Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday update

Remember this?

Melanie & I spent 3 hours on Saturday untangling. If I had known how chopped up it was, I probably would have just thrown the whole mess away. On Sunday Teri-Kay finished the job and was inspired to use the odd lengths to knit in with other yarn to make random stripes. I kept a few of the larger pieces for my log cabin blanket.

How can you stay mad at Peach when she spends 20 minutes tenderly licking her pal's head?

The Swallowtail is pinned out on the insulation foam. Melanie's version is in the background. They will be ready to photograph when The Yarn Lounge opens on Tuesday morning. Final pictures and details to be posted then.

I seem to have caught the lace shawl bug so am participating in the Elann shawl along which begins tomorrow. I am going to make the Moonlight Sonata shawl using Elann's Baby Silk.

While shopping my stash for the shawl along, I uncovered mounds of sock yarn. Cast these on using a simple K5, P3 rib to show off the self patterning.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Music, movies, a book and........OH NO!

Junior Brown - My Wife Thinks You're Dead

Friday iPod Shuffle. Tell me about yours.

1. A Little Blues - The Be Good Tanyas
2. It's Tight Like That - Georgia Tom
3. So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) - John Prine
4. Yanzi (Swallow Song) - Yo Yo Ma
5. Creeps Like Me - Lyle Lovett
6. Five Finnish Folk Songs - Yo Yo Ma
7. Hillbilly Hula Gal - Junior Brown
8. Reason to Cry - Lucinda Williams
9. Kingfish - Randy Newman
10. Young Blood - Rickie Lee Jones

Rogue, the Deerhound with his own blog, told me about a website devoted to covers of Bob Dylan songs. I should have known such a site existed.

Movies to see:
Rabbit Proof Fence, an Australian film based on the true story of 3 part Aboriginal girls. They were taken from their mothers and sent to a boarding school, escaped, and walked 1200 miles through the outback to get home. Well acted, beautiful photography, moving story.

Sisters, a very early (1973) Brian De Palma film. I wanted to see it because one of the leads, Jennifer Salt, was a student at Sarah Lawrence when I was. As was De Palma but I didn't know him. The movie had way too much scenery chewing to be scary and I surprised myself by enjoying it. Charles Durning had a part in it too and I do like him.

One of my favorite bloggers, Crazy Aunt Purl has a book coming out called Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair. It will be published in October and, if it is one tenth as funny and sweet as her blog, it should be a huge hit. How could it miss with a title like that?

OH NO! This is how close I got to finishing the Swallowtail Shawl before I ran out of yarn. Rather than ordering one ball from the only place in the world where it is available, I tinked back and eliminated the row before the bindoff so I would have enough yarn to finish. I hope to block tomorrow so should have FO pictures Sunday or Monday.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Catching Up

We finished a Beginning Class and the talented knitters are showing their ribbed scarf progress.

Carolina completed another baseball jersey from Knit 2 Together. This one is made from Rowan Wool Cotton. It is an easy, fun pattern. When I have a real job again I plan to buy the book so I can make one too.

This blob is my Swallowtail Shawl (Interweave Knits Fall 2006). I have spent more time tinking than knitting on this project. I am not exaggerating, I truly have. Most recently because I noticed that some nupps were out of alignment three rows back. I haven't lost patience because it is going to be beautiful and because the yarn is still fabulous. It has held up perfectly to repeated knitting and frogging. I could have knit at least two pairs of socks in the time I have spent on this shawl.

My Knitting Pure & Simple v-neck cardigan has had progress because there are times and situations when lace knitting is impossible (when I am teaching, during Knit Night, etc.). The body is finished except for the button bands.

The first sleeve is partly done. I am really enjoying the Cotton Fleece from Brown Sheep. I am curious to see how much it stretches when worn.

Music and movies tomorrow (Friday).


Friday, April 20, 2007

Sad Week

We all have had a sad week and I haven't felt much like blogging about knitting, music, movies or hounds. I don't really have anything to add that hasn't been said already. My thoughts are with the families of Virginia Tech.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sublime to Silly

A Very Long Engagement with Audrey Tautou (Amelie) and Gaspard Ulliel (now on screens as the young Hanibal Lecter). A very beautiful and romantic film that is not for the faint of heart due to the graphic scenes of World War I. Jodie Foster plays a French war widow who assists in Matilde's (Tautou) quest for the answer to Manech's (Ulliel) disappearance. This film rates a very rare five stars.

