Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Margene's Rogue

I'm pressed for time today, but I have to mention that I saw Margene's Rogue sweater last night at Stitch 'n Bitch. Yikes, it's gorgeous. She made it from red Woolpak and the color is really beautiful. We even talked her into modeling it for us. The fit was amazing. Check out all the pictures on her blog, but I warn you--you'll want to make one once you see it!

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Monday, March 29, 2004


Drum roll . . . . here it is:

There's another picture that didn't come out as well here.
There are a couple of other views, too. This one shows how it looked right after I removed it from the box that I was using to block it.

And this one is how it looks when it's being held. See how the front doesn't pucker. Success!!

In keeping with the Français theme, I think I'll call it "French Market Bag Révisé."

Here' s how I did the handles so they're centered over the front and back.

  1. I followed the pattern exactly until the sides were approximately 10 inches tall.

  2. On the next row, knit 50 and place marker; *k2 k2tog* 12 times; k2 and place marker; knit 50 and place marker; *k2 k2tog* 12 times; k2 and place marker.

  3. You should now have 50 stitches then a marker, 38 stitches then a marker, 50 stitches then a marker, and 38 stitches then a marker.

  4. The straps will be worked over the sides with 50 stitches and the sides with 38 stitches become the bound-off sides of the bag.

  5. Knit 1 round.

  6. The next round is the bind off round.

  7. Knit 23; bind off 4; knit 23 and remove marker; bind off 38 and remove marker; knit 23; bind off 4; knit 23 and remove marker; bind off 38 and remove marker.

  8. Work the straps over the 23 stitches exactly the same as the pattern instructs. OR work 6 rows between decreases like I did to make slightly longer handles.

That's it. Remember, though, this alteration will only work if you knit the base of the bag using the circular instructions.

I also took a close-up of the Jo Sharp after it's felted.

See the wonderful little swirls in the fabric. Love it. But, it's a little out of my price range for felted items--$12-$13 for 100g--ouch.

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Sunday, March 28, 2004

French Market Bag est Finis

I knitted my fingers to the bone on Friday and Saturday and I can now report that my second French Market Bag is officially completed. In fact, it's drying as I type this. There'll be pics tomorrow or Tuesday and a more detailed description of how I repostioned the handles, but here's a "before" pic to tempt you.

See how then handles are centered over the front, not over the sides?? There are other views here and here. The color's not great in any of the pictures; the base is purple and the sides goldish. Tune in tomorrow for more.

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Friday, March 26, 2004

Rain and a New Project

Ah, it's raining today. We've had a serious drought here for the last few years so I'm not complaining. In fact, I don't mind rain at all. I mean, I lived in Syracuse, NY for three years, right? So how can I be bothered by rain. My sister lived in Tuscon for a couple of years and left, in part, because it never rained. She used to say that when her alarm went off in the morning, she would lie in bed for a few seconds with her eyes closed and pray that it would be cloudy or rainy out--no dice. The eternal sunshine actually drove her a bit crazy. The only down side about today's storm is that you can smell the Great Salt Lake even up at my house. Yuck!

I've been working on a pair of socks the last few days. I'm using Confetti sock yarn and #0 (2 mm) Addi Turbo circular needles.

I'm just knitting round and round, no stitch pattern. Thought I deserved a mindless pair of socks for a change. Of course, though, the patterning has to match perfectly or I won't be able to wear them. After 25 rows of ribbing and 38 rows of st. st. on the leg, I think they're pretty damn close to identical, don't you.

I should probably also confess that I've started a new French Market Bag. I was in a LYS on Wednesday and they had 50g balls of Jo Sharp discounted to $2.00. How could I pass that up! So I scooped up a couple in a gold color and paired it with some purple Cascade 220 in my stash. I don't have a picture yet, but the bag is stunning (if I do say so myself). The Jo Sharp is just fabulous to work with. I'm going back today to see if there's any left. Margene and Laurie, don't you dare beat me there!

