Saturday, January 22, 2011

Time for a post

I have precisely one excuse for my lack of updates just lately.  I've been a little under the weather and have spent most of the week hiding from a headache under a warm fluffy blanket.

But it's been a good week.  Last week, my good friend Canary Knits (aka Teresa) featured me in her Indie Designer Day section. 

It was pretty awesome.  It's one thing to enjoy your own designs, but it's another thing entirely to get props from others for them. 

Teresa is pretty talented, herself.  She's even gone a step further in the design world and managed to get herself into a book with this lovely piece.  We've been working on a project together and are getting ready to roll it out.  It was quite a bit of work, but it's also been quite a lot of fun. 

On a completely non-knitting tangent, I've been playing with all the yummy things my breadmaker can do.  I discovered foccacia bread.  Not that I haven't had it before...I have.  But I've never MADE it before.  I made garlic cheesy-dill foccacia bread yesterday evening.  I'm pretty sure, if I let myself, I could eat the whole loaf in one sitting.  It's just amazing!  Of course, the "amazing" might come from the garlic butter mixed with green onion and dried dill, spread over the whole loaf with a basting brush.

I think I am going to serve up the remainder of the loaf with garlic cheesy-dill chicken wings for dinner.  I've never made garlic cheesy-dill chicken wings, and the thought is making my mouth water.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow, Snow, Snowing

It's snowing rather hard out right now.  The snow angels I made yesterday are gone.  Hidden under the new snow. 

I do need to get out and do groceries today.  I have almost no food in the house.  No vegetables at ALL, and very little fruit.  I also need to get to the post office.  I have swap packages that need to be mailed.  Except...there is snow on the road and I can't get out until the plow comes through.

I'm hungry. 

A little part of me wishes we had a fireplace so I could curl up in front of it and knit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tale of a tail.

I've been working on a sweater for a while (not my mom's sweater, different one).  It's bamboo.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do like bamboo.  But bamboo is not a very forgiving material.  Also, you can't spit splice bamboo.  I, being ever leery of anything to do with sewing, was delighted when I learned how to spit splice.  It meant an end to those loathsome ends.  But, you cannot spit splice bamboo, and I wanted to work with bamboo.

I was on the very last bit of my project.  I had 2/3 of a ball of yarn remaining.  One sleeve took 1/3 of a ball.  I left a nice long tail for weaving in.  I started the next sleeve.  I was pretty sure I'd have enough, and if I had to do the cuff with a new ball, I'd be annoyed but accepting.  As I worked along, the ball didn't seem to shrink.  I began to get excited.  Maybe I could do the whole sleeve with just this little 1/3 ball.  Maybe I could enjoy having a whole extra untouched ball of yarn.  Maybe...maybe...

And then I got to the last 8 rows.  The never-shrinking ball of yarn began to shrink.  And as it begain to shrink, it begain to shrink really quickly.  I knew I'd make it to the last row, but I was nervous about the bind off.  Very nervous.  So just before the last row, I tied a little knot halfway down the remaining length of yarn.  I figured if I could make it through the row before hitting the knot, I'd be able to make it through the bind off. 

I just *barely* made it with an inch to spare.  So I went ahead with the bind off.  But as I began to reach the last few stitches, the remaining yarn was too short to hold.  I was nervous.  I held my breath....

I made it!!!!  With just 4" remaining. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage styles

I'm at an awkward weight right now where nothing seems to fit me quite right.  I'm at that in-between stage where one size is too small but the next is too big.  As a result, my wardrobe and I tend to not get along from day to day.  A pair of jeans that fits me one day might be too big or too small the next. 

I went shopping about 3 hours before the party.  Really, I was looking for a pair of pants and a top that would fit.  I've discovered that I wouldn't have the problem with my clothes if I shopped at the expensive stores.  My jeans are from The Gap and my top is from Mexx.  Both are out of my budget on a normal day.  But I got these at the second hand shop, so the prices were much more reasonable.  The jeans still had the original tag on them (and were only $15!!) and the top looks and feels like it's been worn maybe once.

