Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Reunited and it Feels So Good!

Yes, my friends, it was the Owl!

Believe me, we all sleep easier now that Owl is back in the fold. We had been missing Owl for some time, and I kept hoping for him to turn up in some crevice of the sofa/car/etc. You can imagine the whoohoo I did when I casually clicked on the "lost and found" link, just out of curiosity, and saw our beloved.

I find it amusing that at least 2 of the three people who guessed Owl, are moms of tots. As FemiKnitMafia said: "I'm going with the owl. It's easy for a stuffed friend to fall from a stroller, and harder for knitting to leap from the bag." Good reasoning.

And the winner is:

In case you can't read that, it's:

Miss Yarn and Chocolate, if you would e-mail me: emily at emilyquilts dot com with your snail mail address I will send you your prize!

Thank you to all of you who left comments! In case you couldn't tell, I was really taken with the whole lost and found photo. I swear, they could open up a sunglasses store next door. And the whole project! How could you leave that behind? Really?!

Meanwhile, on the knitting front:

We have side-seam seaming.

Raglan seaming.

Neckband knitting.

This has potential to be my favorite sweater ever. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 29, 2006

It's A Race!

Hi everybody! Did you all have a good weekend?

We didn't go anywhere, as evidenced by the absence of a "am I packing enough yarn and projects" panic post last week.

We worked in the yard, played in the yard, had some friends over, bought me a gas grill for my birthday, grilled up everything in a five mile radius, and watched THE RACE.

I know many/all of you will find it hard to believe, little ole knitting/quilting/sewing/childraising me would be a die hard race fan. But it's pretty hard to grow up an hour away from Indianapolis and not be bitten by the excitement of the Indy 500. Listening to Jim Nabors sing "Back Home Again in Indiana", well, there's just nothing like it! And then... "Lady and Gentlemen, start your engines!" And then the cars rev, then the flag waves....

Here I am! Knitting and watching! That's Sam Hornish, about to overtake Marco Andretti on the last straightaway for the second-closest-finish in HISTORY!

And because I just couldn't decide which photo was the best, here is the moment that the same Sam Hornish ran over his gas-up guy's foot in the pit stop! Ack! (You can bet they reran that moment about a billion times.)

Sorry you can't really see the knitting in the photo. And I realized later that, in the excitement of the moment, I didn't take the time to "stylize" the background for the photo shoot. Yes, that is the back of our TV cabinet that has fallen out and we've just left it there. (Too Busy Knitting.)

But, the theme is "race" for more than just the Indy cars. I'm racing to get this black raglan done. I'm ready to be on to the next thing, already! I'm finishing the second sleeve, so hope to have something to show later this week.

And one note of the contest. Thanks to everyone who has commented so far, I've really enjoyed reading them! I'm going to close the contest tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon and announce the winner by tomorrow night.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Yarn, Horses, New Projects, and a Contest

I love yarn.

This girl loves horses.

So what could be more perfect on a sunny May afternoon that a big fancy horse parade right past the yarn store?

In a turn of events that actually had nothing to do with yarn, a local brewery was celebrating its 5th anniversary. They booked the famous Clydesdales to deliver fresh brewed beer straight from St. Louis up to Geneva, Illinois, for their celebration (I have a sneaking suspicion that the horses and beer actually came by truck most of the way) and they made a grand entrance straight up 3rd Street, right past the yarn store.

Of course, I was just in it for the yarn, but I have to admit the horses were pretty cool. A police car with flashing lights in front, the huge tall Clydesdales with their beautiful furry feet, and a huge wagon with 2 guys in costume at the top, (and a dalmation), the cases of beer piled high in the back.

They clip clopped past us down the street, we went in for a quick trip through the yarn store, we went back out and they clip clopped back up the street.

There they were, directly in front of us, when all of a sudden they stopped. "Poop stop!" somebody called out, and it soon echoed through the crowd. Sure enough, there was poop. Well, besides the 2 police escorts, there was a little golf-cart-like vehicle that putted along behind the grand horse wagon. One guy with a broom, and one guy with a shovel. I don't know what the women's job was, but I don't want it.

'Cause guess what's in the big red trash can?!

Molly was quite taken with the poop break, and I guess I was too.

Anyway. We've had a whirlwind tour of the yarn store, seen the horses, made our way back through the crowd, and are driving home. I see the horses again, they are now at the end of the street, parked next to the brewery. I point them out to Molly. This conversation follows:

Molly: What are they doing there?
Me: I guess they are making their delivery to the restaurant.
Molly: Poop?
Me: What?
Molly: Is that what they are delivering to the restaurant? Poop?

Apparently I didn't do a very good job of expaining the horses visit!
So, what have I been stalking at said yarn store recently? Louet Sales Euroflax Sportweight 100% linen.

