Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wrangling a pattern

I cast on my Hopeful sweater on Saturday, in time to have a little something to work on for my get together with Julia and Mary-Heather. If you frequent either of their blogs (you should if you are not, they are both wonderful.) you've already seen a version of the next picture. (Oh, and another reason to go to their blogs, you can see closeups of what they've been working on. Great stuff, I promise)

(click to see a larger image)

That's the three of us knitting on a shady porch in Julia's back yard. It was my first time meeting Mary-Heather, though we'd been commenting on each other's blogs and emailing for a little while on such topics as camping and of course, knitting. She's even more wonderful in person. I'm batting 1000 with these blog related meet ups. (Actually, I know nothing of sports metaphors, did I use that term correctly?)

Julia made homemade margaritas, quesadillas, mango chutney, pico de gallo and my personal favorite, guacamole. I challenge any of you to come up with a nicer way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

After 5 hours of knitting and chatting and stuffing our faces (that last one may have just been me), the evening was coming to a close and we began to pack up, but not before I twisted Julia's arm into joining me for some Vietnamese Pho from a restaurant near her house. She introduced me to this delight during our last get together and I was jones'n for a fix.

When I got home, I had knit most of the lower body of the Hopeful sweater. It's knit in the round, so the progress won't look like much, but here she is.

I made a couple minor modifications to the pattern. My waist is pretty small compared to my caboose, so I upped the frequency of decreases. Additionally, I'm not entirely committed to the garter ribbed hem, so I'm doing a provisional cast on and will revisit hemland later.

Alas, after trying her on, Hope(ful) was dashed. Jenna is just proportioned far differently than I, so more robust math would be required. My torso relatively long, while the pattern is written for a more petit and short waisted figure. A few calculations later, I was ready to start again.

I ripped back almost to the beginning and bonded with my ball winder for a little while.
I'm one with the rip.

A couple days later, I'm nearly back to where I left off.

I've pinned her out a bit to make it easier to see.

In more somber news, I'm sending my condolences and safe wishes to everyone effected by hurricane Katrina. It sounds truly unimaginable and I'm continually moved by the destruction I've seen in photos. I hope everyone can find a little something to contribute to the Red Cross or other reputable charities that aid victims in these tragedies. If you work for a larger company, you may want to see if your gift can be matched.

Monday, August 29, 2005

That's Pucking Fishy

I generally keep in touch with my parents via email. We see each other a few times a year when either they or I fly out to the other's region, but mostly, we correspond by email. It works well. I know they are OK, they know I'm fine, it doesn't cost anyone a thing except for time.

But sometimes I wonder about them.

My mom's been loading lobster traps, with her BARE HANDS. This woman would prefer not to turn down her own bed (especially since turn down service usually includes chocolate). Now, here she is, chin deep in chum.

And Ben joined his company's hockey team (only slightly weird since he used to play a lot of hockey). Then he revived what old hockey gear he could, bought what new gear he needed (fairly normal) then decked himself out like a pig (exceedingly weird).
"Well, the team has a porcine theme." You might suggest.
No, in fact, their mascot is a wombat.
That's weird Ben, very very weird.

Can anyone tell me what the early signs of dementia are?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

You can't always get what you want

I bought the pattern for Hopeful and used a gift certificate, a friend gave me, to purchase some yarn for the piece. I scoured Knitter's Review for a good option. This page, solidified my decision.

I ordered my yarn from Yarn Market, in a shade called "Plum". Here's what it looks like. Pretty, no?

A few days later, I came home to a box with just the right return address and just the right weight to be a box full of merino goodness. Want to see my yummy yarn?

Yah, your monitor is correct, that sure as heck ain't "Plum". Actually that shade appears to be Fushia. I know I could send it back for the right color, but, to be honest, I'd rather start swatching. I can certainly wear the color and I've been trying to get myself to move beyond shades of blue, green and purple. Might as well dive in head first, right? And, before you ask, yes, I did write the folks at Yarn Market to let them know about the mix-up. I haven't heard back from them, which surprises me, but I did let them know.

