Monday, January 28, 2008

Some Weird Stuff

I've been tagged by srapalmateer. It's similar to an earlier tag by Anne of Purls and Tails that I've been remiss in posting. So, two games in one!

Here are the rules:
-Link to the person who tagged you.
-Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.
-Post the rules on your blog.
-Share the seven (7) most famous or infamous people you have met. Or go with the original 7 weird things about yourself.
-Tag 7 random people at the end of your post.
-Include links to their blogs.
-Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I'm not really into "tagging" (since there's not many blogs I read and the two referenced above are a large majority of them), so feel free to post this on your own blog if you happen to feel tagged.

I've only met one famous person - Harrison Ford - so that list is too short. Here are my 7 weird things:
1) I sniff things - yarn, sweaters, books...if I'm thinking about buying something I usually take a whiff. Don't know why.
2) I never changed my name when I got married. Saw no reason to.
3) I love "Stargate Atlantis". Didn't realize that was weird until I told one of DH's friends and he freaked out. Then I told another of his friends and *he* freaked out.
4) I am allergic to preservatives in contact lens cleaner. Didn't realize it for a year - I thought your eyes were supposed to burn when you put your contacts in. CIBA Vision's Aosept changed my life (and possibly saved me from blindness).
5) The color maroon makes me sick. Literally. I can't ride in a car with a burgundy/maroon interior or I throw up.
6) When I was little I had recurring nightmares that Busses and VW Bugs were chasing me. When I had to take the city bus to school in junior high I got a little afraid every time the bus came towards my stop. It never attacked me, though.
7) My favorite meal is Rice-a-Roni. I eat it for lunch on the weekends as a special treat.

That's it. Tag yourself if you feel like it, let me know in the comments if you have.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two Fabulous Packages!

I received two great packages recently - one of my own doing, and one that was a wonderful surprise!  First, I received a wonderful package from Lisa for the Knitter's Review exchange.  She sent me a copy of Fair Isle Knitting by Sarah Don (a great book, and Scott likes it because he thinks the boy on the cover looks like him when he was a boy), some cute knitting thank-you cards, (some chocolate - covered coffee beans that couldn't be photographed due to them being, um, in my stomach), and most awesome...some locally grown (sheared?) and spun wool that she dyed herself!!  It's a pretty pinkish-coralish color and will look very nice on me once I get it knitting up into a nice hat (or mittens, or wristwarmers, or...I can't decide!)  Thanks Lisa!!
Next up is the long-awaited Swift.  It's a big-un, but doesn't take up quite as much room as Scott had feared.  I took advantage of it right away to wind some wool I bought at the Studio sale.  
The result?  A ball of wool that required no tears, four-letter words, or declarations of hatred towards knitting in general.  The wool, incidentally, is Briggs and Little Regal 100% wool.  It's a nicely priced, minimally-processed, light-worsted wool spun in Canada.  I'm really looking forward to knitting with it (and I *do* have a plan for this yarn).

Friday, January 18, 2008


First a note: I received a lovely box in the mail last week from my Knitter's Review New Year's Exchange partner, but I haven't had decent light to photograph the goodies yet. That post will come soon (sorry for the delay Lisa!)

Second, as Terri so astutely guessed in my last post...I have *finally* ordered a SWIFT!!! Yes, after feeling sorry for myself for not receiving one as a Christmas gift, and suffering through yet another tangled yarn mess in my attempt to wind some Cascade 220 on my own, the knitting fairies took pity on me and sent me a 50% off coupon for After conferring with the husband (who was deeply concerned about where we would put it - he's still recovering from the atrocity of having to share his office with my knitting stuff) I placed my order and it should arrive next week.

Also - The Studio is having a sale this weekend - 30% off on *everything* on Sunday and Monday. Don't miss it!! I told Scott that I would need "a couple of hours on Sunday" (not mentioning what it was for), and he replied with a sigh, "you're going yarn shopping, aren't you?" Yes, yes I am.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Book Review!

There has been a bit of knitting recently (and an overdue purchase that I will share with you...later!), but I'm down with a cold that has taken both my voice and my knitting mojo. I am somewhat of a book lover, so I thought I would fill my time with some reviews of books on my bookshelf. I'll start with one of my newer purchases: Sensual Knits edited by Yahaira Ferreira.

