Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Post 189-Houston, We Have a Sweater

Yea, it's finally done! I have finished my Ravolypics Tangled Yoke Sweater. There is no excuse for the delay because the truth is I did do lots of other knitting but I just got bored with the tedium of knitting on size 3 needles. Other than my blackhole/buttons and lace issue, I am very happy with my overall execution and the replacement ribbon and buttons I ended up using. I did learn several interesting things through this process.

1. Always keep the buttons and ribbon/lace trim together with the project yarn and do not lose it.
2. I learned how to cable sidways which is very sharp looking.
3. Do not steam your buttonhole band too much or it will pucker more than the buttonband.
4. I learned how to use the timer feature to take my own picture.

I am still in the process of doing a massive cleaning of my bedroom, starting with all my clothes and the clutter that has spilled over onto my floor. I really need to evaluate my wardrobe and give away/donate clothing that is old, stuff I do not wear, and items that no longer or never really did fit me. I am 4 months into my PCOS study and have lost 33 pounds, yea right? I have some items that don't fit because they are too big and others that are too small. I want to pare down my stuff and look over everything because I have the feeling the knickknack clutter that I thought I once needed I can probably live without. I have been needing to repaint my walls, no strike that, I never painted my walls to begin with so they are cover with nail holes, smudges, marks and wear, but before that I need to have a presentable room.
Next on my list as I finish up on the clothing sorting is the re-arrangement of my wall art. I was about to throw away a pair of gold gilt framed postcards of a Van Gogh and Monet that I bought at the gift shop at the Art Institute years and years ago. They no longer are cute and actually are pretty ugly now but the other night I was inspired and while they are cheap frames they do have a nice texture.



See-much better! I just popped out the post card, added a couple of layers of black acrylic paint, covered the backboard with really nice stationary paper, and attach a couple of collectible Sterling Silver Towle Christmas ornaments/pendats and Voila! I dare Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters to do better.

This was a nice braided wheel of spaced dyed roving I picked up at the Renegade Craft Fair last autumn that I dare not spin because I its just too pretty and my spinning skills are sorely lacking right now. Frame it and call it wall art.

Still on my needles are:
-Nora's holiday scarf, easy but bland.
-The evil Habu paper bag.
-Need to make one more thing for my sisters Domestic Diva birthday set.

What I am starting:
-Hourglass Sweater. I did start it and got 6 inches in but I realized that while I did do a swatch it's just too loose and way too big.
-Scheherazade Slippers, these are a store sample/pattern editing for Tactile Fibers.

Obligatory Cheesecake Shot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Post 188-You Say Goodbye, I say Hello...

Good bye El Presidente Bush, go back to your compound in Texas, we don't require your services anymore.
Hello President Obama, doesn't that have a nice ring to it and doesn't it just sound good rolling off your tongue? Funny thing is, Obama comes up under lined in my spell check, I guess someone out there needs to add Obama to Blogger's dictionary. I woke up early and camped myself on the couch all day to watch the events and I believe a tear or two may have rolled down my face. I am happy.

I always believed there were invisible black holes in my bedroom because of there shear number of socks that came up with missing mates. My theory is sound because I moved a lot as a kid growing up and I never found those socks when my room was packed up and I know I didn't throw them away, what the hell happened to them. I think a small black hole has infiltrated my yarn stash. First to go missing was the white/gray/black cashmere Tess Designer Yarn that I purchased at Stitches this summer to make my grandmother a cowl for Christmas. I pulled apart my stash and went through every single container. I should have been there in the white bin, nope, not even in the black bin, I organize my stash by bin color and it has always been easy to find everything. Now I am literally 4 rows away from finishing the Tangled Yoke sweater and I can't find the 3 different green lace trim colors I ordered or one of the sets of buttons I bought, they were stored together and have disappeared. Like the cashmere yarn, I know they made it into the house because I photographed them and now I don't know what to do, I've looked everywhere.
I guess I'll have to start another sweater in the meantime.


I snapped this nice winter picture walking through a park on the way to the Windy City Knitting Guild meeting on tuesday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Post 187-A Touch of Insomnia, A Dash of Creativity

It's amazing what you can get done when you embrace the sleepless nights instead of fighting. Such, during a viewing of All the President's Men via Netflix, I kitchnered the armpits of the Tangled Yoke, wove in the ends and knitted a few more rows. When I attempted to go to bed, which was fruitless, I got really bored and surfed the web. Mix one part Mucha, one part self-portrait, stir with Photoshop and Voila! you too can find yourself inside a Mucha print. FYI-he's one of my favorite artists.

