Saturday, November 29, 2008

The saga comes to an end!

Ok, so the ends on the saga still need to be woven in, then the saga needs to be blocked, but in my mind it's pretty officially finished!  Here's Sally, my more-buxom-than-my-mother dressform, modeling:   I have no idea why this took me so long - it's not like it was horribly difficult, and the pattern was perfectly written so I didn't struggle there, it just didn't ever seem to be the top thing I wanted to work on.  I know my mother will love it though!  Oh, she's got a couple buttons that we're going to add at the top after I give it to her.  I knit 2 little i-cords on size 1 needles and I plan to sew them on sort of like frogs when we decide on button placement. I just love the collar!  And I'm really happy with the bit of ribbing I decided to add to the bottom (after eliminating about 4 inches from the original pattern to better fit my shorty mom) - it lays so much nicer there now.  Oh, I can't tell you how glad I am to have this finished!  I want to make mittens and hats and gloves and everything now!  I'm going crazy with cast-on-itis!  

What's kept me from casting on for anything yet is these guys:  
I've been working on more ornaments to felt - and thanks to Kamile and her size 9 crochet hook, I crocheted the last three which is faster and I think it might even give a cool texture after felting.  I'm probably kidding myself on that last part, but we'll see.  I'm stuffing them before felting which is another kind of iffy thing - I mean I did base this off the pattern instructions in Alterknits Felt, and she talked about not stuffing them too much or else they won't have enough room to felt down.  She gave a final weight that they ought not weigh more than, but seriously dudes, I didn't follow the pattern really at all, therefore mine are probably a totally different size (and therefore a different weight to start with) and I'm way too lazy to be weighing stuffing.  And come on, what do you need, like a cocaine scale to weigh out something as light as PolyFill anyway?  So, we'll just see what happens!  isn't that more fun anyway?  I'm going to do more embellishing post-felting so I'll take pictures then too - Catherine, I'm stealing your embroidered snowflake idea for the plain green ball!  I hope these turn out good - I'm pretty jazzed about them and they're pretty addictive!  

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like a sweater!

I've been singing "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" ever since the flurries started, and when I can't get something out of my head, I start thinking everything to the tune of it.  But this time it really works!  Hark!  a sweater!  not a pile of sweater pieces!  I'm totally going to finish this by Christmas - in plenty of time!  I'll have extra time to try to squeeze in Christmas knits that will only serve to make me stressed and crazy.  super!  But back to the sweater!  I'm pretty darn happy with this thing - even though the sleeves are more fitted than I'm sure my mom wants (she kind of wanted a traditional dropped shoulder boxy kind of thing, but instead of making her happy and making something that'd probably be easier than this was, I opted to make what I thought would look good on her.  I hate it when people do that to me.)   I plan to block them as full as I can.  I'm also going to add an inch or so of 1x1 rib at the bottom just to rein it in a bit - she's a tiny little thing, but wanted the sweater to be loose.  Because of that, I know the bottom is going to flair out and not look nice.  If she totally hates that part, I'll just rip it and it'll be gone (because I'll have to pick up stitches along the bottom to add it.)  

I recently got the Alterknit Felts book after hearing about it on the Webs podcast.  I decided that I'd make some felted ornaments for my mum as well.  This is the before shot. 
 I'm going to do some embroidery before and some after - depending on whether or not the stuff is wool, probably.  Oh, and I'll probably do some beads or sequins afterwards too - just for added bedazlement!  I'm crocheting another because it just seemed faster.  I figure I'll do several then felt them all.   These are some of the yarns I plan to use (the little bits are from my Elann yarn subscription - a perfect use!!)  
They're all kinds of fun, and really fast!  I'm also going to do a couple of Eunny's cabled ornaments to put in, just so they aren't all felted.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday in the City

