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.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm back

Conspicuous Consumption
Conspicuous consumption

Hi to anyone who still occasionally checks to see if I'm still on planet Earth. I've been gone for 2 weeks, thought I might have internet access while I was gone, but that turned out not to be the case.
I left here Sept 27 with my friend Sharron, (dh couldn't get the time off and it would have been an entirely different kind of trip if he had), to do the circle tour of MIchigan.
Spent 4 days sewing at my moms, working on the Chanel style jackets that I wove the fabric for.

While in Detroit we did some damage at the Fabric stores in Royal Oak, and got to run up to Heritage Spinning and Fibers in Lake Orion and catch up with Jae.

From there we went to my brother Daves, by way of the outlets at Birch Run and then Threadbear Fiberarts in Lansing. Acquired shoes and a handbag at BCBG and a Christmas Gift for son#1 at an unnamed store (in the unlikely event he is reading this, it shall remain a mystery), and finally broke down and bought the yarn for Marina
Saw my 4 month old niece Sophie, and got to spend a morning visiting with my SIL Wendy. She is an awesome mom of 4 other kids besides Sophie, and a real gift to our family and my brother. Sophie is the prettiest baby - Dark black hair and the most expressive face I've ever seen on an infant. Only one pic was taken in our very brief stay there, which is of me holding Sophie, and I will post it when I get a copy. (Wendy, ?? please email)
From there we proceeded to Mackinac Island for one night, and it turns out every pic we took was on Sharrons cameras. It was a gorgeous unseasonably warm day up there - temp got up to 70. Colors were fabulous.
Onward on Wed to Sault Ste Marie to see my son Daniel and his roomies, all of whom graduate soon. DSCN2540

More later on remainder of trip.

When I got home last night there was a fabulous package awaiting me from Australia!
this is a teaser - come back tomorrow to see the particulars.
Right now I've got to run.
I hope to catch up on blogs in the next couple of days.
Missed all my blog friends.
ETA: that rather impressive pile of silky tweed and silky wool at the top right hand of CC pic is designated for