September 14, 2008

Casual Elegant Knits – Blog Tour

Posted in How To's, knitting tagged at 9:52 am by nephele

Casual, Elegant Knits isn’t one of those trendy, “ooh that’s neat but when would I wear it” pattern books. The patterns here are the sort of wardrobe staples you’ll find yourself pulling out of your closet again and again. It may even provide something to wear with that trendy item. I meet Faina a few years ago at my LYS and was very pleased, honored (and a little nervous) to be ask to take part in there blog tour. Here are the results. 

 

 

Casual Elegant Knits

Casual Elegant Knits

       

 

 

LM: I’m joined today by both authors Faina Goberstein and Dawn Leeseman.

 

FG: Liz, thank you very much for being one of the stops on our blog tour. Our excitement builds up even more as we go from one stop to another. When people ask us about the book, we look back on our two-year work and relive some of the emotions we had at the time. Since we had a very nice experience then, we enjoy going back in time. So, what do you want to know?

 

LM: One of the first things I noticed when I looked through your book was all the nice, clear, big pictures of all the projects. There were even multiple views of the same piece. Thank you for that. It makes it so much easier to get a feel for a pattern that way. As authors how much influence did you have in the design of the book?

 

FG: Ah, good question. When we sent our manuscript to the publisher, we had to supply photos of the projects to convey the vision of how the garments need to be worn. Our editor was fine with all the requests we had for the layout of the book. The first page proofs came without photos. The second time we saw page proofs it already had photos. We liked the layout of the book and many other things. We were not particularly happy with the color of the cover and some of the backgrounds of the photos. Since this is our first book with Martingale & Co, we really did not know how much of input we could have for a book design. I, for example, felt that it is not very nice of me to step on the toes of a professional photographer. We called our editor and asked her how much we can influence the outcome of the design. She answered that they would appreciate any comments we have. They do want us to feel that we are part of the team and they want us to be happy. Our art director called me and we had a long conversation with him. I asked if the pictures could be taken outside. He chuckled and said: “Faina, we will try, but remember we are in Seattle. It rains here during this time almost every day.” Well, we did get lucky. They had a window of a great weather and all the shots were done on the street. We are so pleased with the result. Like you said, they show many large pictures and the layout of the book is not busy, so it is easy to read.

 

DL: We had quite a bit of influence. We definitely wanted a gallery-style page for the Table of Contents and for each chapter. We were very pleased that the publisher provided this. We conveyed our thoughts for the photos by doing our own “photo shoot” with our initial models. We presented the full ensemble, then the individual photo (how we wanted the model to pose) and then close up details that we thought were important.

 

Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company, photographed by Brent Kane

Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company, photographed by Brent Kane

 

 

LM: Another thing that jumped out at me was the number men’s patterns. If it weren’t for the skirts and some layered looks for the women I think the numbers would have been equal. Was that a deliberate, planned outcome?

 

FG: Dawn and I like when men are dressed well. We also think that there are many men’s patterns on the market that offer a relaxed and outdoorsy look, not the fitted and elegant look. If you talk to men who are fashion-conscience, you will hear that they want the look we have in our book.

 

DL: Yes this was definitely planned. We are seeing a growing number of male knitters and wanted to have a book that would appeal to them as well as female knitters that want to knit attractive sweaters and accessories for men.

 

LM: The men’s sweaters strike a good balance between something that men will wear without complaint (always tricky) and things that won’t be boring for the knitter to make. So who do you think is harder to design for: men or women?

 

DL:  I enjoy both and do not think it is hard to design for either. Both Faina and I are particular about what we like in men’s fashion so it was a very good opportunity for us to design for them with the fit that we would like to see, as well as using stitch patterns that create some texture for additional visual interest. We also were able to consult with Faina’s husband ,Simon, for his fashion input from a man’s perspective.

 

LM:  We’re in the second half of the blog tour and I think the obvious questions have all been asked but one thing I found myself wondering about as I read was one of your answers, Faina. You said that the decorative cast on you used on the two women’s hats (including the red beret than I need to make) was a common technique in European knitting. Are there any other European techniques that you’ve used in the designs?

 

FG: Yes, there are. The selvage stitches are done differently in our book. I especially worked on them when I designed scarves and the Funnel-Neck Top. That top is done in the round and the rib pattern for underarms continues to provide edges of an armhole. I needed to keep the selvage stitches very straight to make the edges crisp. I want to suggest your readers that they follow that technique to achieve the result they see on the photo.

There are also four different patterns that are done in brioche stitches. They are all different and beautiful. I love brioche for many reasons. The basic of this family of stitches was used in America in shaker knitting, but I do not see it used in our times. In Europe it is one of the staples.

