Monday, March 30, 2009

Boredom doesn't always lead to good ideas. According to this photo, someone had the time (and more disturbingly, the inclination) to knit this entire acrylic pantsuit.

I only had a few hours to mess around on Blogger. You'll notice my blog is back to normal. I was having a little mid design crisis there, and needed a distraction. Lucky for everyone my supply of acrylic was low and I have no patience for lots of plaid knitting.

Instead, I played on Blogger and then got back to my cardi. And, in the end, a little boredom and frustration led to an experiment with short rows, which I never would have thought of originally. But late last night, I gave it a few tries and it went OK - maybe even good.

I honestly think this worked out better than expected. I began with the roll neck like on Maya's, but it was lacking something. This is much cooler. It's a little different, but still pretty classic looking, and the proportions work well with the overall sweater. Heavier.

See? The center of the neck is deeper than the edges. By about an inch. Pretty subtle, but it's nice and substantial and it brought the neck up to where I wanted it. It also helps to emphasize the reverse stockinette rib running from the cast on edge all the way up to the cast off next to the closure, which I like a lot.

I've tried this on today with a few different types of tops underneath and I think it's going to work. My plan is to get a couple of hooks and eyes instead of snaps or buttons. I've toyed with the idea of just leaving it open, but I think the option to close is a good one to have. I'll place the top hook/eye just below the neck ribbing so the neckline remains open up there, but can be closed over the bust.

I loved this yarn (Classic Elite Silk Cotton), and used just over 5 skeins for the whole thing - I ended up with sleeves just to the elbows, but if someone wanted to do 3/4 sleeves, it would be easy to adapt. I may write up the final pattern with the option. So far it's all written in pencil, but knowing I planned to write it, I have all the info there this time - I just have to type it and convert for sizes.

And take some good photos so some of you may actually want to knit or wear it.

(And if anyone really does want to knit/wear it from the photos supplied, I'm always looking for a few eager test knitters to make sure I have the right number of arms and holes and things. Please include info if you want to volunteer so I can get back to you!) And I do mean volunteer, since I'm not established enough to offer any payment except a free pattern and the chance to be the first to have this groovy new cardigan.

Next, something with a pattern already written by someone else. I saw a lovely lace scarf in Knitty that's looking good.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bored of my own blog, so I made a few changes. It'll make me happy when I check back in later and things look different. Like spring cleaning, kind of.

I'm still plugging away at the red cardigan, but having doubts. Don't really like the neckline I chose. Am doing a new version, but afraid I don't have it in me to keep revisiting this one. We'll see how it turns out over the next few days, but I do think it's time for me to visit my little queue and knit some things with actual patterns. Less surprises.

Been favoriting like a fiend on Ravelry, so I have ideas...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm loving this silk yarn, but I've had quite the time with the adult version of Maya's sweater. So far, I've rethought the sizing on the front three times and ripped the back out twice to line the lace colums up differently. This one shouldn't be too fitted - a little negative ease. Not too much waist shaping either, since all the details are very vertical. A straighter shape, but not boxy. No low neck, but not too high. Too victorian. A wider crew neck seems to be working. And I'm torn on the sleeves. Little caps or 3/4 length? Those can wait for now, as I finish up the back.

At the end of the day, I finally have a front I like and a back that's working out. Will redo the second side and move onto the sleeve question. Hopefully I'll have a finished sweater sometime next week to write up. If it turns out worthy, that is....

In the meantime, I'm telling myself it's time to knit things from the thousands of patterns I already own. I'm dying to get Coraline going, and I also have everything I need for Kingscot. The lace scarf from the last Knitty. I've been looking at my queue and making plans.

And, I'm already distracted already by this fall knit, which of course I don't have a pattern for. I love it. Hip length, shawl collar cables, and cool funky tie. Cool. It's something like $300. So are you thinking what I'm thinking? I can figure out cables and the bottom tie just fine. It's the shawl collar I'm wary of... But really, how hard can it be?


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Watch this with the sound on. Especially for the fireworks.

What bored sheepherders do in their spare time.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Anyone want to guess - hint, they do not usually have strawberries in them, but I had no limes. And if you look very carefully in the background of the photo you might see more clues.

