Friday, May 27

Still life with candle, clock, and yarn

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Boy, I'll tell you what. Nothing makes you wish for a ball winder and swift more than hand-winding a ball of yarn this size. I included the scenery thinking that it would accurately convey the size of the finished ball of yarn, but then I remembered that you have no idea how big or small my knick-knacks are. So I measured the thing. Five inches tall and almost seventeen inches in diameter.

All. Hand. Wound.

Anyway, once I get myself the proper needles I will get down to transforming this hunka-hunka burning yarn into a beautiful Clap-o-tee. I know, I know. I'm trendy. I've succumbed to the dark side. Maybe you'll say, "But Cara. Weren't you recently working on a shrug? How is that not trendy?" To which I would respond, "What are you, an elephant? Nobody's memory is that good."

So, on the subject of that shrug, let's just say that things did not turn out as planned. For starters, the yarn was bulky enough that it made the ruffles look limp and droopy instead of cute and coquettish. And, despite my best efforts to lengthen the sleeves so that the ruffles would fall to that perfect spot just below the elbow, they still managed to be too short. And the whole thing cut off my armpit circulation. Damn my monkey arms. Anyway, since the wedding was this past weekend, I had to resort to wearing a *shhh* store-bought cardigan. Don't tell the knitting police. But the shrug is not lost. I think I will simply gift it to one of my shorter, thinner sisters.

In other knitting news, I am looking for a summer job. (Hold tight. It'll get knitty in a second.) And I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great to work at my LYS instead of doing some poor-fool food service gig?" (Not to offend any of the saintly folk who work in food service. I myself spent most of high school waitressing/working drive-thru at a little chili joint in my hometown, and most of college perfecting my behind-the-counter-charms while working as a barista). Anyway, myself answered with a resounding yes. So I screwed up the courage to email said LYS and ask if they are, by any chance, hiring in the near future. They are. They're looking for someone who is willing to work on weekends (check), who can be flexible about scheduling (check) and who posseses "expert knitting skills" (D'oh!). So I'm wondering how I can go about fooling them into thinking me an expert. I've been knitting for less than a year, and no matter how you spin it, that doesn't scream expert. What I do consider myself is a really fast learner, a person who picks things up very quickly and easily. Not to brag, or anything, but this is, in fact, how I've obtained all of my knitting skills. In an attempt to prove to them that I have some idea of what I'm doing, I worked up this little knitting-skillz (yup, that's skillz with a z) sampler.
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It's got some mad increasing and decreasing, a cable (which you can't really see), some simple intarsia, and some fair-isle penguins. And they were my first ever cable (without a cable needle, I might add), intarsia, and fair-isle.

I know, it's not that impressive. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Tuesday, May 17

*sputter*

No words.

I have no words to express the amazement and excitement and utter gratification my SP has caused.

No words.

I knew to expect a package sometime this week, so when the doorbell rang at noon-time (otherwise known as mail-time) today, I sprinted down the stairs, threw open the door, and had to stop myself from squealing when I saw a big box on the doorstep.

Exhibit A:
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(If you look really closely, you can probably discern a hint of my impending amazement.)

Then I opened the box.

*gasp*

I have the most generous, fantastic, clairvoyant, incredible. . . seriously, not enough words in the English language to express how great my SP is. I'm not usually so gush-y but, well, if you had received a parcel like I got today, you'd be a puddle of goop, too.

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Here are all the sordid details:
* a beautiful postcard of her homeland (can I come visit you someday? All this scenery you keep sending me is stunning.)
* a cute little pot of herbes de provence--I can't wait to cook something with them
* an adorable little bar of French Verbena and Lemon bath soap, which made all the parcel's contents smell fresh and lovely
* chocolate fondue lip gloss which smells divine; I'm afraid my husband will never stop kissing me, now. Even worse, I'm afraid that, by the end of the week, I may be discovered huddled in a corner, shivering, trying to suck out the last drops of lip gloss.
* Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knits, which I adore and which I have longingly skimmed many times at the bookstore
* 2 skeins of Knitpicks Andean Treasure in Embers, a beautiful brick red. 100% baby alpaca. That's what I'm talking about. How did my SP know that I've been dreaming about baby alpaca lately?
* and, perhaps the best (I know...there's more?!), 5 balls of Peruvian Collection Baby Cashmere in the most gorgeous deep purple color. Does my SP have a camera set up in my house? Did she know that just this morning I was petting my computer screen and resigning myself to the fact that this very yarn would simply have to remain a pipe dream for me right now? *Is she psychic?*

Thank you so much, Amanda (yes, I know my SP's name, but that's all I know). Speechless. You have left me speechless. It's a good thing that fondling yarn does not require any linguistic prowess.

Saturday, May 14

It's not even subtle

What this is, is blatant yarn porn. I discovered yesterday, at the last second, that a yarn shop, a yarn shop I've never seen or heard of before, but a yarn shop that is only about a twenty minute drive away, was having a major sale in their outlet (I mean, outlet mall shopping is temptation enough. Now I have to ward off the temptation of outlet LYS shopping?) this weekend. I headed there immediately. I mean, let's face it. Who wants to wade through yarn dregs on sale-day-three looking for something you would be willing to take home? My sweet, sweet husband was even sweet enough to come along. I caught him trading sidelong glances with another unlucky spouse at one point, but I can't really blame him. He's actually a bad influence--if he hadn't been there, I probably wouldn't have been nearly as spendy.

Anyway, less talk, more rock, right? For those of you who hate posts whose sole purpose is to show off newly purchased goodies, you may stop reading now.
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Here are some proud, proud finds from the "$2 each" table. The best table. That's 10 balls of Jo Sharp Desert Garden in Cinnamon. And an unlabeled skein of sock yarn for when I decide to try sock knitting some day. I told hubby that I'd try to make a pair of socks for him, because he has expressed a keen desire for handknit socks in the past. It's the least I can do after making him navigate through/avoid smacking into crazed knitters for forty minutes.

