Archive for March, 2010

Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey, writes: “Dear Mrs. Knitting a Mile Square -Why is it that every time I look in a knitting magazine, all they have is patterns with millions of  nupps?  What are nupps, anyway? Are they different from bobbles? How can I tell the difference between a bobble and a nupp? Are you knitting anything with nupps right now? How can I tell if there are nupps in my knitting? How do I turn a nupp into a bobble? Is there a cure for nupps or a way to make them without going insane?  Sincerely, Richard Feder”.

Mr. Feder, I know what you mean, because I, Mrs. Knitting A Mile Square, am dealing now with a pattern that either has 400 nupps or 400 bobbles and I find myself thinking about the two techniques so much, it’s making me sick! I hardly have any time to think about George Clooney.

This is what I’m talking about:

Nuppin Happenin

Nuppin Happenin

This is a pattern from an out of print Debbie Bliss book from the mid-1990’s, a time when there was no Ravelry, no coast to coast Stitches and even when Sheep and Wool festivals were all about the sheep meat, not the wool.  It is a pattern s from a more difficult knitting time, when you had to know the Metric system and and knit nupps and bobbles for excitement because there was no Noro in any of the yarn stores.

After a great deal of research, I learned there is just one row separating the nupp from the bobble. With the nupp, you do all those Make Ones in a stitch,and leave them on the needle to purl all together on the next row.  With a bobble, you knit all those pesty Make Ones together right away and get on with  your life.

I think, though, I’ve invented the Bupp.  I’m doing all the make ones like you’d do for a nupp or a bobble, but instead of knitting them all together or dealing with them in the next row, I’m passing each slip stitch over one at a time for a lacier, lighter effect.  Sort of like a bobble, sort of like a nupp, but far far worse.

You may not believe this, but I have only knitted three hats for myself. One is a version of the bucket hat that I probably made 10 years ago, one is a crazy mitered square thing that didn’t quite work out, and the one I wear all the time in the winter, a Lizard Ridge hat.

Sometimes a woman just feels like a new hat, so I decided to whip up one of those Elizabeth Zimmerman Snail Hats.  It was quick! It was charming! But it made me look like a garden gnome, and not in that cute Amelie kind of way.

There is something about the pattern that is so nice, so mathematical and organic, that I really believed with a little tweak it could go from Freak to Chic.

I frogged it to the cast on band, which some of you might say was ripping it out all the way. Not really! It’s like rebuilding a house from the foundation.  From there, I did a row of K1 M1 until I had a multiple of 20 stitches.  Using the Snail Hat Pattern – and if you don’t have a copy of Knitting Without Tears, you can look at it here on a free book site, since this book is like the Guttenberg Bible of knitting books.  I kept going for about five inches, then started the decrease as indicated in the pattern.

And voila, a slouchy beret!


I named this version Rapdio, after the (now deceased) legendary fast pet snail in Lou Lou’s aquarium, and because as soon as it was finished, Emily quickly decided it would be much cuter on her than on me.

We had a lot of visitors this weekend who hadn’t visited in a while, and the one thing every visitor to my house is forced to admire wants to see is the Stash Closet.  Everyone is cheered up by the sight of so much yarn so nicely arranged, either by type or by color or by any number of deeply personal mathematical computations ,that you just want to start you visit there even before you use the WC.

Even if you come over a few times each week, I’m sure it’s always a thrill.

Imagine my surprise when I dramatically threw open the stash cabinet doors and it looked, well, a little thin in there. There was hardly any Noro, having used up almost everything on a pair of felted elfin slippers which, considering how big I had to make them to get the proper felting proportions probably cost more than a pair of Manolos.  And I had put all the bits of leftover sock yarn in a box to use for knitting that ranch house so there wasn’t much of that on the shelves.  Oh, there was still plenty of miscellaneous balls of things from long ago projects, and a few widows and orphans from various sale bins, but nothing that would make a knitter gasp and say, wow, she has a big problem.

Maybe you didn’t notice the difference, but I sure did.  I noticed and my heart rejoiced, because there is plenty of room for more yarn in there.

One place I’ll head right back to is a new(ish) yarn store on Orchard Street in NYC called Gotham Fine Yarn. This was a fine place with fine people and last time I was there, I got some fine yarn.  They carry interesting lines – Noro, Madelinetosh, Koigu and stuff like that there, and some kinds of no-name worsteds and alpacas that were reasonably priced.  They also have a swell selection of buttons.

Not only was it fine, the folks were nice. A customer pointed out her favorites  assuring me that she wasn’t a shill.  The owner took the time to look something up for me on Ravelry, checking out the comments posts to make sure we had all the facts straight. I get my hair cut around the corner from there, so now I can get the beauty treatment and do some stash enhancement all in one trip.

I did buy some hot pink alpaca. More about this hot pink alpaca later in the week, because I did some very clever pattern adaptation of a classic hat and I am quite pleased with the result. But it needs a picture.

Of all the knitting holidays, Oscar Night is probably the most holy.

Before we go on, some of you – at least one of you – may not be up on all the knitting holidays.  It’s  a short year, with so far only three major holidays, but I am sure I will be adding more.

The year starts out at the beginning of October with the Lenten like  period of yarn purchase denial that ends with the weekend long Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck.   In November and December, we celebrate the new season of Victorian/Edwardian mini series on PBS with lots of knit alongs which are like prayer services with cursing, and wine.  There is the Veneration of the Blessed Noro that takes place at the Knitting Nation winter sale sometime in February;  then, finally, the Oscar night, tonite!

It’s remarkable that I haven’t seen even one of the movies that are up for nomination. But, I am going to a friend’s house to watch the Oscars, and we are going to play this excellent little Bingo game.

This is me, ringing the doorbell to watch the Oscars at your house.

I’ve got four projects on the needles and I am hoping to get a substantial amount of two of them done  tonight. One is Elsewhere by Amy Swenson; I am on sleeve two, using a devil-may-care combo of Malabrigo and Noro.

The other is a slouchy beret based on the Snail Hat. I believe my innovations with this pattern will win me one of those Special Effects Oscars at next year’s ceremony.