This is a little easier to identify. The barter stitch scarf, out of lovely bulky Baby Llama yarn. The yarn was really lovely to work with, soft and fluffy and lovely. I brought it over to deliver yesterday and I think my friend will wear it a ton - soon even, since we're apparently about to get another cold snap. ugh. Snowing right now. Really, it is. Is that crazy??

So yeah, she may be able to wear it soon.

These I just thought were fun. My grandma sent me an envelope with old patterns she'd cut out of Good Housekeeping in the early 1960s. An afghan, argyle socks and a hat. There was also a whole thing on how to make a gingerbread house, complete with architectural plans for cutting the gingerbread. Funny.

The hat's kind of cool - and it's called the RingALing hat, so for that alone, it may require knitting. I'll save the photo for later, and the name might just make sense to you then.

I'm especially amused by the ad for skin care stuff, which you Buy By The Gallon. It doesn't say in the ad what it does for you - wrinkles, acne, age spots, general cleaning? It's complexion care. Apparently the main message they want you to take away was that you need a gallon of it. And that gallon? $30. It's like Costco of the 1960s.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

That's what this scarf is. It's the Rib Rib Cable, made out of a baby llama, which is amazing and as soft as a Baby Bottom. It's being knit as a trade for a vintage dresser. Pretty good, huh?

A friend of mine had this gorgeous old dresser she was about to list on Craigslist, and I noticed it sitting out on her porch last time I was over there. I offered to buy it, so she said $50, I said OK, and I left. Pretty good deal, actually since it was going for $100 on Craigslist.

Till I got home and there was an email. Stating that instead of cash, which she couldn't really take from such a good friend, so how about a hat? I said OK. Then there was a second email. She REALLY loved the light blue scarf I was wearing and would, in fact, Super Love a soft white one way more than a hat.

Hey, works for me. In two more skeins, I'll drop it off and pick up my new dresser.

These two skeins are my contenders for the adult version of the Snaps and Lace Cardi. I couldn't decide, so I took home both for swatching. Am planning that today. I love both of them, so there's a chance I may end up with two grown up cardigans for me .... we'll see.

Lastly, I leave you with Maya, channeling her Inner Model.

One knee bent and leg up, arms on the rails and head tilted. I think she's been looking through Vogue a little too much. This "photo shoot" was hilarious.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

going on in my knitting world.

So I'll lead with this peaceful lovely photo of baby llama yarn. Softest stuff ever. I got it at a Buy One Get One Free Sale at Island Yarns in Waltham. I'd never been there, and it is a little off the beaten path, but they have lovely yarns, Rebecca Magazines, and a Sale. So I trotted over last week. This stuff is already being knit up into something, which I'll tell you about soon.

Otherwise, I feel like I owe you all some updates.

Administrative details to attend to, if you will, so here goes:

1. The Golden Vintage Cardigan has been written up into larger sizes. After hearing from a bunch of you in the past few weeks, I finally sat down, figured out the math, and created three new sizes going up to 48/50. However, my new sizes do need a few test knitters before I can release them into the wild. Anyone wanting to knit it, please comment me WITH AN EMAIL and I will send you the file. I can't pay for yarn or time, but I can give you the pattern. (theeeere's an offer you can't refuse, huh?)


2. Look at this:

It's a new Ravelry group!

After the past few years of trying to find cool stuff for Maya and ultimately either adapting, designing, or copying things we find in the store, I thought it would be a good idea to have a bunch of frustrated knitters who are doing the same thing pool our resources.

I've seen some amazing things on Ravelry from other parents whose kids are also too old for the little cutesy patterns (it's like Reindeer Horns on a dog sometimes, isn't it?). The kids want cooler stuff and we want to knit cooler stuff, so now we can help each other find it.

I started it 2 days ago, and so far 97 people joined in. Already I've gotten some great ideas and seen some awesome knits. Thanks to all of you who have shared your ideas - both Maya and I are looking forward to some great projects..


3. I'm working on the snaps and lace cardigan pattern and YES, YES, YES, I promise an adult version too. Pretty much because I want one myself :-).

