Friday, July 29, 2005

Sock Finals

Wow, I got an amazing assortment of suggestions from people. A few wrote me directly, but most are in the comments. It was hard to pick the finalists, but I made it easier by taking the suggestion not to name it for its color (even though I like the "patina" suggestion) and I decided to try to keep the name as short as possible.

I do have some finalists and I hope you'll all vote. I'll leave the poll up for several days and make my announcement early next week. Two of the suggestions are not exactly from a particular person, but inspired by entries. A prize will still be awarded if either is chosen.

Before you vote, you might want to review the options.
We have 6 possible names.

Wyvern meaning small dragon (for the dragon skin like texture) is provided by Sara

Jabberwocky was suggested by Eklectika. He's a literary dragon.

Cassandre is the name of an Art Deco artist.

Lalique is also the name of an Art Deco artist
If either name is chosen, I will pick randomly from the folks who suggested "Art Deco" themed names.

Opera would be in honor of the Sydney Opera House and was sent in by Miriam in Scotland, via email.

Finally, we have Zen Garden also sent in via email by Rachel in Chicago.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Contest, Weekend and Spinning

First things first, I've hit a wall trying to come up with a name for my new sock design. I prefer not to name my items with people names unless they have some historic or literary meaning. Asking friends and loved ones, most say something like "It looks like shingles" or "I dunno, trees or something."

Neither of those options make for an appealing sock name.

So, please leave your suggestions for sock names in the comments of this post. The winner will receive a prize, as yet to be determined. Make sure you leave a means for me to contact you in case you are the big wiener.

Sock number two is well on its way to completion as you can see below.

I'm just turning the heel now so I'm very close to the "willy warmer" stage.

And a while ago I mentioned getting some free roving from Greenwich Yarn in San Francisco

I haven't spun it because I've been spinning the delicious fiber that Linda gave me when she was my secret pal. That yarn is now singles, ready to be plied, but while it was bathing and drying I started in with the mystery fiber from Greenwich. Let me tell you, this stuff is a breeze to spin. I can't believe it. It seems to have a very long staple, but it's easy to draft and just sort of flows along. It's definitely wool, slightly coarse, but not unpleasant. I like it. I'm also thinking of trying a bit of dying with the stuff.

And speaking of getting stuff, the publisher of this book:

sent me a free copy. Cool.
Obviously, if I got the book for free, you can take my review with a grain of salt, but if I were a brand new knitter or if I were picking out a book for someone who was learning to knit, I think this would be a great choice. There are lots of huge pictures and illustrations and a few projects to complete. I think the projects themselves are OK, nothing that struck me as really unique or timeless, but the tutorials are excellent.

Now for something completely different

I just thought I'd throw in a few cute pictures from our adventures in downtown LA this weekend. Mostly, I like them because my Leo looks so handsome. Awwww.

We caught a drink in Santa Monica, where I had a tropical "martini" drink made with some sort of apricot brandy, vodka and something else fruity.

Garnished with an edible flower.

Leo had a Vodka sampler that kind of sucked, but none of the pictures really came out well enough to show.

The next night we went to Arnie Morton's and I snapped a pic of the table decoration for my mom, who loves pigs. I don't think they serve pork there so I guess the pig is so happy because he has nothing to worry about.

And here is the yummy chocolate "Godiva" cake. We had to order before dinner and I suggested just one that Leo and I could share. He insisted we order two.

This is how much was left when we were both full to the point of wanting to puke.
At least Leo loves leftovers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Is that what I think it is?

Do you see that peaking out of the corner? Why, it's a poorly framed sock.
Brief digression, here, but am I the only one who thinks that photographing oneself in hand knit socks often makes ones ankles look a bit thick?

Anyway, here's the top

And the bottom

And here's a close up of the stitch pattern

May I also go on to say how much I appreciate all the sweet comments in the previous post. You are all very very kind. I believe that might be a personal record for comments for me. I'm still blushing a little.

