Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My knitting heritage

The reason I have not blogged in over a week is that hunting down my husband's family tree sucked me in once again. I'm not sure what it was that lured me back in this time, but suddenly I found myself going through all the research I've done on his father's side of the family in minute detail, evaluating the reliability of all sources and figuring out which information was solid, which was reasonable speculation and which was wild speculation.

I am such a geek. However, I am a geek whose daughter can trace at least part of her family tree back six generations with totally documentable evidence. And probably more generations than that, but I haven't gotten that far with my documentation evaluation yet.

My side of the family, unfortunately, is much more difficult to trace. As I may have mentioned before, there isn't a lot of documentation available for Eastern European Jews and Christians in Lebanon and Syria. (Ya think?) However, it's not a complete wasteland...

I mentioned some time ago that I'd found a photo of my great-grandmother knitting. Well, my mom finally got her scanner working again, and so it is with great pride that I present:

These are my dad's maternal grandparents, sometime before 1946 (when my great-grandfather died). I absolutely love this photo. Not only is she knitting, but don't they look so content in each other's company? Gold.

Naturally, I'm curious as to exactly how she's knitting. Here's the closeup:

Weird, eh? The tension is clearly being controlled by her right pinky (in a setup I've never seen before), but it appears that she actually wraps/picks/flicks/whatever the yarn with her left hand. Has anybody ever seen this method before? She was originally Eastern European before moving to Australia, if that helps any.

And as long as I'm on the topic of knitting history, I recently found shots of two of my old projects. Firstly, we finally got an ancient roll of film developed, and on this roll of film was the picture I took of my mother-in-law's Christmas present from several years back, 'Catherine Parr':

As well, I found a shot I took of DD1 in a sweater I made for her. I think I originally didn't bother to post it because the quality of the picture royally sucked, and because her expression made her look completely moronic. However, I did some colour balance and brightness editing, and cropped half her face (trust me on this...her eyes were extremely scary), and I've got a presentable picture:

Double knit hat for DD1
I said I'd put this project on the back-burner. Apparently, I lied. I simply could not resist the challenge of getting the cast-on right. Finally, I despaired, and started wondering whether I should solve the problem by doing the hat from the top down. Then I remembered the Eastern closed-tube cast-on that I'd just done for my dad's socks, and decided to give it a whirl for double knitting.

And holy crap.

Check out that cast-on. Just look at its proud, happenin' seamlessness! Even better? Here's the other side:

I am in looove with this cast-on. My double knitting technique still needs work to get equal tension on each side, but hey, the cast-on is amazing.

Another double knitting hat
And since I don't know when to quit, and since my daughter's double knitted hat was (by her request) boring horizontal stripes, I started envisioning a double knitted hat with fun little fair isle-ish motifs. In a variegated yarn with smooth colour transitions so that it would look like fair isle, but actually be totally reversible. And then I got a whole bunch of other good ideas as to what to do with the hat and the many that I'm going to wait until the next time I post to write about it. I will say only this:

Yeah, yeah, I'm planning to make more than one hat. So what. Don't tell The Schedule.


Carrie K said...

That picture of your grandparents is wonderful. Can't trace your heritage? So surprising.

Those sweaters are amazing - have you missed a sweater in Tudor Roses? and the double cast on for the hat looks fabulous.

JoodieKadoodie said...

I'm trying to get a hold of you somehow. I bought the pattern for your double knit hat and have a couple of questions. I got some yarn and today decided to try getting started. The first question is you said there was a correction (or 2) and I tried redownloading the pattern, but it seems the same. I think I could correct the part about the stitch numbers on page 9 but I didn't understand what you meant about the correction on page 8. The Rav download didn't seem updated. What to do?

Second I have no idea how to do the cast on you gave. I carefully tired it 3 or 4 times, but I don't get it. Is there a place where we can see this done on a video? Especially in double knit like this. This is a complicated pattern, but I want to get it. :-)

Thanks. If I don't hear anything in a couple days I'll try reaching you through Rav. My e-mail is