I also watched French Kiss (1995) with Meg Ryan & Kevin Kline. Silly movie - no chemistry between them. And I just don't find most characters who are petty criminals to be all that attractive. Some good musicians on the soundtrack though - Les Negresses Vertes, Paolo Conte & Van Morrison.

The chewed sock is in the landfill by now. It wouldn't have been worth the time to repair. The Yarn Lounge will have a washed Toasty Toes sock yarn sample & I will make myself another pair with the yarn left from the giant skein.

Peach generally confines her shredding to stuffed dog toys & empty food containers. For some reason, Moose (her uncle) did not get the Whippet shredding gene but it definitely runs in the family. His father was notorious for destroying his beds.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007


Peach, did you do this?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Songs, Socks & a Shawl

1. God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind) - Randy Newman
2. How's It Gonna End - Tom Waits
3. Still I Long for Your Kiss (Alternate Version) - Lucinda Williams
4. Un Mundo Raro - Chavela Vargas
5. Red Clay Halo - Gillian Welch
6. Still a Fool - Muddy Waters
7. Louisiana 1927 - Randy Newman
8. Ain't That Lovin' You Baby - Jimmy Reed
9. Diamonds & Rust - Joan Baez
10. Wedding Song - Maria Muldaur


Smoking Hot Socks (Although I think these look more like Blazing Hot Socks). A free pattern by Monika Steinbauer.
Knit using Fleece Artist 100% washable merino wool in the Tiger colorway on size 1 dpns. Just about my favorite yarn for knitting socks.

Modifications: (Accidental) bottoms of heels knit in reverse stockinette. (Deliberate) ribbing on leg is K3, P3 instead of K2, P2 so it will align with the mitered squares.

I was worried that the legs might not fit but they did.


I am trying again with lace and have begun the Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark in the Fall 2006 Interweave Knits. So far I have spent as much time frogging as knitting. Melanie (the angel of The Yarn Lounge) & I are having a mini KAL. We may have inspired Stewart to try as well. The yarn was a gift from Kate M., purchased at Artfibers in San Francisco.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Book & Movies

More about life than knitting, this book was an enjoyable, but not memorable, read. The plot centers on Georgia Walker, a single mother and yarn store owner, and the women who are drawn together on Friday evenings. We learn their stories and watch as friendships form. Georgia has to deal with the re-entry into their lives of the father of her child. Anita allows love and romance to blossom. Darwin finds a good friend. Cat leaves her husband. All their lives change in small or large ways.

I enjoyed the prefaces to the sections - short essays on different aspects of knitting. It was fun to imagine the store, the women coming together, knitting and sharing food. Unfortunately, the plot shift near the end of the book seemed abrupt and gratuitous. With that as a warning, I do recommend this book to fellow knitters or those who like to read books about friendships between women - with some romance thrown in.

Two movies to recommend. One still in theaters and one on dvd.

The Lives of Others won this year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It is set in East Germany during the Communist regime when the secret police permeated the country. Brilliantly acted, beautifully filmed, it was more than worth the price of the ticket.

L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) was a delightful film about a young Frenchman's year of study in Barcelona. He shares an apartment with five other students - each a different nationality. His romantic and cultural escapades are amusing and the acting is excellent. There is a sequel called Russian Dolls and I have it in my Netflix queue.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

My Talented Sister

Some of you may have seen this Leicester Long Wool in the 2006 Maryland Sheep & Wool catalog on the Maryland Sheep Breeders page. It is a small relief print by my sister, Annie Fitt.

And this is her Moon Sheep that you can see on the Maryland Sheep Breeders page of this year's MS&W catalog.

I am in awe of my sister's ability to capture likenesses, making each one individual, bursting with personality. Please visit her website and etsy store to see more of her amazing work featuring dogs, cats, humans, sheep, goats, chickens, etc.


Friday, April 06, 2007

iPod, Progress, etc

1. Love You To - The Beatles
2. Now She's Gone - Steve Earle
3. Down The Big Road Blues - Lucinda Williams
4. Jump Sturdy - Dr. John
5. Anywhere I Lay My Head - Tom Waits
6. Walking Spanish - Tom Waits
7. Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man) - Randy Newman
8. Goldbrickin' - The Del McCoury Band
9. El Desierto - Lhasa De Sela
10. Unionhouse Branch - Alison Krauss & Union Station

I finally realized that the Be Good Tanyas were the Canadian singers I had heard a while back on NPR. I downloaded an album and am enjoying the listening.

