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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Secrets

I know that's a secret, for it's whispered everywhere.

- William Congreve

I bet there are more secrets kept this time of year than any other...

except maybe tax time!

We hide presents in the trunks of our cars. We wrap packages after the kids are asleep. We knit while DH is at work. We don't let our families anywhere near our email account or desk drawers or knitting basket, or any other place there might be evidence of Christmas magic.

One year, when I was eight or nine (yes children, they had Christmas back in the olden days when dinosaurs ruled the earth) I went looking for Christmas presents in my mother's bedroom in November. I pulled a chair over to the closet and felt around on the high shelf until I hit pay-dirt.

And then my mom walked into the room.

Busted!

She didn't yell at me; she didn't punish me. She DID haul EVERYTHING out of the closet, laid it on the bed, said, "Take a good look!" and then piled it back up on the top shelf again.

Christmas was no fun at all that year.

And it taught me more about the delicious joys of anticipation than anything else she could have done. Stopped this little peek person dead in her tracks.

I reserve the right to shake, however. I believe that is protected in the bill of rights alongside the right to bear arms, yes?

My younger brother Bobby was so bad that one year my stepmother, having found a few too many peeled back corners and disarranged bows, came up with fake names for all of us. That way Bobby couldn't tell which ones were his.

She handed us a cheat sheet with every one's pseudonyms listed on Christmas Eve right before opening commenced. I don't remember any of them, except one:

Razzy Ratranker. We later gave the name to our German Shepherd.

Yesterday I promised to show you the project I have been keeping under wraps the past 2 weeks. Knitty demands that no pics appear anywhere public of any pattern you are submitting, so until I knew for sure that I was not going to make the deadline, I kept this scarf/cowl flying under the radar.

I considered holding the pattern over for the Early Fall issue, but I just can't keep it to myself.

In addition to being a peeker and a shaker, I am a blabbermouth!


This is a picture of the front side of the piece. I have designed a 60 inch long scarf with buttons on one end. You can wear it many different ways, You can wear it open like a traditional scarf, or looped like an infinity scarf. You can wind it twice around and wear it like a cowl. Try the buttons in the front or in the back.

And it's reversible. This is the back side.

One side displays a rounded fluted rib, while the other looks like a deep twisted stitch rib on a purled background. It doesn't curl, needs no blocking, and does a wonderful job of blending multicolored yarn with no pooling.

And it's easy. Two row, 4 stitch repeat. Knit, purl, & slip.

I made mine in Manos Silk Blend in Abalone. I wear a lot of gray in the winter and thought this soft color blend of lavender & sage green would lighten up its darker days.

You could do this piece in any weight from fingering to worsted. Just do a swatch, measure your gauge, run your figures and go from there.

I think I'm going to use these pottery buttons from my stash.

I have managed to snag one of the featured pattern slots on Ravelry for January 1st through the 15th and I am thinking of using this pattern for the ad. The price is going to be a minuscule $4.

As I said yesterday, I want to get as many projects on Rav as soon as possible, so people can see how the pattern looks in many different yarns.

If you want to take a whack at it, just let me know and I'll email you the pattern free of charge. All I ask is that you complete the scarf during January as soon as you can. If you don't have time, please don't scam the pattern from me.

The pattern calls for 600 yds. of DK yarn.

Hope some of you will take a flyer and help me test knit this pattern - like 30 to 40 of you?

No more secrets - not between friends anyway...

Just to spread the joy around, I will be giving away a free pattern (of your choice - Spruce excluded) to one commenter a day through Christmas, randomly chosen by Mrs. Claus (just me - don't get too excited).

I'll announce the previous day's winner in each post this month, If you are the winner, email me your preference at susanpandorf@comcast.net and I'll email your pattern right out to you.

Doesn't that sound like a lot of fun?

Yesterday's winner is: Adrienne. Email me, girl...

Now aren't you glad you left a comment?

40 comments:

CJ Kopec Creations said...

I really love patterns like this. Things here are usually so hectic that I have a hard time getting back into the pattern. And how could you possibly go wrong with Manos Silk. YUMMMMMMY! Love it! Great scarf with tons of posibilities. I look forward to it coming out.

Carol said...

It looks so soft, I just want to bury my face in it and the colors are wonderful. Beautimous as usual. The buttons are purrrrfect.

alynxia said...

Absolutely yummy Sue! Can't wait to try it out :D

ikkinlala said...

Pretty scarf! I wish I had the yarn and time to knit it right away.

I used to get around the present-shaking issue by including random noisemakers in the packages along with the gifts.

meezermeowmy said...

Your pattern is ALMOST enough to make me wish I lived in snow country. 'twas but momentary insanity, brought on by beautiful knitting.

