Monday, January 30, 2006

I would introduce you to my new project, but I don't know how to pronounce her name. Remember that Seinfeld episode, where Jerry doesn't know his girlfriend's name, but he knows it rhymes with a feminine body part? So, until someone can tell me how to pronounce Ene, I'm going to have to call her Mulva. It's only fitting since I've chosen Misti Alpaca, and Ed did once say, "Misti Alpaca - is that the name of a stripper?"

First, I cast on an obnoxious number of stitches - 375, and placed a ridiculous amount of stitch markers across the row, marking off the 22 pattern repeats. This was all fine and good, until I got midway through the first chart, and that darn double decrease moved from the edge of the pattern repeat, to the middle.
Because the double decrease was no longer on the edge, I no longer had to move the markers - but, unfortunately, I didn't figure that out until it was all f-d up:

So, out came the 375 stitches, and all of chart 1 (21 rows), and I started over again. This time, I didn't use the stitch markers on the first half of the chart, but used the double decrease as my guidepost. Then, I put the markers in on the second half the chart, and here's what it's supposed to look like:

Now, all if have to do is figure out how to pronounce the darn thing - oh, and do Charts 2, 3 and 4.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


And the swatch-a-thon continues! Here is Ene in Anne. Out of my stash, this makes me the happiest, however, I don't have a full skein, and this was more of a "let's see," then a real test drive. I like it, but, I've already used Anne several times, and I think I might be in the market for something knew.

And, as promised, I have not neglected lacy cardigan - and I'm not cheating with Ene - I'm allowed to have other friends, you know. I've been a bit distracted, but Andy is never far from my heart. And, remember, unblocked, here it is:

And a closeup of the front panel: As mentioned, the back has a few problems (and that's what backs are for -- although I am reminded of some excellent advice I received from a bartender once - I was sitting at Copa, slugging down Chris's excellent margarita's, bitching about some guy I was seeing. On the back of my check, Chris wrote - "this is what you need to say to that guy -- the best thing you'll ever see is my back walking away from you." I'll just have to remember not to wear this cardigan if I'm planning on breaking up with a guy) but the front is perfect (no mistakes in the pattern, I mean), and barring serious blocking problems, it should be ok size wise. There's still a bottom ruffle like thing that is knit and sewn on. Oh, and that crochet edging (ugh!).

For Your Consideration . . .

And our first nominee of the Knitting Oscar Season . . .

Beverly writes, and appropriately, nominates herself:

"I believe that my Rowan coat sweater is eligible for Best Adaptation of a Pattern, as opposed to Best Original Screenplay / Pattern.

Adapted from Kim Hargreaves Thistle, in A Season's Tale. Yarn: Yorkshire Tweed Aran. If nominated, in addition to thanking the Wendy Academy, I'd like to thank my mother for her unending support and for crocheting the button band and collar band when I thought I would kill myself if I had to do one more row of seed stitch.

Adaptations to the pattern included: Doing the bodice in seed stitch and the rest in stockinette with a seed stitch border; rewriting the front / back / sleeves to change a raglan sleeve to a set in sleeve, which on camera (and in person) appears to be a drop shoulder; and changing the collar.

Thank you for your consideration! (and hope to see you Wed.)

Good luck to Beverly, I know that's going to be a very tough category.

Keep those nominations rolling in!
For the girl who hates to swatch, I've been doing a lot of swatching. Before I went to the basketball game last night, I did a little swatching for Ene's Scarf (not that I'm in training). The first swatch is the laceweight handpainted merino I bought at Stitches (intended for Forrest Path, but I'm still on the fence about that since I really don't think I have enough yarddage), and the second is Anne/Kid Silk:
I'm not really loving either. The Anne/Kid Silk looks much better in garter stitch. Here, the Anne is completely eclipsed by the Kid Silk - kind of like adding too much cumin to curry. I don't love the merino either. So, I think tonight I'll swatch plain Anne sans Kid Silk, and maybe the solid Zephyr I have somewhere in the house, which was my first attempt at Forrest Path (the crazy entrelac shawl). I've been looking around blogland, and my favorite Ene's so far are in the yarn called for in the pattern, Blackberry Ridge Wool Silk Blend, and Morehouse Farms handpainted merino. We'll see. I keep looking at the charts, and I don't really get them, but I think it may be the kind of thing that only makes sense once you've cast on.

