Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let the frenzy begin

Off to celebrate a long Christmas holiday... will be back with stories and photos and tons of love once the holidays have passed.

Wishing you peace and joy and lots of delicious things!
Dr. B.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My new friend - Polar Fleece

Like all you crafters out there, I have lofty dreams of giving handmade gifts to my loved ones for Christmas. And like many of you, I ended up needing to make one particular thing quickly and last-minute-ish for an 11 year-old niece. So, rather than knitting a hat, I sewed one out of my new friend, Polar Fleece.

The joke was kind of on me, though, in that it took me longer to cut and sew this (and the scarf I then decided I needed to make) than it would've taken to knit something. Aw, who cares? I made a new friend!

Pattern: Martha Stewart fleece hat. Pattern can be found here.

Fabric: Two colors of polar fleece. I bought 1/2 yard of each color, and that was enough for this child's size hat, the scarf below, and probably a whole other hat.

Crazy important thread tip: Use heavy-duty thread on the top only, and regular thread in the bobbin. Martha won't tell you to do that. But the very nice and helpful lady at the fabric store will. "If you use the heavy-duty on both," she said, "you're going to have a big mess." I used Gutermann 100% Polyester thread in color 257 - dark blue, and was grateful every step of the non-mess way for that nice lady.

Sewing needle: Size 18 for heavy-duty fabrics. The bulk of the fleece -- despite it being quite light and fluffy -- requires some heavy-duty tools apparently.


(1) I embroidered a snowflake on it. I used 3 strands of DMC embroidery floss in light blue and free-handed it. It's just some backstitching and french knots.

(2) Instead of seaming the hat so that the front is 2 panels of color next to each other, I sewed it so that the light blue panels wrap around the sides, like this:

Then I figured that a hat alone might be a lame present, and I had lots of leftover fleece. So I made a matching scarf. (It looks quite grey in the photo, but it's the same fabric. It matches in real life.)

For what it's worth, here's the info on sewing the scarf:

Two-toned scarf "pattern": my own.

Specs: Finished scarf measures approx. 42 inches x 5 inches.

If I were really adept at this sewing thing, I could've done this very quickly, cutting two long strips (each one measuring 42.5" x 5.5") then sewing them together. I am not, however, adept at this sewing thing, so I pieced the strips. Whatever.

All you should know is: embroider the snowflake first, then sew the scarf -- right sides together-- leaving about a 3-inch opening on one side to turn it right-side out again. Again, I used heavy-duty thread in the top only, and regular thread in the bobbin. No problems there!

After turning the scarf right-side out, I blind-stitched the opening closed. I knew the next step would be to top-stitch around the scarf about 1/4" away from the edge, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I was so sleepy.

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty successful experiment. Not as speedy as it could've been (or as it would be for you, probably), but good nonetheless.

Now. Let the gift-wrapping commence!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So we meet again

Last night I was watching an episode of my beloved Martha Stewart Crafts show, and I saw a polar fleece hat that I thought would be perfect as a last-minute gift. Only downside? No polar fleece in the house.

Cut to: Me at my local fabric store this morning. I was wandering around the notions section, no doubt muttering to myself, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the owner of the LYS I broke up with recently. She was rifling through some remnants and holding them up to a piece of knitting she had with her. I thought carefully but quickly about how to proceed, given our past, and did what any ethical and righteous person would do in that situation: I turned down an aisle so she couldn't see me.

As I was choosing my thread, I thought about how I would come home to my Sidekick and be all, "I just saw the owner of my ex-LYS at the fabric store. Weird, right?"

Yeah. Well. No such luck.

After I'd gathered all the supplies I was going to need for this project, I went to get in line. And there she was again. Right in front of me. Paying for whatever nonsense she was buying.

Play it cool. Maybe she won't see you. Or maybe if she does see you, she won't recognize you.

Again. Not today's luck.

OWNER (catching my eye): Oh, hey!
ME: Hi!
OWNER: What are you making?

