It’s been a year since we left California to head south of the border, south of the equator, as far south as you can go and still find a decent cup of coffee. Here we are in New Zealand. I don’t think it’s possible to spend 23 years in a place and not miss it when you leave. So I confess—there are moments when I miss Santa Monica. Much as we try not to bore our friends with excessive reminiscing, we often catch ourselves starting sentences with “In the States…” Since it’s become a bit clunky from overuse, we’ve shortened this familiar phrase to the acronym I.T.S. With our move across the Pacific still in the recent past, it’s hard not to constantly draw comparisons. Thankfully, though, knitting seems to be a common denominator. I.T.S I had wonderful knitting friends, and I miss them. Here in NZ I’ve unearthed a couple of lapsed knitters and I suspect there are more to dig out. Perhaps they need only a set of bamboo needles and a hank of Jade Sapphire cashmere to set them on the road to addiction! In August I was thrilled to discover the second annual Papakura Knit Out, organized by a fellow ex-pat Californian. Knitters came in dozens. I felt at home. This is exactly what I was missing—my people, and a complimentary afternoon tea. I have not stopped knitting since we arrived. First came a vest in Pear Tree merino for YARN magazine,( see the Winter 2007 issue), but then my attention turned to the coming winter. Not knowing how much cold to expect, I made a simple diagonal ribbed cowl from Jade Sapphire cashmere. It was the perfect autumn project, easily worn with a t-shirt and using only one hank of cashmere. No waste there. It’s all around my neck.
Here’s the simple pattern:
Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres 100% cashmere 8ply; 55g; 92m (100yds); 1 hank sh26 Silver Pearl
Needle: 5mm (US8) 40cm (16”) circular
Measurements: 42cm(16.5”) circumference; 24cm(9.5”) length
Cast on 60 sts.
Join in round, placing stitch marker at beginning of round and taking care not to twist the stitches.
Next rnd: [yo, k2tog]; rep to end of rnd.
Repeat this round until work measures approximately 23cm (9”).
Bind off loosely knitwise. Sew in ends.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with holes. Ever since 1982—the momentous year of my first Commes Des Garcons purchase (a white cotton knit skirt with a pattern of holes slashed around the hem)—I have loved the gaps you can make with knitting. Ruching is another of my favorite techniques, so I’ve been playing with both and came up with what I’m calling my Homage to Rei Lace Pattern. Here it is in a scarf made with GGH Soft Kid.
It is a variation of stockinette stitch, and because I love the look of both front and back, I’ve not given it a RS. I also used it for a felted bag in Manos del Uruguay, which can be found in the Pattern section on www.southseasknitting.com under “New Mesh Market Bag” [note: I altered the stitch pattern repeat on the bag, for smaller holes]. I can think of a dozen other uses for this pattern, too…. a light and airy blanket for my bed, a delicate pullover to wear over a tank, wrist warmers? It’s one of those lace patterns that can be memorized after a couple of repeats, and the result is modern, casual and chic. Here’s the pattern:
New Lace Scarf:
GGH Soft-Kid Mohair; 70% Super Kid Mohair, 25% nylon, 5% New Wool;25g;138m (150yds); 2 balls sh 82 tangerine.
4mm (US6) needles.
Cast on 57 sts.
Work 3 rows K1,p1 rib.
Begin pattern [multiple of 24+9]
Rows 1-8: Beg with a k row, work 8 rows stst.
Row 9: K 6, *(Kfb) 6 times, k3, (k2tog) twice, bo1, (k2tog, bo1) four times, k1, bo 1, k2; rep from * to last 3 sts, k3.
Row 10: P6, *cast on 6, p18; rep from * to last 3 sts, p3.
Rows 11-18: Work in stst, beginning with a knit row.
Row 19: K6, *(k2tog) twice, bo1, (k2tog, bo1) four times, k1, bo 1, k2, (kfb) 6 times, k3; rep from * to last 3 sts, k3.
Row 20: P21, cast on 6, p18, cast on 6, p6.
Repeat rows 1-20 11 times.
Work 8 rows stst, beg with a knit row.
Work 3 rows k1,p1 rib.
Bind off in rib.