Thursday, March 30, 2006

Strike a pose.

I have here before me the Spring/Summer 2006 issue of Vogue Knitting!! I've also got a sinus headache, PMS, and am on a diet. So let's go through it, shall we?

(A note: This criticism isn't aimed at the designers. There isn't much you can do when the magazine dictates their wants to you, exceept design and earn a paycheck, or don't, and don't. I get that. I just want to know what Vogue is thinking.)

All photos from the Vogue Knitting web site. If there's no photo, the brief description given (and all other writing) is mine unless it's in quotes, then it's Vogue's. I'll go by the pattern numbers they use, not page numbers.

1. Fitted dress. Knit with a cotton/elastic blend. Not bad if you're a fashion model, and how many of us are? Plus it's a good bit of knitting and slip stitch patterns take a while to work, so that just increases how long it'll take, but at least it's a classic and you could wear it a couple summers in a row. Especially if you lost that ruffle on the bottom.

2. Chanelish suit. Lace. Knit in a silk/rayon/nylon blend, which makes me wonder about cost. The jacket has got about a 100% wearability rating, which is impressive. Anyone could put this on and look, if not really good, at least not bad in it. (Assuming you like lace). The skirt... Fashion model territory again.

3. Little short-sleeved sweater. Lion Brand yarn. Fifty bucks says Lion Brand paid to have their yarn used, because, come on, how many people knit that stuff if cost is no problem? And I think I'm the only person in the world that wears pink and orange together. Still, with a decent yarn in one or two colors it'd be a nice summer sweater.

4. Very Easy cardigan, reverse stockinette stitch, looks like it's inside out, but if you want an easy project, there you go. At least it's flattering to everyone. Or not unflattering. I'd never pay for a pattern for this, I'd just do a swatch and knit it.

5. V-neck cardigan with a whole lot of crochet detail. I'm not sure who chose the pea green and turquoise combo, but they need shot. Or the photographer should be, for photographing the colors wrong. Yet another skinny chick sweater. (I'm on a diet, I'm sensitive to the size issue.)

6. Another little short sleeved sweater. Nice. I'd go batshit putting in the sideways panel, but if you want a challenge, go for it. And I doubt this would be flattering to plus sizes. Or even medium sizes.

7. Knitted camisole. Skinny time.

8. Knitted skirt. Looks like my grandmother's afghan wrapped around her waist. And you gotta be skinny skinny skinny to wear 99% of knitted skirts, including this one.

9. A sort of camisole/short-sleeved sweater deal with lace trim. Wearable for almost anyone. (Nicky Epstein. Why am I not surprised? Go, Nicky.)

10. A corset. CORSET. Are they MAD?

11. They're calling this a 'head turning tank'. I'm calling it a lace train wreck. And there's crochet.

12. Shortie cardigan with CROCHET trim. I think I'd like it better if the model weren't in her panties, which they conveniently cropped out for the web site. (SEE? A lot of this isn't designer fault. I seriously doubt it was HER idea to photograph a flattering cardigan on some bim wearing PANTIES.) This one is likely flattering to plus-sizes and ladies with big, uh, bosoms.

13. Tunic. Nice. Flattering to everyone, pretty, the yarn's available in nice colors... something must be wrong at VK headquarters to let this get past.

14. V-neck cardigan with reverse V showing the ol' belly button. Crochet trim. (Excuse me, is this Vogue Crochet? I think not.) I'd knit the flowers, though.

15. Tunic by Michael Kors. (Everyone go "oooh. Michael Kors.") Silk and cashmere blend. Silk. Cashmere. Summer. I guess if you can afford to knit it, you can afford to have an EMT standing by to treat you for heat stroke. Oh, and this is almost identical to #13, without the frills. And the blanket stitch on the edge makes a great project look like Seventh Grade Home Ec.

16. Hoodie jacket with pockets and waist tie. I had something almost identical to this in, I think, 1978. It was white, yellow, and blue stripes. Kinda nice for a beach coverup.

17. Cabled tank. Cool idea, bad execution. What I assume are ties on the side look like unfinished yarn ends hanging down. Skinny time again.

