Monday, August 27, 2007

Update: Kimono Shawl

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The middle of Repeat 4 (of 25)of Cheryl Oberle's Kimono Shawl. The yarn is Hand Maiden Sea Silk in Blackberry.

I wasn't sure how I liked the variegated colors for the lace pattern. That's always a dicey proposition, isn't it?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I'm happy.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Basement Tomorrow

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
We're moving to the much larger town of Madison. When you own a house, there are always things to be done. When you're getting ready to not own that house anymore, the list suddenly gets even longer.

Today's task: do something about the front entry. Since I was not needed, I rummaged through my cedar chest and fished out my hoard of Joy 100% merino from White Lies Designs. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I love this yarn. It's soft, knits up like a dream and the shell pink is very subtly variegated. See?Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So yes, while other members of my family were working on our curb appeal, I was casting on for Joan McGowan Michael's Basic Camisole, my second project from her wonderful Knitting Lingerie Style. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
It's a simple v-neck cami in a rib stitch. A knitted lace collar in a contrasting color completes the neckline.

It hardly seems fair, me knitting and them working, does it? Believe me, those others have the better deal. I'm in charge of clearing out the Augean stables, otherwise known as our basement.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Color in the Garden

These just off the needles. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Man socks in Lorna's Laces Black Purl - one skein per and nope, I didn't check the dye lots.

Grey and purple make for a pretty colorway. It's one I saw in the gardens of Paine Art Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin yesterday.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We were there to see Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
which Bonnie Marie blogged about, http://www.chicknits.com/rambles/.

The exhibit is at the Paine through September. If you're anywhere near Oshkosh, go. The costumes are displayed in small groups of three or four in period rooms. Our favorite? We had two: the hand-painted dress worn by Melanie Griffith in "Shining Through" and the winged ballgown worn by Drew Barrymore in "Ever After". And can I just say that Elizabeth Taylor's 1980s-era waist was tiny?

Unfortunately for us but fortunately for the preservation of the costumes, no photography was allowed. Instead, let's stroll about the flowers outside, shall we?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Just after the rain, the air smelled of lavender and Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Time for lunch! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Yes, those are rollerskates on the carhop! Nothing goes with a morning of film fashion and flowers like a cheeseburger and a rootbeer.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

First, The Good News

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I love this One Skein Wonder, aka "Little Silk Shrug" from Lace Style by Pam Allen and Ann Budd. You're looking at just under 215 yards of Berocco Ultra Alpaca (50% alpaca, 50% wool).

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This one I made for my daughter's birthday. I'm thinking this little shrug will land on many Christmas gift lists. The lace pattern is simplicity itself and easily memorized. One size fits most and because it requires only one skein worsted weight, the project is portable and an investment of under $10 and maybe 10 hours.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Now the sad news. The namesake of this blog, my 7 year-old beagle, has been diagnosed with a greatly enlarged heart, probably due to an infection. I thought it was the summer heat that had her gasping for breath and refusing to go on those long walks she used to love.

She is now on three heart medications and may live a day more, a week more, a month more, a year more, a couple of years more - the veterinarian doesn't know. What he does know is that her life will be quite a bit shorter. The mercy is that Suzy the beagle doesn't know.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sock Length

Did you know that when you shell out extra for Priority Mail, the United States Post Office doesn't guarantee you'll get faster delivery than regular 1st Class Mail? Here's the exact wording from http://www.usps.com: "Now you can have delivery of documents and packages made in an average of 2 to 3 days."

See? Only the impression of a promise. As for the tracking number, my package wasn't scanned. I mailed the package on Monday; it arrived in Chicago on Friday. Two hundred miles. Five days.

So much for Priority Mail.

I'm expecting an important package tomorrow. It's the galleys of our book! The publisher used UPS, btw. (The book isn't about knitting. It's ethnohistory/anthropology and I'll give a heads up here when it's published this fall.)

While we're on the subject of How Long, let's talk about the length of a sock top. For women, I really like a shorter top, max. 4". A shorter sock seems jauntier, don't you think?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Knitting at Work

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Last year at this time, raspberries weighed down these bushes. Look at them now - dead berries galore but not a ripening berry to be found, not one. In my home state of California, this would not be remarkable. In Wisconsin, land o' lakes, drought is not business as usual.

I got in a little knitting on the Kimono Shawl yesterday. This is about 1 1/2 repeats of the pattern:Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Mostly, I was working on an a scholarly article with my husband. At this phase, he's re-reading key documents outloud to me so we can dissect them together. I'm listening and reacting and, of course, knitting. The Kimono Shawl requires too much attention for knitting at work so socks it is.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The yarn is Lorna's Laces in Black Pearl, harrrrr.

And to circle back to raspberries, if you have a supply handy, do I have a recipe for you! It's my version of a chicken salad served at a little seaside café named Captain Kidd's in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. They called it "Cape Cod Chicken Salad".

It was chicken, craisins, walnuts, and celery in the tiniest amount of mayonnaise, served on a bed of baby greens with a raspberry vinaigrette. The combination of the chicken salad with the lightly sweet raspberry vinaigrette greens was ... well, you owe it to yourself to try this yourself and decide.

