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Archive for April, 2005

I’m a Pattern Factory

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

Whew! I just am crazy-busy creating patterns these days, and delivering patterns to shops and individuals. The demand just keeps snowballing. I’m very grateful.

I am so amazed. I never started out to design patterns. I just make things up on my needles, and then people want to make what I created.

Now I know better, and I keep notes most times when I make up new things. My first patterns took easily over 40 hours to create, although I am getting a bit better at it now. It can be scary, trying to make sure there are no mistakes before it goes out. It took me a while to admit I’d intentionally design again!

That said, I’m very close to finishing my Cozy Corner Teapot Warmer (tea cosy) and even closer to ready for making Bags to Go! available for purchase. I’m cranking samples like crazy… my needles are hot! I am testing the pattern and taking photos to support unusual techniques I use. That means very little time for blogging. Thanks for your patience while I get through this push.

I have great photos from my Polymer class last Sunday at Threadbear. Unfortunately they were partly edited when my PC crashed the other day and I haven’t had time to do the editing again.

Therefore, right now you get a photo of a magnificent gate outside the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo (where the King Tut exhibit is housed). This is from the inside courtyard looking out, at sunset.

Such an odd place that is! The treasures are so amazing, but the way they are displayed for the most part is haphazard. Many things are not labeled at all, and some have handwritten loose notes in Arabic. Only in the very popular Tut and royal mummy exhibits were there labels like those I’ve grown to expect at museums in the US and Canada.

I was glad to be there under any circumstances, haphazard or not. I took this photo the week of Christmas, 2004.

Molly’s FFFooties, Bags to Go! Class, Abbott Brothers

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Fast Florida Footies knit by Molly HWowie, when it starts it keeps going. Molly just sent me this photo of her Fast Florida Footies. I have never seen this colorway (#9490, she says) before. These were for Molly herself, but wouldn’t this color of yarn look cute in a tiny size? Might be great to make kiddie footies and a matching hat or something, I’d say.

Thanks so much, Molly, for sharing your photo with me. Looking good!

Hey guys, I’ve focused so much on the sock class Sunday that I didn’t mention that I’m teaching my Bags to Go! class at Little Red Schoolhouse on Saturday morning. I found out today that it *is* a go, so if you want to join us there is still time. See the entry from yesterday for contact information.

Bags to Go! by LynnHThe class includes several pouches, all made on double pointed needles, in the round. It’s fat yarn so it knits up really fast.

One bag is a flat pouch, and can be made wide for a palm device, translator, calculator, power pack for a lavalier microphone, you name it… or slim for sunglasses or cellphone.

The other bag is a tube of sorts with a tie at the top, intended for a water bottle holder. Wool is the perfect insulator for a water bottle… it feels dry even when the bottle sweats, and wool is a great insulator even when wet. The eyelash yarns are optional. It’s about using one good yarn (I use Lamb’s Pride Worsted weight single-ply, a thick worsted) for the whole bag, and then playing with color and texture by knitting a second strand along with the first here and there for interest. Great fun, easy to make it look fabulous.

Fast Florida Footies knit by Molly HThese can be knit quickly… several in a day, if you have a lot of gifts to make. There is no boredom and even if you lose track of where you are in the pattern, for almost all of the bag it won’t matter at all. Only the beginning and end are for counting stitches… and it’s great summer knitting without a large pile of wool on your lap.

I hope to see some of you there. If you can’t make it, thanks for letting me brag a bit. I sure like *my* bags… when I wear them, people ask where I got them. Must be I did something right.

Oh, and last but not least, our band Abbott Brothers is playing at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine this Saturday. We will be there at 6:30-8:30pm, dinner hour. We would love to see some of you!

Linda M’s 3rd Pair of Fast Florida Footies

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Fast Florida Footies knit by Linda MLinda M. Writes:

Are you still interested in photos of your Fast Florida Footies? These were made for my daughter with size 10 feet so there are 48 rows between end of the gusset and beginning of toe. I used Cascade Fixation on size US5 needles (apx. 6.5 sts per inch, I’m a tight knitter=) then switched to size US2 for the last 3 rows. Oh, I added 1 extra row at the top for more roll.

Thanks for the pattern, this is my third pair.

Thanks for sending the photo, Linda!

