Monday, October 31, 2005


A new free hat pattern is available. I call it Carlsbad and it's basically a combination of the Pismo hat and the guy's version of the Nautilus hat. Who would have thought there'd be so many slight variations on the same theme? In the end, it's all about creating a hat Leo will wear. He's quite picky about these things.

Why is it called Carlsbad? Because that was where the hat had its maiden voyage, Carlsbad, CA. We popped down there to let Panda run around the beach. It's a two hour drive but with the audio book of Harry Potter playing and a beautiful day in front of us, it just flies by.

Panda got a lot of running around in. This beach is great for dogs because even when she's gone pretty far into the water, it's still shallow enough that she can stand most of the time.

We took turns throwing the squirrel and wearing the girl out. And we got a lot of pictures in the process, which is great, but I have one question for you.

What is this?

Yah, that huge thing hanging out behind me. What's that? I have to ASSume it's a trick of the camera, or something in the water, right? BUT it does beg the question, what on earth is that thing? Whatever that denim colored interloper is, I wish to banish it from all further photos. Don't get me wrong, I believe a woman should have curves, but, um, they should not exist in different area codes from the rest of the body.

Alright, back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

So Panda had a good run, sniffed some doggy bottom, rolled in the sand and did a great job of looking adorable.

And then we drove home and she passed out in the car. Aww.

And if you think that is fun, wait till you see what I did on Sunday.

My first encounter of the spinning wheel kind.

Julia brought me to a guild meeting gathering she had heard about. Most or all of the other attendees are members of this local guild.

Julia got a much better tutorial than I could ever have offered in drop spindling.

And she spun up some beautiful yarn.
At the end of the evening, we both had a little something to be proud of.

Julia's spindle of yarn is even plied. Impressive for someone who had done less than a hour's worth of spinning before that day.

Friday, October 28, 2005

This and That

So I've been knitting a few things here and there. Right now, I'm trying to whip out another quick hat for Mr. Leo

He picked out the colors and has provided a template hat to work from. This is an even finer gauge than the Pismo Hat, being worked on size US #1 needles, and is mostly stockinette, instead of all ribbing. You may or may not be able to tell that there's a fine green stripe near the ribbing. It's very subtle. I may actually use the remaining yarn from that skein to make a hat for me. I like that shade of green.

I can't tell you how much I love having a scale to weigh my yarn. I had originally planned to work 5.5" straight then 3" in decreases. Well, after 3" of knitting I was halfway through the skein of yarn. That wasn't going to work. So I quickly reworked my plan and I'm hoping that starting the decreases earlier and spreading them out over more rows will get me to the end of the hat without running out of yarn. I've got my fingers crossed.

I've also swatched up some of my Baruffa Maratona. Looking at Knitter's Review, it's not a terribly hard wearing yarn, which may be a disappointment, but, luckily, I have not experienced her frustrations with knitting the yarn. It's actually been flowing nicely over the needles without incident.
Here's my little swatch.

From left to right, we have some 1x1 ribbing, some stripes in a regular pattern, but meant to look random, some seed stitch, some stripes in a structured pattern and finally some garter stitch.

I also have a schematic of how I might use the yarn.

On top is the random(ish) stripe pattern. That is actually a graphic representation of the exact stripe pattern I have in the swatch. The bottom is the structured stripe pattern. For both, I am envisioning a scoop neck with a bit of a cowl, nothing crazy, maybe more of a wide turtleneck.
Any thoughts? Do you like the top or bottom better?

And finally, I'm knitting a second version of my one-day-to-be-released Deciduous pattern. I could just write up the pattern as is, but I feel like I want to work out a couple more details first and reknitting it will help a lot.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One Big Ol' Skein Wonder

I've been knitting for KG and, yarn companies and family and such and as always, I love it, but sometimes I want something that I don't have to design that is just for me. I had a skein of Lorna's Laces Superwash Worsted just aching to be something.

It was an easy decision, I decided to make a One Skein Wonder. The pattern calls for between 125 and 175 yards of yarn, and I had 225. I decided to make a little alteration to use up as much of the yarn as possible. This is what I came up with. Sorry for the bad lighting.