And for those of you who are wondering, I do plan to post a pattern for these socks. I'll do a write up both for them as they are and for a version without all the ribbing.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Loving my corset

The corset is complete. I found buttons, sewed in all my ends and I think it fits great. It's a wonderful pattern. I made no major modifications to the pattern as written.


Pattern: Corset Tank Top by Annie Modesitt
Yarn: Just over 4-50g/121 yd balls of Filatura Di Crosa Brilla
Needles: US #6
Pattern size: XS/35" chest (I am a 36" chest but since I was using cotton and wanted a fitted look, I went for a smaller size.)
Buttons: 5/8" shell buttons sewn on using the thread shank method


  • Worked Chart D normally on right side and reversed on left side so that zigzags would mirror each other.

  • Work an additional 4 rows of last set of charts so that there would be three rows of knitting above the top button as well as three rows of knitting below he bottom button.

  • I needed a total of 22 buttons (pattern calls for 20)

  • For crochet along placket, I worked 3 single crochet for every 4 rows of knitting.

  • For crochet along top of lace, I worked 1 single crochet for every stitch, but three single crochet at the top of each lace peak to enhance shape.

  • Worked in a single color instead of two colors

Otherwise, I worked the pattern as indicated. I did not need to modify any of the shaping to achieve a nice fit.

Here's the back.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

It socks to be me

As promised, I have some real live actual knitting content.
On our ill-conceived expedition on Friday, I got a bit of sock knitting done. Actually, my sock has done quite a bit of traveling with the bus and all.
While being knit, it bears a striking resemblance to a willy warmer, don't you think?

Perhaps I just have a dirty mind. Anyway, that's my lap and the sock on our quest for a camp site. You can see my high-tech pattern display unit beneath it as well.

I moved the sock to a scrap of thread so I could try it on. It's looking a tad less "willy" shaped now that I've moved past the heel a little further.

And here she is on. The ribbing on the bottom means the sock fits like a glove. Both the toe and heel are worked with short rows. I like any pattern that minimizes finishing requirements, so short rows seemed ideal.

And here's the top of the sock. I wasn't sure if I'd like this stitch pattern, but the more I knit it, the more endeared I am to it.

I haven't been filling my whole weekend with knitting, though, Leo and I went for a little date last night which included seeing the new Star Wars movie and having a few cocktails and appetizers downtown.

I'd like to make a plea to all the parents out there. If your child is seated behind someone and he continually kicks the seat in front of him, and that person has to turn around and give the evil eye more than once after repeatedly letting said child slide, please, please, please, for all that is good and holy on this fine earth, suggest, in whatever manner you deem most effective, that he keep his flippin' feet on the floor. Thanks so much for your consideration.

Sorry for the digression.
Anyway, we went back to one of our favorite haunts, the Westin Bonaventure where we had some wine, cheese, fruit and shrimp cocktail. It was all very nice, though I think their food quality has gone down a little and I'd prefer that their music selection leaned more towards standards and jazz and less towards electronica and rock. Perhaps I'm turning into an old fogie. Maybe I should stay home and watch some Laurence Welk instead.

This was the only picture I was able to get of Leo where he didn't have a particular finger up in the air. He's a charmer, I tell ya.

And here I am, nearly falling out of my shirt. Classy broad.

And here's a view from the window. Sorry about the angle.

Friday, July 15, 2005

CAUTION: Steep learning curve ahead

So, a couple of weeks ago, we packed up our things and attempted to go camping with less than successful results. While the drive was enjoyable and the sites beautiful, we were still left with a lingering desire to actually find ourselves far from responsibilities and electricity (a fair trade off, if I do say so, myself.) You'd think we'd have learned from this last adventure. Apparently, we have not.

Leo had called the folks at Jamala Beach during the week and they don't take reservations. "First come, first served" is the policy. The man on the phone gave Leo 50-50 odds that arriving early would improve his chances.

After class yesterday, I came home and we packed, had some wine and hit the sack a little after midnight. We woke up at 5 in the fricken morning to start our day.

