February 20, 2006


The woman for whom I'm knitting the chemo cap started her treatments last week, so I've been making a concerted effort to get the cap finished. Here is how it looked, as of yesterday evening:

Shedir 001.jpg

Project: Shedir, from the 2004 issue of Knitty devoted to breast cancer awareness
Yarn: Rowan Calmer
Needles: Size US 3

With all of the cable crossings, this cap is quite a lot of knitting. But I'm into the crown shaping (I hope you can see the star on the crown beginning to emerge from the cables, at the top of the photo), and am grateful that every decrease round results in fewer stitches to knit.

In Two Swans Yarns news, I've uploaded photos and information on all of the yarn packs for the felted bags in Nicky Epstein's new book, Fabulous Felted Bags, and you can see them here. Now, not all of these bags may be to your taste. But think of them as little works of art, as insights into Nicky Epstein's imagination, as occasions to practice intarsia, or short row shaping.

Years ago, my friend Laura-Lee wove for herself a dress and shawl for her 40th birthday. Today that dress and that shawl hang in her living room, displayed as one would display treasured Japanese kimonos. I can imagine doing the same thing with these bags -- as a testament to what knitting can be, as a way of "showing off" my knitting skills, perhaps using the bag as a display case for a treasured pair of ebony knitting needles and a fine wooden drop spindle.

Posted by Karen at February 20, 2006 03:19 PM

That is such a pretty hat! And I really like your intarsia, even with the subtle stripes.

Hmm, Nicky Epstein's bags. Well, I appreciate them, that's what I'll say. The Jacobian is still the only one I would make myself. But I like that she just went for it, you know? And I was one of the few who loved Bjork's swan outfit years ago, so I do like the humor in that bag.

Posted by: Patti at February 20, 2006 03:56 PM

I ***adored*** Bjork's swan outfit, but the swan bag is just not good. Not good at all.

Posted by: Kit at February 20, 2006 10:02 PM

Bjork's outfit was a costume. I appreciated it for the theatre it was.

With respect to the bags and Kit's rather judgmental judgment -- the swan bag is just perfect for the person who needs to bring into her (or his) life the power, the grace, and the energy of the swan.

(I feel a whole entry about totemic animals about to be written....)

Posted by: Karen at February 21, 2006 06:09 AM

(Sniffandsnort) I *have* a totemic animal buddy. It's the porcupine...or, is it a badger? Spotted hyena? Jackel? No--wait, wait, just a minute--slimy, with some kind of neuro-toxin-spit thing going on...and fangs...long, long fangs...

I *still* say that particular swan bag lacks something. Maybe it's that power, grace and energy you're talking about.

Posted by: Kit at February 21, 2006 11:30 AM

Which reminds me -- the Feral Knitters need a mascot.

Posted by: Karen at February 21, 2006 12:40 PM

It was wonderful seeing you last night! I didn't know you were creating Shedir! I'm going to knit that one day soon as the one time I tried it before, I just did not succeed. OK now I must go fondle my new yarn!

Posted by: Rebecca at February 21, 2006 04:09 PM

Hey, Rebecca, so glad you could join us Ferals last night! There is a reason that Shedir is rated *extraspicy.* I'm up to round 70, and so far the chart is without error -- but the chart would not be an easy one to follow if the knitter did not have a lot of experience with reading charts. When you start yours again, I'll be happy to guide you, if you get stuck or just plain want encouragement.

Posted by: Karen at February 21, 2006 04:27 PM

Dear Karen -
I stumbled across your blog tonight while researching Jean Wong's Japanese finishing techniques. I live in New England and don't have the luxury of being able to study with Jean in person. I know she has two DVDs available which demonstrate her techniques. Do you know anything about them...the quality, the demonstrations, etc.? I am thinking about purchasing them but I would like to know your opinion. I am only an intermediate knitter, but consider myself a "work in progress" as I try to learn as much as I can. I probably rip out a good percentage of what I knit since I'm very picky about the finished product.
Any insight you could provide about the DVDs would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time and support. I can be reached at the following email address: Maureenea@cox.net
Thank you very much...and happy knitting!

Posted by: maureen at February 21, 2006 07:24 PM

Hi, Maureen: I was suitably impressed with Jean Wong that I did buy her DVD set and it arrived in the mail yesterday. (I haven't yet watched it, other than the few minutes of it that she showed during the class.) So, speaking for myself, I thought it was worth the money -- price is a little more than a typical hardbound book.

However, to the question whether you should buy it, I have to say:

(a) it depends on what you're looking for. If you want information on casting on, binding off, seaming, picking up stitches for a neckline, then this DVD set might be for you. If you're looking for knitting tips that apply to knitting dilemmas other than finishing, you'd best find another resource.

(b) it depends on how you prefer to learn. When I got my Master's in Education, I remember reading studies that show that *most* people prefer to be taught something by direct, hands-on experience, one-on-one or in a class; second most preferred method is by being shown (not hands-on); third most preferred method is by reading something in a book/manual . . . and way down at the bottom of the list was learning something through a video.

Again, speaking for myself, I like the social-ness of the classroom situation, and if somebody tells me something, I can carry that auditory memory for a long time.

Posted by: Karen at February 22, 2006 10:05 AM

I love that hat! It looks so soft and comforting.
And yes, I want to make some of those Nikki bags. Seems I'm making a lot of bags right now while I wait for my SIZE to change. See you soon!

Posted by: Abby Cohen at February 22, 2006 10:54 AM

I nominate Kit for mascot.

Posted by: Patti at February 22, 2006 02:57 PM

What a pretty hat, your friend will love it. That's such a nice thing to do for a friend in need. I hope her recovery goes well.

Posted by: Linda at February 23, 2006 05:59 AM