I am so fascinated about how different knitters get different gauges in this yarn. I get 6.25 st/in with size 2, Linda gets 6.5 st/in with size 5. Two of my test knitters had to go to size 4 needles to get 6.25, but at least one got the same gauge on the same needles as I did. And it really settles in a lot when washed, so I remember being shocked when I lost a full stitch per inch, after I got the socklet wet. Many folks report that their socks look shrunk after washing but that they fit the same because of the lycra. Fascinating stuff.

For local folks, remember I’m teaching this class at Little Red Schoolhouse on this coming Sunday. It’s a one-time afternoon session, so it should be easy to fit into your busy schedule. You can contact Linda L. at 517/321-6701 if you would like to register.

Linda M., thanks so much for writing! I’m sure your daughter will enjoy these footies in the upcoming warm weather. (Crossing fingers on that one… it’s still in the 40’s F as I type this.)

Late But Worthy of Note

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

OK, so last week Tuesday we had summer. It was 79F and sunny. Saturday and Sunday it snowed and snowed, though it was very lovely snow if you did not have to drive. It was even easy to clean off the car… sticky, melty and warm, as snow goes anyway. flamingo with blooming flowers  flamingo in snow

I should not have been surprised. I can not remember an April without at least a few flakes. Some of the biggest blizzards come this late in the season. But wowie, that was so incredibly out of the blue!

Here is a photo of our spring garden under the mailbox, on Sunday, followed by a photo of our spring garden under the mailbox, on Monday. Also see our neighbor’s house. A forsythia bush, harbinger of true spring, plus a flowering bush on right (pink flowers center right of photo) and some red tulips (bottom right) are surrounded by snow. Go figure.

I could not help but think of a scene in the “Chronicles of Narnia” (a series of seven books for pre-teens, by CS Lewis). In the book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” the land has been always winter and never spring for years, under the spell of the white witch. When she dies, the heroes are walking through the woods and they can see things turn to spring before their eyes. All the snow melts in a matter of hours, and those using sleds for transportation (the bad guys, of course) can no longer move swiftly, and eventually can not move at all.

Snow cover and blooming flowersSo Monday as I left to meet Tony for lunch, there were several-inch piles of snow in most of the shady spots. At the same time, sunny spots were green, the birds were chirping, I didn’t need to button my coat, the sun was shining, and all I could figure was that the white witch was dead.

The Narnia stories are lovely, really. The heros/heroines are children who do real life things that aren’t always pretty, but they are quite real. Some things are messy in the physical sense, some bad choices have consequences. More real than many stories for this age group, never mind the parts about talking animals and magical happenings.

I’m sad that the bad guys in this series sometimes have dark hair and turbans, and the good guys are basically nordic. However, it was written in the 1950s and was a product of that time. The underlying stories and values are wonderful, not preachy at all, and although Mr. Lewis was a writer of Christian philosophy for adults as well, it doesn’t come across as specifically Christian at all. I am sure these books influenced my own personal theology in a good way.

My godparents gave me these books when I was 13 years old and I devoured them. In fact, I wore out that first set of paperbacks during my college years, and bought a second set. I still read them on occasion… at about 140 pages each, they can be read in one evening after work, while sitting happily on my heat vent. Adventure, but in a neat nutshell.

Hey, ho, the witch is dead! The nice weather seems to be sticking around here this time, and I’m really loving it.

Socks, Socks, Socks!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Socks knit by Tony FToday is all about socks. Tony’s socks, Linda’s Socks, my socks. Why not? Socks are what got me back into knitting after over a decade of putting the needles up in the attic.

Monday, when Tony and I went to lunch at the asian restaurant, he showed me a pair he’s been working on for a long while. Tony has to knit a lot more stitches to finish a pair for himself than I do, which must be a drag. These are from a Lorna’s Laces sportweight yarn, I believe. Nice job, Tony!

Tuesday, I sat in two different waiting rooms for a total of 45 minutes or so, then I took myself to lunch and knit while waiting for my meal. I finished the pair of toe-up socks I started for my class at Little Red Schoolhouse. They are Reggio (not Regia) which I got at that shop. I love this yarn. It’s cushy, cushy, cushy. I knit these on needles a little too big for a dense fabric but decided to just go ahead with them. If they wear out early, I know how to darn socks just fine.

