Monday, June 29, 2009

High fiber bento

Bento: a single-portion take out or home packed meal.

I had never heard of bento boxes until a few months ago even though it turns out I happen to have a Hello Kitty one leftover from my daughter's younger years. (pause for a moment to remember and sigh)

I have a thing for repurposing tins and containers. When I started my new sock project, I looked around for a tin deep enough hold that big ball of yummy yarn. If I only had a tin, I thought, I could use a magnet to keep my place on the chart and handily carry everything around that I needed, but none of my tins were deep enough.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Kay dropped by. She's getting ready to head to her cabin in MN and was doing some clearing. She had things to drop off at Goodwill, old eyeglasses for the Lion's Club collection, etc. When it came to this tin, she thought of me.

How about that for coincidence? The very day I think I would like a tin, Kay unearths one and drives it over to my house!

You can see that I put it to immediate use. It is perfect; just the right depth, enough width to accommodate the growing sock and needles and the little pad for my Patented Hatch Mark System. What's even more perfect is that the hinged lid leans back and stops at just the perfect angle to be an easel for the chart!

See some clever bentos here, here, and here.
Kinda makes my daily PB sandwich look pretty lame!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Make Do & Mend

I tend to listen to podcasts when I go for my daily walk. They seem to work a bit better at keeping my mind off the numbing boredom of exercise.

In searching iTunes for new and additional material to download, I ran across Electric Sheep. I like listening to Katie's posh British accent and I've enjoyed her essays.

I just finished a replay of Episode 4 entitled "Winifred & Kathleen" in which she talks about her grandparents, the handwork and resourcefulness of their generation, and also discusses the V&A Museum. Oh, to tour the V&A!

In episode 4, she reminds us:
"Both the act of knitting and the knitted object itself can slow down a speeding world and are far more lasting than the transient distractions that seem to take up so much of our time. It's worth remembering sometimes that with the best things in life, faster is rarely better."

And in a similar vein, the current theme on Brenda Dayne's Cast-On podcast is "Make Do & Mend".**

In episode 79, "Stitches In Time", Brenda interviews Susan Crawford, co-author/editor of a new book of vintage knit and crochet garments from 1920-1949. I found this a very enjoyable interview. Susan is obviously passionate about knitting and getting these patterns back into publication. It was such a happy coincidence to listen to this particular podcast as I had just that day happened upon the Ravelry notebook of Theodora [Rav link] who was also involved with the book project and knits and wears these designs with such style. She could be in a Merchant/Ivory production. See Theodora wearing one of her own designs , on Susan's site, Knit on the Net. Read her interview here.

**speaking of Make Do & Mend, there is a wonderful post here in Kate Davies' Needled blog

Thursday, June 25, 2009

So fun, so clever

The Evelyn Clark baby bonnet is finished.

I spotted this little cap made up in a booth at Stitches South and just knew, deep down, that it had to be an Evelyn A. Clark pattern.

I was able to find out that it was included in the Vouge On the Go series - Baby Knits Two.

I dithered a bit about buying the book since I was really only interested in this one pattern. But (you may already know) Evelyn's designs are my one weakness.

As soon as I found out my LYS had the book, I caved.

The back crown is my favorite part. Isn't it sweet!
It is worked in short rows. The 91 stitches worked flat for the lace part decrease on either side of the center purl stitch and, with the magic of short rows, draw the panel down and in until there are just 7 stitches left! So clever!

I used leftovers of Regia Silk from when I made the other bonnet. It's perhaps almost too soft for this one worked on size 2 needles. Next time (oh, yes there will certainly be a next time), I'll probably use the Dale Baby Ull called for in the pattern.

I can hardly wait to make another!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bead Artistry

I've seen lots of lovely bead projects and every once in awhile I am almost tempted to give beading a try, but I never do.

That seems odd somehow - especially as I could most certainly use string with the beads.

