Sunday, December 24, 2006

Seasons Greetings

Wishing Everyone a Very Merry Christmas

And Now a Poll: Which Dale do you prefer?
I've committed to ONE KAL for the coming months - I'm just about finished with Liz and really do want the support of a group to knit my first Dale of Norway sweater. I have a quantity of Dale Tiur in deep red, will need to buy the other colors for whichever sweater I choose.
I'm asking your opinion, with the cavaet that I won't necessarily choose whichever is most popular - just curious to know what you think.
Please vote below (you have to use the pull down menu on the poll)

Which Dale do you like best?
Current results

Thursday, December 21, 2006

that resoluting time of year

it's getting to be that resolution time of year, when we all decide we have too much yarn/fabric/stuff, and we all vow to not buy anymore yarn, to knit only from stash, to sew only from stash.....and the beat goes on, la di da di da
oh, we also all decide we are
out of shape, too fat, unhealthy, whatever, and we all vow to lose weight, exercise more, eat the right things, drink more water, la di da di da, and the beat goes on.

mehitabels musings details her 12 step plan for yarn and fabric mgmt and containment
Wendy has started a movement with the call to Knit from your Stash for 9 mos (the time it takes to incubate a baby, or in this case, all the time there is before she goes to the next Stitches event - she doesn't go to Stitches Midwest obviously)

Hopefully the yarn retailers don't read all of this and get up in arms about whether there will be enough business soon, as we all know how long many of our resolutions last.

Personally, I'm hesitant to make any blanket resolutions about not acquiring.
I kind of like Mehitabel's 12 step plan. In fact, way last year, I embarked on such a plan, without the numbers to the steps.
I'm on about step 6 - re-evaluate and see what's working, and what's not.
I like Lorraine's list of what she can do to make a difference in her world.

Way back last year, I made up a list of what I wanted to get done and what I would buy if I did. Well, I didn't, and therefore I won't. And I don't feel deprived. I actually quit buying yarn, very quietly and naturally, last fall. The enormity of the stash has caught up with me.

What I want to resolve for 2007:
-Stay off Ebay. 'nuf said

-finish up sewing all the window treatments for this house (that'll use up close to 40 yards of fabric I have in the sewing room)

-Very carefully consider my level of commitment before joining any more KAL's

-(again) go through the UFO's and WIP's in the knitting bag and the sewing room, and finish or scrap it all -
due date: June 30. This may take a photo inventory to keep me honest and on track.

Speaking of KAL's - I've joined the Dale of Norway KAL and am excited about it - in a reserved way because I really don't want to get too heavy into planning the next project while I've got Liz on the needles

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An FO, and some other domestic stuff

Pattern: Adrienne Vittadini
Yarn: customers own mohair, knit double holding 2 strands together, single for ruffle
Needle: addi turbo size 7, Holz and Stein rosewood size 6 for ruffle
cast on Oct 3, 2006, Completed Dec 19, 2006

More pics
Cardi neckline
cardi close-up
This was possibly the most frustrating pattern I've ever worked with. Those who've been following this blog for awhile know that I had to sit down and chart the whole thing in order to "continue in pattern" while shaping. The pattern brackets for the repeats were not intuitive and didn't follow the diamond of the chart - drove me nuts until I charted it. Brigitte started it and quit because of same. Brigitte, email me your address again and I'll send you the charts.
Also, there is a pattern error in the ruffle on row 3.
But it is Done --- doing the happy dance. And now I can get back to finishing my Liz,
Liz progress 8.31.06, before casting on for my Dale, in January.
What's been going on around our house?

and baking


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a name thing

I'm so relieved to know that there is only ONE Of me!
LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Good Saturday AM.
The dress is finished, however I'm not going to put it on to take pics until I have occasion to dress and put on hosiery and do something with my hair - sorry, vanity wins here. ;)

Today is the day that I am going to:
1. make some cookie dough (the girls and I will be baking tomorrow)
2. pick up the thousand or so stitches to knit the ruffle around front edges and neckline of the Vittadini cardi - I got the hem ruffle done last week - and it is as cute as anything could be. It literally transforms this lace cardi. Admittedly, I've been dragging my feet on finishing this - today is the day to Just Do It (in the words that Nike made famous)
3. Attend a company-type Christmas party tonight.