 

ML: Related to the last question, have you encountered any American techniques?

 

FG:  Actually, yes. I never knew about three-needle bind off. Dawn showed it to me four years ago. I always seamed shoulders using mattress stitch. And, you will laugh, you taught me how to do a Russian join. Although I am from Russia, I have never heard about it there. It is the same case with the Russian salad dressing. We do not have any dressings in Russian cooking. And, Dawn is reminding me – I have never done felting before. All felting projects in the book are Dawn’s. I did test a beret pattern for her. That was my first felting project ever.

 

LM: With the two of you we’re getting the best of both worlds. Are there any ways you’ve altered or added to each other’s knitting style?

 

FG: I learned how to knit the English way especially stitch patterns with the yarn over. It is very different from how I do it. Sometimes my left hand is overworked and I switch to throwing method. I have to be careful, though. My tension is different when I switch. It is nice to know both when I teach people to knit.

 

DL: I picked up some good tips about that nice slipped stitch edge that Faina uses. I also like Faina’s idea to start out with a generous swatch for measuring gauge.

 

 

LM: Back to the book. As a plus size person one of the first things I look for in pattern book is the range of sizes. You did a pretty good job there, thank you, but one of my favorite pieces the Little Flirt Skirt doesn’t go quite large enough for me. I’ve seen lots of articles about resizing sweater patterns but I haven’t seen anyone talk about skirts. You’ve already written the pattern in several sizes so do you have any advice on how to go about resizing it?

 

FG: If you make a very good size swatch and check your gauge, you can make a proportion like this:

 

Actual hip (in)                   Number of sts for CO

—————–       =     ————————-                            

        4 in                         18 sts (gauge from pattern)

 

 

Number of sts for CO = [Actual hip (in) x 18 sts ] divide by 4 in.

 

The number you get must be divided by 13. If your number is not evenly divided by 13, get as close as you can to the number that will be divided by 13 by adding or subtracting sts. If you have to add more sts to get the pleats worked out and it looks too big for the hips, think about decreasing evenly after you are done with the pleats and you go to the main body. Do not forget that you are changing needles and your gauge is going to change later. I would also recommend increasing the length as you work in the round from the pleats panel to the hip line. It will make a slimmer look of the body. Good luck with this. It is a good pattern to experiment with, I think.

 

FG: Thank you, Liz, for your hospitality. We really appreciate that you asked such great questions. I want to wish you all the best with all of your ventures in design.

We would like to invite your readers to our next stop with Donna Druchunas .

 

LM: Thank you both for letting me take part. It wasn’t nearly as scary I thought it would be.

And that’s it. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour. I posted the full schedule over here.

 

  PS: I apologize for the lack of pictures. Every time I try to add them in, the post gets mangled :-(
I’ll try again when I get home and can use my own computer.

September 10, 2008

I’m in good company

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting tagged at 10:23 pm by nephele

Last time I promised to talk about the Ravelypics and Yarnsmackdown but first I’ve got some important business to take care of.

A friend of mine recently co-authored a knitting book and I was very flattered to be asked if I would be a stop on their virtual book tour. I was even more flattered when I found out who else was on the list. I’m in some pretty impressive company. Want to know more? Okay then… First the book

The book is Casual Elegant Knits by Faina Goberstein and Dawn Leeseman. The book is full of clear pictures – with multiple shots of each item. The patterns seem timeless and very knittable. There are a lot of interesting little details that take the finished projects to a different level. Check it out. And while you’re checking it out, be sure and check out the rest of the blog tour:

Sept 4 ColorJoy
Sept 5 Go Knit In Your Hat
Sept 6 FitterKnitter
Sept 7 Amy Polcyn
Sept 8 Connie Chang
Sept 9 Marie Grace
Sept 10 Susan Lawrence/KnittingasfastasIcan
Sept 11 Marnie McLean
Sept 12 Tikru
Sept 13 Terry Ross
Sept 14 ADKD
Sept 15 Donna Druchunas
Sept 16 Jennifer of Pieknits
Sept 17 Kristi Porter
Seept 18 Joanne Seiff
Sept 19 Simona Merchant-Dest

 

I guess that means I have to post on Sunday the 14th, huh?

 

So, still here or did you wander off into the blog tour? Just in case you are still reading I better keep my promise and talk about last months projects.

