Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Crochet Vest with Silk and Beads

I've been crocheting straight through the holidays! This fancy vest is the laciest of my December projects. At right is a temporary experiment in wearing it backwards, as a tunic. I really like the neckline of it.

I see "Alezannah" when I look at this lacy beaded red silk, maybe because both of my grandmothers have been on my mind a lot this month. The mysterious* name Alezannah is a women's name used over many generations on my mother's side of the family. Sometimes it was spelled Alzanah or Alzannah. A lovely riff on the name is my maternal grandmother's: her name LeeAnna was intended to be an updated version.

Here's LeeAnna holding me when I was almost six months old.
My sister and I called her Mamie and my grandfather Papa. I loved using these names, which are somewhat mysterious** also. I would like to be called Mamie too if I become a grandmother.

My husband went to a local yarn shop and picked out some fabulous yarns and this is one of them! He couldn't wait until Christmas to give me Tilli Tomas Beaded Plie. I knew I wanted to wear it around my shoulders somehow to a holiday party, so I Vashti'd up a stitch pattern that I've always wanted to use with the right yarn.
At left is a cellphone photo taken at the party two nights ago. That's my friend Colette, who coincidentally planned to wear the same yarn to the same party. (She used the Frostyflakes pattern.)

I tried on Alezannah every which way before I created the sleeves. So, in this photo at right (another grainy cellphone shot) I tried it as an asymmetrical wrap. I get great design ideas this way, for example the v-neck top in the first photo. Same thing happened with the Waterlily Layer when I discovered it can be worn upside down and backwards!

*The Alezannahs in my family tree were of English and German descent, as far as I know. The name fascinates me and I've never found it in name books. It seems like an unusually exotic name for generations of rural midwestern ladies. If you know anything about this name, please let me know!

**I'm told these are French names for grandparents; not typical for Ohio LOL. Perhaps the French ancestry on my maternal father's side is more than a sliver? I haven't met anyone else who uses these names for their grandparents (not that the subject comes up with everyone I meet).