Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday FO! (#3)

Malcolm and Lucy (obviously) enjoyed their first birthday cakes this past Saturday (way down South)! They're wearing them in this picture. We finally got on Skype last week and got a web cam so we've all been talking to them and seeing them a lot lately. I've watched them eat blueberries and Cheerios, drive their little cars (sideways and upside-down), dance when you sing to them, swing on their mommy's hair, and clap for themselves often, loving it when you join in. And well they should--they are amazing, applaud-worthy babies!
Daughter #3 came over yesterday and we made a skirt! We went to Hancock and found the easiest pattern for a skirt ever and had the thing done in less than three hours. It was Natalie's first time on the sewing machine and she did great! I helped her with the tricky parts, but she worked on each step of the process. Don't you love this pretty fabric she picked out?

Here is our skirt FO. Hurray for us! And hurray for my 30-year-old (plus!) Kenmore. Still going strong!

I just have to show you some cleaning and organizing I got done this morning (trying to forget about a very important e-mail that is not coming...and not coming...and not coming). Those of you who were here with me for this will be amazed.

You can also now see the surface of my planning table, unlike in this post (again).

Oh, and you came expecting a knitting FO?

Well, here's one. I finished the last of the baby cardigans. This was the Mission Falls 136 one I told you about in this post. I still have to find and affix buttons, but it's close enough to FO for me!

The sun is shining here and I am going to go out in it for a bit. I hope you can see some sunshine today!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Signs of Spring

Dadgummit. I told you guys I would do some posts this week besides just the WWIP and the Friday FO. I didn't even get those posted! There are some WIP's and FO's around here, but it was a weird week. I think it's spring allergies (or internal chemical conflagration) making my brain akin to pudding. Rice pudding. With raisins.

But, alas, it is Spring! Here's what has been going on around here, appropos to spring.

(Please excuse the fuzzy cell phone cam pics.)

Knitting on the patio* (in flip flops!)

Babies eating cuppy-cakes (having raised three daughters on Sesame Street ingrains the SS Speak)
Happy Birthday to Malcolm and Lucy this past Wednesday! They made it through the first year...with style!

And a pile of Caucasian baby dolls seen at a local craft store. This just stymies me. Every time I go in this store, these jobbers have moved. What is their purpose? Future Carrot Jockies, perhaps? That I could completely understand.

That's all I got. Sad, huh? I'm gonna go back to trying to finish a little sweater and figure out a swatch for a baby dress. Have a good Easter weekend! May you find ALL the eggs.

*I'll tell you more about this WIP next week. No, really, I will!

Friday, April 15, 2011

FO Friday #2: Cardigans & Cookies

I'll show you some knitting FO's in a bit. First I have to show you what just came from the man in the brown truck. HARRY! Fred and I saw Deathly Hallows Part 1 in the theater last November, but I always love when movies come out on DVD so I can use the captions and not miss a thing!

Yea! A perfect recipe for a fun Friday. Finishing up the last of the baby cardigans, some fresh-baked oatmeal/raisin/Craisin cookies (which I've been sharing with folks dropping by today), coffee to go with, and HARRY! And here's a picture of my three little FO's from the past couple of weeks. The top sample is knit with Schaefer Lola in Dorothy Reade and the lower two are knit with Lamb's Pride Lanaloft Bulky. These are all for the next Figheadh pattern soon to be released--the Fundamental Top-Down Baby Cardigan in crew or V-neck. The pattern has been tested by Stormy and edited by Tracey. The next step is Meredith's edit and then I have to find models. I need big luck with that. I wish Malcolm and Lucy (grandtwins) didn't live 3000 miles away. They'd be perfect models! See? (They're turning one on Wednesday!)

Please excuse my depending on the already established WIP Wednesday and FO Friday for the past couple of weeks. Been deep into pattern writing and working on designs for freelance submissions. I'll try to do some homegrown posts next week!

