Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Monday, July 21, 2003  

Have you seen the new Family Circle Easy Knitting? This is not one of my favorite knitting publications anyway and I haven’t found much of interest in an issue in a long time. I think this fall issue is a cut above what they’ve been providing lately. As usual, the adds, especially the Tahki-Staci Charles add, have my favorite designs in them but this time I also liked the sweater on page 48 (#17) with the wide V in seed stitch, bordered by slanting cables and the coat in plus sizing with the folded lapels. I liked the pale blue sideways knit boatneck sweater on page 33, but I would never wear it because it wouldn’t be flattering on me. But it looked great on the model and I wish I could wear it. The ribbed sweaters are good looking, and there are quite a few of them, some with stripes - but they don’t tempt me. I am not particularly fond of ribbing - but I think the sweaters are classic and attractive. Just - I’d rather pay for machine ribbing. Just a thing with me. I liked the fashion treatment of the cowl necked, cable front sleeveless sweater - wearing it layered as if it were a vest. That is something I might try - I love cowl necks period - I always feel like I’m wearing a hug. I even have a big loose cowl neck shell done in Dune that I may try with a thin silk sweater underneath this winter. At least, I’ll experiment.

I didn’t like a single crochet sweater and particularly despised the coat with flowers scattered on it on page 65 #35. It looked like 70’s fashions which I thought were extremely dumpy even at the time. I like crochet. I don’t do it much because it seems to irritate my overworked, over-keyboarded, aging hands in a way knitting doesn’t. But I hate the unimaginative way crochet is used in designs. Those Irish lace flowers are really beautiful - but to just blob them on a floor length single crochet coat = it does nothing to display their loveliness. And I can promise you, once that coat has been worn a little, those flowers will curl into little balls and their design will be lost.

But if you want to see really gorgeous crochet sweaters, try to find a copy of either The Crochet Sweater Book, by Sylvia Cosh or Glorious Crochet Sweaters by Nola Thiess. These books give you crochet as it was ment to be - beautiful, showcasing the yarn, the colors, even the stitching possibilities, and absolutely un-datable. They are both out of print but I did find the following shops offering GCS for sale. Not going to promise you they actually have it - but they do offer it. And you might check with Alibris or Bookfinder dot com.

The Woolery
Needle Arts Bookshop

A further caveat - I prefer the Cosh book but only slightly. And I know I've seen another crochet sweater book in the big bookstores that I thought was also a high quality fine design book. So good stuff is being offered, you just have to look for it.

The articles in this fall's FCEZ are interesting and of the sort I look for in a knitting publication. I liked the hat in the News&Notes section from the Lion Manual of Worsted Work - looked to be about 1910 and wonder if I can copy it. Hmmm - what an interesting idea - well. hmmm.

A report on my young spinning students. I forget, when I don’t have kids as students, how bold and adventurous they are. I love teaching kids. They are sure that they’ll master things and are tolerant of their early errors because they are used to being in the learning mode and expect things to require work in the beginning. They are just so darn bold!! My girls brought Dorset fleece - one had been covered with a shirt and was extremely clean, and one had been played with so much by the 4 year old brother that it was half straw and half wool. It washed beautifully into fluffy white locks - short, but surprisingly soft.

They grasped spinning immediately and quickly began filling their spindles. I gave them some brown lambswool roving to work with because it had a nice grab to it. And yes yes, I did did show them my ugly babies so they would feel confident they could quickly learn to spin nice yarn. But, as I said, they were already sure they were going to spin nice yarn. We did lots of park-and-draft spinning over a padded card table on the back porch and they left with half full spindles. They mastered joining immediately - spinning the yarn tightly against their pinched fingers, carefully overlapping the fuzzy ends, then letting the pinch go and the twist zip into the joins. Wow! is about all I can say to these girls.

I had some locks of my corriedale already washed so I showed them how to comb a lock and then stretch it out into a length. I gave them locks to experiment with and they combed, drafted and spun them right up! Their homework is to wash up as much of their fleece as they want (“May we wash all of it?” “Sure!) and when it is dry they can begin combing the locks. And spinning them if they wish. Or they can wait till next Sunday when I plan to teach: making skeins, plying, setting twist and spinning from the fold, making both smooth and textured yarns along with winding center pull balls.

Mighty pleased with myself, I am. Just think what we can do with next year’s 4H class when these gals show off what they already know how to do!!

posted by Bess | 7:36 AM