Next sewing project on the table: I'm copying a Marc Jacobs jacket that I archived photos on a year ago. The jacket was for sale at Neiman Marcus for around $2500. I just realized the pics of it are on my desktop computer, so I'll have to edit this post to upload them later. Stay tuned.
fabric for the MJ jacket

Thursday, December 07, 2006

hi all, the dress is coming along.
I changed it a lot.
LOL Elizabeth - I might have thought I was joking too. After all, it's a bag lady look - but very "fashion forward" at the moment, and I'm in a whimsical mood.
for the nitty gritty on my design process yesterday check out here

Nanci, see, I don't consider those Leggings, as in the leggings that we wore in the 80's, the leggings I associate with baby weight and fat butts - those to me look like tights without feet - which is just a twist on hosiery.

and I didn't mean to whine yesterday, I just meant that I'm going to quit pressuring myself with lists of "what to get done", 'cause guess what?!, it doesn't all get done, and I don't need to feel guilt over it.
Thanks for the virtual hugs though.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The subtitle:

how I've learned that planning new projects is faster than executing new projects

Ah yes, In January of 2006 I was free of UFO's. I'd spent the previous 6 mos finishing or trashing all unfinished projects lying around (knitting projects, we are not even going into the sewing room in this discussion).
And I made myself up one helluva list for the year.
And now it is December. It's reckoning time.

I got startedon my list. Admittedly, I got a lot done. A lot that was on the list, and some that wasn't.
but, I also started way more than I finished, which leaves me now in the same place I was in a year and a half ago, with a lot of UFO/WIP's.

Truth: I have lofty ambitions (don't we all)
Truth: When I put my mind to it I can stick with a project - this has come as a revelation
Truth: It takes longer to knit a whole sweater than I want to acknowledge

In August, when I attended Stitches with Jae and Kim and had such a marvelous time, I bought the yarn for Elizabeth (that Polwarth silk&wool which is just gorgeous stuff) and got started around Aug 15-ish. I worked steadily on that, and almost finished it (drat, there is that first sleeve that needs to be completely re-worked so it's not really almost finished).
Oct 4 I accepted a commission to knit a lace cardi for someone else. I put aside all else and began knitting the Vittadini cardi. I am to the stage of knitting miles of single strand mohair lace ruffle - when it is done I Will post pics, I promise. I expect to have it finished to deliver Dec 15. That is 10 weeks of fairly intensive work. I think it's fair to say that if I'd kept going on Liz, rather than getting sidetracked by this commission, that would have been 10 weeks solid knitting to finish.

So, it takes 10 weeks for me to knit a sweater.
I'll keep my sidebar the same for now.
but come January
the in the queue and the planned stuff is coming down.
goals ahead: finish all the WIP's, and then start new projects as they strike my fancy - with no agenda hanging over my head and with no production goals in mind.
'nother goal - stay on this yarn diet. I've managed to go since Sept without purchasing a single skein of yarn. Methinks my incredible stash has finally caught up with my psyche.

Meanwhile, want to know what I just decided today to make for tomorrow night?

Kathryn over at Stitchers Guild put up a link to the Missoni website, for ideas for someone, and I've just eaten up almost an hour watching their slide shows. I have this sudden inspiration for a dress using fabrics I already own (bonus!) to make this style of dress. Admittedly, it's way outside my typically tailored/fitted box - but hey! I'm going to give it a go. We have an annual party to go to tomorrow night hosted by the Patent Attorneys office that my dh does a lot of work with, and then dinner plans following at Remy's Wine Bar, so I've decided I want a new dress. I'll be back with pics to let you know how it works out.

Monday, December 04, 2006

random monday

Thanks everyone, my dad is doing great!
I talked with him Friday night, and he's home from the hospital and the prognosis is very good. The worst news for him is that he can't travel til the very end of December, which means that they will have to spend Christmas in the snow in Michigan rather than in the comfort of their Florida residence. oh well.

still getting lots done. and this morning, in the never ending quest to clean out some of the excess, I listed 20 sewing patterns on ebay
This is just one, but if you are interested, you can click on 'see sellers other items' and the rest will come up.

