Nostalgia and other things

I recently found an old translation of a knitting pattern from my mom.  She used to translate for Scheepjeswol from Dutch into English (she spoke German and I imagine knitting instructions in Dutch were not much of a stretch.) I recently found a draft (the back of which is covered is my spiro-graph art – I was about 8 years old).

It is a very stark translation, I think it would be best read in a severe tone, preferably with a German accent while whacking a ruler in your hand:
Baby Panties with Legs knit in Garter sts.
 size 0-6-12 months
1-2-2 balls Babyfleur
Tension: 28 sts = 4 ins on No. 12 needles
Cast on 40-50-60 sts on No. 12.
k. 6.5-7.5-8.5 ins.
Knit the crotch [ do any modern baby patterns ever talk about crotches???]: k 4-5-6, turn, k back. K. 4-5-6 more, turn. Continue like this with 4-5-6 more sts. until there are 4-5-6 left on row. Now inc. 4-5-6 each time until all sts are knitted. Knit 6.5-7.5-8.5 ins., and knit another crotch; cast off. Pick up 48-54-60 sts in each leg on No. 13, rib (k2,p2) 3/4″, cast off in rib. Pick up 96-106-116 sts, in the waist on No.13, rib 3/4 in, (k2,p2) then a row of holes *yo, 2tog, p2* repeat to end, rib 3/4 in, cast off in rib. Sew panties tog, pull string through holes.
__________________________________________________
Do babies even have crotches? don’t just smelly boys and men have crotches?  I’m not even sure I understand this pattern. Are you knitting two “crotches” which you then sew together?  It seems like you are doing short-rows but then what happens with “Now inc 4-5-6 each time until all sts are knitted”? And I don’t understand “Knit 6.5-7.5-8.5 ins and knit another crotch; cast off”. Do you start all over again? do you knit for awhile and then knit another crotch and then fold it somehow?  WTF??  I might have to try to knit one of these double-crotched-baby panties to figure out what the hell is going on!  In defence of my mother, I am hoping this was a really rough first draft and that’s why she let me spiro-graph allover it. I do have some old Scheepjeswol books and their instructions are bit more fleshed out than this one. I’ll let you know if I make any headway, or crotchway.
_____________________________________________________
I was also digging through the loads of knitting magazines and books that I have. A friend gave me a few from the 70’s which had belonged to her mother and I thought I might share. From 1974!
IMG_0001
I think I might have to renew my wedding vows just so I can whip up this confection to wear! But only if I can team it up with this cape!!
IMG_0007
What do you think? I’m thinking… on second thought… maybe not. But it would almost be worth it just to see people’s faces reacting to this aberration. And, unlike in the 70’s, nobody could commit me to a lunatic asylum against my will… hmmm….
___________________________________________________
There were, however, some pretty cute patterns that would work today with a bit of tweaking.
IMG_0002
I quite like this set and it would be easy to convert the cardigan to a top-down raglan (and join the hoards of designers who almost exclusively offer variations of top-down raglans – don’t get me started…) and to up-date the top. Or how about this?
IMG_0003
They are so adorable, almost makes me want to pluck my eyebrows, cut my bangs and gloss up my make-up.
I totally plan on making this pullover (maybe with a deeper neck), and maybe even the vest.
IMG_0008
Now back to the future. I finished a couple of sweaters for my grandson.
DSCF4532
A top-down raglan that I made up, from Knitpicks Felici sport (which they don’t make anymore, why I cannot fathom).
And I finished his other grey hoodie, based on a Martin Storey pattern.
DSCF4534
I added some length almost as soon as I finished it (so he has room to grow). This was knit in pieces and sewn together so I picked up along the bottom band so that the edge shows (since the ribbing wouldn’t line up – you are always half a stitch off when you pick up in the opposite direction) and then knit the ribbing down, and finished it with a stockinette rolled edge (which won’t look so lumpy when worn). Speaking of knit-in-pieces, I thought I’d show you how I sew my sweaters together. I despise the mattress stitch, it has no give, it’s awkward, and I hate it almost as much as intarsia knitting. I sew my knits together as if I were sewing (you’ll see what I mean). To make this easier, I always knit pieces with stockinette edges (not slipped stitches, they end up looking sloppy when sewn up), but just a plain old stockinette – one stitch seam, no matter what the pattern and then I sew with the pieces together with a backstitch (which has give if you need to block it severely. I managed to add about 2″ to a sweater for hubby by blocking severely – which probably would have popped my mattress stitches if I had used them.)
_______________________________________________________________
I sew up the body and sleeves separately:
DSCF4525
Then I turn the body inside out and ease in the sleeve caps, pinning them with toothpicks.
DSCF4526And then I sew them into place, lining up my stockinette seams so that they look like this:
DSCF4528
The seam is the same thickness as a mattress stitch but I find it infinitely easier and cleaner looking. Behold:
aDSCF4534Isn’t that a pretty set-in sleeve? Works like a charm for me. So if there is a technique you hate, you can try to master it (and still hate it) or you can find something that works better for you and enjoy your knitting again.
_______________________________________________________
I hope to have action shots of these sweaters when I get back from Cape Cod. Until then, happy knitting!

