Sunday, November 30, 2008

Praise for Acrylic

Sing a song of thanks for acrylic! Join in the chorus - - hit the harmony. Acrylic is totally awesome. Now I know that some of you don't like the feel of the stuff. Go ahead and look it up here. It doesn't even sound like something you want in your hands for hours and hours and hours.

But the same can be said of wool. Every knitter and crocheter knows someone who is allergic and just can't stand to have wool in the hands let alone on the actual body. Can you imagine getting the hives when you come within a whiff of merino? How sad would that be? And then I know a few who eschew cotton. Too harsh; sucks the moisture from the skin; wears out the hand - - no stretch you know. Well, I ask you now, where would a good Granny's dishcloth be if we didn't use cotton? No where! That's where!

Ahh, but acrylic. Baby spittle doesn't harm it, picnics can't mess it up, and childhood memories would be eaten away if acrylic yarn had not entered the local dime store.


Twenty-five years old and still a beautiful skirt of poinsettia for the tree. (and no holes or fading!)

Twenty-five years old and still ready for the Man in Red

Be thankful for acrylic. Join in the song. If you can't take the lead with a solo, sing harmony and blend in the background. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Be Thankful

Thanksgiving. Pause and Be Thankful. This year I am specifically thankful for:
  • family - through easy and tough times, we are making it
  • a skilled surgeon
  • friends who truly care - and pick up the phone to prove it
  • friends who truly care - and added my daughter to the prayer list
  • restaurant and food service professionals who are working today so that I don't have to cook
  • living in a country that supports the democratic process - warts and all
  • new friends found through Knit 'n Stitch in Riverside
  • pets who love unconditionally
Snowball (aka Mr. Kitty, aka Snowy) who at 18 still wakes up first lest he miss a meal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Throw Down

Dancing With the Stars final week! I spent a lovely ninety minutes last night watching happy people dance and knitting on the Collinette Throw. Got a solid six inches done, which for me is fabulous progress in one sitting.

Please note: Look closely in the background of this photo; behind the lamp. Bert remains inside his cage any time the throw is being worked on. Way too much temptation for his birdly beak!!

I really, really tried to do each pattern repeat exactly the same - - and per the instructions. What can I say but that "I failed." It is just too much fun to play around with all of that color and texture!

Let's focus on the area around the twisted drop stitch. Here is the first repeat where I substituted one yarn so that a lot of green clumped together.

Then on the second repeat I used exactly the yarn sequence specified in the pattern and we get a break in the green.

And on the third go around the same sequence from the above is there, but you'll note that I substituted garter stitch row for Stockinette in the yellowish ribbon.

I love being daring!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blogging Is Not My Whole Life

Some weeks are just too busy for adding to the Blog. This is surely one of them. I got off kilter early on with meetings.

First there was a strategic planning committee meeting and I missed it. More on that later. Then there was a budget and finance committee meeting. I really have to prep and focus for those. It is not my strong point, so I try to go into b&f with just the right level of caffeine, my files at hand, and a pen for notes.

Let's not forget the Riverside Knitting Guild meeting. After all, it was the third Tuesday. Our tip this time was on utilizing the Russian join. I truly enjoy simple ten minute tips and hints. Even when it is something I already have in the repertoire, it is useful to brush up on these things.

Second, there was surgery. My oldest daughter had a little problem. So there was driving an hour to meet her for the pre-op meeting and make sure we were on the same game plan as the surgeon. (That little excursion is why I missed the strategic planning committee meeting.) Then there was getting to the hospital early, prepping for the surgery and then the waiting. And waiting. I'll spare the details, but do know that her man friend was forced to sit in public view and hold the knitting while I frogged. It's hard to count to "2" when every footstep could signal the surgeon coming to give the news. But now it is over, she is past the hardest part, released from the hospital and firmly bedded down in my guest room trying to stay awake long enough to watch stupid movies. Chicken broth and jello - yum, yum.

hird, there is the boutique. Brockton Arcade here in Riverside, where Knit 'n Stitch holds a prime corner spot, is the location. We set up at 8:30 this morning.

There was a lovely young woman setting up her birdhouse decor items.

Riverside Knitting Guild was selling tickets for the afghan raffle. See how beautiful it is! Those are President Sue's pillows for sale.

I can't believe Sue would sell the flag coverlet. But she put a price on it and there it was - ready for a proud American to purchase.

My friend Lisa was a bit late in arriving and I did not get photos of her soap and lotion line. The big joke with Lisa is that after 3 or 4 years of loudly claiming she would never knit a washcloth - ever - what's the point - what a waste - - - - she is know producing washcloths like a knitting maniac. Turns out that people who like goat's milk soap also like organic cotton washcloths. What a concept!!

