May 2007 Archives

There's just been something missing


Since we brought a certain little beast into the home, El Matchador has had to go into hiding. The girls accidentally knocked her over and the injury that could have come to any of the three of them, was simply not worth the risk.

Recently, a friend posted a bowl of deliciousness, and it had my heart aching to do more spinning.

I'm working on a few unbloggable projects now so this is a perfect diversion that doesn't make me feel like I'm ignoring my other responsibilities.

A teeny tiny skein of merino silk worked up on my Spindolyn.


There are only about 18 yards of yarn here, but it's my best little skeinlette off the Spindolyn, yet. I'm still having some trouble getting a good cop on it. When I start to build up too much, it either doesn't hold its shape and goes all wonky, or the yarn starts tucking in under the cop making it impossible to wind it off later. I think I'll get better with practice.

Up next, some "Fudge Brownie" from Nistock Farms. I was never able to get this stuff to spin well on a drop spindle, but on the Spindolyn, it works up beautifully. This gives me hope that I'll also do better with the luxury fibers I have.


And finally, some silk/merino blend that I've had forever. I believe it's Ashland Bay. I'm spinning on my 0.6 ounce Golding.


I haven't been able to use my 0.9 ounce, which was formerly my workhorse, because the hook got a little bent while traveling to and from India, but I'm told I'll be able to get her sorted out at the Fiber Frolic in Maine. It's amazing how much an unbalancedness hook can throw you off. Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up enough information from the fine folks at Golding, to fix it myself in the future.

And now for some proof that I shouldn't be allowed to have dogs, after the jump

Puppy Preschool


Yesterday was Thea's first day at Puppy Preschool and we had so much fun. While I feel confident that, in time, we'd be able to teach Thea everything we'd want her to know, she definitely needs a lot of work in social settings. She's nothing like Panda, she loves everyone and everything and is happy to play all the time, but she has absolutely no focus and can't calm down enough to enjoy the experience. This class seems like just what she needs and it will teach me a lot about training.

When Thea saw this mastiff (who, by the way, is only about a month and a half older than Thea) she didn't know what to do with herself. She first gave a submissive pee and then spent the rest of the hour trying to play with him. I think she has a little crush. Both of us ended up with a lot of slobber on us, but no worse for the wear.

If you really love watching puppies at play or puppies in class, and you have QuickTime, I've loaded a couple of clips from class. There is nothing super incredible about them but they sure do make me smile.
Puppy Free Play 1MB
Practicing Sit HUGE! 47MB

Review: Knitting Lingerie Style

Note: Joan has graciously sent me feedback on this review and I have included her comments. You'll find them throughout the review in green italics.


When I first saw the cover of Knitting Lingerie Style, floating around that interwebby thing, I knew that regardless of whatever else was in that book, I had to have it. The cover piece is just amazing. Everything about the garment is perfectly structured. How did she do it? I had to know. The book was available for pre-order, a while back and I didn't waste any time in ordering it.


Over the past couple of years, I had noticed McGowan-Michael showing up in more and more places, including Knitty Gritty and Vogue Knitting, and yet, despite how impressed I've been with any of her work I've seen, I have never spent that much time really researching her as a designer.


The book arrived last week, and I set right to plonking down for a good read. Leo wholeheartedly endorsed this particular acquisition. I haven't had a chance to knit any designs yet, so I won't speak to topics such as the accuracy of the patterns or the fit, but I will pipe up with my 2¢ on anything else that comes to mind.

Niddy Naughty




Six times the motify goodness


Well, Lily is on temporary time out. I don't like the look of the raglan decreases. They just come in too far and it looks off. I need to rip back to the base of the armsceye and reconfigure for either a much less angled raglan or a set in sleeve....what to do, what to do.

In the mean time, the motifs have become a mindless delight.

Six lovely motifs, half of which were completed in the last 24 hours.

No dogs were embarrassed in the course of photographing these pictures.

Thea is making herself quite at home. She sat by our feet last night and made cuteness at us.

Wouldn't you pet that little head?

Thanks to Julia for posting about this.

I really can't tell you how excited I am for the release of this book. I have a pattern in here but I'm not just excited about my own piece. There are some phenomenal pieces from Julia, Mary Heather, Edna Hart and, of course, the author, Kat.

