Thursday, November 29, 2007

Project Reports

I'm in a project starting frenzy lately

  • Scott's Adirondack Pullover

  • A hat from Knit Picks Panache, like Solstice, only with a different design motif and adult size

  • The Gift Scarf

  • Another scarf I may frog, only 2 inches in, so not a big deal

  • I thought I might get some pictures of the projects, but it's cold here, so I wimped out. And the hat didn't turn out very well, so I need to do a bit of frogging and reknitting on that.

    I did get my submission stuff done and sent with a comfortable amount of time for meeting the deadline. Now it's Wait and See time.

    Meanwhile, I still have more finishing work to do on Constance Shorewood, mostly the zillion and one ends. The collar and band settled down nicely with aggressive steaming. I do think I need to do a bit of something around the buttonholes (like buttonhole stitch, maybe?), to give them a bit more structure and tidy them up.

    I've discovered the joy of tormenting my almost-teenager. Last night we were sitting on the couch near each other while he was doing math homework. I was helping intermittently, and flipping through Knitting for Him. There's one model in that book who I think is really hot. I mentioned to Owen that I was enjoying looking at that model and he was very disturbed; like moving as far away as he could without leaving the couch and saying, "Ew!" disturbed.

    Did you know that if your almost-teen is playing loud music that annoys you, you can trick them into turning it off in under 5 seconds? Just start dancing. No kidding. First he'll say, "Stop it." Then he'll say it louder, with more emphasis: "Stop It!!" And then, he'll turn off the speakers and put on headphones. Ah quiet.

    Tensions seem to be building at Chez SABLE as we head into the December Gift Grab Frenzy. I hate what Christmas has done to our culture and the effect it has on my kids. I find it disturbing and perverse that so much of our retail economy rests on the buying frenzy of one month or so out of the year. I'm sure I'll have a rant or two on that topic before we're done.

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    The Gift Scarf so far

    Approaching the end of the first ball of yarn:
    one row scarf 1

    one row scarf 2

    This is a very fast project; perfect for a respite from projects that take a million years to finish.

    Friday, November 23, 2007

    The Week in Review

    Tonight I am staying up late, guilt free! Indeed, I'm required to! Owen and his friend Josh have gone to the local laser tag place where they have a Friday night deal that goes until 12:30 a.m. And I'm to be the designated driver when it ends. Often, I have an urge to stay up late and have to drag myself away from the computer or my projects because my more sensible self knows I'll regret it if I don't. But tonight, I'm on duty. And tomorrow morning, when the Little Emperor awakens, I'm not!

    Our Thanksgiving was pretty low-key, which is the way we like it. No travel. No company. No big pre-party clean-up. No panic. I did cook the meal and it all turned out ok. The funny part is that I don't particularly like traditional Thanksgiving food. I don't dislike it: just not anything I lust after all year. We had a 12 pound turkey, boiled potatoes, baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar and butter, broccoli, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. Nothing came from a can. Mr. SABLE made the pies from a pumpkin Owen grew last summer. I did provide him with frozen pie crusts, because neither of us has the crust-making gene dominant. Tomorrow, I turn what's left of the turkey into soup and clear a little space in the fridge.

    Knit Night
    A week ago I went to Late Night Knitting at The Sow's Ear and had a little session of the Hog'n'Blog gang. So named by Dale's Mr. Dearling. Members thus far are Dale, Chocolate Sheep, Molly Bee, and me. Honorary member: Dale's Lovely Daughter. I had Owen in tow, which worked out ok. He practiced some of his magic tricks on the assembled knitters and was mostly well-behaved. When I got out my camera to try to take pictures, though, he put his hand in every one! Eventually I gave up, so, sorry, no photo documentation of the momentous occasion.

    Current Projects
    I've been working on a submission for a big time print magazine. I have no idea how it will turn out. I'm not expecting too much, not because I think my submission is lacking. To the contrary, I'm quite excited about it. I just find that it's better to approach it all with a bit of detachment. And I have a bit of dread that it might get accepted, because it isn't a quick'n'easy little project. The hard part, though, is getting all excited about a project but then, not actually making it right away! You make the swatch, you draw your sketch, you maybe do a schematic, and write a few descriptive words. Then put it all in a big envelope and send it off. After a time, you either get your submission back or a contract. If you get the contract, then you knit like the dickens for 3 weeks to make the deadline. And then, as far as I can tell, half the knitters in the world post online why your pattern sucks. Or not even the Why, just that It Sucks: no further explanation is forthcoming. So, detachment is in order. I do the footwork, I send it in, I see what happens next. If they don't want it, I'm going to make it anyway; it's just that cool.