So far I have one test knitter for the kids sizes but would love a few more. I'm going to create sizes from 8-14. A few of you have volunteered, but I can't get back to you off a blog comment, so please please send me an EMAIL. And again, I can only offer you the pattern for free as the extra yarn is claimed by test knitter #1.

anyways -- stay tuned and give me your emails if you want me to get in touch with you!
Must get stuff done if I'm to keep my green beer date at noon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My plan was to hold onto these photos for a few days while you all got to read the post from yesterday. But apparently I have no ability to lead a nice patient, spaced out, delayed gratification type life. So. But I love this, and so will Maya when she gets home from her sleepover. I borrowed a neighbor's sewing machine and did the ribbons while watching HBO and having a new drink (see below) last night.

I think for the written pattern, I'll give you all some closure options, since the sewing part was a little challenging for me. (Not due to the whiskey, really I'm just not so good with a machine)

I loved knitting this one up - a little simple lace goes a long way. And the kid sizing made it go quick - only 66 stitches for the back and 35 for the fronts. Whoosh. What has it been? A week or so?

Anyways, here's the back. Four lace columns, really simple, but kind of cool.

And a total front shot. I decided to just add the snaps up top, so you'll see the navy ribbon peeking out. M said she'd wear it with a navy shirt so it would really match....

And below, last night's drink.

I'm not a whiskey fan, but I'm finding I like it mixed in stuff. Since we had some ginger ale left from the rum drinks last week, I took out my trusty Mr Bostons for an idea. I think this was a Horse's Neck. Not sure why.

If you do follow my lead and try this drink here, remember that any whiskey coming from Ireland or having the numbers 12, 18 or higher on the label is NOT a mixing whiskey.

( Craig asked me to remind everyone so you don't waste the good stuff while making these.)

2 oz of whiskey (I used Johnny Walker Red)
Ginger ale
ice cubes
shot of lemon juice


PS - got one test knitter, so the yarn is spoken for. Would still love to find another......

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Almost done. Today I'm off to the craft store for ribbon and snaps, so all that's left is the actual closure treatment. Am thinking when this gets written up, you all can have the choice of clsoure -- buttons, a zipper or my big idea of ribbon and snaps. Guess it depends on your kid.

Mine tried hers on yesterday wearing a brown tee shirt with a big teal peace sign on it. I couldn't have styled a better ensemble for her. It looked great, and she's all ready to have it done.

One of the best parts about this sweater was the price tag - excluding snaps and ribbon of course, since they're still unknown. The yarn was on sale for $3 per skein and (wait for it.....) the whole sweater took 4 skeins! That'd be $12 for the sweater. And budget kid knitting allows for an extra skein or two for Mom, huh?

It also means I have skeins to send to a willing test knitter. If you email me with an offer to test knit, please do include info so I can get back in touch with you. Am guessing I'll have this written up to send off early in the week (since Mondays and Tuesdays are my best "work days"). I've done the size 8 here and I'm confident on my 6 sizing, so I'm hoping to find a knitter who'd like to do a size 10 or 12. I have a few more detailed photos to share too, so you can be sure you like what you're volunteering to knit.

I'm also considering making an adult version of this puppy. I have a few changes in mind to make it more adult oriented. Including a different yarn, but I'll try to keep it cheap, don't worry.
What do you think? A short sleeved fitted cardi with a little lace? Would you wear it with a cami and jeans?


On Golden Vintage knitting, I've been talking to a few of you this week about bigger sizes. As soon as I get this off in the knitting world, it's my next project! I'm hoping to get up to a 48.

Hey Annie, want to give it a shot??


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two hats. One specifically requested via video email by my friend Christopher (who's also sporting a peace hat around town - but handknit hats are like crack and one just isn't enough sometimes, right?). Especially when it's still snowing in March.

The video was of a Kenmore commercial with a little kid wearing a similar white and black hat. The email said please very nicely and offered babysitting, which we've already taken advantage of.


One pre paid babysitting hat ready for pickup. And the partner hat, because the lovely Stephanie deserves some love too. Why don't you email me in real life and we can make a dinner out of it this week? (that's for Christopher and Stephanie, that part...)

