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Lifestyles of the Stitchin’ Famous (and Free Pattern!)

Dear Ann,
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been vamping here, recycling pictures of my dog and such; I have mislaid the KayCam. But wanted to fill you in on Last Night At Martha’s Party. Martha (yes, that Martha, do I have to post a link to cussin’ Martha?) threw a party for bloggers in honor of a BlogHer hootenanny that was going on that I didn’t know about, and she was kind enough to invite me, so I went.
It would be an understatement to say that there were not a lot of knitbloggers there. I was in a state of wonderment at how there could be so many bloggers who do not blog about knitting. How do they find enough to say about shallow topics such as parenthood and marriage? But everyone was terribly stylish and the food was terribly good, and it was a good sign that I ran into Caro of Split Yarn in the elevator to the 9th floor. The one who’s selling the famous “handmade, not homemade” t-shirt. A good sign indeed.
Inside there were interactive displays of extreme craftiness not involving knitting. I did a little decorative painting with a Martha faux bois tool, which was very satisfying. There was great food and plenty of it, and most importantly, the best summer cocktail ever (and I’m including the mighty G & T, so listen up): the Basil Lillet Slush. It’s basil, Lillet, and a slush. So refreshing, and only mildly alcoholic. (I don’t think it had vodka in it, as prescribed in the recipe, but maybe that’s the vodka talking.) How I have lived this long without pureeing herbs into beverages, I do not know. Full of antioxidants, and so tasty!
I was barely halfway into my second slider with pickled onions when I ran into Annie. Yes, Annie! Annie, whom I consider to be a cocktail party in her own right, was blowing through town on her way to teach knitting in Scotland. If you go look at Annie’s reportage about the party, you will see pictures of the party, and also a picture of me from my best angle. (With enough altitude on the lens, who needs cosmetic surgery?)
Free Pattern!
In knitting news, I’m working hard to meet the gently extended deadline for my contribution to next year’s Dishcloth Calendar. Which means I can give away my contribution to this year’s Dishcloth Calendar.
I give you the unusual, and so far underknitted, Per Orla, a pear-shaped dishrag tribute to Orla Kiely, and my humble offering to Dishrag Nation.
Per Orla Dishcloth
By Kay Gardiner of www.masondixonknitting.com
Inspiration always comes from what we love, but it can take a while for an inspiration to percolate into a knittable project. I am a superfan of Orla Kiely’s graphic designs for handbags, accessories, and housewares. To me she’s the perfect mix of retro and right now.
This dishcloth tribute to Orla Kiely may be a bit fancy to live in the kitchen sink (and I will confess that it bothers me a little if a dishcloth can’t be folded neatly), but it has enough style and substance to bring to the dining table as a hot pad or trivet. Most of all, it’s a fun little puzzle to take the familiar Ballband Dishcloth stitch pattern, shape it into a pear, and finish it off with applied i-cord. The leaf and stem are more than a whimsical detail; they are a sneaky way to avoid having to graft the 2 ends of i-cord together where they meet. (You start the i-cord with the stem, and end it with the leaf.)
Yarn: Peaches & Creme worsted weight, 100% cotton, 2½ oz (71.5g), 122 yds (112m), 1 ball each in solid colors A, B and C.
Size 7 (4.5mm) straight needles
Size 7 (4.5mm) double pointed needles (2) for i-cord trim (optional)
The ballband stitch pattern is a 12-row repeat that creates alternating sections of reverse stockinette “bricks”, each brick separated from its neighbor by an elongated slipped stitch.
To shape the pear, the instructions require you to work increases and decreases on the edges of the work while keeping the stitch pattern consistent. There are 2 tricks to doing this. First, the first or last stitch of a row is never a slipped stitch. Knit that stitch even if that alters the stitch pattern on the edges. Second, to easily remember where you should slip the first stitch on a new section of “bricks”, look at the section of bricks below, and remember that the slipped stitch in a brick in the section below should be the 3rd stitch (the center stitch) of each brick in the new section. (When you are working the pattern, read this again, and it will make more sense; if you are a Ballband Dishcloth veteran, you already get it, so cast on, already.)
Row 1 (RS) Using A, knit.
Row 2 Purl.
Row 3 Using B, k4, slip 1 stitch purlwise, *k5, slip 1 purlwise; repeat from *to last 4 stitches, k4.
Row 4 Knit 4, yarn forward (yf), slip 1 purlwise, yarn back (yb), *k5, yf, slip 1 purlwise, yb; repeat from * to last 4 stitches, k4.
Row 5 Purl 4, yb, slip 1 purlwise, yf, *p5, yb, slip 1 purlwise, yf; repeat from * to last 4 stitches, p4.
Row 6 Repeat row 4.
(Rows 1-6 form the first section of bricks.)
Row 7 Using A, knit.
Row 8 Purl.
