Thursday, August 25, 2005

Market Squares Bag

I've figured out the first row and the first tier of triangles and now I'm on to the 2nd tier. The only problem is that the instructions are most disagreeable and when tried to follow them last night I was flat out dumb founded. }:o( I finally gave up and had to put it down. Okay, so by then it was 10:30 and I was tired, too.

This morning between my Deerfield office and my Northfield office I stopped off at my fav LYS and asked for some assistance... The first lady I asked (we'll call her Lady W) has helped me with color before and she's often really nice so I started with her. Once I explained what I was doing and where I was in the pattern she said "Um, I have no idea. Ask Miz X". I laughed and told her it was a relief that I wasn't a knuckle head and just couldn't read the pattern.

Off we went to ask Miz X. She, too, had no clue. Then Lady Y said she'd done the bag (or a similar bag) before and it had been 20 years ago but that she would try to help. She showed me what to do but as I was reading the instructions it seemed to me that the seams between the squares would be coming out on the wrong side of the bag (the outside). Lady Y agreed that the pattern seemed wonky (that's a technical knitting term you know...).

Finally, we asked Lovely Miz Shop Owner, who agreed that the instructions stink and showed us how the stitches should be picked up. FINALLY!! I love the ladies at that shop because they're so laid back and kind and they'll just keep working with you until you get it. BTW, we also had a conversation about the phrase "Pick up and knit" which really just means "Pick up" since you're putting the new stitches on the right needle in this pattern anyway.

So, once Lovely Miz Shop Owner validated our feelings I was able to go ahead and start a square. Here you can see my progress. The first one has a YO in the middle that I didn't see until several rows later. I figure it's going to be heavily felted so I just P2tog on the return row when I noticed the extra stitch.

On some of the threads on Knitter's Review forums I noticed that some people were having trouble with holes at the juncture of three corners when purling. I have found that the best way to eliminate those holes is to purl through the back loop. This is just like knitting throught the back loop to tighten a stitch but instead, with yarn in front you come at the stitch with the right hand needle from the back right of the back leg of the stitch. Bring the needle through to the front and purl as you normally would. It sounds goofy but it's pretty clearly explained in the Vogue Knitting Guide (which I love, btw).

Then I had to go back to work and I went and left my idjit pattern book on the table at the shop so I am entrelac-less tonight when I'm really excited to keep working. I called the shop at 7:15 tonight since they don't close until late on Thursday and I got the owner. I said "Hi. It's Jennifer. The blonde with the Knitting Group." and she started to laugh... I laughed, too, at the image, but then I said, "Maybe I'm weird, but you knew who I was didn't you?" Sure enough, my book is sitting on the table right where I left it at 1:00 this afternoon. I'm going to go and pick it up tomorrow between clients' houses.

So, there's my progress for the day. Hope you all have a lovely evening. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Finally some pics!

I know reading a blog is boring without pictures of WIPs. So here you go. Last night was our WWW Knitting Group. We had a good laugh about just calling it Group, since it sounds so much like an addiction group and in many ways that's just what it is only the purpose isn't to wean ourselves!

Alright. Here's the last one of the baby sweater, I promise. I'm just so durned proud of it. This is what finally got sent off to my friend and her baby.

She just called me and was sooo excited, that's what makes all those bloody little stitches worthwhile.

I'm also proud of the seams
but what's more important is this: here is a picture of the BEAUTIFUL little girl who might honor me by wearing my creation if she'll let her Mommy put it on her when it gets a little colder. :) She is 8 months in this pic and her Mommy says the sweater is a little frumpy on her right now because it's still too big, but that's okay because she'll grow out of it in a heartbeat and the weather is still 900 degrees in St. Louis where this Beauty lives. She has her Mommy's smile... :)

