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Bonne Marie Burns
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Wednesday, September 1

Split Knitting Personality: knitter who really enjoys using machine knitting and hand knitting in the same sentence, oh, same garment!

If you've been a subscriber of any of the knitting tomes, sooner or later you've come across an article about the Process vs. Project (I think I got that right) Schools of Thought about Knitting.

Some knitters just enjoy the Process of the deed itself - the stitch by stitch relaxation, watching the garment Grow under your hands, the visceral, organic connection one makes with FIBER...

The Project Folk are goin' for the Gold - a race to that new jumper! Something to brighten up the grind of the Daily Landscape - a Fashion Statement that needs to be spoken sooner rather than later...

I would put myself 99% smack dab in the Project group. I consider my Stash and the End Results of my Labor as PURE WARDROBE ENHANCEMENT! If I'm not going to wear it, I won't waste my time making it.

This does NOT, however, mean I don't ADORE the Process.
I am truly under its spell...

How I get that hot little item in my hands is where the Split Knitting Personality comes in...

Hand Knitting --- Process
Machine Knitting --- Product

ADD the two together and VOILA!


Nothin' crazy about that!

AND nothing too far afield of the Sanctity of the Process...

After I machine knit the Stockinette parts of the garment, they are all finished by hand knitting.

Many people refer to their hand operated Knitting Machines as Stockinette Looms - and believe me, while you're moving that carriage back and forth manually there is a *weaving* type vibe going on. Instead of stitch-by-stitch knitting that is accomplished with traditional needles, you are making row-by-row progress. be continued

read the Complete Notes: Machine Knitting HERE

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Thursday, September 2, 2004

The Scoop of the Scoop du Jour is well, SCOOPED!

Who's the Boss!?

Drafting several necklines this winter and spring has pushed me to try even curvier, faster curves. Step on it, lead foot!

I wasn't convinced this was going to work - if you look at the picture from yesterday, you can see the narrowness of the shoulder piece. I wanted to use WIDE chunky rib at the neck and that needed a WIDE SCOOPER-Doo...

This means I had to leave a curved *hole* so to speak, that I was going to *fill-up* with rib.

But ya really don't know until you get your hands (face, feet and NECK) dirty in this PROCESS so in I dived. I picked up 5 sts for every 6 on the edge.

My RULE of THUMB for edgings is thus: note your Row Gauge. Then subract 1 stitch from whatever that number is, so in this case it is 5 because this is an Aran weight yarn with a gauge of 6 rows per inch. I picked up 5 sts for every 6 stitches made along the edge (pick up 5, skip 1, pick up 5, skip 1, etc). This is called a 5/6 ratio.

If your row gauge is 7 rows per inch, pick up 6 sts for every 7 along the edge. For bulky yarns with a row gauge of 4 rows per inch, I pick up stitches in a 3/4 ratio.

The mistake I referred to on Tuesday was that I picked up stitches in a 6/7 ratio or 6 sts for every 7 on the body edge, and ended up with too many stitches. This made the ButtonBand flare out! I could see it in the picture, but didn't spot it in person! I have no idea why I broke my own THUMB! A BB (and all edgings) need to be slightly smaller than what they are edging so they CONTROL the edge itself.

Dog is in the Details

Other Finishing FUN!

-- I always slip the first stitch of the row of a band for a smooth edge

-- on the Buttonband, on the last bind-off row, on a RS row, I bind-off all stitches knitwise for a cool, little chain edging on the band. This is firm and controls the roll...

-- on the neckline, I started out with needles that were two sizes smaller than the body needles. Half-way through, I switched to three sizes down from the body; on the last two rows, I used a needle 4 sizes down. This gave me a nice sublte curve of its own with no pesky decreasing - which is always hard to do on a ribbed section.

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Friday, September 3, 2004

       New Threads Friday

Scoop du Jour
Design: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Rowan "All Seasons Cotton"
Color: #163 Cloud
Gauge: 18sts /24 rows over 4"

Pattern coming soon...

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Monday, September 6, 2004

  Monday Morning Mirth 

as seen with my own eyes in Tustin, MI Saturday, September 4, 2004

Small Town, Big Fun...

