Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm really trying!

This spare laptop isn't cutting the mustard - every time I try to post anything, I.Explorer shuts down on me. I have photos and stuff, doesn't it know that? I'll give it a shot.

First and most importantly, the 1st Communion Dress is almost done! All that's left is the slip and the zipper and I WILL finish it today. I don't have to leave the house at all and can concentrate completely. My other motivation is my root canal redo tomorrow. I'm sure I won't feel like sewing after that and I don't need this pressure hanging over my head anymore. Plus, the big day is Sunday. I need to get the dress done and out of the house.

I've run into a crossroads with the Knit It Down sweater from Creative Knitting, January 2008. It's a great sweater and I want to live in it. However, I need one more ball for the second sleeve and one more ball is not to be found anywhere. I'm debating about whether I should drive down there again and special order it for $2 a ball and no shipping or order it online for more plus shipping. Maybe Friday I'll do the special order thing. I really want to wear this sweater!

I crocheted the Boteh Scarf (scroll down) out of my languishing Knit Picks Shine Sport in Hydrangea. Yeah, I know, I still have to weave in ends and do a quick steam blocking, but it is pretty cool, huh? There was one error in the magazine pattern that was easy to spot and only meant I had to rip out one of the motifs. No biggie. It moved along really quickly and I love the results.
Hmm, what else have I been working on while my laptop has been causing me unnecessary amounts of stress? Oh, I added eyelets to my Big Bag. That was fun! If I'm not careful, I could go eyelet-happy! Now I want some black rope to thread through, knot, and use as a shoulder strap.

I also purchased the She-Knits patterns Marly and Lorin from Sharon's Ravelry pattern store. I finished Marly in only a couple days and felted her yesterday. I checked her after about 6 minutes of agitation - not enough. However, 5 minutes later, she'd gone too far. Good to know. I had to really wrestle her onto the trash can I used for blocking. That was also due in part because I didn't carry my yarn loosely enough through the slip stitch patterns. It's that first pattern up by the handles is the one I really have to watch out for. Now I know.

I made the optional pocket according to Sharon's directions, then I added another smaller pocket hoping it would felt down to cell phone size. The pocket is a bit wider than desirable for my size phone, but the height is perfect. Again, now I know.

I wish I had known all of this stuff about pockets when I made the Big Bag. I love that bag dearly and think it has great potential, but it REALLY needs pockets. Otherwise it's just a huge black hole! The stupid thing is of course I could have figured out how to add pockets if I'd just taken a moment to think, but literal me didn't think to depart from the instructions and add a pocket!

Another irritation is that I had a magnetic snap floating around my desk for nearly a year. Not two weeks ago, while cleaning my desk, I tossed the snap thinking I wouldn't be using it. Grrr. Oh well, nothing a trip to Wal-mart can't cure.

As I catalogued the wool stash in Ravelry the other night and contemplated which colors to use for Lorin, I realized that Marly and Lorin are almost the identical bag. The slip stitch patterns and sequence are exactly the same! I felt a little stupid for buying both patterns when I could have just winged it for either one, but I'm feeling better about it now. Marly is top down and Lorin is bottom up. And their handles are different. Both of these patterns can help serve as a base for any future designs I might come up with on my own. Yes, it would be rather shocking for me to design something myself, but I have Knitting Never Felt Better by Nicky Epstein and I'm feeling fearless.

Well, I promised myself I'd finish the dress today and I went ahead and told my SIL it would be done today, so I'd better make good and get going. Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Does food still matter in restaurants?

I'd like to call today "Stating the Obvious" Tuesday.

I'm listening to an episode of the Bon Appetit podcast from last summer and the interviewer just asked this post's title question of a chef opening a new restaurant. I could hardly believe my ears! Hmmm, let's see here...DUH!!!!

I had to laugh. Nothing much else to add to the "Stating the Obvious" theme of today except that organza strewn with cute little satin rosebuds with satin ribbon leaves is friggin' impossible to cut and sew!

What was I thinking? Ooh, this is cute! I bet Emma will like this! Isn't this great? Oh yeah, she loves that, use THAT!

I tried my darndest to position the skirt overlay pattern piece on plain areas of the fabric, but with the curved front edge it was impossible to get it to lay on completely plain areas. I ended up cutting out several roses that fell in the seam allowance.

Cute break...B just put his "bug hat" that he made in preschool on my head! He said "it has my name on it, but you can wear it." Awwww!