Toe Up sox knit by LynnHI am not much of a stripe fan, and the garish look of asymmetrical and unmatching high-contrast stripes just was not turning out to my taste. I realized that if I wore them with the purl bumps out, I liked how the stripes blended colors at the edges. It’s a softer look and I like it much better.

A bonus with this look is that when the bumps are out, the sock is even more comfy, an issue when knitting at a larger-than-ideal gauge. I did have to go back and do a rib at the top rather than a rolled edge, because it would roll toward the knit side, not the reverse-stockinette/purl side, and that would just plain look backward if I wore it that way.

I must confess, I’m still half inclined to overdye these, perhaps with turquoise, to unify the colors a bit. I am not a fan of pink and red together. But for now I’ll wear them this way, and see how much it bugs me in a month.

Socks knit by Linda L of Little Red SchoolhouseYou do see the chains on the sides of the heel flap prominently with this way of wearing them. I didn’t plan to wear them this way when I picked up stitches for the gusset, or I might have picked up the stitches differently. In the end, I’m reasonably happy with the look of the socks and very happy with the fit/comfort. I’m sure I’ll wear them out!

I stopped by at Little Red Schoolhouse Tuesday night. Linda gave me a few hints on my crochet edge for my tank top, which I really, really appreciate. I’m hoping I can try that again soon. It may be Thursday, given all the promises I’m making to clients/yarn shops right now, and the classes I’m preparing for. However, her little session with me makes me feel more confident that I can make it look significantly better than I had it going on the first try. Thanks, Linda!!!

Linda had just finished a beautiful sock in Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn. I convinced her to let me take a photo of her sock while I was there. Nice job, huh? This pattern looks absolutely beautiful in this handpainted yarn. She says it’s easy to knit, too. The color of this photo is a little too light and pinkish. Really, it’s this nice sort of combination of rusts and navy, very nice but hard to get in a photograph.

Fast Florida Footie by LynnHAnd the last sock of the day is a tiny infant-sized socklet I knit last night so that Threadbear would have a sample now that they are carrying the Fast Florida Footies pattern. I didn’t have many hours but I had most of an hour so I decided to make the tiny one. And it’s so adorable, don’t you think? Makes you want to knit tiny things all the time.

By the way, friends… I’m teaching this Fast Florida Footies class this upcoming Sunday, at Little Red Schoolhouse. The timeframe is 1pm to 4pm. Since it’s a top down footie, we can cover all the essential parts of the pattern in that short time. If you want to do baby socks you can finish a pair in that time. If you do a pair for yourself, you’ll finish part of one sock but have all you need to finish it at home.

The FFFootie pattern in 8 Sizes is included in the cost of the class, which is $25 plus yarn, and this yarn is very reasonable. You can contact Linda at 517/321-6701 if you would like to register. This footie is wildly popular, to my delight. It’s a fast knit in very fun Cascade Fixation cotton/lycra yarn. Please join us.

Slow Blogging Thoughts/Garden Capelet Pattern

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Garden Capelet by LynnHI don’t know why, but I just am slow to blog today. I hate to let you guys down, so I’m making a little bit of a “plain vanilla” diary-like post today. It does end with a new pattern, though!

Bad Weather and Banjos
After having summery 79F weather on Tuesday, we had a *lot* of snow on Saturday night which stayed all day Sunday. (It all melted Monday.) Brian and I had gone to Dearborn (near Detroit) Saturday night, to a four-string Banjo Convention (you’d be shocked to hear how many of these there are when you start looking for them).

It was so fun, all the jam sessions were a blast. (It doesn’t hurt the ego at all when people tell you how great your music is… does it? I ate it up.) We jammed until too long, and then the snowy roads made coming home slooow going. We got home after 4am. Too late on a normal day. Waay too late when I work at noon… no matter how great the work is.

Polymer Clay at Threadbear
So Sunday starting at noon, I taught a wonderful Polymer Clay class to four folks at Threadbear. Loved every second, and did not feel at all tired once we got moving. Once I got home I took a short nap in the evening, and thought I was caught up.

Tired Monday Morning
Not so! Monday morning the phone rang and woke me too early (bedroom is upstairs, phone downstairs, I woke up halfway down). It was someone asking me to do more one-on-one computer training for them, which will be great. I can’t complain when others have a more sane schedule than me. That would be *my* problem.