Of course I unpacked and then tried to set up - so it looked messy for a while. Eventually, I got all organized and pretty. You can't see it in this photo, but a nice coat rack was used to hold purses and make the whole area really look like a boutique.

Also helped Mitch out by watching over his sales while he went to his real paying job. Cool necklaces! Each and every one a 'gem'

The boutique runs all day Saturday as well. What kind of mother am I? I'm leaving the precious girl all stitched up and in the care of a father and a man friend who will likely spend the day munching and grunting at football. Oh, yeah. Now I remember. . . . . . .

Men who are not capable of pampering and caring are not real men.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dancing and Diamonds

So I was not quite so hooked on the semi-finals of Dancing With the Stars. That's OK. Managed to finish the body of what I thought would be a Diamond Rusted Root.

While working the first diamond, it dawned on me that if I pulled the strand of yarn back on the next round that the diamonds would be puffy and stand out with some dimension. It was a grand idea. I just could not quite pull it off consistently.

But the effect is still very organic due to the cotton. Probably should have been a good girl and carried back the strand loosely, spread out those stitches, and used all of the "right way to do it" skills.

Sometimes, it just feels good to break the rules.

On the upper sleeve, I did not do the decreases that bring that lovely "puff" to the Rusted Root. And it still worked out really well. See - - - - -

The hem of this sweater has a little surprise. I got extremely bored with stockinette and just the few white stitches for the diamond. You'll just have to wait to discover the difference. I hope it works out better than the plan for the puffy diamonds.

But, let me assure you that the try on was a total success. Exactly the right length for me! YEAH.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Beary Good Dress

I've spent the end of the week getting ready for next week. My daughter will be having surgery and that means switching some standing appointments. Now, it might seem a little thing, but I had to bump up the pedi by 4 days. I always use that hour to either read or knit.

This time the project was to continue on the little red & white Bear Dress for the
guild's Precious Pals involvement.

It is my own simple pattern:


© 2008 François Stewart Designs, Lenora François Stewart

• Worsted weight yarn such as Plymouth Encore
• Size #7 (4.5mm) D
ouble Pointed Needles

CO 80 stitches and divide evenly over 4 DPNs (2
0 stitches each needle) Work in the round.

Round 1 purl (80 stitches)
Round 2 knit

Repeat Round 2 until piece measures 3 inches

Decrease Round 1 (k6, k2tog) 10 times (70 stitches)

Next Round k70
Round 3 (k4, k2tog) 5 times, k5, (k4, k2tog) 5 times, k5 (60 stitches)

Next Round k60
Rearrange stitches on 2 needles (30 stitches on each needle)

Front: WS p2, k2 across (30 stitches)

RS k2, p2 across
Continue in ribbing as established until front measures 3 inches.
Bind off very loosely in pattern

Back: WS attach yarn and work as for front

Sew front to back at bind off edges (4 or 5 stitches) to make shoulders. Weave in ends.

NOTE: Have fun with your design choices. Insert stripes in the skirt or ribbed top. Try a simple eyelet pattern above the hem (round 3 or 4 is a great spot) or make the top and skirt from coordinating yarns.

© 2008 François Stewart Designs, Lenora François Stewart

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Expanding Stash

Fall Sale! OK, I'm a wimp. I've hit two sales recently that did not help with reduction of the stash. A local shop greatly (like 75%) reduced the price on discontinued yarns that were still sitting around. Another just needed to clear out bits and pieces.

Knit One Crochet Two Italian Ice - 840 meters

Lily Chin Gramercy --- scored 15 balls. That's about 1900 yards. Whippie!!! And the grey shade is perfect for anyone. Lots of possibilities with this one.

Heirloom Breeze. I have no idea what it will become - but cotton/wool blends work really well here in southern California.

Berroco Touche - 16 skeins. This most likely will get split up and used in several projects.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Not Exactly Slacking Off

The only slacking off of late has been on the blogging. In the last four days:
  1. the DH's plain vanilla blue socks came off the needles. Complete and of equal size! Yeah. No photo - not enough time.
  2. the Diamond Inset kinda Rusted Root increased by an additional 6 inches. Practically ready to move the sleeves to waste yarn. No photo - not enough time.
  3. the Collinette throw reached a solid 50% completion and remains snuggly, gorgeous, and a tactile dream. No photo - not enough time.
  4. a new dress hit the needles! No, I'm not that ambitious. This is a Beary Good Dress that will clothe a Precious Pal for the guild's group donation next October. As in October 2009. No photo - not enough time.
And today I'm off to 3 days of meetings. National Board meeting, thinking, planning, deciding and all around brain function for hours at a stretch. It is mentally exhausting so the little bear dress will travel with me.

