I made this batch of string last Thursday. It's 8 ounces of Dicentra Designs roving in a color I can't name, that I bought at Black Sheep Gathering last year. I'm making a sleeveless dress to wear to a wedding later this month, and I happened to notice that this bit of fluff was exactly the right color to go with it. So I spun it up, fast and dirty, into a bumpy squishy and lovely bit of 2-ply.
I threw it into the suitcase, unfinished, knowing that my pal KT could be talked into finishing it for me. I'm on the road teaching this week, and her house was one of my vagrant resting places. I was right, and KT worked her magic, finishing it with her patented "WHUMP Really Hard On The Edge Of The Bathtub Technique". Lady's gifts are epic.
I'm calling it Mad Fandango, and it's going to be a ruffled shawl to wear to the wedding. I've never knitted a ruffle before. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, among other things, the 600 stitches I cast on for the ruffle edge were way too long for the cable I had chosen. Not that I realized this until I was at my sister's house, in the Capitol of Nowhere Township. Lucky for me, I had longer cable with me. Unluckily, it was deeply imbedded in another project. Same thing we do every day...
I got the cable problem sorted. That's when I noticed that 600 stitches makes for a long damn row of knitting. One would think that this sort of observation would be self-evident. Particularly after having cast on said 600 stitches myself. Evidently my powers of observation require repetition to deploy.
My great grandaddy Clarence Wolff was an interior designer in Louisville, KY in the 1930s and 40s. In addition to an outstanding and unorthodox sense of color, he was well-known for his love of ruffles as a design element. I've been thinking of Granddaddy, whom I never was privileged to know, today as I struggle with this ruffle. While Clarence did love his ruffles, he never actually had to fabricate (or for that matter, iron) any. He had people for that. An entire workroom, in fact, with many seamstresses, whom he kept fed (and hopping, too, no doubt) all through the depression and the war. He kept the windows at Burgorf's Department store, and the fashionable parlours in and around Louisville, dressed for tea in miles and miles of his signature ruffles.
People in my family sometimes compare me with him, in the way I love to dress things up. I think it's a great compliment, and I really do wish I had managed to be born in time to have met him. So even though this might be both my first and my last ruffle, I'm using it to spend time with Clarence Wolff.
Here's lookin' at you Grandaddy.