 

First off I signed up for Yarnsmackdown back in July. This is another last knitter standing competition. Unlike most of the others though, this one had a bunch of different categories. You could compete seperately in any or all of the categories. Originally I only entered the bookmark competition since the finished items could be mailed in an ordinary envelope. As time went on though a new category was announced and I just had to sign up for the “Goofy” category. Eventually it was finally announce that the goofy category was a food fight. We had to knit toast – basically a four inch square in any design we wanted with worsted or finer yarn. Being goofy myself I decided to knit toast with intarsia jam:

Food Fight

 

As I think you can see, the jam is a seedy berry flavor and the toast is a nice whole wheat. :-)

 

I mailed my toast to my target the same day my toast of doom arrived. There was an option to keep playing – as a zombie – but I decided I had enough other stuff to do and I’d had my fun. I did last a little longer in the bookmark category. I still only racked up one kill but I was alive for another week or so. I could have easily knit several more bookmarks in that time but so could everyone else. Knitters were dropping like flies. There were so many kills in those first few weeks that it took a long time to figure out who was still alive and who the next target was. We had a few different patterns we could choose from. I picked this one:

Bookmark

 

So that was it for me at least in Yarnsmackdown.

 

Ravelypics was a Ravelry based group. Again lots of events with tongue in cheek names. I have so many projects already on the go that I didn’t want to start something new. I decided to sign up for WIP Wrestling in hopes that some of my long languishing UFOs would finally become FOs. It even worked on a couple items. Here’s the only one I completely finished during the Olympics:

ZigZag - finished

 

The pattern is Zigzag from Knitty. The yarn is Jo Sharp Silk Road Tweed DK in Granary. I stuck with some of the other UFOs and finished another (it needs a small amount of seaming and a bit of felting). I’m coming close to finishing up two more. I’ll post details about those when I’ve got pictures.

 

That’s it for now – see you Sunday!

 

August 19, 2008

Well That Worked

Posted in knitting, Spinning tagged , at 4:08 pm by nephele

Not.

See how well I did with the posting more often?  I usually post on my break at work which is fine except that lately I’ve been too busy. By the time I take a break, if I do at all, I’m to fried to think.

There’s been plenty to talk about too. I got killed in the current round of Death by Socks. It was a very colorful death, I couldn’t be more pleased.
DBS#4

One of my assassins (it took two to do me in) included one of those cute mini sock blocker keychain kits. I haven’t knit a sock for it yet but trust me, I will.

Back in mid July I went to Dixon’s Lambtown festival with a friend. It’s a one day mini fiber fair. There were sheepdog trials:
dog trials1
dog trials12

Sheep:
ram
jacobs5
hair sheep

Sheep shearing:
shearing1
shearing3

And a fiber hall were I may have done a little damage to the wallet. I also may have talked my friend into picking up a drop spindle and some wool. You already knew I was an enabler, right?

Also in July I signed up for the Yarnsmackdown and the Ravelypics. I think I’ll save the details for another post though since I’ve already got a lot of pictures in this one. I won’t even promise when the next post will be but I hope it’s soon.

June 25, 2008

If there’s one thing I’m good at…

Posted in knitting tagged at 9:27 am by nephele

It’s procrastination.

After my last post I took some pictures of knitting in progress then, nothing. I didn’t even download them off of my camera let alone put them on flicker. When I eventually did manage to get them downloaded enough time had passed that I had other things I thought I should photograph and talk about. Did I? Um, yeah, not so much.

-sigh-

I could probably come up a bazillion excuses but mostly it was just inertia. I think I’ve got to go back to consciously trying to post twice a week at minimum. Once I get back in the habit I’ll hopefully get the blogging mojo back. I guess we’ll see.

So, I did take some pictures. I mentioned last time (last month!?! sheesh) that I was working on the skirt from folks style. Here’s some photographic evidence:
folkskirt3

The strip on the left is one of 5 completed panels. The stuff on the needles is the 6th and final panel. Here’s a horribly blurry close up that does a better job of showing the mottled color of the yarn:
folkskirt2

After I finish the final panel – which isn’t done yet because other projects intervened – I have the wool rectangles to make. They get felted and then cut up into leaves and flowers which will be appliqued to the skirt. The knitting is almost done but there’s still a lot to go on this skirt.

One of the things that interrupted the skirt knitting was a request from my mother that I wanted to try to get to for her birthday. A little history: My mother got the first decent sweater I ever knit. She washed it… in a coin op machine… with other clothes… clothes with zippers and things. The sweater didn’t have a very long life. Fast forward ten years. Mom calls and asks if I can knit her a doily for use as a table center piece. Okay… Specs? Hunter green, 2 feet in diameter – no wait, make it three feet because she wants to “scrunch it up.” Anyone think I used laceweight? Not so much, DK weight cotton on size 9US needles. It was finished quickly and she was actually quite pleased with it.

