Friday, December 30, 2005

Au revoir, bon Voyage,

I have a whole post in my head about the new year, what I accomplished in 05 and what direction I want to take in 06...

But alas, It will have to wait until our return. We are bound for parts tropical on this ship in just a few hours.

Have a happy and safe New Year

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Wishing all a merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year. And Happy Birthday to Michelle!
Jeff and I are having a quiet Christmas at home, and I'm finally getting some knitting done on his scarf. And Katie's scarf is half done now. (ok fabbos, you all have me so paranoid about apostrophes - does Katie get one for her scarf or not??????)

we have two lobsters for the pot this afternoon, then Jeff has football on his agenda.
Then Daniel and Ashlee get here tomorrow. It'll be wonderful to have them here.
seems awfully too quiet here.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Finally, gift scarves all mailed

Hanging are 3 of the side-to-side knit scarves that I've started calling my fabulous scarf - I didn't think when I started knitting the first one that it was all that spectacular, but everyone, and I mean everyone from my 18 yr old stepdaughter to my friends and mother who are in their 60's all love them and want one!
approx 200 yds mohair or solid yarn.
same yardage Ironstone Paris Metallic as a strand-along to the solid.
1 ball Rayon glitzy solid (I used Rowans Lurex double stranded in one, used Katia's Gatsby in 2, and an Ironstone something in another)
2 balls Meunch's Cleo.
Addi turbo size 8 needles with a 47" cable.
cast on 250 - 280 stitches. Knit all rows, always changing color on a right side row. For many of the colors where I only had one row I had to slide the work back to the beginning again and knit another color in the same direction as I'd just knit.
Balance the yarns so that there are 3 sets of 4 rows of the Cleo in the center, spaced by a row of the mohair stranded with the Paris Metalllic in between each set.
In the purple one I bordered the outside with some Hana silk I had sitting around.

Knit Happens has the Cleo on sale right now, and I'm torn between buying more of it to make more of these scarves, or moving on to other projects.

I now have to knit two hats, one for Mark and one for Daniel. I'm using this pattern. Last night I bought the yarn the pattern called for (what a concept) but didn't have the needles with me at knitting group to start on them - also picked up the cashmere for Jeff scarf - and again, didn't have the right needle to start that -
I did have the yarn and the needle with me to take up my ISE scarf again - which is what I did.
Progress made!

off today to sew - mostly client work. (who am I kidding, its all client work!)
maybe tomorrow I'll get to the rest of the Christmas projects.

Hope all my cyber friends reading this have a wonderful Holiday.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lotsa yellow

Did you notice that I got status bars up on the sidebar? (Many thanks to Jae for the source code.)
Did you notice all those bright yellow finished 100% bars? That means folks, ends woven in, fringe cut and on if needed, in other words, really finished. Wooo hooo. I'm seeing an end to this gift knitting. note to self: don't decide you are not going to make Christmas gifts in August, then change your mind in November and decide that you will be making gifts. that's nuts!

Now, did you notice the all white bars? the 0% bars where nothing has been started? hmmm.
Well, Mark was here a week ago and put in a request for a hat. Have the pattern chosen, and the yarn, now just have to start. And Jeff came home last week and told me that he decided he would let me knit him a grey cashmere scarf! reeeeallly? Actually, without an announcement like that I would be reluctant to do it. But, I've been thinking about it anyway, so immediately I had two patterns in front of him for consideration. He liked both.
so, when I finish the last side-side scarf I've got on the needles right now I think I'm going to cast on, for my scientist husband whose work is in research, this scarf. A top contender for yarn is the Magrite from Karabella, or a charcoal grey 100% cashmere that Nancy at Myers House has in her back room that she showed me Wednesday night. It is a 4ply weight cashmere - very fine yarn that will knit up on small needles. Do I really want to knit a scarf on 3's or 4's?

Tonight we are going to see the St Louis Symphony along with the Symphony Chorus perform Handels Messiah. Tomorrow, another evening cocktail party, then we are in the home stretch. Jeff and I are having a quiet Christmas home alone, then Daniel and Ashlee are coming Dec 26. We've got hockey tickets, plans to go downtown to a blues club, and I'd like to take them over to see Logan Chiropractic College. Ashlee is planning to continue on to Chiropractic school after graduating from GVSU.
Then the 30th we are leaving for Florida, to hop on a Royal Carribean Cruise Liner. I may not even take any knitting!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

replies to comments

Thanks to all who visit my blog and leave comments.
I'm going to take this opportunity to answer some of the questions that have come up, a little late on some, sorry.

First, Leisel, the gloves are S. Charles Rittrato, and I LOVE this yarn. Not so soft, but lots of impact for the knit. I bought enough to make a scarf for me (what a concept!) after I knit the gloves, which are on hold right now due to holiday knitting. Too many things on the needles, feeling the pressure. Only mistake I made with this one is putting cables into the back of the hand that will extend down into the fingers. This yarn has so much going on that the cables are totally lost.

The 'lace' scarf that I just finished knitting is just 4 repeats of the Diamond Rib pattern from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year perpetual calendar. The pattern appears on Aug 5. I used 2 full skeins of a long ago discontinued Anny Blatt yarn, 135 yds per skein, knit on size 10 Boye needles (going for the full vintage feel - cant' even believe it but those old Boye alum needles had the best tips for this project.

