Saturday, January 30, 2010

B is for

"If a home in Marietta, Georgia has a rocker where sweaters were knitted, stories were told, and babies were swayed to sleep, it is probably a Brumby." Southern Living magazine, Nov. 1980

In 1864 Union general William T. Sherman burned John Brumby's tannery to the ground during the Atlanta campaign and nineteen-year-old Jim Brumby returned home to a devastated landscape. After trying and failing with another tannery business, Jim Brumby enlisted the help of a former slave named Washington and started building barrels by hand to supply nearby flour mills. In 1867 he founded the Marietta Barrel Factory. When flour companies began to use sacks instead of barrels, Jim Brumby bought a hand lathe for $25 at a courthouse auction and experimented with making chairs. (1)

In the early 1900s the company was one of Marietta's largest employers and one of the Southeast's largest chair factories. The handmade Appalachian red oak rockers with cane seats became standards for two popular southern activities: porch sitting and baby rocking.

Here is the building today.

I work there two days a month doing accounting for Wharton Management who now owns the building and leases office space within.

(1) New Georgia Encyclopedia

Monday, January 25, 2010

Put a bonnet on that baby

Episode 2 of "Return to Cranford" airs tonight. No need for me to run to the TV, I've gotten used to watching online.

That is Imelda Staunton in the front there as Miss Octavia Pole. She may just be my favorite. Always in a hurry and always with an important bit of news to impart. Love her!

Wonder what all the excitement is about this time?

Could it be she's heard that I finished the old-fashioned baby bonnet?

Finished the knitting at least. I still need to find some nice ribbon to attach as ties. (and those Cranford women know a thing or two about ribbon.)

The pattern is from "Knitting in the Amanas" by Susan Strawn Bailey from the Sep/Oct 1997 "Piecework" magazine (out of print).
Fortunately, this wonderfully written and fun-to-knit pattern is once again available in Interweave's special issue "Knitting Traditions 2010" (along with 42 other patterns).

It is an adaptation of an early 1900s bonnet from the Amana Heritage Society in Amana, Iowa and you can read more about the religious community that settled in Amana at the link above .

As soon as I started knitting this, I knew I wanted to try it again, only knitting the leaf motif all the way around and letting the star become the bottom of what would become a reticule. I'd just need to do an eyelet round near the top for the drawstring and line it.

Sometimes I get in as much of a hurry as Miss Pole!

I rushed to my LNS for some pearl cotton and set to work. As soon as I finished the star bottom, I realized I had not nearly enough thread and it was coming out larger than I wanted.

"Behold the work of the old - Let your heritage be not lost. But bequeath it as a memory, Treasure & blessing. - Gather the lost & the hidden & preserve it for thy children."
Christian Metz, 1846 leader of the Community of True Inspiration

Friday, January 22, 2010

A blocking I must go

Remember I said I was knitting another old-fashioned bonnet? Well I just bound off and here it is.

Humm......badly needs a blocking. At least I hope that helps it.

I still have the crochet lace edging to do that goes all around and some ribbon ties.

Right now I can think of only one 'person' that it would fit:

If you need a bonnet, E.T., please phone home.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Period Clothing

Perhaps I can blame "Return To Cranford", but I'm currently knitting another old-fashioned baby bonnet, another bonnet that I probably won't be able to part with even if I could find a modern mother that would use it.

The pattern is from the Nov/Dec 2000 issue of "Piecework" and is another of those patterns that I've looked at, read about, and wanted to try for years. I am so glad I finally learned to knit if only to try out some of the wonderful patterns in old "Piecework"s.

There is lots to share about this bonnet but I'll save that for another day.

Speaking of period clothing, I cannot think of a single thing that people might one day want to recreate of our wardrobes. T-shirts? Jeans? As comfortable as it is to wear, there is not much excitement or glamour in it, is there? But who am I kidding? I'd pick comfort every day.

I ran across a wonderful blog today; Wearing History. The writer is currently sewing a Regency ballgown. I haven't yet taken the time to look over and read much of it, but I did read her post on her wedding. If you get the chance to read, be sure to click to enlarge the pictures so you can really see all the details.

