Thursday, August 30, 2007

Divide and Conquer (I hope)

There is good news and bad news, the bad news is there hasn't been a lick of sewing accomplished since the last sewing update post. The good news is there has been a heck of a lot of knitting going on despite the hot weather (thank goodness for A/C). There has been a good bit of progress made since the last time I posted a picture of the wonderful Cable and O's sweater on the KAL for No Sheep for you. The last picture I had 4 repeats finished I felt pretty accomplished, 288 stitches per row is no small undertaking. I have finished 14 inches of the body, and the left front and I have made some progress on the right front (pictures in the next post I promise). This is the first time that I have knit the fronts and backs together, and I have to say that it took a lot of time and effort to knit the body and the two fronts together but once you divide the thing flies. Not to mention the fact that there will be little seaming since it's only the sleeves. There is however a button band, which isn't my favorite thing in the world, but it has to be done. Needless to say I haven't been working on anything else, you don't get this kind of progress knitting on 4 things at once. It's been a bit of a bummer not being able to switch off for variety but what I have lacked in choices I have made up for in progress. This is the first time in about 5 years I haven't had a sock on the needles either, scary but true.

On an academic note, this is the first day of the last year of school for me, I have pretty much gone to school continuously since I was 5 (there have been a few breaks but none were more than 6 months). I can't wait to be done, I have three more classes and my thesis and then I'm done. I would be freaking out but in the last two weeks everything has come together I have my thesis committee and my thesis topic so I really can't complain. Hopefully I will have time to get some knitting in too, but this next year is heavy on travel (can you believe it, finally) so hopefully I will get to do both!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Everything Rolled into One Weekend

This weekend was chock-o-block full of hobby related things. First the fiber hunt we got an email from one of our favorite LYS Common Thread that they were having a yarn sale (yippie). So ItShe and I got on the train and went up to Encinitas to met Grape at the shop for the sale. We had to get the lay of land since some things were moved around do to the sale. The back room was filled with about 10 laundry baskets filled of fiber that was 30% off, some very nice stuff. I think that ItShe got some nice yarn to make leg warmer-ish thing with. If nothing in the back caught your eye not to worry your entire purchase was going to be on sale. Once you decided what you wanted you picked a balloon and inside each balloon was a tiny piece of paper that told you what your discount was (from 10% -50%). I will say that there were some serious discussion and very laborious decision making was involved for all. I was really proud of us that we took so much time to make sure we were getting things with a purpose not just because it was "on sale". And the big yarn news of the day was something that I think ItShe will tell you all about, let's just say it kicked the Koigu door WIDE open.

I decided to get two different things: the first thing was Austermann Step a sock yarn with aloe and jojoba in the yarn, and the second one was Cascade Quatro. The Step will be socks, I don't have a pattern in mind but I'm sure I will find one, if not my "vanilla pattern" with do just fine. The Quatro which was a really good deal, will be knee high socks, don't have a pattern either, but I will find one, the yarn is 4 ply: melon, green, magenta, and purple. I have been attracted to this yarn for over a year and never knew what I would do with it, but knee-highs are perfect.

Then the three of us went to the E Street Cafe to knit and grab a beverage, until the 5:15 train, we got on the train, got back to town and headed to my house so ItShe could change clothes for the movie. We had made plans with friends to go see Funny Face at Cinema Under The Stars it was going to be such a good time. Yes it would have been a great time if only they hadn't sold out of tickets 5 minutes before we got there. Super huge bummer!

We quickly regrouped decided to have sushi at San Sai (hand roll combo) and go back to my house and watch Shawn of the Dead. It's one of ItShe's favorite movies, and I can see why, it was the same people that made Hot Fuzz. I loved it and even though we didn't get to see Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire and ItShe's perfect outfit for the movie I think we recovered well.

Then it was off to bed for me because I had to be ready to roll at 5:30 am to go to cars and coffee in Irvine. Now most of the time car weekends and yarn weekends aren't the same but this weekend Big A had to work and I wanted to see the new Dodge Challenger (and take picture so he could see it too) so his friend R said that he would take me to Irvine to see it.

And here it is . . . I'm in love!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Made with Love (OR when you have friends this crafty do you really need Martha?)

