Thursday, February 26, 2009

FO-OTN-Miss Babs-Jeans

First, thanks for the awesome suggestions for my Greek list. It will be so much better than it was.

The Melon shawl--Steve named it after the small watermelons we see early in May before real watermelon season--is complete except for embellishing. I was very far into it before I discovered this particular technique for handling the sneeziness I was battling with the mohair. I had a Kleenex trapped under my glasses to mask my lower face. Now that really looked ridiculous, and it didn't work all that well. Then I remembered the masks I use for dyeing. Better. A really good idea is a soft surgical mask. Now to figure out how to wear it---without the mask. Final pic later.

Next project?
Remi purchased some wonderful new summer yarns. I'm using this neat cotton--Katia Bombay--fingering wt--100g=251 yds--$14.00. Long color repeats. This little lace pic is nice on a size 4 needle. So far this is a pullover. Other decisions as necessary. Probably a slightly dropped empire line. Definitely short sleeves. I just think it will look great with the white pants and white shirts I wear all summer. Maybe this will stop people coming up and asking for medical advice. Do I look like a nurse??? Well . . . .

Monday I drove up to Hickory to the Catholic Conference Center where the Charlotte Knitting Guild is hosting a retreat this weekend. The famous Miss Babs of hand dye fame (redundant) is providing a trunk show for the group and I showed up to help arrange storage for the yarn until we get there and buy it all. She is so sweet and brought such good stuff.

I started to take pictures as Jennifer unloaded, but then I decided to wait so as not to frustrate this weekend's participants. Also didn't want anyone to see the yarn I have already put back for me --hee--hee. Check out her website if you haven't seen her stuff. She also brought us gifts--no hints.

Finally, those great (2 size smaller) jeans I am wearing in the picture with Miss Babs are brand new and so cool. They were featured on Oprah and the salesclerk at Dillards insisted I try them on. Smart woman. Ask for Wade. Anyway, they come with a disclaimer and I share it with you. This is a label from inside the jeans.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Future Fair Isle Idea

I'm loving knitting my fairly mindless shawl and socks. I'm also thinking about pillow covers. No shaping, no increases, no critical fitting issues. Just knit.

I found this Kaffe Fassett chart called African Rope in Rowan #37. It makes more sense to turn it 90 degrees, at least to my strange brain. I think it would work that way.

I like cotton better than wool for throw pillows. Wool pills from the hard use Steve gives any and all pillows. Classic Elite Provence is my all time favorite cotton, followed by it's cousin Butterfly 10 or Tahki Cotton Classic. I swear they come from the same mill. They do all come from Greece. Oh wait! I'm going to Greece. Perhaps, just maybe, if I find the time, I might buy just a little bit of Butterfly 10 in my den colors. Or my living room. Or both.

How about a light taupe and a dark eggplant?

Temptation is so . . . well, tempting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nana Knits with Evan

Is this not the cutest thing you have ever seen? He only uses one needle and just wraps it to death. He's not quite ready for real lessons, but he will be soon. He knows just where his yarn is and goes to it every time he comes. He loves to make things. I am deeply in love.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New (to me) Yarn--Pagewood Farm Yukon

Nice Gift and Calling All Greek Lovers

This first pic is a gift from Kate. These are felted balls, no, she didn't make them. Some of them have bells in them. Just another way to add fiber to my home decor. Aren't the colors terrific?

HELP!!!!See below.
What I'm Reading
Thomas Cahill's Sailing the Wine Dark Sea

Re-reading actually. I read this before my first trip to Greece. Enjoying it even more this time. The subtitle is "Why the Greeks Matter." This is prep for my June trip when I will be chaperoning college students for a 10 day visit. These students are all NC Teacher Scholars which means they have qualified for a great scholarship program and will repay the state by teaching here for three years. A way of getting the best and brightest into teaching.

My job, besides counting heads, is to help the kids prepare to relate to what they see and to show them many of the ways their own experiences will inform their classrooms. I'm pretty excited about both.

I'm trying to put together a viewing/reading/listening list of material for them. Most of the list should be fairly light. This isn't a course. Cahill is a fairly serious book English and history majors would like. Also on the list are
Zorba the Greek--novel or film
Clash of the Titans--the worst film ever made about Greek mythology, but my students always loved it
300--lots of Spartan history and great graphic visuals
Edith Hamilton's Mythology--an easy read

The Iliad and The Odyssey are really required, but I'm hoping they will remember it from high school.

Before I do my English teacher thing, I'm hoping you can help me by sending me names of books, films, music that somehow connect to Greece. Children's stories?

Does anything fun come to mind?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Matador-ish is finally finished.

Side view. Steve took these and I'm finally getting him to understand that you only care about the sweater and to get in close.
Here's the back and I really like the simple peplum suggested by Kate.
The front--Yes, I should have put on a different shirt. Also I am all scrunched up because I haven't yet done the couture closure that I promised. I'm holding it closed against the elastic and am trying to pretend I'm not. Just need to go buy the grograin ribbon.
This really shows the stitches. I used a linen stitch for about an inch around the waist. Inside I have hem stitched a nice piece of black elastic to the top and bottom of the linen stitch rows. This pulls everything in nicely and gives some support to the waist area. I'm very pleased with this touch.

All in all I am satisfied with this top down sweater. It fits perfectly and the Shelridge Farm W4 yarn is so soft.

