Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Baby sweater? (cough) What baby sweater? (cough cough)

I had totally planned to have the little green aran sweater done by now. But my body had other plans. For the second time this spring, I've been taken down hard by germies. A nasty combo of laryngitis/flu has put me in bed again. I'm able to knit a bit between coughing fits, but I must have a virulent strain of brain-cooties, creating an inhospitable environment for following instructions, cause I totally fugged up the neck shaping. Big time. I don't have the fortitude to fix it yet, so I've put it aside for now.

In the meantime, I'm self-medicating with the restorative stocking-stitchness of Swank.

But I do feel the need to FEED THE BLOG. So here's a few pics of a colossal Aran sweater I knit many years ago as a wedding present for my sister's dear husband. It's Na Craga, from Alice Starmore's legendary Aran Knitting book.

Don't bother asking what yarn I used, what needle size etc... Please! I can't even keep track of the specs on stuff I knit last week, let alone several years ago! I do remember that it was authentic, expensive Aran wool from Ireland and the quality paid off big time. Other than a few pills here and there (it gets a lot of wear I hear) the wool still looks gorgeous.

I repatriated the sweater to display it at a local sheep shearing festival this past weekend, where my knitting guild had set up a little display. Where are my photos of the festival, the display, the sheep, the fleece, you ask? That's a really good question. I can only say in my defense that this event coincided with the start of my germ-activated brain fog, so I didn't bring my camera. Bad, bad blogger.

So can I lull you into thinking this blog is worth visiting if I show you more photos of Na Craga?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Knitting for baby

Swank is moving along nicely (I've done the back and fronts and will be attacking the sleeves shortly), but I've had to put this project on pause because I've got a little baby knitting to do.

Friends of mine just had a lovely baby boy and now that I know the sex, I'm throwing myself on the needles for some marathon baby knitting.

I've chosen Aran Pullover from Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas (a really lovely book).

I hope mine turns out as nice as this one.

My only concern is that the baby is of Scottish heritage, yet the sweater is an Aran design, which hails from Ireland. Plus I'm knitting this thing in green. Am I committing a HUGE cultural faux pas with this thing? What do you think?

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Spring has finally reached us here up North. My native woodland garden is starting to show signs of waking up. I have flowers in my backyard to prove it:

Wild ginger


Red trillium


Periwinkle (ok, not native, but very naturalized in these parts)

With the nice weather comes:

(the good)
- a mood and vitamin D booster shot of grade-A sunshine
- the strong desire to open the windows and clean the house from top to bottom
- exercising outside without freezing my arse off
- the start of Creamsicle season

(the bad)
- a massive home-invasion of resilient ants (this year they're not interested in the little Raid-catered poison buffet we've put out for them)
- being felled by a horrid combo of a spring cold/allergies that put me in bed for 5 days
- knowing that swimsuits are on the horizon and I have to somehow reconcile that with the after-effects of all that heavy, carbo-loaded comfort food I shoved in my mouth these last 8 months
- taking out my summer clothes and realizing that most of them are more than a smidge snug (see previous)

With this in mind, I've started a summery knit which will act as the perfect cover-up till I lose the little "muffin-tops" spilling out of my jeans.

I've cast on for "Swank", from Rowan #29 using Summer Tweed (70% silk, 30% cotton) in a very soft dove grey flecked with pale blue and lavender. It's evocatively named "Ghost". I've finished the back and am now working on the left front.

For the first time EVER in my knitterly life, I took the time to wash and block my swatch to make sure I'd get gauge!

But more importantly, this washed swatch reassures me that once I'm done, the crazy uneven stitches and cardboardy texture of the cotton blend will magically transform into soft, drapey, even fabric. I still skeptically look at my knitting every 5 minutes with fear and loathing, but then I fondle the lovely swatch till the bad feeling passes.