Tips for watching that Holiday Parade

10. Get there early enough to stake out your prime vantage point with lawn chairs. Two hours before lift-off is good; leave the chairs there with the multitude of others (dude, this is a small town, no one will STEAL THEM) and come back later.

9. Be sure to remember your ear plugs; many small town *floats* are EMT vehicles from three or 4 counties enriching the parade atmosphere with BLARING SIRENS!!! Most likely, they will be stalled right in front of your sea of chairs when the vintage car carrying the Mayor stalls 10 chairs up.

8. If you have a pet, be sure to bring it to the parade; better yet, dress it up and march with it or carry it on your lap while you drive your vintage car IN the parade.

7. The American Flag is good for all seasons for all reasons!!! Whether float, vintage car, personal/pet apparel, you cannot go wrong. More is, well, MORE!

6. Be sure to sit far enough away from the curb to avoid being hit by the projectile candy and beads being tossed from any and all *floats*!

5. Be sure to sit close enough to the curb to snarf up all the candy and props that will happily come flying your way from the floats! If the parade stalls (trust me), the kids on the float nearest to you will just unload their goody bags your way! Knowledge is POWER!

4. Be sure to look out for fellow Sweets Divers, who might accidentally head butt you into seeing stars if you are not careful (source: my nephew who is still rubbing his head after actively bopping mine, or vice versa, depending on who you ask...)

3. After you remember you are over 12 and it's just not attractive to go face first into the grass over some Tootsie Rolls and you sit back down, it will be even more tempting to unwrap and sympathy gorge yourself on that Peppermint Patty that just poked you in the eye before it fell into your lap. Remember it is 88 degrees outside and it might be MELTED.

2. Ignore the above advice and go for it, even though you end up with a dork, dark chocolate moustache from licking the foil around that candy! YUM!

1. ENJOY your holiday because YOU WORK HARD FOR THE MONEY HONEY!!!


Float #1

Float #2

Float #3

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Tuesday, September 7, 2004

oh L@@K, it's!

Max Mara Bolero Vest

While I'm busy formulating my personal Fall Runway, I've been window shopping galore in shops, magazines and catalogs.

AHH, if only I was as lucky as my college friend Diane, who always goes up to Montreal at this time of year to shop wardrobe. She claims the City has much more flair than anything she's seen in Chicago, so she beats a path to its door evey Autumn. Every year I swear to do this, to see for myself, because her style is beyond measure...

This is a very interesting year for fashion collections - my very favorite is the Donna Karan collection, with its rich monotone-on-tone offerings - check it out HERE.

The mood is romantic and feminine - more of those wonderful tulip shaped skirts that seem to be attractive on everyone.

Here's another unique vest from Max Mara I saw at 900 N. Michigan Ave.


You see the monotone-on-tone again - a fanciful decorative piece over a same colored lighter-weight turtleneck...

I like cinched waists - here's a sweater I made awhile back (Rebecca #22) that has similar detailing with a flounced skirt.


a little about the Design House of Max Mara

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Wednesday, September 8, 2004

wot's the Secret Word?

Ding Dong Daddy OH! It's Back-to-School all over the land and I've been hit with that sentimental something that always makes me smile this time of year.

Everybody is out shopping for new clothes (YES! Even those NOT going backTSkl) and having a ball. It's a NEW YEAR of sorts and I'm celebrating right along with all the kids. I love this time of year.

I will go out and buy a pack of NEW PENCILS just to smell the wood when you open the package. ILOVEIT.

My mother, for years and years after I left home, used to send me six-packs of underwear in September, just in case I *forgot* it was TIME TO GET some.

After updating the Galleries in the last week or so, I reflected on my last couple of year's output and realized it takes me a long time to finish things. Often, I start something for Spring/Fall, etc, get it almost finished and then the season up and changes on me. The poor little garment then gets folded away and put in the Marination Camber to be finished next year. (For a FABULOUS FINISH in time for the season, check out Claudia's beautiful lacy sweater HERE). This is why it seems like I knit so fast sometimes - people always ask me this - I have projects in various stages of completion hacked away in my closet or MC.

