Friday, June 30, 2006

Nancy's Skirt and Great Friends and Neighbors

I had picked up some Rowan Recycled Chunky (discontinued)yarn at the Have Ewe Any Wool? anniversary sale back in May and decided to make Nancy's Skirt from the Sally Melville third book on color. She used Manos to make it and I decided that this wool was about the same gauge so it should work. I'm pretty happy with the swatching in 2x2 rib although I probably will have to go up a needle size from the 9 that Sally used as the ribbing is pulling in a bit but overall I like it and I think I'll move forward with it.

I'm a little nervous about making a skirt because you never know how big it's going to make you look (LOL), but I think it will be really cute with fall clothes and suede boots. It is a nice shade of chocolate brown and has little flecks of different colors in it, so it should go with just about anything - and I have the perfect chocolate brown knee high suede boots to wear with it. And if it looks bad on me, it'll probably look good on my good friend/next door neighbor Sandy as it seems that she and I exchange clothes quite frequently.

Our most recent exchange was the Rowan Plaid Flood sweater I made (at right) and the Colinette Shimmer 5 sweater she made. She likes things oversized and I just felt like the Flood sweater was wearing me, not the other way around, because I'm a few inches shorter than she is and have a shorter torso. She looks cute in it and always borrowed it over at my house as it is incredibly warm (too warm for me the one time I wore it) and one day said she was thinking she was going to make herself one, exactly the same. I said, just take this one as it looks better on you than me. Pictures are to come, I have to take pics of all my FOs and post them to Flickr.

Same thing happened to her with the Colinette Shimmer 5 sweater - she wanted it to be longer, like a big loose sweater, but it actually came out more like a waist length jacket type cardigan, which actually worked perfect on me when I tried it on. So that's the saga... I never had a sister to share clothes with but it seems I have one now! And a knitting one, no less! Here's to great neighbors - who says we have no sense of community in our neighborhoods anymore?!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Linen Print Anna Update and Another One Bites the Dust....

I was winding my Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool for swatching and Jim walked in and took a picture of me in action with my swift (I am such a knitting geek!) He insisted I show an after picture of the finished result even though everyone knows what that looks like...

Here is the first finished (raglan) sleeve for the Linen Print Anna sweater - started last night and finished today already! I should have a FO to show by the end of the weekend at this rate!

And the other yarn I bought from for swatching...I've been wanting to try Gedifra's Beauty Cotton and a few of the other yarns that Elann makes (their version of variegated Cotton Classic "Sonata" and "Linus" their trying-to-be-Maggie's-Linen linen yarn), so here they are. Also bought Filatura di Crosa "Ad Hoc" bulky cotton yarn from them to try. Need to go back to Container Store and buy another bin for all the swatching yarn!

The sewing class officially bit the dust last night - I had been less than enthused about the first class meeting when we were told the supply list was wrong and we would not after all be making clothes but would be making a no-pattern pillowcase (yawn) and yet another tote bag.

I gave it another chance last night and dropped the class afterwards - with about 20 students, one teacher could not physically keep up with all of the questions, etc. and really did not do a great job of explaining anything or even writing out what we were supposed to do. So, I am done with COD's sewing classes and will probably either take Amanda's suggestion and try the JoAnn's superstore classes or will just teach myself. I've done some things on my own already so it might be pretty easy (and I know it would be less frustrating...)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Classic Elite Beatrice

I was going through Melissa Leapman's Hot Knits book for another pattern to make (like I need a new project!!) and decided to get some of the yarns she uses and swatch them to see if I like them.

Here's the first - Classic Elite Beatrice! It's a combination of red, orange and brown, but it's a little hard to tell in the picture.

I really like this yarn - the colorway is Sugar Maple, shade #3253. Even though it's a plied yarn, which I usually don't like, this one holds together and doesn't snag, and the merino wool feels substantial yet soft. I've decided I'm probably going to make this sweater (Kirstin - on the second page of the table of contents) as a result.

