Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Shrug for Her Shoulders

I have been monogamous to one knitting project--virtually one project alone for about two weeks. It's making me nuts! Not that I don't like it: I think it's lovely. But one project?
Of course, I couldn't stand it. I finally broke last night. I've had this package of charms sitting on my desk staring at me, daring me to do something. When I blinked first, I was forced to make them into stitch markers, using the first tool to hand, namely fingernails. Yup, I just slid my nail into the jump ring, slipped in the charm, nail out, worked the charm around, and voila! It's not my fault. And on to the monotonous--er, monogamous--knitting.
It's for Tiny's Christmas gift. Foolishly, I imagined that I could make this little beauty from stashed yarn: a size large shrug from a single skein of sock yarn. 400 measly yards. Enough to make a pair of women's socks. One pair. A shrug is like two long socks (sleeves, actually) connected by a long flat bit to go across the back. So it's more like three long socks. That's a lot of yarn!
So, easy solution, right? Just go back to where I got that gorgeous yarn in the first place. sigh
No, this yarn was part of the Jane Austen Yarn Club from last year. It's the Northanger Abbey colorway. Even the dyer didn't have any left... and doesn't remember how she made it. I asked. I asked other members, but no luck. They'd either used it, lost it, or had plans for it.
So I did the next best thing: I went into Knitting in La Jolla with my project in hand and asked to see the sock yarn. I told her I knew she couldn't match it, but maybe we could find something that would look nice. I mean, I may be a doofus, but I'm not an idiot. Wait. That didn't sound good. But we had success: a nice plain purple sock yarn from Cascade. It's working in well, I think.
First I knit it every other row with the new yarn, then two rows on and two rows off. Then four-two, then six-two... then I ran out. So just Cascade for the rest.

This is how it currently stands. Ooh, I hope I can get it done by Christmas morning. The Yarn Harlot knit a whole sock in a day. Maybe I can borrow her helper monkeys...

Monday, December 20, 2010

No notes

Bugs! I usually have a few sticky notes hanging around to tell me what to blog about--not orders, you understand, but suggestions. And all I can find is my TV watching list, a couple things I want to buy from Knit Picks, and a note about vitamins. Also something about emptying the shredder before it explodes. Eh. It could take a few more bank receipts.
Oh, I know. I'll check my photo uploads. December, December... ew, it's organized by days of the week. Sunday, nope. Monday, ahhhh!
Here's the Bleaf Lace Scarf on my sweet aunt as it's being stolen by her granddaughter. That kid's got good taste! I'm told she still wears the red sweater I made her last year.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dressing Up the Lace

Here's the Bleaf Lace Scarf being dressed, one half pinned out. Yes, I know it's in two pieces. I made it that way. The pattern required me to make one half, then make another. That seemed dumb. So I made the two halves at the same time on the same needle. It set things up so that I'd do the lace row, then repeat it. Then I'd do the back, twice. Worked great! I know somebody who does both sleeves at once when making sweaters. That's probably where I got the idea. Or maybe from the two-at-a-time socks idea. Or maybe it came from outer space. Yeah. My alien implant from when I was working at the MIB branch. But I'm not supposed to talk about that. Oops. Would you please look carefully at this bright light while I erase your memory?
I can never figure out which way to point these silly things.... flash... What was I talking about?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nothing to Worry About

Last night the doctor called to check in on me and say the lab results came out fine. I didn't say I already thought I was fine. It's kinda like the pilot coming on the intercom of the airplane and saying, "There's nothing to worry about." Makes me feel like I missed out on all the anxiety.... I guess that's not a bad thing.
In the meantime, I've been working like a dog. A clever dog. With thumbs. I pulled out my jewelry-making apparatus and dusted off the skillz. (Just added the z there. They were only skills when I learned.)So I'll be showing at the CRB Christmas Bazaar this Saturday! Me!
I found a box where I had dropped in some beads I thought looked pretty together and left 'em there. Baroque (that means odd-shaped) blue glass pearls, Blue Austrian Crystals, and these pretty seed beads. Using every single crystal and pearl, I made this collection. I'm calling it The Blue Frost Collection. Sounds classy, huh?

I'm calling this one "Crystal Palace," and yes, those green stick-things are actually woven of tiny beads. At least, they're tiny now. I think they get smaller when you don't use them. And if you say anything about needing reading glasses, you should know I'm humming It's a Small World right now, so I can't hear it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

There's a Snake in Mah Boots!

