Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I have gone steeking crazy!!

I don't really know if this is a steek, but I think it is. I have a lovely Eileen Fisher sweater that I dug out of the "free or cheap" bin in her original store. I took it even though it was big enough for 2 of me to fit into it because I loved it. It is cotton, and I have washed it in hot water several times and though it is still pretty voluminous, I like it.

Rolling up the sleeves to make them short enough was another story. They looked like I was wearing big fat bagels on my wrists, when they stayed on my wrists, so .......

Made bold by the success of the steek in my blue hoodie, I CUT OFF THE SLEEVES!!

I didn't exactly do it neatly, and the yarn was VERY thin. It was actually 2 strands of cotton wound together, and they did not unravel no matter what I tried. Believe me, I tried. I knew, since the seams were sewed, that the best I could hope for was one row unravelled at a time, but I couldn't get anything to unravel, so I just cut.

Then I worked a US 000 needle (I think that is a 2 mm), into the loops, keeping it on the same row by taking little bits off and making it fit no matter how odd it looked occasionally.

Once I got all the available loops onto the needle it looked like this. Keep in mind that I am, conveniently, knitting a cotton washrag-turned-afghan that is knitted with thin cotton yarn on 3.25 mm needles. And it is all being done with neutral colored cotton. SO.. off I went knitting on those sleeves, 2 rows of stockinette and then about 10 rows of K1P1 ribbing.

Once I got started I could tie up the loose ends and make sure that it wasn't too sloppy. It got to where it looked pretty good.

So here are the sleeves, they are the right length, and the color is close enough so it looks like they were meant to be like that.. unless of course you have a mental picture of that Leonardo Da Vinci diagram and realize that my arms are WAY shorter than they should be based on the sweater...but if you know that you are sophisticated enough to know I am taller than I look..... or not to mention it in any case. Right?

Monday, October 27, 2008


Two creations.. one is the work of an artist, the other is .... whatever it is.
First there is that lovely postcard from Nadine over at Knitting with a Poodle. Check her out, she is a real original. as you can see from the color and texture she created in that postcard. She does a lot more than knitting, and that poodle is a truly interesting critter too.

As for the "sculpture"... well... my stove seems to put a lot of hot air out the top of it when it is on. The peppergrinder was right next to the space where the heat emerges, and you can see the result........

Relax, those of you who know what a packrat I am. I did manage to throw it out. You will not be seeing it sitting in the studio for months.

I do know what you think when you see I have found things that look like that on the street. I do have SOME restraint....... really.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rhinebeck part 4 .. the end.

This was a prize, I think I could wear just this fiber forever. Cormo and silk and lovely color. I don't know what it will be yet, I would have bought more but this was all there was..alas. I wish Fox Hill had a website!
This was a purchase of nostalgia but I had to do it. Tongue River Farm Icelandic wool... Susan Briggs died this year and this was the last of her farm's production. It is wonderful natural, rough but rugged yarn, and I had bought some patterns from her last year and made one pair of wonderful boot socks with her yarn. What these will become remains to be seen, but the CD is a great pattern resource and it was so sad that this is the last of it. This is sock weight, and should become softer with washing so I might try a shawl.... I am not the filmy shawl type, so this could be lovely.
This is Mountain View Farms, 50/50 Lama Merino in a gorgeous deep black that is obviously hard to photograph. SOOOO soft and lovely though.
Obviously I fell down at the Fold booth where they had all the wonderful Socks that Rock colors. There are presents here, but not telling for whom or for when.

It was a great day, and fun was had by all, I can't imagine anything better. The only sad part was we missed the Mingorelli Farm Stand.. I think we were laughing too hard over being mildly lost on the way back to the expressway and passed it... or they closed it early on Saturday. Perhaps I shall choose to believe the first reason. It sounds like more fun.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rhinebeck part three

OK, one more before we deal with stash enhancement.
This was my mantra for the day.... or one of them, the other was "no, you cannot have a rabbit".

I really focused in on feeling the difference between Blue Faced Liecster...(Spelling is probably WAY off there) and Romney and Cormo and... and.... and.... There are so many types of sheep and so many blends and ways to combine them that it can be an educational process, and the best place to feel the difference is at Rhinebeck. I am becoming a yarn snob. I can't help myself.

