Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This is my great grandmother. Her name was Sofia, and she was the first person I ever saw knit or crochet. This photo was taken of her in Lake Tahoe at my Uncle Louie's cabin. It's the only photo I've ever seen of her knitting.

She was Big Nana, to me, even though she stood only 4'10". She spoke Italian and very little English. She went to church every day, walking up and down the steep Filbert Street hill to go to Ss. Peter and Paul Church in North Beach. She rode the cable cars well into her 80's.

I grew up around the corner from Big Nana, who lived with Auntie Florence and Uncle Ralph. I visited her on many occasions and always found her sitting in her chair, working on a bureau scarf or doll clothes or something for a baby. Sofia lived to the age of 92, a gentle soul who helped me appreciate fine handmade things.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Marin County Fair 2010

Just some photos of the textiles on exhibit at the Marin County Fair. I didn't enter any fairs this year, but I still like visiting and looking at the entries. Not too much lace was exhibited, but some talented knitters won ribbons, nonetheless. Click on an image to see it larger.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Krokus in Progress

The past two+ months have been a bit tumultuous, with Dad in the hospital, his recovery, and adding a new puppy to our household. (Ellie has a new blog where you may watch her grow up.) I've finally gotten back to Krokus, which sat dormant for at least part of this time. Thank you, Adrienne, for spurring me to update.

I don't know what possessed me to think that I would finish Krokus in time to enter it in the San Mateo County Fair this year. Even if nothing had gone topsy-turvy, the timeframe for completion was still much too short. In addition, I had thought I was knitting 209 rows.

I found the Krokus pattern in the February 1989 Anna magazine, published in German by Burda. It was a lucky find. Several years ago, I had purchased a stack of old Annas from an online seller at a low price, and the collection included the elusive Lyra (in English!) and several other Herbert Niebling patterns. Of course, now many of the Niebling patterns have been republished, since interest in these fine works has increased. However, at the time of my purchase, I felt very lucky to have found these.

If you know Anna magazine, you're aware that the more complex charts are located on a large pull-out folded sheet in the center of the magazine -- sort of like the posters we would pull out of old Tiger Beat magazines as kids. I admit, as a young girl, I had a shirtless David Cassidy pinned on my wall, complete with staple hole near his bellybutton. My mom was not pleased. These days, my heart beats faster for Nieblings than popstars.

When I picked up Krokus again, I happily knit along at a good pace, and at Row 123 I guessed I would easily finish in a month or at the most two. Then I realized, as I looked at the photo of the finished piece in the magazine, that I had barely made a dent in this mammoth thing. And it was not 209 rows. It was 245. How had I missed that portion of the chart?

On the Anna pattern sheet, the chart is printed in several sections. One ends at 123, the next at 167; the next at 191; the next at 209. But I hadn't noticed the very long final section ends at 245 -- which would make it exponentially larger than I had envisioned. Then, of course, there is a very long, tedious bind-off. Okay, I've done Lyra, but I didn't think this one was going to be so time-consuming. Anyway, it will be ready for the next Fair, whether it's San Mateo or the State Fair. No pressure. Only another year to finish.

The lifeline I'm using is now in three pieces. It makes more sense than having one long lifeline that could break under tension. Did I say tension? No, there is no tension in knitting, just as there is no crying in baseball.