Saturday, April 26, 2008

April stash update; also, hiatus

At long last, vacation is here! So I'm doing my monthly stash update a few days early, before I leave. This was a fantastic stash-bustin' month, and it's only the 26th! Look at this:
Woohoo! The blue is the goal of 354 grams of yarn per month to finish by the end of the year, and the red is the actual amount of yarn remaining. I used 1257 grams in April. It looks almost sigmoidal (except downhill). If I skied, I'd say we were progressing from the bunny slopes to the, uh, dangerous ones that cause ACL injuries, whatever they're called. In any case, super exciting!

Of this month's knitting goals, only one of four was completed: the ginormous chenille blanket. I did at least start a needle case, but I didn't work at all on a new cat puppet or on the kangaroo (which, btw, fell off the needles accidentally and will probably need to be frogged. Boo.). It was a big crochet month, with three crochet projects, compared to...zero.

Here are the FO's this month:

Ginormous chenille blanket

Drawstring bag


Cupcake pincushion

Maryjane "skimmer" baby shoes

Elfin baby hat
Brea bag (a sort of FO, since the knitting is done, but not the sewing)

Overall it has been a pretty productive month, mainly because I'm doing little quickie projects, in stead of being faithful to the long-term projects I vowed to finish. Ahem. While I used up a good deal of yarn this month, I officially finished only two, the cream-colored chenille (the biggest constituent of le stash!), and the blue Dream in Color superwash wool.
At this rate, I'll be able to deplete the stash by June, when I'll get some yarn from the Black Yarn Swap. Eeeee!

Goals for May (yay birthday month!)
1. Finish the roo-ful Kangaroo
2. A better cat puppet
3. Finish the needle holder, and make a sewn one too, for circs and dpns
4. Make a queenly cat bed
5. Finish and send off summer baby gifts (x2)

I've shopped, had my nails and waxing done, and have generally gotten way over-prepared for this vacation. I'll be back in a week, tanned despite 50 SPF, and hopefully a bit more relaxed. I'm taking some cotton with me to knit a beach onesie for a soon-to-be summer baby...

Organising

(Oh, I am such an anglophile. Organising seems so much cleaner and efficient, with the s instead of the z.)

Now that the mountain o'crap has been reduced to an obese molehill, I'm organising in earnest. Which, of course, mainly involves knitting, thinking about where things will go, etc, and not so much actual movement of objects. The knitting stash is slowly but surely decreasing, and I think everything, including needles, will soon be able to fit into a little rubbermaid bin, the size used for shoes!! My needles are currently in a big jumble, and since one of my goals for the month was to knit something to hold my needles, I cast on for a needle holder.

The pattern, again coincidentally, is free from Berroco yarns. It's a very easy, mindless stockinette rectangle, which gets felted (cue music of doom). Then there are two strips of un-felted cable (yeehaw!) that are sewn on, and hold the needles. Like this:

I saw this pattern first when I visited my sis, and she had all her needles nicely rolled up. In fact she has two, see them here and here. (ps--she finished her dissertation, so send her a congrats on the shiny new PhD!)

I'm using the undyed white wool yarn in the stash, bought at the same time as the green yarn used to make the Brea Bag, from the same now-forgotten source. This yarn is similarly scratchy, but I wasn't sure about the hair conditioner trick for things that are felted. Anyone with tips?

This is knitted with the yarn doubled, which is the *best stash-busting trick ever*! I have finished two big balls (egad, I hope that doesn't mean weird pervs googling this blog) so far, with the main part of it about 80% done. I'm hoping to have enough yarn left to do the cables in white too, because it's chic, and mainly because I don't want to use up "good" yarn on this.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Freecycle festival

