[Editor's note: Sara Lamb has written many articles for Handwoven, Beadwork, and Spin-Off magazines and gives workshops in the US and England on weaving techniques, embellishment, and spinning. She has received awards from the Handweavers Guild of America and her work has appeared in many juried shows.]
I live with my husband in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California. We both moved here from the Bay Area in the late 70s during the infamous "back to the land" movement. There is a large community of fiber people in and around the area, as well as people who raise fiber animals, and tool makers. I belong to two weaving guilds: the larger in Sacramento has 150 members, the smaller in Grass Valley has about 35 members.
I learned to weave in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Art Center. At the time (early 70s) classes were part of the state community college curriculum. There was a large studio with over 40 looms, in former barracks buildings at Fort Mason, which was decommissioned in the 60s and turned into a cultural center. Across the hall was a pottery studio, down the hall were photographers and sculptors. It was a very exciting place, full of creative people all hours of the day. My only formal class weaving lessons were taken there; my teacher was Kay Sekimachi, a very well-known and well-respected weaver in the Bay Area.
I don't remember *wanting* to learn to weave, but I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon it. At Fort Mason, we used handmade looms made during the depression as a WPA works project, from scrap lumber from Mare Island Naval Yard (in the Bay Area). The looms still had "US Navy" stamped all over them, and were held together with string and a prayer. What this taught me though, was that I didn't need to have beautiful equipment to make beautiful fabric. My loom is a tool, not a piece of furniture. It is marked, and drilled and altered when necessary, and does not live as a display in itself.
My first husband, infant son and I moved shortly after my first year of weaving classes to the Foothills. I enlisted my father to make me a loom of my own. I bought the plans, and he built a 4-harness counterbalance loom for me, which I used for the next ten years. I joined the Sacramento Weavers Guild at that time, and took workshops and classes from almost anyone who came through. Significant teachers were Ruth Gaines (from Boston) who taught fabric weaving, Ted Carson (Canada) and Alden Amos (California) who taught spinning, and Susan Druding (dyeing). I happily wove yards and yards of fabric during those years, most of it utilitarian, for clothing and household textiles. I did a few forays into tapestry, not very successfully, and tried rugs, which provided the family dog with a handspun Lincoln and Karakul logwood-and-coreopsis-dyed bed cover! I stuck to fabric.
At some point I decided to copy an Ikat kimono I owned, adjusting the shape of the garment to fit my "western" body. This led to my first, unintended, series. I made one, then another, then another, each one different, (almost) all wearable. It turned out to be a very versatile garment for me, because I can make it long, short, in heavy fabric or lightweight, so I have continued to make it to this day. I learned to bang out yardage while making these, and dyed yards and yards of warps. I'm not much of a sewer, and find that this is the least favorite part of the process for me, so this simple garment, with few seams, suits my work style also.
Several years ago, with an extra piece of woven silk fabric, I made a small bag. This turned into the second, also inadvertent, series for me. One bag led to another, I learned band-weaving techniques, embellishment techniques, wire working and surface design, all as I was making bag after bag. I have over 50 of them now, (I really should count them...), and there appears to be no end in sight.
I used traditional loomed bead techniques for a few of the bags, and made a few that were based on carpet designs; all-over patterning with borders, like textile carpets or carpet pages from illuminated manuscripts. Beads, however, resist dyeing (!) so I was compelled to alter my ideas to the beads available. In the Sacramento guild, there is a man who has woven knotted pile carpets for over 20 years (Orlo Duker, Handwoven Jan/Feb '91). I watched him and realized this was akin to the graphed bead-weaving I had been doing, and asked him to teach me his craft. He did, and then gave me his equipment, designs, tools and yarns. He was losing his eyesight, and could no longer weave, and so turned over his weaving life to me.
It is this legacy that has spawned the third major series for me: knotted pile carpets. Well, to be honest, so far it is knotted pile bags. I have finished ten (I'll get it right yet), and am working on my first actual rug. As a spinner, dyer and weaver, this is the most satisfying weaving I have done yet. I can be involved with every step of the process, from buying fleeces (Lincoln) locally, to spinning, dyeing, and weaving the textile. At this stage, I feel that all my other fiber pursuits were preparing me for this. Although it is a very simple technique, and even a non-weaver can pick it up readily, it is tactile and pleasant to do, and creates that most wondrous of textiles, the pile carpet. I figure I have a good 20 years to master this part of my textile life, and then I'll find someone to pass this on to, as "Duke" did to me.
