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Archive for March, 2009

sketching

I am still having problems knitting so I have been trying to fill me time in other ways.  I still have a plan to design and knit my own fair isle sweater, so I have been sketching some design possibilities.  Traditional fair isle uses stacked patterns that create horizontal bands.  I tend to prefer the tiled look, so that is what I have been drawing.

I start with black and white on graph paper.

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I am intending to use blues for the dark area and yellow/cream/neutrals for the light.  So I pulled out my colored pencils and went crazy.  The following are very similar in style.

First Attempt:

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Second Try:

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Third, my favorite so far:

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Last night I tried something new.  I have not been able to color it yet.

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Not a great picture but you get the idea.

I am getting excited about my fair isle sweater plans.  I think I have figured out how I am going to do the sleeves and body, or at least I have a good idea.

I am excited to keep sketching.  Geometric doodling (you could tell how boring I found a class by how full the margins of my notebook were with doodles) is a specialty of mine so this has been fun.  Anyone else read about a recent study that showed doodling can help with memory?  An article about the study can be found here.  I think boring knitting can work in much the same way.  Now all I need is a research grant.

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Cedar

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I love the smell of cedar.  I already have in my possession one cedar chest (full of yarn) that is not mine.  This week my grandmother sent me, via my cousin, another cedar chest that is all mine.  This chest is very special for two very big reasons.

  1. Grandpa made it for Grandma.
  2. Grandma gave it to me.

My grandfather made quite a bit of furniture, everyone in my family has something (currently I have a desk, dresser, and 2 cedar chests.)  I am very excited about having a cedar chest of my own to keep, I love it.

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Whatever will I put inside.

Grandma’s note inside, which I liked:

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I have also managed to purchase something not nearly as exciting but fun for me at least.  They are flat, colored pens (I will disregard their intended use.)

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They work as book marks and I will use them for keeping track of stuff in my knitting notebook.  I often have a pen as a bookmark but these will be even nicer because they are flat.  My knitting journal is just a lab notebook with lots of scribbling in it but I cherish it anyway.  I strongly urge all knitters to keep one, because then you will have a record of what you did and when (if you can read it, I find my writing is terrible when I am jotting down notes while knitting.)

This is the only knitting I have done lately.

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Beautiful, right?  Well maybe not, but it is my first knitting with the yarn held in my left hand.  It was a bit of a struggle to accomplish, but there it is.  I am very very slow and uncoordinated while using my left hand for the yarn.  I find myself using all my fingers to try and manipulate the stitches.  Also, I tend to purl backwards and need to untwist my stitches while knitting on the right side (I think this may be combo knitting??)  I find it very difficult to knit the first stitch in the row, but with more practice it will hopefully become less difficult.  We shall see.

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Quick Shout Out

To my husband, Burton Parker who works for an awesome company making it on the front page of The Consumerist! He’s the one holding the gun (starter pistol) in the Friday Flickr Finds section. Vote for his photo if you like it! If you would like to check out his varied and wide selection of photographic magic, click here.

Again, congratulations, honey, for sporting a VERY LARGE BURGER on your shirt.

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Swing it our way. I can’t take anymore talking about finances tonight. I feel so woefully inept and get downright depressed when I hear the numbers. I bring in no money, therefore I feel I am the problem. Just yesterday I was feeling like I could do anything, and today, I feel like a used dishrag. Don’t ask me what that means, it’s just what my soul is identifying with.

It looks like our new cabinets will be a passing thought that was entertained for too long. WOE IS ME. I have plenty to eat, clothes to wear, running water, healthy kids, but just let me wallow in my pity for a little bit. If anyone has ideas on how I can make money while staying at home with my kids that don’t involve pyramid schemes, please feel free to share.

In other news…I finished my Mother-in-Law’s scarf. I REALLY love it. The more I knitted, the more I liked the color. It’s hard to part with it, but I don’t have a coat to go with it, so that makes it easier. I have been informed by her that she scored some Clinque stuff for me, so that sounds like a trade! Awesome! I did some edging that looks suspiciously familiar to things found in THIS book. Maybe that’s because I tried to use some of those ideas after the fact. I should’ve have done the edging and built the scarf up from there, but I didn’t know I wanted to until I was almost done with the length.

Canteloop

Canteloop

I decided to do the loops on only one side. My MIL wanted to add some bead work to the edging, and I thought it might be cool if she beaded the loops. I hope she likes it. I’ll get a picture and post it, should she add any touches of her own to it.

Guess who got invited to TWO Twilight parties? Within a week of each other? (Actually 6 days?) And guess who is going to both? Hey, a party is a party, and I’m looking forward to both. I am making a second set of Bella’s Mittens and my friend is paying me some $ to do so. I started the cuff last night, and finished the first mitten this afternoon. So excited. Soon, I will be able to get back to knitting for me, and squeeze some more art in there somewhere.

