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Excessive

Goodness - thanks for the nice comments about the socks! It really is a fun, tidy pattern, sensibly and clearly written (would you expect anything less from The Great Grumperina?) but plenty interesting to knit. Just one (very mild) warning about the pattern - the zigzag stitch does indeed make for a hugging, supportive fit, but it comes at the expense of lateral stretch in the fabric. DON'T worry too much about mods to make them smaller, unless you have very wee dainty little fairy feet. I wear a size 6 shoe, and found that I couldn't get the cuff over my ankle on the first go-round, when I'd blindly tried doing the whole thing on size 0s.

Everything yesterday was excessive. In eighteen waking hours, I:

  • drank enough coffee to float the Spanish Armada;
  • sent out more rock-solid queries and proposal packages than I normally do in a week;
  • got excited about some more ideas I'll solidify later
  • ate Ghandi's weight in butter chicken and tamarind pickle;
  • spent something roughly equivalent to the GNP of a small country on yarn;
  • talked until my tongue ached;
  • single-handedly brought about the extinction of several species of fish in a sashimi-related natural disaster (also known as "dinner");
  • poured cup after cup of sake for my dad, and accepted those proffered in return, until we were both pleasantly maudlin and weepy;
  • knitted and knitted and knitted and knitted.

I mean, if you're going to do anything, you might as well do it thoroughly, right?

The lovely-in-real-life Laura and I made the most of an otherwise grey day with some good food and some good yarn-ing. We swung by Knit 'N Stitch in Bethesda, where I picked up some felting-destined Cascade 220 in a pretty heathered rust color:

and then went on to Yarns International, just down the street. I LOVE this shop - All About Yarn is so close it's made me lazy to head anywhere else, but I'd forgotten how beautiful this shop is, full of thoughtfully selected fibers and an almost reverent regard for traditional knitting. They carry an enormous assortment of J&S Shetland jumperweight (I'd say almost half the line), but I knew what I was looking for:

Their own brand of 2-ply jumperweight in natural fleece colors, spun and put up for them by J&S themselves (in Shetland, to boot!). I bought one skein of each of the nine colors, plus a dark wine dyed J&S color I just couldn't resist, in an effort to further my FI education. Here they are, grouped into the basic light-on-dark shadings I'll start with:

That wine red will look dandy, I think, as a single line of pop in the horizontal centerline of the pattern bands. Does it make me a complete loser if I confess that I can't wait to start snipping yarn and swatching and arranging and charting for Armwarmers v2.0 portion of The Fair Isle Project?

We also had a lovely conversation with two extremely knowledgable, very proficient ladies in the shop about Fair Isle method and design and history (the older lady told a funny story about Norman Kennedy whipping off his homemade sweater during the middle of a concert to show her his construction method - "Och, lass, I haven't finished the ends yet, and it's been near twenty years!"). There was some general bemoaning over the Starmore debacle, some really good information exchanged about steeking, and some wonderful advice about good theory books. With their encouragement, I bought this,

which has an amazing discussion of color, and am on the lookout for copies of some other books they recommend. Traditional Fair Isle Knitting, by Sheila McGregor, is supposed to be a really invaluable resource for straight charts and thoughts on line and shape, and of course there was some general swooning over the Starmore book.

Oh, right, and I did a little work on the bag:

That is, I finished all the knitting for it and sewed it up about half way. I changed my side treatment, to create sharply sloping sides that almost meet at the top,

which I think will look a lot more finished and a bit shapelier than the box-with-handles in the pattern instructions. I'm thinking the Kate Spade Bexley Maddox bag

is a spiritual sister to my little project - with that in mind, I'm going to be very thorough with construction for this. No floppy, frowzy felt tote for me - there will be interfacing, there will be turning out through lining, there will be buckles and feet and interior pockets.

But first, there must be felting. I think I just felt a little shiver run down my spine.

Comments

One of the things that has kept me from making this bag is the finishing instructions IK used. I like your choice. I think your end result will be way more stylish than the way IK did it.

You went to town at the yarn store! I agree, I like that style of the Kate Spade bag. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

What a fun day! And I missed commenting on those socks so my comment is: Damn! You are fast.

Oh... I really like the shaped side. The colour work is amazing, I have been following your progress for awhile. I can not wait to see the final product.

Delish on the yarn. And very clever on the bag. Wish I'd thought of that.

Ooh, wow, I think your fair-isle bag will be smashing. I know what you mean about frowsy, frumpy knit sacks. They're not my bag (so to speak) either, but with buckles and feet and the like I'm sure yours will be quite the fashion statement.

I can't wait to see the finished purse, it's going to be amazing. I love the colors you chose, simple - rather than the visual business of the original pattern. Love it.

Wow. Coffee time. I totally meant to post about McGregor's book comment HERE.

*blush*

Love the socks though! I have some Fun and Stripes in the orange/brown/tan combo, and they will become Jaywalkers.

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