Knitting for the Winter: Allegheny


Pattern: Allegheny, by Thea Colman, from Brooklyn Tweed Wool People Vol. 1 , Fall 2011.

Yarn:  Worsted weight Misti Alpaca Merino (discontinued), in purple.

Modifications: I left off the belt because I ran out of yarn.  For the same reason, I knitted the hem facing in leftover  lime yarn from Paula.  I like the contrast.

Thoughts: The dress is heavier than I had expected, and quite warm.  I may redo the hem because it is making the skirt flip.  The design is simple and classic, and if I were the sort of knitter who does not mind doing the same pattern twice, I would knit it with the belt.

Red Chair Reads: Malbone, an Oldport Romance

A romance in the 19th century sense, before all that social realism set in.  I should have known that having the main character be named “Malbone” did not bode well for the story, but I was — and continue to be — enamored of writers with three names.  In defense of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, his Oldport Day, written several years after Malbone, was a mostly enjoyable read.

So . . . .  what is it all about?  Well, basically, Malbone is a young man who refuses to grow up — and those around him allow this because he is a charming man.  He is, to borrow a description of a character from the Henry James short story The Tone of Time, “the finest gentleman you’ll ever have seen, and the worst friend.”  The story, then, is about what happens when a young man, too lazy to be either truly good or bad, is indulged by his family.  And all I can say is, Henry James did it much better, and that’s why he is The Master, and Higginson is mostly forgotten.  Luckily, the Kindle has that most wonderful of things, the delete function.

The Tula Quilt

A few months ago, I saw pictures of the no-longer-in-production “Neptune” fabric line by Tula Pink — fell in love, got on-line, and spent waaay too much money on a bunch of fat quarters . . . .  A few weeks after that, I saw pictures of the new “Prince Charming” line, fell in love again, bought more fat quarters . . . .  There is a lesson here, I know.

It’s quilt #5, and the first time I have worked with triangles; on the whole, I am pleased with the experiment.  I could have/should have planned out the piecing ahead of time to avoid the fairly obvious patches and uneven color progression, but that would have required, well, too much planning . . . . 🙂  I had piles and piles of triangles left over, so I made a panel from the scraps for the back of the quilt to break up the monotony of the cream fabric.

Knitting for the Winter: Bedford, Klimova, Levenwick

Pattern: Bedford, by Michele Wang; published in BT Fall 11, from Brooklyn Tweed.

Yarn: Woolen-spun, 2-ply sport weight Cormo wool from Elsa Wool Company, in undyed dark grey.  The 100% cormo is soft and itch-free for next-to-skin wear.

Modifications:  None, except for using lighter-weight wool.  I even kept the reverse stockinette for the sleeves, even though I generally dislike the look of it.  In retrospect, I should have knitted my usual size, but I thought since I was using sport weight instead of worsted weight wool, I needed to go up.  I used the directions for size 39, and after blocking, the bust measurement was … 39 inches.  Sigh.  I love the sweater, but it is a bit floppy on me.

Thoughts:  The stitch pattern results in a bias fabric which did not entirely block out.  I liked the simplicity of the pattern; it made for mindless knitting, but sometimes that is exactly what is needed.

Pattern:  Klimova, by Alison Green Will; from Twist Collective Winter 2010

Yarn:  Worsted weight merino wool from mmmm!Malabrigo, in “emerald blue.”

Modifications:  Made the usual adjustments for length, so ended up with less cable repeats.

Thoughts: I am not entirely happy with the unshaped funnel neck, but aside from that, it is a beautiful sweater.


Pattern: Levenwick, by Gudrun Johnston; in Wool People Vol. 1 Look Book, from Brooklyn Tweed

Yarn:  A worsted weight merino/silk yarn from Lambspun of Colorado, in sage.  It has bits of glitter spun in, but since I have recycled this yarn a few times, most of the glittery bits are gone.  

Modifications:  The fronts overlap  left-over-right instead of right-over-left, and I left off the bottom buttons because I thought the cardigan looked better without them.  I think I reduced the number of stitches in the left front because as written, with the buttons sewn on the button band, the front measurement would have been too generous.  No pocket, because it seemed a fussy addition.

Thoughts:  Not sure what went wrong, but the collar does not “stand up” correctly.  The button band should have been wider — it is rather flimsy as written.  I love the dyed purple wood buttons I found at Lambspun!

Red Chair Reads: Country Neighbors

I first read Alice Brown as one of the contributors to The Whole Family: A Novel by Twelve Authors.  The book was William Dean Howells’ attempt to get his friends to play nice together and produce a literary work; it was interesting, but definitely uneven. However, The Whole Family did lead me to some of our more obscure American writers, especially the ones with three (or more) names: Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, John Kendrick Bangs, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews.  And then there was Alice Brown: such a plain name, but in keeping with her (then) popular “local color” stories of New England.  Sarah Orne Jewett did it better, but I enjoyed Tiverton Tales enough to continue on to Country Neighbors. 

As with Jewett’s stories, not much happens in Alice Brown’s tales — and that is part of the charm of these vignettes of New England country life towards the end of the nineteenth century.  The people live their quiet lives, and occasionally, they have their moments of illumination and clarity.  There is a certain sameness to many of the stories, and some are just down right sentimental — but their sincerity, and gentleness, soothe the soul.  Sometimes, that is all I need.