Thursday, September 30, 2004

Feeling Retro

In an RGB world, I'm going to be a little Black and White, today.

First off, to the very sweet Michelle Sorensen, thank you so much for sending me those K-Tel knitter instructions. Just so you all know, with the instructions provided, I can now make this:

Actually, truth be told, there are some cute little patterns in the book, but nothing gets me in a better mood than a good pant suit pattern. Just imagine, if someone dreamed it up, at least one person had to make it. It makes me think of this post, from the always amusing Stitchy McYarnpants.

And in non-knitting but still black and white news:

This was last night at bedtime. I always go to bed before Leo, so he tucks in Panda and me before going back to his thing. Panda was laying on the cute like no one's business, last night. It's not that she isn't always cute, but come on, even if you don't like dogs, you must think she's pretty darn cute, here. ;o)

I ran my weekly Stitch and Bitch yesterday and one of my students has started her first scarf. She's only had two lessons and had done a very long swatch with stockinette, ribbing and garter stitch. May I repeat that to you? TWO lessons, and she did not have my undivided attention in either instance. I'm so proud of her. All of my students have done well, actually, at least those who have made it to more than one lesson. As far as I'm concerned, it's not going to work for everyone but if there's low to no pressure and a good group of folks, then those who want to learn will have the support to do so.

I do want to ask all you left handed knitters and knitting teachers who aren't ambidextrous a question. What is the best approach for teaching left handed knitters if you are a right handed knitter? I can knit with my left hand, but it's sloppy and I really can't purl. I feel like I'm pretty limited in what I can offer a person, in that respect. I've been teaching my students the right handed method, but I feel that's pretty unfair to the left handed folks who work twice as hard to get the same results.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


No sooner did I post that I'd be on Knitty Gritty, then Vickie Howell sends mail to all her guests with photographic evidence.

Here is Vicky, sporting the best darn earrings ever (well, at least for an 80s themed show) and my Happy Hat. This picture was taken just after we finished shooting my episode.

If you look to the far right of this image, the knitster in the striped shirt is the person who produced my segment, the lovely Miss Cam Frierson. It's great that they caught her moonlighting on thier own set! For shame, Cam, for shame.

All joking aside, she was really great, even when I was being a complete moron while we did our run throughs, she was always nice about repeating herself to get me back on course. Thanks Cam :o)

I have to admit, my favorite part of the whole day was lunch, we sat around telling the worst jokes we could. Cam took the cake for:
"What's brown and sticky?"
"A stick."

You can't argue with logic like that.

Oh, and if you want to see other pictures from their last few weeks of shooting, here they are.

I haven't mentioned all the great crew, but they are honestly, and sincerely, some of the nicest and most fun people. This was definitely an Ego-free zone, at least from my what I could see.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Ok ok ok

Some of you might remember this post a little while back. I have been assured that there is no reason in the world why I should be hush-hush about it so I'll go ahead and let ya know that the project was one I designed for the show, Knitty Gritty. I worked with a lovely woman named, Cam Frierson who produced a show with a 1980s theme. I demoed my legwarmers as well as a super simply top done up in that fishnet pattern. The styles may not be for everyone, but I'm hoping that some of the techniques might inspire folks.

Let me just say that while I hate, um, abhor, being in front of a video camera, the crew was as wonderful as anyone could hope and I had a great time. I'm really hoping this show remains popular and stays on the air for a while. My episode will be out circa January. Cam wrote in more 80s puns than you can shake a stick at so be prepared to laugh (groan?) while watching.

The dragon bag that I've been working on is coming along nicely as well. I still have to finish a few details, like the eyes, ears and straps, but the rest is basically done.

I'm looking forward to finishing it up. I think it'll be a great conversation piece.

On a completely unrelated note, my boyfriend bought a box of these a little while ago:

These would be my idea of a food "worst nightmare." I'm not a huge fan of marshmallow things, but banana flavored? I have never met a banana flavoring I liked.

Friday, September 24, 2004

I love change

If you visit my site with any regularity, you may have noticed a slight make-over. Nothing much, just a color scheme change and a little texture in the banner. I'm sure it will change some more, though nothing that'll knock your socks off. I've also changed my comments, which makes me happy, overall, except that all my old comments are no longer visible. If you happened to have left comments in the past, please don't be sad if they are gone, it's not because I don't love you, it's because I don't love Blogger's comment utility.

Anyway.... Thursday and Friday, I tend to indulge in my video games. Yup, I love my video games, mostly RPG types. We all have our guilty pleasures, and that is mine. The reason I'm telling you this is so you won't feel entirely unimpressed with my progress since the last post.

I finished grafting the casing and it looks perfect. I used my new i-cord maker to spin off some ties and I've started the tongue.