Someone sent this picture to me the other day. It relates to something we were discussing and Stitch n Bitch last Tuesday. Margene got a kick out of it so you may too.

The caption under it said "Wyoming Hooker." Or, as a rural Utah legislator once allegedly said during a debate on a proposed bestiality law, "You just don't understand our culture."

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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Spring Fever and FO

The weather's been so nice here the last week or so, I've had trouble concentrating on anything, including knitting. But, the next best thing to finishing a project is buying more yarn to start a new project. I couldn't resist this Lorna's Laces yarn when I was at the LYS yesterday:

The color is called Daffodil and I think it's pretty accurate. It's not really my usual color choice so I must have been subliminally influenced by the daffodils that are already blooming in the flower pots in downtown Salt Lake City and even at my house, which is at an even higher elevation.

Notwithstanding the spring fever, I actually did finish something--the New England socks that I've been working on together with the other knitters who signed up for the knit along.

I took the picture before I blocked the second sock. They both look very nice now. I liked the pattern. Once you get into the groove, it works up quickly and looks impressive. My only complaint is with the instructions for knitting the heel. When you finish the flap and begin to turn the heel, the instructions say: "Row 1: Sl 1, k1 over 21 sts, ssk, turn." What does that mean? At first, I thought it meant: slip 1 stitch, knit the next 21 stitches, then slip slip knit, and turn. But that didn't work. I mentioned it to my LYS owner (and FON "Friend of Nancy") who pointed out my folly. It is really instructing you to *slip 1, knit 1* over 21 stitches. Ah, I get it now. Just not a convention I've ever seen before. Was it me???

Hilarious Link

Someone sent this link to me. I confess that I found it absolutely hysterical even though I can't stand the Quizno's commericals. Don't give up on it--watch the whole thing and pay close attention to the lyrics!

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Sunday, March 21, 2004

Another Felted Project!

Yes, my house is a disaster area but I couldn't stop myself from starting a new knitting project. I took an entrelac class at Stitches West and have been wanting to see how the technique looks when it's incorporated into a felted bag. I also wanted to test out my theory on handle placement on the French Market Bag. So, instead of scrubbing the grime off my hardwood floors this weekend, I knit up this little felted basket:

Here it is from a side angle. (See my fabulous new pony wall in the background?!)

And here it is from the front:

Finally, here's what it looked before it was felted. The colors are much more true in this photo.

Yes, my entrelac technique is not wonderful but, hey, it's my first try.
Now that I think of it, I really didn't use any of the design elements from the FMB pattern, although the base is square. I knit the base in garter stitch and picked up stitches around the other three sides. Then I knit the entrelac body. The handles are I-cords and I made them by knitting one side of the handle really long and then grafting it to the base of the opposite side. So I didn't graft them together at the top. DD helped me hand felt it and I think she now believes she's entitled to it. Maybe I'll surprise her and add it to her Easter basket.

Warning! Parental Bragging Ahead

I have to add a little tidbit about my son to my post today. He made the varsity wrestling team this year and the district tournament was on Saturday. He took third place! OK, the bragging is over now.

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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Pay Back Time

I've decided it's time to pay my SIL back for breaking the Barbie Barrier at my house when DD was 3 years old. I may be a bit of a grudge-holder but I'm still trying to rid the kids' playroom and DD's bedroom of 7 years' accumulation of Barbie, her entourage, and their essential material possessions. Naturally, my solution is both knitting-related and passive-aggressive. My SIL has 6-year-old daughter whose birthday is in April. So, I'm knitting a crop top for my niece's birthday present. But, it's not just any crop top; this one is made from snow white cotton--hand washable only. To top it off, I intend to sew a beaded border to the bottom edge which will only add to its fragility. Check it out:

And here's the beaded tape.

I'm hoping my niece loves this top so much that she wears it constantly which will mean, of course, that my SIL will be bent over the sink every evening lovingly hand washing it and lying it flat to dry. Wait! On second thought, you don't really think she'll just throw it in the machine!!

