Thursday, September 29, 2005

Week in Review

So, Saturday morning, I had a little crisis. I was on my way to the grocery store, anticipating a week long stream of visitors coming to wish a little certain someone a happy fourth birthday. And I really do love having relatives visit, but it is understandable that it is a little stressful. So, facing the cooking of a big birthday meal, the making of a “pony cake” (which I had no clue what I was going to do, and I hate ponies anyway) and the arrival of several people and 2 big dogs, I had myself a little pity party. I have lost my creativity, I haven’t had a quilt on my wall for four months, I’ll never make a quilt again, I’ll never be an artist, I hate knitting, what’s this knitting anyway, it’s not creative, I have no creativity....blah blah blah.

Fortunately, I’ve been through this enough times that I can usually talk myself out of it fairly easily (after a good cry). And my favorite place to cry is the grocery store parking lot. So by the time I was on my way home, I was refreshed, recharged, and ready to do my creative best to make the best d*mn pony cake any four year old has ever seen.

And yes, I used a whole bottle of freakin sprinkles.

Subject: stress. Next up: my house*.

We have lived in this house (the house of my dreams, mostly) for eight years. We have never liked the color, (Benjamin Moore #352, “dried blood”) (yes I made that up.) The dark red color is charming, in its own way, but it is just not us. We have wanted to change it for eight years, but haven’t been able to justify the expense, when it didn’t really need it. Now we are changing it, to what I have always wanted. Pale yellow. The palest yellow you can get while still having it look yellow.

So my painter guy, Erik, started on Monday. Now it is transformed from an ugly red house to a freaky albino house.

Even part of it is half red, half freaky white. Yea! And if it keeps raining, it will look this special for a long time.

Garage sale! House painting! I will take full credit for the ending of the drought in Illinois!

And yes, there is knitting content! I have been busy stressing out, but I have not forgotten about our Survivor Contest. Tonight I will be knitting on the never-ending French Market Bag. And who will be voted off? My guess is that Stephanie is not long for this show.

Don’t forget to leave your guesses: tell me what you are knitting and who you think will be voted off. No one guessed correctly last week so the field is still wide open.

*The person acting dorky in the window is a stranger who broke in. I most certainly do not know him. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 23, 2005

French Market Bag

I'm sure some of you suspected that the mystery project was a French Market Bag. It's for my mom, who has really gone above and beyond the call of duty this year to come up and help me with the kids. She was here all last week, helping me with some pick-up/drop-off situations when I had to be in two places at the same time. She only reads my blog occasionally, when she is at a friend's house with a computer, and even if she does read this, she doesn't know what a French Market Bag is, anyway.

So I'm knitting away the past 2 nights, hoping to finish the bag for this weekend. I have the gnawing feeling....somethings not right.....somethings not right......I continue, feverishly.....

But you can only ignore that feeling so long when you are running out of yarn. I still have dozens of increase rows to go to get to the required 200 stitches, plus 10 more rows up the side of the bag, plus the accent on the strap, and I only have a few yards of my blue skein left.

I check my gauge. Ok, my gauge is way too loose. (I was knitting loosely on purpose so it would felt better, but I have gone overboard and am getting 15 st. instead of 18.) That must be the problem, so I rip.....

...almost to the beginning. I tighten up my gauge. I am stockinetting around like crazy, a couple more inches, when I decide something is definitly still wrong. What's up with the bowl shape?

This is supposed to be the FLAT bottom of the bag. Apparently I am knitting the French Market BOWL. I kept thinking, you really must have to block the heck out of this thing to get this to be flat. Duh! Checking the pattern, I discovered that I was completely ignoring 4 of the increases, every other row, thus the bowl.

Back to the beginning, AGAIN. I could have just subbed in the same picture from before, but I took a new one, with a different background, for variety. Nothing but quality here folks.

Here we go, two nights behind on the FMB, but at least my mom will be getting a bag, not a bowl.

In Survivor news: no-one scored last night, the field is still wide open! Anyone can still join. The Grande Prize is your choice of colorway of Fleece Artist sock yarn! And there will be another yet-unnamed prize sometime in the middle, for everyone who participates, TV watcher or not, so thanks for all your comments!

Lastly, see how pale and grey it was in Chicagoland this morning. This picture is for Sandy.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Post All About Yarn

Firstly, Target Yarn.

The news on the big knitlist this week is that there is yarn at Target. Ordinarily, the words "yarn" and "Target" used in the same sentence would send me into a rapturous frenzy similar to the first advertisement I ever saw for "Isaac Mizrahi at Target". But, I remained skeptical, since we were all had a false alarm last winter when there was supposedly yarn at Target, and it turned out to be kits, and they were not all that great. Nevertheless, needing to do a little birthday shopping anyway, I scooted my heinie over there pretty quick to check things out.

