26 May 2007


First, don't worry, I'm not going to spend a whole post punning on the word "decadence."

But only because my Russian studies institute recently hosted a "Decadence Conference" and I'm so over that now.

Instead I'm going to talk about the yarn. Knit Picks' Decadence. How many of you, like me, happened to do one of your periodic checks of the KP web site a while ago only to discover a one-week-only sale on luxury yarns a mere 24 hours before it ended??? How many of you, like me, temporarily lost their minds?? Hubbster wasn't home, I was alone and defenceless. It's not my fault.

I got two hanks of Decadence (100% superfine alpaca) in "winter rose," bulky weight, and three of Ambrosia (80% baby alpaca, 20% cashmere), sport weight in "mulled wine." They match, although that wasn't my intention. They were marked down from $5.99 to $3.99.

I decided that the Ambrosia was meant to be the gloves I've been procrastinating about knitting gloves almost since I learned to knit. I've never ever been able to find a pair of commercial gloves that remotely fit me - the largest women's gloves tend to reach the crook between fingers at my lowest knuckle, while men's gloves are wide enough on me to fit two hands inside. So here I am a Knitter - I should be swimming in hand-knitted, perfect-fitting gloves, shouldn't I? Alas, no. One of my only knitting phobias is gloves...and it's not really a phobia so much as an aversion. I know I can do it, and it won't even take that long...but I really hate knitting small tubes. Socks and sleeves are only marginally okay, and then I prefer smaller gauges to make it "worth it" by giving me a lot of stitches to enjoy between the fussing at each end - and I've absolutely minimized fussing by religiously using Magic Loop. So the idea of ten tiny tubes makes me a bit queasy. When I do it - and now that I've got this Ambrosia burning a hole in my basket I've got to do it - I want to make them the Meg Swanson way, using I-cord for each finger, but leaving a bit of slack at every turn that can be crochet-hooked up to form one more stitch and thus a tube big enough for a finger. But I'm still very nervous about getting just the right amount of slack....

Then there's the Decadence. What to do with the Decadence? I picked the color because I felt guilty about how much deep-red yarn I already own, so I picked my second favorite color, deep rose. But since I did the same thing with the Ambrosia and they match, I'm thinking I need to make something that will go well with the Ambrosia gloves. I'm kind of sick of scarves at the moment and I own more of them than I can wear, so I was thinking of a hat. Standard hats look awful on me. I already made a beret. I'm saving the cupcake hat concept for my PeaceFleece, because I think that's a good match of yarn and pattern. The Decadance is so soft and drapey, it made me think a floppy hat of some sort would be a good idea. My grandmother had crocheted a lovely floppy hat (with matching scarf and mittens) in bulky ivory unspun wool for my mom when she went away to college in 1970, that I later inherited but didn't fully appreciate in the 80s, that I thought might make a good model. Grandma's hat was great, but a little stiff (crochet) and the ivory color had never worked as well on me as on my mom. Hence: Rose Decadence + floppy hat = Perfection. But I didn't feel up to winging the pattern - I still feel woozy from the Diss and don't trust myself. Then it hit me - Miss Dashwood! Why not make the largest kid pattern provided, but in bulky yarn? It should be perfect! Indeed, I even swatched, and it was just right! The Knitting Gods have spoken! The pattern starts at the outside edge of the brim, so I knitted in to a few rows past the decreases for the crown, and realized now was a good time to try it on.

That spectacularly beautiful pattern, ladies and gentlemen, should be reserved for angelic babies.

Way, way too many bobbles for adult faces.

I was so horrified by my reflection that I frogged it all before I thought to take a picture for the blog. What you see above is all there is.

Leaving me with the question: know any good PLAIN floppy-hat patterns? Or should I give up and do something else instead? I think I need something virtually fool-proof, as this is fairly delicate yarn and, as you can see if you look closely at the picture above, the frogging has already worn it out a bit. I don't want to subject it to any more of that. Does that mean I'm stuck with a scarf...?

Meanwhile, I've been tagged. Like most people I don't like chain-letter type thingies, but on the other hand I discovered a lovely new blog by being tagged, I was highly entertained by Lauren's answers to the meme, and so why the hell not?

Here are the rules:

Each person tagged gives 5 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs 5 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag 5 others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

Now, this is not required by the meme, but since I liked the kinds of things Lauren included among her 5 facts, I'm going to do a few similar ones...

