Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Two for the price of one

I have two FO's to show you. First, Grumperina's Tivoli. This is knit in Berrocco Denim Silk. It took me 4 balls plus a little of a fifth one to make a sweater with a 32" finished bust. I tried it on last night and no sagging! I am totally thrilled with how it turned out. So, so, so much better than the Ballet T-shirt. It is really flattering. Kudos to you, Grumperina! I also really liked this fiber. After using it, I think I know what people mean when they talk about a yarn having a crunchy hand. That sounds awful, but actually is really nice. It was pleasant to knit with, didn't split, or make your hands hurt like some non-wool fibers do.
And I also finished another project that I found blog stalking, Glampyre's One Skein Wonder. What a fun little project! Who doesn't need a little shruglette? Now I must say that I used Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, and I needed two balls. Also, the pattern states that if your shoulder measures in half inches (mine was 13.5), then you should make one size down. I did that, and I wish I had gone up. This one's quite small on me. I'll definitely knit this pattern again, for myself (why not black? ivory? pink?) and others. The fiber is, frankly, to die for. It made me want to drive around to every LYS in the area and hoard, hoard, hoard. It is so soft and light, just beautiful. It is a little splitty, but not so that you have to take tremendous care. I could still knit without looking at every stitch.
Hey...don't these colors look amazing together?? Ok, now that I look at that closeup, the rib is a little embarassing. I hate that one big knit stitch. And, yes, I try to do the next purl tighter, but it doesn't seem to help.
So, Le Mari and I are going up to western Massachusetts this weekend for the wedding of my best friend, Kara. I am actually the, gulp, Matron of Honor. I hate that title. Why can't I be the Best Woman? This is going to be an all-around amazing trip, and not just because I will be seeing my best friend get married. No, two other factors make it really promising.
1. My Little Guys are staying home with Grandma and Grandpa.
2. We are driving. About ten hours each way. Think of all the knitting!
Next from the Pioneer Valley.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Yarn Binge! And progress on Tivoli...

I couldn't possibly be posting on my blog. I'm WAY too busy hitting the LYS's and trawling for yarn and vintage patterns (new obsession) on eBay. I have whiled away more late-night hours than I care to admit lately looking for pattern booklets from the 40s and 50s on eBay. I have managed to snag a few, and so now I have MAIL to look forward to. YAY! I also scored some awesome Colinette Giotto on eBay at a shockingly low price. Check it out for yourself -- just search for Giotto in the Yarn category.

While getting yarn in the mail is fun, shopping for it in person is even more fun. Here are a couple of my recent purchases. The other day, I visited Susan Yarns in Cleveland Heights and bought the Katia Diana. I just love this yarn, so soft and yummy! I had Little Guy #2 with me (he's 2.5 years old), and when I got him out of the car, he said, "Here we are at the yarn store!" Both cute and a little scary.

And yesterday I went to Fine Points and scored this lovely Rowan Summer Tweed. I am seriously considering going right back to buy more of a different color. I bought enough of the green to make a pullover with sleeves. Maybe just a few hanks, for a tank? Maybe that wouldn't be TOO indulgent.

But I have been working on Tivoli too, and here's how it looks. As I think I mentioned before, it's in Berroco Denim Silk. It looks a little more blue and less purple in this photo than it does in person. Nice fiber, this Denim Silk. I am about to start the decreases for the waist. One thing that seriously annoys me about circular knitting is how hard it is to measure accurately. Or at least it is for me. I think this may be turning out a bit smaller than I intended, but I think it will still fit. And I am definitely going for a fitted look here so there will be no ripping.
A thought for the day seen on someone's signature file: Todo el rato que esta enojado, pierde de estar contento. Or, all time spent angry is time lost being happy. It's a Mexican proverb I am going to remember if I try this thing on and it sags anywhere.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

This is the Last Time...

...I will rename this blog. (Apologies to Keane.) I liked passionknit, but that generated a LOT of hits on Google, so I settled for passionknitter. I really liked "sereknitty" but, alas, also taken. I thought about "diviknitty" but that seriously overstates my ability. HA! So, finally, affiknitty.

