Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I've Moved!

I'm back!!! But I've moved.

Please please come see me at my new blog Lemontines!!!

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's 90 degrees - time to cast on a heavy wool sweater! Yeah!

I finished up the Manos test knitting (sort of, maybe - we'll see), and after knitting a gigantic sweater for someone else, I decided I needed a comfy sweater for me. So, I reached for the book I just bought, right - Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard? Or, perhaps I used the Green Mountain Spinnery yarn that I bought at MSW for Coraline. Hey, I have 12 balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK in the stash, for perhaps Lily from the new online magazine, Twist Collective. All of these new fantastic modern designs, and I went retro, Forecast, a 2005 design from Knitty.

I think it's the return of 90210, the Peach Pit, and the fabulously wealthy zipcode that spawned Melrose Place, that made me long for a puffy sleeve and perhaps a headband. Nostalgia for simpler times, simpler knits. But, alas, the Peach Pit is now a coffee bar, no big deal blow jobs in the parking lot have replaced should Donna go all the way with David, and this new family, eh, they're not the Walshes, and on the believability scale, these kids spent about as much time in Kansas as John McCain spent in Alaska. Times have changed, but the truth is, times were never "simpler," just different - and we have never thrived when we've had simple people, regardless of party affiliations, attempt to lead us.

So, I won't be adding a peplum to the bottom of my sweater, and I'll be throwing in some decreases to subtract from the puffy sleeve. And, I'll be leaving 90210, and returning to my Party of Five reruns, and the Salingers, a flawed family I can get behind, mom jeans and all.

And, speaking of flaws, I cast on this sweater on Saturday. On Sunday, I was ready to divide for the sleeve and the body. I put the body on scrap yarn, tried it on - yeah it fits, but but but - THERE'S A STRIPE OF STOCKINETTE 2 INCHES FROM THE CAST-ON!!!! The horror - unknit three repeats - a whole day's worth of knitting?!? Is it a flaw I can live with? We all have to decide what we can live with when we look in the mirror - some flaws become so inextricably linked with the fabric that it becomes a design element, something that makes it particularly, and tellingly homemade. Some flaws are so glarring, so unpalatable, that out they come.

This is the conversation I had with my dad today, a longtime registered Republican, as he tried to rationalize all of the flaws that are emerging about Sarah Palin. This nomination is so offensive to me on so many levels that whenever I think about it - I can't even see straight. To me, it is so outrageous, so unacceptable that this person who would throw women back to the time of cavemen (because since there's no evolution, cavemen must be a good thing), putting women in chastity belts as opposed to practicing responsible birth control, could be a heartbeat away from leading this nation (a nation that just a few years ago from which she would have happily seceded), that Roe v. Wade could be unraveled at the hands of a woman that I would have to refrain from speaking to my father if he cast his vote for her. As you can see from that last run on sentence, when I think of her, I sputter, and smoke comes out of my ears (not that smoking, or our wasteful energy practices have lead to global warming or anything like that because apparently that's a myth).

I don't know if it's my threat not to speak to him, or that truthfully, my fiscally conservative but basically civil rights oriented father could not look in the mirror knowing he had cast his vote against the polar bear is now voting Liberatrian. Go Bob Barr! I'm ok with that.

And, as you can see from the picture above, ripping out 2 days worth of knitting on a winter sweater in 90 degree heat was really a no brainer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Good Times

Ok, ya got me - after being tagged twice by Jen, I guess I'm "it" this time.

Tree of Happiness Meme - Six Things That Make Me Happy

1. Mr. Tall. My boyfriend makes me very happy. After years and years of shitty shitty boyfriends, finally, a keeper.

And, for my keeper, I made him these Charger Socks for his Size 12 foot:
We had only been dating a couple of months last year when his birthday rolled around, and I decided to forgo conventional knitting wisdom, and knit him something - socks, harmless enough. I found Yarn Magnet's Etsy shop, specializing in sock yarn for sports teams. I neglected to notice that Yarn Magnet was located in Canada until after I paid the bill, and while I tapped my toe waiting for the yarn to arrive, his birthday loomed near. So, instead of knitting a pair of socks, I knit Cobblestone in five days, or whatever ridiculous time period it was. The sock yarn did arrive, sometime around Halloween, and the birthday socks became Christmas socks, that became Valentine's Day socks, that became Memorial Day Socks, and finally, Opening Day Socks. Go Chargers! (er, cough, EAGLES!)

2. My niece and nephew. I can't tell you how entertained I am by these little buggers, my niece particularly, since she's at that particularly precocious age. One of her favorite games is doctor. Me, not my favorite game - she gets right in my face, close talking and all - but whatever. So, she examines me, and the diagnosis - I have a crab in my ear. A crab? Yes, a crab. As she begins to get out her extraction instrument (the leg of her Hairspray doll), my mom walks in - "You know Aunt Wendy doesn't like doctor." "I know," she says, "But Aunt Wendy is being a good sport." Love it - just the little things like that!