Except for sewing up, the first sock is finished & I have begun the second one. For some reason, the toe gave me fits (ha ha) last night. I was pining for the Kitchener Stitch.

The cardigan is a blue blob and will remain so until nearly finished. Top down sweaters just aren't very photogenic.

Another excellent blog to visit for current news about the pet food recall. Itchmo.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Miters & Movies

This is why I began these socks! To get to the mitered squares. Wendy Johnson has started a garment made of small mitered squares of sock yarn. It is very painterly. And January One is working obsessively on mitered squares for a coverlet. Very Op art-ish.
The quilterly part of my brain sees all sorts of possibilities.

I fear the socks are not going to be stretchy enough to fit my sturdy leg. I have decided not to try them on until the second one is finished. That way I won't end up with just one sock.

The yarn arrived for my next sweater. Cotton Fleece from Brown Sheep. It is 80% cotton & 20% merino wool in the Emperor's Robe color. Even though the instructions say to hand wash, I took the chance and tossed my gauge swatch into the washing machine on cold. It turned out just fine and I plan to machine wash my finished sweater. I won't put it in the dryer though. It will be a very simple top down v-neck cardigan from Knitting Pure & Simple. I had a moment of wondering if it will look as if I just bought a sweater from J. Crew. Quickly shoved the thought aside and reminded myself that the sweater will fit me and have nice subtle details. Certainly better buttons than any from a catalog.

Movies watched recently -
I did not like Gangs of New York. Too violent, too long and too smug. It was so highly choreographed I kept expecting the gangs to break into song and dance routines - an 1860s West Side Story. Maybe Martin Scorcese is too much of a guy type director for me. I did truly enjoy the series about The Blues that he produced for Public Television.
In The Name of the Father directed by Jim Sheridan was better. I was caught up in the story of the innocent Gerry Conlan & his father sent to prison for many years for as IRA terrorists. I am a sucker for injustice.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pet Food Recall

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis has been covering the Menu pet food recall since the story first began to break.The Pet Connection blog features some of the most respected journalists who write about pets & the pet industries. If you still think this is a story about a few dogs & cats that died from eating bad dog food, check out the entries at Pet Connection for the past week or so. Thousands of pets have died and the most recent stories are to the effect that the contaminated wheat gluten was also sold to producers of food for humans. Sometimes I wish I had cable, Anderson Cooper was going to be covering the story on CNN. Christie Kieth from the Pet Connection blog was going to be on the show. Maybe it will show up on YouTube.



Peach, did you do this?

Still mulling over this colorway. In looking at the hank again, I can see that I missed the importance of the black.

It is such a stretch for me that I could only find one thing in my house that is the same color grouping. A little box of matches that I bought in Amsterdam.

I was very frustrated at my inability to understand how to turn the heel. The directions for a Jojo heel use a term particular to Lana Grossa. Double stitch. I emailed the designer, Monika Steinbauer, for help. She replied promptly with the explanation. When beginning a row, slip the first stitch as if to purl, then tug firmly on the working yarn to pull the stitch below up and over the needle to create a false double stitch. When beginners mistakenly add a stitch at the beginning of a row, this is usually what they have done. In the case of the socks, the double stitch is done deliberately.

I did make a mistake and knitted the bottom of the heel wrong side out. I am going to leave it and make the second sock the same way. I am a very confident top down sock knitter but do not have much experience with knitting toe up socks. When I picked the pattern, I knew it would be a bit of a stretch. I am now at the point of beginning the leg. And it is for the leg that I chose to make these socks. I should have some leg to show you tomorrow.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

It really is Spring

The Spring Fever socks were finished during yesterday's Yarn Church. They are Evelyn Clark's Retro Rib Socks from Favorite Socks. The legs were knit on 2s and the feet on 1s using Fleece Artist washable merino sock yarn.

A better detail of the ribbing.

My next socks are knit from the toe up using Fleece Artist washable merino sock yarn in the Tiger colorway. The hank was a bit deceptive. I didn't expect so much black & at first the socks reminded me a bit of the German flag. Now they seem to be more in the Name That Tartan category. I like the way the rib stands out due to slipping the stitch every other row.

The prolific Teri-Kay as Little Red Riding Hood. It is from Teva Durham's Loop d Loop.