And here are all the details
Pattern: One Skein Wonder by Stefanie Japel
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Superwash Worsted in Icehouse
Needle: Size US #9 and US #6
Modifications to the pattern:
  • Started with a provisional cast on to avoid having to pick up stitches across the top of the piece.
  • Worked very simple lace at center of back
  • After working the main portion as indicated, began doing ribbing along body before doing sleeves.
  • Then, weighed the remaining yarn and split evenly into two balls.
  • Knit each sleeve from a different ball, working in the round on dpns.
  • Completed each sleeve with several inches of ribbing instead of the seed stitch indicated.
The longer sleeves worked out well, not only because I used up more of the delicious yarn, but also because it's more flattering for me. My shoulders are pretty straight across, there is really no slope in my shoulders, so the cap sleeve style in a variegated yarn, had a tendency to make me look like a pint sized linebacker. The longer sleeve keeps me warmer and is a bit more graceful looking on my shape. At least that's what I like to tell myself.

For those of you without a small scale to weigh your yarn, an alternative option would be to wind a center pull ball of your remaining yarn and work from both the center and the outside at the same time. It's probably easier to do this if you knit the sleeves flat and then seam them afterwards.

Final thoughts: This is a great little pattern, that's very easy to do and really lends itself to modifications. I love that you can make a cute top with so little yarn. I will probably knit this again.

Now for some Panda goodness. My step dad sent me a DVD of our kayaking adventure with Panda. For some reason, macs don't allow you to do screen captures while the DVD is playing so I had to photograph the screen. That's why the quality is so poor. But hey, you can still see how cute she is. If I can hack that little problem, I'll post better pictures. Feel free to offer up your advice if you have any.

And if you think that's cute, check out the little poopers passed out on the couch from two nights ago.

Makes you want to eat her up, huh?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I'm just wild about Annie

Yesterday, I had the great fortune to be able to take Annie Modesitt's Love Your Lace class at the Knit Cafe. While the class was briefly disrupted when a very sweet member of the class had an unfortunate fall on her way to feed the parking meter, overall, the class was great. I'll spare the woman the embarrassment of having her name mentioned, but if she happens to swing by my blog, I'm sending my best wishes. I hope things heal up quickly.

The class was great and Annie had a bunch of samples of her work. Let me tell you, she does a nice job photographing her pieces, like the corset, but it's nothing like seeing the piece in person.

Class was really interesting, I love seeing how other people approach the task of teaching. I'm not terribly confident of my own teaching skills so it's really great to see how others tackle the various topics. Seeing other peoples swatches and watching them learn new skills is also exciting. Each person gets there in his or her own way and Annie does a good job of providing the info in as many ways as possible so that they can all reach the same end.

This is my sampler of lace from the class. There wasn't time to finish the last motif, but it started off really nicely, don't you think?

Since everyone knits at a different speed, and I'm a relatively fast knitter, I also had time to play around with the wire that Annie brought.

Here is the front of a little bit of lace I did. It's a sport weight linen with a bit of copper wire. I love the way they play against each other. I don't think the photo really shows it that well.

This is the back of the swatch. I think I prefer the way the purl bumps show the wire.

A garter stitch lace would be striking. Annie does up amazing lamp shades in a similar manner, but I'm thinking it'd make a great evening bag. The wire would give it structure and the yarn would make it more substantial. I'm not sure how durable it would be, but as a concept piece, I think it could really be something interesting.

Of course, I couldn't let Annie leave without grabbing a picture of us together. Do I look giddy?

I'm standing in front of cashmere next to Annie Modesitt, that's just about as good as it gets.
I hope if any of you have a chance to take one of her classes, you will.

Appropos absolutely nothing, on my way home there were a bunch of motorcycles and this...

driving along the 405. Cute huh? It looks like a motorcycle in back and a couple extra wheels in front with a little sporty body. It seats two so you can take a date along.

Last but not least, please get your tushies on over to Hanna's blog. She's knit up my Erte cloche and it looks super fab on her. I love the color.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cut, it's in the can

My episode, that is.
The weeks leading up to my Knitty Gritty shoot were frantic and there were points when I wasn't too sure it was all going to work out, but it did and I had a great time. It was my third time at the set this year, having done and episode with Shannon the week before and having dropped by for a rehearsal and to see Amy the day before. Unfortunately, the shows shooting before Amy went long and she and I weren't able to do more than chat for a couple minutes. It's a shame but I think her show is going to wonderful. I won't give away any details but her patterns have a unique little flair I haven't seen elsewhere.

Let's get to some picture goodness.

Here's Jason, in front off my wonderful Knitsters. I remember Jennifer and Kristen's name, but I've totally flaked the third woman. I want to say it's Natalie, but I think I may be mistaken. Eeek, bad with names, sorry. Anyway, you couldn't ask for a better group, they made me feel like the most talented person on earth, and they kept a great attitude throughout the show even though it got a little long at points. Can you see my orange flutter sleeve top in back? Jason's the one who dresses the sets (there's a lot of mannequin fondling going on) and he made my pieces look better than I thought they could. Doesn't that shirt look great with a brown skirt?

