A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

January 31, 2009

Cupcakes Make Everything Better

Giant Americano joined by tiny cupcake.

Friday is my day off. Most weeks I completely fail to plan anything and end up kind of wasting the day. Not this week. Amelia was looking for someone to join her for a little knitting and hanging out. We agreed to meet at Trophy Cupcake. Then I found out Rebecca was having a day off too. I invited her along as well. Then Amelia was running late and didn't have my number. She called Jeanne who also happened to be free. So we all got together and had a lovely morning of knitting and chatting. Then Amanda called. She came over too. Amelia had to go before lunch but the rest of us went out and just generally had the nicest time. We wrapped it all up just in time for me to go pick up the kids at school. I wish all Fridays could be like that.

With all that great knitting time I made a lot of progress on the GLMC.

And I started my fourth NaKniSweMoDo sweater too! I didn't mean to. Honest. But I made a swatch and well...you know where that leads. I'm making the Asymmetrical Cardigan from Knitting Nature in Noro Cash Laine. It's long-discontinued 80% wool and 20% cashmere. Mmmmmm. This stuff is nice. Also nice to have something on larger needles that is less chart-intensive than the GLMC.

January 29, 2009

The Short Row Shaping

Several of you asked me to explain the short row shaping on my sweater in greater detail. In The Opinionated Knitter, Meg Swansen adds in a note about the fair isle yoke sweater "consider working 2 or 3 sets of short rows at the base of yoke." She goes on to explain that the short rows should work well into the front of the sweater (10-12 sts in). So here is what you do.

Just after joining the sleeves to the body knit around until you are 10ish stitches into the front of the sweater. Wrap and turn. Work until you are 10ish stitches into the other side of the front. Wrap and turn. Work back until you're 5 stitches shy of the wrapped stitch. Wrap and turn. Do the same for the other side. You can then work a third set of short rows or continue knitting around, picking up the wraps and knitting them together with their stitches as you go.

That's it. It subtly raises the back of the sweater and doesn't interfere with the pattern at all. I forgot to do this on my son's sweater I knit recently and it shows. The front of the neck is too high and it makes the fit of the sweater look decidedly homemade.

Granny Smith Fair Isle Cardigan

Pattern: Fair Isle Yoke Sweater Made Entirely on Circular Needles by Elizabeth Zimmermann from The Opinionated Knitter
Yarn: Cascade 220, colors 8914, 8010, 9441, 8401, 9341
Needles: US6 and 4 Addi Turbos
Notes: I added my usual waist-shaping borrowed from the Retro Prep pattern. I made the sleeves slightly wider at the cuff than usual and lengthened them a bit. I didn't put in buttonholes since I never button my sweaters anyway.

I love it.

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I wish I could show videos every week. Somehow a video of a horrible design just brings the awfulness to life. I was going to post a few items from the new Vogue but now you can watch them move around set to wretched music!

Click here then click on the "Bold and the Beautiful."

Mostly I'd like to call out garments #2 and #3.
#2 has pretty much everything wrong with it I can possibly think of. It's super-bulky, screaming yellow, cropped (!), dripping in bobbles and has a completely weird collar. Other than the fact that it is knit and made of yarn I can't find anything to recommend it.

#3 worries me deeply. The model in the video is holding the identical pose as the model in the magazine. This tells me that if she moves at all something terribly wrong about this item will be revealed (other than the huge gauge and crazy-short dolman sleeves).

I was finally able to find the most crazy items from the fall TNNA fashion show. I warn you. They are crazy. Kuh-razy. The insanity begins around 6:25 and peaks around 7:06.

I don't know why it never occurred to me to knit a vest out of chinchilla fur and feathers...

January 28, 2009

Work With Me

Theo Chocolate held a "Stitch & Sale" event tonight. They invited knitters and crocheters to come by, sample chocolates, nibble on snacks, knit, crochet and buy chocolate. It was fun and they put out quite a spread. I think they were a little shocked by the massive turnout.

While I was there. I completed my fair isle sweater. I finished binding off the collar, I wove in all the ends and stitched down the inside of the steek. I got many compliments on it.

And everyone asked, "How long did it take you to knit it?"
"Two and a half weeks," I told them, brimming with pride.
"Oh," they all said like that was the standard answer.
You could at least pretend to be impressed.

Doubleknit #14

The new podcast is up.

January 27, 2009

Another Collar Set Back

My theme for NaKniSweMoDo this year seems to be "screwing up the collar." The first sweater the collar screw up was in the pattern (and I still need to rip it out and reknit it). Tonight after I bound off the last stitch on my fair isle cardi I saw immediately that the collar was HUGE. After a lot of staring and counting stitches I realized that I had forgotten the final set of decreases in the yoke. What a screw up. I was in such a hurry yesterday trying to get the steek sewn before leaving for work that I just skipped the last part of the yoke. I've ripped it all out and am starting again.

