Monday, June 29, 2009

All Ribbing Aside...

Back in mid-April, I had a few hours between things, I think I was hanging around waiting for the proof copy of No 49 to come in from the printers and decided to use the time to try out an idea. I had seen a girl at the bank wearing a wide rib sweater that was cute. Hers was a chunky knit and it was the collar that interested me. It was a wide rib also, that circled her neck and was buttoned with a large button in front. I often get vague ideas like that, mull them over for a bit and it develops into something to make. I did up a couple of swatches of various ribs, on the standard gauge machine, in a discontinued yarn, Forsell’s Thistledown Silk, even using a colour (pale blue) I didn’t particularly love. I chose the yarn knowing it would steam out fairly flat and it stay that way - I’m not such a masochist that I really wanted a stretchy, clingy ribbed sweater! So, short story, I ended up with a really cute raglan A-line cardy and since I was teaching a class on facings, threw it into my suitcase when doing my Spring seminars and called it my prototype - they loved it!
Back home and settled into knitting for No 50, I had to re-do the 3X3 rib. Having experimented with the facings, one method worked much better than the other and it needed to be made in a current yarn. I chose Yeoman’s Twister in the red/black colourway - actually, there were a couple of cones on the shelf just waiting to be picked. I’ve used this yarn in a couple of double bed garments and found it to be very nice to work with and although soft, doesn’t seem to have much stretch too it, which was one of the properties I was looking for. Twister also has great yardage, 1 cone will do it, with plenty leftover, but I always like to have 2 of one dyelot of anything, just to be on the safe side. It was a very quick knit, with great raglan seams, an excellent teaching project.
I wanted to really check out my pattern and instructions so I asked Cindy from ABQ if she’d be willing to test knit it for me. She likes to learn new things and accepted the challenge. We emailed back and forth a bit, but between the accompanying article and the pattern, other than re-checking numbers - the pattern had not been to my proofreader’s yet - she was able to get her garment finished without extra help from me - she loved the fact it was such a quick knit and marvelled that she usually has to re-knit pieces over - she refers to it as the body count and was pleased she was able to get 5 pieces done only once each! She sent a photo of her completed garment just 10 days after starting. I was impressed! She was able to point out a few things from a beginner’s standpoint that needed more instruction, so we were both happy!.
Along with her photo, Cindy wrote: ‘The way the ribs decrease together at the raglans is really a thing of beauty, Mary Anne. It really fits well too; I guess I need to do the loop and button to finish it up? Thank you for letting me knit this; mostly I had fun and now feel like me and the ribber are friends, after all!’
So, just to give you the head’s up on what’s coming, it’s ‘Just Ribbing’! in No 50 - told you it was a bad hair day...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

absence makes the heart grow fonder?

I know, I know...where the heck have I been?? I’ve got lots of excuses, but why bother, I’m back, thanks to Cecile in Florida! She called yesterday to renew, order a book and to ask me what happened to my blog - she had become a silent, dedicated reader and told me she checked every week to see what I was up to and she’s really missed me - I felt so bad, like I let her down and I promised to get back into it.
I saw a local ad the other day, ‘50 years later and we’re still in business’ - forget the 50 years, 50 issues later and I’m still here, WOW!!
Anyway, we did the photo shoot for No 50 the other day and I’m so happy! It was amazing - you probably don’t realize how stressful the photo shoots can be. Lining up models, figuring out when they can come and then hoping that things will fit and look good. Most of our models are friends, family and friends of friends and nobody’s professional. Sometimes, I get girls showing up that I’ve never seen and don’t even know what size they are. I’ve had it all - someone who tells you they are a size 14 ( you need a 12 to 14) and they get there and they’re really an 18!! yikes, try to be polite and make it work??? Or, just as bad, you need a ten and she’s a two. And, yes, the gal who was an 8 last year and forgets to tell you she’s gained a few...or a girl you just met and she looked fine, but shows up with a new haircut and yikes, what was I thinking!! and you know, they are all doing this for free and doing me a favour and I really do appreciate it.
So, here’s the inside scoop. I went to get my nails done on Tuesday and there’s Shanley (aesthetician, cover of No 41, dark hair, 5’7", beautiful, 30) and Alex, the massage therapist who works with her (new girl, 25, tiny, petite, totally cute). I casually asked them both if they’d like to come and try it out. Knowing they are self-employed, I expected them to be too busy, but after juggling their appointment book, they say they can both come late Thursday afternoon - wow!!, but oh fooey, I’m not quite ready! I’ll make this work if it means staying up all night! Buttons to sew on, final pressing, always a few more ends to darn in and, what to have to go with what???
I generally try to have 4 to 5 girls for 10-12 adult garments, put the same garment on at least 2 girls and it takes some doing, sometimes lasting all day and at least 2 to 3 different days, which means getting everything pressed and ready and shlepping it all over to Bill’s a couple of times. I guess what I’m trying to say, it isn’t just a snap of the fingers.
Okay, it’s Thursday afternoon and they’re due at Bill’s at 5:30pm. The day’s muggy and quite warm, all the requirements for bad hair; mine’s frizzy already and I know fine hair goes limp, yadda, yadda, yadda... I’m worrying already that Alex is going to be too tiny and she’s never modelled before. The girls arrive, and we all hustle around. Bill and I’ve already checked out the lights and his camera settings. I’ve got all the clothes laid out and I have a basic plan of what to start with, until I see how things are fitting and how the girls are posing. 45 minutes later, they’re heading out the door and Bill and I are both feeling like we’re not really sure what just happened! But, we’ve got 340 photos, and all 10 of the adult garments are done and everything looked fabulous!!
Well, the proof is in the pictures!! Stay tuned for a few sneak peak previews of what’s in No 50!! It’ll blow you away!! Now, just the kids to do, later this week and we’ll be all ready for you!