Meanwhile, we had a wine tasting / dinner party Saturday night for 12. It went exceedingly well.
hors doevres:
crostini w olive and sundried tomato tapanade,
crostini with peppered ricotta & anchovies,
and bruschetta with fresh tomato/basil topping
a cheese plate consisting of plain brie, sliced french morbier,sliced manchego, and two different italian salamis sliced - one spicier than the other.
Caeser salad,
veal roulades,
spinach lasagna,
steamed green beans tossed with olive oil, tomatoes and garlic,
seasoned white beans

dessert tray: dense chocolate single layer cake with whipped cream (couldn't find my flourless cake recipe so I went into epicurious -found a recipe that I won't use again - too much fuss for reallymediocre results),
petits fours (these are the best, from a local bakery)
sliced almond fig "cake" found in produce section - it was excellent
sliced lemon white stilton cheese (again, this stuff was incredible)
spiced nuts

a variety of red wines, after dinner a variety that included grappa (Yuck!), an excellent sauterne, grand marnier, baileys, and I don't even know what else.

The spinach lasagna is made with a white bechamel sauce and the descrip and recipe can be found in a 2005 issue of Cooks Illustrated. The veal roulades are stuffed with a mixture of prosciutto, anchovie, capers, garlic, tom paste, white bread crumbs, butter, and ?? I don't even remember what all else I put into it.

Now I've gotta go finish some needlework.

and tomorrow or the next day I'll list another 20 patterns on ebay,
and I'll post my thoughts on setting goals for knitting and what I've learned this year about my rate of production - subtitled "how I've learned that planning new projects is faster than executing new projects"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

SWAP, Ready set plan

I started this blog to separate my regular knitting blog from this sewing, and to keep track of my progress on the SWAP contest sponsored by Timmel Fabrics

updates will follow, and I will clean up this entry and add pertinent info that is missing right now.

11 garments

2 Jackets
4 dresses
3 tops
1 skirt
1 pant

Jacket 1: light eggplant boucle from Britex Fabrics purchased July 2005, trims purchased at same time. Lining is silk charmeuse from Calamo silks. Pattern based on Vogue 7975, constructed in couture method as taught by Susan Khalje
Jacket cut out and stitching lines marked by threadbasting approx October 2005.

Jacket 2 and skirt Vogue _ _ _ _
silk tweed purchased from Eunice Farmer Fabrics fall 2004. jacket Lining: silk charmeuse from Calamo silks. Skirt lining china silk from Calamo silks. Jacket and skirt cut summer 2005, fused to sof-knit, then put away.

Dress 1 sheath dress, Butterick _ _ _ _
Chinese Brocade from Britex purchased July 2005, lining: same china silk as tweed skirt. Cut and partially assembled Spring 2006. I am counting this as my "previously made" garment, although construction is only partially complete

Dress 2 Sleeveless sundress OOP Vogue Calvin Klein pattern
print 4ply silk from Habermans (Royal Oak Michigan) purchased Sept 2005. Lining, same china silk as tweed skirt.

Dress 3 dupioni sheath with lace overlay. Vogue _ _ _ _
cross-weave silk dupioni and purple crochet lace from Eunice Farmer Fabrics, spring 05
Lining to be determined

Dress 4 Sleeveless sheath, OOP Vogue _ _ _ _ (subject to change - I may trade this out of the SWAP as it is a little dressier and not necessarily totally compatible with being worn with a jacket, although a lot of the accessories will work and I will make it whatever the case)
Fabric: embroidered silk taffeta from Van's Fabrics, Boston, purchased November 2006

Top 1 qualifying Reversible Garment
adapting Textile Studio Milan Dress pattern to make it a tank top. Pattern purchased from Timmel Fabrics as part of qualifying purchase.
side one silk jacquard print from stash, source not remembered
side two solid yellow silk broadcloth purchased from Timmel Fabrics

Top 2 cowl neck shirred midriff top, Vogue _ _ _ _
purple silk charmeuse, same as lining fabric for boucle jacket

Top 3 classic long sleeve shirt Vogue _ _ _ _
Italian cotton shirting purchased from Woolen House, a Toronto merchant, at the Sewing Expo in Novi, Sept 2005

Pant new Montana pattern Vogue _ _ _ _
stretch wool gabardine from Michaels Fabrics, online

just in today, a totally fabulous silk plisse from EOS in the perfect lavender color. May have to swap out a top.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Weather

The weather? She's going to talk about the weather? You've got to be kidding!
no, really, I am.
See those footprints in the sand. I took that picture last Friday morning, on the beach, on Lake Michigan. Those footprints belong to a toddler who was there playing with his parents standing by.
Unless you've spent many a November in the cold northern hemisphere, you can't appreciate the significance of those bare little toe-prints in the sand.
it was gorgeous.

