Friday, February 27, 2009

clock of life

My contribution (late as it is) to February Poetry Month silent poem reading:
I first heard this recited by Jack Klang, a salty old sailor who's teaching seminars now for Quantum Sails.

Clock of Life - a poem loosely based on a poem by Robert Smith

On an ancient wall in China
where a brooding Buddha blinks,
deeply graved is the message-
It is later than you think.

The Clock of life is wound but once
and no man has the power,
to tell just when the hands will stop,
at late or early hour.

Now is all the time you own,
the past a golden link,
go Cruising now my brother-
It is later than you think.

And consider that justification enough for the vacillation on our schedule to go sailing. The clock is moving again.

if you're a purist and don't care for the revised version, here's the original

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one's health is more,
To lose one's soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.

The present only is our own,
So Live, Love, toil with a will --
Place no faith in 'Tomorrow' --
For the clock may then be still.

Robert H. Smith

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Do you Plan your projects?

SWAP, (which, BTW, is going on right now on Stitchers Guild) promotes planning your projects so that you end up with a cohesive wardrobe. So that you sew (or make) garments that won't be "orphans" in your closet. The problem with Planning all your projects a few months in advance is that much of the excitement lies in the planning and beginning of a new project. So this year I opted not to participate in SWAP. Although I could certainly use a wardrobe that fits me right now.

So, I started to take a look at the projects that I MUST get made and finished before I can start sewing with a (garment) plan. oh boy...bring on the home dec!

I have
  • slipcovers for cushions to make for the entire boat. That will take 4 weeks of dedicated sewing when I'm not at work. My deadline on those is May 1.
  • drapery panels and valances to make for the master bedroom. Two panels are hung already, two more reside on the dining room table. The fabric for the valances is still uncut.
  • drapery panels for the dining room - the 4 panels are made and lined, the rods are hung, all I need to do is pleat the headers. I'm considering skipping the swags for over the top.
  • padded cornice board cover for ds#1. I finished and hung the one for his living room a week ago. I now have to make the one for his dining room.
  • Swag valance for Kitchen French doors and window over sink. Fabric is cut, ready to sew.
Why is it that I've had most of these window treatments planned for several years, yet have procrastinated making them until the deadline of getting the house finished looms?

In addition, I have the fabric now and am really excited to make the Amy Butler Weekender bag.
So what have I been doing while not at work for the last week?
I've started 3 new knitting projects. Each have been started with deliberation.
Two require paying attention to. The other, while it looks complex, can easily be knit while at knitting group.
St Enda
from Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore
I started an aran sweater for me using Lion Brand Fishermans wool, based on the recommendation of several knitters on Ravelry, most notably Janet Szabo of Big Sky Knitting. It's easily the most affordable yarn I could have chosen. I'm knitting it on 6's, which is giving me a nice tight fabric which will be great for those colder evenings on the lake this summer. It's not all that unusual for the temps to dip down into the 40's on the water up North. I bought the yarn for this at two different Joanns last week, and cast it on Saturday Feb 21. It is the most annoying thing, that Joanns and Michaels, where this yarn is most often found, can't be bothered to stock more than 4 skeins, if they stock it at all.

Pattern: Kashmir by Dale of Norway. Cast on yesterday before going to knitting group. This one isn't so hard on my hands, but I do need to get to a copy shop to enlarge the print on the chart. This pattern is OOP and quite in demand. I'd borrowed a copy from Marina, however wasn't able to start it while it was in my possession. Then while on a trip to northern Michigan several months ago I happened to find a couple of copies tucked away in the archives of a LYS, so now I own my own copy. This one is going much faster than I'd anticipated. I'm already on round 12 of the pattern, past the 14 rows of the lace and ribbing at the hem.

Yarn: Tiur

And lastly, cast on February 12, using some age old Filature di Crosa yarn from stash, I've started Wakame. from the Summer 2008 issue of Interweave Knits, designed by Angela Hahn
The other pattern that I'd really like to make from that issue is the Apres Surf Hoodie

In addition, I need some shorts and summer slacks before June.
And I'd love to make the trench coat that I didn't make last summer, and I'd also love to make the Marfy duffle coat using the Burberry rainwear I bought from Michael last year.
Or maybe the HP1030 from Hot Patterns.

