Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Not done yet

Am I the only person out there who assembles her knit pieces as she goes? It's actually a psychological trick I use to keep me motivated on long projects. I've assembled all the pieces so far, but I'm still not done with the sleeves so this is only a progress report, not my final exam.

I'm wearing a proper shirt underneath but those are PJ bottoms, in case you are wondering. The Cameo is only a temporary thing until I decide how I want to close the piece. I'm feeling like my project is a lot like Wendy's most recent project. I was actually considering doing the same sort of closure. Funny, huh? Must be something in the air.

Overall, I'm fairly happy with the progress, but I'm considering shortening the body. I think it might be a touch too long. We'll see. I'm open to opinions out there.

On the topic of accomplishments, I've apparently won the The Museum of Kitschy Stitches, Vol. VI - Special Guest Exhibit. How happy am I? I never win ANYTHING.

One last thing before I sign off here, Shannon Okey has a new book out called Knitgrrl: Learn to Knit With 15 Fun And Funky Patterns. I have absolutely nothing to do with this book, but I'll be in the sequel sometime next year. I have a little project in it that I'm quite excited to see in print. Shannon was a lot of fun to work with and I'm looking forward to seeing all the other great projects in both her books.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Elbow Deep in Sleeve

Look, another sleeve top done.
And from there, I'm now adding horizontal lace that stops right at the top of my elbow.

I'm still knitting the lace onto the other.
From there, I'll be picking up and knitting some more.

On another note, we took Panda to the beach again this weekend. She was definitely due since she had to face her yearly vet appointment on Friday afternoon. Our vet is excellent, we're really pleased with him, but Panda seems far less enamored.
I got a little movie for all of you to laugh at, though. Let me preface it by saying that Panda is a surprisingly quite dog. She barks if someone knocks at our door, but is otherwise quite quiet unless we ask her to speak. The one time she's unbelievably "talkative" is when we get close enough to the beach that she can smell the ocean. In her defense, we do instigate a bit. If you watch the movie, you might want to turn your volume down a little.

Click Panda to watch

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Caps off to me

I finished the sleeve cap on the first sleeve

That's not really monumental progress or anything but it's done. You can see that it's a saddle shoulder. I decided to pull out a few rows of each shoulder on the front and back and work the lace a bit further on the sleeves. I think it'll be a nice way to elongate the wearer from the side. Now, I have crazy long gorilla arms, so I really don't need elongation, but as a general design concept, I think it's sound.

Speaking of design concepts, I live about 5 miles from this art school. Caution, Flash required.

They have a Continuing Education program for Fashion and one of the electives is THIS. Now, how much fun would that be to take? I'm not thinking that I'd quit my day job or anything, but the class would be a lot of fun. I'm trying to see how I can work the budget to take the class. We'll see. By the time I get things sorted out, the class may be full.

And on the topic of spending money, if you are trying to avoid it, don't go to Andrea's site. I directed you all there before when she sent me a sample of her beautiful yarn, but she didn't have any content on her site. Now her site is full of lovely yarns and other knitting goods.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Call Me Slacker

How sad is this for progress?

Scroll down, look at the last post from 4 days ago. What's up with that?

I still have to finalize what happens from the provisional cast-on, on down. Expect a touch more lace.

In a couple days, I'll be getting some yarn for a non-bloggable project so I'm hoping to finalize this project soon. I'm prefer to knit monogamously, but I definitely don't want this project to fall by the wayside.

Additionally, I need to get a care package together for Secret Pal, mail it off and then hit the DMV and bring the furry one to the vet. Busy busy day.

Ooh, and totally off topic, have you played around with the "Satellite" feature here?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Simple Knits for Bachalorette Parties

My dear friend is getting married next month so a few friends and I threw her a bachalorette party in Santa Barbara this weekend. Pictures will be up soon, but for now, let's just say that it's sufficient information for you to conclude that not much knitting has been done.

I have begun the a sleeve for the cardi, but it requires keeping track of a lace pattern and shaping so it was entirely inappropriate for the level of inebriation to be expected at said party. Instead of knitting a sleeve, I worked on a simple scarf made from some of the great yarn Julia sent me.

Here's my current knitting progress.

Click the image for a close-up of the sleeve.

As you may be able to see, the sleeve has a provisional cast-on so that I can pickup and work down from the elbow, once I finish the cap.

