Sew Excited!

I know, I know, it’s sew been done (sorry, couldn’t resist). But I have three very good reasons to be excited. Drumroll, please…

ONE:
Caput Helianthus pattern preview

Caput Helianthus is done, done, done! It’s up on ravelry and the Rose City Knits website (though the price is mysteriously wrong there… weird).

This design was actually inspired by a vintage doily (circa the 1940s) that I really liked the concept of but hated the execution. So I decided to take the concept and adapt it for a hat. Caput Helianthus (literally “sunflower crown”) is the result. To keep it interesting (okay, I got bored), I created two versions – an 8-petal and a 16-petal version, just because. It’s knit with just 150 – 175 yards of fingering weight yarn (I used one skein each of Staccato for both samples) and is a great stash-buster.

I feel I should warn you, however, because it IS addictive. Opus and I have each knit three of these hats and are both considering a fourth (I’m thinking cashmere for mine!). There’s something magical about how quick it knits up, I guess. Anyway, here are the details:

GAUGE: 28 sts & 32 rnds = 4”/ 10 cm in Stockinette st
MATERIALS:

    • Approximately 150 yards/ 135 meters fingering weight yarn. Sample shown: Shibui Knits Staccato (191 y/ 175 m per 1.75 oz/ 50g skein), 1 skein each, shown in “Dijon” and “Redwood”.
    • One 16-inch US 2.5/ 3.00mm circular needle
    • 8 Stitch markers
    • Tapestry needle

SIZING: Adult/ 20 – 22” head circumference & 10” diameter, laid flat after blocking
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
$6.00 US PDF DOWNLOAD

The one thing about the pattern that made me sad was that I had so many amazing pictures to use and so little space :( One of my favorites that didn’t make the cut is still a winner to me:

Caput Helianthus 2

It’s just so quaint.

The SECOND item on my “sew excited” list?  Well, I finally got a sewing machine of my own!

Oh, yes, it’s mine and mine alone.  I’m already plotting.  Look forward to many sewing related posts in the future :)  The first will probably be with a sneak peek at my new studio space (still in the, ah, development stages).  I’m hoping to get a sewing area set up this weekend and break my new toy in a bit.

Should be fun.

Aaand, THREE

This is my 1,200th post!  Can you believe it?  I certainly didn’t.  When did we get past 1,000?  200 posts ago, I guess.  Of course, the blog will be 6 years old in October (that’s actually older than my niece, T), so I’m not exactly a chatterbox.  Okay, maybe a little, since that averages out to around 200 posts per year.

Who knew?

Victory dance

As promised, a new pattern!

Barnes pattern preview$6.00 (PDF download)

Designed as a special release for the Knit Purl Month of Lace, Barnes is inspired by a friend and former coworker – who is also the store manager of Knit Purl. The central design is a lace motif flanked by knit-and-purl teardrops, all surrounded by a neat garter stitch edge – for an elegant and modern lace design.

Sample shown was knit using two skeins of The Sanguine Gryphon Gaia in the color “Sea Glass” . Pattern includes both charts and written line-by-line instructions, as well as U.S. standard and metric measurements.

Specs:

  • Yarn: The Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Lace, shown in the color “Gaia”
  • Gauge: 28 stitches and 36 rows = 4 inches in Lace patt
  • Needles: US 3/ 3.25 mm
  • Yardage: 800 yards/ 732 m
  • Sizing: Approx. 12”/ 30.5 cm wide x 48”/ 122 cm tall

Credits:

  • Photographer: Sara Morris
  • Graphic Design: Sonia Jones Design
  • Tech Editor: Katherine Vaughan
  • Location: Woodstock Neighborhood, Portland, Oregon

Portlanders (and, hey, non-Portlanders), you can also pick up a copy of the pattern in person – as well as the yarn used – at my old haunt, Knit Purl.  The best part is that the yarn is only sale through the end of July as part of their annual Month of Lace.