I looked all over the craft (I use that term loosely) section, til I had to ask a sales associate. It turns out, it's in the "dollar spot", right next to the front door. Yes, the dollar spot. The yarn was not that great, there were 3 types, a mohairy blech, an acrylic boucle in some candy colors, and some little flags, pictured below. Yeah, the colors were just ok, but seriously, a skein for a dollar? It would pretty much have to be yarn rolled in dog doo for me to pass it up for a dollar.

I bought two.

Secondly: Stash Sorting.
One of the reasons that I got all fired up about knitting again this week was because I got to take a class on Saturday with Knitting Goddess Sally Melville (author of The Knit Stitch). The class was based on her earlier book Sally Melville Styles, which is mainly about using up your scraps.

Not to give away a bunch of information from the class, but I will tell you a little thing that really inspired me. She advised us to sort our stash by color. Most of us keep our odds, ends, and leftovers in a big bin similar to this, my "Before" shot:


When you look at a sweater, the first thing your eye sees is color. Before texture and fiber content. So when you are looking at the ugly color mish-mash above, you will never see a sweater.

When you organize by color, you start seeing pleasing combinations that could work into something new:

Here's a close up of my greens:

And my favorite, a close up of some reds and purples. I can see a fabulous scarf in there!

Lastly: Prize Yarn

After mulling over the possiblities of a fabulous yarn prize for the Survivor Challenge, I decided a trip to LYS was in order. I wanted to find something that might be a little out of the ordinary, that might be hard to find. My LYS usually has a pretty fantastic supply of Koigu (get it-starts with a "k") but it is a little low. It also has some fab Kureyon, but I haven't seen that around the blogs so much recently, is everyone maxed out on the stripey goodness?

Then it hit me. Fleece Artist. Not available in many yarn shops in the US, and its utterly fantastic. I have made one pair of socks out of it, and it is the only sock yarn that has the silky feel of Koigu, IMHO. It is also the only one that is as random as Koigu, but the colorways are more subtle.

So, here I present you with the Grande Prize, your choice of Fleece Artist sock yarn. The top one is a gorgeous dark "midnight purple"or "inky purple", with lighter purples thrown in for even more beautification.

In case there is anyone out there who is not a purple person, the bottom on is a slightly safer, but equally beautiful blue, deep dark blue with denim and a little royal.

How I am going to save these for 13 weeks, I have no idea. I'm going to have to bury them deep in the closet and forget about them.

Don't forget to vote! Have a great evening!
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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Survivor Contest!

Here it is, ladies and gentleman:

The Survivor Contest!

Years ago, I was invited to be in a Survivor fantasy league by a friend's husband. Part of me can't believe I'm admitting this publicly, but I hold nothing back from you, my knit-buds. So anyway, it was really fun, you just had to guess who was going to be voted off every week, and at the end of the series, I had the most correct guesses, and I won. By a lot. The next season, he made a big deal about challenging me, and I won again. I wasn't invited back the following season.

Anyway, that friend's husband is no longer in the picture, but I do miss the Survivor Challenge. So I bring it here, and I combine it with knitting, and most importantly, I offer valuable yarn prize(s) at the end!

It's very simple. Just tell me in the comments 2 things. 1/What you will be knitting, and 2/ Who you think will get voted off.

You can tell me in the comments to this or any post prior to Thursday night's viewing. I will keep track of the guesses in a very scientific way, utilizing scrap paper and post-its. At the end of the season, very valuable yarn (I haven't decided yet, but it will probably be something starting with a "K") will be awarded to the person who has the most correct guesses.

Need not be present to win!

Although I might be guessing, I will not award the yarn to myself or anyone residing in my household!

Friends and neighbors welcome, spread the word, and be sure to leave guesses!

If you don't watch Survivor, you are welcome to leave a comment as to what you are knitting anyway, and you just might win something too!

If you don't watch Survivor, feel free to guess who get fired, or make a comment on the Donald's hair!

So, what will I be knitting? It's time to update the ole sidebar, and present you with a current Parade of Projects.

Category 1: Things that are finished but need to be "fixed".
Here's the old Goa sweater free pattern from Rebecca online. Kind of snuck that up on you, didn't I? It went so fast, once I committed to it, that I never got to blog about it. It is finished (Ignore those dangling ends) but it doesn't look good on me. The neck is weird. I may cut the front and make it into a cardigan. Definitly not TV knitting.

A re-visit with the finished VK bolero. You can see more at my August 9th post. I wore it to Stitches and decided that it definitly needs 3/4 sleeves. Probably not a TV project either, but I need to get busy with this, because Iwould love to wear it.

