“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Vacation Knitting Challenges, and Also Thomas Jefferson

Dear Kay,
While on spring break vacation, we had a lot of time for watching movies. One of the adventures in vacation rentals is poking around the bookshelves to see what the owners left behind for the amusement of their renters. All I can say is that we really need to think hard about becoming James Patterson, Anne Rivers Siddons, or Reader’s Digest Condensed Books SO MUCH. There was not a single knitting book in the place. The indignity!
Unfortunately, we got too engrossed in Ken Burns’ JAZZ (filmed in real time: six hundred discs in the set), so we didn’t get around to watching this video tucked away in the vacation rental movie drawer:
wagnervcrtape.jpg
I did, however, fall DEEPLY into John Adams, the HBO miniseries from last year. It really ought to be called Hotties of the American Revolution, because they were all so deliciously COMPLEX, those Founding Fathers. They were all so eaten up by self doubt, so likely to quote Demosthenes, so INKY on the right fingers. Thomas Jefferson, in this production, is SMOKIN. Jumps right off the $2 bill and into your heart. But I realize that everybody has their favorite.
So:


(My Blogpoll was BUSTED, so I had to go out and find another poll. Be American! Vote early, vote often!)
The Pearl Collar
Now. The Rowan Pearl sweater by Kim Hargreaves came along for the trip, because the finishing was almost done except for one procedure that was giving me a sharp little pain in my left temple, every time I started to work on it.
The interfacing for the collar.
I’ve never done one of these, have never frankly seen such a thing on a handknit garment or even a handknit potholder, so the prospect of stitching the thing down with any style or elegance filled me with a sort of self-loathing. So many issues to address: how deep to knit the interfacing? Should it be long enough to cover the seams at the base of the collar? Would that be too bulky? Would the thing lay flat? Would it end up weighing too much and flopping like a topheavy flower arrangement? Would the interfacing WANT to be stitched down?
I quickly discovered that the extreme stockinette curliness, the result of a DK yarn worked on size 2 needles, was pure trouble. I steamed the heck out of it with our vacation rental steam iron. (Pioneer spirit at work.) That helped, but there was no way I was going to stitch this thing down without some pins, which I had not brought with me. The barbecue tongs didn’t work. Setting a book on it didn’t work. So I MacGyvered it into place using the only sharp short pieces of metal I could find:
pearlcollarpinned.jpg
I had made the radical decision to make the interfacing deeper than specified in the pattern because it was going to bug me forevermore if I’d gone to the trouble of making an interfacing that didn’t actually COVER anything. This turned out to be a good decision. There’s all kinds of hell hidden up in that interfacing. I may have trapped a child in there.
pearlcollarfinished.jpg
But it’s done. It is definitely heavy, but it does give a little structure to what would otherwise be an unsatisfying flap of stuff up there under your chin. It’s very warm, too. Tomorrow I’ll show you how it looks on a human.
Love,
Ann

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45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. I am a big fan of the John Adams series too.I have found those miniseries are sneaky ways to get your kids to learn new vocabulay I also am a fan of the Bleak House series with Gillian Anderson.That is just awesome ,SO many great characters in that(also a lot of death back in Dickens time so not cheery)

  2. I can’t vote!!! I love Abigail Adams! Talk about a woman would could run things. :)

  3. Well, that sweater turned out, didn’t it?

  4. My son was an extra in John Adams! Look for the cute kid (pubescent hottie?) with the head wound bandage walking in front of the Join or Die banner during the funeral procession for the Boston Massacre victims (episode 1). He is also flipping fish in a Boston Harbour scene and one of the wounded-in-snow earlier, but those are shots only a mother could find (he didn’t even recognize himself the first time we saw it). And wasn’t Ben the randy old man????
    Love the Pearl collar, too! Interfacing looks fab.

  5. I found quite a few videos much like this when I cleaned out the tv cabinet last year! In a house like mine, all boys all the time, they’re everywhere! :-)

  6. I found quite a few videos much like this when I cleaned out the tv cabinet last year! In a house like mine, all boys all the time, they’re everywhere! :-)

  7. I’ve been known to tuck extra mending yarn up in those gigantic hems, just in case I ever needed it.
    Of course then later when I needed it, I dug fresh out of the stash rather than undo the humongous hem/interfacing. So, you know, not doing the extra yarn thing.
    Bet you could smuggle small animals in that thing. Heading to Indonesia soon? Galapagos, maybe?

  8. Your knitting skills are genius….that’s all I can say!

  9. annnnnn……..what an outstanding work of ART….!!!

  10. This is immense and incredible! Great job!

  11. LOVED the John Adams series! I got the book years ago at the First Annual National Book Festival, someday I’ll get around to reading it.
    I think Laura Linney and Paul G. have such amazing chemistry!

  12. Beautiful job on the interfacing. Anxiously awaiting the modeling tomorrow.

  13. If you like hot Thomas Jeffersons, I highly recommend the musical “1776,” starring Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) as John Adams. The guy that plays Thomas Jefferson in that one is a quality specimen. And he can sing.

  14. Would have picked Jefferson, but I can’t get over the Sally Hemmings thing.

  15. My attempts to vote elicit this message: “query error or cannot connect to database.” Guess I’ll to try to remember to come back tomorrow
    –Elizabeth D

  16. Love the Pearl.
    Do they really call it an interfacing? It looks like a facing to me. Please forgive me if this seems nit-picky. I’m sure my only fault is wanting to be sure I have things straight. I know they are Rowan so I guess they can say whatever they want. Maybe it a Brit/USA language thing.