This little lovely hasn't been in the box for too long. I made these sweater pieces by machine a few weekends ago - they are my maiden outing on the LK-150. I've had the yarn, a Phildar cotton/acyrlic - *Marjory*, for a couple of years. It was from a destashing lady on eBay - this was before I knew the goodness of Phildar from Becky and Alison and Sil.

What a score! 20 balls of ecru and 20 balls of black in pristine condition - makes my head spin to think about it!

I've wanted a sweater like this for as long as I can remember.

Hmmm, memory cells holding about 5 mo. worth of data this year, 2004. Totally inspired by the folks over HERE...

But I usually make cardigans (and shells)! Pullovers (out of wool) are just too HOT for my metabolism or something and I do not have many. But now I can make a bunch out of all that sport/DK weight stuff in the Stash Palace!


the World's Tiniest Contest

Guess what the completed word on the above sweater will be and WIN! enough Rowan All Seasons Cotton to make the NEW! ChicKnits Aran Gauge Bucket Hat! (Pattern included)

RULES: email me HERE with the word CONTEST in the subject line and your guess in the body of the email. Submit your entry by September 21, 2004

Winner to be selected by random drawing and TBA September 22, 2004

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Thursday, September 9, 2004

Drum Solo: I'm lovin' all your guesses!!!

Since I've been vaccinated against Intarsia this *Fall* (sorry I can't wait - it's 55 RIGHT NOW in the early AM here in Chicago), the cool option for my pulli wordplay is DUPLICATE STITCH!

Duplicate Stitch is where, after the garment is knitted, you go back and embroider the decorative design on top of the base Stockinette body stitches. I've found, for small designs or accents, it is so much EASIER than INTARSIA I don't even think twice!

Here are some cool TUTORIALS

from the wonderful Sockknitter's Site

from the cool Craftmen's Studio

For this outing, I experimented with a few different cotton and cotton/blend yarns, then settled on: washable wool for my embroidery. The elasticity of the wool makes for much more even letters and is easier to control while stitching. It HUGS the already knit stitches and doesn't try and break out and grab the MIC and go SOLO and make a fool of itself...


The above picture shows my Dupes on the WS and my most favorite crafting discovery of 2004: using Stitch Holders as GIANT SAFETY PINs to do the Basting for you.

If I need to see how a piece fits to another piece or get a rough idea of how it will fit me, I *pin* it together with the stitch holders and VOILA! Instant gratification! I got my holders in a couple of eBay jaunts.


click those BICs Babies, it's
the World's Tiniest Contest

Guess what the completed word on the above sweater will be and WIN! enough Rowan All Seasons Cotton to make the NEW! ChicKnits Aran Gauge Bucket Hat! (Pattern included)

RULES: email me HERE with the word CONTEST in the subject line and your guess in the body of the email. Submit your entry by September 21, 2004

Winner to be selected by random drawing and TBA September 22, 2004

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Friday, September 10, 2004

la Fleur de Fluffa: Completed Back

Sooner or later in your Journey down the Fiber Highway, you're gonna need a Friend.
A Friend that maybe knows the answer;
a friend that's traveled down that bumpy Road.

You know the Road I'm talking about. Whether it's some technique that's strangling your output because it's just too weird to be believed or a funkay pattern dialogue that needs something much larger than you, your finger and Babelfish or a yarn content that Just Says NO to being blocked, chances are there is SOMEONE out there who will KNOW WHAT TO DO!

Has been there BEFORE infact and can relight your fire for ya...

sequinK writes: "Oh my,... I made the same sweater in the same yarn AND same color!! I love it, and Silvia's right -- it's a hot little number!

Yeah Yeah WOOT! I am DELIVERED! I've had fits of starting and stopping with this beautiful design since I birthed it on a Startitis Sunday late this winter. As usual, I can't leave well enough alone and had to:
Upsize It
Use a different Yarn from what the Pattern called for
Use a different Gauge from what the Pattern called for
Hate the sleeve caps enough to, you guessed it, REDRAW the curves once again...

But here was #25, finished, in all its GLORY! ready to inspire and gently paddle my A** to the finish line!

