Friday, June 30, 2006

Cables, oh how I love thee

Vogue and the fashion world have gone Cable
See the whole story here

Trovato I had one like this in the 80's, and I still have numerous 80's pattern leaflets with exactly this sweater.

Alexander McQueen click on the link to see just how huge these cables really are. I'm thinking maybe a 20 stitch CF


Sophia Kokosalaki I love love love this

Michael Kors

Charlotte Ronson
Annie Modesitt corset would do quite nicely for this don't you think? Actually, when do corsets go back to being Underwear instead of Outerwear?
Veronique Branquaiho

Incredibly reminiscent of the Michael Kors pattern printed in one of last years Vogue Knitting, except really Luella, can we lose the little puffy sleeves?

over a Burberry silk tafetta mini? I don't think so. But I definitely want the hat for city wear. What are they thinking over at Balenciaga?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Making a dent

(for sale at our Etsy shop now)

oh geeze, you'll never guess what I've been at all day today and part of yesterday!

My friend Sharron and I got into her stash (fabric) at her house, and finally started culling some of it - I came home with no less than 50 pieces of her fabric...and I've been measuring, catalogueing, picturing, and entering on a new Etsy shop today
for sale
vintage pieces of fabric and some vintage patterns of mine
( I know that Etsy is primarily for handmade items, but I contacted the owner of Etsy and he said "go for it" on listing our vintage fabrics and patterns)

it is time consuming, but already, while I've been entering items, two pieces of fabric have sold, and we are both looking at it as recouping some of the incredible investment we have in fabric, so that we will probably Re-invest it in diff stuff.
I figure I'm going to be at it for at least a month.

go take a look

the 3 friends referred to in the store name are myself,(of course), Sharron, and Helen. Between us, we could stock a fabric store.

In addition, in the last few days, I came across this

That looks like too much fun.
so of course....I signed on.
Sigh, I'm such a joiner these days.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Vacay Swap package here

The Vacation Swap Package from Michaele has arrived! What a perfect gift for someone going out on the high seas. Salt water plays absolute havoc with the skin, so Michaele sent me some lovely skin care products for pampering, along with two beautifully knit washcloths and a Mit. In addition she sent some fun cards, (I just love sending cards...more to the point, I love perusing cards...just need to get more of them in the mail more often ;)
and of course, some dark chocolate that I can't wait to open.
In addition to all this, she sent several weeks ago two of the Tudor novels I had on my list of "want to read" half-way through the Diary of Anne Boleyn right now - def a vacay read and not serious history...and the knitty professor must have looked at those books and thought "hmmmm?".
All in all, a very thoughtful and wonderful package.

the colors in the handknits are just perfect. I've really been on an orange and pink kick lately, and evidently it showed. Also, I have NO idea if she planned it this way, but the diamond relief pattern is the same pattern that is that outlines the hem of the Eliz I pullover that I've cast on for for the Tudor Roses KAL. merely coincidence? I don't think so. Thank you so much Michaele.

So we went away for the weekend. Long weekend actually. and long car ride. I got 13 hours of car knitting in. Almost but not quite have finished the second Lady E. on the last tier before finishing with the last row of triangles. This is the best way I can think of to get myself to finish a project that has just overstayed it's welcome. Take it in the car with NO other projects to be able to find relief in. This I believe is called Focused Knitting, Dedicated Knitting, whatever. Rule of 10 out the window - just finish the sucker.

and look at what I scored in a bead store we walked into. Some fabulous projects in here, as well as some great tutorial on how to place the beads so they actually show up on the RIGHT side of the knitting. There is a project with beads in my future.
oh, so many projects, so little time.