Has anyone made this one? I've never attempted putting a zipper into my knitting so that will be a first for me.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Adventures in Stashland

This is how I spent my rainy Sunday - was supposed to go to Harbor Country in Michigan on a visit to some yarn and bead shops but decided to attack my wool closet instead with the help of my next door neighbor and partner in crime Sandy.


During....(note Sandy is wearing her Sexy Knitters Club tank!)

And After.....

And I even found time to start and finish the front and back of "Anna" from the Linen Print on to the sleeves!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One Finished Object Down, ???? To Go!

Finally got motivated to sew the seams for one of my unfinished projects - here it is!

It was supposed to look like this... which may look familiar as it was parodied on the You Knit What? blog a little while back. I like it, but it does need some elastic yarn sewed into the top. I also shortened it and probably should have made it a hair longer. I did make the smallest size though and I am swimming in it in the back, so not sure what the answer is! I did get gauge throughout and it measures to what it was supposed to!
Anyway, here's me with my kitties working on the Big Wool sweater for Bob. I'm wearing my "tattoo shirt" I got in Hawaii - if you look close, you can see they're just sheer mesh sleeves with a tattoo print, but from far away, they look like hard core sleeve tattoos. Pretty wild for this tax and accounting gal. But you always have to watch the quiet ones :)

Advice needed - does anyone have a better platform than Blogger for posting a lot of pictures? It is kind of a drag to wait for each one to post. Hints or tips are definitely appreciated!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fair Isle with 2 Circs, Jewelry Making and a "Baby Jane Doe" Sweater

Hi everyone,
Sorry I haven't posted in a while - I am a "blog slacker"! Haven't been doing too much knitting lately - I'm kind of in a slump.

First, I figured out knitting in the round with two circulars. I had managed to deal with the double points, but I personally like this method a lot better. Saturday I have to have the sleeves done for the 2nd part of the color workshop, so that I have something ready to steek. The sleeves are going pretty quick now that I am doing them on 2 circs, so it'll be no problem getting them done by then.

Also over the weekend, I went to a great Sweater Wizard software demo at Wool & Company, one of my favorite knitting shops. It was very informative and I ended up buying the software and designed a pattern already. We'll see how it comes out.

Something else I did this weekend was taking an introductory jewelry making class at Bead Heaven in Downers Grove next to Knitche- I learned how to do wire wraps. Here's the bracelet and earrings I made - I'm so proud of them! I really didn't think anything I made would turn out that well, especially for a first attempt.

On Friday, I went to a purse party and bought a great "Coach" purse and wallet that will double as a knitting bag. It was a lot of fun. One other nice thing was that although traffic was horrendous to Shorewood, Sandy drove so I was able to work on this...This is the second one of these I've made - the first was for McKenna last Christmas (made in exactly the lavender color shown - so unoriginal of me, I know) and my friend Lisa helped me with the crochet edging part. Now that I (marginally) know how to crochet, I'm thinking I can attempt this myself on this one. One of my friends is due in September, so I thought if she had a girl, I could give her this when it's done, or save it for the next girl-baby if not. Cute, huh?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

MEME Time (from Bonne Marie's Blog)

Thanks to Bonne Marie for giving me the blog topic of the day!

Here's another MEME (what does it say about me that I love these things?- wait, don't answer that!)

Here's how you play:
Leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me — one word long please! Then copy and paste this into your blog and I will reciprocate the favor!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fair Isle, Plaid and The Viking

Well, I am almost 2/3 done with the body of the second miniature fair isle sweater - this one looks a lot better as I figured out how the pattern had to work around the steeks (one of which is the bump you see in the fabric below.) It went a lot quicker than I thought it would! Two more rows, then one more 10 row chart repeat and I'm done. I have to do the sleeves which are on a different chart, and are on double points, but I'm telling myself it won't be that hard.

I sat outside with FatCat and worked on it

And here is the result!

Here's another vest I started for Uncle Frank for Christmas - it is from the Rowan Plaid collection and I really like the colorway. It is more easily discernable on the knit side (as this is in reverse stockinette for the back with cables on the front side only) but the colors are gray, light tan and brown. I'm thinking I will eventually make myself a sweater out of it - I liked the green/brown/cream colorway of it that I made "Flood" (another pattern in the book) from but next time will know enough to pay more attention to the finished measurement than the "fits size" - as it was very large when finished.

