Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Road to Where is Paved with What?

I guess it's time for a blog post. I've been a little under the weather since Sunday and have taken a bunch of naps. I'd say I'm back up to firing on 3 cylinders (out of 4), having felt like I was down to 1.5 for a while there.

Because I've had this nasty little cold, I was a soft-touch this morning when the Little Emperor feigned claimed illness. I was thinking how I would not have been able to function all day, sitting up, paying attention, running in gym, and all that other stuff that's required. So, in moment of weakness, I let him stay home today. And I knew, KNEW, in my heart of hearts that I'd been conned by 9:30 this morning. I should have just marched him out to the car then and there and taken him. But I didn't. So, it's been a day of minimal productivity.

I finished the Sloane pullover. I need to see it on a real human and take pictures to really assess its success, but I think it's good. I've begun writing the pattern, which involves a bunch of simple illustrations to explain the process through the shoulder area.

Marie Grace tagged me for the Seven Things About Me meme a few days ago. I've been mulling over what I could possibly choose for that. Things I'm willing to share, that don't veer into Too Much Information, but something that my blog-reading public might not already have gleaned about me. I'll have to keep thinking about this. Right now, I can't come up with anything.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Go Vote For Me! Please!?!?

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I Can Has Cheeseburger is having a contest. Winner with most votes gets a trip to Vegas. Not like I have a burning desire to go to Vegas; just I bet it's warmer there than it is here.


(I'm Elizabeth Morrison and I approved this message.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Later The Same Day...

Took these on my way to pick up the Little Emperor from school



Here he is all dressed for winter:

Winter Wonderland

Click this one to make it bigger! Mr SABLE took this this morning on his way out to warm up the car before going to work. I cropped and Photoshopped a bit.

Our high today will be in single digits F. The ice that covered the trees on Sunday isn't going away any time soon. Now, at about 9:30 a.m. the bright sun shining on the ice-covered birch by our driveway is beautiful, like a totally schmaltzy Christmas card by Hallmark.

Yesterday I finished the first sleeve and the neck on the Sloane Pullover. I hope to finish the second sleeve by the weekend. Then I'll have to cast about for a local model to wear it for some pictures before I send it off to Maine. I can just imagine the personal ad now:
Wanted: woman to model sweater, bust about 36-38", wears at least C cup. No pay.

I bet I have a friend around town it should fit fairly well. If I have to use a flat-chested woman, I can always stuff the front with balls of yarn, right?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Perfect Storm?

We've had a bit of weather. The snow's supposed to start soon and we're expecting 6-12 inches by midnight.

I do NOT want another weather-related day off of school tomorrow. Not like the powers that be are asking me.

Edited to add: the Madison school district does not have Presidents Day off. We do however, have a day off planned for Friday so the teachers can attend another teacher conference. So, I really really don't want to have Monday off, too.

The weather has moved on leaving us with much less snow than had been predicted. Assuming the city gets the plows out tonight before the deep freeze, we should be fine for tomorrow.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Bit About Bust Darts...

Several of you commented on the need, or lack thereof, for bust darts and Terby expressed an interest in knowing more about just how to add them to a garment.

In a perfect world, the designer would have ready access to the wearer of the garment for measuring. The recipient would be wearing a bra that would give the same level of support as she would plan to wear under the sweater.

Since my sister in law lives in Maine, I'm just kind of winging it, based on my years of garment sewing and an approximate knowledge of where most full-busted women need the extra space.

Short row darts offer more vertical room, so the hemline will hang straight. They also prevent the folds one sees in a garment when a full-busted woman wears a sweater without them.

This image shows a fold line that I almost always get in an unshaped garment. It tells me that I really should be using darts for a smoother line and better fit.

Here are two hastily drawn pictures to illustrate bust darts:

Helpful other measurements:
circumference at full bust
width of back at shoulders (not including sleeve/upper arms)
For very full-busted women, compare back half of chest circumference to front: you made need more space in front to accommodate a very full bust.

As for how many short rows to work, well, that can take some educated guesswork, too. I think a D cup woman probably needs about an inch worth of short rows needed in the center front. The more full busted a woman is, the more short rows need to be worked. One good way to estimate is to put on a t-shirt that doesn't have dart shaping in the bust and notice how much the front rides up and how much of a fold appears at the sides near the underarm. A well-fitting garment should not ride up in front and should not make a fold along the sides.

