One of the comments that is often left on these Thursday posts is, "There are no words." And while this week's entries may elicit stunned silence from many readers I think I've found a few words to sum it all up.
Thanks to readers Carrie and Tami for sending me this!
I can't believe I've not only cut all the triangles for the hexagon quilt but I've completed 67 blocks! As Amanda pointed out it's a lot of sewing and pressing. The hexagon "blocks" are actually two halves of a hexagon. You piece the final quilt in half-hexagon strips. There are still over 30 hexagons to put together. I've been chain-piecing the hexagons. First I stitch two triangles then another two from the same hexagon. I place the stitched together triangles on my ironing board with the two still loose pieces. I do this for a giant stack of triangles. Then I press open the two partial hexagons and place the remaining triangles in the right position to stitch. I do this for all the pieces. Then I chain-piece the last triangles and end up with a huge garland of half-hexagons. I press them out and pin the two halves together. It goes pretty fast. Fast being a relative term here. It definitely goes way faster than the first one that I stitched then hopped up and pressed then stitched then hopped up then stitched, etc. That one took forever. On the plus side it was practically an aerobic activity.
Then I put them up on my "design wall."
This is just my first pass. I divided them up into color stacks then just thwacked them up on the wall. I've already found that if you start to move one hexagon it sparks a chain reaction and I start to want to rearrange the whole thing. There are definitely a few blocks that simply don't fit in right now. I'm really anxious to finish the rest of the blocks and see if they help smooth out the transitions or take the whole thing in another direction.
Cheryl asked, "Will you quilt it yourself or hire it out to do?" To which I say, I can't believe I got this much done. I haven't even thought about what happens next!
Saturday I taught my first class on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket. After class I found myself alone and completely free of commitments. Wes and the boys were away. So I took myself to brunch and brought my newly started BSJ with me to work on. While I knit and ate (not at the same time) I flipped through The Opinionated Knitter and just fell in love with everything in it. I want to make all the patterns. Twice.
BSJ in Fleece Artist Sea Wool
Fast forward to last night. I wanted something simple and mindless to knit. I had just finished a plain hat in Cascade 220 for Dulaan on Saturday. I cast on for another plain hat in Rowan Big Wool scraps a customer gave to me to use for charity knitting. I cast on just after dinner and cast off before I put the kids in bed. Now that's satisfying knitting!
The super-fast Big Wool hat got me thinking about another big hat, the Spiral Hat, from The Opinionated Knitter. As I thought of this I turned my head and saw my bag of Avalanche yarn from Ryan. Of course. So I cast on. And knit. And knit. Wes came in told me he was going to bed. Uh huh. Knit. Knit. Knit. Finished! It was 1:30! Crap!
It's awesomely funky though and so much fun to knit.
Wes took the kids to see his parents this weekend which left me with the entire day to myself on Sunday. I got One-Block Wonders from the library a few weeks ago and am really fascinated with this style of quilt-making (I've seen from some online reading that the technique is similar to Stack-N-Whack). You create hexagons, or octagons, that are kaleidoscopic. Unlike Stack-N-Whack you don't have to do all the fiddly little bits of piecing to make them into traditional square blocks. The quilts in the book are very abstract and really fun. I spent some time at the fabric store on Saturday and picked out a very silly fabric.
This gives you some idea of what finished blocks will could look like.
I picked it mostly because I liked the shades of green in it punctuated by some very small bits of magenta. I cut and cut and cut.
On Sunday I spent a solid 8 hours sewing and pressing. I have 38 completed hexagons and about another 38 that are half-done. There is still a big tower of triangle waiting to be stitched together.
For kicks I laid out some completed blocks to see what they might look like.
I like the colors a lot and I have a much better sense of what to look for in a fabric if I want to do this again. You need BIG prints which are hard to come by in a quilting store since most quilt fabrics have very small patterns. I'd also lean toward something slightly monochromatic with only one or two accent colors.
I still have a huge amount of work to do on this but it was a really fun way to spend a quiet day alone, listening to This American Life.
