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One of the treats I remember as a kid was getting a chunk of sugar cane to suck on when we visited my dad’s family farm. My uncle ran the farm. Because I’m still trying to adjust to the time change, I should tell you one of my favorite stories about my dad’s oldest brother. Since he was the oldest, he ran the family farm while all the younger boys went off to war in the forties. During WWII, daylight savings time was used to save electricity. It wasn't used again until 1966. I can picture my Uncle WJ in his pickup truck, window down and air conditioner on full blast and complaining about the institution of daylight savings again. This time one of the arguments for daylight savings time was to give the farmers more daylight hours. He would rant and rave about what idiot thought daylight savings time would give him more time for farming. It would only mean he got up an hour later and went to bed an hour later. He would still have the same number of daylight hours for farming. What a character he was. The time change takes me forever to adjust to.

So what does all this have to do with sugar cane? I’ll get to that shortly.

I’m definitely not the fastest knitter in the world. So last fall when Peggy Stuart decided that we needed to have an Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket KAL, she and Susan the Blue Lake Knitter had me hooked but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get started until after the first of the year. Too many obligations before the holidays.

Susan forged ahead with her little Sam due in January. She was the first to finish and she did a terrific job. Look at the wonderful little buttons she found. We know Sam is going to be so cute in his BSJ.

Peggy was a little slower in finishing because she had her second thumb surgery last fall. She managed to finish up her BSJ for Daphne in January, just about the same time as I began. We can hardly wait for Miss Daphne to arrive sometime in late May, early June so we can see her in another cute BSJ.

The yarns I chose were a wee bit crazy for a baby. It’s not machine washable. I chose Araucania’s Multy Ruca, color #1

and Debbie Bliss’s Pure Silk, color 27005.

The reason for the choice of yarn is simple. The Multy Ruca is 100% sugar cane. I couldn’t have found more perfect yarn. How could I not use this to honor those family memories of that sweet taste of sugar cane from our family farm? And well, the silk is simply because it was what I found that could trim this beautiful sugar cane. The silk reminds me of that green sugar cane swaying in the fields.

So I forged ahead and before I knew it, I was making great progress.

It soon managed to evolve. So many buttons to choose from.

Before determining what buttons to use, I decided I wanted longer sleeves.

And I knew I wanted a collar. It took a long time to decide what type. I really wanted a sailor collar, but the front lines weren’t quite right for a true sailor collar. So I decided to go with a square collar. I ended up doing the collar separately. It took me forever to decide the best method for attaching the collar. I ended up whip stitching it. I placed the right side of the collar next to the wrong side of the BSJ. As soon as I find where I hid my directions for the collar I will post those directions in the BSJ KAL. Then I whip stitched around.

It was starting to look good but still wasn’t exactly where I wanted it. So then I decided to do an attached i-Cord around the edges and I’m in love again. And what buttons did I choose? I really wanted to use the bees. We used to have beehives in our backyard. So wouldn't sugar cane and bees be appropriate? But the little bees were too washed out and need something else to show them off. This has yet to be blocked but I didn't want to wait another week before posting this blog.

Since I haven’t decided on a recipient yet, I thought my little baby doll could use a little warmth on this nippy day.

Here’s a little bonus. I took pictures of the chair backs I did for the chair my baby doll is sitting in. We bought 2 chairs for $10/each. The backs were vinyl and the seats were just cloth. They had obviously not been Waters boys tested. The vinyl and seats were torn. I had some scrap upholstery fabric which I covered the seats with, but I couldn’t figure out how to do the backs. I knew I wanted to knit something but I didn’t know how. One day while staring at the chairs, hmmmm….. it reminds me of the toe of a sock. Finally, I knew how to shape it and voilá: beautiful new chairs! [Okay, I realize the backs could stand to be fulled again. What can I expect after 5 years and Waters boys testing?]

On my Needles: The Yvette Beret and Mitts. The band is completed and I’m ready to start those magical triangles for the entrelac set up. Please check out the discussion in the Entrelac KAL and join us if you like.

