Monday, October 19, 2009

Come Hither, My Lovelies

Have I been trapped in a black hole? A time warp? A malfunctioning TARDIS? Who knows. What I can say is that I was absolutely astounded to see that I had not posted for over 2 months. In that time, The Poetry Society's Knit a Poem project was completed, my home got a new look and I stopped in to see some crafty friends at Chicago's annual YarnCon.

First up is the Knit a Poem project. It took over 1200 knitted and crocheted letters to spell out the then-secret work of Dylan Thomas’s ‘In my Craft or Sullen Art.’ How appropriate that the medium was the message in a way, as these letters and words connected in a 43 x 28 foot display at London's British Library, highlighting the Society's centennial year.

A coat or two of paint, a bit of caulk and new frames, fixtures and faucets equal a fresh perspective in five rooms of my humble hereabouts. I admit to unfettered, aww-gosh admiration for the results. Even while performing the most mundane of tasks (like brushing my teeth) I look up at the espresso-colored frame of the mirror and think, "That's so cool!"

Mirror In The Bathroom
Dark wood frame and oil rubbed bronze fixtures

The Green Is Gone
Even a humble office deserves a facelift

The Green Is Gone
Crisp white towels and new pewter towel bars

YarnCon began in 2007 ago as a way to, "promote, sell, and celebrate the yarny arts." I made it to historic Pulaski Park Fieldhouse that first year but in the two years hence had fallen off the Chicago creative grid. Turns out I missed my peeps, so I got myself together and headed over to the event.
YarnCon '09 Mosaic
Top: Natalia, co-founder of YarnCon; Lisa, the space and fade dye queen;
Bottom: Jen and Nate of Piddleloop; Lucky Penny Handmades.

After dropping some coin on home front upgrades, I had no intention of buying one darn thing. It had, after all, been months since neither yarn nor patterns nor hooks, books or needles had been purchased. I puffed out my chest, finally immune from the lure. Or so I thought.

YarnCon '09
Let's start on the left with Lisa M's purple to berry goodness, yards of her special fade-dye (or is it space-dye?) blend of merino and tussah silk. Most cuddle-worthy and color intense. Moving to the bottom of the tableau you'll find Vera's handspun and marigold-dyed alpaca. Petting this pale yellow fiber and planting your nose in its midst tells the tale of the close-to-nature, low process yarn from a neighboring farm. Purely delicious.

I picked up Samantha Lyon's feather and fan scarf pattern, Blink (Ravelry link) which would do justice to one of the many sock yarn skeins I already own. It has a flavor of LMKG Chevron but knits up pleasingly on the diagonal.

Could it be that big things do come in small packages? Witness the latest edition of Knitcircus magazine. I'd heard of, but never seen, Knitcircus in person. What drew me to it? Simple. I like the jacket on the cover. The Pinot Noir Bolero by Jaala Spiro looks like something that could be worn quite comfortably. The Ysolda Teague interview is another plus. The editor sat down with Ms. Teague during her recent swing through the Midwest. I'll try to do an expanded review of the 11 patterns in the fall edition a bit later.

So does this mean I'm back? Dunno. Still one day at a time, friends. I admit to missing the vibe, the fiber and thou. This could be a good sign.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

So, What's New?

Blue Garter KerchiefFO: Blue Garter Kerchief

My handspun sock yarn version of Laura Chau's kerchief turned out even better than I expected. Since I knit in the slow lane, it took an entire week for me to finish and pin to the blocking board (thank Jeebus for blocking wires!).

Recall that I used two 200 yard skeins of Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop yarn (held double) to create a kerchief that ended up measuring 40"x 28" x28".

My version includes "k2tog, YO" pairs on every 7th wrong side ridge row. By adding an additional yarn over to either side of the last 7 ridge rows, I was able to create elongated ends suitable for draping or tying. Blocking really opened up the yarn overs, both within the fabric and along the edges.

Add Laura's Kerchief to your Ravelry queue.

Easy Glamour NeckwarmerEasy Glamour Neckwarmer pattern

Just as the seasons are changing, what do I come out with finally? An actual pattern for the neckwarmer portion of the Easy Glamour duo that debuted in February '08.

The Easy Glamour Crochet Neck Warmer (PDF) is crocheted lengthwise using a variant of a shell or fan stitch. While you'll need a couple of buttons to fasten the neckwarmer, you do not need to make buttonholes, thanks to the open chain stitch.