For any of you who are interested, there is a KAL for Hopeful. I made a little button for it. Look to your left, it's in the sidebar.

The rest of my knitting has been stuff I can't really share right now. I should have that all in order shortly at which point I'll be able to do more public knitting. Besides Hopeful, which will be my bus knitting for a little while, I have some Optimum just itching to be made into something gorgeous and two lace weight yarns (a smooth green merino and some gorgeous blue mohair) that are begging to be made into a wrap. We'll have to see where inspiration takes me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Going Hollywood, Again

Well, firstly, I have to say a big "thank you" for all your sweet compliments on the new pieces. It's great to hear such sweet feedback. For those who asked to whom I did not have time to write back, here are the vital stats.

The Machine is the LK-150. I bought it from my instructor, Leah Walton, who sells them on her website.

The class was offered through Otis College. If you live in the LA area and want to take the course, the $340 for 10-3 hour classes is a pretty good value.

As for patterns, I have a few deadlines to meet right now, but after that I will see what I can offer for you.

In other news, it looks like Knitty Gritty will have me on for another episode. I'm tentatively set to shoot on October 19th. I'm not sure what season I'll be shooting for. Last year, they shot seasons 2 & 3, but only season 2 has aired, which means 2006 will probably be season 3. I'm guessing they are shooting two more seasons now, which means, theoretically, my episode might not be on until 2008. So to all of you out there, please don't lose interest in knitting during that time, ok?

Finally, I have some great non-knitting photos from my friend's wedding tiki party. They are all taken by her very talented brother, Bodie.

So here are Chrissy and me. You can't see it, but Chrissy's dress was hand made by her sister Mandy. It was beautiful. Chrissy's lei is a gift from some close friends.

Here is Mandy with long term boyfriend, Dave. Mandy also made her own dress which you cannot see.

Oh, there's the dress that Chrissy wore. This is also the official cutting of the wedding cake. It was a somber affair indeed.

Since the party was at Chrissy and Jeff's house, the dogs were in attendance. Here's Mina being, well, herself. Both Dobermans fancy themselves lapdogs.

And here's Dreagin. Yah, he's happy.

The next two are from the next day. Here's Jeff playing a little Lance Armstrong for ya.

And here are the two nieces (Bodie's daughter in front and Jeff's brother's daughter in back) going for a cart ride with the pups.

There are tons of other pictures, but I won't post them here.

Friday, August 19, 2005

School's out

Yesterday was my last class for the machine knitting course I took. It was a lot of fun and I'd recommend it to anyone in the LA area who wants to learn to knit on a machine. I managed to squeeze 3 projects out. I showed you the finished version of the first project, here are the other two.

This is the cardi I've been finishing up. You'll note that all the photos are headless. I've been suffering from some mean allergies and my eyes are red and puffy. The hair is a bit rough too, but we'll not dwell on that.

I'm very happy with the cardi. I wore it to work yesterday and to class. People have been very complimentary of the design. I guess sometimes simple is best.

And here is my last piece. It's made with a super soft cotton with a square neck in front and mid length fluttery sleeves. It's lightly shaped at the waist with a little peplum at the bottom. This would probably look even better on someone a size larger than I am, but I like it. I'm wearing it now.

In this picture you can even make out my burn lines from the beach excursion. It hasn't been too bad and I think I should be faded back to white in a couple more days.

Finally, here's the machine and stand I ordered. Nice, huh? I used it last night and class and the brand new one works SO well.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Beachy Keen

What do you get when you combine sunny Southern California, a tanned blond bombshell and a pasty white brunette, both with a passion for knitting?

For any of you who frequent Julia's blog, you've probably already seen a rendition of this picture. That's a lazy Sunday afternoon at a beach in Ventura. Leo, Panda and I dragged Julia through a dreadful cafe in Malibu then miles away to a fairly remote beach to lunch and knit.