After three (three!) years of living in this house, the junk left behind by the prior owners is finally leaving. Does everyone hate the prior owners of their house? Because mine were awful. We arrived after a 20 hour drive to find that they had not packed or cleaned, save one room, where they suggested we sleep for the time being. Oh, and suggested we leave and get dinner (no, they didn't offer to pay) right then, to give them space to pack. And when they left many hours later, they left behind a mountain o'crap. This included various hardware supplies, wood stains, paints, caulks, plasters, sealers, other unidentifiable chemicals rammed into the basement, and a huge pile of wood in the back yard left un-tidied after they had cut wood to put down hardwood flooring. He insisted that the wood was "firewood," was a "present" for us, and "definitely" wouldn't release toxic fumes as the polyurethane burned off. Then they had the nerve to come back the next day and take the unopened orange juice and strawberries and eggs they had left in the fridge. Oh, and sent their friend to take the barbecue grill, about 2 weeks later. Truly awful, mean people. Did I mention they tried to cheat us on the house price?

Anyway, after thinking "we'll need it one day," we decided that having space and order is good, and having crapola all over the place is bad, especially crapola we're not going to use. So I freecycled most of it. I got rid of the yucky cleaning products I didn't want! And the paltry bead stash, and most of the art stash. The knitting stash, of course, stayed, and the sewing stash...I still harbor hopes I can be better at using it. After the freecycling, donating to various charities, and rearranging, we were able to dismantle an entire cinderblock shelf in the basement, and freecycle the cinderblocks too. Suddenly there's more air to breathe.

Some things I have learned, in case you too, decide to freecycle...

"Sellers":
1. Dozens of people want even the weirdest and undesireable things. Don't be embarassed, because other people want your stuff! You will be inundated with the saddest sob stories as soon as you post, so don't walk away from the computer
2. Make sure you post what time you want them to pick it up, preferably the same day. I still have a bunch of stuff that people no-showed, after setting a time for the next day. Same day people are the most reliable
3. Try not to leave stuff out on the porch. A woman came to pick up her decorative item, and we realized it was stolen off the front stoop! (I suspect, by someone else picking stuff up)

"Buyers":
1. Show up, on time, with a smile and a thank you. One giant douchebag didn't even bother to hang up his cell phone, put out his hand and said "I'm here for the dog bag," took it, and walked away.
2. Don't steal other people's stuff. This should go without saying.
3. Freecycle what you don't use


I was going to post the pictures of all our stuff pre-give, but it's too messy and embarassing. So just imagine the biggest mess ever, with cat hair all over it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Re-use ideas

Just wanted to share this great idea for re-using sweaters. This is from Danny Seo, author of Green Living, as seen on Martha Stewart whole living.I esp love the cables on the chair on the left. I suppose one could knit her own chair covers, but for this sort of thing, thrifting seems the easier way to go. Plus you can frog the left-overs for yarn!

The other good idea was making trivets from wine corks. I like it, except the weird metal thing. Seems easier just to sew them together. I'll have to do this, and make sure to put the corks from the cheap wines in the center :).



















photos marthastewart.com

Almost FO: Brea Bag

This bag came together really fast. The pattern is Brea Bag, by Norah Gaughan. It's free from Berroco yarns. The cables are especially fun and it's amazing how the pattern suddenly makes a "flower" at the end.

I used 302 grams of worsted weight green wool from the stash. I bought this yarn a looong time ago and have no idea of the brand. It's kinda scratchy, so I'll try softening it with hair conditioner, but I'm open to any other suggestions. I have just 48 grams of this yarn left!

I knitted the strap too, and wove in the ends, so it's basically set to go. But...after looking at all the other Brea bags on ravelry, it looks like it does much better with a cloth liner, for both form and function. So until the liner is done, the bag will remain an almost-FO.

I'm determined not to buy more fabric, so I need some help choosing something from my fabric stash. Here are the options:



There are two silky lining fabrics, silver and maroon:















Other thin fabrics are all cottony: white, a blue plaid seersucker, and blue

I



























I have quite a few thick upholstery/curtain fabrics too: yellow, green, green with swirls, green with leaves


















I










I dunno if the thicker fabrics would work as the lining fabric, but I'm also unsure about using the thinner fabrics on the strap (other knitters have commented that the knitted straps stretch too much and the fabric holds up the weight). Maybe I should do thinner fabric in the bag, and some thicker fabric on the underside of the handle?

