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This ‘N That

Dear Ann,
I know it’s in the Mason-Dixon Stylebook that we can’t title a post ‘This ‘N That’, but I don’t recall getting a vote on any of these stylebook rules of yours. I think ‘This ‘N That’ is an awesome title for a post.
Life has been real this ‘n thatty for me lately. Much chasing of the tail, much public transportation, much sitting around and waiting. I had a dark night of the soul in which I asked myself questions like, Why am I always a Class Mom? Is there a way to opt out of being a Class Mom? Do I have a special gift for being Class Mom? Could not a more organized person perhaps do a better job at being Class Mom than I?
I’m still in a finishing frenzy, which is nature’s way of helping me cope with all the uncontrollables in life. Like the uncontrollable number of chairs in my temporary living room, and the fact that I can’t remember where I put everybody’s winter jacket. I can CONTROL the wobbly stack of unsewn-up projects. All it takes is a yarn needle and a dream, and the ability to navigate around a few chairs on the way to the Sewing-up Surface.
When I was getting Raspy ready for her sew-up, I noticed that I had washed the front but I had not yet washed the back. (For my Raspy, a Kim Hargreaves design from Rowan’s Denim People book, I substituted 3 strands of Texere laceweight denim yarn knitted together for Rowan’s Denim which is DK weight.) People who haven’t knitted with denim often fret to me in advance about the denim label, which warns that the yarn will shrink approximately 10-15% in length after washing in hot water and drying in a hot dryer. Since a picture is worth a thousand calming emails from me, I give you:
Raspy, before and after. The piece on top has been shrunk, the piece on the bottom has not. They vary hardly at all in width (this is obscured by the curl on the edges), but 10-15 percent in length. Overall the stitches tighten up nicely and the shrinkage is a good and manageable thing. If the pattern is written for denim (like Raspy is), you just knit it for your size and don’t worry. If the pattern is written for another DK weight yarn, you add 10 percent to the length by knitting extra rows in the body of the garment and the sleeves.
What’s not so good and manageable is if you run out of home-plied yarn this far from the completion of the second sleeve. I have more of the Texere cones stashed away in a remote location. But if I wait to dig it out, Raspy will be oblivioned for at least the rest of 2006. I want to wear Raspy. I have a good feeling about Raspy. Raspy has shaping. Raspy is going to fit. So…
I substituted one Unique Yarn for another. I found a ball of Belinda’s home-brew bleach-specked denim, which used the same base shade (the medium blue, or ‘Memphis’ in Rowan’s parlance). This picture shows how it looked before washing. After washing, you can still see the difference in shading, but I DO NOT CARE I TELL YOU.
I always intended Raspy for a sweatshirt. It will hardly show. (You must never tell me that you even NOTICE it, okay?)
In ancient times, I used to work as a lawyer defending the government in civil damages cases. Needless to say, the Government got sued a lot. To keep our morale up whilst getting our clocks cleaned on a regular basis through no fault of our own, we invented a concept called the “Civ Div Win”. It meant that you lost, but you lost at least a couple dollars less than you could have lost if not for all that excellent lawyering you did.
I’m calling Raspy a Civ Div Win.
Love, Kay




  1. This is scary – two posts on the same blog about runnin’ outta yarn – this is like when you see two accidents on the freeway, one after the other and then run into the car in front of you because yer gawking at the 2nd set of smashed cars. I need to go home and measure all my yarn –

  2. It looks just fine….Can’t wait to see it on ya!

  3. Does the denim math work the other way around – that is denim to non-denim by reducing body and sleeve lengths by 10%? The pattern instructions are adamantly against such substitutions, but then, they would be, wouldn’t they? I’m curious to see what real-life knitters think.

  4. This is going to be one jazzy sweater. I hesitate to say cute as that may not be a compliment in New York. One never knows. I would like to make this sweater myself, however, the to knit pile is high and I can take on no more.
    Good luck with the yarn melding. It looks good to me. I eagerly await photos of the finished product.

  5. It’ll be fab ! Washing and wearing will even it up.
    You are the Queen of Denim.

  6. Dude. While I love the term Civ Div Win, I feel that Raspy is more like winning, but not winning as many dollars as you could have if it weren’t for the pesky lawyering on the other side. Okay? okay.

  7. Woah! I agree with Diana – all the yarn running out mojo is making me nervous, and kind of anal. Was that too much sharing?
    Anyway, you’re a knitter after my heart – Raspy is going to be FINE, and nota bene – you are going to be able to *wear* it! Yay, Kay!

  8. No no no–it was “Tidbits.” We can’t title a post “Tidbits.”
    What is our problem with the running out of yarn? Can we not get this stuff straight? At this point I think we should stick to yarns that come in Pounds of Love size quantities, no dye lots. None of this three-cones-of-freaky-British-denim stuff, OK?
    I think your Raspy is looking just great. Way to persevere . . .