A couple of months ago she called and asked if I had any of that yarn left. I did. I’d bought a bag of ten not knowing for sure how much I’d need and it was cheap. I only ended up using 4 and a bit for the doily so I had lots left. Now she wanted a dresser scarf. She didn’t call it that and she might be using it on a different piece of furniture but the dimensions requested are 8 inches by 36 so dresser scarf is as good a name as anything. I had a couple of false starts. Stitch patterns that just didn’t work but finally came up with this:
dresserscarf2

I’ve finished it and added a very simple crochet chain edging to the short sides. Now I just need to block it and send it off. I’ll be sure to take a post blocking picture before I mail it.

I didn’t do so well about taking photos of another project I finished recently. I’d signed up for the Book and Bookmark swap. I ended up with two books I was thinking of sending and since only one was in stock when I stopped by the book store it made my choice very simple. I went with Vanity Fair. Chapter 4 is callled “The Green Silk Purse” and that purse is knitted. I used that as inspiration for the book mark. I went by the needle point shop and bought a hank of emerald green silk and basically made an amulet bag. The drawstring strap of the bag is about 18 inches overall which allows it to wrap all the book, half outside and half inside marking the page. The nice thing about this arrangement is that it can’t easily fall out. Since it’s bad luck (at least according to family tradition) to give anyone an empty purse, I made some little stitch markers and put them inside the bag. Now if only I’d taken a picture…

What else? Hmm – oh yes, Death by Socks. We are currently in the midst of battle in game number 4. I finished my first pair and have taken out my target. Now I’m waiting for the dust to settle (a lot of people got taken out on the same weekend) and see what comes in the mail first: unfinished socks so that I can make another ‘kill’ or finished socks the take me out of the game. Here are the socks that I got my first kill with:
dbs4

My victim said she liked earthtones and wears her socks with blue jeans. I had this Regia yarn in my stash and it seemed like a good choice. Both she and I were happy with how they turned out. This was one of those colorways that looked so much better knit up than it did on the ball. I kind of wanted to keep the socks when I saw how it was knitting up. I wanted to make a kill more though so off they went.

Speaking of knitting games, I just signed up for the Olypic Yarn Smackdown. I’m taking it easy this time though. The only event I signed up for was “knitted lace bookmark.” The advantage to this event is that the finished knitting fits in a standard envelope. One of the less obvios costs to playing these knitting games is postage. I usually go wtih the flat rate Priority Mail envelope with tracking number which ends up being a bit over $5. Send off enough pairs of socks and it can add up pretty fast. I’m looking forward to a game that doesn’t cost much this time.

I think that’s it for now. I’ve got to save something for the next post later this week – I hope!

May 8, 2008

Nothin’ to See

Posted in knitting at 10:52 am by nephele

I haven’t got any pictures. Sorry.

In my defense I just finished a project and I took pictures of it but it’s a prototype that’s being submitted for publication so I can’t show you any of those pictures.

That doesn’t excuse the total lack of pictures of my current project. It’s a shop sample of a published design so I could post as many pictures of it that I want. If only I’d taken some.

I’m making the skirt from the cover of Folk Style. It’s knit in six panels and I’m already on number 4. The leaves and flowers are done by knitting rectangles of wool in each color, felting them and cutting out the shapes. These then get sewn on to the panels around chain stitch embroidered stems. So while I’m about halfway through the knitting I’ve still got a long way to go before the skirt is finished. Plenty of time left to take some pictures.

I’ve had to modify the pattern a little. I’m using a different base yarn with a different gauge so I had to do a little math to adjust the shaping instructions. Another change I made was to do a knitted in hem on the skirt panels. The pattern has you assemble the skirt then pick up stitches to knit the hem which is finally sewn down. I will be doing that as instructed for the waistband since it will cut down on a little unnecessary seam bulk there but since this is a flared skirt it all seemed like a lot of effort for very little return at the hem end of things.

The final modification was to move the decrease stitches away from the panel edges by one more stitch. If you look closely at the pictures in the book you’ll see that the seams look a little sloppy. Moving the shaping allows for a better working space for neat seams. The different yarn that I’m using should also seam more cleanly than the loosely spun alpaca that was used in the original.

So, yup. That’s about it. I’ve got a small knitting project that I need to do but I have to get yarn for it first. I checked my stash but didn’t find anything that was perfect – though I do have one thing that’s close and I’ll use it if I can find the perfect thing this weekend. It’s for a little gift exchange thingie I signed up for called Words and Bookmark Swap. I picked up a book for my exchange partner yesterday and based on the book I know exactly what I want to do for the bookmark. Just need that yarn…

I’m hoping to finish my Mystic Light shawl this month but since I haven’t actually worked on it the last two weeks I’m not sure how likely that is. Oh, and my mom’s birthday is the end of the month. I’ve already made her a scarf out of my handspun, which she knows nothing about. She asked for a small dresser scarf to match a doily I made her a couple of years ago. I still have some of the yarn I used for the doily – it should be enough. I need to get to work on that so I can get it mailed out to her in time.

