Sunday, July 30, 2006

Fetching #1 Almost Done & The Dreaded Golf Lesson


Here's the first fingerless "Fetching" glove - the waste yarn indicates where I need to pick up for the thumb. I started the next one though as I wasn't at home when I finished the first one and needed to be by myself to attempt that delicate operation!

And in other news, at 8 am, I have my first golf lesson with a female golf pro at Cog Hill, about half an hour away from my home. I took one lesson with my friend Stefanie about four years ago at a public course in Wheaton from a guy who was less than enthused, and hit some balls out at a driving range a few times, but other than that I'm a total "golf virgin". But I figure I was able to go from a complete knitting virgin to what I would consider an intermediate knitter in the space of a year and a half - so I'm going to attack golf the same way. Jim plays and it would be nice to be able to play with him - also I get a lot of invites at work that I always have to turn down b/c I don't (yet) play.

So like eating my vegetables, I'm going to work on learning to get good at golf. I don't want to play with the guys unless I can get good (read: kick their butts!) so I'm willing to practice to get there even though it's going to somewhat take away from "wool time" (as Jim would put it.)

Wish me luck! I've got to get ready to go now.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rowan International, Fetching and CeCe Sleeve

Got my Rowan International club gift for renewing today! I love this bag and it's going to look perfect with my lace and bobble jacket (once I finish it!)
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Also started Fetching last night - I really like the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn. I think this color will look great with my chocolate brown suede fall coat. I know there is a knitalong for this one but I haven't tried doing any of those yet. Too much pressure, I think, especially with all the multiple projects I always have going on at once.
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CeCe sleeve in process - I wasn't motivated enough to figure out how to work the increases into the lace pattern, so I thought they looked OK in plain stockinette (like the body.) I'm thinking about the type of button to use for the closure on the body and I think I want to do like a short chopstick type button in a sort of rosewood. I'll have to start looking for that.
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Friday, July 28, 2006 Swatching Membership


Just signed up for the 1 year of Elann sample yarns and color snips with their newsletters and got my first month - I love this, but does anyone else think they have the better end of the deal here? Um, if I look at all the colors and swatch every one of the yarns coming out on sale in August, odds are there's going to be one I'm going to like and order. Yeah, you pay $52.50 USD for it, and they give you vouchers totaling that amount for $2.50 off each $25 spent, but this is a slick marketing move for sure on their part as they are pretty much assured that they will get an order of some sort every month from me (and I'd bet most of their subscribers to this) now.

This month's Exhibit A? Lang Viva - the gauge swatch shown in the picture (which, why did they send me in black of all colors - not so good for seeing stitch definition or blogging.) I'm trying to decide which of the metallic colors to buy it in - I like it in the silver and the pewter colors (both of which I have small snips of) and liked working up the swatch and also liked the free pattern they're going to be offering with it (newsletter is folded to show it in my picture.)

I look at this membership almost as insurance against buying yarns from Elann that end up not working out - I am picky about the yarns I work with and usually buy only one ball first to swatch to decide if I want to "marry it" and make the commitment to buy enough yarn for the whole project. With Elann, I buy a TON of individual skeins to swatch (yeah, I know, I need to sign up for the One Skein knitalong) but don't always get around to swatching them or buying more yarn for a project. This way I don't buy any individual skeins, but they get me to buy all of the yarn at once for a project, as I already know I like it.

Anyway, don't get me wrong, I like the membership, but I'm admiring the shrewdness of their marketing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Galena Pic


Just got the pics from our corporate outing at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa in Galena two weeks ago - most pictures of Jim and I look kinda fake or posed but I think this one captures us the way we really are. LOVE IT! We've had our rough spots like any couple but I have to say I'm glad we both hung in there - things are better than ever!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Magic Loop

I'm going to be starting the first sleeve for my CeCe today using the Magic Loop method. Got my Addi turbos in 40" length from Knitche and am good to go. I tried the method the day before yesterday using the longest size needle I had (32") but it was a little stretched out so I decided to go with the 40" size that they recommend in the Magic Loop brochure. I'll let you know how it goes!

Oh, one more thing about the CeCe - when I was on my flight to Kansas City, one of the flight attendants stopped by and commented on how much she liked the pattern and asked where she could buy it so I gave her the link to Bonne Marie's site.

So that was cool - I like helping out independent pattern designers like her by passing on the word. Maybe in some parallel universe if I ever get to the point where I'm designing patterns, it'll come back to me somehow. I do believe in that sort of thing - getting back the positive energy (or not so positive) that you put forth into the universe. And now back to your regularly scheduled program...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lots of Work in Process....

I kept promising pictures but didn't get myself in gear until this morning (and I forgot my camera at home for the Kansas trip so didn't get any pics there - I have some of our family sending them to me though!)

But here's all the work in process...

CeCe - done with the body, about to start the sleeves and am going to try the Magic Loop method for it to avoid weird joins in the middle of the lace pattern - must.get.40".circulars...

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Green Gable - about ready to be tried on before the sleeves- two more rounds
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Linen Print pullover - need to finish last bit of seaming
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Cotton Tape cardigan - need to sew in sleeves (not shown - was thinking of leaving as a long vest - what do you all think?)
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Plaid vest for Uncle Frank's Christmas gift - have the back done, need to finish the front
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My two felting projects that I finally felted - purse and tulip - need to sew on the strap for the purse and get the wire into the flower/sew petals together
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And our french doors (in process) - it's a little disconcerting to see your house completely open to the elements so I had to take a "before" pic! They're installed now, but I'll wait for the after pic until we get our hardwood floors in.
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Friday, July 21, 2006

We're Not in Kansas Anymore (or Yet)

We're leaving this morning for Jim's great-aunt's 100th birthday party/family reunion in Kansas. Should be fun- the last time we were there was ten years ago for her 90th! We've seen some of the people in the meantime at weddings, holidays, etc. but some we haven't seen in the full ten years.