With my Sockapalooza socks out of the way (thanks for the compliments though I did notice that deodorant dude got my more comments than my most favorite pair of socks ever. Not bitter or anything, just saying.)I started hunting for a new project. I haven't worked on a new sweater lately and I've been thinking I need more spring/summer weight sweaters. Something simple to knock around in. I pulled out my blue Cotton-Ease and my stash of All Seasons Cotton. I started to dream up a multi-colored top-down sweater in the ASC maybe with set-in sleeves. I went through books, magazines and Ravelry for inspiration. Then I just wimped out and started a sweater from the Mission Falls Simple book. I originally planned on making the Bay Cardigan but it just looks so frumpy in the photo and I was thinking of a simple pullover. So I started the Bay Funnel Neck Pullover. I won't do the funnel neck, just a simple crew neck. The cable and lace pattern is simple and fun to knit. It did give me a pang of longing to start my Katharine Hepburn Cardigan but that is a wool sweater and I don't need a wool sweater right now.
I'm wearing my Sitcom Chic right now. I haven't worn it at all because when I finished it I wove in all the ends then clipped off the excess. Unfortunately there was one end that didn't get woven in but did get clipped leaving a hole at one of the underarms. I finally pulled out a sharp needle and some more pink Cotton-Ease and fixed it up.
One last note, Caryn, mentioned a new free online photo editing site called Picnik. Then in a strange confluence of events my photo editing software refused to open. So I tried Picnik out and I like it a lot. It's very simple to use and can link directly to your online photo sharing account.
Pattern: Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks The Rock (Lightweight) in Mist Needles: US1 Addi Turbos Notes: These were an absolute delight to knit. The pattern is simple, beautiful and fun to knit. The yarn is delicious. These are my favorite socks ever. My socks pal's foot is the exact same size as mine which makes giving these away even harder. I hope my Sockapalooza pal enjoys them.
Things are not looking very happy on the pet-front. Hugo (beagle) continues to decline. The lesions in his mouth are spreading quickly. He's bleeding a lot. It's not fun. He looks sad and tired most of the time. Then, just as Wes and I start talking about taking him to the vet to be put down, he rallies. He's happy, he's playful, he's jumping. Then we feel awful for even thinking of ending his life.
Zasu (cat) has decided that she doesn't want to be left out of the sad-decrepit-dying pet scene. With her 20th birthday rapidly approaching her health seems to have taken a sudden downturn. She vomits all the time. Sometimes there's blood in it. She's thin, creaky and old all of a sudden. On Saturday I turned the corner in the kitchen and found her crouched in an odd position. I got down on the floor and called her to me. She just yowled. Wes came over to see what was going on. She stayed in the same position yowling. Then we realized that Wes and shut the under-sink cabinet doors on her tail and she was yowling because she was stuck! Oh dear, I'm still laughing at that one.
Once I finished the first leg, I picked the second one back up. The barber-poling is slightly different on the second sock but not as different as I feared. I knit these while watching Tsunami: The Aftermath last night. I was worried it would be exploitative. It wasn't. But it also wasn't that good. The POV was entirely Western. They also failed to embrace the enormity of the event. It should be called, "Tsunami: That Terrible Thing That Happened to Westerners While Visiting Thailand That Taught Them All Valuable Life Lessons."
Pattern: (I can't come up with a name I like)designed by me Yarn: Dazzle the Llama handspun by me Needle: US5 Addi Turbo Notes: The idea behind this shawl was to have the diamonds get progressively more open with a lattice lace pattern as the shawl progresses. This lead me to thinking of possible names like "Opening Windows," "Dazzling Lattices" (for Dazzle the Llama who gave his fleece) or the uber-dull "Progressive Lattice Lace Shawl."
If you live in the Puget Sound area, fill up your tank, grab your friends and hit the road for the 2007 LYS Tour. Twenty stores, three days. If you hit them all you can enter the raffle for a $400 gift certificate for the store of your choice. Each store will be giving away a unique single skein pattern.
