Sunday, July 30, 2006

Foshizzle my Sizzle!

Here you see two pics of Sizzle, which I finished knitting last week and finished this weekend. The knitting was a dream, loved the yarn--Cascade Pima Silk--and the pattern--Sizzle--is very well written and a pleasure to follow. My only gripe is with myself and my lack of mad finishing skills. No matter how careful I am, the end result is always somewhat of a letdown and it never looks as neat as I'd like. The seams seem to bubble and pucker and whereever I've picked up stitches it tends to look slightly raggedy. Simply put: I hate finishing! The moment I thread that needle for seaming an overwhelming feeling of dread overtakes me and I am instantly propelled back into 7th grade home ec class, which was basically my sewing primal scene, the place where I was humiliated beyond all belief by my teacher who told me that I didn't take pride in my work because my final project pillow looked like it had been stitched together in the dark by a one armed blind toddler. This pillow reflects very badly on you, she told me. You have limited potential. (So glad to have gotten the message sooner than later, thanks Miss Mitchell). Anyway, I wish to G-d that my LYS had a finisher because I would definitely utilize their services, without question and without asking the price! At least Sizzle is now in the FO column and thus no longer chipping away on my soul...

There is progress to report on the Blue Sky Alpaca Fitted Tank in Blue Sky Dyed Cotton, color #602 'Honeydew'. I am now finished with the ribbing, if that means anything to you, and am ready to make a dent in the stockinette portion of the pattern. This yarn is lovely, such a pleasure to work with and not at all like most cotton which tends to stretch and split like mad--I'm even doing this with Addis which tend to increase the whole stretching phenomenon, but I must say that this is not the case here, that's why we pay the big Blue $ky Alpaca buck$, right?

Monday, July 24, 2006

What a ruse...

Oh sure, I could show you recent pointless acquisitions from Knit One in Pittsburgh like this On-line sock yarn and this Claudia's Hand Painted Sock Yarn in Passion Fruit from Stitch Your Art Out in Pine Grove Mills...or I could show you pipe dream pics of this Valley yarn in Longmeadow that I will supposedly be doing the Green Gable out of (as if), or pictures of the Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton Fitted Tank pattern that I'll no doubt be completing very soon (once I cast on for it, that is...). Perhaps I could interest you in this dreamy handspun and hand dyed yarn from Sugar Creek Farm, a sheep farm in rural Wisconsin? A friend, someone who is my oldest partner in crime, sent it to me last week out of the blue. Maybe you'd like to see photos of my second Jaywalker, my Fiber Trends Leaf Lace sock or the nearly-at-the-bust-increases front side of Sizzle. How about a shot of my Nashua Handnnits Tank Top with Peplum?
But seriously,what would be the point? It would be nothing more than a shameless attempt to divert your attention from the real issue at hand. Real issue? That would be, of course, the glaring paucity of actual finished projects. Because there aren't any. All we have in that department is lack...and I'm not happy about it! I thought I could multi-task this whole knitting thing, I mean it seems to work pretty well in other areas of my life. I somehow manage to make dinner and read the mail while talking on the phone and drinking a gin and tonic. I am perfectly adept at rereading back issues of the New Yorker and brushing my daughter's hair while watching Project Runway and eating nachos, so why can't I finish these bleeding projects? I am so sick of all of them, I'm even sick of the ones that I haven't even started yet. What is wrong with me?! Knitting is making me feel mentally ill, like all of these semi-finished projects are some sort of outward manifestation of my inward state of extreme distraction and lack of focus. Someone pass the Adderall, stat!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Against my better judgement or, . . . Sizzle indeed!

Like everywhere else in America it is hot as hell in Nascar, PA. So hot in fact that a detour to the pool was in order this morning. The photo above was taken earlier today just before ferrying both kiddie-winkies to camp--it's a nice view, no? There are many less-than-ideal aspects to living here (ratio of people who still inexplicably like Bush to sensible people, lack of coffee shops,good bookstores and whole grain bread, alt.culture in general, etc.), but the view is one reason to maintain some liking for the place.
The junior set is at camp this week, the Marxist curmudgeon is doing his proton routine at the lab in Durham, and not, as the tiniest kiddie-winkie told our friend, 'experimenting with croutons'. All of this lack of togetherness means that I am on my own drill this week, and all good knitters know what that must mean, right? Knitting my a$$ off day and night!! Yes people, nothing or nobody can stop me. Just try... Apart from several meetings and a manicure (when did I become so... err shallow) this week, I will be knitting ad nauseum. This sense of freedom has compelled me to make a rash decision, that of taking on an entirely new project while I am in the midst of several other pressing ones.
The project that has my attention is Sizzle over at Knit and Tonic. I just love Wendy's patterns, so much so that I am concerned that Wendy, the blogger/designer behind K & T, will think I'm stalking her due to the many downloads of patterns from her site. I'm not Jennifer Jason Lee in Single White Female, I swear! In any case, I'm making excellent progress on Sizzle--so aptly named for this week, isn't it? I'm doing it in Cascade Pima Silk and hope to finish the back tonight, what with all my freetime and all...I'm curious, what patterns are calling your name right now in a big way? Which ones are seducing you, making you want to forget your current WiPs ever existed?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

GypsyKnits yarn...hell yeah!