... and a hole in my bellybutton. I didn't want to bring it up to the beforehand and cause worldwide panic, but I just had a "procedure." That's what they call it when they knock you out, poke holes in you and take something out just so's they can look at it. I wonder if they ever dress you up in a feather boa and fake mustache while you're unconcious... I would.
Well, the upshot is I'm fine. But there's a hole in my bellybutton.
Meanwhile, here's a peek at a prayer quilt I've been working on. It's scrappy pink and dark green. I just behave as though the pink is all one color and the green is all the other. It's supposed to make a kind of star. We'll see. Looks kinda like strawberries to me.
And this is the Leaf Lace Scarf from Vogue Knitting Spr/Sum 2005. When I bought the mag, I could only attempt the very easy very Vogue stuff. Now I feel like I'm getting my money's worth. Also, I charted the pattern. That's new for me. I think. The drugs are making me a little woozy. Not like that's a bad thing...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Messages I'll Never Have #1

We have a whole family answering machine*. That means Tiny gets her friends calling... or did, before the dominance of the text (but she still gets calls from her coaches and stuff), I get my cool friends calling to tell me about parties, and the Man of the Place gets business calls there. Now my friends are clever and fun and crazy messages are totally appropos. However, sports-minded individuals (coaches) and business-minded folk often aren't prepared for my ready wit. Or my recorded wit. So we have the boring-est message ever:
"Thanks for calling! Please leave us a message."

I mean, really. The outgoing message is a perfect opportunity for creativity. I have a friend whose message is that instrumental Boom-chicka-bow-wow, and that's it. I love it.

So, from time to time, I will reveal an outgoing message I'd love to have... but never will. Here's the first one:

You know what? We're not going to answer the phone. We're not. We're just not.
We may be screening, hovering over the machine, waiting to hear your voice. But
that's the thing. You don't know. (Pause) Bwa-hahahahaha! beep

Feel free to use it.

*Yes, we've heard of voice mail. We prefer to devote a portion of the kitchen counter to a machine that presides over our calls, blinking its little red eye at us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cinderella Redux

Last Hallowe'en, Tiny waved her magic knife and created a lovely Cinderella pumpkin. (She really amazed me.) This year, she continued with the theme:Think I'm proud of my kid? Of course! Turns out she's a fairy godmother. That's right. Tiny can turn a pumpkin into a carriage!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Quiz

What is the difference between the upper pin (orange head) and the lower pin (yellow head)? And don't say one's orange and one's yellow.
Don't know? Look again.
Still don't know? Here's a hint: OUCH. That's right. The yellow pin can hurt you.
Tip for the day: tuck the end of your super-pointy pins back into the fabric.
It'll save you loads of time. (I was gonna make a joke about waiting to clot,
but that's just gross, right? We'll skip that for today.)

News! I've been crazed lately (Yeah, I know, how is that news?) Well, I've got a market for my bags: Two Sisters and Ewe in La Mesa, California. And they're ordering other stuff, too! DPN (That's Double Pointed Needles, to you and I) Cases and Circular Needle Cases (They're not really circular: it's two knitting needles connected by a cable so they can be any shape you want. You could even call 'em Pentagonal or straight-ish or Polyhedronal Needles, if you wanted to. Of course, nobody'd know what you were talking about.) But I digress. A lot.
Anyhoo, here's what they look like:

(in process. Gotcha.) I put batting in both styles to give it strength. It's like a little bitty quilt to hold your needles. (Wait. You gotta read "little bitty" in a squeaky voice. That's why it's all slanty.)

Here's the DPN Case open...

...and closed.

And the Circular Needlecase open...

...and closed. I wanted a closure on this case that would keep the needles inside really well, so I made a buttonhole and fabric loop closure. I couldn't find any ideas that I liked so I had to innovate. (And that's my Word of the Day.) Did you remember to read that in a squeaky voice?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Here's What I Can't Work On...

