Thursday, August 30, 2007

I miss my Home

you know how pieces of music can invoke memories, or snapshots, or certain phrases? And sometimes those memories are so evocative of home that the feeling is visceral?

Well, The Blue Angels just flew over and the memory was so sharp, so immediate, that I started sobbing.
Every other year the Blue Angels perform for the 4th of July in Traverse City MI as part of Cherry Festival. I lived in an historic home, 2 blocks off the Bay, in downtown Traverse City. The Blue Angels would show up a week in advance to run practice maneuvers, and my house was right in the flight path, where they'd come in very low on their run out the the Bay. They shook the windows, the glasses in the cabinets, and the china. Sitting on the beach 2 blocks from my house, between the waters edge and the sand volleyball courts, was a highlight of our summers. I miss my home, sometimes more, sometimes a little less, but right at this moment, it is a longing that is sharp.
The team is scheduled to perform in St Louis at the Chesterfield airport as a part of the Labor Day celebration down here. Seems again, we're in their flight path.

Monday, August 20, 2007

She Said YES!!

I'm going to acquire a daughter-in-law :)
Daniel (the May Graduate) popped the question on Saturday and Ashlee said yes.

Meanwhile, I've been sitting in an automobile for the better part of the last 4 days - 1600 miles worth. That, and moving a kid into a college dorm, then going to visit another one and seeing her off-campus apt for the first time. When I wasn't driving I was knitting. That's a lot of knitting time.
LeeAnn asked if I'm liking the Selbuvotter knitting, and the answer is an emphatic Yes!
I need to get better on the two handed stranded knitting. Most of this I've knit two handed, but every once in awhile I needed to give my left hand a rest, and I've reverted to the right hand only knitting that I know how to do well.
Mostly, I'm having a lot of difficulty maintaining the tension on the yarn (Yes, it's wound around my tiny finger) in my left hand. I think it's just a matter of practice, but if anyone has any great tips I'm open to them.
I'm also using magic loop - I couldn't imagine knitting in the car and dropping a dpn - or rather, I could imagine it.

While at Stitches I picked up Sheila McGregor's book on Scandinavian stranded knitting, and started to read that one night when I was too wiped out to knit. She has a whole chapter on the Selbu mittens, and a chart or two. But, for my purposes, I'm so glad I have the Selbuvotter book. The directions and the charts are very clear, and for someone who wants their knitting spoon-fed to them, this is just perfect.
I'd highly recommend it if you're at all interested in the Selbu knit mittens and gloves. The book itself is the outgrowth of a thesis project. The author (you'd think I could look up her name right now wouldn't you?) started out to catalogue the museum collection of Selbu knitwear and ended up being offered the opportunity to examine and chart every design. There are many of them, and the reading is as fascinating as the knitting. Right now I want to knit many of them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stitches Midwest

This week, which is incredibly busy for me, there is more to blog about than there has been in a long long time.

First, before I get into Stitches, a peek at what I've started already:
My first Christmas gift knitting. Before I left for Illinois I scored one of the Selbuvotter books
that Interweave put on sale at their 40% off sale. Yesterday I cast on, after spending a couple of days in a class knitting Danish color stranded knitting, and deciding I could do it.
The yarns are Jo Sharps Silk Georgette and some Knitpicks cashmere that were in my stash. I feel fairly safe posting them here, as I don't think the recipient ever looks at my blog.

Last week I travelled to a community north of Chicago to see my son. Spent a couple of days with him, then went down to Rosemont IL, a suburb outside of Chicago, to attend Stitches Midwest. You may recall that last year I went and met up with Jae and Kim...and it was a frenzied weekend full of classes, shopping, dinners, and fun. But it was overwhelming. So we vowed to make it more relaxed this year - take fewer classes, attend only one of the sponsored dinners, and have more time to sit and knit and chat and more relaxed market time - as opposed to running to market only on lunch breaks from class. This we accomplished.

This year, Kim wasn't able to make it, (but I did hear from her and she did make it to Meg Swanson's Camp this summer).

Jae and I roomed together again, and this year we had the priviledge of meeting and spending some time with Lorraine and Jewel. Just as nice as you'd expect knitters to be, and I really enjoyed meeting them.
We talked knitting, kids, jobs, life and Weight Watchers Points ;)
I had the privilege of seeing the Peacock shawl that Jae designed, and got to see her model it at the student fashion show/dinner Saturday night. Although I had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with its inception or design, I felt proud just being with Jae as she showed it off. The collective gasp from the audience was audible when she walked on stage.

Lorraine has a pic on her blog of all 4 of us in a booth at the market...only later did we realize that Oops, pictures weren't allowed. Oh well, we weren't taking pictures of the product - AND...the only booth I really dropped any $ in ended up being Habu. I scarfed the pic from Lorraine's site, since my camera seemed to be conspicuously absent when we were taking pics.

Me, Jae (see the Pretty as a Peacock shawl?), Jewel, Lorraine

Wanna see? The purchases:
space dyed lace weight and boucle yarns from Prism in the antique colorway - ivory and camel. A large skein of lace weight bamboo from Habu, and two skeins of Rayon sizing from Habu. It is a really stiffly sized narrow rayon tape that has a white line running down the center. However, they had a sample knit up, and as the sizing breaks down, it develops the nicest hand, and knits up a bit like linen. I just had to have some of it. Also, I picked up some really cute sheep stitch markers from Blackwater Abbey Yarns. That's all I bought folks, really!

