Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not only did we buy the fancy water bottles in the upper right hand side so we won't be using plastic this summer, (yay, us...) But I squeezed all the extra grapefruit juice out of my breakfast yesterday morning and stuck it in the fridge till the afternoon.

SO, while I was working on Kingscot below late in the day, I had an awesome Grapefruit Gin and Tonic with yes, it dawned on me... recycled grapefruit juice. Ha. Is recycled the right word there? Reused? Hmm. Either way, it seriously beat the store bought grapefruit juice and I got two meals (meals? well, OK - breakfast and cocktail hour) out of one grapefruit.

But no, this yarn isn't recycled or particularly earth friendly in any way. In fact, it has microfiber in it which might be made out of baby Koala fur or rare soft leaves from an endangered species of tree or something even less PC.

But it is green and so soft - like baby koala fur. It's teal, specifically, so not even exactly green. Unfortunately, I'm running out and looking to get a couple more skeins someplace. It's discontinued and from the stash. But, thanks to Debbie B, it's lovely and soft and a really beautiful color. Maybe it's one of the main reasons I love love love Kingscot, so I'm not too worried about the baby animals as I happily knit it up.

I've always loved Norah G's patterns, but honestly I think this is the first one I've actually cast on for. It's amazingly fun - all the cables on the fronts take a little concentration so it's a little slow going. Given that, I'm also doing a laceweight simple scarf for the playground and TV. However, this is one cool pattern to work on. Can't wait for a few more minutes tonight after everyone's asleep.

Too bad I don't have any more grapefruits for tonight's G&T.
The pears and apples I have left just don't squeeze so well.

Monday, April 27, 2009

In the time between my last post and this, the green's all popped up around here. It makes me feel like it's been ages, but really it's been like what, a week? But what a week - the weather flipped, the flowers bloomed, and the leaves came out. Woo hoo. We've moved the cocktails from inside to outside, and switched from reds to white.

(Some people switch their closets when the season changes.
Me, I stock up on the seasonal booze. Gin, whites, pinks and lots of tonic.)

There are two projects up here on the table - one's the back of Kingscot, which I'm loving. Working my way up the fronts now, and going to try and score some more Cashmerino in my discontinued colorway if I can. Teal #10. Anyone?

The other is a project I was asked to make - out of old Red Heart. Enough said on that one. I was glad to knit for the recipient, I just wish I could have used a different yarn than the one she wanted! That stuff sucks.

And, as you can see, someone up there likes me. I got my 2 knitting mags just in time for spring break and these deck days. For once, I think I liked VK better than IK in terms of things I'm actually planning to knit. VK had some really cool things which I could imagine actually knitting or wearing. (Planning being the operative word here...) That's a first - usually it's IK hands down.

But hey. This cardigan is from Nashua. It's an ad, but it might be one of my faves. Next to the short sleeved lace number from Kristin Omdahl. which is amazing. You'll be amused to know I'm thinking of it in tweed for fall.

In addition to drinks on the deck, there were a few days out. Park, beach, etc.

Sure sign of spring here. We had creamsicles and picnicked in the park this day - Craig brought Kadima. I brought my VK. But, yes I played Kadima too.

Visits from old friends - there's 5 kids here if you count. It's ungodly early in the AM. I took this while making coffee. Lots of coffee.

Below, Zoe at Gore Place for a little local sheep shearing festival.
She's very proud of her little magic marker sheep family with the puff ball roving bodies.
Look close and you'll see her name above her specific sheeps.

It was a little hot there - and way crowded, but we all had fun. Well, most of us. There may have been some issues as the day wore on and the lines got to the kids. It was way crowded.

I'm hoping to get to the NH Festival in a few weeks, but am now short some company. Not sure who I'll rope in yet. Not the 5 kids who went to Gore. And due to unforseen crap, not my family any more.

anyone else going?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Look, pretty scarf.

Pretty, pretty scarf.

Nope? Still nothing? OK. Fine, fine, fine. It's so easy I decided to write it down and post it on Ravelry despite the lack of love for it. Really, it is that easy, and guys, I like it anyways.