Julsey, the pattern for the Cabled Scarf for Lauren that is currently on the needles is by Nancy N and can be found here in pdf format with the chart. The pattern has been revised and the kinks worked out now so you can go ahead and knit it without reservations. Oh, but, I would very seriously consider changing those first and last 3 garter stitches in the scarf border to a K1, P1, K1 each row, to create a moss stitch. My edges are curling something fierce, and if it didnt' require ripping 20 inches of already knit scarf I would start over and change the border. Mine is being knit with a worsted weight on size 9 needles, and I did change those border cables to a C4 to narrow it down a bit.

Sorry Elizabeth, but mom looked at it and def wants that scarf, and Catherine, the woman whom I consult for and do the design work for (sewing) so ooohed and aahhhhed over it that I am using the rest of the Cleo that I had and the rest of the Anny Blatt mohair to make one for her.

Lainey, it is so exciting to watch you morph into the new project directions you are taking. When do I knit? almost Every AM between 6 and 7:30, and every evening after dinner until bed, and sometimes during the day if I'm not involved in work stuff. I've really stepped up the pace right now in order to get projects done that I didn't decide to knit for gifts until end of November - nothing like planning ahead.

Now. Must. Go. Knit.

Monday, December 05, 2005

still scarfing, 2

I've been busy with gift knitting and have taken a hiatus from my regularly scheduled knitting.
Last night I finished knitting the Lace scarf from the Anny Blatt starblitz. I think I'm going to crochet a loopy band of scallops along the ends, using the 2.5 yards of yarn I have left and string some freshwater pearls on the yarn, so that the scallops are beaded. This one's for Jacquie. I want to have it in the mail on Wednesday.
In the lower corner of the pic you can barely see the next cabled incarnation of that Berger du Nord silkid. It is a Saxon braid bounded by twisting cables, v pretty. I started that one last night after binding off the lace.

Oh, and we have a tree! And what a Tree it is. I'm wreathed with smiles.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

one of those blogthings

this is so true:

You Should Learn French

C'est super! You appreciate the finer things in life... wine, art, cheese, love affairs.
You are definitely a Parisian at heart. You just need your tongue to catch up...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Still scarfing

The requisite lace. Anny Blatt Starblitz mohair circa 1989-ish As I get further into this, I'm worrying about running out of yarn before it is long enough to be a scarf. I have 2 skeins, about 270 yds, which I thought for sure would be enough - we'll see. This may become a multi colored scarf - it's a surprise in the making.

And Mom's (potentially mom's) scarf.
So, mom, its a choice you can make -
this is yarn I bought for you, most of it anyway, up at Yarn Quest in Traverse City several years ago. Was big fun knitting it up. Has some bling and texture. combination of Naturals, browns, coppers, golds, and black. But it is not a soft cuddly scarf. Definitely a wear it on the outside of a coat scarf.
So, would you rather have a red soft and cuddly scarf? or this? if you click on the pictures they will open in another window much larger and you'll see more detail. I have time for one or two more along with the rest of my projects - so if you'd rather have the red, I can do that.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


What I've learned this year as I got back to knitting seriously:

  1. If I wouldn't go into Nordstroms or Neimans or anyplace else, pick it off the rack, ohh and ahh and then shell out money for it, then I shouldn't make it either - no matter how cool the technique or interesting the pattern.
  2. Listen to the yarn, or your inner voice, or silent misgivings. If you think it's hinky, it probably is. If the yarn isn't knitting up the way you hoped it would, or it doesn't have the 'hand' or the look that you wanted - STOP! rip it out, change what needs to be changed - even if it is the pattern. Finally, this year I got that. It took ripping that whole Silk Garden sweater apart after it was half seamed, and choosing a different pattern for that yarn; It took ripping 2 finished fronts and half a back that is now 'yarn' again, because I knit a shiny slippery sport weight yarn in a pattern meant for worsted weight wool, on needles that were too big - the resulting knit fabric was horrid - and I never would have worn it. Sharron gave me a book a couple of weeks ago on sweater design. Great book BTW, and I started reading it while we were gone. In the first Chapter Margaret (I'll look up the book and the author soon, I promise) talked about letting the yarn tell you what it wants to be. Valuable lesson there.
  3. After doing my share of bashing novelty yarns, I recognized that I like some bling, and I have a fair amount of yarns that incorporate metallics, and I Like Them!
  4. I'm starting to get it that the yarn determines pattern and pattern dictates yarn. I love love love cables and popcorns and detail - detail that shows best in solid color plied yarns. Yarns that allow stitch definition to come through. Cables and bobbles and leaf patterns generally get lost behind the haze of mohair, and in the thick-n-thin of handspun, and often even get lost in the color gradations of handdyes and variegated. And I'm finally getting it that when using a really interesting yarn, let the yarn tell the story and keep the pattern Simple - KISS. I've been playing with yarns from my stash, lumpy, bumpy, shiny and fuzzy, in a scarf that is supposed to be for mom for Christmas, but I'm going to have a hard time letting this one go, And I actually resisted the temptation to devise some intricate pattern. I have been knitting in straight garter stitch - and I'm loving this. Having way too much fun. The yarns are so pretty, and I'm just letting them be. On the other hand, I'm still learing that one. The gloves I've got on the needles right now, the cables are totally lost in the color and shine. Sneak peek on the scarf
  5. I've learned that if fit matters SWATCH. Then wash and block that swatch. For real. If it's a scarf - forget it, but if it's a garment that needs to fit - swatch and measure. Got it!
  6. I've accepted that as much as I love the melting pot look of variegated yarns in the skein, I generally don't like the way they knit up, all stripey. I appreciated the dyeing techniques, I generally love the soft transitions in the skeins, but I guess that I am just a pretty stick straight type that wants my clothing to be solid or the colors more deliberate in prints, tweeds, ...less abstract. I love color - but it will save me lots of $ and time in the long run to finally accept that all those pretty skeins never deliver the look I'd hoped for.
  7. Overheard at the ASE conference in Sept: "People collect all sorts of things and don't feel the need to use them, or the need to apologize for owning them ( ie teapots, antique weapons, stamps). So Stop feeling guilty over owning stash of fabric (yarn, fiber etc) . Own it and enjoy it as a collection," and consider it a bonus when you use it to sew or knit with. (my editorializing in the added on end of that sentence).
  8. I have an incredibly wonderfully understanding and patient Husband when it comes to my projecting.

