Friday, July 30, 2004
First. I got my secret pal! I got my secret pal! WOOOO!
Second. How incredibly awesome is Heidi for pulling this thing together for us?! I am sure there will be unhappy people (there always are). Nevertheless, I hope she gets the appreciation she deserves throughout this thing. (And I heard she got her own secret pal! Much good karma to you, Heidi's SP wherever you are!)
Third. I am so glad it's Friday!
Fourth. Cardi's got arms!
Burnt Orange Cardi of the Dying Light... click here for a bigger "flash"ier shot
Question: I am using Elann's Endless Sonata for Eyelet Cardi. I am a little freaked out about the ends. Any tips or tricks out there? Who knots before weaving (or after)? I have had the "Z" or "N" formation recommended to me. Any thoughts? Right now the new yarn joins are temporarily knotted and they still look like big ole holes!
I really wanna finish this thing before I start my Grandma's shawl. But I really wanna start her shawl, like YESTERDAY! Ugh. Oh well. There's all weekend to think about it.
Here's hoping everyone out there has a fabulously restorative weekend!
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
(click here for a bigger pic)
Pattern: Colinette Vintage Poncho
Yarns (one skein each or less):
Colinette Isis (Jay) *this was the only "as written" yarn
For the Mohair - alternated Classic Elite La Gran (Olive) and Online Linie Punta (#15)
For the Prism - Lang Tahoma (#193)
For the Skye - Manos de Uruguay (Lilac)
For the Wigwam - Colinette Giotto (Jay)
For the Zanziba - Cherry Hill Froth (Green Mtn. Madness)
Gauge: not even close (but, um, it's a poncho... it still fits)
I. Love. This. Poncho.
It is so soft and smooshy and fancy. The Giotto and the Punta add a subtle sparkle, and the La Gran, Tahoma, and Manos keep it warm. I was in a meeting in a chilly conference room all day today, and I was so much more comfy with it on than with it off! (The oohs and ahhs from coworkers didn't hurt either. In fact, one woman wanted to pay me to make one, and I may have talked her into learning to knit instead.) Also, my loosy-goosey gauge gives the fabric a "lacier" look than the pattern indicates, making the YOs in Manos "pop" more from the La Gran. As a result of my gauge issues, I had to lop out 9 rows here and there, but you'd never notice.
The photo is a bit dark because this morning it was RAINING, so no outdoor shots. I don't mean it was raining, as in "water fell in drops," I mean RAINING as in "giant sheets of water slammed into the pavement fast and furious."
It was very lovely (since I didn't have to walk any great distances outdoors). But folks coming into the office from the parking lot (the lot is right next to the building) were so wet as to require changes of clothing. The beauty of the rain texture applied to "outside" —not unlike the way one can apply a texture in Photoshop®— was not appreciated much by those in it, but I really wish I had had my camera at work to snap some shots.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Here are some shots of the knitting-of-late:
The Eyelet Cardi is about ¾ of an inch from adding the sleeves (sure am glad I did those first—if I had to stop now to do them... fuggedaboudit!).
Here is one side of the Not-Quite-Colinette Poncho... My gauge was really loose, so I knocked out a few rows. I really like it more open... Plus it leaves me with a lot of extra yarn for scarves and trims and things. The second side looks just like this (sans a few rows).
And lastly, here is the Cream Shell. I am definitely not knitting any more on it until one of the above two is done. And that's final.
Oh, and in case you think I forgot about the new dresser, no way! Here she is in all her huge un-adorned glory (she has since been draped alluringly in exotic silk scarves and piled high with jewlery boxes).
Monday, July 26, 2004
My first knitted article was a large rectangle (just like Jessie!).It was probably 18 inches wide, and 48 or so inches long. I knit it using Brittany 10.5US birch needles, and I used the scratchiest (read: cheapest) Jacob and Churro wool that could be had at the Taos, NM wool fest (on later inspection, the tag on the wool read "Rug weight"). It was too wide for a scarf, and too short for a wrap, and it was so coarse it brought to mind the penitential hair shirts of yore.
Good adjectives for that knitting: tightest ever, English-style (I was a thrower), and methodical.
