Things handmade. About making things.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Scarf & Hat (& *sweater)

Febrrrrruary is living up to it's reputation with one heck of a wind chill whipping around out there. I met my friend Omer Kardes Yukseker for brunch yesterday at the glacially slow Lakeview Lunch and he caught me de-layering as only a person who lives in a cold and windy climate can.

I am not trying to hang myself.
I like the cold & I like layers.
I mean, I don't mind the cold when I have layers.

I made the scarf 12 years ago when I was living in Istanbul. Yarn selection was limited to stuff with acrylic and I didn't have a lot of money anyway, so I started playing with leftover yarn & knit squares to make a sampler. I have yet to make a sampler because every time I start a square I get "ideas" and sort of run with them. (i.e. Hmm, what could I make out of this stitch, what would it look like in different yarns, what happens if a make a triangle etc.). I think one day I counted over 60 yarn changes in this scarf. That's 60 sets of ends to sew in. And dang, I must have been really on my finishing game the day I did that because the plague of re-emerging ends has yet to manifest itself after 12 years. Proof that it can be done. I have since made variations on this scarf, oh I don't know, a dozen times? That makes about a scarf a year. I'll try to round some up (most have gone as gifts), because no two are exactly alike. I get a lot of comments on it and lots of people have asked how it's done (ans: easy). So coming (probably not that soon) to a blog near you, The Lite-brite Scarf!

The hat is my favourite mindless hat. It is a short-row hat. All garter stitch. This one elicits a lot of positive feedback too - I think it is the colour. It's made from one ball of Lang "Tosca Degrade" yarn that I picked up in Germany when I was visiting my sister last fall. It's 55 wool/45 acrylic- not my usual preference but the colour (663.0203) was irresistable & it's holding up well. I find acrylics often have a special way of pilling & this hat has become somewhat fuzzy and I think will lean toward matting over time. It's not a mohair/cashmere/alpaca/wool bloom - it is fuzzy. I made my first of these hats about 6 or maybe 7 years ago for a friend who was undergoing cancer treatment. I wanted to make him something modern and mediaeval and soft all the same time. Since then I've probably made 20 of them in different yarns. I think they are easy and if you are comfortable with grafting techniques and picking up stitches, there is really not much to 'em. It's a lot of words to write out 'though & one day I will do it because people keep asking me. But don't hold your breath.

The delicate pink scarf is a Turkish Oyali Yazma. It is fine cotton, block printed with a floral pattern and then edged with delicate little flowers. In this case the flowers are made with a straight needle and fine cotton thread. It's an older piece easily 40 years old and probably a bit older than that. I love yazma. I have a somewhat obscene collection of them. Maybe one day I will learn how to do it. Before my eyesight fails. It would take spending a good deal of time with ladies who know the art & craft of it. It is a true folk art, if you ask me. (Okay you didn't.)

And finally, (*the sweater).
Ummm, I didn't make it.
Isn't it amazing that those of us who knit often find ourselves muttering under our breath, "*I didn't knit it", or "*I bought it," when anyone compliments us on something that we didn't make ourselves? And frankly, if I knew the soul (or souls) who created this, I'd proudly state that my friend, mother, sister, neighbour or whoever had a hand in it. It's DKNY. I bought it at Winner's for a good deal less than the yarn would have cost. It is pure wool & soft and warm and lovely. It's a cardi knit in one piece for the body with the sleeves and collar knit separately. I would describe the stitch as a knit/purl chevron. It has nice shaping and little plackets at the back reminiscent of jacket details. Oh, I wish I'd come up with this!!! The only drawback is that the three buttons tug at the button holes - they need a little finishing. I have worn it 5 out of 7 days this season so far. It forced me to abandon a black sweater for myself because as long as I have this lovely sweater (which also to it's credit fits easily under all my coats), why should I suffer through making two identical sleeves???

I suppose bakers and chefs might mutter that they picked the hor d'oeuvres from the freezer at Loblaws but who else besides knitters fesses up in such a.....sheepish way?

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