Is knitting killing me?

I don’t mean in some crazed and frenzied knitting needle death-by-a-thousand pokes kind of murder, but rather a slow sedentary death (“NO, don’t get up and go for a walk, you just have 20 rows left!”)  If you have read a newspaper, listened to the radio or gone on the internet, you must have heard that sitting is KILLING us. You sit a lot when you knit, almost all the time in fact. Plus, my other favourite hobby doesn’t help at all. I love spinning. When I sheepishly (haha, couldn’t resist) told my doctor that, she said, “that’s great!”. She was thinking this 🙂

download1

(no, that’s not me)

When I meant this 😦

SpinningWheelLofthusNorway1888

(no that’s not me, and I like to think that I look a tad hipper)

However, what I would like to know is how did they come to their conclusion? They being that nebulous cloud of researchers, doctors and the “journalists” who either misinterpret and/or dumb-down and then sensationalize EVERYTHING!

Both my parents lived to about 84. My dad smoked and drank, my mom had her chubby moments. I never in my life saw them exercise. My dad worked mostly as a construction supervisor, only heavy lifting there was the odd blueprint and thermos (topped up with vodka.) When he retired he walked once a day for about an hour and then spent the rest of the day on the couch reading or watching TV or sleeping or farting. My mother worked as – what was then quaintly referred to – a “key-punch operator” (now called data-entry clerk, unless they have a new euphemism like “information orientating associate”). Key strokes were even counted  and the workers had to meet quotas. So you didn’t take too many bathroom breaks. She had a half hour lunch and walked 15 min one way and 15 min back. At home she did housework on the weekends – sometimes I helped out.  No, I’m not proud of my surly teenage attitude toward dusting 😦  (I still hate housework, especially dusting, just ask the sand dunes on our bookshelves.) But according to the latest health news, this lifestyle should have KILLED them. Which I suppose you could argue did, but if that means living to 84, bring it on!
So why do I feel like I’m slowly killing myself when I sit and knit? They say even if you do a workout but then sit a lot, you are still DOOMED!!
 So every so often, I hop on this thing:
 download1a
 (No that’s not me).
Hubby got it for me for my bad lower back (too much sitting??) You’d be surprised how quickly it gets your heart rate going. I don’t have a six-pack yet (unlike the fridge which has several) but it makes me move a bit. I walk at lunch (I am a desk jockey slowly hurtling to my death), I drink a few gallons of tea and water at work and so have bathroom breaks every 20 mins or so. At home I walk the dog and I do my back exercises but mostly I SIT. I am DOOMED!!
I might as well document my slow demise, so here’s some knitting.
I am just about finished a thick sweater for the grandson (and working on a thinner stripey one too. About less than 2 weeks till I’m off to Cape Cod!!) Almost finished the second sleeve and then sew it all together.
DSCF4516
I’ve been working a bit on one of my other double-knit cowl designs, and have so many ideas for others, using textured stitches and bobbles??
DSCF4522
I am going to come up with an ombre shawl for Kathryn’s singles lace yarn, holding two strands together of one colour, then one each, and then two of the second colour:
DSCF4521
We might come up with some kits for that too since the yardage would be different from the usual singles.
AND I started another project (how many WIPs is that, 126? maybe I should have contest some day, bet you’d all be wrong!) I am going to knit another fab design from Rililie, called RhombingAround.  After such a long winter, I went with eye-popping colour.
DSCF4524
Super bright green for the body and blue and grey for the sleeves (which I dyed myself with Kathryn’s guidance). I have actually been debating whether it is too bright, but in the end I don’t care because it makes me smile every time I look at it, and you will never lose me in a crowd.
Now back to the scourge of inactivity. Frankie doesn’t seem to be too concerned:
DSCF4520
And I’m starting to think that maybe subtly moving your wrists while sitting cancels out all the bad stuff about sitting, maybe those researchers should have studied how long knitters live. Maybe I’ll go move my ass from this chair in front of the computer to the chair under the good light in the living room and knit a bit.