women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


"If a man loves the labor of his trade apart from any question of success or fame, the Gods have called him." - Robert Louis Stevenson

How did you spend the Labor Day weekend?

I spent it ...

laboring (Imagine that!)

While my husband sanded and painted the garage (Way to go, honey!) I spent the weekend knitting.

I think this falls under the category of "nice work if you can get it."

I have been swatching and pondering, doodling and figuring, coloring and canoodling, trying to get the design for my next
project down on paper and in yarn, the way I envision it in my head. It's a lot more work than you might think. Trial and error...

Mostly error.

I began with this gorgeous skein of wool from Briar Rose that jumped into my bag at the show in
Charlevoix back in July. (Don't you just hate it when that happens?)

Pictures don't do it justice. Trust me. For some reason all the pictures I have taken seem to be brighter and not as rich as the actual yarn.

Anyway, I kept seeing "desert southwest something" whenever I looked at it. I wanted to get that feeling you get when the sun hits the red rocks of Sedona.

I tried a woven stitch because I wanted to get the lateral element found in rock formations, but the piece still seemed flat. Then I combined it with a 3 to 1 rib pattern and...

BINGO! Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

I thought of a vest, long and lean, to capitalize on the vertical line of the rib. Something with flair. Something that swung. I went to the computer.

(Again with the math. JEESH!)

A few hours later I had my design roughed out. Just one problem. Not enough yarn


I tried alternating rows with brown. Too muddy

I tried rusty red. Too lackluster

I tried blue. Too subtle

I tried orange. Definitely not too subtle. Quite the opposite. Clown barf on steroids.

Then I got too big for my britches. I thought, "I know what I'll do. I'll combine all of the colors in a free form painting type of thing, making it up as I go along."

I was so sure this was the right approach that I cast on the full complement of stitches and dug in.

You can see where this is heading, can't you?

Three days later, I had this:

Doesn't look much like a canyon, does it?

Frustrated and worn out from thinking, I cast on for a mindless project:

Kaffe Fassett's Earth Stripe Wrap from the cover of this fall's Rowan Magazine

I needed time to recoup.

Today I emailed Chris about dying some more of the yarn in copper/rose/eggplant color, swatched again to determine the drape and color gradations with some scraps I had and am now ready to move forward again with it.

I don't want to give away the bank here (because I want all of you to buy the pattern. Do I look like I'm stupid?) but the vest swings away from a more structured bodice area into a looser fabric as it progresses towards the hem. Vest will be a-line, tunic length, open down the front with a high three button closure at the bust. Very slimming.

So my labors have born fruit (finally!) and I can't wait to get started on the model.

Of course there is the small matter of a half finished Cherry to deal with. First things first.

I love my work!


Opal said...

oh that vest is going to be gorgeous! it was well worth all that effort.

La Cabeza Grande said...

Structured, slimming and textured. You said the magic words, dahling!

Ann said...

The colors are gorgeous - it reminds me of autumn - rich earthy tones - love it. A vest is my fav garment for knitting.

Donna Lee said...

Your creativity is wonder-ful. I am full of wonder at the beauty of the yarn and how it mirrors the colors of the sky and the rocks. I don't know if I have the energy to plan a project and make it through to fruition. I kinda like letting someone else sweat the math and tell me how to do it. The vest sounds really pretty.

Jejune said...

Oooh, I NEED one! I love the sound of your vest :D

Margene said...

You know how to spend a weekend! Good work. I liked the way the colors played in your 'full complement' piece and I'm excited to see what happens when you have the right yarn.

Michelle said...

I do hope you get your hands on some more yarn. I'd love to see the finished vest!

amy said...

Interesting...how the only solution...is to buy more yarn. :-)

No, sometimes only the exact stuff you need will do the job. Valiant effort, but I agree--that first yarn is too fabulous all by itself!

cbknits said...

Lookin good Susan. Isn't swatching fun? I really thought it would be no fun at all - but I changed my mind after I started doing it regularly. It gets your mind working - and I usually end up with a design completely different than I first envisioned. Keep at it!

teabird said...

Beautiful - I'm eager to see the finished vest!