18. Long-sleeved cardi-thingie. One of those ballet-style wrap around and tie in the back deals. Kinda nice, but not for big bosoms.

19. Two-layered tank and skirt set. See above for opinion on wearing knit skirts, and it goes double for this because there are two layers. Why would you swathe yourself in two layers of fabric in summer, especially when it makes your butt look twice as big? More fashion model material.

20. Another Very Easy project, this one is a sideways-knit crop top with some interesting bead type detailing at the waist. Flattering for anyone brave enough to bare their stomachs.

21. Yet another Very Easy. I like it. Not sure it's flattering to anyone larger than a size six, but I like it.

22. A knitted bikini. The internet doesn't have the space for the rant.

23. Very Easy. Knitted 'bandeau' (fifty bucks says it's held up with glue on this model) and a tunic dress thingie over top. If you're abnormally underweight and have no boobs, go for it. But what this thing really reminds me of is overalls.

24. Your classic cotton cable-knit. The one summer thing everyone can and probably would wear.

25. Sideways knit tank. Kinda nice but it uses two strands of yarn knit together. Because, you know, you need it to be twice as warm in summer. The model looks like she's fanning herself. Coincidence? I think not.

26. An entirely crocheted COAT in umpteen colors. I repeat. Is this Vogue Crochet? And it's by Brandon Mably for Rowan, so you'd have to take out a loan to pay for the yarn. I quote, "Haute coture and crochet go hand in hand." Somebody tell Grandma. My head hurts too bad to laugh this hard.

27. Sleeveless pullover. Nice, but not for plus sizes again. And reverse stockinette always makes it look inside out to me, but you could just knit it in stockinette.

28. V-neck pullover with side vents. Nice, but the glitter yarn is ridiculous. It's Rowan pushing "Lurex Shimmer". Knit it out of a nice affordable cotton, and you've got something.

29. This one's kind of cool. A short-sleeved pullover, the 'waist' is knit sideways, then the bottom and top are picked up and knit out from there. And it's wearable for anyone with a waist.

30. An entirely CROCHET dress. You gotta be a fashion model for this one AND THIS IS NOT VOGUE CROCHET!!! And get that dumbass chicken the hell out of the photo, for crying out loud.

31. Knitted skirt. This one's got flounces and is probably wearable by everyone. Though if you knit it with 100% cotton (the suggested yarn is a rayon/cotton blend)it'll be so heavy you will have trouble keeping it on.

32. Little one-button cardigan. Crop waist, 3/4 length sleeves, wearable by all and flattering to nearly all. Very nice. I'm shocked.

33. Mobius scarf. a. who wears scarves in summer? and b. Is Cat Bordhi getting royalties?

34. Jacket with shawl collar and tie. Except for the stitch pattern and lack of a hood, this is identical to #16.

So there's maybe five, six patterns in there that are flattering to plus sizes. (And note, nearly all of them made it to the web site for people deciding if they want to buy the magazine.) I am five nine and wear a size twelve, and I think that's a fairly average size for women, and I'd look like shit in at least half of this stuff. They're worried about subscriptions fallinging off. I can't IMAGINE why.

Nothing for men. Not one project. Nothing for kids. No socks (and how many sock knitters do we have out there?) Nothing for the home. No toys. Their defense would be, they're VOGUE KNITTING and are all about high fashion for women. Dandy. Just keep watching magazine sales drop. Besides. Men knit AND like fashion, and even HAVE THEIR OWN DESIGNERS. So...?

Otherwise, there is a nice Dulann article. And some advertisements for stuff disguised as articles on new products, and a nice lace article by Meg Swansen... And it cost six bucks. I guess that's almost worth the money, if I knit just one thing out of this.

But how out of touch can they get? Do they think we're all size six??

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Math geek.

