Bathroom Reading

I work in a building where we share floor space with another department of the University (budget and planning). This means that we share 2 bathrooms with them. When we first got here (late October 2002), I thought it was weird that there was always reading material in the bathroom. At my house, there’s always a large selection of reading material, catalogs, fly tying and knitting magazines, Tom Clancy books, etc. This is a business – it just seemed weird. One day, I came upon a magazine I’d never seen before called Belle Armoire. What a cool magazine! Whatever appears in the magazine has to be wearable. There’s everything from beaded pins to silk screened dusters. If you haven’t seen it – go get a copy. I guarantee that you’ll be spending money (I did – on beads and lengths of silk).

I’m bored today, so I’ve been surfing. If you haven’t clicked the Creative Chicks webring to the left, please do. The next site over is Carvegirl. This woman has some amazingly cool stuff. She was doing a show last weekend and I was very disappointed that she’s on the east coast and too far for me to visit. She may not knit, but she rocks as an artist!

Okay, must look busy…

What a Day

At least I got out of the office on this gorgeous September day. I met Jillian and Henry at our favorite chicken salad place. Of course we had to go over to Knit Around Yarn Shop and peek at the new fall yarns. Gorgeous! Fall is my favorite season, soon I’ll be wearing turtlenecks, smelling burning leaves, and eating pumpkin pie. Looking at the new colors and yarns is really the way to kick the season off. I bought some pumpkin colored Koigu for socks and some Vittadini Nadia (alpaca and wool) in reds and browns – scarf? I also bought these:

Isn’t it beautiful? I think I pulled out a dozen different buttons and was leaning toward this one when J pointed and said, “That one.” Decision made. She asked if I was going to be sewing the pieces together on the plane to Portugal. My answer is maybe. The right front is almost done. I think I’ll stitch that and the one sleeve and and take the whole thing with me. It will probably be too hot for it, but I’ll be stylin’.

By the way, Mr. Henry is the best baby in the world. He was sleeping and contented when he got out of the car and slept peacefully throughout lunch and the trip to the yarn shop. I didn’t get close enough to smell his baby smell – way too dangerous. Next time, I’ll wake him up and cuddle him. I love other people’s babies!

One last bit of news, 15 years ago today, I married this…

That’s my hub in all his glory (scratching while watching fishing on the Outdoor Life Network). Has it been a long 15 years – you bet. Would I do it all again – in a New York minute.

Knitting my fingers to the bone

I did very little this weekend. Saturday was a whirlwind for me (between hockey and ballet, there’s no time for anything else).

Yesterday, I shipped my husband and son off to fish for salmon. Sassy and I had the whole day to ourselves. I knit. I have the back and one sleeve for my new cardigan finished. I started the right front. It’s moving along quite nicely. I really like this yarn and am actually considering buying more of it in a different color – her fall colors are lovely.

I have 4.5 days to pack my bags for a week in Lisbon, Portugal. There’s a work conference that will take up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I told hub that he’s to spend this time finding cool things to show me. We’ll have all day Thursday and Friday to wander. Any one have any suggestions? I hear that Portugal is incredibly gorgeous and the natives are fabulous. Any and all tips are welcome.

Anatomy of a Swatch

Let me say that I am a born again Swatcher. I used to hate swatching – HATE it. I remember many years ago showing a swatch to Jillian and having her say, “Well, first of all, it’s not big enough! You can’t measure it and have it be accurate.” (Remember that Anne Norling weekend vest I did in Colorado?)

So, over the years, I’ve swatched and resented every minute of it. I just wanted to get to the knitting. Then it hit me – I was knitting when I swatched. It isn’t wasted time, it’s prep time and time well spent in that I can make mistakes and figure out how to fix them before actually starting on a project. Plus, it lets me play with the yarn – and we all know what a bonus that is.

Here’s my latest swatch. This is for the Debby Bliss Baby Cashmerino Cardigan.

The ball band says to use a US 3 and since I usually knit to gauge, I started with that. I wasn’t really happy with the way the swatch felt, not boardy exactly, but not as soft as the yarn is. Then I switched to US 4. The hand with this was perfect – soft, but stable.