Next up, Koigu lace scarf. Definitly NOT good for TV knitting, or as Melody says "after one glass of wine." Yeah right, Melody, "one." Here it is half blocked and half un-blocked. (Jan, this picture is for you.) I got curious after about 8 inches and blocked it while on the needles.

Of course, sock mates make for good mindless knitting, but not necessarily interesting blogging.

Then there's the Teva Durham turtleneck shrug from Scarf Style, out of Misti Alpaca. I have one sleeve done. It really is hard to photograph a dark, long, skinny tube of ribbing, but I did my artful best.

More candidates. The dark swatch is Soho Tweed for the cabled coat in the picture, "Willow" from Rowan's A Yorkshire Fable. The periwinkle swatch is Rowan Cork for Kathy and Moll from The Cork Collection. The pink Cotton Ease is for the sweater on the cover of 1000 Sweaters. All of these are top contenders, once I cast on and get past the first repeats. I am really dying to get a good meaty sweater back on the needles.

And last but not least, my best option, but its a secret present. I know some of you can guess what this is: mindless knitting, 3 skeins Cascade 220 with 1 skein contrast.

In summary: my knitting will be the purple and blue mystery item, and my guess will be the guy who got the thorn in his shoulder and threw up on the first episode.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Feel the Love

I Love Knitting!

It's amazing what a week-long reduction in knitting time can do for your love of knitting. After a stressful summer and a bunch of just-ok projects, I am now feeling the love in a big way.

It's only been three days since the Garage Sale FH, (and I promise, this will be the last reference to the garage sale) and lookie what I have made!

The top sock is On Line, the bottom is Opal. Did I mention that somebody around here loves tigers? 44 and 48 stitch socks. Is there anything faster, cuter, more satisfying?!?!

Speaking of socks, I'm noticing something. It seems that when I am stressed or frustrated, I cast on a new sock. Here are the socks I have finished this summer.
I think it's time to buckle down and get these single girls married off!

And here's a newsflash: In my optimism that I will be getting to blog a little more these days, I am cooking up a *CONTEST*.

Tune in tomorrow, for the announcement of the little **NAME THE SURVIVOR KNITTING CONTEST** Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Should've Been Knitting

I have learned a few lessons this week.

1. Emily + garage sale = disaster.

2. If you are having a severe drought in your part of the country, and the weatherman says "No rain for the next week," call me up to hold a garage sale in your driveway, and I guarantee: Rain.

3. I really REALLY like knitting.

So, last night, garage sale madness over, and hoping a little relaxation would ease the severe muscle cramp in my neck, (which possibly was worsened by the maniacal behavior of a dozen five year olds hopped up on cake and lemonade at a Chucky Cheese birthday party, I can't really blame it all on the garage sale) I cast on a little sock for my 3yo.

Look at this. Its half a sock. Granted, its for a 3yo, but still. Half a freakin sock. I forgot how much I usually knit, during those times that I'm not caught up in garage sale madness. And I do, really, LIKE to knit. If I had knit all week last week, instead of working my fingers to the bone getting ready for a cold rainy day to sit in my garage and wait for the people to not show up, I could have made, at least, 3 small socks.

So, to sum up. I am really really looking forward to my regular boring life this week. Driving the kids around, laundry, knitting. Seriously, fantastic.
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Thursday, September 15, 2005


(Absent, Due to Garage Sale Prep)

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Who knew a garage sale would be so much work?! And worry?! (Will people show up, will they like my stuff, will they laugh at my junk) And teariness?! (Awww, he was so cute in that....awww, I remember when she wore that....)

But don't worry, all the dusty baby gear will go on hold for one hour tonight; I wouldn't dare miss the beginning of reality-show-knitting-season!

Somebody needs a button band.

Tune in next week for your regularly scheduled knitting programming.

Meanwhile, go check out my sisters FABULOUS HATS. My talented sis Allison has finished her website and it is spectacular!!!!

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Quilts Comfort America

If you are thinking constantly about the way to help those in need on the Gulf Coast, please send in a donation to the Red Cross. In Chicagoland, the Lowe's stores are matching dollar for dollar all the donations, and Quilts, Inc. has announced that they will match up to $10,000 all the donations that quilters make to the Red Cross. All you have to do is e-mail them and tell them how much you are sending.

Also, many quilters have UFOs, or old class samples that we don't use anymore, or maybe just an old quilt that we made when we were a beginner that we just don't use. Quilts Inc. (located in Houston where many refugees are coming) will collect and deliver DAILY, any quilts that we are able to send. Twin size are preferred. Nothing smaller than a baby quilt. All these refugees are decending upon the Astrodome and there is a shortage of bedding.

They will also accept clean sheet and blankets. Please go to and read the details, and make a donation if you can.

I know I have a baby quilt upstairs left over from a show. I'm going to rummage around and see what else I can find.