We had a great time.
now I give you pictures of my 'toddlers'


my babies are well.
today my dad is having surgery. We are all assuming it will go well.

Days end, from the deck.

Monday, November 20, 2006

dropping by to say I miss you, HI

First off, a note to all my knitblogging friends who think I've absconded with the cookies and left to go sew...
this is true to a point, but I Need to sew, as in, I Need clothing to wear. So, I've been busy chained to my sewing machine and sewing table, and haven't been near the computer much.

But the other thing going on is: there just hasn't been any knitting of note to report on. Finally, the Lace cardi by Vittadini is off the needles, and is soaking now. As soon as I'm off here it is going onto the blocking board. Next up is to pick up *cough cough* a thousand or so stitches around the perimeter and knit on the ruffle. This I will do while travelling to Michigan tomorrow. With any luck it'll be done by the time I come home.
The plane knitting going to Boston was the prettiest little scarf for my friend Jacquie. She is a knitter whose life is so overbooked that when I gave her the yarn and pattern, I offered to knit it for her too and she took me up on it...the pattern is so easy and so pretty. It is a Colinette number alternating lace weight mohair with silk ribbon, all in garter stitch with every 4th row a double wrap (creating a YO) on each stitch. I think I mentioned though, no plane knitting on the way back.
Don't get that is bad and I was down nearly a week with it.

most recently off the sewing table:

I wrote a pattern review Here if you want the gory details. They do need a crease pressed in the leg - it'll happen.

Next up on the sewing table:
I've joined the Timmel SWAP [sewing with a plan] which starts Dec 1. This one has some teeth. The 1st prize is a gift certificate for $300. I'd like to win, but lord we all know I don't need a certificate for more fabric, and the real win will be getting all of these garments made up. There are a total of 14 garments here, ready to be made. 11 are required for the SWAP, so I'll have to see what it whittles itself to. In any case, I plan to make all. Best thing, all of this fabric was in my stash. (well, one pc was added to stash last week while I was in Boston...)
we've talked about that right? That my fabric stash makes my yarn stash look like childs play. And my yarn stash is nothing to sneeze at.
Spring SWAP
So I will try very hard not to bore you with too many details of the sewing, but it will be front and center for awhile.

Meanwhile, it is Thanksgiving week here, and we will be travelling to Michigan tomorrow. Both of my boys, with their respective girlfriends, my dsd, her father and I, and my dad and his wife will be celebrating in Pentwater MI.
so, see you later. Thanks for visiting.

PS, I'm taking Liz with me to Michigan too. Liz is feeling very neglected of late. oh, and Marina, I forgot how to count again. Second sleeve is nearly done on Liz, and I realized my first sleeve was wrong. I'm contemplating ripping back most of my first sleeve. So then I'll have 3rd sleeve syndrome! ;)

ETA: I love those boots I posted last entry, but none of you really thought I was so extravagant that I would spend nearly $900 on a pair of boots did you? I just looked at them and drooled, and lusted, and then went back to work.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

random shopping

Are these not just To-Die-For?
They have a medieval tapestry look to them...surely there is a Starmore design suitable to wear with these ;)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Half a SWAP

Completed before leaving for Boston:
A Jacket, a pair of pants and a skirt. 3 of the 6 items required for the Sewing with A Plan contest at PatternReview...which I decided to join with less than 4 weeks to go because I need to complete some clothes to wear, and it just seemed like a good idea.
Jacket Remember This? This is the finished product. I removed the patch pockets, assembled the lining with the facings that were all cut out, then hung the completed lining unit on the hanging rack where I store half finished projects....and then completely forgot that I had done that. Left it alone for two weeks, then decided to finish it up. I finished up the interfacing of the back piece, made up the sleeves, put in the bound buttonholes (must get a pic, they look really nice) , found the large rectangular stained wood buttons I originally purchased for this jacket in my button stash...then began looking for the lining. After wasting several hours, I gave up, dug through my stash and ended up finding and using a beautiful light jacket weight twill lining I had earmarked for another project. After it was all cut and assembled - I also had to cut up the remaining piece of wool I had leftover from the jacket, enough to make a skirt - for the facings....after all was assembled, I happened to look over at my hanging rack, and saw the previously assembled lining hanging there. ARGH! oh well, Onward. I finished up the jacket Tuesday night, after taking an interlude out to make the pants, leaving barely enough time to cut and make a skirt.