I'm adapting a woven shirt for a knitting pattern (next Knitty article, matter of fact), and I'm a little short on yarn. Or shorter than Ms "Buy a skein for luck" prefers to be. SOooooooo, I measured and figured out how much surface area I covered when I knit up one ball of yarn, which was 121 inches. Then I figured out how much surface area the entire shirt takes up. That was a rather amusing little process. I figured the surface area, total, like a giant rectangle, and then subtracted out the areas that aren't knit: armholes and the neck. And I got 880 square inches. I've got the yarn for 960 square inches, so leaving enough yarn for end-darning and the like, I'm going to be running this pretty close.

It's not my fault I had algebra professors who thought knitting math questions were interesting, darn it.

And we won't talk about how my mother-in-law's a retired math teacher who I taught to knit, and how our last knitting discussion devolved to graph paper and radical numbers. No graphing caluculators were involved.

Though I do have one.

Bad morning. Bad.

Don't you hate when you wake up, then fall back to sleep again and DREAM that you got up, changed the baby, fed the baby, put her in her little swing? And you WAKE UP just as you were sitting down to your own breakfast?

And you realize it was all a dream and you have to do your morning ALL OVER AGAIN.

Hate that. Hate it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Home at last, home at last.

Back from Myrtle Beach again, and I must say I won't be missing it any time soon (though it was very nice to spend time with the in-laws, which is the reason we were there, so I shouldn't complain). The drive was absolutely horrendous, and it's easy to spot who is a tourist - they follow the traffic laws.

I considered a prolonged list of driving dos and don'ts, because you would not BELIEVE the driving here, but it IS a knitting blog, so I got a grip on myself. (Okay, okay. One tip. It is rude to drive down the highway right freaking next to someone in the other lane for miles and miles and miles, because NO ONE CAN GET AROUND YOU.)

I got photos of the beach at Myrtle and took some color notes (I had a yarn sample card with me, but the colors weren't right. WHY ARE THE COLORS NEVER RIGHT?) and I will be designing a sweater based on the hotels along the shore, hopefully by the end of the summer. In cotton, of course, but it'll be light cotton, at a fine gauge. No complaining.

The Damn Doily and the Watery Llama scarf are donedonedone (yipee!) and in little gift bags in Myrtle, to go home with my in-laws who will thoughtfully deliver them for me. One deadline met. The Kid Kimono SHOULD be going in the mail today but instead of finishing it, I got going on the Tax Sweater and knit like a zombie all day yesterday, so hopefully it will be in the mail tomorrow or Thursday (I've even got the mailing envelope ready to go - so organized. I don't know who has taken over my body). All I've got left to knit is the Thneed and I'll have met all my goals for March. Which blows my mind, because my goals for March were nuts.

(Just looked at the calendar, counted days, and realized the Thneed might not get done. Oops.)

Patterns for the Kid Kimono and the Watery Llama scarf will be forthcoming when the one is finished and I have photos of the other. (We're having Download The Camera issues again.)

Absolutely zero has been done on The Business Idea, but I've got a couple books. Maybe I should read them.

Tip for the day: Don't knit cotton for four hours straight (like I did yesterday) or your fingers will hurt. Duh.

Now starting on purple rayon I-cord.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A quick lesson on lace blocking.

While I was blocking the Damn Doily this morning it occurred to me that the knowledge might be useful, because it's kind of a weird technique and not a lot of people have done it.

Please note: This method is for Sitting There lace, not Wearing Around lace, and the material is COTTON, not wool or silk. Try this with a Kid Silk Haze shawl, and you will have an unholy mess on your hands and probably wind up having to throw all your beautiful work away. So be advised. This method is for Damn Doilies in cotton, only!

The pattern shown is "Coronet" from "The First Book of Modern Lace Knitting" by Marianne Kinzel. Avaiable at Amazon. Her second book is also cool. They seem to be based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's "pi shawl" method of knitting a circle from the center out, and truly new in terms of doily knitting, but the history of doilies is an entry for another day (when I'm sure it won't put everyone to sleep).

So wash your doily and then put it into a bowl full of cool water and liquid laundry starch. You can follow the directions for use on the bottle of starch, or just dump some in. I use the just dump method, and probably use a half cup of starch for a half gallon of water (this is way more than the directions say). In the past I have used watered-down Elmers' Glue in a pinch, and that works, but it takes FOREVER to dry and is really stiff. (REALLY stiff. But you can't beat it for blocking things you want to stand up.) Traditionally sugar and/or flour were used to stiffen lace, but that draws bugs to nibble on your hard work. And if you want to turn your white lace to beige, dunk it in a bowl of iced tea between the wash/rinse and the starch. (This is a one-way process.)

