Archives for posts with tag: winter

It’s been months since I posted (things have been hectic in my non-knitting life!) and I’m almost a month late with posting about this… but better late than never, right?

I’m pleased to announce that I have a pattern published in the Winter 2010-2011 issue of Knitcircus, a Madison-based online knitting magazine. (My pattern is on page 84, but take the time to flip through the whole issue–there are some really great patterns. The layout may look similar to Twist Collective, but unlike Twist, you can purchase the entire pattern collection at once and get ALL the patterns for $8, instead of $8 apiece… my favorites this time are probably Beckett, Treccia, and Sweet Georgia.)

My pattern is called Bel Canto–the design reminded me of a hair-braiding scene in Ann Patchett’s book of the same name. It’s a simple design, all stockinette, flared at the base of the cowl to fit the body where neck meets shoulders, with simple rolled edges at the cast-on and bind-off–the one focal point of the design is a dramatic three-strand plaited cable framed with lace eyelets and sweeping diagonally across the cowl.

The sample was worked in Rios, the new plied, worsted-weight, superwash merino yarn from Malabrigo. I was afraid the color (Azul Profundo) might be too dark to photograph well, but it came out fine. It’s a lovely yarn, a bit thinner, shinier, and more slippery than the normal worsted weight singles yarn. I think you could substitute normal Malabrigo Worsted Merino in this pattern pretty easily, but I might go up a needle size for improved drape.

This was my first magazine publication, and it was exciting seeing my design professionally modeled and photographed! How cute is this photo?

This would make a nice quick Christmas present if you are so inclined–it uses less than one skein (210 yards) of Rios. In fact, the original prototype for this cowl was knit in just a few hours, and used only 98 yards of yarn (the La Lana Phat Silk Phat I picked up in Taos last summer)–it didn’t have the flared shaping at the base, though, so I don’t think you could pull off that low yardage with the current version of the pattern.

Anyway, if you’re interested, I have one copy of the Knitcircus Winter 2010-2011 Pattern Collection to give away! Leave a comment by midnight on Saturday December 4 telling me what yarn you’d use to make this, and I’ll do a random drawing on Sunday. I’m on the East Coast (Boston and NY) for the whole month of December, so I’m hoping that since I won’t have my normal life and domestic responsibilities to distract me, I’ll get a little more time to catch up on updating my blog. And finish my Christmas knitting and shopping in the next two weeks. It might be too ambitious a plan, but hope springs eternal.

The new Twist Collective was posted recently. As usual, it felt like a big treat to leaf through it, but at the end of the day there was nothing that felt like a must-knit or even a must-queue for me. I liked:

  • Wallflower, which is gorgeous but the hell if I’m ever going to make stranded fingering-weight socks on size 0 needles and pay $6 for the privilege
  • Timpani, which reminds me of Rebel but more wearable,
  • Celandine, with its beautiful yoke/shoulder details. I would probably wear it if someone gave it to me, but I can’t see myself ever getting excited enough about it to knit it.
  • A lot of the shawls in the Arabesque section seem like they would be really beautiful, but I hit lace shawl overload after a certain point and they all started looking the same.

Did you see the women/men comparison chart? I was following a vitriolic thread in a feminist group on Rav about how sexist and unfunny this was, with a series of angry letters written to Twist Collective about how they were boycotting them due to this story, but I lost interest when someone from Twist came into the thread and explained that one of their other stories had fallen through last-minute and they were offered this book excerpt to fill the hole by one of their sponsors. How rational–how boring!

Also, of more interest, I finally picked up a copy of the latest Knitscene, which is not actually so new, and was actually really hard to find. I had browsed through it a month or two ago when it first came back, didn’t buy it, and then when I went back to the yarn shop to get it, they said they were all sold out and it was out of print, no more copies available. I had to check a few different bookstores around here before I found it (they still have a couple of copies at the West Towne Barnes and Noble, if anyone else in Madison is looking). The Conifer Shawl , Geodesic Cardigan, and Helleborus Yoke cardigan are my favorite patterns from this issue. Also, I like the Surf Stripes raglan but look at that picture where it’s shown from the back–there’s something really weird going on with those stripes. I hope that’s not part of the pattern.

