Sunday, January 25, 2009

Biddy Time

Bride's Feast is nearly upon us again. Days are getting incrementally longer and spring will begin soon. Hence the Brighid Dolly exchange is also, once again, underway. Bennie and I are making biddy dollies for two women on the Flame Vigil list and we'll be receiving dollies from two women on said list. I thought it would be good to include Bennie this time 'round. She likes making things and can focus on good things for the woman receiving her handiwork. We'd gone to AC Moore's for tissue paper, twisted paper (they don't carry it anymore) and some other crafty things yesterday, but as I began the basic construction of dollies I got a strong feeling they ought to be made of yarn. Memories of a childhood friend came back to me as I wound out the yarn on a niddy-noddy, knotted a knob for the heads and then braided arms and legs. Theresa and I used to make oodles of these yarn dollies. Sometimes, we wouldn't braid legs and let the loose threads be a skirt or think of them as creatures that didn't require legs. Whole families of yarn dollies would be made in a single afternoon. Should the recipients still choose to burn these dollies next year, they'll still be quite incendiary.

All Bennie and I need to do at this point is dress and decorate them.

In the meantime, I'd neglected to show some painting I'd done on the stairs.

Yes, it's Frida.

And some Mexican motifs.

Now I have 12 other risers to paint. Waiting for inspiration to strike.
But wait, there's more!
Urban Rustic Gloves knitted in Jamie Harmon hand-dyed angora.

And, in the continued realm of all things monk-ish, the Monk Hat using an Icelandic/mohair blend handspun by yours truly.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Trust not the book!

Allow me to preface this post with this:
It's my studio disassembled again for the sake of Construction. The devil is in the details so I will spare us all from discussing the reasons why we are in a state of disarray again.
But I tarry . . .
My grandmother, may she rest in peace, gave me this book a long time ago. I admit, I haven't read it all carefully so the description is sketchy, but as far as I can discern, this author was hanging 'round the British Isles cultivating knit patterns for titled Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans. Gladys would stalk piers and alleyways accosting unsuspecting fishermen and/or their wives, shaking them down for their knit patterns, sometimes measuring guage and noting knit, purl or cable right off their backs. What she did not do was insure that Dover Publications hired an editor who had a clue about knitting and its proper annotation for instructions and patterns. This copy in my possession is the third edition, folks. Third edition! And it's still, since 1979, incorrect. There's even a Forward from the renowned knit queen Elizabeth Zimmerman. Go figure.
And so, this is the second pattern I've had to chart from this book. Page 68, Seahouses Pattern I, Mrs. Laidlaw's Pattern. It was a puzzle of sorts beginning with the realization, again, that the stuff I was knitting on the needles was not, in any way, similar to the photo in the book. The second piece of the puzzle was working on the hunch that all the odd-numbered row instructions were correct, while the even-numbered were not. My hunch smugly sat back in my red leather chair as I ticked off marks on the graph paper proving me right. Thus, the written instructions should have been:
"1st row: k5, p3, k1, p1, k2, p3, k27, p3, k1
2nd row: p1, k2, p13, k1, p1, k1, p13, k2, p2, k1, p2, k1, p1, k2, p6 . . ."
Instead the second row reads, and I quote:
"2nd row: k6, p2, k1, p1, k2, p1, k2, p2, k13, p1, k1, p1, k13, p2, k1 . . ."
The finished chart showing the need for only 28 rows until the repeat rather than the full 46 written in the book.
The moral of the story: Use the chart, Luke! The book, it lies!