Personally, I can't think of a nicer way to spend an afternoon. Panda ran herself ragged catching the squirrel and being pursued by an amorous little scraggly dog who wouldn't take "no" for an answer.

I have named him, Pepe Le Poodle. This isn't the best picture but I was being a bad picture taker and spent all my time knitting instead of getting great photos for my blog. Baaaaad blogger. Anyway, that's Pepe, behind Miss Bear.

Julia and I chatted and knitted away, and the day just seemed to fly by. I have a touch of color (that'd be red, of course) after the adventure, but I'm no worse for the wear.

In other news, because you asked, I went ahead and threw "Vern" (the WyVERN dragon) onto some Cafepress stuff.

There's a whole bunch more over at the store.

If it looks like people really like ol' Vern, I'll add more. It didn't even occure to me when I drew him that folks would want to wear him, I just thought he'd be fun to draw. All the better though.

Monday, August 15, 2005

New Spokesmodel

Sometimes inspiration (or boredom, don't know which) strikes and something like this happens. I decided the Wyvern socks needed a mascot.

Click for a larger view

I do have to credit Leo with helping me refine the final look. The horns, teeth, belly stripes and belly button were his suggestion.

So, I won't be up for any Caldecott Awards, but I think he's good for a laugh.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

What the hell came over me?

Lately, I've been feeling like I need to get things more organized. I've got a couple location in which I keep my yarn and neither made it easy to find what I needed. I'm not quite at the place in my life where I'd make a spreadsheet to track my yarn, but I'm close.

I think all of you know what "anal kick" + "too much yarn" equals

That's right, there's a big old Spring Cleaning going on at Chez Marnie. Check it out here. Note that there are rules and conditions.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Beautiful Knit for a Great Cause

I'm sure many of you have seen Jenna Adorno's beautiful knits before. She's now offering this amazing pattern for sale. For your $5 purchase Jenna will send $6 directly to Susan Love's breast cancer research foundation.

Jenna's life has been personally touched by breast cancer. I hope you will take a moment to read about it on the pattern page.
Thank you to Shannon for blogging about this.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What to make of the statistics?

So, to date, about 40% of people would be interested in knitting my tunic at the exact gauge I knit it, which leaves another 60% of you who wouldn't. Subtract the 12% who aren't interested at all and I'm left feeling not so sure what to offer. I guess I'll mull it over a bit. A few of you also asked about machine knitting patterns. I want to go on record as saying that I haven't the foggiest what a machine knitting pattern looks like. For the style of machine that I have been using, the process is largely as it is for hand knitting. You work rows with increases or decreases or worked straight. Machine knitters use tension instead of gauge, but it's otherwise it's fairly similar at a very fundamental level.

But right now, I'm not thinking about the tunic at all, because I've been knitting away on my second class piece.

Knitting all that seed stitch on US #2 needles is a slow process, but it's working very well. I don't think ribbing or garter would have looked as nice.

This is what the cuff looks like on top. The way the sleeve is folded in the above picture, it kind of looks like the notch is on the under side of the sleeve, but it is not, it's right on top. I think it's a cute little detail. It's tacked in place so it won't come unfolded.

I've tried on the cardi a couple of times and I love it. I do need to get some buttons, and I doubt that other cuff will be done by the time I go to class tonight, but that's OK. There's still one more class after today so I have time to finish it.

Alas, with all this project work, I haven't been able to knit on my Soy Silk piece. I'm missing it a little. Once I'm done with class I'll be able to crank through it, but for now, I'm trying to make sure I have everything done for next Thursday.

And for those of you who love the Panda pics, you can see her little baby face over at Drop That Sock, or you can see our newest pictures from another day of fetch at Ventura Beach, below. I know they all start to look the same, but I can't help myself. I just love to see her happy.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Why not knit Wyvern?