My friend SR had this crazy way of holding the left needle in her lap and throwing the yarn with her left hand... it didn't look like the pictures in my book (Debbie Bliss, How to Knit) but it sure was fast! I was a slow knitter and the wool was not "fun." When I moved away from SR and New Mexico to Texas, my knitting slumped.
In Austin, it was hotashell. Knitting was the LAST thing on my mind. Then, while bored outta my mind one week, I was in the bookstore looking for a craft to while away my time, and I saw the Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits. Hmmm. Even I can knit a sweater? Come on. This I gotta see.
I still had tons of the scratchy wool, but the sweater I wanted to make needed to be 2.5 stitches per inch, and the natural Jacob/Churro was around 4¾ per inch. Plus it had that whole "penance-worthy" scratch factor going for it.
(You know how you can be watching a movie, and the heroine is about to do something REALLY stupid, and you want to yell out to her? Here's that moment for me.)
Instead of getting all new yarn, I thought I could just add bulk and softness with an additional strand of something and thus I would save money and produce a cool not scratchy sweater... I went to the first online yarn store on my google results (yarnmarket.com) and bought what they said was the softest, fluffiest yarn around (Rowan's Polar, in Storm).
If you can imagine what I did to that poor innocent Polar... It was so soft, so floofy. And now (finally frogged) it is full of wooly slivers. But I'm jumping ahead. First, I made the sweater. I followed the directions, knitted on size 15 circular Addis, it knit up in no time (as promised). Then I seamed it up, tried it on, and lo and behold: because of the weight of the scratchy wool, the V-neck pulled down to about my navel. Additionally, the scratchiness had not dissolved into pillows of Polar, but had in fact persevered. It was too heavy, too scratchy, and had cost almost $60 (I coulda bought a nice lambswool Gap sweater for that!) and two months or so of my life. I didn't know how to fix or frog. I was stuck with it.
The verdict: Screw Knitting! Sweater, needles, and yarn is stuffed into the closet along with the box of fancy stamps that were going to make me into a stationery makin' fool, the wood carving tools that would help me produce block prints to rival Dürer, and of course, the stupid-never-has-decent-tension-how-am-I-supposed-to-make-anything-NICE sewing machine.
As the holidays were approaching later that year, I saw a magazine that offered Fast! Fun! Fancy! gifts to knit and crochet. And I thought, well there's an idea! I can knit and crochet, and I am broke, so how about I make everyone's gifts this year (I know, I am fickle). I marched on over to Hobby Lobby and bought $18 worth of Red Heart in nice mix/match-able colors and settled in for some serious gifting.
It was around this time that BD and I were going to see his folks.
Let me rephrase. I was going to meet his mother for the first time.
They are Baptists. The closest I ever got to religion: I married a Methodist minister's son once, and I have a lot of tattoos. They are Southern. I wilt in 80° and think Pace Piquante is spicy. I was literally sick with worry. 'Cause I really like this guy, and he really loves his folks. It was a long drive, so I took a granny square scarf I was crocheting for the drive. Turns out MIL-to-be is a crafter. She knits, crochets, tats, embroiders... and she has few good friends left in town with which to talk. Talk about bonding! We had a two day stitch n bitch (tho' you didn't hear me say it). Sat on the porch swing while she worked on a pretty double fabric lap blanket, pored over 35 years or more worth of patterns at the table after dinner...
It was great! Recharged my desire to knit. A little bit for me, and a little bit for her. I had never gotten along well with my former in-laws and it hurt my heart a little. I wanted to knit well so Gloria and I could sit on the swing together and chat when I visited next without my having to curse under my breath at dropped stitches or overly tight rows.
That Christmas, I made five or so hats, a couple of scarves (it is probably best that I missed the whole novelty scarf thing that year) and a pair of slippers for Gloria. Early in December I had interviewed for a job in Maryland, and it snowed while I was there. A lot. When I got the job, I knew there would be much knitting of woolies in my future.
