Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No Jeeves Yet!


Since there could be no sewing, late last night I got the latest ostrich plume scarf done
which currently looks a little ramen-noodle-ish, but should be quite marvelous when blocked. 

I had hoped to pick up Jeeves today, and since I couldn't, I consoled myself with this
Yes!  It's another ostrich plume scarf!  Though this time with little white seed beads--which you probably can't see as they never show up in pictures, but they're there on every-other pattern row. 

I'm sure it will be a lovely scarf & will make a nice gift for someone, but the light pink is just a little too girly, so I decided to cast on a wool scarf as well
I'm using the leftover yarn from my January Aran sweater which shows stitch definition well.  I'm using something called the "wickerwork pattern" from the second Barbara Walker treasury.  It's not a pattern I would normally use, but I think it will make a nice scarf. 

Hopefully Jeeves can come home Thursday.  If not, I hate to think how many scarves I'll have cast on by then........

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We're Back!

I'm happy to report that both the finger and my pride are healing nicely, so there has been knitting.  The latest Ostrich Plume scarf is getting close to a finished length
or, I should say, closer as there's still a fair bit of knitting to be done.  Still, it's moving forward.

And Andy's sweater is a BIGGER black tube
and I have ALMOST knit up all the yarn from that back piece, so I will soon get to start counting the yarn again!  VERY exciting.  Since the sweater picked up a theme song, I had to abandon the book in favor of a BBC series a friend had recommended
which is about two sisters who build their own fashion house in the 1920s.  Which is great and the clothes are fabulous, but it may not have been the best choice since I was already missing Jeeves.  While I'm not actually admitting anything, there may have been a small case of the sulks here last night.......

BUT, the big news is...............................It's June 27 and project number 50 for the year is done AND delivered!

Friday night we celebrated the 55th wedding anniversary with some of our very favorite people, and we made this for the occasion.  Andy made the frame while I did the embroidery, and our friends were thrilled with the result.  It might be my very favorite project of the year....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knitter Down!!!!!

Tomorrow is Finishing Friday, and let's take a brief look at where we stand:

*  Sewing machine - still in the shop & not likely to be home tomorrow. 

*  Knitting - our little heroine has just managed to cut herself WHILE PICKING STRAWBERRIES.  Not cleaning strawberries.  Not planting strawberries.  PICKING strawberries.  The details are a bit hazy as it frankly still seems impossible, but I started out with a bucket and ended up with half a pint of strawberries and a hand bleeding much more than one would ever imagine from a berry-related injury.  And here's the kicker:  it actually hurts!  I may be prevented from knitting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You do realize, of course, that this possibly makes me the first person in history to be beaten up by berries????   

Oh, the shame..........

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What A White Chocolate Martini Makes A Knitter Think.....

*  That her husband, who doesn't even wear prints because they aren't "manly" enough, might enjoy a little strategically-placed lace pattern for "interest."

*  Apparently, that "strategically" is spelled with only one "t"

*  That the first hot summer day is a SMASHING day to work on a wool sweater.

*  That starting ANOTHER lace scarf--this time with beads--wouldn't really slow down the progress of the 14 existing projects.

*  That the ability to read while knitting--even if it is only mind-numbing round after round of stockinette done with a yarn that won't split--makes one a KNITTING GENIUS, no matter how often one has proved otherwise.....

*  That as soon as Andy's birthday sweater is finished, it's time to finally cast on that cabled sweater.....and that it will in no way make the 100-projects goal AT ALL difficult.....

*  That it sounds better to say that a black tube of knitting is too boring for pictures than to say one is too inebriated to figure out how to upload pictures of any current knitting..........

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So The Knitting WAS Going Strong.....

The revised version of Andy's birthday sweater is zipping along, and everything had been going reasonably well.  I'm knitting it in the round, and aside from the occasional need for a purl stitch or two, it's pretty mindless.  So mindless, in fact, that with the aid of my little Bookmate helper
to hold my book open, I have polished off two books and am on to my third (The Know-IT-All, about a man who sets off to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica--who frankly sounds like a man after my own heart).  I was even pretty cheery considering that until I finish knitting up the rest of the yarn from the back that I'm frogging,

I don't get to count ANY of this yarn on the stash-busting tally as it's already on there.  Still, I've made it through the yarn from half a front and more than half of the back--helped of course by the fact that that bottom edge is STILL rolling and always would and there would have been no point in deluding myself any longer.