So we had a few friends over to the house this past Saturday for dinner (sorry I didn't take pictures of the food, I meant to I just forgot) it was a wonderful opportunity to have people over to try out the two new batches of home brew that the boys had made a few weeks before (in case you are wondering it was a batch of peach wheat and IPA that was made with rye, so we call it a rye-PA). The reason why I tell you this is because the wonderfully crafty ItShe gifted a super wonderful apron to me.

What's that you say . . . oh sure it's cute and yes she did a GREAT job on sewing it together, see the pocket matches up and everything.

But look closer . . . yes what you thought was plain bandanna material is much more subversive.

Yes it has skulls, and not just any skulls but skulls and crossbones with barbed wire squares, to cool huh?

She's crafty that one, very impressive and one of the best parts is that the bottom polka dotted portion is very ruffle-y when you put it on (something you can't see from the photo).

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Where has the summer gone?

No seriously . . . I have always had this theory that once the 4th of July comes around the summer is almost over. And (not) surprisingly this has happened again this summer. So much has happened since I (sadly) started blogging and didn't keep up with it, part of the problem is that I don't have a cute little easy to use digital camera that I can just take pictures with and since I myself love blogs with pictures I feel some how that my blogging cant' go up until I have pictures. I think I will have to break down sometime and buy a point and shoot pocket sized camera so I can have more pictures.

I will try to bring this blog up to speed with "how I spent my summer vacation" type posting for all crafty adventures. First I finally got the Bernina (yes I'm talking sewing) that I so kindly inherited cleaned (it really needed it) and once I got it back I wanted to use it. So I while on a tutorial hunt I found this Box Bag Tutorial, I made one and I was hooked. Which meant of course I could use what little fabric stash I had to make everyone a bag. If you believed that last sentence you don't really know me very well, this one event put the sewing gods in motion and I ended up increasing my fabric stash 4 fold (embarrassing, but worth it) and of course I had to get all the tools one would need to sew, this buying frenzy went on for about a month, but now I have everything I need (a-huh sure).

So ItShe had a wonderful suggestion that we take a (free, gotta love Continuing Education) sewing class this summer, it was for two Saturdays in June and we were suppose to "sew a simple sun dress" (try saying that 10 times, trust me we did). I wanted to start with something a bit more my speed so I made a skirt (sorry forgot to take a picture of it). After trying to decipher "sewing speak" (i.e. the pattern) I needed a bit of help from the teacher and asked her a few questions and I was on my way. When it comes to knitting I almost always follow the rules and understand what a pattern is asking me to do and why, with sewing I had NO idea, it was like magic, I'm not kidding. I would read the 2 sentence direction a million times and then try to do what it said, I didn't know why or how but it worked, amazing. However I had to Google for a zipper tutorial (thank goodness for the internet) it was a bit tricky (and a bit wonky) but I got the basic idea now. The fabric was from Jo-Ann's, it was 50% off and it's a Cape Cod in the summer type skirt, thank you to ItShe for the suggestion to use green ribbon (you rock!).

Up next . . . why yes that's another skirt but it's in a super wonderful and eye-catching Amy Butler fabric (thank you Beverly's).It's a half circle skirt, lots of fabric for the breeze to catch ask ItShe she made a summer-y blueberry skirt from the same pattern (although she finished hers) I hope to have mine done soon for the simple fact that the sewing machine's summer home has been my dinning room table and I would like to have the use of the table back (i.e. there are people coming over for dinner this Saturday).

Finally my "simple sun dress" it is a Duro Olowu inspired pattern from Butterick. I loved the fabric, bought three yards of it and didn't know what do to with it when I came across the pattern I asked ItShe if she thought it would be flattering (perhaps the most difficult thing to do is pick the best pattern for your body) we discussed, and I bought it. The fabric is once again from Beverly's and ItShe was kind enough to help again with the contrasting fabric color choice (I swear I wouldn't know what I would do without her). The only thing I have left to do is the bottom of the skirt . . . dreaded bottom of the skirt . . . let's just say it's been this way for about 3 weeks now. I just have to bite the bullet and finish it. You see part of the problem is I have no idea how, the directions are in sewing speak, but since I'm a very rouge sewer I will probably end up figuring something out myself that may not be the correct way but hopefully (fingers crossed) it will look fine.