Just ripped this today. Same yarn as Ashlees scarf - another friend who saw it in progress loved it, loved the yarn. I thought I would make her a scarf, but wanted to do a different pattern - after all I'd just done 2 of those cabled scarves - so I started this twisting full cabled scarf - UGH. I kept forging ahead thinking it would get better, that I could fix it by sewing pearls at the twists - after finishing 3 29-row repeats, I gave in. This yarn is gorgeous knit into the Irish Hiking scarf - this yarn is ugly knit up like this. I'll knit the 3 cabled Irish Hiking Scarf again and my friend will love it and won't care that I've made several others.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Finishing, subtitled

A Cautionary Tale, A Horror Story, or A Tragedy?
In 1994 I went shopping at Inish Knits in Cedar MI, up North on the Leelanau Peninsula, and bought some gorgeous handdyed mohair, buttons that were perfect, and the store owner, Peggy threw in a pattern for a basic cardi. I went home that winter and knit the back and fronts, then shelved it. Winter of 1995 I got it out again on those long cold northern Michigan winter nights and knit the sleeves.
Finished knitting it went into a drawer, to keep the cotton sleeveless all-over cabled top that I'd finished knitting two summers before, company.
Fall of 1995 or 1996, I can't really remember, I went to a newer store that had opened in Traverse City, still one of my fav LYS's out there, and bought an Ironstone kit for a loosely knit cotton cardi. It was to be knit with a slubby red cotton, stranded with a black/gold metallic thread and a multi-colored pompom. I really didn't like the combination, so I bought a violet metallic thead to strand with it instead of the black/gold, and the coolest cotton boucle threadlike yarn that was also multi colored, but in a more sophisticated way than the pompom. And over the course of that winter and a winter two seasons later, I knit the body and sleeves of that cardi.
Into the drawer it went. To keep company with the blue mohair cardi pieces, the white cotton sleeveless top pieces, the half front of a boys size 10 fishermans knit sweater, the fronts and half back of the rayon evening top that I'd adapted and wasnt liking, and the knitted up pieces for a pullover in Georges Picaud kidmohair in blues/cocoa that I'd knit and taken with me when I moved to Traverse City in 1990 - so it was a vintage UFO already.
I went to the store again 1997-ish and was reading the Alice Starmore Tudor Roses book and fell in love with the designs. Bought the book, wanted to make a summer cardi, pulled out some silk blend yarns I owned, couldn't find anymore of that so went shopping and mixed with them some mercerized cottons, and adapted one of her charts - in bright unmatched yarns, and started knitting up the back of a large cardi of my own design. (see What Was I thinking Wednesday for a peek at this travesty), and spent a large amount of project time happily knitting away at this fun-to-knit piece.
And somewhere between 1998 and 2001 I knit up and started seaming the Silk Garden/Le Gran Mohair oversize sweater that got frogged this fall.
What is wrong with this picture? Seaming? Finishing? What? I wanted to knit. So in my very limited projecting time, I knit, and collected knit pieces of sweaters.
Along came New Years 2005 - I'm married again, living in a different state, have much more leisure time, and I decided that I needed to take stock of all my unfinished projects and DO something about them. I am on a finishing frenzy. The Red cotton cardi that began as an Ironstone Kit that I revised. The Blue Mohair cardi. The white cotton cabled top and the Georges Picaud pullover are next in the finishing bin. All else has been frogged, given away, or lost. By the end of 2005 I will at least be current with my WIP's. (work in progress)
The problem: What was an up-to- the minute fashionable pullover in the 80's is, now, sadly, a Dated 80's pullover. Boxy, square, very dropped shoulders, ... I'm going to finish it anyway because the thought of ripping it out is abhorent and I can wear it with jeans at home.
The blue cardi from 1994 now looks like a 12 year old cardi - no shape, dropped shoulder, def Dated.
The red cardi is also fairly shapeless, however it is so loosey goosey that I'm not sure shape would help it. The people who've seen it, those who helped me choose buttons at the store yesterday and a few friends, all really like it, but it is nothing that I would choose to make today.
Is this a tragedy? No, Katrina and the Tsunami were tragedies. But this is a sad waste.
And a bit of a horror story here for me.
Moral Tale: Finish that project when it comes off the needles, or pay someone else to do the finishing. I will always probably have more than one project going at a time - it is in my nature and I'm not going to change. But, recognize that fashions have a timeline. That ribby cardi that I really like right now, 10 years from now is going to look Dated. The Rogue or Eris that I'd like to start, same thing.
I hope that I can turn over a new leaf, and finish things rather than giving into startitis and shelving sweaters that are fully knit.
I do know, that by the end of 2005 I won't have any vintage UFO's hanging around.
Now, I leave you with this:

You are a siren. A siren is an
enchanting seductress that usually inhabits a
remote isle in the sea. The siren's voice is
beautiful and alluring. The siren's voice is
irresitible to all those who hear it. Upon
hearing her fatal melody the listener will
either plunge to their deaths in the icy ocean
waters or they will perhaps finally reach the
siren. Once the siren has hold of them they
have no chance. The siren represents sensuality
and passion.