Thanks for stopping by! Got a sleeve (and some cookies) calling my name!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WWIP #2: Goodbye Old Friend (Again)

Mission Falls is gone...again. I think it's really gone this time. I say again, because it disappeared for about a hiccup a couple of years ago. It came back, only to now be gone again. Darn! And I didn't find out until a couple of weeks ago when my friend Kelli and I were visiting A Good Yarn Shop in Port Orchard. Kelli helped me pick these great colors of MF 136 to go with some I had left from the Perfect Finish sweaters so I could make this little old man cardi. (That's one of the WIP's for today, by the way.) That's when Cynthia, shop goddess, told me that the company had folded. I hate this!

I loved the original MF 1824 Wool. This and this were made with it, for instance. And then when MF added the DK version, 136 Merino Wool, I was in love all over again. No wonder it was chosen for all the technique shots for The Perfect Finish (which I told you about in this post). It's so soft and perfect for kids and babies (or any of us who get messy) because it's all machine washable.

A couple of other WIP's I was already going to show you today are currently masquerading as a pile of scraps. They are really some blanket squares. The ones in the front were from last summer when I decided to take some Mission Falls 1824 Cotton bits and make a little throw. All I needed was more of the Ivory color to fill in the blanks. I was waiting on a friend who said she had some in her stash and would sell them to me. I never heard more about that, so I just went to Woodland Woolworks* and ordered five skeins of it. Now I can finish this little beauty, for which I used the Coffee and Cream motif from my 200 Crochet Blocks book by Jan Eaton, one of my favorite crochet resources.

The squares in back were made (by me and by Natalie) for a future pattern I'm trying to work the kinks out of. Let's hope I crack it. That's alotsa squares, and I need at least five more! We made them with Cascade 220 Superwash Paints.

Okay, folks, be careful with all those links I gave you. You could accidentally spend some money today. I will advise you, though, to get some Mission Falls before it's all gone. And since it's about to be really gone, most of it is on sale. I guess that's a good thing, but I still hate to lose an old friend.

*ETA: I was just informed that WW is out of the Ivory MF Cotton. Argh! Does anyone know where to get some?

Friday, April 08, 2011

FO Friday the First

As promised, I'm back with an FO for my first FO Friday--and it IS the little Fundamental Cardigan, just as I'd hoped. You can also see that this morning I have gotten to the lower body section on the companion V-neck version, to be its fraternal twin. Gotta love doing a project on bulky yarn once in a while for super speed! The FO is still a tinch damp from blocking, but it's done. As you can see, I took the majority commentary advice and added the green buttons.

These buttons are still getting a little smothered by all the yummy fluffy bulkiness of the Lanaloft Bulky, but I think they'll work, especially when I add a finishing edge to the little buttonholes. I took the whole business outside today to try and give you a more realistic view of the color. No go. It still looks blue, when it is actually very lusciously turquoise. Now I have some gardening FO's to take care of.

Must move stepping stones a couple of inches to the left because of a recent revamp to the walkway to our back stoop.
And I have some weeding and grass cutting to do as soon as all this dew has dried up a bunch. I love our electric lawnmower, but it does not work well with lots of dew. It collects up a gang of grassmush underneath. Grassmush does not wend its way into the bag quite so much--it just affixes itself to the mower's underbelly, which calls for my stopping, unplugging the thing (me loves me fingers), and scraping the offending sludge away every few yards or so. The sun is out, though, so by the time I'm done weeding and such I should be able to give it all a trim.

After that I'm back to working on the V-Neck Cardi above. It'll be done before the weekend is, I'm sure.

Have a good weekend yourself and I hope it includes some good YARN!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

WIP Wednesday!

