One Day I Will be Organized

I promise!  Unfortunately, that day is not today.  And, I doubt it’s going to be tomorrow.  Maybe next week.  Or, next month.

I cannot find the cord to my camera.  This is most likely due to the habit I have of carrying my laptop with me all over the house, along with any contraptions I might have plugged in to the laptop, especially my camera.  My camera also has an oddly sized memory card, which seems to be impossible to find a computer I can slide the card into to be read.

So, in short, all of my photographs taken this weekend of……my completed Klimt sweater, my Sunday Reconstructed project, and the dress I just cast on for Ellette’s birthday….yeah, you won’t be seeing those for a few more days.

Yesterday, my friend Joshua Safford, asked me to help him paint a few signs to put on his newly constructed wagon to carry his mushroom table around with him when he does his storytelling and magic.  (If you haven’t guessed it, he’s a professional storyteller that uses faeries and other fantasy creatures for the basis of his work.)  We spent much of the afternoon at Tom Thumb and then sprawled on the floor of my studio painting and listening to steampunk music.

Perhaps we incited the faeries to steal my cables so I could not show you the work they have inspired in us?

Today, I have been inspired with a design for Ellette’s birthday dress.  It was difficult this morning to take some necessary measurements without her guessing that I was going to start making something for her.  She doesn’t know what yet, which is good.  She has recently had this obsession for pouring over my knitting magazines and finding all of the pictures of kids/girls in knitted items and asking if they come in her size.  (Yeah, you can be jealous of me for having a daughter appreciative of my creative outlets).

In any case, I am using that purple cotton yarn I snagged from Knit Whiz and this morning I knit a swatch to get my gauge.  My obsession for the practicality of the provisional cast-on meant I spent a good deal of time fiddling with that, along with stitch count for pattern repetition in the round and shaping methods.  The provisional cast on is purely so that I can knit the top first, then knit the skirt to whatever length my amount of yarn will permit.

Maybe my excitement for my works-in-progress is facilitating the disorganization…

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An Exercise in Self Control

This post is dedicated to The Village KnitWhiz
Every Knitter’s dream and nightmare.  Funny how sometimes it can be one and the same.  The Village Knit Whiz of Glenview will be closing it’s doors permanently as of 3pm today.  I just found out about this Monday, and made it over to say farewell this afternoon.  This is a nightmare for those for whom this is the closest supplier of their fiber addiction and who must now find an alternative store through which to satiate their cravings.  A dream because, well, 90% off all yarn is a little hard to beat.

This was my exercise in self control.  Every week I receive an envelope with the previous week’s tip distribution.  This ranges from 14 to 60 dollars, depending on how busy the coffee shop was.  This tip money does not figure in to my monthly house budget, since it is so variable, and instead it gets placed in a separate envelope at home aptly labeled: Yarn Addiction Fund.  I don’t need to explain, do I?  Well, I had a hefty sum saved up, as well as the desire to make my little girl a summer dress for her upcoming 6th birthday, and, well….90% off!!

It was just my luck that when I arrived, there was pretty much only novelty yarns left.  Still, I found some interesting pickings.  A few corn fiber yarns, several types of cotton, a plethora of ribbon yarns, and the standard funky fiber glittery yarns as well.  I tried not to grab everything within sight.

My score, however, was this:

A 100% cotton in my daughter’s favorite color, as though it was hiding behind all the puke greens just for us.  This will become that wonderful summer dress (maybe tunic?) that she’s been asking for.  And, I have just over 1 month to design it, and then knit it.

Now the kicker of this adventure is that I went to the checkout, plopped down my bag filled with yarn and waited to hear what damage had been done.  The total?  $26.77

Yep.  Envious?

Now, if only this self-control could extend to finishing that Klimt sweater…

Dear Klimt Sweater, I’m sorry…

I have been sewing in hundreds of loose threads.  I have been grafting pieces together, and ripping out the seams to do it all over.  I have fussed and cursed and stuffed the object away so I could regain sanity.  And then I did something worse.

I cast on a new sweater.

I don’t know what came over me.  I don’t know how I could have been distracted.  My five year old daughter even chastised me for it!

But you must understand, it was only a moment of weakness!!  The easy top down construction with a delicate lace edging and then simple stockinette stitch – that mindless, monochromatic stockinette stitch.  That’s what got to me.  I just couldn’t take the color changes, the glitz and glitter anymore and I needed something simple to reestablish sanity.

