Saturday, May 30, 2009

It Is Aran Square

All done. The instructions are quite specific. Do not block. The lovely Gerri who will combine twenty donated squares into the afghan is quite specific about that. She will block the afghan herself so that only one hand decides the precise measurement of one inch.

I like my block. Even thought the cables do pull in quite a bit I left it at sixty stitches all the way and did not compensate. If I were to get out pins and wet it, an exact twelve inch square could be made.

Perhaps the real pleasure is that I am finished a week early. A whole seven days. This gives me pleasure. No rushing and now there is free time to finish a vest.

Life is grand when the pace is relaxed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Crochet Garden Blooms

Finally, I am on the home stretch of growing a garden for the crochet jacket. Hiding away at home is quite productive. Yesterday, while it is a fact that much telephoning, emailing and visiting with friends occurred, the entire rest of the day was spent with hook in hand. It was the first time in years that my fingers actually hurt from repetitive action. But I managed to sew together two fronts, one back and two sleeves. Then edge the whole thing. And, as though that were not enough, made a few more flowers and leaves.

Today was for planting the crochet garden. And it is blooming beautifully! Half of the back is stitched down and the rest of the placement is coming along quite well. I decided on a very asymmetrical arrangement. . . well, except for the three leaves in center back. Those three hang down almost with symmetry. As close as mimics nature.

I have decided to keep the front quite plain with only a single orange rose and a few leaves. Just think - a bit more sewing and the garden will be ready to wear to a dinner party on Saturday night. I am feeling quite smug because the whole jacket looks like a work of art, the pattern worked perfectly, and it fits! Does life get any better?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Is Square! I Promise

Cast on for an afghan square last night. The guild members are each making aran squares that one very brave volunteer puts together to make the annual auction afghan. This fundraiser brings a goodly sum for the guild and helps to pay for teachers and programs throughout the following year.

So, the concept is very simple. Knit a twelve inch square with the yarn provided. Easy as pie! Garter border inset with texture so as to all come together into an afghan of aran squares. Especially easy to do if you are using one of the fine patterns available in one of the hey-lets-make-an-afghan-by-selecting-a-fun-square-out-of-this books that are readily available. But why would I want to follow a pattern? Sometimes I do follow a pattern. Really. Witness the crochet jacket that is in final stage of following the pattern almost exactly as written.

Having decided to set off on my own and using the educated guess method of casting on, I have started with 60 stitches. I figure that no swatch is needed because there was no pattern. The figuring out of the stitch combination is the swatch. Didn't someone famous and knitterly say that? Surely it is sage advice.

Thus far I have this:

Only twenty rows (that counts as a swatch!) and already it is pulling in a tad too much for my taste. Am thinking that I should have increased by 4 stitches after the garter so as to compensate for the cables. Just can't decide. Perhaps I shall go merrily along on my way and hope that it all comes out in the blocking. It is square. I promise.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Very simply and commonly, I turned around to toss away the skin of an onion. And there he was. Right there on the kitchen window. I have named him Blue Throat - at least until he gets Googled and has a better more scientific name. He is a bit out of focus and you will excuse that. But surely you can see how he is hanging on to the exterior waiting for an opportunity to scramble up and over to greener pastures.

And just beyond Blue Throat, face out to the world and making it a better place is she. Quite perky and festive. Can't quite see it in this view, but a hummingbird feeder is just beyond and hanging from a likely tree branch. The feeder is, as one expects, made to mimic a red flower. Quite a lot of hummers in the area - I wonder why?

Clearly she is in her outdoor glory but trying to compete with the indoor happiness. On the people side of the window sits this arc of petals. Orchids certainly do bring many weeks of calmness. At least for me. How can life be frantic when there is such peace to be had?

Details - all of the above are close up details. Like the proverbial "trees" in that adage of old, sometimes it is nice to get caught up in the details. But then again, my big picture view from the kitchen window is awe inspiring in a different way. Sometimes you can see the forest - - - and the trees.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One Stitch At A Time

There I was, working along on a vest, when I looked down and decided that I am either out of my mind or way more organized than might first appear. Any one experienced with intarsia knows that it takes many strings to complete even one row.

Well, I've got strings. And not all are going in the same direction. But I am far enough along on this vest for autumn that each of those yarns is laying in exactly the right 'line-up' for the current row. That is true organization! Even if that man in my life does occasionally frown at what, to his non-knitting mind, can appear totally disorganized. One stitch at a time, one or two yarns at a time. How can that possible be seen as disorganized?

