Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

My World Is Blue

Dear Ann,
Belinda and Neil are winging their way back across the Atlantic this morning. Since I didn’t take a single picture of them, I will show you a picture of this most excellent bit of loot they brought:
denimjo1.jpg
This is the front and back of a gigantic 1980s-era pullover in Rowan denim. Belinda got it out of her friend Jo’s garage where it was under constant threat of mice. Jo made it herself but stopped wearing it because, being knitted with a DOUBLE STRAND of Rowan Denim, it weighs 20 pounds. Doubled denim????– What was Jo thinking? Wearing this sweater would be a cottony cardio-vascular workout.
Although the depths of its fadey-blueness are unphotographable (by me anyway), here’s a shot showing it next to a new ball of denim and a swatch of denim that has been washed maybe 10 times.
denimjo.jpg
Both ball and swatch are in the same shade –Nashville, dark indigo– that Jo’s sweater originally was. I’m a happy girl, to say the least. I do hate to rip out such loveliness but the yarn is so speckly and beautiful that I can’t help it.
I’d like to express my thanks to Belinda, to Jo, and to the mice, for making this recycled denim yarn possible.
Speaking of Gigantic 1980s Era Sweaters
Recently I got a suprise Royal Mail packet from the mysterious Alpaca Woman. It contained these precious relics:
Rowangirlpattern.jpg
(Female lumberjack circa 1985.)
rowanboypattern.jpg
I should explain to our younger readers that back in the 1980s, we believed that contact between the flesh of one’s upper arm and the sleeve of one’s sweater could cause Instant Death. To prevent this senseless loss of life while looking groovy beyond belief, we wore multiple layers of wrinkled clothing under our sweaters. And just to be absolutely safe, we made the armholes like this:
rowangirlpatternsleeve.jpg
In those days, Second Sleeve Syndrome was nothing to joke about. In fact many knitters perished of old age while still on the first sleeve. Forests and fields of indigo were cut down just to dye the sleeves of Rowan cardis. Thanks to medical science, today the oversized sleeve opening has gone the way of cupping and leeches.
Thank you, kind Alpaca Woman!
rowanlibertypricetag10p.jpg
(I particularly enjoyed the price tag.)
Gumby Returns
Yay! Ina sent me another photo of her fab dog Gumby.
gumbyautumn.jpg
I don’t know what breed Gumby is, but he’d* win Best in Show for eyebrows.
Gumby wants to tell everyone that even though Kay was kinda dumb to end her eBay auctions on Thanksgiving Day (dur!), you should overlook that and go bid on the wonderful scarves (this one and this one) that Ina made, with all proceeds going to benefit Oliver’s Fund.
The knitting community is some community, innit?
I’m off now, to combine canned goods according to ancient family custom. It is always a challenge to figure out which aisle the Durkee’s French Fried Onions are in. Happy Thanksgiving to Americans at home and abroad.
Love, Kay
*If you read the comments, you will learn from Ina that Gumby is a she. (Her pink collar should have given me a hint.) Scusi! Apologies to La Bella Gumbina, Spinona de tutti Spinoni.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Green Bean Casserole is my absolute FAVORITE.
    Oh and I love your blog.

  2. That “Female Lumberjack” is a true 80’s hipster. Look at that tussled hair and undone belt . . . Cyndi Lauper, eat your heart out!
    I do like the pattern on the front of the man’s sweater. It is almost Escher-esque

  3. Hiya! Remember me, I am the one who’s Dad wears bolo ties…
    Anyway, if you find out what kind of dog Gumby is, will you post it? He’s AWESOME.
    And congrats on The Denim.

  4. You’re so funny. You ought to write a book… ;-]
    Speckly,faded denim = Kay heaven. B is a friend indeed. What’re you going to make ? I,too,like the pattern on the blokes jumper.
    Big post on the blog soon. Once I stop needing to blow my nose every minute.
    Words can’t express the gratitude I feel for those beautiful scarves,the auction and the amazing bids. I have an incredible amount of good karma to repay.
    Happy Thanksgiving you lot.
    xox

  5. Those crazy Brits. They’re so quaint. Or else I’m so slow. I just had to read Emma’s closing about twelve times to figure it out. Dur, indeed.
    I’ve spent most of the 90’s trying to forget the 80’s. Do you have to bring this up NOW? I was so close to blocking it all out.
    If the Izods and the music have returned, then who’s to say the large sleeves aren’t soon to follow? “Things to feel thankful for” #237.

  6. Ours are kept right in the vegetable aisle next to the green beans (every once in a while those geniuses at the grocery store use their brains for good instead of evil!).
    And oooh, it’s my favorite too.
    Lovely demin!

  7. Hummm, huge sweater knit double strand; that should equal at least three normal human sized sweaters. Ain’t life grand!

  8. Hummm, huge sweater knit double strand; that should equal at least three normal human sized sweaters. Ain’t life grand!

  9. Here’s a denim question: the yarn has already faded as knit, right? So when you unravel/reknit, won’t you get a marled effect?
    Yikes! That gal’s haircut is exactly what I’ve been trying to get from my stylist. No wonder she’s fighting me…
    I think Gumby’s a schneagle.

  10. Snorted out loud over that death by contact with upper arm flesh line. Wonder why we thought we looked hip as baggy flying squirrels? Was it an evil plot by yarn manufacturers to sell more skeins per sweater? Enjoy yer bounties of denim and casserole – happy thanksgiving!