January 25, 2009

Warning: You May Die from Laughter

Best Songsmith ever on Wes's blog. Most of these are merely dreadful but this one...this one is beyond the pale.

Cardi, TNNA and Dog Update All Rolled Into One

I must be having blog-related dementia. I thought I had blogged my progress on my granny smith green fair isle cardigan when I started the sleeves but now I see that I never did. Last night I started the colorwork.

If you recall I choose two dark red/purples that were way too close in hue and value to use in the same fair isle pattern. I started a half-assed mini-swatch yesterday to after sketching out some ideas for color placement. I was thinking that I would go to the shop and get a skein of very dark gray to sub in for one of the too-close colors. As I worked along I kept thinking, "This needs more contrast." I decided to throw the granny smith green in and the colors really popped.

I also nearly forgot to throw in a few short rows to raise the back. I'm glad I remembered because it helps the fit so much on this style sweater.

So I should be done with this sweater in a few more days. Next will be a return to the Giant Latvian Mitten Cardigan.

I never really blogged about TNNA, did I? The winter show is smaller and slower than the summer show. It makes sense. Going into spring yarn shops see a big slow down. I felt the mood was kind of gloomy. Wholesalers didn't have much of anything new to offer. There were new cotton yarns but I don't find those very exciting and we don't stock many. I also didn't see any strong color trends. Last summer the color trends were very clear.

There are a lot of modestly priced shawl pins and sticks coming out. Brittany has one (see picture below); Lantern Moon has expanded their line of shawl pins; One World Button has some; Annie Adams expanded her line (one of hers is in the photo below too). Lantern Moon has also come out with some really beautiful crochet hooks in both ebony and rosewood.

TNNA swag includes the two shawl pins I mentioned above, a chicken kitchen timer from Blue Sky Alpacas and a simple tool case.

Books were being handed out left and right though most of them have been out for some time already. Some new books that I saw preview copies of that look really nice are Sock Innovation by Cookie A. (see preview here)and Simple Style (preview).

One good tip I learned from the ladies at the Eucalan booth is that it makes a good dog shampoo. We tried it last night on Isabella and she is very soft and shiny now. They also pointed out that eucalyptus and lavender are natural flea repellents. The flea population in Seattle is so vigorous that I would not rely on lavender-scented shampoo alone unless I was washing her every day. But it sure smells nice.

We stopped by the vet yesterday to get Bella her rabies shot and we put her on the scale. She weighs 100 pounds! I was so shocked I made Wes reweigh her twice. I knew she was huge but holy crap. 100!

January 23, 2009

Maybe This Was the Problem

Remember how this summer my neighbor got all tweaky about our rented goats. Maybe she was worried about her car getting boosted.

January 22, 2009

Here's a Headline You Don't See Every Day

Former French President Chirac hospitalised after mauling by his clinically depressed poodle

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This? TNNA Edition

Pictures are not allowed at TNNA and unfortunately everything from last weekend's show is still under wraps. So I'm going to share with you the biggest, most Thursday item in all of TNNA-dom. It's been at every show I've attended so far. I've searched high and low to find a photo to share with you. I can't find one. But I did locate this video of last year's fashion show. If you're impatient you can jump right to 3:48.

Sadly no video can do justice to this creation. Every time I see it--and you see it a lot at TNNA--I instinctively reach for my camera. That is after I recover consciousness.

January 20, 2009

Yes We Did (Cry)

Wes and I got a reservation at the Palace Kitchen for their inaugural breakfast celebration this morning. It was really something. I cried. Often. I can't quite put into words what moved me so much but I know that when President Obama spoke of the future of our children's children I totally lost it.

Here's to a better future!

January 19, 2009

Jiggity Jig

TNNA was good, but not great. I don't have the wherewithal to do a whole big write up right now. There was lots of cool swag so I'll try to coral some photos. I did not take any photos while I was in San Diego except this one of some Elvis impersonators congregating in front of a Mexican restaurant and this one at the airport before I left to prove that I was actually in San Diego.

January 17, 2009

Vogue Knitting Preview

It's up. And chock full of big ass knits. Aren't they over yet?

January 16, 2009

With the Knitterati

I'm in San Diego. I know most of the country is being gripped by brutally cold weather but damn, it's hot here. Blech. Anyway, managed to bump into a whole group of people I knew while trying to find something for lunch. So I had great company for lunch. Heading to the fashion show. I'm sure much of it will be very Thursday, if you get my drift. More later.

January 15, 2009

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

After last week this tea cozy doesn't seem so bad.

I mean, there's something crazy and kind of cute about it in the abstract. But I still can't imagine drinking a beverage that came from inside that pink fuzzball.

By chance it ended up next to another photo in my file that makes me fear that everything is now evolving into pink fuzzballs.

Now that they've come for the children I worry what's next.

January 14, 2009

I'm Leaving How Soon?