While your lace is sitting in the starch, get out a kazillion straight pins (I suggest the ones with the colored balls on the heads, so you can hang on to them) and a blocking board. You can spring for a regular blocking board, or you can use a chunk of foam-backed 'core board' from the art store. I use core board but when this one dies (water from repeated blockings eventually does them in) I'm getting a real blocking board. The usual lace method of putting it on the bed and pinning doesn't work in this case: The piece has to be stretched a LOT.

Fish your lace out of the slime (excuse me - starch water) and roll it in a towel and press on it to get the worst of the water out, then plop it on the board and locate two points opposite each other. (NOTE: Patterns with odd numbers of points are a TOTAL BITCH to block because they aren't symmetrical in any way and NOTHING lines up. Keep it in mind when picking a project.) Pin the two opposite sides down. I'd done this pattern before and written down how big it should be, so I cheated and measured.

After that, you figure out how many other points you have, and pin them out in approximately the right places. (This one has six points, so you have to eyeball it. If it had, say, eight, you could do the points at right angles, and then make the others fit.) At this stage (at any stage, really) this is not exact, and the points will be jiggered around some, but try to get it right.

Don't only measure across the doily, but measure between each point, to make sure you've got it somewhere close to right. (These were off by maybe a half inch, depending, when I measured, and that was close enough.) You CAN get out a protractor and draw six-pointed stars and block the points properly, but I've done it and it's an awful lot of bother. (If you look closely, that bottom point is crooked. It gets fixed, later.)

Pin out the other points, working on opposite sides as you do it, and remembering the doily is supposed to be ROUND, not hexagonal. (The husbeast says, 'this is like torquing down a tire' for those of you who are mechanics.)

From here, you start pinning out the little crochet loops you made when binding off. Do one at each side of each point, first.
And then you pin down all the other little points. Remember, the doily should be stretched TIGHT, and it's okay to move things around a little bit to make them balanced.

And there you go. Leave it alone until it dries, pull out the pins, and you have a doily. This method can be tweaked a little bit, and you can take doilies you knit round and block them into ovals. If you're desperate for a thrill, it's kind of fun.

Go knit some lace, try this for yourself, and send me pictures!


It's done. Blocking still, (see above) but done. As of eight thirty last night, I had commenced binding off. This morning I got up bright and early and blocked it. Which is good because today we leave for Myrtle Beach again (I thought we were leaving tomorrow), abandoning the Local Lace Blocking Facilities, and I need to leave the lace and the scarf in Myrtle to go home with my in-laws at the end of the weekend. After that I need to get back to what I WAS doing, which was the Kid Kimono and the Tax Sweater. Oh, and I did a swatch for that and washed it too. I feel almost organized.

Except for the packing. Not thinking about the packing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yesterday in photos.

I'll cut to the chase. I didn't get the Damned Doily (the traditional name for my lace work) done. It's about half. With luck it'll be done today because it's 'due' Saturday.

As of noon, yesterday, I had this:

And this:

So I hunkered down on the couch and knit like a fiend, but by one o'clock, this had happened: (That's my father in law, visiting for the day.) And the knitting slowed down. Way down.

By three, I had a major crick in my neck and this: So I put it down and did other things, came back and knit, did something else. Did laundry, washed dishes, changed diapers. (No. I did not take photos of any of these things.) By eight I had this:And decided the doily-in-a-day was not happening, so I worked on the llama scarf for an hour, ate a cupcake, and went to bed.

However, the azaleas are blooming.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A lace knitter gone bad.

I started my knitting life (as opposed to real life, but knitting is all that matters) as a lace knitter. It was the eighties, good yarn was impossible to find, so I got ancient lace patterns out of libraries and knit them with size two double points and #10 crochet cotton. (There was no one around to tell me this was hard. A good thing.) I've produced probably three, four dozen intricate and quite large doilys, given away as Christmas, Hanukah, and wedding presents.