Tony Makes Me Smile
I did try to sleep a little more after that but it didn’t work. Luckily Tony came to the rescue. He called and we decided to go for late lunch to a Thai/Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant he likes. I was thrilled that they do not use cornstarch or corn oil, so I was able to choose from many options on the menu. I ordered a rice-noodle Thai dish, very tasty.

Tank Top on Hold
I got to show Tony my finished Watercolor Bag. He showed me his finished socks (photo later). I showed him my almost-finished tank top. All the knitting is done, all the sewing together is done. I did the single crochet around the neck and armholes. I’m not at all happy with the crochet edge, so even though I finished what the pattern says, I can’t consider it done yet.

Tony suggested a smaller crochet hook for the project, which did help. However, it’s still very uneven (and I think my crochet gauge is actually fine, it’s the nature of the edge I’m trying to finish that is uneven). I gave it up for today and just knit in circles on some toe-up socks instead (the ones I started for my class recently), to relax.

After lunch, since Beaners (coffeehouse) was two doors down and I have been craving really good English Breakfast tea, we stopped there to pick up some good tea and a shortbread cookie. We ran a few errands together and talked about art, yarn, digital photos, weather, you name it. He is *such* good company. I really enjoyed that time together.

I got home late afternoon, made one phone call for a client, then took a two hour nap! Just what the doctor ordered, I guess. I *know* I can not handle 4:15am any more. I can do 3:30 and I’m OK, but 4 is past my limit, for sure. I just don’t bounce back well these days.

Learning to Rest, a Little
So basically my Monday was a “recover from Saturday night” day. I guess other people take time off on weekends every week, right? Two days? I feel a little guilty taking even one day, but I had no choice today. It was nap or get sick. I did enjoy the nap.

At night, I did get some work done. I had the lovely work tonight of replying to a possible request for Brian and I to perform a concert in October as The Fabulous Heftones. I hope that works out, it should be a really fun event. If it goes through, I’ll write more here at a later date.

Garden Capelet Pattern Debut
I also got an order from Threadbear Sunday for some patterns, so I printed those, put them in page protectors, printed their invoice, and knit a tiny sample socklet (for the Fast Florida Footies pattern).

The guys at Threadbear spurred me to do the final finishing on the Garden Capelet pattern. It is available for purchase as of right now… no web page to announce it yet, but the price will be $5 retail. It is the same deal I’ve been offering for a while… $0.90 postage for one pattern, free shipping for more than one pattern. It’s a nice pattern, much easier than the ColorJoy Stole. It calls for merely 3 yarns, and is not knit randomly which makes it easier for many folks to knit. Still dressy, still lovely, easier to finish quickly if you are working toward a deadline like prom or a wedding.

I was working in PhotoShop with a lot of images at once, including photos of Sunday’s polymer clay class. However, I tried to work with a too-large photo, overflowed my RAM memory *and* my virtual memory, and crashed PhotoShop. Therefore, I have no new photos today (and I got a nice one of a blooming forsythia bush in the snow, I’ll have to show you at a too-late date for news).

Here’s a photo of the Garden Capelet again. I actually did a second capelet in purple and turquoise, and it’s at Little Red Schoolhouse, but somehow I neglected to get photographs of it completed. I don’t know how that happened. I’m slowly doing one more capelet in pale spring green and aqua/blue, but that one is only about 5 inches long on the needles right now. Tomorrow is another day, as they say!

My Students!

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

two brothers with their knittingI am so pleased with the classes I’ve had recently. My students are totally the best! I showed you Irene with her Watercolor Bag two days ago. Here are some more belated photos of my students and their projects of the last few weeks.

two brothers with their knittingFirst, two brothers in my CityKidz Knit! program at Foster Community Center. This was their second week. They both finished their first project, wristbands. The younger one is already done with his second project, a dice bag for playing games, out of gray wool-ease someone out there (one of you reading this now perhaps) sent as a donation to my program. He did a finger-crocheted drawstring which worked great for his needs. He is now knitting a bag for his grandmother, from some purple acrylic also donated by someone wonderful out there (purple goes fast).