Here I am with my Knitsters again. I think they are so cute. Do you spy a One Skein Wonder in there?

I'm thinking about using this amazing Lorna's Lace I got to make one for myself

Here are Vickie and me right after we finished the show. I swear that woman can't take a bad picture. Damn her. We were actually pretty well coordinated colorwise.

She gave me a signed copy of her book

I've been eyeballing this baby for a while. It's meant for folks with kids, but you know, who's to say an adult can knit a full sized guitar for herself? And I know of at least one friend who'd dig a knitted bowling ball and pins.
Here's a horrible shot of her note.

And here are two people who kept me smiling on and off the set. That's Stacy to the left and CJ on the right. Stacy is an Associate Producer and cue carder extraordinaire. CJ was my segment producer who seemed to keep her cool even at the most stressful of moments.

She and I are both classy women, don't you think. Yup, there was a toilet in the studio. You gotta love a good prop.

Stacy and I are rockin' hard in this photo. Guess who has bigger, manlier hands.

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a little wisdom found on the whiteboard:

I don't know when my episode will be out, but it looks like it'll be sometime next year. I'll keep you posted. Considering the guests I know to be doing episodes, I am expecting a pretty amazing season ahead.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A taste of the good life

After the KG shoot last week, Leo, Panda and I jetted down to San Diego to spend some time with parents who were vacationing there.

I thought my step dad was looking pretty happy. It must have been all the R&R.

The best part of the trip was Kayaking with Ben, Leo and Panda. It was a two hour paddle around a gorgeous lagoon. I don't have any pictures but there's video to come. I think Leo and I were both nervous that Panda wouldn't like sitting atop a plastic boat and drifting off into the water, but after a few minutes of discomfort, trying to adjust to the new sensation, she settled in and enjoyed the ride.

The all too short weekend saw us eating a lot of food...

Playing shuffleboard...

And some rousing games of pool. I am happy to say that I won every game I played, albeit by default. Hey, I'm not picky, I'll take what I can get.

But what trip would be complete without some new yarn.

This is Inca Alpaca and it's delicious. I only bought 7 skeins (just over 700 yards) so I can't make anything too big, but whatever comes of it will be delightful.

I bought the yarn at Black Sheep in Encinitas. I literally could have dawdled all day but with my step dad and boyfriend quickly running out of ways to entertain themselves in the neighboring shops and prone to rushing in saying loudly "Marnie is the STAR of Knitty Gritty" in a most embarrassing manner (not only because it was loud but because I am most certainly NOT the star of Knitty Gritty) I felt a certain need wrap up my shopping trip. Of the many delightful options, the one that was hardest to pass up with some wonderful cashmere/soy silk roving they had near the front desk. This stuff was amazing, but I knew I could do far finer things with yarn than I could with roving and I decided to show some restraint.

The trip ended all too quickly and storm clouds were approaching, but before we headed back to LA on Sunday morning, we gave Panda a little hit of a her favorite drug.

We literally timed it within minutes. After getting her back into the car and finding a restaurant to lunch at, the sky darkened and the rain began to fall. We made great time getting back home and I finished off the weekend spinning with my new crafty girlfriend and eating Pho with her foster mom.

It seems like we crammed a lot into a short period of time and it's only now getting close to calming down. Off to Knitty Gritty I go for my episode. Wish me luck or leg damage or whatever it is that you are supposed to wish for a person about to go do something show biz-ish.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Is it nap time yet?

It seems like I've been non-stop since Thursday. I took a half day from work so I could make myself girly enough for TV.Got my nails and brows done. I feel so Hollywood. The conversation regarding the later went something like this,

"Who does your eyebrows, you?"
"Um, yah."
"Don't do that. I'll do your brows, you make a mess of them. Look at how uneven they are."
She did a good job.

Though it appears that only women who work in salons feel that I'm a complete walking
disaster when I do my own.

After that was dinner with Shannon, Jenna, Kristi, and Julia.

I had only talked to Shannon and Jenna via email and had simply admired Kristi's work before, so all three people were near strangers to me. My inner dork was a bit nervous that the meeting would end up being uncomfortable as I am, well, a dork, but much to my relief, everyone was delightful. I just regret there wasn't more time to spend with all of them, especially Jenna who was not at the next day's taping.

Speaking of which, Shannon's show went amazingly well. If you didn't click Kristi's link above do so now, you can see a couple pictures there. I'm sure Shannon will have some up too, and Vickie has a blog with a link to even more pictures.There are some darn cute pics among them.