He an I have an unspoken agreement that only one - sometimes two - flat surfaces may be decorated by a work in progress. The way I deal with this matrimonial harmony requirement is to put all of the current working stitches under the table. See how organized. And no matter which fiber I feel like fondling, it is right there at my toe tips.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sometimes Project and Eco-Research

Sometimes I work on this project. It is the Nereides scarf pattern from Jacquelyn Landry and can be had here. This is yarn that I acquired during an auction and it came without any label or identifying notes. Oh, well. Does not bother me as it works quite well for this lovely summer item.

Legend tell us that the Nereides were sea nymphs who dwelled at the bottom of the Aegean Sea. Apparently the nymphs wore shawls while on land and ----well, the story continues from there. You don't want me to give away the ending, do you? I leave it to you to do a bit of research on your own.

This pattern looks superb in sea foam shades so that it mimics waves. Mine is worked in shades of the sand as though it is being hidden from mere mortals lest anything untoward occur. Curious? Well get that research going via your favorite search engine!

Research has begun on another project. "Save the Date" cards for a very eco-conscious event that will occur in 2010. I am scouring websites and chat rooms for projects made from pull tabs. You know, the little silver or blue metal yanking bit that we so easily toss on the sidewalk or into a trash bin. At this point, crochet flowers seems to be winning the idea search. And of course the thread that binds the recycled bits must also fit with the theme. Lots more to consider on this one and time will tell.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shawl or Skirt?

If ever you have the chance, run as fast as possible to take a class from Lucy Neatby. OH MY. The things you will learn make the mind swim with possibilities.

#1 Lucy Neatby is a nice person. Enough said. God done good with her.

#2 You get way more than than just a workshop title. Lucy was contracted to teach short rows for the Riverside Knitting Guild. And learn short rows we did. Don't think that did not happen; I have a detailed handout to prove it. And samples. And a new bind off to use. But she taught so much more. Lucy understands and can explain the why? Why the old way does not work. Why her method does work. Why what you have been doing is OK but can be better.

#3 You will learn that sweaters should not be shaped like a "T" and how to avoid such horrors.

#4 Lucy is nice. Did I mention that?

#5 Lucy speaks MAC.

#6 You get to touch her samples. An entire humongous suitcase filled with knitting that makes your draw drop.

#7 Lucy is filled with freebies! "Oh, you might try this." "This DVD is not available yet, but look at this clip." "Well, here is a different way that might work better for you." "This is what I was thinking when I added that."

#8 Personal, hands on instruction.

#9 A real teacher. Not just someone who knits well. Not just someone who designs well. And actual teacher.

#10 Humor. Lucy is quite humorous and I am not sure that even she realizes how side splitting funny her comments are. Maybe someone will put together a knitting comedy show and she can be the headliner. I can see it now. A world wide tour - a fleece de force if you will. Amazing. This one has possibilities and you heard it first here!

#11 Inspired. A class from Lucy is pure inspiration for you, the attendee, no matter what you claim is you current skill level. Witness this photo:

Lucy's design for a great shawl from her "hole" period. Here we see her convinced that perhaps it is really a skirt wannabe. And, me thinks her correct. There is just something quite liberating about being in a learning environment with someone who sees her/his own work stretched and morphed into a new dimension.

#12 Did I mention that Lucy is just a nice person.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Waiting for Neatby

Lucy is here! Riverside Knitting Guild is the last stop on a weeks long weather impacted US trek for Lucy Neatby. She was last here with our guild about three years ago - give or take. I had the privilege of picking up Lucy at our easy to use Ontario (CA) airport.

Quite fun, she is. Whipped out her camera to snap a photo of the setting sun. First time warmth and sun blessed her trip. Tornado warnings, rain, cloud cover - not in this neck of the woods. It is spring time in the desert. Oh, and should you discover that your cell phone will simply not dial out, Lucy will gladly turn it off and back on to clear out the little meanies that inhabit such things.

I shall wait until my lessons on short rows are completed and then decide if my work is worthy of a post. Have three other projects on needles and hook and those are all progressing quite well. Thank you for asking.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lucy In The Sky With Short Rows

Lucy Neatby is coming. Yeah! And even better, my homework is done. Just imagine it. Six hours of short rows and personality.

Can Cinco de Mayo get any better? Me thinks not.