Daddy taught me that when exhaustion hits, it is often exhaustion for the current task at hand. Switch gears and go do something totally different and the "AHA!" moment is that you are not in a state of exhaustion for the new task. Thus, Daddy could return from a full day of work, change clothes and head outside to mow the grass. Different task - no exhaustion. Time for a photo.

Well, maybe there is time to offer this.....
It is a Berry Good Dress. If you are interested in the pattern PM me on Ravelry - I'm Stewlf.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Diamonds Are A Girls Best Inset

Still plugging along on the final ribbing for the DH plain socks. I got a bit sidetracked because of a new project just for me. Stash diving revealed that the long sleeved Rusted Root I planned to make for this fall never did start itself. What was it doing all this time in the bottom of the closet? One would think it knit itself by now. This is Cestari Cotton Blend (75 cotton/25 wool) in heather green.

Any way - all of my notes were right there on the label telling me what to do with the stuff. Whenever I make a purchase with something specific in mind, I write notes on the label so that I don't forget why I bought it. Clearly, this was purchased to become a Rusted Root. (Bad, bad fuzzy image. Someone should spend a moment to edit these photos)

But why did I swatch it using 8's? Oh, well. A quick turn of the label revealed that somewhere back in time I did swatch size 6 needles which just confirms the planned pattern.

This one won't have the lace insert. I've decided to inset diamonds down the front. And, since the sleeves will be long, perhaps diamonds around the bottom of the sleeves. The diamonds are made using elsebeth lavold Bambouclé in plain white.

There is something so mindless about knitting a raglan. Keep increasing until it fits. My kind of pattern.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mitered Madness

A good time was had by all! Isn't that the right saying? The Patchwork knitting workshop with Joyce Renee Wyatt was wonderful.

Joyce claims to be Los Angeles born. Well, maybe so. But that accent is pure south. At one point during the day, Joyce was holding forth on how she translates knit into crochet - and vice versa. She is bi-yarn you know. In talking about how to d
eal with the crochet slip stitch and picking up for the next mitered piece, she was so specific on which loop to work so that there was a line on the right side of the fabric.

Oh Wow! Exactly as my mama taught me over 40 years ago. I just had to open my mouth and tell Joyce that her crochet style was exactly like I learned in Louisiana and I questioned her belief that she is Los Angeles pure. Turns out that her
mother was raised in Bunkie, Louisiana! Bunkie is only about 40 miles north of my beloved hometown of Eunice, La. We are practically related, in that way that only true southerners understand.

"Where yo' mama from?"

But don't go thinking this makes Joyce Renee Wyatt to be a Cajun. Everyone knows that if you come from north of Turkey Creek, you are bordering on being Red Neck. Which brings me to Joyce's hillarious story of rooming with Lily on "the cruise" and discovering that everyone - no matter your heritage nor your skin shade - must use sun block all over. Let's just say that Joyce had to wonder why her mother never told her that sunburn happens!

Oh. And we knit. We looked at the sweater that is featured in Great Garter Stitch. Not the blanket on the cover, but the triangle sweater inside. Joyce talked about how she creates via the fudge and smudge method but then has to get real exact when writing for publication.

Got a hole when you picked up for the next mitered piece? No problem - add a stitch and decrease it out on the next row. Fudge and smudge. I bet her mama taught her to think like that. It's a southern thing.

So this piece on the right is not going to have anything circular. That's just the needles making it look that way. The black part will be another 'L' shaped piece once it is finished. I only got this far before we started talking crochet . . . .and fiddling with hook sizes to get drape in fabric . . . . and looking at samples . . . . .and playing . . . . .and learning.

Yep, a good time was had by all.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Homework is Due

Today is the day. My homework is due. I'm off to a 6 hour workshop taught by Joyce Wyatt. We are doing patchwork knitting.

The homework instructions call for worsted on size 10. Well, what a shock when I could not find my 10s. Found 10 1/2 circulars and the 9s are currently busy. The 8 circulars were available. So it was decision time. Go up just a bit or way down. HMM. Tough call.

So I did both. You can compare the swatches for your self. I thought there would be a bit more difference in the two given that there are two needle sizes between the swatches.

I'm thinking that for the class the looser patch will be best. Much easier to pick up stitches along the side. As you would expect the patch done on the 10 1/2 is floppier. Well, as floppy as possible when you are made of worsted weight and only 3.25 inches along the side. (as always, click the photos to enlarge)

But I like the results of the 8's better. Stitches are more uniform right off the n
eedles and it just looks better to me.

The real question - - - What will Joyce think?

Oh, managed to get a little laundry done this week.