I'm definitely bookmarking this one! Cranford won't be on forever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A is for


There are lots of antique shops around the square. Many of them I have never been in, but there are a couple that I like to browse in when I have a few moments and can sneak away from the office.

Sometimes I can find a vintage hanky with a bit of tatting or crochet. Only once have I ever found a tatting shuttle.

This one with the black awning is across the street and you can see the reflection of our office in the window.

A is also for Australian Bakery and Cafe.

I've had a meat pie there but I've never tried the Vegemite or Mushy Peas. It has only been there since 2001.

And A is for alleyways. There are many one-way streets around the square and often the quickest way to get from one place to another is to cut through an alley. Here's the one behind my office. I drive out of the archway on the right. Directly across is another bakery and usually the fellow manning the giant mixer will give me a friendly wave. Down at the end you can see the bandstand on the square.

There is not a drugstore directly on the square anymore, although there is Walgreens within walking distance. When I was growing up, Atherton's was on the square. So one last 'A', a blast from the past, a scene inside Atherton's, at the luncheon counter no less, 1955:
I was never there when it was that crowded!

My first real job was not too far off the square and my VW Beetle (green, of course) was financed by The First National Bank of Cobb County. Their main office was a marble building on the square. Once a month I went inside and made my car payment and then walked across to have a grilled cheese sandwich at the luncheon counter.

Guess that makes me one of the antiques!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Off to the frog pond, I'm afraid. And I'm really bummed about it, too.

Daughter was here over the weekend and admired my Porcini baby fan mitts. I excitedly offer to make her a pair. This is such a fun and quick pattern to work.

I thought I might have enough Mountain Colors Bearfoot leftover from the Lawrence Socks but, just to be on the safe side, I unwound the small ball and measured and knew it wouldn't be enough.

Here's where a stash might come in handy. I dug through the bottom drawer of leftovers and actually found a whole SMALL ball. Years ago (receipt shows 9/25/04) I had purchased three 25-gr balls of a cashmere blend fingering weight to make her a pair of footies. 92 meters would be just enough I thought. NOT.

What a pity.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Necessity is the mother of two-tone

Another pair of sleeping booties - this time using bits of long ago leftover Lion Brand Wool-Ease.

As I approached the cuff of the first one I began to fear I wouldn't have enough of the darker (Rose Heather-140) for a full pair, so I stopped and started from the other end on slipper #2.

Sure enough I ran out before getting as far along as the first one. So I tinked back slipper #1 to make them even and grabbed a bit of the lighter (Blush Heather-104) and continued them both up through the turn-down cuff.

These were knit with size 4 dpns with a 84-st cast on and fit snuggly. The nice thing about a snug fit is that the sole really molds to the foot.

Got to love knitting!

I become an abecedarian

Pronunciation: \ˌā-bē-(ˌ)sē-ˈder-ē-ən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English abecedary, from Medieval Latin abecedarium alphabet
Date: 1603
: one learning the rudiments of something (as the alphabet)

Mary has encouraged me, in many things, most lately in joining the 2010 ABC-along. I so thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful posts she did last year telling us all about NY and NYC that I was swayed.

I don't live in the Big Apple* or have all those exciting attractions. My world is much smaller. And my route, the same little track I make routinely to work and back home, does not cover much distance, but I have decided to follow Mary's lead and spend the year giving you a glimpse into the area where I spend much of my time, Marietta est. 1834. [1849 statistics here]

I've lived in Georgia all my life and was born only one county to the north. I work on the Square. Throughout this year I will try to show you, from A-Z, all about my little corner of the world. I'm not going to venture any further off the square than I can walk with my camera during a lunch break.

It may be a Small World, but I love it here and I enjoy working on the Square. I hope by the end of the year, you'll see why.