I only ever kept one. The one I knit while my mother was sick, to keep my hands busy so I wouldn't kill my family. (Knitting has so many uses.)

After that last doily, I succumbed to the joy of Really Big Yarn and Really Big Needles and Really Simple Projects. You know, like Dale of Norway sweaters on size threes. (HUGE!) And I haven't knit any lace since, though I coached my mother-in-law through an afghan with yarnovers and paired decreases in it last winter. (Feather and fan stitch, as I recall.) Oh. And I knit a lacy pink thing for the baby while I was pregnant, that she never wore.

So today I decided to get moving on that purple doily that's 'due' this coming weekend. It took me about ten minutes to find my lace notebook, which was Not A Happy Time. Otherwise a slob, I've kept meticulous records of what I've knit, with yardage, time frames, what color it was, who the lace went to, and other useful stuff. (I'm generally a pig, but when it comes to record keeping, I'm all over it. Too many years as an accounting clerk.) The date I originally wrote on the front of the notebook is 1985, so you can imagine how happy I was at the thought of it disappearing. When you find yourself standing on a futon to look for something, you know you're in trouble.

Fortunately, it turned up, in a pile of otherwise unused notebooks. (It was easily identified because it is falling apart.)

Then I had to find my size two needles (easily spotted due to their really shiny points) and dig out some cotton, which I have a boxful of. I could have SWORN there was some iris purple in there, but damned if I see it anywhere. So we're having to go with white. I hate white lace. It's so... grandma (my grandmother actually didn't knit lace, she crocheted hats, but it's the STEREOTYPE, people, work with me). But I don't have time to go buy anything, so white it is.

The doily in question has 53 rows, half of them plain, and blocks to one foot in diameter. So it's fairly small. I want to get it done today. (I hear you laughing.)

Start your timers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yarn and germs.

A photo essay by Yours Truly.

First the yarn. This is Schachenmayr "Catania" and I love it love it love it, except the nice peach color is (of course) discontinued. And it knits at about six stitches to the inch, and I'm using this for the Tax Sweater (due April 15), so that sound you hear is me, shooting myself in the foot. Again.

Next is the brown variegated, to re-knit the wrap that I recently pulled off the needles and ditched. This is allowing me to incorporate an idea involving some well-placed buttonholes and/or frogs, but who knows when I'll get to it.

This is a combination of rayon (the yellow) and cotton chenille (the blue/green) that I'm swatching with, for who knows how long, starting who knows when, for a Christmas present.

However. There is a bright side. Sorta.

The Kid Kimono is reaching an end. It still needs the sleeves sewn shut and a bazillion ends darned in, but the knitting is over. OVER! See that cute little kind-of-Mandarin collar? Totally by accident, but I feel so smart and clever when I look at it. It's almost, but not quite, really This Red, but I took the photo under incandescent (yellow) light, so it looks sorta wonky. That background is supposed to be white, for refrence. (We won't discuss my photography skills. It's humiliating. I thought I'd be all smart and put down a white background, and blew it with the lighting. At least it's almost not blurry. This time.)

And then the llama spit out:

That's right, the watery llama scarf is coming along. The photo doesn't capture the color (again), but you can see the stitch pattern pretty well. And it's reversible. Reversible scarves always make me happy. I'm knitting up about two balls of yarn a day on it, and it averages about a foot of scarf per ball, so if I get hot, I can have this done. Not so sure about the rumored doily, though.

Then, to round out a lovely day, we got germs in the mail. From the left, we have the Common Cold Rhinovirus, Beer Yeast, Martian Bacteria, and a Mad Cow Prion.

No average toys for my baby. No siree. Although she's already giving me that Teen Look. You know. The one that says "I'm really starting to worry about you, Mom."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Meanwhile, in the bedroom...

...Julie is running around naked, shrieking because none of her clothes match.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Well, beep.