Particulars: Fabric, wool flannel
Pattern: Vintage Vogue (was current when this was cut out) in the "wedge" shape popularized by Linda Evans in the 80s'
Lining: Acetate twill
Interfacing: lightweight hair canvas
Extras: I used old fashioned tailoring techniques to pad stitch the collar at the roll line, undercollar is cut on bias with CB seam, applied a sleeve header of Armo Rite, made bound buttonholes, interfaced hem with wiggan, topstitched with Mettler Topstitching thread.
The style is a tad dated, but I'm tall and can carry that big-shouldered Dynasty look well, and I'm really pleased with this one.

Next up, the Pencil skirt.
Pattern: Vogue 2770. I altered this design significantly by cutting the CF on the fold and moving the walking slit to the back. This is truly a pencil skirt. The Hem is a full 4" narrower than the hip. Contour waistband, center back invisible zipper.
Fabric: Double woven wool crepe pique. Wonderful stuff that has been in my stash only about a year or so. Originally came from Eunice Farmer Fabrics in St Louis. There is quite a bit of stretch inherent in the weave here, so I Lined it with a poly tricot knit.
In order to control the stretch at the waist I interfaced the waistband with silk organza. Worked nicely.
I will make this again.

Center back slit, narrow hem.
Last Up: Pant
Pattern Vogue 2759
Contour waistband, unlined straight leg pant with side invisible zipper.
These are actually flattering, however next time I make them I will drop the waistband so that it sits below the waist about 1 1/2"
Fabric: Wool/Rayon blend gabardine with a crimped yarn which also has a degree of inherent stretch without the addition of lycra.

Lots to say about Boston. I had a gloriously fun time...however, I came back with either a very bad cold or the flu, so you'll have to wait for next post for details.
I did go fabric shopping
I did get some plane knitting done on the way there (including the 4 hour delay in Detroit). No knitting on the way back, I was feeling lousy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

listmania, progress, and benevolent bloggers

First up: Benevolent bloggers
This past week I came home to my mailbox, to a delightful surprise package from Kim in Athens GA. We were in Athens just a couple of weeks ago yet it was such a fly by trip that I didn't get to meet Kim. Anyway, I came home and opened up this package, and found the book
Classic Knitted Vests. I decided to photograph it on my knitting tray on my table, in front of the chart that I'm working right now on the vest-turned-into-lace cardi for H. Kim knew that I would have benefitted from having at my fingertips some vest patterns when asked. Also included was a listmaking pad - love those long format pads. As will be discussed later in this installment, I've become, in the last month, a real advocate of lists.
Thank you truly Kim, for a wonderful surprise.

Also, this last month I joined two of the KAL's going on. I'm keeping with my pledge not to join KAL's for projects that weren't on my radar already, but this fits with what I knit, and I love cables. In fact, I have [cough cough] several cable projects on needles right now, slated to be finished by end of year. One of the hostesses is Jennifer (whose link really should be on my sidebar, I didn't realize until just now that it isn't). Jennifer hosted the Vacay swap last Spring, and regularly visits here. Hi Jennifer!. Anyway, She and Christie, the other hostess, are running contests - and I WON! the first. I received an email from Janet Szabo herself saying that she was sending me a copy of her book. This is abook I've been contemplating and wanting. I've heard nothing but great things about it. Janet is the guru who hosted the FLAK last year, and moderates the Aran knitlist on yahoo that I read everyday. I am thrilled. Thank you all.

On to Progress Reports
Just to prove to everyone that all this talk about knitting lace is not just talk...I bring you pictures.
Unblocked, but it is coming along nicely. I met with H last Friday and we did a pin-fitting and it is perfect. I'm really pleased with the way this is turning out. Only caveat: I would not have chosen fuzzy mohair as the best yarn to show off this lace pattern. The color is a deep brick red. I've got the remainder of the second sleeve and the ruffle yet to go. H left for England and Paris, and I'd like to have this done by the time she returns at the end of the month. Very do-able

From the Sewing Room
I'm working on wardrobe enhancement. Two reasons:

1. I have nothing, nada, in fall clothes, that fit me. I've been a slug and gained a significant amount of weight since last winter, and it shows. So I'm judiciously choosing fabrics that I don't mind cutting up and making into clothing that will fit me now that I will either have to take in or store in several months when this weight is gone (And it WILL be gone).