You should say socks. Just say socks. It would be hilarious. Do it.

ME: A hat.
ME: Just a quick gift for a little girl.
OWNER: It's that time of year.

I then, for some unknown reason, just started going on about how quick this project looks and how good ole Martha Stewart will get you out of a scrape every time. I don't know why. I'm from Texas. They teach you to be polite.

OWNER: Are you watching her new crafting show?
ME: Yeah, that's actually where I got the pattern for this hat.
OWNER: Really!
ME: Yep.

Ask her about the "For Rent" sign you saw in her store window recently. It'll make her real uncomfortable. And then she'll have to explain how being rude and condescending drove her out of business.

OWNER: Well if I don't see you beforehand, have a wonderful holiday.

She said this with a big smile. And she seemed kind of sincere and human.

ME: You too.

'Tis the season. Peace on earth and all that.

(And also, I only saw the sign once and then didn't see it again. So. It's not so much that I'm spreading peace and joy, really. In all fairness. It's more that I didn't want to start trouble. And that's ok. 'Tis the season to not start trouble. Fa la la la la, la la, la. La!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am so winning this race.

Slow and steady, people.

Slow. And steady.

Since my iron has now taken to auditioning non-stop for the part of The Shower Head in the big holiday appliance show, these placemats are crinkly -- but dry -- for the moment. Once the iron realizes it doesn't have a shot in hell of getting that part, I will soothe its broken soul by reuniting it with some spray starch, and the two of them will make my mats crisp and lovely.

Damn that holiday appliance show.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Things that slow you down

(The title of this post reminds me of that 20,000-Dollar Pyramid game show from the '70s. I imagine it said as a category. FYI)

(1) An iron that is suddenly leaking out of the bottom. Imagine going to the ironing board, carefully pressing a seam, then pouring a glass of water on it. That's what it's like.

(2) Hand-quilting placemats. I know I said I was going to machine-quilt them. I chickened out. But I'll tell you, this wouldn't be so slow if I weren't compelled to be

(3) Stopping after every line of stitching to closely inspect my work. I'm a troubled individual.

(4) Caramel corn.

(5) A sewing machine that's missing the table extension. This is my secret shame. I use a borrowed sewing machine, and I lost the little table part, so all I have is a small area around the needle as the flat surface. Unless I use a stack of books. And the stack of books can only do so much. (Anyone like to recommend a sewing machine?) This foolishness is wearing thin, and slowing me way down.

(6) A literal pain in my neck from doing some sit-ups earlier. Lesson learned.

Maybe tomorrow will be speedier. It's supposed to rain like crazy tomorrow, and we'll see what that does to my productivity. Since Torrential Downpour/Drenchfest '07 has already started right here on my ironing board, I'm imagining I'm all set.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Learn something new every day

I totally sewed piping.

The details might just be too glorious, nay, too exciting for you. Reading them might cause such a state of euphoria as to render you useless in your day-to-day goings-on. And I care for you and your goings, so no details. (This is also a part of a holiday gift, so that little peek is all you're getting for now.)

However. Allow me to reiterate: I totally sewed piping.

Also, thank you SO much for all your tips and comments on the placemats. Every bit of your experience, advice, and support really helped! (It was touch and go there for a minute.) It seems only fair that you should get to see what the tops look like in the sunlight:

These are much more representative of how they look than the last set of shots.

I've purchased the backing fabric (from a dude who was so complimentary about my work that I felt like I was being grifted), and I should finish these pretty soon. I'm gonna use a different thread in the bobbin than on the top, and never having done that before, I'm looking forward to some boo-hooing about that in the process -- e..g., "Boo hoo, how come this looks like crap? Boo hoo, what was I thinking? Boo hoo. Boo hoo. Oh, boo."

Won't that be awesome?

Learning new stuff. I'm all for it!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Eleanor Burns would be truly disappointed.

It takes a special kind of genius to figure out the quickest and most effective way to make something. Eleanor Burns is exactly that kind of genius.