Yikes. I leave for TNNA on Friday morning. I feel so unprepared. Is anyone else going? Want to meet up?

January 12, 2009

Knit On

This color just makes me happy.

January 11, 2009

File Under OMG Cute!

Amy Butler purse stickers!


Pattern: #11 Forestry (Old Penny Cardigan)by Veronik Avery from Vogue Knitting Fall '08
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Solids
Needles: US3, 4, 6 and 7 Addi Turbos
Notes: This pattern is a mess. Errors I found included this found on Ravelry, "Under ‘Left Front” the instructions on “next row (WS)” following the next (dec) row after the ribbing should read: P3, K2, work row 1 of Right Coin Cable……. As published, the instructions leave out the K2, which places the coin cables in the wrong place on top of the ribbing and doesn’t separate them from the right twist." Also the number of sts to bind off at the sleeve caps is incorrect. I knit this in the round instead of pieces so I used EPS to guide me on the number of sleeve sts to set aside. The number in the pattern is far too few. The collar is totally wrong. It doesn't tell you to use the smaller needles used on the other ribbings. I opted for a smaller needle but not quite as small (4 instead of 3). The placement of the increases is, I believe, incorrect. The placement of the short rows is incorrect. I had to guess where exactly they were supposed to go. I placed them on the outside of the markers instead of the inside. Now that I muddled through I'm noticing from the photos that I must have done something different from the original.

The final blow this sweater has delivered is that it is probably a bit too small. I went for negative ease because I prefer to wear cardigans open in the front. I still need to give this a good soak and blocking so it may be all right. I may need to tack down the collar too because as it it's threatening to roll.

I feel I can now say that Vogue patterns suck. Putting aside the much loathed "Right front: Work as for left front reversing all shaping" which I've never seen in an IK pattern the amount of errors is really awful. I couldn't find any errata on Vogue's site for this pattern but the amount there is pretty staggering. 22 of the 37 patterns have published errata which doesn't include this sweater. That's over 60% of the patterns with published errata. The previous issue has errata on 48% of the patterns. For comparison, IK's fall issue has errata on one pattern. And the previous issue has errata on three patterns.

January 9, 2009

Melusine Inspiration

I'm generally not a huge fan of The Anticraft. Yes, they did have an issue devoted to bacon. But how many impalement themed hats does one need?

But today I saw this new shawl and I have to say I am smitten.

The pattern on the shawl is a very simple leaf lace (okay, they call it scales but I see leaves) but the hand-painting after the shawl is knit is really lovely. I'm deep into sweater mode but I will definitely tuck this idea away for another time.

The name of the shawl, Melusine, has had me thinking all day about Possession which features epic poem about the creature. It's a stunning book. I highly recommend it if you haven't read it.

January 8, 2009

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I once claimed to have found the world's least appetizing tea cozy. I may have been mistaken.

It's like someone crossed the Yarngina with a tea pot. Then stabbed it. Twice.

January 6, 2009

Join Together

The sleeves and body of Forestry are united. At this point there's quite a lot going on--cabling, decreasing at the raglans, neck shaping. Let's hope I keep on top of it all.

January 4, 2009

In the Words of Emerson Cod

Oh hell no!

Sunday Sewing Bee

I had some friends over today for a little sewing. I finished the Blue Star quilt top.

I like how some of the blocks look like a star and some are Xs and some are crosses. I guess it's not really finished. I still need to add a border. I also basted and started quilting my 30s star quilt. It was great to get going on these projects again. I hate having all these half-done quilts lying around.

January 2, 2009

Forestry is growing and growing. I've finished the body up to the armholes and started the sleeves, two at a time. I'm racing to get this done because I want to knit all this.

Churchmouse Yarn on Bainbridge is doing a show on the Elizabeth Zimmermann Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan. It's probably my favorite knit ever. I wear mine several times a week and always gets loads of compliments on it. I want to knit this new one in time to go to the show at the end of February. It only took me about a month to knit the first one. I think this one should go even faster. I had this new colorway in mind for a very long time. In fact for so long that when I pulled out my color notes to get my yarn I discovered that most of the colors I had selected were no longer available. I picked new colors on the fly last week at the shop. This is good old Cascade 220. I realize looking at the photo that the two darkest reds in the center are much, much too close and I need to swap one of those suckers out for a darker shade.

My greatest achievement today--and quite possibly for the year--is this.

This is my coffee table. Please notice that there is nothing on it. Not a single thing on it or on the shelf below. Nothing. I believe this is the first time the top of the table has seen the light of day since it got dragged into my living room. Thank goodness it doesn't require oxygen or sunlight to survive or it would have shriveled up months ago. Now do we want to take any bets on soon it will be mounded up with crap again?

January 1, 2009

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

After staring at this photo for a long time the granny squares have started to stare back at me. That's not right.

Happy New Year!

If you're up late then these videos will seem really funny.