It's knit in the round using the 2-circulars method, but with dpns, instead. The ends of the ties will attach to the bottom of the tongue on the inside, which is what I'm sort of showing here. Just picture a slightly longer tongue.

And, in case you think I've abandoned the Tesla piece, altogether, here’' a picture of my progress so far.

It looks pretty much like it did before, only a little longer. I've ordered some findings for the purse closure that I hope will arrive in the next day or two. I didn't want the purse to be one of those that didn't have the structure to hold itself up, so I am experimenting with installing some hardware around the opening which will also be the point at which the strap is attached. I'll be able to communicate that more coherently once I have a picture to show you.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

What LA has taught me:

When in doubt, make a sequel. Let's just hope this sequel is more "Empire Strikes Back" than "Sperbabies: Baby Geniuses 2"

What the heck am I talking about? Why, my newest project of course. I can't give you too much info, because it's a pattern for a book, but I think I can give you the general gist of the deal.

Here's my notebook sketch

It's a Dragon Bag, which is like my Dragon Hoodie, only inasmuch as it's a Dragon theme, but it's a theme, no less. My favorite part of this bag is the tongue drawstring.

The piece is working up pretty quickly, all things considered, except for the drawstring casing, which I finished and then ripped out when I realized how much I disliked the corners I cut. I started out eyeballing, while whip stitching the hem, which might work well for someone who focuses, solely, on their knitting, but I'm not one of those people, so I plugged away, only to realized that the beginning and ending of my whip-stitched hem were a couple rows away from each other.

Finally, I decided to do what I should have done all along, careful basting for a guideline and a proper grafting of the hem.

Here you can see the halfway grafted hem in pink. If it isn't obvious, the piece is inside-out in this image. The body of the bag is bright purple and the tongue will be pink. I thought it would be cute to work the hem in pink as well to give you the impression of the inside of a mouth.

And here is a detail of how I like to work kitchner stitch with live stitches grafted to the back of knit fabric. First, I run a thread along the row to which I'm planning to graft the live stitches. I did this for two reasons;
1. I have a tendency to lose track of which row I'm working, resulting in a wonky seam.
2. In circular knitting, there's a jog and I want to map out how I'll adjust for it.

Once I've basted along the grafting path, I grab the smallest dpn I can and start moving that row of stitches onto it. This allows me to clearly see my stitches and work a kitchner stitch just like I would for two rows of live stitches. You can probably also tell that I remove my basting as I move stitches onto the dpn.

Monday, September 20, 2004

What you've been doing

Mari has made a version of the Nautilus hat
Here it is before blocking:

And here it is being blocked upon an oriental pot:

For all of you who are considering making this hat, you'll probably find that your version benefits from blocking as well, since it will bring out the eyelets in your piece, which, after all, is the point of the hat.

Donna Marie has made a version of the Diva Halter that is simply stunning.
She has this to say about the way she made the top:

"Thanks again for the pattern i absolutely loved it. Used a stretchy brown topaz headband/choker for the neck and some old jewelry for the back, and some great ribbon yarn "La Nova" from Schachenmayer."

I just love the way the sparkly jewels play against the knit fabric.

More Knitting Supplies

Heaven knows, I have a lot of knitting supplies. You'd think that after falling in love with my Denise needles, I'd never buy another pair of knitting needles again. Heck, even if I DO plan to buy more needles, straights wouldn't be a likely choice, since I rarely, if ever use them. But did that stop me from bidding on needles on ebay? Of course not. For $5 I got these:

But what the HECK are these:

They look like giant sewing machine needles, to me. They say, "K-tel Knitter" on the side. Are they some sort of spare part for a knitting machine? Anyone?

In addition to my ebay stuff, I also received these as a gift for my purple fishnet super secret thing:

The trim maker:

is sort of a crank version of the spool knitter that some of us may have used as a kid. You know, it was a wood or plastic tube with 4 nails or plastic nubs. It basically makes 4 stitch i-cord in lighter weight yarns. I can definitely see some use for it in the future.

As for actual knitting, not much of that happened this weekend. My brother arrived Friday morning at 1am. After we all got some sleep, we set off to pick up the car he came out to get. Our step-father's cousin passed away a little while ago and his immediate family had been storing a Chevy Metro that no one needed. None of us were expecting much, but the car started right up and had only 6000 miles on it. Yup, that's not a typo, it would be six-thousand miles on that puppy. We filled the rest of Friday and Saturday spending time together and then Matt left to drive back to Denver. It was wonderful seeing him.

Oh, one more thing...
I just checked my web stats. Look how many visits I've had to date:

Lucky, indeed, don't you think?
It's a bit like waiting for all the numbers to align on your odometer: slots on a geological timeline.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

No Vacancies on the Couch

My brother arrives late late late today, or, to be more technically correct, at 1AM Friday morning. I finally finished the last of the cleaning I wanted to do, so it won't appear that we live in filth.

