Friday, April 10, 2009

Retro or Vintage?

So much going on. So much, in fact, that I felt the need to start another project. That’s how it's done, right?

I have been wanting for so long to start another knitted doily and had been trying to figure out what I wanted to start when I came across a knitted doily pattern in a McCall’s Knitting Magazine. It was their 50th anniversary issue, published in Fall 1969. The magazine has some really wonderful patterns from over their 50 years, although quite a few had had the groovy 60’s incorporated! The doily isn’t too large (just 62 rounds) so it seemed like the perfect project.

Quite a few months ago I’d found a spool of Coates and Clark Machine Quilting and Crafts thread – size #50 of Egyptian Cotton – that came in some wonderful natural cotton colors. I thought it might be possible to use to knit a doily. Tatting thread is #70 so it’s even smaller than this.

So, like chocolate and peanut butter, like Cagney and Lacey, I decided to pair this thread with this doily and…..drum roll, please….

a pretty good combination, if I may say so.

I started it before using a US size 1 needle, thinking that would be small enough but the needles were just too heavy for this thread and, after I’d made a fatal error about halfway through my progress, I decided to scrap the 1’s and try it again with US size 00 needles. Worked like a charm. It’s actually been 10 times easier to knit with the smaller, lighter needles and I’m getting pretty close to finishing – I only started it last night so it’s gone very quickly indeed.

I realized last night at Knit Night that I wouldn’t be able to go to the next Guild meeting (which will be at the Chatham Fire House at 2pm on Sunday, April 18th) because next weekend is already the Cotton Spinning class. As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I’ve finally got going pretty well on the tahkli spindle and have been able to spin up some fairly good (for a beginner) thread. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get enough out of this class that I can get enough thread spun to knit or crochet a small doily. I think that would be so fun – to have a knitted or crochet doily out of handspun cotton. Don’t hold your breath but stay tuned!!

I’ve now got almost a pound of the Wisconsin Black Watch fiber spun. It’s going to be about 600 yards, I think, although I’ve lost the yardage tag off of one of the skeins. But it’s certainly enough to think about getting started on the sweater. Now I just need to decide what to do with it. I’m almost leaning towards a cardigan since I only have 1 and it’s cotton and not at all suited for colder weather. I’m still pondering but at least I’ve made progress. I think if I can get the sweater started, that will be enough inspiration to get the rest of it spun. The first ball of the fiber that I spun was really nice with hardly any noils in it. The second ball, however, was really difficult to spin. I’ve got 3 more balls so guess it’ll be a toss up on which way they’ll lean.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lincoln Presidential Library

I’ve mentioned the research Jane and I did at the Lincoln Presidential Library and finding the pattern for the Spanish Opera Hood. I took the finished hood over to the Library to show the librarians who helped us. While there, they asked if we could bring some items they could put in the display. Here’s what it looks like (click to see a larger image):

They did a little write up about the display:

Jane and I want to do a vintage knitting camp and the research we are doing is to prepare for it. The idea is to have a long weekend of knitting and exploring the knitting in the time of Lincoln, seeing how things were done in the time and learning some of the techniques and patterns of our 19th century counterparts. Jane has a true gift for organizing and we both share a love of vintage knitting - stay tuned for more information.

If you want to try your own Spanish Opera Hood, just click on the link for the pattern.

And just as a bonus (because I like how the photo came out), here’s a shot of the Old State Capital where Lincoln served in the State Legislature. On the opposite side of this square is where Lincoln’s law office was.

By the way...
I would really like to know who hit the button on the time machine. The last thing I knew, it was April (which the last time I checked, belonged to the season Spring) but when I walked out the door this morning, it was to clean snow off my car, wear my wool coat, wool sweater and walk around through arctic winds. I don't remember getting into the Tardis (it's bigger on the inside, you know) and being flung back into December.

Shout out

Just a very quick post for a fairly new Springfield, IL, group that's doing good with their stitching. I learned about it from one of the ladies in the class on Saturday and I would encourage you to check them out. You don't have to live in this area to join in with them, even though they try to meet up as they kick off each new project. I know they would welcome anyone that wants to be a part of the group.

Springfield Stitches for a Cause

Definitely have a look.