Saturday, August 29, 2009

Got To Run

No time for knitting.
The pattern Spring Forward, the yarn Jitterbug and I haven't touched them for days because...

I have a job!

I'm so tired that I can't think strait but I want to tell about this before the luster fades and I turn into a zombie. I'm a Prop Artisan at the KC Rep doing a special project for their upcoming show Into The Woods.

My job there is to make Rapunzel's 40 foot braid. To do that nylon rope is dyed, unwound, ironed, and glued to a thick cotton cord. I was hired at 4pm on Wednesday and by Friday night I have put in 26 hours of work.

12 feet are finished. All 50 feet (that is strait, we are hoping that no more than 10 feet will be drawn up in the over and under of the braiding) must be finished by Monday night so that no later than Tuesday morning I can start atttaching the real hair that will cover this.

I got this job through networking. There was no opening at The Rep but I offered to volunteer on this job for a few days. Since I actually showed up to help my friend, and the person in charge of the braid, did much arm twisting to get the money to hire me so that I could be used "as slave labor". That is just fine by me.

Buy tickets
, this is going to be one fantastic over the top (prop wise, I haven't seen anything else yet) production. You don't want to miss it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I'm such a fan girl.

Tonight I went to the AIGA sponsored showing of Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight. I have always admired his work. He is down as my most influential designer for that guaranteed interview question. I feel that we have a similar use of illustration and white space. I hope to be a fraction as good as he is some day.

When this opportunity to see a documentary about him and his work I jumped at the chance to go. After all, besides making the NY logo he also is a fantastic illustrator and we all have his work in our home.

Before the movie started there was the usual announcement to shut off all cell phones and I dutifully did. About 8 minutes into the movie someone's cell went off. The movie was stopped and the lights came up as the guilty person stood up to sneak out and answer. She was halfway up the aisle when she said "It's Milton Glaser on the phone!" and it was. He spoke to us live on speaker phone .

I love you, Milton.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What We Eat

My tort.
It is so good. It was declared "too rich to eat" as we all started on our second piece.

I have ideas of how to make it even better next time. I need to heat the sugar until the sugar crystals melt and to not cook it quite as long. I want to make two very thin ones and fill the center with raspberry cream before frosting.

Another part of Julie & Julia was cooking lobsters. Lobsters taste wonderful. I've had them maybe two times in my life. But watching it on screen with the stunt lobsters hit home a little because of this.

My pet. A "Blue Lobster" if you pick it up in a pet store. A Red Clawed Crayfish is it's real name.
He is the best pet ever. So full of personality and so easy to keep. I love how he waves his antennae when he begs for food. I love how he dances on his hind legs when I feed him flake food instead of pellets. It seems that flake food is about a million times taster than pellets.

It possible that eating lobster is now in the same spot in my mind as eating dog.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Knitting Dreams

I had a dream about this project and woke up wanting to cast on. Before bed I had thought to knit it from the center out so that there would be no picked up stitches to cause a seam or limit the stretch of the piece. It was a passing thought since I have little interest in another lace shawl right now and I already have several projects on the needle.

However, in the middle of the night my subconscious decided that I should knit this as written and right now. I dreamt about this project.

When I woke up I went stash diving for the only yarn I had in anything close to the yardage needed. I hope that it’s enough. I hope superwash blocks out the way a shawl needs to be blocked. I must start today, no waiting for better yarn.
I’m using my rosewood needles because swatching showed they are the best with this yarn. The stitches float across the surface without grabbing like they did on KP wood and the bamboo needles were too blunt. However, a size 5 with this yarn feels a little small. I’m using them anyway. Besides the yarn floating across the surface of these needles, the rosewood just seems fitting for dream knitting. I hope I get a shawl sized piece and not a kerchief. Although, I don't suppose it really matters.
Bridgewater from Jared Flood's Made in Brooklyn knit out of Henry Attic's Kona Superwash Fingering on size 5 needles. If I don't knit this quick it will never be finished.

Yesterday I saw the movie Julie & Julia. A very cute movie about cooking and blogging and making silly decrees and self limitations and announcing it to the world on her blog. I do that all the time. The book is on my hoodie as I strive to knit half of my stash.
But that's not where I was going with that. What I wanted to point out is that Julie & Julia says that everything is better with butter. That is something tastes like heaven you can be sure that butter is an important part of the recipe.

