Lara Platman's website has some beautiful images taken during her seven month stay in the Outer Hebrides. Click on over there to quietly celebrate 100 years of the orb, and raise your glass (or coffee as the case may be) to the survival of imprint.
The internet is watching you, but you knew that, right?
Just what the internet thinks of you, now that's another thing entirely.
A few months ago I found out about a website that analyses the individual's influence through the various social media engines many of us use, and being a little bit vain about such things (I used to be a club kid in the 80's so I have been trained to care about whether or not I am on "the list") I clicked over there, and found out that Klout considered me at the time to be influential about beer, politics, and Star Trek.
How any of this could be gleaned from my online life would be news to me. I don't recall ever mentioning beer or Star Trek, and most of my political commentary is sugar coated since I don't think the internet is a place to pick fights with people who like me for other things, like, you know, yarn.
Today, I ambled through there again and found that Klout has wised up a little bit, and now includes in my list of topics that it consideres me to be influential, in this order:
Amazon (as in dot com, I would assume)
followed by Sweater, Wool, Apps, Family, Shoes, Sea, and finally with the Star Trek again.
I have no idea how this works, but piqued perhaps by the primacy of Uncle Sam and Pirates in my influencyness, here is a list of some of the topics that I WISH I were influential about:
people who did not write Shakespeare's plays.
(and thereby perhaps glean some benefits from that influentialness, like say, a dinner invitation from one of my influencey benefactors? hint hint Mr Clooney?)
not to mention the spinning wheels and the yarn aspect of my bloggy life.
I mean: Star Trek? c'mon. Battlestar Gallactica, now that I would understand.
Takoma seems to have struck a chord with a number of people. My blog stats are higher than they've ever been, and I have an email box peppered with stories of long lost daddy sweaters that sound a lot like mine. A nostaligia lives at the heart of my own knitting; it's lovely to hear that I am in plentiful company.
There's a few things that I want to acknowledge about Takoma: where I found inspiration and information in knitting it.
It took me several months of looking for patterns because while I knew I wanted a traditional cardigan, I also knew I wanted something a little different from that. And all of the patterns out there in the world use what I call a shortcut collar, rather than the constructed shawl collar that I knew belonged on this sweater. A shortcut collar calls for casting on a few stitches, then increasing at the end of every other row until you reach a desired stitch count, knitting for a little longer, then reversing the shaping, then lashing the whole thing to the neck edge and calling it done. This works fine enough, but it lacks the shaping or the body of a proper Cowichan which has a series of shaping tricks that build the collar up across the back fo the neck and then combine with the collar flaps from the front to create a cozy and softly structured shape.
I consulted Priscilla Gibson Robert's Knitting in the Old Way, and then finally got my hands on a copy of her out-of-print Salish Indian Sweaters (there are rumors of a pending reprint but I have been hearing this for so many years now I have given up waiting. If anyone knows differently, please let me know). Both were terrific resources, and I couldn't have conceptualized how the collar worked without her guidance.
Meanwhile, for my own interests, I got my hands on a copy of the National Film Board of Canada's documentary The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters for a lesson in the hardscrabble cultural context these sweaters come from. I am in the middle of reading the very interesting book, Working with Wool: a Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater, by Sylvia Olsen, which is additionally enlightening about the spiritual considerations of the Cowichan knitters. I am also interested to learn about the special Cowichan spinners (also known as Indian Head Spinners) improvised from sewing machine parts and an enlarged flier. (Image borrowed from Island Weavings, where there is more info about this particular machine)
Meanwhile, I was inspired by the apparent return of Cowichan inspired sweaters to the mainstream, and the frequent attention fellow knitters were calling to the Granted Clothing website or vintage Mary Maxim patterns on Ravelry. There's even a Cowichan Inspired group over there.
If you are thinking about trying out Takoma, there's now a dedicated KAL group on Ravelry. Thanks to Julie for starting that up.
I have a few posts' worth of thoughts to share with you on Takoma (collar technique and source material) but first, I think color has so much to do with why we are drawn to knit, and this one is no exception.
So far, people who have cast on have played it pretty close to my original colors, and I am so happy about that. But I don't want anyone to feel like the burgundy/brown/cream trio is the only attractive way to go.
We all know the kinds of earthy colors Cowichans are usually knit in -- and these colors are important since the Salish knitters traditionally consider the natural wool to be a sacred gift. Meanwhile, my email this week had a Pendleton design from -- of all places -- Anthro that reminded me why I love the original colorways.
It isn't hard to transpose this arrangement into Takoma. I'd try the black as the main color, and keep the cream where it is, leaving the grey to fill in where I have the brown. Or reverse those last two, or start with the grey. Or not.
Cambria is knitting a Takoma taking her color cue from stash yarn she already had and loved:
It also looks like she is steeking it (tell tale stitch line there on the right) Rock that!
I also stumbled across this trio in my stash photos that I think would make a beautiful sweater.
That blue reminded me of a sweater I saw on Crystal's blog about a year ago that combined cream, a good blue, and a burnt pumpkin kind of orange that I really admired (and there's that green too). Nice, eh?
Of course, there's no reason to keep to just three colors (as you can tell from that great pop of green). You could use a whole colorbox, drawing your inspiration from anywhere.