Lastly, since I know I keep promising to post things other than pattern updates (in fact, I have a list of topics I want to cover!), have you ever visited the blog Sri Threads?  If not, you really need to.  I’m mad obsessed with them and their beautiful photographs of vintage and antique Asian textiles (particularly Japanese pieces), such as this lovely Sakiori Sodenashi:

Well, lovely to me, anyway.  Especially since it was the Sodenashi silhouette that inspired my Alsea vest from Shibui Texture.  In fact, when I saw this on Google Reader, I totally squealed with excitement.  It’s a geeky obsession, to be sure, but I’m going to stick with it.

Next time, I’m going to show off some cool new tools I found that knitters everywhere should stock up on!

shame shame shame

I’m beyond embarrassed at this point by how bad a blogger I’ve been (Emm’s eyes are doing MUCH better, btw). In my defense, I’ve been doing the work of 2 people and preparing for the departure of THREE more coworkers(!!!). One for Maternity Leave (dammit), one for a vacation in another state (waaaah!), and one for school – which I don’t begrudge (much). I’m just slightly panicking, is all.

To cope with all this added stress and confusion, I’ve been knitting every spare moment I can… in some mad, subconscious, effort to lower my blood-pressure or something. I’m even beginning to wonder if I’m knitting in my sleep, because random wip’s are showing large leaps of progress that I don’t remember making. Of course, it could be knitting blackouts…

Not good to think about, really. Moving on. I finished my first skif sweater. It took 3 broken needles (sewing machine ones, not knitting), since I was out of Ball Point needles and even the Denim ones I got weren’t up to the task! Eventually, though, persistance won out as it usually does and I can now add this to my list of 2008 FO’s:

skif-bb-front1

skif-bb-back

If you want actual specs for it, I’m gonna have to refer you to my ravelry notebook.

I also finished these, my Fortress of Solitude socks (c’mon, the name just fit):

P418-socks1

Again, gonna send ya to the ravelry notebook for the details. Sorry. It’s just easier that way. On top of finishing those, I have two sweaters, a baby hat, an adult hat, three pairs of socks (no, wait, four) and… well, a Renaissance costume… in the works. But that’s not knitting and is neither here nor there right now. In other news, I received some BEAUTIFUL yarn from Penny and immediately had a wicked plan for it that is already being implemented, mwahaha.

I also got my prize from Lorna’s Laces for winning 3rd Prize in their design competition. They also sent me three copies of the pattern, and I stole a pic from their site:

architect's sock

My Architect’s Sock. So weird to actually see it knit up by someone else in a completely different color on the actual pattern.

And, in slightly non-knitting news – I went to Patrick’s Commencement today. You’ll all remember Patrick as the model for my Columbia Fisherman’s Pullover. And for those of you females out there salivating (I know you are! I got emails last time), he doesn’t play for out team, girls.

Anyway. He text’d me on Thursday, I think it was, to make sure I was coming. I panicked, said I would and penciled it in (this is the state of my life now, sadly). I even brought a travelling sock, to commemorate the occasion:

Sock at PSU Commencement

And was ecstatic to get a picture of him just after he had ‘walked’:

Patrick at Commencement

(Terrisa and I screamed like banshees to get his attention for a couple of quick photos.)

It was great, even with 90F+ weather. The Interim President of PSU even (rather gallantly) offered to make no speech in exchange for a standing ovation. I liked him. Good man. The service was short, sweet and perfectly to the point. I heartily approved.

After that, we all went out to lunch (great fun that lasted for far longer than I had scheduled for, eep!) and had to rush home. I had planned to meet Laure in Beaverton at 3:30, but just barely made it home at 4:00. She agreed to come to my place instead and work with me here.

See, some months ago, Laura convinced me to join her Historical Recreation Guild and participate in this year’s Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire – because I spin and knit and would be a great asset or something. I (somewhat) foolishly agreed, thinking it would be fun and forgot about it almost immediately after.

