July 12, 2007


I have three things to accomplish for homework before the Nihon Vogue class convenes again on July 21 --

(1) Knit Project #1, a pullover vest, from a provisional cast-on above the waistband ribbing, up to the point where I'd begin decreasing under the armholes,

(2) Knit Project #2, a top-down raglan sweater, from the provisional cast-on at the neck edge, down to the point where I'd need to add ease under the armhole,

(3) Knit a 6" x 6" gauge swatch for Project #3.

What I can cross off as completed, to date:


This is my top-down raglan. (The yellow cord in the center is the provisional cast-on for the neck.) We have our choice of knitting this in plain stockinette, or incorporating some kind of a stitch pattern. I chose to put a cable down the center of each sleeve, as well as the center front. When our class met last month and Jean was showing us some of her sweaters she'd brought as examples, we noticed that the cabled ones had a large cable on the center front only -- the center back had some other stitch pattern, but not a cable. One of my classmates asked why that was. Jean said it is the custom in China to not have a cable in the center back, because it might visually look like the person wearing the sweater had a queue. (I didn't completely understand the explanation, but discussing this later with someone else, I came to understand that wearing a queue was something that the British imposed on the Chinese, as a humiliation. If anyone cares to add further insight to this topic, please leave a comment.) I decided to leave the back of my top-down raglan sweater cable-less, figuring I can follow my teacher's lead on this.

This top-down raglan is the most fun I've had knitting in a long time. I just knit around and around, increasing at first every other row, than later on, every third row (we calculated all of the increases ahead of time). It was completely fun, just enjoying my stitch patterns and especially the color and feel of my yarn. I knit this on a size 6 needle, and my yarn was Me, the cushy-soft cashmere and merino blend from Naturally Yarns. These yarns came identified by color number only, but I gave them names for my website. I call the color Blueberry because it reminds me of those dusky blueberries you see in the summer.

Project #1, the vest, is a different story. We are knitting the front and back in pieces, and will seam it later. I have started one piece. Let's call it the back. Now that I've learned to think in centimeters, I can tell you that I have 20 cm to knit, from the top of the waistband ribbing to the underarm. I've knitted a little more than 8 cm. And then I'll have to knit the other piece. Let's call that one the front. I'm using Rowan 4ply Soft in the color Rain Cloud, on a size 3 needle. So it's a fairly fine gauge and I have quite a bit of knitting ahead of me between now and July 21. But I'm not hyperventilating. Yet.

I think I'll make Project #3, a set-in sleeve pullover, for my daughter Allegra. She is more petite than I, so this project might be a little less knitting than if I made something for myself -- and, let's face it, I want to compensate for the fine-gauge, in over-my-head projects (like Project #1) with some easier, larger gauge and smaller overall garments whenever I can. Allegra and I are discussing various shades of pink. Once we settle on a color and a yarn, I'll get going on that homework swatch.... Stay tuned.

I finished the homework of the top-down raglan on Sunday. Also on Sunday, I went to the wedding reception for my niece, who'd been married for exactly one month.

My niece and her new husband. He looked incredibly happy, and she looked pretty darned happy, too.

Mother and father of the bride -- otherwise known as my big brother and his wife. Bro said, "Where's Scott?" When I explained that Allegra and I had to be the family representatives because Scott was in Chicago on business and Jennie begged off on account of homework, Bro said, "Tell Scott I wore a tie just for him!" So I took a photo to document this. See, Scott? He does too own a tie.

Backpedaling in time -- over the week of the Fourth of July we were on vacation in the San Juans. Among other activities, "we" put up a small yurt on some friend's property --

This little cutie is the model of yurt that they call a Sparrow. You can click here to find out more info. I say that "we" installed it, but of course I had no more part of it than to take the photo. Notice the great view over the water? Really an idyllic spot.

"We" also installed a hexagonal tent -- similar idea to a yurt, but with a metal frame and zippered, tent-like door:


Now, back home from vacation, it's business as usual. I got the Two Swans's Specials page uploaded -- red, white, and blue yarns on sale this month!

I'm receiving a bunch of new products, right now, and adding them to the site as quickly as I can. So far --


New patterns from Fiber Trends -- another great shawl from Evelyn Clark called the Gypsy. A baby blanket that's one of those knitting patterns inspired by traditional quilts, by Joy Geib Doss. Special issues of magazines from Interweave -- Interweave Felt devoted entirely to felting projects, with a how-to article by Washington's own felting expert Bev Galeskas and a baby booties project by her, among many other projects! And a new version of Knitscene for Fall 2007. (Is fall here already?!) And, new colors in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock -- new for 2007, Tickled Pink, Devon, and Envy, and, just for fun because I love purple and green together, Jungle Stripe ( a color new to Two Swans, but not new this year).

Last, not least, I got in some Bullfrogs & Butterflies, a lightly-plied, easily felted yarn from Lorna's Laces, with this cheery slipper project in mind:

A happy pair of slippers like these will turn around even those gloomy mornings when you got up on the wrong side of bed.

Posted by Karen at July 12, 2007 03:42 PM

I love the fact that you guys get different stories than us as you take the Nihon Vogue course. Nice sweater so far!

Posted by: Kelly at July 13, 2007 10:21 AM

I've looked at those Rainier yurts before. David & I have both thought about living in them, though having one for camping might be more enjoyable in the long run.

Posted by: Mel at July 21, 2007 09:23 AM

Hi Karen,
This is in regard to the Chinese queue. The British didn't force the Chinese male to wear queue. The Manchu did that.

Posted by: Betty at July 24, 2007 06:44 PM