Hi Folks! Last week's blog party got me all hooked up with the Blog Hub group on Ravelry and that's when I found out about WIP Wednesdays and FO Fridays. I'm certainly game for that! My first WWIP is this little top-down cardigan that I am working up for the next Figheadh Fundamental pattern. This one is being worked up in Brown Sheep Lanaloft Bulky in Turquoise Magic (LL-92) on size 10.5 needles. I wish you could see the vibrant teal color of this yarn. The sun is shining mightily here today and is changing the color to more of a royal blue in these pictures. I just got the sleeves done and now I am about to work the button and buttonhole bands. I'm in a quandary--which buttons? Luckily I had a little bag of green/blue/teal buttons of various sizes in my stash to choose from. The ones you see above in the middle are almost an exact match for the yarn color. The ones to the right are a lighter tint. I'm leaning toward the limey green ones on the left. One, because they are a little bigger and might make a better closure for the bulky fabric. Two, because the different color pops more against the teal and gives the sweater a more whimsical spin. Which would you pick? Oh, and look who I found in the back of the closet! I told you he was here someplace. Let me know what your choice is on the buttons and I'll see you back here for sure in a couple of days for FO Friday--maybe with the cardi above as the FO!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

2KCBWDAY7: Knitting and Crochet Time

I'm so glad this last post assignment for Knitting and Crocheting Blog Week is so laid back. I don't usually get online on Sundays--so much of my work involves being on the computer that it does my brain good to take a break. Besides, when am I going to do laundry, gambol about looking at the daffodils, and search the town for a Mocha Valencia?

Eskimimi says in her description of today's assignment that since last year's similar one was to post a picture of where you knit and crochet, we don't even need to show pictures this time. I'm a tinch uncomfortable not showing a picture. For some reason, I feel like all my posts should have loads of images. Today, though, I'm mostly okay with no pictures. I'll be back next time with pictures, most probably.

My normal work days usually start at around 5 A.M. Coffee in hand, I crank up the laptop and begin checking e-mail for any fires to put out. Then I check Facebook, Ravelry, etc., for news. Then if there are orders to process, I get those done. By then it's about time to grab some yogurt for breakfast. After that, it's time to work on pattern drafts. Once I'm that deep into things, it's usually hitting around noon or after and my brain is starting to dive. I am and have been for as long as I can remember, a morning person. My brain comes to life as soon as the caffeine gets in there and stays pretty perky until the next coffee time at around 3 P.M.

That's where the knitting and crocheting come in. After I've squeezed all I can out of the grey matter, I get all settled in on the couch in front of our big picture window where I can watch the neighborhood go by as I work. I usually have a glass of fizzy water or some tea or coffee beside me on the coffee table and my mug filled with adzuki beans into which are plunged my cable needle, a crochet hook, my large darning needle, and a pencil ready for a quick grab as needed. Usually I'm working on a project already in progress during afternoon work. If I have planning and swatching to do, it gets done during active brain time. For afternoon knitting and crochet time, I will either turn on something like HGTV with no sound or put in music according to mood. If I'm feeling kicky and don't need to think much, I want to hear some Dropkick Murphys or some Elvis Costello or something like the Quidam soundtrack (gawd, I love that so MUCH!). If I need to ruminate on something while I work, I'll put in some Vivaldi, Brahms, etc. I do not munch while working with yarn. Too sticky/salty/gooey. Also at present we have no pets. I like animals--I always pet the cats and doggies I meet on walks around our neighborhood, but we have none living in our house. Having raised three daughters, I've pretty much had my share of pets, so I don't really miss it.

Well there you have it. That's how knitting and crocheting time usually proceed around here. Did I leave out anything?

Oh--only one thing. I have to tell you how very much I have enjoyed being a part of this blogging event this week. I have loved all of your comments and I have made some new blog friends because of KCBW. I am so behind on reading all the posts from the hundreds of bloggers in on this party, but I plan to spend a little time every morning for the next couple of weeks going around catching up with that. I'll probably be posting on your blogs soon!

Have a good Monday--I hope there are plenty of flowers blooming where you are.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

2KCBWDAY6: My Aspirations

The question for today's KCBW post deals with our knitting and crocheting goals and aspirations. This is the easiest one all week!

Since I have trouble focusing anyway, I'll deal with just my knitting aspirations today.