On the summer Reading challenge front:

In June I've read (or listened to):
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
Could not make myself find any sympathy or love for any of the characters. Not a book I would have stuck with had I not been reading it along with the Knit The Classics.
Legacy by Susan Kay
Editorial Reviews
From Publishers WeeklyKay's prodigious research buttresses this robust historical romance, winner of Britain's Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize and the Betty Trask Prize for a first novel. England's greatest Queen is presented from an intriguing psychological viewpointElizabeth I's need for men and the bondage endured by those she chose. Freely mixing the verifiable with the imagined, Kay traces Elizabeth's rise from lonely childhood to lonely eminence. In the person of Robert Dudley, later Leicester, she creates a romantic fulcrum for Elizabeth's womanliness, delineating the childhood affection for Dudley that flowered in clandestine liaison and may be the closest Elizabeth came to a loving relationship. All of the Court's intriguing personnelfrom the ubiquitous, conniving Cecils to the presumptive upstart, Essexare drawn with care; the turbulence of the period, filled with violent deaths, challenges from abroad, pragmatic liaisons, is conveyed with verisimilitude; the rich tapesty of the Tudor ascendancy is woven with colorful threads. It is, however, the depiction of a woman of whom "half the wives of England were jealous" that lingers. Literary Guild main selection. Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Through shrewdness, intelligence, cunning, and not a little luck, Elizabeth I ruled England for more than 40 turbulent years. Author Kay has chosen this extraordinary life as the focus of her first novel. Although she has obviously done sufficient research to portray the basics of Elizabeth's story with accuracy, Kay's interpretation of events reads like a soap opera. Love, lust, and sexual passion dominate, sometimes at the expense of historical truth. Readers who value a serious view of history will pass this by, but romance fiction fans will enjoy it. Expect demand, since this is a selection of two book clubs. Literary Guild main selection; Doubleday Book Club alternate. Patricia Altner, Dept. of Defense Lib., Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

I don't know that I can expand on that review much.
Very well researched, v easy read and more entertaining than any straight historical account could be. Kay is very sympathetic to Eliz and Leicester's relationship - kinder than many historical texts. I read it first in 1986, just re-read it and enjoyed it. I would recommend it for anyone who wants light reading for the era, but something a little more accurate than say, a Jean Plaidy novel. And IMHO def less conjecture and more history than Robin Maxwell stuff. I'm sending this one off to Sherry tomorrow, along with the package that I've had taped up for Carrie for weeks. Post office here i come.

Reading Now:
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Robin Maxwell - review later, historical Lite, but I did ask for it.

(Listening to) Jane Erye, Charlotte Bronte as read by Amanda Root. This one I'm really liking.

and while reading Lorinda's blog today I was looking around me at the colors on book jackets - silly way to classify a book don't you think? Anyway, Lorinda is my Purple.Colorswap partner for July - and I need to get her pkg in mail tomorrow also...and I was looking at colors of books to comment on her blog, and saw the Purple book jacket of Robertson Davies The Lyre of Orpheus (ok, my copy is purple, although I see that at Amazon it is pea green)
anyway, I picked it up, and started reading it, and ended up reading it all through lunch. I never got past chapter one the first time I tried to read it, but this time I'm enjoying it much more. I haven't read the first books from the Deptford Trilogy, adn I think that last time I started to read this I just felt that I Should read the others first, so I put it down. But since I Have this book, and not the others, I will just continue reading it.

On my last post, it was sewing I was referring to regarding making your passion your work. So far I've been smart enough not to knit for anyone for pay. But I do teach sewing in my retirement, as well as do some work for some clients, and help out some friends of mine who are prof dressmakers when they get into work overload.
And thank you to Kim, who is bailing me out sending me another sk of the self patterning Sockotta yarn for the baby cardi.

Monday, June 26, 2006

recognizing pattern repeats

I'm feeling a bit like an idiot.
I knit the back of the baby cardi, then the right front. In order to match the left front to the right front all one has to do is find the correct place in the self patterning yarn and start there, right? Easy, right?
hmmm, well, it seems not.
take a l0ok at the pattern repeat here on the front. It doesn't start again at every blue checked section - the pattern repeat here is a full 4", up to the second blue check section.

so I have a drop match it seems.
Because I'm anal enough to want it right, immediately after I snapped the pics, I unravelled the left front to the correct blue check section.
Cardi front, Take 2
Now at this point, I'm recognizing that I am def going to need another skein of this yarn. One sk is enough to do the cardi and hat in the newborn size. Well, I don't know of anyone who has babies that are actually newborn size anymore. BGS and Sophie were both born over 9 lbs. So I thought I would skip the hat and knit a 9 mo size, which in my experience means it'll actually fit a baby around the age of 4.5 mos. That size called for 2 sk for hat and cardi - it is now clear tho that I'll need some of that second sk just to finish the cardi. Must call Black Purl this week and hope she has more in stock.