I do not understand the art direction in the “Au Printemps” story, though. It’s like the backdrop for my junior high school photos, or maybe Glamour Shots. Except with maybe even weirder fashion choices than junior high, if that’s possible. Really? What are these layers?

That is not really so bad though. Compare this: the uber-hip boutique did their latest photoshoot in the dilapidated and smelly Central library in downtown Madison and it epitomizes weird fashion against a weird backdrop. (At least, it’s weird for me; I park my bike right by where she’s standing with the polka dot shorts and teal satin bustier, and the table where she’s poring over a book is usually full of homeless people carrying bags full of stuff.) Check it out.

This is the best knitty (for my tastes) that I’ve seen in a while.

My faves from this issue:

I would make Spoke if it weren’t so similar to the Sunrise Circle jacket I already have. I love that asymmetrical circular shaping–one of these days I’m going to make Norah Gaughan’s Swirl Pullover, too. Eyelets rather than stockinette, but it’s the same kind of idea.

Quadrat is gorgeous. I really want to make this, but if I do, I will also have to go buy a huge belt to go around the middle so I don’t look too boxy.

Knotty but Nice: the world can always use more cabley skullcap patterns for manly presents.

Incognito. I approve of mustachioed knitwear.

Duet. I love this! It will probably be the first thing I make from this issue. It has leaf lace! It’s a hat! And a cowl! It uses hardly any yarn! It’s convertible! And it doesn’t advertise the fact that it’s convertible!

Bitterroot. Did I mention I like leaf lace? This is beautiful, and it takes as little as 365 yards of yarn. I love the flow from stitch pattern to stitch pattern within the shawl, and the bead placement.

Citron. The ruched texture works so beautifully with the soft matte surface of the Malabrigo lace yarn. I would totally make this to wear to a holiday party if a) they weren’t apparently all happening this weekend and b) I weren’t deep in the midst of emergency Christmas knitting. I am only making a few gifts this year, but somehow the end of the year totally snuck up on me.

Speaking of which–off to work on my Ishbel! (It’s a stashbuster that’s using up some Alpaca Cloud I’ve had for ages–hurray!)

As planned, after posting about Eastlake, I put on my mittens and thermal underwear and headed off to the Vilas Zoo to look at penguins.

It was about 15 degrees out and snowing–big, loose, fluffy flakes. The surrounding park was empty and covered in deep drifts of snow. I couldn’t see a soul and wasn’t sure if the zoo was even open, but apparently it was:

I headed to the penguin exhibit, but they were nowhere to be seen. Same with the polar bear enclosure, and most of the other animal pens: empty, clean, silent.

The lion was gone, hidden away somewhere and dreaming of the savanna, so I had to settle for the stone sculpture at the gate.

It wasn’t clear where most of the animals had gone. A few of them were still out in the snow, or visible in their normal shelters: the Great Horned Owl was glowering out from its nest box, harbor seals were swimming in their pool, the camels and alpacas huddled in their barn so that only their snow-dusted rear ends were visible, and the Barbados sheep were milling around the door anxiously, waiting for food, perhaps.

Every so often I’d see someone else pass by, bundled in winter gear, but mostly the zoo was empty.

Some of the animals were in buildings right by their normal pens.

The giraffes normally have a big pen outside.

In the winter, though, they’re confined to a tiny concrete cage with acacias painted on the walls and artificial suns above.

Inside the aviary building, it’s as steamy and verdant as ever.

And inside the aquarium, as dark and cool as ever. Stingrays and arawannas swim endlessly through the dim light, unaware of the seasons changing.

The most surreal juxtaposition was probably the flamingos. I saw their cheerfully painted building through the blowing snow. It looked like a little piece of Florida.

Inside, the flamingos wander around on concrete painted to look vaguely like sand, wade in a shallow pool of water in a corner where the floor dips down, and strain their brine shrimp from black plastic buckets instead of silty shallows.

Oddly, they seem just as happy here as in their little lake outdoors, occupied with dabbling around in the various buckets and tubs, but since I’m not a flamingo, I can’t know what they’re really thinking, what makes a flamingo happy.