I wanted to put a small lace panel in on both sides of the front of the cardigan, so I started messing around. I was knitting this at my son’s hockey practice, so I winged it. The first small patch you see is 10 stitches of seed stich bordering a 7 stitch lace panel. The lace panel got absolutely lost (I saw this after about 4 rows). So I switched to 7 seed, 7 lace, 7 seed and was very happy how this came out. You can’t see the holes very well in the scan, but what I wanted to emphasize was the line created by the decreases anyway. When the line of holes is moving toward the right, I knit 2 together (k2 tog). When the line of holes moves to the left, I used a decrease Jillian just showed me, knit 2 together through the back loops (k2tog tbl). The holes are sort of hidden and the lines show up beautifully. Exactly what I wanted.

All I had to do then was pick a ribbing. This sweater is tunic length, so I wanted the look of a ribbing without the pull in. I picked out 2, the one on the left is (I think) called a garter ribbing. It’s 2 rows:

row 1: knit 2, purl 2

row 2: knit across

It creates verticle lines of garter stitch between verticle lines of stockinette. Very nice, but I didn’t like the way it looked with my lace panel. The ribbing on the left is called twisted ribbing. You knit 1, purl 1, but on the front of the work, you knit through the back of the knit stitches and on the back of the work you purl through the back of the purl stitches. This creates a twisted pattern that’s firm and stretchy, and not too snug.

Then I took my measurements and plugged them into Sweater Wizard, creating my own pattern. This swatch took almost a whole skein of yarn, but I consider it well worth it. Now, I’m fairly certain what I’ll be getting is exactly what I want. I plan on keeping this swatch around, but I can canibalize it – if I need to.

So, to all you non-swatchers I say step into the light, swatching is a good thing.

One last thing, my childhood was spent riding in my dad’s Ford pick-up truck listening to 8-track tapes sung by this man…

rest in peace Johnny, mama’s calling you to the supper table.

Pictures Galore

At Amy’s request, here’s a picture of my Sassy in her Tasha Tudor Shawl.

Notice the purple overall shorts she’s wearing and what you can’t see is the hot pink shirt. This kid is the biggest girlie girl I know (but only because she’s older than Jillian’s Isobel). This was the child, who at the age of 3 informed me that navy blue was a “boy’s color” and she would not wear it. She’s thrilled with this…

That is the stash I picked up from Mind’s Eye Yarns. Both of the purple yarns are for Sassy and she held up the Splash to her face for a very long time. I’m eyeing that merino/silk blend and wondering how bad I can let the sleep deprivation get (I’ll just spin for another 1/2 hour…)

When I got home from work on Monday, my box from Woolcott was on the table. My husband didn’t bat an eye, just said “Box for you.” Here’s what was inside…

There’s too much going on in my life right now to have to work – it’s not fair.

Boston was Fabulous!!!

But, first things first. Head over to Jillian’s and meet my new friend Henry. What a cutie! And his mom has knit him so many new hats that his head will be covered until it rounds out nicely. Reports are that he’s a sleepy baby – what good news for the whole family!

Many, many thanks to everyone who left comments about the Kimono. It was a lot of fun to wear and I even got a couple of comments. I did get the button on and started weaving in some of the ends. I don’t remember if I expressed my dissatisfaction with the way some of the colors bleed through when woven in. I started to unweave them and make knots. I’m much more happy with the overall appearance, but this isn’t something I can spend more than 20-30 minutes on without going stir crazy. The sweater is wearable as is, so knotting will be an on going project until it’s finished.

Took the Cashmerino Cardigan with me as mindless knitting. I have the swatch here, but no time for scanning right now. You’ll see it tomorrow.

Presentation in Boston went well. I had to input data into our database (something I’ve done hundreds of times, but never with a huge audience). There were lots of questions and as a result, I was in the hot seat for about 3 hours, but at least people were kind and everyone made a point of telling me that I’d done well. That was really nice. My plan was to go yarn shopping on Thursday night. My boss (aka Don Corleone) had other plans. He had organized a big meeting of all the other heads of the five families centers we work with. He leaned over on Thursday afternoon and said, “I’d like you to come to the meeting and take notes to record what goes on and what decisions are made.”

Me: “This is going to make me very unpopular with the other data people.”

Him: “I’m running the meeting. I get to make the rules.”