As for the method of short rows, once you understand the basic wrap and turn move, the placement depends on the style line you want in the dart. For Sloane, as I worked top-down, when I got to the bust dart area, I worked across the front to the bust point on the far side from where I started. Wrap and turn. I worked back to the other bust point. Wrap and turn. Then, I worked back past my previous wrap and turn, to a point a little farther along. How much? I had figured on putting in four wrap and turns on each side, so divided the number of stitches between the bust point and the side of the garment by 4 and worked that many more each time. When I was back to working the full front, I had added 8 rows of length to the front of the sweater and continued on in the round in the usual way.

One could choose to do the short rows the other direction: that is, work most of the way across and turn near the seam on the far side. Wrap and turn to the corresponding point on the other side. Wrap and turn, then work to a point short of the first turning point. Continue until you have turned near the bust point on both sides, then work full rows.

Either way will add inches to your garment front without affecting the fit around the back or shoulders.

For general help in understanding fit and fabric shaping, I recommend The Vogue Sewing Book, any edition. Check your local library or thrift shop

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sloane Progress

Actual knitting content!

Here's the progress on the Sloane Turtleneck. The photo is a bit strange. I took several on the living room floor, some with flash and a few severely underexposed with no flash, at as slow a speed as I could and not have a blur. This is one of those. I adjusted the exposure in Photoshop, which introduced its own bit of strangeness. But, at least the wonderful 3-dimensionality of the cable shows. A flash picture just completely kills that.

I put a towel into the sweater for the picture for two reasons. First, the bust dart needs a bit substance in it to photograph at all well. Second, the cable tends to draw in so much in the current unblocked state that it's hard to get a sense of the garment.

I'm getting a bit anxious about all the proportions around the armscye (fancy-speak for the opening the arm goes through, pronounced "arm sigh") and hoping it won't be too deep. It's all a bit of a gamble.

I'm also a bit anxious about the way the short row bust darts will fit. Each time I turned, I have a rather blunt two row addition to the front. I probably should have slipped the first stitch to soften that a bit. Live and learn.

This yarn is Knit One Crochet Too Parfait. A few years ago, I bought a bunch on clearance from a Herrschner's yarn sale deal. It's a great smooth classic worsted weight yarn; easy to work with and looks good with any kind of texture. I think it's discontinued now, but I'm not sure.


My son Owen was born at 4:44 a.m. February 14, 1995.

He weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces and was 23.5 inches long. My labor was 43 hours long, which included 4 hours of pushing. You moms out there know what that's about.

And today we launch into a new era: The Teen Years! We're starting to see lots of fun changes (that's not sarcasm, actually). He's interested in Bigger Issues now and asking Bigger Questions. He can follow complex discussions and contribute meaningfully. He's learning about lots of stuff that I don't know (of course, I still know lots of stuff that he doesn't, so it evens out). He's growing into Geekdom with pride.

He's just about eyeball to eyeball with me now, when we're both in bare feet. I'm about 5' 8". He has grown at least 2 inches in the last month or so: not an exaggeration! I predict he will be about 6' 4" or more by the time he's done. He already wears men size 12 shoes. I don't even want to think about what his final shoe size will be!

Owen BW1

Happy Birthday Owen!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Surprise Yarn!

Yesterday's post brought a nice surprise! Hand spun yarn made by Lady Bean a.k.a. Tamara, who blogs with the gals at House of Wool Repute

Romney From Spunky Eclectic Dyed Fiber
A gorgeous Navajo-plied yarn in rusts, maroons, oranges, and gold. Mmmm.

BFL From Spunky Eclectic Dyed Fiber
Beautiful blues and greens!

Wow! Thanks Tamara!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Is a Blog a Virtual Living Room?

Or is it more like a Virtual Garage Sale?

If I have you over for a visit and you volunteer an opinion on my ugly couch, that's rude. But if I put that couch out in my garage sale and you stop by and comment in passing that it's the ugliest couch you've seen that day, is that just as rude?

Or, if I'm an artist and I put my work up in a gallery exhibit and you come to my opening, are you forbidden to say anything critical about my works?

I think a blog is more like a gallery exhibit than a virtual living room, at least for those of us who make stuff and show it to the world.

This all in response to the questions put forth on a famous blog and a less-famous blog recently.

My 2 cents. Unless you want to make your blog private and open your comments only to your nearest and dearest, you gotta be prepared to hear a few things you might not like. A private blog is more like having a party in your living room. A public one is not.

Now, if someone's being drunk and disorderly at the gallery opening, I might have security see them to the door. That's called moderating comments or banning someone. But I'd be hard pressed to ban someone for not liking my knitting.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


The winner logged in from Lima Ohio.

Editing to add update:

We had a bit of confusion. I think Sitemeter often registers visits as originating in sub-station along the way.

Our winner is Chelle from Chez Chelle, who actually resides in Ontario.