With the Faire in less than a month, I need to make a costume very quickly and… well, not panic. I won’t panic. I’m not panicking. Honestly. Even though I’m 4 yards short of boning (guess how I found that out tonight?) and haven’t even started on my blouse or skirt.

I need to go and knit something.

ah

My parents took my deferment worse than I did, when I called them this morning. Mum was almost in tears and Dad sounded like the dog had died. They were surprised at ‘how well’ I was taking this. Well, it helps that I found this on the Peace Corps medical clearance FAQs:

If you have any of the following conditions, your entry into Peace Corps will be deferred until the condition is resolved:

  • Kidney or Bladder Infections

Great. Now I have to bother my Urologist again. But, I’m going to call them (bloody Federal holiday today). I swear. If only because I was raised in the South. “If you can’t break their hearts, give ’em ulcers.”

Anyway. I spent the day being a little self-indulgent. I dragged my brother and the mutt on a 3 mi hike to The Knittn’ Kitten and got a fat quarter, 3 12″ zippers, and 3 pieces of craft felt – all for $2.65. Gotta love craft thrift stores.

When we got home, I put my new fabric to work and tried my hand (again) at this tutorial. I think I’m close to getting the pattern down. I have 1 bag I can bear to look at (well, if I ignore the handle) without wincing (too much):


And another bag that taught me why I should follow the pattern’s specifications:


Learn from my mistake – use a 12″ zipper, not 9″ zipper I just happened to have lying around. Also, use a zipper and not snap-tape (which was really last night’s lesson, but it bears repeating).

I think I’m going to force Opus to take the bags away from me – she can burn them for all I care – but maybe she (or her Mum) can use them for their knitting WIPs. I just can help but frown at the fact that I put the wrist band on backwards on one and askew on the other. *sigh*

Other than that I have: made dinner, done 2 loads of laundry, dyed the lining of for the mock-up robes, knit 10 rows on the MS3, and knit 2″ on the Slighty Twisted sock. Sooo… all in all, I’m not doing too bad. I just wish I hadn’t eaten those Oreo’s earlier.

Tomorrow I get to line the robes. And call the Peace Corps.

And walk off those Oreo’s.

on: that was harder than I thought

The felting part was easy. I am lazy and shouldn’t be left to scientifically DO anything. I just threw the tricorn in the wash for a cycle, forgot about it, threw it in the dryer, and then declared it done after about 30 minutes of rolling around in hot air.

It’s a wonder I even made it past the Scientific Method, isn’t it?

Anyway. It came out perfectly felted. The next part, the really tricky step, was shaping the bloody thing. Getting the three horns (or at least two of them) even is something the ancient Greek geometricians would have cringed at. But, finally, after nearly an hour of pinning, unpinning, repinning and the first 15 minutes of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Mum declared this ‘good’:

(yes, the front horn is wonky, this is due to the T-pin holding it in place)


I decided to go with the a slightly earlier time period than POTC – late Baroque/ very early Rococo. So, the front horn is a bit longer and pointer than the back two. The top curves are gently scooped inward, and the back third is a little bit lower than the front two. I still don’t have a plume (BLAST! I forgot that!), and haven’t sewn on the trim I bought for it – aubergine ribbon and gold braid. I plan on having it done for the show tomorrow night, even if I go in jeans.

The hat WILL be done. Hopefully it’ll be blocked (or semi-blocked tomorrow), so I won’t have to do too much tacking with a needle and thread.

I have some small knitting news. I finished ONE of my Top Secret projects, right before I had to leave for Homework Club. Which went well, all things considered, since there were 5 kids and just Emmos and me between them. I managed to cover Spanish, Health, and Fractions pretty evenly, I hope.

And, that’s about all. I need to find my bodice and work some repairs on it. It’s not even remotely Baroque or Rococo – try early Renaissance. But I doubt anyone will notice.

