Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Soul killer vanquished! Details at 11.


I nearly cropped my head off in this one (do I really look like that? maybe everyone asks that question) but it just seemed too silly, the headless shot. This pose makes me look a bit thicker around the middle....hopefully....when I look in the mirror it seems more flattering.

This is my oldest UFO, now finished, left from last summer. Dad had brought back a 10-pack of Rowan Summer Tweed in this lovely color, and I had been searching for something to do with it. I finally decided on a 3/4 length bottom-up raglan from Ann Budd's fantastic book. Once I got most of the way into it I realized that the yarn or gauge was REALLY off (one of my most common mistakes) or REALLY stretching out (maybe I am in denial) and that the sweater was HUGE! I put it away to marinate for awhile (say, 4 months). I then came up with the wrap idea and knew if would work (I tried it with a DPN) so it was back on.

I had wanted to do an attached i-cord, so I had provisionally cast on for the bottom and the sleeves. I went to The Yarn Lounge and picked out a color for the edging......that was awful. Totally wrong (yes, I did it myself; no bad advice was given.) Even Monica, my source of last honest resort in these things said....it was an awful choice.

Back to the marinade for a few more months.

Then I decided I had to give it one more go. April was finishing month! Back to The Yarn Lounge and this time I chose wisely, a neutral, nubby brown. At Holly Spring I grabbed a lovely Shawl Pin, and the finishing was ready to go. The i-cord turned out to be a good choice, though the picked up stitches are very visible (DESIGN FEATURE!) But how TEDIOUS to knit i-cord......all over the sleeves, all over the back, the sides, the fronts........ugh! I took it to multiple knit nites. Everyone entertained me while I slogged. BUT it is done, blocked and worn. I'll be wearing it to Panera tonight. I did it!

The sweater was pinned too tight in the picture--thus the wrinkle. I have worked out that small kink by (genius!) not pulling the edges so tight.

Rowan Summer Tweed, 7 balls (I have 3 left if anyone needs them) plus 1 ball for the i-cord.
Pattern: Bottom up raglan with attached i-cord. Provisional cast on for all edges, then bound off later with contrasting yarn. Ann Budd, total genius.
Duration of knit: Summer '05 to Nearly Summer '06

That's it! April that is finishing month is now finished!

Anyone for a summer tank? I have some lovely purple cotton/silk that needs a pattern...

I lunch with Mary last week where she took the above picture--and this one! a girl sandwich! This is Girlpants with her favorite partner in crime, PurplePrincessNoelle. I babysit for Noelle on Monday and Friday afternoons, but she actually sits for me since she entertains Girlpants the whole time. The two play together peacefully and are very happy together. Girlpants LOVES her PurplePrincess Cousin! This day the two ate all of their food and then played quietly at a nearby table while Mary and I talked about important yarn stuff. It was GREAT! I can take my children out in public! Well, one of them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pirates of Panera

Doesn't everyone need a skull and crossbones hat for their baby?

Pirates are perfect newborn wear--babies storm into your life and hijack your ship and take all your gold and then (in 18 years if you are lucky) they leave you penniless.......

Not really. But kinda.

I made the We Call Them Pirates hat for Mira's Horatio (he is due in August and his name will actually be Drake after another famous sailing person.) Mira loves boats and sea history, and loves Skull motifs (when I first met her she was finishing Skully from Stitch and Bitch.) So now baby Horatio will have a skull hat to match mom's sweater. Tasty!

The pattern is ingeniously written and includes a lining that you knit after the hat is done (covers up some of the more awkward stranding in my case.) I put a custom label in the hat: Knitzanity is much more fun than "Knitted By That Crazy Knitting Person You Try to Ignore at Parties and Family Gatherings." You know, like shorthand. I made a sheet of them on the computer and plan to sew them into most of the stuff I make now.

I modified the pattern for size by doing only 3 pattern repeats around the hat and up the hat. This also helped to compensate for the larger gauge yarn. This was the first time I tried two-handed stranding and it worked wonderfully! I knitted one color picking with the left hand and one color throwing with the right. Fun! In fact, it was so much fun I stayed up late and knitted the entire hat in less than 48 hours. Good times!

Pattern: We Call Them Pirates (free pattern)
Yarn: Dale Svale (cotton, polymide and silk, good for a summer baby) in Black and White, purchased at Holly Spring. Sirdar Cotton from stash for the lining

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I swear I had the best sock pal ever! She even decorated the box--check out the lining in the mailer!