  11. Perhaps Gumby is a wire haired pointer of some sort? He is terribly cute though, even sans clapotis. I, too, snorted. And really needed that.

  12. Ooh! I want to pet Gumby! He’s so adorable.

  13. Love the green bean casserole.
    Gumby is so cute!!!
    Enjoy the holidays.

  14. I’m knitting a drop-shoulder sweater right now, and I rilly rilly hope it doesn’t look too stupid. I was an impressionable youth in the 80s and that stuff is starting to look good to me again! (hides in shame) Ah, the Limited, with the baggy baggy sweatshirts….That sweater is unbelievable, and I can’t wait to see what you turn it into!

  15. Green bean casserole is one thing, but you’re not going to put marshmallows on sweet potatoes, are you?
    And that denim, are you just going to wind it into balls and put it in a glass bowl on your coffee table? Loverly.

  16. I heart Gumby–thanks for posting another picture of him.
    I’ve never been so fervently outbid on Ebay. Yay knitters!

  17. That picture of Gumby is just adorable. He sounds like a very wise dog!

  18. I can’t wait to see what you make out of the denim. What a great idea.I never thought of doing that. I would never have to buy more yarn…just rip it out each year or so. Do you have to do anything to the yarn after you have ripped it out?

  19. Gumby resembles my Pickles (who we got at a local shelter) and is a terrier mix!
    Fortune shined with the Denim yarn!

  20. I thought I was the only one who could never find the Durkee’s French Fried Onions. Currently they reside on the canned vegetable aisle, but they do seem to move around, don’t they? The cheddar ones are the best! Enjoy the green bean casserole! (I’ve already made one batch this holiday season!)

  21. those patterns are enough inspiration for me to (someday) rip out one of my sweaters and reknit it; I just can’t do sleeves like that. (I heard the 80’s were over and don’t want them to come back…) Gumby is wonderful!!
    was it here that I saw the picture with the fainting goats? if so, check this out….
    http://www.qarxis.com/Fainting_Goats

  22. … dear friends near and far … i am gumby … alias … la principessa gumby … una spinona italiana … not spumoni the icecream dog … but a pure bred italian spinone … i am a less common brown and white one with the traditional fabulous eyebrows … the nose that has it all … and those eyes that can see inside your heart and soul … thank you all for your incredible response for oliver’s fund … i am flattered and honored to have brought you such warm and fuzzy hearts to give so generously … and hey … we’re not done yet … so keep up the good work … and if ya’ wanna … ya’ can come by and pet me … maybe i’ll go visit aunt kay in the city and she can go oooh and aahh for all of you … so … again … mille grazie … mille baci … gumby and her mama … i asked her to write all this for me while i was busy with my hedgehog … it was my birthday present last week … and i love the hedgehog … almost as much as my duck which i have had since i was a little pup … enough of me though … you all go on bidding for those clappers …

  23. Hey Kay, have a good long look at the ‘female lumberjack pattern’ and be reverent: that is the source of your denim skirt!
    Aye, back in Scotland, circa 1992, i bought a copy and made that huge cardi; and a few years later, i unraveled it all and made you (and me) a skirt.
    still have a very battered copy of the pattern somewhere, and lots of memories of making and wearing the cardi.
    have fun with your new worn out denim

  24. I think the pattern on the guy’s sweater is ‘Pavillion Pattern’ from Barbara Walker II.

  25. Gumby looks much like my brother’s dog, Honey. She’s Gryphon, which is closely related to a German Wire Hair Terrier? Pointer? Whatever she is, she is adorable.

  26. Hi Kay, Ina and Gumby
    My friend Wendy was just here and we ohh and ahhd over the lovely photos.
    Her two Spinonas, Sorella and Loui send their woofs.
    She told me I could always come over to hers and use Loui to model some of my knitwear.
    Loui wants to know if Gumby knows any boy Spinonas. Here in north-east London there only seem to be girls, his two sisters, his Mum and Sorellas sister live all close by.

  27. eek! 80’s! High school (or rather German Gymnasium), peer pressure, hair gel, akne, trying to shave, and those mega-sweaters. For some reason lost to time it was a yellow fisherman’s rib for me, to we worn over everthing.

  28. Okay, I’ll say it again. I ADORE GUMBY! She’s so cute and expressive and just plain adorable. Plus, she does have one of the best names in the doggy kingdom. I’m relieved she’s a girl too – now I can just tell Rudy that I’m trying to get him a girlfriend!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Kay.
    xoxoxoxo

  29. ‘Fess up Kay. Which do you really like more: knitting with recycled denim or unknitting the prior incarnation of the denim?
    Just wondering.

  30. (cf: benedetta’s earlier post): i love those serendipitous knitting moments that i get to read about on MDK. *sigh* and the beaming that ann must be doing (cf: clif’s handiwork, next post!)
    vive vous!

  31. Is it bad that I looked at your denim swatch and thought, “Oh, she’s knitting Patrick.”? Congrats on your new old denim.

  32. The dog is incredibly cute.
    I miss our convention musings. No time for that right now. I’m wondering, however, if we should virtually knit before a roaring fireplace or something, while we gift knit. I’ll even buy the birch. It is my favorite wood to burn.