Yea, it's not my best work, but then again I was never studied computer graphics and stuck with the fashion/fiber stuff instead. I think tomorrow I will rearrange the art on my bedroom walls for a fresh look, clean my room, put crisp sheets on the bed, take a nice hot bath, drink a nightcap and see how that goes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Post 186- Weather:Wicked

It is effing cold here, no, excuse me but it's no time to be polite, it's fucking cold here, really. I was reading up on some news on the Chicago Sun Times website and where it described the weather conditions it just said wicked. We keep the house here at 64, though sometimes I can't stand it and raise it to 66 or 68, oh I'm so bad! Today I remembered the wise words of Brenda Dayne of Cast-On, "If it's cold out, put a sweater on, that's what they're there for" and took it to heart. Normal I putz around the house in jeans and a sweater, sweats or even sometimes my pj's. Today I wore two pairs of socks, thermal bottoms, long thermal skirt, t-shirt, long plaid granny pj's and a wool cardigan, and then was on the couch with two blankets, a really furry siamese to keep my arms warm and a not so furry Italian greyhound to keep my legs warm, I think I was successful. This year roomie and I even put up thick insulating curtains and shirk-wrapped several windows to see if that would help.
Yesterday when I ventured out to Stitch and Bitch I was happy to have my new whimple and had to wear a pair of stretchy gloves inside my warmest lined wool winter gloves. I am so grateful for Megan who ventured out from suburbia to join us, she kindly drove Rachael and I back to out places and saved us from long cold walks and waits for the never coming bus/train. This losing weight thing has been a mixed blessing, yes my jeans are loose and it sucks that they are looking sad and baggy on me but at least I can wear my thermals underneath without them becoming too tight!
I tagged-along with Laura to the Noble Square Stitch and Bitch on sunday and had a lovely time, I might have to go back more often. Besides the always yummy food was a nice group of gals, one who ever brought her wheel. Lucky me to pick the white elephant meeting to go to, I made a set of 6 tourmaline and silver on aluminum rings stitchmarkers for the swap and in the ended up with a gorgeous skein of handspun yarn. Gift swapping always makes me a little nervous and I prefer to have amount limits but when you or other people make things I think we always undervalue our skills. I know that the yarn I got would sell for way more than the swap limit was and same for my stitchmarkers, but they were small and I kept thinking if someone really wanted them, I would just give them away. I guess I'm still not used to charging for my creative time or skill.
Anyway, I think tomorrow would be a great day to venture out of the house and into the cold again. I need to go to Keihls to exchange some facewash that I bought with a holiday GC, I got the wrong formula and then head on over to Knit1 to pick up another repair project and the moula from the holiday stockings I knitted. I know lately I haven't been sleepy well, just can't get to sleep and have resorted to drugging myself or have a nightcap of scotch, which might be why I've been having weird dreams. Besides the weird one about sock yarn and books, I had one where I dreamed the flat iron building here in Wickerpark didn't contain artists studios but a yarn dying company that was closing shop and had a big sale. There are more details than that but the fact it was about yarn again, sad. I picked out some sock yarn from my stash and was playing with it a bit thinking maybe I need to have a pair of socks on my needles but it wasn't going anywhere so instead, get this, I'm working on the Tangled Yoke again. It's amazing how much knitting you can get done when you don't watch crappy daytime tv and depressing news and instead watch movies on Netflix or Hulu. I finished the second sleeve, have attached them and now am working on one giant cardigan, officially I am 3.5 inches from the tangled part of the yoke, Yea!!!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Post 185- In Which I Dreamed of Socks and Other Things

So last night I dreamed of socks, sock yarn, sock patterns, sock books, sock designer friends etc. Why? I guess I'm bored with kitchen cotton knitting and sweater knitting and would rather be doing something else. My old friend Cookie A has a sock book coming out in the spring and I'm really excited for her, I remember two years ago our IM messages regarding sock patterns, how to market them, what stores to go to and book titles, how the time passes. Tomorrow I will choose from my stash and cast on a new pair.
FYI-I hope Linda is feeling better because I sure am. If you ever find yourself in Chicago and want an awesome place to get a drink, try the Violet Hour and ask for the punch that starts with a P, I can't remember what it's called, but boy it sure creeps up on you and it's really cheap. I was more buzzed than I thought and I enjoyed my walk home from the train, it was snowing snow-globe snow, all glitter like and pretty, I was thinking naughty thoughts about the shapes in the snow, I will sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Post 184-My Table Runneth Over

What what a mob last night at Stitch and Bitch Wickerpark/Bucktown, it was a blast. There is a lull of public knitting during the hot months, and now that the holidays are over and we are getting ready for 4 months plus of bitter cold snowy Chicago winter we'll have lots of time to have fun.
My sister's birthday is coming up at the end of month and I have no idea what to get her, so she's getting some good ole fashioned handknits. Seeing as how sis lives in Texas, no sweaters for her (which I wouldn't have done anyway). I know that her kitchen is ivy themed and there are lots of lovely kitchen cotton projects in the second Mason Dixon Knitting book.