We packed up Stewie (the car) and headed off to Jamala, which is about 2-3 hours away, depending on the traffic. We got there, and not only was Jamala completely full, they had 30 people ahead of us on the waiting list. The nice woman at the office directed us to another local campsite, but their accommodations were a bit meager, with no hiking trails or other places to entertain ourselves and Panda.

Being the former (insert gender) scouts that Leo and I are, we had brought along a couple other suggestions from you, my friendly neighborhood blog visitors.

Unfortunately, the ones I brought with me were all booked or closed due to local construction. This image illustrates my general feeling at that point. Did I mention I was a bit short on sleep.

Leo found my desire to document our adventure a bit distracting. He is using sign language to convey the fact that I am number "1" in his heart.
I suppose I should explain that our exceedingly charming moods were swayed, in part, by the fact that Panda had already tossed her cookies three times during our expedition. This surprised both of us since we are always diligent not to feed her before long car rides, and all things considered, this was relatively short by our standards. We don't hold it against her, but it's still a bit of a mood killer for all involved.

Despite our dwindling enthusiasm, we knew Panda deserved some fun. So where did we end up? The same place from which you've seen pictures here a dozen times before. We landed right back in Ventura.
And you know if we were in Ventura, there are happy Panda pics.

The boyfriend's pretty darn cute too, huh?

We've finally trained Panda to actually return the thrown item to the thrower. It's made fetch a far more enjoyable game.

While we were in Ventura, we figured we'd find out what the camping policy is for their beach side camping facilities. Turns out they take reservations AND dogs. Dag nabbit! We've driven hundreds of miles to find beach camping that is quiet, safe, friendly, allows dogs and takes reservations and it was a place we visit several times a month. Figures, no?

On the drive back home, we stopped one more time on the border of Ventura and Malibu and caught this little cutie.


Well, that's all for furry cuteness and failed camping attempts. Next post will have some sock progress for you.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Toe cozy

That's pretty much what I have so far. It's really not much farther than my pic from yesterday, but this time, well, it's cozying my toes.

Yesterday, I spent all my commuting time listening to KnitCast while knitting. The only KnitCast I had heard before my iPod was Kate Gilbert's and it was great, but now that I can listen when there are really no other distractions, it's all the more enjoyable. I'm a happy knitter.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Branching out

I'm not sure I'll ever be someone who knits a lot of socks, if any at all. I've actually only knit one small pair, and that's it. But Julia's new socks pattern and Jody's beautiful lilac sock have me thinking I'm missing out on something good. Now that I'm riding the bus, it's good to have a project that's small and easy to pick up and put down and I think a sock is a nice option, though, on crowded days, 5 US#2 Inox needles can be a bit intimidating to my fellow passengers.

Since I can never do things the easy way (i.e. just go find a pattern and use that) I'm diving in by trying to knit and design my first proper sock at the same time. We'll see how well this goes. I won't be the least bit surprised if there's a ripping party in my future.

That being said, here she is so far.

That's some Koigu, there. If nothing else, the yarn will be great.

The corset is done blocking and looks amazing. I still have to get the 22 buttons needed and sew them on, so no pics on me until then (I do have some decency). I'll write up my pattern notes once it's completed.

I also wanted to share a great "only in LA" kind of story with all of you? You know my last post with the Dobermans and the Pomeranian? Well, the folks who care for all those dogs had a pretty odd experience recently.

Chrissy and Jeff were in their den and rolled up the shade on the window, which looks out onto their front yard and a fairly busy street. Cops surrounded a man, whom they had kneel and crawl through running sprinklers to the position in which they felt they had him under control. Patrol car after patrol car arrived, and with each two officers, heavily armed were positioned to take aim at the man. For several minutes following, in what seemed to be a bit of confusion, the man stood, hands laced behind his head, motionless, while the officers debated back and forth about what to do.