Row 9 Using B, k1, slip 1 purlwise, *k5, slip 1 purlwise; repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Row 10: Knit 1, yf, slip 1 purlwise, yb, *k5, yf, slip 1 purlwise, yb; repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Row 11: Purl 1, yb, slip 1 purlwise, yf, *p5, yb, slip 1 purlwise, yf; repeat from * to last stitch, p1.
Row 12: Repeat row 10.
(Rows 7-12 form the second section of bricks.)
Using A, cast on 27 stitches.
Work rows 1-4 of the ballband stitch pattern.
Row 5 Increase one stitch in the first and last stitch of the row. (29 sts)
Row 6 Work row 6 of the ballband stitch pattern as set, incorporating the increased stitches (in this case, knit 5 stitches at the beginning and end of the row instead of 4).
Row 7 Increase one stitch in the first and last stitch of the row. (31 sts)
Row 8 Work row 8 of the ballband stitch pattern as set, incorporating the increased stitches (in this case, knit 6 stitches at the beginning and end of the row instead of 4).
Row 9 Knit 3, slip 1 stitch purlwise, *K5, sl 1 stitch purlwise; repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.
Row 10 Work row 10 of the ballband stitch pattern as set.
Row 11 Increase one stitch in the first and last stitch of the row. (33 sts)
Row 12 Work row 8 of the ballband stitch pattern as set, incorporating the increased stitches (in this case, knit 3 stitches at the beginning and end of the row instead of 1).
Work the 12-row repeat once again, increasing 2 stitches on the 3rd, 7th and 11th rows as set. (39 sts)
Work the 12-row repeat once again, with no increases or decreases.
Work the 12-row repeat three more times, decreasing 1 stitch in the first and last stitch of the 3rd, 7th and 11th rows. (21 sts)
Work rows 1-6 of the repeat with no shaping.
Decrease 1 stitch in the first and last stitch of the next 3 rows. (15 sts)
Work 3 rows with no shaping, thus completing another 12-row repeat.
Next row (RS) Using A, knit, decreasing 1 stitch in the first and last stitch of the row. (13 sts)
Next row Purl, decreasing 1 stitch in the first and last stitch of the row. (11 sts)
Bind off all stitches.
Using double-pointed needles and C, cast on 4 stitches.
Knit 1 row. The 4 stitches are now on the right needle. Slide the stitches to the other end of the needle, and place this needle in your left hand. Now knit another row. The working yarn will seem to be at the “wrong” end of the row when you start, but knit your row anyway. Repeat this process until you have a magical little tube of stitches, approximately 12 rows long.
Now, with the needle containing a just-finished row of stitches, pick up a stitch in the middle of the bound off row of stitches at the top of the pear. Slide the stitches, including the picked up stitch, to the other end of the needle (more accurately, you are sliding the needle through the stitches). Now, knit 3, knit the last stitch of the i-cord together with the picked up stitch from the pear.
Repeat this process until you have applied i-cord edging all the way around the pear. If you are not experienced at working applied i-cord, play with it a little until it looks right, but work enough rows to see the i-cord edging emerging before you pull it out and start over. The key to a tidy finish on the RS is to work that knit-2-together with the picked-up stitch UNDER (or BEHIND), the i-cord stitch. The working needle goes first through the i-cord stitch, and then through the picked-up stitch. If the needle goes up through the picked-up stitch before the i-cord stitch, the contrasting color of the picked-up stitch will show through and it will look twisty and messy. (O, the horror.) It is worth a little fiddling, and then once you’ve got it worked out, all will be smooth as i-cord.
When you have worked the i-cord edging all the way back to the stem (taking care to pick up that last stitch of the pear, work another row of i-cord (no longer attached to the pear), knitting the last 2 stitches together. Now you have a 3-stitch tube of i-cord started.
Work 4 rows of 3-stitch i-cord. From now on, work back and forth instead of i-cord (in the round).
Row 1 (RS) Knit 1, yarn over (yo), k1, yo, k1. (5 sts)
Row 2 (WS) Knit 2, p1, k2. (Notice that what you are doing is working the leaf in garter stitch, but with a center stitch in stockinette. The center stitch will always be purled on the WS.)
Row 3 Knit 2, yo, k1, yo, k2. (7 sts)
Row 4 Knit 3, p1, k3.
Row 5 Knit 3, yo, k1, yo, k3. (9 sts)
Row 6 Knit 4, p1, k4.
Row 7 Knit 4, yo, k1, yo, k4. (11 sts)
Row 8 Knit 5, p1, k5.
Row 9 Knit 2 together, knit to the last 2 stitches, k2tog. (9 sts)
Row 10 Knit 4, p1, k4.
Row 11 Knit 2 together, knit to the last 2 stitches, k2tog. (7 sts)
Row 12 Knit 3, p1, k3.
Row 13 Knit 2 together, knit to the last 2 stitches, k2tog. (5 sts)
Row 14 Knit 2, p1, k2.
Row 15 Knit 2 together, knit to the last 2 stitches, k2tog (3sts.)
Row 16 Knit 1, p1, k1,
Row 17 Slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over. Fasten off remaining stitch. You have a leaf.
Finishing: Weave in all ends. When you weave in the tail of the yarn through the stem, take a stitch or 2 at the base of the stem and leaf to keep them connected neatly at the top of the pear.
Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner
Don’t forget about Per Orla’s little sis, Plum Orla. No pattern for her, but if you’ve made the pear, you’ll suss it out pretty easily.
Happy weekend, everybody!