Here's a close-up of how I did the armhole decreases.

I took my cue from Elizabeth Zimmerman and used the technique she describes in "Knitting Without Tears" to eliminate the steps that usually appear when you bind off armholes. Instead of binding off all the stitches at the beginning of the bind-off row, I decreased one of those stitches at the end of the row before the bind-off row, then I bound of one less stitch. I think it looks nice and neat. What do you think?

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Poetry Anyone

Inspired by my own boring post from yesterday, I crafted the following ditty:

Some knitters make scarves
Others knit in movie houses
I buy yarn . . . online

Can anyone do better than that?

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Monday, March 15, 2004

Ugh, why am I so disorganized on Mondays??? I spent the better part of the weekend trying to come up with a design for my new kitchen. Even with the wall gone, there's a limited amount of space.

The general contractor sent me to a local cabinet maker and we met with him on Saturday morning. Well, 3 hours later we were no closer to a solution than we were before we parked our butts down in the uncomfortable chairs in front of this guy's desk. Here's the most annoying part of the whole unfortunate meeting; this guy was actually drawing and re-drawing the design on a piece of paper using a mechanical pencil and a protractor. One of us would suggest a different shape or different cabinet and he would actually erase what he had already drawn and re-draw something incorporating the new suggestion. Oh, I was so annoyed I was about to scream! Bottom line--we still have nothing.

I did work on my second New England sock on Sunday and am ready to do the toe decreases:

I figure I'll bring it with me to SnB on Tuesday night since the knitting is mindless from here to the end. I'm really looking forward to meeting Margene on Tuesday night. She just finished a French Market Bag too and I'm dying to see it.

In keeping with the disorganized theme of this post, I know I've seen several blogs with cute knitting-related poems posted to them. Since I am not nearly as clever as most knitters, I direct you not to a poem composed by me, but to some hilarious Haiku-style short poems on this web site. You have to search for them on the left sidebar. My favorite: "I hate all these 15 rows over the mistake."

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Friday, March 12, 2004

FMB Adjustments

Thanks for all the comments and emails on the French Market Bag. I'll try to respond to everything here.
  1. First, I think Polly (the designer of the pattern) makes a good point. She wrote that she didn't consider the puckering a problem 'cause she uses the bag to carry her WIP from room to room and, therefore, the low sides and easy access through the top are a definite plus. Well, I certainly agree with that and the way she designed the bag really serves that purpose. I just like the look of the slightly higher sides and would like to have the option to close the top so things don't spill out.
  2. As for the slight floppiness, I used yarn in my stash that was not the same weight as the yarn called for in the pattern so it's my fault that the bag is not as thick as I would have liked. For future bags, I'd use the weight called for in the pattern but probably not anything much thicker than that. One strand of Lamb's Pride Worsted would probably work but I think that one strand of Lamb's Pride Bulky would make the bag too thick for my taste.
  3. I didn't measure the "before" circumference, but I did knit the sides 10" high. After felting, the sides are 6.5" high and each side of the base is 7.5" long.
  4. I blocked the bag on something square, not round.
OK, that said, I confess that all day at work I thought about how to put a closure on the bag. So I went at it when I got home and here's what it looks like now:

I'm satisfied.

More Good News

DH just sent me this bit of news. Remember these?--Wacky Packages. I loved them when I was a kid. Looks like they're manufacturing them again. Oh happy day.

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Thursday, March 11, 2004

FMB is a FO!

I finished the French Market Bag last night and immediately felted it. Here are the before and after pictures:

Here are my thoughts on this project.

