First off, thank you so much for your feedback on my Maude Louise problem. I feel like I’ve got a much better handle on what to do now. I’ve been working on the pattern last week and this week, and I hope it will be ready soon. I’m going to go ahead with the experiment. I want to keep Maude Louise easily available, and I also like the idea that you could choose to pay for the pattern AFTER knitting it, so that you aren’t going blind into the experience.
Above is a photo of Victoire, which I don’t think I ever formally posted on the blog. There’s a link on the Free Patterns page to download the PDF, but that’s it. Victoire (Rav link) was a Christmas present for my sister. She had asked for a cowl, and I really wanted to make her one out of Malabrigo Silky Merino, because I love how that yarn feels on the neck. My first attempt was pretty, but the lace I used was rather too loose, and I ended up with a giant cowl of craziness.
I tried pinning it to see if that would work, but it looked awful. Shame, as the lace is really beautiful. I’m sure I’ll use it again, possibly for a sweater, as I love the way it was so easy to convert to in-the-round knitting, and the way it spiraled up. It would be very pretty for sleeves or for the trunk of a sweater.
But that’s not what I ended up using, of course. I have a bit of a private obsession with plaited basket stitch, as I love the way it looks so much like a woven fabric. I’ve tried to use it before for a failed baby jacket, and I’ve also done some rather secretive experiments with creating the perfect knit spats using plaited basket stitch. It’s such a tight, firm fabric with so little give that I find it very difficult to use it well, much as I love the look, and it’s a fairly difficult stitch to make. The actual instructions are quite simple, but it’s physically a very tight and unyielding stitch that can cramp the hands a bit. I’ve seen a lovely sweater jacket knit entirely in plaited basket stitch, and my hands recoiled as my mind seized on it with alacrity.
Anyway, I decided to make what amounts to a neck jacket. I’d been very taken with some buttoned cowls I’d seen recently, and it seemed natural to make a weird little pseudo-Victorian wrapper. Victoire fits under a sweater or jacket very easily and it’s very soft and warm. The one thing I want to note is that because of the high silk content of the Silky Merino, the button holes on the original Victoire have relaxed from use and will need to be stitched partially shut. I’d suggest, as a result, using larger and more lightweight buttons than I did if you end up making Victoire out of the same yarn.
The color I used, Matisse Blue, is amazing. The intensity is just brilliant, and I truly wish this was a color that flattered me, because it’s just so lovely. As it is, if I can’t wear it, at least I have a sister with black hair and blue eyes who looks amazing in jewel tones. I have an idea for a grey and fuschia sweater that she’ll just have to have. (And on top of this, I have a mother who can wear the smoky blue greys that I love and can’t wear. It’s good, when you’re a knitter, to have family or friends with a wide range of skin, hair, and eye colors, because sometimes you just need to knit with that gorgeous, but unflattering to you shade you found.)
Transitioning right into another long forgotten issue, I’ve kind of been a bad moderator of my Color Coordinated Ravelry group, leaving it neglected for long periods of time. I was thinking that this year, in an effort both to be a better mod and a better blogger, it might be helpful to bring some of the color discussion over here. I’m also planning on participating in the Year of Color this round, for the first time, so that should be a topic for future posts. I spend a lot of time thinking about color, but I rarely talk about it over here.
Darn it! I had one other long forgotten item to bring up, and in the time it took me to write the above short paragraph, I’ve entirely forgotten what I wanted to say. This doesn’t bode well for my memory, does it?
I’m listening to Stéphane Grappelli as I type, and it occurs to me that gypsy jazz is the perfect music for writing and for knitting. It does not distract; it enhances beautifully. You can snuggle right down into a musical phrase and settle there, concentrating on your own work while enjoying someone else’s.
I have so many ideas floating around in my head right now. I want this to be the year I act on more of them. Everything I care about needs a little more attention.
I’ll leave you with a random picture. Nora is a very new reader and has taken to reading random words over my shoulder when I’m enjoying a book. (While I was working on Team of Rivals, it was a little startling to be interrupted with a chuckle and, “Ha ha! Mommy, that’s a funny word!” The funny word was usually something like “previous.”) The other night she branched out and went to look at my bookshelf, where she was delighted to find a book with a title that was so very easy to read.
Edit: I just remembered the last forgotten item! Sometime around Christmas, I accidentally deleted my blog roll. I don’t remember doing this, but it’s gone. I figure it’ll be easier to handle as a separate page these days, since it was getting to be so long. I’m going to add it back in soon. I just wanted to mention it in part to remind myself that it happened and that I need to put it back up.