Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Thinking about doing Tour de Fleece this summer. Not that I'll be watching the Tour de France, but I have two spindles and two hibernating spinning projects. How embarrassing! So my goal would either to finish both projects, or to finish the spinning for Urchin completely and achieving some good solid progress on the red fiber. Or to spin every day on those two projects as well as finishing Urchin spinning Or something. Hmm . . . I'll keep thinking about this.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Orange beret

Checked to see what sorts of posts I've left unfinished; the nucleus of this post is from June 7.

This is the story of my orange beret, shown below with incorrect color but the construction's shown off well.

Orange beret

My then-boyfriend (the Engineer) took me to the yarn store for Valentine's Day and told me to pick some things out for myself. He was a pretty awesome boyfriend while it lasted. We biked from campus to the yarn store, and stopped at a chocolate shop on the way. Also a RadioShack. He didn't actually buy anything there, but I get it. I go to this awesome crafty/"creativity-focused" store on my lunch break all the time, but the only time I've spent money there was on a journal over winter break.

Orange beret

Now I knew that the Engineer could certainly afford to buy me yarn, but he always talked bad about his exes (he probably still does, but now that I'm ex he'd rather talk about me than to me), and how it annoyed him so much when they expected him to spend more money than he could afford, but at the same time he wouldn't give me an upper limit. So I focused my search on the sale room, especially because that particular LYS had just decided to stop carrying Cherry Tree Hill and a few kinds of Noro. I actually focused pretty exclusively on the Cherry Tree Hill, which was all buy 1 get 1 free. There was some frustration, like a light fingering-weight semisolid silk which I really really wanted but would only have been affordable at 50% off. I ended up focusing on a variegated laceweight alpaca, but I find laceweight a little scary, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't like the color effects in anything I'd like the fabric for. But a yarn store lady helped me a lot in my indecision by suggesting that I'd like to double-strand it with some slightly-mottled orange worsted cotton.

Orange beret

I let the yarn sit around in my stash for a while; I'd already looked up worsted-weight cotton berets with some awesome fair-trade tweedy organic cotton yarn in mind, and I was leaning towards one of those patterns. But I left the yarn in skeins until about two weeks after Mardi Gras, the day after he broke up with me. The very next day, I was spending time with a good friend (the Seamstress; she gets a code name in case I ever want to blog about our affair, which is a whole nother thing) because I was hurting a lot and didn't want to be alone and sad. I'd been watching Dollhouse for a couple weeks, and convinced her watch the first episode to be my swift as I wound the laceweight. It's a good thing I chose a show with extra-long episodes; as it was, we watched through the "Grr Arg" before I could finish. I wound the cotton the next day, and promptly cast on. I didn't want the yarn to be a memento of my first "official" boyfriend and all the firsts that went with that; I wanted a hat for that.

Orange beret

I ended up using the Spring Beret pattern (Ravelry only) by Natalie Larson; if you want to see exactly what kind of yarn I used, here's the project on Ravelry. And all things considered, I think I'd rather have this gorgeous hat, which helped me heal, and which is associated with someone (the Seamstress) I was much happier with, and remain friends with, rather than skeins that remind me of a failed experiment and a man I unintentionally hurt. Wouldn't you?

Orange beret

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Giveaway goodies!

I've got lots to talk about, but I suppose I'd better start out with an explanation of those random links (which were supposed to be for personal reference only and later become a foundation for this post if I ever got around to it). See, a while ago Sew, Mama, Sew sponsored a gajillion blog giveaways, and I entered most of the ones I was interested in the prizes for, even remotely. I won two: Four yards of sheer fabric from Sewing with Trudy (and her daughter Emily of Super Stitches), and a fat quarter of flowered fabric from Two Hippos.

Here's a true-color photo of the sheer fabric:

Sheer fabric

And here's me trying to show off just how sheer this is, and sort of failing, but it looks artsy anyways:

Sheer fabric

When I first found out I'd won, I thought that the print was much smaller (and the fabric less sheer) than it is, and I thought I'd like to make a shirt out of it, something Dawn might wear in Buffy Season 7 (hence the screenshots), but that feels a little bit Beyond My Skill at the moment, considering the slipperiness of the fabric. Also, I'm not sure how well a giant print will work on that sort of a design. A smaller floral would be really awesome, I do know that. But I have no idea what else I'd do with the fabric. I think perhaps it shall go marinate in the stash somewhere.

The fat quarter came in a lovely package, so of course I had to do a "process series" of opening the thing:

What a pretty envelope!