Here's the recipe for the Raspberry Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 t balsamic vinegar
1/4 t vanilla
2 1/2 t sugar
1/2 t Kosher salt
1/4 t ground white pepper
1 t thyme
1 T minced green onion
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c raspberries

Whisk it all together, adding the raspberries last of all.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Knitting for the Dog Days of Summer

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I spent this past Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at the air-conditioned Mall of America in Minneapolis. The MOA is so large there's an amusement park in the middle of it and an aquarium in the basement. There were also free live performances (a Yanni type and a Ashanti type but not actually Yanni or Ashanti)and fashion shows.

We were there to shop for back-to-school clothes, meaning I spent three days shopping for jeans with two teen girls. Our best luck was at Nordstrom (wonderful sales associates who seemed to actually care if the $65 jeans fit perfectly) and J. Crew.

Our hotel was rightnextdoor to the Mall. I'm still surprised to see adults come down in pyjamas to the free hotel breakfast. Actually, I'm still surprised to see children there in pyjamas, too. It's a public space; how hard is it to pull on pants, a t-shirt, and flip flops? This stay, an older, quite large woman in a bathing suit dripped her way to the waffle maker. Part of me admires the chutzpah of showing up for breakfast without changing after a swim. Most of me doesn't.

For knitting, I brought along a ball of my new seasilk, my new Addi lace circs, and Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. Here's what I've got so far on the Kimono Shawl:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In person, the yarn and the shawl are a good fit. The variegation is pretty subtle, not strident. I'll post a close-up tomorrow.

We're back home now. My husband and I are gearing up to write an article about an important Eastern Shoshone chief. The garden is dry and dusty. The raspberry patch is gasping for water and the only flowers in bloom just now are the nasturtiums.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Please stay cool in this heat - drink lots of iced tea, knit, and take plenty of dog naps in the afternoon.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, August 03, 2007

What Came in the Mail

It's my birthday yarn blowout, courtesy of my sister! Behold the lovely Jade Sapphire Special Edition lace-weight 100% cashmere in Lupine, a color-on-color variation of lilac and periwinkle.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So soft, both in color and to the touch. Two skeins, 640 yards each. This is probably destined to become a Harry Potter Knits Invisibility Stole. The two skeins came with a free addi turbo lace circular needles.

And then we have the Hand Maiden Sea Silk. Four skeins, to be exact. I wanted something to pick up the color of the ring my husband gave me for my birthday. The stone is the color of the dark ring around the pit when you cut open a ripe peach. This Sea Silk in Blackberry has the exact color and many others.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm thinking this will make a beautiful Kimono Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Free Baby Sweater Pattern: Picnic by the Lake Hoodie

Warm enough for baby to wear on an evening outing by a breezy lake, you can throw it into the wash after. The Picnic by the Lake Hoodie is also

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
cheap, cheap, cheap to make. Total cost = under $10.

I designed it for a 6-month-old (18 lbs.). Knit bottom-up in stockinette with moss stitch trim, this is a straight pullover with hood and set-in classic sleeves. You need two 4-oz. skeins of Red Heart Kids or similar worsted weight machine washable and dryable acrylic or wool.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Gauge: 18 sts by 24 rows on #8 US needles. You'll also need a pair of #6 needles for the trim.

Back:
1. On #6 needles, cast on 54. Work in moss stitch for 1/2".
2. Change to #8 needles. Work stockinette until entire piece measures 5 3/4".
3. To shape armholes, cast off 2 sts at beginning of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each end of every other row for 8 rows. 42 sts remaining.
4. Work even until armhole measures 4.25".
5. To shape shoulders, cast off 11 sts at beginning of next 2 rows.
6. Bind off remaining 20 sts.

Front:
1. Same as steps 1 and 2 for Back.
2. To shape armholes, cast off 2 sts at beginning of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each end of every other row for 8 rows (42 sts remaining). Work even until armhole measures 2 3/4".
3. Shape neck, working both sides at the same time: knit 16 sts. Bind off next 10 sts. Knit remaining 16 sts. Dec 1 at neck edge every row 5 times until 11 sts remain. Work even until armhole measures 4 1/4".
4. To shape shoulders, cast off 11 sts at beginning of next 2 rows.
5. Bind off remaining sts.

Sleeves:
1. On #6 needles, cast on 30 sts. Work moss stitch for 1/2".
2. Change to #8 needles and stockinette st. Increase 1 st. at each end of every 7th row 4 times. 38 sts.
3. Work even until entire sleeve measures 6 1/4".
4. To shape cap, bind off 2 sts at beg of next two rows. Dec 1 st at each end of every row 5 times, then dec 1 st each end of every 2nd row twice, then dec 1 st each end of every row 5 times. 10 sts remaining. Bind off.

Hood:
1. On #6 needles, cast on 84 sts. Work 10 rows of moss stitch, making an eyelet (k2tog, yo) 4 sts in from the third row. This band will be folded over to make a casing for the drawstring.
2. Change to #8 needles and work 6 rows of stockinette. Dec 1 st each end of next row and every following 3rd row 7 times. (68 sts) Work even until entire hood measures 7". Bind off.
3. Make an i-cord 24" long. Thread through eyelets and knot at each end.

Finishing:
1. Sew fronts to backs at shoulders.
2. Sew sleeve cap to armhole.
3. Sew side and sleeve seams.
4. Sew back seam of hood. Fold band over and hemstitch in place.
5. Sew hood to neck edge.
6. Finish exposed neck edge with 1 row single crochet.
7. Weave in loose ends.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Happy knitting!