outgrow it before there is any chance of a hole.
(Careful observers will note that I twisted the side cables a little differently than the pattern “suggests”. I didn’t realize I was doing it wrong until I had finished the back, so I just stuck with it on the front. I love tight rope cables, so twice as many is fine by me.)
That’s the most knitting I’ve blogged in about a month. I’m going to go lie down.




  1. Wow! That sweater is so cute! I just something similar to this yarn on a site I am getting ready to order from. Hmm…. The new cousin, the picky aunt….. I think I know what my next project is going to be (LOL, like i need one more.)

  2. Love that sweater too. Roughing up the cable is a nice touch. One question, did you make any adjustments to the pattern for shrinkage of the denim yarn?

  3. Yes, I added about 20% to the length. I did this by multiplying the measurements in the pattern by the post-washing row gauge I get with the denim (32 rows over 4 inches), and then counting my rows (which was easy since I was working from a chart). So it looked quite long in the body before it went into the washer.
    I thought the sleeves in the pattern were a bit too long for a baby so I didn’t add any rows to the sleeves.

  4. the knitting is definately “happening”…..but i love joseph’s hair!

  5. I was going to ask a question but I see that you answered it already. Maybe when you have a day without fun packed things to tell us you could give us your top tips for subbing denim into patterns that it was never intended for. I lose my nerve when I’m looking at this looong piece of knitting, I know it will shrink but I still don’t trust it.
    I love those cables.

  6. My deviled aigs are just like yours, EXCEPT I put a little sugar in — Am I and the others in my family the only ones who do this? I love that hot-sour-sweet-salty thang goin’ on there.
    When I bite into someone else’s “savory” deviled aig, I want to retch. But then I forgive everything “egg,” so I wolf it down after the initial surprised gag. Oh, and DRY mustard, not prepared.
    Was that too much focus on the eggs and not enough on the knitting? Sorry.

  7. The sweater is gorgeous,and Benedict is a lucky guy. The distressing is ingenious. And you are loved, seriously. A whole bowl of onion-free potato salad? I’m jealous!

  8. The oh-my-gawd part of the distressing for me was that you didn’t mention giving that emery board a test run on a swatch first. So you tried it on the completed sweater without knowing how it would go? THAT is confidence.

  9. I love the baby sweater. That is great how ya’ll read the Declaration of Independence on Independence Day.

  10. Too hot here in coastal Virginia too even think of knitting, but still like reading about it!
    Deviled aigs = Hellmans, Honeycup Sharp Mustard, Hungarian sweet paprika on top. Use a fork to moosh the yellow into the white part. Chill. Eat any torn ones before presenting to company. Oops, I forgot to bring the Deviled Aigs, too bad, guess I will have to eat them myself…

  11. Great. Now I have a craving for deviled aigs. Which I have yet to make successfully I must admit. Maybe that dry mustard tip of Norma’s…
    I think it’s really cool you read the Declaration on the 4th. The reason behind so many holidays gets lost in the party plans, you know? This is a great idea.

  12. What IS Benedict thinking in that photo? The *look* he’s giving you is really quite funny.
    Deviled eggs made and garnished as you said but on great grandma’s ceramic deviled egg dish.

  13. I used to collect devilled egg plates, until I realized that I live a sad, austere life that will never require 325 devilled eggs.
    I have two left: a pretty cut-glass dish and one silly one that has devil-shaped salt and pepper shakers. My aig-loving friends were the happy recipients of my other dishes, so I still get to visit them.

  14. Whiny or not it took a tremendous amount of courage to write and present it. Those guys will always be my personal heroes. Kudos for reading it every year. Shame on me for not.
    On the domestic front, thanks for the easy deviled eggs recipe — I may now actually get around to making them – with the paprika!

  15. I listened to the Declaration on NPR for the first time. I was thinking all the same things… Get on with it!

  16. And there I thought there was only one basic, boring use for the emery board in my knitting tool kit. Who knew? (it sounds way kinder to denim than the Clorox pen at any rate).
    This poor child may encounter a lifetime of disappointment; if his very first Aran is this gorgeous piece of Denim goodness, I see a long quest for good-enough Arans in his future!

  17. Joseph has the most righteous head of hair I have ever seen. He can be president with hair like that.
    I think your Declaration-reading is brilliant. I’m totally doing that next year, once I get my cholesterol back down to 400.
    Will report asap on the egg situation, as well as other profound topics.
    But right this minute, I’ve got six beds to make because DUCK AND COVER: BUFFY’S ON THE WAY. SHE’S COMING DOWN THE INTERSTATE! LOOK BUSY!

  18. the sweater is beautiful. I’m knitting a cotton Aran for my husband, it will be heavy, but it will be worn.

  19. We have a Tupperware deviled egg carrier..but we haven’t used it in a long time, really should do something about that..And we like an olive on top..or is it half? I don’t remember, it has been a really long time..

  20. Doesn’t anyone else out there put horseradish in deviled eggs? It is way better than mustard. Also, if you quarter the eggs (lengthwise) they are just bite-sized. Thanks for the posts from Germany. I’ve never been to Bavaria but love Hannover, Berlin, Lubeck, Leipzig, usw.