And tomorrow night I start my sewing class and will get reacquainted with my friend "The Viking". It is an older machine from the late 80s that I bought on EBay for about $300. I love it though and everything works great. I would eventually like to buy one of their new fancy machines that do embroidery and almost sew without any human intervention - but I have to see if I really get into sewing again first. We'll see how this class is.

The last one was really basic and we didn't even use a pattern - did a bias cut skirt that was basically a big rectangle. This one we'll be doing a field trip to JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics to buy a pattern, thread and fabric to use over the next 8 weeks. I've done a tote bag and a skirt using a pattern from the Sew Fast Sew Easy book, but haven't actually had success with buying a pattern from a fabric store and working with it. I have a lot of easy patterns but I haven't taken them out of the package yet. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bridget Jones' Diary

I debated whether or not to blog about this, but I figured in the interest of "keeping it real" (sorry, I know it sounds trite) I would share. I signed up for a 28 day program on Nutrisystem, as they said that was sufficient to lose the 10 pounds that I've slowly gained, about a pound a year, since 25. I'm generally OK with myself as I'm a 6 or 8 in most clothes but I used to be a 4 or 6, and I decided I'd rather be on the skinnier side of normal than the curvier side of normal that I've gotten to.

So here is my Nutrisystem "stash" that I received today in the mail. I think anyone would definitely lose weight on this if they stuck to the program, as the portions don't look overly large.

And I already know I will not be religious about this if a special occasion comes up, like our anniversary on Wednesday. We're going to Starfish downtown for sushi Saturday night and I will probably just do the "program" in the morning as my friend Patti is coming out for a jewelry design class at Bead Heaven (next door to Knitche in Downers Grove) and we're having a light lunch, then I'm meeting Amanda at the Sweater Wizard demonstration at Wool & Company in the afternoon. But that's OK - if it takes me a little longer than a month, that's fine. No big deal. I do want this to be sustainable, and I have noticed that over the past week of doing 2 Lean Cuisines a day, I've lost 3 pounds even while drinking wine :) Lovely DH has no similar issues with weight despite chowing down on anything that is not still alive - such as this root beer float I saw him scarfing down when I went downstairs to take a picture of the Nutrisystem closet. Life just isn't fair.

Anyway, enough diet content. Here's some knitting content.

I went to the Fair Isle workshop at the Portage Park Center for the Arts on Saturday and learned a lot about fair isle knitting. I finally "got" stranding over three or four stitches as the way Judy taught us was simple and so much easier to understand than the way I was previously taught. I also taught myself how to work with double points, which I was very excited about, after some review of the helpful video on Here is the fruit of my labors - ignore the psychedelic pattern on the goofy yet to be steeked sweater - got thrown off the pattern when I bound off/casted on for the sleeve steeks.

The kind of bad news? I have to do another miniature fair isle sweater (this time in black and white, I would kill myself if I had to use that same green Cascade yarn for another one) by next Saturday for the steeking (cutting, for the uninitiated) part. So I have to "knit like the wind" to quote Brenda Dayne's opening to her podcast to get this sucker done. More like, tear myself away from my gazillion other works in process and focus on getting this done first.

Well that's my story. Talk soon.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Short and Not Sweet

OK, this has been a hard week all around - and especially for knitting. I've had more problems this week than I think I've had in my entire knitting "career" of a whole year and a half.

