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August 2007 Archives

August 1, 2007

Housework

Literally. This hermit and her husband had a houseguest recently, and it's amazing what having someone come to stay does for one's view of their abode. What I mean by that is that it forces one to actually see the two giant televisions hanging out in their living space, and to decide that the foil allegedly keeping the maniac Bluefish out of the plants is not a particularly appealing design feature, and.... you get the idea. We've lived in this house for two years and have escaped any guests - amazing. Preparing for our houseguest (the easiest kind possible - my mom) also meant that, after two years trying to decide how to furnish our sunroom, we, at the last minute, ordered some wicker furniture from Pottery Barn. Which mostly arrived in time, except for the chairs. We also had to get a bed for the guest room, so we bought a platform (formerly known as a box spring - I won't make that mistake again after being corrected several times by the salesman) and ordered one of those all memory foam mattresses online only from Costco. That didn't arrive in time either - we put an air mattress on that platform instead.

Mom's visit also meant a lot of cleaning things that I don't do so regularly - like dusting and waxing the many oak surfaces in the house (much wax on/wax off action), mopping the wood floors, putting things away, and a whole load of throwing things away. I lucked out one day when I came home for lunch to find the charity truck picking up next door, so I foisted several bags of stuff on him, and came home the next day to find the same neighbor had called for a special trash pick-up, so I was able to dump a big old wing chair on her pile - whee! Serendipity in the 'hood - good stuff.

All of this cleaning of course tourqued my right shoulder, even though I tried to make my left arm participate as much as possible. But my left arm just isn't as good or as fast as my right, and my right gets all pissy and grabs the sponge/mop/whatever saying "just give it to me already" every time. I'm surprised I don't hear more people complaining about this defect in the human body - one arm has to do all the work. Just doesn't seem fair.

Anyway, it's amazing, once everything's put away, how fabulous our house is, and how much I want to keep it this nice. I'm definitely a graduate of the Oscar Madison school of housekeeping, so I'm trying to just put things away. I was ruined in third grade - remember Free to be You and Me? I did the Carol Channing Housework skit, decked out in a bandana and overalls with a bucket 'o cleaning stuff, in a school assembly. I memorized the whole thing - I'm in awe of my third grade self hearing it again after all these years. Have a listen - priceless!

I rewarded myself after accomplishing cleaning tasks every night with a few rows of CeCe - some reward to do shaping in lace! It is amazing though to note my progress as a Knitter - I started this almost a year ago and even since then have learned to read my knitting so much better. A mistake that sidelined CeCe a year ago was manageble this time around. Don't tell anyone I said that though, or the Knitting Gods will strike me down for feeling cocky! So I finished it this weekend - gotta block it before it makes its debut. Maybe on someone else if it stays as large as it looks. Call me Goldilocks - always too small, or too big.

August 6, 2007

New look for my blogiversary

I know it's goofy, but I've impressed myself with this blog all year, and I still have absolutely NO idea how to work the darned thing! Thanks to my amazing blog hostess, Becky of prettyposies.com, I'm up and stumbling in MovableType now. Stay tuned - I may even take a class!

August 13, 2007

Who - me?

I've been nominated as a Rockin Girl Blogger - imagine that!
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My sister in fiber and newly published designer, Mel bestowed this honor upon me - fun. How'd she know that one of my secret fantasies is to be a rocker? Specifically a cool chick bass player? Might have happened too, had I not loaned the three-quarter bass that one boy gave me to another boy down the road who started a band and never gave it back. That and the fact that I'm not particularly musical. Anyway, a Rockin Girl Blogger works just fine thankyouverymuch Mel! Passing it on, I nominate the following fiber folks who rock my world:

My first Knittyboard Spinning Secret Pal, The Linnet Knits
A fellow DIY gutter cleaning chick (a harlotized chick no less!) , FemiKnitMafia
A fellow lover of all things that go around and around, Linnea in Germany
Spinner Extraordinaire AbiKnits
And someone I've been reading forever, Yarn-a-Go-Go

This fun little award started here, if you're wondering, and seems to be traveling at lightning speed! Unlike me, who has been meaning to get around to this for (cough, cough) a couple weeks.