I need that sometimes; OK, I need that alot. I am fickle! I will start then drop any project ANY time...

I was especially stalled, because in this color (a deep sortof Indigo, very hard to photograph), it was very hard for me to visualize what it would look like. Now I am charmed and AMAZED!

So for a little Friday Inspiration, grab a cup and go HERE and visit Ms. SequinK's GLORIOUS FO's...

As FATE would have it, Ms. sequinK also has a Silver Reed LK-150 - check out this cool poncho, which I've dubbed the "Here I Come Poncho" teeheehee...

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Monday Morning Mirth


Give Midwestern Kids the wide open Atlantic Ocean and what do they do?

GO for the SAND!

Our FaM got wild and crazy on the beach when we were on vacation in NC and we made an

Egyptian icon...

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Weekend, September 18 -19, 2004



the Renegade Craft Fair

Saturday & Sunday
September 18 - 19, 2004
10:30am - 5:30 PM
Wicker Park



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Monday, September 20, 2004

  Monday Morning Mirth  

a sweet little oil painting from the Renegade
which I've dubbed *She Bangs*...

For years and years, I asked the multitude of hairdressers I've known and dissed to cut my hair into BANGS on my forehead.
Most scoffed, pouted, then cut the hair.

My hair does'nt do BANGS.

I have what my Mother calls KooKaDEEkoos because my hair is wavy and FLIPS. These little cowlicks now, years later, form a rather fine lifted hairline around my face.

I saw this picture at the Renegade Craft Fair and brought it home in honor of All the Bangs I've Loved Before...

dontcha ever wonder where the term *Bangs* came from?

go HERE and read the entry called: "Bang Bang"

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Design:Phildar Tendances Printemps 2004
Yarn: Phildar "Onde"
Color: Hyacinthe
Gauge: 22sts/33 rows over 4"
Needles: #3 & #6
Type: Completely Handknit
Start: March 19, 2004
Finish: September 18, 2004

FINALLY! Even though my Mom sez you can't wear
White AFTER Labor Day, I say:

Thanks to everyone for the wONDErful KnitAlong! The Onde FAQ page and Complete Notes are to the right under the little Pink Pill...


... read the Complete Notes: ONDE
(with added project details)

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

the World's Tiniest Contest


and the Secret Word IS ...

THANKS to EVERYBODY for Playing this Round of Bucket-O-CHIC!!!

The Number 2 guess was: CHICKSTA!
closely followed by
& Shreksta!

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

What's scarier?
This picture or the STORY that follows...

For the entire last weekend here at the Chez Chic,
there has been a Palace Uprising...

Stash Palace, that is!

Over the last couple of years (cough), the Collection Splendide of yarn in the house has just grown and grown.

Take one part LYS Seasonal Sales, add another part eBay, stir lightly with a dash of Michigan Fiber Fest, blend in the fabulous room temperature MDS&W haul, etc. etc. etc. and you have something that is now about the size of the TAJ MAHAL!!!

Pardon me, while I invoke #2 of the Bad Ass School of Knitting: "Buy as much yarn (and books and needles etc.) as you want, whenever the hell you want."

Even with EXTREME ATTENTION paid to orgainzing the entire ensemble in January,

I LOST TRACK of SOME YARN and just about drove myself crazy trying to find it. It's like when you have an important event to go to and start ripping through your closet, trying on every outfit you own and rejecting them in a tornadic FIT! The obvious, accessible yarn is not going to work for that mighty mighty project you have broiling in your mind. YOU MUST HAVE THE MISSING YARN!

All of this, of course, happened about 10 minutes before I needed to probably just turn in for the night. My downstairs neighbors probably wished I had instead of having to listen to me toss about boxes and bags of STUFF!

AHHH! the very best storage bags, IMHO, are those zipperred plastic things blankets and comforters come in!!! TOSS 'EM in a pile! Some have handles! Easier for the heavin' and hoin'...

This is what I was looking for and FINALLY FOUND all alone in a box under other boxes:

This is champion CormoCross yarn I got last year at the Michigan Fiber Festival from FoxHill Farm, of Lee, MA. (YUP - they're at Rhinebeck!)