Okay next on the agenda, the "Dad Hat". Now for those of you who know me, you already know that I have one of the biggest melons around. (Hmmm, maybe I should refer to my head as my Noodle from now on to avoid potential misunderstandings about the size of my.... never mind) So, I've got a big noodle. I got it from my Dad... That being said, I made the largest hat in the Handy Book of Patterns (23"). Well, I'm all finished (see pic below) and the hat is very loose. It's even big on DH's head and he's got a big ole' brainum-cranium, too. It's made out of Plymouth Yarns super yummy-licious Baby Alpaca, so, last night I asked at WWW Group if everyone thought I should just throw it in the wash and let it felt "a little". then I talked to Darling Mumsy this afternoon and she suggested (horror of horrors!) swatching before I felt!! I hate it when she's right. My other option is to re-knit the whole thing one size smaller since it only took me two days anyway. Hmmm... I am a little afraid of the whole felted hat thing, but DH says the hat feels kind of thin anyway. I haven't woven in the ends yet pending this decision.

Oh yeah, and I'm also working on a scarf for Dad, too. I had the scarf yarn first and I'm quite pleased with how the purple in the scarf matches so nicely with the purple of the hat. (I did that on purpose. :)) I made up the scarf pattern because I only had one hank of this Little Lola Superwash sock yarn from Schaeffer and I picked a "Guy-ish" pattern from Barbara Walker's pattern book Vol 1. It's called Totem Pole for those of you who care to look it up.

I just had a really cool thought. I bought all that beautiful Brooks Farm yarn (see Stitches Midwest below) to make the Garden shawl from but then I was flipping through the Scarf Style book and realized that I have enough yarn (1500 yds) to complete the Lady Eleanor Stole. Scarf Style was the first pattern book I ever bought and I bought it for that pattern anyway! Further, I'm thinking the Brooks Farm yarn I bought is so variegated that I would lose the Garden shawl pattern, and it's sport weight, not lace weight, so I'd probably end up with a blanket rather than a shawl.

Thoughts? Opinions? Which one should I do? If I do the Stole, I'd have enough yarn left over for a pair of fingerless gloves and an Entrelac hat too. Do you think that would be too much?

Oh yeah, speaking of entrelac, I've started the Market Squares bag for Auntie B and umm, the book doesn't really give you entrelace lessons so I've had to go to (I love my pop-up blocker!) where they have some really great entrelac instructions. Here's a pic of both my first attempt and the colors I'll be using for this bag. The yarn is Jo Sharp DK on super sale from

Fuzzy yarn smooches, more tomorrow! jen

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Christmas Knitting has begun!

Well, I finally did it. I SENT the baby sweater. I washed and blocked it and it came out beautifully.

Now I'm working on Christmas presents and such. I promise to post more pics tonight after Knit Grp! I'm thinking a scarf and hat for Dad (sounds boring, I know, but wait until you see the yarn and the scarf pattern :))

Mom, well, Mom reads the blog so I can't put her present up here. ;D (She hates surprises!)

Auntie B? I'm thinking the Market Squares bag out of Jo Sharp wool that I got on sale from Elann a while ago. I've already test felted a swatch and it felts up beautifully. It's even soft!! I started knitting on it last night.

Hmm... who else? Brother Bear who's currently in Africa. Just got an email from him saying that he's well, taking his anti-malarial meds and showering in Bug Spray (yuck, but better that than sick). As for his x-mas present, I dunno.... he's got kind of funky taste so maybe a helmet hat? Course he's also a budding lawyer so maybe something more conservative. Socks just seem so boring, even when knit with love.

Soon to be Sis-in-Law I have some ideas but nothing for sure. I did, however, ask Brother Bear what her fav colors were.

Girlfriend, already made one and have the yarn for another present, too.

Hubby? Don't know yet. I finished Dad's hat last night and even tho I knit it smaller than suggested and the gauge was right, the darm thing is still too loose. I'll have to ask for some advice tonight at WW&W Knit Grp.

So, I finished the hat and started the Market Squares bag last night. DH looked at me and said, "NOW, what are you doing??!" I said, "I'm knitting Christmas presents fromt he yarn that I already have since I don't have any money to buy anything." He nodded in thrifty approval.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Updates on 'stuff'

Well, my Darling Brother, rather than hanging around Chicago stressing out waiting for news about passing the IL BAR exam has taken a hiatus from technology and American civilization. He's gone to South Africa for three weeks!