In other news, I've not been here. (did you notice?) and up until I left I was swamped with sewing work.
There is truth to the adage that you shouldn't make your passion your work. Then your passion ceases to be pleasurable, and becomes...well, Work.
Today I've got hours upon hours of client work to finish up, then tomorrow I'm planning to help a friend finish up some bridemaids dresses for a wedding in her family - then I don't plan on looking at a sewing machine, hopefully for at least a month. Ya, right! I've got curtains to finish for Mark's apartment, stuff for our home, and too many clothing projects to finish. oh well.

Hi to all whom I've not visited or commented to or emailed in the last couple of weeks.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Yarn review, Royal Bamboo by Plymouth

Yarn: Royal Bamboo by Plymouth.
specs: 100% Bamboo
50 g = 93 yds
5 st = 1"
calls for a US 8 needle....
I swatched this yarn in the store on an 8, dropped down to a 7, dropped to a 6...
and am finally knitting the Calla pattern on 5's and it is loooking good.
On an 8, I looked like I didn't know how to knit, the stitches were so uneven and loose and all over the place. I don't think it was me, it was an incorrect call on the ball band on the part of the manuf. ( I say this because typically I get gauge with the called for needle.)

I love the sheen of this yarn. I bought it in a bright coral color, and in this very pale yellow. (got the yellow on sale, not so lucky with the coral). Whereas most bamboos, like Classic Elite BamBoo or SWT Bamboo are delustered, this yarn looks like a highly mercerized cotton. Lovely lustre, high sheen.
Stitch definition is great.
Drape is fluid, fabric is dense as only bamboo seems to be able to be.
The spin and ply on this yarn reminds me of the European , multi-ply cottons, as in Zodiac by Karabella or Samoa by Zitron.

knitting with it:
it will have a tendency to split - no straying attention to the latest new gekko commercial while knitting with this stuff.
And it is as unforgiving as any yarn I've ever knit with.
Witness the unravelled mess below. I made a mistake on one of the yarn-over ribs, tried to drop a stitch back to that point and fix it - made a bigger mess than before, ended up with the mess you see on the floor.
Still, it is a lovely yarn and I'm happy to own it and knit with it.
But beware, it is not for those who count on the pattern to hide a mistake or two. those mistakes will glare at you like a zit on prom night.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Non-knitting content, and no pics

Today is the day they will let my sis and her husband know if Joey (5 yrs old) needs chemotherapy. Wednesday Joey had surgery to remove a Wilms tumor from his kidney. Best possible result came from that. They found it extremely early, tumor was "smallest doc had ever seen" still it was 2.5 cm long (thats about an inch), it separated itself so they didn't need to take the kidney too - it wasn't bilateral...all in all, great news. Joey is doing great acc'd to my sister. I think Joey needs a blanket of many colors if they are going to do chemo - but my guess is they aren't, based on what they said post-surgery. Prayers please, if you are inclined to talk to God about such things.
Does anyone know of a great picture storybook with the story of Joseph and his Coat of Many colors?

