Monday, April 29, 2013

This is the Space Where a Finished Object Should Be

Instead, I'm posting a nearly finished object because I need to feel a sense of accomplishment in this Knitalong.   I have crotch and waistband seams to sew, along with elastic and belt loops to add, but it is mostly done.

So here it is, crotchless.  Um, that does not need to be a Flickr tag.  I've already encountered SweaterLuvr and Shoefiend- no need to attract the attention of KnittedshortsGuy.   I used a spare circular to hold those live stitches because I was too lazy to get up and find scrap yarn, but I've had no problem with them falling off as I worked up the shorts.  I will just barely have enough yarn, thank goodness.

Someone's inspecting the waist ribbing.  It will be folded over elastic at the purl ridge and be sewn down on the inside.

I ended up doing a total of six repeats of the celtic cable, which is a higher rise than I thought I'd want.

The reality of my work in progress photos is that most are taken in my son's room where the light is so nice.  My knits are inches away from a microcosm of the boy's life.  Here we see unstaged evidence of his business smarts: soccer referee flags which he uses to earn a little spending money and the rubber bands he's uses to make shooters to sell to his friends (Gee, thanks, pal.)  I guess it's a better deal than the paper "Edward Scissor Hands"  gauntlet he used to sell for 5 Indian Bucks (That's classroom prize money.)  Though most of the proceeds go toward things like knives and video games these days, I take comfort in the knowledge that he's crafty.

(more on my Ravelry and Flickr)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Swatching for My Daughter

Her request for one of these tops ended my indecision about what to knit in Shannon's Spring Tops, Tanks, and Tees Knitalong.  I was waffling between this pattern, Lady Bat by Teresa Gregorio, and Nachtfalter by Stefanie Pollmeier .

So, Lady Bat it is and hopefully I'll have it finished by the end of the knitalong, which is also about the time that girl graduates.

You can see my tension was a little off on the left leaning portions of lace where you knit 2 together through the back loop, so I'll keep my eye on that as I work.  I'm pretty excited about working on a summer knit again.

(more on my instagram, ravelry, and flickr)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reading Material

So I'm going to ramble about things on the bookish front.  These are some of the books I've kept beside me for stolen moments.  Some have been beside me for quite a while and I'm just now getting to them.

I've been making my way through Genesis with a study group and though I've read it many times, am seeing things from a different perspective this year.  I am drawing connections between events (why one thing led to another) in the text that I never noticed before.  That's the beauty of BSF groups: you cannot read on auto pilot.  If you want to read the Bible just to check it off your daily good deed list in the hopes you will feel more comfortable about yourself, you may need to rethink BSF.  It's just not that kind of Bible study.  Don't get me wrong, the aim is not a low self-esteem, it's just that we read in view of our lives and our relationship to God.  It's not just an interesting history book or subject for debate, we should regularly see ourselves in these pages- the good and bad.  If we don't see it, we can't have compassion on others and we certainly won't see a need for Jesus.  Just seeing we are wrong is where the journey beings.

So, I get a healthy dose of conviction and the more I welcome it, the better I feel.  It's like sterilizing a wound; not enjoyable but necessary to get well.   I'm going to risk generalizing here and say that if we say we are Christians but find we do not admit out loud to doing or thinking anything wrong for days or weeks at a time, we're probably not being very honest.

So, Genesis- One thing that leaps out of the text to me is the harmful nature of favoritism and envy in a family.  It's all through the first 46 chapters.  I am so very grateful my siblings and I never endured this and so there's zero desire in us to perpetuate it.  But one that I have been able to apply to my life is enduring troubles God allows in our lives (which we may or may not have provoked) to achieve purposes we can't imagine, as with Joseph and Israel.  It may be a difficult move that feels like punishment at the time, but actually gets us away from approaching danger.  Or maybe it's a group excluding us to be unkind, but in the end it kept us away from poor influences and bad alliances.  Or how the extreme nature of my health issues taught me to just do all I sensibly could in a matter then let God have the result.  If He wanted me well, I would be and if He didn't, could I really change that?  I quit struggling and so began to trust more deeply than I knew a person could.  Just little examples of thoughts this book has brought to my mind.  You had no idea when looking at the photo of knitting books that I was going to go there, did you?

