Craft. Work. Knit.
January 26, 2011
FINALLY! I’ve been dragged out of seclusion by your mention of Ann Weaver. I’ve been crushing on the designs in Ann Weaver’s recent book, Craft. Work. Knit, since someone with a good eye introduced me to them last autumn. I got my hot little hands on a copy of this self-published gem, and fell in love. It was the good kind of love. The kind that inspires you to finish up a couple of projects so you can cast on something epic.
The something epic being the Albers Shawl. To me, this is no shawl. This is a blanket that you can see through. I only recently gave myself permission to cast on. I’m stalled, due to poor yarn quantity forecasting, in the middle of the very first square (which is 140 stitches x 140 garter ridges). I’m using the yarn that is most sacred to me: Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2 ply. And I’m making this thing for the best possible reason. I don’t need it, I don’t want to wear it–I’m making it because it is a beautiful thing, and because it captured my imagination. It’s a log cabin thang, people. I can’t explain it. Something about the colors. Something about the hugeness. Something about the sheerness and stretch of laceweight on US 7 needles. Something about the log cabin block being square but not symmetrical. It just gets me.
My second favorite pattern in the book is, quite predictably, the Albers Cowl. Ann Weaver based each square on one of Josef Albers’ “portrait of a square” paintings, which are color studies. I didn’t need anything more. But then, she had to go and have her beautiful MOM model it in the book. Stop it, already! I’m knitting it! You’re killing me! Forget all my snarking about “the cowl is the new fingerless mitts”–I’m knitting this cowl. Koigu solids. Or maybe that Madeleine Tosh stuff people are so nuts about. Again, it’s the color juxtapositions and the asymmetry of each square. Hey–maybe I’ll give it to my Mom.
Anyway, I hear you, 100 percent. This book, and Ann Weaver’s work overall, is a blast of fresh air. I got to meet Ann in person when she was visiting New York in early December last year. I couldn’t attend her event, but we got together for coffee the next day, and somehow I ended up driving her to Providence, Rhode Island that same night. (Knitters. What can you do.) She’s a doll. She can talk as much as ME, Ann. I know: scary! Our conversation on I95 that evening was the My Dinner With Andre of log cabin knitting. There are things I have been thinking about log cabin knitting that I have not even been able to confide in you, Ann, and I unloaded every single one of them on young Ann Weaver. Bless her heart! Anyway, watch this space. 2011 is going to be a Josef Albers kind of year.
As Long As I’m Typing
I have so much unblogged bloggage that I’m not going to even try to catch up. But 2011 did start out beautifully. For the past 11 years, I’ve taken a walk on the beach on January 1. It seems so glamorous, and also hopeful, to walk in the wind, and mostly in solitude. But this year I had lots of company.
The stalwart Orna, who keeps exclaiming over the ocean, even though she grew up one block from the sea. Orna took many pictures of driftwood and shells.
Girls took many pictures of each other.
Olive recorded nothing, but smelled everything.
Rosie and Ronnie, the former a study in cerise.
And more of the dearly beloved and the gently hung over. Life is good.
Garter Stitch Gazette
Meanwhile, I finished a whole blanket while I was gone. A splendid blanket. I cannot say enough about it, but I cannot really say anything about it, because it’s a variation on a design in a fantastic book by a friend that will not come out until later this year. But working on it has got me on fire again for log cabin knitting, and blanket knitting in general.
I do want to share this now, in case I forget later. BLOCKING. When you knit something in garter stitch, and you finish knitting it and weaving in the ends, it looks so great that you are sorely tempted to call it done. It’s not lace, so there is no crying need to block it just to be able to SEE it. But please, please, please, wash it and block it anyway. A simple, straightforward block where you just lay it out flat without stretching it, straighten the edges with your fingers, and let it dry. No wires, no pins, just a wash and a flat, orderly drying session. A blanket knit in any yarn will benefit greatly from this treatment. But if it’s knit in Noro Silk Garden, it will be transformed from beautiful but crunchy to a softness and drape that is nigh unto cashmere. You knitted the thing. It took a fair bit of your life. So block it. You’re welcome.
It started out as a special wedding present.
But I don’t think I can let it go. That never happens to me. I am always ready to let knitting go, and get onto the next knitting. Pal Amber saw it today, and when I confessed this, she said, “Give them a Pendleton.” You have to earn a blanket like this. You have to knit it.
P.S. A gratuitous picture of Olive, because she looks so noble and matches the furniture.
She is a Custom Mutt.