Behold, a hanging dishcloth.

I plan on making her a swifter cover, oven mitt, rubber gloves and several dish clothes, let's just hope she isn't afraid to use them. I wonder if she ever used the fur lined handcuffs I sent her a couple of years ago...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Post 183-And Underneath Her Whimple She Has Curlers In Her Hair!

I think the new knitting project craze are whimples. Everyone is making them and every since I saw Linda's (and tried to steal it at SnB) I had to have one. Secretly deep down I always wanted to be a nun. Once upon a time when I was a child I was Catholic, but it wasn't the religion thing that appealed to me (because I think god if there is one is a female), but more that I liked the outfits. I'm still disturbed by the fact that the nun's at the high school I went to didn't wear the full penguin outfits and you could see their curly gray grandma hair sticking out from under their short white wimples. Doubt was a great movie but what's up with the bonnets?
So I have made my own wimple and will no longer be trying to borrow others. Several weeks ago I found myself in west suburbia and make a trek to String Theory. My first instinct was to use Meriboo from Frog Tree, such luster it had and I've never worked with bamboo before. Instead at the last minute I picked some Imperial Stock Ranch. As much as I really liked the yarn, it's color, the lingering hints of lanolin, and it being American made, bred and grown, it just didn't have the drape that I was looking for, so back to Meriboo I went.

I just finished it tonight and while it is a little short I have no doubt that it will stretch with use. The next project that needs to be finished it Nora's scarf. I cannot for the life of me remember what the pattern's name is, it's so easy to do you memorize it right away and I don't think I put it in my favs, oh well.
I will get back to working on the Tangled Yoke after I finish knitting up gifts.

Mia and Pyewacket.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Post 182- One Month of Pictures

The cranberry sauce I made for Thanksgiving. Same recipe was repeated for Festivus but with added Clementine peel, cloves and crystallized ginger, yum!
FYI-I just started making the sauce when this pic was taken, I prefer my cranberries cooked until after bursting so it's nice a thick.

The Foliage hat I made for my cousin Patricia for Festivus, yarn came from stash diving and used up some Malabrigo that had been languishing for years. Changed pattern to only 2.5 repeats.

The call went out in the Chicago knitting circles that Jamba Juice was introducing hot oatmeal and as part of the marketing campaign they hired some of us knitters to come and knitfitti the store on Michigan Ave just north of the Art Institute.

I crocheted the cover of the handle on the outside sign display after the previous knitted bow was removed by some stranger walking down the street, I guess they need a scarf? It was kind of funny seeing it happen.

I knitted the orange and green striped bar cover and mattress stitched everyones cover on.

Made a quicky crocheted doily cover for one of the tables, it's removable!

The bane of my existence for several weeks, these damn stockings took way longer than expected but I am glad to get them done, I am offically a knitwhore.

I joined Linda and her niece and nephew on their visit to the Art Institute to view the tapestry exhibit, it was sub zero that day and fucking cold!

Linda and I smile with some holiday cheer in front of a poinsettia display in the Art Institute.

While waiting for some in our party to make use of the restrooms I played around with snapping some photos in the statue area that I never really noticed before. This is a favorite of mine now, I kept staring at it thinking I really need to get myself a lover this year.

Linda chatting it up.

So Festivus dinner was at my house with John, John, Valerie and Rachael coming over for food and just general good times.

I was ironing the table cloth only to find that a little creature wanted to make a tent out of it.

The table was well set considering that the only items I bought for the occasional were the candles and some matching red cloth napkins. I made pomander balls with clementines and cloves and made some glittering pine cones for a decorative splash.

Rachael was proud of her(our) turkey and couldn't wait to carve it. I say our turkey since I helped carry it into the house, it took up space in my fridge, we brined it in my cooler, Rachael got turkey juice all over my kitchen and it was roasted in my oven. I may not have slapped some cash down for it but I think I still contributed to it's well being and tastiness.

Someone said something funny and I think Valerie is agreeing with it.

John chilling on the couch after dinner, Pyewacket really REALLY likes him.

A nice little Potpie I made with leftover turkey, veggies, and a piecrust, um yummy!

Mia enjoying her Festivus gift from Nora.

Self portrait.

New Years Eve revelry with Nora and Valerie make growling faces.

We went out to Chief O'Neils for NYE partying with Rachael, Valerie and Nora with Val's boy joining us later. We wanted to keep it on the cheapside and all the planned events in the city were sooooo expensive. There's nothing better than good friends, cheddar bear soup and a tumbler of scotch.

Happy New Year! I started earlier that day with some wine and then this champagne and even after a night out barely managed to achieve a really happy buzz.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Post 181-Here We Go Again

Happy Another Year!

A recount of my last weeks of 2008 will be posted tomorrow now that I've got the pictures uploaded.