The other brother is working on a larger project that he came up with himself. I can’t remember what that project is right now. I did have a lot of first wristbands and other finished objects this last week, but with six knitters Wednesday and nine knitter Thursday, I was so busy I did not have time to take photographs.

two brothers with their knittingBut also, I had a toe-up sock class at Little Red Schoolhouse. Here are photos of Cheryl and her first toe-up sock (she has made other types of socks before), and Amy’s foot wearing her first sock ever! I had three others in the class, but two were not able to be there the last day and the fifth, Dian, decided her sock was not the way she wanted so she ripped it back and started over. Good for her, though it will take a while for her to catch up.

I have more photos of students to share. I’ll catch up on those soon, I hope. Meanwhile, can you see why I love this work I do? The best!

My Watercolor Bag!

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

I wore my bag Thursday! I put my Kelly tank top in it, mostly knit, and carried it around with me. I didn’t knit out of it, but I didn’t mind. I love the size, the lack of weight, the rainbow colors, the soft texture.

It’s so odd, that Noro Kureyon yarn. The colors are what it is all about. I don’t really love how it feels when I knit with it. I don’t mind it much, but it’s sort of scratchy. Yet just throw it in the washing machine for 20 minutes, and it’s fuzzy and springy and absolutely lovely to touch. Cinderella!

Here are photos of my bag. First, you see the finished pre-felting size. It’s 20 inches lying flat, meaning 40 inches around.

Next, you see the bag after emerging from 20 minutes of hot water wash and then a cold water rinse (in my beat-it-up old fashioned washing machine). These photos are the same width, if that helps you see how much it has shrunk. The bag, after felting/shrinking, measures 16″ flat or 32″ around. You can also see that the colors of the yarn have blended in that painterly, watercolor sort of way. On this bag I liked the stockinette side best (for the pink/orange version I knit, I liked the reverse stockinette side out better).

By the way, the bag here in the photos has two skeins of one colorway and one skein (the center) of a different colorway. The other two bags on my pattern page, have three different colorways per bag, plus the solid colored trim.

Last you see my bag assembled and hanging happily on a doorknob. On my purple door with turquoise trim. I love my house!!! I love my bag, too!

Do you notice that the I-cord handle is a slightly darker/bluer color than the edge trim? I had 120 inches of already finished I-cord left from the first bag I made (the blues/turquoise version that lives at Yarn Garden right now, see my pattern page to see photo). I didn’t see any reason to make more I-cord when this went so well with the bag I made. So the edge trim and the bottom of the bag are sort of a dark turquoise, mostly greenish yarn. The I-cord is a little bluer. Both work perfectly with the whole bag as an artpiece. I love this bag!

What Was Lost, is Found!

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

Irene A. with LynnH Watercolor BagMy Watercolor Bag is in my washer right now! I had left it at my student’s house (that would be Officiallyaknitter) last Thursday when I popped in to fix a hiccup in her knitting, between Foster Center and visiting my brother. I’m so relieved. She *had* written to tell me I’d left a sock there, and a bag. I thought she meant a baggie holding the sock in progress. Actually, it was a sample sock, knit years ago (for my toe-up sock class, pattern released just a few days ago). And my knitted, AWOL bag. I’m delighted.

I can’t wait to have my own bag, just for me. Right now I’m knitting such large projects that this bag may be too small for my main carry-all, but when I get back to socks this summer, I’ll be ready. Or maybe I’ll make it my dance bag (holding a hip scarf, finger cymbals, shrug, a few CDs), who knows?

Here is a somewhat-fuzzy photo of Irene A. with her own recently-finished version of the Watercolor Bag. She took my class at Little Red Schoolhouse fairly recently, but I had not yet seen her bag since she finished it. Gorgeous.

Irene used one colorway for all three skeins of Noro Kureyon, but there is enough variety between the three skeins to give it that handpainted look I love. At her class, she decided to change the solid color of her bag to turquoise (I think from purple) and I think she definitely made the right choice, don’t you? Great bag, Irene!

By the way, that handsome guy in the background on the right (in focus, actually… the camera wanted him to be the center of attention) is my friend Rob (Black Dog) of Threadbear Fiberarts. Actually, you can see a tiny bit of Matt (also from Threadbear) in a white shirt hiding behind Irene on the left. This photo sort of gives you the guys’ personalities right there… Matt would rather be the observer more often than not, and Rob and I are two peas in a pod, social butterflies from the word Go! I love them both, for being just exactly who they are. So there!