As for the scarf, I'm breaking a basic rule of scarf knitting by using a pattern stitch that isn't quite reversible. I think it's close enough, though and I like the way the subtle variegations give the purl rows a bit of highlight. The yarn is really fun. Up close it kind of looks like it came off a serger. In the ball, the yarn is fairly soft, but once knit up, it becomes softer still. If there is any pooling or zapping, it's too subtle to really detect.

Well, that's all for now, until the mind fog clears.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Chronicles of India

First off, thanks to everyone who liked my Spun pattern. It was fun to do and something I'd been considering knitting for a while anyway.

On the topic of patterns, I got a great email from Jenna of Pink Monkey Knits. I won't paste the whole email, just the highlights.

I recently returned from a 2 month trip to India. For the first month, I was volunteering in a small town in the very north of the country - smack in the foothills of the Himalayas. My volunteer post actually turned out to be helping young women in the town with their knitting skills. They knew how to knit, make some sweaters, etc but were looking for new designs and projects to make. Well, the weather was a bit chilly there, so I frequently wore my nearly gloves around (and ended up really beating the hell out of them - I guess that's what happens to a well-loved knit!). Many of the young women took an active interest in these gloves so - you guessed it - I taught them how to make them! The only yarns and needles available there are thin and tiny, so I also learned a bit by modifying the pattern for them.

I've attached a few photos of the ladies wearing their creations. I know they're not super clear and only a few of them have the gloves on, but trust me, the majority of them made some variation on your design. The students were also very good at verbally passing on designs with one another, so I'm sure that the pattern has now circulated to many women throughout the village.

Click for a larger view

So in case you didn't catch that, she volunteered abroad and got to help women knit. How cool is that? And how cool is it that one of my designs was embraced by an amazing group of women in India?

If you want to read about Jenna's adventures in India, you can peruse her India blog here.

Monday, April 11, 2005

It's Spunderful

The first full issue of Spun is up and I have a little something there.

What's amazing, though is that I didn't knit the version pictured with the pattern. They knit all patterns before posting. That means they test drive it for you, for accuracy. How amazing is that? My version is the one pictured above.

It also occurred to me that folks might want to see a close-up of that back neck lace for the cardi. As you can see, it starts center back and the lace is worked in mirror image from there. I don't think anyone will ever notice that I reverse the lace in front and here, but I like to do it anyway.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like a cardi

I wasn't sure I'd ever work out how to do the lace around the back of the neck, but I think I have it.
Obviously, a bit more blocking is in order and the other front piece still needs to be sewn on, oh, and I need some sleeves, but I think the piece is coming together.

I did a lot of knitting and frogging to get the back neckline in order, but it's been worth the effort. I basically worked the lace sideways then turned it with short rows. It's going to be hard to write up, I'm actually on the line about whether I have the will to write a multi-sized pattern for this. Between the princess seams and the short row lace, it's a complicated pattern to write up for the size I've knitted. Recalculating for other sizes is another challenge all together.

The weekend hasn't been all knitting though.

We hit the beach again.
When Leo was unemployed/working from home, he was able to take Panda out hiking a couple times a week. Now, we only have the weekend to get her the fun and excitement she craves so we try to make it worth her while. We went to Palos Verdes which offers great hiking and climbing but less running around and playing fetch.

We started at the top of the cliff. You can see a little house to the left and there's a rough path down a little to right of it. The beach doesn't really have any sand, it's all very rocky and all the more so after the torrential rains we had for a couple months. You can actually see points of the cliff where there are strips of lawn hanging over the edge where once there was firm ground. All the stone that used to be cliff is now shore.

But look at this ocean. It's just beautiful.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Cute little scamps

I guess I have a non-knitting theme this week.
Every year my company does a big United Way drive. This appears to be driven by our parent company, as all our sister companies run the drive at the same time, as well. People get really into it, with every department having their own yearly and new events including raffles, bake sales, and carnivals with dunking booths.
Last year I saw little kids in native costumes from around the world, being ushered through the building but didn't know exactly what their purpose was. This year, I found out.
Check them out.

Pictures taken by my colleague, Sandra Langhammer.

Awwww. They danced around and sang over the vocals to songs like "We are family". They were off tune, off beat, and as unsynchronized as drunks at a karaoke bar, but they were all the more endearing for it.