Erin said...

My dad is the most notorious present shaker/peeler/etc. ever. But he would only do it on Christmas morning. It used to drive us crazy that he'd spend half the morning "investigating" his presents. When we were younger, my brother and I would be overcome with excitement and yell, "it's a tie--open it!" and spoil his fun. We're 3000 miles apart now, so these days he gets to open his presents at his own pace, in peace.

The cowl is beautiful--I'd love to be one of your test knitters!

Rabbitknitz said...

YOWZA! Is that brioche stitch? Whatever it is, it looks wonderful with that yarn! As to presents, peeking is sometimes fun, (I notoriously read the last few pages of mystery novels when I am only partway through a book) but I really like the pretty and unknown cornucopia of a pile of wrapped presents under a tree. All that lovely potential and anticipation--it's like ultimate equivalent of a Friday evening with the whole potential of the weekend spread out ahead...

Susan said...

As I said on Plurk the other night, I'd be happy to be one of your test knitters.

RagdollDesigns said...

Oh - I like, and I have some Manos silk in my stash looking for a pattern - but I'm going to wait a few days before throwing my hand in the air - don't know if I can take another scarf right now.

teabird said...

Beautiful - so plush-looking and such a soft colour. Love the buttons. I might do a test-knit -I'll let you know.

Susan said...

I realized you might not have my email address: it is slevitinart@msn.com.

RachelAnderson said...

Ooh, your new pattern is so lovely. I am just thinking of it in silky malabrigo. I hope I'll have time to test knit it - I'll email you if I do. But, unfortunatly, I've already missed the deadline for the Hanukkah gifts, so I'm frantically knitting the last of the Christmas gifts (well, when I'm not on line, that is) and then will have to pick up those late Hanukkah gifts. Of course, at that point, it will be time for birthday knitting for my sister ... humm, this might make a lovely gift. It is really beautiful!

Sandra der KnitNazi said...

I was going to comment on this anyway, freebee or not! The minute I saw the color, I said, "that looks like abalone!" It's one of my favorite materials to bead with :)

I definitely will share this with my Rav Pal, Barb :)
Thanks!
Sandra

Karen M said...

I could definitely test knit the scarf if you like. It is very cute. I still want to see the Christmas cowl. Love the abalone

craftycat said...

Gorgeous!!!! I bet the yarn is extremely yummy to knit with. Those buttons are a perfect match and very lovely.

Hugs!!!

DebKnits2 said...

Nice easy pattern. Would be happy to test knit for you. I'll send you a pm.

Suz B said...

I remember checking out Christmas presents that were kept in a family trunk. Thinking I heard my parents my brother and I slammed the lid shut with the keys accidently inside. It was not her at all and my brother spent the next hour crying thinking that we would never be able to get in the trunk again and there would be no presents! I eventually prised off the lock.....phew!!

Suz

Trista said...

Beautiful pattern!!!! I know you said the pattern could be done in many different weights. Would you want the test knits to be done in dk weight only? It's one weight I'm lacking my stash at the moment, but I might be able to pick some up for a test knit.

Kristen said...

I learned the same lesson at Christmas one year, after peeling back the tape and peeking on one of my gifts. I never did it again, the anticipation is more than half the fun!

Ash said...

I thought it was brioche at first, too. It is beautiful. And sounds quite simple. Hmmm...

A 30-something femme createrix said...

I love your getting caught story! One year when I was around 12 or 13, we bought this massive roll of wrapping paper. After everything was wrapped, we still had most of the roll left. ONe day, when I was home alone, I unwrapped all my gifts and then re-wrapped them. It was a real dissapointment then on Christmas day to re-open them and I've never tried that again, lol. The suspense is all part of the fun!

Your scarf/cowl looks lovely! I would love to test knit it, but I know that realistically, I wouldn't be able to do it in time and I wouldn't want to leave you in a lurch. I'm a slow knitter and I have several projects on needles already :) Good luck and I hope you get all the testers you need!

Tora: said...

Love the pattern and the yarn is gorgeous! I would love to be one of your test knitters an I'll email you separately as well.

Ulla Stigaard said...

I will remember your mothers lesson to you on the Christmas presents in case I ever have children that snoop around. That is probably the best way she could have reacted. But poor you that Christmas. But then again, it probably saved many Christmases to come :-)

I love the stitch pattern you chose for your scarf/cowl and I'm glad you let us know what yarn you used because the colours reminded me of hydrangeas which are one of my favourite flowers. I'd love to be a test knitter too, but I just went stash diving via Ravelry (how Ravelry makes life so much easier when it comes to stash diving) and I am not sure I have enough yarn. I only have a single skein of Manos and I was in fact saving it for another project. However I do have two skeins of Handmaiden casbah sock that I don't know what to do with and maybe I could use those. Then again since it's only a fingering weight I don't know if those 700+ yds will be enough. Would I be allowed to just make as long a scarf as I could or just a cowl that could go once around my neck? The decision is up to you. If you should pick me I would be thrilled, and if not my life will probably go on anyway :-)

Ulla Stigaard said...

