Alike

I always looked down my nose at siblings who wore matching outfits to school when I was a kid. Where was their sense of individuality? Were their parents to blame for this indignity? I’d secretly change in the bushes rather than suffer that oppression, I told myself—not that my parents ever would have suggested their children should dress alike. We wore whatever we pleased as long as it wasn’t unreasonable filthy. And yet I found myself sewing a skirt with a couple of eager onlookers.

“Mama, when you finish your skirt will you make one for me?”

“I will. What color would you like?”

“Purple. Will you make me a purple skirt? With pockets?”

“I’d be glad to.”

“Jolly, you like a purple skirt, too?”

He gave me his most solemn, round-eyed look. “Ja,” he said. (Because apparently he is a German toddler. He can say “yes” in the context of “yeh pleeh!” but it’s always “ja” when he doesn’t stop to think about his manners.) What mother could resist?

PurpleSkirts (1 of 8)

PurpleSkirts (2 of 8)

PurpleSkirts (3 of 8)

I used Anna Maria Horner’s “All Set” skirt pattern, size 5 for Ada and size 2 for Jolyon. (I didn’t account for the bustle effect of a fat cloth diaper, and neither did Anna Maria, so his is pretty comical in shape.) The fabric is from the talented Rashida Cole (purple) and Lotta Jansdotter (gray). Here are my skirtlings in action:

PurpleSkirts (4 of 8)

PurpleSkirts (5 of 8)

PurpleSkirts (6 of 8)

PurpleSkirts (7 of 8)

PurpleSkirts (8 of 8)

Yeah, we need to paint our garage. But it’s so tough to get photos of this fast-moving pair that I didn’t much care what backdrop they picked.

 

 

Good for a grin

TheKnitter68

 

Publications from the UK take a while to mosey over to our shores, if they saunter this way at all. So it’s pure good fortune that a favorite cafe of mine—Oui Presse on Hawthorne—stocks a variety of interesting and hard-to-come-by magazines. Among them is The Knitter, and I was tickled to find Issue 68 and flip through to find the above. Their editorial staff contacted me at the turn of the year to request a high-res photo of Winter Garden, so I was aware it would be in their pages, but DUDES! I can’t imagine it ever gets old seeing your work cozied up to Martin Storey’s. Or Spilly Jane’s, or Alex Tinsley’s. That’s some mighty good company.

Andamento

Back in 2008 I whipped out a design for Knit/Purl’s inaugural sock club—and I do mean I whipped it out, because those socks were imagined and knit in the space of a week. Luckily, it was one of those Athena designs that springs out fully formed without a lick of fiddling or frogging.

I knew I’d be working with a variegated yarn, a specially commissioned colorway from Koigu. Variegateds can be so very alluring on the skein, and if you handle them right they can be a lot of fun to knit and wear, too. But I’m someone who gets a little twitchy when the colors start to pool and my ankles look like barber poles. So I’ll do whatever it takes to break up that kind of patterning. In my personal experience of knitting socks with variegated yarns, I can dodge pooling on 2.25 mm needles and on 2.75 mm needles, but 2.5 mm’s are a sure ticket to big spirals of color. I really prefer to knit socks on 2.25′s (that’s US #0) for durability, but when I was planning this sock club project I knew I didn’t have time for a really fine gauge. So US #2′s it was. Also good for busting up colors that want to be cliquish: garter stitch and slipped stitches. So I quickly sketched a motif of slipped-stitch serpentines over a fabric of garter rib. (Actually, I can’t even remember if I took time to sketch it. I may have just cast on and sailed as close to the wind as possible on this occasion.) And it worked. I named that little sock andamento, Italian for ‘flowing’ or ‘coursing,’ a term used to describe the visual flow of elements within a mosaic. And five years later, the rights to it are back in my hands and I can re-release it into the wild under my own label.

AndamentoMSTurner (small)

This new sample is knit in Malabrigo Sock “Turner,” which is honestly too fine a yarn for this pattern in terms of longevity. M. Sock wants a tighter gauge, in my opinion. I couldn’t resist these subtly shifting olive and spring greens with splashes of iris purples. But I recommend a heartier yarn, something plump, with bottom—more of a sportweight, really—if you want a sturdy sock at 7 stitches to the inch.

AndamentoMSTurner (2 of 6)

We grabbed some photos at the Marquam Nature Park south of town in between rain showers. Here’s a detail of the toe:

AndamentoMSTurner (1 of 6)

And of the slightly lacy cuff (who says a sock needs ribbing at the top?):

AndamentoMSTurner (4 of 6)

I’m astonished to tell you I used a mere 225 yards of wool in these. There’s so much of the skein left over I’ve decided I need to try to knit a very wee vest for a cousin’s any-minute-now baby out of the remnants. I’ll let you know if it works out. In the mean time, Andamento is now available for purchase in my Ravelry store; you can grab a copy via the button in the sidebar. Happy sock knitting!

AndamentoMSTurner (5 of 6)