Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Cupcake and how to finish so it looks professional
Hi everone, I'm finding this blog addictive. First, a photo of the delectable new cupcakes from the cupcake shop down the block. A red velvet beauty!
Next, my biggest knitting issue is finishing. I've been making sweaters in the round because I don't have to deal with putting the sides together. I am now halfway through a cardigan with openwork and I want it to look fantastic. Is there a link or a book or anything that can help me put the pieces together so it doesn't look as though I put the pieces together with a crowbar? I'm at wits end!!
Someone also asked for a bio, so here is this quick, shy version. I'm a novelist, just sold my 9th novel Breathe to Algonquin Books. I write a book column for The Boston Globe an Dame magazine and I'm a book critic for People. I also on the faculty of UCLA, teaching advanced novel writing online--and I have private clients. Oh, and I write scripts. I'm the mother of a fabulous 12 year old son and I have a fabulous journalist husband. We used to have a cranky tortoise (for 20 years), but he died two years ago. We live in NYC's unofficial 6th borough, Hoboken!
So, anyway, I would really, really, really appreciate any tips or help in terms of putting the sweater pieces together.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Part of the fun of driving to a vacation is being able to knit en route. (The photo is from the amusement park at Ocean City. Miles of boardwalk to bike on, tons of arcades to waste, um I mean, spend money in, minigolf, food, and the ocean.) I discovered this great pattern from loop-d-loop which had a lace leaf patttern in it. However, the sweater itself was too bulky and fitted (shouldn't bulky be loose?) plus the designer insisted on making you graft the front together in two sections which didn't make sense to me. So I robbed the lace leaf motif and put it on a cardigan pattern I have. It's the first time I've done any sort of open work and it looks very cool. The sleeves have some sort of yarn over ladder effect that I'm having trouble with, but hopefully it will come.
Two writers at the beach means we spent most of our time not relaxing, as my mother urges, but running around in ceaseless activity. So now, of course, it's hard to sit quietly at my desk and get back to my novel.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Red Scarf, Blue Screen of Death
Thursday, August 21, 2008
VOGUE KNITTING: Live!
Thanks to Dallas for the link.
And take note of this from a VK email:
Save the Date:
Designer guest chat with Jared Flood! (Brooklyn Tweed)
WHO: Cover mitten designer Jared Flood
WHEN: Wednesday, August 27 at 12 p.m.
WHAT: Are you knitting our Fall ‘08 cover project or thinking about it? Talk to the man behind the mittens in an exclusive live chat with designer Jared Flood. Stop in at VogueKnitting.com next week for all the details.
Good times ahead for knitters!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sneak peek: chapter two is posted
general are quite funny as well as the 10 things you need to know
about knitting lace and knitting socks in the back of the book are a keeper.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
We have a winner!
The Random Number Generator chose lucky number 13 in my entry list: Adrienne Fong. Congratulations, Adrienne! Email me your snail mail address and I'll send them your way! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Promo and Prizes
The book is a collection of humor columns written by a newspaperman for the Enterprise Recorder in Chico, CA. Roger is also the father of seven children - six sons and one daughter, and if I had to give you a quick description of his book, I'd say "think a male Erma Bombeck." The reviews that have come in to date are really good. For example, MormonTimes.com called it "A charming and easy read." And readers at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are praising it as well.
Anyway, if you or someone you know appreciates good, clean family oriented humor, please ask for the book at your favorite bookstore or public library.
LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: Here's four balls of Noro that my LYS owner dropped in my bag before I left the store. She's not going to carry it anymore because it's so hard to get. But what do we care? It's FREE. And if you're interested in winning these four balls of Noro, send an email to FRAN at FRANBAKER dot COM with Noro in the subject line. Since the yarn is wool and more suited to fall and winter, I'll draw the winner's name on September 1 to sort of jumpstart the season.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Here's the finished Short Row Scarf being blocked on my guestroom floor. Of course, the blocking board wasn't long enough for it so I had to add a garbage bag-wrapped piece of foam core. Does anyone own a blocking board big enough for all their projects? Sigh.
Here's the finished commission! I delivered it to my brother-in-law on Tuesday. (Being a full-service knitter, I even put it in a holiday gift bag.) He was amazed that I had finished it before December 24th. Obviously, he knows something about writers and deadlines. When I pulled it out of the bag, he was delighted, and now I'm afraid he won't be able to resist giving it to his wife long before Christmas.
All About Short Rows Scarf (with some modifications for gauge) from Creative Knitting Magazine, March 2008.
Keja 100% Mongolian Cashmere in Uptown Red (Colorway #15) from Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres, 2 skeins, approx. 200 yards each. (I used every inch of the yarn to avoid buying another pricey skein.)
The geometric pattern gives a nice textural interest to a solid color yarn, IMO. Blocking improved the scarf; it emphasized the geometry of the triangles by straightening out their lines. Of course, the pure cashmere feels absolutely luscious.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Well, I've finally finished lining the purse. It didn't turn out too bad, if I do say so myself. Only problem was, I had to piece the lining along one side and the bottom. The material, which I got as a 66 cent remnant at JoAnn's, was thin and had to be doubled. But I love it. Love, love, love it. So knitters of the world, may I present my first lined purse and my fall carry-all.
Morning Surf: The Jury's Out
I can't say I'm thrilled with this. I cast on Saturday evening, frogged it, cast on again, frogged again, cast on one last time and finally realized it's probably going to look all amoeba-ish and floppy and unpleasant until I'm finished and it's been blocked and the gods of magickal knitting redemptions have their way with it.