Since this summer was consumed by a lot of sewing there hasn't been that much in the way of knitting, however I did barely manage to finish my Jaywalker socks, kitchener-ed and ends woven in, truly loved the pattern and I want to make another pair with Fire on the Mountain from Socks that Rock (I know it's bright and crazy but the pattern with this colorway is amazing).

However just because there has been little knitting doesn't mean that there hasn't been yarn purchasing, how does that work you ask, I'm an addict and I can't be stopped (at least that's the honest answer). So there has been 4 purchases; Malabrigo lace weight yarn, Handmaiden Seasilk, Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro in color 60 which is a teal, and Trekking XXL. Most of the yarn purchases were very budget minded, except for the Seasilk which is for my Mom.

What will I do with all this you ask? Well first the Malabrigo lace weight yarn . . . let's just say that I read some reviews and wanted to see for myself how super/so/amazingly/out of this world soft this lace weight yarn was. I happened to have a little bit of time so I decided to drive to a beach side knitting store I had never been to, they had Malabrigo but only in worsted . . . or so I thought, at the last second I saw out of the corner of my eye two skeins of lace weight in a natural color. I reached to take the skein off the hook on the wall, and all I can say is those people who kept going on and on were exactly right, this stuff was crazy soft. Not wanting lace weight in white, I was on an all out hunt, I called EVERY local yarn store that was suppose to have it according to the distribution page on their web site, no one had it and some hadn't even heard of the brand. Then I called all the local yarn stored I knew of and they didn't have it either (or they didn't have the colors I wanted) but tried to convince me that they had lace weight yarn that was just as nice, and they might have, but I wanted the Malabrigo. So I started to call yarn shops in the OC, no luck either so I decided after exhausting all the "local" shops I would try the internet, I found one shop that had the colors I wanted, Surf for me and Lettuce for ItShe. I ordered it went on vacation, camping on the beach for 4 days and when I returned it was there in my mailbox waiting for me. Little did I know that we both had surprises for each other in the same week, I gave her fiber and she gave me this shirt, to cute huh?
She came up with it all by herself, just for me, I'm so proud of her and I feel so privileged to wear it. And I did at the Stitch and Pitch at Pet Co. Park, the Padres got shelled but it was great fun to hang out with Grape and ItShe we all had on t-shirts that ItShe made.

Second on the list is Handmadien SeaSilk, slightly out of my budget, but it's for my mom, the colorway is called Capri (it's perfect!). The yarn is very cool is it 30% Seacell and 70% silk. What is Seacell, glad you asked the Handmaiden website says
Seacell is a cellulose based fibre made from seaweed. That’s right – seaweed! It is highly breathable and very soft. When worn, your skin’s natural moisture will release magnesium, calcium and vitamin E contained within the seaweed. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to protect the skin. Amazing.

I'm making the Tuscany shawl from Amy R. Singer's No Sheep for you (which ItShe got me for my birthday), the pattern is beautiful and I think it will be a good introduction to "lace" and it will be the first triangular shawl, and who doesn't love Knitty and Amy for that matter.

Third is Ornaghi Filati Merino Oro (and that concludes the Italian portion of the show) this is a WAY in the future project (I need to spend some serious time with my husband's sweater and my Cable and O's) but I wanted to get the yarn just in case it won't be available when I want to start the project and for about $20 including shipping for 1375 yards (yes that's right 1375 yards) of lace weight merino I couldn't (wasn't going to) let it pass me by. I plan to make the Print O the Wave Stole by the ingenious Eunny Jang. I love this pattern, I love the yarn, but the needles are becoming a bit of a problem for me, she says to use 00's. Sure o.k. 00's not a problem in 47" lenght, got it! Yeah the problem is places have 0's or 000's but not 00's and if they do they do not have the correct length so to the web I will go, but since I'm not starting it any time soon it's doesn't seem to be such a huge deal, I will continue to look.

The fourth and final of the current stash enhancement (I like the way that sounds) is Trekking XXL in color # 100, when I first met ItShe she was working on a pair of socks that she named watermelon socks because the colors were very watermelon-esq, I LOVED them and the yarn was so nice and ever since I have been looking for some Trekking of my own that was brighter and not so manly in color. I finally found some at Knitting in La Jolla and I bought it without even thinking about it.

I think that's about it, or that's all I can think of for the moment. More blogging later (I mean sooner than later).