  21. Doesn’t anyone else out there put horseradish in deviled eggs? It is way better than mustard. Also, if you quarter the eggs (lengthwise) they are just bite-sized. Thanks for the posts from Germany. I’ve never been to Bavaria but love Hannover, Berlin, Lubeck, Leipzig, usw.

  22. Doesn’t anyone else out there put horseradish in deviled eggs? It is way better than mustard. Also, if you quarter the eggs (lengthwise) they are just bite-sized. Thanks for the posts from Germany. I’ve never been to Bavaria but love Hannover, Berlin, Lubeck, Leipzig, usw.

  23. Doesn’t anyone else out there put horseradish in deviled eggs? It is way better than mustard. Also, if you quarter the eggs (lengthwise) they are just bite-sized. Thanks for the posts from Germany. I’ve never been to Bavaria but love Hannover, Berlin, Lubeck, Leipzig, usw.

  24. Hurrah! For the distressed denim again. I was beginning to think you’d gone over all Quilty and were leaving your love of denim behind, but no! the bleached / battered denim lives.
    And as for the declaration, remember old Georgie was completely bonkers and it might have been better addressing complaints to the PM of the time. I mean, if initial complaints had been sent to the correct (sane) person things might have got sorted sooner. Smiley winky wotsit thing here, pulling a face at you…
    Glad you had a good day. Isn’t Rose grown up? B x x x

  25. Lovely sweater! I really like the sandpapered front cable – just perfect as he won’t be wearing it long enough to get that much wear in it by himself!

  26. You read the Declaration every year TOO??????? My DH has read it to the kids every year since my oldest was born (she was 6 mos when she first heard it!). When we travel, we bring a copy, not being sure that we can find a paper with it where we are…one year, we were in DC on the 4th…he TRIED to read some of it to them from the Original (he brought about 8 kids (our 4 plus extras) to the National Archives, but between the crowds, glass, and deterioration, he read a copy to the kids…
    Last year our girls were in Europe on the 4th…so he pasted the text into their Facebook Walls… This year we were all with the extended family at my MILs house, so we raised the flag in their yard, and he read it to the whole clan…
    Sure, it’s long, but it’s not THAT long…and all 18th C writing is overblown, flowerly, and overdone….given the styles of the time, if it had NOT been written that way, no one would have taken it seriously!!!!
    Now, everyone (in the US), get schoolhouse rock, and make sure your kids know the preamble to the Constitution….”In 1787 I’m told, our founding fathers all sat down, to write a list of principles that’s known the world around….” http://www.schoolhouserock.tv/Preamble.html
    Mine can’t recite it without singing it, but they KNOW it!!!!

  27. I love that you all read the Declaration of Independence every year! As a devotee of our “founding fathers,” I don’t know why I’ve never thought to do this. However, since it’s just me, myself, and I who would hear it, that’s easily rectified. Thanks for the idea, simpleton that I am!

  28. LOVE the sweater, love the denim! PERFECT combo, Kay – and I agree with you about deviled eggs.

  29. Hellman’s, mustard, salt and pepper, now that’s a deviled egg. The best. I lived in NC for 20 yrs and still don’t like relish of any kind in my eggs. We Yankees are purists, I guess.

  30. You have someone to make you onion-free potato salad??! No fair! Do you also have someone who makes you celery-free tuna salad? That’s my life’s dream.

  31. Blue BIRDS, blue SWEATERS…it’s a theme! That sweater is beautiful, and the whole post is entertaining AND inspiring. Can I be you when I grow up? Also – my goodness, what a flurry of devilled-eggness! I have used horseradish, I have also put in a couple drops o’ Pick-a-Peppah sauce. I’m usually the mayo, salt, pepper, sweet-relish school (I know, I know). After reading the first reference I made some and BOY were they good. I don’t hold with piping the yolks back in all fancy-like. Here in the Upper Midwest we only do that if the parson’s coming for sure and you’re Methodist or something. That’s just “putting on airs” at a Lut’ran Church Supper. Although now I think on it, you COULD do that if you were even going so far as to use those little dried onions on your tuna hotdish instead of normal human potato chips. Where does it all end, then?

  32. Inspired by this post, I have put on some eggs to boil, & am fully planning to devil at least most of them. Just because. (I use lots of squeeze-bottle yellow mustard, a dab or three of mayo, a little bit of salt, and maybe some turmeric and/or paprika thrown in for That Extra Color. Then paprika & ground pepper on top! Hooray.)
    My family doesn’t read the Declaration, but when we can we go to our beach house-type-thing, and our association has a big party down on our beach, with a potluck and a bonfire and the singing of songs, and one of the traditions is that someone from my friend Richie’s family has to read the Declaration of Independence. He’s 21 now, and has been doing the reading for a couple years, like his father & grandfather & great-grandfather before him. It’s pretty great. However, we do abridge the grievances. Us 17-to-21-year-olds were trying to convince him to read the humorous grievances, e.g. the ones about Indians and so on, but he read more the conventional ones. Still tons of fun, though. Hooray traditions!


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