1a. we are going to Boston tomorrow and wearing jeans isn't going to cut it. I need something to take with me.

2. I have committed to finishing up some of my vintage projects and using up at least a fraction of my extensive fabric stash before boarding a boat and all of the stash must magically disappear.

In light of the fact that I'm supposed to be making clothing for me, you might be wondering what this is a picture of.

It is the dustruffle that I completed Saturday, after we got home from going out for coffee in the AM. On leaving Kaldi's we stopped at a mattress store and bought a new mattress. Oh my aching back. Our old mattress was very bad on my back, and it was literally hurting everyday just to get up in the morning and move. dh got heartily sick of hearing me mattress. It is heaven to wake up and be able to move.
So, wardrobe sewing interruptus. I told dh when we bought the mattress that I would go home and stitch up the silk plaid dust ruffle that I cut out months ago, and that is exactly what I did. Before going to the Symphony Saturday night.
Today I have the day off of altering bridemaids clothing, so as soon as I am finished writing here, I am back downstairs finishing up the jacket, pants, skirt and dress combo that I am taking to Boston tomorrow AM. Look for pics later for evidence of completion.

almost forgot I planned to write about lists....and I'm out of time, so lists will have to wait.
I need to start treating my own work as if it were client work - I would get lots more done. So, as if I were my own client, I'm on the clock, and the sewing room beckons.
later friends, thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

She's alive and kicking

Fear Not, the Fiberartist who's landlocked is well and busy...Thank you all for your emails and concern.
It is November 1st, the Vittadini Lace cardi has a back and two fronts, as well as one partial sleeve, however when the project changed so much in scope "H" let me off the hook for the Nov 1 deadline. If this were to be a simple vest, it would be done! (is not the vest portion finished?) Anyway, I had to lay off knitting for almost a full week due to a rather overambitious stint of knitting in the car on the way to and returning from Georgia a week and a half ago - I even went and got a massage on forearms last Sunday - was able to knit again Monday. oh, several of you have asked - the Vittadini cardi is being knit holding two strands of a lightweight 100% mohair together - def not for the feint of heart - this one is a bear.
I've also been sewing 8 hours a day for Isabelle, leaving little time left for my own work (ah, but there has been a little work done).

Question of the Day for those who pop on by: Have you ever seen a really pretty mother-of-the-bride / mother-of-the-groom dress? (note: this question is not prompted by any impending weddings, but by the fact that the sewing I'm doing lately are alterations [the bane of the sewists world] on bridesmaids and mother-0f dresses.) If so, what do they look like?
this is a pic of the one that I worked on yesterday
- these dresses never fit, and they are not meant to be taken apart - and the bodice on this one is heavily beaded, with boning - but it is pretty - the color of the one I'm working on is champagne.

Thanks for hanging in - I'll be back soon, I promise

Look for an update with pictures by Friday AM.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Best Laid plans and all...

subtitled: A note on client work and deadlines

When one plans time to work on a project, undoubtedly plans will go awry. Fortunately, within the circle of friends here there is a lot of understanding.
The project I've taken on to knit is for friend H. Friend I. is another friend within the circle of dressmaker friends, and one for whom I occasionally do some work when she gets overwhelmed with deadline work. Such is the case now. I. called Saturday and I agreed to work for her for the next two weeks at least, helping her meet some deadlines.
So, 8 hours sewing today with I., then home to knit 4 hours on cardi for H. There is still a ghost chance that the cardi may make the Nov 1 deadline, but the ghosts will have to be benevolent ones. Needless to say, my own work has been shoved to the bottom of the heep.
On the cardi:
I Knit the first 30 rows of the Vittadini cardi with no problem. This was accomplished in the car travelling to Rockford IL on Saturday AM
Sunday I Knit the next 12 rows, frogged, 18 rows, frogged again...then put it away for the duration of the road trip.
This pattern is a bear to work as written. When I arrived home last night I downloaded the demo version of Stitch Painter, and charted this pattern. Because it was only the demo version I could only do portions of the chart at a time. I now have a chart for the back including keeping in pattern while increasing, then 2 others for keeping in pattern while knitting the armscye shaping - one for the left side, another for the right side. I will go back in and chart the fronts before leaving for Georgia next weekend.
This took quite a bit of time, but it worked. Tonight while dinner was cooking I knit 2 rows, then after dinner I sat down, and was able to make progress again, correctly keeping in pattern.
I see no way to knit this without charting it through the shaping.
Anyone who wants to knit this, (Donni?, Brigitte, up for try #2?), let me know and I'll copy my charts to you. Brigitte, I know why you gave up the first time.
Who was it that suggested Rorschack inkblot tests?

