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


Wow, very ambitious plans for the year ahead! Pray tell, what is the KipFee?

By Blogger The_Add_Knitter, at 6:10 PM  

Okay, this is happening far too often. Coincidences between us, as VirgoSoulSisters, that is. When I've tried the last 4 "What Kind Of...Are You?" from your page, I come up with the very same answer! And now this...the Almanac. Though with a twist. You've created your own. I'm trying EZ's right from the start. And though I've read it through before, actually following her instructions is a real challenge! May we both have a Prolific and Productive 2007!


By Blogger Margaret, at 8:53 AM  

Ok, sheesh I can be so dense! I should know what the KipFee is since I'm doing one AND in the kal! Thanks for your message, happy knitting

By Blogger The_Add_Knitter, at 9:33 AM  

Dearest Bess,
What a pleasure to catch up w/your recent blog posts - my blog time has been too dang-gum slim over the past few weeks.
LOVE the idea/plan of the Queen's Almanac. How perfect is that. Look forward to reading about your progress as the months go on.
And the posts re your UFOs - right on target for me, honey bun. I'm working on all of mine before I try on any new project ideas!

By Blogger Martha, at 6:12 PM  

I love the idea of your Knitters Almanac. Coincidentally, EZ's K.A. was purchased recently by me from Amazon (a Christmas gift to myself), and I've read about half of it, so far. I love her writing style, and I even understand some of the techniques she describes! Neat lady.

I can't wait to see how this year turns out for you. Last year was the year of No New Fiber. This is the Year of the Almanac. Always some kind of goal going on over at Bess' place! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 3:04 PM  

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Thursday, January 11, 2007  

At long last, my Knitter’s Almanac.
Of course, since it’s written by TheQueen you have to listen to all the back story first. I was inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Kitters Amanac, which just happens to be the first book I ever read by her. It was charming and interesting and I already knew the very bottom most rudiments of knitting so I could read it as literature. But I had never seen knitting instructions written in that unique Zimmermann style before. I couldn’t figure out much of what she was talking about and when I got to the longees I just gave up. I’d borrowed it via InterLibraryLoan and just sent it back. Later I heard about Knitting Without Tears and gave that a go, but it wasn’t till I saw her videos that I became a convert.

From time to time I’ve checked that book out again. My library owns its own copy and I don’t get stumped by her directions anymore. I am not nearly as prolific as she is and couldn’t imagine knitting a whole shawl and 2 or 3 sweaters and all those other things in a single year. And she gives real knitting tips in each month too - which I doubt I’d have to offer anybody. But there are those who, like Ben Franklin, write almanacs for others to follow and there are those of us who do the following. I intend to play both roles with my own Knitters Almanac and I’m writing it for deeply personal reasons.

There are some things I really want to do. And there is one thing I really don’t want to do. I need some sort of time table to follow if I’m go have my heart’s desires in this matter, some external structure to help me get where I want to be, come December of 2007. First the Don’t since there's only one. I don’t want to be knitting Christmas gifts next December. Every year I end up with stiff fingers from trying to get those blanketyblank knitted socks done in the midst of all the festivities. I’ve usually been working on some interesting project that has to be put down and forgotten for weeks and then retrieved from the basket and pondered over while I try to remember what I’d been doing with it. I love the tension and excitement of Christmas but not when it whirls around my knitting needles. A pair of socks takes me a week to knit if I’m serious about it. There are 3 people who want them at Christmas. There is one poor fellow who never gets them. I shall dedicate one month to knitting socks and I intend to have 4 pair of them lying in wait - one for each loved one and a spare ... just in case.

The Do’s are several. I want to finish at least one sweater for me. I want to knit a pair of art socks - I think of them as D’Artagnan Socks. I will explain that as they grow on the needles. I’d like them to be ready for the MS&W competition. Finally, I want to make a color wheel. A hand dyed, hand spun, hand knit color wheel. I’ve toyed with this idea for years, ever since ‘03. At the 06 KR Retreat, Teva Durham gave me the final piece of enlightened creative technique I needed to create this. It’s time for me to giiiit uhpoffit and make it.

And so, without further ado here is TheQueen’s Almanac for 2007

January: Finish The KipFee. At least, my dear ones, I shall devote the bulk of my fiber efforts to that project. I’m getting near the vulnerable quitting point for a Queen’s Sweater. I often get this far and stop working on a sweater, growing dissatisfied or nervous or worried, mostly about the answer to the Dread Question ... Will It Fit? There is a subset question; Will It Look Good On Me? In the case of The KipFee, it does fit. I’ve already pulled it on. And it has so many colors, it’s so busy, it looks neither good nor bad on me, but only like TheKipFee on me. It rather defies any value judgments. It is what it is. Beautiful. Colorful. Nobody will look at me in it, they’ll only look at it. Not something I would want for my entire wardrobe, but for this one special garment, it’s just the ticket.

But a knitter can not live by stranded colorwork alone. There will be those times when a little diversion knitting is called for. Something mindless. Something that, if I could knit without looking, I could knit without looking at it. Therefor, when I have knit 5 inches of the shoulder portion of TheKipFee, I may cast on the mate to BD’s Woolease sock. He deserves to have at least one pair of handknit socks and I’ve already finished the first one. This is a sock that I may take my time finishing. I have enough needles to lose a set in a delayed gratification project.