I began teaching spinning in 1981, at a local weaving shop. I have continued to teach and give workshops since then, and find that this is the most satisfying way to support my textile habit financially. I tried selling kimonos, I did various weaving commissions for shops and individuals, and did custom spinning for a while, before realizing I was happiest teaching, and that teaching left me time to do my own work, and I got to keep it!
Dyeing has been one of my favorite subjects to teach. I have had to learn much, in order to understand the process myself, and this is fun to pass on. I tend to be an intuitive dyer in my own work, but I learned through many years just how to mix and develop colors in a organized, percentage system. This helped me learn how to use color, and combine colors, and how to *read* colors: which components comprise a color so I can reproduce it. I am now beginning to teach knotted pile, too: I think that this gift Duke gave me is not mine, but mine to pass on.
I feel the biggest kinship with the spinning community. I am a simple weaver, and have not gotten much past plain weave. Spinners tend to gather informally, and in doing so talk and share. I have learned a great deal this way, from other guild members or at gatherings. There are few formal classes left in the academic world that I have access to, so these gatherings provide a wonderful way to share information.
We spinners have progressed a great deal in the information available to us. When I learned to spin, there was no Spin-Off, no SOAR [Spin-Off Autumn Retreat], and gatherings were rare, perhaps annual, and restricted by geography. Weavers' conferences were reluctant to share their space in those days, and spinning was often relegated to a corner in the back. But the textiles we produced could not be ignored. The ability to spin a yarn specific to a project, whether a single or plied construction, balanced or energized, utilizing fibers from all over the world, is a great joy. And then to dye the yarn--any color I wish--and create just the perfect textile for any occasion is a magical process for me still.
Here in Israel we can usually find Inox or Aero needles. My LYS assures me that they are identical because Inox bought out Aero. We are limited to 100cm size for all circs and the numbers are in metric and don't include such oddities as 2.75 or 3.25, for example. So if you do travel abroad, I suggest picking up different needles on your trip as they are generally inexpensive.
Down in Australia, I really found prices to be fair. One of the nicest needles in my collection is called Rundstricknadel made by Addi. The ones I bought say they are 24-carat gold covered. This is obviously very thin gold, but it makes the needle very attractive and, what is more important, it is very smooth to work with. The joins are fine and the points are pointy. I found the small sizes of 2.0 and 2.5mm in 60 or 80 cm lengths. The price was $11.30 Aust which is about $6 Amer. The needles come in sizes 2, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. The needles are made in Germany. Generally in Australia the size 3.5mm is missing!
In Australia I bought an ebony circular needle under the Susanne's label. These are made in Germany by Klass & Gessmann and are sold around the world, even in Germany most likely. I paid $27.85AU or about $14US, which is probably a bit cheaper than if purchased in the States, although you'd have to purchase a ticket to Australia which would come out a bit more expensive in the end! The joins are good, with a gold piece between the ebony and the plastic in the middle section. The size of the needle is engraved on the ebony. I found the tips to be less pointy than my favorite ebony needles.
My favorite ebony needles are harder to find. I found them at Handart in Zurich. They are made by Holz & Stein in Duisburg (I'm not sure where that is). These needles don't have a gold connection to the center plastic cable, but the points are pointier. The cost was probably around $12, more or less. They only came in 80 cm sizes or at least that was what the store had. They were selling rosewood circs made by Suzanne. I think some years ago Patternworks was selling the Holz & Stein but then stopped and just sold the Suzanne ones.
When I reached Hong Kong, I found my way to a yarn store and bought some circs made in Japan. These are bamboo and are 70cm long. The points are fine, as is the joining. The center section is a bit chubbier plastic than I'm used to, but it doesn't seem to make much difference in the knitting. Because the sizes are Japanese, I bought a Japanese needle gauge to measure. I think the metrics on these needles are extremely accurate. On the label it says Chikyu and Fijtaba. I have heard of the Clover brand but never of this one. I paid $45HK for each circ needle at a place called New Style Yarn Co. I have the address and phone number if anyone is interested, as they were willing to mail abroad. I bought 9 of these circs from sizes 3 to 10 but these are smaller than the American sizes.