August 14, 2007

How to knit CeCe the Dream way

1. Cast on for ChicKnits' CeCe in August of 2006, get through a few inches of the lace pattern and allow the thought "this is pretty simple - I think I've got this pattern down" to come into your awareness, and then of course, make a spectacular goof somewhere in the lace pattern that, after heroic attempts to repair, causes a total frog in desperation.

2. Start over. Try very hard to remain humble. Stumble briefly, but get into it about to the armhole shaping.

3. Get a spinning wheel for your anniversary and abandon CeCe, with its lacy challenges, completely.

4. Pull CeCe out of the WIP wasteland and try to figure out where you are and why that slipped-stitch edging looks so funky.

5. Give up on starting where you left off and start ALL OVER.

6. Sort of figure out your complete brain fart on slipped-stitch edging, so at least one front edge of the cardigan looks good, but don't realize your oh-so-simple mistake on the other edge until it's become a design feature. Plot the crochet edging you'll add to hide the fug.

7. To cleverly avoid sleeve island, cast on for both at the same time and knit four rows of ribbing. Now notice that the pattern says knit four ROUNDS of ribbing. Oh. Cast on the first sleeve, knit that ribbing again, realize you just can't read and you didn't cast on enough stitches and start the blasted thing over. Rinse and repeat (only once) for the second sleeve.

8. Somewhere in the yoke, decide that, after a bunch of decreases that sure, you have enough room on that circular needle to try it on. But you really don't, and so spend the rest of that evening getting a bunch of stitches back on the needle correctly.

9. Finish!

10. Realize that once again, you have horrible judgment when it comes to knitting the right size. Always. Several recent knits have been a bit snug in my shoulders, and this is meant to be worn over something, so I made the second size - which may well be too big in the shoulders. This can't possibly have anything to do with gauge or my unwillingness to keep track of my measurements. It's not a vanity thing - I promise. Just some weird avoidance of measuring and writing down.... Or maybe that this is heavy cotton and lots of lace - BonneMarie and Fluffa both used springy and light Calmer yarn for theirs.

11. Block. Hold your breath. Think about what friends you like enough who might also be the right size to give it to you if you can't shrink it or block it into submission.

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12. Try it on two of your friends, unsuccessfully, and realize it's just too big.

13. Wash the sucker in hot water and dry on the long cycle hoping for shrinkage.

14. Come very close to throwing CeCe in the trash, but don't, because even though it didn't shrink enough, it's just such a pretty little lacy cardi that there must be some way to rescue it.

15. Take out the neck strap thing - and plan to shorten it by half, sew it on using every other stitch on the neckline to see if you can pull it in a bit.
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I wasn't going to publish this post until I was able to show you an amazing photo of me modeling the damned thing, but it's going to hang out in the pile in the corner of knitting central (the loveseat) while I turn my attention to yet another sweater to knit in the wrong size. More on that when I get a swatch knit.

August 17, 2007

Leroy says

Ever since I got my Rockin Girl Blogger button, I've been singing Michelle Shocked's Anchorage:

Leroy says send a picture
Leroy says hello
Leroy says awwwww keep on rockin, girl

Where is she now? I saw her several times in the early-90s - one concert was amazing, another torture. The torturous one was at the new and amazingly acoustically perfect George Mason U's music hall, and Taj Mahal was her opening act. Well, some great snafu prevented a large number of band members to be MIA, from both bands - can't remember the details anymore. Taj handled it amazingly well and pulled off a terrific set - one that made me rush out to buy his music and to play Take One Step a thousand times. Michelle, on the other hand, flaked out and instead of singing, spent most of the show blathering into the microphone about her problems. Yuck.

