Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

Mary Sue and the Superpurply Lenten Frontal

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Dear Kay,
One of my favorite knitters in the whole wide world is Mary Sue Taylor (Ravelry link). I mean: she is a dynamo. She has that full-steam-ahead approach to knitting that I totally admire. She doesn’t mind projects that you measure by the square foot. Portability is not an issue for her: I have seen her cheerfully toting around a Jojoland bedspread as her car knitting. She did some great test knitting for our book–the Kiki Mariko rug on the opening spread is her handiwork, and she cranked the Belinda shawl in chocolate and light blue. A beautiful, beautiful knitter. And even more beautiful a person.
I met Mary Sue at church, where she is mightily involved in many projects. Her most recent Episcopal-related Finished Object really took me by surprise when I walked into the service for Ash Wednesday. (Heartily recommended, Ash Wednesday–I cannot be reminded too often that I am dust and to dust I shall return. Sometimes I start to think, “I may not be dust.” This is not a good line of thinking.)
Mary Sue had indicated to me that she and her crafty husband Mark were working like nutcases on this project, and when I saw it, I understood why:
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It’s a knitted, felted, hemmed Lenten frontal. (A frontal is pretty much an elaborate tablecloth for an altar. You swap ‘em out by season, sort of the way your grandmother puts out the Christmas finger towels in December.)
On the front, it’s Kiki Mariko. On the back, it’s stripes.
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The church sanctuary is gothic and dark–not gloomy, but it does tend to devour colors. The photo up at the very top is a bit brighter than the actual piece, but not much. I was amazed at how well Mary Sue figured out which shades of Cascade 220 would read properly in such dim surroundings.
Being Supportive
Now. Mary Sue is working hard to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, an organization raising funds for Parkinson’s research. If you have a minute, please visit her over at Team Fox and make a contribution if you can. You guys have to meet Mary Sue. She’s the real deal.
Sleevage
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Meanwhile. It feels like the end of an era, or the end of life as I knew it. I finished the sleeves for the Rowan Pearl sweater. I’m feeling like I pretty much don’t need to do any more slanting ribbed sleeves for a good long while. Like: ever.
While they’re drying in the Blocking Chamber aka under my bed, I have moved on to the assembly portion of this program.
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The collar has the potential to go all baroque Elvis on me–it’s 8cm high, with a reverse stockinette lining. I may end up bedazzling a rhinestone eagle on the back of this thing before I’m done. Such a relief and pleasure to be doing something other than slowly increasing slanting ribs.
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(For those following the pin-sabotaging cat saga: the cat is happy to sit on the bedsheet covering the blocking board. He just likes the whole idea of blocking. Just likes to be in the mix.)
Love,
Ann

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Aren’t you a lucky cat owner to have cats interested in what you do? Our dogs are always underfoot and onthefoot.

  2. LOL, its a good thing I didn’t have any coffee in my mouth when I read that “dust to dust” bit!
    I always liked the one about how “we are just worms” or lower than worms. It always struck my imagination into overdrive.

  3. Are your couch cushions black & white? B/c I have the same couch, only in blue & white. Either way yours is not all worn & horrible, so I’m kinda jealous.

  4. Gorgeous knitting, so much work. Done to the glory of God, how could it be less than wonderful. As a Quaker I don’t always remember the whole Ash Wednesday thing, it’s nice to be reminded.

  5. The sweater looks so great. It must be so satisfying to have an almost FO from something hibernating in your closet a few years.

  6. Dear Ann,
    It sounds as if knowing Mary Sue is a true gift.
    What a great idea for a Lenten altar. Since I have not had the chance to make the rug, does it always come out striped in the back, or was that an extra-special effort on Mary Sue’s part? (Like did she make, and felt, TWO rugs? Wow!)
    BTW, do you happen to know if Mary Sue had the same difficulties with the felting that fell to Kay? :) :)
    Re: the sweater: sleeves look great! I simply love the collar, and am thinking “slanted rib” scarf to complete the look. (Just saying…)
    Thanks so much for all of this sharing.
    LoveDiane

  7. Kudos on the Rowan Pearl!
    As lovely as the sleeves are – and that’s pretty darned lovely! – the front of that sweater is absolutely, positively, ooh-ahhh gorgeous!
    looking forward to the model shot :)

  8. I think some effort should be made to teach the cat to knit. He (she?) seems really interested. I mean, the interest in blocking alone denotes that the cat might be a knitting kitty protege. Perhaps some kind of adaptation of finger knitting would do?

  9. heh my cat loves anything and everything that has to do with my knitting

  10. You know the cat actually thinks you made it for him right?

  11. MDK in church. Makes you feel holy, doesn’t it! I love the sweater–even though I know it will have cat hairs woven in!

  12. MDK in church. Makes you feel holy, doesn’t it! I love the sweater–even though I know it will have cat hairs woven in!

  13. MDK in church. Makes you feel holy, doesn’t it! I love the sweater–even though I know it will have cat hairs woven in!

