Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fun Fur Bikini

"Too pretty to wear, I almost want to put it on my wall."--Jenny Patt

I love fun fur. I know it is considered tacky craft store yarn, but it is so much fun to work with and the final product is so very soft. I have a bunch of black and red and white
which I bought a few years ago (when I first learned of this yarn's existence and had plans to make these to sell at lingerie stores.) I sent the prototype to Jenny last week. I had planned to give it to her when she got married, but left it at home. She just had her birthday and is going through finals, so she needed a little something to cheer her up. What, I ask you, is more uplifting than a white furry bikini with pink bows?

I need to make another one. Unfortunately, I am still obsessed with knitting lace and coming up with design ideas which I want to do RIGHT NOW. I want to make a Hello Kitty black lace cardigan (i.e. Hello Kitty's head in lace) to match the Hello Kitty intarsia pullover I made years ago.
I then thought, "what about Power Puff Girls lace?" Then I pick up a book of stitch patterns at the library and see a bunch of cables and think, "Forget lace, I'll make sampler squares of all these cables and make a patchwork afghan." Then I remember I have all these unfinished projects that need to be finished (zippers, you may be my waterloo!) So I go back to finishing up the last of the gray lace mohair.

While all these ideas are great, it is hard to decide how to best allocate the few hours of my day which are child-free, and I sortof ish the ideas would just slow down a little so I can implement them instead of rushing at me like a Golden Retriever and making me crabby because my face just got licked and my clothes are muddy.

Monday, April 24, 2006

That's Nice of You To Say, But...

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.

I found this test on quizilla. Looking at all the possible choices, I think I would prefer to be a knitting goddess. Unfortunately, while I think everyone should knit and I really want to help everyone achieve their full knitting potential, I just don't have the patience ( or the opportunities) to do so. I sortof worry that "guru" is just a nice way of saying "snob." I get really angry when I walk into certain yarn stores and it seems the goal of the salespeople is to make all the customers who are not regulars feel like they are ham fisted beginners. I hate knitting elitists and I hate to think I may be one myself (if not all of the time, at least some of the time.)

Lace Knitting, Where Have You Been All My Life?

If I had known of the instant gratification which lace knitting offers, something I had previously thought to be impossible to find in the world of knitting, I would probably have dedicated myself to lace and only lace all these years.

I went from picture one to picture two in under a week, knitting in my spare time (i.e. after Julian went to bed at night, but before I passed out from exhaustion myself.)

The shawl is a variation of a pattern in a Vogue Knitting from 1994. (It's panels of a travelling fern lace stitch separated with panels of seed stitch. I would post the pattern, but I am unsure about copywright infringement. However, there is a very nice triangular shawl (she calls it the Kiri Shawl) with a fern pattern which you can find here.)

Then I whipped up a scarf in two days (I know, I said all of this in my last post. But I have pictures now.) The scarf has a border of seed stitch and a center panel in leaf lace stitch (though they look more like diamonds to me.)

Of course, I haven't produced anything else since then. But family drama and a small active toddler who loves to play in the sunshine are to blame, not lace knitting.

I have spent the week trying to make a hat to match the scarf and have decided it is, perhaps, not worth it (a lace scarf is useful, a lace hat may give you hat head, but won't keep your head warm.) I think I may make another scarf (skinnier) with the rest of the mohair.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mohair Lace Inferno

Thinking about all the people for whom one has knit pieces will invariably make one begin thinking of the pieces themselves.

Rebecca has posted a photo of herself wearing a purple/gray mohair scarf I made for her years ago (six years to be exact. I am getting old.) I remember making this scarf using two balls of Classic Elite's Lace Mohair and worrying that it was way too short (I still feel this way, look how short it is in the photo.) At the time it was one of my only forays into the world of lace knitting. What astounded me was how much the scarf "looked like" Rebecca--the lace and the color fit into Rebecca's palette. Rebecca has amazing style and is one of the few women I know who can look elegant in the color gray. In fact, when looking at Rebecca's clothes, I would always be overwhelmed with a desire to run right out and buy the suede pants she was wearing except that deep down I knew it would never work on me. It is the same with this scarf. Much as I loved it (and, in truth, I had originally planned to keep it for myself) I knew, in my heart of hearts, that it was meant for Rebecca. Oh, now I miss her a lot and wish she lived here so that we could go yarn store trolling together--Rebecca moved to the Bay Area (boo) and took up knitting (yay). Of course, had she been a knitter when she lived in Chicago, I may never have given her the scarf. I hesitate to make anything for other people who knit. I feel like the process is so rewarding and I imagine anything they really want, they would have made or are planning to make for themselves. The last thing I want to do is impose my work on someone else. However, in the case of Rebecca and this scarf, I may have forced it upon her anyway because it really looked so perfectly her.

