Happiness is... Pom Pom Quarterly

15 March 2014

Happiness is ... Pom Pom Quarterly and enough of Kettle Yarn Co.'s Islington to make the lacy knitted top on the front cover.
Rumour has it that spring is springing in the Northern Hemisphere after a dreadfully soggy winter. Crocuses, daffodils and jonquils are appearing. Cue the sartorial rejection of dark, moody, wintery blacks, browns and navy blues and the enthusiastic embrace of soft pinks, refreshing lilacs and pale mint greens. The sun is shining and everyone is on a Vitamin D high. Who could possibly want to sit indoors and knit?

Well... there are an awful lot of things in the current edition of Pom Pom Quarterly (Issue 8) that kinda make you want to linger on the sofa. Just for a moment or two. Whilst you order the appropriate amounts of Kettle Yarn Co.'s Islington or Jamieson's Spindrift for - respectively - the cover pattern of Meghan Fernandes' Waterlily or Sonja Bargielowska's Confetti. You might already have the yarns and juuuusssttt need to pop the relevant needles and notions into a bag. With the yarn. And a picnic blanket and perchance some champagne and sandwiches in a coolbox.

Because then you'll find yourself a comfy, sunny spot in a corner of a park or field and get ready to knit in and amongst the blooms.

Thus you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Knitting and the springtime outdoors whilst looking terribly picturesque.

It is marvellous to see how Pom Pom has developed in the past couple of years. From the slim notebook style of Issue 1 (five patterns and a couple of articles. Oh and a cocktail recipe. Yum.) we have a substantial periodical by Issue 8 (eight patterns, more designers from all over the world, more articles and a recipe for Bergamot Chocolate Biscuits. Boom).  The images and styling have also sharpened up by combining the photographic skills of Juju Vail and Lydia Gluck's whimsical illustrations.

I was chuffed to see Anna Maltz of the Ricefield Collective - an early interviewee of TWIHM - making an appearance in Pom Pom as both a designer and subject of an article about the Collective. Her glorious Sólja is on my big To Do List once I have knitted an item of clothing for someone (i.e. me) larger than a three-year-old.

Anna Maltz's Sólja. Fair Isle colourwork with a decidedly modern feel.
The anticipated second knitted item of clothing for someone larger than a three-year-old (which will come after the first, a navy blue version of a Heathered cardigan) will be the Waterlily pattern gracing Pom Pom's cover. I have enough of the Islington required - in the suitably named hue of "Pom". I am an English woman in Australia these days, dontcha know - and will launch very soon.

Lovely lacework. Ladybird is optional.

It was a rocky start, however, with the Islington. The skeins arrived in the post. Eeeee! The excitement! The skeins were so soft, smooth and like pastelly green gossamer. Would you expect anything less from a combination of silk and Bluefaced Leicester? I had to start unravelling asap.

Which I did. Using two door knobs instead of the patient and strong arms of an unenthusiastic volunteer for a long session of hand winding.

Catastrophe. The resultant knots looked like the visceral remains of some sort of eviscerated squidy, octopussy, woolly thing. I could not photograph it. It was the stuff of nightmares and took a couple of days to rectify. Ho hum.

Thus I went out to Morris and Sons to buy a couple of bits of technology. I don't really doooo technology. I am now the baffled user of a hand-me-down iPhone after years of a black and white Nokia. The iPhone was somewhat thrust upon me in a moment of exasperation at my backwardness by the former owners who now have handsets so sophisticated that you could probably use them on the Star Ship Enterprise.

Which leads me back to the bits of technology. A Japanese made and designed...

Skein Holder and Wool Winder!

Look at the quality plastic! This is a thing that will become an heirloom piece, handed down the generations to bring joy to all crafty ones.
Ooooh. Behold! Are they not things of beauty? And they spin. And unwind skeins and make balls of wool. It's strangely meditative. Probably not unlike using a spinning wheel or drop spindle.

La laaaaaa! La la la la laaaaaaa! Do do do doo doooo! Ahem. Did you spot the opening bars of the Star Trek theme tune there?

The skein holder in particular looks like it could have been in one of the early Start Trek episodes. Linda Lencovic of the Kettle Yarn Co. even suggested adding a tribble or two for authenticty.

Cue a scene from the Start Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles.

WARNING : readers who deem a young William Shatner the Bees Knees might need to steel themselves before watching the following clip. He emerges from a sea of glorified pompoms. It's ever so slightly gratuitous. I think I know where the inspiration for the blush-inducing Mr. Darcy wet shirt moment in the1995 version of Pride and Prejudice came from.

But there can be no disputing the results of the new bits of technology. In the case of (wo)man versus machine when unwinding skeins I offer you Exhibit A.

I think the machines have it.

Machine ball (left) versus woman's ball (right).
And aren't I lucky it's the start of autumn here in Melbourne (Ok. So it will be in the high 20s today but the nights are getting cooler)? That gives me six months before spring arrives to get Waterlily's lacework bang on.

(Images: Zoë F. Willis)