Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Poem

Years ago, in a failed attempt to be  clever at words and somehow profit from it, I penned the following:

On how to spend my time
I pondered away an hour.
And having thus spent all my time
I pondered on where went the hour.

Such has been this week.  Life kept me occupied will all manner of things except updating you with a yarn or two.  The week included five meetings that required prep time, two lunches with friends, one knit group outing (Hi Joan, Brenda, et al) that required driving an hour each way, a long delayed trip to the big box to purchase big quantities of necessities including the chocolate covered acai/blueberry treats and weekly date night.  

This morning, needing a yarn about yarn to share, I crocheted this little puff from left over organic cotton.  It is either  a palm size puff for gently washing a face, baby or baby face or it is a holiday ornament.

The concept is very simple and reminds me of that old potato chip scarf.   There are a whole bunch of stitches on this and I have no idea how many.  My guess is over three hundred double crochet stitches on the final round.    But the final round is really just round two so there isn't much to making this.  

So - that is it for the week.  A very simple yarn about some yarn.

Hopefully my blogness next week will be more interesting.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

No Special Tool Needed

Either a very simple bag or the first of a pair of fingerless mitts is on the hook.  I've not yet decided what I'm making.  I'll just be happy if this yarn makes a decision.  It has been ripped out so often that I'm sick of the color and still have nothing to show for all the work.

Currently, the incarnation is Tunisian Crochet across 35 stitches.  I don't own a Tunisian hook, so this is about the limit of how many stitches, in a DK weight, that fit across my regular hook.

You can see where the bigger bumpy part of my old hook stretches the stitches.  This does not seem to matter at all.  Of course I never put the hook down with just this first pass of the TSS completed.  I always make the return quickly so that only one loop is on the hook when I stop working.

If this wants to be for the hand, I'll just work until it stretches around my palm and then seam up the wrist and finger sections leaving an opening for the thumb.  That is surely the simplest of all fingerless mitts.  If it decides to become a small purse, I'll keep on working until it is an appropriate depth when folded and stop.  Then, a simple side gusset/handle/side gusset will fit in place to add width and a strap all in one.

This is a discontinued wool that I found down in the bottom of the secondary stash location.  As I stated earlier, it has been ripped out several times.  This is as close to "something" as I've gotten with the stuff.  I sure hope it speaks to me soon.  I'm tired of winding the ball!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Slice Of Color

All that is left to accomplish is to sew down the casing, insert elastic and voila!  I shall be stepping out in style.

The bias stripes of the skirt become flirty with the pop of the short row color wedges. I've been working on this skirt for quite a while, and now that the end is near, it has all been worth it.

Should you be inclined to cast on:

Interweave Knits Summer 2011 magazine  Swirl Skirt pattern by AnneLena Mattison

My version is made from Twisted Sisters Oasis in the Mink color (from my stash) and Plymouth Yarn Vita color 120 (purchased special for this skirt).  I really think that I like the Vita.  It is 85% recycled cotton with 15% recycled cashmere.  This sure feels nice while working it and never did dry my skin the way some cotton does.  

I have now knit three skirts.  Each is very different.  Each has been a test of patience - but no more so than seaming a sweater after the same amount of knitting.  Maybe that is the real difference and why I enjoy making skirts.  The first two that I made were top down and constructed in rounds which means no seams to make.  This one did require grafting but that was not too difficult.

So, the skirt saga ends with a swirl and a slice of color.  I like that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Sweet Sigh of AAHHH!

One hundred fifty-six stitches on each needle to start, heaps of patience, lots of breathing and caffeine,  about eighty-five inches of yarn and it all turned out equal!

There was a lot of joy here this morning when the last of the matching one hundred fifty-six stitches was grafted together.  Let me tell you straight out.  That's a whole heap of kitchener stitching.  A whole heap.  I am exhausted.  

But getting to the end and seeing those final stitches match up with no left over "oops" was a thrill.  I didn't even have to fake anything.  Does this mean that I have skill?

The skirt is nearing completion.  Click on this photo to enlarge the unblocked grafted seam.  There is a needle jammed in the stitches so that you can follow the seam.    Once blocked, I am certain that this will truly be an invisible join and the skirt stripes will be visually unbroken.  

Can I hear a Hallelujah!

In addition to the joy of a well grafted seam, I am pleased that I remembered to weave in ends as I knit this beauty.  Just look at these tails.  A simple snip and the underside will be a work of art without all that extra fiddly needle work.

Enough celebrating for now.  There are still one hundred eighty bazillion stitches to pick up around the waist and a casing to knit.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Did This Happen?

There sat I, fiddling with a stick and some sparkly string and when I looked up I'd been overtaken by them!  "Them" being three other masses of string and associated sticks.  How did this happen?

Just look at this work space.  It is completely taken over and I don't think that I am responsible.

First, ignore the upper left where lies a crochet scarf that added a bit of zing to a recent ensemble.  I'm not the best housekeeper on the block and occasionally, things are untidy.

Check out the foreground for the current state of the skirt that I'm knitting.  The end is finally in sight and so it is always at the ready lest I be overtaken with a sudden desire for miles and miles of mindless stripes.

Skip on over to the back of the photo and a dark mass (actually it is blue boucle) is spilling out from a bag.  As though stockinette and garter stripes are not mindless enough, I started a blanket.  Stupid thing to do given what else is on the sticks, but at a very weak moment of needing a "lap" project, I cast on for this and brought it to knit nite.  And that is when, I believe,  I was overtaken by "them."