So I was thinking about this scarf and my plans for the four balls of the same lace mohair (in gray) which I have had in my stash for the better part of the last decade. Now, given the fact that I used the same pattern I used for Rebecca's scarf (with repeats of the lace) I expected to have just enough yarn to make a shawl. Apparently, I didn't used number 10 needles for the scarf. Not only did I have enough yarn for a shawl, I completed a scarf (with lace pattern I found in a stitch book) and I still have over half a ball left with which I will most likely make a matching lace hat to go with the scarf. And the strange thing is that I am beginning to understand what all those lace knitters mean when they say lace knitting is addictive. I am not saying that it has replaced my love for making intricately cabled things, but man oh man, there is nothing like lace for instant gratification. It took me two weeks to make Laddie's sport weight scarf and it took only two days to make a lace scarf. I don't remember it being so easy the last time I tried knitting lace. Quite the opposite, in fact. I recall being so frustrated that I swore I would never knit lace again. And it seemed to take every bit as long as any other type of knitting. I was just relieved it turned out okay.

So, yes, instead of finishing the pieces on which I have been working for months, I made a bunch of new things. I haven't blocked anything and Julian dropped our digital camera (Happy Easter!) so it may be a few days before I post pictures or the patterns.

Oh, and lest you think that being a fashion and knitting maven is all there is to Ms. Rebecca, I must add that she is an extremely talented actress and director. I am lucky to have worked with her and hope to be so honored in the future. She is also super smart and a good friend.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Une Echarpe Andalose (An Andalusian Scarf)

"Do yourself a favor. Get a scarf."-Laddie Odom

I made this scarf for our friend, Laddie, who moved to Baltimore last year. I used merino wool which I have had in my stash for years.

The stitch I used is called Double Andalusian stitch, so while there is nothing inherently surreal about this scarf (unless you find a nearly invisible pocket to be surreal when found on a scarf), I couldn't resist giving it a name which payed homage to Bunuel and Dali. Yes, I am a total geek.

Finished Measurements
Approximately 10 inches wide and 66 inches long

1 set US #4 straight needles
Approximately 350 grams baby weight merino wool. I can only estimate the amount used as this yarn has been knit and unraveled a few times.

Gauge: 7 stitches=1 inch in double andalusian stitch

Cast on 66 stitches.
Row 1 and 3: Knit
Row 2: *K2, P4; repeat from * to end
Row 4: P3 *K2, P4; repeat from * to last 5 sts; K2, P3
Repeat rows 1-4 throughout
Continue in pattern as established until piece measures 6 inches, ending with a WS row.

Knit 22 stitches. Over the next 22 stitches, increase stitches by knitting to the front and back of each stitch. Place every other stitch on a stitch holder. Knit remaining 22 stitches (66 stitches on needle, 22 stitches on stitch holder.)

Continue in stitch pattern until piece measures desired length. Bind off stitches.

Pocket: Pick up the 22 stitches on the stitch holder. Work in the established pattern. At the same time, pick up the stitch underneath the first and last stitch of every row and knit together with the stitch on the needle to the back. (This attaches the pocket to the scarf. You may also knit flat and sew the pocket to the scarf.) When pocket is desired depth, bind off stitches.

Wet block. This stitch will cause the resulting fabric to curl. I aggressively and obsessively blocked this scarf so it would lie as flat as possible. The edges still had a smidgen of curl to them, but it wasn't too bad (the pattern has selvage stitches written into it, but you may add more if you prefer.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Random Question

Does anyone actually like garter stitch?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Plans, Take 2

This will be the week when I plan to finish the cashmere fingerless gloves, the zip-up cardigan for Julian, and the fun fur trimmed miniskirt. This will also be the week when I give out gifts to people (either in person or by mail) at which point I can post the photos, the patterns, and their reactions to the knitwear.)

The problem with making a sweater for a baby or toddler is that the baby doesn't really care about the sweater. So instead of having the motivation of a recipient who is desperate to get the hand knit object, you have a recipient who refuses to try on the item to see if it is large enough to (hopefully) fit in the fall. Add to this the whole irritation which comes with sewing on a zipper and you can see how this piece would remain in the unfinished state it has since January.

The miniskirt is another source of irritation. I just would prefer not to attache a lining, but I know I must, and this makes me crabby. So it has also been lounging around the house in pieces for weeks and, with the weather improving and a suspicion that I won't have a chance to wear it until the fall, I have no incentive to finish it anytime soon.

The cashmere fingerless gloves (made from cashmere I recycled from a pair of cashmere gloves which had holes in the fingers) should be finished. They are so close to being finished I have no excuse (I also have no photograph.) But when it is seventy degrees outside, starting a shawl or socks (i.e. something which might get used between now and october) seems so much more appealing.

So, this is the week when I stop making excuses and finish the projects so that I may post the patterns here. At least, that is what I am telling myself today, Monday. Things always have a way of not working out the way we hope. Especially when one is planning one's knitting around a toddler.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Too sick to flash

I have so much yarn under my bed, but I am currently sick in bed and do not have the energy to take pictures of it all and post it here. So I will be unable to participate in any flashing this year.