Let's switch gears:
I'm also trying to get back into the second Game of Thrones book.  Yeah, Game of Thrones and Genesis (I know, it's quite a pair.  Look, I'm just being honest. )  Both are chock-full of lineages, incest, intrigue, betrayal, hedonism, and war.  I got sidetracked from reading and just haven't gotten back into it.  Maybe it's because I'm cabling right now and can't read while doing that.

The rest of my reading selections have mostly been a feast for my eyes.  The photography in Jane Richmond's Island is so meditative and lush, it would make a good coffee table book even if it didn't have lots of beautiful knitting patterns.  But it does and both Rathtrevor Mitts and Renfrew are burning a hole in my queue.

I've been reading and hearing about Pom Pom Quarterly all year but never got around to subscribing until recently.  It is everything I heard it would be: beautifully photographed, designed, printed, and illustrated.  I think those little illustrations are one of the most distinctive features of the magazine.  The smaller dimensions of the books have a true "Zine" feel- like when indie zines were something I only read about other people reading when I was in high school.  The collections are well-curated with recipes, embroidery,  and short stories in the mix.  It's definitely collectible.

Another one I'm in the middle of is Little Red in the City, which I picked up at Madtosh.  There is an encouraging, journal-like feel to Ysolda's writing.  It's as if a very talented friend left you a letter along with her personal notes and sketches for how to knit a sweater that fits.  In fact, I once heard the handwritten notes included with the designs are actually Ysolda's own.

I haven't finished Elizabeth Zimmerman's The Opinionated Knitter yet, but would the pattern books above even be what they are today without Mrs. Zimmerman?  So many of the things I love about my more recent knitting books like illustrations, handwritten notes, multiple customizations, and a chatty personal feel were all done before I was born by Elizabeth in her Wisconsin schoolhouse.  This was a knitting zine before zines were cool, unfettered by commercialism or the aesthetics of the time.  The result is this collection of 22 timeless newsletters of which I'm trying to read one a night.  It is the ultimate in picking the brains of a genius knitter, with scratch-outs, arrows to follow, and ink underlinings for emphasis.  The fact that it was motivated by her love of craft, rather than business potential, makes it even more special.  I can "get" doing something for almost free just to see it done the way you want it.  I totally understand wanting to share information at the expense of networking in the publishing community.  But how many of us could do it with the style, wit, and volume of knowledge that she had?

I have Icelandic wool for a traditional Icelandic pattern in my queue, but I'm considering knitting Elizabeth's from the 14th newsletter instead.  How can I knit as much as I do and still not have knit one of her recipes?!

Switching gears again:
Wasn't Domino the best decorating magazine ever?  The Domino Book of Decorating is a collection of some of their best ideas and images.  It's nothing new; I just never got around to getting a copy until recently.  Though from 2008, it is still timely, like an older sibling to Grace Bonney's Design Sponge at Home.  It was an Anthropologie impulse purchase, like the copy of Anthology (no. 11); I didn't  need them, but they were just so pretty...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Mine, All Mine" Knitalong

The Pour Moi Knitalong is all about laying aside your many knitted gifts for others to eek out a little something for yourself.  I feel like a fraud.  I mostly knit pour moi.  Knitting is my therapy, and part of that is trying new things without the stress of expectations.

