I’m sure you’d love to hear every detail of how I spent my Saturday knitting on my Big Plucky Garter Scarf and watching all 10 episodes of Season 2 of The Crown in one sitting (interrupted only for food and for standing up when my watch commanded, For the Love of Your Circulatory System: STAND UP WOMAN). But I have other important news to impart to the Knitting Public.
We have two pieces of most excellent Shop News!
A Dream Come True
From Day One of our shop dreaming, we’ve longed for handmade ceramics. But it seemed complicated, commissioning pottery. I guess we thought that at some point, a beautiful hand-thrown, hand-carved vessel would drop, bubble-wrapped, from the sky.
Well, guess what? That’s pretty much how the Sequence Mug happened.
Earlier this year, Ann took a natural dyeing course at Craft South in Nashville. She got to talking with classmate Dyann Myers, as you do when you’re up to your elbows in fermented vegetable matter. Dyann mentioned that she’s a potter by trade.
Well. The following Monday, a look at Dyann’s beautiful hand-carved porcelain pots gave us a serious case of the heart-eyes, and before you could say “bisque,” Dyann was mailing us prototypes of an exclusive mug for MDK, from her studio in Asheville, North Carolina.
Like all things that just happen on their own, collaborating with Dyann was meant to be. She’s even a knitter.
Dyann shared her thoughts with us:
As I reflect on these mugs, I realize I think of them much like I do my handknits. I put passion, much time and obsession into each of them. Not everybody will “get” the effort, but for those who do, it’s very gratifying.
Each mug is a one-of-a-kind piece, made of porcelain on the wheel and fired to 2,300 degrees. Every mark is hand carved with a sharp metal tool when the clay is between its wheel-thrown state and being dry, what’s known by potters as being “leather hard.” I think of carving my pots like knitting—one stitch at a time. For many years I was a professional musician, and the rhythm of carving (and knitting) reminds me of that. At some point in the middle of this project I counted the number of marks on a single mug and came up with just over 400.
Fun fact: we were really hoping to get the Sequence Mug in the shop in time for Christmas, so Dyann drove them to Nashville. A new bar for customer service!
Each Sequence Mug has an impression in the bottom that Dyann made from the knitter’s steadfast helper, a removable stitch marker.
Porcelain. Handmade on the wheel. Fired to 2,300 degrees. Your new best friend.
The fact that the surface carvings look like sequence knitting is pure coincidence. We only noticed the connection when we were naming the mug.
Like all things made by hand by a single person, the quantity of Sequence Mugs is limited. To make our supply go further, purchases are limited to 4 per person.
Back for a Limited Time: The Knitter’s Tote
Earlier this year, we introduced our favorite bag: The Knitter’s Tote, and promptly sold out of all the bags that Julia Hilbrandt could ship by December from her workshop in Rhinebeck, New York.
Now, to our great delight, all those orders have shipped, and Julia is ready to make this exclusive bag for us again in another limited quantity. Preorders will be accepted through 11:59 pm Pacific time on Saturday, December 16, or until the available quantity has sold out. Bags will start to ship in early February, with all bags shipped by February 28.
This bag is special, designed by Julia Hilbrandt exclusively for MDK, and each one made by hand by Julia. You can read all about it here.
Ann has started documenting how much stuff she can easily haul around Nashville in her Knitter’s Tote, on the Instagram hashtag #knitterstotedailycarry.
Ann is an absolute Queen of Social Media. With our pal Judy joining in, the hashtag is up to 3 posts. Catch the wave!
What About My Knitting
Let’s recap the notion here: I saw a big-gauge all-garter scarf being worn by a Stylish Young Thing on Broadway and 79th. Unabashed in its simplicity if not simple-mindedness, it expressed the true chic that is garter stitch.
I wanted to make it immediately.
My cupboard being bare of Fat Yarn (literally: I keep my yarn in a cupboard), I improvised.
I’m double-stranding The Plucky Knitter Bello Worsted, for a two-color, marled effect, using US 9 (5.5mm) needles. The first balls I used were not the same yardage (due to some long-forgotten swatching), which meant that one color lasted longer than the other, creating transition zones in the color blocking. When a ball ends, I add in the next color, right in the middle of a row. It’s a kind of controlled surprise to see the colors interacting with each other, in their marlish way. Definitely not a fade, but not a clean break, either.
Bello is a dense, compact yarn, so when it’s doubled, the resulting fabric is springy and heavy. At first, I worried that it was not fluffy enough. Then, I really got into the bungee-like quality. This is going to be a warm, thick, swingy Scarf for the Ages. Four stars for wind resistance!
Technical note: the first stitch of each row is slipped purlwise, for a twisted chain selvedge on both edges.
How’s your Giftalong 2017 going?
P.S. If you’re still shopping for gifts for yourself, or others, the MDK Holiday Shop is here to help.