For those of you not lucky enough to know and care about my aforementioned buddies,

other knitting has been going on. This is the latest Maya cardigan for spring. I'm thinking of naming it ZigZag, but she's wavering on the title. It should be done this week and if anyone wants to test knit a size 6-10 short sleeved cardigan for their little girl for spring, shoot me an email. (Sorry, I can't pay you or provide yarn)

I am open to other yarns besides the one I've used - since everyone tends to sub, including myself, and it's fun to see how a pattern translates. I used Classic Elite Pebbles, kind of a textural acrylic cotton blend. Am thinking other DK weight cottons -not too drapey - would also work as long as you have gauge. On 5s, my gauge is 5.5 sts per inch. Also, please only volunteer to test if you have time to begin this now and finish within a couple of weeks - since I want to get it all set in before spring knitting is over!

Anyways... It's a simple short sleeve number with a few lace inserts on the front and back. Going to have a ribbon and snap closure. The actual knitting is taking me about a week. I should have it done by the end of the weekend.

Also on the - sort of -- Maya knits front -- I have put in to start a new Ravelry group for other knitters like myself who find themselves in between the world of cutesy kid knits and too sophisticated adult knits. A group for those of us with 8-18 year olds or Tweens & Teens. To swap ideas, books, patterns, things you saw at Justice, etc. Sizing commentary, junior high school sweater angst. Whatever else comes to mind.

If you are interested in being contacted or "invited" just comment me either here or on Rav. The little banner is in the design phase and I should be posting the group soon and it has a little "who to invite" box.

Lastly -- my current fave drink - the snow is melting around here and ice cubes will be back in fashion before long. This is dark rum, ginger ale and lime. It's good. Anyone who owns a 8-18 year old might like to own one of these as well :-)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The picture might not be so pretty, but the drink is. It's some Baileys, a little milk and chocolate syrup. Mixed up and served on ice. It was either this or another sleeve of those Caramel girl scout cookies tonight. Those are awesome. I figure I'll save the sleeve for tomorrow.

Since we went up to the North Shore today for a little 60 degree beach time (before it snows again next week), I have no new knitting photos for you (don't worry CV, it's being knit, just not photographed!) So.... here's one that's been sitting in the camera. I've been passing it over as not so interesting, but today - after looking over the alternate options and deciding I am in the mood to write up a blog entry anyways - it's absoultely fascinating. It's my new circular needle organizer. Yep. Fascinating.

Actually I love it. I have a ginormous amount of circs, and most of them have long ago parted ways with any identifying sleeves, so I'm always trying to untangle and gauge the sizes of these puppies in one big basket. I have been kind of looking for some beautiful organizer at my LYS, but I just keep finding ones for the straights. Or, I'm always just too cheap for the good ones I see for the circs. (more likely)

Anyways, I found THIS in a stationery store. I think it's a bill organizer. But for $7.99, it's a circular organizer. Works like a charm. All kidding aside, really - it does. Get one. With all the money you save, you can buy a bottle of Baileys and have some dessert too.

Lastly, more free knitting supplies. These were dropped off today by another neighbor. It's a small batch of vintage straight needles. They're cool - a few are see through plastic. Sitting above them is my sister, wearing my Tilted Duster. The neck annoyed her, as she couldn't figure out the buttons. Inside, outside - it was all just too much for her.

So instead, she ended up with the February Lady Sweater. And then she really ended up with it, since it looked lovely on her, she liked it, and I'm a sucker when it comes to giving her knits. She's a great recipient. And she's going to babysit in a few Saturdays so we can go to a party.

PS - next to the needles, I forgot - 3 new skeins of Kathmandu Aran in green - thanks to all of you who have been casting on for Golden Vintage Cardigans - the new little surge of patterns you bought funded that purchase.

And on the side there, a new paperback - from the vintage shop in Newburyport, so it smells like it should. Old 1960s paperbacks. Mmmmm. It's Great Expectations - my next Dickens. This one is funny. He's got a dry sarcastic sense of humor, and he can be a tad mean about it - I think I may have liked him in real life. Too bad he can't stop by for a cocktail, huh?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Stuff. This is the latest in a series of bags and baskets of yarn I've been receiving from a friend as she empties out her Grandmother's house. Grandma is just fine, but after a lifetime of hoarding stuff, she's moving to smaller and cleaner quarters. She was a big knitter, and since I'm one of the only knitters around the neighborhood (or the only one my friends know of), I've been getting periodic deliveries like this one.

Mostly, Zoe's and Maya's schools are getting big batches of arts and crafts yarn, but hidden in each basket are a few choice skeins which have made it into the stash for later. Fun vintage yarn.

