Monday, April 22, 2019

Speaking of Contrast


Catdog and I still spend our days at home beside the fire, though she has begun to hope that porch season is almost here.  In the mornings when the sun is pouring in, she looks meaningfully at the door, over to me, back to the door, over to me again.  I tell her it's only 40 degrees, and she flops down on the rug with resignation.  The daffodils are blossoming here in my neighborhood, and I open the south-facing windows on sunny days, and let the curtains blow in.  I'm barefoot if possible, but obviously still wearing a sweater, because, well, this is the North and it's only April, and April is capricious.

I'm a passionate knitter, so I'm always knitting.  Here is my version of the Stalactite sweater by Camille Roselle--actually, I used nothing from that pattern but the stitch chart, and I misread that anyway, so there's not much Stalactite in it at all, but whatever.  I made it up to fit me, knit top-down and raglan-style, because that's really the way I like to do it.  The sleeves are, of course, extra long, and the collar, folded over and stitched down, stands up a little, which is a happy accident.  I used three skeins (and I mean exactly three skeins--nothing was left but the swatch) of Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk, in the color way "Argent" and then very little of a fourth contrast skein in the color way "Pollen".  This is sort of a tricksy sweater, because these two colors are, believe it or not, exactly the same in value, and after dark, the contrast--and therefore the whole design--disappears.  Look:


Isn't that amazing?   That is something I just plain cannot see without applying a black and white filter to the photograph.  This totally seems to me like a pale gray background with a very bright yellow pop against it, but pale vs. bright is not how contrast works.  I wish I'd gone to art school, because operating on instinct like I do is pretty hit-and-miss.  Anyway, I think the texture, which is still visible after dark, keeps this looking interesting all day long.  It looks like forsythia blossoms against the stormy spring sky.  And it's one of the softest and best-fitting sweaters in my collection, which is honestly saying something.


Speaking of contrast, here's another of my recent finishes.  This one, my [also extremely modified version of] Marie Wallin's Lovage is virtually a study in contrast.  These yarns are all stash strays and leftovers, in various brands of 2 ply non-superwash fingering weight--Holst Supersoft, KnitPicks Palette, Jamieson's of Shetland, and Elemental Affects.  I used only what I already had--can you believe that?  I could do three more of these, whoops.  The impact of that yoke is pretty impressive, and that's because there is such high contrast.  In black and white, you can still see the whole thing. This project, knit on US 2 needles, improbably went by with lightning speed, because I was so fascinated to see what would happen next.  How I love a project like that!  The original design has a silhouette I don't really want, with low armholes and very roomy sleeves, so I had a million adventures trying to get this to fit me, but it worked in the end, and I am so pleased with it.


 The whole time I thought I would surely run out of the main color--Jamieson and Smith Supreme Jumperweight in the color "Mooskit"--so I left the sleeves at 3/4 length, but of course I had an entire ball left at the end, so if my wrists get too cold, I can pull out the cuffs and knit them all the way down to my knuckles, as usual.  I might do that anyway, just to use up the yarn, sheesh.  Well, there are almost always leftovers of one kind or another, and that's what projects like this are for.


Speaking of yarn, Doc and I will be at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival next weekend, whee!  Will I see you there?  I don't know what to wear; is Maryland in the south?  Is it warm there yet?  I'm sure I can wear a sweater of some kind.   Doc will be wearing his kilt, so you'll spot him for sure.  He'll be the handsome one carrying coffee, with a bag of fleece slung over his back.