Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ann Budd

I think I must run a bit behind on everything. At least it often seems that way to me.
I've mentioned before that I have really been enjoying Kelly Petkun's KnitPicks podcasts. I am not up-to-date, so tonight's podcast was episode 16 and included a wonderful interview with Ann Budd in which she talked all about her new book Getting Started Knitting Socks.

I'm not sure I've seen this 'in person' at the bookstore. If so, perhaps I just didn't pay enough attention to it as I don't think of myself as in the 'getting started' phase of sock knitting.

But, the interview was great. I loved hearing Ann Budd's voice and I loved hearing her enthusiasm for sock knitting.

I'm definitely going to search this one out!

Sock #2 of my silk stocking is at the heel turn. Fun times.
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Doorknob Drop

Kay came through for me in spades again. Some time back I was browsing around some blogs (no kidding) and ran across some beautiful tatting here. In particular, her lovely motif 16 caught my eye. She listed this book, Tatting from Burda, a Lacis publication, as the source.

Motif 16 utilizes 'block tatting' - seen as those denser, square areas. I have some back issues of "Anna" magazine, but, of course, not the issue with that lovely cover piece.

I found it available through one of my favorite online sources, Nordic Needle. And I thought perhaps I had even seen it at a Lacy Susan vendor booth at the March lace club workshop.
I e-mailed Kay and it turned out she had it; thinks maybe she even bought it in March. AND, since she was headed out my way this evening to a Bible study, she'd do the Doorknob Drop and bring it to me! What service!

Ooohhh. This is a nice book. There are some lovely pieces. I can't imagine finding the time or commitment to make it, but look at this wonderful blouse.

I need more time!! And possibly, more string.

And the cherry on top? Kay, as usual, included a treat with the Doorknob Drop - a lovely pen - made to look like a twig with a little ladybug on it! How neat.

"The balm of life, a kind and faithful friend."
Mercy Otis Warren 1728-1814

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stab or Sew?

You were beginning to think it was only YARNplay around here weren't you? My needlework has tended to go through phases and almost the very first phase was cross stitch which I did a good bit of until I had a daughter. As you might guess, the next (and very intense phase) was smocking. Oh those were the glory years.
When the smocking phase was over and I tried to return to cross stitch, I found it almost unbearably slow.* Besides by that time I had long found Hardanger embroidery. Ocassionally I return to cross stitch and usually when some design (most often it's Christmas) catches my eye.
I'm not sure where I first ran across this design. (I suspect it was here where I saw it stitched over-one and finished as a lovely pinkeep.) This is "The Sampler Lady" by Little House Needleworks. I'm not doing the full chart and am not sure how I'll finish it.
Finish it? Did I hear you snort? Are you skeptical? My only hope lies in that I'm intending this as a Christmas gift, so there is a bit more motivation than for those lovely things intended for me alone that continue to languish in Finishing Purgatory.
*One reason I tend to stitch slowly is that I'm a stabber, meaning I stab the threaded needle from one side to the other and pull the floss all the way through. I just think my stitches look more uniform that way. I do not use a frame or hoop and curiously this link suggests that the sew method is more common for those that stitch in hand. Might know I'd be contrary.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cranberry Shawl

Pattern: from Knitting Lace Triangles
by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: KnitPicks Bare laceweight dyed with Kool-Aid Black Cherry
Needles: size 4 Options circular
For this first outing in Evelyn's new book, I went the easy route and started with one she had already mapped out - the Sand Dollar Shawl - which alternates just two different lace patterns (Ripple and Medallion) and then I added an extra two repeats of the Medallion pattern before the edging.

I think I could have used a size 5 for this. It still comes out more scarf size than full shawl, but it's very wearable and drapes nicely over the shoulders.
A nice and quick little project that I enjoyed and plan to donate for a silent auction later in the year.

Birthday Relay Socks

Pattern: "Chevron"* Charlene Schurch p 73
Sensational Knitted Socks

Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta
45% cotton / 405 superwash wool / 15% nylon
color 5618 self-striping

Needles: size 1 Boye dpns

My friend, Vickie, bought this yarn for my birthday earlier in the year. She was browsing in a yarn shop when she came across a sample pair, and having never seen self-striping sock yarn, was amazed.

I decided to knit a pair and give them back to her on her birthday - which is today. (Happy Birthday, Vickie!) Although this pattern is listed in the book as specifically for self-striping yarn, I'm not so sure it was perfect for this yarn. Overall it worked out well, but I found I preferred the look of the plain stockinette sole over the patterned upper.

*also I goofed and did round 2 as all knit; forgetting the two purl stitches in each 11-stitch repeat! And, of course, I substituted a heel flap because I couldn't face the forethought heel shown in the book.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Wonderful Weekend

(click to see the goodies up close)
Oh, what a wonderful weekend. May I lead off with a weather report? We had a hint of fall this weekend. Sure there were times when it was a little too warm, but there were also breezes and enough of a coolness to make a Southerner believe that there might really be a fall - a reprieve from endless hot weather.

This weekend in September always seems to offer more opportunities than time. For many years I happily sat with fellow lace makers at the Sandy Springs Festival. Somehow the weather was always nearly perfect. When I felt the breezes on Saturday, I immediately thought of my friends and knew they would be having a wonderful time. I hope to be able to join then again.

On Friday I left work early and Mother and I had lunch before heading over to the biennial quilt show sponsored by the East Cobb Quilt Guild. As in years past, it was a terrific show. It is a perfect time for Mother and I to spend some easy, fun time together enjoying a common interest. Mother's only handwork is quilting and although I don't really quilt, who doesn't like fabric - and color - and design? Repeating geometric patterns always please me.