Help! Especially if you know how to sew and have an eye for putting fabrics together (I'm looking at you Tina!) . Comment with your suggestions and votes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

FO x2: yellow baby set

Actually, this should count as 3 FO's, since the booties are two separate pieces. These are for a soon-to-be born baby. Poor summer babies. It's so hard to knit cute stuff for them, or at least anything wearable in the humidity and heat. I don't know whether this one is going to be boy or girl, so I thought some light, crocheted things in yellow would work in any case. I find myself crocheting more, and I must say, it's super fast.

First, the booties. The pattern is Baby Mary Jane Skimmers, by Sylvia Schuchardt (Sylver on etsy). They are too darn cute! The contrast color is on the inside of the sole, and shows up as a thin stripe on the outside. The sole is double-thick, so it's pretty sturdy, almost like a real shoe. And the "skimmer" and "mary jane" -ish parts are so adorable. I wanna make a big pair for myself.

Then, I wanted a hat that would work even in the summer, so I chose the hat from the Elfin Baby Set, from Lion Brand Yarn. It barely covers the head, so it's really more of a decorative, elfin yarmulke...with earflaps.

Yes, I posed a baby hat on a cocktail shaker. Clearly, I'm going to hell in a handbasket, but it's worth it for the giggles. Besides, it's the most baby-like thing in the house. Here's the whole set:

I thought for sure I'd be out of these two yarns, both Louet Gems Worsted (Goldilocks and Citrus), but I used up only 40grams of the yellow, and 12 grams of orange, for both projects, leaving probably enough to make another pair of booties.

Here's a pretty shot of some pansies from Bowood Farms. They're so happy and innocent and cheerful, I couldn't resist. I'm inspired to knit more yellow/purple combos.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Green knitting 3

Suddenly every publication/website/product is all about being green. Case in point, the NY Times magazine today is a catalog of many things green, big and small. I feel like a polluting, wasteful, hog, and I only got through half of the magazine! Guilt has been compounded by unfortunately missing some greeny events this weeks, including St Louis Greendrinks' 3rd anniversary, and Earth Day celebrations in Forest Park today. And as for actual changes to not to be such a polluting, wasteful, hog...these are notably few/absent.


Still, hope springs eternal, and I'm setting an Earth Day resolution to be better for the earth. Here's the plan:


Getting rid of stuff, responsibly

--I joined the st louis freecycle list. Gigoit is great too. It's amazing to me what sorts of things people offer, and are snapped up! Suddenly the mountain of crapola in the basement is no longer a huge burden, but many opportunities to make someone's day. There was a time when if someone had asked, "do you want an RF modulator for free?" I'd have done cartwheels. Now I have 2 going unused, but surely someone wants one. And I'm going to give away all the cleaning products I'm afraid to use, toss, or pour out. I figure many people use them anyway (if you go to the regular grocery store, it's quite shocking, there are entire aisles filled with this stuff), so this is the least toxic way I can figure out to get rid of it.

--Earthshare is a useful way to figure out how to donate or recycle random things. I have a box full of batteries I've scavenged from the hospital, waiting for a better life. I'm going to try to lobby the hospital to recycle all their batteries. Just think, hundres of pagers, telemetry monitors, penlights, etc, that all get batteries replaced at least every couple weeks!

--For knitters who are reluctant to give away their stash, Destash is a website where you can offer your yarn (and needles, books, etc) for sale.

--RMS donates yarn to the local women's prison. I don't know whether the local charities (goodwill, etc) accept yarn, so if you know, please comment.

--Several charities take knitted items, such as chemo caps or blanket squares. See here for a listing. But if you haven't done it yet, and that yarn is still sitting in your stash, it's probably not gonna happen, so just give the yarn away!


Not getting more stuff / wasting less

--The house has been robbed twice, and what I learned is that more expensive stuff is just more stuff to worry about getting stolen/broken. And most of what one buys ends up going to waste. See one family's efforts to reduce their waste, living in St Louis suburbia!

--We all spend too much, and don't save enough. I for one, will start paying back some student loans. Thank you, taxpayers, for the low-rate loan that allowed me to get educated!

