Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shit!!! I am going to be in sooooo much trouble. Hoping he won't notice. Yeah. What are the chances of that?? Tablecloth? Steak? Whiskey? Hooker twins? Load the table with crap from now on?

Fuckfuckfuck. Sooooooooo much trouble.

Blocked (obviously and distractedly so) and hemmed and tried on. Maybe even worth the sacrifice of the dining room table. All that's left are sleeves and the border around the front. And, as you can see, a little end weaving.

After a few alternate ideas, I went back to the hem at the bottom. It suits the shape of the sweater better than any of the other options, it adds a little flare, and it makes a nice transition out of the lace. So I'm hoping you don't mind a little seaming.

I'm also considering giving Debbie Bliss another chance in my future stash repetoire. My last few projects with her yarns were an experiment in knot hiding and pissed me off greatly, but this Rialto has been amazing. It's soft and springy, has a teeny sheen to it, and is amazing to work with. And although not exactly issue free, I'm willing to give on two weird bits in 7 skeins. At least for this stuff I am. Because I've tried it on -- and it's light and soooooft too.

Hoping to show you the whole thing in a day or so - :-)

Unless I'm sanding the table and refinishing. That could delay things.

Monday, March 29, 2010

If last week I was jumping in, than this week I'm definitely swimming around.

Especially in pink.

Here you see the pink cardigan - on which I have just passed the waist shaping (this photo is from earlier in the weekend!). I've been making a few revisions as I knit -- much to the joy of my test knitters, who may have been a little over-emailed earlier in the week. Sorry guys :-) I now officially realize that I knit things twice before writing, and that the second time is when I have all my Hmmm moments and shift things around. This would be my second knitting.

In addition, this cardigan's going to be longer sleeved and longer bodied, so I'm obviously re-evaluating the look and fit as I go through. Lucky for everyone, I'm hoping to be done soon - and then they can knit on in peace. The last piece I may revise is the border along the bottom, instead of the folded hem. I'm not sure I want the bulk down by your hips. It's a nice shape for the cropped length, but... Instead, I have a different idea, but it could turn out to be somewhat of a pain in the ass. Must see if it's worth it.

In addition to the pink yarn, those Cherry Vanilla drinks have been a big hit. We had guests both Friday and Saturday night this weekend, so I had lots of guinea pigs who agreed. Craig is not sold on the cherry vanilla thing and is asking for one with orange soda so he can have a creamsicle.

This of course, makes me wonder what I need to knit in orange. And I did buy amazing deep orange laceweight at SPA which might make a cool summery tanky thing. I'd double it, so I can knit it on 4s or 5s or 6s. I have no patience for the bitty needles.

My other current project is green (You might remember yarn photos from a few posts back), and its just about done and I'm dying to show it to you, but there's a teeny teeny chance that I'm not allowed to so I'm waiting for an email before I post about it. Plus, I still have to get a green drink going, don't I? I think that may go down the margarita path. Stay tuned.


The other thing I'm swimming in is my BabyCocktails group. Now this is fun.

I tried very hard to stay away from the computer for those two days, but over 100 of you joined, which was amazing to see. Really hugely amazing. I thank Meeko for taking time away from her cake decorating to help me get it going and Tamaram for making my awesome banner and badge, which I love, love, love.

So I guess I'll shelve the whole basketweaving thing for a while and keep up with the yarn.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

As I finished writing this guy up and getting it ready for test knitting, I realized that I was going to need to jump in and join my merry little band of test knitters. Time to knit my own version 2 of this puppy. There are a few details I have in my head (and on paper) for converting the cropped cardigan to a traditional length that my swatch just can't handle. So, what the hell, right? And honestly, I should knit everything I expect you to knit, shouldn't I? To make sure it works like I say it will. Yes, I think so.

So, off to Wild and Wooly. And out of my comfort zone, with this batch of pink DK merino. The more we looked around, the more this delicate, ladylike pink called my name. Which is weird, since there are no pastels in my life. Seriously, I opened my closet. I looked around the house. None. But here I am, about $70 deep in some really pretty pale pink merino. Like I said, out of my comfort zone. But we (the salespeople and I) all agreed that it would work for me and it would do the pattern justice. Who am I to argue? So, here I am. What the hell, right?

And it will keep my mind off the other thing I jumped into today. Which is also out of my comfort zone. That, up there, is a Ravelry Group banner. It's for the new BabyCocktails group on Ravelry. I had gotten a few messages recently asking for this, and finally decided when two emails came one on top of the other that it was time to put it out there.

