Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Frog Pond, FOs & Fools

This pattern in the Winter 2004 Knitters inspired my first attempt at lace. It was to be my next door neighbor's 2005 Christimas present.

UFO completion is related to stash shopping but when I pulled out my half finished scarf, I knew it was destined for the frog pond.

Mistakes that might have been okay two years ago just aren't acceptable now.

These are only some of the more obvious flaws.
She got a store bought present that year.

Marge used to come to Yarn Church. She recently finished a scarf she had begun there and sent me this picture.

While waiting for the a/c to kick in yesterday (I gave up waiting until June 1), I finished these socks.
Basic sock pattern from A Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns. K5, P3 ribbing. Forgot to do the sl1,k1 heel flap.
Sock one - leg on 2s, foot on 1s. Second sock - forgot to switch to 1s.
2 skeins Regia Silk Color yarn. 55% merino, 25% polyamide, 20% silk. Machine washable.
Didn't really like the color combo until Teri-Kay saw it and declared it Retro. She was right.

As soon as I finished the socks, I cast on for the somewhat lacy Fools Rush Sock, a free pattern by Cassandra Thoreson. I'm using more stash, this time some handpainted Wildfoote from Brown Sheep.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembering the Dogs

Not just humans serve. Learn more.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Birthday, Bunny & Blocking

A very happy sixth birthday to Moose, one day late! And happy birthday to his littermates - Soup, Goose, Fly & Zsa Zsa.

Teri-Kay has just a few finishing touches to make on this bunny. She named him Lambie after the angora rabbit she did not bring home from Maryland Sheep & Wool.

The Equestrian Blazer is blocked. It should be dry when The Yarn Lounge reopens on Tuesday. I'm not working that day so, if all goes well, I might finish it during Knit Night. Unless I go to Australia or South America (not very likely) I won't be able to wear it until October.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Shuffle, Blob & Knit Night Reminder

1. Michelle - The Beatles
2. Ain't It Somethin- Lyle Lovett
3. Remember - Betty Carter
4. Cowpoke - Don Walser
5. To Be Alone With You - Maria Muldaur
6. Penguins - Lyle Lovett
7. Old Adam - Hem
8. Carey - Joni Mitchell
9. Me & Bobby McGee - Willie Nelson
10. It's Tight Like That - Georgia Tom

Zooming right along on the blob. I'm below the sleeves now. It is getting a bit warm in my lap but I am determined not to turn on the air conditioning yet. I think I've made enough of the Knitting Pure & Simple top down patterns to design my own now. With the help of Barbara Walker, I plan to make a top down, set in sleeve cardigan.

For those of you who live near Richmond - don't forget this Tuesday evening is the monthly Knit Night at The Yarn Lounge. Hope to see you there!

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The Magdalene Laundry

Christy Moore singing Joni Mitchell's The Magdalene Laundry.

Last night I watched The Magdalene Sisters (2002) and the accompanying documentary Sex in a Cold Climate. Both were about a terrible period in recent Irish history when young women and girls were confined for years, even lifetimes, and forced to perform hard labor for the sins of being sexually active or victims of rape or merely pretty.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Movies & A New Blob

Laura Linney is one of my favorite actresses. She was just about perfect in The Squid and The Whale and Love, Actually. Since I had never seen You Can Count on Me I added it to my Netflix queue and it finally made its way to the top last week. It is another tender hearted, independent film about a family - this time a single mother (Linney), her son (Rory Culkin), her brother (Mark Ruffalo) and her boss (Matthew Broderick). The film won the 2000 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and truly deserved it. The acting was consistently good, the story was full of truth and the first time director (Kenneth Lonergan) did a very good job. I tend to like independent films because they have to rely on good acting, a good script and good direction - the budgets are just too small to disguise flaws with fancy costumes, locations and special effects.