Now to the basketball game. Most of my clients who are acquitted go back to their daily lives, and while they may face an angry stare here and there, they don't go back to stocking the shelves at Walmart to be faced with boos everytime they pick up a box of Cheerios, or chants of "No means No" everytime they put the key in the lock of their car door. The first time Gary touched the ball, and the AEPi contingent began to boo, I nearly jumped out of my bleacher seat to take on every one of those nerdy engineers. But, you know what, my job is done - Gary didn't need my help - everytime there was a boo, a chant, he just scored another 3 - 7 3's for a school record. And, while they, Towson, lost the game, that kid won. And, at one point in the game, he totally bowled over this Drexel kid. He stopped, his face made an "oops," he lost the ball while he checked to make sure the kid was alright. While it may not have been good basketball, that sportsmanship, kindness, in the face of jeers and hostility, speaks volumes - louder than any jury verdict in my opinion.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Go Towson!

It's not the New York Times, but I feel like I've hit the bigtime - Baltimore Sun, misquotes and all. Whatever, it's not like anything in the article isn't true. You know, I didn't even know that Gary Neal was a good ball player until midway through the complainant's direct testimony and she tried to claim she didn't know who he was. I turned to him, and said, "weren't you good, or something?" "I was Rookie of the Year and the 3d leading scorer in Division I." Uh huh. I don't know, I just thought of him like the rest of my clients. But, Towson has generously given me courtside seats for tonight's big game - Drexel v. Towson. The Athletic Director asked me what I look like, so that he can meet me, and I was like, oh, the nice Jewish looking girl a la Barbra Streisand who looks like she's never been to a basketball game before, that would be me. Play ball!

In knitting news, I finished the back of the lacy cardigan. It's really not worth photographing until I block it, and to do that I either have to a. clean up my old blocking board, or b. buy a new one. I'm leaning the lazy way, and we all know what that is. There was one dicey moment when I was doing the neck - where the pattern said, "join second ball, work both sides at the same time." Second ball? Very gently, cautiously, I disobeyed strict orders, and took the yarn from the center pull -- so I was working from both ends of my one ball. I held my breath - it wasn't like there was that much knitting to be done. No knots, no tangles, all systems are go.

Now that that project is well underway (I'm almost done one of the fronts), and the rush of caston is over, the Knitting Olympics is calling - the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat - and if I really pick the project I'm thinking of, given my lace chart illiteracy, bigtime defeat. Gone are thoughts of child knitting, though, oh no -- I'm thinking real knitting agony - Brokeback agony (see today's Oscarwatch post). This weekend, my mother gave me the leftover Anne/Kid Silk Haze combo leftover from her scarf (yes, it's done, and no, I forgot to bring my camera home, so no pictures, and darn! there's that awesome acrylic baby blanket in her knitting bag as we speak). There's really not enough to make anything substantial, maybe a thin scarf, but the combo brought a gleam to my eye -- Ene's Scarf - Kid Silk/Anne - can you picture it? Well, I can picture it - and therein lies the danger - instead of iceberg, straight ahead - PROJECT STRAIGHTHEAD, TURN STARBOARD QUICK YOU DUMB ASS! I already feel my ship going down . . .

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My New Blog

Now showing, airing through the 2006 Oscar season,I bring you:

I've had a life-long obsession with the Academy Awards - I love every tacky thing about it! However, I don't want to bog down the knitting blog with my movie/fashion ramblings, so open for business for a limited time only, is my Oscar Blog, Wendy on the Red Carpet. Just click the link on my sidebar, and you will be instantly transported to my online Oscar party. Hope all will attend!