Yesterday, the Husband and I took the Boys to Cedar Point which, as they are quick to remind you, has been voted the Best Amusement Park on the Planet for 7 years in a row. Whoa. Major sensory overload. I took Tivoli with me -- about an hour and a half in the car to knit. I thought about taking the knitting in the park, but at the last minute left it in the car. The knitting goddesses were smiling on me, because it rained on us about half the day. As we were leaving, there was a real soaking thunderstorm. So thus my tee was saved from certain disaster.

I'm making progress on the tee -- had to start and rip three times before I decided that the neck and shoulders would fit correctly, but I think I'm on the right track now. I am about to bind off for the sleeves. When I have made more progress, I'll post pictures.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

One Sweater -- Free to Good Home

Well, Monday night Cherished Spouse and I went with my parents and my visiting Auntie JoAnn to see her mate perform at the House of Blues. He's Anna Nalick's drummer and she was opening for the Wallflowers. What an awesome show! Anna was fab, the Wallflowers rocked maybe 25 songs -- a great time was had by all.
Happily, the Ballet Tee also found a home. Auntie JoAnn said she liked it, and could happily wear it as a vest with something under it. I think I saw it growing while she tried it on, though. Auntie is famous in our family for taking in strays: no person or animal in distress goes uncomforted if JoAnn can help it. I am afraid it was this admirable quality of hers that led her to take in this sweater.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Ballet T-Shirt Affair, or It's OK, I'm a Process Knitter

Your author isn't exactly quick on the uptake. I see the Ballet T-shirt in Durham's book and think, Wow! Cute! And think how quickly I could get that off the needles! And then, later, I'm reading Grumperina and I see the Tivoli Tee, and think, Wow this looks like that other tee I want to make, only a smaller gauge. Cool! Had I really read the blog closely, I would have seen the post where the author points out all the problems that I had with the Ballet Tee pattern.
Of course, because she is a Smart Knitter, she was able to figure out all these problems without actually knitting the sweater. She knew there was something off about an adult wearing a sweater with a 29 inch bust. She knew the fabric would sag. She knew the waist would not be as defined as would look best, with only one center dart. She was not seduced by the promise of a quick FO. So she designed a Better Tee. Clever, clever. Go to her blog and see how she designed Tivoli. It's an education!
Now I'm looking forward to Tivoli, but I have figured out that the sizes she provides are not going to fit me properly. She provides patterns for 31, 36, and 37" finished bust measurements, and the models all have actual bust sizes that are 2-3 inches bigger. I am going to need to make about a 34 inch size. So all that math practice with the Ballet Tee is not going to waste! Also, I think my mom or my aunt could wear the one I made -- it's definitely too big for me. Knit and learn, knit and learn...

Katia Diana; 50% acrylic, 19% nylon; 18% viscose, 13% angora; 19 sts & 23 rows/4 in on US 6-7 needles; machine washable. It feels way too good to be so much synthetic. Knitted, it drapes nicely and feels soft and a little plush. Very nice! I will definitely use this again, even though the Ballet T was not a total success. Posted by Picasa

Voila...the Ballet T-Shirt. Durham says in her book that the fabric is very stretchy; you can practically see it growing in the photo. It certainly stretched on my needles, hence the Gauge Problem. Posted by Picasa

When I finally started my 3 sts/inch Ballet T-shirt, I checked my gauge a few times as I worked on the top, and it looked OK. I am now approaching the bottom edge (it's knitted from the top down) and the sweater is looking a little, well...big. So I measure, and I recheck my gauge.

It's 2.5 sts/inch. Somewhere the knitting goddesses are laughing their @#$%! off. I am way too far into this to rip now. Anyway, I had my doubts about a sweater with a 28.75 inch bust fitting anyone bigger than Lindsay Lohan. Maybe this will fit and not look like a tent... Yeah, it'll look OK... Won't it?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Why are there no size 16 needles? Or, Am I incapable of achieving gauge?