--It's getting easier to buy green, if you do need something. A good local resource for St Louisans is green rising. Eco friendly clothing (except for all the stuff you knit yourself with eco-friendly yarn, of course) is hard to find, so I'm glad Boutique Chartreuse is around. I love all the stuff I've bought there so far, not to mention how smug I feel wearing it. ;)

--And definitely no yarn until the stash is finished! Same goes for the sewing stash, art stash, bead stash, and so on.


Eating locally and in season.

--I'm eagerly awaiting for Fairshares, a local CSA in st louis, to start delivering. Too bad it didn't start in time for asparagus season! For inspiration, I've been stalking 24 Boxes, a blog about one amazing woman's cooking from her CSA goodies. It's one of the few non-vegetarian cooking blogs that I find apealling.

--For those who can't commit to a CSA, I hear the Soulard Farmer's market is bustling, now that the weather is better.

--At long last, we've earned a free half pound of coffee from the coffeeshop down the street, Northwest coffee. They roast their own coffee, and it smells amazing. If only they were open on Sundays, my knitting group could meet here...

--Maybe this will be the year that something lives in the patch of dirt behind my house! Silvana (Happy birthday!) introduced me to a great plant nursery, Bowood Farms, just a couple blocks away! The plants are amazing, and apparently they're just getting started for the season. I got a few flowers, but when I get things together I'll try growing some herbs and veggies. Anyone have good tips on urban gardening, especially container gardening?


Knitting green

--Ravelry's weekly newsletter this week is all about knitting green. There's a very helpful article about all the new eco-friendly yarns. For ex, I had no idea that soy yarn is basically rayon!

--I'm torn about bamboo yarn. The drape is so lovely, the colors are vibrant, and it's naturally antimicrobial. Bamboo itself is good for Earth, but the process of turning bamboo into soft yarn involves boiling in various nasty-sounding chemicals (a good review here). The same thing can be done mechanically, but it's much more labor intensive, and I have never seen this fiber ("bamboo linen") in a yarn store. In the end most bamboo yarn is also basically rayon. More recently, different companies are developing more eco-friendly ways to process bamboo, like Greenyarn which is putting bamboo nanoparticles into clothing. It's all kinda confusing, and for now, the best one can do is look for yarns with Oeko-Tex certification.

--Milk yarn is very intriguing. I've yet to see or feel (or smell or taste) any in person, as the local stores don't seem to have it. I haven't been able to find any online that is not made in China, and I'd like to know that the cows making the yarn were treated well. Are there any enterprising farmer-spinners out there?

--Again, more Ravelry. I'm in the greencraft and simple living groups, mainly for the inspiration and tips from other knitters, who are clearly much better at being green and simple.

--Jenna, one of the knitting group regulars, recycles sweaters for yarn. It's amazing what great yarn lives as fugly sweaters, and can be turned into something completely different and lovely! A good online tutorial is here. When I'm done with my stash, I'll definitely have to try it out! And also learn how to wash yarn.


--And finally...the greenest knitting is stash knitting! Go ahead, try it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yarn kiss

I started on the Brea Bag last night, and finished one whole side. When I went to cut the yarn, there was a knot in the yarn, in exactly the spot I was going to cut! Quelle luck! If I'd been 6 inches off I'd be griping endlessly. Maybe it's because the pope's nearby, or even better, because the yarn gods smiled upon me today.

Dorkishly, I cut it out and saved it. It looks like a little kiss--a yarn kiss for all knitters today! I put it on as a bowtie for Le Petit Prince. This pencil case holds all of my knitting tools, and now, this little knot, to remind me that the little good things are awesome!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Black Yarn Swap

Although I've been so good about stash-busting, I figure it's ok to buy yarn, if it's for someone else :). Hence, the Black Yarn Swap. The swap involves sending someone else some black yarn, a pattern, and other goodies. So exciting! There's a blog set up for the swap, here. I've added a button to the right, if anyone else is interested. There are a few questions to help us pick the right stuff to send to our swap partners. Here are my answers:

1. Do you knit, crochet, or both? I knit and crochet, but much prefer knitting
2. What do you prefer to knit or crochet? (socks? sweaters? cables?) What would you like to try to knit or crochet? I'd like to try a dress or tank, something lacy and fitted
3. What are your hobbies outside of knitting or crocheting? yoga, reading, cooking. Also I am a neurologist, which is a quasi-hobby/all-consuming job
4. Do you have any fiber allergies? Fiber preferances? No allergies, but cannot tolerate itchy wool!! I'm interested in trying bamboo, soy, or milk yarns
5. Do you have any favourite books, music, or tv shows? If so, what are they? Fave books--too numerous. Fave music--I can only sing along, I can never remember who the artist is. Fave TV shows--LOST, Alias, proj. runway, twin peaks, freaks & geeks
6. Do you have any pets? One beautiful cat, Camembert
7. Do you prefer salty or sweet snacks? Salty!!!
8. Do you prefer coffee or tea? Coffee
9. Aside black, which colours do you like/dislike? Love almost all colors except the brown/beige variety. Also, I've done too much pink and yellow recently
10. What is your favourite time of the year? (season-wise or holiday-wise) Autumn/start of school year
11. What is your favourite scent? Chanel Chance. Also, I love the smell of drying cement! And cilantro.
12. What do you collect? books.

Will keep everyone updated! I'm so thrilled about potentially getting new yarn!! And--ahem--sending some to someone else.

FO: cupcake pincushion

I'm loving these little projects! So quick and satisfying. And this one is actually useful--it'll hold all my pins for sewing and blocking. The pins are supposed to look like sprinkles/jimmies.

The "cake" part is made of Red Heart acrylic yarn, and the "icing" is made with the rest of the cream chenille and some worsted white wool held together. The pattern is from One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochet, by Leigh Radford. I wish the icing were a bit more poofy and creamy looking, otherwise I pretty much stuck to the pattern and was pleased overall.

I generally like the idea of all these books that focus on using 1-2 skeins, but when it comes down to it, I have a hard time actually doing any of projects, mainly because I usually don't have even a full skein. Maybe at the end of stash-busting, I'll write a book with patterns for remnants and dregs. This book was pretty good, with the usual scarf variations, sock variations, and baby items, but also this cupcake and some felted bowls. The bowls are super cute, and I'm compelled to make them, although I've never, ever, successfully felted anything.

I finished up the rest of the cream chenille (5g), in addition to using some of the white wool (8g) and brown acrylic (14g) yarns. Total 27 grams busted!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BFFO: Ginormous chenille blanket



At long last! The blanket is finished!! I've decided that "FO" is not forceful enough, and projects of this size and aggravation should be deemed "BFFO," for Big F*ing Finished Object.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if I hadn't made so many blunders along the way:
1) trying to felt this yarn, not realizing it cant felt
2) casting on the wrong number of stitches too many times
3) screwing up knitting in various ways
4) changing to crochet, but to the wrong hook size
5) not being able to crochet straight, so the whole thing is a parallelogram.

In the end it turned out alright. It's even pretty rectangular, after doing the edging and stretching it in the desired direction. Best of all, I used up the biggest bundle of yarn I had, which was 952 grams to start. I have just 5 grams left! I was amazed that this blanket didn't turn out any bigger. In fact, it's a smallish afghan. Here it is with a cat on it, for size comparison.

(If you were fooled...that's not Cammy, but a fake cat named Mrs. Chippy, who is made with rabbit fur! She has been a very well-loved and amusing gift.)

The cables don't "pop" very well, probably because of the fuzziness of the yarn, and because the background is so hole-y.

The pattern is Crochet Cable Afghan, by Michelle Thompson, available for free, here. I have much looser gauge than the pattern, and ended prematurely (it should be about twice as long), but otherwise didn't make major changes.

What a relief to finish this! And it's so snuggly and warm, and surprisingly pleasant to have around.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lovely things

Here, I'm stealing a bit from Martha Stewart and her "good things," except maybe I'm not so righteous and upstanding (teehee), and can point out only the lovely things I encountered today, which I have numbered below.