The MIL2B slippers were made of Homespun, and I had quite a bit leftover (that and some Wool-Ease) and the wrapper said I could find many more patterns at http://www.lionbrand.com/. Once there, I found an afghan pattern for Homespun, Wool-Ease, Wool-Ease Chunky, Jiffy, and Thick and Quick Chenille (an inexpensive and machine washable version of the Ab-Fab, IMO) on size 17s! Perfect for riding in a moving truck from TX to MD! A week after we moved in, I had a finished afghan. And I was officially addicted. I had knit an afghan, nothing but time and stash stood between me and beautiful sweaters and gloves...
Suddenly, I was searching online for knitting patterns and in doing so stumbled onto a couple of knitting blogs (Rachael's and Liz's are two I remember as my first glimpses). I learned I could frog things I didn't like and it wouldn't be giving up, but moving on! I frogged the rectangle and the sweater (maybe a rug and a super floofy sweater vest?) And that's pretty much up to today. My once meager stash is now outta control, and the FOs try to keep up. Whew! If you are still reading, bless you. Now go knit!
Next, I want to write up some technicalities. I started throwing, then learned picking, and now am learning a continental "counterclock" purl. But one novella a week is plenty, I really need to learn to serialize.
Friday, July 23, 2004
My allergies are not the sniffly-sneezing-coughing kind... more the achey-itchyeye-no-energy-at-all-exhausted-when-I-wake-up kind. So my whole week has been somewhat groggy and over-tired. I hate that.
The best part of the week was the knit groups. I went to Arlington's super fun SnB, Montgomery Cty's intimate knitting meetup, AND the unofficial Suburban Hospital Staff (and friends) knit group. (SO glad they aren't ALL every week, 'cause sitting and chatting and knitting is way too much fun to miss.)
I swear, I am knitting interesting and pretty things. And I will likely take pictures this weekend.
In the meantime, in case you thought Red Heart was not good for anything (I didn't, being a member of AA, I know that it is good for critter knits, potholders, and toilet paper cozies.) But I now have another use for the stuff: covering my car. This car is one of the neatest things I have seen all week (and I saw some SERIOUSLY neat knitting). Be sure to check out his photo gallery for some great detail shots (thanks to the talented knitter over at Knit One, Purl Too for the awesome link).
In the Brand New Blog Department: The super crafty Sondra (from the knitting meetup) already set up her new blog! If you have a moment, check it out and welcome her to the neighborhood.
In other news: A few folks have expressed interest in the GBR, so I will keep thinking about how it might work. I got a tip that another knitter has been thinking about something similiar. Maybe our two heads will be better than my one.
Tomorrow the new furniture parade continues! I got a brand new loveseat a while back. This time its a beautiful new dresser and mirror! I have had a very affordable Target model (complete with cardboard back) for a few years now, and am finally stepping up. WOO! A drawer just for socks! A drawer just for nighties! (So I get excited over organizing underwear drawers—you gotta problem with it?)
Thursday, July 22, 2004
I buy a lot of books. Not unlike my stash, I tend to buy more than I can immediately use. Once upon a time, I made a point to almost always buy used books (as this made my habit more affordable) but have since succumbed to the convenience of Amazon and B&Ns. The vast majority of my purchases, once read, aren't "keepers." This doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the tale, but I will only re-read a REALLY good book. So, for the most part, these books get one read and their usefulness to me is at an end.
And one read isn't going to really damage a book much.
I had been sending these books to my mother. Because she loves books like I do. But she has more of a book backlog than 5 of your average knitters have stash (yes, really, that much of a backlog). As a result, each shipment from me sends my step-dad into conniption fits. Which is just no good for the ole' ticker. So, I need an alternative.
I could sell them. But I would rather trade 'em. (I prefer to donate my used books, but feel more mileage should be gotten from the new ones.)
A book box (like the stash redistribution boxes) would be very heavy, and thus unwieldy. Instead, I am rolling around thoughts on a shared library of sorts... Maybe a yahoo group, maybe not that formal... Just some way for folks to swap their just-read-but-still-in-good-shape books with others in like condition.