  14. MDK in church. Makes you feel holy, doesn’t it! I love the sweater–even though I know it will have cat hairs woven in!

  15. I see other readers have a different take on this. I was merely going to suggest that the cat himself would like to be blocked. Sort of the penultimate cat stretch. And if you could do it in the sun, so much the better I am sure.

  16. Blocking the cat would be, not simply–um–catastrophic (sorry), but truly awful.
    LoveDiane

  17. Diane
    I made two lengths and felted both. The stripes are as easy as Kiki. Actually Kiki goes like a dream and I loved doing it in Cascade as much as I did in Lamb’s Pride Bulky. I used double thread on it too. The edges on my first Kiki didn’t have the problem that Kay’s rug did because we pulled on it for a while on our kitchen table before letting it dry. This one we didn’t focus on the edges so much because we trimmed some off so it had a little spread.
    Thanks to Ann for the praise but I have to say knowing Ann and Kay is one of the great gifts to my life. Ann started a knitting group at church and I never could go. Then the group moved downtown across from my office and I showed up with a needlepoint (had to be done in a hurry) wedding present as my project. Instead of treating me like the fiber stepchild of the group, Ann welcomed me in that day. The next meeting I had finished the present and was back to knitting. Ann is a great teacher and always has a kind thing to say about any project anyone is working on. Kay is wonderful too. Their books are great but their friendship is even better.
    Mary Sue

  18. What a lovely piece for Lent. That Mary Sue must be something :)

  19. What a lovely piece for Lent. That Mary Sue must be something :)

  20. Kiki Mariko looks very at home in the church! Kudos to all of you, Mary Sue included.
    And hooray that the cat is safe!

  21. My Episcopalian heart is overflowing. I have a sudden urge to knit and felt altar frontals.

  22. Wow. What a lovely Lenten purple knitted object. Ash Wednesday was/is my second favorite Catholic feast day — I did not know Episcopalians celebrated it too.
    And may God set a flower on your head, Mary Sue, for helping the MJFF. It is one of the worthiest of charities.

  23. episcopal knitting? I love it. I was knitting a sock at our most recent diocesan convention, w/ keynote from the Very Rev. KJS. I took the host from her!

  24. Another cat helps with the blocking:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chucksterfun/2754913745/

  25. Beautiful frontal, beautiful sweater. And thanks for mentioning the Michael J. Fox Foundation on the blog. That’s a wonderful group and it’s battling a very dreadful disease.

  26. Your sweater is looking beautiful. As a non-religious person — learned about Moses from Charleton Heston — the first time I saw a friend come back with ash on her forehead from Ash Wednesday, I thought she had had an accident during science lab.
    In high school, I tried to take a biblical literature class, but it was cancelled because the normal teacher was on sabbatical at an Indian ashram. I decided this was a sign from God that despite my non-religious ways, I was doing a-okay.

  27. Your sweater is looking beautiful. As a non-religious person — learned about Moses from Charleton Heston — the first time I saw a friend come back with ash on her forehead from Ash Wednesday, I thought she had had an accident during science lab.
    In high school, I tried to take a biblical literature class, but it was cancelled because the normal teacher was on sabbatical at an Indian ashram. I decided this was a sign from God that despite my non-religious ways, I was doing a-okay.

  28. Sorry about the double post — it sometimes takes a very long time for a comment to be submitted and the comments to reload.
    Long enough that you can forget if you even pressed the post button.

  29. I am so impressed that you have space under your bed.

  30. You are so right. Cats just want to be involved.
    My mostly-white cat Summer is currently beached on a length of black Kona cotton quilting fabric spread out on my cutting table, which is thoughtfully positioned next to a window.
    p.s. “beached” because she is a Substantial Cat. Not overweight, just, well, fluffy. Really really fluffy. Jaba-esque in appearance. Princess of Porkitude. But if you got her wet, she’d practically disappear.

  31. Thanks, Mary Sue for your comments above. It still boggles my mind–TWO rugs! A true labor of love, too.
    LoveDiane

  32. I am wanting to make lots of full frontal knitting jokes, but will restrain myself on this occasion.Ann I gotta tell ya the bedazzler is not all it’s cracked up to be. I had visions of a rhinestone covered toddler than came to naught. Due to the fiddley nature of the Bedazzler. But I fully support the spread collar, the bigger the better!

  33. Is it only me who keeps coming back for more of Elliot and Kermit? Especially that Elliot-he cracks me up!

  34. a labour of love amen

  35. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Sue and her husband last night at The Neighborhood Knit Shop in Hendersonville. She really is a lovely and talented woman.
    And your Rowan Pearl sweater… wow… is gorgeous!

  36. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Sue and her husband last night at The Neighborhood Knit Shop in Hendersonville. She really is a lovely and talented woman.
    And your Rowan Pearl sweater… wow… is gorgeous!

  37. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Sue and her husband last night at The Neighborhood Knit Shop in Hendersonville. She really is a lovely and talented woman.
    And your Rowan Pearl sweater… wow… is gorgeous!