Friday, November 28, 2008

How Do I Love Thee?

Maybe its because I am coming off the Bolero. Maybe it is just the season, but I am finding the Mini Bulky Showl  (shawl and stole combined) extremely satisfying and delightful to knit and wear.
(and yes, a pin would look better than a 5" dpn)
I started it on Wednesday evening at Knit kNight in Denim corrie singles and completed it Thursday evening.  How fast is that?  ONE skein, a single #11 (8mm) circ, two evenings and now I can put a check mark by my mother's name on the gift list.  This is getting scary.  It's not even December and already there are two check marks.

My name is on this pattern as a co-designer but really, Cathy did the hard parts.  Me, I merely had the idea and helped put Cathy's notes into usable paper format.  Cathy really did all the figuring, draft knitting and thinking.

Look at this collar.  It is ingenious.  The way Cathy has this happening allows the Showl to relax on any shoulder and follow the lines of the person wearing it.

Now who else can I knit this for?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Famous Last Words

In my previous blog the last words were: “Hey, no biggie”.

Spoken way too cockily methinks. The collar is beautiful and was a simple enjoyable knit while watching the 1938 version of Holiday with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. However, then the sleeves were tackled and no movie is going to make this fun.

Now I remember why vests are my preferred larger project. Sleeves are equivalent to another back or front. Sleeves should be the same. When sleeves are knit I make them one at a time so they are similar but not equal.

Cathy showed me how to do two sleeves, both at once, with one long 40” circ magic loop. I forgot that I do not like that method. I forgot that I have tried socks that way and did not finish them.

The stitches were put on correctly. The knitting was started and almost immediately the great feeling I had from this sweater morphed into annoyance. I don’t like pulling cords out here and there. I don’t like yarns from two balls twisting up. I think I don’t like doing two sleeves at once either. Did I say that before?  Certainly I have always given up when trying to do 2 socks at the same time. I get bogged down. The only way even one sock gets done nowadays is with 2 circs.

So after several rows were accompanied by cursing and the “heirloom in waiting” was nearly thrown across the room, I switched to two circs. I am getting further with two circs but now there are 4 ends to get tangled with two strings coming out of two balls. I am not having a good time. On top of that I just counted and the 2 sleeves are at different totals, probably because it all confuses me so much. So much for equality.  

I just promised myself that once the decreases are done (again) I will go back to doing one sleeve at a time and maybe get the joy back from this sweater. What’s the sense of having potentially perfectly matching sleeves if the process is a nightmare?

Periodically it all makes sense and then somewhere along I lose that and the mess happens. I also just realized that when I switched from one circ to two, the same starting point was retained. “So?” you say. Well the BOR is now in the middle. I stop for a break and have to puzzle my way back to the start of the rounds. If I had used 2 circs to begin with I would be happier as the needles would have been threaded the same way as for socks. Life is so interesting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn West Danby

(I did grow up in Brooklyn)

Last August, or maybe it was July, sometime in the warmer sunnier months, my granddaughter Amelia, was browsing in the shop, just looking around as she usually does, commenting on colors and textures.  At one point she pointed to Tropical Sea and said, "I want a sweater in this color".  Her normal colors are purples and black, but hey who am I to keep her from branching out?

Last year her brother, Tucker, got a Wallaby in his favorite dark greens so I guess this year is her turn.  I am figuring out that one major sweater for a relative a year is doable.  More than that is my normal insanity (While Alicia was here for the wedding weekend we decided she gets a Wallaby next year or maybe for her birthday in June, in Plummy).

Another time Amelia was visiting I had some sweater patterns out for her to choose from.  We did not settle on one but she did express a desire for cables.  Cables are not my favorite knitting but for a grand, anything is a go.  I had just gotten Barbara Walker's third book, the one with charted designs.   Of course Amelia picked out one of the more complicated designs.  The Twined Tree.  I can't fault her taste as it is a beautiful design.

I decided to use a single worsted in my stash and dyed it in her chosen colorway.  A pound and a half was dyed. Maybe that is way too much for a 9 and half year old but better more than not enough in the same dyelot. Then Jim made center pull balls for me.  One day this Bolero pattern jumped out of a catalog and said it was the exact one for Amelia, made a bit longer in both length and sleeves, but still perfect.