3. Yarn. Especially my yarn.
I love my stash. I love to visit my stash. And, I have been enjoying protecting my stash with one of my birthday presents from Mr. Tall (see Happiness Point 1 - he cares about my yarn too!), a Foodsaver vaccuum sealer! All of my yarn, once at the mercy of those nasty moths that seem to roam free in my house, is now protected from all insect enemies.

4. A Cup of Coffee and the Sunday Times. A good cup of coffee, any day, to me is like chocolate (or crack). And the Times? For $6.00 you get the NYT Book Review, the NYT Magazine, a window into the NY theater scene, and the marriage announcements of John McCain's middle class (i.e. those in that $5 million bracket). Can't beat that bargain!

5. The beach. And Crabs. They go hand and hand for me. A day on the beach, from sun up to sunset, and then hardshell crabs on the pier. This was my birthday - and along with a bottle of wine - it made me very happy.


Monday, August 18, 2008

The Beast is Slayed

Everyone can breath a sigh of relief - the cat hair scarf project is over.

I wish I could say that I took a stand on behalf of all knitters of taste and esthetic sensibility - that I told this strange man that his scarf looked like cat barf, and in the name of all that is good, and lovely, and right with knit garments, I was refusing to knit another stitch. But,I went the easy route, and told him that Mr. Tall was horribly allergic to it, and I just couldn't keep it in the house. He took it very well, and seemed to see a lightbulb of sorts - "hmmm, I guess I would have to be careful wearing it, I couldn't wear it around anyone allergic to cats." I was disappointed, although not surprised, that he didn't just say, "oh, that's not what I thought it would be at all - that's horrendous," but I guess that was too much to hope for. Whatever. At least I'm no longer contributing to this complete knitting affrontery.

So, I've sort of been involved in the Ravelympics. I say "sort of" because I really don't have that gold medal spirit, or attitude, for that matter. First, I didn't start a new project - I just chugged along on a WIP, for the WIP Wrestling event. I've been test knitting a Manos sweater for Courtney. Big bummer of a competitive project, because it just never even had a chance of "qualifying" - a. I started it without having the whole pattern, b. because it's test knitting, there were a few glitches to be worked out, which stalled the project, and c. it's a really big sweater. And, I can't photograph it - what's the point of posting at the finish line, if everyone can't go ooooo, aaaaaahhhhh!

I have the back, and half a front done of the Mystery Manos Cardigan, and I treated myself to casting on a second Ravelympics project - the Rectangle Stole from Blue Sky Alpaca.
Originally, I had been planning to knit the new Eunny Jang bias stole in the Fall IK, but, after reading the pattern, it just seemed like a pain in the butt. The lacey faggoting is one strand of chosen yarn, but the garter ridges are formed with three strands held together. Eh, I don't love it that much that it's worth the hassle of winding off extra balls of yarn. This simple Rectangle Stole, on the other hand, is sooooo easy. If I had cast on during the opening ceremonies, I certainly would be in the homestretch now.

The yarn is Noro Silk Garden Sock - and as you can kind of see in the picture, there's a subtle, natural colorway striping going on. At first I couldn't decide if I liked it, or if it just looked like dirty yarn, but I decided I like it, and I think it's going to be yummy for fall. I haven't had any Noroesque problems with the yarn - no breaking, no knots, no straw or other foliage. But, alas, after the nice treat of casting on, it's back to the Manos sweater for the remainder of the games.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Beauty and the Beast

Ah, summer! Time for the beach, time for reading murder mysteries (In the Woods, The Likeness, by Tana French - highly recommended beach/poolside reads), drinking white wine spritzers, and, um, not so much knitting, or blogging for that matter. I'm sure as we head into Labor Day, I'll return to my regularly scheduled programming (speaking of programming though - I've been catching up on last seasons Mad Men - watch it!).

