Friday, September 17, 2004

Charlotte's Evil Web of Hell

Okay, I'm lovin' Koigu, I'm loving my Denise needles, but Charlotte's Web can go to hell. I'm sorry, when I purchase a pattern, I expect to get a reasonable pattern. I understand why they didn't write out every row. I understand the chart was a partial chart. But when it is published in pattern form I expect that I will be able to follow it. I am not exactly a new knitter. The chart not only covers one half of the shawl and only up to row 50, it doesn't even go all the way to the center, turning point after row 40. You have to extrapolate the way the pattern continues off the chart. This is ridiculous and bothersome.

The pattern, after the written instructions, tells you "continue in same manner, adding a new lace repeat every 16 rows." Continue in same manner as what? Add a new lace repeat where? This is ridiculous. I would expect this from a free pattern that I downloaded, not a pattern I had to pay for.

Stupid Charlotte. I had to rip the whole thing and I went home with my Charlotte in a ball :-(

Fortunately, one of the ladies at my S&B (which was far more bitching that stitching last night) offered me copies of two of her patterns, which are pretty and will show off the Koigu nicely.

Die, Evil Charlotte!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

If I had an airplane, I still wouldn't make it on time

Remember that Bangles song--Manic Monday? She's late to work because she spends so much time on her hair and wondering what to wear?

Totally me today, except for the fact that I wasn't wondering what to wear...I was asleep. Somebody, either me or my husband hit MY alarm instead of his and turned it off. I need to get to work at 9 and I woke up at.....8:30.

Fortunately I had bought a new pair of yoga pants at Target last night, and they're black, so they don't look too tacky, so I'm wearing those right now. I didn't have time to put in my contacts so I have on my glasses, which is not really so bad because I really like these glasses.

So I only had time to knit a few rows last night on Charlotte, but it's looking beautiful. Life just keeps interfering with my knitting! Yesterday raccoons got in our garbage and spread it all over, and we have a huge heap of crap from when we cleaned the garage, which has just been sitting there providing a home for chipmunks and beetles and mosquitoes and all kinds of other unpleasant pests. Sigh...I think we are definitely 'those' neighbors.

Anyone want a slightly damaged hot pink couch? I put it out for the garbage a couple of weeks ago, figuring someone would take it. No luck. So I broke down and put a garbage sticker on it....and the garbage man won't even take it. It's like a huge, ugly, hot pink albatross. I can't get rid of the thing. We offered it free for the taking to dozens of people...they don't want it. We put it out in the yard...free for the taking....and people who will take hoses that leak and rusted out bicycles and cheap broken kitchen cabinetry and moldy, stained carpet remnants will not take my pink couch!!! Even the garbage man will not take it--I'm not investing more than $1.75 to get rid of it, what the heck do I do with it? I swear, the pink is only a slipcover. It's white underneath! The pink didn't look too bad until it sat out in the sun for 2 weeks, now it's faded, wet, and stained. Soooo....anyone want a broken, faded, wet, stained couch with no feet??

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Score: Charlotte=1, Addi Turbo=0

So yesterday I went excitedly to my LYS for my first pair of Addis....and I decided I didn't like them. Since using the Denise I have become completely intolerant of clinky, cold aluminum and the clicking sound I used to find so soothing. I also love the flexible feeling of the Denise. Soooo....I saved my $13.50 and ended up using my size 5 Denises for my Charlotte. And I already have a lot done!

I am a tad confused by the pattern. The first 30 rows are written out in the traditional manner, row by row. And that's good. And after that you have to follow a chart. Also good, in fact, easier than following the written instructions. The problem is, the chart only goes up to 50 rows. The shawl is 154 rows. The pattern makes no bones about the fact that the chart is partial, but makes no indication where you are supposed to go after row 50. There is some vague notation that 'a new lace pattern is created every 16 rows' but it wouldn't have taken THAT much more type to say "After completing row 50, work rows 43-50 repeatedly until you have 154 rows."

So that's kind of what I ended up doing, and it appears to be working out well. I'm going to ask around online today just in case, and at the absolute worst I only have to rip out 6 rows.

Oh, but the shawl is absolutely gorgeous and kittensoft. I'm very glad I decided to go with only one colorway because I really love this colorway and it is just the right combination of colors. I can't wait to wear it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

My Cousin Learned to Knit!

My cousin had a surprise for me this weekend--she learned to knit! This girl never wanted to learn. Our grandma tried to teach her a long time ago but it just didn't take, and I think that experience turned her off of it. But now all the other women in the family knit and I think she saw how relaxed we were while working on it and wanted to give it a try. She's got 8 rows on a dishcloth already.

I got the second and third tiers done on my entrelac sock--I think it's kind of fun but it *is* a lot of work and a lot of knitting. I'm also a bit concerned they will be too large but there's really not a way you can make them smaller. I'm already using size 0 needles. But it's really fun to watch the diamonds go off in different directions. And the color is really pretty--orange and yellow and golden brown.

Today I am taking my lunch break at the yarn shop to pick out a pair of Addis because I want to start on Charlotte tonight. So excited!!

