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Yarn & Writing (to bloggers and more)

20 Sep

I’m trucking along on the emma peel for my niece. I’m halfway up the upper body of the front piece. Part of me wanted to knit this in the round, but the other part of me knows that seams will hold the cotton drape a little better since it does tend to sag. In my last post, I said I was using a size 4 needle but that was a mistake; I’m using a 3. I think this is actually a better needle for it, but again, as always, I’m nervous about the size and if it will fit her. Pattern says to knit the size 6 to a 17″ length before starting the armholes, but I think I’m going to do 18″ as my niece is a tall girl. I’m okay with this. For those who want to see what emma peel is, here’s a link to the book on KnitPicks (all books are 40% off right now!), and the patterns link has a photo of a purple emma peel. Cute, non?

I read a lot of blogs out there (and should make sure my blogroll is updated). I always want to leave comments and say hello, and I often do – except my phone or iPod loses the damn things and I get so frustrated futzing with a small browser screen that I just forget the whole thing. I wish I could read blogs on the laptop at my leisure. You all would be hearing a lot more from me, I swear! I might try bookmarking, or sending myself the links for blogs I want to comment on, and then when I get to something more reliable, leave them then. But it seems like such an overworked process. WordPress blogs can be easy. I can’t be as wordy, as trying to fix all my typos on the small screens, etc., is also frustrating. But I do my best. Anywho, one blog I read is Caffeine Girl. She’s fun. I like her down to earth-ness about knitting and the trips and trials of getting something beautiful off a needle. And she just seems like someone you’d want to chat with next door, standing in the shade on your street or something. She’s currently working on the Shalom Cardigan. I was looking through In Style magazine, and came across this photo of Sienna Miller:

Doesn’t it look similar, except with a collar and bell sleeves? I really love it! It looks like it may be a swing-Shalom. What I love most about this whole thing is that I saw that photo, sitting on my couch, minding my own business, and suddenly thought of a woman whose blog I read (don’t think I’ve ever left a comment, but I’m not sure), hundreds of miles away… me and Caffeine Girl, brought together by Sienna Miller and In Style magazine. We are two very fashion forward ladies. Ha!

Another blog I love to read is Turtle Girl’s Bloggy Thing. I think she’s beautiful and I really do love everything she knits. I also like her shoe choices. *smile* She has made four sockhead hats from bohoknits, and I wanted one as soon as I saw them. So I finally chose the yarn to use: last year at Knitter’s Day Out here in my neck of the woods in Central PA, I bought a skein of Altobish (last time I checked, there weren’t many projects on Ravelry with this yarn. In fact, I think there was maybe one? It’s 60% superwash wool, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon. I wanted to make a shawl with it but don’t think there’s enough – 400 yards). It’s beautiful. The dyer was inspired by various passages in Jane Austen novels. This one spoke to me especially:

I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun. I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation.  –Pride and Prejudice

Awesome, right? For two reasons: most notably for me, I feel the exact same way about writing. Start in the middle. That’s where the story is. The rest will follow. (NaNoWriMo is almost here!) and two, which honestly only just occurred to me, it’s how I feel (and I’m sure other knitters) when I first lay eyes on a yarn that I just want. Already, before you even realize you want it, you see a sweater, a sock, a hat, a tea cozy, a freakin’ tea cozy! You just want it. And you know it’s already something. Just like that.

I decided this sockhead hat will be my writing hat. This NaNoWriMo hat is going to be the best one yet. I’m putting all my heart into this one. It will be above and beyond. I might even cry. I was so proud when I finished last year, staying up until my eyes were closing as I typed, nursing my little guy when he woke up and I was midsentence, so exhausted during the day taking care of my baby that I had no idea what I was going to do next when I opened the laptop after he was tucked into bed. But it happened. It worked. The book was written. Well… 50,000 words of it. The story is still unfinished, but I’m proud as dickens of what I was doing. …Should ‘dickens’ be capitalized there?

And did you see this?

A proof copy of my NaNoWriMo accomplishment. LOVE.

So… a writing hat. I think it’s a good idea. In fact, I love the idea. Some writers toke on cigarettes and cigars. Some sip from cognac glasses and clink ice cubes. Some tap pencils and bite their nails. I’ll wear a hat. And know I have my thinking cap on. Hehehehe…

That really does tickle me.


A risky phone post – ten on tuesday

14 Sep


I am going to attempt an entire post using my new phone, a Motorola i1, which has a swype keyboard, much faster and more fun than a regular typepad, but prone to placing the wrong word. Expect typos.

Today’s ten on tuesday is term reasons to watch football.

1. You can knit something complicated under the guise of social gathering and react acceptably using cues from the cheering and booing in the room. Sure it’s dirty, but so is football. Stand strong.