    Black Friday
    I'm proud to report that no one in my family did any Christmas shopping today. Or shopping of any kind. The boys all went to a movie while I stayed home and enjoyed the quiet. I did a bunch of spinning, without too much aggravation to my left hand or carpal tunnel. After a little random Ravelry cruising, I figured out the appropriate use for some yarn that sneaked into my stash about a month ago, so I cast on for that and started. Pictures of that tomorrow. I'm making the Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf from Universal Yarns Classic Shades. This is a 70% Dralon/30% wool blend, with gradual subtle color changes: very like Rowan Tapestry but much cheaper. I don't know what in the world Dralon is. Sounds like Dacron meets rayon, but whatever. It feels nice and the colors are lovely. The yarn has a nice sheen, no doubt from all that dralon.

    (A quick search reveals that Dralon is a type of acrylic commonly used in upholstery. Maybe the yarn in question will wear well. Doesn't look like it will, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.)

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    Maybe Not What You've All Been Waiting For...

    But it's what I have ready. This is the Iron Mountain Hat.


    Iron Mountain Hat


    It's a pretty easy knit and a great way to dip your toes in the water if you're working up to trying some simple Fair Isle accents in your knitting. Iron Mountain is a reversible, double-layer hat, with fold up brim for extra warmth. Shown in my rustic handspun 2 ply fingering weight yarn, it would work quite well in any number of commercially available yarns.

    Pattern available for immediate pdf download. $4 US

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    November 13, 2007

    Constance Shorewood Yolanda Twatt Catfirth Wadbister
    Just odds and ends to finish up here:

    What's left:
    finish sewing in sleeve
    darn in a million ends
    reinforce buttonholes
    buy and attach buttons
    Steam the hell out it.

    Here's a closer view of the collar:

    I might wish I had made it more generous, but I'll have to decide after the steam the hell out of it step. If it wants to stand up, thus exposing the wrong side to scrutiny, I'll probably redo it. If it lies down and plays nice, I'll keep it as is.

    The naming:
    It sounds like Shorewood is the preferred choice by the majority, with Constance running a strong second. The other women's names were never seriously in the running; I was just playing with the alphabet after my bedtime.

    But I think Constance Shorewood sounds like the name of a soap-opera character. Maybe she once did a stint as a pole dancer in a boobie bar, 20 years ago, under the name Yolanda Twatt. But since then, she's married up in the world, is active in the Important Ladies Who Lunch League in her fictional city, and looks elegant on the arm of her oh-so-important husband, Charles Shorewood, MD. But then, she receives a message from someone who knew her back in the day, who has a photo of her at her old place of employment, and wants $50 grand to keep quiet. How far will Constance go to protect her reputation and standing in the community? Tune in tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, I've had lots of other bloggy ideas running through my brain, but they all leave when I sit down to type.

    On Saturday I went to see The Wallflowers in Milwaukee with my neighbor A.P. We had a great time. (You can see A.P. modeling the Autumn Walk Scarf over at TGB.) It was one of those kind of concerts that just seems magical. The band played forever. The encore was as long as the main set. That was my birthday present to myself.

    Mr SABLE left on Sunday for a work trip to NJ, leaving me to figure out how to get both kids to school in the morning, get Owen to his mandatory band concert tomorrow night (after The Little Emperor is supposed to be on his way to bed), attend both parent-teacher meetings, while providing proper childcare for the young 'uns, and generally just muddling through my week. Not even getting to the birthday issue, which isn't that much of a big deal. It can shift around as needed.

    My folks phoned earlier and my dad asked, as he's been doing since I can remember, how it feels to be (fill in the blank). This year it's 46. Chatted with my mom a while and had a good laugh or two.

    My folks are at my grandmother's house now, overseeing the removal of most of her stuff to be auctioned off at the end of the month. My mom said it was quite a spectator event for the neighborhood as the stuff went out to the trucks. Yes, plural. It took a fleet of trucks to do it. Read all about it and go buy stuff if you're in the area.

    Last night my boys and I were driving past the Culvers on the beltline in Madison, and as usual, they were scoping out the Flavor of the Day. (Culvers is a fast food chain, with a different frozen custard flavor each day.) Owen reads aloud, "Cinnamon Bun" and we both burst out laughing. If you don't get the joke, listen to this, especially pay attention at time 4:31 on clip.

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    More cardigan names

    Lake Mendota
    Sand County
    Shorewood (a twofer: ritzy neighborhoods in both Madison and Milwaukee)

    (I just took a quick look at the Shetland Islands on Google maps. There are some delightful place names there: Twatt, Bixter, Semblister, Catfirth, Freester, Wadbister, Huxter, Flugarth, Swining, Busta (that means "enough!" in italian! Oh, wait, that's basta!))