Well, I'm gonna go dive into the organza and we'll see who surfaces first. I really gotta get busy with the photos!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Good Luck Monday!

I am going to try this out as a weekly installment...sometimes "good" good luck, sometimes "not-so-good" good luck. That's my kind of day today.

It started out innocent enough. We hit 72 degrees today! If I'd stayed in direct sunlight, I would have actually burned! With the winter we've had, that's a milestone indeed. I bought the ribbon trim for the 1st Communion Dress, tailor's chalk (finally!), and 6 more balls of DenimStyle in white - yes, I know I need only one more ball of khaki to finish my sweater, but it was all out and it was still on sale and it never goes on sale and I love it and I know I'll use it...yada yada yada.

I punched eyelet holes in my Big Bag. I bought an EmbellishKnit only to realize that it really isn't what I'm looking for, so the Big Bag is still without handles. But it's got the eyelets and that was mighty fun to hammer them in on a 72 degree day in Minnesota!

The real good fortune didn't hit until I went to the dentist. That right there should be your tip-off. My 5 1/2 month old root canal has been bothering me again. More accurately, I was near tears last week. Not much of a shock, but he has to redo it. I chuckled and asked if there was a warranty on root canals and he said yes, they will do it for no charge. Hey, there's my good luck!

So I'm on amoxicillan and Vicodin, if needed, and I go under the drill on April 30. Ick.

The capper for the day is that at the end of this beautiful day, a storm front moved in and the thunder and lightening started just in time to rain out A's soccer practice.

As for knitting/crocheting, I'm at a crossroads. I'm still on my Oblique-high and not sure where to go from there. I started the Aran Accent Vest from the Patons Cables booklet using my delphinium blue Wilton hand-dyed wool. It really does look wonderful. My mom and I had talked once of making things to enter into the State Fair and this might just be it. No pics yet, but soon. I did pick up some more Decor in First Spring to hopefully finish the Lady's Kangaroo Sweatshirt. That's gonna be another good one.

Anyway, I'm going to go take meds and sink into the couch for an hour or two. Sleep tight!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Frustration of a different sort has dogged my existence for the last several days. Last Wednesday evening, my work laptop crashed!

It's not even that old so I have no idea why it would do such a thing. Worse yet, apparently my 'My Documents' folder - where I keep everything related to work AND all my blog photos - has not been updated like I was told it would be. Everything is gone. Stinky fish face!

I'm finally sort of back in the saddle today. My darling Mr. T works a mere 5 miles from the office I'm never in so he offered to do the exchange of the dead laptop for the replacement laptop. My day today has been taken up with trying to get everything set up properly on the replacement. That's always a pain. Thus, blogging and updating photos on Ravelry. Now on to the big news...

I finished Oblique!! I couldn't be happier. I had some issues with picking up the stitches for the collar, but once I worked that all out, it went along just fine and the results speak for themselves.

It could use a full blocking - each piece was blocked prior to assembly and not afterward yet - but it is very nice and I'll get some good wearing out of it and block it again after it's first washing.

What else have I been working on? The Knit it Down seamless raglan from Creative Knitting. It's from one of the issues this past winter and this sweater was the reason I bought the magazine (it's on the cover). In fact, I don't think I ever even noticed it on the shelves before this issue.

I'm using Bernat DenimStyle. It's a yarn I've always been intrigued by because it's a cotton blend and it has an interesting marl effect...and let's face it, it's inexpensive. I have not been disappointed.

The pattern is really great. It has a neat wide ribbed collar and a deep v-neck. It is truly a seamless sweater too - no sewing at all, not even at the underarms. Even the little cross action at the base of the v-neck is achieved by passing stitches over one another. I would have finished it by now except I'm out of yarn. I'd only bought 2 balls at first because I knew I wanted to try it but didn't know what I was going to make. I settled on this and blasted through those two balls but when I went back for more, there were only 2 left. Tomorrow I'm going to check another JoAnn and see if they have one more ball.

I recently purchased Stitch n' Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. I enjoy this and "Nation" because of the good instruction. I decided to try Cupcake with what I thought was my 6 balls of Knit Picks Shine Sport in Apricot. I was nearly to the armhole shaping when I ran out and I could not find the 6th ball! I'm not even sure I had 6 balls. Blah!