First off, I am learning to appreciate undyed wool... just look at these
aren't they gorgeous?
and what about these

Feeling the undyed yarn just reinforced my belief that if I were to buy just one fibre (as if that could happen!) I would buy cormo wool. It is just perfect. Problem is there is not much of it.

I own shares in the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm's CSA because they have Cormo sheep and I have a Google watcher on the word Cormo, so they came up and I bought shares. All Cormo, all the time, that's my other mantra.

They are now starting a second CSA at their second farm the Hudson Valley Fiber Farm. They mix the Cormo with mohair from their goats too... It was such a rush to open the box and see the distribution from my first year's shares!!

I also bought some yarn this time from Alice Field of Foxhill Farm. They also have lovely Cormo wool that is mixed with Tussah silk and they dye it into some incredible colors. I am hooked, you will see why but they seem to have niether a website nor a blog.. sigh.

ANYWAY... the other wool of choice was obviously Merino, and there was a lot of that to pat on also, and I stepped WAY outside the comfort zone with a couple of purchases.... tomorrow..

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rhinebeck part two

Am I the only one who is a carnivore and loves lamb, especially good lamb sandwiches, but thinks it a bit ...ummmmm......insensitive.... to eat lambs in front of lambs?
Well... I did it anyway but I made sure no sheep were within spying distance while I did it.
and then there was afternoon snack.
I suppose other people go to Rhinebeck and don't blog about the food, but dudes... the fudge was to die for and so was the sandwich. I blogged about the food at IKEA for heaven's sake, how could I miss this chance?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh yes, I did go to Rhinebeck!!

and I want to talk about what fun it was. Even though we managed to get lost in the Bronx on the way out of the city, it was a sineage difficulty, not a direction one. Thank heaven Blogless Nicki has a sense of direction, because mine was eluding me. I have no pictures of the detour, but it was through a park of some sort and then we were back on the expressway going the opposite way we wanted to go, but it all sorted itself out.

Once we were actually on the road, it was great. The Zipcar's name was Mack. He had a rattle that we couldn't diagnose and no windshield wiper fluid, but he got us there and back and all was well. This is the first time I have had ANY problem with a Zipcar, so I am going to think it was a singularity in the ocean of Zip and move on. I will also add he had advertising for Zipcar on him and we are SO thankful for that. Once we got to the general vicinity of where we had parked we just cast around til we saw the ad on his side. Without that, we might still be up there in that HUGE parking field saying "Do YOU remember what make car it was?"

Yes, of course there are pictures.. I will spread them out over a couple of blogposts because I haven't taken pics of the stash enhancement that took place... sigh. I was NOT going to enhance it quite as much as I did, but more about that later. Once we got in, it was obvious that there was something for everyone!After I got home I found that although I had many pictures of "animals that produce fibre" I had not a single picture of a sheep... WHAT was I thinking? But I got seduced.
How could anyone resist those eyes?
Or that little smudgy nose?
Or that bad bad bad haircut?
Or fail to be impressed by the haughty stare of someone who knows EXACTLY what they are good at?

I stood a loooonnggg time at that rabbit cage.. The internal dialogue went something like..
"I am sure Sienna would love him"
"Right, Sienna would LOVE him, but not the way you are thinking now. She loves Romeo and Clementine too, but that doesn't stop her from trying to herd them into a corner and keep them there. "
"I have heard they can be housebroken"
"So have I, but it is a process and there are lots of little tiny squishy black dots while the process is taking place......"
"He is SOOOOOO Cute!!"
"Moving right along... you could think about where to put an Alpaca too."
"Hmmm... He could live in the studio"
"THE ALPACA???????????"
"NO... the bunny, what do you think I am? Crazy?"
"Keep moving, you really don't want an answer to that question."

To be continued.... without any additions to the menagerie.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I've been busy!!

After the shellshock from steeking wore off, I thought I would tell you want else I have been up to.

One of the big spaces in my life has been the opportunity to paint. I just don't SEE landscape. I am not particularly interested in painting it, I would rather photograph it and so just going out and painting never seemed to work for me.

I love painting figures and people. I have probably never shown you these, there are many more in a drawer, but they are what I love to do. I rough in the figure in gouache and then use pastels on top of the gouache, so I really need an easel, a bit of space to spread out the pastels, and a model to do what I love to do.