I was right – I was not popular with the other data people on Friday. They got over it – or not, it doesn’t really matter.

I took my girl Jillian’s suggestion and treated myself on Friday. We got out of the meetings at noon – this left me lots of time. First, I trekked over to Mind’s Eye Yarns. Otis the bunny was in residence in this lovely little Victorian house. Nice selection of medium to high $$ yarns, but what caught my eye was the merino/tussa silk blend roving. Beautiful shiny, soft roving. A hank of this came home with me as well as some Cascade 220 in purple (for guess who) for a sweater and a purple ball of Splash in Berry Parfait. Sassy’s going to love a long, tubular scarf that she can wear like a balaclava.

So then, I hoped back on the T and went to Woolcott & Co.. I’ve been in this shop before and didn’t think much of the service. They were nice enough, just didn’t go out of their way to make me feel welcome. Let me tell you, I walked in there on Friday and there must have been some sort of neon sign or something over my head. They couldn’t have been nicer to me if I was Daryl Hannah.

Seriously, they were in the process of putting out all their fall yarns, so the place was crowded with boxes. They pointed me right to the sales bins and pretty much said, ‘get busy, that stuff needs to go.’ Everytime I pulled out a yarn and asked about it, one of the clerks dropped what she was doing and hunted up a pattern book for me. The owner came out of the back of the shop and practically pulled me from place to place in the store shoving yarn at me. When I mentioned that I was working with the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, Nikki demanded to see the work and then proceeded to show it to all the clerks and some of the customers too. Here’s a partial list of what I bought:

Adrienne Vittadini Emma (enough for a shell)

Vittadini pattern book (with the shell pattern)

Noro yarn (I don’t remember the name, but it’s the wool, silk, and cashmere blend) I really wanted enough for a sweater, but the yardage on this stuff stinks (60 m) so I settled for a few skeins and Little Big Man (my 12-year-old son) will get a scarf or a hat out of it.

a couple balls of an orange yarn that was in the sale bin (it’s orange – I love this color!)

Debbie Bliss’ Noro 2 pattern book

a skein of Schaefer Yarn in this colorway

I had never seen this yarn in person. It is drop dead gorgeous. I had 3 skeins in my hands and forced myself to pick one. Nikki kept digging into the basket and say, “oooh, look at this one…and this one.” She had a skein in her office that she wouldn’t sell, but brought it out for me to fondle. It’s a lovely deep purple to silvery lavendar skein and she’s going to try and get more.

In the end, I was fretting about how I was going to get it all home. The sale’s clerk said, “Well, if your purchase totals more than $100…” I looked at her over the moutain of stuff I had on the counter and she said, “We’ll ship this out for you tomorrow morning.”

In short, both Woolcott and Mind’s Eye are worth a trip. If you’re in Boston, make the pilgrimage, you won’t be sorry.

Painting, schmainting, indeed!

Remember, I’m the one who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan…

I pulled out the seams on Sunday while my kids had their riding lesson. I didn’t bring anything to distract me and when it only took about an hour to pull out what I had already seamed – I had to sit and fend off the flies.

Seaming back up took about 1.5 hours. Then I did 2 rows of single crochet around the front and neck openings. I have a couple more loose ends to weave in and a beautiful mother-of-pearl button that my son picked out to attach. I’m so glad this is done!!!

I also fiddled around with Sweater Wizard and created my first pattern. It’s a mindless mostly stockingette stitch cardigan. I have a huge swatch that I meant to bring in and scan – but forgot it this morning. Jillian suggested an easy lace pattern for the front – so I did that too. It’s too difficult to explain in words – you’ll have to wait for the scan.

Here’s what else I managed to do this weekend (my kids are glad to be going back to school):

Clean (I’m wondering if all my dust has contributed to my allergies this summer)

Paint (2 reds for Louisiana room and 3 greens for living room – I’m trying to make a decision here)

Knit (lotus blossom socks – 1 is finished, the other has been ripped out and restarted)

Beading (I was sucked in on Saturday – $90 in beads sure doesn’t go very far!)

I’m off to Boston today! I have a big presentation tomorrow that I’ve been obsessing about so much that I haven’t told anyone I have to give it (except my co-workers). I’ll let you know how it goes. Sure hope the cool weather follows me!