One of the best things about living in North Lawrence is being right on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade route. I literally can sit in my driveway and watch the parade go by. When it’s over, just pick up the lawn chairs and go inside! No traffic, no fuss. However, if you have to go somewhere during the parade, you better be walking. Lots of people were out enjoying the sunshine. I got my first sunburn (on my shoulders) and first bug bite (on the back of my left arm) of the season. The girls and I had a great time. Lots of cute firemen. If you’re into that sort of thing. Not saying that I am. But when someone waves at you, it’s polite to wave back, right???

There’s your update. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Well, after taking a two hour evening nap on the couch while my husband is hanging out with his brother-in-law, what’s a lady going to do but blog??? Today, I decided to go to a Knit Lawrence meeting at the Merc. I think that’s only the 3rd Knit Lawrence meeting I’ve attended in 2 years. I know it was before I was pregnant with Veronica, and she’s already 16 months! I took a scarf that I am making for my mother-in-law. We went to yarn barn last Saturday and looked specifically for some turquoise yarn that would match a pair of suede gloves her mother gave her. Her gloves are a BRILLIANT shade of turquoise. They are seriously the prettiest color I’ve ever seen. It was hard to find a yarn that could match that depth of color, but we settled on Cascade’s Quatros 5018 Aquamarine. What’s great about that particular shade is that it is a tweed of two shades of turquoise, so the gloves fit somewhere in between, but close enough. I LOVE this yarn. It has a nice loft, very squishy, and for being pure Peruvian wool, it feels soft, not scratchy. I am knitting it on size 7 needles, in a P1, K the 2nd stitch on needle, K the 1st stitch on the needle, slide both stitches off the needle, repeat for the right side, and a K1, P2 rib for the wrong side. It is coming along nicely. I’m already over halfway through. Each skein has 220 yards, and I am using 2 skeins. It will be a nice long scarf for her. I know she will appreciate it. It’s always fun making stuff for people who understand the work that goes into crafting something. She is an awesome beader and has made me some beautiful jewelry which I post about at a later date.

So Far So Good!

So Far So Good!

Detail. Can You See the Squishyness?

Detail. Can You See the Squishyness?

Delicious!

Delicious!

And Finally, I have finished another drawing. This is oil pastel on heavy duty drawing paper. The pastel has been blended with a paint brush and mineral spirits (read: paint thinner) to give it a painted look. Make no mistake! It is technically a drawing. Maybe a bastard child of painting. There are definitely perspective problems in this piece, which is pretty characteristic of my artwork. It means I need lots of practice, and eventually, I might straighten it out. I was pleased with how the background and foreground of the piece looks, as I have always struggled in these areas. This picture was drawn from a favorite photo of mine that Burton took of Evie at her school playground one fall weekend. I think it has a children’s book look about it, which has me toying around with the notion of turning this into one of a series of pictures about Evie and possibly writing a book. That is an exciting idea! We’ll see. I need to get the art done first, I guess. What I can say is that knitting has improved my art. Knitting has taught me to take my time with a project and be patient. PATIENT. That word and I don’t go together really well, but I am learning! This is the longest I’ve ever spent working on one art project. I started it Friday the 6th in the evening and finished it Saturday the 14th in the morning. I had to skip a few days in there, but I worked on it almost every day. YAY knitting! YAY discipline!

Pastel DRAWING

Pastel DRAWING

Other than that, I have purchased Inspired Fair Isle Knits by Fiona Ellis at Half Price Books a few weeks ago. It’s funny I picked that up before Dee Anna’s post about Fair Isle. I have been wanting to seriously give it a try (not the half-arsed attempts I’ve made in the past) for a while, and I LOVE the scarf on the cover. I see it staring at me every time I pass Yarn Barn. I think I’ll thumb through the book tonight before I hit the hay. How are your projects going?

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Alice Starmore

As promised, I am writing about more library books I like.  This time they are all by the same author.  After finishing Michael Pearson’s Traditional Knitting (my thoughts on the book here) I picked up Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting on a whim.  What a decision that was.  I had heard of Alice Starmore, but never read any of her books.  I have to say, I love this book.  I read it from cover to cover.  The chapters on the history of Fair Isle was great fun to read.  The color chapter was amazing too.  I have never looked at color in that way before, very eye opening.

The best part, for me, were the pages and pages of charts (I think I counted 16 pages of charts) and the chapter on designing your own fair isle project.  As a person who rarely wears patterned color anything, I was surprised by how much I loved this book and how much I really want to make a Fair Isle sweater.  Not just follow a patter either, I plan to make one up.  I know this is crazy because I have never knit anything with color work.  No one ever said I was smart.  The plan is to do some charting while my back still hurts, make a small stranded color work project this summer (Endpaper Mitts maybe?) and then hope that either the summer or year end Yarn Barn sale bring me a lot of lovely wool.  Can you tell I am losing it slightly over here in I can’t knit land?  Well so what.  A girl has got to have dreams/delusions.  (I am not even going to touch on my unease about making something I am not sure I will want to wear.  I have thrown that thought out the window.  I was excitedly discussing my plans for a new sweater with my mother while waving around the book and trying to show it to her and she smiled and said “Well, you are your mother’s daughter.”  I am taking that as the compliment and reassurance that my plan is brilliant that she surely intended the remark to be.)