In more non-knitting content: I am getting FAT. Not cutesy Phat, not pleasantly plump,...old fashioned ugly FAT. I've been spending way too much time sitting on my butt knitting, sitting on my butt sewing, sitting ... reading... you get the picture. Some real problems with ear infection and sinus non-drainage and my inner ears got really wonky a couple of months ago, at which time doc said No bike riding (I was having trouble walking with balance issues, so I got it), No swimming, etc. So I used that lovely excuse to not train for the triathalon which I now cannot do this weekend, and that excuse to sit.
Now I'm paying for it.
So today, dear friends, I got out of the house at 6:30 AM and got my 4 miles in. No running, just walking today. Tomorrow I will start again the couch potato to 5 k program, again.....
but I also stopped at the elementary school lot where they have 50 meter lanes marked off, and did only 25 meters of walking lunges. Argh to think that I could do 100 meters last summer.
Think I'll go get one of those ticker things to count down to my b'day (it;s a big one this year), and see if I can't be up to running again and 100 meters of lunges by then. 4 weeks, think I can do it?

oh, and I must thank Michaele for the first installment of my Knitting Vacay Swap package. She sent 2 Tudor novels by Robin Maxwell The QUEEN'S BASTARD: A Novel, and The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn. I haven't read any of Maxwell, and although I haven't finished Legacy yet I scanned The Diary. think I'll probably pick that up next and read while actually knitting something on Liz. Thank you Michaele. I'm getting curiouser and curiouser about what's coming.

On the reading front, I've finished Wuthering Heights. I have in mind a project but it has nothing to do with knitting, or yarn even. I'm kind of waiting for a reponse over on KTC for what project criteria count as book projects. This is something I've wanted to make for a very long time, but isn't something I would make in June unless given the motivation for something like a KTC project. Teabird has what I consider an excellent blip on WH on her blog from Tuesdays entry. I agree with her, I just couldn't make myself like the characters, no matter how sympathetic I tried to find them. and I did try.
Currently, I'm still reading Legacy, and listening to Jane Eyre.

and, per Carrie K, this is the Weirdest blog quiz I've ever taken.
I think no matter how you answer it you are a Cultural Creative....whatever that is. the test is def written to obtain a specific result - not very scientific of them is it?

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wed update

there has been movement on the sidebar.
Colchique has moved from the 'on the needles' to the 'ready for seaming' category.
Lady E in Shinano has another skein knit up towards completion. Only 2.5 skeins to knit, then fringe to tie on and bead
Baby Cardi in Sockotta - back is finished
Drops Cardi in alpaca silk is 8 loooong rows from the underarm split.

Although I did cast on for the Eliz I in that luscious deep red Dale Tiur, I just can't let myself work on it til some of these vintagey projects were knit off needles. I feel incredibly happy to have knit the Colchique, in Inca Alpaca, off the needles. I love that knit, but stalled when I made a fatal error in the front and had to rip back the whole godron section (1/2 the front)
I think I'll have a finishing Frenzy in August or September and assemble the wool sweaters before fall. Meanwhile, they're all happy in their zippered bag.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rule of Ten

When I was in Jr High School everyone was all atwitter, because the Powers that Be had decided that we, as a nation, were going to convert from our totally illogical system of measures to the Metric System, where everything is based on units of 10. To my adolescent brain it just didn't seem that everyone should be all that upset. Units of 10 make sense, and it seemed to me that it would have been much harder to convert From a metric system to ours - which makes No sense whatsoever. Funny, but to my middle aged brain metric still makes infinitely more sense, and I just don't think that it would be that challenging a conversion for our people to make. I remember hearing, and still hear today when teaching sewing to some adults "but I don't Think in centimeters (Meters), I Think in inches (feet, yards)" Well dodo brain, Learn to think, look at the two units of measure side by side and learn to do the mental conversion until you learn to think in the unit itself (much like learning a language, first you think in your native language then convert, until you learn to think in the new language). I prefer using metric measurements for sewing - even adults have problems with fractions - and the metric are more precise.
Anyway, somewhere along the line everything about the US converting to Metric System got quiet and it never happened.
What this has to do with my new Rule of Ten I'm not sure, but I was thinking about it.