I am not.

Eleanor has a show called Quilt in a Day. I -- when all goes according to plan -- will have a show called Think It Out, wherein I will walk viewers through the process of not using the internet, not using pattern books, and using the longest way around there is to make some everyday item. And everyone will love that show. Or they will say they love that show because everyone will know that if you watch Think It Out, you are obviously someone who likes to use your brain until it throbs right out of your skull. And everyone knows that's cool.

Let me give you a little sample of what I'm talking about.

I decided I wanted to make some (four) placemats as a gift for a friend's 40th birthday. In my shoes, Eleanor Burns would simply pull out her trusty placemat pattern and get to sewing. An hour later, she'd be finished and having a cocktail.

Not me!

I looked through my fabrics and decided I'd like a motif in the middle of my mat -- a motif that I'd have to somehow extract from other designs in the (rather expensive Japanese) fabric. Fine. I know from watching my shows that that's called "fussy cutting", and those ladies do it all the time.

I eyeballed the space around the motif and cut it out, trying to leave as much of the surrounding fabric intact as possible.

Then, I pulled out a placemat that I own, traced around it for size onto a piece of tissue paper, and cut that out. I then proceeded to sketch a log cabin pattern on it by placing the cutout motif in the center, then just eyeballing the rest of it. I wanted the design to look somewhat irregular but not jacked up, so I figured this was the best way to achieve this. Then I measured.

Two things you should know here: (1) I did remember I needed to add 0.5 inches to each dimension for the seam allowances. Bullet dodged. Good one, me. I even made a spreadsheet with the correct measurements to make sure I wouldn't blow it later. (2) I have a very strange talent apparently, in that when I eyeball something, it happens to be exact measurements. I didn't really know that before, so that was weird to discover.

[Program note: I'm realizing Think It Out may not be able to cover one project per show. This might present a challenge in selling it to the networks. But whatevs.]

Let's skip ahead:

On different tissue paper, I made a pattern for each strip. For directional fabric, I marked the pattern with orienting lines. (Oh, I tried figuring it out without those lines first. Yeah. Because I'm thinking here! Right.)

Eleanor isn't scared by directional fabric. I am. But that didn't stop me from using it, and using it in the most difficult way possible.

There were SO many steps in here, it was ridiculous. I'll spare you and just tell you that here's what I've got so far:

The outer white edge is batting, not part of the top. (The photos are bad today because of weather that includes much-needed rain here in SoCal.)

OK. Now. I think on my show there's going to be a section where I ask the audience for advice. But only after I'm very much committed and possibly in over my head.

So that's this part here, and it involves the finishing of these mats. Ready? OK.

I was planning on machine-quilting these, you know, so they're like little quilts.

(1) Is cotton batting ok for the middle layer, or should I use interfacing or something else instead?
(2) Can I stitch in the ditch, or will that look bad/dumb/annoying? Can I use off-white thread?
(3) Should I make a binding to go around the edge, or should I just take another fabric for the back, sew right sides together, and turn it inside out -- no binding?

And finally,
(4) Have I made a terrible mistake?

I thank you for your input and kind consideration in this matter.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Items! Part Two.

Our trip to the East Coast for Thanksgiving was really great. The food was incredibly delicious, the weather was real weather-y, and some of my knitted garments got to do what they were put on this earth to do -- keep my tender neck warm.

The trip also entailed a serious appreciation of the out-of-this-world-ness of the shops in Brooklyn. They have cornered the market on cute and righteous, I tell you what. Hip clothing, beads, cheese, wine, baby stuff, books -- all distinct stores that are there simply to crush you. The worst offender, in my humble opinion? The Brooklyn General Store.

Man oh man, people. This store.

Do you ever have the experience of walking into a place and not being able to see anything because everything is just so compelling? Yarns. Fabrics. Quilts on display. Dark hardwood floors and cute styling everywhere you turn. I mean, seriously. It was too much. It was absolutely too much holy shit! all in one place.