This is so not what I usually knit, but I love this tank and want to wear it! Even if it takes me all summer because the linen is so hard on my hands (I did wash it first, what an experience, more on that later).

And if you've made it this far and are still reading--how about a little Memorial Day Weekend contest?

My LYS, Wool and Company now has a new blog. It's great! Go check it out. I mean it, that's part of the contest. Go check out the new blog. At the top, you will see a "lost and found" button. Who knew a yarn store would have a lost and found?

Click on the lost and found, and guess which item in the picture belongs to my household. (My darlings Jodee, Carla, and Lydia, since you already know, you can't be eligible for this, don't kill me!) If there is more than one correct answer, I will draw randomly from them.

Leave your answer in the comments. Here's the prize:

That's a skein of Tess Designer Sock Yarn, in a beautiful deep turquoise color, shot through occasionally with deeper royal blue.

How patriotic is that?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Let's Get Technical

I've been on a mission to finish this black raglan. You know when you knit faster because you are afraid you are going to run out of yarn, and you want to find out if you have enough to finish? I've been racing like that, because I want to find out if this "wrap around" theory is going to work, for adding width to the body.

Yesterday morning I had finished both back and front up to the armhole bind off. Even though I added some length to the sweater, I ended where the pattern said, at the end of the repeat for the center cable (it looks like a v with seedstitch in the center):

Yesterday I knit like mad and finished the back. It went faster and faster due to all those decreases! Love that!

And again, I followed the pattern exactly and ended at the end of the pattern repeat for the center cable. But here's my new problem. When I get to the end of the v cable, I still have 6 stitches too many. If I keep decreasing until I get the stitch count I'm supposed to have according to the pattern, I'll be ending halfway through another v. Not a good look.

You know I like to make my neck look nice, with the cables continuing into the neckband. See how nice the picture looks, with the v ending right under the neckband, and the little cables on either side continuing up through the neckband?

But where I am, I would either end at the v, where I'm supposed to, but have too many stitches for the neck, or continue to the amount of stitches I'm supposed to have, but end exactly 1/2 way through the v-pattern.

Good fit vs. good looking cables. I think I'm going to stay here, with too many stitches, and see if I can fudge it by doing some decreases in the first couple rows of the neckband.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hello, Tetanus Shot.

Here's the shot. Cool silver band-aid marks the spot.

Here's the reason.

Only it must have been positioned upside down like this:

cause that's how it drove it's devilish little spikey self into the bottom of my foot, as I bounded across the floor between sewing machine and iron.

Ye-ow. And since I can't even remember when/if I ever had my last tetanus shot, I got to spend the morning in the Dr.'s office, waiting for yet another little poke.

Well, it's been quite a while since my last sewing-related injury, so I guess I was due.

And here are the results of my happy evening sewing/soaking in hydrogen peroxide.

Mini-Totes. About 8" high.

Somebody stop me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tote Bag City

More photos from the Tote Bag Spree I've been on the past month. At the end I have answers to the questions you asked last time.

This blue and white one went home with my mom:

She is conservative and always wants everything in blue "so it will go with everything". But a bag should be fun and perky and the red really livens it up. Both fabrics are Kaffe Fasset. (Rhymes with "safe asset").

I gave this funky red Kaffe Fasset fabric and the red plastic handles to my sister for Christmas. Now I am finished with my Christmas gifts of '05.

Per her request, I put tabs in the center. She is in charge of sewing on a magnetic closure, snap, or doing a vintage button and buttonhole.

And now in better lighting, this one was "commissioned" by my friend Carla.

She picked out the fabrics. And did one heck of a job.

Another one for me, for my "blue and purple" days. (Like, every day.) Again, Kaffe Fasset fabric, with vintage (feedsack?) green and white print lining.

And a big one. I made this for the purpose of carrying stuff to swim lessons, but I have already used it to go to knitting guild, and was pleasantly suprised how much yarn and projects it will hold! I based the pattern for this one on an old canvas bag I have, similar to the LL Bean ones. It has a longer wider strap, and the bottom is black duckcloth, sewn right over the quilted fabric, so it is super-sturdy.

Here are the questions I received to my post last month, hope I didn't miss any.

Did you use a pre-quilted fabric or did you do all the layering and quilting yourself?

I did the layering and quilting myself. I used unwashed cotton on the top, cotton batting in the middle, and canvas or duckcloth on the bottom. Quilted it, washed it in hot water and dried it on high. That gives you the vintage, crinkly texture.

I can handle the tote part, just not the zipper.