Would anyone out there be interested in something like this? If so, email me at: kali ~at~ bgb ~dot~ cc. Let me know if you have any ideas around how to organize something like this. If I get many bites, I will post my ideas for feedback (if I don't, I will make a trip to ye olde used book store). NOTE: Put something like I LOVE BOOKS, TOO in the subject line so I know you aren't trying to sell me some kind of pill to enlarge an organ I don't even possess, or give me some Nigerian bank money that no one knows about but you.
In Knitting News:
Progress continues on the Eyelet Cardi, and the not-quite-Colinette poncho. Also, occasionally on the Shell-I-Am-Not-Working-On-Yet. The Blue Wave scarf is taking too long to show any progress, so it is being punished/ignored.
Last night I went to the Montgomery Cty. Knitting Meetup, and there chatted with some cool folks, including Sarah (her bpt in Turino silk is GORGEOUS in person) and Sondra (who will be getting a blog soon, but in the meantime I will tell you her pink mohair sweater—"To Dye For" from SnB—is also supa-dreamy) . AND got to see Lara's cutest-ever socklette in all its finished glory... not to mention the crazy-cool sleeve of R2's Tasty. So... inspired... must... finish stuff faster!
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
click here for the big picture
Unfortunately, she is a mostly un-photogenic and unflattering sweater. This is because I made her one (and one-half) sizes too big, and also a little because I have never set in such complex sleeves and likely messed it up a little. NOTE: she is not quite as wonky as she looks in the picture—I took it at an angle.
But, I learned cabled decreases (love them), lace (love that, too), and got some practice on my decreases and increases (not such a big fan). The best 'learn' was weaving the ends into the seams. I love this! So much more meditative than trying to invisibly weave into purl bumps before the seams are done.
I tried about a dozen different pictures, and they just weren't acceptable. The closest I got was this one (which was actually taken before the ten frillion ends were woven in).
Notice how one side appears longer than the other? I noticed this on almost every SP I saw, and made extra sure that my fronts were identically sized. It is just the way the sweater insists on hanging. One side or the other always looks an inch or two longer.
- I did tack down the collar in three places: at each shoulder seam and in the back on the collar seam. Still doesn't keep the collar down.
- As mentioned above, shoulda made a smaller size. I always think I am much huger than I am. But then, in pictures, I always look three sizes bigger than I imagine myself to be. Anh.
- Despite all of its shortcomings, the sweater will probably be an excellent snuggler in the fall. The cotton tape is warm but springy. The sweater really wants to drape alluringly, it is (or I am?) just a little too bulky for that.
- It is impossible to photograph the variegated color of this yarn. When Linda saw it last night she was surprised by how much green there is in it. Flash or no flash it is all washed out on film. It is almost a different color completely outside than in.
I bought some ridiculously extravagant yarn to make a not-quite-colinette poncho. I will post pictures in the next couple of days. Also, nearing the point in the Eyelet where I will attach the sleeves to the body.
After the sizing debacle with SP I decided to take measurements before starting anything else. I learned that I am just too huge for the Jo Sharp pattern. This is a small bit of a relief, as that is one less project I want to finish this summer. I will focus instead on the Classic Elite Premiere shell that I got in Phoenix. By next spring, I will be all over that Jo Sharp... If the Elliptical doesn't kill me in the meantime.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
So this week (and last) has been all about Business Processes. I work for a natural grocery store, but before you think of happy smiling birkenstock wearin' coworkers—I work in corporate IT for said store.
I am a project manager, which is a new sort of position for my company (we are mostly pretty crunchy granola when it gets down to it). Basically when a new system is being considered it may be my job to get it implemented. Right now we are looking at piloting (trying out, for those of you in non-Dilbert-esque worlds) a new piece of software that will permeate every realm of operations and admin, from buying fruits and cutting meat, to counting all the beans at the end of the day. So that we can make sure this new system works as well as the old system, we need to analyze the business processes in every area.
This means sitting in a conference room, watching power points and arguing over words like "donation" and "saleable" or listening to the ninety-seventh person say, "Well, we do that on a spreadsheet right now." "The same spreadsheet that your coworker, who does the exact same job as you?" "No, one I made myself. "
Now, this may not sound tortuously mind-numbing to everyone out there. But pretend it is, and pretend you have six more weeks of it left. Seven hour meetings, four days a week (four, because I do have other work to do on Mondays), for the next two months. This is why, after week one, I did this:
new pedicured toesies
Next week, I am thinking a facial... I can't wait for fall and the return to normal working hours!