I am falling behind on the knitting projects. (Gee. We never saw that coming.) I wanted to get the Kid Kimono and the scarf (tenatively named the Watery Llama scarf) done this week, and here it is Friday and I'm screwing with raglan decreasing and the scarf is still a couple balls of yarn in my knitting basket.

On the other hand, I did teach someone to knit this week, which should count for something.

Since this sweater is going to the child of Someone Who Reads This Blog (bless them every one), I hesitate to do a full rant on my idiocy in desigining this kimono, but suffice it to say, I am never, ever knitting anything in linen stitch again. I don't care how cool it looks or how uncurly it is. I think I am in some kind of vacation induced fugue state, because for some dumbass reason I don't seem able to put my finger on, I decided to do the RAGLAN DECREASING ON THE WRONG SIDE. Left-leaning purl decreases. Five. Every other row. I'm a damned moron. And it looks like crap, too, of course. And linen stitch is a bear to rip out, and I've already re-knit one row three times, andandand...

The husbeast has just arrived for the weekend and we're going shopping again (but not for yarn, and I NEED some yarn) and he got walkie-talkies for free (who knows how or why) that do the Nextel beepy noise that drives me absolutely batshit. (You should know it from the really obnoxious beepy noise commercials.)

Time to eat chocolate.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another victim lured to the Dark Side

[Insert evil, maniacal laughter here.]

While here in Myrtle Beach, my mother-in-law mentioned that one of her friends wanted to learn to knit, so over the friend came last night to learn the intricacies of the craft. ("It's loops pulled through loops. You keep them from unraveling with cast-ons and cast-offs. The rest is details." I get really intense on this stuff.) However, the lady I was teaching already knew how to weave and arrived with Really Good Wool (imported! from Germany!) to LEARN with. She caught on fast and today we do purling. It is a great pleasure to teach someone who Gets It.

I've been reading "Color" (the history one, not the color theory one), and in the 'Black' section, it explained how before synthetic dyes (even now, really) achieving black fabric and yarn was much more difficult than most other colors. It was a two-step dye process. First an indigo underdye, and then logwood over top. Obviously a two step process is about twice as expensive as a one step. This means that the Puritans, running about Europe in their black clothes, were the fashion-of-the-day equivalent to televangelits wearing diamond rings while swearing they spend all their money on charity. Very interesting. And also, if they got ripped off on the fabric, the indigo underdye step was skipped, and only the logwood was used, leaving the Puritan in question walking around in a black suit that was gradually fading to ORANGE. I'm imagining Cotton Mather in an orange jumpsuit from the LA County lockup, and snickering.

Off to another exciting day of knitting. There are rumors of yarn shopping.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Exotic is wherever you aren't.

I went to the beach (I'm spending a week in Myrtle Beach, SC) on Sunday and mostly hated it for not being Kualoa Beach Park (that was my favorite beach to go to when I lived in Hawaii). But as I looked around, I remembered something the kids in Hawaii taught me: Exotic is wherever you aren't. These kids had grown up with the beach as their playground, surfing and having luaus and speaking four or five languages (and knowing profanities in ten or twenty more), and they treated my stories of growing up in Ohio amid cow pastures and corn fields as strange and fascinating. So, with a sigh, I have pulled out the camera and begun to document.

You can tell there are knitters staying here.

The row of hotels along the beach would make a fantastic Fasset-ish pastel sweater in cottons. (Of course I think in sweaters. This is ME we're talking about.) I'll probably be designing that in a month or two, once I knit myself out from under this pile of projects I have going. (Let's not forget that wrap that I just threw away and need to re-knit.)

I am knitting like the wind (or at least a stiff breeze) on the kid kimono.

And that's about it for excitement here. Later today we're going to the book store, and I begin researching web-based businesses, because I've had An Idea.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Insane? Me? What makes you think so?

The ten kajillion projects I've got lined up, that are all on deadline, that I keep adding to? The fact that I just purchased yarn for three other projects and am considering buying yarn for a fourth? (Whole-sweaters-with-arms projects, not this fooling around scarf stuff.) Plus I'm eyeing several other ideas. And let's not forget that Turoe deal I've got rolled up on my kitchen table, waiting for me to get motivated with the colored pencils again.