Sometimes, though, I make a poor pick and XX/XY was one. I chose it because Mark Ruffalo was the star and the plot seemed somewhat intriguing. Too bad his character was immature, shallow and annoying. That would have been forgivable if the movie had been at all good but it wasn't. Only two scenes were worth the time - in one, Ruffalo's character (a director) is recognized by someone who has seen his film. He asks for his money back. The other good scene was a very well acted monologue by Petra Wright who plays Ruffalo's live in girlfriend. For once the commenters at Netflix were right.

All four characters in Mike Nichols' 2004 film Closer were pretty repulsive, especially the ones played by Julia Roberts and Jude Law. Lying, betrayal and sexual misbehavior were the dominant themes of the movie which was based on a play by Patrick Marber. If you don't mind spending a couple of hours with people you have no respect for, this film by a deservedly respected director is definitely worth your time. Clive Owen & Natalie Portman also star & were both nominated for Academy Awards.

Wit, based on the play of the same name, was an HBO movie starring Emma Thompson and directed by Nichols. Thompson plays a literature professor who is diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. The film chronicles her aggressive treatment and decline. She has devoted her life to the study of John Donne, to the exclusion of most human relationships. She endures her ordeal alone with only the comfort of her primary nurse (Audra McDonald). The film was grueling, truthful, sometimes funny and very beautiful.

My new blob in progress is the Split Neck T Shirt from Knitting Pure & Simple. I am using some Elann Peruvian Highland Wool that has been in my stash since November 2004. It is going pretty quickly even though I am working again (whew!). I have even gotten a bit of knitting done while I wait for the next task at my current temp job. It sure beats staring into space or playing Solitaire.

All the parts of the Equestrian Blazer have been finished since last week but I haven't had time to block them. That should happen this weekend.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Roz's Wedding Shawl

Roz is a regular at the knitting table at The Yarn Lounge. She and Rob got married today.

When she began to plan her wedding, she thought she would knit a lace shawl to wear. However, she decided not to so she wouldn't have the stress of making her first lace project in time for the ceremony. A mystery knitter (not me) heard about her decision and made a Swallowtail out of Blue Sky Alpacas alpaca and silk. It was perfect weather today for wearing a shawl over a lovely sleeveless silk wedding dress.

The mystery knitter did a beautiful job with the dreaded nupps, didn't she?

Roz even wore the shawl when she and Rob cut the cake. It was a Red Velvet cake with cream cheese icing. It was a lovely party. Even the children had a good time.


Saturday Shuffle

By the same animators who did Wallace & Grommit.

1. Pledging My Time - Bob Dylan
2. Jef - Jacques Brel
3. La Ricostruzione Del Mocambo - Paolo Conte
4. No Lo Visto - 8 1/2 Souvenirs
5. Carnival of the Animals (The Swan) - Yo Yo Ma
6. My Baby Just Cares for Me - Nina Simone
7. Amazing Grace - The Blind Boys of Alabama
8. Trouble in the Fields - Nanci Griffith
9. She Said She Said - The Beatles (same song, second week in a row)
10. Pain in My Heart - Otis Redding


Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Meme

Grabbed this meme from Barbara.

Mark the items Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Baby items
Button holes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Charity knitting
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers

Designing knitted garments - doesn't include minor/major modifications
Domino knitting (modular knitting) (if miters count)
Drop stitch patterns or does my Clapotis count?
Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing yarn
Fair Isle knitting

Freeform knitting
Garter stitch

Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Hair accessories
Holiday related knitting
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)

Kitchener BO
Knitting a gift
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting art
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public

Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca

Knitting with bamboo yarn
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with cashmere

Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with DPNs
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Knitting with silk
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with soy yarn
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with wool

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO

Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting

Olympic knitting
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book
Short rows

Slip stitch patterns

Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down

Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a woman to knit

Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting - Tvåändsstickning

Writing a pattern

I like this meme because it gives me a handy list of things I want to do. I actually have some lovely yarn that includes dog hair. She is a beautiful Great Pyrennese (sp?) that I met at the 2005 Fall Fiber Festival. And, sitting in my UFO bag, I have a baby sweater waiting to be steeked. I also have that felted clog pattern so many people have made and tons of White Buffalo yarn to make slippers. No cashmere or camel in my stash but I certainly plan to knit both fibers as soon as I can afford.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Moonlight & a movie

What a difference blocking makes!

