November 18, 2008

Many Questions, Some Answers

Since I am still busy knitting the worlds most beautiful scarves, which also happen to be the worlds least bloggable topic (I am finding it hard to be intriguing about 1x1 rib for days on end) I'm going to do a little Q&A.

I went to my local LYS to look at the Noro. I thought it felt too much like straw to knit into something so gorgeous. Does it soften in the wash?

The Silk Garden does for sure, although it's never going to be as soft as a pure merino or something like that. I find it totally approachable after a wash, and I have a couple of hats out of it an don't find them itchy at all, though I have a high wool-itch threshold. I'm willing to sacrifice that tiny bit of a rustic nature for the pretty colours and the way it wears like iron. The Kureon's another story. It softens some too, but always feels a little more scratchy than the Silk Garden. It's the nature of the beast.

Would The Scarf work as well in Kureon? I've got a lot of singles in a variety of eye-popping colours and I'd love to stash-bust rather than running out to buy Silk Garden. (Oh, gods, MORE yarn?!?!)

Sure it would work, though have a slightly different look. Mick made one. Hello Yarn has a pretty one, Saartje did it too. Check it out.

Seriously? Sculpted butter?!?!? Well, I suppose it doesn't melt like ice, but I'm curious, what happens when it softens? Does it still keep it's form?

Seriously, sculpted butter. It's even got its own wikipedia page here. I'm sure that these dairy glories do lose their shape when it warms up, but they keep them in refrigerated cases at the Royal. (Also, Canada is cold.) I'm seriously interested in what they do with a multitude of kilos of butter when the thing is over though.

Do they use real butter for the butter sculptures? The Iowa State Fair has butter sculptures but I think it is actually colored lard.

They do use real butter, and the Iowa State Fair should be ashamed of itself (if they are using lard, and we'll just consider it a filthy rumour until it's confirmed or denied) if that's true. Butter is the one true medium - and doesn't "lard sculpture" just sound wrong?

Could you share the hat specifics? All the how to's? I'd love to make that hat to match my scarf.

Sure. I started with Le Slouch (a great pattern, Meg's made a bunch of them, just as Wendy wrote it. Also - have you seen Wendy's new book? Custom Knits? Very nice, and worth the price of admission just for the instructions on how to make a duct tape mannequin.) and about 74 stitches and worked 1x1 rib in the round on 4mm needles, striping as I did for the scarf. When I had about 5cm, I switched to 4.5mm needles and began to work in stockinette, increasing to 114 stitches in that first round. (Increase as you like. I used a simple yarn over, and worked them through the back loops on the next round to close the hole.) I carried on, still striping, until the hat measured about 12cm from the cast on edge. When I was there, I decreased at six equal points around the hat. (k17, k2tog - six times) then worked a round plain. On the next row I decreased at one stitch less (k16 - k2tog) and kept going like that, alternating a plain round with a round of decreasing -with ever fewer stitches between the decreases. (Interesting fact: If you k2tog for the decreases, the spiral on the top of the hat moves clockwise. If you ssk instead, you get a counterclockwise one.)
When I had got down to the last few rounds I worked only rows of decreases because I don't like hats to have nipples on the top, and that's the only way I know how to avoid it. The last round was just K2tog six times, then I broke the yarn, drew it through those six stitches and bob's yer uncle. Hat.

(Disclaimer: I winged this sucker, and I'm not guaranteeing those instructions are right. Your mileage may vary.)

Can you tell us how you are doing the slipped stitches at the beginning and end of each row? I feel like that will make a big difference in how polished the finished scarf will look.

It does change it, and it hides the colours you're carrying up the side beautifully. I'm doing it by slipping the first stitch of every row purlwise (or tip to tip, depending on how you like your phrasing) with the yarn in back. ( I think that Brooklyn Tweed said that he slipped the first and last stitch of every other row, but to each their own, and the end result is similar - though if you do it my way you don't need to know what row you're on when you come back from getting coffee.)


I'm being a little bit careful to keep the tension's easy to give it a tug, especially on the yarn switching side, and have one selvedge tighter than the other. Done right, it's pretty slick.


What's an apple dumpling? Like a turnover?

Nothing like a turnover, and I feel tremendous pity for the empty, shallow husk of a life you have been leading if you've never had one of these. I just so happens that I took pictures of the process. (Once a blogger...)
The whole shebang starts with a whole apple, that's cored, peeled and spiral cut into a continuous slice.


The the core gets stuffed with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, and wrapped in a piece of pastry (and more butter, sugar and cinnamon.)


Into the oven they go, right there at the fair, and the sugar, butter and cinnamon melt into the apple as it cooks and makes a sort of yummy sauce. The outside is crispy and has more cinnamon and sugar on it.


When it comes out of the oven they put it in a tin while it's still hot and add ice cream and top it with butterscotch. You can get it without that stuff, but frankly my dear, I don't know why you would. Granted, you have to skip nine meals to make up for the calories, but who cares? It's once a year. (Although really - that's only because I don't know where to get them the rest of the time - but I'd rather pretend I'm virtuous enough to limit it. )

Many people:

Did you know your feed at bloglines isn't working? I didn't know you were posting. Please fix it.

I know. Ken knows. The problem is on the bloglines end and they are working on it. Apparently the "RSS feed is stuck". Probably has butterscotch on it. Sorry about that.

Posted by Stephanie at November 18, 2008 3:29 PM