I am sorry.  Truly.  I want to try you on, Klimt.  Feel that victory of having completed such a difficult project – and my first sweater, too!  And, even though my family has repeatedly accused me of favoring you over them, they, too, want to see you in your shining glory!

I know you understand.  You are constructed as a challenge to Knitters, that our resolve stay steadfast and our minds sharp.  And I am working on you, I promise. But, in order to stay focused on the finishing process and not toss you in to a bag in the closet, I must break it up occassionally (ok, I know today I spent more time on Leyfi, and I apologize).

I promise that I will have you completed as quickly as possible – say one week or so?

And if I don’t I promise you can unravel and regurgitate all of those loose ends I just finished weaving in!  Cross my heart!

Yours,

Anna

 

PS: My kitten has become the lover of yarn as well.  She knows not to eat them, but she can’t help loving them:

This particular ball of Frog Tree Alpaca she seems particularly fond of. I have found it stolen from my stash on a number of occassions and today spotted her trotting through the house with it in her teeth.  She then set it down and wrapped her little paws around it possessively. Maybe it’s her favorite color?  Or maybe it’s just that awesome!

Reconstructed

I do apologize for submitting this post bright and early Monday morning instead of Sunday afternoon as I had promised last week.  We had to drive to Milwaukee to pick up Ellette because my dad did not want to miss the Packers game.  She was spending the weekend with them.  By the time we got home and Ellette was in bed for the night, I had just enough energy left to snuggle in to bed and close my eyes.

So, Monday morning, before leaving for work and getting Ellette on the bus, I am going to give you the shirt I reconstructed yesterday.

I felt kind of guilty taking a pair of scissors to this one, but I saw so much potential in it!  Odin bought this for me when we were in Floyd.  It is from the Red Rooster Coffee Roaster.  I love it.  The back has a simple rooster, red of course, right between the shoulder blades.  I wish we would have gotten a better picture of it but that’s what I get for letting Odin take pictures.  It’s a coffee bean with a rooster footprint making a peace sign in it and around the edge it says “Coffee with a Conscious”.  Love it!

 

I had to decide what to do with the shirt.  I didn’t want to add too much or take away from the design.  I had a bit of black lace that Odin wrapped my Christmas present in (because that’s Odin – wrap up a

set of books in a Whole Foods bag and black lace!)

 

I decided to do something asymmetrical and easy.  So, I laid out the shirt flat and cut up the side seam.  On either side of the fabric I cut little holes to lace ribbon through.

And then I tied the black lace at the bottom.  And voila!

This is a great way to add a little extra fabric and pull at the seams if shirts are a little too tight, as well as take away fabric while leaving design intact if shirt are a little too big.

As Odin said, it’s a little gloom cookie meets barista!

Ah….Saturdays

This was my Saturday.  Mine.  Something I’ve needed for weeks now.  A full day with no obligations.  Ellette is spending the weekend with my parents.  I didn’t have to work.  I had no orders that needed to be filled.  I could do whatever.  Heaven.

I slept in, for starters.  Nothing was going to disturb that.  Then, Odin made french toast while I made coffee.  It was all delicious.  We talked about what to do with our day and listed off the things we wanted to do, and then set out on our adventure.

Odin wanted his hair cut, so we went to Pivot Point to have a student do it for cheap.  I sat on the couch in the lounge area and knit quietly and contentedly.  One of the employees and several of the other waiting customers began to chat with me about my knitting and the possibility of commissioned work, which makes me happy as I need more work.  I must have been sitting there for an hour or more as the student works with Odin.  I wondered if I was going to finish my hat before they finished his hair.  Finally, when I worried about getting a parking ticket from the evil meter maids, I walked over to where the young woman was working with him and didn’t have to wait too much longer before he was done.

We had to go to the currency exchange at one point, which is close to Benison’s Bakery, which I had never been in but had heard much about.  We wandered in there and quickly became excited over German bread and applestrudels.  Yummy!

Across the street was a furniture store.  I have fun in furniture stores.  I sat in couches, ran my hands along book shelves, flipped through fabric catalogues.  It was a bit inspiring, and a little pricey.  And then, the best part of my day occured.  The owner gave me this:

Two bags filled to bursting with discontinued fabric samples.  I have found that many fabric stores, interior design shops, and furniture stores will just give away the samples if they don’t have need of them anymore.  Some of them are tiny and a little small to work with.  Others, like what was in the bag, are at least 12″x12″!  I can do wonderful things with them.