We'll be flying into Kansas City, like a 50 minute flight, then driving south for two hours to Pittsburg, Kansas, a small town in the southeast sector of the state. I'm bringing snacks with me, as they don't really eat out too much there - "Chicken Annie" and "Chicken Mary" (fried chicken catering places that are advertised everywhere on their billboards) and Pizza Hut are pretty much it.

On the drive down, we'll also make a stop in Lawrence to hit the Yarn Barn of Kansas, as I went to their booth last year at Stitches Midwest (which I'll be attending again this year!) and bought some good stuff. I'll be back on Sunday, hopefully with some pictures!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

CeCe in Progress

Here's my latest project - CeCe. This lace pattern is so easy to work and I love the Calmer yarn in the Coral shade. Another great thing is that it is worked in basically one piece so no seaming :) and I also like the new 3/4 sleeve option, which makes it more versatile year round. This is the first of Bonne Marie's patterns that I've tried (although I've bought some of her others and will eventually get to them) and she rocks as a pattern designer.

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And, I love Flickr - I will be much less of a slacker now that I have a good interface to upload pictures through. This is soooo much easier than dealing with Blogger's picture interface.

Life is good!

Testing Flickr....


Ok, I think that worked. Thanks to everyone who suggested Flickr in the comments - I appreciate it! It works a lot easier. Now to go take some actual pictures....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Green Gable and Various Uses for Calmer

I'm back to "blog slackerdom". A lot has been going on lately and it's seemed like a chore to log on and blog. But I have been doing a lot of knitting. Actually finished four of those unfinished projects I previously was talking about, pics to come later, and started working on Green Gable in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, Lilac Haze. I need more yarn though, hopefully it arrives by Thursday when I leave for the weekend.

I also have been trying to determine what I want to do with the coral Calmer I have in my stash. I originally thought I would be making Audrey
but I think my swatch (although I've gotten gauge) is too holey looking.

I think I may use this yarn for CeCe instead, in the 3/4 length sleeve version. I could also use it for the Waves strapless tank that was nominated for the Sexy Knitters Club Knitalong, but I've already made one tube top out of it. I decided not to make Tempting II (the pattern that finally won) b/c I hate 1x1 ribbing and also liked it at a smaller gauge (like the 2x2 rib above.)

I've been debating which knitting project to bring with me to our corporate outing in Galena this weekend and can't find the right "mindless wool" project. I think my co-workers would look at me oddly if I was staring at the Debbie Bliss Wish You Were Here book and chanting the lace and bobble pattern to myself as I worked on that jacket (which by the way, I'm on the back of so am about 2/3 of the way through the knitting part - aside from all of the picking up required.) Even though the CeCe is less complicated, I still would need to refer to a chart, which is also not real conducive to conversation and co-worker bonding.

I did pick up 3 balls of Jaeger Trinity for this cable tank top ('Hazel") and the back would probably qualify as mindless non-wool. Seems like all my other projects are along the lines of cables or lace though so they're out.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The "Clean the Bathroom Chore of Knitting"

Late yesterday afternoon, I completed the second sleeve of the Linen Print Anna sweater. I had high hopes that this time I finished knitting the pieces of a project, I would dive right in with the real finishing. As one of my commenters so aptly put it a few weeks ago, the "clean the bathroom chore of knitting." Well, that's about how anxious I am to get started on it.

I think I have some sort of performance anxiety with finishing. I must have really taken to heart the admonitions in the back of the Rowan books that "it seems a shame that many beautiful projects are spoilt at the end when finishing" (paraphrased but retained the cute Queen's English-ism of "spoilt".)

The thing is, I'm not a bad finish-er. I do a pretty good job with the old invisible seaming since my class with Leslye Solomon at Stitches Midwest last year. I even have her DVD to pop in if I forget how to do something. I think I really do have performance anxiety issues around it b/c I'm so afraid I'm going to do precisely what the Rowan books say I might.

I was trying to think back to when I have the best luck with sewing my projects together - and actually it's after I've had a glass of wine and I"m a little relaxed and sort of feel devil-may-care about the whole process. I always thought my best time to do this was first thing in the morning after being jacked up on coffee or sugarfree Red Bull, but I think that's actually the best time to knit like a fiend. (See, I'm talking myself out of doing it now.)

Last night I was avoiding this finishing (which really should be easy - it's a raglan pullover where everything is still on holders - how easy can it get, really!) so much that I pulled out my felted flower project that I'd started back around Easter, of all things, and started diligently adding the inside petals. (Oh, and now I'm stuck on that one as I have to thread a ribbon through the I-cord stem and I don't have any ribbons, unless maybe I can use tartalette or something like that? Damn, I think I just came up with a solution to my procrastination on that one.)

And the funny thing is about this finishing performance anxiety is it feeds itself - because you know what I do instead of finishing the project I started? You guessed it, start another project! So right now I have at least seven or eight things to sew together, taunting me from their neat plastic prisons from the Container Store every time I walk into my closet.

But again I'll say what I always say (and how the projects have proliferated since then!) "Know what? This is my long weekend off from work, and I'm going to work on whatever I want. Knitting is my hobby, not my job, and so I'm going to have fun with it. There's enough time in life for things we're not so enthused about (like cleaning the bathroom.)"

So off I go to start another project. Unless someone can motivate me to finish the ones I have.

Postscript: I just took inventory in my closet and discovered I have not six or seven, but in fact TWELVE projects waiting to be sewn. And four that have some knitting left on them to do. That is kind of motivating in itself - if I can finish these, I will have SIXTEEN more finished projects under my belt.