Sometimes, after I've finished something and see that it's good, I'll gift it.  But I don't take custom orders- that would stress me out.  It's hard to get the fit right for someone who isn't right there with you.  Also, I rarely meet anyone who would care to wear custom knits.  Many women I know don't even wear a sweater once a year (seriously It's April and already in the seventies and eighties here.)   Occasionally, a stranger will see me knitting in a lobby and ask if I'll make them a blanket (?).  I consider telling them the story of my daughter's Darcy Cardigan, from a few years ago, that is still waiting for her to sew 3 buttons on and wear.  I could also explain the cartoonish "fail" music I hear in my head everytime I see it neatly folded in her closet, but just politely decline and enjoy talking with them about crafts our grandparents made instead.  

(And you only thought those were boot cuffs.) 

Honestly, I do a lot of things for others in my family and community, so I don't have a bad conscience about selfish knitting.  That, along with running or walking each day, is my quiet time and valuable for keeping me revived in the other areas in which I serve.  So when I knit, I makes what I likes for me.

Did I mention that when I decided to knit Lady Bat for the Spring Tops, Tanks, and Tees Knitalong, my daughter requested one.  Her yarn is being shipped as I type.  See, not so selfish after all.

Now, about the shorts:  I love the way they are knitting up.  They look super tiny, but have a lot of stretch and seem to fit thus far.  Of course, I haven't knitted the hip area yet, but I do have enough of this yarn to frog and knit a size large if I have too.  For now, I will just trust the pattern.

There is more in the knitted shorts vein on my Ravelry and Flickr.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Wildest, Craziest Time Ever

We went to Fort Worth over the weekend primarily for my a memorial service in honor of my husband's uncle, who passed away not long ago.  It was a really good tribute to him, with his children, grandchild, and friends sharing their memories of him and finding a little more comfort in one another.

(more on my instagram or flickr)

It was also our nineteenth wedding anniversary, so my husband and I decided to spend a little time relaxing together while we were away.  We hit the big highlights of the city.

First up, a romantic little meal at a small, dimly lit restaurant.  Very small... and very dimly lit... except for the glow of wrestlemania on the smallish tv screen.  We were expecting a Oompah band, but sauerkraut and wrestling was fine.  What could be more romantic?

The celebration could have just ended there, but wait!  We also managed to make it by the stockyards museum to see the world's second longest, continuously burning lightbulb.  Over a hundred years, baby.  Now if that doesn't teach a young couple about perseverance I don't know what will.  It was perfect since I'd just read my husband the world's longest, most emotional Roadside America article ever written about this bulb over dinner the night before.

I did some obligatory longhorn sitting, but don't worry, I didn't have all of the fun.  I made sure to make it by the Madtosh store for my husband, knowing that a trip isn't complete without his visiting a "yawn" store.  (Okay, this store is the mother lode for knitters.  If you wanted to know where all of the DK Earl Grey was, friends, it is here.)  Please excuse blurry phone photos.

As if this weren't treat enough, we managed to see the actual spot where Logan made his infamous run, at the city's Water Gardens.  Are you not completely jealous?

When I first saw Logan's Run as a girl, I remember it being the first time I ever experienced thinking something was incredibly cheesy, without knowing that word yet.  It was made way before Michael York's Knots Landing days and it was just too much with the Love Shop and carousel cloak and leotard outfits. (Keep in mind it was the edited for tv version.)   But it was still kind of cool.  So we went and we watched the movie together, again; and yes, we are nerds.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this excitement, there was some strolling downtown, a meal at Reata (that is a real meal),

a little hike because I'm trail starved,

and a fantastic breakfast at Lucille's Stateside Bistro.

 Two perks of a long car trip are forced knitting time and lots of time to talk.   Like I said- wild and crazy.