My new Rule of Ten
first, a little preamble. I've tried knitting on one thing at a time - it works to get something done fast but doesn't work in the long run for me. Accept it. I've tried reducing my WIP's to 3 or 4...that just resulted in me sidelining some things and categorizing them differently, as in "I'm not working on them NOW, so they don't Count, as a WIP" Ya, right! mental gymnastics.
And I keep casting on new ones rather than going and picking up the ones that don't hold my interest at the moment.
I know, knitting is about the process...and lord knows, I am a process knitter from the get-go, having more often than not set aside projects once they are knit and never seaming and blocking them. But I have gotten better about the finishing, and I've gotten lots better about the fitting and the choosing of projects that I will actually want to use/wear once they are done. So, there is now an element of getting a Finished Object to my knitting.

So, what you will ask, is my Rule of Ten? In order to get to the FO with all the endless projects I have on needles, I have set myself a 10 row rule with each of the active projects on the needles. It's working too. It's enough to see actual progress on each project every week. It's keeping me on track with some of the projects that are in imminent danger of being set aside and forgotten in favor of the new kid on the block, and it's keeping me from picking up a new project and giving it all my attention.
So last night when I got home from working my thought process (and my evening) went something like this:
"ok, I'll sit while there is still daylight and get 10 LONG rows done on the black alpaca/silk Drops cardi, then I can finish up the 10 row segment I started this AM on the new Calla project I cast on Thurs, then I'll knit at least 10 rows on the baby cardi, (mindless stockinette), while watching a movie on TV.

Project: Calla, yarn Plymouth Royal Bamboo, needles size 5
Drops Cardi progress pic
Sockotta Baby Cardi Back. the pattern states that the self patterning yarn will be not quite right on the back due to the width, but that the fronts and the sleeves will look just like they're supposed to. Knowing what I know now, I would put a center back seam in this and have the sock yarn pattern correctly, but I'm not going to worry about it on this one.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Finished Objects

finished 6.6.06
yarn Sevilla nylon ribbon by Katia
needles: sz 3 addi turbos
cast on around April 15?, finished seaming June 6

I will say I like the top Except, I'm just not sure about how it emphasizes the boobage. I typically wear tops that de-emphasize, and this is just, well, right out there so to speak. It's nylon, so the hope of blocking it to change that emphasis (don't know what I would do anyway) is practically nil. So, it is what it is.
Cotton Pique with applied grograin ribbon.
Curiously enough, I have 2 skirts and a pair of capris on the sewing table right now that complement this knit perfectly. guess that means that I'll live with the Dolly Parton look.

Sophies blanket
Yarn 1 sk Laurel, colorway Judy Garland
1 sk ea Classic Elite Provence in orange and yellow
all 100% cotton
stitch: feather and fan
needles size 9 Brittany Walnut straights
completed 6.7.06

Monday, June 05, 2006

in 3 parts, with interruptions

A Modern Day still-life

Swap til you drop:

I've been involved in several swaps all Spring. The most recent two have just come to a conclusion. One was the Vacation Swap, in which one was to create a package for the giftee to take on summer vacation, and must have one handknit item in it. My giftee was Katrina, and her package is winging it's way to Oregon right now, and if you looked at the link on the last post you know what I knit. She is going to Chicago to visit her sister this summer, and everything else in the package was related to that item I linked to - not hard to guess what they were. My gifter was Michaele in Utah and she let me know my package is coming in two parts, to arrive shortly. She's been on vacay in Italy, lucky girl - gorgeous pics on her blog.

The other swap has been the Project Spectrum Colorswap. I was excited beyond words to get as partner Kim, whom I alaready know and have plans to meet in person at Stitches Midwest this summer. This is one where the pals exchange gifts. Kims and my tastes are remarkably similar. I could have written her preferences survey, and I suspect it went the other way too. So, I had so much fun putting her package together. In fact so much fun, that it kind of went like, Oh, I think Kim would like that and it is green ... hmmm, I like it too.... ok, I'll take 2. LOL, Kim has a package on the way (we both agreed to be late with May due to family schedules), in which several of the items are duplicated here. Meanwhile, the package she sent me arrived Saturday. I love everything that was in it. (well, blogger won't add any more pics - driving me nuts, so see it all at flickr here). Kim is a test knitter for Black Purl designs, and that baby sweater is modeled by none other than her youngest child. Isn't he the most beautiful baby? I ended up casting on for it right away, in part because I wanted to see the yarn develop the pattern, in part because I have a baby awaiting a gift and nothing has moved me yet for this particular baby, but this yarn/pattern did. Immediately I saw this little cardi with a little yellow or green (we'll see how the yarn patterns out) dress under it. I've got some really pretty little baby dress patterns - will work beautifully. (blogger started uploading pics again, then stopped. See the link for the rest of the package.)