Today Leroy says I figured out short rows all by myself for the long-forgotten sweater-copying exercise I started ages ago. I've been puzzling over the back neck and shoulders, and one night last week as I was knitting a garter stitch project, an image of the way short rows might work popped up, uninvited really, in my brain. I let it mull around for a bit, and then did some googling and studied a few short row tutorials. Feeling aaaalmost ready to attempt this great feat, I found a Knitty pattern that had the directions written out so I could see how it all came down - and I felt ready to give it a try. I had, in fact, pictured it in my head pretty well, and amazingly, even in seed stitch, it WORKED! I've never picked up those wraps better I tell you! I always tried to maneuver through the wrap and into the stitch it was wrapped around without moving it at all - very squidgy work. Slipping the wrapped stitch to my right needle, putting the wrap up on the left, slipping the stitch back from the right to the left, and knitting those two stitches together made for a great result!

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This short row victory is particularly important since I consider myself challenged in the visual-spatial area. I can't imagine furniture in an empty room, and though I love maps - I have to put myself "in them" to find my way around. I'm the person who has to draw the outline of my face in the mirror to figure out if it's oval or square or round. So to have a short row solution, something I've barely wrapped my brain around even after having taken a class, pop up in my head out of nowhere is just plain REMARKABLE. To have let that solution stay and grow and then to have made it work - my god - spectacular! I'm well into the front piece now, and am happy to report that my note-taking so far has been good enough to make a matching piece. So far.

Leroy also says that Leroy shall hereforth be the name of the monster guarding my tomatoes this year:

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Leroy has been with me and the vines from the beginning, and I've watched him grow from a little teeny tiny thing to this humongous creature - what I call a zipper spider. You should know that I'm terrified of spiders, that I leap and scream like a girl when they appear - and they seem to seek me out everywhere. I've come to a point of acceptance with them when they stay in their own natural environment, like the tomatoes. If they're in the house, or they make a web across the back steps I'm sorry, that's my turf and they have to die. I tried early on to convince Leroy that he'd be happier elsewhere, but he seemed to think otherwise. I really messed with him when he was little - twanging the super-strong support threads on his web, blowing on him, spraying him with the hose while watering, throwing things into the web to see if he'd think they were a bug - you name it. He shakes his web when he's threatened, and I wonder what he knows of me - he seems to know I'm there when I get up and off to his side - he starts rocking like crazy. I can't stop watching him - he's truly as large as he looks and he seems to still be growing. Note the tomatoes in the background of this picture - they're the size of large plums, and he's easily as long:

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His girlfriend has been around this week - a very plain brown spider of the same general body type only about 1/8th of his size. I've spied her hanging on the web directly behind him but I haven't seen them actually interact. I'm off to google zipper spider reproduction so I can be prepared.

August 23, 2007

Mmmmmm

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Leroy, my FEMALE spider friend, got herself a big 'ol cicada yesterday - she was wrapping its upper body when I checked on her before work, and by the time I came home, she had sucked it dry and dropped it to the ground.

Of course I know that female spiders are the showier of the species, and that at least black widows eat their mates, but I believe this is the sort of thing we learned in school that just, as time goes by, simply falls out of our brains. Like algebra. And in my defense for assuming that Leroy's size and position made her male: 1) I simply do not think about spiders unless I'm squealing and levitating trying to escape one - or I'm watching Debra Winger hunt a human version down in Black Widow (ooohhhhh - remember that French man in Hawaii - yummy); b) I spend a lot of time stalking my bird feeders with the cats, and when it comes to birds, the boys ARE prettier; and 3) did I mention that I'm afraid of spiders and just never give them room in my brain or my world? I check on this girl at least twice a day. I worry when I go to visit and she's moved around the corner in the bed - I have a moment of despair when I think she might be gone. Go figure - I have a spider friend.