In addition, on March 5, 2006, I will be handing out my own Oscars, of the knitting variety. I'm not sure how it's going to work, or what the categories will be, but I am now accepting your clever nominations! And, if I don't receive any clever nominations, well, I just have to make 'em up!

Andrea Underway

Ok, Andrea, the bad boyfriend, is behaving very well. Beautiful and light as a feather, it is always greeted with oo's and ah's. Definitely the kind of yarn that when you walk in the room, you've got a stunner on your arm - all eyes turn to you (although, I was more curious about Robin's knitting last night - had the scarf worked? Is the knitting funk over? And, I think she is on the road to recovery - the baby blanket is no longer the f-ing baby blanket, and the scarf is allegedly 16 inches underway. I'm predicting a finished project by the end of the month). And, Andrea takes a lot of commitment -- there's no going back. Like KidSilk Haze, ripping is not an option. If you make a mistake, you just have to knit through it and hope for the best. There are 2 glaring holes in my fabric, but they are apparently only glaring to me, so big sigh of relief. And they say a girlfriend is the last one to notice faults! And while Andrea is behaving in its controlled, no-ripping environment, I still see more problems ahead. Blocking is going to be one big challenge, and now that I'm binding off the armhole, the idea of seaming is scary. If there was ever a question of whether Andrea would need major blocking - that question is answered - oh yeah. Like all bad boyfriends, it will need to be molded, shaped, bent to my will. This piece was all knit on the same size needle, and as you can see at the bottom, the pattern is all bunched up. When pulled to its true length, there's actually 13 inches from the bottom to the armhole. But isn't this so pretty! I'm crossing my fingers that this relationship will indeed be worth it, and my little heart is not going to get crushed.

In other news, I hate to start talking about another project, but, I am intrigued by Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. I'm on the fence. And, not because like Michelle Kwan, I've pulled a groin muscle, I'm too old, I really shouldn't compete, and would be taking up someone's spot who put the time in all year, but because whenever I've knit a project on a deadline - birthday, Xmas, whatever - I've not enjoyed knitting it. On the other hand, the timing is perfect because my niece's birthday party is the 18th, and as anyone who has read my blog knows - I love my niece, but I HATE HATE HATE knitting for children. So, since I've never tried Fair Isle, I hate knitting for children, and I hate knitting on a deadline, I think I might be up for the challenge.

I would have to cheat on Andrea though . . .

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Heartbreak Ahead!

So what would you do if you gave a party, and mind you, it's not a costume party, and everyone showed up in a wedding dress? I guess you would call it the Golden Globes, because that's just what happened last night. And, I guess if you were the hostess, you would give your opening monologue in which you compared your shitty movie's shockingly lucrative opening weekend to Dr. Martin Luther King, and then disappear into bridesmaid's hell for the rest of the night. What was everyone thinking???? Winter white is one thing, but last night was full on bridal. And, when a bride walks down the aisle, I don't want to know if she's wearing underwear, but apparently, Isaac Mizrahi does - and that's from a man who gets his kicks from feeling up the nylon underwear at Target.

I could go on, but instead, I'll introduce you to my lastest bad boyfriend -
Yes, his name is Andrea. He's that guy you see at the end of the bar who's just too good to be true. Handsome, well-dressed. You move closer, and start to eavesdrop. Well-spoken, educated. He orders another drink, and leaves a bill on the bar. Generous, good-tipper. You smile, he starts polite conversation, and you're hooked. It didn't take much.

You go out a few times. He meets your friends, they are impressed, but cautious. They start to point out his faults to you - you wave them off, and they all know, there will be trouble down the line.