V-Day and New on Needles

Valentine's Day and a gorgeous bouquet from Steve. Lily, gerber daisy, other daisy, roses, chrysanthemum--all favorites of mine. Just so sweet. He was clearly proud of his choices, and I am so grateful--I love fresh flowers.


A brioche stitch shawl knit lengthwise with a steek so I can mindlessly work on it. I will cut the steek, pull out the stitches and have fringe--or weave in the ends and have a different end treatment.

Noro Yuzen, Wool, silk, mohair. Color 1; black, charcoal, grey, teal, yellow-green from Charlotte Yarn.
Brooks Farm Primero--100% mohair. Green ombre from SAFF, 2007.

Size 8 US Kollage SQUARE needles with the softest circular cable you could ever imagine. Ordered from

I'm guessing I'll use about 500 yards of each yarn for a finished shawl about 77 inches long and 18 wide.

I'm knitting it lengthwise so I will have vertical stripes on my back when I wear it. Always thinking vertical as in "vertically challenged."

Brioche stitch--it bears repeating--is so rhythmic and fun to knit. Zen like. And I'm not alone in my opinion. See earlier comment.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Brioche vs. K1below

I did buy the new XRX book , Knit One Below by Elise Duvekot. I would post pictures to demonstrate my comments, but I'm a little scared of Alexis.

This book is laid out beautifully, much like the three Sally Melville books they did. The text is extraordinarily helpful. Ellise is clear and anticipates problems before they happen. The projects show beautiful fabrics and color combinations to die for. Yes, here comes the BUT---Too many straight lines. Straight shoulders don't fit my super slanted ones; straight armcyes don't fit my curved arms. Dropped shoulders, even modified drop shoulders aren't ever your best choice. That said, I'm not sorry I bought the book.

I plan to use what I have learned from Elise and create my own shapes. Do look at the book when you get a chance.

Another but---
I started knitting Elise's mitered square in the K1below technique and found it only okay. I changed midway to the brioche st (tutorial on my website) and learned a lot.
Take a look. The brioche is at the top of the piece; K1b is at the bottom. They look the same to me--well, almost. The K1b is a bit denser, which could be important to your project, especially in colder climes.

This is the back of the piece. Focus on the left side of the picture; the right side is a mess because I'm still trying to figure out the mitered decrease section. Pretty similar; some would say the same.

This is my joining following the K1below directions. I don't think it is a fair show; I may could have knit this much better. I'm using a Bernat cotton that splits like crazy, but feels really great.
This shows the K1 below both back and front.

This is the join I figured out using the brioche st. I like it better--I know this is sloppy--I'm still figuring out how I want to do it.

So, what have I learned as I knit this washcloth?
1. I don't enjoy the K1b nearly as much as I like working the brioche st. It's a rhythm thing.
2. I'd probably choose to do the striped mitered square as a fair isle project if I wanted a firmer fabric. Both brioche and K1below give a very drapey, bouncy fabric unless you torture the yarn with supersmall needles.
3. I think brioche would make a killer winter coat.
4. I know brioche will make a luscious reading shawl.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Planning my knit life

Remi is such a taskmaster. Nag, nag, nag. What are you going to teach? When will you write it up? ---NOT-T-T!!!! Actually she is always so "when you have time" oriented that it makes me a little guilty. Therefore I'm planning 6 months ahead this time.

I'm not going to announce all 6 months; can't be that locked in. But I will have something ready for her before she even asks. A-hah!! Feeling proud.

I love my new little two hour classes because they bring me together with so many new folks. They don't realize how old my jokes are. They bring new yarns and new problems for me to solve--I love both.

I think we know have a lot of sweater knitters who may be interested in learning how to custom fit their work rather than just knitting a medium. I'm going to offer a class on making a sloper and analyzing your places to tweak the pattern, and how. I'm also going to offer a top down tank class followed by a set in sleeve class.

I've been redecorating (as a pace that would stifle a snail) and I'm thinking home dec stuff. I love decorating pillows someone else made and stuffed--I know it's easy--it's just not really fun. For me. Spaghetti sauce on your pillow--Great--Knit a fix.
This one is just stashdiving and intarsia.

I also want to put my new brioche skills to work. Maybe a throw, maybe just a cloth.

My Matadorish sweater is completed, but needs some alterations. Kate taught me a neat way -- actually the coutour way-- to button a jacket waistband. It doesn't include a buttonhole. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Mark's Curvaceous

My friend, Kate, knit this for her son who is in England for a semester. She had the yarn hand dyed by Debbie at Yarns to Dye For. It's a big, bulky, soft merino that is fabulous to fondle. My photos don't do it justice. Debbie worked with Kate until the color was perfect--a dark eggplant--lots of black in the purple. He is going to love this.
I tried photographing it on a hand dyed, hand woven piece I bought in Ecuador years ago. I still cherish the memory of the man who wove while sitting on the floor--he actually had a concrete floor. So many of the people we visited only had dirt.
Here's a slightly different angle--I'm too lazy to go back and tilt the picture.

Look at how well Kate prevented cable flare. I think she added a few rows to the pattern before she did the first cable. Smart move.

This detail shows the effects of the kettle dyeing. I have to get back to that shop. Heaven knows I don't have enough yarn. Bulky yarn, I mean.

A treat for you---
Some SC quilters found a clever, artsy way to raise money for breast cancer research. These are gorgeous.