Which mythical creature resides in your soul? (11 Results + Pictures)
brought to you by

Friday, November 25, 2005

back from Georgia and South Carolina

We just did another of those marathon driving trips - I'm flying the next place I go!

I had intended to get in lots of knitting time while Jeff and Katie were at the Georgia Football game on Saturday, but yours truly ended up with food poisoning, had to have been from eating at a McDonalds outside of Nashville, as that was the ONLY thing I ate all afternoon and evening last Friday. Very unpleasant 36 hours.
I did manage to finish up the next gift scarf in the car. I tried knitting on the front of the Irlandais, but I couldn't pay enough attention to that patterning and shaping in the car to be effective.

I'm making progress on my list of things to finish. Finally finished weaving in ends and knit on the last armhole ribbing. This will go with us on the cruise - maybe if I don't sleep at all I can finish the rest of my holiday projects and make the capris that go with this shell.

and yesterday I finally got back to the Silk Garden sweater, the one that I re-knit into VK11. Since I found the lace weight mohair in the right color for the ruffle in Lansing two weeks ago, I can finally finish this. So I seamed, unravelled 2" off the bottom of the body - it was going to be too long going over that skirt, and will block today before I knit the ruffle on.

A note regarding ripping up from the bottom: Don't, if you can avoid it. Going across a row of stockinette rips just fine, however when you reach a purl stitch on a cable band you must unwind the yarn from around the stitch, and at the end of every row there are about 4 unwinds that need to happen before going back the other way. Makes for very slow going. I did it only because I really needed it to be shorter for it to look right.

Lots to do today - it is my self-designated project day as I don't have to work for anyone else today. Yay!.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Scarf Exchange

I got my Scarf Exchange pal. She lives in Australia and wants something lightweight, and blue, and not mohair. Hmmm... what to make a scarf from that is lacey but doesn't have any mohair in it? Ah, the Koigu KPPM.
We are leaving in an hour or so to go to GA and NC for a long weekend.
I intend to find some car knitting time and get the Irlandais front done, and the other scarf that is on the needles right now, then I'll cast on for this one. Or maybe I'll throw in another Christmas gift before casting on my exchange scarf. I feel good though, knowing what I'm going to be making.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Gloves ON

Finally, I cast on my gloves.
In the deals that I make with myself, I'd been promising that as soon as I finished the sleeves on the Irlandais Colchique I would allow myself to cast on for the gloves. Well, not only did I finish both sleeves, but I'm half way up the front, and I finished Ashlees scarf, and have started the holiday gift project #2, so last night, at knitting group at Myers House, I got anxious and started these cabled gloves.

They're going fast - relatively, considering my dps are too long and my first row was a disaster. There are four cable rows which will continue into each finger. I'm using the cable without a needle method and it is working really well.

I still really want to knit these Deborah Newton Gauntlet gloves out of the cashmere that I bought specifically for them, but I've gotten a little nervous about making those (esp using cashmere) for my first glove attempt

So this now means I have 4 projects on the needles, but I will try to rectify that this weekend.

The PLAN is in place (Posted on the UFO blog) and I expect to have a whole bunch of FO's (finished objects) to post before the end of the year.

So, what happened to What was I thinking Wednesdays ? Thankfully, I ran out of projects that were blatantly obviously meant to illustrate my questionable judgement. And there are enough sites out there questioning others design sensibilities, so I don't feel compelled to add to that genre.

I"ll be back later to finish todays post, wanted to get last nights glove progress up.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Weekend Ramblings

I'm going to participate in my first exchange, the International Scarf Exchange set up by Celia and CynCyn (thank you ladies), and I'm really excited about this. So, I've killed more than a little time perusing the questionnaires that they are posting from each of the participants.
Some interesting trends are to be noted here:
  • people have very strong opinions about the color Pink. They either love it or detest it. Not much in-between room for pink. Me, I fall into the Love It category. In fact, I need to stop buying pink for awhile, I'm inundated with it.
  • Most people profess to prefer what I will call traditional spun knitting yarns over the novelites. So, who are all the fans of the novelty yarns that are so prevalent in the stores?
  • Most everyone who expresses any dislikes for certain fibers claim a dislike for acrylics, many on the basis that it is too "scratchy". Interesting, in light of the fact that the powers-that-be dictate acrylics be used for chemo caps because the fiber is so soft and non-irritating. I can understand not particularly liking acrylic, but not on the basis that it is scratchy.

Today was the monthly meeting of the St Louis Knitting Guild, and I went. Finally, I'm meeting some people in St Louis who have room in their lives for new friendships. Why didn't I resume knitting and start attending the small group knit-ins 2 years ago? (Hi Maureen, if you're reading this.) The program today was on putting zippers into knit garments. Carol Hurt did the lesson/lecture and had some good tips, but when I finally get around to knitting Bonnie Maries ribby cardi or its equivalent, and inserting that zipper, I think I'll use one of the tutorials found around the ribbi cardi blogs. Here is Bonnie Maries and exhibits great info served with her characteristic dollop of humor.