They arrested him, drove off and it seemed to be the end of things
Except, not 30 minutes later, a patrol car returned, dropped the man off, who promptly drove home. You can see the pics and Jeff's account here.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Giving my new blocking pins a spin

I'm done knitting the corset, though I may have to rip out the bottom couple inches, there. There were some problems with the lace charts that I hadn't noticed until someone posted about them on the KAL recently. I want to see how it looks once it's dry. I'm not sure I totally mind the wonky lace, but the compulsive side of me thinks I'll notice it more and more and end up ripping. Anyway, here she is, pinned out to her proper proportions so she looks less like a garment for the emaciated Lindsey Lohan and more like something for a woman with some proper meat on her bones.

Hey, remember my friend who had the tiki wedding reception recently? Well, work had her going to Belgium recently and she brought me back some Kinder chocolates with a Spongebob theme. I haven't opened them yet, but I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

And, last but not least, I have some doggy love for you. Can you believe it? There is not a hair of Panda to be found? I promise, it'll still be worth your while.

In back, from left to right, there's Mina, the new boy, Zeppelin, and Draegin there on the right.
In front is the sweet Lestat doing a "beg up" for the camera. If you are a sports fan, Draegin and Lestat did a commercial of some sort, which aired mostly on sports channels, where a person throws a frisbee, Lestat latches on and Draegin goes to catch it. I haven't seen the commercial, but I was hanging around while Chrissy was doing some of the prep work for it.

And, Lestat's younger brother, Beowulf, recently stared in a commercial in which an annoying woman chatters on in the front seat of a car while an obnoxious puppy harasses the man in the back passenger seat. At some points he shoves said puppy through the ski pass in the rear armrest and the dog is silenced.

As you can see, my days are regularly filled hobnobbing with stars.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bandwagon, here I come

What's behind my pretty new case?

An iPod of course.

Last night, Leo and I went out for dinner and then to Frys and Circuit City. I've been wanting some sort of MP3 player to listen to KCRW podcasts and music while I ignore people on the bus. CNet has rated the 30 gig iPod above all other MP3 players and as a life long Apple user, I needed little encouragement. You'll note, though, that the case is black, and being unable to wear those silly ear buds at all (they just fall out of my ears) my headphones are black too. So while I am hanging out on the big trendy bandwagon, no one will really be able to tell. I don't think that's either good or bad, it just is what it is.

I was particularly amused by this sign at Frys. You'll note that we were wandering the aisle with both PDAs and PDAs.

This Fry Guy thought I wanted his picture, so I obliged.

But I don't want to bore you with my shopping adventures. You are here for the knitting, right?

Here's the class tank. It's nearly done, just needing some crochet around the neck and arms. I also swatched up some of my new yarn in class, so now I have gauge information. Swatching revealed that my original ideas probably won't work on the machine, but I'm not upset, I've got ideas aplenty.

And the corset is cranking along. I've just begun the hip increases.

Well, I'd love to talk longer but I have to go play with my iPod

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The call of The Corset

For someone who has written quite a few patterns, I've followed very few, myself.

Once I realized how easy it is to design my own patterns, it seemed unnecessary to go off and follow someone else's. But the lure of Annie Modesitt's Corset has just been too strong, so I went stash diving and dug in.

My first thought was to use some more of the Calmer I had around. It's soft and worsted weight and would make for a delightful fabric to wear against one's skin. It shows cables and ribbing nicely and is a joy to knit. But, I didn't have enough of a single color and the colors I have wouldn't combine well for this type of design.

That's when I realized I still had 5 balls of Filatura Di Crosa Brilla. This was part of an unbelievable generous gift from Miss Julia.

Now, Brilla is advertised as a fingering weight yarn meant to be knit on 3 MM (somewhere between a US #2 and US #3) needle. The corset calls for worsted. You might think I'm plum loco, but I think the Brilla is easily a DK weight, and knit on a 4 MM (US #6) needle, I get gauge and a lovely result, so off I went.

Here she is laid out flat (more or less). The piece is knit top down and in a single piece.