So yes, I started my own fan club. And so begins an exercise in self doubt, which is ridiculous but unavoidable, right? I just said to meeko (my trusty Rav moderator-to-be) that it's like throwing a party and wondering if anyone will come. In my case, even more so, with drinks!

Now I have to resist the urge to see how many people have joined every two seconds for the rest of the day. So far, 7. It's been 10 minutes since I set it up.

During three minutes when no one joins, I'll be sure to consider throwing in the towel all together and moving into basket weaving, and during the three minutes when a little batch of people join, I'll imagine a fabulous book deal just around the corner. Craziness, right?

Instead, I will go far away from the computer as soon as I am done posting this and will try not to check back in till dinnertime. That's what the $70 in pink yarn is for.

And the drink. Very appropriately named.

Why Not?
1 oz gin
1 oz apricot brandy
half oz dry vermouth
squeeze of lemon
shake in a jigger with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A ginormous box of shoes delivered to my door. Totally fun.

It's the free shipping and returns that got us to finally order online, because we could NOT find shoes for Maya in the real world. Too slutty, too blingy, too ugly, too flimsy, too Disney....

Too beady, too bumpy, too leafy, too lumpy...anyone remember that??

Anyways, instead of giving up the remainder of our spring, we decided to spend a ridiculous amount of money and clicked on thousands of shoes we'll return. For free. There's gotta be one keeper somewhere in the box for her.

There was for me...

Now I can cancel my order for the J. Crew ones that cost 3x more and look kinda the same.

I apologize for the radio silence around here - we spent a gorgeous Saturday at the beach and I spent Sunday with my knitterly friends, where not a lot of actual knitting happened.

Now back at home, the pattern writing is in full swing. I've written up the v cardigan - above - in both a long and short length and am getting ready for the test knitting to begin. I'm going to be joining the test knitters this time, working a long length version - so we'll see if I can decipher my own pattern and charts. ha.

And, of course, I'm still figuring out a good vanilla vodka recipe. That's almost done, since the priorities are pretty crystal clear around here. I'll share it tomorrow after I have pics!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Last night at dinner, this is what my cookie told me:

First they ignore you, then they attack you, then you win.

I know it's not really knitting content, but it was just too weird not to put out there someplace.

(And by the way, if they ignored me and then attacked me I think they probably won. Element of surprise and all...)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First off, thank you so much for the input and the comments on my last post! I played with gray pearl buttons, loops, and hooks for a while until I came to a completely NEW decision. Those ribs just didn't feel right. So I ripped and reknit and then ripped and reknit again and finally decided to try a different direction. In fact, I tried about 4 different directions before deciding on this one. But it was worth it, since I like this one.

I'm partial to the organic quality added by the little bit of ruching (How Stacy and Clinton love that ruching!) that appeared here, and I love how the purled border accents the neckline angles much more distinctly than the ribs did. This was almost a hem, but as I purled the turning row, I realized I liked it unturned and went from there. No plan, just spidey sense.

I think I've knit this entire cardigan this way - at each decision point, I've knit on, gone hmm, realized it's screwed up, changed direction and written down a few notes. Then, figured it out in a new direction as I went. Didn't make for a quick design, but in the end I'm happy - and I have a half knit Silky Wool cardigan upstairs as a consolation prize.

I find I do a lot of things on spidey sense these days. Someday I'll plan ahead. For now, it's working out just fine.

I'll try and write it up soon - it won't take long, since it's top down and the lace can be charted - And I know you'd want to get going on one before spring really arrives.

But maybe I'll make a longer version - with sleeves and a hip length, as I could see this working for fall with a couple of mods. You think? An actual waist, a less boxy shape...

And, oh yeah - on the button question. One hook and eye, just at the point there where the V meets. And since you might ask, this took 600 yds of dk cotton for a 32/34ish size.

Lastly, since it's St Patrick's Day, here's some progress on my green!

Sorry, no drink in today's post. I'm still playing with the vanilla vodka. Like a subtle cream soda, that stuff.

Now, off to dye hair and shower and work on the lace chart so I can go to Old Navy to find the perfect shirt for under the little sweater That Needs A Name (and a matching drink).

Since you were all so helpful on the buttons, ideas?
I'll make the drink - probably with the V. V., I just need a name that fits the cardigan.

Monday, March 15, 2010

First the booze. You may need it before you see all the mud and it may make you more likely to appreciate the new cardigan that much more. You think? Vodka does tend to work that way.

