Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are these notes helpful to you?

Suddenly the need to write relevant, purposeful project notes on Ravelry project pages has presented itself. The new 'Are these notes helpful to you?' feature demands a utilitarian perspective on a space that I had heretofore used to write such bromides as 'I love Jitterbug' and 'I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hate mohair'. I now feel an urgent need to go back and recall all the truly useful details such as yardage issues, guage riddles and modifications that might assist others. I have to say that I love this concept as I've always felt writing with constraints to be a particularly productive endeavor. Now Ravelry has given us a reason to write with helpfulness in mind. I love it! My wish now is to undertake all in the name of the Helpful.
Jojoland Melody, or the craziest name ever for a yarn

During my recent travels I picked up a yarn with the single-most intriguing name ever to spring forth from the world of branding: Jojoland Melody. The name Jojoland resonates with me on so many levels: is it a mythical place where Hello Kitty and her pals reside? Is it an oddball term translated awkwardly from the Japanese? Can I go there and meet Jojo? However you slice it, I would like to offer my strong admiration for the madcap individual who dreamt up this heavenly name and all that it represents. Luckily the yarn itself lives up to its inscrutable name--the color is mood-ring gorgeous and the softness is notable. I don't know who Jojo is, but I know that I want to take up permanent residence in his/her (?) land of twee enchantment.

I'm off to Minneapolis today to assist with my dad's return home from a nursing home --yes, that does occasionally happen, much to our happiness and relief. Once there I will be spending some quality time at the fancy grocery store's salad bar and seeking out many falafel opportunities--something that I am unable to do here in the 1950s (i.e. central Pennsylvania). Normally this is the point in the post where I'd offer some tepid remarks about 'no LYS action for me', but I think we know each other well enough at this point to dispense with that, right?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

T is for Traveling

My fave new t-shirt
Man alive my life has been consumed by work-related travel as of late, and there are no signs of it letting up. Not that I'm complaining mind you (although my brother is FURIOUS that I have somehow managed Northwest Silver Elite status and am having my ass upgraded left and right. Sorry sucka!!!), but the traveling is a. hard on the digestion (because I seem to eat corn at every meal) and b. despite airplane knitting, not so great for the craft that keeps this blog going. I have finished one paltry item since last posting, and believe me, it ain't that impressive in the whole grand scheme of things. N.B: The t-shirt above is brought to you courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign shop in Dupont Circle, Washington DC.
Textured Shawl Recipe
Pattern: Textured Shawl Recipe by Orlane
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino, two skeins of Smoke
Needles: Size 8
Time: A week or two, off and on.
Textured Shawl Recipe
This is a great concept--I only wish that mine had turned out to be like 2.5 times bigger. After blocking it's still a smallish triangle, which is fine, it's just that I have more than a few shawls this size. I suppose the answer is to wear it as a scarf and forget that it has 'shawl' in the title. Once again the Malabrigo Silky Merino is a giant winner of a yarn--the color and sheen are stupendous.
Textured Shawl Recipe
Unfortunately the junior crew will not be making blog appearances for the next month or so--they are visiting their dad, step-mom and baby sister in NYC and are thus unavailable. This makes me sad but also frees up the day for extended cocktail hours, insures that my life will be 100% Twilight free and means that I can listen to Lady GaGa without anyone telling me to turn it down. Also, it means that I get to make the Curmudgeon model my garments--this fact alone might make me finish what I have in my queue.

While in Louisville I stopped by one of my fave LYSs around, the Knit Nook. I love that shop and the friendly ladies who knit there. I bought the pattern for Rusted Root and more balls of Calmer (to add to the ones I bought there last year ) and am now on my way and am almost ready to divide for the sleeves. Fun pattern! Love that lace panel! While there a Louisville author stopped by to work on a sock--can you guess who it might have been? [Hint: the title of this post.]

Above you see an in-progress Amtrak shot, a train ride that held many surprises, including the joy of knitting in the Quiet Car (sshh!! no talking or cell phones, please) and sitting across from an Amish boy reading a book about bullets. As I joked on Twitter, that must be like Amish porn--so forbidden.

I am hoping to finish Rusted Root and the Diminishing Ribs cardigan before my next slate of travels begins next week, as I don't really fancy lugging sweater-quantity batches of yarn around in my suitcase. Not that it matters to a Silver Elite traveler, as I check my luggage for free:) Brucie that comment is just for you...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Stick 'Em Up: The Springtime Bandit

Springtime Bandit in BF Solo Silk
One of the aspects of lace knitting that most attracts me is the chart. I love me a good chart and everything about it. I love the fact that a chart means instant progress tracking and that you can cross off rows as you go. I love that once you visually master the pattern, you know right away if you've made a mistake. And most of all I love that feeling of triumph that is the 'edging' or final chart. Yes--I'm in the home stretch and can taste victory...
Springtime Bandit in BF Solo Silk
However for this pattern, the 'edging' chart is basically 1/3 of the pattern. Wha??? I was thrown off a bit and even deflated, but then I decided to get over it. I am in love with the results. Kate Gagnon is such a talented designer, I want some sort of 'auto-subscribe' feature to her work.
Springtime Bandit in BF Solo Silk
The Specs:
Pattern: Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon
Yarn: Brooks Farm Solo Silk, color unknown.
Needles: size 8
Time: about a week with major breaks for carousing with friends, stressful hockey games, dealing with a Creeping Charlie problem in our garden and having my mind blown by two, new albums (I still call them albums).
Springtime Bandit in BF Solo Silk
I am a huge fan of the Brooks Farm Solo Silk. Sadly I lost the ball band and do not know the name of the colorway. I'm going to call in 'Fruit Punch' because it's graduation garden party season. I bought it at MDS&W and recommend that you keep a look out for it.

I continue to work round robin on a variety of projects but am likely to add one more to the party: The Textured Shawl. I have spent far too many hours perusing this pattern on Ravelry and acknowledge that I am probably powerless when faced with the possibility of not starting it right away. Finishing Springtime Bandit means that I have an opening in my 'knitting that doesn't require serious attention, is portable, can de done while watching a movie yet isn't making me want to fly into a blind rage because of lack of progress (Featherweight, that category is all yours)' category. So, yeah, watch this space for the pattern that is taking Ravelry and Flickr by storm, the Textured Shawl.