It was a truly extraordinary experience working with Kat. While I can't say I've had too many bad experiences designing for other people, working with someone who is an experienced designer, in this capacity, is liberating. She knows how to give just enough encouragement and direction to keep you on track but leaves you plenty of room to flex your creatively, and she is unfailingly supportive.

Since I was living in LA at the time, I was able to see many of the original proposed designs and I'm eager to see their final incarnations. The items I have seen are instant classics and should appeal to wide range of skill levels and taste.

The photograph? There's only one word for it, "beautiful."

It looks like I have to wait until November to get my grubby hands on a copy. If you are interested in pre-ordering, all the info is available here.

Konichiwa Crochet


I'm almost always a guest, never a host. Our home is small and lacking in furniture and it's not just anyone I'd subject to a single small (very small) bathroom shared between three adults. But when Julia said she'd be in town for work, I vacuumed up the dog hair and gave the tub an extra scrub. We had us a guest in town!

Recently, Julia has decided to learn crochet in earnest and her enthusiasm is infectious. On a recommendation we found our way to a huge Japanese market replete with...wait for it...a Japanese BOOK STORE. Great googily moogily! Their selection of crochet books was small but packed full of goodness.

There may have also been some shopping at a couple LYSs and the opportunity to meet a really great blogger and designer. Have yarn, will craft, and there was no dearth of that. In the 3 days that Julia and I spent together, not a single solitary picture was taken until the third and final day. Luckily for you, it was the most photogenic day of the lot.

Early that day, we packed the car up for a trip to Horsetail falls. If you read my non-crafty posts, you may remember our last visit, not too long ago.

The day was perfect for hiking. It was a little cool, but not so much as to require substantial outerwear. The sun was out but shaded by some light and poofy clouds. Didn't we agree they were Stradivarius clouds or were they igneous, Julia?

Leo was doggy wrangler for the day. It's no small feat to keep two dogs from intertwining on leash especially when one of them is just a pup. They were each other's yin and yang. Panda would duck every time someone would try to pet her. She wanted nothing more than solitude from everyone she didn't know. Thea, on the other hand, wanted to jump all over every person and dog we passed (and there were many people celebrating Mother's day by hiking on these beautiful trails). Between these two extremes was our handsome hero, dragging one girl ahead and holding another back. Me thinks we have some more training to do.

On the drive home, I crocheted from my new Japanese crochet book. This little wonder is chock full of sweet motifs. While the book is all in Japanese, everything is charted which makes them delightful to use. The yarn? My lovely peachy Merino/viscose handspun, from Chameleon Colorworks. The viscose gives a subtle sheen and the brilliant dyeing gives depth to the simple colorway. When you see the yarn, it's clear the spinning is average, at best, but the fiber was so beautiful to start with that I can't help but be proud of the final product.

Blocked, the finished pieces look like snowflakes.
What am I going to do with them? Perhaps a doggy babushka.

Perhaps not.
I have more — what's the word — sane ideas. I don't have enough yardage to do a whole garment in this yarn (unless I want to go particularly scantily clad) but it could be paired with another handspun or store bought yarn in some creative way. All that is still in deliberation.

After our long hike and short ride home, I took a marathon nap and then arose with ample time to join Julia at Lake Park for a photo shoot. I'll leave those pictures for her to post. Instead, check out the fresh batch of ducky goodness from the same outing.

They can give me avian flu, any old day. I just want to scoop them up and snuggle them.

And now, Julia is back at home with all her fur balls. And all that's left is the now deflated air mattress where she was set up. Thea payed homage to Miss Tuna in Julia's absence. I think that's Thea's way of saying she was glad to meet her.

It was a great weekend and I hope there will be more like it soon. And someday, we'll own a house with more than one bathroom and a proper spare bedroom. I'm dreamin' big, baby.

More shameless doggy photos


What can I say? I love my girls. I haven't really been knitting much because of all the puppy distraction so, my distraction is your distraction.

The girls during training time:

Sit. Stay. Good!

Ms. Thea making faces at the camera.

Could those ears be any bigger?