Speaking of the Ribbi Cardi, being one who can't just leave something alone, I've finally decided which yarn(s) I'm going to use for my first one. I love the sweater and think it's versatile enough that I'll probably end up making several. I have several bags of the old Rowanspun 4 ply (a tweedy, felty wool) in all sorts of colors. I'll need to strand 2 colors together to get gauge (I've already done my gauge swatch using 2 strands of one color and gauge is right on). So for my first one, I think that I'll strand the body with Holly and Midnight, then knit the sleeves and contrast holding 2 strands of just Holly or just Midnight. Or maybe I'll use the Lilac and Sugar. Or maybe mix up the deep red (It's called blood and that just doesn't sit right with me in describing something I want to knit with ...) with Sugar, or Jade....possibilities are endless.

Which brings me to the point of actually starting projects. Planning them is so much fun, and choosing yarns is so much fun. Stashing yarns is so much fun. and it all represents endless possibilities. Actually committing a yarn to a project and starting it is accomplishing something, but it all of a sudden removes the sense of all that possibility. Does anyone else keep some extra yarn in stash just because it represents so much potential? I recognize that I have difficulty with seeing potential in way too much. I've renovated 5 homes to varying degrees in my life - the last one a 100 yr old Victorian Lady in Traverse City MI, and each one progressively required more and more work. I was definitely guilty of having old house potentialitis. I've also been guilty of staying in relationships too long because I saw potential where there wasn't any, or it was highly unlikely to ever be realized.

Now I must recognize that SABLE (Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy) is not a desirable state, no matter how much potential all that fiber has. (not in reference to you Eliz., but in reference to the sheer volume of fabric and yarn in my stash)

Now I will leave you with this thought: GO DAWGS

Thursday, November 10, 2005

a LYS tour of Michigan

Last Thursday I left on a driving trip, ostensibly to see my son in MIchigan, about as far north as you can get, in Sault Ste Marie. (pronounced Soo Saint Marie, and known as 'the Soo'), with a planned stop in Traverse City, (my favorite place and the place I call home) and a planned stop to see my brother and his new wife Wendy and their family in MIdland.
But we all know that part of the idea of driving (1650 miles in 5 days - there had better be an upside to this!) was to get my Yarn Store fix.
And wow, did I
First stop: Thursday, in Saugatuck MI. What a great wonderful little tourist destination. Right on the shore of Lake Michigan, widely known for some of the best B&B's in the country, and a great artist community with some awesome galleries. I didn't make time to visit the James Brandess Gallery :( oh well, next time. The yarn store in Saugatuck is a satellite store of the Threadbender Yarn shop in Grand Rapids, and is called Juicy Yarns and Beads. Juicy yarns is very pleasing to the eye, with yarn bins all arranged by color and multitudes of shades and textures in each color in a bin. It is a delight for anyone who is looking for a fast knit vacation scarf - and for the lovers in this world of bumpy, slubby, furry, fuzzy, shiny, eyelashy and pompomy novelty yarns. Alas I am not one of them. It wouldn't be fair to say there was nary a sweater yarn in sight, but it wouldn't be too far off either. I did see the new Blue Sky Alpaca/Silk, which is a fabulous sportweight yarn in the most yummy of colors. I think I will have to have some of the Spring colorway of that, an incredible bright pale green. (did I just say that? - what is a bright pale?, let's try bright light)
On to Traverse City and dinner with my friend Jean at Scotts Harbor Grill, looking out over Harbor West marina and the Bay. Jacquie joined us after her long work day, and we closed the place.
Friday AM: A walk downtown where the shopping is everything that you want to find in a small town downtown area. Beautiful stores, Unique and out of the ordinary merchandise, and ambiance. We went to breakfast at the infamous Omelet Shop, then on to Miners Jewelers to say HI and see what is new in the world of pretty sparkly objects. Then on to Lost Art Yarn Shop. Here I first broke my no-buy pact with Laine (sorry girl, I didn 't even call to talk it over with you, but just did it). They have the complete line of Adrienne Vittadini yarns, which I've found to be incredibly hard to find, in stock. I picked up 3 balls of a teal colorway in Marina to replace a green that I have in a kit - I'm not wild about the brown/green color combo I bought, so I picked up the teal and will use the green for something else sometime - maybe! I also picked up a pair of Inox dp's. Time to inventory the needles so that I remember what the heck I have.
On to one of my all-time favorite yarn shops - YarnQuest in TC. I have to tell you, upon entering the shop, I was a little disappointed. They've always had a great selection of basic yarns with some of the trendy stuff around the edges. This time, I walked in to a big display of Rowan BIG. They seem to have given over a little more to some of the trends, or maybe it was just my impression. And they only had one person on the floor, with 4 groups of women shopping. She had a hard time juggling all the customers, but did an admirable job.
They still have the best selection anywhere I've been of Jaeger yarns, which I still love and wish they were more available. I bought 5 sk Jaeger Matchmaker Aran in Black to do the ribbing on a Debbie Bliss Lara wrap that I have a Vittadini black and white tweed for. Needed a basic black wool for the rib and this is perfect. I also found two of the three colors of Rowan Lurex that I need for the Zoe Sweater designed by Brandon Mably that I tried on in Novi last month. I'm planning on using some old Tahki Chelsea Silk that I already own for that cardi, but there isn't any substitute for the dots. Amazingly enough, they didn't have the midnight color, but had the berry and wine colors. hmmm. Found the midnight on Yarnela in Toronto and ordered it there yesterday. As long as I'm buying yarn again I might as well get it done with. !!

