Saturday, August 25, 2007

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

There has been so much I couldn't tell you about lately. Like making this beautiful orange hat. I'm only sorry the picture doesn't show the black & neon hat band I made with my Black & Decker mixer.

Nor could you see the lovely orange, blue and green feathers. We really might need to take a better picture.

I couldn't tell you about these September Socks I was making out of Nebraskan Wildfoote when Heather proclaimed to everyone that she didn't hate knitting with it anymore. (I thought about hiding the rest of the patterns at River Knits, but I hoped no one else would notice how cool they were; great yarn shop owner mentality that is!)

And I really couldn't share this with you even though I desperately wanted to.

Better take a close look; it's not a sight you're likely to see again any time soon. Yes, I really bought it and I was really hoping I wouldn't see anyone I knew personally. How could I possibly have explained???

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sockday Report...

Whoever invented the Sockday Club is a genius! I had a great time celebrating my sockday with friends and yarn. I highly recommend that you find 6 or 7 friends and start your own Sockday Club. Or Scarfday Club. Or Hatday Club.

You get to hang out with fun people like the ones you see here...

...people who paint and adorn straw hats to match perfectly the bright orange, broad brimmed hat with colorful feathers you claimed you owned, and you further claimed would match perfectly the bright orange Red Heart socks one of the members claimed to have knit for you. I wore the hat for a photo op (I hope that picture will soon replace the other picture of me on the blog...) and to give the other customers inspiration for a "You will not believe the weird women who were at La Scala last night" story to tell at work today.

Not only did they create and give me the orange hat from the joke...two of them (Sam & Elizabeth) actually KNIT ME A PAIR OF BRIGHT ORANGE RED HEART SOCKS! Now that's friendship...Joe really likes them.

Wanna see the socks I got? So did Johnny Bravo. He snuck up while I was taking a picture of this gorgeous Turkish sock from Laura. I am absolutely wearing this pair the day after Thanksgiving, when we get the tree out and watch the first Christmas movie of the year.

Here are the socks from Nebraska Blackshirt (defense) colors. I couldn't get Johnny to cross his arms in traditional Blackshirt celebratory fashion, but he did the best he could.

Amanda not only made socks in Nebraska's colors, but she used Nature Spun, made in Nebraska. I can't wait for my first jump up, scream touchdown and high five Joe so hard my hand stings while wearing these bad boys....

Elizabeth made these beauties, also using a Nebraska yarn, Wildfoote. The pattern is called "September", which is the month of my most triumphant birth nearly 37 years ago. Johnny got a little closer to check out the glory of this sock...

Johnny snuck up on these socks from soft! I think I saw a tear trickle out from under Johnny's shades while he got acquainted with this pair. I'd be wearing them now if it wasn't 1oo degrees in my office....

Johnny totally conquered the Monkey sock from Michelle. It was a struggle, but he made it to the top of the big toe. I love that I got a pair in this pattern...I started them for myself last spring, but didn't get very far, and didn't like the yarn I had chosen for them. I heard rumors that the yarn is called something vegetable-y, but Michelle wasn't there to confirm.
Exhausted from the exertion required to climb to the top of the Monkey sock, Johnny takes refuge in the merino goodness of Sheryl's socks. Aren't they beautiful? Where the he** is Old Man Winter??

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's Heeeeeere.....

Happy Sockday to me!
Happy Sockday to me!
I wish it was colder...
Happy Sockday to me!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fresh Fruit

Here it is! Fresh off the needles. It's my Tomato!

It isn't blocked, and um....I didn't exactly make an effort to make myself presentable. :) I was just so excited about having the Tomato completed....I had to click a pic as soon as I finished binding off. It fits so nicely....mostly due to my own adjustments that weren't actually written into the pattern. This sweater will never ride up in the back. It will hug my curves pleasantly, but not obscenely. It will look great alone or over a long-sleeved shirt. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that the yarn is pure heaven.

Want to make one for yourself? The pattern is available in the wonderful book No Sheep for You. It's also available free at Knitting Daily. (And, yes, I used a different color pattern than the one used in the book. I can't do anything I'm told...) This garment is knit from the top down, completely seamlessly. It's the third sweater I've knit this way for myself this summer. But I think this is my favorite basic pattern to work from. Why knit a sweater this way? It's very easy to try on as you go. Just slip all the stitches onto a long piece of scrap yarn and try it on. I've found that frequent try-ons are the key to a great fitting garment.

Want to learn more about the specific changes I made to the pattern for my sweater and how you can use those changes to make a sweater that fits you? Well, for that you'll have to check out the class I'm teaching at River Knits September 11, 18, 25 and Oct 9. We'll talk extensively about fit and how to customize this pattern for your specific needs. (And how to adjust the pattern if there's something about it you don't like. Want long sleeves instead? No problem! Prefer a V-neck? We can do that!)

Here's a taste of what we'll talk about. (That's Diego. I couldn't get him to get off the sweater)

See the shape of my sweater? There are bust darts, waist shaping, hip shaping, and belly and butt darts. I lengthened the sleeve a little because a cap sleeve is not a good look for me. The pattern actually gives instructions for waist shaping, but the rest is all about measuring and (as I said before) frequently trying on your garment. It's so fun! I want to knit another one now!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Facing My Woolly Demons....