It looks better laid out flat when I can impose some of my will on those stitches but not a whole lot better. The colors, though, are Noro-gorgeous. Fortunately the edges are nice and straight (although you wouldn't know that from this photo.)
A horrible thought just occurred to me: maybe I should have used a smaller needle. I wonder if that would firm up the infrastructure. Right now it's like a plate of runny eggs.
Noro Silk Garden #8. Knit Picks Options US7. Middle-aged knitter.
A recipe for disaster.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Hawaii Chronicles: fiber of a different sort
For all you fiber addicts out there (and I know who you are), here's a beautiful native Hawaiian craft I discovered at Honolulu's Bishop Museum: lauhala weaving. These particular hats and baskets were made by Elizabeth Maluihi Lee, a "Living Treasure of Hawaii" and a native of Kona, the Big Island (where the volcanos still erupt but more on that another day). She once traded her gorgeous hats (which she learned to make at the age of 10!) for salt, kerosene and matches at a local store. Now they sell for thousands of dollars and reside in museums.
The fiber (which is very durable and resistant to rot) used in lauhala weaving comes from hala, or pandanus, trees, which were once plentiful on the Big Island but are now falling to development. The leaves are picked after they turn brown and then cleaned and prepped, a process which constitutes about three-quarters of the weaver's job. Once the hala is pliable, it takes one to two days to make a hat.
Photo: crescent baskets
Originally lauhala weaving was purely functional. Farm workers needed hats to protect them from the sun and baskets to put the coffee beans in. Mats and fans are also woven from the hala fibers but hats are the crowning (sorry, bad pun alert!) project for a lauhala weaver. Only a select few rise to that level. (Equivalent to lace knitting perhaps?)
Elizabeth Lee saw knowledge of this Hawaiian craft beginning to disappear so she started the Ka Ulu Lauhala o Kona Weaving Conference on Kona, the center of lauhala. It now attracts weavers from all over the Hawaiian Islands and the world. I'd love to see the gorgeous artifacts that gathering must produce!
Has anyone here done weaving with a similar sort of fiber? I'd love to hear more about it!
Baby Surprise Jacket #2 - finished!
Details: Berroco Comfort Yarn in (obviously!) yellow and white. I used 1.3 skeins of yellow and maybe 1/3 skein of white. Knit Picks Options #6, I think. Maybe #5. I'd have to check. Comfort is wonderful to knit with but with one minor quibble: it's kind of splitty and I do not like splitty yarn. Other than that it was a dream project.
The buttons are from As Cute As A Button and I love them too. I almost went with fat round yellow ones but the daisies were irresistible.
If you haven't already knitted a BSJ, you owe it to yourself to try one. I mean, what knitting project would keep your techie husband up a few extra hours while he tried to prove his theory that Elizabeth Zimmermann reverse-engineered it. I watched as he deconstructed an old shirt to prove it (I wanted to take pictures but he wasn't thrilled with the idea) and then whipped out one of my EZ books and read him the Legend of the Baby Surprise Jacket.
Then I whipped her Pi Are Squares on him, followed by the EPS.
"You're right," he said. "Knitters are geniuses."
I rest my case.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Baby Surprise Jacket #2 - almost done!
The photo is ten minutes old. (I'm reasonably sure my neighbors think I'm crazy. "Who is this woman who hangs knitting from trees?")
The knitting part of the project is completed. I wove in my ends. Now all I have to do is seam it and button it and light a candle to the genius that is Elizabeth Zimmermann.
My husband is an engineer. He has an analytical mind. I tossed him the completed BSJ and said, "Turn this into a sweater."
I think I heard his brain cry.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Brooklyn Tweed and The World's Best Mittens
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Have You Seen TWIST COLLECTIVE?
I'm not sure what the psychology involved with that reaction says about me but it's true. I spent a lot of time admiring the entire package but I didn't buy a single thing. Not yet, anyway.
Do designers deserve an equitable part of the pie? Of course they do. No question. I'm just not sure how many knitters will be willing to part with $28 or $35 or maybe even $42 an issue to claim patterns. I'd say a discount for multiple purchases might be worth thinking about.
Check it out. It's definitely worth a look.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Winner #31 and cats cats cats
And make sure you visit Harriet's blog!
I'm not sure the three parrots I live with will forgive me but this video is too cute for words. It makes me want to make room for cats. (The parrots would definitely have something to say about that idea.) Goldisox and I agree that if we ever win the lottery, we're going to open an animal rescue paradise and live right in the middle of it all.
To Block Or Not To Block?
Those are my recently completed Girl's Best Friend Anklets.
I also completed a lovely Seashell Shawl in January. I did block it, as you can see, and it came out wonderfully. But a bit smaller than I expected, so I decided to make it again with larger needles. Same yarn, Bristol Yarn Gallery's Buckingham yarn, which is SO soft…80% baby alpaca, 20% silk. I love that yarn!
The second shawl came out even better as it came out larger. Here's a photo where you can check it out, unblocked:
Forgive my photography, I don't have great skills, nor do I have a great camera.
Anyway, back to the dilemma. I love this shawl just the way it is, unblocked, fluffy, soft, yummy. But I also like the earlier blocked version, more like a spider's web and definitely showing the lace work to perfection. My question: have any of you chosen NOT to block a large finished lace item? If so, why, and how did it turn out? Would you do it again?
Or are you a dyed-in-the-wool (hah!) blocker? If so, why? I want to hear all opinions!