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Six hanks of Elspeth Lavold Angora (really, an angora/wool/polyamide blend) in the most beautiful "cherry red." Deliciously soft, this stuff is. Angora is divine. I think I'll try to make myself a 1950s-style short-sleeved pullover. To wear with my poodle skirt. (OK, you got me. I don't have a poodle skirt.)

And now the best, which I saved for last:
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This yarn is pinch-you-on-the-rear, drop-dead gorgeous. It's a 50/50 merino/silk blend from Scahefer Yarns. 550 yards worth. The colorway (this is my favorite part) is named "Indira Gandhi." Seriously. It is "one of a series of colors created for Memorable Women." Anyway, I swooned when I saw this stuff. After reviving me with smelling salts, my adorable husband encouraged me to get it. I am going to use it to make that darling of online knitters, the preposterously popular Clapotis. I've resisted it's lure for a very long time now. Bandwagon, here I come.

Thursday, May 12

She's Come Undone

You know how girls can be completely dumb about their own appearance sometimes? Well, I debuted the boobholder last Friday. My band had a gig and I thought it would be appropriately funky. Why would I think that a cropped sweater whose sole purpose seems to be to frame the girls would not draw any undue attention to my, ahem, decolletage? As a friend of mine said, after I responded with surprise to his comment, "Bust-tacular," "Girls are dumb." We sure can be.

Over the weekend, I made my first foray into the wonderful world of yarn recycling, thanks in large part to the inspiration of Ashley's recycled yarn tutorial. For $8, I got two sweaters:
1) a %100 lambswool sweater from American Eagle -- I've already unraveled this one, actually, and it yielded almost 1200 yards. And it's a very boring cream color, making it perfect for my first attempt at Kool-aid dyeing. Whee.
2) a black, silk-blend sweater, women's L, that is soft, soft, soft. I can't wait to find something to re-knit it into.

So, speaking of re-knit, or rather re: knit, let's talk current projects. You know, I'm jealous of knitters who have multiple projects going at once. I wish I could, but I have some sort of irrational objection to working on more than one item at a time. Trust me, I've tried. I'm just not very good at it. This is not to say that I don't have multiple knitting ideas spinning around in my head at all times, however. For example, I've had the yarn for the SnBN armwarmers for months now. And if I don't get crackin', it will soon be far too warm for them to be useful, let alone for me to want to work on them. I can't make up my mind what yarn to use for Lelah; it changes almost weekly. Now, I've decided to use some "Is-it-being-discontinued-or-isn't-it?" Cotton Ease in the prettiest, deepest blue. I figured something a little stretchy would be better than some mercerized cotton that isn't. Hopefully, this will be the last word on yarn choice, in which case I will cast on today. In which case, it will be my second project on the needles (Ok, my third if you count the half-finished vest that I've lost interest in at the moment). The current project is my IK shrug. It is a sinfully easy knit, despite the tedium of 40 inches worth of 1x1 rib, but getting gauge was like trying to get loyal KGB operatives to divulge state secrets. The pattern calls for 10.5 needles, and after much finagling and ripping-out and swearing, I managed to get it right with size 6 neeedles!?! I blame the yarn. This cotton angora is slippery and slidy. Slippery and slidy away.

(As a footnote, I discovered amidst my failed attempts to get gauge that I have no size 7 needles anywhere in my house. How did that travesty happen?)

But the thing that's been spinning around in my head, the thing I've been dying to knit almost since I started knitting, is this:


from the always brilliant White Lies Designs.

Friday, May 6

For your viewing/oohing pleasure...

...I proudly present real-live, finished, knitted objects. In their natural habitat. (I suppose if you're feeling cranky or disgruntled, it would be for your eww-ing pleasure. Or your boo-ing pleasure. Or if you are a cow, for your moo-ing pleasure. Seriously, I could come up with a million of these...)

OK, enough play-on-wordsplays (even though I love it. It's kind of sick. If you are Hansel and/or Gretel, for your strewing pleasure. See, I can't quit...). Let's get to the objets d'art du jour.

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This bizzaro neck-warmer thingy started life as a self-designed stole (I think?) for my Momma for M-Day, but things weren't working out. I abondoned the plan, but liked the variety of stitches I had created, and thought they would look cute propping up my head and juxtaposed against pearly buttons. Plus, you can wear it from two (count em') different angles. Wacky.

Oh, in case you were wondering about the specs on the above project, it's made with about half a skein of Classic Elite Miracle, which is sinfully soft but kind of sheddy.

(...If you're throwing a party in the 70s, for your fondue-ing pleasure. If you're making another unneccessary trip to the LYS, for your stash accruing pleasure....)

The second item is much closer to my heart. Literally. It actually covers my heart instead of hovering above it like weirdo collar. It's my boobholder, and it holds my boobs quite professionally. You'll hear no complaints from me.

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(...If you're pouting in a corner, for your stewing pleasure...)

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I swear I don't usually look so crazed and/or caught in the headlights. The minisweater must be going to my head. I made this baby with Patons Classic Worsted in Royal Purple and Burgundy. I'm quite fond of the button. And the buttonhole. It was the first time I've ever made a buttonhole. I tell you, the things that float my boat. (...If you're washing your hair, for your shampooing pleasure...) Inexplicably the sleeves turned out streamlined despite the fact that I actually wanted the puffy sleeved version. I didn't attempt to squash the poor sleeves as others have done. And yet, they don't look that puffy. Curious.

(...If you regret ever having checked out my blog, for your rueing pleasure...)