  1. I love the way the base is knit and the fact that it felted at the same rate as the rest of the bag. When I've done Janet Scanlon's bags (which I love!) with the garter base, the stitch definition never completely disappears no matter how long I felt it. So, I have a strong preference for this method.
  2. Next time, I'll use heavier yarn. The yarn I used had 220 yards in 100g; the same as Cascade 220. The bag is thick enough to stand on its own but I'd prefer it a little more substantial.
  3. I really dislike the way the front and back of the bag pucker when it's carried. It looks fine when it's set down but when it's picked up, the openings under the handles stick out and look kinda goofy. I think I'll figure out a way to add a clasp, button, or other closure to this bag but here's what I propose to do when I knit my next one.

    • If I knit the bottom in a square again, I won't center the handles over the sides but I'll place them on the front and the back of the bag. So, I'd knit 20, bind off 10, knit 20, bind off 25, knit 20, bind off 10, knit 20, bind off 25. That should get me where I want to be although the handles will be a little thinner at the base. I'll probably decrease every 6th row instead of every 4th row on the handles.

    • In the alternative, I could just knit the bag as written and knit in a flap closure. A possibility.

    • Another possibility, is to knit the base as a rectangle instead of a square. Then I would place the handles in the center of the long side. I'm thinking of a shape similar to the green plastic basket in the picture a few posts below. When I have some time I'll figure out whether it's possible to knit a rectangular base using the designer's increase method.

All in all, I really enjoyed this project. Once the base is completed, it's the perfect project to work on while multi-tasking. In fact, I broke up the monotony of the sides by knitting one row using the Continental method and one row using the English method. It was good practice since I'm not very good at the Continental method.

OED Word of the Day

The OED word of the day is "comb-over." Too funny! Do you think Donald Trump's television show provided the inspiration?

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Monday, March 08, 2004

OED Word of the Day

I had an exciting day of reading today. The Supreme Court issued a decision in a really interesting Confrontation Clause case. But, you don't care about that, do you? Well, in that case, did anyone check out the OED word of the day? Click on the link on my sidebar. The word today is "run." The entry is long, but totally fascinating. Especially definition #81e for "run up." The OED says, "To shorten, shrink, or contract after wetting" and claims the word was first used this way in 1855. Sounds like felting or fulling to me! Speaking of which, I'm still knitting the sides of my French Market bag. I think I'll make them 10-12 inches and will also probably lengthen the handles a bit.

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Sunday, March 07, 2004

French Market Tote

Here's where I am on the French Market Bag:

It seems like I've been knitting the darn thing forever but I'm only 6 inches up the sides! The pattern describes the bag as "shallow" and instructs you to knit the sides 8 inches deep. If anyone has made this bag, can you give me some advice. Pretty Please.
  • Has anyone knit the sides higher than 8 inches?
  • If you have, what's a good depth?
  • After you felted the bag, did you shape it over something circular or something square/rectangular?

  • Remodel

    They're starting my remodel today. It'll look nice when it's done, but I've lived through a remodel before and I'm not looking forward to the process. Here's one of the walls that will be only a distant memory by tomorrow night.
    Unfortunately, I don't think it will be possible to save the stained glass, but they promised they'd try. Cross your fingers with me.

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    Saturday, March 06, 2004

    Regia Box

    Several people have written me or left comments about my Regia Box. I received mine from my knitting buddy, Kadri, who came to the U.S. from Germany on a trip. So, it was purchased in Germany but not by me. I know that Martina sells them on her online yarn shop but I couldn't tell you what it would cost to mail it to the U.S. You can translate her page using Google. You should write to her; she speaks perfect English.

    I worked on my French Market Bag last night and this morning. I'm about 2 inches into the sides. I'll try and post a picture later today or tomorrow.

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    Friday, March 05, 2004

    First New England Finished

    I'm off to grade the Bar exam (a sometimes frightening but strangely satisfying endeavor) so this post is short. Here's a pic of the finished sock:

    I was so pleased with myself that a started a new project! Yup, here are the beginnings of a French Market Bag:

    The second sock is too complicated to bring to DD's gymnastics lesson tomorrow so I was forced to start this new project. Right??