This year though, I really made out in the freebie dept
Freebies:gifty pkg from Skacel

From Skacel, the doorprize package given away at the table: This is incredible. There is another needle that didn't make it into the pic, and there were a couple of patterns, including a gorgeous lace shawl, that Jae went home with. She's more likely to use the pattern, I'm more likely to just let it adorn my shelving unit.

and from my teacher Beth Brown Reinsel, who divided her teacher gift package among the students on Sunday, I brought home this yarn which is destined to make it into a baby blanket and some future unspecified date. I used cotton like this for Sophies blanket, and it worked out wonderfully.
freebie goodies
Speaking of class
I took a class from Beth, who is absolutely fabulous, so much so that the only class I decided to take this trip was hers. In Danish stranded knitting. I've got to get a lot better at it, but I really love the results. Along with technique Beth is so good about filling her students in on the history, the traditions, the why's and what she's learned about the garments, and then shares knowledge on how to design your own. This sweater is a one-off that she discovered in a museum during her research. It's unusual in that it isn't associated with a village or family.
It's also unusual in that it is knit with two different weight yarns, on very small needles. The black in my sample is worsted weight wool, the white a fingering weight. I've got a picture of the sweater that Beth knit from the original, but I won't post it here unless I get permission from Beth. If you look at her cabinet though, on her website Knitting Traditions it's the bottom sweater on the left on the top shelf.
sample skra-trojer from class You'll notice the error on my first two rows of "checks" - it isn't supposed to be a solid L.... and I obviously have some finishing to do.
ok, now I'm off to finish up a going away dress for dsd#2 whom we are taking to University of South Carolina tomorrow. When I return, we will be
Empty Nesters

Monday, August 13, 2007


The first iteration of the dress is finished, finally!
For the entire photoset see the flickr set here
The inspiration came from the Bottega Venetta dress from the Spring 07 collection.


In order to smock the dress I measured off two skirt lengths and a two bodice lengths from a piece of Italian cotton shirting that I picked up at the Sewing Expo in Novi MI in Sept '05 from The Wool House, a Toronto based fabric store. (Shannon has a some beautiful inside pics from her latest visit to the store here)

I then drew lines 1/2" apart square to the stripe in the fabric, and smocked for the back bodice the triangle that you see, and for the skirt, just a rectangle that extended 3" into the skirt to create a yoke.

in order to line up the smocked triangles on the skirt with those in the bodice it was necessary to hand baste the seam right on the stitching line.

I did the same for the front, bodice and skirt, just guessing on where the block of smocking should fall to be on the shoulder. I guessed wrong and after the dress was assembled and the shoulder seams sewn (with narrow pretty little french seams) I ended up having to remove the shoulder seam, take out the smocked block, completely move it over the width of the whole block, then restitch the shoulder seams, mostly by hand.

Once all the smocking was done, and I'd attached the bodice to the skirt pieces, I then overlaid the pattern for the shirtwaist dress Vogue 8353 , in which I'd pinned out the pleats, marked the dart that forms the collar shaping, and cut out and assembled the dress.

I did cut the width of the collar lapel on the dress pattern by 1/2.

The Vogue pattern itself is incredibly basic and easy, although I will say that the collar construction leaves a lot to be desired.
If I'd been able to finish on time, and there is another version of this dress on my worktable right now, this would have been my entry for the One Pattern Multiple Looks contest on PR
The other version I'm making also bears no resemblance to Vogue's version of this pattern. Maybe next week it'll be ready to show. ??
Big congratulations to Vonnevo who won the contest with her entry of a Butterick jacket made 3 ways.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Copyright, Intellectual Property, and the Law

I realize I haven't posted here in a week or more. Computer issues, a lightning strike, and my own inertia have all contributed to the malaise.

So today, all you get is a link.
If you don't read Kathleen Fasanella, you should go read this entry on Fashion Incubator

Edit to add: There is an interesting discussion on this topic over at Stitchers Guild.

and I'm going to copy and re-print the contact info for the bill sponsors here. This is really something we all, knitters, sewists, consumers, people who wear clothes, create clothes, and read/buy patterns, this is something we all have a stake in.


Rep. William Delahunt [D, MA-10] Email


Rep. Mary Bono [R, CA-45] Contact

Rep. Robert Goodlatte [R, VA-6] Contact (use zip code 22801)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D, NY-14] Contact

EDIT: Re Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill
a note on the dress. I finished it, then I put it on and realized that my smocked block on the front shoulders was over so far it was off the edge of my shoulder, onto my arm. How do you spell Fugly? So, I ripped out my oh-so-carefully sewn french seam on the shoulders, ripped out the smocking blocks, re-smocked a block much closer to the neck edge, and cut off some of the capped sleeve area. I now need to re-hem the sleeve edge, and hand finish the insides of the shoulder seams - can't re-stitch trimmed shoulder seams - no can do. But last night I made the trek into the mall, and picked up, on sale for 1/2 off of 1/2 off, a narrow red belt - perfect, and the perfect little slide sandal for this dress. I intend to wear it this weekend at Stitches, and will get pictures, to post when I return.