Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blankie Briggade

Last night was a fun evening of catching up with friends from National Charity League Whittier Chapter. We are all now Sustainers. That just means that we are no longer active in the Chapter, but still stay connected and support the efforts of the current mothers and daughters.

Unfortunately, we enjoy the friendships a bit too much. Although our intentions were truly honorable and noble, the chatter, chocolate covered strawberries and cake took a toll and we ran short of time to complete a project. So, I brought home enough supplies to finish two blankets.

Bert helped - which means that I'll have to wash the blankets before turning them in for use. Bert seems to have a thing for green; perhaps he thinks it is a cousin. At any rate, the green frogs were really attractive to him. Really attractive. I had to cut off a bit of green and let him chatter at that, rather than the whole blankie.

As a group, we committed to making a certain number of fleece blankets for the local hospital. These child sized softies are destined for the emergency room and will be given to children in medical need.

Knotting fleece into a blanket is so much more enjoyable and rewarding than doing laundry. Which is still waiting - so I'm off to more domestic chores. Clearly not my forte.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Knitting New Friends

The travels are over for for a few weeks. Whew! Having fun really takes a lot of energy. And sleep. However, as my Daddy taught me, the best way to rest up from exhausting activity it to do something entirely different. Daddy would return home from a work day that started at 5:00 a.m. and head outside to rake leaves or mow grass or feed the birds. I learned this lesson well.

So, from Tuesday night through Saturday Noon, I was full time National Charity League, Inc. board member and incoming President. I had hoped to get more knitting accomplished. I was excited about my chosen projects. The original plan was to bring a new shawl that I started because I wanted something fun to work on during the Atlanta trip. All those YOs stared me in the face and then they started talking. I heard them as I zipped the suitcase. Don't drop me. Please count me correctly. Remember to knit three rows. What did you do to me??

Just could not do it. At the very last minute the shawl escaped from my luggage and was replaced by left over Sox Metallic. It made much more sense to work on something that wouldn't worry about itself. (Don't snicker. Admit it, your yarn talks to you. And I suspect that you often talk to it.)

Meet Betsy Beaver.

She has a little trouble with her wet ears feeling cold and asked for something warm.

Easy knitting. Start at the point and knit a triangle.

When it seems the right width across the top edge, cast on enough stitches on each side to be able to tie as you wish and cast off on the next row.

Meet Belinda Bear.

Belinda often feels the chill damp of her cave and needed something special to keep the arthritis in her shoulders at bay.

Belinda's poncho is the same concept as Betsy's scarf. Knit a triangle until wide enough to go just past the shoulders. On the next row knit about one inch, bind off the center stitches until you reach the last one inch and continue in pattern.

On the way back, just cast on the same number of stitches you cast off and then start decreasing on the back side so that you get another triangle.

Betsy, Belinda and I have become fast friends.

We have lovely conversations.

After Betsy and Belinda visit for a while, they will be fostered in the Precious Pals program until each finds a child to adopt her. I am confident that each will lead a wonderful life and never ever talk with worry in her voice.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Up, Up and Away

A full week of travel for me. I am off to Atlanta for non-fiber related activities. It is a tough call on what project to bring on such a long flight followed by jammed packed days that start early in the morning and don not conclude until near bed time. Should it be the crochet jacket, the knit vest or something entirely different?

I decided against the crochet simply because, should the unthinkable occur and I loose the work, I would be simply devastated and unable to carry on.

I decided against the knit vest simply because it requires seven different yarns to work the blocks. That is just way too much to keep track of during travels and meetings and gatherings.

So the only logical and sane solution was to start a new project that requires only one yarn - and yarn that I scored for a song during the RKG yarn auction.

Back at you next week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Off To The Beach

Yes, I am headed off to the beach today. Only this beach is downtown Riverside. It is the AVP Crocs Tour Riverside. Beach volleyball smack in the middle of 3rd Street.