My (1) knitting group met at a (2) chamber music concert today, featuring Configurations (a string trio in St Louis) and two additional guests. They played Quintet in C Major, by Boccherini, and the same by Schubert. It was the first time I've been in a church in a long time, and definitely worth it. They took away all the stress I'd been carrying from the utterly longest and most dreadful day/night shift I had just finished. They also let us work on our knitting (or for me, crocheting) during the concert. What a wonderful (3) combination, needlework and live, intimate music! All those Jane Austen movie characters have it right, imho.

Also at the same church (Union Avenue Christian Church) was an (4) art show for/by a young artist who had died recently. I am so bad at taking notes or remembering details (like his name!), so maybe someone can comment on the details. The art was quite remarkable, especially for a young man. Also, there was food, including (5) guacamole and (6) cheesecake. And (7) Italian sodas. All too wonderful! I really need to get in with the art crowd.

The music ended earlier than expected, so we headed over to (8) Knitty Couture, where we fondled all the yarns, books, samples, and basically everything on display. I was (9) so good and didn't buy any yarn. I lived vicariously through Silvana, who finally bought the (10) yarn (don't remember the name, but it was absolutely gorgeous) that she has been coveting since before the store opened! I picked up (11) Knitting on the Edge, by Nicky Epstein, which I had borrowed from the library before and decided I must have as a, uh, reference source (ahem). I also got the new (12) Vogue Knitting, which has a few lovely (13) knitted dresses. I'd been looking for a good knitted dress pattern for months unsuccessfully, and suddenly they're everywhere! This too is a reference book. It's easier to resist getting more yarn, when you splurge instead on other knitting paraphanelia--ahem--reference works.

(14) Funny conversation today, which I'm still laughing about--
RMS (at the end of the concert, pointing): There's salmonella!
Me: Someone's called salmonella?
RMS: No, Sam and Ella
Tina: Yeah, it's salmonella and his brother botulism.
Silvana: And their cousin E Coli.

Here they are, Sam and Ella.






(Photo from physorg.com, by Volker Brinkmann.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Six word memoir

I got tagged by Tina to do this... If you've been living under a rock, it started with Smith Magazine collecting submissions for six-word memoirs. There's even a book of them (Not Quite What I was Planning) now, featured on NPR, and this meme is spreading/has spread through the blogosphere like...it's going out of style.

After much consideration, and hemming and hawing about what would enacapsulate my short life, my memoir is:

I'd rather think more about it.

No, I'm not neurotic. Nuh-uh. Not at all.

I'm supposed to tag more people, but everyone I'd tag has been tagged or has already done it. Any readers who haven't written their memoirs, please comment with yours!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

FO: crabby drawstring bag


When I finish a big chunk of the blanket, I get to do an immediate gratification project. I joined the Knit, Read, Cook group on Ravelry, which has a monthly knitalong, readlong, and cookalong. This is the first "-along" I've done. The knitalong this months is a drawstring bag, free pattern by Janet D Russell.













I used Dream in Color Classy; color is Some Summer Sky (they have the best color names!). There was 29grams leftover from making toe socks for my mother in law, which ended up being just about right for a little bag.

Then, I wanted to make the bag a bit fancier, because it's plain stockinette. Since I've overdosed on cables and lace recently, I thought a knit-purl pattern might be nice, sort of in homage to all the dishcloths with cutesy knit-purl pictures that people seem to be knitting these days.


One of my favorite sites is Antique Pattern Library, which has old needlework books now out of copyright, scanned in and available to all for free. It's truly amazing what ladies were expected to know how to do, like knit, crochet (and there's several types of this), sew, embroider, tat, make lace (pillow and point and whatever other types there are), and all sorts of other needle arts that I've never seen in real life. The pictures and patterns are simply wonderful! Here are a few that caught my attention, as I paged through for a nice pattern to add to the bag.

A cute knit silk tunic, from
Lessons in Crochet Book No 9, by Corticelli Silk Mills, 1920. From what I can tell, Corticelli published a whole series of crochet and knitting pattern books, as marketing for Corticelli yarns. This tunic is so 1920 but still hip! If I had long legs I'd totally make this today.