    Then there's the female names approach:

    Constance might work.

    I got waylaid from finishing tonight because Owen insisted on playing Monopoly with Mr. SABLE and me. I trounced them! In record time! First, I commandeered all the railroads on my first pass around the board, then I bled them dry. In the end, I owned everything except Park Place. And I didn't even really feel like playing. Go figure.

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    The Name for the New Fair Isle Cardigan

    Regular readers know that I struggle with naming my patterns. Some of them come together pretty quickly and others require input from my readers.

    To that end, here's where I stand on choosing a name for the new Fair Isle cardigan.

    The colors in it remind me of the play of light on leaves in late autumn, with a steely grey-blue sky. So many of the names that could go with that have been done to death; Autumn Leaves kind of stuff.

    So, here's a list of ideas I have so far. I'm happy to hear other suggestions, too.
    Prairie Road
    Fond du Lac (the Wisconsin place names theme)
    Merrimac County (where I grew up in NH)
    Cedar Grove (back with the Wisconsin place names)
    Sugar Maple (there's a color way in Cherry Tree Hill yarns with this name, but I didn't stumble on any knitting patterns with the same name in a brief search.)
    Maple and Birches

    The place names theme seems promising, though I think one has to be careful. How would the Beloit Cardigan differ from the Door County Cardigan? :)

    If you have any great ideas, let me know. It's going to be a complicated one to write for multiple sizes, so we've still got a while. I've started playing with the numbers and I think I'll have to offer it in only 4 widely-spaced sizes. This is due to the 28 st. repeat in the largest motif. I'll probably include brief directions for fine-tuning size with small changes in gauge.

    BTW, for those of you who wonder what the sleeve looks like before I cut the steek on the cap and sew it in, that's it on the right.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    So this is the month when...

    we're all supposed to blog every day. As if that's gonna happen! I could do it, but I think it might cost me readers.

    Anyway, it's just out of some kind of guilt-inducing group-meme menatality that I'm posting this right now. Because I don't have anything interesting to say or show you.

    OK, well, maybe this...

    After reading more about Ravelry on the designers' lists that I subscribe to, I thought maybe I should get on the list. There's a lot of potential for self-promotion, which is pretty much what monetary success rests on. I was kind of curious about how many people are making my patterns, since I don't turn up a lot by googling. So, I got my invite yesterday. After poking around a bit, I couldn't figure out how to get set up as the designer of the patterns of mine that were already listed there. Eventually I figured out that I had to request this, and did. 24 hours later, the email comes back that they can't find any designs by me in their system. ?!?! When I searched my name, I found 25 of them! Pretty much my whole body of currently available patterns. It took a couple emails to straighten that out, but we did.

    The upshot of all this is that I've been doing some poking around in there and putting in pictures of my patterns. My original reaction when I first heard of Ravelry was that I had no need for the data-base function, personally. What I didn't consider was that I might benefit from supplying the data to others, rather than using the data myself.

    Meanwhile, I've been formatting the next TGB newsletter. It's really coming together. I'm proud of all the new stuff coming up, though most of it isn't mine. And I'm proud of the job I'm doing putting it together as design/layout job. So, go sign up!

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Hey! It's November!

    This is one of the two squirrels who have been feasting on our jack-o-lanterns in the front yard. They are very forward.

    Thank goodness we got through Halloween. Both kids are still alive and, although they are living on candy, they are calming down because the anticipation is behind them for now. Until December...

    I got a wonderful package in the mail today. Well, they attempted delivery yesterday, but I went off on errands and wasn't home to sign for it. Today I trotted off to the P.O. and retrieved it.

    Both of these pics get bigger if you click, for that total yarn pr0n experience.

    Feel the Kauni love!

    Don't they look happy together? I have plans for these two. I also have a cone that turned out to be camera-shy, of mixed dark blues and purples, very lovely stuff. When I was ordering, I couldn't decide from the online photos if the pale yarn would want to marry the browns or the midnight blues. I think she wants the browns.

    Today I finished the front of the long-running WIP, Scott's Tweedy Sweater.

    This photo is strange looking because I was standing on a bench and at a weird angle. Front and back are joined at shoulder seams. I must be more than half-way there if there's just the sleeves and finishing to go. Let's see, look for the FO pic in about 2009. This is really an easy-peasy knit. I just need to be in the right space to work on it. It frees my brain to write essays in my head while the hands do their thing.