Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thoughts on Jamieson and Smith, Baby Surprise Jacket, and Circular Stranded Baby Surprise Jacket

It has been a big year for the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern (BSJ) at my house.  I completed one as a baby gift, and that started the roll.

In an attempt to use up some yarn and send more BSJ to Salaam Cultural Museum for donation to Syria, I made a decision to repurpose some yarn that I had purchased in Scotland. It wasn't much, four little skeins of Jamieson and Smith  2 ply jumper weight that I purchased AT Jamieson and Smith. The repurposing/giving away of yarn I bought ELSEWHERE is a big deal to me.

I also added in some Harrisville Shetland purchased in North Carolina. The bottom line is that it's JUST TOO HOT where I live to own a lot of wool shawls (or Fair Isle colorwork) , likely the intended use for all this yarn.  So, here are some results:

This little one I worked on while in Ireland this May....more on that trip in future posts~






The sweater below one requires some explanation:  while searching for a BSJ child size pattern (as I also have a stash of heavier weight wool around here) I found an interesting variation. Apparently Elizabeth's Grandson, Cully Swanson, has been part of the family business for a while and he is a knitter. He came up with the Circular Stranded Baby Surprise Jacket. I thought the pattern pricey, a bit over $11, but I bit. Here's my explanation from Ravelry:


I love stranded colorwork and doing the bsj in circular fashion sounded intriguing. If you love interesting construction, don’t let the three steeks put you off. Cully has made his Grandmother proud. There are notes for three sizes here plus a blank graph so you can design your own Fair Isle.
There are some things I might have changed. Where stitches are increased, after the cuffs and in the back, there is a pattern break due to the increased number of stitches. To deal with this, I lined up the center of the pattern before and after the increase on the back, so it doesn’t look bad or off, and isn’t very noticeable. I think that’s what Cully did however he does not mention it (at least I didn’t see it and I read it pretty well). However, I would suggest doing a different pattern on the cuffs, perhaps a k1p1 rib, which would contrast but not interrupt the pattern.

My other small issue is that it turned out short, so I wound up continuing on the live stitches at the hem for another 1.5 inches then I did a turned hem at the bottom, rather than the continuous garter edge.

That said, I really loved the project and will do it again.






 So the other day, My friend J (who lives in Canada and who I will meet some day) put up on Facebook that J&S is now producing "Shetland Heritage Naturals" in jumper weight.  



When in Scotland I also purchased natural color roving and  spun and knit this, my pride and joy  Hap (note to self, better label this) 




J&S, who I hope will forgive me for scooping photos from their website, also produced Shetland Heritage  which reproduces the naturally colored yarns from 19th century Fair Isles. 



I LOVE this stuff! So...yes, there will be more in my stash at some point.   Here is a photo of a sweater taken in Scotland of similar colors and tradition.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sankt Hans - Treasure Island Shawl

Thanks to a Danish friend, I learned that  Sankt Hans (Saint John's) Day, is June 23rd. It is of course the name day for St. John.  It is conveniently timed with the summer solstice on June 21st, (and allowed early Christians to co-opt yet another pagan celebration!!).  Danes celebrate with a bonfire and a party.  Here is more information on the celebration courtesy of the Museum of Danish America.

I found this inspiring video on youtube, featuring a song sung at the midsommer bonfire, with lyrics by poet-artist Holger Drachmann, and a beautiful montage of paintings by the Skagen artists



I celebrated Sankt Hans by completing blocking of my Treasure Island Shawl. I had almost finished it two years ago when my family and I went to Denmark, it then took me two more years to complete the knit on lace edging!  I'm very pleased. 





Happy Solstice to all!!


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Bunnies and Baby Sweater

So, this is called a "haystache." 





It is a bunny nesting behavior, a way to collect hay to make a nest. Rosa thinks she's expecting (it is Mother's Day, after all). My other alert to the state of Rosa's hormones was that when I checked them this morning, there was a huge amount of matted fur in the corner of the cage (a big waste, to a spinner!)  



This all is the result of sister bunny (that would be Blanca, "the quiet one") mounting her unsuspecting sister, Rosa, two weeks ago. Blanca probably did this to establish her dominance. The mounting behavior then tricks the victimized Rosa into a series of hormonal events called "pseudopregnancy," ie ovulation. Too bad, as I would love at some point to have some kits! A few minutes after I got the haystache photo, Rosa dropped the hay and decided to eat it. A much better use!


On the knitting front, I completed a sweater for cousins who just had a baby girl. The pattern is "Helena" from Knitty. Done in some leftover Knitpicks Brava Worsted. I ran low on yarn and rather do the ties I did some button holes and added buttons.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Two Baby Sweaters

There have been thoughts of babies.