Besides, the two knitting friends of mine who saw this guy in person made me write down the pattern there on the spot, so I'm still thinking it's the photos. Maybe it'll grow on you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I finished up the Cheeto Scarf. This was take 4 or 5 on the various fringe ideas. I loved the macrame knot look, but it's a pain in the ass to make all those little knots line up, so, after a few tries...

a more limited, less time consuming version of the knots worked out just fine. One row of Xs.

I also decided to keep it short since long fringe was just a little too much on this particular scarf.

Here's a shot that shows the proportions a little better. It did block out to a nice length, so I'm no longer bitter I only had one skein. I think this will get a bunch of wear - as you can see, it's already out in the world making the rounds.

Here's where it went yesterday.

That would be Paul Revere on the left, and his lesser known buddy William Dawes on the right.

They had just finished their long ride up from Boston, shouting warnings to all the patriots and minutemen on the way. Every year on Patriots Day, the Minutemen and the Redcoats re-enact the ride and the ensuing battles from 1776 in Lexington - a convenient 2 miles up the road from us. The actual re-enactment is at the ungodly hour of dawn, but for those of us who need our coffee and a little time to get going, there's this little rerun (re-ride?) and a parade at 2pm. Fun for everyone.

Here's a little fife and drum for you, in case you live in a state that doesn't have random historical holidays this week and you had to work. I'll spare you the other 50 pics of minutemen and redcoats.

Here's what Zoe wore.

I love when she digs up the old sweaters and wears them again....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Remember a few posts back when I couldn't just sit back and knit a written pattern, so I had to create a new one? Well, here she is - a textured columned lace scarf -- not too feminine, not too complicated. I actually do like it, and one of my knitting students saw it on Wednesday during class and had me write the chart up for her, so perhaps it has some legs as my next free pattern on the sidebar.

I ended up with a two row repeat so I could do it on auto pilot, and I only had one skein of sock yarn, so it's not too long. (Really, I wish I had two skeins and it was longer, but hey, that boat sailed a while back when I only got one skein of the stuff).

So here I am, and I'm just not sure how to finish her up.

The plan in my head had a fringe of some sort. Tiny braids or a knotted fringe, or the kind that makes diamonds when you knot different strands together (I can't find a link right now, so you'll have to use your imagination). But I can't decide if it calls for fringe at all. Maybe a simple long ruffle? Or nothing. What do you guys think? I have yarn for about 5 more inches and have not bound off yet....

I do love the textures here - with the variegated colors.

With my running gear, it's a sweet look.

In other knitting news, one of my test knitters has finished her Golden Vintage Cardigan. You can see her finished 44/46 here, and the sizing worked out just fine, so that will be available soon. She did it in an off white, which looks so classic - I love it. Thanks so much Jane!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It might be a lovely town, but I wouldn't know, since I was trapped at this corner. Overlooking the intersection of Route 9 and Somethingorother Street, at the Mobil Station where my CRV got herself an unexpected spa treatment - and 4 spanky new brakes.

Not how we planned on starting the holiday weekend, but hey. It was a good thing I did Passover right, because somebody up there liked me. We got super lucky, driving down to New Jersey on Friday morning.

Leaving early to avoid traffic, chugging along 90 towards 84 and everything's groovy. All the sudden the car starts making this crazy noise, one of those loud vibrations that gets in your head and makes your ears ring. It wasn't looking good. So much for leaving early...

We checked the sunroof, all the different window situations, all the doors... and finally had to pull over. Craig was extra proud of himself, since he, in a fit of manacity (it's a word, describing extreme manhood), diagnoses pre-pullover, "Sounds like the rear brake's locked up." Well, I have nooooo idea how his spidey sense got that one, since he is not an under-the-car kind of a guy, but yep, the rear tire was super hot and smelled scary. The brake had spontaneously locked on while we drove 75 mph happily down the highway.

Keeping the girls busy during our multi hour stay at the intersection meant a lot of trips into Walgreens, as you can imagine, since it was the only business on that stretch of highway and we were left with nothing but time to kill. Those are the nicest Walgreens workers ever. We considered writing the corporate website even. Sooooo nice. After the second visit, I tell the cashier why she just might see us again before the day's over and what does she do? She directs us to this lovely park a few blocks away. Pond, playgrounds, field. Awesome.

