Friday, January 29, 2010

B is for


I took this bedspread from my parents' attic many, many years ago. Being young, I never thought that someday I'd want to know the bedspread's history. And that when I wanted to know, nobody would be around to ask.

Who crocheted the bedspread? Was it my mother? My Grandma or Aunt Emma? Was it a gift? Who was it made for?

When was it made? Did my Mom patiently crochet it as she waited for V-mail from my Dad? Did Grandma or Aunt Emma pull it out in the evenings after long, hard days of working as housekeepers?

Perhaps my cousin Kathy can tell me if this bedspread is a twin to one that her mother crocheted. But then I wonder if my Aunt Marie and my Mom/Grandma/Aunt Emma would work on their bedspreads together? Did they share patterns? Did they advise and help each other?

As I look at it, I have more questions. The bedspread is dirty and damaged. Can it be fixed?

If the bedspread can be repaired, will it be so fragile that I'll be afraid to use it? Or will I lovingly place it on our bed and think about other people, other times?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Finishing School

Finishing and I, we don't get along so well.

My whole reluctance about knitting a sweater stems from this. I have visions of sweater pieces languishing in a bag for years and years because of my dread of seaming and my fear of mucking up all those little touches that transform a sweater from homemade to handknit.

But this is the year I knit a sweater. And I really want to knit Ann Hanson's Jackie Jacket. Geez, I've even knit the swatches for it! How more serious can a person get having swatches?! So, the other evening, I hitched up my big girl pants and took a class. A finishing class. A finishing class with the designer extraordinaire Shirley Paden.

Please, please, please can I be Shirly Paden when I grow up? Elegant, talented and smart. Oh my gosh-- is she smart! And a wonderful teacher, too.

Four hours later and a table-full of put-together pieces, I think I'm beginning to get it. (And it wasn't all sewing. We also practiced the three-needle bind off, picked up neckline stitches, wove in those pesky ends and learned how to make a couple of very good-looking, strong buttonholes.)

At least I'm not so afraid anymore. Armed with Shirley's detailed handouts and with her reassurance that this can be done, finishing and I have declared a truce.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Missing Them

How much do I miss having my cat models to take photos of with my new camera?

Miss 'em a lot. Sigh. . . .

Friday, January 22, 2010

Does it Work?

The other day, I broke my camera. Dropped it. It was beyond fixing. Hubster gave me one of his old ones, but I found it to be clunky. So, yesterday, I went to B&H and bought a new camera.

I came home with a very cute Canon PowerShot SD980. (But not that cute--I got a silver one--not a pink or blue one.) Since I'm not one to fiddle with or fuss over shutter speed and ISO and depth of field, a point and shoot is fine with me!

But how is it? Being that most of my photography involves yarn, I've been taking test shots with it.

Does it photograph WIPs?

What will a skein of yarn look like?

How about a swatch and ball of yarn?

Can I get a good close-up of the swatch?

How about a FO? (This is a little crocheted lapghan that was in one of my Aunt Ellie's boxes.)

I'm happy! I'd say this new camera works just fine!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You're Ribbing Me

In this never-ending saga of the hubster's watch cap, yesterday I thought that perhaps I had some Divine Knit-Blogger Intervention.

The Yarn Harlot posted photos of and the pattern for a cap she just knit for a guy. Sport weight yarn, size 4 needles, about 12 inches long, 2 by 2 rib. I liked the looks of it, but this watch cap won't be on my head. So I sent the link to the hubster and asked, "What d'ya think of this hat?"

While waiting for a reply, I began to look for suitable yarn and checked that I had size 4, 16 inch circulars.

Finally, I got the answer. "I like the hat, but not nuts about the ribs."

HUH?! That's like saying you like Black Forest Cake, but you don't like the chocolate. Or that you like Yankee Stadium, but you don't like the baseball.

Here's the watch cap I am knitting (and have serious doubts about) so far. Hubster says he likes it--so who am I to tell him about the ribbing?

Friday, January 15, 2010

A is for. . .

Afghan hooks.

When I went through my late aunt's needlecraft boxes,

I found a couple of odd-looking crochet hooks. They looked like straight knitting needles--but had a crochet needle tip.

Since one hook was still in its original packaging, I wasn't left in the dark for too long. Afghan hook--$1.00.

Next I turned to google and entered a whole new needlecraft world. Afghan crochet aka as Tunisian crochet.

Then I happened upon the Winter 2009 issue of Interweave Crochet and learned even more about Tunisian crochet.

With an afghan hook and some yarn in hand, I went back to the internet to learn how to use these afghan hooks.

This is the most basic stitch--the Afghan Stitch. But there's many, many more stitches and a ton of patterns.

Working on this little swatch was a lot of fun and maybe, perhaps my "T is for. . . . " will be a more substantial example of Tunisian crochet.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mr. Fussy Customer

My hubster is a real good guy and he doesn't say a word as he sees more yarn coming into this teeny-tiny apartment. For the past three Christmases, he's even enabled my stash habit by giving me a Knitty City gift card.

I've never knit hubster anything. So when he asked if I could knit him a watch cap, of course I said, "Sure!"

However, for the hubster, the perfect watch cap is like my quest for the perfect summer bag.

Here's what he wants:
dark blue or black
long enough to roll up like he did when he was in the Navy
it shouldn't look like a beanie when rolled
long enough to cover his ears when rolled down
thick yarn
able to keep in his coat pocket when not on his head
no fancy designs

So I'm now attempting this perfect watch cap.

Tomorrow marks four months since his surgery. Four months since his heart was stopped and repaired. Four months of watching him get stronger and healthier. Four months of thankfulness that everything will be OK.

The hubster can be as fussy as he wants. If the watch cap isn't right--it's only yarn and I'll fix it. Doing this isn't exactly heart surgery. And knitting the perfect watch cap doesn't even require the patience, work and determination it took to recover from heart surgery.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Dog Days of Winter

Spotted while walking the streets of NYC

First I saw--and recognized-- the stylin' hand-knit sweater. Then I saw the sweet face and the ginormous ears. (I'm talking about the dog--not the owner. Though the owner does have a sweet face--never seen her ears, though.)

Anybody else recognize this Canine Supermodel?

Yep, it's Olive!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Winter Day

Keeping warm on such a cold day

with the Clapotis and a book to snuggle into.

And tulips to remind me that each day brings us closer to Spring.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Orange Crush

What is there not to love about this orange Lacy Baktus Scarf?

I love how on this cold windy day I can snuggle it around my neck and hide a few chins in it, too!


Yarn: Koigu KPM--3 skeins
Needles: size 5
Dimensions: wingspan: 60 inches / center height: 14 1/2 inches
(These are unblocked dimensions.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The First FO of 2010!

I'm not proud. I'll take my FOs any way I can get them. So what if this project has been on the needles for two or three or five years?

It's done!

The pattern is Nancie Wiseman's Textured Squares Scarf (Ravelry link). It's supposed to be shaped like a vee. But I made it a straight piece about two feet long. I'll get more use out of it as a neckwarmer.

The yarn is a thick/thin that I bought at Rhinebeck. No idea of its name. It makes a nice, dense fabric. I think I'll be a little rough with the scarf when I first wash it and maybe it will felt a little bit.

Stay tuned for another five years to see how that turns out!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Happy Day!

Have a slice of cake and celebrate Knitty City's (the best yarn shop in NYC) 4th Anniversary!

However, if your New Year's resolution is less sugar, more yarn--there's a cake for you, too!