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    Thursday, March 04, 2004

    New England

    I've become obsessed with finishing my first New England sock. But, that's my MO--I start out with a bang and then have to force myself to finish. I really need to work on some UFOs or perhaps I should stop making so many things that must be knit in pairs. Anyway, I've come this far:

    I tried them on last night and I have to confess that I hate the look of the band heel. What was I thinking? I was happy with the way I picked up the gusset stitches, though. I picked up only the front of the stitch and then knit it through the back loop. It makes a nice, decorative twist along the side of the heel flap. Try it!
    Office Dilemma
    Here’s my current office dilemma for which I am seeking your sage advice. The person who cleaned our office every morning was recently fired. She was extremely pleasant but, unfortunately, marginally competent. Oh, and there was that little problem about her failing to actually report to work on a consistent basis. Anyway, her replacement is driving me crazy! Not more than a week after she first arrived, she began coming into my office to dump the trash and literally standing above me waiting, I guess, for me to engage in a lengthy conversation with her. Not my thing. I assume my nonresponsiveness eventually made the point and, mercifully, she stopped. Next, in a new attempt to make small talk, she began poking through my trash as I sat at my desk and questioning me about the contents and whether I really meant to throw them away. “Oh, Susan, did you really mean to throw away this chewed gum and this broken rubber band?” Honestly, I think she could have told you how many Kleenex I used in a day. UGH! So, being the passive-aggressive person I am, I devised a scheme. I ceased putting trash in my waste basket (or “barrel” as only a true Bostonian would say), and began placing it in the communal waste basket in the kitchen area. No trash to poke through so problem solved, n’est pas? Mais non! Now, she comes into my office with the trash from my co-worker’s waste basket and quizzes me as to whether he meant to throw things away. OK, I need to put an end to this. Are there any passive-agressive readers out there who have any suggestions?? Help!

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    Wednesday, March 03, 2004

    Manna from Marty

    There are lots of pictures today!

    I should start by explaining the subject line of this post. Marty is my mail carrier. I love him. Always in a good mood; always wearing an outrageously funny hat. I made him a pair of fingerless gloves that he wears every day--seriously. He's my biggest knitting fan. Anyway, looky what he brought me yesterday.

    And look what was inside!

    Yes, an amazing box of goodies from Germany via California. The Regia yarn is fabulous; it's from the new "Nations" collection. Don't even know if you can get it in the States yet. But, my favorite thing was the 4" bamboo double points. Just the ticket for my next pair of gloves.
    But, wait folks, that's not all. I got a second package from Germany with this:

    I traded some Kool Aid for it. Not kidding. Apparently Kool Aid is not sold in Germany although everyone wants it for dyeing yarn.

    Knit Along

    My New England socks are moving right along:

    After I took this picture, I finished the heel flap. Tonight I'll turn the heel and then into the home stretch. I've enjoyed making these socks so far. The pattern definitely looks more complicated than it is. Although, it takes some thought at first to figure out how to do the yarn overs.

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    Monday, March 01, 2004

    Knit Along and Driving Pet Peeves

    Hmmm, I think I'll start with the pet peeves. Don't you just hate it when the person in front of you on the freeway has neglected to brush the snow off the top of their car. Ugh! I had to drive behind such a person this morning on my way to work and the snow kept flying off into my windshield. Then, after I exited the freeway and began driving on State Street, I had to marvel at all the drivers who simply ignore the flashing 20 mph sign at the school crossing zone. Hello! What's your hurry that you can't slow down for five seconds! But, the ultimate was the driver who slammed on her brakes to stop at a red light, hit some black ice, and skidded right in front of the car in front of me. Guess she thought driving a FWD vehicle gives her supernatural stopping power.

    On to more fun stuff, i.e., the sock knit along. The sock chosen was New England from Knitting on the Road. I worked on mine a bit this weekend.

    It's not too late to join if anyone is still interested. Just send me an email and I'll invite you to join the separate blog:

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    Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.