Friday, October 13, 2006


This blog owner is certifiable.

What started out as this: a traditional button front vest

Somehow, somewhere along the line, ended up

client: Well, I started thinking about something lacier, with maybe a ruffle up the front.
Me: Oh, I know just the thing, the pattern has sleeves but I can take the sleeves off, lower the armscye so that sleeves can be worn under it...yadayada
Client: "oh, that is exactly it...except I think I like it with the sleeves""Can we do it with the sleeves?"

ETA: Client is a friend of mine, a professional dressmaker so she does know what goes into things - she has an event which she would like to wear this to the first weekend in November, so I have just about 3 weeks - however since the project has changed so drastically, if it isn't ready in 3 weeks she will figure out an alternative to wear. Meanwhile I have 2 driving trips - one to Chicago, 12 hours in car, one to Athens GA (hi Kim) 20+ hours in car - both with dh driving most of it, so there is a lot of dedicated knitting time. On the other hand, I've done the swatch, and this is a 12 row repeat that one cannot take ones attention from for a moment.
Must learn how to Count - ya Marina, I need to learn how to count!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

a new project anyway

I'm looking at ladies vests patterns...
I am meeting with someone tomorrow about taking a commission to knit a button front vest - do you have any idea how difficult it is to find such a pattern? I could write one, may end up doing so...
I found this
I find the directions somewhat hysterical

Materials: 8 oz. of Jaeger "Spiral-Spun" (7d. per oz.), 1 pair each of No. 5 and No. 9 Jaeger knitting needles, and 4 buttons the size of a shilling.

Casting-on: If you cast on with two needles work into the back of all cast on sts. to produce firm edges, but if you use the thumb method this is not necessary.

Anyone have any idea how big a shilling is, or what the method of cast on is if you use the thumb?

If I take this commission I have one week to get it knit, so it will be a nice little diversion.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

on the literary front

3 posts in 3 days - you'd think I'd suffered withdrawal or something ;)

Anyway, since the summer reading challenge ended I've read more books than I read all summer long.
Latest update:
just this morning I finished reading Zadie Smith On Beauty
my initial reaction is, there is just too much going on here. I honestly think its worth reading, but would have benefitted from some Paring Down. How do you wrap your arms around the middle aged male mid-life crisis, race relations, left vs right wing politics at an old, venerable New England University, teenage promiscuity, feminism, adolescents coming-of-age, and art appreciation all in 443 pages?
Last week I read Susan Carroll The Courtesan
Absolute formulaic bodice ripper stuff, about 2 tiers above Harlequin...but diverting. Pure fluff, with a tad of historical fact thrown in for fun.
Just before I left I finished Sarah Waters Fingersmith
Oliver Twist meets The Prince and the Pauper, as lesbians. Actually quite entertaining, and the plot twists in some predictable and some not-so-predictable ways, to keep it interesting.
and just before I left I finished listening to Brad Meltzer Book of Fate
I guess I've been reading so much that is melodramatic, set in historical times, that something melodramatic set in contemporary times was a bit shocking. That, and there is a point when men need to be men. Especially in a novel that is macho and full of political intrigue and spy stuff. The hero in Meltzers tale needs to develop some cajones and for crying out loud quit whining and crying - about everything. I wanted to slap him by the end of the book. Cannot recommend this one.

Have you seen Tricoquine's (Isabelle's) COW post? Oh how I wish my WIP's were more FO's so that I could have a COW.