Yesterday I ran my second Stitch and Bitch at work. It's been a lot of fun. The first week, 3 other people came. This week, those 3 were there, plus 2 more. All my knitters can knit and purl now and are working in stockinette stitch. One of the knitters from last week came back with over a foot of stockinette that she had done over the course of the week. It was just lovely. She wanted to know why it curled and we discussed that a bit and then I taught her ribbing and she was doing beautifully. By the end of the S&B she was proclaiming "Oh god, I can tell a knit from a purl stitch now!"

My one crocheted was doing great as well. She was working in single crochet and was cranking along at a great clip. Her hope is to do Granny Squares someday, so next week we learn to double crochet.

I've managed to score the best conference room with a view for every Wednesday at 11, so if nothing else, I think people will come for the mental break from work. Hey, it sure beats closing the door to my basement office and knitting alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Thanks Mom

My mom has been a knitter all my life and always produced beautiful pieces with flattering shapes, interesting tailored details and intricate stitch patterns. Choosing luxurious yarns and tiny needles, her pieces were never the frumpy acrylic horrors that some associate with hand knit items. Obviously, now that knitting is trendy, none of us thinks that way, but years ago, it was much more rare to see knitting that was also art, and I was always in awe of her pieces.

Now that I share her passion (addiction? money sucking black hole?) we have a tendency to spend much of our time together, when we are on the same coast, at bookstores and yarn shops. A couple weeks ago, when I was in NH, I picked up this book while with her:

You can click on the book to see the details of it at Amazon.

It's a book about knitting and crocheting with beads and I'm absolutely inspired. I haven't been shy in saying so and my mom, who has recently taken up wire and pliers jewelry making sent me a box full of luscious beads that are just perfect for knitting. The holes easily accommodate 2 thicknesses of worsted weight yarn.

So what does any red blooded knitter, with tons of other important things to do, do when she receives a box of beads for knitting? Why, she drops everything and starts swatching, of course. You knew I would say that, though, didn't you?

Obviously, the pictures don't do any of this justice. The yarn is a lovely silk and cotton mix in a dusty purple and the beads are a milky pink shade with a high luster. Even as my time to leave for work looms near, the swatch beckons me.
"Come play with us, Marnie, forever, and ever, and ever"

But, one huge bag of lovely pony beads wasn't all I got:

There was an equally large bag of jade colored pony beads, some gorgeous glass beads in shades of brown and yellow, a huge bag of some beads that I think she called "crow beads" but whatever they are they are simply lovely. Here's a close-up of them:

I wish the lighting at this hour were better so you could see more detail, but I think you get the idea.

Oh, and there were also two bags of glass fishy beads which are simply darling. I think they'd be great hanging from the end of a hem on a scarf or top, or used as buttons. I'll try to get pictures up soon, but the 405 calls and I must be a responsible adult and head to work.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Where'd the weekend go?

I'm a bit achy from various cleaning activities, but the end result is a saner looking house. Actually, while I was off at my friend's wedding a couple weekends ago, Leo did tons of stuff around the house that had been sadly neglected. While we stay on top of the basic cleaning, both of us have tended towards being a bit cluttered (anyone who knows me right now is laughing hysterically. Organization is not my strong suit). While I doubt my brother would care if my knitting littered the entire living room, I did think it would be appropriate for me to get it moderately organized. So all I have left to do is a little tidying of the bathroom and I'll be happy.

On a knit note, Tesla is moving along inch by inch. It looks just like it did before, only a little longer, so no pics for you.

After that, I get to move on to Paco. Every time I think I know what I want to do with it, I see something that inspires me. It'll be a top for sure, just what, I can't say. If you don't remember what Paco looks like, here's the spool of yarn:

It's what I used to make the Nautilus hat, and it's a pure joy to work with. I'm leaning towards making something I could
actually wear to work, since little that I've knit actually fits into that category.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Taming Tesla

First off, I believe the hosting transfer went off, mostly, without a hitch. There have been some technical issues on my end (i.e., I did something flakey or tried to experiment with a new feature) but otherwise, the site is operational. On the negative side, one of the things I flubbed has made it so only works right now, and not Most of you have probably never noticed that I work under two domains, but I originally picked mlminspirations, when I had no idea that my initials were also used for "Multi-Level Marketing" something I do not wish to be associated with. So, once I figured that out, I decided to choose a different domain. Anyway, all those people who use my old domain will be able to get back in, in the next couple of days, but for now, will have to hang tight or magically find my new domain. Hope I don't lose too many readers in the mean time.

So in knitting news, I have finally gotten to a point where I think I like what I'm doing with Tesla. There isn't much to show but here you go.

