Friday, May 29, 2009

W.W.B.D?

Some lessons are hard-learned. I appear to be the kind of person who either learns a new skill so fast you'd swear I was born doing it, OR refuse to catch on until I've practiced so many times you'd swear I was developmentally challenged. This is a tale of the latter.

A couple of nights ago I finished the second sleeve of my Snowdrop Jacket only to make a horrific discovery. The sleeves, knit sideways, are meant to look like this:
My sleeve looked like this: The fact that I had knit two of anything was a miracle in and of itself (notice lack of mittens and socks in my knitting history). I sighed and went to bed.

The next morning, fortified by rest and fully caffeinated, I resolved to fix rather than re-knit the sleeve. My mistake was right at the cast on row, so I unraveled the edge...

... knit a new little piece of stockinette...


...and grafted it onto the correct end of my sleeve:

Nice kitchener stitch, loser! Graft much?

Okay, so grafting should not be attempted under a time crunch. I left for work pleased that my plan would work if executed properly and without time constraints. Then I talked to Barbara.

Barbara (paraphrasing); "Oh, so you unraveled the cast-on and knit the other way."

Me; "No, 'cause it would show if you knit the other way. You can't knit in the other direction, right? Because the stitches are like V's and if you knit the other way they'll be upside-down?"

Barbara; "Well, no... you just pick up the loops..."

Barbara explained. I listened. Barbara explained. I didn't understand. Barbara explained. I didn't believe her. Barbara explained using props. I still didn't get it. Barbara explained the new knitting wouldn't look upside down but you would end up half a stitch off...EUREKA!

Obviously Barbara has the patience of a saint and I have trouble letting go of preconceived notions. I have no idea how I got it into my head that you could not pick up live stitches and knit "upside-down". I'm sure I read something about it somewhere and I suppose my feeble brain retained the off-stitch-count information and ignored the rest.

So there we are. Lesson learned. Next time I run into a problem I'll just think; "What Would Barbara Do?".

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Distractions

I keep looking at the pieces of my Snowdrop Jacket and thinking; "Why aren't you finished!?!".

Maybe because I spent a day making this:


Pattern: Simplicity 2725
Fabric: Irish linen personally imported by the b.f.'s mum (thanks, Maggi!)
Notes: I had to modify the bejeezus out of this to make it work. I shorted it (possibly too much!), took four inches off the sides, added darts in the back and set in pockets. (The whole reason I bought the pattern was because I thought it had pockets - oops!) It fit like a muumuu before I messed with it. Not the look I was going for.


And I finally finished this:

No, I didn't drink that much wine! I had donations!
New inspiration board!
And then I planted this:

Okay, it doesn't look like much yet. It's a work in progress.

And that darned crochet bug keeps pestering me:

...as does that marigold colour. Maybe I should crochet a belt to go with that dress... See how easy I get distracted?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Crafty Genes

I made mention that I took a last minute trip to my hometown last weekend. Unfortunately it wasn't to open a cottage for the season but to visit my Mum in the hospital. BUT WAIT! Hold your sympathy, it's not that bad. Mum fell and dislocated her hip (bad) but is recovering nicely (good), isn't in any pain (good) and is simply bored out of her gourd having to lay around with her leg immobilized (bad, though a good sign that she feels well enough to complain of boredom).

It was a whirlwind trip, and I found very little time I found to knit. I did however take the opportunity to document some of my Mum's crafts around the house. Wanna take a tour?

Come in the front door and you will be greeted by Dad's Lopi sweater hanging over a dining chair:


Now, I know you're a knitter, so you probably want to check out the inside:

Nice, right? What's over there on the couch?

Quilting too, huh? And what's this?

Oh yes, the throw Mum crocheted so quickly she had to wear a wrist brace!

Let's pop downstairs to watch some tv. Need something to occupy your hands? There's always a work in progress by Mum's chair:


And check out the hooked rug!

Yup, we're going back in time here. 70's! Speaking of which, have you seen the quilt in the guest room?

I love this thing, especially because most of the fabric is from my Mum's old dresses... and might I ad.. was stitched by hand?


Don't even get me started about the multi-craftual stash:

There's not enough room on the blog.

Yup, my Mum's pretty crafty. No wonder I turned out this way!

Monday, May 18, 2009

So very square

Ladies and Gentlemen... start your laughing:

If you look up "What Not To Wear" in the dictionary, you should see this picture.

A last minute trip to my parents house this weekend had me digging up my pubescent attempt at crocheting a granny-square vest. Eeek!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Crotchety Crochety

The jury has spoken:




To be honest though, I may have chosen
teal and orange no matter what the results!
Muah-ah-ah!
These little "snowdrops" are deceptively easy
and fun after all that AT SAME TIME nonsense!


