The babies are keeping me busy. Those people who warned me that ducks were messy totally weren't kidding. Despite being very little (though growing at a rate that is nothing short of alarming) and securely contained in a box in my studio (the bathroom was just too cold), they are nevertheless managing to spread the love far and wide. The entire room is being slowly coated in flicked chick feed (ducks like to grab a mouthful of feed, a sip of water and then flick it all as far as they possibly can, because they are inherently delinquent). I may have to sandblast the walls when this is over.
When they're not desecrating my studio space (and let me quickly assure you that my fabrics have been temporarily relocated), they sleep and grow. Asleep, they're cute enough to break your heart. I've been trying to photograph them in repose, but not a chance. Little Edie is as sharp as a tack, and will spring to life at the slightest movement that she doesn't consider normal, which is pretty much everything. Candy Darling would probably sleep through The Apocalypse unless kicked awake, but Edie's happy to oblige.
Anyway, when I'm not cleaning up after ducklings, I have been knitting again.
and y'know, one thing led to another and in the end, Mary bought the yarn, and I'm knitting it up.
You can download the pattern here, but you'll need to sign up or log in.
The yarn I'm using is from Bendigo Woollen Mills, and it's 12 ply (the Lionbrand yarn is much thicker), so I've had to fiddle with the pattern quite a bit to get it all how I want it. There are, predictably, quite a few more stitches involved as a consequence, but it wouldn't be a genuine Poppalina Creation without me making things as hard for myself as I possibly can. Kapinny will readily verify this.
That said, it's looking beautiful and is an absolute pleasure to knit. It's been decades since I worked in 12 ply, or knitted cables. I really should do it more often. Complex enough to keep you interested, but not so complex that you can't give your full attention to a good Turner Classic Movie, or twenty...
Here's to ducks and rain and big, chunky knitting.
Oh. And to Irving Thalberg. Such a big output for so short a life. Amazing.
Not content with having a craft overload, and a co-authorial position with Popplina, I have started a new project that, with any luck, won't be finished for a very long time.
The Craftorialist is a new blog of inspirations, instructions, pictures and patterns, in which I share my technical expertise with anyone interested in textile-based craft. It's brand new, so there's only a few posts to see right now, but I will keep adding to it over time.
Feel free to drop by and have a look, ask a question, make a comment or—hell—add it your reader!
My aunt found a bunch of '50s and '60s sewing and knitting patterns in a second hand shop. I have the choicest ones on loan, so I can copy them.
It's perfect timing: I've been so loving the Mad Men aesthetic (if not the culture) as we make our way through the DVDs.
Here's the first pattern I have copied and actually made up.
And the result. I'm not entirely happy with the way the sleeves sit (hard to show on the dummy), but this is only the first trial version; I'll be making some adjustments. I've made it up in a stretch woven, since it's more closely fitting than the illustrations would suggest. Also, I don't have that kind of figure any more.
I love the print on this fabric; for some reason blue and white always does it for me.
And here's a gorgeous coat pattern that I'm in the process of making up.
Every third Sunday of the month, if I have the time, I go to a meeting of crocheting cronies.
We sit on an assortment of old sofas, at an organic food market, and crochet.
Bernadette helps anyone who's in need of technical assistance.
She was wearing a rather lovely hand-knitted jacket, her own, natch.
I'm making a crocheted jumper in a fetching watermelon colour. I'm doing it in a wool and silk blend, a discontinued yarn, of course. I say of course, because once I started it, it became clear that I would run out before I was done.
I did a search, and fortunately, I think I may have found some more in a tiny store in another state. I'll just have to be thoughtful about where in the garment I place the mismatching dye lots.
By the way, here's my husband's jumper with the brand new collar line, on its recipient. He says it's quite comfortable now, and very warm.
Not sure what to say to that introduction. Now you've all seen my cleavage, is there anything left to share?
Yesterday I finished - ta da! - the jumper I'm knitting my husband for last Christmas. Shut up. Here's the pattern. I've knitted it in the round, and grown on the sleeves (why sew seams?). I also had to reduce the number of stitches going around the body; my gauge was correct, but when I started knitting (the smallest size) it looked like it was going to be enormous.
So I finished it and he tried it on and promptly complained that the neck was too high. He's got a thing about feeling clothing pressing against his throat. (Maybe he was strangled by clothing in a former life. Maybe he was Isadora Duncan!)
I'd already lowered it from its original position, since two tiny triangular gussets at the sides of the neckline don't make much of a difference to a front neck that just goes straight across from the shoulder. But not enough, it seems.
So I unpicked the collar, and was then faced with unpicking the front. Not so simple. It's bound off together with the back at the shoulders, plus I knitted on the sleeves by picking up stitches along the armhole. So unpicking the front would involve cutting the sleeves off (and grafting them back on again later). Pooh to that, says I.
Lying in bed this morning, I pondered the problem. I have decided that I will cut straight down through the centre front neck about 3 1/2 cm, keeping the side triangular gussets in place, then unpick and bind off just the stitches that need to go, in a nice curve, and somehow weave in all the ends of rows at the edges of the neck line. Then I can pick up the stitches along the neck and knit the collar as normal.