This lovely pattern by Shui Kuen Kozinski is available free at Elann. I happened to have the very yarn called for - Elann's Baby Silk. It had been in my stash for at least 2 years. I used #4 needles and knit 8 instead of 10 repeats in order to avoid the dreaded Jemima Puddleduck effect.

Sorry this detail is flashed out. I can see how easy it would be to get addicted to lace. I am planning to make Eunny's Print o' the Wave with my loot. But I am going to try to restrain myself from full blown compulsion because I do like to use the things I make and how much lace do I really need. And I think socks are probably more useful gifts than lace shawls. At least, I can't really imagine that my sister would prefer a shawl over socks.

I watched another good indie film about a family last night. Amy Adams was nominated for a 2005 Academy Award for her role in Junebug. It was the story of a visit to family in North Carolina by the older son and his new wife. Very truthful and touching with excellent acting.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007


Every single mistake just screamed at me while I was pinning it out. I know they won't really show when I am wearing it. It will be dry and ready to unpin when I go to teach my class tomorrow night.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday Songs, Movies, Moonlight & a UFO


1. Boogie - Paolo Conte
2. Junko Partner - Dr. John
3. Rescue - Lucinda Williams
4. Au Suivant - Jacques Brel
5. Ai Vida - Cristina Branco
6. There Will Never Be Another You - Chet Baker
7. Singapore - Tom Waits
8. Tall In The Saddle - Joan Armatrading
9. Sous Le Soleil Exactement - Serge Gainsbourg
10. She Said She Said - The Beatles


I have 133 movies in my Netflix queue. At about 4 movies a week & adding at least two for every one I watch, I will never catch up. I must have added these first two after last year's Academy Awards.

Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in an Oscar winning performance as Truman Capote. The film was visually stunning and the entire cast was excellent. I particularly like Catherine Keener as Harper Lee. Hoffman is one of his generation's great actors. I first saw him in Owning Mahowny based on the true story of a mild mannered, compulsive gambler who embezzles millions from the bank where he works in order to fund his habit.

Syriana was a very effective thriller that pulled me in, despite my confusion about what exactly was going on. The story grew by fragments until it fell into place shortly before the conclusion. George Clooney (another 2005 Oscar winner) did his best to look ordinary by gaining 30 pounds, growing a beard & shaving his hairline. Can't escape those gorgeous eyes though. The rest of the top notch cast included Matt Damon, Chris Cooper & William Hurt.

Too bad I saw Casino Royale around the same time. Yes, Daniel Craig is hot but the movie was waaay too long for such a simplistic story.

And then, last night, a wonderful independent film, Lovely & Amazing, directed by Nicole Holcener who went on to Friends With Money (now in my queue). A terrific ensemble cast that included Brenda Blethyn - Secrets & Lies, Little Voice and Mrs.Bennett in the Keira Knightly version of Pride & Prejudice, Catherine Keener (again), Jake Gyllenhaal - pre-Brokeback Mountain and Raven Goodwin, a child actress who played the most sensible character in the movie.


The shawl is finished and ready to be blocked tomorrow. The Walker Treasury blog has a swatch of the lace - called Sunspots in Barbara Walker's book - as a recent entry.


Remember this? I got as far as completing the back and beginning the left front last November. The concentration required to follow row by row instructions eluded me and the whole thing was left to marinate for months. After Swallowtail and Moonlight Sonata, the pattern suddenly seemed much less complex so I picked it up again. I finished the left front in a day and am now working my way up the right front, increasing, decreasing and short-rowing along with ease. The pattern for Kate Gilbert's Equestrian Blazer is in the Fall 2006 Interweave Knits if you want to check out the instructions.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Unlike half the knitters on the East Coast, I didn't make it to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival but I still have loot.