BUT, I made the ultimate mistake this afternoon.  I picked up the sweater to knit, but without a book.  I thought it might just be nice to sit and knit and think about nothing.....which is not possible.

"....and another round we go.....the new fence does look nice.....I should fix that steak for lunch tomorrow, maybe as kabobs.......I need to remember to check the birthday calendar for the rest of the month......I wish my stupid arm would heal already....what is Theo doing to the radishes now?  Oh, ewwww........I should probably plant another row of beans today. It said every two weeks, but was that for people who really love green beans or for anyone........and another round we go.....I miss Jeeves.....I wonder how long one would have to drive an ice cream truck before that ditsy music made one suicidal.......I hope I get Jeeves back by Friday.....and another round we go.....and another....I haven't made a baby sweater in a while.  Maybe that can be next...round and round....maybe not a BSJ this time........round and round.....the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus......

And NOW every time I look at this sweater I hear that ditsy little song in my head.  I don't even know all the words, and yet I can't get rid of it--which is worse because I can't even vary it any.  Nope, every line for me is THE SAME.  Over & over & over & over........................


Monday, June 21, 2010

Um, So It's Monday Already.....

....and I swear I have been doing things.  I'm sure I have.  Obviously no sewing things, but things.  I just may not remember exactly what those things might be.........

Why yes, we did have wine with dinner.  Why do you ask?

Friday, June 18, 2010

They Found The Problem!

My Husqvarna dealer called yesterday, and Jeeves needs a new circuit board, which has been ordered and Jeeves should be back fixed and happy in a week to 10 days.  AND the circuit board is still under warranty, so I just have to pay for the labor.  Whoo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously, when was the last time you had a product that was still under warranty 4 years after you bought it?

In the meantime--now that I've gotten over my separation anxiety--I thought I might work on the sweater that I'm making for Andy's birthday, which is next month.  The back is done, and the Cambridge Jacket is mostly stockinette, but I found myself wanting to do ANYTHING but work on the sweater.  In spite of changing the pattern to add 4 rows of ribbing, the back was still rolling, and I was finding the pattern instructions really fussy for a really simply-shaped sweater, so yesterday I decided to chuck the pattern and design a similar sweater, though knit in the round and with ribbing as I live in the part of the universe where we realize that stockinette stitch rolls all the time no matter how much it is blocked.    So.......

I think I'm going to do 4 inches of the K3, P2 ribbing and then continue the ribbing in panels under the arm, then eventually bring the ribbing back at the shoulders because that is the part of the original pattern Andy likes.  HOWEVER, I think I'm going to change one of the upper K3s to a small braid cable for interest--though I'm not sure how visible it will be with this yarn.  I will be steeking for the zipper and arms, and I'm using the measurements of Andy's favorite fleece pullover.  It took a while to do all the measuring, the gauge, and the math--too long, in fact, for Theo
but once I got it on the needles, it has been just flying.  The nice part is, I'm able to knit without wondering if the pattern will have some sort of horrible "gotcha" ahead for me.....like a horribly over-sized neck or sleeves meant for alien creatures.  And NOW finishing the sweater by his birthday (July 16) has become a real--if challenging--possibility anyone dumb enough to attempt 100 projects in a year is certainly foolish enough to attempt a full-sized sweater in just under one month.........


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Houston, We Have a Problem

Jeeves is ill.  This

is as far as I could get on a set of towels last night.  He keeps resetting himself while embroidering, and at first I thought it was just something I have done, but then it happened every time I changed thread, but I was hoping I could at least get the towel done, but once I reached the strawberry stem, he started resetting himself WHILE embroidering.  NOT a good sign.  The good news is, the sewing side works fine.  The BAD news is, the sewing part and embroidery part are in the same machine, and both are going to have to go in for repairs.


So, I have 49 projects for the year.  One more, and I'm on track for June.  Fine--maybe I can finish the scarf by the end of the month.  What if Jeeves has to be gone for a couple weeks?????????  I need eight finished objects for July as well!!!!!!!  Or he could be back in a week and all this worrying will be for nothing--but you know that isn't going to stop me......

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm In Love!!!!!

Remember how I said I was going to work on the mitten garland this month?
Obviously, that is not working out for me.  I have become OBSESSED with this scarf!  I wasn't sure if I would like the pattern in merino as well as I did the alpaca, so I steamed it a bit to see how it would look when finished--AND I LOVE IT!  I am a knitter obsessed!

