Thursday, April 28, 2005

The State of Things

The state of things is, well, I'm tired. I need a big ole shot of enthusiasm! We had a wonderful time in Paducah, it was quilt and fabric overload, as usual.

Here are Mom, Allison, and me with Sophie in my friend Laura (of Artfabrik!)'s booth at the show.

And here I am with Laura herself, dyer of extra-ordinary fabrics and threads. Those are all her fabulous little quilts in the background. Sophie could care less about the quilts, she is fascinated by the shiny name tag.

ALERT! Knitting content ahead! FO!

Here is my mom in her swanky new poncho. I told her to "act natural", but I assure you, she does not walk around with her arms out like an airplane, most of the time. Thanks to the Rend Lake Artisan's Shop and Visitor's Center for graciously lending their yard for our photo shoot. And I mean it when I say "photo shoot", since it took about 35 pictures to get this so called "natural" one.

So, here ends the traveling portion of the program. I am not usually such a jet-setter (given that three of my recent trips were to Paducah, Racine, and Tell City, and no jets were involved, the term jet setter may not apply, I'm realizing). But it has been way more than the usual amount of traveling for me in the past two months. (Three opportunities for Mommy to get away and re-charge, and of course they all come within the same month.) Now it is time to stay home and take care of the home front.

The status of my knitting projects, brought to you by Coddiz the Hedgehog. There is no significance to having a stuffed hedgehog in the photo, he was there, he is cute.

Pale purple under Coddiz: Mariah, awaiting her zipper. Moving clockwise: un-dyed yarn for Rowan Martha. Are they going to kick me out of the knit-along if I don't start soon? Next: the purple Koigu chevron scarf for my mom. Slow going -plus- she won't wear it til fall -equals- no motivation. Large pink thing: the hourglass sweater in summer tweed. This is currently my main project. A couple of socks thrown in for the heck of it, they will likely languish until fall.

Lastly, the big white blob is my Sitcom Chic, needing only a couple of bands and a button (I've even woven the ends in already, yay me) but I can tell its going to be too big, the arms are nearly long sleeves, and they're supposed to be three quarters! So it not only needs finishing, it needs FIXING. Ugh.

And this is state of my flowerbeds, after a year of neglect. Yikes. Where do I start? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Where were you?

Status: Mom's Poncho, done. Sitcom Chic: 2 more bands, then done. Photo shoot soon, gotta round up my little "helpers".

With almost a clean slate, I needed some more projects. Yesterday I was awakened by a soaking wet baby at 4am (note to self, buy next size up diapers). I tried to go back to sleep, but had too much on my mind (burning question: What To Knit Next). I had intended to poll you all, to help me make a decision, but where were you all at 4:30 am? You had better things to do than show up in my living room? I had to make an executive decision.


Miss Dashwood hat from Knitty. This is a "product" project for sure, as I did not enjoy all those bobbles, but its going to be cute as heck. Miss Sophie is going to her first big quilt show this weekend, and she will be decked out, assuming Mommy can get her rear in gear.

In the "process" category, I also need some more travel knitting. I bring you the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

I'm using Rowan Summer Tweed, recycled from a half-finished-and-abandoned sweater project from last year. I love this color, and I was suprised to find out how much I like knitting with this stiff yarn. The gauge is different than the yarn in the pattern, so I'm having to make adjustments, and I am vowing to be patient with this sweater. The stockinette portion will be perfect for knitting on the road this weekend, when I go here. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My Brother's a Blogger

Hop over and check out my little (but bigger) brother's new blog, and see his awesome vest. I'm so proud of him!!! Then check back tomorrow and help me figure out what to make next.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Big, Quilty, Week

Occasionally some quilters stop by and leave comments on my blog and I always appreciate that, even though I rarely post about quilting. Here is a detail shot of the quilt currently on my design wall, to prove I am still a quilter. I have a solo show coming up this summer at Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie, Indiana (the town where I grew up) and I am working to get this quilt finished in time to hang in that show.