On my way out of the store, the dress aisle started whispering my name and making promises of vintage dresses for cheap, cheap prices.  I took a peek and found the dress pictured above.  Beautiful vintage quality dress.  Style is mid 1960's Jackie-O type shift dress.  It fit like a dream.  It accented all the right places and de-emphasized the ones I wanted to hide.  And I got SO MANY compliments on it.  Even though I'm wearing my not-so-flattering orthotic house slippers in the picture, I arrived at the party wearing tall brown boots that came to my knee.  Very gorgeous!

This set my mind to thinking about vintage styles and how nicely they are cut.  This isn't the first vintage dress that I've worn, and I'm always amazed by how flattering the style of the 60s is.  At least, I personally find it flattering.  After buying a second vintage dress online last night (I'm nervous about this, as I've never bought internet clothes before), I've decided that I need to bring it back in knitting.

I have 8 skeins of egyptian cotton yarn that had been earmarked for a sweater.  I've decided to knit a dress instead.  It will be styled similarly to the dress above, but with a rolled collar.  Basic A-line shape.  Knitted belt that will be attached at the back to create a bit of shaping.  Darts at the bust and hips.  Capped sleeves.

I'm very excited about this project.

I won't be starting it until the summer.  I'm finally starting to whittle down my project list, and would like to be halfway through the list before I start adding new project on to it.  My goal is to have the dress ready for Spring 2012.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cleaning up the yarn

According to my husband, who rarely complains about my yarn and fiber addiction, my yarn stash has started to sprawl.

He approached me quietly and said "Honey, I haven't said anything.  I've kind of been hoping that you'd notice it on your own, but your yarn stash seems to be alive.  It's growing and has started taking over the living room."

He was kind enough not to mention the guest room.  So I will.  I'll even give a picture.   And before you say anything akin to "Oh, that's no so bad," let me draw your attention to the guest bed.  Also, there is a full two feet of space between the shelves and the bed...notice how the whole two feet seems to be filled with the overflow of wool?  Filled up until it's level with the bed.  Also, you can't see the yarn under the bed.

My goal is to make better use of the shelf space.  To organize my yarn and wool in such a manner as to make it easy to find what I need when I need it.  I have all that space.  There's no excuse.

I'd offer a picture of the living room, but I'm not *that* humble.  Besides, I've started cleaning it up, so it naturally looks much worse than it did before.  ;)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All about me

I've come to the conclusion that I am absolutely TERRIBLE at writing about myself.  I am okay at writing about what I DO, and I'm pretty decent at writing about what I think.  But writing about who I actually am, as a knitter, designer, and person, does not come easy to me.

The truth is, as fascinating as I find knitting, I find myself rather boring.  I know my friends would disagree, but whenever I have to write about myself as a person and come up with an interesting biography of myself, I get stuck. 

I am....
...what comes next?  What do I write about myself that makes me sound like I'm different from everyone else?  It's one thing to know you are different, but actually putting it into words is not so easy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Momentary heart stoppages

I've been working out the kinks on a sweater pattern.  So far, it's been mostly smooth.  There have been little errors that my beta-knitters have been finding for me.  Nothing major.

I've been reknitting the sweater with my testers.  I got to the end of the body and started on the border, only to get to the end and find myself off by one stitch. 

This is quite possibly the first time my knitting has actually made me sit and cry.  I thought I'd made a mistake in the pattern.  And if it was a mistake in the pattern, it would have been a rather fundamental one.  I thought I was going to have to rip the whole thing and start over again.  Since I'm on a really tight deadline, this thought left me pretty upset.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if the first part worked (which it did) and the second part worked (which it did), then the border ought to have worked.  So since parts a and b were working, then part c OUGHT to be working.  So I went and recounted and discovered...the mistake wasn't back at row one.  It was in the row I'd just knit.  Instead of knitting one stitch and purling the next, I'd knit one and purled one all along and then accidentally knit two instead of knitting one and purling the next, throwing everything else off by one stitch.

Instead of ripping back 50 rows, I only had to rip back 50 stitches.  My stomach is back where it belongs now and my heart is beating properly again.  I'm very glad I recounted before sending off my devastated email to my testers calling a work stoppage on the project.