  9. Or “This That and the Other.” Can’t title a post “This That and the Other.”

  10. But this does make me realize that we are woefully behind on the posting of pet rodent photos, which is something we said we were going to do every week. Snap to it–go find that hamster.

  11. Civ Div Win, I’m going to find a way to work that into my dinner conversation, I have lots of uses for that, better than my personal favourite when mushing leftovers together for dinner “not bad for a throwtogether” I think homecooked civ div win sounds much better.
    Sweater looks groovy, you’ll love it and noone will ever know. pretend that sleeve was in the sun longer.

  12. Okay, both of you running out of yarn that close to the finish is creepy. I think I’m going to buy a bit of extra yarn next time I head out to the LYS.

  13. I must admit that I always buy more yarn than called for in any pattern because I fear the running out thing. Hence, I always have little bits of yarn left over that aren’t really big enough to many anything. Someday, I’ll take all my little bits and make a truly ugly, I mean, artistic statement in yarn doing that free form thing with all the different sizes and colors and shapes and things.

  14. Could you two just keep all that yarn running-outage up there with ya’ll? That’d be really nice..I think the sweater’s going to look great

  15. Sounds good to me! I think a little creative fudging is all to the good because it lends an air of artistry to a sweater.
    Or as one computer programmer I know likes to say upon discovering a bug: “Call it a feature and ship it!”

  16. I think this is my 3rd comment. Starting to de-lurk here (hi everyone!) to ask why no rodent sized garments? Sure they have fur, but its not stylish. I mean, can you make ’em a sweater or a robe or something?
    Is there a Class Mom job-sharing possibility? Who lost out on being Class Mom? There must be some poor over-acheiving mother snivelling in her fondant cupcakes wishing SHE got the job. Her kid will have the coordinating napkin/lunchbag/thermos.
    Can’t wait for the new book, any time frame yet?

  17. Just don’t go running out of bandwidth, okay?

  18. Man…my hands are itching to pick up the denim yarns again!

  19. Wait. Lace weight denim yarn exists? I have never heard of such a thing. Where can I find this stuff? I’d love to use it for gifts for my Mom and sister.
    I think the patch of Other yarn becomes a design feature, no? Perhaps to be differentiated in some other way, like perhaps with some kind of surface stitching? Being tall and large, I am very experienced in finding ways to make unplanned yarn events like this look intentional.

  20. I’m with Mandy (last poster when posting). As I was told in a basket-making class: “we don’t make mistakes; we make design choices.” Different shades of denim yarns? Full speed ahead!
    This is my first post; just bought/read your book and luuurrrved it! First dishcloth on its way!

  21. Hey! You’ve used some, and NOT for a mitred square. Hurrah! I am going to write you a proper ‘sweatshirt’ pattern, with acres of choice about where to use the other bleachy stuff. And it will even have shaping (contrary to most sweatshirts, I agree). It might even (lowers voice) be Top Down. Who knows?

  22. (delurking) Hi
    Many moons ago I actually knitted a picture knit – took *two years* by the way! – anyway, ran out of main background yarn for sleeves: bought a lighter shade and knitted both sleeves in lighter colour. Kid loved her truly unique jumper. Other mothers same colour as background colour yarn (green). You go, Kay – it’s a design statement.

  23. Kay, I love Raspy–I have never (don’t hate me) knit with Rowan’s denim–is it even still available? About the class mom thing–finally I do not get asked anymore-with four kids–they realize that I am a terrible choice–disorganized, chaotic and unpredictable. You must be exemplary for them to keep asking you back. You go girl!

  24. looks great, and being still a practicing lawyer, I totally get it. After all, I do a lot of defense. Not losing much is pretty much winning.

  25. The reason you are always requested for Class Mom?– you give good gifts – most likely.
    —From one who has been party to many *who should we ask to be class mom this year* discussions. I’m sure your rep follows you from year to year!– Connie

  26. 2 denims? Very Gee’s Bend.

  27. Question, do you wash all the pieces before assembling? I usually do a 3 needle bind-off for shoulders, how will that work? Also, if the pieces are “pre-shrunk” before assembling, what happens to the yarn used to sew them together, won’t it shrink (when all the pieces are already shrunk). I have some Denmknit from Elann but haven’t used it because of this shrinkage problem. You’ve seen Rowan’s Denim patterns, the sizing and washing the yarn before you are going to seam with – confusing. Are you saying “don’t worry about it”?
    By the way I love, love, love your book.

  28. Dear Kay–the reason you should always be Class Mom is because when your kids are in high school they will go livid with mortification if they sense that you are within a five mile radius of their campus (ask me how I know). As for the denim, I agree with all above: different shades are a design statement of the fiercest kind.

  29. I’m impressed that you admit in public to being a lawyer. Zounds.

  30. “This ‘n’ That” was also a long-ago autobiography by the incomparable Miss Bette Davis, so I think it’s a fine title for a blog post.

  31. i knit raspy and it turned out great. i used the rowan yarn in ecru. you might want to somehow lower the neck on the front… it tends to be a bit high on your neck.


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