August 2, 2004
Harlot happy day
Today marks the beginning of the Harlots vacation. Not the vacation where I get on a plane with children and a husband and go explore the world, test my patience and hope for the best, but the real vacation. Last night, my Mother (I love my Mother) picked up all three of the children and took them away for five action-packed days at a rental cottage far away from here. They will swim, eat, play, look for snakes, whittle whistles (Megan's cottage obsession), and talk about how sad it is that I couldn't come. (My Mother finds this hysterical. She can't believe that the ladies are apparently not old enough to have figured out that even if I didn't have to work, you couldn't pay me to come). I started this week right by getting up late, having a complete cup of coffee before it got cold, and speaking to my husband in long sentences. Did I mention that I love my Mother?
Only adding to my happiness is the sexy new poncho, which - considering that I just knit the thing on the fly, is pretty freakin' cute.
I cannot tell you how fulfilling this poncho is. I understand that it is wrong to be this excited about a stupid fashion trend. I understand that tradition never dies, and that poncho knitting is a flash in the pan and I understand that this is going to look absolutely dumbass in the spring. I don't care. I love it. (I am smiling in the picture, not only because I am happy that I have a poncho, but because Joe is trying to convince me to model it wearing nothing else. Joe is very quick to adapt to the week without the children. Joe is also out of his mind, do you see how well it matches the pants?)
Check out the detail on the fringe.
Mine, mine all mine.
To redeem myself as a knitter who respects the traditions and value of the more perennial forms of knitting I give you the almost finished Cherry Aran. I fixed the problems with the button band, (20 extra stitches is what it took. The pattern was wrong by 20 stitches. I'd be bitter, but nothing can ruin the vacation week).
Now I have a new problem. Before I washed it, the Cherry Aran was the precise dimensions given in the pattern. Then it hit water and...well, it's not that size anymore.
It's sort of, well...huge. (Can we pause here so that I can answer a question that somebody is going to ask me? The answer is No. No, I did not wash my swatch. Yes, I sometimes wash my swatches, but only when I really, really care what size something turns out. With a toddler sweater I'm not going to do it. The swatch can only get bigger when I wash it, and coincidentally, so will the toddler. Yes, this means that I have no right to complain. Yes, I deserve everything that I get. I have angered the gods of knitting by being cavalier about the size of the Cherry Aran and I am being punished. No, I'm probably not going to start washing swatches for toddler sweaters. No, that doesn't mean that I'm done complaining.) The only time I've ever had this happen before was with a superwash yarn, and the experience was so negative that I've flinched in the yarn shop upon sighting it ever since. Still, I might have made a tactical error here. The yarn is Hayfield Natural Wool DK, and it says "Machine Washable" on it. (I just noticed that machine washable part last night, you know, after the sweater expanded). Here's the question. Does "natural" mean not superwash (which is what I thought) or does "machine washable" mean superwash ? (what I suspect). In either case, if it's superwash I'll try tossing it in the dryer, and if it's just a cruel twist of fate then I'll wait for the toddler to grow.
To even out the big needle poncho knitting I started another baby sweater, this time using baby yarn, 100% wool, with a tension that will erase the effects of 8mm circulars forever. Get this...
32 stitches and 40 rows to 10cm. Love it.
I really find that I start missing tiny little needles and yarn when I work with bulkier stuff. There's something about the delicate meticulousness that I love.
The bigger the investment of time and attention, the more worthy the project seems to me. We'll see if this is careful enough work to take care of the yearning. Usually when it gets like this, I need a lace fix.
Megans birthday is in two weeks, and the kid was trying to rip off my new poncho yesterday, so I've started a really wild one for her.
I briefly wondered what it meant that my almost 13 year old and I love the same poncho. I stopped thinking about it on purpose.
Posted by Stephanie at August 2, 2004 2:18 PM
your poncho is looks wonderful. and too funny about your daughter wanting to wear it. its beauty transcends age! its going to look fabulous in red too!