And, what warning signs have I ignored with Shaeffer Yarn's Andrea, Anne's cousin, a 100% silk, 1000+ yard skein in a colorway named Indira Gandhi? How about when I put it on the skein winder, I hit a major stumbling block with a knot, and when undoing the knot, the yarn appeared to have been shipped in a skein before it had completely dried from the dying process, and seemed a bit, how shall I put it, sticky? Eh, it all wound into a ball, didn't it? How about that if you pull from the center of the skein, you'll wind up with a knotted mess that takes upwards of 6 hours to unravel? Eh, I'll just use the outside end. How about if the end of your caston tail hooks onto the main skein for even five seconds, you've got a tightass knot that takes a village to get apart? How about that the recommended needle size is OO? No problem. I spent the entire weekend swatching swatching swatching - you can always make it work - especially when it's so handsome and sophisticated.

So, I swatched open lacey things - but you couldn't really see the jewel tones, and the color wasn't working for me (by the way, I thought about photographing my swatches before I ripped them out, but that didn't happen). I swatched in stockinette - the only stockinette I liked was on a 0 (yes, zero) (Lisa has hers on a 2, and it looks fine, but I'm a pretty loose knitter).

So, what does Andrea want to be when it grows up -

This lacy cardigan is from Vogue's Holiday Knitting 2005, a magazine I bought not anticipating ever making anything in it, and the next thing you know, I've got this bad boyfriend who wouldn't normally be my style, I'm spending way too much money ($52 a skein), and wearing dainty clothes I wouldn't normally wear. Andrea wants to change me!

I started out on a an 8, went down as low as a 6, and settled for a 7. Here's a close-up of the Daisy stitch pattern:
And a better look at the color:

It's actually knitting up quite fast - the back, which I'm working on is a 113 stitches, and I've got a couple of inches done after only working on it for an hour or so. (Couldn't knit this during the Golden Globes - that called for some serious drinking).

And what about my good natured stand-by boyfriend - the one that wears t-shirts and jeans, watches football, and gets chicken wing sauce on his chin, that will do whatever I tell it, knit up into whatever I desire - yes, my constant, Noro - well, of course my one skein project turned into two skeins - but at least I stopped the madness there. Look every scarf needs a hat:
Apparently, not only does the hat look better on Pink than me, it also, at least according to one person, looks better on Robin as well. Robin, sorry, I'm keeping the hat. The pattern is from Stitch N Bitch Nation, and you're supposed to cut a piece of plastic and slip it into the envelope-like pocket for the brim. I don't know about you, but I don't have a lot of plastic lying around the house, but I do have a lot of baseball caps dating back to my college days - the Izod hat really didn't need to see another day (especially when I have a pink Phillies cap). So, I cut the brim off the Izod baseball hat, and slipped it into pocket, and voila - a brim!

But, for right now, all Noro projects have been put aside - and I'm going to try to stay faithful to my bad boyfriend Andrea - although who knows how long that will last. I'm not such a great girlfriend.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Contortion 101

Come on baby let's do the twist
Come on baby let's do the twist
Take me by my little hand and go like this
Ee-oh twist baby baby twist
Oooh-yeah just like this
Come on little miss and do the twist . . .

First, stretch out to your full height:

Then,tuck your head behind your knees:

Then, put your head up your ass, and sew a seam:

Take a deep breath, and bring your right leg behind you, hold that pose!

Yeah you should see my little Sis
You should see my my little Sis
She really knows how to rock
She knows how to twist
Come on and twist yeah baby twist
Oooh-yeah just like this
Come on little miss and do the twist
Yeah rock on now
Yeah twist on now

Now, stick a pin up your nose, and create the next aperture:

Almost there! Just sew that second seam!

And we know have, a completed pretzel!

Let me tell ya, I worked up a sweat! I used muscles I never knew I had! Silver Thaw complete!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Hippo in the Backyard

Remember that hair care commercial, where the airbrushed model came on and said, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful?" and you just kind of said, yeah, whatever, get over yourself - at the t.v. - well, I did anyway. With that said, Robin, please don't hate me because I finished something (Robin's in a knitting funk, more on that in a moment) . . . from the yarn I bought last night.