So, how far ahead do you plan your projects?
How much of what you plan actually sees the light of day (or needle?)

post script: Marina's got a couple of gorgeous projects OTN now. I just looked at her Malin, and decided I needed to look up yarn requirements for that. Guess what's gone missing from my bookshelves? My copy of In the Hebrides. ARGH! Unlike my needles, which seem to find themselves all over the place, my books are very well organized.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What I've been meaning to say

Blog post ideas that have been floating around in my head:
  • The sewing post on stripes and orientation of same
  • The post on planning your work and what you actually do relative to those plans. Cidell posted recently that she's written out her top projects and in looking at them realized that there isn't enough work related clothing so she is going to re-visit the plan. Carolyn writes that the surest way to kill a project is to put it on the "plan to sew" list....and I've got a queue and plans of things I really want to why is it that what jumped onto my needles this week hasn't even been on my radar??? more to come
  • The post that is partially written on plaids. Birgitte has actually been making what I've only thought about. And chosen fabric and patterns for...maybe next year. sigh.
  • a real departure for me, but my post on the economy and the dichotomy of spending to stimulate the economy vs being financially responsible and actually doing what we've been told to do for years and actually building a savings account. I've started reading the blog titled The Simple Dollar>>31 days to Fix your Finances.
So, who is going to develop the first technology that will allow me to dictate my blog posts and have them magically appear? Because lately it's been a real challenge to translate the blog post idea to an actual blog post.

Meanwhile, I've got another FO to show.
Last blog post I talked about all the knitting that is finished off the needles, simply in need of sewing up.
And then I showed the unsuccessful starts of the next project that I want to knit, an aran. And I sort of just breezed by the fact that I had one last sweater project on the needles. It was the Kilkenny aran sweater by Lorraine Condotta of Twisted Traditions that I started and gifted to my son a year ago. I had some sizing problems, and set the sweater aside.

After having all those yarn issues with trying to start another aran, I took it as a sign, an omen if you will (I've been reading/listening to a lot of medieval history lately and don't you know, everything is imbued with signs and portents), anyway, I took it as a sign that I needed to finish Mark's Kilkenny.
I'm going up to IL to see Mark Sunday, and I thought how surprised he would be to actually receive the finished sweater. So I put some concentrated effort into it, and re-figured the sleeve charts to get the size I needed, and began knitting two sleeves roughly 10 days ago. (When did I last post? it was after that). If you're on Ravelry, check here for the backstory on this yarn. It's not something I can post in the totally public forum of this blog.
I present Kilkenny for Mark

CarrieK I nominate you for the Kreative Blogger award!
Go back a blog post or two and pull that graphic down and go paste it on your blog. You do too deserve it. oh, and that's another blog post idea that I've got to follow up on. The Feb poetry month blog post. I've even found the poem. Thanks my friend for just being there. And for following even when I've gone off on tangents that totally don't interest you at all. You, my friend, have a great and interesting blog.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

the knitting and finishing the UFO's

Notice the Cherries?

Yarn Blue Sky alpaca silk in Ruby. Love this yarn!! Love it.

The pattern is a free download from SMarieK Knits. Check out her lovely selection of scarf patterns. I found the pattern easy to follow and well put together.
"Easy to Follow" is a relative term. The pattern had a 28 row repeat with patterning stitches on both front and back, so there was no relaxing with this one, no chatting while knitting, no paying attention to TV. Still, I cast on Jan 2, 2009 and finished it, seamed the CB together, blocked it and still wore it before the end of January. That, for me folks, is a first.
I really mean it that I'm getting out of the habit of having a million-ty projects going at once..

Two weeks ago I also finished knitting Dickinson, and this week (Sunday) I put the final stitches into the Drops cardi second sleeve. I know you're sick of seeing these photos...I'm putting them up here as a nice little reminder to me to Finish the suckers.

Knit Projects ready for finishing/seaming/blocking

All are finished knitting and ready for blocking/seaming/neckbands if necessary. That is all on the agenda for February. Get these projects seamed and finished. Feel free to harass me. email me, ask to see finished photos.