That's Craig playing basketball with his new friend, and Maya playing whoknowswhat with her new friends. Zoe's head is the furry thing in the lower corner. She's coloring leaves with a crayon. I didn't have a lot of options. Did I? 4 crayons in my bag. And my job to entertain her.

Me, I left my yarn In The Car which was In The Air. Crap. Craig told me I could not walk back and ask the guy to lower the car so I could have it. Strangely, I didn't challenge him on that. Hmmm. Instead, I spent an hour coloring leaves and woodchips from the playground. Grass too, but that was hard. And didn't take the crayon so well. Apparently, I also had my camera. (I'll spare you the inner ear, eyeball, and nostril series of shots. We had a lot of time on our hands.)

After a few hours at the park with our adoptive family, we went back to Walgreens again. Nice shiny bathrooms, our friendly staff buddies and some drinks. (The wrong kind of drinks if you ask me....) Then back to the gas station to find we had another 45 mins.

So, back to Walgreens. (Passover, what Passover??) Got some Wonderbread, an Oscar Meyer ham pack, a few of the single Kraft cheese sticks (right there next to the beef jerky), and a couple of fruit cups. Walgreens Lunch. Maya says we could do Walgreens Thanksgiving with a little imagination, but I'm hoping not to find out.

So no knitting to show, but an entertaining story (?) maybe. Just get your car serviced before you go on your next drive - or if you don't, be sure to break down in Southboro, since you can't beat the convenient Mobil/Walgreen's/Playground combo.

And be sure to get your knitting out of the car BEFORE it's up on the thing.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Poor little Kingscot, who's been completely habit forming, had to sit around unloved today.
(I love this pattern, I love this pattern, I love this pattern - by the way.)

Instead, it was silver polishing, linen ironing, table setting. For 13! I love this stuff. Simmering on the stove is the monster pot of Matzo Ball Soup, the big Le Creuset of my Grandma Pearl's Sweet and Sour Meatballs and a giant Dutch Oven of a new Sephardic dish - North African Chicken Thighs. Spicy and Cinnamon-y. I've got roasted veggies, sauteed spinach w/ Pine Nuts and Haroset galore.

We're not Super Jewish around here - don't even belong to a temple. But give us a holiday that requires a dinner, and we go to town.

We get out the old awesome vintage stuff. My favorite candlesticks. (One set was a gift from one of my Grandmas to the other before my parents split up. The recipient Grandma didn't want 'em anymore. Funny.) Crystal cocktail glasses for the kids, from my collection. And the good, big wine glasses for us. (If you remember my friend the Wine Fairy, he's a guest. And bringing the wine...)

And the lovely seder plate!

But my favorite part of the table is the china. This stuff belonged to Craig's Great Grandma. The pics aren't as clear as I'd hoped but, hey. The edges are wavy and lined in silver, and the little blue flowers with their silver detail are actual textured drops of paint on the china. Even the linen napkins are the ones they used years back. They are lacy and detailed and really lovely - and they managed not to stain them. Not sure how. Hoping we can hold up our end of the bargain over the years - with kids.

Anyways, a long day of cooking and prepping. Now I'm off to shower, dress and fit in a tiny bit of knitting before everyone arrives in an hour - if I had more time, I'd have retaken the table shots so you could really see the stuff. Next time.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Or maybe just no honest friends?

I know I'm surrounded by people who come right out and tell me when I'm about to walk out of the house with something questionable. It could be the straightforward New England/New York Jewish slant I've always been surrounded by. "Those jeans do you NO favors" and "I can see your crack" or, "That bra gives you four boobs". Really, good to know. "You aren't 20 anymore, take it off" and my all time personal favorite, "You need longer shorts so no one sees the really wavy part of your legs". Hey, as painful as it is, I'm glad to hear it before I walk out in the world looking like a fool.

So what happened here? Who forgot to tell this woman that some kind of undergarment is necessary with a crochet dress? (Yep, those shadows aren't your imagination. It's clearer in the real photo.) And the other two women? I cringe to think of how much yarn and time they've managed to use up on their outfits - all that effort and no payoff. Can you tell the chick in orange has a sweater, a skirt, a belt, a scarf AND a hat made of the same orange acrylic? A little mix and match might have done her well.