Now, you are probably wondering about that lovely Chanel style knit jacket at the top of the page. Are you?
It is a Kim Hargreaves design, and is included in the book The Kim Hargreaves Collection which I managed to score a copy of from a LYS in Traverse City while travelling. If I could have a COW, that would surely be among the herd. I seem to have a penchant for Chanel style jackets lately. It knits on a 3mm needle - must swatch the Karabella Breeze and see if that is a viable candidate for this project. Stash yarns - year of the Stash - must try to use more of what I own (memo to self)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

a couple of FO's and a gift

While I was gone I did manage to finish a couple of items, although virtually no knitting was done.
finished Lara and skirt
Finished seaming and weaving in the ends on the Debbie Bliss Lara cardi that I knit using a discontinued Adrienne Vittadini boucle and Jaeger Matchmaker Aran for the cuffs and front band/collar. It still needs blocking, which will straighten out that updraw at the hem of the front band. I think I will probably add just a little shoulder pad in the shoulder too. This is a side to side knit. Comfy as a pair of old jammies, but frankly not as tailored as I think I like my clothes.
(do I look tired in that pic or what? and my legs are swollen bad - you can see where my sock line is from the socks I'd just taken off)

I also finished the Simplicity Jacket that I needed to finish prior to the Chanel style jacket class I'm scheduled to start teaching this Thursday.
Pattern: Simplicity collarless jacket (I'd have to go 2 floors down to look up the number, so later, or email me if you really want the number)
Fabric: Heavy woven boucle wool/cotton/acrylic blend
Lining: Ambiance
Underlining: Fusible Armoweft
Interfacing: Formflex woven - I also insert an Armani chest shield in this jacket, as per a Threads magazine article several years ago, and use the Formflex for that.
Trim: vintage corded and sequined trim

Simplicity Jacket

Fabric and trim detail

Pattern eval: First, for the jacket class I teach, I need a jacket with a princess line that extends vertically from the hem to the shoulder - not as easy to find as one might first think.
I don't like the way Simplicity Jackets fit, but I needed a V-neck alternative to the Vogue pattern I've been teaching, so I tried this. It is too full in the upperchest area for nearly everyone, so something needs to come out of it. This is easily accomplished with the princess seaming. The sleeves also have a real bell shape, which I also cut down a bit.

Note: I've gained weight since I cut this pattern, so it is a bit snug...a lot snug.

Where do I wear these clothes?
I've gotten several comments lately asking me where I have occasion to wear the clothes that I make. Well, I do wear them. True, I no longer work in an office situation and no longer work outside sales where I had occasion to wear a lot of dressy business suits, but, I live in affluent suburbia in middle America. One does not wear Nikes here unless one is at the gym. One wears jeans, however they are generally not your typical Wranglers - rather the stylish ones, worn with heels, sweaters, jackets, and blouses, not sweatshirts. I know several women here my age who don't even own jeans. I can wear skirts to the grocery store and not be out of place. I also "do lunch" at least once a month with a group of women, most who are def into fashion. So we dress. And my husband and I go to theater, have seasons tickets for the symphony, try to attend the Opera in Chicago or Detroit once a year.... and I travel. Plus, I guess I've always had a dressier than not sensibility when it comes to clothes, I enjoy them.
Questions answered?

Next: my B'day swap package with Donni.
gift from Donni
Donni and I both celebrated decade b'days this year - milestones of a sort, ( I officially entered middle age), so we decided to have a b'day swap.
When I arrived home from my last little jaunt my package from Donni was waiting here. And what a great package it is. The colors don't show very well in this pic, but the felted purse she made is an incredible mix of blues/purple and greens - very reminiscent of water. With a button on it that she also said she made. It looks a lot like petrified wood - Donni, what is it? The shape, the workmanship, the handle and the way it is attached, is all great. My hubby declared that it looks so professional he thought I might have gotten it from the latest Nordstroms catalogue that came (which he threw away before I saw it thank-you very much).
Donni also included a tea cozy she make in brights with black, a lovely skein of zephyr in deep violet, a bookmark and refrig magnet, some flowers, a spice packet, and the most fun little booklet of vintage mens sweaters. I found a Mr Rogers sweater in there even.
Donni, thanks, I love it.
ETA: I just got an email from Tauton Press - back issues of Threads Magazine are for sale right now here. The issue with the directions on the Armani Chest Shield, which is suberb, is #105.