1. Celebrities I've met or seen close up and in-person (and not just from the audience):

Bill Murray (on the sidewalk in Morningside Heights, NYC - I recognized him by his grin)
Woody and Soon-Yi (holding hands on Park Ave, NYC - I felt like I'd suddenly stepped away from reality and onto the pages of People)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (in Tea & Sympathy, NYC - he looked annoyed at being stared at, understandably)
Naomi Watts (at The Container Store, NYC - she looked extremely glamorous in that environment, but then I'd imagine she'd look pretty glamorous anywhere)
NYC former mayor David Dinkins (shared an elevator in the CU Int'l Affairs bldg)
Keanu Reeves (bumped into him, literally, while being an extra on Chain Reaction - he was very nice, considering)
David Schwimmer (bumped into him, literally, at a premier at the Steppenwolf theater in Chicago - he was very nice, considering)
Gary Sinise and Laurie Metcalf (they were in said play premier and party afterwards; didn't actually talk to them and managed not to bump into either of them also)
John Linnell and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (on the sidewalk in Peoria, IL)
James Carville (he guest lectured for a class my brother was TA-ing - a very nice guy)
George Stephanopoulis and an unidentified Kennedy (at a party - didn't actually talk to either)
Ted Kennedy (at a fundraiser - he shook my hand and called me "the future of America")
Robert Redford (at a screening - his skin looked awful up close. So did Ted Kennedy's)
The Yarn Harlot (at her signing in Brooklyn; only saw her from the audience at the Represent event)
Amy Singer (at The Point in NYC)

2. Celebrities that I'd like to meet:

Meg Swansen
Kay and Ann of Mason-Dixon
Brenda Dayne
Lime & Violet
Annie Modesitt
Elsabeth Lavold
Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Franklin Habit
Annemor Sundbø
…you get the idea

3. I wasn't on Romper Room, like Lauren was, but I was on some short-run kids' show when I was little. I don't actually remember it. I was also seen knitting - briefly in the background - on the news in Moscow on Election Night 2004 when I watched the returns at the Embassy along with a bunch of other expats. I was knitting my archive gloves and didn't look happy. As for my stint as an extra in the amazing hit film Chain Reaction - I was in the balcony during a lecture hall scene that's shown over the opening credits of the movie, but I never actually got onscreen. It was a fun time though - Keanu Reeves was playing a U of Chicago student, and a real U of C professor (from the theater dept) had a bit part as the lecturer in that scene. One of my best friends went to the bathroom during what she thought was a break from filming, only to run into the entire film crew at the bathroom. She works in the movies now, but not because of that incident!

4. My mother used to call me (and sometimes still does) "D.C." with the emphasis on the D, not the C. Apparently this evolved from my name this way: Katie -> Kay-dee -> Dee-dee -> Dee-see. My brother was "foo."

5. Also when I was little, I used to hum tunelessly, without realizing I was doing it. Kind of like Scout in the opening of the To Kill a Mockingbird movie. Apparently I grew out of it by about 7 or 8.

I'm going to break the rules by not tagging anyone specifically - consider yourself tagged if you want to be. I need to back off from the computer and pick up some pointy sticks....


Marianne said...

I would so bump into Keanu.

Great post...I'm trying to think of floppy hats...I'll get back with you if I see/find/remember one.


Paula said...

Oh, oh! The Luxe neckwarmer in the Knit2Togehter book by Tracy Ulman is a feather and fan pattern, easy and gorgeous! If not that one, there's the Cherry Garcia neck tube from Hello Yarn. Both are quick and a nice break from scarves. You may just have to adjust your needle size.

Keanu Reeves...dreamy.

ayla said...

I'm looking at that Mrs. Dashwood pattern, and I'm wondering just where the bobbles started to bother you. Was it the bobbles at the top of the brim? Or was it the little bobbles at the cast-on edge? You could skip either, by casting on a regular 180 stitches for the cast on edge, and then for the bobble border, simply do round one and two, then do stockinette for rounds 3 and 4. I'd try it with some scrap yarn first to see how you like it.

However, I'm also a terminal pattern-alterer, so my word may not be the best word to take. It's worth a shot though.

Dharmafey said...

Glove fingers? Totally do Marnie MacLean's double knit fingers! all the stitches on a dpn--k1, yarn forward, slip one, yarn back, knit one, etc.
then work the back of the finger. Super tidy!

Kathryn said...

The new MagKnits has a floppy-brim hat that seems pretty plain to me (http://www.magknits.com/June07/patterns/sandia.htm). It's written for a child, though, so you'd have to re-size it.

Whitney said...

Hey! I just noticed that you saw TMBG in Peoria. I'm from Peoria originally and I also happen to be a fan. I just wanted to say that I thought that was cool, in a 6 degrees of separation sort of way....yeah.