Just as well. Beads can be expensive. I've only used about three out of that little pile there at the bottom of the picture. The receipt from Beadazzles shows I bought them ten years ago for the sum of $20. [I should have just bought chocolate!]

But I love to see what other people do with them. Such artistry and creativity!

I recently ran across this blog post and was just blown away by how the artist used beads to express her thoughts, the poem, and the story behind her inspiration.

(and while you're over there, check out the start of her Summer Charm School explorations.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

SOS - now with Low Stress

Surfing around the internet (inside with the a/c), I ran across a Ravelry group, SOS 2009, for the Summer of Socks. And it seems this year's theme is Low Stress.

Now low stress is a theme that I can embrace. Low Stress in fact is exactly what I look for in my knitting. Low Stress is what I expect my knitting to provide me.

As I get nearer the end of the Cloud Gray triangle shawl, I'm thinking of the next project. I had already wound up a ball of Brooklyn Handspun (a gift from Mary) and had planned on starting a pair of Birch Leaf socks from "A Gathering of Lace".

I had promised myself not to cast on until I finished the shawl, but now it seems, with the start of SOS being June 21, the start of Summer, that I should most definitely cast on today. You understand, don't you?

If you think you'd like a Low Stress group and a small portable sock project, check out the info here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Heat Stroke

We are having a HOT week here this week. High 90s. Every day. Starting early and staying hot. Luckily I can stay inside with the a/c most of the time.

So it's kind of puzzling to me why I seem to be fixated on wool socks lately. I keep seeing multi-strand, elaborately-patterned socks popping up on blogs and making me want to try a pair (although maybe not with tassels!).

I certainly don't need socks at all right now, much less wool ones.
Maybe the heat is getting to me.

The pair that started this off was Polly's over at All Tangled Up.
Pattern is from the German book pictured German.

And now this pair. And this pair.

Some knitters are going for a 52 Pair Plunge. 52 pair! I don't want to knit that many.

What are you thinking about knitting next?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hats off!

Pattern: Picture Hat
by Katherine Misegades
from "A Gathering of Lace"

Yarn: Louet Euroflax 14/2 linen
bought at Earth Guild
bit over 1/2 cone (350 yds? guesstimate)

Needles: Size 3 circular

This project should convince me that I'm a process knitter. I first got this book through interlibrary loan and this project - a hat - was one that called to me particularly; enough that I copied the pattern from the book before having to return it.

When on a nice trip to Asheville, NC I spotted the coned linen in Earth Guild, I bought it just to have on hand for someday trying this pattern. Later I put the book on my Christmas wish list and after it arrived I would periodically review the pattern, pull out the linen, and try to decide if I felt ready for the challenge. I'm pretty sure that what hooked me first was the idea of fashioning such a 3D object - a sturdy 3D object - with just string.

It was a good bit later, after I had my own copy of the book, and on one of my studies yet again of the pattern, that it dawned on me that the designer was Katherine Misegades whose blog I had been reading and enjoying for some time; the same Katherine who was the very first person that I didn't know to link to my blog. [because you know I know Mary even though we've never actually met!]

Well! That was some piece of information. And in a small way it made it even harder for me to attempt the pattern. What if I failed miserably? I didn't want any of my troubles to reflect on the pattern. I shouldn't have worried so much. The pattern is well-written, straightforward and understandable. Once I got going it was a treat to work and be able to tell the sections as I worked them. And as soon as I figured out a way to block it, away I went.

I'm still considering putting a bit of wire in the edge as I think this would make it more wearable. Wearable? I never wear hats. See! Process.
I didn't really want a hat. I wanted to make a hat.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

By hook or crook

As you can see, I'm coming along on the wee aran.

Thanks to some very good help from Wanda, the owner of my LYS, Knitting Emporium, I was able to pick the stitches around the neck and knit the ribbed neckband.