*we aren't the Big Apple, but we do have the Big Chicken. It isn't on the square.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ariel, Judy, Sleeping Beauty *

Sleeping Booties

Pattern: 1189/56 Slipper Socks
Anna magazine / November 1989
a Burda Knitting and Needlecrafts publication

Yarn: Plymouth Encore
75% acrylic / 25% wool - 200 yds/100 gr
color 00517 - royal blue

Needles: Clover bamboo dpns - size 6 (4.25 mm)

Easy and quick to knit, soft and warm to wear, and can be tossed in the machine to wash and dry with the regular laundry. The perfect slipper may have, at last, been found. In the future, I may find a more elegant yarn, a 100% wool superwash maybe, and perhaps even tweak the pattern a bit to cast on a few less stitches and increase at toe and heel to make it more rounded, but if not this will still serve the purpose.

These are sleeping booties in our house. Worn only to bed, knit slippers are great to get your feet warm, and loose enough that, just before falling asleep, you can use just your feet to nudge them off. You can see these fold up nice and flat, too, which would make them great travel slippers. They are like a Snuggie - for feet!

* Ariel, Judy, Sleeping Beauty a triumvirate that ruled our house about 22 years ago. (Oh, my how time flies!) There is a small bridge on the road near our house. Somehow it became our family custom to hold our arms in the air as we crossed the bridge while repeating the magic mantra "Ariel, Judy, Sleeping Beauty". The bridge is still there, of course, and I still often think the phrase silently as I cross. Alas there is no sparkling toddler to conjure the magic with me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Return to Cranford

Oh, my! Just look at that picture. See the knitting?! See the reticules?! See the fingerless mitts?! The cloaks, the bonnets, the lace?! The propriety?!

You might also see the fine print which says it started this past Sunday, January 10. Humph. Not on my digitally-available PBS channel. But it will be here Monday the 17th. I'll try to be patient. [I can sure use the practice.]

This past Sunday afternoon I was in the car at just the right time and got to listen to Bob Edward's full interview with the show's producer, Sue Birtwistle. If you didn't get to hear this, and don't want to try to catch the podcast, you can read an interview on the Masterpiece Mystery! website here. In the Attention to Detail section there you can read where Judi Dench had to make do with the same fingerless mitts she wore as Miss Matty in the original.

And in the meantime, if you need to augment your wardrobe, "Piecework" magazine has a free pattern for fingerless silk mitts to crochet.

See a lovely examples of a reticules here, here, and here. And a pattern for making one to mimic a pineapple, published in 1840 by Mrs. Jane Gaugain in her book "The Lady's Assistant, for executing useful and fancy designs in knitting, netting, and crochetwork" here.

(Don't want to the be the only one dressed up in your household? Perhaps men aren't as scarce in your town as they are in Cranford. Consider then Knitty's free pattern for a nightcap.)

Slipper pattern verdict

Slipper pattern verdict:

1. Pattern is genius.
2. Knitter is not.
3. Gauge is off.
4. Size chosen too small.
5. Yarn is suitable.
6. Immediately joining into a round not an issue.

I will certainly try this pattern again.

My gauge was too tight, but I like the fabric produced.

I chose Continental size 34, the largest of the children's sizes, mainly as a test run. Why knit more stitches than absolutely necessary just to try out the pattern?

The pattern has you cast on and knit in garter stitch to form the bottom and start up the sides of the foot. Then you switch to stockinette and begin decreasing at the toe box, on either side of 2 or 4 stitches at the center. I chose 4 for a wider toe area. You decrease up the foot to the ankle and then divide the stitches at the front center, knitting back and forth again in garter for the turn back cuff. Seam the cast on stitches at the center bottom of foot and you're done. Pretty slick, huh?

I can't wait to get more yarn! Any suggestions as to what yarn would make the best slippers?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Against Cold Feet

Several years ago when I first learned to knit, my main aspiration was to be able to make knitted slippers - or as I usually called them 'ugly slippers'.

True they are far from a thing of beauty, but, as I knew from the now worn pair given to me years earlier by an older friend, they get the job done.

That first year of knitting I turned out several pairs; pairs that truly, truly were UGLY slippers. They too have been functional and have served well. In the meantime I've kept my eyes peeled for other patterns, just sure that somewhere there existed the perfect combination of quick knit, comfy wear, and long-lasting warmth.