So I just got back from Columbus - it was just loads of fun, and so nice to see Jen and Linette again!  Man, did we pack in a lot in one day, but let me just get to the part I really want to share - Tiny Canary!  Super cool!  what a great time - if I was a high roller, I could have dropped a really fat wad there!  I was afraid that by Sunday a lot of vendors would be sold out of stuff, but not so!  I found Cosy's table and was probably about as obnoxiously weirdo fan-ish as I feared I'd be!  She was super nice - and I mean super nice!  Also with her was Laure (aka Klotho) who's a hand spinner and dyer and she and I talked over and under flailing arms and bags (it was busy there!) about everything from the Columbus knit night they went to last night, the Pittsburg state monopoly on alcohol sales, and what it's like to be friends with a knitting rock star!  They were both just really cute and it was really cool to meet them!  I ended up buying the Tomato Head hat:  This is one that I saw on her blog - see, the one in the two upper corner pictures?  that's mine now!  I was also happy to see that she could charge a good amount for her hats and seemed to be selling them like relative hotcakes.  way to make a crafty living Cosy!  I also got her Squares Squared hat pattern which is way cute.  After I giddily walked away and tracked down the friends, I did more shopping and nearly walked away without this, but smartly went back for it (ok, I was talked into it by Jen, but it takes very little for me to be talked into most things!)  How great is that?  I don't think there's a suitable qualifier!  It's from SquidFire and they had tons more stuff that rocked.  Ok, so quickly - in addition to Tiny Canary, we at gobs of Indian food, went to Penzey's where I bought probably my body weight in spices (which might come in handy if I perhaps die and need to be preserved! (or flavored)), hit the best bead shop ever, got some amazing chai, and finally ended at a thrift store (where I got some vintage grey wool for 50cents, but not a great casserole dish which they ended up pricing at like $7 -  forget that! )  whew!  what a day!  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

what weaving has taught me about knitting

Ok, so it's not like I don't know these things already, but today really made them very obvious:  1) weaving is WAY faster than knitting.  Maybe almost too fast.  I guess it depends on my mood.  2) not all fingering weight wool is the same.  Or rather, fingering weight wool can be as different as night and day, depending on the brand - which is probably much more dependent on the type of wool, the twist, etc.  

My mother suggested that perhaps I'd weave her a set of two placemats for her and my father.
 I'd already planned on that because it'd be super easy.  I wanted to use something washable, because duh, it's a placemat, and I wanted to make them kind of stiff-ish, but not so bulky and bumpy that you couldn't safety put a drink on it without worrying that it'd tip over.  Now here's the thing - when I justified getting this loom, I did it by saying "but I can use my stash yarn - it's not like I need a different set of materials for weaving!" but I kind of had trouble finding stash yarn for this project!  I only have a 12 dent reed, which means my warp threads pretty much have to be fingering weight.  To weave from my stash, this means wool sock yarn, or the cone of yellow/gold rayon I have.  I'd kind of like a cone of fine cotton, but I certainly don't have anything like that for knitting.  Actually, the mill ends of linen I got would probably be fine, but they're yellow, orange, and tangerine and those really aren't going to fit my mom's much more neutral color scheme.  So I decided that some superwash sock yarn would be cool, and I'd use some natural colored worsted cotton (Peaches and Cream or something like that) for the weft.  

I got kind of fancy-ish (fancy-ish for my 3rd piece anyway) and did some green Cherry Tree Hill (leftover from my Monkey socks) on the sides in about a 2" band, then I did some red Pace (leftover from my May Beret) in a similar band just inside the green bands, then I used some yellow Opal down the middle.  Wow - I see now why the Cherry Tree Hill is so lovely - it's very much stretchier than the other two, and the twist is much more defined.  Maybe it's merino?  dunno.  The Pace and Opal - while very different in price, seemed pretty similar.  Very not stretchy.  That made getting even tension kind of weird.  I don't think that was the biggest of my problems though.  I think I did something a little screwy in the warping process because I realized that I was pretty consistently skipping two threads along the bottom, so it was like a giant long float back there.  And the front looked wonky.  blast.  However, unlike knitting, my whole piece of fabric, which I calculated to be long enough for two placemats (I was just going to cut it in half and hem the edges) took all of about 2 hours to make - like start to finish, warping the loom and all!  kamazing.  And when it was finished I realized that it was a bit short for two placemats.  not that I was too upset over that - it was kind of screwed up and I don't think I'd want to give it to my mom that way.  So I folded it in half and decided that maybe it could be a bag for me. 
 Oh, here's my other worry - are these colors too rasta?  that's really not what I was going for, and I think the white weft yarn mellows it out, but wow did it look rasta when I just had the warp threads together.  So anyway, I made some fabric this afternoon!  what it will become, I have no idea.  Oh, I suppose it could be a hand towel!  oh, this will work out just fine and I'll do better  next time on the placemats, I promise.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm gonna hang with the cool kids!