This is the Manly Sweater. It may look perfectly harmless to you, but it has caused me great distress. It is the first sweater I tried after learning to knit. I knit it piece by piece over the course of several months and sewed it together during the day I took off from work to mourn Bob Hope's passing. I was watching Bob Hope movies and feeling a great sense of accomplishment, and it was a good day. Until Joe came home and put it on.
It does not fit Joe. It might have fit two Joes in those early days. The shoulder seam was practically to his elbow. I took it to the Patron Saint of Helping a Knitter Feel Better (also known as Michelle), who helped me chop it up, cut some out, and stitch it back together. It still does not fit Joe. (He wears it. I don't know if that is a sign of love or a sign of the onset of dementia. Time will tell.) This failure is constantly in my mind as I look at sweater patterns that I like. I would love to be a sweater knitter. I can't get over this sweater to move ahead to other sweaters I might knit.
Last week, when summer camp was over, I decided it was time to cast on a "Summer Can Kiss My A**" project. It should be a sweater. I would celebrate the end of summer camp by conquering my woolly sweater demon. I got yarn from River Knits on my lunch break.

Here's what this triumphant sweater looked like on Saturday. Just as I had was looking wonderfully promising.

And here's what it looks like today. So far, so good. I cast on the correct number of stitches in only one try (the last sweater attempt took 11 tries before I quit). I joined, I was careful not to twist. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back to school excitement

Yes, it was "exciting" today. Just as we'd sent the daughters off to the bus stop on their bikes, I was getting ready to pour myself some juice and contemplate the silence in my house. That was when I heard a loud "Hey!" coming from outside. My older daughter had ridden back to our house from the bus stop and was trying to get our attention. "What's going on?" I yelled. My younger daughter had skinned her arm on her bike while exuberantly speeding around before parking to wait for the bus. Oh boy. I told my older daughter to go on, and I grabbed a first aid kit & got on my bike to get to the injured one. I thought I'd clean it up and put on a band aid and a kiss and get her to school. That was until I saw her. A little antiseptic wipe & a band aid was not going to take care of this!

A neighbor mom who had driven her kids to the bus stop offered to drive my daughter back up the hill to our house which was really nice. She would not have been interested in walking at that point because not only the whole upper arm and elbow but also her same knee were completely covered in blood and scrapes.

After a lot of washing, peroxide, gauze, tape, band-aids and Tylenol, she is getting a ride to school from her Papa (who was going to ride his new bike to work today). I think she has skinned her knee on the way to school before but never like this and not on the first day!

Here she is a few days ago modeling my latest knitting. It's a ....THNEED!

No, it's really an unfelted clog. And yes, she picked the colors herself.

Is there some corollary saying for the start of school like "If March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb?" Because it definitely came in like a lion today!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I'm in love! Again....

Okay, so I'm fickle. When it comes to some things, I just can't be faithful. Yarn, for example. I realize I just professed my love for the new Ultra Alpaca Light a couple of weeks ago. And I do still love it. Very much. But someone new has stepped into my knitting life.

Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino....and her heavier sister Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

I don't even know if I can fully express the love I feel for these yarns. Picture the colors of Manos del Uruguay. You know, the lovely kettle-dyed, irregular semi-solids and variegateds. Now, imagine next-to-your-skin softness. It's so soft, I don't want to put it down when I'm done knitting. It's soft and light and an absolute joy to knit with.

I'm using the Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino to knit the laceweight prototype of the 2008 River Knits Mystery Shawl (more info to come in the next couple of months).

The color is Tuareg, and I'm using size 6 needles. I started with 4's, and found it was just a little too solid for a lace shawl. Sorry I can't show you the knitting in progress. After all, it's supposed to be a mystery.

I'm using the Malabrigo Merino Worsted for the Tomato (which I'll be teaching as a class at River Knits in September). I realize the pattern calls for Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Organic Cotton, and the pattern appears in the book No Sheep For You. So, it's sort of strange that I'm using wool to knit it. However, I envision wearing it over a long-sleeved T-shirt this winter. I must admit, though, that the yarn is soft enough, I could comfortably wear it without the T-shirt on a cool fall day. The main color is Red Mahogany, and I'll knit the stripe designin Cadmium, which is quite possibly the most gorgeous yellow ever created.

Check out how lovely the Red Mahogany is:
I'm so in love with this yarn that I don't want to do anything else today. I just want to knit. Darn jobs and kids and housework......

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Amigurumi Who? Where?

One bad thing about Ravelry is it opens you up to new things you haven't seen before. For example, while browsing the groups, I came upon one called Amigurumi. What is that? The picture on the group button was a cute teddy bear. I checked it out.
Amigurumi is a style of Japanese crochet for toys or dolls. The toys are made with just single crochet and are very simple to do. Here is a Wikipedia link:
I thought those projects sure are cute but they are crochet and I don't like to crochet but the bug was planted in my brain. I did find some patterns that are for knitting but not many. When I found Kerochan pictured above I fell hard. He is a little animal from the Card Captor Sakura anime/manga. I had to make him. Of course I used the excuse that it was made for Mica. Here is a link to the Kerochan pattern:
I had to use stash yarn because I didn't have any yellow feltable yarn and was too embarassed to go into River Knits for it. You see I gave Elizabeth and Amanda a really hard time this summer when they were on a crochet kick.
After making Kerochan, I have not felt the need to make any more amigurumi of course I have been very careful not to visit the Amigurumi group on Ravelry any more.
Here is a link to another cute pattern for amigurumi. Thankfully I have not ordered this pattern yet.,shop.browse/category_id,6/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,1/
Laura, I have seen some really cute octopus, squid and seahorse patterns like this.