Thea's favorite spot while I'm working.

What could possible go wrong?

A trip with Stacy and Mary


Or, a long winded discussion of some swatches

In my post, yesterday, I mentioned having a quick trip out of town. Since the trip was both short and stressful, I didn't take along Lily, which requires a certain amount of concentration. Instead, I decided to take along some swatching. There are times when there is nothing more satisfying than the joys of mindless swatching to keep the fingers and brain occupied. It was just what I needed.

For my swatching pleasure I brought along two items that were new to me. First was a Mary Thomas book of knitting patterns that I picked up at the Blacksheep Knittery sale, at Kat's suggestion. While the Barbara Walker books will always be my most comprehensive collection, they also represent the most ubiquitous stitch pattern selections and it can be refreshing and inspiring to try others.

For yarn, I brought a couple skeins of Tahki Stacy Charles' Dream.

This is a really unusual yarn and I feel like Tahki doesn't quite know what to do with it. Click that ball band to read the label. It recommends a US #8 needle for a yarn that I would classify as a very light sock weight. Of course, if you read the whole label, you'll see that it recommends doubling it.

It took just over a week


I've been bracing myself for a month or two of unrest in the home. It's been manageable, with Thea being more than happy to persist at harassing her sister and Panda being even more than happy to tell her to shove it where the sun don't shine. Panda has occasionally agreed to allow the little one to sit near her and has moments where she forgets herself and plays with Thea for a few minutes, but for the most part, it's been mostly the cold shoulder.

Then I went out of town for a couple days, for some personal business. I came home, and something clicked, suddenly, the girls were playing...together...with each other even. I don't know if it was the excitement of having me come home or if about a week was all they needed. Either way, it's a beautiful thing to see them happy together.

To celebrate, we took the little fur balls to Frog Lake up in the Mt Hood region.

Border Collies + Snow = Good old fashion fun

See all the pictures of the trip to the lake here and see all the pictures of Panda and Thea playing, by clicking here.

S-s-something from the comments*


This entry also posted at the Create Along.

So, longer ago than I'd like to admit, Kristi asked me:

So of course I'm curious why you didn't leave the underarm space -- because it messed with the lace?

I think the space is less imperative on smaller sizes -- if you were doing a conventional shaped sleeve, your initial bind off would be about (chest - crossback)/2 on each side (this is assuming you're in the round) Or even less.

Plus, the lace is going to be more flexible/less bulky than stockinette and stretch or constrict as needed.

If you're thinking of sizing up the pattern though, I think the underarm shaping will begin to make a big difference.

Instead of writing her back (eek, sorry) I thought I'd post my response up here where y'all can see my reply because, man, she is just full of damn fine information.

The original concept of the piece was to work a lace, that had vertical symmetry, up the side of the piece, then split it off for the armsceye. The sleeve would be constructed the same way giving an uninterrupted path for the lace. The idea was that the lace would never appear to break even though it obviously had to split for the sleeves.

If I wanted to do a bind off at the underarms, I would have to gradually migrate the lace inward to be just inside the bind off point. This is possible but I really wanted to avoid disrupting the pattern.

With Kristi's great insight, I see that the combination of the stretchy Calmer and the small size make this possible. It does seem to work great for me so far. I have to seriously think how I'll approach the larger sizes (yes, I'm getting persuaded to actually write the pattern.) though.

If I do decide to write the pattern, I'll probably knit a partial second piece and do a gusset on one side and migration of the lace for a bind off, on the other to see which produces a nicer effect. I won't have to work a full chest circumference, just enough to be able to visualize the end result. Again, as Kristi pointed out, the lace will give some flexibility and the yarn is stretchy so I think I would have to do a relatively small amount of binding off even for a much larger size.

Talking to my dear friend, Julia, yesterday, I feel ready to tackle the neckline, which I've put on hold for a couple days while I contemplate. She suggested just a folded hem and I like that idea very much. I'm also considering something with eyelets that can be cinched in a little, to accommodate various undergarments. Either way, I want it to be relatively unobtrusive since there's already a lot going on with the lace. In the end, I think her hem idea is going to win out.

*Nod to Ze. I miss his show, The Show.

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