Toddler Sweater machine-knit by LynnHIn other news, it appears that my toddler sweater is done. Never mind that I forgot it at home today, it turned out that Anne couldn’t make the Habibi Dancers’ rehearsal today either. It can wait one more week, if need be. We are going from yesterday’s summer temperatures (78F), back to standard spring chill (55F), starting tonight. I will not worry, I will not worry, I will not worry…. everyone who has children and has seen this sweater says it will fit the child just fine with space to grow. I hope so!

Didn’t it turn out great? I modeled the final collar style after my favorite sweater, the one I always grab when I want to be warm and comfy all day during the dead winter. Mine is turquoise mohair, and the collar has about 13 rows (at a tiny gauge) of K2P2 ribbing, followed by about 13 rows of stockinette, that curls all by itself.

This sweater is at a much larger gauge (4.5 st/in) and so I needed only six rows of rib before 12 rows of stockinette. I used a crochet hook instead of my right needle when binding off, and made one crocheted chain stitch after every bound off stitch, to make the bind off stretchy enough for a child. Since I did that many rows of stockinette, it curls under enough to hide that bind off row that looks a little different than expected. Success!

The toddler sweater really needed to be stretchy to go over her toddler-sized head (read: bigger than one might imagine), but I did not want it to gap open and show the inner construction, as did the first two rolled-collar styles I tried. This one will work out just fine, I think. Actually, I just took a chance and pulled it on over my own head with no trouble. I can’t wear the sweater, but the collar is stretchy enough now. Whew!

And now… while I sat here typing this, my Watercolor Bag finished shrinking in the washer. Oh, my! I’m pleased, it looks wonderful. When I’m done posting here, I’ll prop it to dry overnight. I’ll do my best to bring you photos in the next few days. I also have a handful of photos of my students and their work… two socknitting students and a photo from my CityKidz Knit! program.

Fixing, Fiddling, Finishing

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

I’m on an odd mission right now. I want to fix things that aren’t right. I’ve darned 4 pair of socks in the last month, and at least one or two are waiting for me to complete them.

In the same vein, I finally sewed together that toddler sweater, after machine-knitting its four component pieces well over a year ago. I think I’m OK on the collar finally, will need to bind off more loosely and perhaps give the sweater to Anne tonight (if my headache doesn’t insist I take a sick day from dance rehearsal… we will see).

I bought a beautiful cotton-blend intarsia sweater at a resale shop right before I went to Africa. I love how it fits, but the sleeves are maybe 3″ too long and they look horrible turned up. The sleeves came with an interesting sawtooth edge that I really wanted to preserve.

I brainstormed with Sarah Peasley about this sweater last night at Knitting Guild and she figured I can unsew the armhole seam, since it’s a straight dropped sleeve design, pull up the sleeve from the top at a pleasing location, resew at the top, cut off the excess fabric on the inside, and sew up the extra 1″ or so of side seam under the sleeve. Brilliant. When I’ll do it, I’m not sure, but it’s on my A list. I really want to wear the sweater. A cotton sweater with brightly colored flowers is perfect this time of year.

And today I am finally dealing with a ColorJoy Stole that had THREE dropped stitches, just before the increase row. Those, thank goodness, are reasonably easy to hide.

I use a crochet hook to bring the loops up to the increase row, then I use sewing thread and a double-square knot in two strands of sewing thread, to attach the dropped stitch to the knitted fabric. Then I cut off that sewing thread at the same length as all the eyelashes in the stole.

While I’m wearing it, you can’t see the repair at all. If you hold it up to the window during sunlight, you probably can find it if you are determined to find it. I’m not re-knitting for that! This particular stole is two different mohairs and two different eyelash yarns, plus some “flag” yarns. It will be really really hard to find my repair unless you are really looking.

This stole has never been bound off properly so I am now ready to do the binding off. It’s a gorgeous stole, and I’m happy I will have it looking right today.

And I’m still working on the tank top. I have maybe 2 rows left before the decreases. I have to work decreases when I’m alone in silence, I’m not used to this sort of knitting yet. So that will be tonight, again if the headache doesn’t put me in bed. Last night my eye even hurt… so I went to bed and that helped. We had no pollen three days ago and yesterday it hit, nearly every tree went from barren to green in three days. I’m not the only one suffering right now. But I do love the warmth and the flowers, and this, too, shall pass.