I just got an update email saying he's arrived safely in Johannesburg and that he took a guided tour of Soweto, saw Nelson Mandela's house, Bishop Tutu's house and the Aparthied museum. Quote for the day? "Awsome and overwhelming" Next on his world travelling agenda are like three different Safaris. (Too cool.)

Another fun thing is that I found a new Fine-Arts Girlfriend!! Actually, she's not a new friend, we've known eachother for about a year but we just started talking about music and dance and stuff and someday when we're rich she agreed to be my date for Fine Art excursions!! I'm so excited!! We talked about opera, ballet and classical music. Always nice to find a kindred spirit. Funny thing is that I was just wondering where I was going to find someone with whom I could share that part of my life because I miss it. Ask and ye shall receive, right?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Horror of Horrors!!!

DH found my stash!!!

And oh, what a stash it is... I've been meaning to inventory recently and I just haven't gotten around to it. Good thing tho is that I can still remember what I already have and what I don't so it must not be THAT big (at least that's what I'm telling myself. It's only about 4 of those large size bins with the colored drawer from the Container Store (could be worse).

So Saturday after my joyous visit to SMW, DH looks in the guest room (which contains my closet) and says "How come your closet's open?". Now to the unsuspecting ear, this may not be such a bad thing but we have 3 kitties. Three-chewing-kitties.

The closet is long and flat against the wall with two sets of folding doors like so: \_/--\_/. In one side of said closet is a linen rack and some storage, on the other side of the closet hang my clothes (or used to, rather). Now under the bottom rack there are 3 stacking bins and several bags of yarn from my fav yarn shop. DH and I look in one side of the closet with the linen rack, "No kitty", I say. He pulls open the side with my stash and silence falls over the room....

"Been buying a little yarn have you?" Dear Reader, my brain immediately short circuits and I resort to "guy-think": don't answer. don't admit anything. don't make eye contact. So, I didn't. I didn't answer, make eye contact or admit to anything. I just kept looking for the cat.

Next DH says, "I think you have enough now." and closes the door. Not another word was said about the incident. I have escaped unscathed!! Mwa-hah-hah-HAAAAA!!!!!

Blissfully wrapped in all my SMW purchases,

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Oh yeah...

I also picked up Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles which I'm excited about and I made ANOTHER Button hole Bag in red, orange and yellow for very sunny girlfriend of mine. It is currently stuffed and drying in my laundry room next to the baby sweater.

:) Happy Knitting!

Stitches Midwest! My Oh MY!! What fun!!

Well, Ladies and Gents,

Lovely K- (from the new Word Wits n' Wool Knitting Group) and I spent the day at Stitches Midwest yesterday. Neither of us took any classes, we just went for the shopping! And oh what shopping there was... I spent WAAAY too much money. :) Ooh, and we ran into A- who's blog is She's too fun!! and better yet she was wearing this yummy bolero that she'd knit!

First some pics of the Conference itself. This rainbow table is Tess'" Designer Yarns aren't they yummy? I really couldn't decide which color to get and K- helped me pick out this fabulous silvery blue-green colorway called Seabreeze. It's a sensuous 50/50 blend of silk & merino (that's what it's called actually). You can kind of see the green at the bottom of the twist here but it's just a lovely subtle colorway. Mmmmm.....
BTW, I had a fabulous time (I'm pretty sure she did, too) because we figured out what colors we each liked and while they were different shades, they were always of the same intensity, so we could skip entire booths!! (Who knew you could skip a booth at a Knitting Conference?)

Oh yeah, and there was a woman walking in in front of us who said the only reason she didn't bring her suitcase was because she had a bum knee and couldn't get under her house to get it!! Everyone was carrying a REALLY BIG shoulder bag to carry recently purchased treasures in, it was so funny! --- "Oops, sorry, 'scuse my bag!!" "Oh, no, it was mine! Excuse me!"