2. Experimenting with food. I used a Ravens game to make popcorn buffalo chicken using pancake batter and cayenne pepper sauce. It was awesome. And messy.

3. Drink beer. Good beer. This is a no brainer.

4. Drink wine. Duh.

5. See friends and have something in common, be it football, knitting, food, beer or wine.

6. Sometimes I can really get into a game. It’s exciting. It’s also interesting to feel that rush of passion so prevalent in men when it comes to sports. It’s science!

7. Understanding what people are talking about on facebook.

8. Something took forward to if your plans are “i have no plans and that sucks!”

9. If you root for an out of town team, and have friends who live in that town, invite them over for a game weekend! Yay, friends!

10. Cheering. It’s good mojo.

Quick picture of a new project, the emma peel dress from Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines.

See you soon!

A Visit Gets You a Gift

10 Feb

Hermione Cable & Eyelet Hat

I have family up and down this side of our dear country. I don’t live in the “middle,” really, but when Florida or Tennessee family is traveling by car to Vermont or Maine or New York, we make a nice stop after a day of traveling. My cousin has stopped on several occasions, and her last time was to go play ice hockey up north. We stayed up late talking, ate some sugar cookies, laughed at my son, who was showing no sign of slowing down. Then I saw in her bag a cabled hat. I asked her about it (because that’s what knitters do), and learned that she had several issues with that hat, which start with the issues she has with her jacket. So it happened.

It happens all the time to you too, doesn’t it?

I offered, of course, to make her a new hat.

We discussed options. It seemed the most important factor was the color — it had to match her two-tone jacket. I was going to try making a cute bullet, brioche hat in Interweave Knits Accessories issue. But the pattern was for a child and I didn’t want to do any pattern-experimentation. My cousin would be driving back home soon so I had about three days to get this done. After much Ravelry searching, I decided to knit Hermione’s Cable & Eyelet Hat, designed by JLYarnworks. The hat seemed perfect.

All smiles!

The crown -- great decrease!

And it was! The only modifications I made were: I did the super stretchy slipknot cast-on that I’ve talked about before. I pretty much now use that cast-on for all my knit projects. We’ll call it a “given.” I also added about three or four more rows to the brim, despite other Ravelry comments feeling the brim was too long. I think a long brim is great; no tugging over the years with my hats — don’t wanna stretch em out or anything, right? I used Paton’s Classic Wool yarn; NOT the Merino that the pattern called for. This was simply a mistake that turned out great. I love that it’s 100% wool — real wool — and yet not itchy. And the gauge was still fantastic.

I love this pattern. I can’t wait to make another one for myself. Maybe two. The decreases at the crown are lovely. One commenter on the JLYarnworks site said that the brim should be twisted rib, but I really like it as is.

I love the final result, and so did my cousin. She looked fantastic in it, and after she arrived home, she sent me the most thoughtful homemade thank you card. It was great to give a visitor a gift. I’m so glad I did.

Trying on Hermione's Cable & Eyelet Hat

Ellen in Maine

8 Feb

I have finally, without realizing I had it as a goal, created my own design. Start small,  yes?

My mother — Ellen — has moved temporarily from her cozy warm abode in Florida to the splendid winter air of Maine in order to help my very busy, admirable, stellar strong sister who just had a baby while in her first year of residency. On my mother’s way up to Maine, she stopped to visit us. Visit us, and you get a gift: she got some Dashing hand mitts. As she left, she let me know that a hat would come in handy when she reaches Maine. But it was right before Christmas, and I had enough Christmas knitting on my list that I had to put off the hat.

Well my mother likes to keep me on track, it seems. I called her to tell her about a hat I made for a cousin (pictures coming soon) and a hat I made for my niece (again, pictures coming soon) and about a hat I was going to re-knit for a friend as the original wanted a swim and dry in her appliances (poor friend! poor hat!). My mother’s reply to this glorious spiel of knitterly loveliness? “Well, you won’t knit that until after you knit my hat, right?”

I know. The gall, right? I love her.

So I immediately cast on with KnitPicks City Tweed DK and decided I would make a hat using my own nogging. With my iPod Touch app KnitMinder to keep notes, I began. This is the result and she loves it. Now I just have to mail it:

The pictures are not the best. They’re not even good or in the running, and I apologize.  I will try to get some better photos before I mail it off, preferably in daylight.

I will knit this up again in a solid color or handpainted yarn so the detail and cables are easier to see, and to be sure the pattern I have written is accurate. I hope it is because it would be fun to see if other people choose to knit it. When I finish and post it on Ravelry, I’ll call it the Ellen/Alan in Maine hat. Ha!