There is always a good selection of vendors as well and this year there was a vintage textile and used books room. I found some really nice hankies for only $1 each! Those uppermost two have the finest delicate tatting. I will give them a good home.

And in a perfect coincidence I found this lovely shamrock hanky at one booth and later the perfectly matching green vintage tatting thread at another. Together at last! Perhaps one day I'll sit and tat a lovely edging to complement these shamrocks.

We eventually made our way over to the corner where the challenge quilts were displayed so we could look for my friend Kay's entry. This challenge was "Windows" and a plaid fabric had to be included. Kay's window was a porthole. Didn't she do a fantastic job! I loved hers. So 3-D. And the wavy quilt lines reinforce the feeling of seeing underwater.
On Saturday I went to Bulloch Hall in Roswell, the childhood home of Mittie Bulloch, President Theodore Roosevelt's mother. The Magnolia Sampler Guild's biennial exhibit was there. This guild has some really talented and productive members. There were so many beautiful samplers and stitched pieces on display. There were quite a few Quaker samplers displayed which I really enjoyed.
A friend and former co-worker, Linda Telling, will be teaching a piece (A Ladies Sewing Companion) she designed in November so it was a treat to see this displayed. Linda does just beautiful work and has her own business doing the finishing work for other stitchers.
It's enough to make one feel inadequate! Good thing I have healthy self-esteem or that WIP list would start to bother me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Body Maintenance

Anyone within the sound of my voice, or on the other end of my e-mail SEND button, has heard me complain about body maintenance. Grrgh.

If I am awake and not at work, or not sitting and playing with string while ignoring household chores, then you can bet I'm involved with some sort of body maintenance. Now I'm not vain nor do I have the body of Cindy Crawford. But I'm short and I like candy. Oh, and I'm not getting any younger.

How is this related to knitting? Well while I'm out slogging around (and around and around) my cul-de-sac, I can listen to various podcasts to relieve the boredom of the exercise. If I can't knit, at least I can listen to someone talk about it and maybe even review books on the subject.

I've been particularly enjoying lately those by Kelly Petkun at KnitPicks. I'm not always up-to-date in my listening, so the one I just heard was Episode 14 where Kelly discusses various ways to keep track of your knitting such as stitch markers, magnetic boards and rulers, and such helps.

I like to use a little of all that combined with my "Patented Hatch Mark System" and my handy Excel spreadsheets.

The Cranberry shawl is closer to being finished. In fact I've done all the repeats listed for the Sand Dollar Shawl design but still had some Black Cherry yarn left so I'm adding additional repeats in order to make this more of a shawl instead of a scarf and use up all the yarn possible. It was easy enough to open my Excel spreadsheet back up and chart some more numbers. Then it's a simple matter of crossing off each line as I knit it. That way if I leave it for a few days, I'll know right where to resume.

I've also just started listening to British knitter/podcaster at Lixie Knits It so I get the bonus of her accent as well as knitting related chatter. Now if only the Yarn Harlot or Mason-Dixon Knitting would start podcasting!
"It takes six months to get into shape and two weeks to get out of shape. Once you know this you can stop being angry about other things in life and only be angry about this."
Rita Rudner, Naked Beneath My Clothes, 1992

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Oodles of Options

I bought the size 4 KnitPicks Options needle tips and cables and first tried them with the Swallowtail. Too slippery for me. And they felt a little heavy as well. My Kool-Aid yarn is not quite as fine as the suri alpaca so I thought it was time to give them another try.

I'm really liking them with this project. The stitches slide so well over the join. No slowing down to coax pesky YOs along.

And Evelyn Clark gives me lots of options as well in her Knitting Lace Triangles book. Pick a pattern repeat; plug it in, and knit away.

I'll admit to not being too advernturous this first outing. I'm pretty much doing her Sand Dollar Shawl which alternates just two of the patterns and she's already mapped it out for me. I thought this would give me the best feel for how this whole thing works.

I've got to come up with another name for this shawl though, as Sand Dollar is not expressing this just right. I'm thinking of something with 'cranberry' in the name. Cranberry Garland maybe?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Black Cherry Yarn

Labor Day weekend gave me a little extra time and I used it to wind off half an 880-yard hank of KnitPicks bare laceweight and dye it with some Black Cherry Kool-Aid. Well, actually I used something called Disney Splashers. I went Kool-Aid shopping just when school ended and there seemed to have been a run on Kool-Aid out here in the 'burbs.

The yarn dyed nicely, if somewhat unevenly, but I'm quite happy with the results (used 6 packages). The variation in color in spots to a darker, blacker black cherry and back just adds a bit of depth to me.

I'm looking forward to casting on soon for an Evelyn Clark knitted triangle. That's about $2.75 worth of 'ingredients' up there which sooooo justifies my pattern book purchase, don't ya think?
(click to make it bigger so see all the deep color changes)

Plan Ahead Socks

The Lumberjack Socks
now renamed Plan Ahead Socks (for obvious reasons!)
Pattern: Oak Ribbed Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: All of one ball Lion Brand Magic Stripes in (discontinued) Lumberjack Black
and some leftover Elann Sock It To Me Puzzle for that last toe!
Needles: Size 1 Boye cheapies
What can I say? One ball of LB has always made a pair for me and with plenty leftover for baby socks. This was my first pair of large socks for a male. Live and learn.
"Adventure is just bad planning."
Roald Amundsen (1872-1928 - Norwegian explorer)