Monday, April 15, 2013

One Leg

That's what I have so far for the Pour Moi knitalong hosted by Evelyn of Project: Stash.  I really should have gotten farther but I kept zoning out and making dumb mistakes.  Now that I am used to using the charts and how to work the cables, the second leg should fly by.  This looks really small, I know, but it is a 4 1/2 in inseam and when I put it on it hovers somewhere between longer shorts and booty shorts.  I think it's fine, but I can always add length to both legs before joining, if I change my mind.  Did I mention intricate cables are addictive to me?

more on my Ravelry and Flickr

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Do Not Judge the Stash

It's a wonderfully, dreary day.  The kind where you can't go for a run, can't get groceries easily and so say, "Why bother?"  The kind of day where you are excused from rushing around...  perfect for reading and piddling.  I've been organizing my stash and planning my warm weather knitting.  If I share it with you, I may actually get it all done within this year.  Keep in mind that I didn't go out and buy it all at once; it's been collecting for some time, mostly on sale, and it's ripe for de-stashing.  Do not judge the stash.

I already mentioned the shorts I've begun, but I have the Downton Cowl on my needles, in madelinetosh DK (lowlands colorway.)  It's not far enough along to even have a photo.  But it will be coming along soon and I'm hoping to do the Rathtrevor Mitts, from Jane Richmond's Island, in the same color a little later.

On the Beach striped sweater, by Isabell Kraemer, with a sort of raw collar edge I love, in Capretta:

The Harnett Tank, by Allyson Dykhuizen, in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, one that could actually get a lot of use in my climate:

The Knickerbocker Tee, another design by Allyson, in our school colors, that I hope to finish before football season.   

I have to say that the above pattern seems so me that I got some Gynx Yarn in Catbus to combine with a tonal brown for a sockweight version in colors with less... "school spirit?"  (I can't say that phrase without mentally adding a lisp)

Another summery knit would be the Lace Stripes Tee .  I know; I have exactly one million Allyson Dykhiuzen or Holla Knits patterns queued up.  But I can't help it, they are that good; plus I'm a creature of habit.  So the Bamboo Ewe yarn, below, is what I would use, eventually.

Maybe I will finally get the Beulah Cardigan by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, knit in Cascade 220:

Another one that's not too heavy is the Serenity sweater by Sarah Fama, or another similar pattern from Rebecca Magazine, that looks like River's square dancing-on-crack sweater from Firefly.  I'll use Knit Picks Aloft held with some Kidsilk Haze that is ancient.  That's knitting as archeology.

Somewhere in all of this I have to pick what I will knit in the Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL hosted by Luvinthemommyhood.  It could be some of the things I mentioned above, which would be simpler, but it will probably be something from the upcoming Spring/Summer Holla Knits patterns.  That throws these de-stashing plans off, but just look at the link and see why.

Then, to the polar extreme, there is Aftur knit in Icelandic Istex Lett- Lopi that I can't wait to cast on even though I know it will be itchy misery on my lap in the summertime.

 Oh, and I still really want to make Agnes in Wool of the Andes Cadet:

I still plan to make the Sexxy Librarian sweater (yes, I feel silly every time I type or say that.  I mean, I've got the librarian part down, but...), by Lilith Ubbelohde, in City Tweed.  I really, really love City Tweed.

There are a couple of quick accessories that may or may not go with the wool I've chosen:

Renfrew, another one from Island, knit in Knit Picks Swish Tonal Thunderhead colorway: 

Simcoe Headband, by Tara Lynn Morrison, in Blue Sky Bulky.  Now, I realize I haven't experienced a day cold enough to wear this in two years, but it's like one skein of yarn, and fast, so I'm doing it.

From the same book comes the Markham Loop Collar that I will try out of Martha Stewart Lofty Wool (ballpoint colorway) that was so cheap I had to get it.  It may be a bit "too much" for this pattern but, again, I'm doing it.  Besides I've never used loop stitch and it looks fun.

And last, but not least, is some Valley Yarn's  NorthHampton for a Joji Locatelli Dragonflies Jumper.  It is destined to be.

If I can do this, I'll be almost yarn free.  I'm not counting scraps from these projects and the acrylic  yarns from the garage.

That's it.  Oh my gosh, I completely bored the internet to death.  But I do feel all fresh and focused.
If you really, really want more of this- Here my Rav page.