Have a great spring day, those of you who are lucky enough to be warm.

Headache/Work Day

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

teacosiesWell, the maple pollen has arrived for the year, and that unfortunately has slowed me down. Headache week, a predictable thing each spring, has hit. Thank goodness for ibuprofen, I can be sociable with it and I might wish to stay in bed without it.

Nevertheless, I got a lot done today. I cleaned house and I can actually tell I did something. I did a little knitting on the tank top and knit three (count ’em, three) collars for the toddler sweater. This third one looks like it will work, but I need to practice all I taught at my toe-up socknitting class, about binding off loosely. I need to un-bind the edge of the collar and do it again, with E-A-S-E and then some. After all, it’s for a toddler and toddlers have big heads. I’m really OK with doing it again to get it right, but I will wait on that for tomorrow. I see Anne, the toddler’s mother, tomorrow night. I don’t need to have this done before that.

We had Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild tonight. Love that group. It’s big but friendly. Tonight I got there late enough that it was a little hard to find a chair at a table that was not empty. I ended up joining our President and Vice President at the front, nobody seemed to mind. I do better when I’m not in the back row, I lose concentration easily and did not want that tonight.

It was good to see everyone there. Several folks had some amazing knitting done. Sharon P was wearing her Pyramid Sweater. Wowie, are the colors on that one just perfect. No photograph could do it justice (not that I have one to even try). Gorgeous.

Rob and Matt of Threadbear were there, and Linda of Little Red Schoolhouse Yarns also came. I sat very near her, and that was sort of fun. Usually when I see these three yarn shop owners, they are so busy with work that it’s hard to socialize. They are great folks and it’s fun to do something mostly social sometimes.

My, it was a fun night.

We tried to rehearse tonight after I got home. Headaches don’t like live ukulele music, or at least not this one, not today. Bummer.

I think I’ll go veg on the couch and try to start the armhole decreases for the front of my tank top. I hope I have enough focus left to do that, but I’m sure going to try.

Photo: Small and Large teacosies (pattern is called Cozy Corner Teapot Warmer). It’s my newest pattern. Well, it will be ready probably this week. Never a dull moment!

Aaaah, a Good Rest

Monday, April 18th, 2005

tank topI had such a great day off! I spent a lot of time on the porch in my hammock, my favorite place in the world. I ate good food, made brownies, went for a half-hour walk in our lovely neighborhood. And touched a whole lot of yarn!

I knit a lot on my Kelly tank top, have started the fourth ball of yarn (and the piece will probably take 5 balls if I figure right). I’m something like 8 inches from the bottom of the front. I need 11 inches before I start the armholes.

I will finish the front before I tear out the back (see photo). I want to knit more back fabric and maybe widen the straps. This pattern calls for a single-crocheted edge at the neck and armholes (I like single crochet best of all crochet stitches so this part sounds fun, if I can make the gauge work properly). That means it will have wider straps than you see here, but I may still want it a little wider, I’m not sure. I am glad I do not have to decide that today.

Actually, I’m surprised with how the pattern goes for the front panel, since I read it more carefully. The photo shows what I thought were increases at the bustline, for the obvious reason that many women need a little extra room there. Well, there is shaping there, but it’s not really any increase. Apparently the shaping is just to bring the eye to the wearer’s pretty curves. The ribs just stretch to accommodate the shape. Boy bait! That makes sense, since the pattern is geared for a young audience… I am definitely not in their intended demographic group!

I don’t need a new man, I’ve got the right one already. I think I’ll skip all that shaping. That means less chance to make a mistake, faster knitting, and I wasn’t sure if I liked the look anyway. Cool! I’m so funny. I just can not knit anything without changing it.

I thought I’d crochet yesterday as well, but I could not find the crochet hook I bought last week at Yarn Garden for this project. So much for that. Then today I found myself at two different yarn shops and they didn’t have the hook I needed either, I must need some size that is an odd one or something. No matter, I have plenty to work on and will do crochet when it becomes easy to do so.