OK, enough of that. On to the knitting.
Shhhhh. Don't tell my short attention span, but, I think I might just be making progress on the finishing of this...
[for a closer look, just click here]
...shoulders seamed, sleeves blocking as we "speak." More on this as the story unfolds!
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
clockwise from the upper left: D. Bliss cotton angora in "10"; Online Linie Punta in "15"; and Colinette Isis in Cream and Jay
I went to my favorite LYS, Woolwinders for this particular installment. I am thinking that the Punta and Jay will have to become something for me, but the others are already earmarked for gifts.
Here is a terrible shot of last week's FO, the chunkiest scarf ever.
Trust me, it has big double cables, I guess the flash washes them out. I used size 15s and some Lion Woolease Thick and Quick. The pattern is from my Little Box of Scarves (which I am loving more and more for the instant gratification it affords).
And lastly, the limerick:
A lovely young lass named Nadine
Was taken to knitting a skein
She fell into a rage—
When she couldn't make gauge,
And the language she used was obscene.
Monday, July 12, 2004
Some cool things from last week:
I met Linda (of Potomac Soap Co.) via the Knitter's Review Forums. Another knitter in da neighborhood! We met up at Barnes & Noble and she showed me her very lovely Cloverleaf Sock and I showed her my Eyelet Cardi. She learned to knit when she was 10, but had put it down for awhile... When she went to pick it back up, she noticed all the great new patterns and really amazing new yarns that were available.
This worries me. Does this mean that all the cool patterns and cool yarns will wane just like the knitting fad? I talked to Lara about it, and she votes no, that all the blogs and amazing online resources will keep the cool sumptuousness at hand. What do you all think?
And here is a shot of the Trendsetter Dune that Kathy sent (in exchange for some AC Moore yarn):
It is really soft and sparkly, I think I will mix it with some Katia Mohair I have had in the stash for a bit. Tomorrow: Stash pics. And maybe a limerick.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Before I get into all that, I made one of these icons awhile back and forgot to post it. I know putting it up makes my blog so three memes ago, but I don't care.
I can't remember where I saw the first one, but I snagged the link from Michelle.
First the shopping. It was (of course) for more yarn. I used to buy other things, like clothes and CDs. But now just books and knitting paraphernalia.
Think Children's Television Workshop: Today's Stash enhancement was brought to you by the knitting buddy Lara, and the LYS Woolwinders.
Purchase number one was the dreamiest ever Shaefer Esperanza in the lovely Wintery shade of "Edith Piaf" (I haven't the faintest). I have a great pattern for a one skein cowl that will likely end up all mine.
the contrast is a bit high in the picture, it is more grey and tawny against cream
[...the rest of this post was long-winded and full of photos. Including the lovely yarn that Kathy mailed me (Trendsetter Dune), the chunky cabled scarf I finished, the Cotton Angora, Online Punta, and Colinette Isis I apparently couldn't do without, and even my toes (newly pedicured). But thanks to a power surge, its all gone. It's like a sick joke, what with me needing destressing and all... I even know better than to not save as I go. After a shitty over-worked week and six more to look forward to before I get a break to even breathe, this little thing has broken me for the evening. I will try to repost later this week.]
Thursday, July 08, 2004
- The yarn I just got from Kathy...dreamy stuff!
- The super goonchy scarf that is almost done
- Sitting and knitting with Linda, who makes soap (go check out her site, I *SO* want some of this stuff!!!)
But it'll have to wait. Stay tuned for more gushing, bragging, and cheering!
Monday, July 05, 2004
Here is my
First the Yarn Sale(s). Say it with me: I am not ashamed of my Stash Enhancements. I am a wool-gatherer and am proud of it.
Yes there have been some enhancements, and I haven't posted about them out of sheepishness (HAH me!). But I know that is ridiculous, so here goes.
