Thursday, February 26, 2009

You know the saying...

...go big or go home? Well, that seems to be my knitting mantra. A day or so ago, a friend asked me where I've been. Outside of a hairy going on two months at the office, which I won't bore anyone with, I finished my Ribby Cardi (Chic Knits). It's a great knit, but I lost my mind when I cast on and made the XL. I cannot tell you why now. My measurements were just north of the L and I should have gone with negative ease. But perhaps I was worried about it being too tight. Some of the finished pieces on Ravelry look a little too small to me. At least for someone in my size range. Gotta stay realistic here. I'm not 30, or even 40, anymore!

It seems to me the trend lately is to wear clothing too tight-like blazers and suit coats on women. Have you seen the women on something like Criminal Minds? They button their jackets and they pull dreadfully. Ugly!! And these women are probably a size 2 to begin with! Why not just tailor the jacket so it nips in at the waist? Same thing with all the college kinds around here. Sweaters are very short and very tight and worn with [at least] one shirt underneath. I'm fifty-plus now, and can't go around wearing short tight sweaters or anything else for that matter.

Anyway, I have not created a cardi, but a jacket! (Thats' my story and I'm stickin' to it!) I'm afraid it makes me look like a "tubla" (what my Lebanese sithu (grandmother) used to call overweight women), but I have a bit more finishing to do before the unveiling. I hand sewed the zipper and want to reinforce it a bit more. And I need to tack down the upper edges of the zipper tape. Maybe steam block the front placard.

All I can say is that Bonne sizes her patterns well, for me anyway. I made an "L" CeCe and it fits beautifully. Not tight, but not large, just the way I like things. Why didn't I think of this when I cast on for the Ribby.

Another strange but true story in the nekked city.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Moving on .....

Because I'm exhausted with worrying myself silly over what in the world I will do with the extra $40 a month-that will be economy stimulating enough. I present some "old" knitting. This is the Tendrils Wrap from Knitty.

This is knit from Knit Picks Elegance. It's the alpaca/silk blend and it has about a kilo of beads in it. I keep it at the office and wrap myself in it when it gets chilly. Usually in the summer when the A/C is on. I've been fine so far in the winter. I knit this in the summer of 2006. I don't know what some folks have against KP yarns. Yeah, some of them are a little splitty, but I'm thinking that I could find one yarn in every line that has some splittyness to it. I enjoyed knitting with Elegance a great deal and it made this a very affordable project.

I'm becoming used to the Noro. It seems to soften up when it is finally knitted into a fabric. It still feels like twine (to me) when I'm knitting it though.

I keep wondering about all those hats I see that have Noro combined with another yarn. Like Turn A Square. Aren't they scratchy? My LYS owners say "rough" not scratchy....potato/patato. I knit a hat from Harrisville wool and it made me crazy. I gave it to my sister who found it "itchy" as well. They insist it is the BEST! Very soft. I keep wondering if I'm just looney. (OK, I don't really wonder, but I can't figure out why my impressions are SO different!) Recently I knit a felted cloche for my mom, and because of her senior Red Hat status I decided to knit a purple stripe into the red Lambs Pride I used. The purple was a bit of leftover Harrisville, and zonks! The difference was remarkable. Way more "rough" than the Lambs Pride. Now the LP has a bit of mohair, so if you're allergic to mohair, you could be in trouble. But for felting it's fabulous.

Just as an aside, my favorite felting yarn is Paton's Classic Wool. The fabric is not thick and stiff, so the garment is lighter. If you need more body, the Lamb's Pride is probably your best bet. And look for the new monochromatic colors. I think I used cranberry swirl (except I thought it was ruby red, but it was varigated).

Now my last question. Is there anyone out of the Illinois/Chicago political arena who isn't smarmy? Just askin'?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Loose Leaf Thoughts .....

I "accidentally" joined the Loopy Ewe Sock Club. How, you may ask, does one "accidentally" join a sock club. Well, I just wanted to see the details (costs and such), and clicked once too many times. Well, it's a lottery, I told myself, what are the odds? Well, pretty darned good apparently. I'm in. I debated whether I should withdraw, but heck. I can be on a yarn diet the rest of the year, right? First shipment should be in about 4 weeks. I almost can't wait.

I should know better about lotteries. Back in 2002 the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament was being held in Pittsburgh. My DH LOVES the basketball tournament. It runs a close second to the Super Bowl with the Steelers playing. Anyway, the tickets were $$ and you had to "buy" into a lottery to try and get them. Also you had to fax your application. Anyway, our fax hiccuped and I ended up entering twice!! (And having my credit card charged twice.) Nice, huh? This was about January 2001. Lo and behold May rolls around and I am notified that I've gotten TWO tickets. Now I'm on pins and needles waiting to see if I also got the other two. This pre-dates StubHub and those other ticket services, so selling them would have been an ordeal and subject to PA's scalping laws. Fortunately, for me, I got a "regrets" notification, and a credit to my charge. But we had a GREAT time at the tournament!