Look carefully at the photo and over to the right, in the middle of the frame,  is a scarf that followed me home.  I think that it is the scarf that is to blame for this state of uncontrolled yarnage.   And yes, the scarf followed me home.  Some crazed knitter, who claims to be my friend, foisted this half completed bit of lace on me because she - and I quote - "ran out of time to finish this thing that I [meaning my friend] started last summer."  She seemed to think that I have nothing better to do than to pick up her cast off (ha ha - I made a funny) and adopt it into my work stream.  

I have decided to be the bigger person and still call her my friend.  And it just so happens that finding snippets of time for another scarf (after all, it is half done!) from the Strangling Vine pattern is not that difficult.    You will be pleased to know that I did not strangle my friend, I did thank her politely.

But how did this happen?  I knit and knit, crochet and crochet and never seem to get ahead. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Christmas in July

While it is true that I can rant with great negativity about retail outlets already touting the season of the Turkey, I have no negative comments about yarn-a-holics busily working on seasonal gifts months ahead.  After all, loving hands need time to create.

This is my current quick crochet project.   It is a simple beverage bag made in a nice washable acrylic with a thread of sparkle twisted about the string.  Two are completed and I have the yarn for two more.  

These will either be used individually as gift bags during the holidays.  Or, and this is my inclination,  the set of four will be used as presentation covers for a wine tasting party.  So much more festive than a paper bag with a big number scribbled on it, don't you think?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day Tripping

Oh, the pure joy of a summer day and a train to the beach.  Surely one of the best deals right now here in my soCal area is the Metrolink Weekend Pass.  Ten dollars buys unlimited rides from Friday night through Sunday night.  Gas & parking can easily be five times that amount.  It was, to my way of thinking, my moral duty to spend ten dollars and ride the train.  Can't let those seats go the waste.

San Clemente was the destination.  Riding the train to the beach is very entertaining.  There are all manner of families and friend groups schlepping all manner of items for a day on the sand.  By far, the most entertaining was the young gentleman (a teen, and yes he was a gentleman) who brought out his guitar and strummed softly.   Initially my seat mates and I thought that a soundtrack had been added to the services of Metrolink.  It was only when we turned around to scope out the rest of the riders that we discovered the group and our own personal rolling minstrel.  

Strolling the farmer's market was just what one would expect.  Mostly.  A few free samples, flowers, succulents, bread, fish, lots of fruit and some veggies.  Strolling the shops in San Clemente can easily chew up most of the afternoon.  

Best of Britain is small and filled with gentle surprises like this one.  According to the website Mitchell's Wool Fat Soap was "first produced in the early 1930's under the premise that the natural lanolin content of wool fat, which kept the hands of sheep shearers and wool sorters soft, could also be beneficial to delicate complexions and sensitive skins."  Displaying it in the ram soap dish  added to the charm.

 This jolly greeter guards the door to Strands Knitting Studio where I was lucky enough to snag a skein of Pagewood Farms sock yarn in the Forest Camo colorway.   Christine runs a calm beach community yarn shop and it is fun just to chat with her and poke through the bins of seasonal colors.

This was view that accompanied lunch.   Sitting by the pier, sipping something cool, enjoying a meal with friends and sharing dessert.  
Thanks to Metrolink, a visit to paradise is only ten dollars - - such a deal.

PS - no knitting, but there was crocheting.  More on that later.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Closing The Loop

Let's close the loop on this post.    And close it we shall, in two distinct ways.  First, I owe you a finished project, which has been languishing beneath the ceiling fan hoping for enough coolness to prod me to weaving in the ends of this merino.  Second, the little neck scarf makes a loop of it's own.

Close the loop!     Some days I'm about a funny as spit in the wind.

Here it is all finished and looking for a chill in the air.  To me, this looks extremely out of place with the summer colors and short sleeves.  But then, earlier this week I saw a young thing wearing brown knee high boots, socks sticking out the top, a skirt, tank top and five miles a gauze twirled about her neck area in a sorely misguided attempt to hide her lack of undergarment from the world.

So, perhaps a few inches of skinny merino in not so unusual in this 100 degree heat. 

Pause, part deux

Pause, the third


Nope, can't do it.  Some days I might be on the verge of tragic.  But I'll not be consciously and tragically chic.  Not even this close to Hollyweird.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ready for Summer Cleaning

Imagine my dismay and disbelief when, during the midst of laundering all things kitchen, I discovered a very definite lack of hand made cotton dishcloths.  Shocking!   I know.  For a bi-yarn artists such as I, neither a spare knit nor crochet dishcloth, could be found.  Given that only two were in the washing machine, this was sad news indeed.

So, as a Celebrate America activity, I made these:

 Both are, quite obviously crocheted in simple patterns.  This first one is a shell pattern that would be more effective in a solid color.  In person, it is interesting to see the color changes make subtle diagonal wanderings across the fabric.

This one also would look better in a solid color.  I had fun with this pattern because the tilted blocks are crochet on the side of a double crochet stitch.  Very fun - well, 'twas fun after I muttered the dreaded, "what?"

I love crocheted or knitted dish/wash/spa cloths.  So quick, so satisfying and so practical.