Thursday, January 31, 2008
I started Fantine on Tuesday. It is nearly done, with just the second sleeve to go. I may end up frogging and re-knitting a good portion of the body because I'm not sure the placement of the short-rows for bust shaping are in the optimal location. Because it is top-down construction and there aren't shoulder seams, I think it might slide forward a bit which would put the short-rows lower than they need to be, and one certainly doesn't need things pooching out under one's bust, that's for sure. I'm going to finish the second sleeve before making that decision, though. Since it is knit with 17s (and do they ever feel weird after using 0s-4s for most of my projects during the past year), it won't take too long to fix if necessary.
Yesterday, while walking back from my dentist's office in the very, very cold Lake Michigan wind, I passed a little coffee shop halfway between there and my house. I'd been in once before, but since I hardly ever take the El and I don't normally walk that direction, I'd forgotten all about it. In need of something warm and feeling fairly confident that the Novocain had worn off to the point that I wouldn't drool, I stopped for a cappuccino. When I travel, I find that I am often charmed by quirky local cafes, boutiques, etc., yet places here at home don't seem to resonate in the same way, mostly due to familiarity, I suppose. When I walked in, despite the fact that CTA trains rumbled directly overhead, I felt like I was somewhere else, maybe Seattle or Vancouver. Adding to the charm, there was someone knitting at a table in the back. Finding this great little escape just a short walk from my backyard was a pretty fantastic surprise.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I found out last night that the gender of my cousin's baby will not be known before her shower, so the February sweater is going to my friend Kelli's new daughter Emelia. I know a boy could wear this sweater, but I had visions of it languishing in a drawer because the lace pattern might be considered too feminine should my cousin have a boy. On the other hand, I spoke to my aunt last night, and she wants a granddaughter so badly that she has bought stacks of dresses; this kid may have nothing else to wear but girls' clothing. In an effort to be gender-neutral, I have resurrected the once-frogged Baby Surprise and that will be my gift. It's going quickly, so I may have this finished by the end of the week and it will get there in time for the shower.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
So, how did the list get so long? This weekend I went through ALL of my knitting books, magazines, and binders (except the last few months' worth of magazines) and cataloged every project that I might consider making. (Well, I didn't count baby patterns; I generally choose a pattern based on the parents and their style, so I peruse those as the babies appear or threaten to appear.) I purged any magazine devoid of useful patterns. Let me tell you, the early 90s were not always kind to the knitter as my intense review revealed.
A few things did come to light:
- I am so glad I never got around to making some of those ugly-ass projects that I put post-its on.
- Back in the 90s, Nora Gaughan and Teva Durham were doing work that could be published today and no one would know they were old patterns. Each designer has a distinctive style that has the ability to weather trends.
- I have kept all of my Interweave Knits. Even if the issue does not have a pattern that speaks to me, the layouts and the photography are elegant.
- Other magazines have not withstood the test of time nearly so well. Some editors and designers slept around with too many novelty yarns. (Very judicious use of novelty yarns is allowed in my world, but it's like Brylcreme (or is it Dippity Do?): a little dab'll do ya.)
- I am a book, magazine and pattern ho. I am going to be listing books on Amazon and leaflets on eBay in the near future.
- I need to be equally critical of my stash; I should lighten the load there, too. There are some yarns that I will never, ever use, so why am I holding on? (Note to self: sale does not mean it's a bargain if you have no idea what to do with it!)
- I want a queue for everything, especially for cookbooks and recipes. (Maybe there is one that I don't know about.) I probably have about 200 cookbooks and countless clipped recipes. Unless I have used the recipe before or have made a mental note to try a specific dish, most of my cookbooks don't get any action. If I had a recipe queue, I could do what I did this weekend on Ravelry. Hmmm, I feel like chicken. What's in my queue and where can I find it? These days, I end up Googling a dish or checking various food websites if I have a hankering for something. I know I could make my own database with the name of the dish, featured ingredients, and the source, but that could take forever. So, why do I even have cookbooks if I'm not going to utilize them? After all, when I use recipes, I tend to go to the same ones. My copy of New York Cookbook is about to fall apart, as is The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that is nearly as old as I am. But I digress...
Frankly, it's a little disconcerting to think that my project list may outlive me. On the other hand, I suppose it's good to have goals. Oh, and please don't judge me by the contents of my queue. I mean, it's not like I'm ever going to get around to making those 40 felted bags, and really, would I want to?
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Speaking of grammar police, does anyone else watch as much Law and Order on TNT as I do? (Tivo makes me watch, I swear!) Didya notice the ads for the Golden Globes? Our Friend the Apostrophe was making an unscheduled appearance in the spots they were running. The ad has since been corrected, but Hollywood was holding "it's" breath for a while. It reminded me of the Christmas when all of the windows at Marshall Field's boasted that the department store had "what your wishing for." They later managed to fit in an apostrophe and an e, but it looked all squishy. Oh, Apostrophe, you devilish little trickster!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
This weekend, we had charge of our friends' 10-year-old son. Due to some behavioral and attention issues, this kid can be a handful. I was determined to keep him happy and occupied, so I taught him finger knitting. In the past, he has mentioned that he would like to learn to knit, so I thought this would be a good starting place and would get him used to controlling the yarn. Manual dexterity is not a strong suit for him, and I wanted him to feel like he could master a process without having too many things to keep track of. When we were in the house, if he wasn't sleeping or eating, he was making his chains. The finger knitting kept his attention focused and we had a great weekend with no problems or meltdowns which kept everyone happy. Apparently, he has been proudly gifting people with his creations and he now needs to make more to keep up with demand!
I love it when the snow collects on the trees. (The first pic is the view across the street from my front porch and the last one is a bottle tree in my backyard.) It was a beautiful way to start the new year.