Here's Panda in Shannon's dressing room. Those of you who loves you some Panda, will be
happy to hear that she'll be making an appearance on TV in the next year or so. I wasn't sure she'd do all that well, but my fears were unfounded, she did a great job and looked cute to boot. I love that people commented on how well behaved she was.

To me it seems obvious that when you ask your pup to sit and stay, she should, you know, sit and stay, but I won't begrudge anyone for complimenting me on that feat. One of the things I love about Panda is that she hasn't let fame go to her head.

Lestat on the other hand was pure diva. Here he is surgically attached to Shannon's lap. He was pretty much whoring himself out for love and admiration.

He also did really well. I can't wait to see them on the episode next year. I'm far more excited about that than I am about my own appearance.

Unfortunately, I had to flee the scene as soon as we wrapped. My parents were in San Diego for the weekend and had to leave by 10 AM on Sunday so I couldn't dawdle and spend time with all the great people. I was most sad to miss the opportunity to talk with Share.
I've talked with her via email and she made a point to say hi to me after the shoot. I was frantically trying to wrangle dogs and yarn towards the exit and had only long enough to make a quick greeting. Having seen a little peek of what she was working on, I think she'll have a great episode in store for us next year. The color pink plays a staring role.

Check out the link to Vickie's photo album to see some of her swatches.

Well, I think I'll wrap this post up before it takes over my whole blog. The next edition will have sunny San Diego and yummy yarn.

And to all of your hat suggestions from last week, thank you. You guys are amazing. Even Leo had to admit that there might be some merit in getting a new hat as long as we didn't throw out the old one. I'll take what I can get. I'm all about compromise.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

When a man loves a hat...

Leo has a favorite hat. He's had this hat for all of the nearly 5 years we've been together and he's worn it whenever he can. I'm sure he had the hat several yeas before we met as well, but with no means of cutting it in half and reading its rings, I can't tell it's true age. The problem is, he likes to keep his hat clean so he tosses it in the washing machine on a fairly regular basis. This isn't a bad thing, per se, but I believe this hat is past the years when it can be thrown, willy nilly, into the wash.

Take a look.

The hat is, indeed, in a sorry state.

The problem is, when I mention the r-word, "replacement," the look on his eyes is somewhat akin to how I'd look if he asked if we could replace Panda. This hat is no longer in production and no hat will ever live up to its status. But you know, a girl can dream, so I thought I'd turn to you, my pixely friends and seek advice. Do any of you know where we can find a hat that is a similar color with a small logo, preferably with some sort of snowboarding, skateboarding or surfing theme. No sports, no brand named clothing names, heck, plain would be just fine, I think. If we can get past this, perhaps some of the torn socks and pajamas can go. Hope springs eternal.

On the knitting front, can't show you much until after my Knitty Gritty shoots. Been a hectic week as I've set up my one woman sweatshop.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

They can't all be winners

Well, the last of my order of books finally arrived. Wanting to make sure I had a huge selection of stitch pattern books at my disposal, I ordered the Harmony Guides collection of books and techniques.

I figured with my existing collection of stitch pattern books, the Barbara Walker collection I'd gotten and then these, I'd have enough stitch patterns to keep me inspired for years to come.

Amongst the books I already own is this one.

Have any of you guessed where I'm going with this?
It's the Reader's Digest The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches. I use this baby all the time and love it.

So I begin flipping through my Harmony books and feel a distinct sense of deja vu. That's actually a lie, it wasn't deja vu it was WTF. Let's take a look-see.

The taller book is the Harmony guide, the smaller is the Reader's Digest.
Here's the opposite page.

Click on any of the pics in this post to see a larger view. Oh, and just in case you were concerned, I've blurred all the instructions so as not to violate copyright.

Do you see anything similar? In fact, do you see that many of the stitch patterns not only have the same name and design but, in fact, use the identical photograph? The Harmony books do have many stitch patterns that aren't in the Reader's Digest book, but I was more than a little disappointed to see so much of what I already had repeated identically. Am I dense? Is Harmony a division of Reader's Digest, or vice versa? I wouldn't have been so taken aback if they appeared to be from the same publisher but they were pretty distinctly different.

I've gone back and forth trying to decide if I will keep the books and have decided that I will. What can I say, I'm a book whore.

Now, how about some new Panda Shots. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, October 07, 2005

It's Feast or Famine in Chez Marnie

You know, I'm not going to even apologize for the fact that I have more new books and yarn to show you.

I had two packages waiting for me when I got home, more of the books from my Amazon splurge to build my designing library and a big ol' care package from me mum.

