Sometimes a Great Novel

I just last night finished Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion, a story about logging and family and never giving an inch, but with an over-arching theme about the ruthlessness of living in the past and the dangers of making assumptions (and the life-altering consequences of acting on them). “When you sow the wind, you reap a whirlwind.”

I suck at book reviews, but I will say that this is in my list of top five favorite books. She also loves A Confederacy of Dunces and The Debt to Pleasure (which she judged and bought because of its cover) and reads them when she’s feeling literarily disturbed and wants to reclaim her mind and climb back into God’s pocket.

I can’t wait to forget it so I can reread it.

How is this related to knitting?

This morning, while the ending was gelling in my consciousness, I did a little browsing on the internets about the book and came across this photo of its author. As crisp and moody a black-and-white photo as ever there was. (You don’t get this depth with digital.)

Ken Kesey in a hand-knit-with-love Cowichan vest.

I have a certain obsession with Cowichan sweaters, and now I’m pretty sure I need one with dragons on it.

I’m getting closer to knitting intarsia, which doesn’t seem like such a great notion, but she could do it if she put her reclaimed mind to it.

What’s inspiring you today?


How a Morning Gets Gone

Last Saturday, I read photographer Gale Zucker’s post on her clever, creative video for an Etsy shop that sells handknit Cowichan-type sweaters from vintage patterns.

That led me to the Etsy website for her customer, Camp Kitschy Knits. (I’m glad someone likes to knit intarsia.)

Which rekindled my interest in these graphic sweaters that were popularized by the Canadian yarn companies Mary Maxim and White Buffalo in the 50s and 60s.

Mary Maxim took liberties with motifs.

White Buffalo offered traditional motifs.

Which led me to poking around on Etsy for other Cowichan sweaters, the prices of which making me think I should just suck it up and knit my own. (They’re knit with bulky yarn on big needles, so the pain of intarsia wouldn’t last too long.)

Which made me sad that I sold my copy of Salish Indian Sweaters by Patricia Gibson Roberts. (I needed the money.)

Which made me look for the book on, the prices of which making me wish I had gotten more for the copy I sold.

Then I wondered if any bloggers had documented the knitting of such a sweater, and I found this completely unhelpful post on eHow that not only doesn’t give yarn amounts or charts, it doesn’t even show a picture of a Cowichan sweater in the post.

Then I did a search on Pinterest and got overwhelmed by all the motif possibilities, so I tried to narrow down my own options on Ravelry, and came across one of my favorites knit by Grumperina.


Then I tried to find this particular buffalo pattern, but couldn’t, so I closed all my browswer tabs and made a ginger-blackberry-banana smoothie.

Do your mornings ever go this way?