I put a zipper in the first one I made--the red one from the March 25th post. Here is how I did it. I measured the inside opening and made a rectangle with a zipper down the center the size of the opening. That would be--two rectangular strips of fabric that I sandwiched, sewed around, and inside-outed so that all the edges were finished, sewed a zipper in between them, and planned it so that the finished measurement of all that would be the measurement of the opening. Then I hand sewed it in, about an inch below the top of the bag. And then, after a week of using the bag, I took the zipper back out! I just didn't like how it made the opening smaller and harder to fit things into, and generally made it more fiddley to use.

Did you use a pattern or just wing it?

I measured an old Target plastic tote that I really like. A 15" by 30" rectangle will give you a finished bag of approximately 10" by 12" with a gusset of 4".

A couple of friends are working on convincing me to open an Etsy shop. If the totebagfever continues into June when the kids are in summer preschool at the same time for a week, then I might get it together to sell a couple bags here on the ole blog.

I Have a Plan

Thank you guys for your really nice comments about Remembering Honey. *

Now, about that post last week. I was trying to be funny, but you can't win 'em all. You really don't think I would keep knitting another 12" on a seriously cabled sweater without a plan now do you?! Whether or not it is a GOOD plan, we will see.

What you are looking at here, is the original piece underneath, that will be the back. It is completed up to the armhole shaping. The piece on top is the front, with an additional 2" of moss stitch on either side.

The moss stitch will wrap around to the back and the seam will be 1" in, on the back side. With expert seaming (cough, cough) it shouldn't even show. I'm not quite sure how this affects how the sleeves sew in, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Do you notice how I'm using the word "we"? It makes me feel much more secure doing these crazy things, feeling like I have an army of knitters on my side. xoxoxoxo

*I felt really fat when I looked at the pictures, so Hello Anonymous commenter, I love you!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Remembering Honey
Interweave Knits, Spring 2003
Designed by Leigh Radford
Cotton Ease Strawberries and Cream, about 5 skeins.
Knit at 19 st. to make a slightly smaller size than the size large, and decrease the amount of "growing" of the cotton.

Comments: This was a fun sweater to knit. Just the right balance of stockinette plus something more interesting. There are 3 different lace stitches and none of them were hard, but I found the "bead stitch" (the one on the outside of the yoke) required a lot of concentration. The "purse stitch" (the larger, inner portion of the yoke and the hem) was super easy but seemed to take a long time.

In the end, I'm not 100% thrilled with a v-neck sweater. It's not my favorite sweater ever, but it fills a gap in my wardrobe for a dressier sweater than I ususally make. I've already worn it and got a lot of compliments.

And I love the lace edging on the sleeves!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Remembering Honey: the Finishing

Blocking on the striped beach towel:

Sewn up:

I think at one point, early on, I said something like "I don't look very good in v necks, but I'll deal with that when I get there." Last night I got "there".

I pondered sewing on tiny buttons with crochet loops, I thought about sewing it up the center and having a crew neck, I thought about attaching I cord around the neck so I could tie it shut with a little bow.

When in doubt, often I opt for knitting it as the pattern first, just to see how it turns out, being prepared to change it if I don't like it. That is what I did. Here I am knitting the neck extensions:

Sew it down and I'll be done!

Friday, May 12, 2006

To Be Filed Under: "What Was She Thinking?"

Spring of 2005. She decides it would be nice to have a cotton aran sweater for cool summer nights.

She picks out this: Hush from Rowan's The Calmer Collection.

Casts on and completes the first sleeve.

(Close-up for texture)

Casts on and knits about 10 inches on the front, when she realizes that it is a few inches too small. It goes into the closet, never to be heard from again.

Spring 2006. She decides it would be nice to have a cotton aran, for cool summer evenings. Picks out a Debbie Bliss pattern from Cotton Knits for All Seasons.

Casts on a sleeve (black Cotton Ease from stash).

(Close up for texture)

Knits about 3 inches of the front when she realizes that it is a few inches too small. THIS TIME, however, she soldiers on, hoping that the problem will go away.

Knits about 12 more inches and the problem has not gone away.

THIS TIME, however, she photographs it, hoping that, if she blogs about it, the problem will go away....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back to the Knitting

Remember when I used to knit?

And then I would blog about it?

That was fun. Let's try to do that again.

Thanks for all your comments and suggestions a few weeks ago about the Remembering Honey sleeve-gathering-issue. I took Elizabeth's (Trope) suggestion--thank you!- and took it off the needles:

I'm trying it on:

I decided to rip. (It was only an hour or so of work so really, not that painful.)

Here is the first finished sleeve:

Close up of the lace:

I am having a lot of trouble loading my pictures for the blog. I use Hello, and when I try to sign on, it says "The UI failed to initialize. If there are no other running copies, you should reinstall." I have un-installed and re-installed several times and still no luck. This happened to me a few months ago, and that time it just eventually started working again.

I can load them through blogger, but it is agonizingly slow, and has a limit on the number of photos per post, so I can't do my normal picture-heavy blogging.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it.