Plenty to work on and who knows? Maybe next time I’ll actually have some pictures.

April 24, 2008

And now we proudly present…

Posted in knitting tagged at 12:37 pm by nephele

…the current month!

You read that right. I’m doing the April catch-up post in -gasp- April. Try to contain you excitement.

I started off the month with an exciting round of cat sitting. My friends got to go the England and Scotland and I got to clean litterboxes. They did bring me back some yarn though and the had to work for it. When they asked about yarn shops they got told “oh, nobody knits anymore!” Luckily for me they persevered and lurking near the Waterloo Tube station they found I Knit London.

Knowing I like bright colors, they took a look around and here’s what they came up with:
catsitting

More details? Sure. First up is two skeins of Wensleydale Longwool
wensleydale

At first glance they look the same but look closer. The one on the left is a little thicker. The right skein is Aran (174yds/100gm) and the one on the left is labeled Aran+ (116yds/100gm). The color numbers are different but the actual colors are identical. My first thought for this is a hat from the heavier yarn and wristwarmers with the lighter. I reserve the right to completely change my mind about that though.

Next up is some lovely lace yarn from Fyperspates.
fyberspates

It’s the 100% silk stuff and runs 400m to the hank. The label didn’t list a color but from a look through the website I’m guessing it’s Blue Lagoon.

Finally we come to this pretty skein:
dazzle

This is Dazzle BFL 4ply/sock yarn from the Natural Dye Studio. I took a look through the colors currently on offer and I couldn’t find a match for this cheerful stuff. The amazing thing about these colors is that they were all created with natural plant dyes.

Hmm, I think that was worth cleaning a few cat pans, don’t you?

Another addition to my stash was a book. When I heard that More Big Girl Knits was coming out I went over to Amazon and pre-ordered it. As soon as it arrived I found three sweaters I want to make. I’ve bought yarn for two already and I’ve started one.

The one I started is the Summer Chevron. The pattern called for Rowan Summer Tweed and that’s what I got but I changed all the colors.
chevron2

The ball of red on the right is the final color. This is a reasonably quick knit item and I think the end result is cute but the gauge called for by the pattern is, in my opinion, unworkable.  The pattern called for 16 rows per 4 inches. Now four stitches per inch sounds good but four rows? In case you’ve never worked with Summer Tweed, it’s a raw silk/cotton blend and is fairly delicate. Once knit up the fabric wears well enough but the yarn itself is easy to break. Also, having worked with this yarn before I know that (unlike a lot of cottons) it doesn’t grow in length with wear. What you knit is what you get length-wise. Given all that, I don’t think that knitting it that loosely is a good idea so I’m not doing it. I’m going with 6 rows per inch. I did have to do a little math because the pattern tells you how many rows to make each stripe instead of how many inches to knit, but that was easy enough.

The other odd thing about the pattern as published is the yarn requirements. The pattern in the largest size called for 3 skeins of colors 1 & 3 (brown & red in my version) and 4 skeins of color 2 (orange). Even though I did more rows I still finished the entire brown stripe with one skein. I’m almost done with the orange stripe and I’m on the second skein. At this rate I’ll have enought yarn left to make another entire top. Admittedly I may not have much red left. I’ll have a higher stitch count that the pattern expects but I still don’t think I’ll run out. Maybe I’ll do a second one reversing the stripe order.

In fairness to the designer, she did originally design this top with a different yarn and that may be where these errors stem from. In any case it’s still a cute top and I’m still knitting it. The problems aren’t enough to change my mind on making it.

The other two patterns I plan to make from this book are the Susie Hoodie and the Twisted pullover. I’ve got some Cascade 220 Superwash that I’ll use for the Twisted (it’s the sweater on the cover of the book). The pattern called for a more luxurious yarn but I’m planning this as an everyday sort of sweater and the Superwash is better for that purpose. I’ve been needing a garment like this and Twisted doesn’t look boring to knit unlike some of the other options I was mulling over.

I haven’t figured out which yarn I’ll use for the Susie Hoodie yet. The pattern calls for Donegal Tweed and I do like the tweedy look but I’d rather opt for something a little more next to the skin soft. Yes, this is more of a sweater-coat but odds are I’ll have short sleeves on underneath it most of the time (yay, Califonia weather). One possibility is the Jo Sharp tweed. I’m sure there are others and I’m not in a rush. It takes a lot of yarn to make a hoodie in my size. I don’t want to race to any decisions and end up disappointed later.