By the way, the pattern includes "how to" stitch information and a construction schematic to assist in finishing your creation. Once the piece is complete, you simply sew those buttons on the left side and there you have it: Easy Glamour in less than two days.

Want to add Easy Glamour to your Ravelry queue? Clique ici.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Ooh La La: IK!

The Summer 2007 Interweave Knits landed in my mailbox today and, boy, are there some sweet numbers inside. There are socks and lace and simple, classic pieces that look perfectly suited for the hot weather ahead. With a few exceptions, there don't appear to be any purposefully strange or complex garments that have sometimes graced knit magazine pages. You know what I mean.

If time (and my body) permitted, I would knit 24 / 7 and forgo sleep to produce my IK picks (photos from Intwerweave preview site):

Josephine Top
Deborah Newton

Wheat-Ear Cable Yoke
Pam Allen

Spiral Boot Socks
Véronik Avery

Notre Dame de Grace Pullover
Véronik Avery

Pipe dreams perhaps, but lovely nonetheless. They'll have to go on the "I want that someday" queue along with selections from Rowan 41 and ChicKnits latest beauty, Nicole. Naturally, I have the perfect yarn for each of them.

Why tease myself with all of these patterns? If I'm going to live "inside my head," I may as well have lovely, inspiring company, n'est pas?

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Flying Footlets!

What do you get when you mix a one skein of cashmere-soft yarn with the need for instant gratification? Flying Footlets!

Flying Wings footlet
(Flying Wings Footlet)
Why "flying?" Because the Flying Wings pattern is featured on the cuff and they virtually fly off your needles. It would have gone faster had I not stopped to pet the sock as it grew out of Cider Moon's Glacier yarn in the "June Carter" colorway. "Soft" seems inadequate to describe this yarn. Here are some of my favorite alternatives from Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition:
comfy, cottony, cozy, creamy, cushiony, cushy, delicate, downy, ductile, feathery, fine, fleecy, fluffy, satiny, silken, silky, smooth, spongy, squashy, squishy, supple, velvety, yielding
Yes, Glacier is all that! Since I'd purchased only one skein, I decided to maximize its sock potential with these footlets.

First, I split the 110 gram hank into two equal portions using my handy iScale. I had already worked out a method for adapting the 6-stitch Flying Wings pattern repeat for knitting in the round. This was necessary because the Barbara Walker Treasury primarily chronicles flat knitting.

With two size 4 US Addis at the ready, I did a long-tail cast on of 60 - L (48 - M) stitches, distributing on the two circulars as follows: 27 /33 (21/27)

Place marker to indicate beginning of round, then begin the cuff detail:
Flying Wings cuff detail
Round 1: K(nit)
Round 2: P(url)
Round 3 - 4: K

Round 5: Skip first 2 stitches and knit 3rd stitch on left-hand needle. Next, knit 1st and 2nd stitches, then slip all 3 from left needle. Slip 4th stitch to dpn or cable needle, holding the stitch in front of your work; knit stitches 5 and 6, then knit stitch 4 from the dpn. Repeat to end of round.

Round 6: K5, *skip 1st stitch and k 2nd stitch on left-hand needle. Knit the skipped stitch and slip both off left needle; K4. * Repeat * to * until last stitch of round, then K1.

Repeat Rounds 3- 6 three times, then knit 2 additional rounds to set up for heel.

Redistribute stitches so that each needle holds half of the total number of cast on stitches. Begin your heel of choice. I used a standard slip stitch heel flap and gusset, knitting the rest of the footlet in stockinette and capping it with a (mostly) rounded toe decrease. Easy, peasy!

What of Forest Canopy?
I have not abandoned this fun and easy lace project. Nay, verily I say unto you that I'm about one-third of the way done with the shawl - that is, if I were planning to knit it to pattern. Since I have approximately 450 yards of Diaketo Diamusee Fine (color 116) to work with, I plan on enlarging the shawl from 52" x 23" to 70" x 35" or until I have just enough yarn to bind off or my shoulder gives out. Either one.

I would've done a progress shot, but as I was stretching out the lace blob, I pulled some of the stitches off the needle (grrr!). I opted for fixing, rather than photographing, the lace. I'm sure you understand.

Nikita and RockyLast, But Not Least
I give you the gratuitous sleeping kitties shot. Rocky opened his eyes long enough to give me that "get outta my face with that thing" look.

OK, boys. Over and out.

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