If you stop by the Fiber Gallery you can get the pattern to knit Terra Bear, knit in Cascade Ecological Wool, designed by me.
I will not be hitting the road. Instead I will be taking five boys to get hamburgers and see Shrek the Third and then sleep over at my house in celebration of my son's birthday. Light a candle for me.
Yesterday did not turn into a full-on disaster day. For clarification I'd like to point out that I did not think I was a terrible mother for not knowing all the various Pokemon crap my kids have. My child thought I was a terrible mother. And then I told him he could bite me then...nah, just kidding. There was lots of apologizing, hugging and a trip to Target to secure the right game.
Yesterday also got better when I went to the Seattle Knitters Guild. Our guest last night was Sally Melville. She was lovely, charming and funny. She gave a talk on "10 Things Knitters Don't Like to Hear." It was a list of all the infuriating things people say when you're knitting in public, why they're upsetting and what we, as knitters, would rather hear people say.
I've got a few inches done on my Sockapalooza sock. I was doing them two at a time on one circular (partly because I could only find my 40" US1 Addi). I ran into trouble when I had to knit two stitches together and there was a whole other sock between the two stitches! So one sock is "resting" right now. Hopefully I can get them back on the same needle to do the heel and foot so there's some hope that they'll be similar if not identical.
The yarn is creating a barber-pole effect, which normally I don't think I'd like but in this case the spiraling of the color matches up really nicely with the cascading pattern.
1) It is my older son's birthday. I bought him the Pokemon game off of his wishlist. It turns out he bought one already with his own money. I am a terrible mother for not knowing this even though he didn't take off his wishlist. I have now made my son cry over breakfast on his birthday.
2) The cat threw up under my desk. I found out when I put my bare foot in it.
I just finished binding off my shawl. It's in the "looks like a wadded up Kleenex because it hasn't been blocked" phase.
I had my camera with me at work today and snapped a picture of the new shawl shop model I started based on Evelyn's workshop last weekend.
Sorry, it's right side down. A little more on Evelyn Clark's new book. I think it will be more of a booklet. It will be published by FiberTrends and I'm visualizing a format similar to their magic loop book. The book provides instructions to make a lace shawl in multiple sizes and gauges using four lace patterns that you can mix and match. The sample I'm making for the shop is in Artyarns Silk Rhapsody. It is terribly yummy.
Yesterday Wes, the boys and I went on a little adventure. We took the bus downtown then got on a ferry and went to Bainbridge Island. I love going over to Bainbridge. It always feels like I'm really going on a trip even though it's 30 minutes from downtown Seattle. The fact that there's a gorgeous yarn shop there doesn't hurt either. Our first stop was the Streamliner Diner for some lunch. They were selling t-shirts that had the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry timetable printed upside down on them. I didn't get it. Wes pointed out that it was you could look down and your shirt and read the ferry times. Oh. The boys and I really loved the Eagle Harbor Book Company. It's a beautiful store with a fantastic kid's section.
When we finally made it home I was completely zonked. I took a little nap because my best friend was having her 40th birthday party last night. I woke up just before the party started. I think I was still half-asleep when I left the house. When the front door opened the house was filled with women all dolled up in dresses, high heels and make-up. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I told Wes after I got home that I am really bad at being a girl.
Today we had a Mother's Day brunch at Lola. I wanted to have a nice outing for once on Mother's Day. I hoped that between the bacon and the fresh donuts, the boys could keep it together. And they did! They were really well behaved and we had all had a great meal. They gave us all "Mom" tattoos with the check.
The restaurant is attached to Hotel Andra. The bathrooms are in the hotel lobby. I took my youngest son in and we each went into our own stalls. When I got out I found him sitting on the bench. "Did you wash your hands?" "I used the short sink in my bathroom that squirts water." We washed his hands together at the "big sink" with soap for a long, long time. After Wes and I explained what a bidet is for. Later my son told me, "I didn't know I was washing my hands in a toilet."
The Peruvian Highland Wool Baby Surprise is all done.