Other than the Summer Chevron I’ve been knitting on the Mystic Light Shawl. I’m a few rows into clue 4. Clue 5 was released yesterday and it’s the last one. Hopefully I’ll be blocking this in a week or two. The pattern is available now through the designer’s blog. It’s a pretty quick knit as lace knitting goes and the end result is beautiful.

I’ve been working on two other projects but one is a design prototype and the other is test knitting an as yet unpublished pattern. I’ll take pictures but it may be a while before I can post them.

And… I think that’s it. I’ve probably forgotten things but if so, they’ll turn up eventually. Now the challenge it keep posting. Wish me luck.

April 21, 2008

We interrupt this recap…

Posted in Miscellany tagged at 10:01 am by nephele

Now that I’ve finally made it to the current month I’m going to get sidetracked for one post. It’s just a delaying tactic as I still have to take photos for the “April so far” post.

Knitterboy posted this list (found elsewhere) and invited all and sundry to give it a go.

The idea is to put all the things that you have done in bold. 

Life’s To Do List

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 10 provinces
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight (actually it was Runequest not D&D but I think it still counts. I still play too)
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (This is a qualified yes. I have an accidental tattoo. I was doing a pen & ink drawing and dropped a very sharp crow quill dip pen. It stabbed me in the knee. That was more than 20 years ago and I still have a blue black dot on my knee.)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking

103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad – and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone’s life

A quick count says I’ve done about a third of the things on the list which is okay. There are some items there that I wouldn’t want to do. I’m not talking bout obvious negatives like the car accident or burying a parent – I don’t want to do any of that, but that’s the sort of thing that can just happen. I’m referring instead to the things you have more control over.

For instance, I don’t like alcohol. Nothing moral about it, I just can’t stand the taste. I’ve given it a fair chance. I’ve tried beer, a variety of wines, mixed drinks, liquers even mead and I hated it al. I’ve tried de-alcoholized wine and found it drinkable so it really is the taste of alcohol itself that I don’t like. Yes I know most people think pure alcohol is tasteless, trust me, I can taste it. Stranger things have been known to happen. Did you know there are people in this world who don’t like chocolate! Shocking but true. Anyway, my dislike of alcohol means I won’t ever drink enough champaigne to get drunk nor am I likely to buy a round for the bar I wouldn’t be hanging around in in the first place. I also have absolutely no desire to be anyone’s mother so raising children is out and so is changing diapers if I have anything to say about it!

There are a lot of things left on that list that I’d like to do though. Pretty much all of the travel related stuff is appealing (I’d rather skip the combat zone). Some of the adventure sports type items are interesting but only some. Bungee jumping is something I might have tried when I was 20 but I’m feeling far less immortal these days so I’ll have to give it a miss. That still leaves quite a few things I’d like to try. I’ll get right on that ;)

April 17, 2008

Marching Onward!

Posted in Knitalongs, knitting, Spinning at 5:48 pm by nephele

Yup, it’s time for the March recap. This wasn’t as busy a month as April so the list will be shorter.

I picked up some close out yarn from Webs. It was Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in a nice berry color. I bought 10 balls figuring I’d make a tank top or some such. Then I found a pattern in the spring Knit Simple which match yardage-wise and was cute. It’s the Scallop Edge Pullover. I’ve only just started though so there’s not much to see, just a picot hem:
scallopedge

It’s a lot of stockinette in the round at a fairly small gauge. I’ll be lucky if I finish this one by summer 2009. It’ll make a great travel project though. Maybe I should go somewhere…

I signed up for another couple of mystery knit a longs. I’m trying to keep up with one of them though I’m about a week behind right now. It’s the Mystic Light Shawl. It has the advantage of using finger yarn instead of lace weight. I bought some Koigu a couple of years ago that fit the bill nicely. Here’s the shawl at about halfway through clue 2 of 5:
mysticlight

I actually managed to finish something in March too. A freind is pregnant and I wanted to make a sweater for the new baby. I used some Rowan Wool Cotton from my stash and did a variation on the Fair Isle Cardigan from Vogue Knitting On the Go: Baby Knits Two. Here’s the finished sweater:
baby jacket
baby jacket back

I like it and even better, my friend liked it too.

Speaking of gifts… You might remember way back in October I picked up some roving to spin up and knit something for my Mom. Well her birthday is in May so I finally got to work on it in March.

I spun up the yarn (merino/tencel)
Grape Goddess1
Grape Goddess2
And knitted a simple scarf
momscarf

The scarf is a bit short but my mother doesn’t like things that wrap around her neck so this length is perfect for her. By the way, sorry about the fuzzy picture. I used this one because it shows the colors better than the flash photos of the yarn itself. That Tencel sure is shiny.

Kind of short but the that was about it for March. Next time I’ll be posting about the month it actually is!