  17. I did not vote. I could not be limited. I love all the founding fathers. I read the book and loved them then. I saw the miniseries (on DVD) and loved them more.
    Such deep thinking! So forward in their visioning! So hawt in those stockings!

  18. I did not vote. I could not be limited. I love all the founding fathers. I read the book and loved them then. I saw the miniseries (on DVD) and loved them more.
    Such deep thinking! So forward in their visioning! So hawt in those stockings!

  19. Hmm, it won’t let me vote.
    I haven’t seen the movie, but I did read David McCullough’s bio of Adams … I want to vote for Abigail, however. John seemed like a rock, a really nice guy, but hot? not sure he would qualify. Otherwise I’d vote for him.
    The other three were too likely to be off on a horse somewhere.

  20. We finally watched “John Adams” last summer, over our July 4th holiday break…how apropos? And I agree 100% Ol’ Tom Jefferson is indeed smokin’! But the whole series was fabulous. Every time I heard that intro music I got a chill!

  21. It won’t let me vote, but Abigail all the way, and much love for having her as an option.
    Thomas *is* smokin’, though. I also recommend that actor in Fugitive Pieces, where he is pretty *and* full of angst, just the way I like ‘em.

  22. It won’t let me vote, but Thomas Jefferson, 203%.

  23. Hey you should leave behind a copy of M/D Knitting. And hottest founder ever, Betsy Ross! She had it all sewed up.

  24. That is the most beautiful sweater I have seen in a long, long time. Looking forward to the shots-with-human tomorrow!

  25. What now? Who’s on my right fingers? Are you talkin’ dirty to me?

  26. The collar looks really well made. It looks like bringing the interfacing down beyond the edge was a really good idea.

  27. found quite a few videos much like this when I cleaned out the tv cabinet last year! In a house like mine, all boys all the time, they’re everywhere!

  28. found quite a few videos much like this when I cleaned out the tv cabinet last year! In a house like mine, all boys all the time, they’re everywhere!

  29. You know how people get all turned on by Michelangelo’s David? Well I had a similar experience at the Jefferson monument in DC. Heart racing, sped up breathing… all over a chunk of bronze. Well– a HUNK of bronze.

  30. I am just so jealous! You are an amazing knitter, terrific writer and you make me laugh out loud — which I really needed today. So many talents; thanks for sharing them.

  31. Beautiful! I was not liking the collar as you were working but it is lovely finished.

  32. perhaps the coat would like
    to go the cherry blossom festival
    lovely back ground for a picture
    i am surely glad this one is done

  33. Alexander Hamilton all the way – I’ve loved him since high school. And can I just say that your sweater looks spectacular!

  34. I’ve been a fan of Thomas Jefferson since college; it was ever so nice of HBO to go ahead and make him hot on top of brilliant, don’t you think? Yay, casting director.
    The interfacing WORKS – in capital letters. You are brilliant.

  35. I love how the interfacing works. Sounds like a ton of work went into it, but it looks great.

  36. Well, my computer really doesn’t do YouTube, but it DID allow me to vote! I chose Thomas J. based on my memory of how he was portrayed in the musical 1776 (saw it on Broadway in a revival some years back).
    Congrats on completing the sweater! I, too, can’t wait to see “how it looks on a human”.
    Ann, it is quite amazing that you managed to finish the sweater (with “make-do” equipment, yet) AND complete the first half of Kay’s birthday gift, all during one vacation.
    Kudos!
    LoveDiane
    PS: has the final decision been made as to the 2nd yarn to be used on the shawl?

  37. The sweater is gorgeous. I remember 1776 on broadway when I was a kid and still love Jefferson, despite the adultery (though I’d go Lorena Bobbit on my husband!)

  38. I love the John Adams series and all of our founding fathers. What a time to alive, eh? How did we get all those brilliant and argumentative people at the right time and place? Such luck.
    And I love your sweater – it is beautiful! Very classy.

  39. Adultry?
    I had no idea Jefferson was an adulterer. I thought he was “almost as good as married” to one woman after the death of his wife.
    Boy, and I atteneded a grammar school that bore his name, and all. Where have I been?
    Can I change my vote to Ben Franklin? He at least, adored older women…
    LoveDiane

  40. John Adams all the way! He may not have been a pretty boy like Jefferson or Hamilton, but anyone who’s read his and Abigail’s letters to each other knows the kind of swooning I’m talking about.
    Plus, 1776! Who knew he could sing?!?

  41. I like how I could check out the map and see which states were tilting the vote. I think we need more of that. :)

  42. I won’t reveal which founding father I voted for (the sacredness of secret ballot), but I will say it was not Wynton Marsalis. Or Ken Burns. I’m too fond of too many people who busted their collective butts keep Jazz a living art in to 1970′s to do that.
    On the other hand your blog rules!
    Thanks for all the laughter!

  43. I won’t reveal which founding father I voted for (the sacredness of secret ballot), but I will say it was not Wynton Marsalis. Or Ken Burns. I’m too fond of too many people who busted their collective butts keep Jazz a living art in to 1970′s to do that.
    On the other hand your blog rules!
    Thanks for all the laughter!

  44. I’m a Madison kinda girl – first (and last) openly atheist president. Failing that, Abagail Adams or Dolley Madison all the way.

  45. Nice Job Ann!