Maybe I will just wear the hat and some jeans…

that was fast

At 12:45 am, I FINISHED weaving in the ends on my soon-to-be Tricorn hat, whilst Mum and I watched Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl (for the 467th time). As the credits scrolled, I went upstairs and snapped a picture:


I’m going to felt it later today (gawd, it’s actually after midnight).

Other news? Mum and Dad are sick with some respiratory infection (joy be unbounded), and Dad’s been prescribed FOUR different medications – coinciding, funnily enough, with the fact that he’s had pneumonia FOUR times in his life. I made him go to the doctor yesterday (I am such a good daughter, I know) because he nearly fainted from a coughing fit. It turns out he had been sleeping in a recliner for several nights prior, because he couldn’t breathe if he laid down.

I just sort of stared at him when he admitted this. ONE night like that would have sent me to the doctor. The man clearly doesn’t learn as quickly as he should.

Ohwell.

More news? Erm. Not much. I’m working on knitting some Secret Items. Top Secret.

And, uh, that’s all I can remember at 1 am.

Basil curry

Well, no, not really. That’s the “colour” of the yarn I’m working with on my new and improved Spox. I’m currently working on the gusset right now of the left one. And, uh, I was wondering if anyone was terribly interested in doing me a favor and trying out the pattern? I’m working out the math and should have it ready in a day or two… any completely crazy wonderful takers? (actually, it’s not that bad, the sock’s knit flat for most of the pattern, and only requires two intermediate/ advanced techniques: picking up stitches purlwise and p2tog tbl,. both of which are very easy to learn – I taught myself)

Other knitting news? I finished the back of the peacock pullover tonight! And, even better, it actually matches up to the sweater I modeled it after:


The neckline is curling so, even though it doesn’t look it, I swear it does match. I was so pleased with myself for several hours, because I had finally cracked the armhole/ sleeve cap code. I couldn’t just copy the red sweater, since the gauge is tiny and that wouldn’t have taught me anything. But, after a costume construction class and many a failed sweater (my own and others’) I figured out that the curve of the sleeve cap is the same as the armscye and that the armhole measurement corresponds with the sleeve width. (yes, I am a slow learner)

Now I just have to figure out how to standardize it. (read above in parentheses)

Right-O. Once I understand that, I can get Sauci started. And, just to mix things up a bit, here’s tonight’s quote at the end of the post…

“Experience is the best teacher, but a fool will learn from no other.”
Benjamin Franklin

verdamnt A

“There ought to be a room in every house to swear in.”
Mark Twain

I just let off a string of words I shouldn’t even know. Today was just one of those verdamnt long days (and, look, a German curse). I let myself relax and completely ignore all the complete insanity around the house yesterday. Today I tried to fix some of it. Stupid idea.

Even worse, I tried to get things done.

I can be quite idiotic when I put my mind to it, honestly.

I cleaned up the disgusting mess that was the front room, as St M was coming over, so she could have a clean floor to lay out her fabric on. It took me over half an hour to vacuum a nearly empty living room. Seriously, that is the level of nasty the males have left everywhere.

3 damn weeks, and they’ve made a mess that I can’t even describe.

Anyway. I got the front room clean. I brought out my spinning wheel and other bits and bobs I’d need to get a start on the Solstice-Equinox Challenge. As I was grabbing things from my stash, I paused. What the heck was that??

A hahaha. The pile of yarn and needle rolls I had been digging in had, oh you’ll love this, GIANT FREAKING PANES OF GLASS lying in them. Apparently, whilst I was cleaning the front room one of the workmen had broken my bedroom window. Yes… BROKEN.

Had anyone told me? No. Cuz, hell, why would I notice something like this:


I mean, c’mon, it’s such a paltry little thing. Right-O. I came storming downstairs, pissed off (there were shards of glass in my yarn, dammit), and Dad just shrugged, “Oh, yeah, J mentioned that.”

“Oh,” I said, trying not to hit him, “Did he?”

MEN.