And in this basket.... a new revelation. Grandma was a quilter!

Here's a little sample of the quilty treasures. Tons of stars, squares and not photographed, fans.
The fabric squares are beautiful - all kinds of colors and mostly delicate floral patterns. I lost an hour or two of my life yesterday arranging them into color groups and little designs.

Oooooh. Carol is excited because she already knows she's getting it.

And as if this wasn't enough, there were patterns. Patterns that maybe should never have been made up, but patterns none the less. My faves are the quilted vests. I'm not sure which the best is, so I'll share both with you, because each is definitely special in its own way.


Everyone in your religious sect will be jealous when they see you strutting around the compound in this getup, won't they? I'm loving the strong wingy shoulders. And the napkin bib.


And this one, because stiff fabric in a square shape with horizontal patterns is equally unflattering for women of all shapes and sizes. Anyone who watches what not to wear knows Stacy and Clinton would have a field day with this little number.

And yep, that covers the basket.

But I got even more fun stuff this week. A way cool birthday present from my sister. I've been told I must blog this for my friend Annie, but honestly I'd have blogged it anyways because it's so pretty. Can you believe, it's the first time anyone ever bought me yarn for an event or holiday or something, and really, what better gift can a knitter get? A random skein of something cool. It's awesome.

It's this gorgeous pumpkin colored shetland, dyed with tumeric and amaretto. Alene tells me it's from a small shop in Boonville CA called The Knitted Brow. She also said they had a few animals out back or next door or something and she even got to see them spinning some stuff up. Way cool. I envision some cabled mitts out of this for next fall.

One more gift. The label was too good to pass up, said my stepdad. (This might not make sense if you don't know my actual name IS Thea.)

And lastly, a third stashy hat. This one is a skein of Rowan tweed in a lovely blue. Since the tweed isn't as stretchy as the other yarns I've used, I knit it up on 6s. Works great. It fits me, but Maya's the model here. It's for a friend - stay tuned, Christopher, yours is next!

OK, that's all - I think I may have even overshot my wad with this post.
What will I have to talk about next time??

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

OK, a failed attempt at something new and interesting with the last post. So, I was left to trudge on with the gray stocking stitch. Trudge I did. And now ta da - rewarded. I'm thinking you all might like this a little better. FO's are always good for conversation, right?

It's the aran waistcoat from Rowan Studio. Knit out of Queensland Kathmandu Aran - a deep gray colorway flecked with turquoise, light gray and light blue. Of course the pattern is written for a DK, so I've messed with the math. I also opted for a plain back instead of more cables. And, oh yeah, I made it longer than it was intended. Otherwise, I knit as written.

I love both the yarn and the finished vest. Best thing about the yarn - It's another big bag out of the stash. This came from teaching classes at the Knitting Room a few years back.

Thanks, Jackie :-) I owe you another drink on the deck soon. Perhaps one day there are less than 10 new fucking inches of snow out there... That would be lovely, huh?

But if it was spring, I couldn't get a few weeks wear out of this puppy, so i'll shut up.

AND, lets just take a look at these photos, shall we? The one of my ass right above this paragraph? Not blurry, not dark, not in my kids rooms. Amazing. But no, I didn't get a new camera. Instead I finished the belt on this puppy over at Carol's house this morning, where there's big windows and natural light everywhere.

And yeah, I did wear the unfinished sweater over there so she could see it. (And then to school, girlscout cookie pickup, the Arsenal Mall, a friends', and everywhere else today.) Guess what I'm wearing again tomorrow?

Anyways, I can't believe this isn't on Rav and that I haven't seen more patterns from Rowan 8 knit up yet. They're amazing - I have a few more on my list. These studio books are great - today I was absolutely drooling over #14, which has come out and has more than a few Must Knits in it. The cover knit might be my first, or the long vest, titled Snug. Soon, perhaps for fall.
So now that I'm putting this to bed, I have two hats to finish up and then I can get cracking on my next design project - It's the cardigan for Maya which I'm thinking might just also translate nicely into my size too. Everyone needs a summer cardi - and I have fond memories of my Mommy Daughter wardrobe from the 70s. Not so sure Maya will feel the love on that piece of it. We'll see how it goes.

For now, I've found out that tawny port goes great with Girl Scout Shortbread cookies and it's looking like snack time.