April 9, 2008

Did you think it was an April fools joke?

Posted in knitting, Secret Pal 10, Spinning, Yarn Stash tagged at 3:54 pm by nephele

I thought about that when I finally wrote my last post on April 1st. Will people think I’m joking? Well, I don’t know if anyone thought that or not, but I wasn’t joking. To prove it I’ve got a nice long February wrap up for you.

February was Stitches West month.

I’ve been going to Stitches the last couple of years to work the booth for my LYS and do a little shopping. I’ve never yet taken a class there. That’s basically because the ones that sound interesting are often the ones that fill up quickly and I seldom have much in the way of extra money around November. One of these days I’ll plan and save ahead and do the full Stitches experience. For now though, I’m pretty happy with the shopping.

The most important thing to do before Stitches is to decide what knitted items I’m going to wear of course. I had hoped to get something new finished and debut at the convention but that didn’t happen. Oh well. I did manage to finish a couple of quick project though and I had one of them with me at the show.

I finally got around to making a Calormetry. My LYS got in a new shipment of 127 Print and the dark brown is almost exactly the same color as my hair. I’ll be able to wear this with anything since it matches me.
calorimetry

The button may not stay on it – not because I don’t like it. On the contrary, I like it it a lot but I have another one and someday they may both need to go on the same garment. The buttons were part of the goodies sent to me by my Secret Pal 10 partner. There were a couple of lime green buttons in there that I’m dying to use too. I’m sure I’ll come up with something eventually.

The other little project I managed to finish was my first attempt at using my own handspun. Remember that neon pink yarn I spun in October? I wanted to use it but was having trouble figuring out what to do with one skein of scratchy wool. Knitty to the rescue! I decided to make Square Cake in the smaller size. The size was a good decision. I was starting to worry, toward the end, if I’d have enough yarn to finish. I did, but just barely. Here’s the every scrap of leftover yarn:
neon_remnants

And here’s the finished bag:
squarecake_blocked squarecake3

As you can see, I opted for a subdued lining fabric. ;) The bag is the perfect size for carrying around a small project (hat or socks for instance). Hung from the wrist, I can knit while walking around. Plus this is one bag I’ll be able to find in the dark.

Square Cake did go to Stitches with me. It was holding the first of my Chocolate Cherries socks.
chocolatecherry2

The yarn is Claudia Hand Painted Fingering in… Chocolate Cherry. The pins are in there because I was making up the pattern as I went and, ideally, I’d like the second one to match. Every bit of shaping got a pin. As I work the second sock (eventually) I’ll transfer the pins to the new sock to keep things lined up.

So, back to what I wore at Stitches… From past experience, I know the convention center warms up quickly once it’s full of eagerly shopping knitters. On Thursday – the market preview day – I knew I’d be spending the afternoon stocking the shelves in the booth so comfort was also important. I decided to go with my Lutea Lace-shoulder shell. I also brought along my Birch Shawl (pre-blog) just in case. The shawl got removed almost immediately and didn’t get pulled out again until I left around 10:30 that night. Thursday was pretty much all work. My schedule had me working just the first 2 hours on Friday so I could shop after that. I did manage to scout out a few places and get my Ravelry passport on Thurday but that was about it.

Once the market opened my job was to manage the demo area. We had some yarn, hooks and needles set up so that I could demonstrate various techniques and people could try them out for themselves. One of the things the owner wanted to demo was 2 socks on 1 circular but she didn’t have anything set up for that so…when I got home that night I grabbed a long needle and some stash yarn and started these:
improvmitts

They’re mittens, not socks but the principal is the same. The other demos were for continental style knitting, tunisian crochet and crochet around a gimp or core yarn. One of these days I’ll have to rig something so I can photograph my own hands. Then I can put up tutorials on some of these things. A small tripod would probably be a good start, huh?

After demo-ing for a few hours on Friday I finally got down to shopping (and filling out my Ravelry passport). I wasn’t actually looking for much. Mostly, I wanted more, different fibers for spinning. I was thinking about picking up so more Brooks Farm yarn, though I ended up not doing so. I also wanted some Silkie Socks that Rock – that I did get. Here’s my modest collection:

Silkie Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the color Valkyrie
silkie

Also from Blue Moon, A Sheep 2 Shoe kit in Rooster Rock
sheep2shoe sheep2shoe2

Lisa Souza Merino/Silk roving in Joseph’s Coat
silk-merino

A Star Alpacas hand painted Alpaca Roving
alpaca

And… That’s it. I really didn’t buy much. I would have bought more but most of the spinning fiber was types I already had. There was one booth that had a lot of sheep breed variety but I didn’t like the colors they had with them in the breeds I didn’t have yet so I passed.