What is it with men? Tell Joe we want to see HIM model it in nothing else - it doesn't match his pants, now, does it?
And don't feel bad. Sure, it will be out of style in two months, if that... but it'll be back in style in less than 30 years! You're just setting that trend early!
The poncho looks great, especially the fringe! I can't wait to see the one for your daughter. I'm sure she'll love it.
Enjoy your vacation!!! Mine just ended - the annual trip where my husband takes the 3 kids and the dog and goes off to visit his parents, friends and family. My 'excuse' is work, but I just love having a house stay clean for more than 5 minutes and lots of peace and quiet - it's when I always get a few new knitting projects started or finished. Alas - it all ends far too soon! Enjoy it while it lasts!
Wonderful poncho! (And you have a wonderful Mother. )
Re: Megan and your poncho -- it's just the opening salvo in the on-going war of "Mom, can I wear (i.e. have) this?"
I'm in my thirties and still doing this to my poor mother. I try to be good, but sometimes the temptation is too much and she gives in and lets me have it. (Have I said how much I love my mom?) Oddly, when I was a teen-ager, I loathed all of my mom's fashion choices, so maybe this means Megan will leave you alone, clothes-wise, when she's in _her_ thirties. Maybe. ;)
Your poncho looks awesome!!! I must admit when you first wrote about poncho cravings I was very skeptical of how hippy-esque the end result would be. But I must say it looks very contemporary and sleek! Forget proper seasons..if it looks good and feels happy to wear, go with it! Re: superwash wool...why does it expand? I had the same problem and just assumed that my knitting was at fault. Is it all superwash wool or just certain brands? Can anything be done to save the f.o. from the heave-ho? Inquiring minds and unhappy knitters need to know...
OOOH OOOH! I want your poncho! What pattern did you use? Or did you just make it up!! I WANT IT! :)
You're mother is *amazing* !!! I'm still a single, childless girl (woman, whatever), but I can totally appreciate what your mom taking the kids must mean to you. HAVE A GREAT VACATION!
If you have left over yarn you could make a swatch, wash and dry that to see how it turns out. That way you don't do any more damage to the sweater if the swatch turns out badly after the dryer.
The last 2 times i bought a pair of pants (second hand mind you) they were instantly claimed by my 18 year old son for the first pair and his 17 year old brother for the second pair. My 18 year old also has one of my sweatshirts and lots of my jewelry. Fortunately all 4 boys' feet are now too big to fit into my shoes. My daughter is only 7 but she regularly looks over my clothes and jewelry and tells me which items she plans to "borrow" when she is older.
Your poncho is great. My grandmother knit me one back in the last 60s or early 70s and I loved it. I wish I had kept it.
Susanna in Halifax
As far as I know, superwash = machine washable. As in, it's not supposed to felt under agitation in the washer. Not positive if it's dryer-safe though!
Fabulous poncho! I love the fringe detailing. And great colour! My view about the whole going-out-of-style thing is just that I have to wear my poncho All The Time while it's still fashionable. Which is hardly a hardship...
That poncho is so cool! Is the back the same as the front with the eyelets? and what yarn did you use and how much.... can you tell I NEED this poncho. What is it about these things that just draws me?
I LOVE YOUR PONCHO!!! I need the pattern, lol! Who cares if it's going to go out of style? It looks fab on you darling! :)
Ahem. Here's my personal machine wash wool info.
"Superwash" is a proprietary chemical process wherein the wool's scales are slicked down by being coated with chemical goo.
The scales can get agitated, so to speak, and so don't shrink and felt.
BUT they grow and grow and grow, as you will discover from caring for your (quite nifty) poncho.
Wool can be machine washable without being superwash (i.e. not coated).
Many fine merinos (good example: Koigu Premium Merino. People often brag they know the "secret" that Koigu PM is superwash. It isn't. Ask Taiu.)
can be CAREFULLY washed in the machine without harm.
Not in hot water, and many hate the dryer.
If your imported wool has the word "irrestringable" on the ball band, that means it won't felt.