Totally freakin' nuts. I knew the Knitting Olympics would go to my head. A tank top in two weeks and suddenly I think I'm a knitting machine.

And then. THEN. I started thinking about Project Spectrum and thinking I could kind of coordinate ideas with that. With color on the brain, I went to the book store today, and bought another book on color theory ("Color" by Betty Edwards). You watch. By next week I won't be able to get dressed, I'll just stand there going "Pink with bluejeans... that will emphasize the inherent grayness underlying true indigo dye. Is that truly what I'm going for, with a pink shirt? Or should I wear mauve?"

There was another book, though, that I think is going to get me even more into the whole color deal: "Color" by Victoria Finlay (Not to be confused with "Color" by Betty Edwards. Someone needs to have a chat with whoever comes up with titles in New York). It's the HISTORY of color, or rather of our reproduction of color. Why purple murex dye was so expensive, why really bright colors had to wait for modern chemistry, all that. It's separated into chapter by color and is very fun reading. It's my beach book for next week.

A quick chocolate update: While at the book store, I was going to pick up a small box of those Platinum Godivas I was talking about a while back. I almost bought them, but I realized it was eight dollars for a box of four little bonbons. That's two bucks each. Ahahahahahaha. No chocolate's that good. I don't care what the critics say. So no Godiva Platinums for me. I'll stick to the double chocolate cheesecake. And caffeine. Gotta have caffeine.

So, let's recount the projects I want to finish by the end of March, shall we? Just for entertainment's sake:

The Kid Kimono. Definitely getting done, it's about 1/3 finished.

Blue alpaca scarf. Not even started, but it's a scarf. Come on. I love scarves, but I love them for their sheer simplicity. This is the kind of stuff I like to take to the movies and knit in the dark.

Quickie purple doily. Yes, knit. It's small, I once knit this pattern in twelve hours. We'll see.

And then, then..... the Thneed. I'm thinking wall hanging for the kid's room as a final use. No truffula trees will be harmed in the knitting of The Thneed. I got yarn the other day, and I'm hoping this is an afternoon's quick knitting on size tens, but how often does the course of true knitting run smooth? (Check out the Thneed yarn. That's probably not going to be a fun knit; I hate fuzzy yarns.)

Plus I kind of need to knit a sweater for my next Knitty article, and that's due April 15. No yarn for that yet, but my mother-in-law's talking about going yarn shopping next week, so I should be able to cure that pretty quickly. Caffeine, anyone?

Friday, March 10, 2006

I never used to be a joiner.

I always went on my solitary way, knitting all alone, out in the cold, woefully without friend or foe... Sorta. Then I joined the Knitting Olympics and it all kind of went to my head. Four thousand people, world wide, being as insane as me! Imagine!

The latest? Project Spectrum. I'd heard about it, and thought it was cool in an abstract kind of way, but never thought to join, because I never work with many of those colors, like red, so... there's no point... in...


Color has been an ongoing brain-freeze of mine... I read a book or article on color theory and then I can't match jeans and shirts to wear for the next week. So maybe I'll experiment a bit. I can do Georgina the Giraffe for yellow, and I'd been kicking around an idea for this ungodly bright green sweater based on the spring flowers down here. And there's always something blue or purple to knit.

As if I didn't have enough projects lined up already.

I have joined. Again. But it's the internet, not real people. That's something, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's been one of those projects.

Among other projects (like coloring in a three-by-three foot square of graph paper, and raising a small child), I've got a wrap dealie on the needles as my half of a barter with a friend. It's rather large now, about thirty inches wide and a couple feet long (she wanted large. I hear and obey.) and I was looking at it last night, and... you know... it sucks.

Sucks to the degree that I don't want to finish it and give it to someone and admit I made it. (She'll tell other people I made it and before you know it, people will be hiding from me when they see me, rather than converse with that lady who makes the nastyass wraps.) Sucks, like when people look at it I want to tell them the husbeast is knitting it and I don't know what he was thinking when he chose that yarn. (The husbeast can't knit? Surely you're joking. Elves must have done it, then. Mean, colorblind elves.)

