Thursday, March 31, 2005

Diary of a Photo Shoot

That's it. Two people commented on American Idol. No comments on my fabulous knitting projects, its all about reality TV (we'll talk about that later, 'kay). That's all the egging on I need to broadcast onto the World Wide Web my opinions and predictions on the Idol.

I Love Bo Bice. BoBice. Say it with me now, BoBice, BoBice, BoBice. If I weren't a happily married woman (Hi Honey!) I would marry BoBice, younger man that he is. My prediction for the final two is, you guessed it, BoBice and... Carrie. I'm not a fan of country (but Carrie, if you sing a little Mary Chapin Carpenter I'll be your friend forever) but she is supremely polished and consistent. I also root for Nadia and Constantine to round out the top four. (Note to Constantine, please stop undressing me with your eyes, I would like to watch you sing, without blushing and having to look away, thank you.)

Knitting Content? You're here for Knitting Content?! Well, if you're still reading this far, then, Congratulations! You Win Reward! Whoops, that's a different show.

Tuesday night I finished not one, but TWO BLUE LACY THINGS! Both will go with me tomorrow, when I get to be a free-and-easy young thing in New York City. I will not cut anyone's meat! I will not wipe up coagulated yougurt under the table! I will have long, uninterrupted conversations with best girlfriends, and there will be alcohol involved. There will be yarn shopping, fabric shopping, and ethnic food not easily found in midwestern suburbs!!!

Without any more delay, I present you with "A Good Bias" from the Spring Interweave Knits. Cotton-Ease, 3 skeins, on closeout sale at Hobby Lobby.

Not bad, when your photographer is five, and not getting paid.

Close up of the stitch. Now three year old is getting involved, when Hello Kitty camera no longer cuts it.

Things are getting a little out of hand. I included this picture in the interest of full disclosure.

Here's a picture of the capelet. *
Pattern: made it up. Yarn: Fleece Artist kit (kit for a long scarf--I squeaked the whole thing out of one scarf kit) from Wool and Company.

*Head-cut-off is the photographer's personal artistic statement, not just one of those ordinary head-cut-off shots you see around blogland.

Close up of the stitch. Imagine how shocked I was to see my mother's hands in this shot.

Here is the jacket for the wedding, finished as of last night. ("Finished" is a relative term. In this case, it is not lined, but it IS hemmed, and the hem is from real thread, not scotch tape.) See Mom? Thanks for the offer, but I don't need you to come sew me into it at the last minute.

Close up of the fabric and three vintage buttons. Hooray for the button box! Have a great weekend, everyone!!!
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tales from the Trip

I'm back, with artifacts. For knitting content, hang in there, its at the end.

It has been a long, hard, journey, filled with emotions, tears, laughter, and quite a bit of mucous. A special shout out to 16 year old cousin Daniel, rumoured to have had the flu at the funeral, who has spread that joy throughout southern and middle Indiana up into Illinois and beyond. I'll spare you the details of my van's transmission, going out the day before the trip, and the cheesey rental van, which did have one thing going for it in that it was quite a bit cleaner than my van, even with the previous passenger some kind of long-haired shedding mammal, probably a bear.

OK. I have returned with a few special items that will find a new home in my house, and constantly remind me of my grandparents. There were two particular things that I have always wanted, and of the 2 children and 8 grandchildren, no one wanted these items, so I am thrilled. The first is from my grandpa, it is a quilt he made when I was a teenager. I am pretty much positive it is the only quilt he ever made; my grandma was the avid quilter. But there was a time when my grandma had been sick and not doing her usual sewing, and I remember visiting them on the farm and grandpa showing us the quilt he had made from our old Raggedy Ann and Andy sleeping bags.

Ladies of Gee's Bend, eat your heart out.

The other item is one of my grandma's everyday dishes. I was always fascinated with it as a kid, I guess I had never seen a divided serving dish anywhere else, call me sheltered. Anyway, I love it and it reminds me of good farm food, green beans in one side and corn in the other.

I atually have the whole set of these dishes, because it turns out that no one else really wanted them. The other five cousins didn't want much of anything from my grandparent's household, so my brother and sister and I, partly from being sentimental, and partly because we just like old stuff, ended up with several things.

I have 2 of my grandma's quilts, one with some groovey polyester print dresses, and the other from 70's calicos. I also took her deviled egg dish, and her roaster. (Which I find hilarious, because of all the great farm vegetables we had down there, we never had a real turkey for Thanksgiving, it was always turkey-roll.)

