I chose “should” as my 2017 word: I spent the year being very careful about using that word, and I like to think it made me that much more thoughtful about how I deal with obligations to myself and to others.
For 2018, because 45 still exists, because resistance is NOT futile: Persist.
Modifications: I used a DK weight yarn because I find worsted weight to be too heavy for wear. Since I am still on the tunic kick, I gave the body A-line shape and lengthened it a couple of inches. I also made the back a tad longer and gave it a slight curve with short-row shaping. Instead of grafting the sleeve seams, I used a three-needle bind off. And, not obvious in the photo, I sewed a button at the top of each side hem to stabilize the split hem. Finally, I widened the width between the garter ridges progressively from top to bottom.
Thoughts: I just love this sweater! When it came off the needle, the sleeves were quite snug, but I was able to open things up with a bit of judicious blocking. JojiLocatelli designs lovely, minimalistic sweaters, and her experiments in construction produce clothing that are actually wearable.
Almost three years after Mom’s death, I continue to find things she — and Dad — saved. Yesterday was a day of days as I tackled cobwebs. Mom feared open windows and closed doors: open windows meant drafts, and closed doors signified secrets. So of course all the spider places are along window tracks she never used, behind open doors she never closed. As I crawled around cleaning, I was distracted by cabinet doors Mom never dusted — but then, who wipes down cupboard doors, or any other doors, these days?
I found her sewing box in a wet bar cabinet. It is a plastic multi-tiered affair of avocado green, and inside I found a mostly unused spool of lime green thread. Mom bought that thread for the pants I made in my 7th grade sewing class. The pants were indeed lime green, high-waisted, flare-bottomed, with a zipper at the back. I remember getting an A on the project; I was so proud of that zipper! Mom, on the other hand, had nothing good to say about my pants: she hated the color, the fabric, the cut. A few years ago, Mom and I were talking about something to do with sewing, and I said I was too scared of zippers, and she said she remembered that I did a good job on the pants zipper. I am sure in her memory, she liked the pants too!
In the wet bar, in a drawer that is a repository of obsolete remote controls and cordless phone sets, I found a small ziplock bag with a few bits of broken shells and rocks. When the College Student was 8 or 9, we stopped at a beach in Santa Barbara on our way to a family reunion. The College Student forgot the bag when she packed to come home, then she forgot about the shells entirely. Mom saved it, because she’s Mom. She would not have wanted to tell her granddaughter that she tossed her little treasures.
When the Human Stain took office, I decided to unplug from “current events.” There are enough things to worry about without also worrying about things I have ZERO control over. My resistance: for a year I have avoided anything to do with the Stain. No pictures, no news, no tweets . . . . It is amazing, really, how easy it is to delete one particular person from MY human-electronic interface.
Which brings me to The Train — the California Zephyr, to be precise. If you read the reviews, a major complaint from passengers is that Amtrak does not provide WiFi on this train. How to stay connected?!? Perhaps if more people were willing to disconnect, we can stop feeding the troll in the White House. Sheesh.
I arrived (via bus, no less) at dawn, and rather liked the Christmas green and red illumination. The train station was completely restored a few years ago, and the vast hall is one fabulous waiting room. The interesting (or stupid, depending on one’s viewpoint) thing about Amtrak at Denver is that they do not announce the arrival of the California Zephyr, nor do they tell you when you can board. So, I eventually wander out to the platform, hoping that the train had in fact arrived on time. And it was there!! I saw the line for Coach passengers, but did not see a line for Sleeper Car passengers. As it turned out, there was indeed a sign for Sleeper passengers at the head of the Coach line, but you couldn’t see it because of the line of waiting people. Anyway, one perk of being a Sleeper passenger is that you do not have to wait in line, and I got my ticket scanned immediately.
My roomette was not ready, so the sleeping car attendant sent me off to breakfast in the dining car. People complain about the food, but really, what were they expecting? I thought the food was fine, the company of strangers interesting, and the scenery spectacular.
Gross Reservoir and Dam: Impressive, but how much water can Denver suck out of the poor Colorado River? I guess we will all find out if and when the expansion goes through.
27 tunnels in 30 minutes, and all before the Moffat Tunnel! And what do you know, the water in the creeks really do flow in the opposite direction after the Continental Divide!
Climate change? What climate change? Well, it has been a warm late fall-early winter thus far, and while the ski resorts had snow, Winter Park was making snow when we trundled by.
Ruby Canyon, accessible by rafting, otherwise fantastic views by rail. By dumb luck my roomette was river-side, so I had beautiful sunset views. In my book, definitely a “E” ticket ride.
And on to Salt Lake City, where the Church knows how to put on a show:
And so I keep going, ready to keep resisting, year two.
Pattern:Bedford by Michele Wang, from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2011
Yarn: About 10 years ago I went to a wool market and got sucked into buying this hand-dyed silk and kid mohair yarn. The yarn was absolutely gorgeous, and I had visions of knitting something luxuriously fabulous with it. It didn’t matter at the time that I really dislike mohair. I really thought if I had just the right project, I would LOVE mohair. It never happened. The yarn became three different sweaters, and this is the fourth and final incarnation, because of course mohair should not be frogged, ever, let alone three times.
Modifications: This is the second version of Bedford; I didn’t wear the first version because while there wasn’t anything wrong with it, it was just a tad too thin to wear a shirt underneath. And at some point I needed the yarn for a new version of Bryn Mawr dress . . . . For this Bedford, I knitted the raglan two stitches wide instead of four, made the body longer and the sleeves shorter.
Thoughts: For such a detailed (over-written, as I think BT patterns tend to be), the directions for the neck shaping doesn’t work. It is a good thing that I haven’t followed neck or sleeve instructions — for ANY pattern — for at least a couple of decades, mainly because I am a small woman and I routinely modify patterns to suit my dimensions and preferences. But back to the instructions: Michele Wang really should have done a better editing job with the directions for neck shaping. Her buyers, and Brooklyn Tweed fans in general, deserve better.
As for the finished sweater . . . . I don’t love variegated yarn, I don’t love mohair, so I am pretty sure I will not be wearing this top much. On the other hand, I do like how the sleeves turned out: even though I also don’t like reverse stocking stitch in general, the purl fabric works well for this variegated yarn. Maybe some day, someone will see me wearing this sweater and love it so much that I will just give it to her!
Pattern: Svalbard, by Bristol Ivy, from Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 6.
Yarn: Laramie, a hand-dyed merino wool in worsted weight from Mountain Meadow Wool (Buffalo, Wyoming), in color Prairie. The yarn is rustic but soft, in a color that is outside my comfort zone — but the ladies at the yarn shop convinced me that it goes with my complexion . . . .
Modifications: I knitted this cardigan a few years ago but never liked the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool yarn: it had almost no memory and was unaccountably itchy around the neck. Svalbard 1 became one of the few sweaters I never frogged, and I gave it away without regret. But I liked the pattern itself, hence Svalbard 2. The only modifications I made were shorter sleeves.
Thoughts: It was a fun knit four years ago, and it was a fun knit this time around. I like this version much better, I even like the colour! It is a big long on me, but now that I am solidly middle-aged, coverage is a good thing.