Written on August 20, 2003: "The softness and beauty of the yarn made from this wool is almost indescribable. I wish I had Feel-Around so I could share the *Hand* of Goodness..."

And THIS is what I'm going to make.

This has to be my favorite sweater of all times! PLAIN, Well-fitted, made from outstanding ingredients, once on, unable to be taken off!!!

NOT scary at all...

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Friday, September 24, 2004


Design: Bonne Marie Burns for ChicKnits
Yarn: Phildar "Marjory" 50% Cotton/ 50% Acrylic
Color: Cream & Black
Gauge: 20sts/28 rows over 4"
Needles: #3 & #6
Type: Hand & Machine Knit with Duplicate Stitch Detailing

This little pulli is my maiden voyage on the LK-150 knitting machine I got on eBay. I also have a Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine that I leave out attached to a fabulous heavy maple IKEA table I scooped up at a sidewalk sale this summer. The LK-150 is a Mid-Gauge Machine; the Bond is a Bulky Machine.

These knitting machines are great for doing big pieces of *plain* Stockinette Stitch knitting that can be finished later by hand. I made a few garments when I got the Bond two years ago, drifted away from it, and now, with the arrival of the LK-150 am back on the machine track...

Why Machine Knit? It allows me to make the simply wonderful fitting Utility Sweaters I love to wear to work. Using a machine and high quality ingredients, I can make hard wearing, long lasting, dependable, SIMPLE garments I can't buy off the rack.

Oh He** - I'll tell the TRUTH! I have very loooong arms, a short waist topping a long body. I am CUSTOM all the way! I CAN'T buy off the rack unless I get a garment a couple of sizes bigger than what my body needs to meet my length requirements...

It is indeed a time saver. You can make all the sweater body pieces, minus the borders, in a weekend. Then you can hand knit the edge finishings and sew it together at your leisure.

There is a learning curve - but not too bad. If you just make all of the little projects in their included book, you will learn all the techniques you need. Mine also came with a very good video that demonstrated the techniques.

DOWNSIDE: not as user friendly as hand-knitting. AND, this is the real reason that 99.9% of the sweaters you see in the ChicKnits Galleries are completely hand knit - I love the feel and process of hand knitting. The Lap Dance, so to speak...

Machine Knitting is not MOBILE. You really have to dedicate a block of time to the project - I never leave a piece hanging from the USM but finish in one session whatever piece I'm working on to avoid gauge changes in the fabric.

You also really have to understand gauge and count rows instead of measuring to get reproducible results so your pieces match EXACTLY. GAUGE is good. GAUGE IS PARAMOUNT!

But THAT, but of course, is true whether it's hand OR machine...


some Starter MK Links

What Machine Should I Get?

the Incredible Sweater Machine Group on Yahoo

Bond Knitter's Internet Links

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Monday, September 27, 2004

  Monday Morning Mirth  

Mimi writes: "Was just reading your notes about weddings....what the heck is a chicken dance? I'm from Chicagoland and I've never heard of it..."

Because ChicKnits is HOME of all things Groovy about the MIDWEST! (People, regional PRIDE!) I present
(no drumroll necessary, but some snaps might do!):

NOT the Hokey Pokey; not the Bunny HOP!

The Chicken DANCE!


Formation: One large circle centered in the middle of room.

lst sequence --- Four snaps(thumb and fingers up in air)
2nd sequence --- four flaps(arms go up & down, elbows bent)
3rd sequence --- four wiggles(hips and knees bend low)
4th sequence --- four claps
--skip around the circle when the music changes to the slower beat, then repeat the steps above when the music changes back to the first sequence.

Now, maybe I'm part of some Low Culture Generation Gap but call me SENTIMENTAL - this dance has been done at almost every wedding I've been to, $$$$, no $$$, even on a boat on Lake Michigan where an Irish guy married a Puerto Rican Lady (who's relatives pinned money all over her dress for the right to dance) and everybody CHICKENED!

GRANTED: this is NOT the lovely First Waltz of the Evening between the Newly Marrieds, but hon, after a couple of POPS! you are flappin' your wings!