There are a lot of lace patterns, and it was just ridiculous how sparse the instructions were. For this super fancy thing, the instructions are,
"Materials: Braid; Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s Mecklenburg thread No. 16 or 24, according to the fineness required. This lappet is exceedingly pretty. It is composed of the following stitches--point d'Alencon, point de tulle, English rosettes, Sorrento bars, d'Alencon bars, dotted Venise bars, and the fancy stitch point d'Anvers, which is not a true point lace stitch, but which is much employed in modern point." Isn't that completely ridiculous? This was from a huge book from 1870 by Isabella Beeton, whose title says it all: Beeton’s Book of Needlework Consisting of Descriptions and Instructions, Illustrated by Six Hundred Engravings, of Tatting Patterns, Crochet Patterns, Knitting Patterns, Netting Patterns, Embroidery Patterns, Point Lace Patterns, Guipure D’Art, Berlin Work, Monograms, Initials and Names, Pillow Lace, and Lace Stitches.



After some rooting around, I realized that filet crochet, which is done in a grid, was probably the best bet for something easily translatable into a knitted pattern. There's a motherlode of filet patterns in
Albums de Travaux de Cousine Claire, which is by--you guessed it--Cousine Claire. It's all in French, circa 1905, and is chock full of samples of greek/roman gods, little animals, etc. There aren't any instructions, because the pictures are clear enough to just copy. After seeing all the little greek/roman gods, I almost quit the bag to make a bunch of coasters/dishcloths with them.





Then I found these little critters.
Since I have no need for a knitted bag, and was going to make it to hold my nail polish, I thought the crab would be appropriate (y'know, all those legs). So I just purled on the stitches that are filled in on the filet pattern.









Unfortunately, the crab didn't turn out very clearly. This is the best I could get, and if you squint really hard, it looks like the picture. Otherwise it's all sort of muddled. I considered frogging, then decided that if I didn't like it, I can just look at the other side.









Like this:














I used up all of the yarn--I ran out a bit early so the bag is a few rows shorter than the pattern. I also used a braided cord/ribbon instead of making an I-cord. I had bought it to use as straps on my wedding dress, but after I realized it wasn't the right shade of white (brides are crazy), it has languished in the sewing notions stash. So 2 stashes got busted today--woohoo!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Parallelogram progress

I've finished the two cones of yarn on the ginormous chenille blanket! There's a similar amount on yarn knit double-stranded into this plain stockinette...weird unfinished thing. So that will need to be frogged and turned into the rest of the blanket.





Here's the blanket so far:

If you look carefully, you'll notice it's not artfully draped diagonally across the sofa. It is diagonal. Oops. Somehow my crocheting keeps leaning westward. There's no hope for blocking it straight, as I learned when I first tried to felt this yarn, since there's no wool in the yarn. At this point there's no point in fighting this blanket anymore, so I've decided to roll with the punches and make it a parallelogram blanket. It's so square to be square, anyway.

The cables are photographing a bit better with more sun. I finally got a decent shot today. Yay for cables!

Good news: spring is really, truly, sort of here! I cut some branches off the crabapple tree to force some blossoms, and I was actually successful at some sort of gardening activity!

Not that there was much forcing involved--the branches on the tree are on the verge of blossoming in the next couple days too.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cables! Pillows!

A pile of catalogs continue to arrive daily, although I haven't ordered anything through the mail in, oh, 10 years. Still, I flip through some of them, and yesterday I found these:
They're cream colored cable knit pillows!

Aren't they awesome?! Actually, I think anything with cables is wonderful. Well, I thought they were wonderful until I went to crate and barrel and found out that the pillows, named Lariat and Cardigan (awww), cost about $100. And it's not like they're made of cashmere/angel wings; they're just cotton.

Still, they're pretty cute, and I'm starting to have visions of cabled pillows for the house, but in bright colors. They look like great stashbusters!

(Btw, I do not get paid anything from crate & barrel, or know anyone who does.)