I kept this project as a carrot.  I needed to complete the spinning on the wedding yarn, plus the never ending I cord edging on the EZ Mobius vest.  BTW the vest is done and I am not a happy camper.  The I cord edging will not allow me to block it to the needed length.  It is now languishing in pseudo obscurity.  sigh  Can I ever bring myself to frog out 1600 hours of I cord, block it and then re I cord?  At this point, my answer is a sad no.  Too much holiday stuff to knit. Too many projects waiting in the cue that are much more fun that endless BO-ring I-cord.  But what a waste of luscious fuzzarelly.

I made an extensive swatch.  Yup, I really did.  Well, I wanted the gauge correct (Amazing thought.  Maybe I am maturing?)  and then I was adding cables to the sleeves.  I know they take up width.  Once the swatch was done it was easy to tell that 6 stitches needed to be added to the sleeves.

The Neck Down Bolero is neck down.  I like neck down sweaters but I did not comprehend this fully until Hickory from Knitting Etc mentioned that to me when I told her I was putting the twined trees on the back.  The trees are charted from the ground up. They would be upside down on this sweater.   "OK, now what?", I thought.  So I brought the chart to Knit kNight. Most of the knitters said it was too far advanced for them but Teresa seemed intrigued and spent a good part of the evening working it upside down.   We concluded it was definitely doable but carefully doable.  Thank you Teresa.

Time to break out the Knit Visualizer software.  I love that program.  I use it for my socks all the time. It made the Capeletini way easy to put into format.  Chart the pattern on the screen and it mostly writes the line by line instructions plus a legend.  In this case really only a chart and the legend to follow was needed.  See what a difference it makes?  (That's the original on the left and the new one on the right.)   I added some color too to keep me focussed on the tree parts.   There are 2 stitch cables, 3 stitch cables and 4 stitch cables in this baby.  All of them go both ways at some point, right and left, and all of them are knit/purl cables. Hey, she's my granddaughter!

This is one of the most satisfying knits I have done in a long time.  Granted it had to stay in one place, on the table, throughout the chart, but even so I am loving it.

At this writing, the charted area is done and the bottom border is being ribbed. It is still satisfying.  Next is the collar and then the cabled sleeves.  Hey, no biggie.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady

What a weekend!  It felt like one big party from Thursday evening, when my son and grands arrived from California, through Sunday afternoon when they headed back up to Syracuse and their flights west.

Matt's flight arrived in Syracuse about 6:50 pm, so after getting the rental car, luggage and really speeding cruising the 60 miles to Ithaca we greeted them at about 8:20.  We arranged to meet at Wegman's as that was the easiest place to find that would have a good variety of food.   What a pleasure to see and talk with my son and his growing children, Alicia, 14 and Andrew, 6.
After running around Wegman's picking up breakfast items and playing cards I led them up the hill to my friend Gail's house just below Cornell.  Gail was about to fly to FL for her niece's wedding so generously invited Matt and kids to bunk in her eclectic century old home.

Friday dawned a bit rainy but cleared up nicely.  I had my hair done by my favorite stylist Michaela and then, of course, mosied over to Fontana's for my shoe fix. ( In honor of this special occasion I allowed myself to purchase TWO pairs.)

 Jim and I met Matt and kids down the hill for lunch at Collegetown Bagels on Aurora Street where we not only ate but introduced Andrew to chess.  Matt particularly wanted to eat there so the kids could taste real bagels.  He indulged in a nice big one with lox and cream cheese.

  Afterwards we played at Stewart Park

until the rehearsal at 4.

Phil, the priest at St John's Episcopal Church, is very funny and kept our small group amused and on track during rehearsal. I was so nervous I needed to be prompted to say "I will".

Right at the end of rehearsal my very own sister, Ellen, who drove in from Rhode Island, walked into the church completing the family gathering. (I have noticed that she cleverly left herself out of all photos--tsk tsk)

We then made a car parade up the west side of Cayuga Lake, past Trumansburg, to the Woodland Roadhouse for our Rehearsal Dinner. Our table of 9 had a great time and the newly introduced cousins ( Jim's daughter, Inge's 2 - Tucker and Amelia) got along amazingly well. While we were trying to choose between all the scrumptious desserts Jim asked if maybe we would rather have fresh ice cream. Our favorite ice cream shop, Cayuga Lake Creamery,  is merely another 10 miles up the lake so off our car parade went for more fun.
l->r: Tucker, Inge, Jim, Andrew, Alicia, my back, Amelia and Matt.  Ellen took the picture.