This is an old New York Institution, on 57th Street
in a landmarked building, and I had a brief experience here several years ago.

Back then I found it snooty and old.

However, my painting mentor/teacher is now teaching here, and there is a class that meets Wed. and Thurs. evening. With all those inducements I decided to give it another try, so I am now taking a class there and last night I even managed to come into legal possession of that most desired of objects, A LOCKER KEY!!!.

I have only done 2 sessions, so one "completed" painting (I still need to look at it next week to be sure it is as done as I am going to make it.)

So I can't show you that because it is still there. I feel really good to be painting a model again. I thought the next time I might take some pictures of the work in process and show you that, but that is for next week. For now the older pictures will have to do.

ALSO, I am going here on Saturday. It's time for what I used to call the anthrax festival. I got Sienna a babysitter and have a rental car for the day. Blogless Nicki and I are going up to Rhinebeck to look at yarn. I have no need of yarn, but that has never stopped me before!! SO there will be some "what I did at Rhinebeck" postings soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Steeked

Once upon a time, a year or so ago, I became enamoured with a sweater from Sally Melville, knit designer extrordinaire. It was in "The Purl Stitch" which I consider one of my favorite knitting books.

She uses a lot of clever tricks when she makes a pattern and they have all proved very useful going forward with other projects. SO, I made the sweater.

It is the equivalent of a blue sweatshirt with a kangaroo pouch pocket. I loved making it and the pocket with its reverse stockinette edges is an architectural delight. The edges look great with no hems.

HOWEVER (you knew that was coming, didn't you?) Flattering it was not particularly and HOT it was. It led me to a realization that Sally Melville hadn't had......

Women who tend to always be warmer than the general populace should not wear pullover sweaters made of DK weight yarn.

(That rule might even apply to lighter yarn, and has led me to steer clear of knitting pullover sweaters in general)

So there it sat, unworn, though the color is great on me and that pocket was perfect for dogwalking supplies.

I have been thinking about steeks for almost a year. I have pondered steeks, and talked about steeks and even read a little bit about them.

Gill and Blogless Nicki have both heard LOTS about me pondering steeks. Steeks -- for the unknitting readers -- are when you take a pair of scissors and cut your knitting apart.

Take a deep breath and THINK about that. You just spent 2 months knitting the sucker and now you are taking scissors to it. The thought alone makes me forget to breathe.

As a complicating factor, there was also that blasted Kangaroo pocket that I loved and that was knit into the fabric, not applied afterwards and therefore not removable. SIGH.

That meant that part of what was going to be cut apart was actually 2 pieces that had to be held together to make pockets out of the pouch after they were cut apart

But you know the drill... if you won't wear it you might as well do surgery on it, so I marked the middle of the front with yarn. I sewed a line down either side of the center stitch with a sewing machine and I CUT THE FRONT OF THE SWEATER IN HALF!!!!!!

What you see next is the bifurcated sweater front, just hanging around with its stitches exposed.

The next step, which I didn't document very well, (at all) was to pick up stitches from the cut edges and begin knitting a ribbing out from the edges.

I am sure that you are supposed to do things like count to make sure that there are the same number of stitches on each side.. Let's pretend that I did that.

I was WAY too over the top by that time to even think about counting, or measuring or anything but knitting to make sure it worked.

Someone more into process than product might also have thought about buttonholes, but you aren't reading about someone like that. I just wanted to get it done before it all fell apart in my hands.

I was knitting as though it was going to burst into flames.

There are a couple of other things you should know. I had very little yarn left. I wouldn't have had ANY but while I was making the sweater I had a minor nervous attack about the amount of yarn left and I put a stripe on the hood.

Have I mentioned the sides of the hood met at the neckline when the sweater was whole, so the hood was a complication of the dissection?

That stripe left me with a half ball of yarn to make the front bands.

Well.... Somehow it worked!

The former pullover sweater is now a cardigan. The button bands (though buttonless and buttonhole less) look pretty good, as you can probably see for yourself.

They are generally even and have a similar number of stitches.

No, not exactly the same number but if you are close enough to count to see if they match YOU ARE WAY TOO CLOSE!

I am left with the issue of how to fasten it when the winds up here get blustery, but I think toggles ....

I even have some nice red leather that I could make the (whatever you call the part that goes around the button on a toggle) with.

