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Story of Myrtle

Story of Myrtle

“Would you knit me another one?”

THUNK went my gut when Mom asked me that. She had just tried on the Myrle cardigan I’d knit for her and the fit was too tight. Fortunately, we were on the phone, so my body language was probably not as nonchalant as my voice.

“What bothers you about the fit,” I asked.

“Let me send it back so you can wear it.”

 

Daylight shines through the lace cardigan as it hangs in window

According to my project post, I cast on this sweater on August 1, 2019. Ah, yes, I took it with me on our 2019 sailing vacation. Too much concentration and dark yarn in the cabin at night meant I worked on other projects.

Autumn 2019 was full of local government campaigning, so there wasn’t much time to knit. Turns out, this wasn’t a great traveling project in the early months, too. In December, I pulled it all back and started over.

By February 2020, as I neared the finish line, I discovered that I placed the armholes incorrectly. Rip back, add a repeat and go for it again.

March 2020 began a time of interior updating and downsizing as we decided to move. It wasn’t until September that my evening knitting returned to the Myrtle. Mom was so patient. “I’ll be happy whenever I get it.”

Myrtle is a lace cardigan knit in fingering weight yarn in one piece from the bottom up. Its main lace panels were repeats of 19 stitches over 16 rows, with the motifs leaning left or right to mirror each other. You can read my notes on how I mapped out the pattern in my Ravelry project.

I made several modifications to the sweater that Mom did like:

  • Lengthened body by one repeat before binding off for underarms.
  • Chose a jewel neckline instead of a scoop neckline, which required three more repeats before binding off.
  • Worked stockinette for the underams instead of the mesh pattern. This created narrower upper arm circumference, which I hadn’t remembered to consider.

We couldn’t find the perfect buttons, so I made Dorset buttons using crewel embroidery wool. Mom loved the buttons, so I’ll do that again.

Dorset buttons on a lace cardigan knit by Alanna Nelson

Yes, you heard it. I’ll do just about anything for my Mom. It makes sense to profit from my muscle memory and lessons learned while it’s still fresh.

So this long-term effort was a good practice run?

Mom went to her LYS and ordered the same yarn again. She sent me the pdf.  I’ll copy and paste the pertinent sections of the pattern so I’m not flipping back and forth as I did the first time.

It’s a lot of knitting, but winter is still long. Cheers to good evenings and cups of tea.

What should we do with the lovely lace sweater she doesn’t want? Me wearing it would require gargantuan mental reframing. Let me use that effort elsewhere. I’m not quite at the point where I can just drop it off at the consignment shop…. your ideas, please!

Message me on Instagram or Ravelry.

Got my spot! Cecilia Campochiaro in Boston September 8 – 9

Sequence Knitting Common Cod Fiber Guild Boston September 2017

Cecilia Campochiaro’s book “Sequence Knitting”

I do believe it was Clara Parkes who introduced me to Cecilia Campochiaro’s book, Sequence Knitting.

The 397 page exploration of knit an purl has been on my wish list for two years – I’m sure the price deters my family from buying me another knitting book. Well, it’s time for wishes to come true.

The Common Cod Fiber Guild is hosting a talk and class with Cecilia on September 8 and 9, 2017  (oh, no, I didn’t have ANYTHING to do with that….). Yours truly will be at both events.

And, I bought myself the book, to continue to play with the joys of knit and purl.  There is much to enjoy and do during these glorious summer days, but I can’t wait to spend a Saturday indoors and explore.

Will I see you at Sequence Knitting in September?

 

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12 Textile Posts of Solstice

A long absence from the blogosphere, for sure… Did you think the election did me in? No, I’ve seen this type of change in Italy and Tunisia, so that’s not the explanation. Transitions sum up the last six weeks, a dozen blog posts lurking in my head the entire time. So I’m finishing 2016 and kicking off 2017 with highlights of my creative days, minutes and dreams. Here we go!

First Textile Blog of Solstice, a travel story. My destination? Seattle. My knitting project? Scarf Ornament.

Some background? Once upon a time, I lived on the Puget Sound. It was my childhood dream come true. While Rome, Milan and Boston held my home address for the last couple decades, my heart still feels at rest in Seattle.  Spending the week before Thanksgiving in Western Washington brought all of those home feelings front and center.