I bought more Shine Sport off Ravelry. It was supposedly Apricot, but it's not even close to the right color. I improvised with some Aunt Lydia Shimmer. It looks good, but the gauge is a little larger in that area now so I'm not really sure how it will all work. I'm going to leave it as a tank and see what happens.

For now, I'll keep on with whatever WIP's I find and hopefully continue to get something done on the 1st Communion Dress each day. I'm nearly through the cutting out stage, which is by far my least favorite. The pressure is mounting, but I can deal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Love the Oblique, but I'm FRUSTRATED!!

I picked Oblique back up and finished the sleeves...Yay!

I did the front bands...Yay!

I sewed the raglan seams...Yay!

I can't pick up the stitches for the collar...FISH PASTE!

The problem is that I can't pick up the correct number of stitches...I'm way over. My solution? Stalk knitters on Ravelry who have finished this sweater and ask everyone for their magic ratio for picking up stitches for this collar. So far I have one response and it is quite helpful. I'll keep waiting into the evening to see what else comes along.

I went to JoAnn today while B. was at preschool. I needed several various sewing supplies for the 1st Communion Dress that has yet to be launched, but there is still plenty of time. I also was pleasantly suprised to find out (at the checkout counter) that Bernat DenimStyle was on sale for $3! I bought some on a whim a couple weeks ago and last week I cast on for the top-down raglan from Creative Knitting - I think November '07?? I blasted through those two skeins and bought the last two in the store today. I'll need one more to finish, but I'll find that later. It's so soft and will be the perfect sweatshirt-y sweater for cool spring/summer evenings - that is if it ever turns into either of those seasons.

I also picked up some 100% cotton for that cute two-toned bag in Interweave Crochet...the name escapes me right now, but I'd seen it in the preview and knew I had to make it. The yarn is purchased and I may start tonight. No wait, probably tomorrow. The Wild play in their first 1st round playoff game tonight and crochet is something I can't do without looking. The top-down raglan will be my hockey knitting tonight.

Hold on...Weatherbug is chirping at me. Good grief...we have a winter storm watch from tomorrow evening through Saturday. Somebody tell these weather people that it's not winter anymore?!?!?!?!? They're saying 12" on Friday. There have been times over the past few wimpy winter years when I've lamented over the lack of snow and "real" winter weather. This is ridiculous though. It's going on mid-April and I want to see some green!

Ok, now I'm in a funk. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have had enough feedback from my stalking to get going with confidence on the collar for Oblique. I want that sweater in the worst way and I feel like a caged bird while I try to figure out something as stupid as what ratio to use when picking up stitches. Oh well, it is what it is.

Maybe there will be pictures tomorrow? Have a great day and cheer for the Wild!

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's Monday...how 'bout some more snow?

It's official, I live in the craziest weather state in the entire U.S. of A. Let me tell you about the past week and I'm sure you'll agree with me. Last Monday, March 31 (when I last posted), gave us 6" of new snow. It snowed the entire day and into the night. I protested and refused to shovel. The week continued and slowly warmed up enough to melt the snow by Thursday afternoon. It made it up to 60 according to the thermometer in my van, but it was windy so it felt a bit cooler than that.

Then came Friday and it was like heaven. The boys and I walked Sam down to the park. They played at the playground and I walked Sam around and around the grounds because he - like all of us - have a few winter pounds to shed. It was 60 degrees and we were out without jackets. You just can't fully appreciate how wonderful that feels until you've also experienced standing outside in -30 F with windchills of -40 F.

Saturday was even better - it got up to 65!!! Spring in Minnesota is hilarious because on the first good day everybody is outside from sun-up to sun-down and beyond. We've been so starved for fresh air. My daughter wore a tank top, shorts and flip flops. We and the two neighbors behind us all had fires and all the kids ran between yards playing together. I raked up the mucky, mildewy grass to get some air flow in there. Mr. T and I went to Home Depot and bought a new grill. Then we went to Target and bought T-ball sets for both boys. THEN we went to Wal-mart and bought a bigger bike for B. to replace his little 12"-er. They were all thrilled. We went to bed smelling like a campfire. Doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday was like someone flipped a switch. It rained all day. And it was cold, but just enough above freezing to keep the rain from turning into snow. The boys wanted so badly to play with their T-ball sets again, but they settled for cruising around the unfinished basement on their scooters.

Which brings us to today...and more snow. It isn't enough to cover the grass, but it is stuck to everything. Can we finally say enough is enough?

The next person to say "global warming" is gonna get it.