Monday, July 31, 2006

July wrap-up

on the reading front:
Twilight by Katherine Mosby. I really enjoyed this one.
Currently reading:
Lyre of Orpheus by Robertson Davies. Loving it. Davies writes with a sense of humor/irony
Listened to:
An Ocean Between Us, Susan Wiggs. Don't bother!
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Excellent book, engrossing, well narrated
A Room with a View, EM Forester. Another wonderful book to listen to while weaving
currently listening to:
BelCanto Author: Ann Patchett Date:22-MAY-2001 Narrator:Anna Fields Provider:Harper Audio

Finished Objects, Knit:
Joeys chemo blanket
Squares for Warming Grace
Moms b'day Lady E, finally fringed and beaded

taught Katie (stepdaughter #1) to knit. She sat down the day I taught her, and knit this hat. Start to finish at one sitting, Yarn: artyarns, needle size 7

Finished Objects Sewn:
valances and cafe curtains for son #1 apt, 12 windows
5 Bridesmaids dresses, completed
Mom's b'day skirt

currently on the machine: Sew Retro July project dress and pink cotton lawn dress

knitting needle cases for gifts

this is the prototype for the cases going into the Etsy shop. I have worked out several interiors - this is obviously the straight case. For Melanie for swap - the needles are mine. I must really make myself one of these too.

taught Katie (stepdaughter #1) to use sewing machine and directed her making 2 patchwork blankets for gifts for sorority roommate and "little sister"

Finished Object Weaving
see last post.

all in all July was a somewhat productive month.

Still have lots on needles, August should see the completion of many projects and finally some progress on Eliz I

and my dh is v worried, because I keep coming home with more of these type of books, but I'm so in love with this I think I have to order it.

stash acquisition in July was also a little out of hand, but Threadquarters closed doors forever July 30, and I took advantage of the 50% off sales she had.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

a Naked Loom

This, my friends, is what a Naked Loom looks like

And this is what 10 yds of freshly finished (the equivalent of blocking in weaving is called finishing, same process, soak, then squeeze excess water out, then lay flat to dry)

This is only my 5th major piece off a loom since I started weaving a couple of years ago. So it is all still a learning process.

Weaving notes [or things I learned not to do from this piece]: (skip this part if you care to).

  1. Yarns used: Jaggerspun Maine Line 2/8 in gold and in brown - a fingering weight 2 ply wool
  2. an extra bulky weight Dorothee Biss single ply handdyed wool
  3. a solid strand of a Mokuba 3mm ribbon with a metallic and
  4. a sheer 5mm Mokuba ribbon
  5. a variegated boucle wool picked up from Carol Leigh at Hillcreek Fibre Arts in Columbia MO. Worsted weight.

the effect is wonderful, but I have to say that my next piece is going to be all wool, all the same weight. NO mohair (learned That lesson last project), no ribbon, no mixing bulky soft spun with tightly twisted 2 ply fingering. Wool stretches and has memory, wool blooms in the finishing process. Ribbon doesn't stretch (plays havoc with the warp when you've got both in there) and of course it doesnt change in the finishing process.

but seriously, the biggest issue I had with this piece is that I was absolutely determined to get as much width out of this piece as I could, as the finished yardage is going to be cut up to make 2 Chanel style jackets. My reed is 35". My opening in the castle housing the heddles max's out just under 31". Note to self: never warp wider than the width of the heddles. Suffice it to say that the angle the warp needed to turn to make it to the reed, coming out of the heddles severely impacted my weaving.

The next biggest issue was weaving with 4 different shuttles. every single pass of the shuttle I had to change shuttles. Allowed for no rhthym. The effect again is marvelous, but not again, not soon anyway.

More later on where this project is going, and the construction process


So, what to use a Naked Loom for? Why not as the stand for the latest version of the Lady E. Beading the lattice fringe again. Tedious if I say so myself.

my question is: how did macrame get to be so popular in the 70's? Next question is: is there anyone else out there who thinks as little of the Noro yarns as I do? my last Lady E was in Silk Garden, and I have to admit that I love what happens to the colors in the entrelac...but I am seriously not a fan of the long variegated dying in regular knitting. And yes, Esaku Noro (sorry if I misspelled his name) is a genius in color combinations. But, where is it written that badly spun, badly cleaned yarn is Artsy? I know that Noro is highly prized yarn, and expensive as all get out, but really, do we think they could improve the quality at all? I just gave the last 4 sk I had of Noro Shinano to Lorinda in the purple swap, and I have to admit that although it is a nice gift, I'm feeling somewhat guilty about it, 'cause I've had it with Noro. Is anyone else out there with me on this? (and Lorinda, if you don't like it, I'll make a swap with you at Stitches and replace that with some Debbie Bliss purple sport weight yarn)

Almost Done!


swap news: I just received my package from Jennifer for the Travelling Woman book swap through KTC. There are the two Alice in Wonderland books, a bottlecap necklace featuring Alice, and some really pretty red Regia sock yarn. I've tried to capture the color, but it is really just a shade deeper than it appears on my monitor.