At the same store I bought some bamboo circs. One was 40cm in size 5 and had a label called Amu. These resemble the regular circular bamboo needles I've bought under other labels with a thin plastic cable. I bought another bamboo needle called Angel. This one has a metal section between the bamboo and the central plastic and looks like the Crystal Palace bamboo needles.
In Australia, I purchased a metal circ size 2.25 in 60cm length under the Birch label. There is no indication that these don't come from Australia, but I have a hunch they are from India. Anyway, the points are fine, as is the join, but there is nothing unusual about them.
In New Zealand I found a straight needle marketed as Quill. These are white and look like the other casein needles I have. The points are not sharp, but pretty pointy. There is a slight decrease just at the tip like those famous ones called Balene. Anyway, being casein, it means they bend a bit, are warmer to the touch, and are quite lightweight. They also mean that my tension is tighter with them. The LYS where I bought them didn't know of any needles from Quill that were circs.
Another casein needle from Australia is called Ivore. They come in straights (14.5" overall length) in various sizes, but what is more important, they come in dp sets. They are pleasant to work with when making socks, although they are a tad longer than I'd like (9.25"). They start at 2.0mm and also have 2.25mm, so they are great for socks. I like the points, which are much pointier than the Bryspun which is also dp and casein. Bryspun is made in New Zealand, but I didn't find them there, only in the States. I have a set of size 3.00mm which is 7.5" long and comes in a dp set of 5 needles. However, the points are quite blunt. Another Australian dp is Swallow, which I found only in the US. Mine are 7.25" in length, size 3.75mm, and come in a set of 5. They look translucent. The points are blunter than my Ivore and they aren't so easy to bend, but still I enjoyed working with them. I prefer the Ivore despite their longer length.
I bought Ebony straights at Handart. These are 14" long from tip to top. They are Holz & Stein and the name and the size is engraved on the needle. Points are very good but I did manage to break one previously in the 3.0mm size by not paying attention and stepping on it or something. So one must be careful with these ebony needles. They are not cheap but worth protecting. They come in lots of sizes.
Also at Handart I found a new needle. These are Inox dps, size 2.0mm and 20cm long. They are plastic (green) with a steel lining, e.g., the center inside is steel. So this means that they are lighter in weight than the regular dp marketed by Inox. However the store had no other sizes.
Because I crochet, I like to have an assortment of crochet hooks. In Hong Kong I found Japanese hooks under the Tulip label. They are gold color with good heads. The center grip section is flattened out, but I am uncomfortable with the length overall, which is 5.25". My Phildar metal hook is just under 6" which I find preferable. The Phildar is a great hook but my very favorite all metal hook is another French one called Atan. I found some in Leiden this summer but only in a few sizes.
I like the Pingouin and Phildar hooks with the plastic handles. The problem with them is that the lengths of the handles vary according to the size of the hook and sometimes there isn't enough room between the plastic handle area and the front section of the hook. This is why one needs such an assortment of hooks. Often it depends on the yarn being used too.
I have a set of bamboo hooks under the Susan Bates label and I frankly don't like them. The good part is that they are very lightweight. The length is 6", which is good, but the head is hard to work and the hook is entirely circular after the head with no flattened area to grip it. I have another hook under the Crystal Palace label that appears to be some kind of wood. It is 6" long, and also entirely circular after the head. The head is a bit hard to work with. I even have a Susanne's in rosewood. It is 6" long, entirely circular after the head. The head is difficult to use also. All these bamboo or wooden hooks are light in weight but no fun to use. I have stopped buying them.
A knitting friend sent me a really gorgeous golden hook. It has a very fancy handle. It is 6.25" long with a nice head. The central section is flat for gripping. The problem is it is too heavy! And I also think it was expensive.
I have a large collection of hooks with plastic handles. Why? Because they are a lot more comfortable to work with, with the exception of the French all-metal Atan, which is my very favorite of them all. I find there are differences in the same brand though so often it depends on the project. Many times I pull out several hooks in the same size and finally find the best one to use.