Thank you all for being readers and good sports. Congratulations Chelle! Yarn will be shipped when I can actually leave my cul-de-sac and get to the post office!

Another Snow Day

We're closing in fast on 100K visits! Keep an eye on your visit number as the day goes along. Stat counter is all the way at the bottom of the page.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Contest Prize

The 100,000th visitor to my blog will win this bag of Berroco Mohair Classic Heather (78% Mohair, 12% Wool, 9% Nylon) in a nice plum color. 10 balls at 43 grams/85 meters each.

I got this yarn in a grab bag deal from Webs a few years ago. I love the color but I don't wear much mohair these days. This yarn has been stored in a plastic bag in a box. There are cats in our home, though they have never been near this yarn.

Winner will also get to choose one of my patterns.

If you are the 100,000th visitor and have an issue with mohair, let me know. I'll pick something else.

BTW, if you are the 100,001st visitor, be prepared to identify yourself. You know, in case the 100,000th doesn't come forward to claim a prize.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Something I Noticed... And a Contest!

I got The Best of Interweave Knits from our public library system. There are a lot of wonderful patterns in there, which isn't too surprising. But I did notice a funny thing about this book.

How many of you remember the cute red headed model who worked for IK for years? Quite often, she was the one chosen to model the most dubious designs that made it into the magazine. Further, the items they put her in were often not well-suited to her build. I miss seeing her in IK these days. The funny thing I noticed is that she does not appear once in this book! Which goes to show that of the 25 or so patterns deemed by the editors to be the best from the first decade, not once was it one that she got to model. I wonder if the editors were to choose the 25 worst patterns from the first decade of IK, how many she would be wearing?

And one more thing I noticed. The model on the cover of the book is also quite familiar to regular readers of IK. She's a lovely, lithe young woman with a dancer's poise. She's also the daughter of the former editor, Pam Allen. Over the years, she has very rarely been posed in unflattering designs. She appears in this book more than any other model.

I'm just wondering...

The Contest
I just realized my sitemeter is fast approaching 100K! If you are the lucky 100,000th visitor to my blog, take a screen shot and email it to me at elizabethmorriso (at) gmail (dot) com. That's right: no final "n" on my last name. My site meter is at the very bottom of the page, so scroll on down. If you don't know how to take a screen shot, just email me and let me know. I'll know if you cheat if I get more than one claimant.

I'll think about a prize and post that tomorrow, after I rummage in the stash. Maybe I'll come up with a few items and give you the choice.

At my current rate of visitors, the 100,000th hit should be in three or four days.

Various updates

Sloane Pullover
Here's the new cabled turtleneck pullover. It's coming right along. Yarn Thrower, you'll be happy to know that I did remember the short row bust darts. And I have just about completed the waist shaping, so maybe will get the body finished in the coming week.

Spinning Every Day

I'm not really a joiner: don't do a lot of memes or knitalongs or such. But there is a movement afoot to spin every day in February. I didn't officially put my name in for this, but I think I'm going to try. Even just 10 minutes.

The You Make My Day Award
In other meme-ish news, I've been blessed with the You Make My Day award by Marie Grace, Molly Bee, Cindy at Baxter Knits, and Yarn Thrower. Thanks ladies! I feel like one of the popular girls at school!

Funny timing on this, because last weekend, after Last Saturday Knitting, I was reflecting on what a wonderful group we have and how it's all because of the internet.

The award instructions read as follows:
"Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times."
My You Make My Day awards would go right back to the same gang, plus a few:
Teleknitter, who spins amazingly and chats with me online when we should both be working.
The Linnet Knits, who has taken up weaving as well as spinning and knitting.
Wendy at Knit and Tonic who is not only a big time famous blogger, author, and designer but someone I consider a friend.

OK, I know that's not 10, but if I keep going to get to 10, I'll soon find myself at 40, so I think I'll stop now. But you should know, if you're reading this then you make my day!

Knitting Machine Surgery
Last night I did some surgery on one of my knitting machines. The LK-150 is a great beginner friendly single bed machine. I've had mine about 10 years. Mr. SABLE got it for me lightly used. In the last year or so, I noticed it was getting more difficult to run the carriage across and began to fear that something expensive was going wrong with it. In the machine knitters group on Ravelry, I learned that a common cause of this might be something called the sponge bar. Clicking through on the Ravelry advertiser who sells knitting machines and parts, I ordered a new sponge bar for $6 and spent last night replacing it and cleaning all the needles while I was at it. You have to take out the 150 needles to do the job. Which means, you have to put the 150 needles back in when you're done. It's not a job I would want to tackle very often, but has made a world of difference to this machine!

Stay warm! Happy Knitting!