Let me present the Tort I am making for dinner tomorrow night. It is made from butter, sugar, chocolate and eggs. That is all and in that order. It can't help but be good unless I mess up in the cooking of it. It's in the oven right now and I'm worried about it. The directions say to cook until the edges are cracked like a driveway and the center is like jello.

Mine the center is set with one little crack and the edges are like pudding. I'm giving it another 10 minuets but I worry.

Oh, and in the movie there is this fantastic wool throw on the couch. A knitted piece in a wide rib that has the look and texture of my hand-spun in a nice sheepy tan/gray. I gave a passing thought to knitting it since I have just that hand-spun in my stash before realizing neither the color or the style goes with my living room.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nose to The Gride Stone.

I've been to a networking event every day this week. I met with my first client about her web page. I managed to make it to four knitting events. I've put aside all my knitting projects to work on this commissioned piece (socks for sock yarn, lots of sock yarn) that has been languishing in second sock syndrome. I was bribed with more yarn to finish it already. Oops. No bribe needed, I'm on it.
It's coming along well. I'm ready to turn the second heel.

But today I am taking off from all of that. Today is to have fun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rainy Weekends Are For Knitting

I spent my weekend knitting on this.
The purple might be close but it doesn't look like the Wonderful Wallaby, does it? It's because my apartment is a strange mixture of really clean and quit cluttered. I couldn't find the wonderful wallaby pattern (it's just now found) when I needed it. So I pulled out my Lady February Sweater.

Saturday I knitted through a long boring part that made me think that perhaps this sweater isn't worth knitting. I was even thinking that I don't like knitting anymore. Then Sunday I hit the lace part and that is fantastic. The love is back.

I am having a gauge problem and the whole thing might be too small. I won't know for sure until I knit 3 more inches.

I have an idea for a baby sweater. This time, this baby sweater, will turn into my first written up pattern. It will. I hope it will. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy. I love this yarn. The skein is a little beat up from being petted to much.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Raw Diet

I now know why my hoodie is so much shorter. I found another ball of the unraveled yarn.

I enjoy having two wheels. I can have 2 completely different projects going at the same time. Or I can have two completely different projects languishing at the same time. This is alpaca from a fleece I bought in IL. I'm spinning it raw, just sort of fluffing the fibers with my fingers.

In doing this I get a very uneven yarn full of dirt. Ewww full of alpaca dirt. But hear me out. The dirt makes the slippery fiber grippy so I can spin the alpaca with little twist. When I wash this yarn it will be a lightly spun yarn full of lumps and bumps and a bit of hallo. It will be perfect for the rustic drop shoulder tunic that I will be knitting from it.

Maybe all alpaca should be spun raw? No. My fingers turn black in the spinning and I have to be sure not to touch my face or anything until my hands are scrubbed. Also, it will be pretty much impossible to get all of the dirt out of the yarn so for the first washes of the sweater will still be getting out dirt. Will it be gross to wear the sweater? I think not because after the 3 or 4 washes of the yarn it will be clean dirt in the sweater.

So all of that sounds rather gross I must be dedicated to getting that yarn. Maybe, but rather I'm impatient. Spinning it raw I got to start it right away. Drum carding alpaca is a long slow job. I would much rather send it out to be processed. That's not going to happen anytime soon either.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Forward Progress

Last night at guild meeting I knitted back all the yarn I unravled from the gray hoodie. I noticed how much shorter it knit this time. Yes, it should be shorter because I am making it wider but that much shorter? Anyway, I joined new yarn and am cruising to the finish.

However, that yarn does nothing to my stash containment problem since it's been in a tote bag for months now. I started a new sweater with the lavender yarn sitting on the top of the dresser.

Pattern Wonderful Wallaby knit out of Beaverslide, the old 2 ply, the color Woodvoilet. I am knitting this sweater huge for layering. I'm imagining brisk October walks bundled up in it's woolly goodness.