I have them under the Birch label. Length overall is 5.75". Head is good but it seems rather heavy compared to others. So I generally don't use them. I generally like the Phildar hooks with the plastic handles. I bought them on Ebay from a Canadian guy called John. I also bought regular Phildar metal hooks and even plastic ones. They come in all sizes.
I found an interesting hook under the Inox label. This is for working with thin threads and is size 1.25mm. It comes with a cover for the head when not in use to protect it. There is a plastic handle, but the grip area is metal, which comes between the plastic part and the front section. The head looks and feels good. I also have a nice Inox 2.5mm with a plastic handle. It's lightweight, with a good head.
Finally I have a whole set I bought cheap from Elann but have no idea what the brand is. They have plastic handles also, good heads, 5.5" long overall, weight is fine. The problem is that with some projects I feel uncomfortable as there isn't enough room between the front area and the handle area. These handles have some kind of slots on them possibly to help with holding them or as a design feature. They are not my first choice when I look for a needle with a plastic handle.
Hoxbro, Vivian. Domino Knitting. Interweave Press, 2002. US$16.95
If you have ever considered trying modular knitting, but were put off by the seeming complexity of the technique, you will find this book to be "knitter-friendly" in every sense. In one small 86-page book, knit designer Vivan Hoxbro describes the basics of her style of modular knitting, called Domino Knitting. Based on the mitered square, which she learned from Horst Schulz at a handcraft fair in 1993, Ms. Hoxbro explains the construction of the basic mitered square and 8 variations of it and then shows you how to combine them in different projects.
Sound boring? Not in the least! Ms. Hoxbro starts you off slowly by walking you through the first mitered square and gives detailed explanations of the other squares, while sprinkling various knitting techniques throughout. Once the reader understands the basic construction, she continues with a series of small projects to further enhance the reader's familiarity with the technique, explains how to join the squares in various ways while knitting them and introduces finishing techniques for each project. Because each unit is knit independently, Ms. Hoxbro doesn't limit herself to mitered squares alone, she also explains how to incorporate other styles of knitting, such as stockinette squares, cables and garter stitch strips, into the Domino style of knitting.
Once you are past the introduction, the sky's the limit! Included in Domino Knitting are myriad projects using both mitered squares and strip knitting. Detailed instructions for pillow covers, afghans, shawls, scarves, hats, a tea cozy, a lace table runner, baskets, a backpack and pencil case, beaded wrist warmers, vests and a shrug are all given in the book. Again, each project contains instructions for any special techniques that are used in the construction of that particular project.
At the very end of the book, Ms. Hoxbro gives details on how to design your own Domino sweater, including suggestions for construction techniques, color selection, yarn and gauge. She also includes a short list of yarn and needle suppliers, most of which are already familiar to most knitters.
The small format of the book makes it perfect for tucking into your knitting bag and taking it along with you. And, IMHO, after you see this small gem of a book, you will be doing exactly that.
If you have Internet access, I highly recommend visiting Ms. Hoxbro's website where she gives information on ordering her kits, gives free online patterns and details of her current US tour.
Alexander, June. Australian Yarn Art: Knitting Stories and Designs. Melbourne, Australia: Crown Content, 2002. 190p. Large format paperback. No price listed.
The editor of this book has a column called "Miranda" in Australia's largest rural newspaper. She writes, "I have brought this exciting book together largely via the internet and e-mail in a matter of months." That is precisely the problem with this book. It's a real quickie that does a disservice to Australia's knitters. Several designers write about themselves in the first part of the book and this is followed by their designs with poor photos. The photos are not next to the patterns, which shows very poor planning. Most of the patterns are fast and easy and were probably put together in order to meet the deadline.
Liz Gemmell has an interesting pattern called Diamond Coat. Carmel Hanna has an interesting lace scarf and there's an easy lacy stole from Judith Harvey and Jennifer Penney. Lynne Johnson has some interesting items: all-sorts beret and a triangular shawl. These use up all kinds of yarns and the directions are interesting as well. Jenny Occleshaw has a grandpa teddy bear and some socks of which the pattern for mitred squares looks quite interesting. There is also a pair of Fair Isle socks illustrated but no pattern for it.
Patons has sent in a lot of patterns using their yarns. These include some attractive ones using some of their more exotic yarns called Feathers (ostrich and loopy mohair), as well as a cat and a dog, some cushions, and a Fair Isle vest using the Bluebell 5-ply which is a great yarn.