And meet projects 48 and 49:
which is a shirt & cropped pants, not a shirt with bloomers, no matter what they look like in the picture.  I am rather proud of finishing up this fabric, as it was one of the first pieces of material I bought when I decided to take up sewing 5-6 years ago.  It MAY have been the oldest fabric in my stash--which gives me hope for the rest of the stash. 

Theo was, of course, on hand to help, but I think a project with THREE drawstrings AND buttonholes was perhaps a bit much for him.......

Saturday, June 12, 2010


IF Finishing Friday hadn't been the first nice, sunny day we've had in quite some time....

IF the sleeve I cut out for the shirt had actually been of the same pattern as the REST of the shirt.....

IF Theo had been just a little less "helpful...."

IF I had chosen to work on knitting that was farther along, rather than the new Ostrich Plume scarf that I'm currently obsessing over......

IF I hadn't left my camera plugged into the computer and run the battery down....

This would be a MUCH more interesting blog post.........

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ostrich Plume Scarf

This scarf is actually very simple, but I'm trying to make the directions as thorough as possible.  It has a moss-stitch border of 6 rows on top and bottom and 4 stitches on each side, and uses the stitch pattern KNOWN as Ostrich Plume (hence the name).  There's a 3-stitch decrease using a slip 2, k1, pass slipped stitches over, which creates a nicer look than the traditional slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over technique, but feel free to use the more traditional decrease if you choose.  I used a shorter bottom and top edging to allow the wavy stitch pattern to pull the border into the wave effect, but you could certainly add a few extra rows of moss-stitch to the top and bottom if you would like.

I have written this to slip the first stitch of all but the very first row as I think it makes a nicer edge, but you may choose to simply knit them.  As a matter of personal preference, I never slip the first stitch of the first row--it doesn't work with some cast-on methods, so I leave it out.  You may slip the first stitch as if you were going to knit it OR as if you were going to purl it, provided you do the same on every row.  They both work--they just look a little different.

Materials needed:
* size 5 needles
* approximately 400  yards of laceweight yarn (more for longer scarves, less for shorter)

Gauge:  BLESSEDLY unimportant!

Cast on 57 stitches.

Row 1:  [k1,p1] across, k1
Row 2:  slip 1 stitch, [p1, k1] across

Repeat Row 2 4 more times, until you have 6 rows of moss stitch.

Next row--Row 1 (wrong side): slip 1 stitch, P1, k1, p1, place marker, purl 49, place marker, [P1. k1] twice

Rows 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, and 30: slip 1 stitch, P1, K1, P1, slide marker, knit 49, slide marker [P1, K1] twice

Row 3 (and all remaining wrong side rows):  slip 1 stitch, P1, K1, P1, slide marker, purl 49, slide marker [P1, K1] twice

Rows 4, 8, 12, and 16:  slip 1 stitch, P1, K1, P1, slide marker, [K1, yo] three times, *ssk twice, slip 2 knit-wise, k1, pass 2 slipped stitches over, k2tog twice, [yo, k1] 5 times, YO; repeat from *, end ssk twice,  slip 2 knit-wise, k1, pass 2 slipped stitches over, k2tog twice, [YO, K1] 3 times, slide marker [P1, K1] twice

Rows 20, 24, 28, and 32:  slip 1 stitch, P1, K1, P1, slide marker, K2tog 3 times, *[YO, K1] 5 times, YO, ssk twice, slip 2 knit-wise, k1, pass 2 slipped stitches over, k2tog twice; repeat from *, end [YO, K1] 5 times, YO, ssk 3 times, slide marker [P1, K1] twice.

Repeat Rows 1-32 as established until the scarf reaches the desired length, continuing with the moss stitch borders on the outsides of the markers.  Work 6 rows of moss stitch as established, then cast off loosely.  Weave in ends and block.

Shown using a merino laceweight:
and using an alpaca with a slight halo effect:
Both work quite nicely.

This formula--a moss stitch border around a lace stitch pattern--is an easy one to use for any number of projects.  Barbara Walker's stitch pattern dictionaries--or ANY stitch dictionaries containing lace patterns--are a wonderful source of ideas and inspiration, and this formula will work for most with just a change in the number of stitches cast on.  Such a simple combination of stitch pattern and border is not a true "design" and is shared here because friends have asked for the pattern, and sharing is good.  