I can't say enough good things about Wanda. I took a one-time class for this purpose specifically. I was seated around a table with five other knitters; all of us working on different projects and needing assistance with various techniques. Wanda worked the table, stopping at each of us to get us going. Whenever I had a question, she was right there.

Once I got home and finished the neck ribbing and seamed it up, I was left with the buttonholes for the left shoulder. CROCHET.

Now I've done a very little bit of crochet. I'm not a fan. I'm not overly fond of the fabric created and I find the directions and diagrams difficult to understand. But that's just me.

The other thing that has been most mystifying on this is finding the correct hook. I had a few hooks. Naturally none were the size specified by the pattern. I used the size closest which was a bit larger and I'm blaming it for the wavy buttonholes. {see how I slyly passed the buck!}

Standing in front of the crochet hooks at the Big Box and remembering the pattern called for a 2, I was stumped. The size 2 I was looking at was obviously way too large. I came home and found this chart, which confuses me more but which, I think, will help me choose.

This poor little sweater has had a long journey. I will be glad to get it out of my WIP pile!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mini KIP

What to do when your LYS isn't hosting a Worldwide Knit In Public Day event? Well call a friend and make your own mini KIP event. All you need is a little knitting and the great outdoors, right?

Kay and I decided earlier in the week to meet in Marietta Square and knit and visit. She'll be leaving soon for her Treadle On Sewing Machine camp and then heading on to MN for the summer.

As the week wore on and got more hot and way more humid, I began to wonder just how crazy we were to think we could sit outside and knit.

Perhaps it was the late-night thunderstorms, but the morning was most pleasant with a constant cool breeze! We were there from 10 am until 2 pm and it wasn't too hot at all. Amazing.

Kay brought the folding chairs and we sat up in a nice shady area near the gazebo. Turns out that was the perfect place to sit. The square was covered in people, many visiting the Farmer's Market at the north end. Group after group came to take pictures in the gazebo and we got to watch.

Finally I asked someone to take our picture so I'd have, not just blog material, but a remembrance of the FUN time I had with Kay.

Looks like Jeannie had a great time KIPing, too!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is my brain on knitting

Hum..... looks suspiciously like newsprint, huh?

The time has come to block the lace hat but I had no fancy blocking form.

Mary cleverly suggested I search for a bowl the size of my head, then cautioned me not to get my head stuck in it, then encouraged me to be sure to document it for the blog if I did. What are friends for?

No bowls seemed the proper size or shape so I began fashioning one from yesterday's newspaper. The AJC has undergone some radical changes lately. Even the masthead and font have changed. [have I mentioned that I don't like change?] Anyway, it took a whole day's paper to make my head. Either I have a large brain or they've seriously reduced the paper. [hint: they've seriously reduced the paper.]

While we're waiting for my hat to block, perhaps you'd like to amuse yourself with facts about the brain. [I confess I just skimmed this article.] Or maybe you'd prefer some games for the brain? [I only tried Ooze and was a dismal failure, but I did better at What Was There.]

While searching out brain links for you, I learned that the brain is the crown jewel of my body and/or the boss of my body and runs the whole show. Well that was good to know because I got to tell you, lately something has been the boss of my body and it hasn't seemed like my brain!

Gosford Triangle

"Mabel is so clever to pack light. Why should one wear a different frock each evening? We're not in a fashion parade." Constance, Countess of Trentham played to perfection by Maggie Smith

Knitting continues on the cloud gray triangle. Although I don't recall any shawls in "Gosford Park", I may be beginning to associate this knit with the movie as I have been listening to the soundtrack a lot while I knit.

Does that happen to you? Do you ever associate music, movies, or places with your handwork?
I know Mary has been lately.

Regardless I've had loads of fun remembering Maggie Smith's character. I think she's rather perfect at anything she plays. In fact if it's knitwear you want to see on Maggie, you might be better off with "Keeping Mum". She has some great dialogue in both.