So, first the beauty, my lace kick has continued. I finished the Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, in a lovely summer shade of green Handmaiden Sea Silk.
I love this color for the melon stitch, because to me, the tiny bundles do look like little green melons, and that makes me smile. Ah summer - the simple things!
The six row repeat is super simple, easily memorized, and pretty hard to screw up. The version in the book is knit in Kid Silk Haze, a yarn that has never inspired me, and the one time I knit with it, drove me out of my mind for my complete inability to unknit it. So, I went with the silky Handmaiden, and I love it, and now I find myself rethinking all of the patterns in the book that are all fuzzed up with the dreaded Kid Silk. I'm even contemplating knitting that frou frou fluffy feather and fan cape in something smoother, more merino. Crazy.
On a bit of a sad note, I did spend about three hours knitting this scarf/stole in the emergency room of Jefferson Hospital. Mr. Tall was out riding his bike when a car side swiped him - AND KEPT ON GOING! Poor Mr. Tall, all 6'4" of him sprawled out on the sidewalk, at 19th and Lombard. Conveniently, I was at the pool (20th and Lombard), having the day off, and I went with him to the hospital. Luckily, he managed to walk away with a bunch of scraps, and a badly bruised butt - ouch! While we were hanging at the gurney in the hallway waiting for his tests to come back, I knit, he writhed in pain, and, wouldn't ya know it, every nurse who walked by - did they stop to ask him if he was comfortable? did he need some water? was he in pain? Oh, no - it was, what is that you're making?!? ooo, can I see that? Oh, is that crochet? Ah, can you show me how to do that? Priorities in the er - go figure.

Anyway, Mr. Tall is perfect again, and my melon scarf was a huge hit - especially with my mother, who has now put in her order for her very own, in an orangey red colorway. Uch. Now, I'm happy to knit for my mom, and I can hardly refuse to accomodate her request, it is her 70th birthday coming up after all. But, gosh I hate knitting the same thing twice. And, I'm getting jammed up with obligation knitting, uch. I'm doing some testing knitting for Manos, a gigantic sweater, that has to be done by the end of the month (which was very convenient for the Ravelympics, since I'm on a deadline anyway), and then there's this . . . the beast.

This creepy little man at the pool approached me last year about knitting a scarf for him - out of his cat's hair. He had been saving his cat's hair for 12 years, until he felt he had enough to send it to a mill to be spun. At the time, the hair wasn't spun yet, and I was like, yeah, sure, whatever. I figured, once he go the "yarn," that would be the end of his scarf idea.

Nope. Yes, my friends, that skein above is actually cat hair. First thing this summer, he approached me again about the project. I said I would have to see the yarn. A week later, there was the yarn - three shades of cat brown. It looked eh, I figured - fine, I'll do a garter stitch scarf, lengthwise, with brown gradations, no biggie. But, that's not what he had in mind. He came into Rosie's, plopped down, and went through every pattern book in the store, until he settled on a honeycomb stitch. He doesn't really have enough yarn for that, so I started to swatch a lattice stitch -

Don't adjust your monitor - those pictures are not blurry, or out of focus in anyway - THEY ARE JUST HIDEOUS AND DISGUSTING. The more I knit, the more it felts, the more matted it becomes, and the more it resembles a wet cat - now that's something you really want to wrap around your neck. And I have to knit it? The cat is still alive - he can just throw him out in the rain, and then cuddle up to him on the sofa.

Now the dilemna - continue on, and charge him beaucoup bucks, or for the sake of good taste, do I just give the whole revolting, sicko project back - so he, and the very much alive cat, can both snuggle up to the wound up skeins and be satisified with that.

I guess there comes a time in every knitters life when they have to decide where to draw the line, when to knit a project that has nothing to do with their own knitting needs. Some projects that I knit, I would prefer not to - baby gifts, reknits, finishing for my mom when she knits those heinous acrylic baby blankets for Hadassah. But, just because I don't want to, doesn't necessarily create any moral dilemna - gifts are a good thing, and there's a place in this world for acryllic. Then, there's the knits I do for money/store credit - the test knits. These knits, although not on my personally priority meter, are all well designed, and are adding to the modern knitting library. Easy enough. But, now, am I a K&A knitter (as in, cough, Kensington and Allegheny) if I sold my knit soul to the cat and knit it's hair?

Do I cross the cat hair line?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hot Pink Hyrna

La dee da, don't I look like a girl without a care in the world? Doesn't this picture kind of have a "whistle while you work," quality to it?

And, luckily, that's pretty much the way life is going these days. The move took a lot longer than I thought it would - for a guy who had no stuff, he sure had a lot of stuff. And not only have I not had a roommate in a gazillion years, a partner/boyfriend in my space, er our space, is something completely new to me. But, for all of the adjustment, everything is going really well, knock with your needles, and Chez Wendy and Tall is a happy household.

I haven't blogged in awhile because I was waiting for some knitting content - and viola - big PINK content!

This is Hyrna, from the descriptively titled "Thrihyrnur og langsjol / Three-cornered and long shawls," and yes, the book has 3 cornered shawls, and long shawls.

I had originally started Hyrna in a lovely cream "colored" cobweb cashmere from Lacis - but the bigger it got, the bride-y-er it got, and I have to say, after seeing Sex and the City (which I did not love, but I won't go into it just in case there's still some sex-starved fan out there yet who hasn't seen it) I'm pretty anti-bride (not any marriage, or anti-ceremony, but anti Bride with a Capital B). So, I trashed that and reknit in a fantastically vibrant hot pink - this is the Jenjer colorway of Conjoined Creations Passtimes Soy Silk.