... because it's Christmas run-up time! See, I got the beaded cable part all done on both socken (plural for sock.) And here's what I can work on... ... But I can't show you. On account of needing to practice my sneakiness. Guess you'll have to ask Spycat. So we'll call this project Spycat's Secretz. It's about 10% done, thanks to a day of hardly anything else. It helps when Tiny's sick and her care preempts going out stuff.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tortured Lace Equals Happy Lace

It occured to me that I haven't shared the done pics of my Travelling Heroine Shawl, despite the fact that I've been flaunting it up and down California. Currently it's got a Celtic wolf pin in it that I got during a vicarious trip to Edinburg. Vicarious in that I didn't go. Earth Mother did. And she told me all about it. And brought me a lovely souvenier. So I practically went.
This is my shawl, dressed.
Dress (verb) Take a piece of knitted lace, soak it in
water, stretch it until it screams, pin it in place, and leave until
bone-dry. While you and I would balk at such treatment, lace actually wants to be treated this way. Until it has been thus tortured, it will
refuse to do anything more than sit in a wad and scowl, looking more like used dental floss.

But look how pretty it is after the rack:
And my Elinore Gloves are all done. They took less than 25 grams of sock yarn so I used leftovers. I may have to repeat this little experiment!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Good News...

... is that I can upload photos at last. The bad news is that I can't get HP Image Zone working so I can edit them. So if I took the picture sideways... well, let's just say it was a gravity issue. Yeah. Gravity. Now that we've got that straight, or sideways, here's the news:

I'm just back from the CogKNITive Fiber Retreat. What a blast and a half! 53 knitters, spinners, crocheters, and a few of their unwitting family members got together in Tehachapi, CA... ... to eat, shop, laugh, drive, and manupulate various strings and string-like materials. It was a great time. I am so glad I went this year.

Great moments:

  • When Gemma pushed Nathan aside so she could hug me.

  • When Tika and I got into a Battlestar Galactica/Caprica smackdown. (She was wrong, by the way. Caprica rocks.)

  • When I realized that Chris didn't get annoyed by me, despite the fact she was my roomie.

  • Playing with Gigi's spindle. (No, a real spindle. Get your mind back on the sidewalk! What? That was just me. Oh. Sorry.)

  • Being told that I was in charge of choosing the restaurants next year because I did such a great job this year.

This time I planned to get there a full day early so I could settle in. Last year I was so excited I couldn't sleep and was shambling around zombie-style for much of the retreat.
Part of the festivities was a fund-raiser for the very worthy Mother Bear Project. While I didn't win a prize, I could drop off my bear.

I call it Bear 1999 because it's supposed to look like the uniforms in Space 1999. Yeah. I know.

And I have started a new pair of socks! Yay! The pattern's called the Traveler. It features cables, beads, and a little pocket in the cuff. The yarn is from the Mean Girls Yarn Club and is called "Totally Wicked." It came with the cute witch stitch marker in the photo, a bar of poison apple soap, and ruby slippers lollipop. I love my yarn clubs. Last year I was in the Jane Austen Yarn Club. Forrest Gump would like 'em, too, I think. You never know what you're gonna get.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Still Loading...

My poor regular computer is having some trouble, so I'm using the irregular one. I'm not sure if I can get my camera to load up here. If you see pictures in this post, rejoice! It means I've succeeded, but at this moment the little spinny wheel is still going next to the words "Loading photos..."
I guess I can tell you about my progress, though. I've finished three helmet liners and started on a fourth!
And after much hard work and concentration, my Traveling Heroine shawl has been completed. It's beautiful and 10% cashmere, so you can imagine how it feels on my shoulders. It's the first standard sized triangular shawl I've made and it's so much nicer than a "shawlette." Update: I just realized I haven't said word one here about this project. Details:
  1. Started it during Comic Con (late July) for line-standing, because the beginning is a plain triangle.
  2. Yarn was a Christmas gift from Teens. I figure gift yarn should be used for personal projects. It's a variety of deep greens and yummy as can be.
  3. The pattern is called Traveling Woman by Liz Abinante and can be found here. Mine looks kinda like the sample.
  4. I had to restart it twice and used a lot of lifelines. (Used up a whole container of dental floss!)
  5. Repeated chart A four times.
  6. Learned (much too late--like the next-to-last row) that you're not supposed to slip the first stitch on a triangular shawl. Just knit it like normal. But I like it anyway.
In a Garden has even had some progress. The watering can and birds are completely done, backstitched and everything. The stepping stones and birdbath are stitched but not outlined. I'd have to say it's 90% done. That's a good feeling.
Oh! And Slayer Sox are unofficially done. Tiny doesn't know and I want to block 'em before I hand 'em off. Since she's back at school and taking all honors courses (Eep!), she's a little distracted. Mwah-ha-ha! I wonder what mischief I can get up to... I could sneak into her room and--uh, make the bed! Take out the trash! Open the windows and air it out!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


No, I'm not bragging. I just wanted to show you what's possible.