I am so seriously considering the positive aspects of lesbianism right now, you have no idea.

Anyway. *Breathing*. I went on, after all this, to go and clean the kitchen. I don’t want to think of what’s been growing in there. I found two opened cans of food that had been left out on the counter for so long…

(shudder)

((and the men wonder why we have ants? and they treat me like I’m stupid.))

It took me about an hour, but I got the kitchen almost clean. I say almost, since we’re out of sponges (I think, since everything’s been boxed up, I have no idea) and I had to use a dish towel. Also, the fact that the kitchen is also in the middle of the renovation process… oy. I got it clean enough to cook a decent meal (which I still need to clean up) when St M showed up. I took a break from cleaning, and we went to other “feminine” pastimes:


She’s cutting out a cotehardie (no pattern!) and I was spinning for the Challenge. I got all the singles spun before I had to make dinner. I got dinner made and somehow a table and chairs were rustled up. Dinner went relatively well, I guess. Don’t get me started.

We set up the sewing machine on the table for St M to sew up her cotehardie while I got the yarn ready to ply. Hereupon I made one of the stupidest mistakes I’ve ever made with yarn preparation. Somehow I convinced myself that it’d be easier to wind the singles with a thread and beads on and ply it on itself than to just ply it with the thread and beads.

Right.

I am beyond stupid.

By about an hour ago I was nearly shrieking with frustration – everyone got as far away as possible. So, finally, I gave it up (I have 2/3 of it plied, and that’s bloody well enough – I’ll give my target some other stuff to make up for this) and went to work on “that-” verdamnt “Judaica thing.” I got a line and a half embroidered tonight. Yay, me.

If you’ve made it thus far, I need an opinion. I am so damn sick of working on “that Judaica thing”. It’s been as difficult as the bloody Challenge, and not half so satisfying. The pattern calls for handknit lace around the edge with a handknit braid over the seam. I have taken near three months to get this far. Should I just attach bought lace and braiding, so the recipient can finally have the verdamnt thing?

I just want it done. Is that so wrong?

And, and look, it’s 42F out and I have a broken window. Lucky verdamnt me.

on walking

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”
Stephen Wright

One of the first things I noticed today as I made my way towards downtown Los Altos was the fact that I was the only person walking for most of the way. Sure, several Mums and children passed by with strollers for the first 3 blocks, then… nada. Cars kept whizzing by, though.

Very strange.

But also nice, as I didn’t have to worry about being run over by bicyclists or groups of joggers as one does in Eugene. Of course, to make matters perfect, I lost the map my sister set out for me – the one with all the local areas of interest highlighted (I added some myself) – within about 10 minutes of setting out.

I doubled back for a couple of blocks and then gave it up as a lost cause. I had the major streets memorized along with the cross-streets for the shops I wanted to hit. I made it to Los Altos without incident, people were very polite, and stopped at the first place on my list (ha! I remembered where it was and everything), Full Thread Ahead.

They’re a very dangerous LYS for me to step into. They were very polite, but in frenzied action getting ready for Stitches West, and left me alone for a while and didn’t treat me like a shoplifter (always nice). They had a wall of books, some of which I hadn’t been able to get my hands on in the (almost) five years I’ve been knitting. I must have spent 1/2 an hour wading through their collection (one of the women told me to at least make myself comfortable and cleaned a table off for me), and finally decided on E Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop. I like all the designing notes on traditional patterns for things like lace shawls and guernseys. While there, I also picked up a skein of Cherry Tree Hill’s sock yarn (which was on sale!), in African Grey, and a Clover knitting counter pendant. I have to say that I have a very positive review of this shop, they were very friendly and chatty and somehow managed to get me signed up for their frequent buyers program. Since they’re going to Stitches, they also gave me a coupon for a ticket discount, too. I finally dragged myself out, just so I wouldn’t buy more yarn.