So, get a load of this fabric. It's flannel.

Flannel! What will they think of next?

I was so overcome with dizzying confusion that all I could do was buy this flannel and a couple of skeins of Misti Alpaca and get the hell out of there. (As they say: If you'd have been there. If you'd have seen it. I bet you you would have done the same.)

My trip into the city to Purl? A horse of a slightly different color. Still overwhelming. Still hard to see everything. But I'd been there before, so I knew what to expect: light-headedness, lack of oxygen to the brain, drooling. All the signs you know you're in a good fabric store and/or having a medical emergency.

I'll tell you more about Purl at another time. For now let's just gaze upon two fabrics I bought -- buns and birds.



And birds.

Motherfucking birds.

No idea what this is for. But I can't find enough expletives to capture how passionately I feel about this fabric.

Thanksgiving: If you come home cursing like a sailor, you know you did it right.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great minds

I got a phone call from my wasband a minute ago.

WASBAND: Have you seen boingboing today?
ME: No. Why.
WASBAND: Someone made a Darth Vader tea towel.
ME: No way.
WASBAND: Can you believe that?!

He was outraged.

ME: Was it embroidered?
ME: It's probably bad manners to leave a comment and be all, "I made an R2D2 tea towel a long time ago."
WASBAND: "Check the date on it!" Yours was in color and way more detailed.
ME: Yeah, well. It was your idea to begin with.

Take-home lesson? There are only so many ideas a person can have, and embroidering Star Wars characters on tea towels is one of them. Now we know. Weird, huh?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Items! Part One.

I made a scarf while I was on vacation.

There. I said it.

Look. It was a whole thing. My SIL had something to do with it. The Brooklyn General Store and Purl also had things to do with it. But you know what? Let's not get caught up in assigning blame. It's not ladylike and just gets us nowhere. Instead, let's gaze upon the wonder that is the scarf.

Doesn't that stitch look good?

It is purty.

Pattern: My So Called Scarf. (That link is to the free pattern.)
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay. Handcrafted Kettle Dyed Pure Wool. Color 118.
Needles: Lantern Moon. US size 15.
Mods: I used honkin' big needles. The pattern calls for 11s, I think. But the 15s were all I had with me, and I wanted to make the scarf while I was still with my SIL to make sure she'd really like it. Blah, blah, blah. She and I both agree we like how it looks. And I like that it knit up real fast.

There are worse things than buying two skeins of new yarn and knitting a brand new scarf. Really. So much worse. Maybe I'll convince my brother to let me tell you the Crap or Vomit story. It's a good one. And it will take some of the heat off of me and and my item-y ways.

Fingers crossed.

I am glad to be back!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Woo Hoo! haiku

Back from the East Coast.
Quite pleased with myself for sure.
(So much warmer here.)

Do you like items?
Soft yarns? Fabrics? A new scarf?
Photos tomorrow!

Must catch up on blogs.
Must create lists, set deadlines.
Oh! Must not lose mind.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An apology, an admission, and an invitation

Apology: So sorry it's been so long since my last post!

Admission: I went back into that store. OK. Sure. Yes. I vowed to never set foot in there again, but it seemed foolish to stand on ceremony when my PIC needed some yarn to finish a project, and we were right there! Good news for me -- there were no familiar faces, we were in and out of there in exactly three minutes, and nothing was purchased. Bad news for my PIC -- nothing was purchased. While they didn't have what she needed, I did manage to spy some Manos that I am going to buy elsewhere. Ha HA! See there! Elsewhere! I also saw some little cupcake pincushions that were super cute, but they were not thirty-two dollars cute, and that's what those bitches were selling for. Nope. Thank you kindly, but hell nope.

Invitation: My sidekick and I are going away for the week of Thanksgiving, starting tomorrow. While we're gone, I want you to have things to read (or re-read), and it just so happens that there is one "eavesdropping" post for each day I'm away. Isn't that handy? If it so pleases you, come on back each day for a little trip down memory lane. I've made a little schedule just for you. (Don't let this limit you. Please. Feel free to wander about as well.)

