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October 2003
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December 2003

Thanksgiving Bounty

My friend Rose dropped by on the weekend with the unfortunate news that she's grown entirely allergic to wool (and all yarns of animal origin). This, from a woman whose diverse career path from nurse to poet/teacher included a lengthy stint making knitted goods! After our visit, I sent her away with a few skeins of acrylic I've been storing for another pal who's donating them to a charitable-knitting group -- and she left me with this:

See anything you like? Molly took a bunch of the reds after our seaming adventure, and Kim's expressed interest in the tweedy blue & brown stacked together. A cone in a favorite color is shipping out to the left coast. I've got dibs on the purple laceweight and the fuzzy green at the left, but the rest is up for grabs. Maybe I should use some of that natural stuff to lose my dyeing virginity like Kerstin?

Off to the parents' tomorrow; safe travels and happy turkey time to all!

Speaking of silly animals, here are a couple having one of the big times of their thus-far short lives yesterday . . .

Stitching for Salvation

How's that for a lofty title? But I did yesterday help friend Molly save her Biggy Print shell from being frogged and reknit or living out its days in closet recesses. We thought it might be of interest to document here on the blog the process that resulted in this little bag o'leftovers.

Molly loved knitting this sweater, and she was on gauge with the Rowan pattern and yarn, knitting under supervision, even. Her advice on this side of the experience is Beware Rowan's sizing, because her finished sweater was too big. What to do? She SO did not want to rip and reknit. Her teacher suggested finding a sewing machine, reseaming the sides, and trimming the excess. This is where I came in.

I advised Molly to baste the seam before she came over. Her advisor suggested couching the machine stitching in tissue paper to keep the feed dogs from eating it. Lucky for Molly, I spoke that lingo and had the paper handy. Here's the excess that's seamed off between the sheets, and here's the sweater inside-out, on its way to fitting better. I stood by and let her do the honors of actually cutting that luscious stuff, reminding her that she might have a length or two in the original seams, and suggesting she felt the leftovers, maybe into some sort of a toy. She clipped away, and we left the basement for daylight to take the victory shot:

My first design

I've just finished a Christmas gift for one of my best babes. Sarah wanted a warm, blue hat with a pompom, and OK'd the yarn (Classic Elite Wings, an alpaca/silk/wool blend) two weeks ago. While I consulted Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, I didn't want this hat to be that simple [read: boring to knit], and I didn't love how her basic hat gathered at the top. So I crunched some numbers and took off, and here's what I have to show for it:

You'll see it's a bit large for Caroline, but she was my most handy model. I'll admit that once I got past the body rounds, my first go at decreasing produced too small a hat. But I'm pleased with how the final decreases look beneath the pompom. Knit & learn, right? Would anyone like to have the pattern?

This was the first pompom I've made in recent memory, and I'm grateful for the pictures in the big Vogue book, as Budd's had only a description I couldn't quite visualize. I took a few step-by-step shots myself, excepting the one key move where I'd have needed a third hand (at least) to shoot. If you read the pattern linked above, you'll find the words these images illustrate, such as cardboard circles and wrap the doughnut.

I have one more (purple) skein of this soft & light yarn, so there may be a striped variation of the pattern in the future. I don't think I got even a third of the way into the second skein of the blue, so I've got the yarn. But more gifts must first finish -- let's see how many I can complete this weekend!


I'm seriously into gift knitting now, with Christmas but six weeks away. The tally Alison is keeping over at the blue blog helps to motivate me, although, upon second counting, I think 3 of 10 should be more like 4 of 13.

But this captivating blog world can always draw me into starting something else: so now on the needles is a Bucket O'Chic, another great Bonne Marie design, to go with Caroline's poncho. I corresponded with the great Ms. Burns when she expanded the patterns sizes, and she was glad to hear I'd be trying one of the smaller versions. Of course, it's also a quicker knit than one for myself -- and one I can complete within the timeframe of Becky's Bucket-Along!

I also started one more scarf over the weekend, this one of a yarn called Pom Pom which is rather a bitch to knit, especially since I decided to do a drop-stitch design. I'm intrigued that this is now the fourth gift scarf with a primary color of green; I've definitely been into green of late, but why am I giving it all away?

Progress pix next time -- the blue hat for Sarah is coming along nicely!

The Event Itself

Astra Design Gallery was packed with people last night -- and with scarves. I'd call the ART 180 benefit scarf auction and sale a roaring success (despite my lack of data to back that up).

Scarves everywhere, of all shapes, sizes, materials and hues. I needed nearly an hour to examine them all (at a leisurely pace, to be sure, with the wee one at my side). Caroline tried on a number of the extra-fuzzy ones, but her attention was particularly drawn to a scarf with alphabet beads worked into the garter stiches. When we arrived, two of mine had sold already, and I got to talk to the gal who bought the pink ribbon one. Were I not a knitter, many more might have come home with me; instead, several ideas filled my head, and this scarf, made by a cool chick named Alex whom I know and admire, wrapped my neck. I loved its freeform nature, so chose it over my chenille buttonhole one.