So the newest members of the Library of Marnie are these

The first and third book are the ones I bought. We have Designing Knitwear and Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

The other two books came in my care package.
My mom got me a signed copy of Dyeing to Knit.

That's where Elaine Eskesen autographed the book.

The last book is a gift from a dear friend back in NH. The book is called Crazy Knitting and it's from the mid 80s. It's a real laugh. It's a book full of kids' patterns. Here's a close-up of the cover.

There are also some very cute finger and hand puppets and a few other items not shown on the cover.

But that's not all that came in my package. My mom also included a fun little makeup bag/purse full of samples and a full sized bottle of my favorite hand cream

I love this stuff. I get to try out all sorts of products I'd normally never get to use. And the bag is a great size for brining a camera, wallet, phone and breath mints for when Leo and I go out.

And check out these amazing PJs. The pants have a really cute white feather motif up one leg as well, but I didn't get a picture of it. Just know that the top and bottom look great together.

But the last item will probably appeal to the greatest number of you. While in England, my mom got me a bunch of the knitter's knarcotic:

Cracksilk Haze

It's a gorgeous color. In real life it's a touch more towards the pink/red tone, sort of a saturated mauve-purple shade. I have 8 balls with which to appease me and my monkey.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

So much yarn

Ok, so I treated myself to some yarn, as I mentioned in my previous post. I'm not unlike a lot of you, I think, and there's a good amount of yarn in my stash that I have plenty enough of a crush on to keep me going for a good long while. In the flop hotel that is my yarn stash, there are no "vacancy room for rent" signs anywhere. So when I came home two days ago and there wasn't one, not even two, but THREE boxes of yarn awaiting me, I started to wonder if Leo and Panda were going to plan an intervention.

Actually, all the yarn is for Knitty Gritty. They send you yarn for you to knit your step by step pieces, to use throughout the show. Now, if you are a regular reader, you know that I needed a couple weeks to get those done. I shoot in a week and a half. I knew I would need some time, so I went ahead and got myself some yarn. But I have to say, I'm a little sad I didn't get their yarn sooner. They sent me some great stuff.

Have any of you used this before? It's Lang JaWoll. It's self patterning but it's much softer than either Regia or Opal. I think the colors are cleaner and brighter than those in Opal. But it has another little surprise.

If you stick your fingers into the center of the skein as though to find the end, and root about a bit...

You'll find a little plastic something or other in there.

Pull it out and take a look

It's a mini spool of completely matched reinforcing thread for toes and heals. Do you see that? It's not a solid color that dominates the color way, it's space dyed to match the actual yarn. I love that.

If any of you have experience with this yarn, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. I'm really excited to knit with it, when I have some more time.

Additionally, I got some yarn to reproduce the COF Scarf.

Can you tell that the yellow is actually very different? The original yellow was more warm in tone, this new yellow is cooler, nearly green. I actually think the new one might be a better representation of crime scene yellow. I doubt it'll matter once under the bright lights of the studio.

The last thing I got was some gorgeous Karaoke for my role as Knitster. Since it's for someone else's segment, I'll leave out any details and wait for her to post about it on her blog after we shoot on the 14th.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Wyvern for you arms

I really should have posted this sooner, because I think these are really great, but it slipped my mind. Anyway, Annemarie of Chartreuseknits wrote me recently to ask if she could modify my Wyvern socks to make gauntlets and if so, how would I feel about her offering the subsequent pattern for others. I thought it was a great idea and gave her the go ahead and what she came up with turned out just amazing. Give it a look here.

I've also been stocking my stash in a manner for which I feel some shame. I still have to finish writing my pattern for the corset top and I have a bit of knitting to do for Knitty Gritty, still. Don't even get me started on the other things I have lined up to do, but my eye wanders when I go to the LYS and, inevitably, my hard earned money and I are soon parted. I'm keeping myself on track but I'm really looking forward to knitting up some new items soon.

The first yarn I got while I was over at the KnitCafe. It's Rowan's Felted Tweed
I bought it in a chocolate brown color and have some skeins of a mauve shade to compliment it. I've swatched it a little and love the heathery quality. I can't wait to start knitting with it.

The second acquisition is a large amount of Baruffa Maratona in a deep shade of dusty purple and a soft shade of blue gray.

The color is nearly right. I would say they are both a little less blue, but that's pretty close on my monitor. I haven't the foggiest what I'll do with it, but I sure love touching it.

And just so you don't think I've been a complete slacker, I did finally finish a HFM Glove.

The double-knit in purl worked great and I hope to get you a quick tutorial soon.


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