Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stripes and Texture

Nothing world-shaking going on around here in the ol' knitting basket. Just steady progress on the Fassett stripe sweater and sixareen cape. The back of the sweater is done and blocked, so I took it outside to try to capture the beauty of its colors.

Even cloudy daylight doesn't do it justice. The reds are too orangey and the contrast with the dark gem tones aren't captured very well. Not even when you get up close:

But here's an amusing thing, and it's red, too! If you are familiar with Alaska, you know that instead of spring, we have a season called breakup. Snow melts, ice on bodies of water breaks up (could that have anything to do with the name of the season???), nothing's growing yet, and in some places the water, mud, and dead grass form a slurry that sticks to everything. Behold a car that has captured the quintessence of breakup:

There's so much to love, from the bungee cord trunk latch and duct tape-and-cellophane taillight to the crisp and tidy way the essential windows were cleaned, leaving the back windows and body coating completely undisturbed. Missing wing mirror is a nice extra touch. This, my friends, is breakup in automobile form!

Art is where you find it. Take a close look at the even-ness and wonder of the mud-grass melange. It has a special mucky textural beauty that you never see on the flanks of a shiny Los Angeles Cadillac convertible.

Happy breakup, everybody! May it be nasty, brutish, and short. And then bring on the flowers and midnight sun!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Knit Goes On

My hat-a-thon for the Mountain Huts hat sale is over, and it's on to bigger things. You still can go to the silent auction if you're reading this on or before May 10, 2013. Loussac Library in Anchorage, 6-7 pm is the hat auction before the big meeting and slide show.

But planning and making the hats was so much fun, I'm already plotting what I could do for next year. A fish hat? A mountain hat? Breast hat? Another, even crazier mohawk? The possibilities are very exciting!

Meanwhile, the knit goes on. Sixareen Cape is slowly growing. It's fair isle; it's fine gauge; it's going to take a while.

So I started another project, a Kaffe Fassett-designed striped sweater. Plain stockinette no-brainer stitching, portable with only 2 balls to carry around at a time, peasy, right?

I loved the colors the minute that photo slammed into my eyes. And of course it would--Mr. F has a unique way with color, though usually his designs are crazy complicated with a zillion intarsia bobbins. But this is just stripes of alternating varigated yarns (color varigations also designed by Fassett, too, naturally). The whole thing was sold as a kit, which made it a much better deal than buying pattern and yarn separately. What's not to like?

The pattern is what not to like. I had already decided on a different neck than the cowl from the get-go. It looks fetching on the model, but she's probably 6'3", and I'll bet she's a lot neater than most people when she eats soup.  Fortunately,  I have been tricked by patterns before and learned from the experience(s). So I read the whole thing through, contemplating each instruction carefully. Good thing. Right off the bat there was the overall stripe prescription. The picture is a 4x4 stripe, that is, 4 red, 4 dark. The pattern says 4 red, 2 dark. Whaat?? I scrutinized the picture with a magnifying glass. Definitely 4x4. Scrutinized the bag of kit yarn. Exactly half and half. So if I unquestioningly followed the pattern, I would have a serious yarn deficit about halfway through.

At this point, the pattern is a mere suggestion. I've already got what I wanted from the kit--beautiful stripe effect in a stunning color combination. So--4" bottom ribbed welt? Too wide. 2 1/2" is much better. Using both yarns together to knit the selvedge stitch? A recipe for a fat column of stitches that won't make a good seam--forget it. 29" total length? I don't think so. (See 6'3" model remark above). And I've got plenty of time to contemplate the actual neckline. For sure it won't be a cowl!