So I'm not sure where or how I plan to wear this, but I love it.
And, now I'm all about color, and lace - summer truly has arrived!!!

So, next up is a project yet to be determined in Hand Maiden's Sea Silk. I snatched up the last 2 solid skeins from Rosie's - a bright, electric chartreuse, and cast on for the South Seas Stole, but these seas are already fraught with disaster. First, I bought beads that were too tiny for both the crochet hook, and the yarn. Then, I bought bigger beads, but I didn't like the color nearly as much as the mistake beads, and these kind of dull beads didn't seem to do anything to the yarn - accept make it tacky looking. Then, I cast on, and somehow my skein turned into a knotted, hot mess - I'm still detangling. But, in the detangling process, I've fallen more in love with the yarn, and less in love with South Seas - at least for this yarn. I've put South Seas back in the queue, tossed the bad beads, and I think I'll do it sometime in the future with Zephyr, or something else with more of a halo that's in my stash.

So, what's to become of the Sea Silk once its knotted no more? I think the Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, but I'm going to swatch it first, and see how it goes. In the meantime, I have a few more projects in my head, and one on needles - the Swirl Shawl in Blue Moon's laci - pretty, but the hexagons are pretty darn dull to knit. But, it's good pool knitting.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Darcy Deluxed

Ok, so I knit 2 sweaters in one month, so what? It's kind of a stressful time - it's either eat or knit - and while I've kind of been doing a combination of both - I've definitely favored the knitting.

So, this is Mrs. Darcy from Rambings of an Obsessive Knitter. The pattern is written for a size 34, which I am not, and even with a plunging neckline, my girls need more room. So, I did the follow to make it work:

1. I added an extra four inches, casting on an additional 8 stitches in the back, and four stitches to each side.

2. I knit in one piece to the armhole, adding fake seams with a purl stitch between each front and the back.

3. At the armhole, I put nine stitches on a holder, four from the back, four from each front, with the purl seam stitch in the center. I made the armhole roughly 2 inches longer - adding an additional 10 rows. As I did each section, I didn’t bind off, but rather put my stitches on a holder to do a three needle bind off.

4. Once the shoulders were joined via three needle bind off, I picked up around the armhole for the sleeve, plus the 9 stitches on a holder, for a total of 64 stitches + the purl seam stitch. I then knit 5 inches straight, and then started decreasing on each side of my purl seam every five rows until I hit 42 stitches + the purl seam stitch. Then, I knit a few inches straight, and did the ribbed cuff.
No sewing, sweet!

So, it took me so long to post a picture, even though it's been done for a few days, because the first set of pictures really looked horrendous. Mr. Tall and I went on the deck, to photograph Mrs. Darcy among my flower box garden. I thought she'd look great next to my killer petunia. Unfortunately, the white button down shirt I was wearing underneath was all crookedy, and my buxom looked GIGANTIC. After I saw the pictures, I asked Mr. Tall why he didn't tell me me shirt was askew, and he said, there was nothing wrong with the shirt, I was just popping out of the whole thing. Huh. But then I put the black t-shirt on this morning, and demonstrated that its suppposed to look like I'm popping out of the plunging neckline, but my shirt all fackokted was the problem with the original shoot. In any event, it's not the most flattering thing I've ever knit, but with the right shirt underneath, it's actually much better than it photographs.

Now, I'm kind of back to the Starmore. I took it to knitting circle on Wednesday, got my bearings, and figured out where I was in the pattern again. I counted stitches between markers . . . and counted again - and then had Magda count for me - and I missed the 2 front decreases on a repeat, because the front has 2 more stitches than the back. Sigh. I think I'm just going to fudge it though, and throw them in, rather than taking out several rows. I have to pick up the band around the armhole anyway, it'll all work out, easy peasy.

In nonknitting news, the big moving day is Wednesday - so we've been getting the house ready. Mr. Tall doesn't have much stuff, but I do - so it's been a lot of getting rid of things to make space. And then there's the Big Paint that's going on. I did the first coat of primer - and I did a SHITTY job - paint everywhere. When Joe came home, he just couldn't understand how I could be so good at one craft (knitting) and bad at another (painting). I explained, through my frustration tears at my own sloppy handiwork, that I don't want to be good at painting. In fact, I've officially retired from painting. However, I did spend the next several days scratchy, rubbing, and willing the paint off the hardwood floor with Goof Off. Oy, my nails!

While Tall hasn't quite moved in yet, his Wii has - yeah! I won't go so far as to say I've become a "gamer," but I did enjoy CSI/Hard Evidence, love tennis, and we just got Wii fit - fun fitness, gotta like it! And on Wednesday, the Wii will be joined by the PS3 and the Xbox - it's all so exciting!