Okay, a couple of nonknitting friends read this and have mentioned they're confused, so I'm going to take a moment to publish a key to all the knitting BB jargon I've become so accustomed to, plus a few things about some of the knitting things I've mentioned.

LYS = local yarn shop/store
DPN= double pointed needles (sock needles)
circs = circular needles

gauge = how many stitches you get per inch, it is vital to match your gauge to the designer's gauge to get things the right size. Also 'making a gauge' = making a small sample of the pattern to test your gauge count.

Addis = Addi turbo needles; nickel plated aluminum needles that are generally accepted as the Cadillac of needles--they are relatively expensive and thus seen frequently as an indulgence!

colorway = term for the color of a yarn; especially a yarn that has multiple colors involved in its color scheme.

Hopefully that clears folks up.....and if you still don't get it, well, then, learn to knit, darn it!!

Friday, September 10, 2004

A Clean Slate--Finished All my Homework

I finished all my knitting/crocheting homework. I'm so proud. I finished the pink and white doily and the turquoise baby booties at knit group last night. I still need to wash and block the doily but that's okay, and the baby booties need buttons but I can do that tonight. They are for a high school friend/newspaper colleague who is having a baby. Although we aren't close now, I feel like reaching out a little bit :-) Maybe it will turn into a new friendship. Maybe I'll get to babysit :-)

So now I'm free to start my Charlotte! My wonderful man gave me a gift certificate to my LYS and now it's totally burning a hole in my pocket. I'm going to go today to return the ball of Echo left over from the poncho and pick up a nice pair of Addis :-) Then this weekend maybe I can start on my shawl. I hear it's a fast knit so maybe I'll be wearing it soon!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Oh Charlotte....How I Adore Thee

My Charlotte materials arrived in the mail yesterday!!! (cha cha cha). I opened the box and I was petting the yarn. Mmmmmm...soft. I can't wait to start but I think as an additional treat I'm going to buy myself a pair of Addi turbo circs to make it on. I have a ball of yarn to return to the yarn shop left over from the Echo poncho, so that's only a little more than $5 with the credit considered. Sounds like a deal to me :-)

I want to get some other stuff finished and out of the way before I work on it, though. I'm taking my pink & white doily and my turquoise baby booties to knitting group tonight to finish them, so that I can work on Charlotte with a clear conscience.

Yee ha!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A Pink & White (not old lady-ish) Doily!

I'm admitting it here and now. I like making doilies. Doilies have a really bad reputation for being old-ladyish. But they are so very beautiful. I have started to look at them as quilts (design-wise, not use-wise!). Most people are suprised I make quilts--hey, I'm a hip young gal--because they figure quilts must be pastel and conservative and weekend-at-grandma's-ish. But there's no reason you can't make a quilt from hot pink and leopard print and black. The Amish have been making black-based quilts for centuries and theirs are some of the most striking quilts you'll ever see.

Doilies are also fun to make. Gauge is completely inconsequential. As long as you are using a hook that matches the yarn weight, you're good. They are cheap. One doily, even a large one, can be made from one ball of size 10 crochet cotton, which costs less than $2. They impress the heck out of non-crocheters (and even crocheters sometimes).

Crochet cotton used to come in ecru and white. Now it comes in a rainbow of colors, including pink and yellow and red and lavender. It even comes in balls where two coordinating shades are twisted together, giving a fun ripply effect.

So in the same way as the same skirt pattern can be used to produce a conservative knee-length navy skirt or a funky corduroy mini with flowers and big buttons sewn on, a basic doily pattern, with a little creativity, can create a really cool project.

The doily I'm working on now started out white (because that's what I had). It has 4 white medallions in the center. Last night I finished the medallions and picked up some pink to do the border. It looks so pretty! The white medallions are set off by the pink. Such a simple change and what a big difference.

The next doily is going to be black. It's a pineapple pattern and I decided that black set over a red tablecloth would be a great gothy effect.

And then I have a pattern for one with pansies around the edge. I'm thinking of making the pansies into impatiens--hot pink :-)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Don't make me angry...or I'll turn my Skullclamp-equipped Qumulox on you!!!

So I didn't get much crocheting or knitting done this weekend, but I did learn how to play Magic. At first I was like how will I EVER figure this crap out but after a while it gelled and I was really having fun! I expect my geek card to arrive in the mail any day now :-)

Got almost (almost) done on a pair of little crocheted Mary Janes for one person I know who's having a baby. I still have to figure out what to make for the other two people I know...because, well, frankly I don't like them very much. One of them has always been a bit cold-fishy to me, and the other acted like she was my friend until she decided being friends with me wasn't going to further her career and she decided she outranked me anyway. But their husbands are the sons of my mom's best friend, so I feel like I should make *something*.

Still waiting for Charlotte's Web! I'm trying to use the time to get all my other pending projects wrapped up so I can indulge in Charlotte when she comes.

Okay, got tons to do today, must not be distracted by siren song of internet.

Friday, September 03, 2004

A lot of fun words to say!

Bergamo. Ber-ga-mo.
Cache-coeur. (bonus points for being in French.)