So, what did I do knit-wise? I knit a bit on the Sitcom Chic, which is without picture today, as it looks like 12" of white stockinette, so I'll spare you. More interestingly, I finished up the knitting on "A Good Bias".

Here it is blocking on my bedroom floor (using fancy bathtowel blocking method).

I also finished up the Fleece Artist capelet, pictured here draped artistically over a chair. Tonight I'll sew on a button and weave in ends during reality-TV-aton. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Happy Easter

My yard, accessorized with 800 eggs. Knitting update tomorrow. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005

Freudian Slip

So, I called my sister this morning, because she had e-mailed me that she had one skein of Noro Daria and wanted a pattern to make a change purse. Can I tell you how THRILLED that my little sister and little brother are knitting, and ask me for help?!?

So, I called her up, (and she has caller ID) and she answers the phone, not with Hello, but with "YOU'RE A PSYCHO!" Pause. "Oops! You're a PSYCHIC!" As in, she was just thinking of calling ME. Oh well, I think she got it right the first time.

So, I told you that I was going to get my act together, my projects organized, prioritized, situated. I am concerned that I don't have anything chic to wear to NYC at the end of the month for friend's wedding. This is pretty much a cover up for: about to drive 3 small kids 5 hours by myself and then go to a sad funeral and then do whatever I can to help my mom sort out the rest of her life and then come home feeling helpless and crappy.

So I go to my LYS and find this.

This is Fleece Artist. It takes my breath away! Not only is it periwinkle, it is very very PALE periwinkle. It is a medium size skein of both Rapunzel, and Slubby. It is a kit for making a long scarf. I have started a capelet. I'm going back today to see if they have another kit, but I might just squeeze a whole capelet out of it. Here's the start.

 Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Pile O' Projects

Pile O' Projects Posted by Hello

A description of the projects, clockwise from upper left:
Mariah, awaiting zipper. Above that, fabric: jacket to be sewn for friend's wedding. Below that, light blue: A Good Bias shrug, about 75% done. Dark green: Koigu sock (second sock). Pink sweater: originally for February fix-a-thon, replacing button bands and cuffs. Black swatch: potential for little caplet. Dark plum: poncho for my mom, half done. White: Sitcom Chic. Green Trekking sock: for son (second sock). Green in center: Teva Durham turtleneck shrug from cover of Scarf Style book.

In case you can't tell, I've been stressed out and a little distracted recently, evidenced by the number of projects going on. Firstly, its that time of year when there is a re-evaluation of works in progress. Spring is approaching, the new magazines are popping up, the stores are loading up on spring yarn. You start to realize that you aren't even going to wear that wool sweater after you get it finished.

But I have other stuff going on, my grandpa died this week. He was 95, had a wonderful, full life, and it was expected. Nevertheless, I wasn't prepared for how sad I would be when it actually happened. So, I am preparing for a trip next week, and will need some mindless knitting for sitting around reminiscing with family.

I was also invited to a friend's wedding next month, which will involve a trip to NYC with a girlfriend, where I will attempt, in 2 days, to shed my jelly face wipin' mommy-self, and be the hipster I used to be.

I have been pulled between casting on new and exciting things, things to wear in NYC for the wedding, needing the closure of finishing off old projects, and worrying about having good mindless knitting for the upcoming trip.

Hopefully, I can get this organized in the next day or so and prioritize. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A couple of people have asked about the modifications I made to Mariah. I had a basic plan, which was to rip back to the top of the arm, continue with the big cable across the shoulder and over the hood, and at the same time do something to bring the neck in as it was very wide (see February 18th post).

With those general plans, I made up the specifics as I went along. I will try to give as complete details as I can, but please don’t ask me for stitch counts! First, I didn’t keep track of them, and figuring it out from the finished garment would be tedious or impossible. And second, I changed the stitch counts on the body of the sweater to accommodate my different gauge, so they would be meaningless to anyone except a person making size “somewhat bigger than large, but smaller than extra large”, and getting gauge of 4.63 SPI.

1. At the top of the arm, (don’t let this be dictated by where you are in the cable, it should be dictated by fact that the sleeve sits at the top of your arm.) you are supposed to stop the cable pattern and go back to the cable/rib pattern (as on the cuffs). Ignore this and keep knitting the big cable pattern. (My raglan measured about 6” at this point.)

2. I kept knitting, decreasing for the yoke, and doing the cable pattern, until my raglans measured 10” (measuring diagonally right up the raglan seam.)