Saturday was another work day but not at Stitches this time. Lots of the shop’s employees wanted to work Stitches over the weekend so instead I worked in the shop itself. That turned out to be almost as dangerous as the Marketplace itself. The store had recently received a new shipment of Malabrigo Worsted and there was one color that jumped off the shelf and insisted I take it home. I was helpless to resist. I’ve already turned most of it to parts for a Tilted Duster.
tilted

The sleeves aren’t pictured, but they’re done too. I just have half the skirt and the collar to go. I should be finished just in time for it to be way to warm to wear it. Oh well, I’ll be ready for next winter anyway.

Sunday I work at my ‘real’ job – the one that pays the rent. So that’s the end of Stitches for 2008. Now since I didn’t get very much roving at Stitches I decided to look around on Etsy for some. Heh. So… here’s how that turned out:

From seller millennialway
Cotswold wool (my maternal Grandfather’s family came from that area so I couldn’t resist)
cotswold

From contentedbutterfly
Some undyed brown Llama that I completely forgot to photograph and this Shetland wool from a sheep named Sylph
shetland

From SplitRockRanch
2 oz. of deeply dyed Mohair
mohair

From loop
A batt of rainbow dyed Bamboo. I’ve never spun from a batt so this will be interesting. Maybe I should pick up a wool batt to practice with first since bamboo is slippery.
bamboo

CrashIntoEwe sent me this Merino/Targhee/Ramboulet blend which I started spinning last night.
woolmix

Oh yes, I did start one other project in February. A Hemlock Ring Throw using some stash yarn, Nashua Wooly Stripes in Key West:
hemlockring1

Oh and I co-won a little contest. Another blogger was trying to figure out the stitch in a commercial sweater. Tsock Tsarina figured it out first, but I got a prize for coming up with a simpler way of accomplishing it. Here’s the swatch:
mysteryswatch

And here’s my prize:
swatchprize

The yarn is silk – I’m thinking a lacy scarf would be nice. The stuff at the bottom is dyed mohair locks. I’ve never spun from locks so something else to try.

 I think that’s everything for February – at least I hope so. Next up: March

April 1, 2008

So, where was I?

Posted in knitting tagged , at 4:02 pm by nephele

Um, hi!

Wow, that was a long, totally unplanned break. Nothing horrible happened, I just didn’t blog for a bit and inertia kicked in.

I’m back now…hopefully. Maybe I need another resolution. That worked for several months last year.

So… What have I been up to? At a friend’s suggestion, I’m going to try recapping those silent 2.5 months, one month per post. That means today’s post is all about January, or at least the last half of January.

January was (mostly) about TNNA. No, I didn’t go but my friend did. She made a lot of useful connections at the show and I’m going to be very busy this summer knitting prototypes for her. She pays me, at least in part, in yarn. I may have mentioned that I love yarn – or perhaps you figured it out for yourselves? Yes? So, good for me. The downside of the this is it isn’t very good for the blog. I can’t put up pictures of unpublished designs. I’ll take photos as I work but until the designs come out I won’t be able to give out any details.

January was also about the flu, which in no way helped me get back into blogging. I missed getting my flu shots two years in a row. Never again! I always get some sort of secondary infection when I get the flu. This time it was an inner ear infection with a side of mild sinusitis. Pretty annoying, although my office seemed quieter for a while there.

Remember the Fyne vest? My friend wore it to TNNA she liked it that much. I managed to get a couple of shots of her modelling it:
fyne3 fyne4

She’s since bought a couple more white shirts to wear with it. The last time she wore it at the store someone (hi Carel!) ended up buying all the yarn to make their own. Since that’s kind of the point behind shop samples I’d call that a success. I haven’t started my cardigan yet but I haven’t abandoned it either. It’s in the queue.

Death by Socks game #3 has come to an end. I only managed one kill this time out. Here’s one of my weapons (make from Koigu KPPPM):
dbs3one

And here are the socks that did me in:
dbs3doom

I’d recently walked holes into the only pair of blue socks I had so these couldn’t have been more perfect. I’ve worn them several times already. The yarn is Regia which is, so far, my favorite commercial yarn. Other brands may be pretty but I’ve never yet worn out a sock made of Regia and I make my second ever pair of socks from the stuff! That’s a pretty good survival rate for a sock. Let me just point out here that I don’t own a car so my socks get plenty of milage on them. I’ve worn out several pairs of Koigu socks, a pair of Colinette Jitterbug and even a pair made with Trekking XXL, but not one hole in any of my Regia socks.

Think they’ll pay me for that endorsement? I’d settle for some more Regia. No? Well, can’t blame a girl for trying.

I can’t think of anything else for January so I’ll wrap it up for now.

Next time: February.

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