Left on the needles - that most boring of projects, the modern log cabin blanket only in garter stitch.

And Kilkenny for Mark.

So in the last couple of days I've been playing around with casting on an Alice Starmore Aran for me. Something that has been on my "want to make" list for a long long time.

The stash, we've talked about the stash, right?
I'm determined/obligated to use yarn I've already purchased. So why is it that I don't have an appropriate traditional 2 or 3 ply worsted or aran weight yarn in sufficient quantity in my (very Prodigious) stash? I don't know, but I don't.

I have sufficient quantity in the correct weight of Karabella's Aurora 8 in red. Lovely yarn. Very soft. Lovely to wear. Not the right stuff for an AS aran.

But I'm going to "make it work".
so I cast on for Irish Moss and knit one skein's worth

And then ripped it out.
It's just the wrong yarn.
Not getting the right message though, I went through the books again and again, until I landed on the tunic version of Little Rivers - has a picot edge instead of ribbing at the hem.
Again, I've knit one skein's worth on this sweater.

The texture is just wrong. The tension is too tight. The resulting fabric feels spongy and sproingy, rather than supple.
This yarn needs to breathe.

This yarn needs to be knit into something like the B&B pullover , or the Anthropologie knockoff Truffle that dullegriet just made, or Bonnie by Fiona Ellis (Twist Collective).

It'll probably be the B&B pullover - I've had it in my queue for several years, and it will go equally well over a pair of jeans while on the boat as anything else.
Sigh, I just loved knitting that Little Rivers pattern. Easily memorized after the first few rows.
I need to sell off some of the yarn that I have in order to buy what I want.

from the Interweave Knits page where this pattern is available for download for $5 if you don't have the old magazine issue. (I do)

Caution to those who go about stash building: be sure you aren't going to change your mind on what you want to knit.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sayin' Hi and responding finally to that award

First of all, I have to thank, from the bottom of my heart, Cennetta, Barbara and Mardel, each of whom nominated me for the latest of the blogger awards to make the circuit. Especially since I've been a negligent blogger lately, at best.
Like Carolyn, I too have been one of those who've watched the blog awards circle around and have been among the last to rec'v one, which makes one feel a bit like the kid standing on the side of the field waiting to get picked (last) for the team.
I don't know who starts these blog awards, but they do seem to make the rounds every once in awhile. And of course, everyone has to get one.
And I'm just as thrilled as the next person to finally get picked for the team.

Seems kind of silly, no?
I'm supposed to pass it along. Well, if there is someone out there who hasn't been nominated yet, let me know, ok?
My congratulations go to Shannon of Hungry Zombie Couture, who lately received a blog award that is truly meaningful. She placed in the top 5 in the 2008 Canadian Blog awards. And she was up with some truly awesome competition - the likes of The Yarn Harlot for criminey sake! Whew!
I'd like to nominate Summerset for this blogger award too.
- Because her blog is one that truly is deserving of all the awards out there. Summerset's work is phenomenal - I've seen her work, in person. And she is meticulous about documenting the process, and shares her knowledge and her creative process Every Single Day. Who else can say that? We blog readers are truly privileged to be admitted into the creative process of Summerset's mind. And I haven't seen this award show up on Summerset's blog. Which is either a function of the fact that I'm as guilty of negligent blog reading as I have been negligent of posting lately - or else that Summerset has been overlooked in the latest round of blog award because everyone Assumes that she'll have received this award first go-round.

There are so many out there doing wonderful things with blogs that make me WANT to check in. Toby Wollin's Kitchen Counter Economics is the latest. Thanks much to Cidell for pointing this out.
And thank-you to Toby for being Real. If you haven't read this - go now. (then come back, ok?)

Next up, the knitting.

Tomorrow, if I can get the post written.
Tonight, it's my anniversary. dh and I have been married 8 years, today.

I just won a Bond Knitting Machine on ebay. Am I nuts? Probably.
But, Alexandra and MaryBeth, I'm going to be looking for help soon, I just know it. (MB, I'm very worried for you and your business with this nonsense about the lead-free legislation taking effect this month.)