Friday afternoon, after spending a thoroughly enjoyable but not nearly long enough time with Jacquie, I got on the road heading towards the UP. (that is Upper Peninsula in Michiganspeak).
I stopped in Petoskey to say Hi to Gail at the Bristly Thistle, an incredible needlepoint shop that Gail has owned for the last 18 years or so. She pointed me in the direction of a little yarn store in Alanson that I didn't even know was there.
The Dutch Oven Yarn Shop is a yarn store that is accessed by walking into the Dutch Oven Bakery - oh, did I managae to bypass the cookies? No. then through the deli sandwhich shop, up a step, and into an amazing yarn studio. She has the equivalent of an old house worth, in two large rooms, of yarn, floor to ceiling. The most complete selection of Debbie Bliss yarns I've seen outside of the UK online shops, and a great huge selection of wools and tweeds and yarn for serious knitters. I got there just before closing time and was feeling the press of being late getting to the Soo, so didn't spend near enough time, but loved the shop.

I had a wonderful visit with Daniel and his roommates Adam and Dusty. Dusty's gf joined us Saturday night for dinner and then the kids included me in their evening plans. I couldn' t believe how clean and neat the boys house was too. These kids keep it clean. And I saw an amazing amount of studying going on. Lest we forget I was in the UP, where hunting reigns, note that I was greeted at the door by the mornings yield from the traps - a coyote ready to be skinned and tanned. A gun locker features prominently in the living room, and Dusty's wall art consists not of posters but a fishing pole rack complete with a variety of poles.
Dusty left early Saturday AM to go duck hunting. Another of Daniels friends came by Sunday AM looking for someone to go with him in the freezing rain/snow mix to check his traps - evidently a 4 to 5 hour process.
While there I mostly finished knitting Ashlees scarf, the Irish Hiking Scarf. (I'ts done now)

Monday: after leaving Dave and Wendy's in Midland I followed my Mapquest directions down county roads that inexplicably kept having 'road closed DETOUR' signs posted, so I ended up feeling my way southwest toward Lansing, to the ThreadBear Fiber Arts Store
This store is everything it is reputed to be and more. What an incredible store. What inventory. Complete color selections, with enough in each color to actually buy enough to complete a project. Sarina and Sue were helpful without being overbearing, there were tables and furniture groupings to encourage people to just come in and knit, which someone did while I was there, and there was coffee in the back - which I didn't even know about because I never quite got all the way to the back until after I'd checked out. And yes, I did check out. I bought some beautiful yarn for a 3 season cardi for the kind of weather we have here, so it is a cotton/viscose blend. I bought 3 intense saturated colors, and will figure out what to do with it in Feb, which is when I figure I will get to that. I also bought some balls of cashmere and some balls of mohair to make gloves with - they are diff boutique companies but the colors are so well matched that they could have come from the same dye bath. I'm thinking fuzzy cuff and cashmere hand on the gloves. Color is a deep deep almost brick red. And I finally found a mohair the weight of kidsilk haze that will work in a color that I need to finish up my VK11 pullover that I knit with the Silk Garden rescued from my BIG sweater disaster. Who knew that a mohair that color would be that hard to find.
I'll post pics of my haul when the camera returns. Meanwhile, I'm not doing another thing until those sleeves are off the needles for my Colchique.

And in another note altogether, the local SnB ladies have issued a call for preemie caps. Seems the woman who has been knitting them and coordinating knit donations for one of the hospitals here now has need for a chemo cap herself and isn't able to do it anymore.
I'm thinking that I will start inserting some interlude projects between each phase of my self-involved knitting, and knit up some preemie caps and some chemo caps. I derived a great deal of pleasure knitting up that little cable cap for Sharron, and think that it is something I will continue doing.
I found the greatest site today for preemie caps and bonnets.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


No Camera this week, dsd#2, Lauren, has taken it with her to Chicago for a HS writers conference on journalism.

New projects: I finished the Irish Hiking Scarf for Ashlee for Christmas, and had so much fun knititng it, not to mention that it was a great way to use yarns that I have in less than sweater quantities - that I've joined the International Scarf Exchange. I also finished the rag quilt for her - have two seam repairs to make then I'll ship it.

Gloves - I want to get started on my gloves, but in the deals I make with myself, I decided that I had to finish the sleeves on the Irlandais before I cast on for the gloves - so I'm hurrying along on the sleeves - knitting as fast as I can. As an incentive to get there, I joined the Peaceful Palms KAL. Check out the gloves others are knitting as fast as I'm not.

And I've had such a grand time knitting the Irlandais in the Colchique Along that Julsey didn't have a really hard time dragging me into the next Phildar pattern KAL Tendaces. I'm waiting on the pattern, then will swatch it in the Jaeger Shetland Aran that I have in the Sage Colorway - from Jannette

Must go knit more on those sleeves, then come back and clean up this blog a bit. Put the buttons on the sidebar, add the links to Eunny Knits and several others who inspire me, impress me, push me, or amaze me.

and come back with a report on my yarn store hop that I did in my last 5 days travelling. Managed to put 1650 miles on the car in 5 days, and stop at 5 yarn stores along my way. Report to follow.

Happy Birthday to Daniel - 21 today. My babybug.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What are we thinking?

Guess what came in the mail today?