In knitting news, I've just finished a quickie Ty Dye bolero for my wild and crazy mother. Sort of finished. I discovered, as I laid it out to block, that I had pulled one of my classic garment-making maneuvers, perfected way back as a teen sewing clothes: I sewed up one side inside out. Yup - even though I know this particular trick well, and work to guard against it, and thought I checked carefully while riding home from the beach last weekend - I now have to take that garter stitch seam out and flip it. I did find the perfect glass button when we stopped at Knitting Addiction on the way home. This store is one of the very few I've ever been in that has samples and projects knitted up for EVERY SINGLE YARN in the shop. The owner told me she and one of her staff knit all fall and winter to make sure they know and can talk about each and every product in the shop. Fantastic.

I've also just completed the front of the green Silky Tweed sweater, and I'm an inch in to both sleeves - I CAN do them both at once on this project, and these are little cap sleeves, so i expect to have photos by the weekend. I three-needle bound off the shoulder seams - the ones on all four shoulders that I managed to do short-row style (still reeling from the success) and draped it over myself - though I'd never say it out loud, it looks like this could fit. Shhhh - not gonna jinx it.

August 31, 2007

Maths: 0 The Dream: 1

My first no-pattern sweater is finished and IT FITS!* I started this at the beginning of the summer, during a break from Ms. Leapman's amazing and numerous cable swatches, and then forgot about it once I had to start figuring the plan for the shaping. But as I discussed in my short row post, this thing really stayed lurking around in my head, quietly, until the next steps just sort of happened organically. Here's the first fitting, after I had the sleeves on and the sides sewed up:
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It was hard to contain my glee and remain humble while finishing the other seam and knitting up the neckline, but I must not have pissed off the knitting goddess, because it continued to work.

Captain America wasn't home when I proudly wore my sweater to work Wednesday, so I had to fend for myself with the self-timer on my camera and a great little tripod that I can wrap around or perch on anything. Which ended up being the bird feeder pole, because I wanted to get the sweater in front of the morning glories it grew up with. You know that visual-spatial problem I have? Means I just can't get myself in front of the camera - I have twenty shots of my shoulder. I did manage this one:
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So, I copied a little black sweater I own, and added a teeny tiny bit of design with seed stitch for the top third of the body and also the sleeves. I didn't hesitate to rip and redo when something didn't look right and felt good about it. I counted and kept pretty good track in my pretty little notebook and was generally able to figure out what I had scribbled in there. I used about four and a half hanks of Lasvold Silky Tweed and size 5 US needles throughout. The squarish neckline wasn't on purpose, and I can now see what I'd do to make it more rounded, but I love it. I'm delighted - tickled - proud. I'm not as dense as I once thought, and while I still don't see myself whipping off sweaters with no pattern on a regular basis, I proved something to myself. I walked around for a few days doing Kevin Spacey's "I rule" move from American Beauty. I bragged to non-knitters who had no idea what it means to make up your own pattern. Woot!

*Full story now - the sweater DOES fit, it just "hangs out" after wearing. When I first put it on, the break of stockinette to seed stitch was perfectly placed right across the top of my bust, but by the end of the day, as you can see in the picture above, it hung down to below my boobages. Still fine, still fits, but, as it should be, I learned another swatching lesson - wash & block baby - wash and block the swatch. It's baby steps for me I guess - I've grown as a knitter and I now at least knit a small swatch before I start a project, so I'll just have to break down and admit I HAVE to take the next step. Which I just did for my next project - the big swatch has had a wash. See - I can learn from my mistakes - just slowly apparently. S'okay - it's all good. Anyway, I have another sweater's worth of this yarn, in a great demin-y blue tweed, which I'll likely knit on a smaller needle. This yarn makes a terrific fabric - soft and light and drapey - but it's got 30% cotton - must be what contributes to its growth after wearing. I'm NOT complaining - still in love with my sweater and I'll just toss it in the dryer with a damp towel to shape it back up each time I wear it. I do that with store-bought sweaters all the time.

About August 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Dawn's Dream in August 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2007 is the previous archive.

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