Knitting |Reviews by Judy @ 5:07 PM

winter visitors
The Portland area loves visitors — most of all visitors who will settle in and stay for awhile, enriching the community. And ones that can dig their toes into our mud and enjoy our rain are much appreciated.

I’m not sure if This little flock of geese is a hold-over from those who headed for sunnier climes last fall, or if they belong to a group who headed north a bit out of season, but they don’t appear to be bothered by our gray drizzle.

The topography around where I live features a couple of small mountains and some gently rolling hills divided by marshy streams and small, mostly man-made, lakes. Quite a few ducks and geese of different sorts find the area a fine place to hang out for the summer and raise their kids. I have seen busy, rush-hour traffic come to a halt while mom and dad goose herded their little goslings across a busy 5-lane avenue. And no one seemed at all annoyed. In how many cities would that be the case?

~Kristie asks:

I’ve been noticing that whenever you knit socks that have YO’s, you usually replace it with a M1. Is this because you live in a cooler climate & the lace look would let in cool air, or is it the “look” of lacy socks you don’t prefer? Just wondering.

I had to think about this question for awhile.

It’s not the climate. It’s really not that cold here, usually. And wool socks are warm – even when they feature holes.

I love the look of lace. One of my favorite pair of store-bought socks were cotton lace anklets that I wore year-round until they were totally beyond any further help and, with heavy heart, I was forced to retire them.

I love to knit lace. Two of my unfinished objects are lace projects. They are not unfinished because I don’t enjoy knitting them. It’s just that I got… distracted.

I do knit lace socks. I offer as proof the Mermaid socks I knit for #1 Son’s friend and the Tipsy Knitter socks from last year.

So why don’t I knit more of them?

Sometimes it is because of the look I’m going for. Would the Rooster Feathers look so feathery or the Snake River Socks have that lovely faux-cable look if I had used YOs instead of M1s?

I think the real reason, though, is because socks are for me the meat-and-potatoes of knitting. Not something I really need to think about. Mindless knitting in a small package that I can carry around and whip out whenever I have a few minutes and want to keep my hands busy. Lace, while beautiful, adds a certain amount of necessary thoughtfulness. When looking for a stitch pattern for the next pair of socks, I usually skip the lace patterns because those will be harder and require thinking. Which is a silly excuse, of course, as there are many lovely lace patterns that are easily memorized and have short repeats. And, while I wouldn’t want to knit lace in the dark as I could with a simple ribbed pattern, I’m not often knitting in the dark anyway.

I need to branch out more.
Victorian Lace Today
And this is the perfect book to dip into for a little inspiration.

Jane Sowerby’s extensive research into Victorian-era lace knitting patterns has culminated in this gorgeous book of modernized patterns and lace history. The samples are knit in bright modern colors – hot pink, acid green, periwinkle blue – that fairly glow on the page. Alexis Xenakis used locations in and around Cambridge for his photography. The artiness of some of the shots is in no way obtrusive.

The primarily-charted patterns are mostly rectangular shawls and scarves with knitted-on boarders. I would characterize them as being of easy to advanced intermediate level. There is plenty here that’s accessible to the beginning lace knitter. I don’t think the patterns are as complex as some of those in Meg Swansen’s A Gathering of Lace.

My one quibble is that there is no general index of all of the patterns. It’s a small quibble, as I don’t mind leafing through the book again and again and again. But it’s annoying if I’m looking for something specific and can’t remember what section it was in.

If you are one of the few knitters who has not dipped into Victorian Lace Today, please do treat yourself to a viewing.

Confidential to #1 Son: I’m quite pleased and proud of you. Reading the review in the Wweek Local Cut was a treat. I do have a bone to pick with you about that last paragraph, though. The way I remember the conversation, it went more like this:

#1 Son: We’re going on tour.

Mom: I’m not too happy with you doing that. But I’m not sure you would listen if I said no.

#1 Son: I would go anyway.

Mom: That’s what I suspected. Please be very careful and stay safe. I love you and I want you to come home happy and healthy.



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Stuff I Gotta Do

Follow The Leader shawl

30%

entrelac wrap

0%

Arabesque shawl

100%

Jubjub Bird Socks

15%

I Mog Di

15%

Peacock Feather Shawl

0%

Honeybee Stole

5%

Irtfa'a Faroese Shawl

0%

Lenore

20%

Fatigues henley sweater

10%

Jade Sapphire Scarf

15%

#1 Son's Blanket

2%

Cotton Bag

1%