I think red will look interesting and will draw attention away from any small imprefections that will show up.

To be really sure that everything stays attached, I admit that I stitched the "facings" down on the inside with yarn so that they should never ravel. I don't think steek purists do that, they just trim close to the edge and let it go. I am not a purist.

I think it looks good, and the inspector general, who is in charge of everything knitting, though she has no thumbs, has approved it all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I have lost my ever lovin' mind...and it is all Mason-Dixon's fault(s)

They wrote this blasted pattern for a washrag.... a DISHCLOTH... whatever......

They wrote it with some big - ish cotton yarn.... Peaches and Cream or Sugar and Cream.. in mind.

Those yarns are knit on big needles, and it whips right up there and you have a dishcloth...

but I had another idea. A more refined idea. Do you remember this?

After the bread, there is a simple little washrag, knit in a fine cotton from Colourmart and I bought several cones of it...

Well, one thing led to another and I am now, it appears, knitting an AFGHAN!! on 3.5 mm knitting needles. That is insanity, trust me.

It does look pretty, though, doesn't it?

I should be 100 or 110 when it is finished.

I am not just doing ballband stitch, which is what I think they call the washrag stitch, I am varying it now and then with little devices of my own creation just to add some interest, but it is mostly a huge cotton washrag.

On Steroids.

Cat and feet are provided to show you how far I have come, and how far I have to go.....

I have also learned a lot while doing it.. Knitting o Circular needles means that if the yarn you want is at the other end of the article, you can just turn it around back to front and knit it over to where you want it.. Think about that a little and it will drive you mad..

Lovely colors though, aren't they?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

we are watching the debate




my friend here

my friend


Raise taxes

raise taxes!!

raise taxes?

tax credit!!

tax employer based health care benefits

health care? C.A.R.E.?

gold plated hair transplant policies


my record, my record, my record..




How long can this go on?

Thank you for that question......

I really appreciate that question.

That's a really good question...

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Monday, October 6, 2008

I have lost my blogging mojo...

I am reduced to pointing you all at other people's blogs, but I do want you to look at these. I am neither here nor there on the subject of celuclay, but they would be interesting made out of torn pieces of great paper and paper mache or wallpaper paste mix... messy, I am sure, but light and pretty. I think I might try these out. I once saw something like this made over the shape of a big huge balloon, so that it was big enough to sit on the floor and hold yarn for a whole sweater or whatever.

It is turning cold here, I need a sweater when I walk the big old girl in the AM. She loves it, however, she hops and skips and barks and at some point runs in mad circles around me making me dizzy. Then she comes in and makes interesting piles of dog on the sofa. I love me a relaxed puppy.

Isn't this a comforting view? I have never had a real over the stove microwave before and it took me 6 months to find the light under it!

It changes the look of the kitchen.

I think it is going to warm up a little, but summer is over for sure. No leaf change colors to report here yet, but lots of morning fog.. Looks like winter is on its way here...

Friday, October 3, 2008

I had company that made me think

Gill and Mark were here, and they always make my mind start whirling about things I should, could, would be doing. Add that to the subway being in one of its saddest states.. no C train above 145, shuttle bus (aka irregularly occurring cattle car) running above 168 and then next thing you have is lots of time to ponder.

SO first, I have to tell a bit about what we all did..
I spent time with some bus people, some of whom wore VERY cute hats..

I did NOT eat either of the items on this sign, but I confess that I wanted to know how they would taste.

And I DID Imagine how it would be if I started doing some real artsy things again and decided that I have to swap around some of the things I am doing so that I have more time and more impetus to do things rather than reading blogs about other people doing things..
And I have started by deleting about 100 blogs off my Google list... everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Gill and Mark and I found a new subway station mural too, this is just a teaser about it.

The last night, we went to Otto, and I remembered to take a picture of old faithful before I stripped out all the shells and ate it. YUM.

Now I am going to start hunting up a book to alter.. I hope Gill is doing the same??

Thursday, October 2, 2008

of course I took a few detours

and took a few lessons from the champion of all the sleepers and the thinkers.

Any where, any time, any box at all, big or small, or way too small, and I am there. I think, therefore I sleep

I can make the world go away.

and I can close my eyes real tight, and I can think with all my might ...

and when I decide to wake up, look out world.. I am ready to roar.