Friday: None of my beeswax
Saturday: These are the people in my neighborhood
Sunday: How the week went from Whee! to Meh. back to Whee! again
Monday: That eavesdropping from the other night
Tuesday: Overheard at the fancy supermarket
Wednesday: Overheard at Crate and Barrel
Thursday: Our trip to the so-called craft store
Friday: Overheard at lunch today

I will check in from time to time, as I am able. I may also have some kind of haul when I return, if history repeats itself.

Please know that this Thanksgiving, I am truly grateful for each of you.

Peace and love,
Dr. B.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

He might need glasses.

I walked into my living room the other day, and this is what I saw:

I think he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw his three favorite things -- comedy, outdated lists, and and a book on animal rights -- right next to his bed. What are the chances?!

I didn't wait around to see what he chose. In addition to being an avid reader, he's also a dog who likes his privacy. So, even though I left him alone and can't confirm it, I'm betting he went with the comedy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ooo ooo, Kushu Kushu.

My Habu kit finally arrived. I'd ordered it months ago from a trunk show at a lovely yarn shop across town.

These strings will turn into the Kushu Kushu scarf, if all goes according to plan.

A-20-16 lavender color (it's a warmer, dustier purple than it appears here). Silk. Well, silk with a stainless steel core. This will be the ends of the scarf.

A177-29 coffee color. Super fine merino wool. This, together with the lavender, will be the middle section of the scarf.

There are other things at the top of the to-be-made queue, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm also a little nervous about knitting with steel. So it remains to be seen when exactly this will get going.

In the meantime, I like the idea of this scarf having its own cheer - "Ooo! Ooo! Kushu Kushu! Ooo ooo! Kushu Kushu!" Who's with me on that?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Burnt hands can't craft.

ME (to my Sidekick this morning): So, how about those eggs you were gonna make us?
SIDEKICK: Ohhhh! I forgot I was gonna make eggs!
ME: Grrr. Me starving.
SIDEKICK: How about I make it up to you with a grande decaf vanilla soy latte?
ME: Ok.

A few minutes later, my Sidekick returns with hot beverages.

ME: Aw. Thanks!
SIDEKICK: You're welcome.
ME (picking up cup): Owee. That's hot. You didn't bring a little cuff thingie?
SIDEKICK: What? No. I didn't. Sorry.
ME: But it's real hot. How am I gonna drink my delicious hot beverage if I can't pick it up?
SIDEKICK (rolls his eyes, shakes his head, laughs a little)
ME: Maybe there's an old one in the recycling.

I look through the recycling. Nothing.

ME: I guess I'll just have to fashion my own cuff thingie.

I begin the process of fashioning my own cuff thingie. It involves scissors and tape.

SIDEKICK (watching me): You weirdo, just use a paper towel for it.
ME (still fashioning): Why do you hate the earth so much? I'm recycling!

Twenty-five seconds later, I've completed my masterpiece.

ME: All done.
SIDEKICK: Oh my God, it's great!
ME: Thanks!
SIDEKICK: You should take a picture of it.
ME: That's silly.
SIDEKICK: Take a picture of it for the blog!
ME: You kill me.

Ladies and gentlemen, this morning with my Sidekick.

Aaaaand, scene.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Finished for real

There's a part of the movie Grey Gardens that lives on in our household. It's calling whatever you're wearing "the costume for today". If you haven't seen the movie, it's a documentary, and I recommend it if you're into strange and crazy people from 1975. (There was also a musical of it, I guess?) But more to the point, one of the main characters in the movie gets dressed one morning, and in evaluating its merits, she says:
This is the best thing to wear for today, you understand. Because I don't like women in skirts and the best thing is to wear pantyhose or some pants under a short skirt, I think. Then you have the pants under the skirt and then you can pull the stockings up over the pants underneath the skirt. And you can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape. So I think this is the best costume for today. (quote from imdb)
Not only do I completely agree with Little Edie that you should -- at all times -- be wearing a garment that can at any moment be converted into a cape, I also agree that you should always think carefully about what the best costume for the day might be. It was in this spirit that I blocked the green Chevron Scarf.