I have not yet gone through the bag entirely to see what sorts of hidden treasures are within.  But just from what tumbled out when I set the bags down, there are some choice pickings!

Later this afternoon we drove down to Andersonville to check out the Brown Elephant, a resale shop that I was told to check out.  One of the locations is in an old vaudville theatre, and Odin commented that it’s almost something you would expect to find out of a comic book.  We both had fun looking through the racks of stuff, trying out the furniture, and looking in the cases at all the old medical equipment and weird antiques they had.  Odin, because he’s a weird engineer, found an old glass syringe that he just had to have.  He also found this strange and lethal looking heavy blade that looked like it could have been used for amputations in the Civil War.  The woman who showed it to us (maybe the owner?) said she would knock down the price for us if we would just get the dangerous thing out of the store.  I think we will be frequent customers from now on.

Patchwork Purse

Then, we walked down the street a bit to the Kopi Cafe, which I had heard about from Coworkers as a place to look into.  It had a really rich atmosphere.  We had dinner there, (they had a full menu of vegetarian cuisine – heaven!) and looked around a bit before heading home.

It has been a full and relaxing day.  And, while there was much more I would have liked to do with my time off, I thoroughly enjoyed, as I always do, exploring with my love.

And, to wrap up, all I can tell you is to keep checking in because I had two bags of fabric scraps that are going to be turned in to fun little purses over the course of the next few weeks – all of which will end up on Etsy sooner or later!

I’m Just a Tease!

So, I am currently wrapping up DAY 69 of the sweater project.  I’m actually quite surprised that I am only 2 months into it.  The hurdles I am in the process of jumping are the ones that really slow knitters down – grafting and weaving in the ends.  That is – the finishing process.

But, I believe I promised earlier no pictures until the item is complete!  However, seeing as how I have had several glasses of wine and a few huffy tantrums over the sleeves, I am offering you, dear readers, a few glimpses into this sweater insanity.

For starters. this:

is in the process of becoming this:

(And slowly, I might add!)

After a few attempts at adding a fancy lace border, I gave up.  There was simply too much math involved for my frame of mind.  So, I attempted to work the bottom hem per instructions, but the cast off was way too tight, even though I felt like I was barely holding the needles/yarn in my hands!  I ripped it out, cursed several times and poured another glass of wine, and then decided to cast off with a simple crocheted trim.  Observe:

And, I am going to leave you with two more photos for you to puzzle your minds over!

and…

So, work is being finished, slowly.  I have several commissions I’m working on and some new products being developed.  Exciting work!

Something New

This month I decided to branch out a bit and hit two birds with one stone (being vegetarian, I would rather not kill birds – I would rather not hit birds, but that is how the expression goes…)  First, I decided to join a KAL.  Not only that, but this KAL happened to involve a series of classes in it’s process.

The project?

The Tech Square Afghan.  This is an afghan composed of 12 squares, each exploring a different knitting technique – from Cabling to Fair Isle as well as finishing techniques.  In all, it will allow me to learn techniques I’ve never used as well as perfect the techniques I’ve been using for years.  (For instance, I finally know how to properly execute a provisional cast-on.  What a “Duh” moment that was!)

Once a month, a group of KALers get together at the Mosaic Yarn Studio to work on one square of the afghan together.  Seeing as how there are 12 squares to the afghan, it lines up perfectly with the 12 months in the year.  This project is going to take a loooooong time.  Haha.  My main goal of doing this is to get out and socialize as a 1) Knitter, 2) newbie to the area, and 3) young mom (it is difficult to find people – gals – I have a lot in common with; so knitting moms, no matter the age, I tend to bond with easily).

Well, January was Cables and Lace:

I am using Ella Rae Classic.  I don’t know what I was thinking with this weird Salmon color.  Originally, this skein was going to be used in the Selbu mittens, and next to the gray it looked great.  Then, I decided to go more classic with the mittens and substituted white instead.  So, when this KAL began and the shop suggested using Ella Rae, I thought: “Wonderful! I already have a ball I have no clue what to do with!” and so, the afghan commenced on a rather granny note.  I do not want this to end up like one of those whacked out acrylic afghans everybody’s granny made them in the 70s (you know you have one in your closet!).  I’m hoping to pump it up a bit with some more darker berry colors and maybe a cream and a brown to offset the colorful nature with some neutral tones.  The only thing I can really do now is wait and see how it develops every month.

Check in again mid-February for the next installment: INCREASES!

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