First of all, I actually trashed the in-process Tartalette Ribbon Tunic and am starting over with the new yarn I got on Ebay. When I was working on it tonight, I was talking too much to Sandy (and drinking red wine) and lost count of a pivotal section of increases - then tried to fix it and ended up frogging the whole thing - with the ball winder, for good measure, to rip it really quick. Then I looked at the yarn (which I had gotten on sale at a yarn shop after the holidays) and noticed how frayed it was compared to the new yarn I'd bought on EBay and decided, I'm just trashing it. I think I was evil-ly encouraged by this thread on the Knitter's Review forum, which I thought was crazy at the time and now I completely understand. Sometimes projects are not worth keeping. So big deal in the grand scheme of things- an $18 loss. Looking on the bright side, when I took it off the needles, I figured I'd try it on, and the medium is definitely going to be too big for a one-shoulder tank (i.e, there will be nothing for it to stop it from falling down to my waist), so I will make the small size on this go-around.

Tomorrow I'm going to a color workshop put on by Windy City Knitting Guild and we're going to knit a miniature fair isle sweater in the round (part one) and then "steek" (or cut it, for the uninitiated) and sew the seams with a sewing machine. I've read about this process but am not totally clear on how it all works, so I am pretty excited about this at least. I still am trying to get comfortable with double point needles (sock knitters are laughing at me right now) and so for now I was able to fit all the stitches around a 16" circular. The 12" ones I bought kill my hands, and I am just not going to be able to deal with them. I bought them somewhere that has a no-return policy on needles, so I am probably going to resell them on Ebay (or email me if you are in the market for addi turbos in sizes 3, 4, 5 and 6, 12" length.) Make me an offer - they were $60 in total (eeek.)

A bright spot is a picture of my sweet kitties, posing with my Debbie Bliss lace/bobble jacket, the ill-fated Tartalette one-shoulder tank and my new Tartalette....

Hopefully tomorrow is a better day!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

OK, I'll Play (Or High School Meme from Amanda's Blog)

Amanda posted this on her blog and I figured I'd play along...

Fill in the blanks about your senior year. The longer ago it was the better.

1. Who was your best friend?: Patti and Monica

2. What sports did you play?: None

3. What kind of car did you drive?: silver Dodge Charger

4. It's Friday night, where were you at?: at a party, probably being a bad girl (look at that 80s bad hair)

5. Were you a party animal?: Um, yeah (see #4)

6. Were you considered a flirt?: Um, yeah (see #4 and #5)

7. Ever skip school?: Yes, although my mom called off for me

8. Ever smoke?: Yes

9. Were you a nerd?: No, but I was an Illinois Merit Scholar and National Merit Semifinalist in spite of my other "activities"

10. Did you get suspended/expelled?: Yes, suspended for three days in freshman year b/c I was beaten up by a chubby senior girl who I didn't know was still dating the guy I was seeing

11. Can you sing the Alma Mater?: No, and I have no idea what it was

12. Who was your favorite teacher?: Ms. Ryder - Honors English class - she was totally sarcastic and funny

13. Favorite class?: all English classes and AP American History

14. What was your school's full name?: Oak Forest High School

15. School mascot?: Bengal tiger

16. Did you go to Prom?: Yes - Eeeek. Why didn't anyone TELL me I was doing a bad impression of Donna Summer? And check out that Journey theme.

17. If you could go back and do it over, would you?: Not on your life

18. What do you remember most about graduation?: Not much - it was kind of like this big nonevent for me as it was not ever in doubt that I'd graduate

19. Favorite memory of your senior year?: ?

20. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall?: I don't know what this is either...I don't think anyone's figured it out yet.

21. Did you have a job your senior year?: Jobs in high school were Gately's switchboard operator, Sub City sandwich maker, Walgreen's "second cosmetician" - I think I was at Walgreen's senior year

22. Who did you date?: Who didn't I date? (LOL)

23. Where did you go most often for lunch?: Always the cafeteria as we had a "closed campus".

24. Have you gained weight since then?: Yep - as now I eat more than lettuce and rice cakes (LOL)

25. What did you do after graduation?: Saint Xavier University in Chicago (1/2 merit-based scholarship and close enough to live at home but had to keep a 3.75/4.0 gpa), CPA exam, then a Master's in Tax at DePaul University after a few years break

26. When did you graduate? 1990, when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth

Now that some of us have concluded our 80s flashback, here's some obligatory knitting content.

