January 2007 Archives

Side projects


I just got back from a quick business trip down to LA. It was so short, it hardly seemed worth mentioning, because I knew I wouldn't have time to see all the people I wanted to. In the process, I did manage to catch myself a little cold. I suspect I got it in the airport or in one of the many meetings I attended. Leo may have another cold all together, which means in the next few days, we may be in a mountain of tissues and in a cold medicine haze. This is my lead in to saying that, for the time being, if it isn't cozy and snuggly warm, I won't be modeling it here on my blog, which means there are no progress posts of the silky wool piece.

So while I eat my chicken noodle soup (with a splash of lemon juice,) I've been sticking to less taxing projects, like, spinning some beautiful Chameleon Colorworks fiber.

This is approximately 4 ounces of peachy colored singles. It's an unnamed colorway, in a Merino/Viscose blend, spun at a fairly fine weight. I'll be making a 2-ply with it sometime soon. It's definitely not as exciting to spin a monochromatic colorway, as it is to spin something vary variegated, but I love the subtle shading that is produced. The colorway is mostly very soft and muted shades of orange, with touches of gray throughout. The best way to describe it would be "cream of pumpkin." I've actually been spinning this fiber for several weeks, but finally finished the last little bit of it last night.

I started this other project last Wednesday night.

It'll eventually be a pair of socks for Leo -- he of the arches so high you could fit Donald Trumps ego under them.
The yarn is Blue Moon Sock Candy in Pecan. The fiber is 96% cotton and 4% elite. The pattern is a variation of one of the patterns from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Normally, I prefer to knit socks toe-up, but I've heard those aren't so good for the sky high arches that Leo was blessed with, so it seemed as good a time as any to start acquainting myself with the more traditional cuff-down variety of sock. Leo is particularly concerned that there be no seams, which I have assured him will be the case. I've also made it clear that he should not get used to wearing handmade socks. Luckily, he's always been very appreciative of hand knits.

All images in this post are from the book and are reproduced here with permission from the author.

When last I blogged, I posted an interview with Jennifer Stafford, the author of the book DomiKNITrix: Whip Your Knitting Into Shape. I hope you'll take the time to read through the interview because it's chock full of great tidbits and suggestions, for the knitter and pattern designer alike.

In this post, I'll be discussing the book itself and my review of it. I am a tough reviewer so expect to hear the good and the bad, as I see it. Take it for what it's worth and take into account your own preference for both learning and knitting, since my taste may differ from yours. The review is rather long, so if you are a skimmer, I suggest jumping ahead to the Conclusion section of this post.

Find the full review, after the jump.

One of the perks of being a guest on Knitty Gritty, is the opportunity to meet those knitters and bloggers whose work you've admired but whom you've never met. Getting to meet the DomiKNITrix herself, Jennifer Stafford, was no exception. To know her work is to appreciate it, even if her style is not to your taste. From the sculptural horns of her Devil Hat to the, thoughtful detailing in her Little Red Riding Hoodie, you see her flair for shaping. With her, now ubiquitous, skull chart, or the variations of her Elfin Goth, you can appreciate her attention to detail. So when Jennifer asked if I'd review her new book, there was simply no hesitation.

The review will appear over two blog posts. Today, I have a the results of a questionnaire I sent Jennifer. The next post will be my review of the book.

Part I, in its entirety is after the jump.

Remember this piece?


Back before I moved to Portland and before I took on a plethora of non-bloggable design projects, I was working on a piece knit from Silky Wool.

I'm a little further than the last time I posted about it, though there has been a great deal of ripping, knitting, ripping, crocheting, ripping and, well, you get the idea.

I had planned the body of the piece really well, but had left the details such as the sleeves and bands much looser. This is primarily because I wasn't sure how much of the main color yarn I'd have after I completed the body. It turns out I had just a little more than needed to knit the body. So now it's a matter of finding a way to use the other two yarns (of which I had a single skein, each) in the most aesthetically pleasing way. Hopefully, the end result is a piece that will look like it was designed intentionally as opposed to a design driven by a lack of yarn.