Yup, the info packet Jeff ordered on this boat. It's the boat that is currently on the short list as a candidate for our new home. We've been on the boat, both at a boat show and in the water, although we havent' sailed one, but evidently we need a literature packet. The man is getting serious. Dave, the interior plans and layout and specs are all on the website if you want to check it out.

Doesn't look like there's much room for the old yarn stash does it?

hmmm, better get knitting. Got to use up some of that stash. Note to self: keep this No Buy contract with Lainey a little longer. Laine, I've done pretty good on resisting. Bought another book, but NO yarn. (Patting self on back)

Progress is being made on USMP - body is finished, have yet to cast on sleeves. The scarf for Ashlee is almost done, and the Irlandais is again seeing progress. Sleeves on that should be done by the next time I check in here. Tomorrow I'm leaving for the northern clime and a visit with Jacquie, Jean, assorted other friends I may see in Traverse City, then on to the Soo to see Daniel, then back downstate to Midland to see Dave, Wendy and crew, then home again home again jiggety jig. Have the mapquest maps printed, (am planning on stopping by Threadbear Fiberarts on the way through Lansing on the way out of Midland), the hotel reservations made, and the gas tank filled. Tell me again why I thought driving was a good idea?

Monday, October 31, 2005


Having kids home for the weekend and/or the prospect of visiting the kids brings out the domestic baker in me.
Usually, I love to cook, but am not much of a baker. Friday Katie came home from college, Saturday Mark got here, and Wed I am leaving to go to MI to see Daniel.
So, the haul from Saturday AM: oatmeal cookies, brownies, dried rosemary (not for the kids obviously), choc chip cookies, and guacamole for Jeff and Katie while they watched the Georgia Florida game. What did not get eaten, and what Mark and Katie did not take back to school with them is getting sent to Daniel today.

And, while waiting for various batches to come out of the oven, I got more done on the Irish Hiking scarf I started on Wednesday. This one is made from some Berger du Nord SilkKid, a very hazy mohair blend, from the archives of the stash. Soft, pretty. Will have to make mittens from something white and not hazy to go with. This one is for ds#2 girlfriend, Ashlee, who is a Jr at Grand Valley in Grand Rapids MI. It is a very fast easy knit, the pattern is easy to remember after one repeat, and I can talk and knit this at the same time. Unlike the Irlandais sleeves that I got back to yesterday - ended up having to rip back completely on one of the sleeves to the very first cable row - comes from knitting two sleeves at a time on the needles and not paying attention to which sleeve is being worked - 'cause I'm too busy running off at the mouth.
Took the Irish Hiking scarf with me last night to Borders, where I've been catching up with the nicest bunch of young women who get together to stitch via the St Louis stchnbtch yahoo groups. I really enjoy this group of women, and it is so different to listen to them talk - all at a very different stage of life than I. I love that knitting and stitching give a very diverse group of women common ground to come together, and learn about each other, and form friendships that otherwise never would have been formed. On Wednesday nights I've been going to Myers House and knitting with a group of women that are on the other end of the spectrum, and are closer to my own age and up to 20 yrs older than I, and again, there is that commonality that brings everyone together and an openness and willingness to share knowledge and talk about life experiences and form friendships - something I've sorely missed since moving to this city 2 years ago.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Taking a break from regularly scheduled knitting, Enter the cabled chemo cap.
My friend Sharron (the queen of the cables) starts chemo Monday, so I found this pattern and created my first FO in a long while. It was a really fast knit.
Yarn: the new Plymouth Suri Merino in navy, an incredibly soft dk weight that knit up beautifully. I've got some Inca Alpaca in dk green to make another.

I've also managed to do very well keeping to my schedule of getting a little bit woven each day on the loom - usually between 6:00AM - 7:00AM.
On the agenda today: finish up the last 7 rows of contrast color on the front neck edge of the USMP, go make the investment in the blocking board that I've been lusting after, and then get that puppy blocked. I'm not sure about whether to wet block or steam the Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino. There's enough acrylic (microfiber) in the blend that I'm a little afraid of wet blocking. Anyone with experience with this yarn, input is welcome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wednesday silliness

In todays email:
• Dotted Sweater: Siam aqua (dark aqua). Large burgundy dots on right bodice. Open-knit left bodice, left shoulder, V neckline, and back. Ribbed elongated cuffs. Self bow; three-button front. Cutaway waist. Long sleeves. 100% lambswool. Marc Jacobs. $268 at Nieman Marcus

Why is it that designers feel they have to keep piling detail upon detail to make something outstanding?
Goes along with all this over the top embellishment phase we're in.

On the one hand, I love this sweater. Love the color, love the dots, love the shape, love the eyelet - but there is too much going on. They call those 'elongated cuffs'. The cuffs go to the bicep! The cuffs on the Cochique Irlandais are elongated - they are 8". This I would call a ribbed sleeve with a puffy cap, which I would have left off.

Has anyone been shopping lately? not the LYS, or the nearest great fabric store, but ready-to-wear? Sweaters Sweaters everywhere. Most with the look of handknit, even when they're not. Great way to try on shapes you might be considering knitting.