Ever notice that what the hell is always the right decision? -- Anon. Hollywood scriptwriter
My current WIP is the Ballet T-Shirt from Teva Durham's FABULOUS book Loop-d-loop. (I highly recommend. Lovely, lovely, lovely.) The pattern states that for the women's sizes, you should knit at a gauge of 10 sts/4 in with size 15 needles using two strands of worsted held together. Sounds imminently reasonable, and I am sure that better, less wonky knitters than I would have no trouble achieving it. Did I mention that it is knit circularly, which is my favorite way to knit? But I'll be @#$%*! if I can figure out a way to do an accurate swatch in the round. So I usually start the project (a sleeve if there are any, which there aren't here) and just hope for the best and measure as I go along. I have become inured to the pain of frog stitch.
To make a long story short, after trying two different yarns (Katia Diana--yum--and Berroco Denim Silk--also yum), and starting and ripping THREE times, I finally came to the realization that 1, I personally am not ever going to knit 10 sts/4 in with two strands of worsted and size 15 needles; 2, I do not like the fabric either of these yarns produces on size 17 needles (yikes, too open!); and 3, it is insane that needles go directly from 10mm size 15 to 12.5mm size 17. Where are the 16s?!?
I briefly and frantically considered a trip to Home Depot to investigate wooden dowels and sandpaper, but quickly put my feet up and the feeling went away. Fortunately, Ms. Durham kindly provides excellent schematics for her pattern. So I thought, what the hell, I'll do some math. I have translated the pattern for a gauge of 3 sts/inch. I've never tried doing this before (mostly because many patterns don't give you such nice schematics), but so far so good. By the way, I picked the Katia Diana for this project and decided to save the Denim Silk for Grumperina's Tivoli tee. Pictures to follow...

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Finished KALs:

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View my FOs for Socktoberfest here and here.

Here are links to posts on John's Weasley sweater.

Joining my first knitalong.
Early progress and thoughts on Rowan Felted Tweed.
Designing and swatching the initial.
Second thoughts and other Weasley issues.
Deciding not to frog.
Worried about wonky initials.
The finished object.

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You can see my finished hats here, here, and here.

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Leigh Radford-designed ornaments.
Snowy Triangle Scarf for Aunt Becky.

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Just getting started.
In which I set a ludicrously unrealistic deadline.
Decisions, decisions.
In which the deadline is abandoned.
A Woman, A Plan, A Raglan.
Various thoughts on the KepLaura.
C'est fini!

Other Worthy Efforts:

Image hosted by I contributed! The final total was $102,337.81!

Aborted Efforts, Sort Of:

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Let's face it. All I've done is lurk. When I get my act together and actually participate, I'll throw this button back up on the sidebar.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Too Much Information

100 Things About Me (In No Particular Order)

1. I was married in May 1998, exactly one week after I graduated from law school.

2. I met my husband in torts class. Honestly.

3. We have two sons, who are 5 and 2.5.

4. This isn't exactly about me, but my older son has mild autism. We believe that it was caused by mercury poisoning.

5. My favorite city is Paris. Oscar Wilde said that when good Americans die, they go to Paris. I hope so.

6. My family moved to Campinas, Brazil when I was in the tenth grade. I loved it there. I graduated from the American school there and my family moved back to the States during my first year of college.

7. I speak some Portuguese, French and Spanish, but none of them even close to fluently.

8. Some day I hope to rectify that and become fluent in at least one of them.

9. I cannot sleep at night if I am not under the blanket. Even if it is really, really hot. I have to at least be under a sheet.

10. I quit smoking about nine years ago.

11. But I did have a cigarette at a wedding shower my girlfriends at law school threw for me. It was a pink Sobranie.

12. When I was smoking, I smoked either Marlboro Reds, Dunhills, or Silk Cuts. I had to go to tobacco shops for the Silk Cuts, and they cost a fortune.