I have done in the past some knitting for Afghans for Afghans. This group has not been as active for several years. I cannot keep up well with what's going on in Afghanistan and the pullout, the not pullout, the NGO's etc etc,  but if I'm reading Ravelry right, they are now taking baby socks, mittens, and hats.   That said, I had a never worn wool baby sweater. As they are not taking sweaters, I sent this one to "Hats and More for War Torn Syria." 

It is done from Carol Bareny's classic baby sweater pattern, free online. I have done this sweater many times. And so has everyone else...there are 3100 versions out there! The wool is Jamieson and Smith, leftover from a long ago Sasha Kagan pattern.



and in the meantime, someone in my family had a baby, her name is Sophie. Here is EZ's Baby Surprise Classic. I apparently clipped the pattern from Knitter's Magazine from 1989...rather wise on my part, if I may say so... I have also done this one as a gift many times. It's from sock yarn...I keep all my ball bands but of course can't find this one...I do love it though and Sophie's Mom thinks it will fit in the autumn when she is 6 months old...




Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Easter Bunnies

Happy Easter from Blanca and Rosa. They are poor spring fertility symbols as I don't know where I would put more bunnies...but I'm working on how I might do that. 







As I have gotten better at grooming them, I have gotten better at spinning because as we know, it's all about the fiber prep!  I have two colorways: Blanca and Rosa!


Friday, March 4, 2016

FO: Lotus Crescent

What is it about KPPPM? I just LOVE the stuff. I don't know why exactly.  The  color repeats seem to be well distributed for a just-right kind of pattern. 

I really prefer a springy merino heavy fingering weight for many projects and I have a number of brands of yarn that fit that description, including this Koigu. 

Another thing that I really love is pairing a solid with a color changing yarn.

So it was lovely to find a striking pattern, Kieran Foley's absolutely stunning Lotus Crescent, to pair LaJolla Black Pearl with various KPPPM. There are lace "partitions" in the pattern.  Love!  I would have knit it larger if I'd had more of the black. The Ravelry page for this project has many beautiful variations on this, possible because of all the color changes. I WILL knit this again!  And I will be pairing black with colors of KPPPM for other projects...



It's a very stained glass look; here's some of the real thing from the Cathedral in Roskilde from two years ago





Sunday, February 14, 2016

2016 Colonial Faire and Muster at Wormsloe

My friend Jeri works at Wormsloe State Park in Savannah. Last fall she was looking for volunteers to spin at the Colonial Faire and Muster and I volunteered. Wormsloe is a historic site; here is an explanation from here

"A breathtaking avenue sheltered by live oaks and Spanish moss leads to the tabby ruins of Wormsloe, the colonial estate of Noble Jones (1702-1775). Jones was a humble carpenter who arrived in Georgia in 1733 with James Oglethorpe and the first group of settlers from England. Wormsloe's tabby ruin is the oldest standing structure in Savannah.

Surviving hunger, plague and warfare in the rugged environment of Georgia, Jones went on to serve the colony as a doctor, constable, Indian agent, Royal Councilor and surveyor, laying out the towns of Augusta and New Ebenezer. He also commanded a company of marines charged with defending the Georgia coast from the Spanish.  Jones died at the beginning of the American Revolution, but his descendants sustained Wormsloe until the state of Georgia acquired most of the plantation in 1973".



according to Wikipedia:

"The practice of slavery had been banned by Georgia's original charter, so Noble Jones used indentured servant labor to tend Wormsloe in the plantation's early years. When the Trustees revoked the ban on slavery in 1749, Jones used slave labor in hopes of making Wormsloe profitable. Jones initially planted several types of crops, including corn, rice, various fruits and vegetables, and possibly indigo. The Georgia Trustees encouraged the production of silk; Jones planted mulberry trees and tried unsuccessfully to produce silk at Wormsloe."

Here are some photos of the event, it was cold although the open fire was warming with a spinning wheel!  There is an impressive mile and a half long allee of live oaks as you enter:








Open fire  cooking demonstration



Demonstrating spinning to kids and adults who don't as a rule understand it either...I have kids hold some fiber and pull it apart then twist it and try again to demonstrate the importance of twist





Blacksmithing




Me in an indigo dyed silk scarf and hand knit arm warmers, my period jacket is linen and cotton from this pattern 



Reenactors came from all over, I did not get good photos of everyone although I did meet a new friend Renee of Pumpkin Town Primitives who was selling  spinning fiber and many other supplies for the reenactor and interested others!