This morning, I had a little socky photo shoot and I finalized the pattern instructions for Wyvern. You can get the pattern here. Please disregard the fact that I do not have the ankles to pull off being a sock model. I'm not fishing for reassurance here, I've come to terms with my cankles. But I found one way to distract from my shapeless appendages. What I need is an accessory, something that draws the eye away from my physical flaws. I didn't even know I needed it until it just appeared...

Click for a larger view

Yah, cute, I know. I had the camera on a timer, I was posing away and little Miss Panda Bear plopped herself down just in time for the shot. Cankles? What cankles?

Now, regarding the previous post, where I modeled my new tunic that I knit in my machine knitting class, a couple of you expressed interest in a pattern. I can absolutely whip up hand knit pattern instructions for folks, but I should warn you that it's knit at a gauge appropriate for size US #3 needles. That's a lot of knitting at a very fine gauge. I'm not sure there's really that much interest in knitting a piece that big at a gauge that small. So I've put together a little poll and I hope you will all chime in.

I've been working on my second class piece as well. The color is a little off and it's not done yet, but here it is so far.

The color is really a very soft sage green with dark green seed stitch trim. The sleeves are three-quarter length and it's got a shallow v-neck. I'm working on the placket right now.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Been finishing what I've started

There's no doubt about it, a finished object is a wonderful thing.
Hot off the needles, the second Wyvern sock is done

I want to give it a light blocking and then I'll get some pictures of them both on. The written pattern won't be far behind.

Additionally, my knitwear class has been progressing along well. I knit this piece last week.

All the knitting was done in a single 3 hour class, but I didn't account for the amount of weight the piece would have so it's much longer than I expected. It has a good memory so the yarn bounces right back when I take it off, but put it on and it's a tunic.

I'll probably shorten it at some point and re-crochet the hem, but for now, I kind of like how comfy it is. The crochet wasn't nearly as quick to finish, but it was worth it.

I'm now working on a design for the remainder of my yarn. I re-calculated gauge based on the number of rows per 4" when the piece is on. I am averaging the difference since the next piece will be tighter and shorter. Live and learn, I say.

Oh, and my mom has offered to buy me a machine of my very own. I'm very excited. I don't think I could fathom giving up good old hand knitting. I really love it and I find myself fidgety and unhappy when I'm too far from needles and yarn, but the thought of being able to produce designs for publication in a timely fashion seems like a great boon. I see that application and gifts being the primary use for the machine.

And for something completely different, check out this paper airplane tutorial. I love it!

Monday, August 01, 2005

The people have spoken

And you all really seem to like Wyvern with more than 40% of votes. Jabberwocky was a distant second at about 17% which means the whole dragon theme was most appropriate. I did like the suggestion that I name it "Jabbersocky," that's pretty funny. If Jabberwocky had won, I may have had to award two prize.

Anyway, Sara will be receiving a prize from me as soon as I figure out what it is. Let's all give her a round of applause.

In knitting news, I've started another project for the Soy Silk folks.
Remember that Karaoke yarn I was playing with a while back? Well here's a big old 10 pack of a lovely lavender pink and blue colorway. I left them to pick the color and this is beautifully subtle. I'll probably need about half of that for my project so I'll have plenty left over for playing.

Here's what it looks like in ball form. This shows the color progression a little better.

And here's a swatch. It's being knit on the bias which is a more flattering direction for stripes on most people than horizontal stripes are.

Along with the yarn, they included a sample of the new sock weight karaoke to be released at a later date. I've put it next to it's full sized counterpart for comparison. Yummy, no?

And since I've been spinning away...

I got some amazing roving as well. Let's all take a moment to just marvel at it....

Jonelle spun up some of it and posted it on her blog. You can see how it came out here. Being the novice spinner that I am, I'm afraid to use it for fear I'll just ruin a beautiful thing. I'm sure I'll get over it, though.


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