Monday, March 3, 2008

...erg..schniggle..schnarf...snarf...gnashing of the teeth...

Have I ever said how
MUch, much, much
I, I, I



and truly, truly


I try, I get them figured out...I think...and then somewhere, somehow...I f**k them up.

Can't help it. Knitting charts make me feel this loopy:


That is truly me at the end of what-should-be-a-relaxing-evening-of-knitting when I have to use a knitting chart. You should be in on my psychedelic torture dreams after one of these anxiety-inducing evenings.

Write it out, you say? Tried that....that's just as bad, maybe even worse.

Every time I use a knitting chart I freaking re-invent the pattern...thank gawd for pics of the finished objects or I would be hopelessly lost.

WHY? Well, the symbols are never quite the same from pattern to pattern, the logic of the arbitrary symbols is almost ALWAYS the opposite of mine, the teenytinylittlefreakingboxes are really the stuff of nightmares for me....and I just do. NOT. learn. that. way, gawdblessamerica!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So...what am I doing? Debbie Bliss' Silver Belle. Wish I could post the pattern, but everything I find is down. Thank goodness I already saved the pdf...I think they are going to try to charge for it now...

Gorgeous sweater...I know, Mom, you want to see what I am aspiring to, but I am being thwarted here.

So glad the repeats are consistent...soon I shall BURN, BURN, BURN these charts.

So here is the SLOW progress...actually, the red you see is from what I would call my tutorial swatch...I cast on all the stitches and got busy with the chartfromhell. When my yarn came in, I frogged the red back to the 1st row and am using that as a provisional cast-on...I already hate the hem so will use my new favorite knit picot cast-off when I am done. (If you are feeling a very cranky vibe in this post, yes, it is me...)

The yarn is a beautiful merino (64%), angora (10%), nylon (24%), and metallic (2%) blend from Rowan Yarn/Webs. Love it, love it...though it is not as purple as it looks here.

So, here I am taking pics after a long, braincellsucking, eyeballexhausting day of digitizing, and the oldest diva comes in, looks into my creative space, pics up the gestating object, and asks rudely, "What the hell is this?"
My divas really are so lucky sometimes that I am not a slapper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I tried to explain, but not being a knitter, all she could do was harrumph.

Here we go...more markers than I think I have ever used...Molly really could not understand the red...

The color is really showing all wrong. The yarn is a beautiful plum color...I know all monitors are different, but this is close on mine.

So, I think 11 hours working on the computer is good to screw around with this CHARTFROMHELL again.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lacy 2-layer Cloche is done

I have been contemplating several cloche patterns lately, so imagine my surprise when my experiment took on a cloche shape! Molly & Meave were home at a decent hour this afternoon, so even though I made this for Maggie, they modeled it first. I put in on Meave first, and Molly says,"Hey, that looks like a flapper hat!" "Yes, dear child, it is called a cloche." The rest of the conversation had to do with french and bells and that she MIGHT actually wear something like this...

First Meave... (this was actually taken later after Maggie got home because she NEEDED to take one more pic...but it is my favorite...messy face and all. She slapped it on her head just right and stated she was wearing this to school tomorrow. Maggie said she was going to have to fight her for it.)


Those big brown eyes just make me want to eat her up!!! Sometimes I just can't stop hugging and kissing her...and then there is a big sigh right before she says, "Okay Mama, I love you, but you can stop now..."




Just had to cut up for the camera at least once...

Now for the oldest diva...she is so comfortable in front of a camera! I am starting to understand why photographers like doing this...a good model is fun to take pics of!

She has her mass of hair put up, so the hat sits back, but she likes this, too. So far, it is 2 for 2 in the opinion poll.


Finally, the Diva Maggie has arrived home. She is tired, cranky, hungry, irascible...but she likes the hat, believe it or not!

Her blue extensions match! Yes, my 12 year-old has blue extensions...these are on the sparse side now. She really does not ask for much, so when she requested these for her birthday, I gave them to her.


Meave has now demanded one of these for herself. Damn, I was hoping to go off to something else....

There is a bit more about this hat at the end of Knitting...& another experiment .

Monday, February 18, 2008

Knitting...& another experiment

I LOVE this photo...this will be reproduced in a large size and planted on my rogue's wall...

Some day my daughters will go on their merry way...they will have lives that are wildly successful the way they want them to be...they will define themselves...and I will have amazing pics like these on my wall. They will have to SOOOOOOOO deal with it!!!


Ok, after this experiment: Ice Queen Wimple - I tried again. Totally different yarn than this pattern was designed for and I added a cable in between the pattern repeats. Wanted it to be warm for Susan’s early morning bus duty and wanted to add something Celtic…so, I made it with a warmer yarn, tighter tension, and a cable just ‘cause I felt like it!!!