Amazing, no? And now that you've seen the impossible, now it's time for helping me choose the beauty shot for this lovely shawl. Please tell me which shot is best. If your choice is "none of the above" please give me a better idea. This is Palm Tree Straight On and this is Palm Tree Angled and this is Door.
Whatcha think?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Coasters for Toasters

I have to preface this by saying that in Battlestar Galactica (yeah, I know, it's getting a bit thick with sci-fi references) the Cylons (robots) are referred to as "toasters". So this space battle fabrics kinda lends itself to the whole theme, if you know what I mean. But I'll give you a little photo tutorial to make up for the extreme geeky start.You'll need six 5" squares of fabric and one 5" square of batting. Fold and press four of the squares in half, right sides out. Make a sandwich by stacking one full square face down, batting, one full square face up.Layer the folded squares with raw edges lining up against the sides of the full squares. Do this with all four folded squares. Interlock them so you have four patches of fabric showing and pin. I pin like a madwoman because I can't be trusted. Follow your own star.Sew a quarter-inch seam around the edges. Trim the corners and flip inside out. I'd have a pic of that but it just looks like a big wad o' fabric. Lather, rinse, repeat until you have as many coasters as a toaster could want.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Evil Twin Fired

First off, my evil twin totally sucks. She said she'd take over the blog for a couple of weeks, but when I check in, nothing! She's really untrustworthy. Could be because she's evil.

So I guess I'll have to catch you up myself. I've been a busy little beaver! I've made even more--frankly surprising!--progress on In the Garden. Can you see the bird bath? I think it looks pretty great even without backstitching.I made another zipper pouch from fabric that CC passed on to me. (I love receiving fabric scraps! Even though it means my stash is overflowing.) This voluptuous floral just rocks my world.
And Operation Headcover continues. I've made two helmet liners so far and have another one on the needles. I have yarn enough for a total of five. (We'll see how that works out.)Tiny's Slayer Sox near the finish line. I'm loath to complete them, though. They are so good for bad times. We went to see a very good play, Song of Extinction, last night. It's about a heavy subject, so I needed knitting. I got about an inch of the foot done just sitting in the dark, trying not to cry. When I got 'em into the light, there was a whole new stripe of color!And then we come to Marine Comfort Quilt blocks. Well, Battlestar Galactica Fleet Power Battle group on Ravelry posted new missions this month. One was "Colonial Day": I was to make something patriotic. Some people are patriotic in the Battlestar Galactica universe or to a particular team or state. This is one of those charities that I occasionally help out in. I had three done and put away to ship off when I had more. So I dug 'em out and made ten more. I'll send 'em on Tuesday. Yay! I totally recommend this group if you're a quilter. If you have odd blocks sitting around, all you have to do is get 'em up to 12 1/2" square, sign 'em, and send 'em! When I have five, I send 'em. (Or thirteen, in this case.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Elves. Ghosts. I am not Responsible for this

Baltic Sea on New Earth Stole
I finished knitting, I wove in the ends. Now, I've been told that plant fiber--in this case, sugar--doesn't require blocking. However, as I one day expect to wash the thing, I figured I'd better get it wet before chopping off the endsie bits. So, I soaked it about fifteen minutes and put it outside on towels. I only stretched it a bit. I'll find out when it's dry if I should have been more rigorous. But as it was so pliant as I was working on it--and again that thing about plant fiber!--I'm guessing pinning won't do much good.
You know how sometimes on TV a lawyer in a drama will say, "She felt compelled to..." whatever? Well, I felt compelled to stitch on this thing. As though I was being pushed to cross-stitch. By the Ghost of Cross-Stitch Future. Anyway, I got a lot more done.
Therese's Leftovers
And on the quilting front, I'm ripping out a really bad job of quilting I did. Wrong thread color, irregular work... it was just... uh... it wasn't me. It was elves. Unskilled elf labor that infiltrated my studio while I was out partyin... uh, feeding homeless dogs. Yeah.