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  1. I’ve been wanting to knit this for every woman in my family since you first posted a picture! You just made my day. Thank you!

  2. OOOOOHHHHHH! (Jumping up and down) Thank you so much for the pattern. I would cast on this weekend but I’m driving my parents to visit relatives. Unfortunately, I can’t drive and knit while they’re in the car with me! 🙂

  3. For what it’s worth, I got an invite to Martha’s shindig too. If I were local, I would definitely have gone!

  4. OMG! Love it, can’t wait to knit it!

  5. Well, uh, since I ONLY read knitting blogs, I didn’t know cussin’ Martha was MARTHA until I slipped over to Annie Modesitt (ooh – spoiler alert). Blog Her 2010? I don’t think I have time.

  6. Well, that’s one down side to living in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t many fabulous glitter-and-pretty-cupcake parties for crafty bloggers being thrown by media celebrities in La Conner, WA.
    Maybe later today I’ll throw a handful of glitter in the air and say “Yayyyy!” and pretend!

  7. Faaaaaaaaaaaabulous party, dahling. I am sure, of course, that my invitation was simply lost in the mail…
    Although I suppose that Marty is not all that into inviting people who are simply famous in their own heads.
    sigh. Alas. Must fire my publicist immediately.

  8. That’s not a dishcloth, but a work of art!

  9. Choose the right colors, and you can convert that pear to an eggplant. For those who prefer eggplant parmigiana to a pear compote.

  10. …How about the parmigiana for dinner, and the compote for dessert?
    I liked your picture from the party, Kay. What I also liked is that she put your name in red letters, ‘cos you ladies are that special to so many.
    Happy Friday!

  11. well, double darn dang I had an invite to that Martha thing but I was on a shoot in Vt. You & Caro? That would have been fun. Next time. It looks like the dress code was “cute little dress” . I would have screwed that up , I would have been wearing Caro’s Tshirt. Mine’s white on white,and it’s a very Good Thing..

  12. Gee..there’s ole Orla again…she sure is pretty! I haven’t used mine yet..to pretty! It’s a really pretty dishcloth…just sayd “I am fancy”…and ok, I am jealous…you got to play with Martha. Wow…she should wise up and have you two on her show. Would be the best…you knit, you blog, and you have two best selling book…it’s a win,win, win.Take care, enjoy what’s left of summer… Wendy

  13. well golly gee whizz andy they just never
    invite me -well don’t you worry the president
    wasn’t invited niether – feel better now
    thank you for the pattern clever you

  14. for years I’ve wanted to do a sprig of rosemary in champagne. Herb-y cocktails intrigue me. I had a lavendar something at Tavern on the Green once. Sigh. Fiddlehead ferns on the salad.

  15. I love the pear. Could it be a pineapple maybe with a little different leaf set up at top?
    I plan to try. Thanks.

  16. Perhaps an olive shaped one for Olive month???

  17. Maybe too many of us knit bloggers are running under the radar of the Martha. It’s the only good explanation why you didn’t have more knitterly company.

  18. I was SO CLOSE to wearing my handmade, not homemade t-shirt. So close. But I thought the better of it when I realized I wouldn’t actually be wearing anything handmade at all, so I would just look like a weirdo in Old Navy clothes going on about not consuming mass-produced stuff. Funny that.
    So glad I ran into you and Annie there! Made me feel more comfortable just knowing there were other knitters about.

  19. Perfect to go with my Orla handbag and “Kiely Wheelie.” Now if I had only been able to score some of the Orla dishes as Target…

  20. I started the pear discloth yesterday. I love it, thanks for the pattern!
    I will be a great swap gift!

  21. THANKS! My Mom, being a 70’s freak, loves pears!
    But… can you give me some pointers on Plum Orla? I can’t suss out anything to save my life! I’m a pattern slave.. 🙁


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