13. I really miss smoking. Can you tell? If I go to heaven, I will be able to smoke all I want and never feel yucky. Hey, St. Thomas Aquinas said that heaven would be full of all of the good things on earth, so I don't think it's too farfetched.

14. I used to run, and then I got pregnant and quit.

15. I have good intentions about starting running again and exercising, but rarely actually do it.

16. I hardly ever knit with single point needles.

17. And never with double point needles, if I can help it.

18. I love music. Especially alternative rock, classic 80s new wave and alternative, classic jazz, world music, bossa nova, French cafe music, soul, and classical.

19. About the only kinds of music I don't like are metal and hardcore rap. And hair bands. And not really jam bands.

20. I couldn't name just one favorite song, or even ten, but two that I really like are "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green and "Stars Fell on Alabama". Also Miles Davis's recording of "Autumn Leaves".

21. I can't play any musical instruments and I can barely sing.

22. I was a double major in English and government.

23. After college, I worked as a legislative assistant for a member of the US House of Representatives. That was really cool.

24. I have never voted for a Republican for a national office.

25. I think the US Capitol is one of the most beautiful public buildings I have ever seen. Also the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.

26. I got my driver's license when I was 28, and didn't start driving everyday until I was 32.

27. I went to Smith College, which is a women's college. Not a girl's school.

28. When I was in seventh grade I wanted to spell my name without the "u" -- thus, Lara. Ugh.

29. I hate air conditioning. It has to be extremely, miserably hot before I want to be in air conditioning.

30. I love to go to the movies by myself.

31. I have a lint trap of a brain for trivial bits of information.

32. Like the cast members of every movie I have ever seen.

33. My favorite movies are Amelie, American Beauty, The Apartment, Moonstruck, Casablanca, Manhattan, The Philadelphia Story, Sideways, and Black Orpheus.

34. But one of my most favorite scenes in a movie is in Lost in Translation, when Bill Murray gets out of his car and whispers in Scarlett Johannson's ear.

35. I used to think that blue was my favorite color.

36. But now I realize, by looking in my closet and at my stash, that my favorite color is green.

37. I color my hair, so that it is, as my hairdresser says, warmer. That means, redder.

38. My younger son is a natural redhead. So I'm dyed to match.

39. My first knitting projects (after a couple of scarves in college) were baby blankets. Every time I make a baby blanket I swear it will be the last one.

40. Most embarassing knitting story: for my first sweater, I bought some expensive thick and thin wool. I could tell after I finished the front and half of the back that I wouldn't have enough to finish. Not realizing that I could frog it, I actually threw those pieces away.

41. That was so stupid, I cannot believe that I have told anyone about it.

42. I started knitting seriously in October 2001, when we were on a vacation in Wyoming. I went to a yarn store looking for a "small project" and came out with the Ann Norling Fruit Hat pattern and some circular and double pointed needles and yarn. And the rest was history!

43. I am really grateful to that yarn shop owner for pointing me in the direction of circular knitting and doing something other than a rectangle. That's when I realized how fun knitting can be. It also gave me confidence to try something new.

44. If you're wondering, the shop was Knit on Pearl in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

45. I read my first Jane Austen novel after I graduated from college. Now I reread Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion on an almost annual basis. My favorite Jane Austen novel used to be P&P. But the older I get, the more I prefer Persuasion.

46. I starting reading when I was about three years old. And I basically never stopped.

47. I am one of those people who will read anything, including cereal boxes and phone books, if there is nothing else around.

48. My favorite reads are mysteries and literary fiction. I prefer the cozy and police procedural type of mystery.

49. But I also love poetry. Especially Billy Collins, W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, and Elizabeth Bishop.

50. And this summer I started reading the Horatio Hornblower novels and watching the DVDs.

51. I assume that, most of the time, people are acting out of good intentions or motives.

52. I honestly am not that good at staying in touch with people. That fact really bothers me.

53. On the other hand, my best friend is someone I met in my last semester at Smith.

54. I moved around a lot when I was growing up.

55. For me, I think it was a good thing.

56. Politically, most people would probably consider me a socialist, if they knew how I thought things really ought to be.