I won't be seaming it up until I show it to my students later this month (I'm teaching a class on it)so I won't weave the ends in until then either. I haven't decided which side is the outside.
I also cast on for my Sock Pal socks. I'm making the Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks in Socks That Rock in the Mist colorway.
My shawl is 90% done. I could finish knitting it this weekend but I don't even have the edging designed yet. I'm off to buy some large graph paper.
My BSJ is also cruising along. I only work on it when I'm out and about. I had the nagging feeling when dropping the kids off at school this morning that I missed an increase. I'm about to take it for a walk and will investigate.
[Sorry the site was down for a while today. We were switching hosting services.]
Wes got me a gift certificate to Fancy for my birthday last month. Today we got together downtown for a de-li-cious lunch at Le Pichet. Wes had a pate plate with honeyed walnuts and stone-ground mustard. I had the eggs broiled with ham and gruyere. Then we shared a dessert called "Pets de Nonne." It deep-fried pastry dough with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Oh man, good. I was worried that my French is really rusty because I knew the dessert was "Nun's [something]." I assumed it meant some kind of black and white thing. When I got home I ran it through a translator and found that it's "Nun's farts." They taste much better than you'd think.
I took the opportunity to visit the entire suite of shops--NancySchmancyFancyPants. Schmancy features unusual and handmade toys. Nancy carries stationery and original artwork. Fancy has unique jewelry and gift items. Fancy shares its space with Pants which has lingerie. My gift certificate was for Fancy. I was looking for earrings but left with a totally cool ring with a compass built into it.
[I tried to upload a photo but my camera and computer are having some kind of spat right now. I'll add it when they kiss and make up.]
What a fabulous long weekend. On Friday morning I loaded up my car with yarn and needles, picked up two friends, and headed north. We visited four yarn shops, had lunch and strolled through the town of Mount Vernon. I tried out a Majacraft Rose spinning wheel and I do believe I am in love. My other great discovery of the day came at the Red Apple Market in Mount Vernon. (They had Mexican Coke! Coca-Cola in the US is made with corn syrup. In Mexico it's still made with sugar. Wes and his co-workers have been buying it by the bottle at a local restaurant and have fantasized about finding it by the case. The clerk at the store looked at my like I was crazy when I lugged a full case up to the register.)
We arrived at the "cabin." It's less of a cabin and more of a gorgeous summer house. Thirteen knitters in all including Evelyn and the organizers. We were fed, we sat and knit and took in the sunset.
Sunset on Friday night
On Saturday we has a leisurely morning then class began at 10. Evelyn has a new book which should be available soon from Fibertrends. The book gives a mix and match format to create a triangular shawl using four lace patterns. We were given all the materials from the book but also given the opportunity to design our own pattern.
A Rose-Kim Original
Evelyn had mentioned to me a month or so ago that she hoped some people would use handspun for their shawls. I was a little concerned that I did not have time to spin a shawl's worth of yarn. Then, while organizing my stash, I found that I had already spun a shawl's worth of yarn. Bingo! Dazzle the llama coming right up.
The house where we stayed was called Eagle Point. There were sculptures of eagles everywhere. I fully expected to see an eagle while there. I didn't. As I complained to my traveling companions on the way home that we hadn't seen any eagles I had to screech to a halt.
There was an American Bald Eagle standing in the middle of the road in front of my car eating a flattened possum. I managed to grab my camera and snap this picture before he flew away. The sucker was ENORMOUS. Note his size in relation to the hood of my car. And he was at least ten or fifteen feet away from me. It was kind of amazing.
We took our sweet time heading home, stopping at few more yarn shops, touring the city of Mukilteo trying unsuccessfully to find a yarn shop that turned out to be closed on Mondays, eating lunch in Edmonds and toodling through the shops.
I got home just before five and in time to pick up the boys from childcare. I called out to my oldest son, who looked at me and said, "I thought Dad was picking us up." "It's great to see you too, honey." Then I called out to my younger son. "I thought Dad was coming." "I missed you too."