Thank you Jennifer.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

reading and weaving

Pronunciation: mO-'men-t&m, m&-Function: nounInflected Form(s): plural mo·men·ta /-'men-t& /; or momentums
Etymology: New Latin, from Latin, movement
1 : a property of a moving body that the body has by virtue of its mass and motion and that is equal to the product of the body's mass and velocity; broadly : a property of a moving body that determines the length of time required to bring it to rest when under the action of a constant force or
2 : strength or force gained by motion or through the development of events :

Nearly a year ago, I warped the loom for this project (for detail on warping see here)
After throwing the shuttle(s) to weave off around 4 yds of the 11 yard warp, I lost momentum. Other projects, knitting with its siren call, sewing projects and obligations, travel, and in general, life, took precedence.
Then inertia took over. An object at rest stays at rest. A long rest indeed.

I also used to do a lot of reading. Again, the siren call of knitting lured me, and my TBR pile grew without anything coming off the top, or bottom. Then I joined Knit the Classics. It is a virtual book club with a monthly selection - the twist is that after reading the selection one is presumably going to have time to be inspired to come up with a project and get it made. Well, the KAL did get me reading again. But TIME. Reading was cutting into my project time, and my projects have multiplied like rabbits over the course of the last year.

Aha! Audible books. I also joined the summer reading challenge with an ambitious stack of books that I'd like to read over the summer. If I did nothing but read and project I still couldn't get it all in. Audible lets me multi-task.

A book I've been wanting to read forever is Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. I found a version on audible (unfortunately abridged. Audible version: Author: Umberto Eco Date:01-JAN-1980 Narrator:Theodore Bikel Provider:Audio Renaissance Running Time:6 h 21 min ) and downloaded it Monday. I started listening to it while knitting, but the loom, in front of me, beckoned. So I sat down at the loom to throw the shuttle while listening to "just another chapter". The read was engrossing. The narration was excellent. Seven hours later I'd woven off another (almost) 2 yards and have the motivation again to weave this piece. I'd like to finish it within a year of the warping - gives me about 3 weeks, and one of those weeks is going to be spent visiting my son and attending Stitches Midwest. So, I've just downloaded A Room with a View

Author: E.M. Forster Date:01-JAN-2002 Narrator:Wanda McCaddon Provider:Commuter's Library Running Time:7 h 29 min

Set in Italy and England, this is a rich and romantic story of Lucy Honeychurch and the choice she must make between love and convention. Commuters Library presents a wonderful reading of this time-honored classic by Wanda McCaddon.

Time to go sit at the loom again and listen to another engrossing story, and weave.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Project Spectrum, a nod to Royalty

There is no such thing as too much Purple.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Thank you Lorinda

Finally, I'm posting the pics and the thank you to Lorinda for the Project Colorswap Package.
I've had mondo problems uploading pics from the camera to blogger. Uploading images that I've saved from the web, no problem, but images from the camera - big problem.
You all asked how my score for techno-geek could be so low? Case in point.
(for the same reason I don't have a banner across my heading, and I don't have a button for the Etsy shop yet...)
Anyway, many thanks to Lorinda for a super Purple package. Notice the skein of yarn in there that is NOT purple? well, it's the compliment to purple ;)
and it's what Lorinda included for my b'day, separately. and I can't wait to show you what I'm going to do with it. Now to go try to retrieve the pic from the net - I promise it is too much fun!

there are cards, notebooks, candies, some awesome caramel filled choc which needed to recuperate in the refrig. and the most interesting tin of culinary lavender. Has anyone ever used culinary lavender? Michellers? Mom? anyone have any ideas on how to use it? I've got to do some reading. Will check Epicurious.

The interesting looking purple ribbon yarn is Tartelette by Knit one Crochet too. 75 yds per sk. I'm thinking it'll get worked into one of my fancy scarves for the holidays.

Now, to try to find and enter the pic of the project for the Lolly Yellow - without losing this post again (for the third time). oh bother! I cannot get blogger to even upload the pic from flickr - so.....if you want to see what my fabulous project is going to be from the lolly yellow you must click on this link. Now the challenge will be finding that pattern again, on the web, since I thought I bookmarked it, but obviously NOT! argh.