Finally done and of the divas messing around as usual…
Obviously not as lacy as the original pattern…
Above Molly has tucked in the lower collar in a way I would not have thought of...

Good cowl look.

And here we see how it is made to keep the chest & shoulders warm. No need for a scarf.


And the length added to keep things even at the back when the hood is pulled up is accomplished by adding short rows into the patterns. Have I ever said how much I hate short rows? It is weird enough having to figure out which method to use so holes don't show when working only in stockinette, but figuring out how to integrate them into this pattern was a challenge. I did get it to work, and the only way you might know they are there is if you are one of those that find the shortness at the back of these tube-hoods when it is pulled up over the head as annoying as I do...notice there is no pulling which would be shown by the back being shorter than the front. In fact, I think it might even be a bit longer in the back! Mission accomplished!


So, I am determined to make some things work...for myself. Above, the short rows take care of weirdness inherent in a hood that must come up over the back of a head. Below, I am trying a two layer hat for both color and warmth. First I knit the under cap in blue...

...crocheted on the new multi-colored green...
...crocheted a chain through both layers to make it easier for me to knit the correct number of rows for the outside lacy cap...and the pattern had already created this scalloped edge! So cool! I used a feather and fan pattern like the hood above. Did not mean to use the same pattern, but when I looked at lace pattern ideas, it jumped out at me before I realized it was the same.

Maggie asked for a green and blue hat...
I hope she will like this cloche hat idea.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ice Queen Wimple

So here's the pattern: Ice Queen. Easy pattern to get into a groove with. A bit more about this one here: Susan's Wimple...

As usual, I messed with it a bit. I wanted it wide enough at the bottom to cover the shoulders, so I started with larger needles and looser tension on the yarn, then switched to smaller needles, choked up on the tension, and decreased a bit more. Even though I had a good pattern, I frogged a couple of times for one reason or another. Still, it ended up being a little too “fitting” around the neck for Susan, so I am giving this to a Diva with a little neck. Tired of frogging this sucker! (See “Froggin' a Flop for the evolution of this project.)


Here we have Diva Maggie modeling the wimple with the appropriate demeanor...she asked "What the hell is a wimple?" as I was putting it on her. (Yes, my lovely daughter a sailor...but that is a story for another day.) I did not explain very well, just mumbled something about nuns and covering the hair, I arranged the hood in a more wimple-like fashion as part of my explanation and she gave me the pose above.

Now, I have a problem with the way these tubes fit since our faces are not directly on the TOP of our heads! They pull down in the back on me, and I find that really irritating. So, I integrated short rows to add more curve to the back of this hood. The short rows worked very well. Once I figured out how to integrate them into the pattern so nothing looks amiss, it was quite easy. I may add a few more on the next wimple for Susan so that it can rest more easily on the head without the pull down the back.


Here is the side view of the nun-configuration of the wimple. Hanging pretty well in the back.


Here we have Miss Mags back in truer form, attitude glowing because she is really not happy with me at the moment...tried to arrange going out with the "girls" tonight like she's a teenager and I am her chauffuer...NOT happening. The wimple is pulled back into a more typical wearing place.


And here you can see it hangs even more evenly in the back.

These next pics are only to show that I still have the touch...
Pic on the left is her refusal to smile just 'cause I asked and because Diva attitude must rule. Pic on the right is proof that Mama can still pry a good smile out of her whether she likes it or not! Mama rules!!!


As you can see, it is an interesting shape because of the short rows. The end that fits around the head looks very odd in the pic, but I think it is because it is folded so the top/middle scallop seems to sit back from the 2 below it.


I really like this pattern and the scallops it creates at the bottom.


I also really like this particular picot bind off. Definitely not a fast bind off, but very pretty. The directions for this bind off can be found in the pattern itself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"You make my Day!"

It is not often that I hear that. I usually hear, "Are you really gonna start MY day like THAT?! Go back to bed!" from my husband.

So Kathy, thank YOU...'cause that made my day!

Kathy, from Knitting Weather, has given me this award:


I love going to her blog to see the newest beautiful knitted piece that she has created and to see the photos of the scenery she is surrounded by. She writes in a quiet way...I think I would be calmer if I lived where she does...gorgeous.

I am now supposed to pass this award on to 10 more people. Even counting Kathy's blog, I do not think I am drawn consistently to ten blogs. I read all sorts of things, but it is a rare blog that captures my loyalty. Too many of them are narcissistic and self-conscious...that bugs me. Many are just plain boring and that's...boring. And the few others that I like just don't get updated that often.

So, in alphabetical order, these are the places that I go & why. One thing that can be said of them all is that they are written by kind people who all possess very giving natures. These are people I wish I could have coffee with once a week:

Chasing Bunny - Peggy is an absolutely stunning knitter. The way she troubleshoots, figures things out and changes patterns is amazing to me. It seems very mathematical which I truly appreciate. I am always inspired by what she accomplishes...and she does it all with 2 young boys at home!! She seems very patient...and she definitely has more energy than me!