My next stop was to be Uncommon Threads, whose location I was a bit less certain of. I actually found them by accident. Whilst looking down a cross street, I saw a large sign for “Exotic Silks”. Without even stopping to think about it I started walking toward the siren sign. I turned and saw the LYS I had been in search of. It was right across the street from the silk shop. Oh, my. Conundrum. Well, yarn must come first, so I went into the shop and determined that I would get the supplies to teach A to knit (before I forgot again), which was lucky since this shop had more beginner’s supplies. They also had a fantastic supply of buttons (which I regretfully pulled myself from) and Nashua yarns. I only let myself get one ball (it’ll work with my Silk/ Alpaca!) with the supplies for A. I liked this yarn shop as well. They were a lot quieter than the other, and more traditional as well. But, they were friendly and encouraging and, again, didn’t treat me like a shoplifter (yay!).

I then, eagerly, crossed the street and went into the silk shop. It turned out that they were the actual business location of Thai Silks. THE Thai Silks that I got my pink silk dupioni from. I just stood in the doorway, staring, and knew that I was facing one of the greater Temptations of my life. It was as if Satan himself were standing by me, whispering terrible terrible things in my ear. It’s not fair that they were having a 50% off sale on things like painted silk charmeuse or, oh heaven help me, rayon/ silk devore. I finally decided that I would only buy a silk scarf and 2 yards of batik cotton (for my Mum) before I consulted with St M and D. Mostly because I’d feel justified in spending more with a plan in mind. Before I left, I memorized several of the more promising fabric’s prices, widths, and general info. Right now I can still hear a pink/ green silk jacquard calling my name along with a chorus of several rolls of raw silk noil.

Thinking back on it, it’s a good thing that I escaped when I did, all in all. By that point I was starving (I ate a banana for breakfast, yay me) and made my way back. On the way, I stopped in a fantastic (and quite popular) bakery and got a yummy sandwich. I even made a dork of myself dropping several things and being a general nuisance. Woot.

Just as I was about to cross the (invisible) line between Los Altos and Mountain View, it started to rain. I mock this rain. Having lived in Eugene for several years, this rain was pitiful. I just pulled up my hood and kept going. But, despite my own indifference to the weather, there was no way I was going to photograph my spoils outside. So, you’ll have to settle for an indoor, washed out, picture (sorry!) taken on my sister’s dining room table:


The first thing I noticed when I set everything out was that everything kind of matched. Weird. After that, I kind of collapsed, as I had a migraine (I’m an idiot and forgot to get my birth control refilled before leaving) and slept for several hours. Sooo, now here I am. That’s all.

Hopefully I’ll be able to do some more exploring tomorrow. I’ll even walk ^_^

banana silk

Tender-handed stroke a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains;
Grasp it like a man of mettle,
And it soft as silk remains.

Aaron Hill

My order of banana silk arrived today! TheBon and I each ordered 8 oz last week. It’s very fluffy, silky, and tangled (like every other type of “silk” I’ve worked with). But, in the spirit of experimentation (Bon and I have agreed to meet and discuss possibilities before diving into the stuff) I tried carding just a little bit of it:

Isn’t it shiny?

In other news, D and I met for the first Corset-A-Long date this afternoon. We both forgot our books (Corsets and Crinolines), and I left one of my corsets at home along with a pattern piece. So clever, I know. Right now we’re working on the details of a group order of coutille, boning, and other corsetry bits. And, because we really don’t have enough to do (hahaha), we’re talking about starting a Cotehardie-A-Long.

This evening I finally got the tickets for my visit down to the Bay Area. In honour of this momentous achievement (seriously, it’s taken over 2 weeks of struggle here), I’m putting up another picture of my niece, baby T, quite arguably the cutest baby ever, in the history of bipedals:


I also managed to ship my MYB parcel to varandra today. It’s due to arrive in Sweden in 4 – 7 days. Right-O. Since my Tea Time Swap parcel still hasn’t arrived, I’m not sure I trust the national mail service right now.

Final note: ouch.