Saturday, April 8

Mason-Dixon Rules

Mason-Dixon Rule Number 83:
Teach a child to knit, and you get to buy yarn more often.
--- Mason-Dixon Knitting

Dear Ann & Kay,

I got your book yesterday and I love it! I've already read every word. Well, perhaps not every single word, but enough to find 3 errata. Don't freak, though, anyone who doesn't realise you mean BO instead of CO on page 133 is someone one shouldn't trust with needles anyway. My 12yo son started reading it too. Now he longs to make a log-cabin blanket. and dishcloths. and a bathmat. And a peignoir. (just kidding about the last one). Well, he needs a new project or two and I can always use more yarn. When Zach wanted to make a ch'ullu in six colors, I was happy to purchase 6 skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted, at 4 ounces each. The finished hat weighs 3 ounces. I did the math. The friendly clerk at the LYS suggested a felted bag. Just what I had been coveting. In fact, I had already downloaded the instructions for your buttonhole bag, reading through them often, while I was concienciously finishing some WIPs, not starting anything new. But just in case, when I took a rare weekend away from the husband and son, I divied up the skeins, leaving plenty in Seattle for Zach's hat, taking plenty to start a bag with. What I did not take along was the instructions. The beauty of your Mason-Dixon knitting philosphy is that I didn't need the instructions. I almost had them memorised anyway, but they were really a guideline. I could let nature take its course as I knit along. Most of the weekend though, I worked on my first sock, from Wendy's Toe-Up formula. Koigu on size US1 needles gets 14 rows per inch. A lot of stitches for a sock. The perfect knitting however for hours of girl-talk. At the airport on the way home, I had the opportunity to get bumped, getting a free ticket in exchange for waiting a few more hours before getting home. I found a quiet place in a sunny window and pulled out the Lamb's Pride. Your instructions call for two strands of Bulky on US15 needles. I used two strands of Worsted on US 10s. And, well, I think you said to use stockinette, I wanted the bumpy goodness of garter. I made an oval bottom in a shape and size that seemed pleasing, and got several inches of the sides completed before getting on the plane. (found out that the day before, a flight from SLC to SEA had been cancelled; some of these folks had been trying to get home for more than 24 hours. made me extra glad I gave up my seat on the earlier flight.) Later however, when I was starting to think this was getting to be the size I wanted, the bag started talking to me. It decided it didn't want buttonhole handles. No, it really wanted a flap and a strap. What could I do?

I love my new bag. Thanks for the inspiration.

We'll be collecting some cotton yarn for some dishcloths real soon now, and swatching for a blanket or two. LYS has a sale in two weeks, that ought to give us plenty of motivation to decide on blanket materials before then.

Now that Zach had such success with his ch'ullu, (which he made completely on his own, instructions from me but no help with the knitting) in addition to the ideas from your book, he wants to make Fair Isle socks. I said you mean with a band of Fair Isle around the top and he said, well, the Yarn Harlot has socks with Fair Isle all the way down. What's he thinking? We've only been knitting a few months. His response was to quote your book:

Remember: no project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough.

I guess we will be looking at sock patterns soon, too.


Kathleen said...

Very cool. Love the bag. The finished hat is wonderful. Love to read your writing, even when it needs an errata too! :) (conscientiously? Conscienciously? I never did like that work - have to look it up almost every time because it never looks right - either way!)

I think I'll have to go buy Kay and Ann's book. Saw it on the shelf in NYC, but I didn't want to carry it home. They are going to be here in DC next week. I'm debating about driving in to meet them - I'm not much for DC at night anymore.

Kay said...

What a boy you've got! We never anticipated the Mason-Dixon Rules would be used to sass moms, but come to think of it, they are very handy for that! Thanks so much for the kind words. I like your bag; it tickles me that all features of the Original Buttonhole were modified out of it (well except maybe the bottom!).
xoxo Kay

Melinda said...

Lovely bag, Dorothy. And Zach could totally do Fair Isle socks. I've got Folk Socks, which has several all-over stranded patterns in it, if you'd like to borrow it.

margene said...

You have a bunch of good looking knitting over here! How cool your son knits and the MDK book is good inspiration for anyone and everyone!