Kate Quilts - Kate makes Irish dance dresses, knits, AND quilts. We have started a quiet friendship through email exchanges...we understand one another, I think. I have learned more than a few things about Australia through her letters, and one of these days I am going to visit!

Lazy Kate - Another Kate...or Katie, like my sister. Katie and I are great pen-pals! Something will set one of us off and there might be 6 or 8 long missives passed between us! I love it. She is very smart, has a wicked sense of humor, and rivals my own sister Kate for her grasp on the true art of snarkiness! She does not post terribly often...I keep waiting to see more of the medieval costuming that she does...hint, hint...

Megamaid - Meg is one of those truly gentle souls that just kind of glow. I actually get to spend time around her every once in a while, and I always enjoy it immensely. She is writing more and more on her blog these days and I love getting to know her and her family. She is also a poet...I was so touched by a poem she wrote a while back which is saying something as I do not usually tune in very well to poetry. Even her emails have good vibes!

Megsdance Mumblings - This Meg is an extremely interesting, driven in a quiet way, involved...because of her line of work, she does not seem to be able to tell us all she might like. I met her when we made her Irish solo dress, and we had some great conversations whenever I got to see her. She is a very positive force in the bizarre cult of Irish dance.

Picperfic - I "met" Marianne when I stumbled upon her blog...she is another amazing knitter and an incredibly talented photographer. Just like Meg's poetry, Marianne's photos click with me. I have learned so much about her through her art. She is such a wonderful, giving person...if she didn't live way on over in England, I think we would be phone buddies! She is planning her wedding to Barry, a man whose love shines through her descriptions of their life together. It is so lovely getting glimpses of a life that finally makes her happy!

Unexplored Territory - This woman, Meredith, makes me laugh! We are long lost siblings, twins separated at birth...a decade or so apart...we really have the same birthday! She does have a knitting blog, (we also "met" because of the knitting) but it is this blog about her family that keeps me in stitches! She expounds hilariously upon all things...nothing is sacred which so helps to put my own life in perspective. This woman is a young Erma Bombeck.

So that's 8 works for me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"When Knitting is Heroic..."

Ok, this is a good one...just for a chuckle.

When Knitting Is Heroic; No Yarns of Danger Could Deter This Old Lady.

New York Times

March 15, 1908, Sunday
Section: MAGAZINE SECTION, Page SM3, 666 words

COMING up from Washington to New York one day a woman was seen to make herself comfortable in one of the big chairs in the parlor car, and when the train was well under way she proceeded to take out some pretty silk knitting work, which would seem an ideal occupation for a journey of a few hours, as it involves no eye strain and gives one joyous sense of time well spent. [ END OF FIRST PARAGRAPH ]

The rest of the article is here.

Maggie's Felted Hair

Can you see it?

It's alive!!! It truly has a mind of its own... and eyes and teeth!

She says it is her friend!


This appears daily. I kid you, not. We use conditioner, we banish it every morning. If we do not brush her hair at night, this is what has materialized the next morning. There is a small one when she gets back from school...and we should take the time to detangle it, but we so hate the process that we ALWAYS conveniently forget. This one was a determined bugger - we had put her hair in a ponytail to try to stave it off, but it appeared anyway. Above and below the hair elastic...INSIDE the hair elastic. It's demonic...

Cut it off, you are thinking. Yeah...I threaten to do just that everytime we sit down for the hour ordeal of getting it out. But I can't do it. Long hair is just Maggie. Besides, she needs it for Ado Annie. And when it is brushed, she has the most beautiful waves with curls around her face.

We used to use Aussie Knot Forgotten. Brilliant stuff. She could comb her hair out in the shower. But the morons discontinued it and it cannot be found anywhere.

I am sitting here writing this because I don't want to go sit over there and work on that creature.

Anyone know of a magic bullet to kill this thing with?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Susan's Wimple...

...or smoke ring...or cowl. (By the way...Susan, if you are ignoring me and looking at this post...GO AWAY!!!)

I finally gave up on my attempts to be creative...setting myself a goal to create a pattern seemed to doom it to the nether regions of hell. So, I finally found one that I like: Ice Queen. There are no beads in this one...those tiny, rolly, shifting buggers would only make me crazier than I am. Eew, eew, ick...fuzzy yarn is as far as I go on the tiny stimulation spectrum.

So here is the progress...

I am liking this. I am messing with the pattern (as usual). I want it to cover the shoulders so I started with a larger needle size and a loose tension on the yarn. Now that I am moving into the part that will cover the head, I have switched to a smaller needle, tightened the yarn tension, and I will decrease a bit more than the pattern calls for.

So far, so good.

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