Sunday, June 28, 2009

If you can call them pictures

Not much going on here so I decided to distract you with pictures.

Bert says HI - He's busy reading a book a Ravelry friend sent me. The book? "The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club" by Gil McNeil. Deb (LosetheMittens) sent it to me a few months back after a visit she made here. Its a British story so has their slang and and ways of talking about things. I didn't get a chance to start it until this week but I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Similar type story to the Jennifer Chivarini Elm Creek Quilt series.

Chief has been very happy with his latest hunk of plastic. I got some shirts mail order and he immediately claimed the outer plastic envelope. It's become his "blankie" this past week and he sleeps on it daily.

I promised pictures of the finished projects but. They're still not blocked. This is the doily pattern made as an afghan. I used Woolease in the color - Wood. It's about 50-60" wide. I'll know once I block it. The pattern in a free one called Alita.

The other bigger item I finished but haven't blocked yet is the Icelandic Shawl. It's out of KnitPicks yarn and obviously still needs blocking. For some reason I kind of lost the blocking mojo but promise to find it soon and will post pictures that actually show something beyond a color blob.

Yesterday morning we had rain. When I got up the rain had finished but left multiple drops on the willow branches outside the bathroom window. I thought they looked pretty cool so grabbed the camera.

While I had the camera out I decided to click a quick pic of the apple tree out the den window. It's got a ton of apples starting to grow. Looks like a good crop if I remember to spray and take care of the tree.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Friday evening my friends were getting together "after 7pm" at the fire pit....
But I felt asleep when I got home from work and woke up at 10pm.

I'd show you a picture of the shawl I finished....
But I haven't blocked it yet.

I'd show you a picture of the afghan I finished this weekend......
But I haven't blocked it yet.

I'd show you a picture of the Wendy's Diagonal socks I finished this weekend.....
But 15 rows from the end I realized I made the 2nd sock one repeat too long in the foot and had to rip back to just before the gusset.

I'd show you a picture of the diagonal afghan square I made this weekend.....
But its diagonal garter stitch and boring brown.

Ever have one of those weekends?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It could have been a great post

Last summer when I met up with Sharon (She-Knits) she gave me some bath bombs from LUSH. One of them was still hiding out in my bathroom and I decided I needed a little spa time. I rarely take a bath (don't worry I DO take showers) but a nice soak with a book seemed like the thing to do today, especially after I saw the bath bomb.

So - I filled the tub. Got a book to read, my reading glasses and dropped the bomb. It was fizzy and filled the bathroom with wonderful smells. I read and relaxed.

After the tub dried out it must have smelled nice because the boys decided hop in the tub and take their own bath. I came in only to see both of them in the tub cleaning themselves and each other. It was so cute. I got the great idea for a blog post about all parents getting pictures of their kids in the bathtub, the boys using the tubs but not quite understanding how the bath thing was supposed to work. In my head it was a great post. I went to the next room to grab the camera. They kept cleaning. I turned the camera on. They kept cleaning. I set the camera to indoors and started to aim it at them - they both jumped out of the tub faster than you can imagine. Almost a synchronized jump type thing worthy of the Olympics.

Somehow the effect just isn't the same without the boys.
What? You think we want people seeing us do our private stuff!? - Bert
In knitting news - what do you get if you play around with ugly yarn and short rows?

A very strange face.
I'm getting close to being able to show you the brown blob that is going to be a lace afghan. I'm on the last crochet edge round but ran out of yarn 1/3 of the way around. Maybe I'll get the yarn tomorrow and be able to show you the finished afghan.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More of my Designs

Back in my machine knitting days (haven't touch the machines for 3-4 years) I designed and taught. In that little world I was somewhat known. One time I was teaching in Texas at a workshop for over 1000 knitters and got in an elevator. We were all wearing our name tags and some ladies next to me got all excited when they saw my name. They were from England and had come to the workshop. Both were very excited to meet me because they loved my patterns. I was dumbfounded! People in England knew me for my knitting patterns. The first time something like that happens to you, think you are the greatest person in the world and you pretty much float through the rest of the day.