That's what I know.
Although I was definitely not one of the poncho naysayers of the comments (being about to start my own), I have to admit that when you showed us the yarn you had chosen I thought your poncho might turn out gross. I should have known better, and attributed the "gross" look of the yarn to bad lighting. I only hope mine looks as good as yours, as I was planning to make it up on the fly using a yarn over increase, just like you've done. Beautiful!
Sorry the Cherry Aran is not the right size for a toddler. But look on the positive side--now it's even more likely to fit Prince, if you were ever to have the opportunity to present if to him!
NOW the subject comes up. Where were you tossers when I was carefully handwashing the kilthose for my husband the Scottish Country Dancer(lace turnover, calf gusset, lace -- oops, "openwork" -- insets to separate the panels, two of which blend together at the bottom of said gusset)which I made of proper sock yarn,(instead of scratchy old Condon of blessed memory,)hand washed and carefully laid out on towels to dry -- only to discover that they would have served as thigh-highs and that each foot had room for both of His feet? (All convent-school-educated are required to diagram that sentence.)Washed 'em in the washer, threw 'em in the dryer, ptui. Shrunk up fine. If you're nervous you can set the timer and pull The Cherry out at ten minute intervals to mark its progress, but I have total faith. And handsome, lovely, classic, satisfactory knitting it is, by the way. Just something about cables. But twenty stitches, good lord.
I have been resisting the poncho craze (I think because I can remember the last one -- I don't have to wear anything I wore when I was thirteen) but yours looks great! Enjoy your break.
There are several brands of superwash-type treatment, (some strip the scales rather than coat them) and in my experience all of them grow your project when wet. Putting them in the dryer will shrink them back up--but, some brands more than others, the agitation in the dryer will tend to make it pill. My solution? Hold a hairdryer at it. You get the heat without the tumbling. Good luck!
I love your poncho. And I love ponchos in general. My grandmother knit me ponchos when I was a kid and I loved them even then. I've been wearing wraps and poncho-ish garments for about 3 years and ignored the mocking I would got (I didn't work with very nice people). I did have a 14 year old girl compliment my poncho the other day and I considered it a huge compliment.
Your poncho rules. And I'm dead jealous of your fringe details.
Re the poncho going out of style: what you have to do is move here, after you've finished such an item. We're always up to five years behind the trends. In fact, I could start knitting that thing NEXT spring and not finish it 'til the NEXT spring and I'd still be a local trendsetter. Anyway, the way you look in that thing is TERRIFIC. The whole ensemble is fab.
You do look extremely happy in that picture. I think you're thinking about Joe's suggestion. It'll be me and you next year in ponchos. I cannot wait for them to go out of style, so I can wear one. Who wants to wear what everybody and their DOG are wearing?
Wash the cherry sweater again. Maybe it'll shrink the second time around?
Aran patterns tend to 'grow' a bit in the first washing. Doesn't matter what type of yarn....the nature of the stitches, with all that going back and forth, front to back, and crossing. The type of yarn determines how much it will grow...but they all tend to grow some. I've knitted a ton of Aran style sweaters. The yarn relaxes into the pattern stitches and you get a little more width than anticipated. The good news is: Toddlers grow, Canadian winters are cold and there's room for layering under the sweater.
Do you think your mother would adopt me and take my children away????
ps we all want the poncho, see what you've done??
Please, PLEASE, share that pattern for the poncho. It's the greatest!
try tossing Cherry Aran into the dryer, all by its little self. you might get the right size back.
Enjoy your holiday! And know you, I think Joe did get to see the X-rated version of the staid poncho.
Seriously -- my SO is out of town. SO when he calls, what do we exchange sweet nothings about?
Yes, I am ashamed to say, the Yarn Harlot's fabulous poncho and how I suddenly NEED One. Now. How all the other projects are suddenly unimportant because the poncho, she will be mine. Oh yes, by hook or by crook, she will be mine.
Um... Steph..... is that another BLUE project lurking in the middle of the page?