I'm really not doing the yarn justice. Now that I get up at 4:30 AM, I don't see much sunlight. It's actually a soft blue gray, with a subtle sheen.

And here she is sort of it folded as it'd be worn. I think you can also see how the ribbing aligns with the details of the lace which I love.

Things I like so far:

  • The lace cups in slightly at the top so that it sits nicely on the shoulders

  • There are no seams

  • Pattern is easy to follow with both charted and verbose instructions

  • Placket is knit as part of piece

  • That thing I mentioned about the ribbing melding perfectly with the lace

  • Has been easy enough to work on the bus even when people try to talk to me

  • Because it's knit from the top down, I've gotten to try it on a couple times which makes me love it more

This is two and a half days worth of knitting, I just can't put it down.


My heart goes out to England. What a horrible event. I send my most sincere wish for health and safety to everyone. My condolences to those who have lost loved ones. My thoughts are with you.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What the heck is Free Lace?

Well, I've been looking online to see if I could find you all a useful site explaining Free Lace, but it appears to be fairly unknown, at least in the states. The book I have is from Nihon Vogue (Japanese Vogue for those who don't know) and it's pretty hard to find resources for it online but I did find this link to it.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, you take a water soluble adhesive plastic sheet and layout an arrangement of yarns, fibers, ribbons...whatever. Then you lay another sheet of the plastic on top and sew a grid of support rows and columns.

When you have everything sewn in place, you dissolve the plastic in water and all you are left with is the design and the sewn grid. It's a fascinating technique, and when done right seems quite lovely.

I think I've achieved "vaguely interesting" in my attempt. I plead the newbie defense.

So here she is:

Kinda hard to see what's going on, huh? And that one side looks a little wonky. I should block this a bit.

Here's a detail shot

I used a blend of Trendsetter and Artfibers yarns along with standard and metallic threads.

And here's one more shot of her looking moody.

So that's Free Lace.

Oh and for all of you who have left great comments these past couple days, thanks. I love intelligent discourse, regardless of whether we see eye to eye or not.

And for those who cannot wait for it to be over, it is. I'm back to posting about my normal doggy and crafty related topics.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

All the fiber that's fit to blog

So, I've been getting a lot of knitting done, lately. I"ve more or less finished that gift I haven't been able to post about, so that is out of the way.

Additionally, I finished re-knitting the Dragon Hoodie

Those of you who've been visiting me for a while might notice a different background. I generally photograph my knitting on the ironing board, which is the final construction point for all my pieces. Well, I had the brilliant idea that I would wash my ironing board cover with unfortunate (and probably very obvious) results. So, I finally got over to Jo-Ann and picked up a new, albeit a rather ugly one.

In this week's machine knitting course we began an actual garment

This is a tank with a full fashioned picot hem. There are some partially knit rows (short rows) worked above the hem. There's actually no shaping, that's just how it looks with my quick and dirty wash and sort-a-block. We'll knit the backs next week.

I also picked up some yarn for my class design. It's called Bounce and I bought it from Elann

It's actually two shades of green, in case your monitor doesn't show it well. The colors are called "Sage" and "Verde". Yum! I'm still playing around with design ideas, but I think I'll do a boat neck top with long straight sleeves with hand crocheted insets in the second color. Additionally, I think I'll finish the neckline with the contrasting color as well.

Finally, I have been working on this

It's the Free Lace kit my mom got me. We'll see how it comes out. I think I may have left too many sparse areas, but that's OK, live and learn.

Now for a little back track to yesterday's post. This is possibly a controversial topic, so if you want to skip it, feel free.

On the topic of the confederate flag:
Cilla left a thoughtful comment on her views of this flag. I wish she had left an address at which I could reply back personally, but since she hasn't I'll go ahead and comment here.

I genuinely appreciate your insight on the topic. I think it's interesting to hear some other perspectives.