First, I think you should take a look at the texture of this yarn knit up:

The other pictures show the piece laying flat and you can't really appreciate how interesting the final fabric is. I don't know how to describe it, almost like some type of biology book drawing, but in a beautiful sense. I'm really captivated by the way it looks.

As you may be able to guess from this picture, it's going to be a funky little purse when I'm done. I'm still batting around ideas for how I'll finish it. I have some white Tesla too that I plan to use as accents on the bag. Nothing is finalized, yet, though.

Finally, here's a close up of the double decreases running through the center of the piece. I love this decrease, inasmuch as anyone can love a decrease.

Oh, and I got the great news that my little brother (can I call a 25 year old, "little"?) is coming out to see me next weekend. Well, let's be honest, he's not coming out to see me, he's coming out for other reasons and will bless me with the pleasure of being allowed to pick him up from LAX and house him for his visit, but you know, the truth is, I'm totally happy to do so.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Check this out:

Made by Vanessa, who doesn't have a website for me to link to.
This is what she has to say about her version of the piece:
"I used Aurora ribbon yarn for the main body, but I can't find the label for what I used for the edging :-) It was just some leftover stuff I had. I also did the edging as crochet (not that you can probably tell). It's my "elf warrior" look"

In other news, I started an S&B at work today. Lots were invited but only 3 were able to make it. The 4 of us had a really nice time, though and everyone got lots of one on one attention. I taught one woman to crochet and two to knit and they were all doing great at the end of the or so. I was really impressed with all of them and they all expressed having a great time.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Consider yourself warned

Based on Natalie's suggestion, I'm switching website hosts which means that my site will probably be down for a couple of days while the domains transfer and I jiggle the various handles necessary to make the move.

This means I'll be going from spending $65 a month to spending about $9 a month to keep the site up. YAY! I was scared I'd have to start charging for my patterns but now I feel all better.

Please don't be discouraged if you can't get to my site later this week, I promise to be up and running just as soon as possible.

Technical Advice

I'm wondering if any of you out there can suggest a good option for web hosting. The company I'm using now was great when I wasn't using much bandwidth but now I'm up to 18GB of my 29GB of bandwidth per month and it's only the 7th.
So basically, I'm looking for a hosting company that offers oodles of bandwidth for not too much money as well as a couple hundred megabytes of storage space.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Patterns for Little People

All the dragon hoodie needed was some closure. Man, I feel so new agy when I say that. I decided to go with a separating zipper instead of snaps, this time. Either works, though. With that said, the pattern is ready. Get yourself a gander here:

If I haven't mentioned it already, the yarn I used is beyond wonderful to work with. If you check out the info regarding the yarn you'll see that while it is like a chenille, it doesn't have that dreaded worming effect that so many true chenilles have. It's also hand washable so while it feels gourmet, it's still practical enough for real use.

Also available is Paige's poncho. I decided to forego the fringe for a couple reasons, not the least of which was pure laziness. But, in defense of my laziness, I also realized that fringe and little kids may just be a recipe for icky hard to clean apparel.
Get the pattern here:

Friday, September 03, 2004

Puppy Love

I thought you guys might like to take a moment to marvel at my beautiful pup. Cute, no?

And here she is, in mid flight, catching her favorite toy.

What? This is a knitting blog not a "hooray for Panda" blog? Fine fine fine, here is the progress on my little poncho.

I've finished the neckband and included a row of eyelets for stringing a cord. I've also begun to add fringe around the piece, which you can see in the top picture.
I want to thank Schlepp for modeling for me. He's a bit smaller than the future recipient, but he does make the piece look good.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Vacation Projects

I was able to mostly finish off the Dragon Hoodie en route to Boston. 5.5 hours of flight is ample time to whip off the other arm, ears, spine and spots and the economy seats on America West were surprisingly less veal cage like than other major airlines. That said, I was slightly slowed by the teenie bopper in the seat next to me. For some reason, even though she was half my width she seemed to be all elbows, knocking into me every time she had to adjust the volume on her headset (approximately once ever twenty minutes) and when she'd break into spontaneous seat dancing, even whilst watching a movie sans music.

I spent most of my remaining yarn time on the poncho. How many of you out there enjoy finishing? Does weaving in ends and assembling pieces give you a rush? Yah, me neither. If you aren't a big fan of assembling and weaving, I'd avoid projects involving tons of little motifs. In the end, though, I have to admit, I think it looks pretty darn cute. I've gotten all the tedious stuff out of the way and have washed and lightly blocked the piece.

Next, I'll need to add fringe all around and work a button band and neck band. That should go fairly quickly. I'll also post a pattern shortly.

Finally, my sweet Leo came home from running errands with these:

No reason, just because he's a big ol' sweetie.


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