While I really love the deep mahogany shade, and considered using it as the trim, I didn't feel it popped enough against the main color, so I used the gold instead. In order to make the sleeves seem more cohesive with the rest of the piece, I threw in a little pleat with the main color, to bring it all together.

I snapped a few very unflattering pictures of me wearing the piece in its current state. You can check them out after the jump.

Haystack Rock


We've driven to Cannon Beach on several occasions in the past, but have always entered on the northern side at Ecola Park.

Here's a little Google Map satellite view of our normal route. The water line has been really high lately so there's normally not this much sand, but you get the idea.

Sunday, we went this route in hopes of finally getting to see that rock we're always taking pictures of.

Well, the day could not have been more beautiful and we have the pictures to prove it.

See them all here.

And if you want a little laugh, check out Panda's diversion, en route to the beach, after the bump.

Call for unique knitting groups


From the folks of Knitty Gritty:

Screen Door Entertainment and "Knitty Gritty" are looking for unique knitting groups for a one-hour special. We are looking in the Los Angeles area AND NATIONWIDE!!!!

It may be a formal group or informal, but we're searching for groups with a "story" or extra-special quality. Maybe a sports team/league who knits together on the bus rides, a group of Harley bikers who knit together, a group who hit various pubs and knit while they visit, OR people who knit for a purpose/cause (whether a charity or simply to keep their community beautiful by decorating trees, stop signs, etc.)

If you are a member of such an intriguing group, know of a group (locally or in any city,) OR even if you know of other online knitting groups in other cities we can contact - send me an e-mail ASAP. We'd love to hear more!

Joy Wingard
"Knitty Gritty"

How can you tell the recent transplant from LA to Oregon? She's the one, in her jammies, taking picture of precipitation. It's ridiculous, really, I grew up with this stuff but after 6 years of eternal sunshine, there is something a bit novel about it.

First thing this morning, Leo scraped the frozen snowy slush off his windshield, while Panda and I watched from the front window, remaining toasty and warm.

But it was NOTHING compared to the 30 minutes of frozen rainy, hail stuff that we just got.

Panda is annoyed that I'm asking her to sit for this picture when she could be romping and smelling said rain.

It looks like it would hurt, but it's really like little fluffy snowballs; very light and quick to melt.

And as soon as it started, it was done. The sun is beaming now and most of what came down has melted away.
This is winter I can live with.

Perhaps the longest glove pattern ever


The Lake Park Glove pattern is now available for free in the pattern section of my site. This thing was a beast to put together so if you find any issues, feel free to drop me a note.

The pattern is very simple, but I've offered lots of information for modifying the pattern and I made charts and verbose instructions for those of you who have a preference. I give because I love.

I hope a few of you will show me your hand spun and variegated yarns worked up in this stitch pattern. I think it'll be great to see how different yarns look.

I've got your hat right here


The hat pattern has been posted.

The gloves are coming soon.

Comeing soon to a browser near you


I have finished the hat and gloves I've been knitting from my handspun, and they have already helped me keep out the chill as I did my errands today.

I'm hoping to finish up writing the pattern by the end of the weekend. It'll be available for free, and will contain suggestions for using different weight yarn.

As a side note, I wanted to show you how great store bought variegated yarns can look in slip stitch patterns. If you like the pattern but don't spin your own yarn, or prefer not to spin such fine gauge yarns, you can definitely substitute any variegated sock yarn.

Obviously, the stitch pattern is a little different but the effect is the same. The yarn is Socks That Rock in colorway, Carbon. If you'll notice, there is some definite flashing going on but the slip stitch sort of breaks that up.

Oh and here's hoping a few of you out there got to see Miss Panda on TV today. She was a natural, I tell you.

This is more of a mini-tutorial, as it assumes you are already well acquainted with the long tail cast on. Many of you may already know this little tip but I'm posting it for those who may not.

Because I know that not everyone has QuickTime, I'm loading two different versions, one is a video, which is more complete and the other is an animated GIF which should be viewable in almost all browsers and is better for people with slow connections.

For the QuickTime movie, click the image below

What I'd give to have someone do my voice overs for me :oP

If you prefer an animated GIF, click here.