Here's a pic of the other WONDERFUL new vendor I met: Brooks Farm Yarn, that my Darling Mum told me I HAD, HAD, HAD to go visit. We were walking along and I came to this booth and (you know how it is... think two lovers slow-mo running toward eachother in a field of wildflowers...) I walked up to this hank of yarn and it's been STUCK, and I mean STUCK to my hands ever since!

I recently got my order from Fiddlesticks Knitting of the Garden Shawl and this colorway leapt into my hands! I think it's called Coral Honeysuckle and it's actually the same colorway that's on the home page as the example for Primero (which is what I got).

Another thing K- noticed was that there were so many generations of women there it was cool! There were young tatooed women with crazy hair there with their mother's shopping together. The only unfortunate thing was that it was so humid in Chicago yesterday that very few patrons were wearing their own creations. :( I always imagined the best part about a knitters Conv. was seeing everyone else's creations.

OOHH!! And we found a pattern for the exact sweater that I created for my girlfriend's baby in adult size!! It made us both laugh! Vines and leaves and all!

Two more quick pics of yummy purchases. I was proud of myself, I only bought one thing I didn't plan on (the Tess' Silk and Merino, but who could resist??!). I picked up two hanks of this faboo colorway from Manos called Bramble because everytime I see it I drool and have to touch it. No telling what I'm going to make with it but I've got it and that's all that matters! The other thing I bought was enough Zephyr in Aegean to make the Peacock Feathers Shawl.

Woof, I think that's probably enough for tonight. I'll just close with a pic from one of two center aisles at the Convention just because it was so fun. BTW, I decided to wash and block the baby sweater and it's currently pinned and drying. I won't bother you all with MORE pics of it because I'm sure you've had enough. Suffice to say that two front sides are now even with the back bottom edge. I love the magic of blocking.... :)

Homemade baked bean smooches,
Jen in Chicago

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's finished!! It's finished!

Alright so I'm supposed to be leaving for work right now.... but here are some pics. Later I'll put up pics of the seaming. I'm really proud of this sweater since I've never done anything so advanced before and it's the first garment I've put together. In this first shot you get a really good look at the pretty mother -of-oearl flower buttons I picked for it.

For those discerning viewers who have noticed that the back seems longer than the front, it's true. I'm calling that my "baby butt cover"... maybe I'll even copyright it or something. (Must check into that.)

Now that I'm looking at the pics, I'm thinking that I really should wash it and block it one more time (I only steamed the pieces when I blocked them). That would probably ease someof the unevenness in the finished sweater. Thoughts?

HOOORAYY!!!!! Oh yeah, and I'll put up a pic of the beautiful baby girl it's intended for later tonight.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Another fabulous Entrelac bag

OMG!! Check this out it's sooooo beautiful... yumm...

Morning musings

Okay, so I went a little hog wild Sunday. I went to that local yarn shop that's a little further away and they had a faboo selection of Cascade 220 (I love how that stuff felts). I bought a big felted bag pattern with colorful stripes and fat i-cord handles. HOW FUN!!

Then I saw a bunch of peoples' blogs yesterday with that yummy entrelac bag from Bags: A Knitter's Dozen so I went out last night and ordered that book, too. I've got a whole bunch of Jo Sharp worsted weight wool in pretty muted colors (navy, magenta, celadon, and something else) so I think I'll make that one out of the Jo Sharp wool. Definitely must do a swatch first.

Another note on swatching. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SWATCH BEFORE MIXING YARNS!! I used Cascade 220 on the bottom of this bag and Lamb's Pride bulky on the top without swatching. Notice the floppy handles? Yeah. Gotta swatch and test felt, next time.

I've come to some pretty interesting decisions about my life in the last few days that I'd like to talk about but I have to tell DH about them before I share on the web (positive decisions, don't worry ;) ).

Here's an update on the baby sweater...

and I thought I'd leave you with a kitty pic for this morning. This is Magnus, he the littlest of three at about 8 or 9 lbs.

Grits n' eggs smooches!


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