Will try to get back later with a 'what was I thinking?' Wed post. Right now, have to At least with all this running you'd think I'd be losing my tush - not happening.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Monday ramblings

good monday.
Before 8:00 AM I completed another 1/3 yd on my weaving. This is what I need to do. I figure at the rate I've been going, I'll have this piece woven off in 6 weeks.
In my head I'm already 2 projects ahead on the loom. (and I have the yarn for both already!) I've already designed the next project (in my head). It is another fairly loosely woven wool/silk/tencel blend that will be suitable for a Chanel type jacket, in purples and creams. I've got 2 handpainted yarns that are fine as thread, and 2 solid purple wools and I'm thinking of combining them. Have to sample it and modify to make what is in my head a reality. After that I'm going solid (one yarn!) and have been mentally playing with weave structure in a birds eye pattern (a raised diamond with raised center dots for interest. It will be a real change to be able to just throw a shuttle back and forth and establish a rythm to my weaving. I've got 4 working shuttles with the piece that is on there now, and I have to pay supreme attention or I mess the sequencing up. There isn't a continuous sequence that makes sense - that would have been too too easy!
I'd like to kick up the 6 week plan, but I don't think that is realistic with everything else that is on my plate, not to mention that I'm going to be going to Sault Ste Marie in two weeks to see the babybug. (doesn't he look studious?)

I also have to interrupt previously scheduled projecting to interject some holiday gifts. Hopefully quickies that will get finished before the holidays. What a concept.

On another note:
From the class I taught Friday: Jazz Your Jeans
These are student jeans, finished while in class. They were thrilled.

Then Saturday I went to Terre Haute to see my eldest son. Seen on the sign outside Lowes:

FALL ladder event? Are they kidding? This is getting sent to Jay Leno.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Opinions please

So much for my posting this week - it's been a heck of a week.

No project content, no What Was I thinking? Wednesday, What can I say?

I'm going to be ordering labels. These are not for client workt that I do, these are for my own projects and for gift projects.
Do I order two, one for handknits and another for custom clothing? or do I combine it all in one label?
Some thoughts:

Three lines of personalization (Vertical DESIGN remains constant)
ML Studios

Grey letters on white

Marjorie Van Zile

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Knitting in Public

Courtesy of a friend who was in Italy this summer. She saw this woman several times in the village, then rounded a corner one day and saw her just perched on the stone wall there knitting away.

Monday, October 17, 2005

rearranging priorities

The siren song of new projects is still singing.
What to do? What to work on?
As has been evident, all other projects have taken a back seat to Irlandais. It's such a fun project to knit. Well, over the weekend, I was ready to start the cabling on the sleeve, when the cable needle failed to present itself in all the places it should have been.
This is a sign. USMP has been sorely neglected. Esmerelda is ready to run away. and my loom considers itself an orphan.
The thing is, it has become Important that I bump up the finishing schedule on the project on the loom. So, I sat down and threw the shuttles back and forth for several hours.
Fran, on KR, is fond of saying "10 minutes a day" Well, 10 min isn't going to accomplish anything on the projects I've got going, but I can commit to 1/3 yd woven per day. Saturday I completed about 1 whole yard.
Then I sat down with USMP and knit up more of the body. Note to self: while I love the sweater, this process is just too too tedious. No more stockinette sweaters on 3's. I'm now 3 rounds away from the armhole bind off - will get those 3 rounds done today. Then it might start moving faster.

What's new?

Dave and Wendy are pregnant

Michelle is pregnant

my no-buy pact with Laine doesnt' cover books, and this was just too cute, too good to pass.
So, between Irlandais and USMP, and after the woven goods are off the loom, I think a fast, instant gratification project might be in order.

Meanwhile, the post office, the kitchen, the refrigerator with its spoiled fish smell that needs detoxing - all call.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Top on my Wish List

A real one. Not something that dials in and out, but something that is pinnable and shaped right.

There, now that I've got that rant out of my system....Nice weekend.
Weather is finally something that is livable. dh and I went to "The Hill" Saturday AM, the Italian section of downtown. We had lattes at the coffee shop that roasts their own beans right there, then went to the Italian market and did our monthly run, buying olive oil and pastas and olives and sausage and....went to the Fish market. Great fish market.
Then came home and I sat down at the loom for several hours, then listed more books (I'm up to close to 100 so far - sold 4 overnight) on Amazon, then made a fabulous boullaibase.
dh had football on for a solid 10 hours yesterday. This house has an open floor plan, and my loom is in the loft overlooking the great room where the LOUD TV is located. I swear they have one sound track for football and baseball games, and they just run that screaming loud loop over and over again; and they pay some poor shmuck to whistle and scream right near the mike at intervals. Yesterday I was about to go out of my mind.

This afternoon we went out to the winery, sat outdoors listening to a local blues band while enjoying a great picnic, mostly stuff we picked up yesterday, along with a bottle of Missouri wine. If you are reading this in CA, you may cringe. Still, it was nice. Now a game is on again. I think I may go to Borders. to knit. to enjoy the quiet. breathe. breathe. who knew that fall football noise would get to me this bad?

Now, who is it whose blog I was reading that has their wish list along the left hand side, that has a bunch of books listed from Amazon? If you're reading this, don't be shy, tell me who you are, I've looked and can't find you to remember. Because I remember turning around and seeing some of your books on my bookshelf. I'm not letting go of my cookbooks yet, but other than that, the books are where we are starting to let go of 'stuff'.

tomorrow i will update projects, Maybe.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Penchant for Purple

The latest version of the Chanel jacket.

It may have to do with my longstanding fascination with all things royal - medeival royalty anyway, from the Plantagenets to the Tudors and the Louis' and the Phillips, but I seem to be in a purple haze.

I think I have to have these shoes.

My sisters tree skirt (she doesn't want red, even for Christmas) - I really must finish that this month.

Two sleeves - Irlandais, Colchique Along