Last night, as I was preparing to go out to a nice, casual dinner with my Sidekick, I noticed that my costume was green and brown and missing something. I then noticed my Chevron scarf wadded up on a chair (this seems to be what I do with things I make). When I picked the scarf up to consider wearing it, it folded itself into thirds immediately, revealing itself to be an unwearable flat tube.

I stared at it. I thought about it. Then, knowing the scarf was necessary if I wanted to be wearing the best costume for today, I grabbed a damp towel and my iron, and blocked my scarf.

My PIC, who finished her Chevron Scarf long before I finished mine, warned me that "it's still gonna want to fold into thirds after you iron it, but you can just do it again later." She's right. And I might do it again later, but I can't be sure.

What I do know is this: With even the wrong side looking good,

this scarf was just what I needed for the best costume for last night. (Well, I could've worn a skirt-cape, but I didn't want to make other people at the restaurant feel bad for having inferior costumes. I'm sensitive like that.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Longer, wider, faster

Last time you checked around a week ago, I'd started a second Chevron Scarf. Here's what I had then:

Considering my first one took 6 months, I'm impressed at how quickly (relatively speaking) this one is going. This is what I have now:

Long, right?

The colors are much more beautiful than these photos show. You'll see.

This one also seems a little wider than my first, but that's not important. So let's just move on.

Hey! Thank you so much for your input on what to make with the Chinese yarn! Your ideas were all so good and helpful! What would I do without you?! Really.

I like the idea of making something for my sweet friend, as many of you suggested. If I went with socks, I'd definitely have to double the yarn or add some other kind of thread to it, because it seems like they'd wear through in about three seconds otherwise.

But. If I were to go in a shawl/wrap direction (not for my sweet friend), I love the Hanami shawl that Kristy suggested. There's also a little wrap in Weekend Knitting. (Can I sub this Chinese yarn for mohair, do you think, or no?) I'm a little worried that I may have to give in and get that Folk Shawls book you're all going on about. Damn it! Don't you know I'm drowning in books over here? Sheesh.

Thank goodness Seth kindly reminded me that books are free at my local li-berry. (He also had the brilliant idea of incorporating Chinese knitting designs into the project. He is all good ideas, that Seth.)

Note to self: When at said library, look for Knitting For Peace. It has the pattern for the Swirl Hat that Kim went and made in her obvious attempt to destroy me, rather, to help me with ideas for my holiday knitting.

Oh, what do you know, my new issue of Interweave Knits just arrived. Gotta go!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Yangrongxinshengwuzhenzhirong: The Challenge

For a lot of this past year, a sweet friend of mine was out of town for work.

That seems like a perfectly benign sentence, right? You probably didn't make much of it, I'd guess. Well, let me translate it for you and see if you feel differently:

A lot of this past year = 7 months straight
Out of town = in China
Sweet friend = guy who has 12 people over for a birthday dinner, insists that no one bring him gifts, and instead gives every guest a beautifully gift-wrapped present chosen specifically for them. From China.

Small but important aside: Amazing how a simple sentence about a friend and his work can be so rich with meaning. It's stunning to think about how often people say things where there's a whole story quietly waiting to be known, and we just keep on truckin' past it because we're busy, or we think we know what they mean, or we don't even notice that there might be more to it.

But gifts! There were gifts! Let's talk about the gifts! Yes, yes. Gifts!

In the presentation of each of the gifts, my friend provided a thoughtful comment about why the items were selected. Lovely jewelry for some, tea and books for others. Some people were given painted items along with a little verbal warning about possible lead content. Some were given t-shirts and were cautioned that there would be certain shrinkage and lack of steadfastness of the dye. ("It is China," he reminded us.) My gift came not with a warning, but with a challenge.