This has been a big week for quilting in Chicagoland. We start with the big quilt festival in Rosemont last weekend, which I wasn't able to attend this year due to too much going on with the family. But fellow bloggers Melody and Cathy have a few things to say about it on their blogs. On Monday, German quilter and friend (that I had never met in person) Annedore and her husband Michael took the train from Chicago (they had come for the quilt festival) out my direction to see the Keiko and Friends exhibit at the Fine Line. Anndeore had a quilt in the show. I picked them up and took them to the exhibit and then to my house for more quilts. Here they are in my studio:

I love meeting people from around the world and learning about our similarities and differences! What a huge treat it was to meet Annedore and Michael.

Then, later that same day, a wonderful friend from much to far away, Cathy of the funny blog, came to visit me. This is what Cathy does when she comes to my house:

She organizes my life. She takes meaningless piles of stuff and makes it beautiful. Doesn't this just make you want to sew a quilt?!

Cathy organized my life on Monday night, and Tuesday we drove up to Wisconsin for the PAQA retreat and class with Japanese quilter Keiko Goke at the Sienna Center in Racine. We sewed, saw friends from far and near, ate, knitted, and had a rockin' good time.

Here are Melody and Frieda "taking a break" from quilting, to knit. Hmmm, I think they took a very, very, VERY long break.

Here is Cathy showing-and-telling her quilt.

Here I am showing-and-telling a recent quilt.

After the evening show and tell, we got raucous with song. Here are Laura, Pat and Amy leading us in song.

Are you here for knitting content? Behold!

My trusty travel knitting, the Sitcom Chic, which has journeyed through several states in the past few weeks, is almost done. I bound off the neck the day after the quilt retreat. Then I noticed something.

What the bleepity-bleep is this?!?!?!

I fear that I zigged when I should have zagged, or knit when I should have purled. Looking at the bound off edge and all those SSK decreases that I was going to have to run down, I gave it the old "galloping horse test". You know, the "If a person rode by you on a galloping horse, would they notice the mistake?" I'm afraid that the rider on the galloping horse took a look at my sweater, stopped dead in his tracks, and said, "What the bleepity-bleep is that?! Woman, were you trying to knit while singing raucous songs with a bunch of drunken quilters?! Fix that at once!"

So there you have it.

To Be Continued.......
Posted by Hello

Friday, April 08, 2005

Project Panic

So, if you tuned in yesterday to find a half-baked, I mean, half-done post, I apologize. I am having a trying time with Blogger, and fiddled with it all afternoon before it ate my post. Yum.

Here's the thing. My mom was here for several days. My mom rocks, she cleans, she watches the kids so I can do adult things like drink a whole cup of coffee while reading e-mail uninterrupted, and she even tinkers with knitting.

While she was here I felt tiny responsibility pangs toward poor, neglected Mom's Christmas poncho, so I dutifully resurrected it. So, this week my project menu consists of the Sitcom Chic, and the poncho. Two projects. Just two. A little Project Panic, anyone? Project Panic, in case it is not obvious, occurs when I have less than three projects OTN. (That's "on the needles" for you less familiar with the knitting-lingo) (Kenny).

As if: I get a last minute call to fly away on a jet plane, or more realistically, I need to drive off to the ER, and need to grab my knitting bag at a moment's notice with a project ready for hours of mindless knitting to see me through. The thing is, in this case it really is irrational, because both the Sitcom Chic and the neverending poncho ARE hours of mindless knitting, and I really don't need a third.

I guess I have misdiagnosed myself then, its not Project Panic, its Project Boredom. What I really need is a jazzy project to lift my spirits.

Behold, I bring you thus:

Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. No guilt, because it is also for my mom. But its not as exciting as I had hoped. The problem is, its not, well, very chevron-y. Technically, I knew it would do this, for two reasons. First, I am using a very low-contrast colorway of KPPPM, and second, the pattern calls for using 2 different color combos and I am just using the one. It may be put on hiatus until my mom can see it next week and approve it, at which time it might be frogged and turn into something more lacey.