AT THE SAME TIME: What I did for the back neck. I found that when I originally made this sweater, the neck opening at the hood was too large and caused the sweater to pull to the back and just feel really loose. I made 2 darts to bring the back more securely up around my neck. When the back length measured 18” (about 2 inches below the back neck) I knit about ¼ of the way across the back, k2 tog, place marker, sl 1, k1, psso knit across until you are the same distance on the other side, and do it again. This is just like some of the shaping in the pattern for the hood. Keep doing these decreases on the right side, and purl across on the wrong side for 2 inches, and you will take away approximately 20 stitches, or about 4”. If it still feels loose when you try it on, you can bind off the back neck to give it more structure. I bound off tightly, on the wrong side row, the last row of the yoke, and knit in pattern to the end. When I was coming back across on the right side (first row of the hood), I picked the stitches back up. Instead of picking up in the first stitch below the bind off row, I just picked up one thread, the bind off thread, to make it look neater on the wrong side, where it might be seen.

Back neck from the outside

Back neck from the inside.

AT THE SAME TIME: What I did for the front neck edge. When I had completed the rows that the pattern specified for the yoke, instead of doing the garter rows, I went straight across with a 2 x 2 rib, reminiscent of the rib at the bottom, but without the cables, for about 1.25”, then bound off that portion. Again, I did this to bring the neck in a little. It would have looked a little better if I hadn’t gone on quite so long, but say la vie.

Now, the raglan measured 10”, I had bound off the front rib, bound off the back neck, it “felt right” when I tried it on, like it was ready for a hood. At this point, some major magic happened. My raglan decreases had eaten up all of the sleeve up until exactly where the reverse stockinette stitches on either side of the big cable began. So now I started the hood. I knit 1 edge stitch (slip the first stitch of every row purl-wise, and knit the last stitch of every row.) 2 garter stitches, the rev. of the cable, the cable (same cable- just as it was all the way up the arm and shoulder), knit across the back hood, and the same on the other side.

If you made the “darts” on the back neck to pull the neck in, you will want to add these stitches back in over the next few rows. Basically, you will want to come close to the same number of stitches as the pattern specifies for your size on the hood, keeping in mind that adding the cable will make your hood smaller than the original, so you might want to compensate. (The hood on the original was quite roomy, so if you have slightly less stitches, I think you would be fine.)

What I did to add the stitches back in, was knit 2, make one, repeatedly across the back, on two different rows. It made it a little ruffley, and this is one thing I would do differently, but I didn’t think it was bad enough to rip it out again. I would increase out gradually, by doing something like the darts in reverse.

href=' 8 blog Mariah modifications 0065.jpg'>

Once I was going around on the hood, it was straightforward. I ignored the lower hood shaping directions, since I did the bind off/add back in thingie, above. I just knit it straight, with the cable on each side.

The only thing at this point, is to figure out where you will end the hood and make the cable symmetrical. I just knit and knit and decided I would worry about that when I got there. The finished hood is supposed to be 14”. When I reached 10”, I measured the hood and analyzed how long a cable repeat was. I figured I would either end it at the cable break, where you do the reverse St St rows, or in the middle between the break, so there would be one full portion of the cable between the break parts, centered on the back. I figured, between those 2 possibilities, I would be able to end it within a inch plus or minus of 14”.

It worked out perfectly to end it in the middle of the cabley part, and you could bind off and sew the sides together, fold it in half and do a 3 needle bind off, or kitchener the 2 sides together. I opted for the kitchener, see previous post as that is a whole adventure in itself.

And one more note, I still don't have a zipper, so there will be an anti-climactic photo sometime on an eighty-degree May day, of me wearing my finished Mariah!
 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

False Alarm

Ok, I read it again tonight (the pattern for A Good Bias) and it says "kitchener, matching pattern" NOT "kitchener in pattern". Good thing I didn't know that. There is probably a difference. Anyway, I'll worry about that when I get there.

Meanwhile, I cast on a new project today. The Sitcom Chic (too tired to link it, you all know it anyway). And I'm feeling guilty about a languishing Christmas present, a half-done poncho for my mom. I'm probably going to see her in a week or so, and she could be wearing it soon as the weather warms up.

I am now halfway done with A Good Bias! I hope to have pictures tomorrow as well as the post about the modifications on Mariah hood, but I am having frustrating problems getting my pictures to load. Bear with me, I am technologically challenged.