With 70% alpaca, this shawl (if big enough) should be both lightweight and warm; warm enough should it prove "positively glacier in here" as it was for Maggie.

and another great line:
"Difficult color, green."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chantilly Lace and a pretty face

Did you pop in here from Mary's blog? Seems Mary has been watching movies; movies with lots of LACE in them.

When I first saw the picture of Bette Davis with the lace head covering, I immediately thought Chantilly lace. But what do I know? Chantilly lace is traditionally worked in black and, even though black might have been a more appropriate color for Bette's character in the film, the lace in that shot is definitely white. I'm guessing, too, that it might be machine made. [I mean do you think the costumers bought or found handmade lace for this film?] It does not appear to either Valenciennes lace or Mechlin lace, both of which have the ground made at the same time as the motifs (if hand made).

Now Brussels lace is made in pieces with the flowers and design motifs made separate from the ground, but I don't think this piece is Brussels lace.

So, I'm going to go with machine-made Chantilly. Pat or Barbara, if stop in here and can correct or add to this, please do!

a couple of good examples of white, machine-made Chantilly here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

a cloud on the horizon

Would you be surprised to learn that my new knit is a lace shawl? No? How about that it is one from "Knitted Lace of Estonia"? Still not surprised? How about that I'm not using Lacey Lamb? See! I'm full of surprises. And, hey! It isn't even RED either!

I bought two balls of Classic Elite's Silky Alpaca Lace in a soft gray they call Cloud Gray. I think it would be perfect for the Galina Khmeleva shawl pictured on the front of the current "Piecework", but just reading the instructions made my head hurt! I just felt I'd be too distracted to tackle it just now.

Instead I turned back to Nancy Bush and picked "Triangular Scarf in Leaf Pattern". This one starts at the very bottom tip and increases up. One 8-stitch leaf is repeated. Once the triangle is knitted, stitches are picked up all around and the edge is knitted on.

Something tells me that it may prove too long and pointed to be very wearable, but it sure is FUN to knit so far.

I'm certainly getting Santa Claus' money's worth out of this book and there are a couple more simple ones before I get to the gorgeous Crown Prince Square Shawl pictured on the book's cover.

(Sat., June 13 is World Wide Knit In Public Day. I enjoyed a new-to-me podcast today complete with British accent - Electric Sheep - and in episode 2 she gives a little glimpse into her public knitting encounters.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Not Exactly Lilac

Pattern: Lilac Leaf Shawl
by Nancy Bush in Knitted Lace of Estonia
18" x 60"

Yarn: Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb
100% Extrafine Lambswool - Color 225 / Blood Red
825 yds/60 gr - less than 1 ball

Needles: Size 4 circulars

This is the third shawl I've knit from this book. The knitting was actually finished before I started the Miralda shawl, but I just sealed it up in a ziplock and put it aside rather than face the blocking wires. (I'll save my breath and not whine about that again.) And I've even had this post drafted since late April but kept going to the next thing rather than finalize.

I loved the bright, deep, clear RED of the Lacey Lamb so much when knitting my first one that I bought another identical ball. Now with leftovers from both balls, I think I can eek out one more!

Blogless FloridaMo was my inspiration for first choosing RED. I would never have made the leap without seeing hers. But I am oh so glad I did.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fast, cheap, and easy

The Girlfriend Market Bag is done and what a nice, fun pattern!

I used all but a few yards of two balls of Peaches & Creme 4-ply cotton - about $3 worth - in color 201 Sea Mist.

And here it is holding a six pack of Mountain Dew Throwbacks. Yeah, I've only had a few so far. Such restraint!

Since this is the first string bag I've made, I don't have any others to compare it to, but I do like this one. I like the square bottom and the fact that it is knit in the round, just because it was fun to watch it grow.

My first time grafting garter stitch. I used these directions.

If you are what you knit, then I'm either fast, cheap, or easy! : )

BONUS: JP tells me that worn upside down on the head it makes a nice Rasta cap