I had to buy this book for myself since I felt a little weird putting it on my Amazon wishlist where it is possible (but not probable) that it could be seen by my mother-in-law. I simply do not have the energy to explain to her that "sensual knits" is not a naughty book. And it's *not* a naughty book - it's "sensual" in the feel-good-about-yourself and surround-yourself-with-luxury sort of way. Supposedly all of the patterns are knit with luxury natural fibers, but as I almost always sub yarns, that's not what drew me to this book.

There are several sections in this book - ranging from the expected barely-there camisoles to full-on dresses (*not* gonna happen on my needles). There are sections for cardigans, pullovers, and accessories. The patterns are beautifully photographed and aren't especially trendy - a big "plus" for my non-trendy self.

There are two reasons this book was a "must buy" for me. First, it is a collection of designs from several different designers. Therefore the patterns, while sticking to the theme of "sensual", are different enough from each other to make each one interesting in its own right. Yahaira definitely has a wonderful eye for timeless designs. Second, there is a design by my all-time blog-crush Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. I have always hoped he would come out with a woman's sweater design, and he has created a beautiful one for this book. "Ramona" is a simple v-neck sweater with an interesting "seam" down the front that adds a bit of style. There are other wonderful sweaters in this book, and a pair of socks for you *crazy* sock-knitters, and many would look good on a variety of sizes. Go buy yourself a copy now!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New and Improved Vest

When it comes to knitting, I'm a pragmatist.  If I don't like something I've made, I'm willing to try something new in my efforts to transform it into something I *will* like.  Sometimes those efforts don't work out so well - as in the felted hat I gave my brother-in-law last was supposed to be a knit cap that came out way too big - so I decided to shrink it by felting.  It was not my greatest moment.

Sometimes these efforts work out okay, though.  In the case of my vest, the re-blocking (in *hot* water, just to get my point across) was just what it needed to go from "never-ever" to "acceptable" (although not the greatest, as you'll see in my notes).  Here's the finished result:

It's still not perfect, but it's as perfect as it's gonna get...and most importantly, it's wearable.  Here's the stats:
Pattern:  V-neck vest from Paton's Next Steps II (love this pattern book - schematics for every pattern!)
Size:  Small
Yarn:  Paton's Classic Merino, slightly more than two balls in purple.
Mods:  None
Notes:  If I made this again, I would go with the extra small - as it is, the shoulders are a bit wide and the waist is a bit large.  I debated rather I would prefer the smaller size or if I should just add waist shaping, but decided the smaller size would be the way to go because: 1)  It's made to go over a button-down shirt, so you need a bit of give, and 2) any extra ease needed around the bust can be accommodated by the v-neck.
There were a couple of errors in the pattern, but nothing major.  Overall, I very much liked the design and would knit from this pattern book again.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I learn the importance of Blocking...correctly

File this under "lessons learned".

I *finally* finished my v-neck vest (check out all of those picked-up stitches around the collar and arms!) and completed the seaming one night at my knitting group. When I tried it on, I realized that it was a bit short for my taste. One of my knit pals reminded me that I could solve that problem in the blocking (thanks Terri!) Of course, I knew the power of blocking and how it can make lemonade out of knitting lemons. The next night I proceeded to wet-block it with the goal of making it longer. Here is my completed vest. Notice anything "odd" about it? Look a little blocky to you?
Here's me wearing the vest. Notice anything odd? Does it seem a bit wide to you? See how it hangs off my shoulders and how wide the "v" is? And that's *after* some major styling on my part (I even pulled in the waist a bit in the back so it wouldn't be so gruesome in the photo). Well, it seemed a bit wide to me, too. I decided to sit down with the lovely schematic provided by my pattern to see how my vest measured up. It was a whole two inches wider than the schematic. If you are an observant knitter, you may be asking yourself why I waited until *after* I blocked the sweater to check the schematic.

Yeah, that's the problem.

I blocked this baby the day after I blocked Jennifer's lace scarf. With lace, the goal is to pull and stretch the item 'till it won't stretch no more.'s what I did with my vest. No schematic, no measurements, just pure stretching and pinning.

Last night I re-blocked my sweater and actually used the schematic. The results will be time!