This here is vanilla vodka and it may be my new favorite thing. I read about a drink where they mix vanilla vodka with Dr Pepper and black cherries and rim the glass with something that seems like a creamsicle. It's from a bar in Cambridge, so I cut the article out of the magazine in the hopes I get myself over there and try one.

Then, on Friday, some of my friends were going to that exact bar but I couldn't join them. :-( Instead I told them about the drink via email. in case they wanted to give it shot. (Hey guys -- did anyone try it??) And then, saddened but undeterred, I went to the store to try and create it at home. But I totally forgot the Dr Pepper and I couldn't do the creamsicle rim at all, and the cherries seemed like a big pain in the ass, so here's where I ended up.

Not a bad spot to end up. It totally rocks. Like lime-y cream soda.

2 oz vanilla vodka
soda water
shot of lime juice
sliced lime - squeezed
over ice.

I'm not sure vanilla vodka isn't a chick drink, but it's pretty good anyways. (On the blue drink front, we're getting someplace, but we still have work to do. )

So that's the new drink.
Below, eeeeew. The Old Mud.

Old Mud, but newly wettened. This would be my yard. Even in dry weather it's not so pretty, and often muddy, but now? It's just nasty. Things are afraid to grow here on a good day, with all the kids running around in the vast un-landscaped space we call home. (Vast by Arlington standards.) After 3 days of rain, it's a muck pond. We're lucky though. The water is all in the yard, where I don't have to do anything about it. Lots of our poor neighbors are spending the day playing basement games with sump pumps and buckets.

And me? My ugly yard leaves me free to sit here and work on my cool new neckline.
In yarn distinctly LESS colorful than my last post.

I'm still not sure I like how I'm working the angles on the neckline and I may reknit it for a some more distinct mitered corners, but overall I think I've figured out a basic design with the proportions and look I was going for.

I'm also unsure about how I want to fasten this baby, or if I want to fasten it at all. My goal was to have a cropped short sleeved sweater to throw over a loose tank in summer. One of those pleat-y, float-y cotton tanks that go pretty long over your jeans. So it would be long and the cardigan would be extra short. Or I can wear it over a sundress with a high waist. So maybe I don't need any buttons... But maybe I want them anyhow?

Here's the back. Same lace detail as the front, but wider panels. So, just a little blocking, some short sleeves and a couple of decisions left. Lucky for me, I've also begun my green scarf so I can cruise along on that while I make up my mind.

What do you guys think - buttons? fastening? or no?

Friday, March 12, 2010

There are few things that can bring joy like a package waiting for you when you walk up to the door. Especially when you know what's inside.

This was brought to my house while I was away this morning for the 50% off sale at a local Goodwill with a like-minded friend. Because the crap you wouldn't buy there for $4 is way worth it when marked down to $2. (No really, that's not sarcasm -- it is.)

"THIS" is two batches of the Plucky Knitter's amazing yarn for which I am writing a couple of patterns. I was excited to work on the projects after seeing her yarns on Ravelry, but now that I've touched them, I can barely keep from dropping everything else to get started.

Hard as it was to stay focused on the cardigan design for the rest of the afternoon, I managed somehow. However, with the new yarn on the table only a few feet away, there were many breaks. And one frogging back. Sad and pathetic how distracted I was by the new yarn, but if anyone understands, you guys will. Luckily, I only have a little ways to go on the cardi now, and have hidden all 4 skeins for the night.

See? Hard to ignore.

The green goes on the needles first. My pattern's already written and it's even been test knit out of old stash yarn, so I know things will work as they should. It's a big, cozy scarf. See that sheen? This stuff is softer than Malabrigo, I shit you not. (It's a merino, alpaca and silk mix) And I will be knitting with it before Sunday's over -- and as long as the cold weather holds, it'll be wrapped around my neck before the week's over.

These two skeins, I may need to pry out of Maya's hands in order to work with them. Unfortunately, they are an amazing shade of aqua and that's her all time favorite color. She's already tried to hijack them once, and I think she'd even be willing to knit it herself in order to have something made of them. So, as long as I can keep them safe and away from her, they have a future as a very cool eternity type cowl. Right after the greens get their day in the sun.

We've decided the appropriate thing for the aqua yarn is an aqua drink, hence the Curacao.

I'm staying away from the things with "Blue Hawaiian" in the name, and I refuse to do the Smurf Piss, although that was funny to read. This shot is getting a little lemon juice first, and then we'll see how we can make it a little more palatable than the usual coconut and OJ Freshman Girl type concoction that I'm seeing over and over again. I'm on my bartending own here though, since Craig refuses to taste anything blue. Not manly enough, apparently.