All this Starmore love had me looking for the book to purchase.  When I first looked two weeks ago the book was out of print and expensive, but in case you have not heard there will be a reprinting.  You can preorder on Amazon here.  I am going to order mine if I can’t convince someone else to buy it for me.

All of this nuttiness prompted me to look for more Alice Starmore books.  This lead me to an amazing library discovery (bear with me if you already knew this) the library has an oversize shelf where there are even more knitting books.  I usually just wander back to the knitting section (746.432) and look around.  Also, I found that there are knitting books at catalog number 746.92.  Now I have at least 3 places to check for knitting books, next trip I will see if there are any other hiding places to be found.

Quick takes on the other Starmore books:

Scandinavian Knitting – Short but interesting bits about the different knitting traditions from Norway, Lapland, Sweden, and Finland.  The patterns are new but based on traditional knitwear from Scandinavia.

The Celtic Collection – Very interesting color work and some very neat cables.  All the patterns have traditional Celtic motifs.

Tudor Roses (borrowed from Audrey, thanks!) – Each pattern is named for a member of the Tudor family with a bit of info about that person.  Very interesting concept, I found it really fun and interesting to read about the Tudors.

Those are all I have picked up so far by Alice Starmore and I find that I really enjoy the combination of history and knitting that fills these books.  I am not sure that I will be knitting any patterns from the books, but I find they are really great for inspiration.  My favorite is the Fair Isle book, the colors and patterns are just so much fun to look at and break down.  I know almost nothing about Fair Isle so there may be better books out there but I really enjoyed this one.  I recommend taking a look if you are willing to turn into a crazy Fair Isle dreamer like me (although I admit it might just be me who is crazy.)

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Yesterday, Burton and I had the pleasure to be invited to share our friend Julia’s birthday. The evening started out by meeting Julia and her husband in Lenexa and going bowling. It was awesome. Bowling is so much better with beer involved. Burton and I had pathetic scores, but we were enthusiastic about it. I was doing a lot of, “OHHHH!” really loud and high-fiving whenever anyone got a strike, spare, or gutter-ball. Then we headed out to Mi Ranchito where we had delicious chips and salsa and I had a not-so-delicious burrito. I made the mistake of finishing it tonight, and it is NOT sitting so well. After dinner, we went to The Red Balloon in Shawnee to partake in some karaoke. Unfortunately, I was the only one who sang. Burton had a case of the nerves. Julia said she’d have to drink A LOT to sing, and by the time everyone had a few drinks, it was too crowded to get songs in. I sang Radiohead’s Creep and Bonnie Tyler’s old stand-by, Total Eclipse of the Heart. (Lisa, c’mon! Another karaoke and knitting party, please!) After karaoke, back to their place where we played…champagne pong. Let me tell you, Julia and Cole skunked us. Burton and I didn’t have a chance of staying sober. Then we played almost another round, but with beer and didn’t finish the game. I crawled upstairs and laid on the couch, about to horf, but never did. I thought I should eat something, but eventually crawled back downstairs to sleep on their air-mattress they graciously set up in case we didn’t want to drive home. There I slept until 8:30. We woke up in a panic because we had a 10:00 appointment at Home Depot to discuss cabinets and counters. That went well (I know you were worried). It’s almost 8 o’clock and I still haven’t had a shower today, but will rememdy that after the kids go to bed. I’m so glad I never went to a real college. I would’ve flunked out. Obviously, I am too old to party like this regularly. Haha.

Anyway, I made Julia the Bella Mittens for her birthday since she likes Twilight as much as I do! I made them in Plymouth Encore, color 520. It’s a deep charcoal. Since I’m classy, I wrapped them in foil and tied a bow out of the free wool I got from Dee Anna. (I kept forgetting to buy a gift bag.) She liked them (?) and now her friend wants me to make her a pair for some $$$. Excellent!

Me in my dirt yard. Moles be hatin' on my lawn.

Me in my dirt yard. Moles be hatin' on my lawn.

Contemplating Robert Pattinson

Contemplating Robert Pattinson

My AWESOME mother-in-law came up and watched the girls for us Saturday and I asked her to bring a blanket I made for her about 3 years back. I wanted to take pictures and post it to show y’all! I have actually made two of these (my sister has the other one). It is comprised of 42? (can’t remember) squares, using crochet. Basically just chaining and popcorn stitch. It’s made out of Red Heart acrylic in off-white. The pattern came from a crochet leaflet from Leisure Arts (obtained from my mom!) that I would bet money on it’s out of print. I really like it though. I would like to make one in red for my bedroom some day. It took a long time, but would probably seem really fast after MONSTER BLANKETA.

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Come CLOSER!

Come CLOSER!

Edgeing Detail

Edging Detail

I miss my Dee Anna! We will have to get together soon to catch up on all the Biggest Losers we’ve missed!

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