It promises to be a scorcher. I know other areas of the country are suffering severe weather this weekend. My Dave straggled home in the wee hours of Saturday morning after much delayed flying via Dallas. So to everyone else - don't fault me for these few days of early summer here in soCal.

Owing to the heat and blaring sun, I have brought out the linen blend slacks and this favorite - the Rusted Root.

And sun block.

And shades.

And lots of water.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Back!

The crochet jacket has a back. Well, the pieces are all done. Nothing is sewn until all the jacket pieces are ready. I am so impressed by the way that the Noro Silk Garden Sock stripes out on this pattern. Really impressed. Could it possible get any better?

Me thinks not. This back took almost a full skein of the stuff. That isn't too bad. At least I don't think so. Crochet definitely eats yarn. But the impact of this yarn married up to the pattern is going to be absolutely stunning.

And please know that I did not remove any of the colors in this Silk Garden . They are all there.

So, I worked a bit on some of the flowers and leaves. Here are a few just lying on the mesh part. Quick and fun, when enough are worked to almost totally cover the mesh, it might give too much weight. I am just not sure, but I have a feeling that I'll end up with fewer floral do dads than called for.

And, can you believe that at the same time I finished both fronts of a vest. More on that later - but if those fronts matched this back, I'd be done.

Clearly too many projects are in the works.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Knit iPocket

Why can so many other humans of the female persuasion tuck away a phone so casually and so perfectly hidden upon the person, while I (a human of the female persuasion) always look like I have a growth that is in dire need of medical intervention? I have tried a back pocket, a front pant pocket, stupid items that hook upon the waist band and even - yes my friends - the tucking it up top approach. Guess I am just to old to pass off grabbing my ringing 'girls.'

So, I sat and knit an iPocket for the iPhone. Goes quite well on the latest summer pullover, don't you agree.

Here is the precious phone sticking out to prove that it does indeed fit in the iPocket. This was a last minute decision for the completed shirt. All I did was knit a width to fit the iPhone dimension and finish off the top of the pocket with garter stitch to match the simple detail of the pullover. This garment is a basic, non-fancy t-shirt style with garter instead of ribbing. Ribbing on the pocket would work also. I have nothing against ribbing. The Breeze yarn is elastic enough that I am confident that the iPocket will function without a ribbed top.

Now in the photo, the iPocket is clearly misshaped by the iPhone. But rest assured that said phone slips horizontally into said pocket quite well. When fully and properly inserted, shown in this second photo, there remains a hint of bulge such that even the most casual observer will notice there is 'something' in the pocket.

But, bless the spirit of Spring, I no longer grab either my delicacies nor my netherlands when the phone rings.

Ain't it grand!?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Washing in the Sunshine

Jot this down in your memory. Wednesday, April 8, 2009, was a beautiful sunny morning in Riverside, California. So beautiful, in fact that this southerner felt that internal pull to do the washing outside in the warm power of the sun. (I do believe that is a song lyric - - so don't quote me)

Pesky first steps delayed my efforts. Pesky steps can bring out my worst attitude - but the sun was calling.

Step 1 - pick over that to be washed and ensure that all is well
Step 2 - kick the mess that is not to be washed out of the way
Step 3 - plan a path to the exterior wash zone that is free of any wayward dog napping in said sunshine
Step 4 - open the screen door so as not to accidentally put a hole in the screen
Step 5 - maneuver that to be washed into position in the sun
Step 6 - turn on hose and adjust nozzle to a gentle spray that mimics rain
Step 7 - wash
Step 8 - frantically maneuver that which is now dripping wet back into the house because the hose water was not warm from the power of the sun

Step 9 - share photo of wet Bert trying to find dry warmth from his new warm fuzzy

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yarn Harlot's Very Original Hat

To be sure, the Yarn Harlot herself, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, calls it a very UNoriginal hat. Me thinks her tongue is firmly placed within the cheek. It is a grand cabled pattern that works up in two movies flat. The pattern is available free via her website. Look down the right side lists. Of course, it is also on Ravelry if you happen to be hooked on that particular site.