February: I will cast on the D’Artagnan Socks. You will hear about them, but probably not see them till closer to MS&W. Sometime this month I shall have to order in the yarn I’ll need for them - maybe I ought to look for that today. I must also knit a prototype for a class I’m teaching in March and I’m to provide kits for that, so while I’m ordering sock yarn I may as well order everything I need for those kits as well.

I will continue to plug along on The KipFee since January is already 1/3 over and I have all 10 inches of the shoulder area to knit plus the neck and button band and the darning in of all those ends in the sleeves. Happily, I enjoy darning in ends. I actually saved that part for last, to prolong that delicious last period of anticipation that comes just before you get to wear a sweater. Nevertheless, TheKipFee will become a secondary project, getting only one or two days of attention a week.

March: Lace seems to be knocking at my door of consciousness whenever I think of March. It may be I ought to concentrate on heavy, hot, wool-in-my-lap projects while there is still some cool weather about, but I just see March as a month of lace and I even see the particular lace I have in mind - beautiful varicolored red lace mohair bought 2 years ago for a song, knit into that second scarf in the Victorian Lace Today book - the YO, K2tog thing with the knitted on edging. I’ve never done a knitted on edging and I’d love to try one. This looks like an extraordinarily fast project. It is also beautiful, truly lacy and it calls for exactly the amount of laceweight yarn I already have. If it goes as fast as I hope it will, I may knit two of them.

April: I would like to finish up one of my UFO’s in April. This is a good month to actually do whatever I decide to do with the Stained Glass Vest. April will also be for finishing up any loose ends that may be dangling on TheKipFee (I hope not) and the D’Artagnan Socks.

May: I intend to play only with the pretty things I buy at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I don’t know what I’ll buy so I don’t know what I’ll play with. This will be the Month of All New Things.

June: I very much want to knit a sweater from yarn I spun myself. I should like to devote all of June to spinning. I’ve begun several yarns from stash, all of them pleasing and nice. I’m not sure which one I’ll cary to completion, but June belongs to my spinning wheels. I offer no guarantee I will set all knitting aside. Even in a spinning month there needs must be some sort of knitting available and it must not be too hot. June can bring 99 degree days in Virginia – or cold rain. We’re the south. But we’re Virginia. If there is to be a knitting project in June it shall be those Harem Pants I’ve been toying with for ever and a day. This will be both a design challenge and a skill builder. I have never knit pants but I have the sweat pants pattern that was in IK a few years ago and I also have More Small Sweaters, which has a tights patterns. This project will require a Purchase from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. This can be arranged, I am sure.

July: This is the month of Christmas Socks. I have a commitment to knit at least 3 pairs of socks each Christmas and an extra pair for me or someone else won’t hurt. Nothing else but sock knitting in July.

August: For many years I’ve talked about making a colorwheel from hand dyed, hand spun knitting. This is the year I intend to do it.

I didn’t get to take art classes as a child. Most kids only get one artsey opportunity and mine was music. I was ahem-ty before I ever made a color wheel by mixing the primary colors with each other plus white, blackand grey. I was enchanted. From that moment on I’ve wanted to make one in my medium; fiber, using my skills; spinning and knitting. Dyeing is a messy activity, best done out of doors, unless you’ve got a Real Studio. Spinning is a wonderful summertime activity – it’s not a sticky hot process. Teva Durham showed me how to do the actual knitting, via short-row intarsia magic. This sounds like a perfect August project.

September: Ahh yes. My Birthday Month. That means there should be something treat-like about this month’s project. This being the case, I hereby give myself permission to do anything I want in September, depending on what feels like a treat to me. Work on a UFO? Start up Bricca the Aran? Begin something new? The only important thing about September knitting will be that it’s high on the Treat-0-Meter.

October: I want mittens. I want fingerless gloves too. Perhaps someone else will want some as well. Mittens and fingerless gloves take about as long as socks. Of course, I may be knitting on something real, (a.k.a. a sweater). Maybe a sweater I started in September. But one needs Other Things to knit on when real knitting feels burdensome. Mittens would be good to work on in October.

November: By the time November rears it’s wint’ry head, I seriously suspect I will be knitting on a sweater or some other bit of Real Knitting, something decided upon during some equinautical weather shift or perhaps chosen during October’s harvest festivities. If I am not, I shall begin a shawl, for I have yarn for two of them and I’d really like to have one. Something snuggly and cozy to cuddle into during the long winter months. Both alpaca and a delicious mohair blend lurk in those lovely blue tubs in the den. Both of them yearn to become shawls. If a previous piece of Real Knitting has already staked out the month of November, my mindless knitting will be lace cuffs. I like knitting lace. I want some lace cuffs to slip beneath ordinary sweater sleeves and make them fancy.

December: It is my fervent hope that I will not, with my abundant free knitting time, try to knit MORE Christmas gifts for unsuspecting recipients. My desire is that December be Freedom Month. The month when I may diddle and fiddle and dabble with whatever strikes my fancy. Or keep on working on some project that would otherwise have to be put down, and perhaps forgotten about, to fulfill my self-imposed gift obligations. Or start 2008 Christmas socks if I just can’t endure a December that doesn’t include Sock Knitting.


Here you have it. A year of knitting. A year of good ideas. A plan for knitting. Not carved in stone, of course, but knit, of fine elastic wool that can give with circumstances, or even be ripped out if need be. But that will stretch to fit a life full of the joys of fiber.

posted by Bess | 5:05 PM