Flowered Fat Quarter

Never mind. What an ingenious use for nice paper!

flowered fat quarter

A very nice note inside:

flowered fat quarter

And the contents! She included some very nice squares of a different pattern, as well.

flowered fat quarter

This is closer to true-color, but a little more blurry:

Flowered fat quarter

Now, I've been a Very Bad Blogger and hadn't yet acknowledged that I've received these lovely prizes! But I won another giveaway today, which kind of shamed me into blogging. Besides, I'm not going to SnB tonight because I've already biked way too much (a saga involving size 2 circular needles and my inability to read), so I feel like I should blog before I knit to Buffy Season 7 and Skype my Love Interest.

But, anyhow! Today I won a giveaway on Craft Gossip for a book about how to score good vintage finds and how to modify them. It looks very Not My Style, but it probably has good techniques. And if it doesn't, well . . . there's always somebody who wants it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shirt inspiration for sheer fabric

I meant to save this thing as a draft for personal reference but I can't even figure out how to delete the damn thing, let alone un-publish it. So. Sorry.





Sunday, June 7, 2009

Catching up - Ysolda (the designer) and Miss Edith (the FO)

Last weekend, Ysolda (rav link), one of my most favoritest designers & bloggers, was in Madison on her not-so-whirlwind tour of the states. So of course I went to see her. And ended up suffering from a bit of that weirdness that can occur in the presence of celebrity-type people (yes, Ysolda, you are a celebrity in my world), and being really awkward, and feeling like I had made a bad impression in some way which made me feel even more awkward. Should have brought a friend. Oh well, live and learn . . .

The sample table was pretty fun. A lot of things looked much smaller on the mannequins or laying on the tables than on the models . . . I don't know why. Well, the sweaters (especially Little Birds (rav link) (which is on the first page if you Google)) did. The toys looked bigger.

Two of Ysolda's patterns have been calling my name ever since I first saw them--Vivian (rav link), a gorgeous cabled hoodie, and Rose Red (rav link), a cable-lace hat. I tried on the samples, and Vivian was my size (although apparently it was supposed to be Ysolda's . . .). Rose Red was too small--I have a gigantic head, but Ysolda sizes her hat patterns, which is great. I actually have a hibernating UFO of her one free hat pattern, Urchin (rav link|my project), which is actually how I found her.


So now I'm planning to make both Vivian and Rose Red at some point. I'd really like a tweed Vivian--I was looking at KnitPicks City Tweed Heavy Worsted (rav link), but I don't know that I'd actually wear a jacket in many of those colors. (They've got a much better range in DK . . .) Also, despite KnitPicks being a relative bargain generally, a whole jacket of the stuff, even in my closer-to-the-small-end-of-the-spectrum size, is on the expensive side. Can't buy the pattern or the yarn until I get my next paycheck though, so plenty of time to compare prices. Rose Red is more of a long-term thing.

Anyhow, back to the trunk show: I'd started knitting a Poppy (rav link|my project) in the last week or so before I left school. She's named "Miss Edith" after Drusilla's doll on Buffy the Vampire Slayer because (1) I love Drusilla and (2) around the time I cast on I was being called “Miss Edith” rather often because Miss Edith’s always been naughty and needs to be punished. Of course, I'm such a stop-and-start knitter that she didn't even have one leg finished when I realized Ysolda was coming to Madison. I managed to get the entire body, as well as the hair, finished the night before, and cast on the dress. I worked on it at the store (a bunch of people, including a teacher from my old high school, sat and knit), but didn't get it finished. So here is my Miss Edith next to Ysolda's sample Poppy (the original!):

Poppy & Miss Edith

And here is me, Ysolda, Poppy, & Miss Edith:

Me & Ysolda (& Poppy & Miss Edith)

At this point I've finished the dress, but she's remaining faceless for the forseeable future, based on (1) a vague memory about Native American (according to a brief Google search, Iroquois) superstition that dolls should not have faces, (2) faceless dolls from some toy catalog we used to get when I was little, and (3) trepidation about my embroidery skills.

So here we go: I used heart-shaped buttons out of my mom's dentist cabinet sewing stash:

Miss Edith

Some art shots:

Miss Edith

Miss Edith

Miss Edith

Me & her:

Miss Edith & me

Look, we have the same hair!

Miss Edith & me

More pictures if you click through to either Flickr or Ravelry--I went a little snap-happy with that backyard sunset photoshoot.

And I had been going to blog another FO today, but writing a blog post always takes longer than I think it will. Things I didn't get around to: an orange beret (rav link) and the last four pictures I took in New Orleans (including some needlepoint). Talk to me--are these worth blogging? Do you want me to say witty things about them and give fun explanations including my ex-boyfriend?