"I don't know anything about knitting," he said, "but I'm imagining this could be difficult. So, I challenge you to make something out of this."

Super soft.

Lace or fingering weight.

Yarn like cashmere. Only we don't actually know what it is -- the only thing I can read on the label is the name of this post. (Well, it doesn't say "The Challenge" on the label. You know what I mean.) My friend said something like, "It's such thin string, I figured it had to be difficult to knit with."

So I will ask you explicitly -- so there's no confusion-- what should I make with these 11 balls of very fine Chinese yarn? We've got a challenge here, people. What say you?!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hair of the dog

Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Socks That Rock yarn Medium weight. Little Bunny Foo Foo color.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Socks That Rock yarn Medium weight. Rose Quartz color.


What can I tell you? I started another Chevron Scarf. Laugh all you want at my foolishness, but if you'd had these yarns in your stash, you would've done the same thing. I assure you.

P.S. On a more serious note, we are sending all kinds of good thoughts and prayers to the people and animals affected by the fires here in Southern California. My loved ones and I are safe and sound, luckily nowhere near the current danger. We're all just hoping it gets better soon.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Let's just say it's finished. For OFTI's sake.

What's that? You thought I'd never finish the Chevron Scarf?

Me either, frankly.

But I did! Well, I mostly did.

It just needs to be blocked.

Funny. The moment I started thinking about blocking, the whole thing kinda went dark. Huh.

: Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Leaf and Castagna - 1 hank of each. I followed my PIC's lead on this one and just stopped once the yarn ran out. No measuring. Just "that looks fine"-ing.

Needles: Addi Turbos (Ha ha, hilarious. Imagine if I hadn't used the "turbos" how long it would've taken me) US size 5.

Modifications: I did not, as the pattern suggested, make it "at the last minute". Unless minutes are now measured in 6-month increments. If so, then I suppose I didn't make any modifications to this pattern, as it took me 6 months to complete this scarf.

Measurements: Without having blocked it and without stretching it at all, this scarf is 35"+35"+7". Why 35 plus 35 plus 7? Because I just measured it using my big quilting grid/mat thingie which only goes up to 35". Imagine my surprise when I added it up and it's just 1/2" short of what the pattern calls for! That half inch will surely appear once I get to blocking. Good one, me!

What do you think the chances are that I'll block it? I'd like to think good. After six months and all this gritching, I'd like to say there's a good chance I'll block this scarf. Although this would suggest otherwise. So it's hard to know, people. Hard to know.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Here's that green beanie.

By popular request, a drawing of the beanie:Pretty amazing. So life-like. So real this drawing, no? With about 3 minutes you too could draw such a beanie. I know it's hard to believe. But it's true.

With a few hours, you could knit the beanie.

The color is darker and more olive than that photo suggests. It's more like the leftover yarn below:

Pattern: Basic Hat -- free pattern from Stitch Cafe.

Yarn: Suss Love (100% Tactel Nylon) in Olive color. Each hank is about 126 yards, and I used a little more than one hank. This yarn is crazy, crazy soft. From Suss.

Mods: I cast on 68 instead of 66, and did a 2x2 rib instead of a 3x3. Oh! And I held two strands together which made the hat heftier.

The top is one of those where you draw the yarn through the stitches and pull it tight -- like a drawstring -- to close it up.

That method usually leaves a hole in the top for me. But somehow it worked out fine here. However, the method apparently also turned the hat from olive green to charcoal grey (or so the photo would have you believe). So be careful with that.

I am hoping the softness will bring comfort and warmth to the young guy who's receiving it. The son of a dear colleague and friend, this guy is just starting on a long road of chemo. As you all know, a hat isn't much, but it can make a difference.

The other thing this hat can do? Jump-start Operation Finish Those Items (OFTI). Right? Why not? Because I never finish anything, you say? Did you see the hat I just finished? Doesn't that tell you something?! Harumph.

Of course you're right. I shouldn't get ahead of myself here. I thank you for your continued candor and support.