I like this yarn. Too bad it's been changed for a new smoother 3ply. I'm guessing the new smoother 3 ply will make more knitters happy since it looks stronger. This yarn pulls apart. I forgive it that because of the yeasty bread dough texture of the knitting and the final sweater. I love it.

My ceiling is leaking.
It's been leaking for most of the summer now. I've been complaining about it to the property manager most of the summer now too. Just yesterday it seems that maybe something is being done about it. There is now globs of tar splatted like bird poo on my deck . sigh.
But this is what is leaking out of the hole. I just hope that it gets fixed soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If I only

If I could use only one brand of yarn it would be Rowan because in a world with such crazy rules price wouldn't matter. Rowan has Felted Tweed and Scottish Tweed and Summer Tweed and Silky Tweed. Rowan has Kidcrack... sory... that is Kidsilk Haze and Calmer. Rowan has Cocoon and Organic Cotton. This is only scratching the surface of the Rowan yarns I drool over.

Now, if I had to follow such crazy rules in the real world I would choose Brown Sheep. Brown Sheep is just one state away and does it's best to be an environmentally clean plant. The carbon footprint of my using Brown Sheep yarn is as small as I can get. They buy their wool from Nebraska ranchers and suply jobs to a small town. The have nice yarn that I love to knit in every weight from fingering to extra bulky. They have sock yarn. Sock Yarn. Rowan does not have sock yarn.

But if I was told that I could only knit with one yarn. That from here on out, for the rest of my life, I am limited to just one it would be Cascade Eco.
Cascade Eco just floats across my needles. It has a smooshy goodness and yet the stitches show definition. It knits well at several gauges. It's soft but yet the body of this sweater is on it's 3rd time being knit and the yarn is still holding up. That ball of yarn is one $15 skein. For this hoodie I need three but I think I could get a plain v-neck sweater out of one and a half. I didn't buy any at the sale because I got there an hour after it opened and the store was sold out. It's that good.

The sweater is a hoodie, a raglan knit from the top down. It was finished but I thought too tight around the middle. Yesterday at knitting I ripped it back to the underarms to try again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Containment Issues

I keep my knitting stash in this dresser in my living room. I have the rule that all knitting yarn is in the dresser and the sock yarn lives in the cute picnic basket on top.

Don't laugh, those of you that have been inside of my apartment, it's a rule and I stand by it. All those piles of random yarn spread out everywhere are works in progress, not stash. I am using them. All the boxes of yarn are leftovers from projects and hardly count as stash either. The baskets of yarn are the projects I want to start next and I don't see how those could possibly count as stash. They have a plan. The yarn hanging from the walls? Well that is my hand spun and it is Art until I get around to knitting it.

Ok, back to my stash. My stash lives in this beat up dresser from my childhood. It has five large drawers so I can sort my stash by yarn weight. When that gets old I sort it by favorites. Then a few months later I sort it back by yarn weight.

I have a problem. My new yarn does not fit. I do not like the pile of stash yarn. (shut up. stop laughing. the other piles of yarn do not count) To the left is the sweater yan that does not fit. To the right, on top of the picnic basket is the sock that does not fit. And I still have the goal of knitting half of the yarn I buy and spin.

So, because of the sale and Tour De Fleece I now need to knit 20 projects to hit half. Maybe I need the counter again. Whatever. This time I'm going to knit sweaters so I can free up some room. The cute little projects aren't cutting it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fair Time

It's fair time again. I resisted and did not come home with a bunny. That is so hard. I love bunnies.

I put in two 4 hour days demonstrating and came home exhausted and sore. I love demonstrating but that is a lot of hours talking to the public about how spinning wheels work or why I spin. Those are the fun questions. Then there are the not fun questions. "Are you married?" irritated me the most. Why, stranger, do you care? Why does it matter? Why are you the 3rd person to ask?
I love going to the fair. I love how the children there are so polite, so well spoken (unlike some of the adults), so smart, and so full of life and pride in their work. In those 8 hours of talking not only did I meet tons of lovely people I also spun up 5 bobbins of CVM wool. I have the sweater pattern all picked out and just need the time to spin the rest.

This year I have been too busy to knit what I think are fair worthy projects. Well, I have knit 5 worthy projects but they were all gifted and I hope worn enough by small children that they would no longer be nice enough to enter. Anyway, I dug through the knits that I kept for myself and entered some that I thought were pretty nice. I did well and I think that is testimony to my careful attention to detail even in my smaller projects.