Care to DANCE! What's the weirdest thing you've seen at a wedding?


the SWISS are the authors of this Party Phenom

da Music: hit this and don't blame me if it stays with you all day!

How widespread is this flap? Kids - there's even a Chicken Dance ELMO!~

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Knitting being REALLY NAUGHTY?
Give it a TIME OUT!

Naughty Knitting standing in corner
until it apologizes...

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Can you DIG the intricate bodice shaping
that produces a wonderful sensation of

YES! There is CUPPAGE!

WARNING: an unseemly, really snitty RANT follows...

BUT, this delightful looking cardi is a sincerely dangerous piece of work!

I've been working on it for awhile now (last winter, teeeheeehee) and always STALL...

The Reason: the Pattern

It is from the delightful designers @Rebecca. Never have I found a company with more titillating and innovative designs. I delight in their offerings. I want to make and wear most of them.

I am tortured by their translations. I am mentally squeezed by the brevity of the length of the patterns.

How can you take a complicated, extremely shaped, lacy creation and distill the instructions down to about four paragraphs? I know, I know, the fabulous European knitters don't NEED any hand holding, BUT WHAT THE ****!

IMHO, it seems, and I have every issue for several seasons, that these tomes are put through an industrial strength meat-grinder universal translator with the results never being read or used by an English speaking person! Now I'm not asking they be read and used by an idiomatic urban inner city speaker/reader like myself...

HERE's the ChicKnits Boatneck Shell Pattern shizzolated...

I'm just wondering who the H is supposed to be able to understand these translations?

Now as a writer whose A** has been flamed hither and yon on some of these same issues, I have to say kindly: WHAT THE ****!

I spent most of the evenings of my PRECIOUS WEEKEND knitting the Front of my cardi OVER AND OVER. I was doing 4 things at the same time:
working a lace pattern
decreasing for an armhole
shaping a bodice
decreasing for a neckline

Now, I've routinely done these things on other garments with NO PROBLEM! But on this one, the directions were so convoluted it put me on the ropes over and over. I'd get one set of instructions right then blow the next.


Get the neckline squared away and miss the beginning of the armhole decreases. Score on the AHD and totally screw up the lace pattern.

OH > the lace pattern > given in a two by one inch square graph > left to your imagination > for a wide variety of use > on the body of the sweater > on the neck > on the sleeves. That's like trusting me with a box of rocks...

Now, I know that patterns need to be brief to keep production costs down. I know some designers take huge personal pride in condensing their instructions as much as humanly possible (and why this is such a point of pride is beyond me).

But please, people, we knitters are paying through the nose for the book to begin with, it comes with NO pattern support, and we really, really WANT to make your stuff because it's so brilliant! Why make it SO HARD for us to do?

BTW: it still hasn't apologized...

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Thursday, September 30, 2004

unblocked front pieces of a Ribby Cardi

Knitting on the #66 is always a challenge
(and somtimes a spectacle).

Spy the little knitted pieces above and the unkowing, unknitting eye would see...


Lately, my new Bus Mate has been a test Ribby Cardi; so far, the fronts, and 1.75 sleeves are done.

Last night on my way home from work, a fellow passenger took more than a passing interest in my work. His Happy Hour, I believe, had been going on since maybe Lunch and now it was Dinnertime, and like millions of inebrieated folk who've gone before, it was time to SING! About my SCARF!

SO, standing in front of my seat, he sort of sang over me, "K1P2", over and over...

(YES! The universal Mantra of Knitting is KNOWN and revered, in every Urban NOOK & Cranny on the GLOBE! I can just SEE it in my mind's eye - after every CUB VICTORY, in every tavern in the City, the mugs held high, the crowd swaying back and forth, singing softly, K1P2, K1P2...)

Did this have the intended effect on me (which I assume was to enable me to relax and provide a metronome like cadence so I could knit the *Scarf* faster...)?

Well, no... IT DIDN'T!

Because I'd reached my breaking point on the concept of ye olde *K1P2*!

Where the heck have you ever SEEN this combination worked on a sweater!?~

K2P2, maybe. The Ribby above is 2x2x3x1 ribbing.

But, K1P2? Please enlighten me and HELP ME get back on the bus today...

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