Saturday, April 17, 2010


More potholders, this time for my Mother In Law.

Irene Potholders group 4

PhotoMan heads out to Northern California this morning for a visit with his Mom. Armed with a little gift from me.

This set incorporated a discipline that the Swap Potholders did not. Namely, keeping the color choices limited to 5 and then combining them into different stripe sequences. These colors feel a bit "retro Mexico" to me, so I am quite pleased with the results.

Irene Potholders group 3

The pattern is really easy, Old Fashioned Potholders by Cathy Irish (that's a Rav link to my project page with info on yarn colors, amount used and all the other gory details including individual pics of each potholder) I love this newest feature on Ravelry, don't you?!.

Making potholders is fun, and a bit addictive.
Happy weekend to all!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bella Mittens on Steroids

The gluttony that is my stash is really starting to feel like a guilty burden. It weighs on my conscience and if I can't knit faster I may begin to give some of it away or sell it.

I did hit on one pattern that works up fast and burns up two skeins of yarn (Cascade 109LE, sadly discontinued) for each project. That put a good dent in the bulky yarn bin. Of course, there are several more bins needing similar stash busting attention.

Bella Trio

These are the Bella Mittens, a pattern that has captured many a knitter's fancy the last few months. Based on the ones worn by Bella in the Twilight vampire movies (did not like), these mittens are super long, super warm and really squishy (do like).

Bella Trio in a Line

I have in mind to keep one pair, give one pair away immediately and reserve the third pair for my gift stash.

Gift stash. I don't know if it will work, but I'm thinking of knitting up quick projects that will use up yarn (to ease that burden) and create a selection to grab off a shelf when I need a quick gift. Maybe then I won't feel so pressured. Although I'm thinking hats might be even faster to knit up than mittens.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Catching Up on Projects

I'm a bit behind on showing some finished projects. For instance, I have this sweater, "Heathered Grapes", (Ariann by Bonne Marie Burns) which took from October 2008 till February 2010 to knit, and another two months to finally tell the story!

Grape Heather Ariann 7

The only redemption is that I can say it's been a major wardrobe staple from the minute it came off the blocking boards. Warm, comfortable and despite a few 'issues', I am pleased to have a cardigan to slip on when I need a casual go-with-jeans sweater.

Grape Heather Ariann 6

I remember why I put this aside way back in December 2008 - it was the at the point where the sleeves get joined to the body and for some reason, I couldn't get my mind around how to do it. With that Holiday approaching, I put it on the back burner. Little did I know it would be a year before I picked it up again. A familiar refrain, right?

And that's when the fun really started. After serious knitting gymnastics to get two sleeves and the entire body onto one long needle and knitting away for at least a dozen rows (almost 400 stitches per row!!) I learned there was a slight error in the bind off on one sleeve, which made for a wonky lace pattern on one side. Ooops. Painful rip back.

Resuming again, but not doing the raglan decreases correctly took a further three attempts, each filled with multiple rows of knitting and ripping. At the widest point. Yea. Cuz that's how I roll, I guess. At one point I seriously considered cutting the yarn out of this section as it looked pretty pooped out. Which put us to end of January and it was cold! Were it not for needing a new sweater I might have shelved this one forever.

Grape Heather Ariann 5

But I am really glad I didn't. I learned lots about sweater construction, and the mistakes I've made in this one will not be repeated in the next sweater: 1. I will make better button holes which will be be positioned in the center of the button band, not near the edge. 2. If I encounter another pattern that combines raglan decreases with a lace pattern, I will take note to mirror the decreases so the lace pattern lines up perfectly on each side and between the raglans. 3. I will pay attention to little details like properly slipping the first stitch to make a smooth edge through the entire project, not 90% of the project. ;)

Grape Heather Ariann 4

Along the way, I make a few modifications to the pattern.
1. Knit 2 inches longer in the body before the waist shaping. To cover the hips. Ever widening.
2. Knit a 1x1 rib collar for 4 inches. I think the pattern called for Garter Stitch? I wanted to carry the 1x1 rib up from the button bands into the collar for a seamless look.
3. Used a 3 stitch I-cord for the belt rather than slip stitch crochet. Yes, it takes longer. Worth the effort.

I found some nice abalone buttons that work great and have worn the sweater constantly ever since. Most of the time I leave the belt off. But if I want to dress it up, I add it. And if I manage to lose a few pounds*, it will fit across the back and hips just a bit better.

* gained in direct correlation to my finally completely and forever and ever quit smoking** and substituting sweets. Yay me for quitting, now I need to get to Yoga all the time. More on that some other time.

**Yea, my dirty little secret, shut up. I quit, didn't I?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Potholder Landing in Houndville

Look what I got today! Hee Hee!

Swap Goodies A side

The piggy is a charming fellow; the others are all so beautiful and well crafted! I love love love them all.

Swap Goodies b side

We are going to have some work done in our kitchen this year and I plan on displaying these properly when the work is finished.

Thank you swappers, I love them so much!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Shopping Manifesto

To: The various chain stores I am forced to use to buy 'career' clothes (Ann Taylor, Talbot's, etc.)
From: Me, the fed-up shopper

1. Don't offer me a discount on your clothes only when I sign up for yet another credit card. I don't want your credit card. I want to pay cash. Why are you willing to give me a 15% discount only when I run up a debt? You should reward me for paying you cold hard cash. Cash goes straight to your bottom line. Cash is what pays your bills.

2. Why don't you ever have items in Size 10? You have plenty of items in Size 0 and Size 2. But never anything in Size 10. After repeating this mistake for a few seasons, do ya think you'd catch on - the Size 10s sell out because there are more Size 10 women. Maybe you should order MORE Size 10's and LESS Size 2. Whoa, what a concept.

3. NO, I don't want to be on your email list. No, I don't want to give you my Zip Code.

4. What's with the selection these days? Really few choices! Suits with only pants, no skirts. Or vice versa. Or outfits in just one color when there used to be at least three. Let's see a little variety and options. Mix and match options? Please?

5. Can't you find any other country on this planet to manufacture your goods? Does everything have to be Made in China?

6. Slacks should come up to just below the belly button. NOT ride on the hips. How do you expect me to sit down if the pants feel like they are falling off my ass?

7. Can you please find an alternative to the sewn in label? They poke the back of my neck and drive me batty. If you insist on sewing in a label, can you please use cotton thread not nylon fishing wire? You don't use nylon fishing line for the seams, and they are far more important to the garment's integrity. So why do you think you need to affix the label with such an indestructible thread?? Come to think of it, why are the labels so stiff and unyielding?

8. Clean, classic, well fitting with a unique twist. And doesn't cost an arm and a leg. How hard is that?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Magnolia Edition

I took a break today, to visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

BBG Magnolia Heart

I wanted to see the Magnolias before their burst of glory completely faded.

BBG Magnolia Brilliants

It was evident the peak arrived sometime earlier this week, but I managed to find a few gems.

BBG Magnolia Creamy

The crowds reflected the weather's cooperation, because Jeeper Joe, the joint was jumpin'!

BBG Zig Zag Magnolia

I did manage to do some spinning, some knitting, some fleece combing and some Alpaca fleece washing over the weekend.

BBG Magnolia Crested

I'll have some things to share as soon as these projects get their moment in front of the camera. How was your weekend?