I'm going to Columbus to visit my dearest Jen, an old friend that I don't see nearly often enough, on Sunday.  We kind of planned to make it a mirror image of my last visit which involved lunch at an Indian place, spice shopping at Penzeys, then her sitting bored at a yarn shop which I spotted and talked her into stopping at!  THEN - I realized that this weekend is the Tiny Canary show (sorry, Indie Design Market technically) in Columbus and it was surprisingly easy to talk her into going to that - I'm not sure how down she is with the DIY crafters, but she's pretty much down with everything and for the love of god she did totally recover her couch with pretty much no knowledge and just a staple gun - and it looked damn good!  So anyway, that means I'll get to totally meet Cosy (and in my mind, me seeing her and gushing something stupid like "oh man, you're totally like a knitting rock star!" equates to "hanging with" ok?)  and all the other supercrafters that I would love to be!  And on top of that, I'll get to catch up on the past two years with my Jen!

oh, Sunday knitters - that means I'm not sure I'll be at the Night and Day for knit night - I'm just not sure what time I'll get home.  If you decide on some new location, you better keep me in the loop!  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday is for fun!

Well, usually Saturday is for laundry and vacuuming that I've neglected during the week, but this Saturday was for fun!  After reading Dharmawrites' latest blog post about her finds at the Planned Parenthood used book sale, I was inspired to tell everyone about my haul too. 

Catherine and I went this morning (even got there before the doors opened - which means you're standing outside in the cold with an assortment of other weirdos who do things like 
get to used book sales before the doors open!) We hit the table labeled, I believe, "household arts" first (yeah, I'm not ashamed to admit it - even though it sounds very 50's - "where will the ladies go?  to the household arts table, of course!") where we did our best to corner the market on old craft books. I picked up some gems: McCalls Needlework Treasury from 1963 and The Good Housekeeping Needlecraft Encyclopedia from 1947 - 
both chock full of great instructions for like everything I'll never do!  Oh yeah, at this point in the game we're both grabbing everything we even halfway think we might want because you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em - and the foldn' 'em part comes later when you take you haul to a corner, like a squirrel hording its acorn, and sort through it all to make your final decisions (or maybe that's the part where i'm supposed to say "there'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done" I don't know I've grown weary of this Kenny Rogers analogy now.)  Anyway, I migrated over to the "collectible cookbooks" table next and scored more great stuff - The American Woman's Cookbook from 1942
 which has a whole section on, basically, how to be a good housewife.  In the Menu Making chapter there's a bit that reads "The appearance of food is important to the modern man.  Beautiful color and dainty, attractive arrangement play a large part in a successful meal." - I love that!   Oh, there's even a section on vegetarian entrees, which surprised me - although it's pretty much just billed as an economical meal, and lots of the recipes still call for stuff like bacon fat and gelatin!  Oh, then I got some little gems in the stack of booklet type cookbooks - Favorite Recipes from the United Nations (published by the UN in '56), The Ground Meat Cookbook (seriously?  204 intriguing ground meat recipes!), and (this one's for you to be jealous of Dharmawrites!) Cooking Way Down South in Dixie from '49.  
Man - I could have looked at old cookbooks all afternoon!  I got more than that - but those are some highlights!  I walked out with a bag for something like $21 and I'm half considering going back tomorrow when it's something like $5 for all you can stuff in a bag.  

I had to rush out (and by that I mean that I only had 2 hours to spend there, which felt like nothing) because I was going to a Weaving Guild workshop on the rigid heddle loom!  I totally thought I'd be running in there late and there'd be like 30 weavers giving me the stare down, but Cay (the woman I bought my loom from, who also happened to be doing the workshop) pulled up just as I did, and as it turned out, I was the only one who showed up!  She said there were only a couple who signed up and they were a little iffy.  So basically it was like a private lesson!  Even though I'd already warped my loom once, it was great to do it with someone who actually knew what she was doing!  I brought my finished piece to show her so she could see my edge issues and after I got the thing all warped and started weaving she helped me with that. 
 So basically I just sat there weaving for hours and got to ask her a million questions!  I kind of felt bad that I took up her whole afternoon just for me - but it was certainly a big help!  This time I warped it for a 5ft scarf and used the same shiny yellow/gold rayon for the warp, and some JoJoland sock yarn in a colorway that moves from blue-green to green, for the weft.  It's gonna be beautiful!
  Ok, man, this is a long post - my appologies!  It was an exciting day!