Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mail Call and Miscellany

Let's review.
Mea culpa, y'all. I have been remiss in sharing a few of the goodies that arrived at my door over the past few weeks. Let's start with the new books and wind up with a couple of gifts.

Gaughan Vol. 3 and Malabrigo Book One
I'm not sure how, but I was able to find the somewhat elusive Volume 3 of Norah Gaughan's (offsite) design series for Berroco (above, left) shortly after it became available to the public this summer. Just as she's done in other collections, Ms. Gaughan has managed to innovate in a space that has become a little bit too "same this, same that."

Some of my favorites of the 16 designs in Volume 3 include the Eastlake Sweater and the Assemblage cardigan, with its deeply textured collar and cuffs. For me, Strawberry Hill is the one sweater that has me wondering how the heck Gaughan even conceived of this design. It is both structural and fluid, while retaining quite a bit of visual interest. I'll never knit it but snaps to Gaughan for the eye candy and inspiration!

Malabrigo, Book One (above, right) seems to have a different mission altogether. According to Malabrigo's Tobias Feder, designer Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton named each of the 17 designs after Uruguayan cities and towns. While they do not achieve the level of high concept design, the very approachable sweaters, vests and accessories do a decent enough job of showcasing Malabrigo yarns.

Finding publicly sharable photos of the designs has proven a bit difficult, but if you're a Raveler, you're in luck (Ravelry links). Carmelo, the design pictured on the cover, is a heavy favorite within Ravelry. I tend more toward the hat-scarf-mitten combos myself, with Mercedes riding my fave wave. I also like Arapey, the one lace shawl in the book, with its faint arrowhead motif.

One thing I noticed is that almost all of yarns used in Book One are solids or nearly solid. While Malabrigo certainly has a respectable depth in solids, I think some attention might well have been paid to their rich palette of painted multi-color yarns. It's hard to find designs that do justice to handpaints - especially in garments. Perhaps these yarns will show up in a future folio.

I wanted to embrace this book as something special because I'm such a fan of the yarn. Sadly, nothing "blows my hair back." Color me disappointed with the freshman effort.

Treats from a sweetie.
Gifts from a friend!
You know how it goes with this online knitting community. We met in person just last month, though we found our way to friendship through blogging long before then. KnitPastis said something was on the way but gave no hint as to what it might be, except to say that it was handmade.

I opened the pink tissue paper and fell instantly in love with my Amy Butler fabric knitting project bag. I'm totally digging the pale and darker striped blue background with the brownish gold leaf motif scattered here and there. Enough for me? Most definitely. Not for this petite person who believes in having dessert everyday. My "icing" was two balls of Crystal Palace kid merino in a lovely shade of deep pinkish red. Such an unexpected, but completely appreciated, gift to brighten the day.

And then there came a giant thud!
I haven't been making the blog rounds lately. It's not because I've taken a sudden dislike to crafting. Oh, no. The reason is much more self-serving than that. I can't open Bloglines without feeling the pull of temptation.

I don't watch network or cable news, so I subscribe to several national and international sources to fill my news junkie needs. Unfortunately, the nasty business of presidential politics has become too extreme for me, with the lies, accusations and seemingly willful ignorance of too much of the voting public. Lately, I've become so infuriated with each story I read that I have called a halt to its constant consumption.

My thoughts (and my stomach) are churning, churning. I have this low hum of irritability and agitation that is not conducive to my well-being. So instead of reaching for another antacid and a sedative, I think I'd best let sleeping cats lay and stay away from the political cacophony.
Nikita, Sleeping On A Sunny Afternoon
Pax wobiscum

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Blogger KnitNana said...

I was just looking at Book 3 myself in the new WEBS catalog...and wondering...
And I agree with you completely on the political scene.

9/11/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger hetty said...

I can't blame you for becoming fed up with the political scene! I can't even blame you for not wanting to do the blog scene, but for goodness sake, girl, leave the napping to the furry felines and just go and create something! That always seems to get me out of a funk! That bag and wool look very inspirational - hint, hint.

9/11/2008 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Maybe you can unsubscribe from those blogs for a little while? I've missed you!

What a gorgeous knitting bag! Lucky you. :)

9/11/2008 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger KnitPastis said...

Ohhh, Assemblage Cardigan is quite beautiful. I also like the sweater to the left on this cover! I must visit that Berroco site more often. So many great designs on there.
I'd like to be napping in the sun like kitty there too:)
I hope you enjoy the gifts. I love what you got me so much! Maaaaaaawah

9/12/2008 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

The Eastlake sweater is lovely, and the Strawberry Hill is a masterpiece of design. I love tessilated motifs.

Very pretty bag and yarn!

I'm very glad to live in a non-battleground state so I can at least turn on the TV without being deluged with ads. But I worry a lot about the outcome. I won't blog politics because I think of craft blogs as a haven.

9/12/2008 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

You described it accurately. It is vaguely unsettling and upsetting and not good for one's equilibrium. With 50 days until the election, I think it will just keep getting nastier.

9/13/2008 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger a friend to knit with said...

love the assemblage and eastlake. so so much!
i hope to finish some things for the kids so that i can cast on something for myself. :)

that knitpastis! she is just the sweetest. fab bag and yarn!!

9/19/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

I showed my boyfriend the blue jacket on the cover and told him how much I really want to make it and told me it looks very "granny-like". I was so mad. What about the jacket is granny-like, I think its new and innovative and decidely NOT granny-like. I think I'll have have to make it to piss him off now!

9/22/2008 08:15:00 PM  

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