And I'll leave you with a link to what has become one of my Must Stop By blogs every day. Too much fun.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Race

the 2006 Chicago - Mackinac Race is underway

the boat

this pic was taken by my husband from Navy Pier in Chicago as we left the dock for the start, on the last Mac Race I did, 2002. This is what it looked like out there at the start that year. Go look, those are some great pics. I can't even tell you what it looked like at the end of the race. That was the year of the big blow, and countless boats sustained serious damage - from blown out sails to broken masts, poles, and in one case, capsize and rescue. We broke a few pc's of hardware and blew out a couple of sails, but nothing compared to some of the damage.

track race here (if you want to track Relentless, they are competing in section 4)


Friday, July 21, 2006

Tempting neckline

I'm almost to the point of needing to decide the neckline on this one. Problem is, I've never been enamoured of the neckline on the Tempting pattern.

Marlene did a wonderful cable neckline (click on her pic to take you to her blog to see more pics and explanations. I could do something similar to what she did.

Or I could knit on a lace yoke. I'm thinking something along the lines of Rowan Audrey (which is what I believe inspired these Tempting sweaters in the first place.)

What do you think?

And finally, for another of those ubiquitous quizes. thank Isabelle for this one. Says I despise Nerds, which isn't quite true since I'm married to one who would undoubtedly score a 99% nerd

I am nerdier than 9% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

a quickie

The Preview is Out, have you seen It yet? IMHO it's the best issue in a long long time, based upon previews, check it out

Fabulous package arrived from Lorinda for the purple colorswap - must get pics and post properly.

And I must acknowledge the super help I received from Kim (knittin Brit) today in trying to locate the book Poems of Color. I've switched my brioche class at stitches to the bohus knitting class. which class uses the above mentioned book - another Interweave Press casualty. If Interweave is only interested in printing books that have a huge demand, maybe they should not be publishing knitting and sewing books. Niche marketing rarely produces mass market demand. I had a lovely conversation this afternoon with Meg Swansen at Schoolhouse Press . What a lovely and helpful lady. She suggested that if enough knitters requested the book, Interweave might be amenable to another printing run.

and another one of those ubiquitous quizes. Only reason I'm posting it is I came out Red. If I'd come out any other color it wouldn't have been here ;)

You Are Apple Red

You're never one to take life too seriously, and because of it, you're a ton of fun.
And although you have a great sense of humor, you are never superficial.
Deep and caring, you do like to get to the core of people - to understand them well.
However, any probing you do is light hearted and fun, sometimes causing people to misjudge you.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer Reading challenge update

Umberto Eco The Island of the Day Before
Wallace Stegner Angle of Repose
Wallace Stegner Crossing to Safety
Bronte Wuthering Heights (for Knit the Classics )
Elis Weisel Night Just borrowed from Jq

and to accompany the Tudor Roses Knitting:
Susan Kay Legacy
Eliz Jenkins Liz and Leicester
David Starkey Elizabeth
Rosalind Miles I, Elizabeth

I know that plans rarely get followed here, so good thing I wrote that list as "tentative".
actually read/listened to:
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
darkand depressing. I both read this in the book format and listened to it on audiobooks ( Narrator: Janet McTeer and David TimsonProgram Format: Unabridged). The narration was excellent and I will listen to books narrated by this pair again.
Legacy, Susan Kay
I first read this book in 1985 (86?) and found it just as well written and researched, yet readable, the second time around. I've sent it on to Sherry from the Tudor Roses KAL, and from there I believe it is going to Carrie.
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, audiobooks Narrator: Amanda Root Program Format: UnabridgedNaxos AudioBooks, 2005. I listened to this one entirely while knitting, and loved it. Found myself doing extra rows just to continue listening. Amanda Root did a very credible job narrating.
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Robin Maxwell, paperback. I almost feel bad writing this because the book was in my swap package from Michaele, and she gave it to me because it was on my wishlist - so I asked for it. But, this one was just a little too History Lite for my taste. The author used the technique of inventing a fictional device (the diary) and using it to tell a story heavily based on historical fact. Problem was, from my perspective, there was just a lot too much literary license, and the book can't be written for above a 6th grade reading level. Can't recommend it.
The Ocean Between Us, Susan Wiggs, listened to on audiobook, Narrator:Richard Ferrone Provider:Recorded Books. I don't know if I disliked this book so much because the narrator was so bad or because the storyline would have been far more appropriate for a family living in the 1960'/70s, or just because I'm too much the cynic at the moment for one of those mushy formulaic novels. The most irritating part of listening to it though was Richard Ferrone's narrations of women's spoken lines being read in a high nasal voice. C'mon. And the story line of a naval wife who's trying on her own life as she turns 40, after living the perfect Stepford wife life since she was 20 - and one of the supporting characters as a 26 yr old widow who had infertility problems. again, c'mon. What 22 yr old is declared to be infertile anymore? I do believe the docs won't even start fertility counseling until a woman is much older than that, and the main story line would have been much more believable and timely if the copywrite date were 30 years earlier. Story of my mom 30 years ago. Except the ending was lots different. Usually was. Bottom line: skip this one.