I'd go on to point out that your mention of the Nazi flag is an apt one since the symbol we know as the swastika was once a very peaceful symbol used in many cultures (NOTE: I am not comparing anyone or anything to the Nazis, I'm only referring to a line in the comment which I think segues well into my point). To that end, I'd argue that despite the many very valid points you raise, as a symbol the confederate flag is linked not only with the fight for slavery, but has since been commandeered by a reported 500 extremist groups as a symbol of their beliefs.

I will go on to apologize if my rather flip comment suggests that I think all who display this flag are racist. While I genuinely believe this symbol carries that message to the public at large, I also believe that many people fly that flag with no ill intentions.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

All of California is booked

Alternate title:

Marnie and Leo have a brain fart

Leo and I both realized that we had a four day weekend, right about Wednesday this week. Neither of us has much money to spare, but we thought "OOH, let's go camping."

Where we both come from, camping is an easy endeavor. You pack up your car or backpack, go somewhere remote and, you know, pee in the woods and such. We had our hearts set on being near the ocean, so we filled the car with supplies, I picked up food, including fixin's for s'mores, and we started our drive.

We left at 10:00 AM.

Stopping a few times along the way, we were repeatedly met with "no vacancies" and "no dogs" signs. We decided we'd keep going until we hit Pismo beach (nearly 200 miles from home)

We arrived at Pismo Beach, to the news that the camping area was full, but the day visit area was open. Neither of us had actually been to this beach before though Leo had driven by on several occasions and had heard there was good camping. Pismo is a beach you can actually drive on. We pulled up onto the sand, found ourselves a nice spot and had a snack and a run in the water for Panda.

We have our fire wood and all our camping accoutrements packed up in Stewie (our car). Panda is displaying every fiber of restraint she has, since this shot is mere paces from the water, where she'd much rather be.

This area of Pismo was quite nice.

Then we drove by the camping area.
Even the cops drive Hummers. I suppose I can cut them some slack since this is a bit more of an appropriate use of such a beast, and at least it's the H1 variety, which was still built on the original military style chassis, but I don't have to like it, dammit!

The camping area is literally packed with people. There were ATVs, mobile homes, dirt bikes and SUVs as far as the eye could see.

Flags of all variety were the norm, but it said a lot about the crowd that there was a good showing of confederate flags among them. Perhaps I don't understand the minutiae of this flag's meaning, but as far as I knew, it symbolized a fight to maintain slavery, and as such, seems decided offensive to me.

I don't think these pictures properly display just how crowed the beach was, but I think you can get any idea.

And it seemed like there were two recreational vehicles for every person tall enough to reach the pedals

I did get a good Hummer flip off, though.

All in all, we walked away from this place feeling glad we had NOT made a reservation to camp here. We had visions of a quiet and remote site, with a fire and toasted marshmallows to lull us to sleep. Pismo on a long Independence Day weekend, was not going to offer us that.

So back to the road for us, another 200 miles back home. Leo, a persistent man if ever there were one, was not to be defeated. We took every beach ward turn off on the PCH in hopes of finding somewhere to set up tent before nightfall.

At 7:45PM, as the sun was disappearing behind the horizon, Leo tried one last turn off. The ranger at the gate said "I'm sorry, we're full."

Leo asked, with a shred of hope, "Can you recommend anywhere we could go camping."

To which the ranger let out a little laugh "I hear all of California is booked this weekend."
And thus ended any hope of camping this weekend.

We made it home at 9:30 PM, a bit numb in the bottom but feeling surprisingly good about the adventure. We found a dozen little parks and beaches we'd never seen before. We mooed at cows and flipped off Hummers and laughed and talked the whole way there and back. Even Panda has a bit of fun along the way. So like the trip, instead of ending on a down note, I'll leave on a happy one.

Here's some puppy love for you.


Next post will have proper fiber content...promise.


Featured Patterns

Drake the Dragon Backpack

Erte Cloche Pattern

Support the site

Goddess Magnet

PIP Tote

wyvern store

hummer sticker

Search Now:
In Association with

My Wish List

Site Info

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35