Oh yeah, I forgot: I am one of those people who absolutely doesn't want to know what's in my Christmas presents. I don't even want to see what they look like in case I should be able to guess what's inside. Unfortunately my boyfriend knows that I'm not curious so he'll just leave them lying around and I'll try to avoid them if at all possible. I want to save cherish the joy of looking forward to Christmas and not knowing what people might have got me.
Let me just share another thing with you. I live in Denmark and here Christmas is celebrated a little different. Most people dance around the tree whilst singing Christmas psalms and carols on Christmas eve with all the presents lying under it. Well that is, we don't exactly dance it's more like joining hands in a circle around the tree and then slowly walking around the tree at a pace that is suitable for whatever song we're singing (and suitable for any grandparents' walking pace). After that we open our presents.
I think walking around the tree is probably my favourite part of Christmas Eve and i want it to last as long as possible so I always ask for more carols. Unfortunately my brother, even thouhg he's now 33 cannot wait through all those songs to open his presents so he always tries to rush things :-) Oh well, it's still a lovely tradition. And you really get a good look at all the pretty ornaments on the tree.

arly said...

You have so many knitting ideas that I'm sure you will be able to submit something super great another month.

Nancy in VT said...

aah, present hiding. I think (ha!) my son has figured out he could go looking yet. Luckily- cause it wouldn't take much to find them!

shortoldlady said...

YEARS ago at our first house we had neighbors with three boys who scoured the house looking for their presents. They asked if we would keep their presents until the time. That year those boys were *sure* they weren't getting any presents! Every hiding place was empty! Christmas Eve after they were asleep we helped carry the presents over and assemble them.

dawnmarieg said...

Oh I love this Susan, gorgeous yarn and the stitch is so effective. Hugs Dawn Marie.xx

knitandputt said...

I would be happy to be a test knitter for you.
I would hide the kids presents in the spare room behind boxes. I thought that was good enough for they were little at the time. One day heard a big crash, the kids pulled out the drawers from the dresser and used it as a ladder to climb to the top of the dresser to look over the storage boxes. What were they thinking, the dresser was nearly six feet in height.
We then started keeping the gifts at the in-laws, but the other grankids found them there and told my kids about some of the things they found over thanksgiving holiday. So when Christmas came around my kids said to us, wow, I didn't know these presents were for us. We then started leaving them in the trunk and at the office.

Donna Lee said...

I did the same thing as a kid and was so disappointed that I never did it again. I always kept the presents out of sight but I knew the kids could snoop anytime. I warned them that if they did, it would ruin it for them. I'm not sure if the ever peeked and I don't want to know!

squiggi said...

that looks beautiful.

Rebecca in Tennessee said...

Love the colors on this one....very soft looking

Sharon Rose said...

I'd love to try that pattern on some of my handspun. I need a new cowl - mine is felting! :)

Mary said...

Love the pattern. I wish I had time to knit it!

Mom would keep our presents at Dad's office. When I was bout 11 or 12 I helped her with wrapping my brother and sister's presents. I hated it on Christmas Day already knowing what everyone else was getting, so I never helped wrap again.

Sally said...

Love the pattern - and would love to test it for you. I've actually been on a hunt for a pattern just like this and have a couple yarns that would work.

as far as peeking goes - one year i wrapped each present 3 times, yes, 3 boxes, labels, everything. so once it was unwrapped it actually got handed to another person. Heehee!

Maegwin said...

Beautiful design as always! I love the yarn you chose. I don't think I've ever seen that colorway before.

ambersmerinos said...

My mother switched my name with my brother's one year. I love reading and I could not understand why my brother was getting books.

andrea said...

My new Christmas Tradition is to put pseudonames on wrapped gifts. I was never a "snooper". Too much anxiety I guess. LOL! Love the scarf pictures. wish I could knit it up in January, but will try to be patient for the Knitty Issue. It's just beautiful!

browneyegurl35 said...

Hopefully i am not too late!!! raising my hand up high and standing on m y tippy toes!!! ME TOO ME TOO
WOULD LOKVE TO TEST KNIT!! :-)

madonnaearth said...

I would like to be a test knitter if the offer still stands. I'm going to try holding 2 laceweights together and see what it winds up looking like. Thanks for the opportunity!