The hams were put right up front and several became even more animated at the sight of flash photography.

I'm really not one to get all cutsy woo-woo over kids, they aren't puppies, after all, but I do find some real entertainment in them.

Hope you all enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Panda In Action - Take 3?

You guys should know that if you encourage me when I post pictures of Panda, I'll just post more of them.
I took a couple small movies of Panda at the beach. I didn't get any of the really good shots of her being eaten whole by giant waves, but this one does show how hard she works to retrieve her toy.
Click here to see a quicktime movie
Update: I've reloaded the movie. I hope it works now. Let me know either way.

Update 2: Ok, I am giving it one more go and then I give up. I used iMovie to export a "web ready" version and this time, unlike the last two times, the remote and server versions are both the same file size. That should do the trick.
On the off chance it doesn't let's all look at some cute doggie footprints in the sand.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Been knitting and beaching

The back of the cardi is coming along nicely. I would have thought I'd be sick of stockinette by now, but the constant shaping is keeping me going. I think seeing some real progress is helping as well. I am looking forward to blocking and seaming what pieces I have, once the back is done.
Here's a peek.

I'm about 20 rows from the armhole shaping. I haven't been having much time to knit during the week, but I'm thinking this weekend should see me finishing off this piece and beginning the sleeves.
Saturday was stunning, here in LA, so we brought Panda to the dog beach in Huntington.
She loves when we play fetch with her "squirrel"

You'd be amazed at how fearless she is. We've seen 5' waves come crashing down over her head and she will not drop that thing. Further, she shakes off and insists we throw it again. And even if we attempt to throw the squirrel away from the water, she'll find circuitous routes back to us that have her dipping her toes in the surf. She can't get enough. Border Collies are prone to obsessing and herding things and this appears to be her outlet for those behaviors.

Friday, April 01, 2005

On the outside, a plain white wrapper

On the inside, solid gold.
Ok, apparently this song is from 1984, which means I first heard it when I was 9, but for some reason I still know all the lyrics. Sometimes I scare myself, especially since I don't much care for country music.

Anyway, it's a slightly modified but great description of what I got at the post office today.

This is from Julia with whom I did a "services for goods" trade in which I have obviously made out like a bandit. All I did for her was make a drawing and she has gifted me with this veritable cornucopia of knitting delights. Wait till you see it unpacked.

Click image for a larger view.
Additionally, she included a copy of IK, which I don't have. And a sweet card. YAY!

But hey, let's look at that yarn a little closer.

6 Skeins, in 2 shades of Calmer. I have always wanted to try this yarn having heard so many good things about it. The photo doesn't do it justice, but this is a deep royal purple shade, not nearly as blue as the picture would have you believe. There's also an amazing shade of blue, which looks striking against the purple. Mmmmm, purple.

This is Filatura Di Crosa Brilla, let's just marvel at that sheen. It's a rayon/cotton blend and it's screaming at me to swatch with it, right now. How gorgeous would this be as a simple top with black slacks to wear out at night?

And how about this Merino? Gorgeous, green, soft, fine, begging to be knit into something a person with kids might consider an heirloom. I don't know much, but I know I love you, Merino Lace yarn. But you aren't the only one, sorry...

The color alone on this is to die for, but you don't know soft until you touch this. I had to take a moment to get a bit closer to this yarn

Don't judge me, I am who I am.

And last but not least, check out this ribbon yarn in all my favorite shades. The whole package of yarn could be knit together and this ribbon would make them feel at home. I can't wait to see how it works up. I'm thinking a scarf is in order. I wear them nearly year round here in LA because the nights get relatively cold for my thin blood. This would look perfect with my caramel colored jacket.

Julia gave me the decidedly unfair task of picking a favorite amongst these. Seriously, could you? What is this, Sophie's Choice? But I'm good for my word so I pick...


HOLD ON, Don't rush me!



Ok, since I've already violated it, I will have to go with the blue mohair/silk blend, but don't tell the others, I still love them so.

As for my last post, I'm really amazed with all the interesting perspectives people wrote in to share. It's a hot topic with a lot of factors and I'm always pleased when intelligent discourse takes place. I do promise to keep the political stuff to a minimum, though. Thanks for letting me vent a bit.


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