February 20, 2004
I could wallow in my 1960s Barbie memories forever (you know I’m not kidding), but I must break away to update you on several important matters.
The Afghanalong Update
SQUARE ONE HAS LANDED. Repeat: SQUARE ONE HAS LANDED.
(Square One, landing.)
My sweet friend Lis, who prides herself on not being a pushy and competitive New Yorker, nevertheless wanted to be the first to present us with a square for the Afghanalong for Afghans. So we met for lunch (those are chopsticks, not knitting needles!), and she handed over a delectable orange square in Cascade 220, in a popcorn pattern Lis wanted to try from the 365 Knitting Stitches A Year Perpetual Calendar. It’s a gem. Bright and bubbly, like Lis herself.
Which raises a couple of points about the Afghanalong.
First, you will note that Lis did not do a garter-stitch border. Several people have asked me whether the garter-stitch borders are mandatory, whether there is any penalty for submitting an otherwise conforming square which is lacking garter-stitch borders, and if so, what is the penalty and can it be waived (some of these people were lawyers, obviously).
After convening an all-night session of the Supreme Afghanalong Rules Committee, we (meaning, I) have decided that garter-stitch borders are not necessary. They are nice, but not necessary. As long as the edges will lie flat and not curl and are reasonably even, there is no problem, no penalty, no temporary restraining order–just a big Thank You So Much. The whole purpose of the garter-stitch-border rule was not to oppress or bore people, but simply to make the squares easy to sew up. Bear that in mind, and knit away to your heart’s content.
The other point Lis’s square raises is, what a great idea it is to use the Afghanalong as an opportunity to try new stitch patterns.
Thanks to everyone who has written to say they’re joining in!
The Log Cabin Update
I stopped into my favorite LYS, Downtown Yarns (which finally has a website!) today, and Rita showed me a little booklet called ‘The Log Cabin Afghan Revisited’, which is put out by Carol A. Anderson in Carpenter, Iowa (504-426-0070). This homely little booklet contains very detailed directions for making a knitted blanket that is very close to the traditional Log Cabin quilt in its design and layout. I got the booklet for my archives, in case I ever reform my convention-busting log cabin ways.
Carol’s construction method is, to my mind, futzier than the one I’ve been preaching, but if you can’t abide all that casting-off and picking-up for each strip, you might want to try it. Carol’s method is to put the last row of stitches for each strip on a holder until you come around again to knit the next strip. Personally I’d rather cast off and pick up than fiddle with stitchholders or extra needles, and I think the cast-off rows look more like quilt piecing, and add some needed structural oomph (Carol’s method results in multi-directional intarsia stripes). But the stitch-holder method does give the advantage of being able to knit the squares together with a 3-needle bind-off instead of having to seam them together.
Is anybody still awake?
The Me Update
I got a fantastic package in the mail yesterday, from, of all places, Norway. Sissel is a Rowanette who knits amazing Norwegian sweaters and virtually every pattern for Rowan Summer Tweed. For fun, she knit Old Tile from Rowan 34. (Brandon Mably reportedly fainted dead away when he learned that somebody had actually knit the thing. He said, ‘Blimey! I was just foolin’ with y’all!’). (OK I made that up. I sometimes converse with Brandon in my mind–you gotta problem with that? By the way, Brandon says hi and he hopes everybody realizes that except when speaking to me telepathically, he doesn’t ever use Blimey and Y’all in the same sentence.)
I give you this background so that you will know that this Sissel is the Sissel with whom I am doing a fun international yarn exchange. Here’s what Sissel sent:
Needless to say, I experienced Extreme Fiber Delight! ‘Sumatra’ mercerized cotton in a gorgeous shade of deep blue (same gauge as All Seasons Cotton, but suaver and drapier)! The ‘River Jeans’ rendition of denim yarn! Skeins of 2 fine-gauge white cottons suitable for traditional christening gowns! Not to mention the chocolate, which needed no translation.
Sissel also included booklets with amazing Sandnesgarn patterns (one page is pictured above). I would love to knit one of the little dirndls for Baby Rose. It may surprise you to learn that Baby Rose is a Norwegian American. Yes, Rose’s mom Diana is a Norsky, and she will jump into the freezing ocean to prove it to you. Diana plans to instill Viking Pride in her daughter through a program of vigorous outdoor activity, second helpings of pickled herring, and clopping around in clogs from an early age. At this stage of my Knitting Journey, Norwegian dirndls are Fantasy Camp Knitting. But if I ever get the chance to meet Sissel in person, I hope to learn the technique from her.
Have a happy weekend, and don’t forget to go to the DMV and renew your