57. Because I am a big believer in the power of governments to make things better for people.

58. In theory.

59. But practically speaking, I know you can't always get what you want.

60. When Bush fils was elected, I was afraid that things would get ugly.

61. But I never imagined it would be this bad.

62. If that offends you, I am sorry. Really.

63. Because I generally avoid confrontations at all costs.

64. I think I might be the last person in America who still likes President Clinton. Not that the Monica thing didn't bother me.

65. Sometimes, my sister Lisa makes me laugh so hard, I can barely breathe. My sister Amy is the most amazing mom I know. She nursed twins. Exclusively. No formula. For a whole year. She rocks. I just love my sisters.

66. My mom is one of my best friends. I talk to her practically every day. My dad is an amazing guy. I actually like to hang out with my parents.

67. I lived in the Washington, DC area until about 2 years ago, when we moved to Cleveland.

68. I LOVE Cleveland. It is a completely and shamefully underrated city.

69. But, I can be happy almost anywhere that I am living. One of the benefits of moving a lot as a kid. (See #s 54 and 55.)

70. I am a practicing Catholic.

71. And, trust me, I need the practice!

72. I believe that God has a plan for me, and my family. And I work hard at trusting that it will be really good.

73. My favorite passages from the Bible are Isaiah chapter 55; Jeremiah chapter 29, verses 11-15; and Luke chapter 1, verses 46-55.

74. When I was working as an intern one summer, I went through a phase where I had two cups of coffee and a bag of plain M&Ms every morning for breakfast. Now I like oatmeal, or peanut butter toast.

75. When I was little, my favorite sandwich was peanut butter and Miracle Whip. That is not as gross as it sounds. Now my favorite is tomato sandwiches with real mayonnaise. But only in August and early September.

76. If I had to look like someone else, I'd pick Scarlett Johannsson. Or Salma Hayek. But I'm pretty ok with how I look.

77. A pot of tea almost never fails to cheer me up. Especially if I am also knitting, or reading a good book.

78. I love winter and cold weather. I sometimes wish I were living somewhere even colder than Cleveland, which is pretty darn cold. Like Maine, or Iceland.

79. If we could, my husband and I would move to Canada in a minute. But we can't, because of our older son's need for specialized therapy and the fact that my husband is an attorney. Which sort of would be hard to do outside of the United States. Law degrees don't transfer that well.

80. I'm pretty much of a shameless Anglophile. And Francophile.

81. And I realize that there is something sort of inherently wrong about being both.

82. I had my first boyfriend at age 15. He was the 19-year-old brother of a friend, and he was French. And really cool.

83. I once (briefly) dated someone who is now kind of a celebrity in the blogosphere. But I'm not telling who it was.

84. I think I could really get hooked on anything that might make me feel as though I could get more things done. Like coke, or meth. So I better never try it.

85. I have never taken an illegal drug, unless you count underage drinking. Never tried pot. Not even once.

86. When I was practicing law, I did corporate tax work, with an emphasis on financial instruments. It was actually kind of fun.

87. But I hated working in a law firm.

88. Someday, I'd like to find a way to have a job that combines the three things I love most to do: read, write and knit.

89. I am a terrible housekeeper.

90. But I'm not a bad cook, and I'm even better at baking. I just don't do it enough.

91. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never be an enthusiastic gardener.

92. I currently have a hole in the ceiling in my living room. (Cracked shower pan in bathroom above.) So I am currently using my master bath as a place for some of my stash.

93. I always leave a big tip. Especially at breakfast. Unless the server was intentionally rude.

94. I prefer showers. I take a bath about twice a year.

95. I love chocolate, especially Lindt milk chocolate.

96. I hate reality TV, but I love American Idol. I was a Constantine fan.

97. I love shopping. I especially like Target.

98. I have a little problem with shoes, and handbags. And ice cream. And diet Coke.

99. I don't understand why shoppers encounter snottiness so often in yarn stores.

100. I knit English style, and I am totally okay with that.

Friday, July 01, 2005

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