let’s just start with cake. we celebrated anne c’s birthday in class on monday and i baked this old recipe that my mom clipped from parade magazine in 1963 or so. it was a childhood favorite—dense chocolate cake with a ribbon of cheesecake filling snaking through it. so i thought i’d try it (now that we have a working oven again . . . after four months without it, it’s a wonder i even remember how to bake).
ok, paint me officially gobsmacked—for the fun of it, i googled the recipe (because there will be requests); i didn’t think it would be around after 45 years, but it came right up and there you have it: fabulous fudge ribbon cake. go get ’em.
this recipe has all the same ingredients as mine but a few of the amounts are different; looks like their cake is proportioned for a different-sized pan.
anyway, where was i going with that? well, it’s been a couple of days of various and sundry small projects, with no real advances on the big projects i have underway.
the weather has been very dreary so we still haven’t done modeling shots of it, but soon. meanwhile, i played with it on the dress form the other day and got some wonderful photos in the early morning light. karolyn sped through her test knit so fast it left my head spinning and i’m just waiting for rachel to sign off on the pattern (she’s traveling this week; it might be a few days). maybe we should try for those pictures today . . .
i really missed my spinning buddies on sunday, so i’m excited about our make-up class tonight. i needed to dig up something new to spin so i indulged in some stash diving this morning (whoa—i have way too much fiber for the amount of spinning i’m able to do right now)
this gorgeous alpaca fiber produced by island alpaca company on martha’s vineyard was gifted to me by my friend debby, who purchased it while she was on vacation last year. she’s not a spinner, but she chose extremely well. it’s been marinating up there for way too long and that’s been on my mind, so up it comes out of the depths. i’m not sure how i’ll spin it yet—it deserves to be a laceweight, since the micron count is so fine but i’m in the mood to spin something heavier . . . i’m waffling about which way to go.
speaking of beautiful fiber, chris at briar rose has begun dyeing cormo and sent me a couple of sample bumps in that delicious new gold colorway
it’s not listed in her shop yet but i think she’ll have it at upcoming festivals and it’ll be in her store as soon as she has a quantity of it that she can offer large-scale. i’ll save this for now—maybe it’ll be next in line.
all day last friday and again yesterday, i worked on updating class notes and preparing for loopy’s spring fling which i’m excited to be heading for next week. really, there is almost nothing photo-worthy in that except that i had to knit up some new samples pieces to go with the updated class projects
which is how i spent my evening last night. i’m teaching beginning and advanced lace knitting and we are diving in with hands-on sampler projects that we’ll start in the classroom.
(the little, little shawl cracks me up. just big enough for a doll, with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. it’d be horrifying except that we all know at least one little girl that would not let it out of her sight.)
it’s been really good to get through some of these tasks—now my slate is cleared to get back to some intense knitting and project work for a few days.
i spent the entirety of monday evening on my sweater recycling project but it was worth it. i snipped off all the fir trim from my blue lace cardi, picked up the live stitches and knit narrow garter borders all around (to match the existing button bands).
now the buttons (which i always loved) really show up as the feature they are meant to be. i’m going to get plenty of use out of this sweater, i think. it’s plenty dressy for what i need and yet, i’ll feel comfortable wearing it with khakis or jeans.
the fit could be a little bit better—while the waist shaping is just right, the armholes are a bit long, making it feel big in that area. and it’s just a little long in the body, too (not as noticeable). but who knows, once i have a shirt on underneath, it might not be wrong. for this piece i moved the waist shaping from the side seams to the spot where princess seams would be
and worked the patterning so it flowed in and out nicely—it happened to work out well with this lace rib motif, but i might not do it this way with another pattern
i can’t remember my reasoning exactly for this choice—partly to get a nice womanly, hourglass shape, but also i remember that i’d made a couple of sweaters previous to this with disappointing side seam shaping—either it didn’t hit at the right spot or it looked odd when it flared over the hip; i’ve since realized that for me, less side seam shaping is actually the answer to that, but i do like the solution of moving the shaping over when possible—it’s adds lots of nice curve under the bust and works well to balance the narrowness of my shoulders, preventing the creasing i sometimes get in the shoulder-to-bust transition.
every garment teaches me something about the next garment, and to some extent, every garment is a reaction to the previous one—know what i mean? my evolution through different design and fit choices is chronicled right there is my sweater collection. i admit i am a fit junkie—years of doing custom tailoring taught me to pay microscopic attention to the details of shaping. and sometimes that even works in my favor, heh.
it doesn’t guarantee that every experiment will be a success—in fact, it pretty much assures me that there will be failures. one of the difficult things about designing in knitting is that you are creating a fabric as you go; you can’t undo the seams, reshape the pieces just a little, and put it back together again. you have to unravel it, too, thus losing the outlines you created in the first place.
but it’s interesting—once you know (and feel
impulsive cocky confident enough) to act on your work and to experiment for different results, it’s really hard not to do it. it can become a fatal flaw. so sometimes we live with imperfections, knowing that next time we can correct them—knowing that they taught us something and that moving forward is better than getting bogged down where we are. it’s wonderful, right?