OK - fast forward to Saturday morning.  Jim and I kept ourselves mightily in check with wedding preparations. We tried not to go overboard and were very happy to delegate responsibilities so we could enjoy ourselves. Jim dropped me at my sister's motel so she could do my make up and check out my nails. I actually had been practicing doing my nails for a month. Ellen pronounced them acceptable. I was very pleased with myself.

Cathy had delivered the knitted shawl a week earlier. It was dyed, blocked with ends tucked in and went to the church with Jim. Cathy met me there to place the shawl exactly so over my soft velvet outfit. I kept showing everyone my shoes. (Now to find more things to wear with them.)

We got a bit nervous, but everyone invited arrived on time so we started on time. For Ithaca that is a rare event.

We kept it a small gathering.
And I remembered my lines.

Our long time friends, Pam and David Monk did the readings, mine from Maya Angelou and Jim's from Ecclesiastes.
Amelia and Alicia were the ring bearers.  They sat in the first pew on both sides of the aisle and remembered their cues.  They were so excited though that they moved rather quickly both to take the blue boxes up to Phil and returning to their seats.

Having my son with us was so special.  Matt and Inge each signed as witnesses for us.  My sister gave each person hand folded golden butterflies which they tossed at us as we walked by after the service.

We all then drove to the other side of town to the Boatyard Grill which is situated right smack in the Inlet of Cayuga Lake.

We reserved the Prow Room where my very own sister had decorated the tables with hand folded cranes in purples and greens.  She gave each guest small fabric lined boxes of purple and green MnM's saying, "Finally!", "Jim and Susan", "November 8, 2008" and "Joy!".

Again, thanks to each and every one of our dear friends and relatives who helped make our wedding such a fantastically wonderful day.

Inge's special friend, Joseph, played soft guitar music while we all visited, laughed and enjoyed ourselves.

And the kids walked and played outside on the peninsula.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We are entering a new era.

"I am proud of my country", spoken by Maya Angelou in an interview on TV this morning.

I too am proud of my country and also to have been part of the nationwide team that helped to put Barack Obama and Joe Biden into a place where we can start to have our freedoms and country back again. A place where people count as people rather than as money sources.

While calling into PA and OH I was hung up on only a few times, but more importantly I was thanked many times. I enjoyed speaking with people who were excited to be voting for someone that would do something positive rather than same old same old.

This is the letter sent out last night by Barack Obama.

"I'm about to head to Grant Park to talk to everyone gathered there, but I wanted to write to you first.

We just made history.

And I don't want you to forget how we did it.

You made history every single day during this campaign -- every day you knocked on doors, made a donation, or talked to your family, friends, and neighbors about why you believe it's time for change.

I want to thank all of you who gave your time, talent, and passion to this campaign.

We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I'll be in touch soon about what comes next.

But I want to be very clear about one thing...

All of this happened because of you.

Thank you,"


HOPE, CHANGE, IMPROVEMENT, EQUALITY and HONOR. Thank you to all who voted for this great new administration.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The week before

Here’s the list for wedding prep. I think we are doing quite well.

• Make batts √
• Spin and ply batts √
• Cathy knits √
Dye shawl in Fern
• Block shawl √
• Tuck in yarn ends.

• After looking in how many stores I finally found an Eileen Fisher pants and top in Eggplant at Fibers & Fantasy! √
• Pick up top after alterations are done √
• Shoes √ which I thought would be the hardest part was the easiest. At Cobbler’s Cottage, right in the window, was pair of 2” heels in fern flowers and reddish brown trim.
How perfect is that?
• Do nails
• Hair appointment

• Meet with the priest. √
• Meet with the priest for last minute stuff. √
• Rehearsal
• Flowers not chosen but colors chosen and left to them to choose. √
• Bring license.

• Make reservations. √
• Confirm reservations.

• Socks knit and presented to Jim. √
Slacks √ maybe
• Vest
• Shoes √

I keep thinking that there must be more but we are keeping this so KISS that this may just be IT.