Kim of Knitterama is from Minnesota and loaded me up with non-frozen goodies. Check it! (clockwise)

1. Box with cool foil lining
2. Chocolates from MN (we have already finished them)
3. Wild Rice (love it! I cook all the time and this will be a very welcome addition to pilafs. Wild Rice is VERY expensive)
4. Mrs. Meyers Lavender Soap (I LOVE LAVENDER!)
5. Fabulous bright notepad
6. THREE SOCKS! Kim made Koigu/Lucy Neatby socks; two are black with koigu, one is koigu with black--the mirror image in color! How cool is that? I love off-rhyme, asymmetry and fraternal socks; these are perfect!
7. Leftover yarn for repairs on socks
8. SKYLER! Kim sent me a sock project bag for my current sock. I took it (and the socks) to the festival and everyone asked me about it. Its just right for a pattern and the sock/yarn, and keeps all the bits in one place. PLUS it is shaped like a BUG! How cool is that? The card inside said that it came from an etsy shop called Sockdiva. I saw a few other bugs on there....

Thanks so much to my overachieving sock pal! So thoughtful! I will love wearing my socks and playing with my bug bag!

Chapter 2: More Magic

Name Dropping!
Here is the Richmond contingent posing with Wendy! (l to r: Me, Mary, Melanie, Mira and Drake, Wendy and Maggi.) Most of us knit with L-B on Wednesdays (I rarely make Wednesday b/c of school, but since the semester ended I have been able to show) so Wendy welcomed us like near-friends. She is going to be doing some book signings in Richmond next month at two lovely shops (Holly Spring Homespun and The Yarn Lounge) so we will all get to see her again soon.

Sheep to Shawl Competition
We caught the last minutes of the Sheep to Shawl--the fastest team was tying off the fringe as we watched. In less than two hours the fleece was carded, spun and woven into a shawl....unbelievable. Then the shawls were washed and auctioned off to the highest bidder.

One team made a GORGEOUS green one; another had a lovely pink and purple one. The teams were judged on quality, design, speed and beauty. They all looked lovely to me. The two winners were both undyed and went to the same bidder for about $500 each. Fabulous!

State Fair Preview
We also went to the exhibition hall to look at some of the handwork. This shawl/blanket was overwhelmingly stunning--it deservedly won everything, including best in show. Many of the other items were beautifully done, but this one was so unpatterned and unexpected. Very few things were on display; I wondered if they had had many entries. I resolved to enter our fairs this year; my work (on a good day) is as good as some of the other work I saw. Melanie will be entering too. What will I make?

Of course, L-B will win anyway. But hey, its an exhibition, not really a competition.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

That magic weekend in Maryland....

Melanie, Mary and I arrived Friday night so that we could be up and at-'em. Good thing we did.

9:00 am: The Koigu Scrum

(everyone was very nice, we had a good time overindulging in Canadian fiber. Nobody got a black eye).

While I scrummed Melanie scored TWO HUGE BAGS of wool and cotton super-cheap. Her plan is to make 2 sweaters from the cotton and the Moderne Blanket from Mason Dixon. Right on!

After the scrum we ran to building 3, only to find that ALL of the STR was gone. At 10:30! last year we had bought it in the late afternoon....many others were dissapointed as well (sorry, Anne Margaret...)


A herd of Knitbloggers spotted in the wild!

A few of the crowd:
Eunny and Stephanie who is modeling Eunny's newly designed Texture Shell. Remember the lace tutorial? I met the creator in the flesh!

Stephanie had been wearing the Butterfly Tank in Cracksilk Haze (remember that one from the cover of Rowan?) but took it off to model this tank. Lovely!

And after a bit of stalking I also got to meet Sauniell from Saunshine (check out her designs, they are excellent, body conscious without being overly revealing. And they look REALLY fun to knit....I have my eye on 3 of them....) I felt totally famous after that--she even said that she had read my blog! I recognized the tank from the blog; she had finished it only recently.
We all knit for awhile and showed off our shwag.....my Sockpaloooza gift was knitting with us! My sockpal had given me a sock project bag for my current sock that I had tucked in my bag--it is gorgeous and everyone wanted to hold it. Her name is Skyler. She has eyes and wings, a little pocket for markers, and plenty of space for my sock, needles, and the yarn. I LOVE THIS!

Yarn porn tomorrow. I still have the Sheep to Shawl and the serious knitting awards to cover!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Finishing month is ALMOST finished

Time to review: April was finishing month.

Things completed:

1. Dulann Sweater: Frogging complete. Check.

2. Denim Jacket: finished, gifted and recieved. Check.

3. Bolero: finished, gifted and received. MIL loves it! Check.

4. Sockpaloooza sock: finished, gifted, mailed. Check

That is 4 out of the 5.

STILL in progress:

1. Green summer tweed cardigan: Part of i-cord edging is finished. Closure bought. Maybe 2 hours of work to do.

2. Green vest for nephew: BLOCKING. Needs tag.

3. Bamboo Shoulder scarf: Blocked, needs fringe. I grabbed this on impulse at Holly Spring for a simple project. It was fun and fast.

Unexpected finishes:

1. Sheet of garment tags for my work. I liked the Baby David tag so much I decided to make my own tags for everything. Its the fun small things that can make your knitting so special. I decided on the name KNITZANITY for myself, since it expresses the intensity of my fascination with knitting. And it echoes the spelling of my name.

2. Secret project to be gifted soon. Stay tuned!