Jo Sharp has a striped sweater called Solstice and a striped scarf-and-hat set called Tilda. Jude Skeers has three hats using Cleckheaton yarns (Faux Fur, Tencel Wool and Flirt). Christine Sloan has two sweaters, one felted and the other in mohair. Verle Wood has a cushion rug or an afghan which folds into a pillowcase. She uses garter stitch knitting squares on the diagonal starting with one stitch.
If you want a simple project and have the yarns or equivalents, this would be a possible purchase but definitely not a first purchase title.
Graf, Janne and Birgit Gack. Woll-Lust von Kopf bis Fuss: Socken und Accessoires selbst gestrickt. Oz, 2002. About $12.
In addition to socks, there are mittens, gloves, shawls, hats, scarves and even an afghan. Some really lovely colored socks are included. Also items for the whole family. Includes charts. Not essential purchase but indeed a nice book.
Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book 2. Unicorn, 2002. 109 p. Oversize paperback.
These designs use Jamieson's yarns and can be ordered directly from Jamieson's Spinning in the Shetland Isles. Yarns included are the Spindrift, 2-ply jumper-weight yarn, double-knitting, soft Shetland (a 2-ply chunky yarn), and chunky, which is a 3-ply chunky weight yarn. There are 21 patterns and all patterns include the name of the designer. Ron Schweitzer has a Fair Isle pullover called Sandness and a kimono called Golden Lotus in DK weight yarn and a Fair Isle cardigan called Cottage Garden.
Matthew Wright has a Fair Isle pullover called Oslo. There are several nice-looking Arans or cabled sweaters and some other color work sweaters not done in Fair Isle. Highly recommended.
Linke, Mara. Socken stricken: schnell und einfach. Augustus, 2002. Hardback, 64 p. Around $12. Available online.
Yarns used are Schachenmayr Nomotta, which is probably why the price of the book is low. The book starts with basic sock instructions and contains about 47 patterns for all kinds of socks: cabled, lace, color work and for all the family. Also includes charts where useful. Not an essential purchase but nice to have.
Mapstone, Prudence. Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting and Crochet. Self-published, 2002. $29.95AU. 87p. Large format paperback with color illustrations.
The photos are not as good as I'd like, but the text is well worth the cost. This is not a pattern book, but it has a lot of ideas and suggestions. The author is actually more of a knitter than a crocheter, but she combines both in her designs. She discusses which yarns to use and how to combine colors. She generally starts with fairly small patches or modules. There are some chapters with illustrations of small knitting modules in garter stitch, fisherman's rib, basket stitch, etc. For crochet, she shows circles, shells, bullion stitch, popcorns, surface crochet. Knitted mitered squares are also included as are some knitted slipstitch squares. She discusses the characteristics of yarn types, tension, types of needles and hooks.
I found one point very confusing. She writes on p. 36, "I generally do not join any of my individual patches onto each other until I have made close to enough pieces for the whole garment" and later on p.72: "As previously mentioned, I usually prefer to join a number of motifs into and onto each other as I go."
She gives details on how to join and how to take care of the finished garment. This kind of technique has been around but still her book is worth picking up and you can find it online.
Miller, Sharon. Heirloom Knitting: A Shetland Lace Knitter's Pattern and Workbook. Shetland Times, 2002. 30 BP. Available online from the publisher and the author's Web site. 296 p. Large format paperback. Numerous B/W illus.
Many original stitch patterns in this book. The author has her own charting system (what? Not another one? I'm afraid so). There are also some patterns included for garments. This looks like the definitive statement on lace knitting and will be useful to knitters of all levels. Very highly recommended despite the high price. I have already reviewed this book extensively and it is somewhere out there in cyberspace.
Nicholson, Heather Halcrow. Knitters' Know-How: A Comprehensive Manual of Skills and Techniques. Pitman, 1988. 205p. large size paperback format. Around $20. Available from ABE online.
This is a wonderful addition to the encyclopedic book of knitting instructions. Just about every topic is included and illustrated. The author is a fabulous knitter who is a great resource and it was my good luck to meet her, spend a day with her, and to see some of her own creations. She told me she'd like to redo this book in a new edition, but it is well worth your attention. The index is also very good to help find a particular topic. In format the book resembles a textbook, which is likely to be a bit off-putting to the trendy new knitter.