Knitting And I Have Made Up!!!!

After ALL the sewing and gardening and embroidery, I'm back with my first love:
We just needed a little time apart, I guess.  And freakishly cool weather in the summer doesn't exactly hurt wool's appeal, to be quite honest.

This is another Ostrich Plume scarf, and after several requests, I will be adding the pattern to the blog later.  It quite honestly takes longer to write a stitch pattern than it does to knit, but I will hope to have it on the blog before the scarf is done.  And considering I just started this last night, I definitely think it could be this month!

Monday, June 7, 2010

When The Going Gets Tough.....

....the tough make towels!
I've decided to count 2 towels as one finished project, which feels about right.  I've already given away the last set of coffee towels I made, so I decided 2 or 3 more sets would not be a bad idea.  Especially since most of the other ones I've made mention wine, and it turns out I have a few friends who do not drink.  They don't knit either......coincidence??????????  I think not. 

Some friends of our are about to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary, and Andy and I have decided to combine out hobbies to make:
Okay---so far we're on the "Toni's hobby" party, but when I'm done, Andy will make a walnut frame for it.  I'm thinking of doing a little fabric matting to set it off, so I have one more step to go before turning it over to Andy.

And I did get motivated to cut out some more summer clothes for me
but not motivated enough to start sewing them.  I blame the weather.  We had 25 days of rain in May, and June is pretty much the same so far--this in a "desert" climate.  We even have humidity, which my little Nordic self was NOT designed to handle,  How can one be motivated to make summer clothes when one isn't overly sure one is going to GET summer?

Maybe it's time to dig out some wool knitting after all..........

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Little Burnout Perhaps?

After the maniacal level of crafting that has been going on here lately, it may not be surprising to learn that yesterday I woke up to Finishing Friday with a huge case of....craft burnout.  That's right--the maniac who doesn't find it at ALL unreasonable to make a sweater in 2 weeks or finish 100 projects in one year might have some limits to her crafting drive after all.  I even gave myself permission to cast on something new and STILL couldn't get motivated.....

I may need to see a therapist...........

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And The June Project of the Month Is.....

The mitten garland--you know, the one I started about a month ago? 

When I originally got the idea, I was thinking really LITTLE mittens, so I bought little squares of felt.  Then when I realized that that would mean working with itty bitty mittens and cutting out itty bitty mittens, I thought bigger would be better.  I knew I had used it as a Project of the Month bag, but I couldn't find it when I decided to start the project, and knowing I would need more felt, I bought more and jumped in. HOWEVER, I have decided that it can still qualify as a Project of the Month anyway because it isn't exactly finished, so I'm setting a goal to do 30 mittens in June--one a day.  And as of June 2, I have done.....zero.  I think it's going to be one of those "averages out" things.......

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


You may have noticed a distinct lack of blogging over the holiday weekend.  That's because on the one nice, sunny day I was gardening like a maniac, and on the rainy cold rest of the weekend, my sidekick and I
were sewing.  I know I'm usually not this dedicated to any one hobby, but since I really, really, really think we might get nice weather at some point in the not-so-distant future, I've been making summer clothes with hope in my heart and two bored kitty cats underfoot.

Project 43:
which you would not be meeting AT ALL if it weren't for this insane 100-projects idea as I had to redo the zipper THREE times to get it to fit like it should.  Projects have been sent to the blender for far less than that.

I finished it yesterday afternoon, then--possibly because redoing zippers had completely obliterated my ideas of what constitutes "fun"--I started doing a little math, and realized I had used up over 17 yards of fabric in one month, and was within striking distance of using 20 yards in one month.  Not only was that really enticing all on its own--I was close to doubling the amount of fabric I had used up year to date.

Armed with my sidekick
who swears he was really trying to help rather than interfere, we cut out the napkins for this year's salsa tasting party, and by 9:00 PM......
WE WERE THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, that gives us May totals of:

Projects finished:  12
Yards of yarn used:  1252
skeins of yarn used:  3

And Year to Date:

Projects finished:  44
Yards of yarn used:  5975.5
Skeins of yarn used:  32.75
Yards of fabric used:  41.315


I'm thinking that if I can use up 100 yards of fabric this year--without having another incident at a fabric store--I might have used up the amount of fabric I've purchased in that last 2 1/2 years while I've been on the Cold Sheep yarn diet.  AND find the floor in the sewing room.......................................