The pattern was fun, though, so I will definitely return to it sometime. What did I do to deserve the half hour of Pure Knitting Enjoyment in the middle of the day, you ask?

I let my son play with pins.

Pin sculpture created by five year old son. I know, I know, you are reaching for that pen to nominate me for Mother of the Year! I have discovered what holds the magic fascination for a five year old: it's pins! What Cheerios do for a nine month old, keys for a two year old, post-its for a three year old, tape measure for a four year old, its pins for a five year old. Keep them at rapt attention, quiet, for half an hour.

Its a win win situation. He gains eye hand co-ordination, I get a beautiful pin sculpture, that I can cherish forever. Either that, or another half an hour of work for me to return my pincushion to usability.
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Still Trippin

Back from NY, we had a wonderful time, thank you for asking. We came, we saw, we got rained on mercilessly, we danced, we drank, and I used the breast pump in the wee hours of the morning.

The wedding was wonderful. The couple was adorable, and very happy. Good thing Lisa (the bride) is not superstitious, as the Pope died and it rained like a monsoon on the day of her wedding. The wedding hotel, The New York Palace Hotel, was right across from St. Pat's Cathedral, and we could hear bagpipes from somewhere in the streets of New York that evening as we were going to the wedding.

So, to be filed under "more details than you cared to know" we walked around all day Friday and Saturday and saw our old favorites: our old apartments at 210 West 10th Street and 95 Christopher, my favorite fabric store Paron, (didn't buy any fabric since the "fabric wing" of our house is already full), Macy's, ABC Carpet, Fish's Eddy, Strand Bookstore, Bleecker Street, Washington Square Park, Jefferson Market, Espirit, Paul Smith.

We had margaritas at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame (best frozen strawberry margaritas in the world) and the spectacular Cabeza de Ajo. I might be spelling that wrong, but it means "head of garlic." Imagine this, a large garlic head, roasted so the garlic is soft, sweet, and spreadable, on a platter surrounded with toasts, melted cheese, and some kind of green pesto (best guess: cilantro, tomatillos, and jalepenos). You spread the garlic on the toast, top with cheese and green stuff, and it is the ultimate in deliciousness. It tasted exactly the same as it did ten years ago. (Tracey kept commenting that it was really fifteen, but for simplicity's sake, I'll round down to the nearest ten.)

And yes, we did go yarn shopping. I didn't knit ten (fifteen) years ago, so this was all new. I had a prioritized list of several yarn shops, but, due to the monsoon, we only made it to one. Purl, in Soho. It was a typically teensy shop, but packed to the ceiling with pure yarn ecstacy. The main thing they had that I hadn't seen around here were the new Rowan yarns, cash soft, and cash cotton. I was too overwhelmed to buy anything for a big project, though.

Here it is, my stash acquisition. On the left, is one skein of Colinette Prism, destined to be a scarf for moi. On the right, two skeins of Koigu KPPPM, intended to be "thank you for enabling such a wonderful weekend socks" for Mom. In a suprise maneuver, Mom has asked for a scarfy thingie instead, so they will be a shortened version of the "Chevron Scarf" from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Another picture from the trip: cool prezzies for the kids. Although I'm not sure I can really part with that quilty coloring paper.

And here come to the part of the post where I talk about knitting. After the finishing frenzy of last week, I was left with only one project on the needles, the Sitcom Chic. This, my friends, is the perfect trip knitting. Straightforward, with lots of stockinette, but a few details to keep it interesting. I finished both sleeves and attached them to the body while on the planes. Now I'm yoking around, approaching the eyelet detail. Can't wait to wear this sweater!

And since I've been home I've cast on another project.

Its April, after all, so I have decided it is time to finish up my Christmas knitting. This is the second half of the poncho I gave my mom. It is the Sidewinder Poncho from Iknitiative. I'm hoping to finish it before she leaves later this week. Posted by Hello