I am also having trouble replying to the comments. I try to reply to people, but sometimes I have no info who they are, other times I can figure it out, but my e-mail bounces. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, March 07, 2005

 Posted by Hello

I Love My Hood

I love my hood. I love my hood. I love my hood! I'm going to marry my hood. You are all invited.

So, I finished the hood the other night. I must have some good knitting karma, because the cable reached the halfway point right at 14", where the hood was supposed to end, so I could have the reverse stockinette break in the cable symmetrically balanced on either side.

I thought about binding off and sewing the hood seam, or (my favorite) folding the hood in half and doing the 3 needle bind off, but in the end I decided to be daring and kitchener it.

I am doing "A Good Bias" from the newest Interweave, and on the back, (I read ahead, fancy that), I am supposed to "kitchener in pattern". I never even knew it was possible to kitchener in pattern. I have only kitchenered sock toes and bag straps, and can only just now do it on plain old stockinette without reading the instructions.

So, deep breath, and knowing it was "theoretically possible", I decided to kitchener the cable in pattern. It took the entire evening, and I think I held my breath the entire time. When I finished, my body was stiff and my heart was racing, and I think I set the world record for breath-holding. Too bad my husband was asleep on the sofa and not holding a stopwatch in one hand and the Guiness book address in the other. Seriously, it was the most challenging thing I've ever attempted in knitting. And, it is seriously not perfect, but I think it looks pretty freakin great, and I am very proud of it!

A couple of people have asked me to publish my modifications to this already great pattern . I have been working on writing them up all afternoon, and hope to post them in the next day or so. Putting instructions in writing definitely gives me even more respect for the talented pattern designers.

Posted by Hello

Friday, March 04, 2005

Here is the picture for the post below. Posted by Hello

So Close, and Yet So Far (Redux)

Ok, this is the second time with this sweater, that I have a post entitled "So Close, and Yet So Far". Not a good thing.

When I photographed the sweater for my last post, I thought I had about 8" done on the hood (of 14" total). When I sat down to start knitting again, and measured it, it was 10.5". Bonus! That's like finding a twenty in your coat pocket from last season!

So, I was fired up and I knit like crazy, finishing the hood last night. I want to show pictures, but I need to go out and get a new camera battery first. So, that's the "So Close" part of the story. Here's the "So Far":

Oops. Apparently ordering a zipper online from a color card on my computer monitor is not the way to go. These colors are pretty accurate, the zipper is much pinker than the sweater. I went to Joann's a couple of weeks ago, and the closest color (they only had one shade of lavendar) was much brighter than my yarn. I had heard good things about Zipperstop, and they have 3 shades of lavendar, so I thought I'd give it a try.

At first, I thought I was crazy to pay $6 for a zipper (with shipping), but when I realized that I'd pay double that for buttons for a sweater, I thought I'd give it a try. I could have sent a swatch of the yarn, but I was too much in a hurry and I thought I'd get lucky. Anyway, I am regretting that decision big time.

All I have left to do is steek it and sew in the zipper. I could be wearing this sweater tomorrow! I am going in search of zipper this afternoon, if I come up empty, I'll either mail order again or wait until I go to NYC in person in April.
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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Pastel Chick

Normally I don't think of myself as a pastel person, but I did notice a trend when I was photographing my three current projects for this post. Oh well, I guess that means spring is here!

I took a few days off from Mariah, because the size 4 addi's and all the hood purling was hurting my hands. Then I realized that since I was knitting flat again, I could go back to my Bryspuns. Voila! Much more pleasureable knitting= big progress on Mariah. I knit several inches on the hood yesterday, which means this baby could be done within the week! I am wearing it as I type!

Love it!

(Or I could just bind off right now and have a big vampire collar. )

Molly says, "Gimme another cuff and block me, Baby!" Straightforward pattern, 3 balls of yarn, no further explanation needed.

This is my new project: "A Good Bias" from the new spring Interweave Knits. Pale blue Cotton-ease, a new favorite yarn. This was my Oscar Knitting, good thing the show was pretty much a bore, because the pattern took a lot of concentration. I have never done lace before. I think I have a better grasp now, but it is definitly not "Knit with the kids around" knitting.

Which gets me to thinking, if I'm going to finish Mariah and Molly within a week, I'm going to need more mindless knitting on the needles to avoid Project Panic. Socks will do in a pinch, but a day or two and that's enough of that. Got to start rummaging around for the summer yarns......

Posted by Hello