I spent a while staring at this hideous thing under full-spectrum light, and in the end, it all comes down to sucky yarn. I like the idea, I like the pattern, the colors kinda work. But the yarn. WHAT IN HELL POSESSED ME TO BUY LION BRAND HOMESUPN??!!?? Not only is it a nightmare to work with (splits, worms, tangles, you name it), the variegation blows. It's worked itself into lameass stripes two inches wide. If I wanted stripes, I could do stripes, and they'd look a damn sight better than this does. Plus I thought the boucle effect would give the wrap some texture, and all it really does is make it look like I don't know how to knit.

My friend wanted the colors to be neutral. I never knit neutrals. I never WEAR neutrals. We're talking about a woman who regularly wears ORANGE, trying to work with neutrals. I'm a color moron when it comes to working with them. I figured if I bought a neutral vaiegated, it would do the work for me. GUESS AGAIN. Two inch stripes. Holy crap. It looks like a seventh grade Home Ec project. (Not that there's anything WRONG with seventh grade home ec projects, but I have not worked at learning knitting for twenty freakin' years to turn out stuff this amatureish.)

The new plan: I've got some cream colored Nature Spun worsted (...somewhere... Finding it is another problem I don't care to contemplate at just this moment, thank you), and if I buy a couple skeins of a light brown NS worsted, and spatter dye it with a darker brown, maybe some coral and pink, I'd get my random colors that I could then combine with the beige. This would work. And I'd get dying practice in. (Yes, that's right, I'm trying to fix a project by doing something I've never tried before. Tell me YOU've never done that.)

So today I ask my friend (who is trading me a painting for the wrap) if she's ever gotten about halfway done with a painting, hated it, and started over. My life will be much easier if she says yes.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Shoes and knitting.

What more need be said?

I spent the weekend in Myrtle Beach, with my in-laws, who will be staying there a month. There is an outlet mall in Myrtle Beach. We spent one day shopping, and one day knitting. (Or at least I did.) Life doesn't get much better than this.

We went to the Vans outlet and got the baby a pair of pink checkerboard slip-ons, so that she is properly stylish. Then we went to the Carter's outlet and went a little wild on small pink things for the baby to wear. They should quit making baby clothing so cute, because then we have to BUY IT ALL. Anyway, after that we poked around and I am delighted to report that I will be near a Sketchers store when the tax return gets here. I am swooning with joy.

After that, I knit. (The red and purple kimono-thingie for my friend's kid.) I had company in my knitting, because I taught my mother-in-law to knit a year or so ago. She's currently working on a vest for herself in Nature Spun Worsted. Having learned from me, she's re-working the pattern to fit the gauge, instead of vice-versa. I'm so proud.

New hare-brained idea: Trying to figure out how to cable-knit a sheepshank knot for a sweater for the husbeast.

Turoe status: Still coloring. The husbeast, after looking at the original grid (130x180 squares fit into a space about seven by ten inches), has admitted that a larger grid would make things MUCH easier to read. But he still thinks I'm insane.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I'm a dumbass.

I've got hand problems agravated by a small child. I have told other people a MILLION TIMES that if they've got hand problems, to watch out when knitting heavy yarns on big needles because it can get painful. I have WRITTEN ARTICLES SAYING THAT. So what do I do?

Knit a bigass wrap on size ten needles with big fat nasty yarn. I'm changing my name to Stoopid.

I've faced that I'm going to have to do that in small doses, and so have begun the child's sweater that I bought the Luna from Elann for. The yarn's half rayon, therefore pretty light, and thin to begin with. (Five and a half stitches to the inch on size seven needles.)The linen stitch I'm using is kinda funky, but I'm getting in the groove and it's starting to go faster. I'm starting to worry about the Fashion Police, though... I'm putting raglan seams in a kimono knockoff. (HEY. It's more flattering!)

Goals for March: put a dent in the Bigass Wrap, complete the Kid Kimono, and make a scarf for a friend. My in-laws are visiting for the month and will want to spend time with the baby, thereby freeing me up and making this faintly possible. We'll see.