Alpaca V-neck for Noah (Mia's twin brother) from the Yarn Girls Book.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Me and Debbie Bliss

I spent a lot of time with Debbie Bliss this weekend - rather, her Lace and Bobble Jacket pattern from her Wish You Were Here book. And here's the results so far! This is my first attempt at a lace and bobble pattern and it is not as difficult as I thought. I had been stalled on it for awhile as I was struggling with doing the "K3Tog"s in the DB Cotton DK (which is kinda stiff and unyielding, yet gives a crisp look to the pattern) and bamboo needles. But as soon as I loosened up a little on my grip, it seemed to work out much better. Figured I better get this one done before the bolero thing is out of style....

Also visited Peggy's Strands of Heaven to return the Jaeger Roma and liked it much better this time -the woman working there was very friendly and they had moved the "knitting table" up front, I'd assume so that they can actually greet customers. I did notice they had a lot of different kinds of Blue Sky Alpaca there, including the bulky that I don't see everywhere.

Perfect Touch Yarns - it was in someone's house in a nice residential neighborhood in Joliet! They had a sign in front saying to enter in back, and not block the driveway. I have to admit I almost scrapped the idea of going in - but I figured I'd come too far to turn around now. I walked up the driveway and peeked around the corner at the back door and they had a sign for Addi Turbo needles, which made me feel a little more like I'd come to the right place. However, they also had a sign saying that they were closed that day because of a graduation! So I didn't get to go in - probably won't be back either, truthfully.

Stitch and Hook in Shorewood - in a little strip mall and stocked a lot of craft yarns like Lion Brand. They did have quite a bit of Cascade and a small selection of Noro and GGH. I bought one of the Garnstudio Drops magazines written in three Scandinavian languages and including a helpful separate booklet in English, as well as the Magic Loop brochure, which I'd heard about but hadn't seen before in a shop.

Other knitting progress - finished the front of the Dress Me Up pattern for Mia's dress - just need to sew together and do the bright yellow-green crochet edging around the neck.

Started the V neck alpaca "Mikey Did It' sweater in the Yarn Girls book for Noah (Mia's twin brother, for those of you who don't know.) I scored some Alpaca/Tencel blend on for around $3.50 a skein (total cost - under $30) instead of the Blue Sky 100% Alpaca they recommend at $10-11 a skein. He'll grow out of it so soon, I can't justify $80. Saved about $50! I'll have piccies next post...

Saw The Break Up last night - I really liked it. I thought Jennifer Aniston did a great job with it and it was interesting to see her "claws come out" just a little in a movie as she usually plays long-suffering nice girls. Vince Vaughn really played an unlikeable character and I continued to ask myself, why would this beyond-gorgeous woman be with this guy? (as the moviemakers surely intended for me to ask) I'll tell ya, I'm definitely not considering batting for the other team, so to speak, but JA looked amazing in this movie. I'm not a star worshipper by any means, but if I could look like any famous person, she'd be it without a doubt. I don't know if they made her look especially good so he would look even worse, but the clothes they put her in were all really great and she was perma-tan throughout. Anyway, I laughed my *ss off at this movie and definitely recommend it. If you know my taste in movies though, I lean more toward movies like Wedding Crashers and Old School that make me laugh rather than high art, so take it with a grain of salt if you want!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Feast or Famine

Ok, more things to back up my belief that things either happen all at once or not at all. Back in March, I was teaching a class at the online university that I've been working with since about 2000, taking a class in my MBA program and trying to get a group presentation done, plus that little thing called "a day job" that supports my yarn and pattern book habit and our home improvement projects. I also went to Hawaii on a cruise for two weeks while trying to do all of this (here's a pic from the trip of Sandy, me, Jim, his mom Peggy and his aunt Vicki, from left to right)

and so when I got back I said I wasn't taking a summer class, I wasn't teaching a summer class, and all I was going to do this summer was lie out by the pool and knit.

