miscellany day

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

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.

one planet yarn and fiber has put up a listing to pre-order a kit for the trevi shawl in choice of two kit sizes.

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?

35 thoughts on “miscellany day

  1. wow — I don’t know what’s more gorgeous in this post – the blue sweater, the gray shawl (might be my favorite shawl ever) or the cake… hmmm.

  2. What a beautiful sweater! I love the fit detailing. Any chance of this pattern being for sale in the future? I’m a huge fan of fitted sweaters!

  3. I don’t know Anne, I don’t think you can say that mini shawl has everything until you add shoulder shaping.


    By the way, thanks for the advice to steam-block my Cambyx sweater – it worked out brilliantly.

  4. I love the sweater! It looks very elegant, but very comfortable as well. I think there’s nothing wrong with being a bit dressy in a non-dressy setting. As long as it’s comfortable, then it’s still honest, you know? That sweater will look wonderful with jeans!

  5. Oh, the irony! I’m trying so hard to avoid sweets (until the cupcakes at the Loopy Retreat) and here I sat down with two lousy crackers in my hand, saw you had just posted so clicked on my link to read it and what first pops up but the most delicious-looking chocolate cake! I almost chipped a tooth lunging for the monitor. Aside from sweets, I’m taking your beginning lace class at the retreat and both of your projects look like such fun. I can’t wait. Enjoy a piece of that cake for me.

  6. Love the redo on the sweater–I’m impressed that you had yarn left to do the new edgings. Those samples are so pretty–you have some lucky students! Looking forward to more shawl shots–we are sending sunshine your way. We actually had some this afternoon. Yay!

  7. I love the buttons on that beautiful sweater. Where did you find them? And of course I had to print out that cake recipe right away. I’m a major chocaholic and will definitely be making that cake soon!

  8. I can’t wait for Trevi. Mine is going to be either Rainforest of Popsicle. Bright! Leave it to me to kill a perfectly good pattern!

  9. Your blue sweater is incredible! I can’t believe you ever put fur on it! 🙂

    Also that como is just delish, you are one lucky gal for sure!

  10. Knitting as life lesson, most definitely. I love that sweater — it looks fabulous on you, and I’m so glad you can now wear it all the time 🙂

  11. I was wondering if the pattern would be up without the kit? I have two skeins of the yarn that I have been looking for a pattern for and this is perfect..

  12. Your sweater re-do is quite a success! It’s perfect for springtime and (now!) complements your style. I like the lines of the Trevi shawl — clean but not simple (although I bet it’s a pleasant, easy knit).

  13. I am enjoying your sweater narratives. I too like to build new sweater designs on the successes of past sweaters (or as ways to correct bits that weren’t quite to my liking).

  14. Cake, fibre, beautiful knitting, I think my head just exploded from the awesomeness that is today’s post! I’ve also emailed that recipe to the husband. I sense baking in our future! 🙂 Thank you.

  15. Could you provide the measurements for the different Trevi shawl? Also, I think I may like to just order the pattern from you – when will you have it in your shop? It’s gorgeous and think I’ll choose Trevi first (then Boxleaf Triangle). Thanks!!

  16. Okay Anne. The sweater is totally cool. I bet it looks way great with your hair and eyes too. And what do I see peaking out at the collar bone??? Could that be a little Karma showing up????? Looks nice. And the cake is a killer. So glad you provided the recipe. Being born in 1963 I can tell you that it is, uh hum, 46 years old, not 45. . . . .

  17. I love that sweater! I would definitely buy the pattern if it were available.

    I’ve been playing with that sort of waist shaping a lot myself recently. I’m slender and small busted, and I find that side shaping looks a bit stark on me, but some shaping is necessary, since I’m also very tall and don’t want to look like a beanpole. Darts (is that what you call them?) front and back seem to give a smoother shaping.

  18. When I married, 20 years ago, my MIL sat me down and had me copy several recipies from her files. The favorites her son always asked for. Guess what I have in my cookbook? Yep, Fudge Ribbon Cake, takes up two whole pages. I have not even thought about it in years, maybe it is time to break it out?

  19. Love that tiny shawl, I can think of at least a couple of girls that would love one for their dolls.
    I love the blue cardi, it looks gorgeous without the fur trim 😉

    That cake picture is responsible for me going to have to visit the local bakery… yuuuummmm 😉

  20. The sweater is beautiful. When will we ever get a sweater pattern from you?! I want one so much. The shawl is gorgeous too. The cake, well, wow! Thanks for the link!

  21. I totally agree with your assessment of the design process. It’s like the designs that are written out are like sign posts of the progress one makes. You can look back and say I was there then and now I am here. I am hopefully better at designing and I now understand that much more. Each design seems to point out there is still more to be learned. If we waited until we knew it all, well, would there be any designs published at all? Designing is an amazing journey and really, really addictive.

  22. I haven’t knit nearly as many sweaters as you have but I totally agree about the fit thing. My very first sweater has big baggy sleeves that are too long and the body is a little short but I wear it anyways because I know I’ve learned from it. The sweater I just finished has perfect waist shaping and the sleeves and length are just right but it doesn’t mean I’ll stop experimenting!

  23. must…knit…trevi…must…bake…cake…score of 10 on drool-o-meter for both! yum-o.

  24. That blue sweater is gorgeous, and I think I like your idea of skipping side seams and moving them in a little. Now that I think on it, all the sweaters (store bought) that I like on me have waist shaping under the bust, and not the sides.

    Hooray for anything that minimizes hips, ha ha!

  25. I’m so excited to see you at Spring Fling. I really hope I am up to speed for the advanced lace class. Feeling a bit nervous about it but hope to at least keep up.

  26. Mmmm cake looks awesome.
    Sweater is perfect with those buttons. I know what you mean by everything teaches you. I think the armholes will feel better with a layer underneath. It’s too lovely to sit on a shelf!

  27. That may not be the “official” shot of Trevi, but it’s made me reaaaaaallly want one of those kits. Stupid financial responsibility, grumble grumble…

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