This one is from a Nov. 1989 issue of Anna Burda Knitting and Needlecrafts, a German publication but translated into English - at least the words are. The measurements are metric. The materials specified are often unavailable - especially now 21 years later. A center insert translates British and American knitting and crochet terms and abbreviations.

I'm working here with Continental shoe sizes and I'm just guessing on this trial run as to which size might best fit me. I'm trying to work through the pattern with a bit of leftover Berroco Vintage wool/acrylic blend. I think this yarn will make good slippers, but I don't want my pair to be Wasabi green!

The pattern is rather terse and probably assumes I've been knitting basic items since childhood. Not so. I find I've already messed up and should not have immediately joined in a round. At this stage I can't determine why that would matter, but it will probably become quite clear a bit later.

Wish me luck. I could really use a new pair of WARM slippers.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

27 and sunny

You would think with the weather this cold down here, I'd be more inclined to whole mitts and not fingerless ones!

Oh, well, I have my hat to keep me warm, I guess. Besides, I couldn't resist knitting these wonderful baby fan fingerless mitts [Ravelry link] just one more time and I'm not even sure yet if this will be the last pair. They are that much fun to knit.

For this pair I used KnitPicks Gloss fingering weight yarn in color Porcini leftover from the Miralda shawl. Since it is 70% wool and 30% silk, they are light but still quite warm. Just looking at them makes me want to start another pair!

The Felted Bucket Hat has been worn two days already. If you need a quick hat and don't mind an extra run of the washing machine, this is the project for you.

Oh, and I almost forgot to post a picture of the first pair of mitts after they were off the needles - they were mailed off to a friend.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night

It's pretty chilly around the cul-de-sac these days. There is even talk of a bit of snow overnight and a few flakes have already been spotted. (And I'm not talking about the neighbors!)

Monday, after hearing the forecast not just for precipitation but for cold temps and wind, I decided it was time to make a hat and I dashed out at lunchtime and bought a ball of Patons Classic Wool in basic black. By noon the next day I had a Chic Knits Felted Bucket Hat in the washing machine.

I've made this once before and knew it was a quick and easy knit. I don't usually wear hats and I'm still a bit self-conscious with one on, but I've got to tell you that it really is warm and nice to not have my hair blowing all across my face as I dart in and out of the car to shops, banks, and the post office.

Speaking of the post......I got mail today!!

In the "Christmas on Jane Street" book, Billy Romp mentions that he has often received mail addressed to "the Christmas tree seller, corner Jane St. and Eighth Ave., NY, NY". When my wonderful surprise package from Mary arrived, I decided to send him a Christmas card with a short note. I wasn't able to mail it until Dec. 21 and wondered if it would reach him before he packed up to return home on Christmas Eve.

Well, evidently the postal service was outstanding and he sent a very nice reply. [I left the image full size, so perhaps if you click to bring it up larger, you may even be able to read it.]

Isn't that great?! Maybe next year I should mail him a felted hat.

Oh, and if you are snowed in and wondering how to spend your time, you might pop over to this blog and read her list.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good Luck Cow !

Well with all the many and varied (not to mention free) cowl patterns over on Ravelry, it was only a matter of time until I tried one.

I picked up a skein of Classic Elite Fresco when I was wandering around on the other side of the county over the holiday break. It comes in lots of lovely colors and I finally decided on #5364 which they call Celestial Blue.

Fresco is a blend of 60% wool / 30% baby alpaca / 10% angora so it is soft and fuzzy. At 164 yards/skein, I was able to get only 7 full repeats but it came out to a nice size. I cast on 110 instead of the 100 specified so it would slip easily on and off over the head and with maybe less chance of messing up the hair.

I knit with the size 7 bamboo circular that I have in the short 16" length which made it fast and easy to just knit around and around on this pattern.

After a soak, I just patted it out to dry and later affixed a little hang tag to send with my husband for a coworker/friend. When I passed it over to him, he took a glance at the tag and misread it thinking it said Good Luck Cow! Well my lowercase 'L' may have been a bit short. So that provided our amusement for the evening and he and Audrey had another little chuckle when he gave it to her today. So easily amused we are.