Well, that just went right out the window. The scheduling person at the online university where I've been teaching asked me yesterday if I want to teach Federal Taxation I (an undergrad course) starting 6/19 and of course, me, thinking of the TWO new air conditioners we need to replace (they say 1987 on them and one just completely died) said "Sure!". They also asked me to update both undergrad courses for a new 2007 book edition, and of course, you know what my answer was. The same day things heated up at my day job and I am going to be busy there too. So it never rains but pours, to quote one of those adages my mom would say when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, things seem to happen in waves on the personal side too - I've gone to two funerals in the last two weeks and two of my other friends have parents who have gotten sick in that same time frame. So anyway, here's hoping that cycle is over! Let's talk knitting...

Knitting - here's the ribbon tunic in Pomegranate Tartelette from Teva's book - just waiting for my ebay yarn to arrive to do the 2nd half!

And Bob's Basketweave Cardigan -


And here's what it will look like when it's done....

I'll have more knitting related stuff tomorrow as I'm leaving to visit Peggy's Strands of Heaven in Plainfield (to return the unopened Jaeger Roma), Perfect Touch Yarns in Joliet and Stitch and Hook in Shorewood. I decided to combine them for my next Windy City Knitting Guild review as they're all in the Joliet area. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

So I finished the Teva Durham Ballet T...


This was a super quick and fun knit - almost as fast as the Tartelette shawl that I did on the plane from ORD to LAX for our Hawaii trip!

I am super short waisted, so I did only one round after the last set of increases on the Teva T, and that seems to work - it hits me right at the waist and with a little blocking, it'll lay flat.

The finished measurements in the book are really misleading – she is right when she says the fabric is very stretchy – I measure 35” and the finished measurement was I think 25”? The hardest part of the whole thing was joining the stitches in the round at the beginning, as you use long tail cast on and a double strand of yarn (and I did this on Addi turbos) so the stitches are kind of all over the place. I had previously attempted this a few times one night while “drunk knitting” and as Sandy can attest, it was not a pretty sight. I was completely frustrated. This was a few months ago though, and I had put the yarn away for awhile and on a whim decided to start it Monday night, with great success this time. Cheap too - $8 a skein at the Yarn Exchange in Dekalb (they have more Brown Sheep than I’ve ever seen in one place before!) so it was a $16 top.

Trying to decide which top to vote for on the Sexy Knitters Club knitalong. I’m torn between Calla and Waves. I know Tempting II will probably win though as it was in the first poll they did – they’re redoing it as a few patterns were left off. I have the Calmer yarn called for all three of these patterns and love it as that was what I used to do the Soul top. Here's a picture as promised - looking at the picture I see I put it on sideways with the seams at the front! (I have to take some yarn and fill in a few of the holes at the side seam - knitted it in the round, but somehow did some yarn overs when starting some of the new rounds so I have some holes. Other than that, though - I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

Rowan Calmer

Started the one shoulder ribbon top from the Teva Durham book – I was partially good in that I’m using some “Pomegranate” tartalette from my stash, but also bad in that I needed to buy 3 more skeins on Ebay to make it.


I thought it would maybe just be one or two, but when I calculated the difference in yardage between the ribbon she uses (which is acrylic and polyamide as opposed to the lovely tartalette in I think a cotton and wool blend) it yielded a result of 3 more skeins. Actually 3.2, but I always have yarn leftover (loose knitter that I am) so I only bought 3.

I’ll probably be done with this top in a few days, so I’m thinking of doing the CeCe pattern I bought on Bonne Marie’s site. Another one with Calmer or Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. I’m thinking maybe I could use up the 2 balls of “Drift” (off white) of Calmer I still have on it and buy just a couple more. I’d like to come up with a more interesting color than off white, but I’d also like it to go with stuff.

And here's some miscellaneous pics from last post:

JoAnn's plants (you can see why I wouldn't want real ones up there!)


"Dress Me Up" dress for Mia in S. Charles Victoria and Crystal Palace Fizz

Yarn Girls' Dress Me Up - for cousin Mia

I'll post on Bob's basketweave cardigan another day - I think Blogger is going to blow up if I keep posting these huge pictures as they're taking longer and longer to post!!!! (Any experienced blogger hints, let me know!)


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