So a while back I checked Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick out from the library and really liked the Bergamo Cache-coeur (a short vest, means literally hide-the-heart) sort of like a ballerina top. I liked it, but had never seen the yarn. I'm always afraid I'll end up with brown brillo-feeling yarn if I order blindly off the 'net.

Then one of my knitting buds brought a sweater she's making from Bergamo--which is like soft wool shoelaces--very fun! So now I want to make it. Elann has Bergamo on sale--60% off at that but I don't know if I like the colors they have left.

Muench (who makes Bergamo) said on their site it is a 'thriving line' of yarn but if that is the case why is Elann the only place that sells it?? Hmmm?

So then I tried to find a sub and that's just always disastrous. You either feel confident it will sub in right or you like the colors. Never both! I like the Katia Colorado which appears to be of similar construction but it says the weight is far different. I've never felt Colorado so I'm not really sure about subbing that in.

I may just go ahead and take a chance on the Bergamo colors. They have a pretty purple but everything I'm making lately is purple :-) and I really liked the Claret color Bergamo apparently was available in at one time. Purple is a good color to order online, though, because I can't think of a purple color I don't like.

Updates to follow. And lots more fun words :-)

Crocheting, crocheting, crocheting away

Well, last night at knit group....I crocheted :-) I finished most of this purple ornament from Lion Chenille I've been making. A friend gave me the chenille from her stash because she didn't want it anymore. I couldn't figure out what to use it for and then I saw this pattern in a Crochet! magazine and it called for that precise yarn so I decided to make it. It's almost like a little purse. It's a little chenille bag that you put a foam ball in and then it's not too heavy but keeps its shape. For trim it has pretty gold thread crochet bands and a tassel, and shiny gold beads.

I think I at least impressed the heck out of my fellow knitters when I pulled out the teeny tiny size 7 hook. Crochet hooks, if you don't know, start at 0 and go up, and then down on the other side. So there is a size 7/G hook that is a decent size, and then there is a size 7 on the other side that's really fine.

Anyway, I got most of my ornament done (one of those oddball projects that seems to hang around unfinished) and then I got another motif done on my white doily. I actually got 4 done but somewhere between the 3rd and 4th motifs I went to the bathroom and when I came back, I picked up the wrong size hook. So my 4th medallion was completely off size and so I have to make another one. Fortunately they are pretty quick.

The UPS man knocked on the door this morning and I got all excited thinking it was my Charlotte materials.....even though I know it's way too soon. But a girl can hope, right?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

A Blue Poinsettia in my Hair

I have a blue poinsettia in my hair. It's really quite pretty. I had a pattern for a more traditional red poinsettia, but last week I had a tough day at work and I *needed* a hot bath and some crocheting to do. It was an easy enough pattern so I grabbed a hook and the blue thread, which was all I had, and headed for the bath. I made the first layer in the tub and it was really pretty. The thread is 2 strands of blue--one royal blue and one turquoise blue. They have a watery effect when held together.

Then the water got cold and I continued with the second layer in the living room. By the time the evening was over I had the leaves and 2 layers and I sewed them together and put a purple pony bead in the center. I thought I'd use it to pin on something but it's a little large for a pin. I ended up pinning it in my hair today. And I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. Sort of like a Latina babe strolling down the beach...except I'm not a Latina and I'm strolling down the halls of my office. But sort of, right?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

[happy dance] Koigu!!! [cha cha cha]

I did it! I ordered it! I found my colorway on Patternworks and the pattern was in stock even! In 5-10 business days (hopefully) I can begin work on my very own KPPPM Charlotte's Web. [swoon]

I've decided to do it a tad different than everyone else. Due to the fact I had a hard time deciding on ONE colorway, much less FIVE colorways that should look good together (and learning lace knitting WHILE switching colors every 3 rows doesn't sound like a good combination for me, at least), I decided on one colorway and I'm going to do the whole thing in that one colorway. I don't think I like the stripey-stripey effect of the different colors, anyway, I'm more of a solid-color kind of gal. It's not really solid, the colorway is p305 and it's different purples, plus black.

Yay! I'm so excited! I hesitated when I pulled out my credit card....do I really want this??....answer was YES!

1-2-3 Ko-i-gu! 1-2-3 Ko-i-gu!

Okay, I'll stop being silly now.

Wearing my Echo Poncho Today!!

We're having a luncheon at work so I thought it would be a good chance to dress up a little and wear my Echo poncho!! It feels so good--like a very soft net around my shoulders.

I've been trying to focus on making things I will actually wear, instead of letting my process-knitter nature take over and just making things for the heck of them. At the same time, I'm trying to push myself to try new techniques--like knitting with tape yarn, entrelac (although those entrelac socks are just sitting there--haven't had the uninterrupted time they demand!).

With the cooler weather coming I'm looking forward to working on sweaters again! I'm planning on knitting something in the round....and then cutting a steek which is just a really awesome technique but I've always been scared to do it.

1. pink Marr Haven wool turtleneck with cable detail (the one that must fit)
2. white lace 'Floral Bouquet' doily with 4 center motifs and a fishnet border
3. orange entrelac socks
4. redoing the bindoff on the Opal socks

Just sittin' here at my desk wishin' I was knittin' :-)