Mittens. I like how they turned out and so did the judge. I must get more of that yarn.

2oz of hand spun merino wool. It turns out we were supposed to enter 4oz of hand spun. Did I mention I did not read the rule book before entering? This year I took a very laid back approach.

Hand spun hat. It has a very unpleasing grafted top. Like little ears. I sewed them down but I am still not happy with it. However, not very much is entered in the hand spun category and overall the hat is very nice.
Plain 3:1 ribbed socks knit out of yarn I dyed at KAWS. This was up against some stiff competition and it beat many pairs of very nice socks with lace patterns. It in turn was beat by a fantastic cable and lace pattern that would make my brain melt.
My baby sweater did not place. I think it is a fantastic baby sweater. Look at the seamless hem. Look at the short row collar. Look at the shaped sleave caps knit onto the sweater from the top down. This was one fiddly baby sweater.

Considering only 3 or 4 projects per division even get a ribbon it's amazing that I almost swept them all.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

New Yarn Happy Dance

Mmm Mmm. New yarn. Sale yarn. What a great day.

It's been 8 months, 3 weeks, 4 days since I bought yarn. That is almost 9 months. 9 months! It's amazing I survived.

If you don't like yarn, or are feeling judgemental in any way about amounts of yarn, move along. This blog post isn't for you.

25% off Yarn.
Enough Frog Tree, Picoboo to knit a summer Tee and one ball of Schoppel Wolle, Zauberball sock yarn.50% off yarn
Enough Cascade, Pima Silk to knit a tee.
Classic Elite, Classic Silk for a tee.
Rowen, Denim for a cotton sweater.
Jo Sharp, Silkroad Ultra for a heavy winter sweater.
The theme of the day seems to be silk.

75% off yarn
One in every color of TOFUtsies sock yarn.

I left so much pretty yarn behind too.

Last of the 25 projects

I've knit 25 projects. That was the number needed to hit the goal of knit half of the yarn I have bought. Instead of drawing it out (I want to buy yarn today!) I am posting them together as a mass.

A few weeks ago I taught a beginning knitting class. I wrote up a pattern for them that knit in the round and covered CO, K, M1, P, K2tog, and BO. I wasn't going to add it to the list but it did use half of a ball of Nashua Wooly Stripes so it's not in the stash any more.

Arm Warmers. I love arm warmers. In the winter it's my arms and hands that get cold. A cotton tee shirt and wool arm warmers are all I need in most settings. Of course, in my home I wear arm warmers under my wool sweaters.
Lion Brand Sock Yarn bought in Ks when I lived in IL. It moved with me up to Chicago and then back to KS again. It is well traveled yarn. It was time to knit it out of the stash.
Sumi-e demands I stop taking photos of knitting and look to look at him.

Zoom a swiffer cover. It's knit out of a ball of mystery cotton yarn. Just the everyday dishcloth yarn. I'm not sure how it got into my stash. I didn't buy it.
This tickled me the whole time I was knitting it. I have no idea of how well it works but it sure is fun to use. I could whip up a whole mess of these without tiring but I want to see if it works first. And I would have to buy dishcloth cotton. So moving on.

Fern from Knitted Heirloom Lace II, knit in coned weaving cotton yarn. Cast on 9/11 when I was stranded in an airport in Dallas. Knitted in the hotel room and on the greyhound bus home. Only thing left to do was the bind off. It was my oldest UFO. That bind off took 4 hours. Lace does that. Now what to do with a doily?
Put it under something treasured.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Ribby Sweater

Project #21

I started this sweater thinking I would write and publish the pattern.
To bad it was a pain in the ass to knit. I think baby sweaters should be cute and easy since they grow so fast. I still like the look of the sweater so if I feel like knitting a second I now know more and think I could make it an easy knit. However, I am out of machine washable sport weight wool and I have other things I want to knit hanging over my head.
Pattern from my head. Yarn Henry's Attic Kono Superwash that I dyed at KAWS 2009. Wood buttons on cute plackets for easy dressing. It sure is pretty.