As long as we're on the topic of things people tell me around here, it was pointed out to me last night that the ball bands from my cahsmerino yarn skeins are, well, a little inappropriately shaped. Hmmm.

OK, maybe there is such a thing as too much commentary.

(Don't tell me you aren't checking your own ball bands now.....)

Monday, April 06, 2009

I've been told that the above is this scarf's name, since this is what I was doing on Saturday morning while Maya worked on her science experiment (Mentos and Diet Coke - remember that?).

It's a Dad Project, and Zoe was off playing so I was stuck hanging around with my scarf - and a bag of Cheetos. It could have gotten ugly, so I figured we'd have to work out a little system. One row, one Cheeto. Another row, another Cheeto. It worked great and I got going pretty far on the scarf - not to mention the Cheeto bag. Amazingly - and a testament to my self control - there are still a couple of Cheetos left. Maybe 10. Let's just gloss over how many are gone, shall we? Some left is good, since I have about 500 yards to go.

A little sidebar on this scarf, by the way. It proves how far gone I am on the Type A Control Freak knitting. I tried, really I tried, to knit from a pattern with this one. But in the end, I just had an idea in my head. Some texture, some openwork, not so much "lace" but yarnovers. Something long and vertical. Honestly, with a database like Ravelry, you'd think I could find something I'd be able to knit, but nope.

(Carol is shaking her head here. She swears I can't knit a thing without changing it in some way)

Apparently, she's been proven correct again. I spent an hour or so with some graph paper and came up with this puppy. It's exactly what I wanted, and about 5 rows in, I knew I'd hit my scarf pattern destiny. But I have to ask myself whether it's the pattern I love, or the fact that I did it - much like Frank Sinatra - My Way?

I'm not so sure I want to answer that, so I'll move onto yesterday's brunch.

Bloody Marys. Overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline from Charlestown. I should have taken the photo earlier when the slices of lemon, lime and an olive were perched attractively on a toothpick and the glass was nice and full, but the blog just wasn't on my mind till later on . Obviously. This is Mary #2, already half gone. And you know, it still looks tasty.

The red topped cup was Zoe's. She had milk.

PS. I was hugely amused by your commentary on the Strangely Formal Sweater Guys, so expect more soon. I think Carol was right - they looked quite familiar with each other...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I don't know about the men in your lives, but this isn't gardening wear around my house. What's up with the 1950/1960s Sweater Man? He does all his everyday activities wearing a tie, collar shirt, pleated wool pants and a sweater. And he's usually diagonal, always slicked back, and smiling in that Troy McClure way. I can even imagine his voice (can't you?)

Fixing the car, playing tennis, or smoking a pipe. And in this shot, he brings the pipe along to ice skate. Because, really, what's a little exercise without a smoke? By the way, I think this guy is 12. Shouldn't his parents take the pipe away?

Makes you go hmmm. I'm loving all these books. Wait till you see the 70s ones. Just how many knitted items you can wear all at once - hat, vest, skirt and belt. Layer 'em up.

But they're awesome. And some of the patterns are even possibilities. We'll see. I picked them all up today because I was going through the New Yarn I've acquired in the past month or so for ideas. Since it's still cold, I can think about Fall, can't I?

1. Jaeger Chamonix - soft and bulky - about 900 yds in a deep brownish rose.
2. Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in chocolate - about 1000 yds.
3. Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Aran - taupe. About 900 yds. This one's boingy.

I'm thinking the cabley number from a few posts back out of the chocolate, and hopefully Fireside out of the taupe. Perhaps Shalom in the Chamonix? I failed to remember that vintage knitters did not use either bulky or aran, but hey.

And I'm thinking about this. A little stashbuster.

Is it too much? A pillbox hat? I think she's just so cool looking that I'm sucked in and ignoring the fact I'll look ridiculous in this. She's sooooo Tippi Hedren/Alfred Hitchcock, I expect to see birds in the background.

