Friday, April 25, 2008

Which Way is Up??

or It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

You know I have a "thing" about making bags. Any size, any technique. If you can make it and carry stuff around in it, I want to try it, especially if it can be made out of string.

For some time I've been itching to make the felted patchwork bag from Vogue (Holiday 2004 issue).

It is supposed to look like this:
Several months back my LYS had some back issues in the bargain bin, so I bought the issue and contemplated the instructions. It's modularly knitted and they keep insisting on referring to those shapes as 'squares'. What you see above is Tier 1. 'Square' 4 of Tier 2 begins by picking up stitches from 'square' 1 and 'square' 2. Huh? So I've taken to safety pinning numbers on the 'squares'.
I also have no idea what part I'm currently knitting. I'm guessing Tier 1 is the bottom. [I'm kinda afraid to read too far ahead!]
I remember when Mary and I first knitted the bootees from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts". We decided to just blindly follow the directions and knit on in faith. It worked. Sure hope it works on this!
Today's Horoscope: "You can start a creative project now. Your deft touch can easily turn a sow's ear into a silk purse." Oh, yeah? What about a wool one?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rx for Serenity

The week has been a little stressful and by late Wednesday evening I needed something simple but interesting. Garter stitch dishcloth to the rescue! Kay gave me a ball of this really bright, really fun Sugar 'n Cream. The color name is Summer Splash and she also tucked in a printout of the free pattern.
I love how the colors stripe on their own with this pattern. I knitted with size 6 so it wouldn't be super loose. Who am I kidding? I knitted with size 6 because they were out and the size 7 were not within arms reach!
I did an awful job sewing it together. I would love to have someone show me the correct way to do this. It's pretty much all guesswork. But it will be serviceable, bright, and cheerful regardless.
The brightly-colored string worked its magic. You see I didn't even open the chocolate!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I spend most waking hours "creating". I expect you do as well. Some of those hours, the creations are at work. At home I'm most often creating something (usually of little practical use) with string of some sort. I'm creating because I want to; because, really, I need to do so. I create to relax. And to spend some time in quiet to let my thoughts settle. And wander, too.

But even though I'm creating, I don't consider myself creative. I'm REcreating. It is recreation. I'm not developing, or exploring, a unique IDEA of my own. I'm generally following a pattern (or rather trying hard to do so!). I've found someone else's idea that has captured my imagination and I'm working to execute it. (Sadly, as was the case with the last shawl, it is an execution in it's worst context!)

Wandering around the internet, I happen upon others who I consider to be very creative. They are working hard (but enjoying it) to bring their own ideas to life.

I recently found a blog of the "art and craft of Mimi Kirchner" and have been just fascinated by what she saw in printed fabrics and the wondrous dolls she has created. Her flickr album is here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Patented Hatch-Mark System

Even though I love this sock pattern (Waving Lace), I wasn't overly keen in returning to it. I was itching to do something completely different. But I'm trying to be a good little knitter and not only finish something before starting something else, but also knit with yarn on hand and not buy new. So return I did.

For sock #1 I had charted the lace repeat in Excel and printed it out so I could use the cells next to the chart for my "patented hatch-mark system". I could make a mark for each round completed, make any notes for heel and toes, and then use it to make sure sock #2 was the same.

So time came to cast on and what do you think? I couldn't find my notes anywhere. I went through stacks; I went through bags. I have the pattern in the Spring 2004 IW Knits magazine, but I had borrowed and browsed through my friend Kay's "25 Favorites" book. An e-mail plea to her confirmed that I had left my notes in the book!

Kay and I are old hands at the Doorknob Drop routine. She kindly put my notes in an envelope and left at her door. I drove over during lunch and picked them up, leaving her a ball of dishcloth cotton.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Verdict

Turkey it is.

Actually I could make out Evelyn's wonderful pattern once I got it pinned out to block. Just. But the 3-D effect, the undulating curves, are just barely there amidst the color.

It is soft and lightweight. (I think. It's still drying.)

I'll definitely try it again someday in a different yarn. It's a wonderful pattern to knit.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Jury is Out

This has been an emotional knit. First I'm unsure if I like it. Then I think I hate it. Then I fall in love with the pattern all over again and have hopes it might work out after all.

Here you see it fresh off the needles; not yet soaked or blocked. Hum... looks a bit like a badly cooked turkey. Will it turn out to be a turkey?

We shall see.

I still can't seem to judge yarnage. I completed only 6 of the 15 rows of the edging chart. Will that work? I have NO idea. I'm guessing it may mean just a less pointed edge, but I don't have enough experience to know for sure. From the yarn leftover I now think that maybe I could have gotten two more rows done but I surely didn't want to run out halfway through the bind off.

I'm pretty sure I won't be knitting any lovely handpainted yarns for awhile. : )

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Falling in Love Again

"Falling in love again, never wanted to.
What am I to do? Can't help it."*
I'm on the penultimate repeat. As usual I'm wondering how much more I can get out of the yarn. I'm thinking surely one extra repeat.

Anyway the love has returned. Maybe because I switched to the bamboo needles? Regardless, I'm just really enjoying the knitting. That Evelyn! Love her patterns.
I still seriously doubt the pattern will show in this yarn, but I think I'm going to like it anyway.
Home today and onerous and boring minimum of household chores have been completed. Bathrooms gleam and the sinks shine. I've earned a bit of relaxation.
I've enjoyed the Complete Austen series that PBS just finished. I thought the new "Sense & Sensibilty" was a terrific adaptation. I couldn't resist this Emma Double Feature; only $7.50 for both movies! I think I'll sit and knit and watch the other S&S.
*sing along in your best Marlene Dietrich voice, but I love Linda Ronstadt with Nelson Riddle.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm The Decider

I still can't decide which way to go with the shawl. Frog it? Keep knitting and hope blocking works its magic?

I'm over halfway finished. I have a secret suspicion that frogged yarn is cursed. I have one ball of Araucania Atacama gorgeous handpainted alpaca that refuses to be anything. ANYthing. Whatever I try with it fails. I'm afraid that would be the fate of this yarn.

I may have to swear off handpaints all together. I dabbled a little with overdyed pearl cottons when I first started with Hardanger. The colors were so attractive; so alluring. After a couple of disappointing results, I made my shop owner promise to NEVER sell me anything but white or ecru no matter how much I begged. She was to refuse to sell them even if I came up to the counter with them. She's done her part and I'm much happier now.

Sensible Restraint

Here you see the total of my purchases from the vendor (Lacy Susan) at the lace group's workshop last weekend.
Can you fathom such restraint?! And one of these isn't even for me.
I was quite tempted by one book, Kunststrik II, which you can see here, but it was written in Danish and charted quite differently to charts that I am used to reading.
Since I have found a few very nice knitted lace doily patterns free online, I thought I should first give them a try.
The skeins of ecru and white coton a broder in lower right of the photo will be put away for a bit. These complete the size range for me and will, hopefully, one day soon be used for a piece of Schwalm embroidery.