Alice Starmore's work is really one of the biggest reasons I started designing and writing patterns. While I was making a Na Craga for my husband about seven years ago, I appreciated so much what fun the pattern was to work that I aspired to learn to write patterns. Celtic knitting will always be my favorite and she is certainly held in high esteem by us knitters. These are the only two of her books I am fortunate to own, but hopefully I'll get me some more! I was so glad when Aran Knitting was rereleased and with added content! I want to make almost everything in this book, especially this Eala Bhan, which Alice Starmore designed for herself. Thank goodness she decided to share it with us in this updated version of the book. Another knitwear designer's work I admire is Shirley Paden's. I bought her newest Knitwear Design Workshop and have already learned so much from it. This cover sweater, the Double Leaves and Twists Duster, is a wonderful display of creative stitch pattern manipulation, something I am constantly trying to study. It is quite a project, though, because it actually produces a mid-calf-length coat. I wish I could ever have the time to make it, but I know I won't.

Another project from the book more possible is Shirley's Pea Coat. I love this way too much. If I disappear and there's no posts for about a month, I might be cuddled up making this one. You would understand, I'm sure.

Two more aficionados of our craft that I admire are Janet Szabo and Nancy Marchant. Each of these designers have delved deeply into their particular technique--Janet's being Aran knitting and Nancy's, brioche. I hope one day to be brave enough and focused enough to go this deep into one topic. Usually I flit from one to another. I mostly satisfy my worries that I at least broke it down to knitting and crochet and let the beading, stamping, cross stitching, drawing, painting, sewing, etc., fall by the wayside. I used to try to do everything crafty. Some folks can get away with that. I have to focus or I'll never move forward. I'm slow enough as it is.

Last for today (because there are so many more!), I show you the oh-so-brave and creative Debbie New. I can only hope to aspire to such unique vision as she exhibits, as seen in her book, Unexpected Knitting. I keep trying to push my own envelope. Folks like Debbie help me to unleash the brain.

I mean, she made a knitted boat (the Lace Coracle)! Gotta love it.

There are so many other artists and craftspeople I'd love to mention, but I know I can only hold you for so long. Besides, I have to get my bohuncus out the door for a walk down to the farmer's market and the library. There's goodies to be had and a stitch dictionary book waiting for me that I placed on hold. I love the Tacoma Public Library! Uh-oh. I see they are having a big used book sale today. Better take a little more cash.

I hope you're having a good weekend. I'll be back tomorrow for the final post in this great blog party we've had all week!

Friday, April 01, 2011

2KCBWDAY5: And now, for something completely different!

In honor of the day, I am sharing with you a little pastime of mine--making silly lyrics in my head using other people's tunes! Yeah! Sing along with me.

We Can Rip It Out!

(A ballad to bad knits sung to the tune of We Can Work It Out, with sincere apologies to Paul McCartney)

cue tamborine

Tried to knit a beauty,

Tried to keep on going even though I wasn't sure.

Tried to make it pretty,

Tried to persevere and knit and knit with faith so pure.

Didn't rip it out! Didn't rip it out!

Thought the yarn was lovely.

Thought that it would make a bad idea somehow turn right.

Thought the stitch was brilliant.

Thought the two of them would get along and would not fight.

Should I rip it out? Should I rip it out?

Life is very short, and there's no time for ripping and tinking, my friend.

I must learn to swatch, before I get myself in deep and lose good hours to bad knits.

Maybe it will happen.

Maybe it will somehow turn a corner and be right.

Maybe it was genius.

Maybe it will happen if I try with all my might.

I won't rip it out! I won't rip it out!

Life is very short, and there's no time for ripping and tinking, my friend.

I must learn to swatch, before I get myself in deep and lose good hours to bad knits.

Time to call it failure.

Time to face the truth that it's a waste of some good yarn.

Time to face it, darlin'.

There's a good knit waiting to be had, so let's move on!

Gotta rip it out! We can rip it out!

In sad memory of some pretty bad knits.