The silent auction included some of the most intriguing of the scarves, along with some non-scarf items. I came away with a cute panda-head hat for Caroline, and a collage by artist Joni Ulman-Lewis. Perhaps the most bid-upon item was this bit o'knit, by artist Karen Kincaid, who also contributed work of more conventional materials. I loved this piece, but I have no open spaces for sculpture in my art-filled home. (I don't know where the collage will hang, either.) Isn't it marvelous?

Touching Down in Texas Earlier

Touching Down in Texas

Earlier in the week I completed the fourth Koigu bootie and got the two pairs in the mail to their twin recipients. While the booties look to be sized slightly differently in this photo, I believe that's just a matter of angle (and Kleenex stuffing). As mentioned previously, the pattern comes from the Falick/Nicholas book, Knitting for Baby. I crocheted the ties rather than doing i-cord in hopes of being able to get a Caroline-sized pair from a skein's remainder. Another knit-blogger (now I don't remember who) mentioned amending the pattern slightly, and I think that I too would knit a couple fewer garter rounds in the shoe part of the bootie if I made these again. But the Texas twins are already four months old, so maybe the extra space will help these to fit, for a few weeks at least!

The KPPPM colors are 136 (brights) & 435 (blues), I've just relearned after check the Threadbears' website since I'd mixed up the ball bands in the box with the other KPPPM skeins I got from them. I started some Fuzzy Feet immediately after finishing the last bootie, and man, what a contrast between US3 and US10.5 DPNs!

Two more days The ART

Two more days

The ART 180 scarf auction is Saturday. I love this photograph by Jay Paul, a version of which ran in Richmond Magazine to publicize the event -- and not just because I knit most of the scarves pictured! At the time it was shot, not many contribution scarves had come in, so I let Kim borrow a few from my closet and my Christmas-gift basket. Although the chenille one in the center left my house on loan, after the shoot I decided to donate it to the auction as well. Despite loving Bonne Marie's free Buttonhole Chic pattern, the color wasn't strong in my wardrobe. Now that I have new claret Mary Janes, however, I rather want it back!

I'll post pix after the event -- we're planning to get there early so we don't miss seeing any before they walk out with their new owners. Fellow knitblogger Maureen's will be among them -- thanks again -- as I retrieved it over the weekend (and was bummed she was off giving a spinning demo, so we didn't get to meet).

A week late Yes, I

A week late

Yes, I hosted the monthly S&B on November's first Tuesday, and I think our attendance totaled 10. Me, I was mostly occupied with attaching tassels to the bookmarks that we placed at each seat at Friday's awards gala. (Thanks for your help, Pam.) Let me offer a quick highlight recap of what others were working on (or showing off):

Heather brought these three scarves to hand off to Kim for the ART 180 scarf auction coming up on Saturday 11/15, and shared as well a glimpse of the yummy Rockstar she made for herself, along with another gift scarf in the works. She used my ball winder to ready some more Koigu for another Rocker, too.

Alice and Leslie were also knitting scarves:

while Michelle worked on a sweater knit in two strands and Molly made progress on a couple of bags to be felted.

We were glad to witness the return of Tamra, an innovator who'd turned Ann Norling's fruit cap pattern upside down. Add a sprinkle of French knots and, voila, watermelon!

London Calling

Meet Tim, my personal courier from the Kingdom. United Kingdom, of course. Called me on the cell from the Rowan department within whatever stockist was closest, asking if there was anything else I wanted him to bring over to our weekend rendezvous. Balked when I told him I'd need seven skeins of that bulky yarn to make the poncho he was bringing the pattern for. Did not request reimbursement. I'll find a suitable substitute for the Plaid when I get around to knitting for myself again, on the other side of holiday madness.

Ah, but there's no substitute for my Timbuck, so I'll drive through exhaustion for time with this honey, appreciate his kindness in toting printed matter across the Atlantic, and call one of the best football victories I've ever witnessed the icing on the cake that was a perfect autumn Saturday.

Caroline kept calling it the "foot game" and telling me to eat the "pocorns" one at a time! She totally crashed as we were watching the students tear down the goal post. One in our party had the contact to call and resolve our curiosity over the replacement cost: $3,000, shipped in four pieces. And, for any enquiring minds, this Carolina cutie is happily partnered, sharing the London flat with his own Tennessee titan.

Preaching to the choir Hello!

Preaching to the choir

Hello! I have a backlog of posts, but I offer just this image tonight, this and its reverse. I don't mean to inundate the blog with pix of the wee one, but I've just come through the annual killer week for my entire workplace, and I need one more night of sleep before I'm back to some semblance of normalcy. I've barely read any other blogs for a week, not to mention my email at work or home, so I've some catching up to do, and I'm looking forward to reconnecting.

The hellish workweek was capped by a fabulous weekend, with a dozen waking hours in the company of my best friend, nine with a beloved who lives across the pond, and five with my newest -- who presented my family with another handknit creation (modeled not by its intended recipient).

Bootie count: (knitting, we're talking about knitting . . . ) Three Koigu creations for the Texas twins complete. Photo when I've got four.