I may have to call Lisa from the backyard up for a little tasting.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(bad washed out photo)

The thing about the swatch is that it warns you, and then it waits for you to come around and listen. Like the patient parent I am not, it gives you some advice and watches if you choose to ignore it. Because it knows that it's right and that you're going to find out sooner or later. It's a case of either the easy way or the hard way. You'll be back, right?

So these past few days, the more I knit into this particular idea with the Silky Wool, the more my swatch stared at me and waited. It knew I'd be back.

The silky wool is such lovely stuff and I really did want it to work in my little idea, but the swatch was right. This stuff doesn't DO lace. It does cables. And it does ribs. And it's light and fluffy and feminine and maybe I'll pick it back up and make something else more delicate and simple out of it, but in the end, it just wasn't going to do this:

However, the Blue Sky Skinny Dyed I found DOES do this. And it does it quite nicely.
PS. This is not a hat, as it appears to be in the photo. It's a short, summery cardigan to be.

Monday, March 08, 2010

It's arrived in full force around here -- and since we're fully aware that it can be taken away without notice, we spent the weekend outside. I love how anything above 50 degrees around here warrants full on outdoor activities.

Kids in the yard, some barbeque, gin and lemonade concoctions, garden clearing and bike riding. Plus a long -awaited lacrosse lesson for Maya. She's been wanting to learn for ages, and we'd just bought new sticks to replace the old. They are new and shiny and beg to be used. Zoe's are pink and tiny and come with a pink ball.

The lesson was a total train wreck, complete with a tantrum in the middle of a school field - (I'd anticipated some embarrassment and at least picked a nearby town where we wouldn't know anyone.) I, however, hadn't anticipated full out drama. Ugh. Later it ended way better -- on a new field, after much begging for second chances and promises of new attitude. Actual progress! Some catching, some cradling, and even some well aimed throws.

Why are they SO miserable when a parent tries to show them something??

Anyways, after that, we (needed) made more drinks.
All the above didn't leave time for blog photo taking.

But there was a little knitting progress nonetheless. (during the Oscars. I LOVED Sarah Jessica Parker's dress. Not so much Charlize Theron.... ) The weather made me realize I'm already working towards Fall and completely skipping any spring or summer knits. What?! So figuring I'll need a new little something by New Hampshire Sheep and Wool, I've cast on.

I'm going with the E.Lavold Silky Wool I've had in stash, and I'm thinking of a neckline I saw on a cashmere pullover in NYC last month. I took out my phone and kinneared it while the owner wasn't looking, and it's been on my mind ever since.

(Colleen and Kathleen - do you remember that little number?)

Anyways, it'll be light and short and quick. No tantrums. I'm hoping.


On another note, any plus size ladies out there want to test knit Calvados?
I'm all set on the other sizes, but haven't got a 48-50.

Pics next time, I promise!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The strangest thing at SPA was this. A tree in a tree. Not sure where it fell from or how it got stuck there, but every time we left our townhouse, there it was.

and what does it look like to you? Hmmmm. Didn't see that till now.

We didn't notice it the first time we walked by, but then there it was. Not surprising though, (the not noticing) with weather like this on Saturday. You can see we boogied between the hotels when we had to go outside. No looking up, no checking out things in trees.

Better than a tree in a tree, though, is a hat in a hat. In another hat. It's the Baby Hat Terducken I had posted about before, and it's looking done now. A newborn size, inside a 3-6 month size, inside a 6-12 month size.

Like little building blocks.

Besides baby hats, I've been working up the Calvados pattern here in the background. I'm actually pretty close to being done. One of the most interesting things at SPA (well, for me...) was back at the townhouse when my friends all took out the sweater and tried it on. Different shapes and different sizes. It was very cool to see the mods I was thinking about on different people and where things were or weren't tight with the proportions I had used. I have added more notes into the pattern and put my new learnin' to use.

However, the most daunting job (and the one I need to be doing NOW) is to figure out the cables for each size. It's a little more complicated than you'd think, since the buttons have to go IN the cables. I can't just repeat the pattern all the way up, adding 2" each size. Instead I have to figure the best way to chart where each size goes from alternating cables to just buttonhole cables -- and here's the kicker -- while making sure no one gets a Button Nipple.

Important stuff, right?

trees in trees, hats in hats, and buttons (hopefully not nipples) in cables..