The author wrote a second book which is the definitive history of New Zealand knitting.
Socken und Accessories: für die ganze Familie (Sabrina special). 2002? Around $5.
Eighty patterns, mostly socks. Of special interest are a pair of socks with 5 toes and another with a section separate for the big toe.
Sweaters from Camp from Meg Swansen. Schoolhouse Press, 2002. $40. 215 p. Hardcover.
There are 38 designs (vests, cardigans, pullovers, etc.), done by campers at Elizabeth Zimmermann's famous knitting camp. The general section at the beginning contains a lot of instructions. The sweaters are all charted, with a very simple solution to the charting that is better than the solutions I've seen before. All the yarns are J&S from Lerwick. I ordered yarns for a vest that cost me approximately $20, which included airmail to Israel. They can be ordered online too. If you're into Fair Isles, this book is highly recommended.
Vogel, Lynne. The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook. Interweave Press, 2002. $18.95. 92 p. Soft cover.
The illustrations are excellent, which is a good thing as the bulk of the book is about dyeing. Just about anything one would want to know about knitting socks is included. No patterns though. If you want to start dyeing or need a good sock book, especially if you do your own spinning, then this book is definitely for you.
"Granny's" patterns are not designed for a specific yarn or even for a specific needle size. Therefore, you will need accurate measurements and some calculations to obtain a well-fitted garment. It also makes the explanations more abstract, and as result, a bit complicated, but at the same time more flexible and open to possibilities that I haven't mentioned here. It is a 2-needle or flat pattern. The loose rib used here cannot be worked in the round. By the way, it is very useful for scarves and stylish collars. [Editor's note: the rib pattern is a fisherman's brioche. Sonia is correct that it cannot be worked in the round.]
Any yarn that looks nice in rib. Prepare 3-4 pairs of needles of consecutive sizes (e.g., 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm), starting with the size that produces a tight rib with your yarn.Method:
Check the gauge with the smallest needles in rib. Measure the circumference of the head and calculate the number of stitches you need. Round it to a multiple of 8 or 12, plus 1 stitch for the seam allowance.
Work 1-2 cm of k1 p1 rib.
Switch to the loose rib pattern:
1st row: Knit the knitted stitches and slip the purl stitches purlwise with a YO. The YO will be sitting on top of the slipped purl stitch.
2nd row: Knit the slipped stitches together with the YO and slip the purl stitches with a YO. Repeat the 2nd row throughout. It gives you a loose and fluffy ribbing.
You will work with this pattern in 5 different needle sections if you use 3 pairs of needles, or 7 sections if you use 4 pairs. Estimate the number of rows in each section, taking into account that smaller needles give smaller rows; the central one may have more rows than others. Work in pattern, changing the needles consecutively from the thinnest to the thickest and then from thickest to thinnest (the gradation in needle size shapes the brim of the tam), with the same number of stitches all the time. Your work should measure 12-15 cm when you finish the loose rib part.
Now switch to st.st., divide your work on 8 or 12 parts (the first stitch is for seam allowance), work 4 rows st.st., then decrease 8 or 12 sts. evenly in every RS row, forming the bottom of tam. This is a good place to put a pompom.
Example: the tam I just finished for my daughter:
I used very thin yarn, four strands together produce tight rib on 2.5mm needles. So I picked 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm and 4mm needles.
The head circumference is 52 cm.
With my gauge of 28 stitches in 10 cm, I cast on 145 stitches, worked 1.5 cm in rib and then switched to the loose rib.I worked:
The piece measured about 14 cm.
Here I switched to st.st. and worked 4 rows plain. In the next row I knitted together every 11th and 12th stitch (not counting the first), and purled a row. In the next row I knitted together every 10th and 11th stitch. I continued this way until 13 stitches remained. Passed the end of yarn through these stitches and pulled tightly.
Finishing: Using a thin strand of yarn makes it possible to get an almost invisible seam! I added several rows of crochet, since the starting rib turned out not as tight as I'd like, and placed a large pompom on the top (which makes it not exactly a tam, but the client decides) and almost hid the st.st. top of the tam.