Then I came home and was again just me - a nobody. One of the sayings I've heard is - you're an expert if you have to travel over 50 miles to teach. So true. Also true is don't expect anyone to know you outside your limited field of expertise!

So - the past week or so I started going thru some of my old items and took a few pictures. Here's a couple more. I'll show a few more another post.

Back during the Gulf war there was a call for patriot garments for a fashion show in Washington DC. This sweater was my item. The obvious red-white-blue. Remember this was 1990. We were into big-bold-bright. I used stripes and stars with the back of the sweater being a big USA star.
When you design for fashion shows it has to be bigger - bolder - brighter. This was never written up as a pattern but ended up on quite a few runways back then. I can't believe how great I thought it was back then!
I also used to take pictures and create garments and afghans from them. This afghan is the Split Rock Lighthouse in northern Minnesota. I've done people's dogs, Fred Astaire and many other pictures. My brother has an afghan from an old design hundred dollar bill - being big into money he loves that afghan.

Finally, I used to teach a class on knitting for the larger figure. I used to teach people how to use different knitting techniques to get a wider fabric from the knitting machine and talk about adapting styles to look good on larger sizes (too bad I don't always follow my own advice!) At the beginning of the class I would let the ladies know there was one garment I wouldn't recommend trying to adapt to the larger size and I would hold up my hot pink bikini.

No one has ever been brave enough to try this little garment on. definitely NOT me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Lady & The Unicorn Coat

Before I show you the Lady & the Unicorn Tapestry Coat I made back in the 90s I have to brag just a wee bit. Last year I posted a pattern I came up with for a crocheted market bag. I used some old Rust colored Sugar N Cream so I called the bag the "Rust Goes Green" market bag. It wasn't that big of a deal so I posted it as a free pattern on my blog and on Ravelry. That was last June (2008). Since then it has been downloaded every day. I still get hits daily from crochet pattern websites. It's truly amazing.

For the heck of it I checked out my latest Ravelry popularity lists to see where it was at after a year. In the crocheted bag list Rust Goes Green is #10 out of over 1500 bags. WOW! In all the bags available (knit & crochet) on Ravelry It is #49 out of over 5000 bag patterns. To me this is unbelievable. I get emails weekly from people saying they like this pattern. Thanks everyone. I will try to get my act together and get some new patterns out there for you.

So - The "Unicorn Coat"

Back in the late 80s and early 90s when I was designing machine knitting items I came across a pattern by Pat Cook. It was truly amazing. This pattern was pages and pages of graphs for a full length coat - 4 colors per row. It was written for the Passap DM 80. For those of you who have NO idea what this machine is like. I has 180 needles across the bed and is a double bed. That means it can knit and purl or create a double knit fabric.

It also has little metal "pegs" on the bottom of the bed that you move up if you want the needle to knit and leave down if you want the yarn to skip the needle.

To make this beautiful coat on this machine meant setting up the little pegs 4 times for each row of knitting (each color has to be knit separately - 4 colors= 4 passes per row.) That's a lot of work. At the same time the Passap E6000 came out. It is an electronic version of the DM80. Also about this time the DesignaKnit software program came out so you can design on the computer and download to the knitting machine. Definitely better but still - lots of paper graphs and they had to be put on the computer program somehow.

I spend 6 months entering the graph stitch by stitch to the computer. After that was done The knitting was about one month.

I convinced Dad to make buttons for it because he enjoyed working with wood and I wanted big wood buttons. He used and old broom handle and they are perfect.

The yarn for the squirrel on the sleeve is a boucle so it is "furry". The other sleeve has white birds on it.

The yarn is a bit bright by today's standards but you have to remember - this was made in the early 90s - we loved these colors back then.

I have never worn the coat to a real event but this coat has been on many runways. The coat is a bit worn, there's a few spots where I discovered I need to repair yarn pulls and one spot where a hole is beginning. Guess that's what comes from all the miles this coat has traveled. All I can say is for back in its day Pat Cook created an amazing coat design and its still an amazing design.