Why I am going to be expelled from Stashalong

Stash enhancement, pure and simple. Some necessary trips to LYS to pick up things like needles or attend knitting group, combined with irresistable sales, combined with not having exactly the right yarn for the next project, nevermind that my bins are full of yarns which surely could be used for some sort of project. In addition to this enhancement, product of the shopping trip to buy yarn for Eliz I since I decided not to use the Cashsoft 4 ply, I've also added ....

This Adrienne Vittadini Athena, I've loved this yarn a long time, so when Nancy put it on sale at 40% off, I bought it with no specific project in mind, knowing that it is a summer linen blend and I can take it with and knit on the boat, where it while sailing.

five hanks of the new Louet Linen Originals in pink for the eyelet top in the summer IK - I bought an extra sk to make it long enough to wear without showing off the navel.

There is also a skein of silk that I picked up to play with, and some assorted little stuff. The silk has a high lustre, unlike the Chelsea silk or the E Lavold silky wool, and the colors are totally saturated. I started swatching it to see how it knits up. Expensive, but so beautiful. It's a dk weight.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

a bit of this and that

Progress on the baby blanket.

a couple of weeks ago I finally started knitting up the yarn (Laurel in Judy Garland colorway) from Aviva that she sent me in the Mystery Swap, along with the two skeins of Provence by classic Elite. I started on a modular knitting pattern by Iris Schrier, intending to knit strips and then sew them together. It was a disaster. I'm sure the needles were too small for the project, but it was hard, tight, boardy, not at all soft. But more than that, I didn't like the jogs between squares, and it is all short row knitting, which means you can't set it down until an entire square is finished, and the squares were still taking 45 mins per. All in all, a very unsatisfactory knit. So, I frogged it, and this last week cast on in the old faithful feather and fan pattern.
Needles size 9 (using my old Brittany Black Walnut straight needles.)
Stripe pattern - there is a method to my madness but due to the variation of the stripes and the variegated yarn it's really hard to discern a pattern.
It is soft, softer than I thought cotton could be, and bright and lovely.

Beware the pets you allow your children!

Meet Bob. Click on Bob's pic to be taken to the flickr page with several other Bob views.

Due to severe animal allergies in my family we couldn't have any pets that had dander or hair. So, when my son Mark was in 6th grade, he got an iguana. Innocuous little thing - strictly vegetarian so no crickets or mice to worry about. (Daniel got a corn snake, which obliged us by dying relatively early in its life. Not so, Bob.) Bob started out life named Spartan, but somewhere along the way both kids started calling him Bob, and he was Spartan no more. Doesn't really matter as an iguana has no recognition of its name anyway. See Mark now, 11 years later, the day after his college graduation holding Bob in my front yard. Mark has moved into an apartment in his new town in northern IL where he starts his new job next week. He told the landlord on the apt application that he had a "small lizard". Ya, well, I suppose in relation to an alligator or a crocidile, Bob is "small".

The thing parents don't realize when they buy little lizards is that lizards live 20+ years if properly taken care of, that as they get older, especially if they are male, they get aggressive and ornery, and they are not nearly as easily left with pet sitters as say, a dog or cat. Mark is the only Human that can handle Bob safely. Frankly, I think Mark is the only human that wants to handle Bob.

More to come: including, why I should be kicked out of the Stashalong and incredible gift package from Kim (knittinBrit) who was my May Colorswap partner.

there is a pic of another FO here, and if you are Not Katrina you may go look at it, but since I know that she hasn't received it, Katrina, you may not go look.