On the nitestand (and audio) right now
The Lyre of Orpheus, Robertson Davies, hardcover 472 pgs
Twilight, Katherine Mosby, paperback 291 pages
Elizabeth and Mary, Jane Dunn, audiobook Narrator:Donada Peters Provider:Books on Tape

I'm skipping reading A Passage to India this month for Knit the Classics.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

cooking and sewing

Squares for Warming Grace. I received a very nice note from Cynthia, who's organized Warming Grace. She is suffering right now from her fibromyalgia and other things, but is still very actively collecting squares. I'm afraid by sending these squares with such unusual colors that she will have a hard time working them into future blankets, but it was important to me to use the scraps from Joeys blanket for this project.
if you're looking for a charity knit to participate in, the link is here.

I've been inspired by Sew Retro
to finally get going on some of the vintage sewing that I've planned.
I've got a 50's sensibility (and the 50's curvy shape to wear many of the 50's designs). And have been collecting patterns for awhile.
Well, earlier in the week I altered this pattern and cut a muslin. Today I put the muslin together, and I'm really glad I did. The pattern only sort of shows that the bodice really sits away from the body. there is a fichu that sits close to the body, but the bodice itself is way out there. I'm going to have Sharron look at it tomorrow, but I think I'm ready to make it. (it fits me better than it fits the dress form, TG.
I've been looking at the vintage and retro dress patterns from the 50's and am amazed at the construction. Because so many dresses were so much more body conscious and fitted, they really made use of the underarm gusset.
I think that today you almost Never see underarm gussets, in part because home sewers simply don't want to take the time and maybe don't have the skill to insert them.
It's funny in a way that women are returning in droves to knitting, a craft that takes hours upon hours to achieve a garment, yet when they sit down to a sewing machine they want a project to take less than 4 to 6 hours start to finish.
The adage in knitting "to save time, take time to knit a gauge swatch" could easily translate to sewing - to save time, effort, and fabric, take the time to make pattern alterations, and when there is doubt, a fitting muslin.
Moi made the mistake very recently, with a wonderful piece of cotton lawn. I cut a pattern for a simple summer wrap dress, thinking that I would put it together to a certain point, have it fit, then finish it, and it would be ok. WRONG! there was too great a delay between the cutting and the assembly, and I'd forgotten that I'd not altered the pattern at all. I finished the dress last Thurs, put it on, and groaned. I have to take apart the whole bodice, which is at least 4" too big around at the underarm. WHAT was I THINKING? That though, has been the greatest motivator for making the muslins for these last two dresses. The silk that I plan to use for the dress I muslined today is too good, as is the pink cotton lawn for my b'day dress, and there isn't any more of it available in case of catastrophe.
See the silk in pics below. It is a silk shantung brocade with fuschia in the warp and orange in the weft. I'm using a fuschia shantung for the fichu in the bodice, and a deep pink silk charmeuse to line the dress.

On the menu:

So, today, after bike riding in this unbelievable heat (UGH) we went to the new Barnes and Noble. I was looking at one of my fav magazine racks, the cooking magazines, when I saw on their cover a fresh tomato sauce for pasta that looked remarkably similar to one I've been making for at least 15 years. I looked at their recipe, and they've left out the capers, and use lemon juice (I think) in place of the sherry vinegar that I use. Anyway, it inspired me to make my fresh tomato sauce for over the top of fresh angel hair pasta for tonight.

you can go buy the Gourmet magazine, or just copy my recipe from here. I give you permission.

a couple of pounds of fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped. a bunch of fresh basil, sliced thin or chopped. a 3.5 oz jar of capers, rinsed and drained. a little less than 1/4 c sherry vinegar. Salt and ground peppercorns. mix all together in a glass bowl several hours before dinner.