One of the great things about being a fancy-free knitting academic is that the summertime is just one giant knitting cluster fcuk! I can pop down to my LYS 2,3 even 4 times a week (who am I kidding, Saturday I was there in the a.m. AND the p.m.) for help, supplies and oh yes, more yarn. One of my on-the-way-to-work local shops just posted their new yarn acquisition on their blog and I am chomping at the bit to high-tale it over there, and my very local lys just acquired a massive amount of GypsyKnits sock yarn. This is a fairly new Mom & Pop operation from Cumberland, Maryland that spins and dyes all their own yarn and is only carried in one retail outlet--my LYS! Me so lucky! It's also available at Etsy, but you should hurry, this stuff is killer and if you recently got burned trying to obtain Vesper sock yarn while it was in stock for 5 minutes over at Kpixie only to find that it would be in stock again at some future date, probably some time when you will be visiting your elderly parents at a cabin somewhere in the North Woods and won't have internet access, you best act with alacrity! Our local shop had a demonstration and meet and greet with the owners of Gypsyknits this past weekend, sadly I missed it, being wrapped up in the whole travesty of the Italians winning the World Cup and all. Anyway, The yarns up top from left to right are Bubble Gum, Fresh Veggies and Big Top. The colors are stunning and the names alone sealed the deal on the purchase. Big Top? I always loved a three-ring circus! The yarn pictured here that has been wound into the hockey puck is called Strawberry Fields. Perhaps you're wondering how exactly I'm going to work these new yarn purchases into the whole 'omigod-my-sock-yarn-stash-is-out-of-control' complex/existential crisis that I so anxiously described earlier this summer. Based on much helpful feedback I received from commenters on this blog, I've decided to let the whole stress of that affair go and embrace my inner yarn hog. So these GypsyKnits skeins can just take a number, get in line and join the disfunctional a.d.d. knitting party!
Lest you think me a selfish type that only acquires yarn for myself, I purchased these little headband kits for my daughters and their pal, who is my best pal Babs' daughter.
They are all three budding little stitchers, and have made significant progress already. The project is an easy one and only requires casting on 8 sts and just doing a simple garter stitch. My rationale is this: any non-Disney channel related activity these days is a positive one, and this way when we go to yarn store they'll have something to occupy themselves with. Parenthood: it's all about creating the illusion that we do these things for them and not for ourselves!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

World Cup Knitting, cont'd...

Ok, so maybe the World Cup isn't so great for working on projects that require concentration, like the Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Socks pictured above. I'm doing them in Sandnes Lanett superwash merino ull (love those Norwegians and their wacky letter combinations!). My LYS owner told me I needed to challenge myself this summer, so I decided to give them a try. I honestly love anything with a leaf motif and green is by far my favorite color. They are coming along nicely and it is fun to see the leaf pattern slowly emerge.

Knitting and watching football didn't exactly help my Lisa Knits Ribbed Shell either, come to think of it. I got so carried away that I dispensed with the whole swatch concept--I know, I deserve every bit of sorrow I brought upon myself--and ended up with 5 inches lengthwise of the back of a garment that my intrepid LYS owner figured out would basically measure out to be about 70 inches around the bust! Now, those who know me know that I am well endowed, as the French say, il y a du monde au balcon. But not 70 inches worth, that's a rack that even the luscious Mamie Van Doren herself couldn't lay claim to! So I frogged that sucker, started over and now have a much more appropriately sized tank on the needles. I predict I will finish it just in time for the chill of September...

A project I am super-jazzed about and totally motivated to finish is the Tank Top with Peplum. Luckily I can knit this project and watch the games with little trouble. It's from the Nashua Handnits Vacation Leaflet and is being done in Nashua Cilantro. The peplum edge was a challenge, but now it's smooth sailing on the bodice. It's being done in the round which is my new favorite way to do sweaters--I figure I should be ready for the Hourglass after this project.

I am eagerly awaiting the final World Cup match on Sunday but my loyalties are a red-blooded American female how can I resist the chiseled good looks of the Italian team, esp. Buffon and Toni? But as a French teacher how can I not support les Bleus? Such a dilemma...