Thanks for all the input folks! I find it truly hilarious that there was hardly any consistency with the votes.

Though I've been trying to remain project-monogamous in order to get this jacket knit before the heatwaves of summer... there's been a bit of an accident:


I don't know what happened! I got a bee in my bonnet one day about resurrecting forgotten crochet skills, then a certain someone kindly showed me how to hook a granny square and before I knew it all hell broke loose!

I suppose my definition of "all-hell-breaking-loose" is this crocheted Christmas ornament.

I think the knowledge was buried in the back of my grey matter somewhere just waiting to be dug up. You see, at the tender age of 13 I started making a granny-square vest (horrors!). I know the project was inspired by something I saw in a magazine (Seventeen?) but it never came to fruition. Apparently my mother KEPT this incomplete nightmare (must remember to photograph on my next visit home). I seem to recall a lot of black combined with primary colours. Eeek!

The 'hooker' in me returned with a vengeance, as did my mild distaste for the granny square motif. Wait now, allow me to explain. You see, my granny (yes, I actually called her 'granny') used to crochet giant blankets in completely insane colour combinations. God love her, she was a fantastic grandmother, but her colour sense lacked a certain, um, 'je-ne sais quoi'. Her penchant for combining red/white/green Christmas yarn with 80's neon yellow and 70's mustard has scarred me for life.

Solution? HEXAGON!


The slightly more complex shape pleases me to no end. I know there are beautiful examples of granny-square goodness out there, but it's gonna take this girl a little time to heal, okay?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Colour me good

Too much choice can be overwhelming. When I didn't have cable, I could always find something to watch. Four television channels takes the job of channel surfing from endless ocean to wading pool; French channel? Je ne parle pas. Soap opera? Nah. Cooking show? Maybe... Simpson's re-run? Bingo! Limited options can be a blessing. Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time surrounded by 6000 square feet of yarn.

This makes my colour choices for my Snowdrop Jacket tricky. My original contrast colours were chosen under the "no cable" situation: the yarn (Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000) was on sale and colour choices were limited. Then I discovered Filatura Di Crosa's Zarina is virtually identical yarn and suddenly I was looking at "HD Digital cable with on-demand".


I'm paralyzed by choice. Help a girl out!

From Top Left:

1 - Deep orange & Teal (I'm leaning toward this one)
2 - Cranberry red & Purple (my original choice)
3 - Deep Purple & (nearly impossible to photograph) Mustard yellow
4 - Teal & Cranberry red
5 - Rust Orange & Bright Orange
6 - Teal & Mustard yellow (can you tell I like teal?)
7 - Pink & Peach (2 colours I never wear that I'm throwing in just for kicks. Think of it as the "home shopping network")
8 - Teal & Deep Purple

And those are just the combinations I photographed! The main colour is a grey/olive green/khaki sort of hue - Cool Wool 2000 #534 (gotta love that futuristic-sounding "2000" tacked on the end!)

Remember, this is what I'm knitting:

I'm convalescing with a bit of a cold (no swine flu jokes please) which mean ample knitting time. I need to make a decision before I get to the pockets!


Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Name is Bond

Saturdays in general are pretty kick-ass. I get to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and generally do whatever the bloody hell I want. This Saturday? It kicked ass like an ultimate fighter. Why you ask? RUMMAGE SALE!

The b.f. picked up a lamp that looks like some kind of Art Deco UFO:

We picked up some books too - I'm saving Coffee Tea or Me for cottage reading.

And me? I found something I've been hoping to find for ages:


Boo-yeah! That there is a Bond knitting machine people! Not that the guys at the church sale had any clue. Our conversation went something like this:

Me, palms sweaty, heart beating like a drum; "Um, excuse me? How much is this?"

Bewildered church volunteer; "I dunno. What is it?"

"It's a knitting machine." (Resisting the urge to use words like "duh" and "obviously")

"We didn't know what the hell that was. Do you know how much they are?"

"I have no idea" (Lying! To a church volunteer!)

"How's ten bucks?"

"Sure!"

I took my new friend home (the machine, not the volunteer) crossing my fingers all the parts were there and maybe, just maybe, it would come with instructions.


Score! Not only was it all there, it had never even been used! I spent the better part of the afternoon figuring out how to make the thing knit:

Looks more like a lap-steel than a knitting thing to me!

It knits!
It was fiddly and slow but I'm sure with some practice I'm sure I'll be cranking out rows of perfect little stitches. Whee! Suddenly all of those patterns that require endless stretches of stockinette stitch seem so much more appealing!