On my iPod: As always: At Knit's End by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off, Mason Dixon, Knitting Outside the Lines by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, The Secret Language of Knitters by Mary Beth Temple. As well as the following videos: Drafting: the Long and the Short of It and Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont, Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. The mystery book of the week is The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. No, this is not a story about Abe Lincoln, but a modern day lawyer that loves Lincoln Continentals.

What book am I reading?: I’m still enjoying The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes. What a delightful book!

Breed of the Week. Navajo-Churro: This breed is the descendant of the Churros. The Navajos bred these sheep for meat and fiber. The fiber is more suitable for weaving that knitting. There is some efforts today to breed for a softer fiber more suitable for knitting. The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes. Please consider purchasing Ms. Parkes book. It is an excellent resource book with some very nice patterns.

Word of the Week. Hinky: Slang for nervous or jittery; slang for suspicious. This slang word has been around since 1956 and is alteration of argot hincty suspicious. Thanks, Susan for using this wonderful word this week.

Until next time, Happy knitting to all.


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Comment by cherylbwaters on March 30, 2010 at 10:17am
Peggy, I picked up the sts on mine and it's okay. I just think the provisional cast on would be nicer. ♥c
Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 30, 2010 at 6:47am
It's too late for a provisional CO, at least for this BSJ. I'll have to wing it. I'm doing something with the design, too, so it will be a little different from the last one. --P
Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 30, 2010 at 5:51am
Peggy, I could use the provisional cast on that I like (the one using a length of cable instead of yarn) leaving the stitches live on the cable, then graft the shoulders... that's a much neater join anyway. All I need to do now is find some approproate soft brown contrasting yarn. Thanks for the additional information, it will really help me. ♥s
Comment by cherylbwaters on March 29, 2010 at 9:09pm
Susan, you can find the longer sleeves on KnitWiki. It's a little over ½ way down the page. But Meg Swansen recommends doing a provisional cast on so the stitches can be picked up easily. Plus I think it might be easier to join the shoulders if the one side is still live stitches though I don't know for sure.

Peggy, you actually extend the sleeves before adding the ribbing.

Beth, there is an i-cord maker by Embellish Knits or Inox. And there are also knitting dollies/nancies. Here's one by Inox and another one from My Wooden Toys. Here are some for Houghton Avenue And there are lots more. But the i-Cord Peggy is talking about is an attached i-Cord.
Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 29, 2010 at 6:13pm
Beth: Thanks for the tip! We don't have a Hobby Lobby nearby, but we're supposed to be getting a Michaels soon, if the store can make a deal with Park City on taxes! (Everything is sooooo expensive here because of the resorts and all the tourists!) --P
Comment by Beth Pritchett on March 29, 2010 at 5:44pm
Peggy, don't they have a little childrens "toy" that just cranks out I-cord. It seems I remember seeing one just recently at Hobby Lobby. It may have been a knitting spool that is just a knitting loom with only a few pegs with each stitch worked manually. But I could swear that I have seen them with a crank, too.
Cheryl, I love that story. I hope No 3 son kept his love of artistic pursuits. I tried to direct creativity to places other than my walls, but I should have bought stock in Magic Eraser.
Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 29, 2010 at 4:15pm
Just ribbing with smaller needles? I may do this. I'm not crazy about I-cord (making it--love having it already), and the crochet edging was enough on the first one. Don't want to do it again! --P
Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 29, 2010 at 2:36pm
Since you are looking for mileage (apparently), where did you find the instructions for lengthening the arms... was it on the BSJ DVD - I know you gave this info somewhere - maybe in the KAL, but I cannot remember. Seriously! ♥s
Comment by cherylbwaters on March 29, 2010 at 1:09pm
Thanks, Shirley, I mean, Peggy. I am serious. ♥c
Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 29, 2010 at 12:51pm
Q: Surely you can't be serious!
A: I am serious and don't call me Shirley.

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