I don't know why Noro Iro a wool/silk blend, about 120 yards,
caught my eye last night, and even though I was perfectly content ribbing along with my Silver Thaw snake (yes, it is reminiscent of the garter snake, but it's so much prettier, and softer, and . . . well, it's Noro of course). I touched it. Walked away. Came back to it. Carried it around the store for awhile. I can't buy it, I can't buy it . . . I repeated this to myself. And, then I thought, why can't I buy it? I went to work today, I deserve it. As a compromise with my rationalizing self, I decided to only buy one skein. What's another $20 in the knitting stash? I've bought lipsticks for more than $20. Yeah . . . ok, so I really didn't need the $20 lipstick -- well, yes, I did, damn it!

I thought I would make the gauntlets from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but when I pulled out the book when I got home, drat, the pattern called for
Cash Iroha not Iro. I don't know how I could have ever gotten that one confused-- its almost as bad as their colors only having numbers for names, so Ayn Rand.

Anyway, I tossed the skein from hand to hand, you will become . . . you will become . . . and, then I thought about the angora neck cozy that I just ripped out. I remembered that clever little pocket. I thought about why do you really need a long scarf - that's all just decoration, I've practically strangled myself on several occasions with my long ass Kersti scarf - once your neck is all bundled up, you're toasty. And, tonight, of course, is about economy. So, I went totally freeform baby - no swatching, no calculating, I just cast on, confident that the skein would cut it, and the pattern written for Koigu would bloom like angora (are we all singing Edelweis?)

Pefect - nice tidy, and economical - of course, now I need a hat to go with it!

Now, to Robin's world. Robin is in a knitting funk. Dr. Wendy had originally diagnosed the problem as follows - Robin is a finisher. In fact, she was the best finisher in the group. Never bought a new project until the old one was finished. And, not just finished as in the knitting was completed - finished as in blocked, sewn, and even modeled at the store. Then, and only then, was she ready for a new project. But, things started to unravel. It began when she cast on the Koigu baby blanket at the same time she had a Rowan slip stitch sweater already underway. And then, monster Robin emerged -- there she was, at knitting circle, knitting away on her baby blanket, when she announced, I think I need a wrap for my cruise. My head did a 180, nearly giving me whiplash. What? Your cruise is, what, three weeks away? Yeah, well, I was thinking . . . and the next thing we knew, that thought had taken her racing to her apartment to check her stash, a quick sprint back at the store to buy KidSilk Haze, off to Cathy's in the dead of the night (well, 8:00 p.m. Philly, I am known a bit for my exaggeration), to retrieve the Rowan 39 which gave birth to River, which she owns but had at work, but couldn't wait until the next day to cast on. She had to cast on NOW. She even called me around 10:00 p.m. with a gauge question (silly girl asking me about gauge).

And, now, it's the New Year. The baby has been born. The blanket is not complete. The cruise is over. River is not flowing. And the slip stitch sweater - oh please. And, the bamboo shawl (but that of course was always going to be a forever project), and the Lurex shimmer tank (ok, well, that one she ran out of yarn). She has hit the proverbial knitting wall.

So, to make a long story short (don't people always say that when they've actually just told the long story?) - the cure for my diagnosis, for the finisher who can't finish? Why, buy new wool, and cast on a new project! My new theory is that she just doesn't love any of her projects enough at this point to finish them. So, after mulling over the Boyfriend Curse, Marian and I convinced her that she should knit the scarf for the new man, and Robin is now on her way to knitting a yakety yak scarf.

Of course, my theory could be flawed. For instance, if she breaks up with the new man, and the scarf is still on needles, that could be the end of her knitting career altoghether. Or, a friend of mine once commented on my string of lousy boyfriends, none of whom I would dump until I had the next one lined up. He said, Wendy, it's like you bought a hamster, hated the hamster, bought a cat to get rid of the hamster, hated the cat, so you bought a dog -- next thing you know, you're going to have a hippopatamus in your backyard!

Robin, I hope you don't end up with a hippo in your backyard!