Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Community Quilting

My local (and regional) crafting group, Crafts of the Wise (or CoW for short) has been working on a community quilt for our religious organization to raffle for a fundraiser. We started it two years ago, and I think its time to finish that bad-boy.

This post is not about that quilt.

Our friend the (blogless) Cindy decided that my niece Sarah needed a quilt for graduation. She put together some scrap blocks set on point and passed them out to Sarah's friends, family, teachers, ROTC peeps (do they still call them peeps?)....

Anyway, Jess and I each donated a block, and the three of us got together last week to start putting the top together. It wasn't quite finished yet by the time they left here, but a lot of good work got done, and dudes, we had fun. (The embroidery was done by Jess, by the way.)

There was a party for Sarah that I didn't get to go to (had to work) but I'm given to understand that she really liked it, and was amazed that so many people signed it without her finding out.

So, the moral of this story is: Cindy rocks, and crafting together is fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

While this post will not actually mention, show or even link to Soleil, please know that I am still working on it. In fact, we are on the waist now, and about to begin the increases to the bust.

I have been doing some clearing up of some small projects.

I made Rowan a vest what with dinosaurs on when he was two. I also cut out a pair of shorts, but never made them. Until, you know, now.

The good news is, my boy-o is quite a bit taller now (three years later) but not so much bigger in the tummy. The durned things still fit. Go figure.

In other news, I finished the Kitty hat out of Stitch N' Bitch that Rhi conned me into knitting for her. The child can totally knit, and I should have made her do it herself...but I'm a sucker for a kid that begs for hand knits, what can I say?

Here's my beautiful baby girl looking, as she says "Shwah!" I gather from context that this is meant to be positive. I used to speak 13, but there has apparently been a dialectical shift in the intervening 2 decades.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

And now for something completely different....

The Larch.

Okay, not quite that different. BUT! I have bloggy content for you that may shock and consternate my more delicate readers. What I am about to show you, is completely finished. I began it this week. And.

Its not knitting.

I know. I was shocked too.

Behold, the monkey shirt.

My Mr. Reno-berry is in dire need of some summer play clothes, and my stash is in some dire need of ... well, ever being used. Pretty much a win-win situation.

I sat down to sew on Tuesday, and had it all finished but the buttons and buttonholes. Then I remembered that I have a brand new sewing machine, and I don't so much know how to make buttonholes on it. I decided at that point that Learning New Things could totally wait until Wednesday.

Wednesday rolled around and after a trip to Wal-Mart (would you believe that in all that stash I have, like NO boy fabric? What the heck?) I sat down to learn button-holering. I love my new machine. I really, really do. Four fancy-schmancy relatively painless buttonholes later, and my boy has a new shirt.

Things I've learned:
  • Lesson One: Just because you've been sewing for 15 years, don't think that you can get away with just looking at the pictures on a pattern you've never sewn before. It might bite you on your tuckus.
  • Lesson Two: Listening to the husband read a story to the kidlings while sewing is very pleasant, but combined with lesson number one while sewing in a collar? Let's just say that more tuckus biting occurred and leave it at that, shall we?
  • Lesson Three: My dude is seriously cute.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Book Review: Favorite Socks

Interweave Press has gathered 25 sock patterns together in their spring release "Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave." Edited by Ann Budd and Anne Merrow, this book delivers exactly what its title implies: a collection of 17 previously published (and 6 brand new) sock patterns.

Let me first say that this is a very pretty book. If I were being totally honest, and I am, I spend far more time looking at knitting books than I do actually knitting. Its a bit of a hobby in and of itself, so the over-all aesthetic quality of a knitting book is important to me. This one is nice.

The pages lie neatly open on the hidden inner spiral. This is common to Interweave's newer books (think Ann Budd's "Handy Pattern" books). I love this feature, because its really hard to knit and hold a book open at the same time. Also, the photography is lovely. Some pictures are old friends that you'll recognize from your collection, but others are refreshingly new.