Worked here in a discontinued yarn (Crystal Palace Labrador) you can see that the bulkiness of the yarn is controlled by the cable pattern. The pattern clearly specifies a bulky fat warm wool. The result is not bulky nor is it fat upon the head. It is, however, quite warm. Worn in 71 degree southern California April, sweat appears within minutes.

It fits quite securely with just a bit of give on a rather medium size noggin - not too tight as to pop up unexpectedly. The unoriginal hat covers the ears and grasps down about the nape of the neck. Surely it will be worth having watched two sappy movies when the daughter wears it in New York in the winter. I'm told it gets cold there.

The pattern, in true Harlot style, calls for DPNs. In truth, it works up easily on a 16" circular - so don't rush out looking for new needles if you already have a bulky hat sized circular.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Here A Bidder - There a Bidder

Score! Oh the joy of bidding against friends is quite thrilling. Yesterday was the RKG annual yarn auction. All of the money raised is used to offset the cost of programs for members. You might want to know that our first 'biggie' of the year will be Lucy Neatby teaching short rows in May. Only three seats left - leave a comment.

It is imperative, absolutely imperative that one understands that all of the yarn, UFOs and books are donated. The meeting space was donated and the auctioneers are members of the guild. Absolutely 100% profit! This was my first guild yarn auction, since I have only belonged for about ten months. I was warned. Can't say that the members did not warn me. Arrive early with your donations. Be sure to preview and touch -it goes fast. It lasts about four hours. Bring food! Have water. Practice with your bid paddle. Don't forget a check - and cash. Stand up and stretch. Breathe!

Even with all of the helpful hints I was still blown away. Shocked if you want the truth. There were over one hundred and ten items. And given that the items were drool worthy such as eight skeins of Noro, you can imagine the amount of previewing, planning and plotting that goes into warming up one's bid paddle.

Don't want to brag too much, but I donated (among other stuff) a ball of the Sox Metallic from wince came the Twinkle Toes socks, and 1100 yards of a sorta buff shade of merino that was put on the back burner after I scored a better light grey at this swap. I like the grey much better than the buff I had.

About those UFOs. Never dawned on me to donate something I now hate. Bidding was quite brisk on an entralac purse. All it needed was lining and a handle - -and instant gift. Please know that these savvy women - who can pull a purse off the needles in two days flat - bid like maniacs (very nice maniacs one and all) on that unfinished purse. The winner was thrilled as she had an almost instant gift for a family member.

And now to the difficult part. Please memorize these faces:

That is Mary on the left (head auctioneer) and Diane on the right (she will let you fondle - if you ask firmly). They are evil. This team can squeeze the last half dollar out of an empty check book. And should she sense that prodding is needed, Diane is not adverse to outbidding you by twenty-five cents just to make sure that the guild get the most possible benefit from your addiction to all things fiber.

Sure, they might look like fun loving high energy knitters. But that covers a mercenary streak the likes of which I have rarely encountered. Blew the yarn budget for the month on April 4. Now what??

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back to My Roots

Too much knitting. Clearly, my mind is tired of knitting. And given that lately, most efforts have been based on mindless stockinette, it is hard to figure out why the brain is tired. Tired of mindlessness perhaps? So I am back to my roots of crochet.

This is the first repeat of a newly published pattern. Check out the cover of Crochet! magazine.

The Fantasy in Color Jacket is designed by Margaret Hubert and won first prize in fashion in the first-ever Crochet Guild of America Design Contest. The designer recommends Noro Kureyon Sock yarn - but I am using the Silk Garden sock simply because of the color availability.

Five little rows and my mind is once again happy. Not tired at all. It is like the cells woke up and yelled, "hey, we remember this - let's do more!"

I really like the way the clusters line up. Are they butterflies? Flowers? Clover? Doesn't matter at all because they look great.