Melanie brought me this 100% merino superwash lace yarn from Tess' Designer Yarns. Teri-Kay helped her pick the perfect green - not the green you see which is washed out by the flash, the actual green is deeper and richer.

Once I finish and recover from knitting Moonlight Sonata, I think I will use my loot to make Eunny Jang's Print o' the Wave stole.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Blue Blob No More

Love how this sweater turned out. Details: Knitting Pure & Simple Top Down V Neck Cardigan, knit using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (80% cotton, 20% merino wool) in the Emperor's Robe colorway, on size 7 Denise needles. Mother of Pearl buttons. Small modifications - I knit the bottom edge in garter stitch instead of K1, P1 ribbing and made the sweater less long.

Irises are very forgiving plants. I have neglected my garden for years and these still bloom by my front steps. The camera decided that I was taking a picture of the background instead of the flower, so it is a bit blurry and you can see all the volunteer maple seedlings. Ah well.

Linda finished her very first sock during Yarn Church yesterday. She used Trekking XXL in a lovely grey colorway.

I'm trying to complete a pattern repeat a day of the Moonlight Sonata shawl. Of course that takes more time as I go along because the shawl keeps growing. This is with the fifth repeat done.

And progress has been made on the first of the Regia Silk socks. It is my teaching, dvd watching knitting now that the Blue Blob is no longer. Maybe I should have taken the picture on a sock blocker, it is looking awfully skinny.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Music, Movies & Moonlight

Friday iPod Shuffle

1. Shopping Trolley - Beth Orton
2. Shotgun Boogie - Don Walser
3. Guess Things Happen That Way - Johnny Cash
4. Somebody Who Loves You - Joan Armatrading
5. Out of Touch - Lucinda Williams
6. Buckets of Rain - Bob Dylan
7. Railroad Lady - Willie Nelson
8. Go To Sleep Alone - Jimmie Dale Gilmore
9. Close Your Eyes - Queen Latifah
10. Cold Blue Steel & Sweet Fire - Joni Mitchell


This movie opened yesterday and got an excellent review in today's New York Times. Directed by the Canadian actress, Sarah Polley, who starred in The Sweet Hereafter and No Such Thing (recently written about here), it has an extraordinary cast that includes the luminous Julie Christie. I won't wait for it to come out on a dvd to see it.

Last night I watched Jules and Jim - Truffaut's masterpiece from 1962. Jeanne Moreau is another actress who combines exceptional beauty with true talent.

Another highly recommended film is Vera Drake starring Imelda Staunton who was Oscar nominated for her role as the ordinary working class mother and loving wife who has a secret vocation as an illegal abortionist in 1950's England. Directed by Mike Leigh and perfectly acted, this film is an excellent reminder of a time to which we cannot revert. Hey Supreme Court, Keep your laws off my body!

Also seen and enjoyed -
Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl, wonderful Johnny Depp and a marvelously complicated plot. I don't need to see the sequels though.
Broadcast News. Love Holly Hunter but, boy, those 1980's fashions sure haven't aged well.


I've finished the third repeat. For more details, come on over to the Elann shawlknit-along.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Swallowtail Shawl(s)

The Swallowtail Shawl blocked beautifully.

It turned out just the way I imagined.

The yarn was a gift from Kate M. She purchased it from Art Fibers in San Francisco. They design and produce their own line of yarn and you can only purchase it from them. Mine is Valparaiso in color 7. It is 50% baby alpaca, 50% merino wool. I knit the shawl using Denise needles in size 5. The pattern is from the Fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits

Can you even see the nupps? Once I started using a size 1 needle to pick up the 5 stitches to purl together, the nupps went smoothly.

Melanie and I had a mini KAL. This is her finished Swallowtail, knitted in a Jo Sharp 100% alpaca yarn (can't remember the name).

Didn't she do a beautiful job?

Check out my start on the Moonlight Sonata shawl over at the Elann Shawl Knit-along.

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