Alanna Nelson finds inspiration in Seattle

While Seattle changes, certain landmarks stay the same.

What to knit? A peruse of my stash found a lovely burgundy Shuibui Staccato and a golden skein of Anzula Milky Way. The colors were lovely, a perfect combo for Scarf Ornament. The perfect color combination, yes. The perfect fiber combination, no. As I wound the very fine, single ply Milky Way on the plane, I knew another yarn needed to replace that golden wonder.

What a perfect excuse for a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island to the lovely Churchmouse Yarns. After perusing the entire store, I returned to the Staccato and chose a yellowy green. Purple and green is not everyone’s color choice, but I have grown quite fond of the results.

Alanna Nelson knits on Washington State Ferries

I couldn’t wait to cast on in the new yarns.

In addition to friends and family, the Seattle Art Museum’s Yves St Laurent exhibit  proved to be a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. Before I knew it, my Seattle sejour was over, but the scarf ornament continued.

Yes, the knitting continues. With home renovation projects, work and holiday festivities, my only knitting time has been on the MBTA. Scarf ornament is not a project for public transit, imho. I’m about 5 repeats into the scarf and only now am I memorizing the essence of the pattern. Working 20 stitches, picking up the pattern and repeating is a slow process on public transit.

Alanna Nelson knits Scarf Ornament by Svetlana Gordon

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SaveAlanna Nelson knits on the MBTA
Soon, I will retire this project to my bedside. But it’s the time of year when I should turn back to my Master Knitter corrections. That story’s for another day in my twelve textile posts of solstice.

When you can knit but can’ t count

Carefully considering the appropriate cast on for the 7 Crescent Shawl by Lisa Barnes, I quickly put 232 stitches on a 24″ size 7 needle the night before our Montreal road trip. By the end of the weekend, the lace portion was complete.

“What long rows,” I thought.

Alanna Nelson knits shawl in New England

Never mind, the rest of the Crescent Shawl was stockinette st short rows… perfect for our sailing vacation which began two days later. I plugged away, enjoying the mindless knitting while watching waves, wind and lightning. Eventually it occurred to me that this shawl was asymmetrical.

Crescent Shawl knit while sailing

The #7 Crescent Shawl with a long tail

 

I’d cast on 332 stitches, not 232! All scrunched up on the short needle, I couldn’t really tell.

Do I finish, I wondered? What if I worked 12 st past the join on the long side, so I would finish up at the same time on both ends? What the heck, it may be just fine. It’s still mindless knitting.

Well, it’s really not. Once finished, no way did I want it to do on my present shelf. Really, the lace pattern is a bit disjointed. Actually, there’s so much going on in the yarn that I really couldn’t see the pattern anyway. But the Noro Mirai yarn is quite soft. I like the yarn, I like the idea of a crescent shawl, but something with lacey, easy to knit holes, something soft and buttery, with light layers would be a better mix for this cotton/silk/viscose yarn.

Rather than rip out and knit again, I think I’m going to write my own crescent shawl pattern. Stay tuned!

When a knitter ultimately leaves her stash

On March 1,  I planned to blog all about Downton Abby and fashion and the parallels in 2016. Fresh from a fabulous holiday in the Grand Canyon with a day spent shopping, exploring and pool side lounging in Las Vegas, I was ready to move on to the next adventure.

Great tassel decoration at the Wynn Las Vegas

Fabulous tassels found all over the Wynn Resort

Was I ready to hear that two of my knitting clients from Sit and Knit died the day before? No.

Through reason and experience, I understand that death is integral to life. Therefore, grief is just as integral for those left behind. Does it make it less painful? No.

I cherish the memories,  challenges and successes these women brought to class. Thank you for being part of my Wednesdays, Dottie and Nancy.

As the Sit and Knit community searches for ways to honor and remember these women, it leads me to a related topic….Our families are often at odds with what to do with the stash left behind.

If you have a hobby or collection, take time to give general instructions about how you’d like your stash to be distributed. It wouldn’t hurt to have it written down, designating perhaps a stash executor. Don’t forget to update it on occasion. My stash has changed significantly in the last 10 years. Time to follow my own advice, right?

More on that later, but for the past couple weeks, grieving has been part of my return from vacation.