I was going to felt the Watercolor Bag I made for myself. Well, I can not find it anywhere. The darned bag is AWOL. Drat. I figured I’d left it in my classroom at Foster, but went there on Monday and didn’t see it there, either. That is the last place I remember seeing it for sure, last Thursday during CityKidz Knit. It doesn’t seem to be at Little Red Schoolhouse or Threadbear, either. It isn’t in my car. I guess it’s time to really get down to organizing my house/knitting stuff.

Toddler SweaterOK… so what I did instead of crochet or felt, is I finally sewed together the four pieces of a toddler sweater that I finished over a year ago. I took a machine knitting class at Yarn for Ewe and our sample project was a sweater in what I think is a size 3T. I didn’t know anyone that size at the time. Now my friend Anne’s daughter probably can wear it. Since it’s getting warmer, I think it’s time to really hurry and finish the sweater.

I think the sweater is really adorable, in turquoise and lime stripes (Encore Worsted, a washable 75 acrylic/25 wool yarn). It has rolled edges everywhere there is an edge. The bottom rolls up enough that I wish I had made the bottom two inches or so, all the same color. I have a lot of ends to hide on that bottom roll, where there really is not a front or back… all sides could show. Hiding the ends is a mess, but I’m doing my best with duplicate stitch.

All I have left is to pick up stitches around the neck and knit a few rows to make a rolled collar. Everyone warns me that children have way big heads next to adults so I need to be sure it will fit OK. I can not find the skein of turquoise yarn so the collar will be lime. No problem, the child has blonde hair, looks typically Norwegian true to her ancestry, and will look wonderful in it that way. Isn’t the sweater adorable so far?

Photos: Back of Kelly rib tank, Toddler sweater sans collar.

Time Off, Now What?

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

daffodilsMy class for today cancelled. I have an entire day off, with nothing, literally nothing, on my calendar.

It’s funny, I say I have put two days a week on my calendar for time off, but that is not true at all. Tuesdays I have a new dance class just before noon, and in the afternoon I rush home to listen to the Flaming Ukulele Radio Hour, usually followed at night by a guild meeting or knit in. That would be my schedule for a slow “day off” on those Tuesdays that I don’t make business appointments or class committments during the day. And lately I’ve taken to scheduling classes every waking moment, as a cushion for all the classes that naturally cancel.

Fridays also are my “day off” but Brian is also off which sometimes makes it a work-at-home day. Sometimes we have performances (we had a private concert this last week), sometimes I dance, and more often than not I schedule a class to teach.

But a full day with nothing? Not even a guild meeting? I’m a bit of a workaholic, although I truly love my work and don’t complain much. However, today I’m practicing a loose concept of a sabbath (as defined by me, not an organized religion). A day where pushing hard/working is not part of the plan. I will knit only what I love knitting, want to knit, enjoy. I will not knit samples or test patterns. I will answer only the emails that must be answered.

I used to work with a woman who implored me to take a day off, where I stayed on the couch and sipped tea all day. To knit and listen to music and truly relax. To not get dressed all day. Well, sometimes I don’t get dressed, but I work at my desk/computer the whole time.

So this time I may dabble in some crochet. I may bake brownies (I can only eat brownies when I make them myself… no corn oil, egg or milk… but I’ve been craving them lately so I may give in to the drudge of kitchen work for the delight of baked chocolate). I surely will take a walk in the neighborhood and look at all the blooming trees and flowers. I will drink many cups of wonderful tea.

I think I’ll even go out on the porch in the hammock (with many layers to keep me warm, as I get chilled easily). Maybe I’ll feel like taking the spinning wheel out there (I love spinning on the porch), or maybe not.

Today for lunch I’m having a roll-up, almond butter and pumpkin butter on a wheat tortilla… simple and fabulous. I hope you enjoy your day, as well.

Photo shows the lovely results of warmer weather this week. These daffodils were planted by my father, who died in 1973. They insist on thriving long past their life expectancy. The photo was taken with flash, in the dark. Exciting, huh?


Saturday, April 16th, 2005

I’m humbled and astounded. My First-Time Toe-Up Sock pattern is selling like hotcakes already. I can’t believe the number of people sending orders my way. OK, it’s not a huge number, but I’ve had more orders in two days than I sometimes get in a month. I’m thrilled.

Thank you so much, every one of you out there reading this, supporting me, ordering my small and humble offerings. I am grateful.