Boil some angel hair pasta (fresh is best for this dish). Rinse and toss with some olive oil. Serve with fresh tomato sauce.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A brave boy

This is Joey, two weeks ago after his surgery to remove the tumor. Joeys chemo blanket

the remaining yarn (telephone and ball of calmer are in there for scale). I'm using the bits left to knit a square or two, whatever I can get out of it, to send to the Warming Grace project.

knitterly content

First, big thank you to Jae (Some Knitting Required), for a totally unexpected and wonderful gift in the mail. The colorway is Lake Charlevoix, a place dear to my heart, a lake I've raced sailboats on for many years and a gorgeous place to vacation, a better place to live close to. Not to mention a beautiful inspiration for a great colorway for Yarn ;) I'm not currently a sock knitter (uh oh, was that 'currently' maybe a portent of things to come?)...but I know exactly what I plan to do with this yarn. details soon.
Progress and issues:

Progress on Tempting II, another unscheduled knit for this summer that found its way into my knitting basket. Thank you Marina for the really cool sailing windsurfer stitch marker. I find myself smiling and thinking of you each time I pass the marker from left to right. Yarn is Rowan calmer, and I have to tell you, this will be the only garment I ever knit with it.
Joeys chemo blanket is done and in the mail.
Yarn: 12 skeins Manos del Uruguay 100% cotton. Probably the softest cotton I've ever knit with. (this yarn has knots in it - too many for the price you pay for it)
Stitch: Basketweave 2 from the 365 Stitches a Year perpetual calendar, Sept 3 stitch pattern.
Needles: started on Crystal Palace bamboo 7's, switched to addi turbo 7's after getting frustrated. there is a barely discernable diff in gauge hence difference in size after the switch.
Cast on 195 stitches, knit one skein per stripe.
started June 30th, finished July 12
definitely a boy blanket, definitely not looking like a rainbow or baby blanket.

Now for the question of the day.
Below is my progress shot on the Drops Cardi I've been working on for awhile. I haven't touched it since June 29. Just picked it up this AM and realized, I goofed on the underarm shaping. Directions are to bind off x stitches, then decrease 2 stitches front and 2 stitches back, every other row 4 times, then decrease 1 st eor 4 more times. (I may have the # of times wrong here, it may be 5 but that isn't really the point)
What I did was decrease 1 st front and 1 st back the 4 times, instead of decreasing 2. So, does anyone out there think that I can get away with doing my double decreases now? Probably not, but I hate the thought of ripping back both fronts and the back because I couldn't follow directions. I know, I know, just tell me to rip it, get the shaping right, and get on with it.

and finally, thank you to everyone for all the happy birthday wishes. thanks Krissy and Michellers and Marina and Mare and Dad and Joan and Denise and Donni and mom and Jacquie and Lorinda and all who're calling and sending emails. It is just awesome to have so many happy birthday sentiments coming this way.
And Happy Birthday ROX if you are reading this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Promises promises

I did promise to get back in here, yesterday and even the day before...well, better late ladada.

so, for what Sharron and I have been working on in the dungeon:
I wasn't going to show you until at least one was finis, however, maybe I should and get some input. So this is your chance to give some input on what you look for, what you would like to see, in...
Needle cases.
We are making knitting needle cases, primarily out of fabric already here in stash - luxe stuff that was maybe meant for one thing that it never became, or stuff that we're just ready to turn around and recoup some $ from (to reinvest in fibery stuff don't you know?) The needle cases will be for sale in the Etsy shop, for which Lorinda has graciously made us a button, and I will link to here once there is enough in the Etsy shop to make it worth visiting.
anyway, for the goods:
we are using moire or bengalene for the interiors, for the exteriors some are silks, some high end home dec, some brocades, some tafettas. I want to offer the option of a personalized Monogram or name on the inside. Both pics here are the interior and exterior of the first one I made - very blantantly using the layout of a Lantern Moon needle case as a guide. Well, obviously I can't use that layout to sell - copyright and all that.

I have another tentative layout in mind, but want your input:

  1. Do you want pockets for straights, circs, dp's? - how important is it to you to have all 3 in the same case?
  2. Do you want to store all your needles in one case or do you just want a case for travelling?
  3. Is a zippered pocket essential?

Anyway, Lainie, this one is yours - that something pink that has been in my head these many months.

And below is what is on the slate for today. I altered the patterns and made the muslin for fitting on Sunday. Yesterday Sharron fit the muslin to me (slight changes to the lower back where I sort of curve and the dress didn't). Today I will cut and stitch the dress and slip. The pink floral is the lightest of cotton lawns, sheer and perfect for a summer dress. The slip for under is the solid pink silk crepe de chine. I plan to wear it Thursday evening when Jeff takes me out to dinner at the new French restaurant in town.