From Elann. Three skeins of Outback Mohair in the Marengo color (which really looked much less... err.... pink on my monitor at "submit your order" time, but will make a nice gift).
The Mohair came with Anna Zilboorg's 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit. I couldn't help it, I am livin in D.C., so someone will get a Pentagon hat before I leave.
Yes. And then there is the most dreaded Herrschnerr's and their evil-evil Yarn Sale every week. Thankfully it is usually full of stuff that doesn't interest me... but last week... let's just say I turned off Yarn Sale notifications after this one. They had Jo Sharp's Desert Aran on sale! Remember how I bought the Desert Aran (and Soho Summer) BOOK?! I ask you, how could I pass it up (at a better rate than Elann's sale later this month, I might add)? Right, so a long-sleeve's worth in India and (one in) Putty. Oh, And also this tweedy stuff in Blue, I mean, I was already there and I wanted to save on shipping and and and... argh. No pictures, as it is en route.
Since I was on a roll, I also snagged Montse Stanley's fabulous book on how to do everything knitterly.
Lastly (oh, you knew there had to be a lastly, didn't you?) there was, in town, a Mostly Going Out of Business Sale. It both saddens my knitter's heart, and gladdens my stash-junkie's soul to hear such words. Luckily for all involved, Ira of Handwoven by Ira is not going out of business, just out of storefront (his beautiful scarves, throws, and scarf- and throw-making stuff will still be available online). 'Meantime he is selling down his stock. Mostly lovely weaverly things (of which I snagged a coupla super secret pressies for someone who occasionally reads the blog) plus a couple dozens of sweaters-worth of knitter's wool and wool blends by Harrisville.
I got five little skeins of "Shetland-style fine 2-ply" to try out a hat or what might pass for one (see Zilboorg, above) and I showed remarkable restraint in only grabbing four skeins of the very neat Orchid line.
It is a 25% Mohair, 5% silk, and 70% Wool blend that is fairly soft and nubby all at once. The wool almost seems unspun it is so "bushy" in the hand, and the silk takes the dye much more faintly than the wool giving it a tweedy-look. I am so ready for fall already with the tweeds and the wool!
Anyway, I couldn't stand just looking at the Orchid, so I whipped these up on Sunday (finished the thumbs today). They are pointy, but so are my fingers.
... I'm sure I had headier stuff to blab about, but thankfully I have forgotten it for now. I hope everyone who planned one, had a beautiful Fourth.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Knitting. Right. Well, yes. I have been doing some.
I just don't know how some of the women (whose blogs I read) do it. I mean... I do not have seven homeschooled children, no dogs, no cats, and not even a goldfish. I only have one plant to water, and its one of those bamboo things that only needs to be filled with water once a week or so. And yet, the knitting creeps by more slowly than a New York City bus.
I do have a job that tires me. (Does anyone out there remember The Breakfast Club line for line like me? Cause that sentence makes me think: "Get this, Allison's home life is unsatisfying." I mean, who has a job that is all giggles all the time?) But tire me it does.
So first go the blog posts, then the housework, then the correspondence, then the knitting... then what? Sadly, the knitting is already taking the hit (the stash enhancement, though, still continues thanks to the stupid Internet).
TANGENT: (Before I whine on, go look at Michelle's most cute and comforting-looking Bear. Go, I'll wait. Cute, huh? Doncha wanna make one? I know I do.)
Where was I? Oh right. So not getting to the knitting would be a drag on its own. But add to that my blog-surfing-inspired unreasonable pile of I-wannas, and my guilt-induced race to finish things WAY faster than I actually knit so I can post funny and lovely things about them daily, and it becomes an UBERdrag. Anyone else get this, or is it just me?
In any case, it is a work in progress of its own, this Not Getting Hung Up on Feeding the Blog. So, I apologize in advance, but you may hear more about it. Until I figure it All Out (what a post THAT would be, eh?), here's a pic of the progress on the Eyelet Cardi and a glimpse of the last (whew!) Critter Knit.
I have swatched and started the ribbing for a little sweater for Nephew #2, but I may just let it lie until the wavy scarf or Eyelet Cardi is further along.