Anyways, I'm done for now. Picked up that yarn you see in the new banner pic and have finally decided on a summer scarf. i've managed about 6" so far, so I'm guessing this one's a keeper. I'll share it soon.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I think I'm feeling a touch of the seasonal change we knitters go through as the cold weather leaves us. I find it always makes me fidgety - I have a hundred plans, none of which seem to satisfy my fingers. (As illustrated so perfectly by my scattered deck of Cocktail Cards, yes? Can you believe I've had these since last summer and had forgotten to share them here?)

Anyways, in the past 48 hours,

- I've begun and frogged two scarves 10 times. Summery ones. Simple lace ideas.
- I've reworked my blog countless ways and ended up with this for now...
- I've got three new batches of yarn to work with. (I'm officially declaring my stash knit down to where I wanted it. Mission Accomplished. I can acquire again.)
- I have drawings for three new designs. I like them.
- I printed out a slouchy hat I want to make and selected a skein for it.
- I picked up my pattern and yarn bags for Kingscot and Coraline to decide which to begin and got no farther than that.

And, I also have a huge desire to go up to the third floor room where my yarn lives and take inventory of what I've got, but I'm afraid if I do that, I'll have to erase the bit about the stash being back under control. And we can't have that. No.

So, it sounds like time for the cocktails portion of the blog. I picked a card, can't decide - this one's a Havana Cocktail. Rum, A shot of lemon, and a touch of pineapple juice.

Do you know how much I love my cards?? Craig picked them up last summer on Route 6 or maybe it was 28 - in one of the Cape Crap Stores - you know the ones with the giant floaties on the roof and piles of chairs on the front lawn. Yep, one of those. We looove those.

(Anyone who goes to Cape Cod knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about here).

BUT, I digress.
I also managed a few things that needed to be done.

1. The larger sizes on the Golden Vintage Cardigan are all out and being test knit. We've traded emails and it's looking good so far. I'm hoping to be able to post the pattern for sale in three new sizes sometime later this month. The new sizes are 40/42, 44/46, and a 48/50.

2. The pattern for Maya's Lace and Cables Cardigan is also out and being test knit. No issues yet there either. I'm hoping to post that one also later this month.

3. I am sooooo close to being done writing up the Adult Version of the lace cardi, which I'm going to name Nantucket Red, because the color of the yarn is the same exact faded red that perfect summer pants on Old Nantucket (before the trendy and fancy arrived) used to be. I have a test knitter lined up for that one, and would be happy for another (hint?) if you want.

And I realize it's time to move on from this particular style of cardigan -lovely as they are - I promise the new drawings are very different from these :-)

Now, to drink my drink and get back to those poor summer scarves. The stichonary is right on the table here next to the cards.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The finished cardigan requires no real explanation, so I'll go with that photo first.

The hooks and eyes worked out just as I'd hoped and I'm pretty sure I'll get a lot of wear out of this in the coming months.

The yarn, however comes from the crazy pizza place near my house (Emily, you know the one) where the owner's wife, Mary, runs a strange charity shop kind of all over the joint.

Really, it's an old school pizza joint - paneling, old booths, tile floor. But on every empty surface and wall and shelf, she's got bags of crap for sale. Gift baskets of crap. All labeled with descriptions and prices. And it all goes to charities that she does stuff for. They have letters thanking her, so someone buys the stuff, just never me.

Because it's stuff like old toys, a bag of polyester sheets, a poster of a clown, a small flowered table, whatever. Between the booths, on the windowsills, everywhere. And I AM a thrift store junkie, but honestly, the stuff in those bags is almost always waaaaaay too long in the tooth or useless or icky to begin with, that even with the $5 tag and the flowery descriptions, and the good cause, I still don't want it.

So imagine my surprise when Zoe and I had a slice yesterday and I noticed this peeking out from a corner in the window. I dismissed it as acrylic, obviously - what else would it be? But my knitting and thrifting radar goes pretty deep and I coudn't just dismiss it. There was something about the plastic bag that looked vintage, and the yarn had a little texture to it, maybe?

Whatever it was, I unloaded the bags on top and found this gem. All 100% worsted. Gorgeous colors. Tons of skeins. Two of each color. 14 total. Together they'd make one gorgeous fair isle bohus-y thing if I mixed in a dark brown body, wouldn't they??

$5. :-)