Each frame should display for about 3 seconds and the whole movie should loop if you need to watch it more than once.

Panda happy new year


Those of you who have been visiting my site for a while may recall that Leo only celebrates holidays that involve lots of fun having and which are, basically, secular. This means that Halloween, Thanksgiving and New Year's top the list, with a nod to Valentine's day and, of course, a month for my Birthday. However, that last one is more mandated by the relationship than anything.

Since the plan was to have a rocking good time, I made sure that Panda got a nice long walk during the day.

Does anyone notice that besides the lovely view and adorable dog, there is also a new FO in this picture? A few of you have asked for the stitch pattern, but I plan to do you one better and post the whole hat pattern soon. The stitch is from one of the Barbara Walker books, but I'll have to dig back through to get the exact name. More on all that to come, in the future.

So back to the evening's events. Having moved to Portland, late in the year, we were a bit behind the eight ball in coming up with plans. We really didn't know where we'd wanted to go, because we hadn't really been anywhere and once we decided where we might like to go, all the options appeared to be filled up. Thus ensued a mad romp about the internet in search of options.

Leo found this posting online.

Tango lessons, a 5 course meal and Cirque Du Soleil style acrobatics; it all sounded like a perfect evening.

Well, it wasn't quite what we expected. The reservation secured us a spot at one of the wedding/prom style communal tables for 8 and a chance to visit the buffet and purchase wine by the glass from the bar. While the performers were excellent, much of it happened closer to terra ferma than we expected, so we missed a great deal of it. It wasn't a bad evening, but we still felt it was pretty oversold in the flier.

Oh and there may have been the slight issue in determining where the event was held. The picture above tells you all about the event, but not where it is. Combing their site, I managed to determine where they were performing on December 31st, which just happened to be 37 blocks from the event we had tickets for and lucky us, having taken public transportation in to the city, we found ourselves in a mini-predicament. All that got sorted out with an inexpensive cab ride, though it did put us pretty far from any means of getting home again. Oh, and we'd been warned that starting at about 9PM it would be about a 2-3 hour wait for a cab if we needed it, so if we wanted to take a cab back to the train, we were probably out of luck. Ooops.

Once seated, Leo took to procuring wine and I met our new friends.

That adorable couple would be Erica and Larry. It's a good thing they are gregarious because I am one of those shy folks who probably wouldn't have said a word if they hadn't been so outgoing. That would have been my loss because they are delightful dinner companions.

Most of the evening's performances were set to tango-like music.

Though, I swear, one piece was done to an instrumental version of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters."

After dinner, there was a tango lesson. I did manage to guilt Leo into a few minutes of dancing with me. But when he lost interest, I began my rounds as the dance floor floozy; dancing with both dance instructors, some old Russian man named Alex, whose wife was getting pointers from one of the instructors, and finally a last dance with Larry, who had taken pity on me and my dance addiction. But I can stop any time. I can.

While watching some more floor shows, we heard a rushed "Four...Three...Two...ONE!" and realized it was now officially 2007 in our time zone.

A big wet smooch and hug and then we bid 2006 a fond farewell.

At this point, we began scheming about our plans to get home. Do we see if we can catch a bus back downtown? Do we even know which direction downtown is? Can we walk to a train station? None of that was necessary, instead, Larry and Erica invited us to join them for wine at their place and we jumped at the chance. They'd been so much fun to talk to AND they'd get us close to public transportation and cabs. What good fortune for us.

They have the most lovely and immaculate place in the Pearl. Did I mention is was also impeccably clean? Dear lord! I can understand having your place in order when you plan to invite folks over, but who the hell has their house that perfect just for normal every day living? Damn them!

We kept them up for another few hours, Erica and I talking fondly of road trips and pets, the guys discussing, who-knows-what.

At nearly 3AM, we decided we'd imposed ourselves long enough and began our voyage back to little Panda and the warmth of our home sweet home. But I don't think that's the last we'll see of them.

It may not be what we expected but it was a great way to start the year.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2006 is the previous archive.

February 2007 is the next archive.

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