If you are the sort of knitter that has had a subscription to Interweave from the beginning (rare) and who can positively lay her hands on every issue (rarer) and who furthermore knows exactly in which issue the specific sock pattern she is looking for is located (I hate you) then you certainly do not need this book. Okay, well there are 6 new patterns.

But, if you are like me, and you've subscribed for the past several years, and the issue with Evelyn Clark's "Flower Basket Shawl" is still in your knitting basket with the Knitpick's Alpaca Cloud, and the one with the Icarus Shawl has completely disappeared (because it knows you want to knit it)....

If you are like me, you'll want this book.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

On Cotton Tanks

I'm about half of a row shy of completing the lace section of Soleil. I'm working four repeats instead of three, so that that the top will be a little longer. I'm not sure yet whether or not I'll add more length into the waist shaping. Conceptually, that seems like a very straight-forward and obvious kind of adjustment to make. I'm still not entirely sure how to translate that into actual string though.

I feel that my skill as a knitter is continuing to expand, and learning how to be the boss of my knitting (as EZ would say) is an important step for me. One of my knitterly goals for 2007 is to learn more about design and pattern alteration.

Anyway, I'm enjoying knitting it so far. The Sinfonia is a pretty alright yarn, although its just enough splitty that you have to watch while you're knitting it, lest you look down and notice that three rows down you only PSSO'd half the yarn, and the other half is dangling there PiSSingOff. Cheeky yarn -- but soft! And the royal blue I'm working with is a beautiful color. I bet pictures would help, but I'm in bed (BLOGGING IN BED!) and can't be arsed to borrow the daughter's camera.

Speaking of cotton, I'm itchy to get my hands on some of Elann's Lara. The pictures are just that pretty. I think that it would be about perfect for Deborah Newton's "Josephine Top" (scroll down) in the new Interweave Knits. Its not quite a tank, but close. I'm thinking that this may be my treat for finishing up Soleil.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Summer Sock Knitalong Might Cure the Summertime Blues

I'm such a joiner.

But hey, its not like I wasn't gonna knit socks this summer anyway, right? Sign ups are from now through May 26, and the knitting time frame runs from Litha to Mabon. Er, I mean from Summer Solstice to the Autumnal Equinox. Yeah, that's the ticket. Three months of socky fun. More information can be found by clicking the pretty button.

Go on, click the button. You know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it.

And now: Thursdays are for Making Lists! (List, list, oh list!)

Calceo in Progresseo:
  • Not-So-Very-Glad Raggs
  • Eyelets of My Very Own Design
  • Blame Canada!
Calceo in Provisio:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Knitting Ennui (there ain't no cure for the summertime blues)

I've been having a knitting slump lately. I have things on the needles that I don't want to knit. I am having serious second thoughts about the Canada sock (or at least about the needle size for the fair isle bit), I'm tired of the Glad Raggs socks, acrylic cables are stupid and


Okay, enough of that.

What I need is some fiber therapy. New yarn, new projects, new UFOs... er, okay not that last.

Since its a full 86 degrees F here in middle TN on this lovely Beltane day, I've decided to knit me a tank. I've had my eye on Soleil ever since it was published back in '05. The construction is sensible (and very similar to my Green Tank, but less stupid).

I'm pondering my yarn choices. I think that Elann's Lara would be pretty, and about $17 before shipping. Not bad atall. I was considering Knitpicks' Shine, but the gauge isn't quite right and it would end up rather more expensive. I did some more pondering and then remembered that Omega Sinfonia (available at Hobbidy Lobbidy) is about the same gauge. Did the math — it will be $20. Yes: sales tax, No: shipping.... once you factor in the "hey, Its already here!" part of the deal, I think I have a winner.

I'm going to hit HL after lunch, and if they have a color that makes me squeeful, I'll go ahead and buy it. If no, then home I come to order Lara. I'm thinking Brick Red.

EDIT: Turns out Sinfonia is $4.99 a whack now, not $3.99 like I remembered. I went ahead and got it though, because instant gratification won out over the couple of bucks I would have saved going through Elann.com.