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mother’s little helper

I am super busy working on norah gaughan vol3, which will include more designs for Pure Merino along with several other still secret morsels.  

Lena offers her assistance.

“Oh no, it wasn’t me. It must have been the mouse I saw run behind here”


Sometimes things don’t end up exactly as we’ve planned. It’s true for all of us in our everyday lives and true for designing hand knit sweaters.


Margery whipped up these sketch while we were designing the Spring ’08 season. We planned sweaters in pairs, each a variation on each other. Lalo was a tailored stockinette stitch pullover with an interesting split neckline, while Latifa was going to maintain the neckline details and have severel godet inserts giving it a flared swing shape. I designed a fairly elaborate ribbed insert, then Brenda (our tech editor) wrote up the pattern and sent it off to be knit. Now, I do wish I had a photo of the ribbed insert or of the sweater as it was when it came back it came back from the knitter, but I wasn’t thinking “blog” back then. I promise to try to be better in the future :) 

So, there is nothing wrong with Margery’s sketch of Latifa and nothing wrong with Brenda’s original instruction for Latifa, yet Latifa just wasn’t working. The godets were too heavy and saggy and complicated. Margery and I took one look at each other and saw the same expression of dismay on each other’s faces. We SO wanted it to work and it SO didn’t. Then the awful feeling of “I should’ve known” came over me. Maybe we had both known on some level, but instincts don’t always win out. Anyway, after taking a few minutes to get over the frustration and a few more to think about it, One of us suggested that Latifa would look pretty darn cute if we cut off all of the flared bits, and kept it plain and tailored like Lalo. We both broke out into big grins and practically jumped up and down. YES!


I love this little sweater so much the way it is now it’s hard to remember that it started out as something different. I need one in dark brown, of course, to layer over my black batiste peasant blouse.

salutations from the sauna

Those darn felted hearts seem to to be all over the house! Actually, they are all over the apartment. While my house (and true home) is in New Hampshire, three nights a week I knit and sleep in apartment in Providence, which is much closer to work. It’s fun to photograph with my landlady’s lovely props.
P.S. I hope all of you made it through Valentines’s day unscathed. 


The painting in my apartment reminds me of the sauna that John (of boyfriend sweater fame) built last summer. Isn’t it beautiful? Sure is sweater weather in New Hampshire now.


This setting makes me want to have wool in my hands – Pure MerinoUltra AlpacaJasper,  or my current yarn of choice Ultra Alpaca Light.  I took some swatching to the sauna last week – not IN the sauna, but I knit a bit on the porch and in the changing room/dining room.  I’m looking forward to a return visit this weekend.  I should try designing after sitting in the heat, during the blissful calm period. I don’t know though, maybe designing goes hand in hand with this hyper, bouncing off the wall feeling I’m experiencing right NOW!

comb of cones

Even at it’s most industrial stage, yarn is beautiful.

Time to finish up my explanations of my 10 useful books list – Useful book #7: Knitting from the Netherlands, Traditional Dutch Fishermen’s Sweaters by Henriette Van Der Klift-Tellegen is a beautiful little gem filled with real Dutch fisherman in their utilitarian and gorgeous pullovers. I learned a lot about both simplicity and detailing from this lovely little volume.

#8, The Vogue Knitting Book is jam packed with all sorts of useful information about casting on and casting off in ways you never imagined – about sewing together and detailing, and designing, and so on and so on.  It’s simply a must. 

#9 & #10  are more stitch dictionaries. The New Knitting Stitch Library by Leslie Stanfield has a pictorial index of the stitches in the front for quick reference – I love that!  It’s also got a lot of nice patterns that I suspect Leslie made up herself, as they can’t be found elsewhere. The Pingouin Stitch Dictionary is an old standby that has undergone many reversions over the years. I have a soft spot for the edition from the mid-seventies, since it was my one of my first knitting books (after Knitting Without Tears, of course).


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