I'm wondering who the heck is going to benefit from the 800B? Not me. If they really wanted to stimulate the economy, and help the "middle-class" they'd do things write off for $20K if you buy a new home in 2009, how about $5K if you buy a new vehicle ($7 for a hybrid or high mileage), a few hundred for all kinds of durable goods, like washers, dryers etc. This would put Detroit back to work, housing starts would get going again (along with all the associated crafts), manufacturing would stay afloat....but no. We have climate change research. Yeah, that'll help the folks laid off in Midland. The only people this will help in 2009 are the pinheads in the labs at Stanford and MIT and the packing/shipping folks at Fischer Scientific. Oh yeah!! And it would be loads cheaper! (How do I know about pinheads and labs? I used to be one of those pinheads!)

Dondi just doesn't know when to quit. Sheesh. And it just gets worse and worse. Hey buddy!! The clue phone is ringing and it's for you!

I think I just hate Facebook. I just don't "get it". I'm also so not a twitterer or plurker...gads do I really need to know your thoughts at every moment? You sure don't want to know mine! I shudder to think. This comes to mind because we are looking at Facebook as a teaching tool, because "students use it all the time". Many students get drunk all the time too, are we going to start serving cocktails during class? Just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


And no that's not the infamous beginning of the number of the beast...or maybe it is!


We were way excited here at Casa Black n' Gold. So excited we drank a bottle of champagne when I calmed down enough to handle the stemware without breakage. Luckily, we were smart enough to take Monday off. (Champagne kicks my ass, but I do love it so.) Probably should have toasted with an Ahrn... I, as is usual, couldn't even watch the last 4 or so minutes. I hate to say it, but it speaks to the fact that I'm not a native 'Burgher (only by marriage). That and I still can't say "dahntahn" properly.

Here's what I did to stop myself from chewing my fingernails to the knuckle.

This is Wrap Me Up to block #4. My LYS had their usual Superbowl sale on Sunday afternoon. (No, not during the game. We here at football central wouldn't be caught dead shopping no matter who was playing.)I went specifically to get my "contrast" yarn for Wrap Me Up, because I decided I was going to "knit ahead". We were only supposed to finish the first three blocks. You can see a bit of the mitered squares block if you look closely. I was trying to figure out what to do with my hands during the game, that wouldn't be too fiddley (no socks) or that I wouldn't have to prompt myself with a pattern (no Lace Ribbon, though that desperately needs attention), that left WMU. I was so focused, even drinking hard cider, that I finished the half-linen stitch block and added the ruffle. That's what you see in pink. I'm not sure that particular pink is the best contrast choice, but it is fun. I have no idea if the pattern is executed properly, or if I have the correct number of rows, but what the heck. That bit of the shawl will have history knitted in.

While there I also snagged three skeins of-are you sitting down-cashmere, in "wine", for, probably, a cowl - at HALF price. Youza! I shouldn't have purchased anything, I had just spent a fortune on Monday what with the class and half the yarn for project (Cynthia has to order more Noro in the colorways I selected). And since I chose the winning team...thank you Stillers...I can also get 20% off the yarn for one project, but I think I'll have to let that slide.

To wrap this up, here is an "in progress" photo of the Lace Ribbon scarf in Koigu KPM. (With more gratuitous Steeler stuff...)

And there is a story here. I was in Philly in September for a workshop. I had some time one evening and walked to Rosie's Yarn Cellar - a great little place. (It never ceases to amaze me how much fine yarn a little space can squeeze in.) They had several kinds of yarn I've always wanted, but never had to opportunity to try. One is Koigu. I chose that lovely apricotty yarn, bought two skeins, after discussing my plan with the nice clerk who was unpacking boxes, and went on my way. I didn't have the pattern (Lace Ribbon) with me, but she knew the pattern, and thought that two skeins would be plenty. When I got home, I realized it wasn't enough. So I called a few days later, and another nice clerk (they all must be lovely), sent me another from the same lot. Fast forward to January 2009, I've just finished one skein (175 yds), and I've got barely 20 inches. Yikes! That means that even with blocking I may get a scarf between 60 and 70 inches. I'm a long scarf kinda gal....think Isadora Duncan. So now, roughly 4+ months later I call Rosie's again, and AGAIN, a nice clerk searches the Koigu and finds THE LAST skein from this lot. It turns out it is her favorite color too, and is delighted she can send the last skein to a good home. She apologizes because it seems to have gone up a $1 in price, but...this is the best part, they only charge me $1 to send it...AND I get in two days later. Granted, I won't need it for months at the rate I'm going, but jeepers. How can you beat this?

Here's a close-up.

If you're ever in Philly. Trek to dahntahn, (ignore all the Eagles/Phillies banners), and stop in Rosie's. You won't be sorry. And if you're ever in Central PA, stop in Stitch Your Art Out and say hi to Cynthia and Kim, great yarns, lovely location. Stop at Watkins Dairyette down the street for a custard. They also do quilting, and if you're not a'll be tempted to start.