Friday, April 20

Malabrigo laceweight, color 125 'mariposa'
Malabrigo laceweight baby merino, color 125, 'mariposa.'
This stuff is obscenely soft--it'll make your toes curl. Get this and who needs these? Squeeze it a couple of times and you'll want a cigarette afterwards.

I have a perverse knack for picking out the odd duck colorway in handpainted yarns. Witness this gloomy Malabrigo that I bought over Christmas. So, when I saw Malabrigo had a laceweight, did I go for the perky pink and yellow 'melilla' or the soothing shades of 'verdeazul?' Uh, no. Breaking from my pink/rose/red habit, I opted for this aqua/muddy lime/yellow blend that I would have called 'robin's egg bites the dirt.' Still, I like it and it's destined to become the curved shawl with diamond edging from Victorian Lace Today.

Thanks to Knitty, Trillian42 and I had a swap earlier this week. I sent her some Berroco denim silk and this arrived in the mailbox. 16 ounces of domestic wool roving from the Springwater Fiber Workshop. I pounced on this purply beauty and immediately spun up some samples. This is a good honest wool--more sweater than shawl or something close to the skin.

Here's my attempt at 2-ply laceweight. The color becomes a more homogeneous mauve, which pretty much kills the drama. Not bad, but I wasn't all giddy about this on a 3mm/3 needle. Next!

This is the single ply, knitted up on size 4mm/6, which gives me strong colors but that mauve still dominates and that stockinette looks a bit feeble and sad. Next!

Here's my first attempt at Navajo plying and you can just call me one happy asdzani. Once I saw the words 'slip knot' and 'like crocheting with your hand' did it all come into place. I have a long way to go, but I love the texture and how I can keep the colors a lot sharper. This was knitted up on a size 4mm/6 which will be perfect for a simple cardigan with some diagonal manoeuvres with an inset cable panel.

Later today, I'm going to the booksigning for Amy Singer at Hill Country Weavers. There will be some kind of mad confluence of Knitty people, bloggers, SnBers and local knitters. I'll be the one with a happy, dazed look in her eyes.

Friday, April 13

YPF: Spring Green and New Kitty

Tahki Chelsea Silk, 65%silk/35% wool.

I was tidying up the other day when I came across a UFO older than my kids. It was the completed back to a cardigan that I started probably back in 1993 or 1994. I bought the Chelsea Silk in a yarn shop in the San Juan islands and I can't remember which one. The shop wasn't in town but out in the country in a one story house/building--any ideas? I do remember the dh paying me $100 to sing 'Mack the Knife' on karaoke night at the hotel bar, never to be repeated EVER.
Anyway, I frogged the back, washed and dried the yarn and I was thinking about making Cinxia from Knitty. I downloaded the pattern when I realized that the yarn starting moaning 'Noooooooo, not another cardigan! Please, please, can't I be a spring bow-tie wrap with some zippy Noro Tidiori thrown in? You could make a really fun skirt to go with me!'
Sheesh. Alright, already. Have it your way.

Cats and Karma or Just Like My Momma Used To Do

I got a phone call the other day from a woman who saw our 'lost cat' flyers wanting to know if we ever found Neko. She heard the sad story and asked if I might be interested in her 2-year old tabby female. Her in-laws, who are locals, are allergic to cats and it's becoming a real problem when they're visiting. She described her as affectionate, used to dogs, and strictly an indoor cat. She also mentioned that the cat's mother used to live on our street. Well, that clinched the deal right then and there. She and her daughter brought this little grey tabby over and the boys and I immediately went 'Awwwwwww.' So, now we have a new family member---FIONA!
Now, none of this was discussed with Mr. Mary, who was at the office. My mother used to come home with a dog, or more commonly, new cats and that was that. Made sense to me and it still does--hey, I'm the food bowl lady, vet liaison and chief information officer of animal affairs.

I made a batch of Texas Pecan Pie Bars from The Pastry Queen to soften up the dh. I think I'll have to make every damn recipe in the book before he chills out. Fiona is settling in nicely and is so affectionate that we're slightly stunned after the no-nonsense personality of Neko.

So when someone says, 'When one door closes, another one opens,' they're right!

Sunday, April 8

Let's visit a yarn shop...

My next door neighbor sold his house. This showed up on Saturday:

And here is what was left this afternoon:

Sooo, after that little suburban trauma let's go visit a yarn shop, shall we? (spoken in a Mister Rogers voice--click the link, I beg you) I took these photos when I was in Miami over Christmas. I visited my former boss and good friend, Anneke, at her new location. Here, pull up a chair and sit a spell...

If you look closely (go ahead and click on the pic), you'll see not one but TWO cats sleeping in their kitty pi beds. They're Gigi and Purl, my feline godchildren and most favorite calicoes in the world. I *sniff* helped name those girls when they were just itty bitty rescue babies. Okay, okay...let's move on to the hard stuff---YARN.

This is another room that houses the Great Wall of Noro, as seen on the right. Look around, you'll probably see a few knitted/felted items made with Kureyon, a Colinette throw and something I finished from Simply Beautiful Sweaters lurking about. Oh, yeah, there's a lot of Tahki/Stacy Charles on the left.

Hmm...I think there's some Prism around here, somewhere, cleverly color coordinated. This officially makes you a 'Cubby Scout.'
Yes, Anneke even lets me play shopgirl behind the counter (her hand is guarding the till..) There's a whole other room full (and I mean full, people) of needlepoint canvasses and fiber, plus the usual wall of addis, clover, notions and whatnot. This is where I got 2 of my skeins of Tilli Tomas for Sahara. And some Malabrigo, and Debbie Bliss, and Colinette...
Anneke hasn't heard the siren song of spinning and I understand. Really. In the meantime, I'll just have to earn another badge every time I visit her.

I will not be maudlin and torture you with endless photos of my dead pets, but I did find this one of Neko. He was facing the neighbor's house...happier times for all of us.

Friday, April 6


Thank-you to everyone for your condolences and kind words about the loss of Neko. He was the first cat I've had in 20 years(no-pet apartments and lots of moves) and, therefore, was even more special to me. The boys tried to cheer me up when they said "Wow, Neko's going to be in for a big surprise when he gets to heaven!" 'Why is that?" "Archie!!!"

I distracted myself from fetal position moping by knitting non-stop. Day and night. Lots of DIY and CNN. I didn't make my deadline which was just as well. I don't think my husband needed Carmen Miranda at his reading, just a bookish body to fill a chair. And, without further ado, I present SAHARA:

Sahara from stitchdivaSahara from stitchdiva
remind me to always walk around with my arms in the air--does wonders for the silhouette


Pattern: Sahara from stitchdiva.
I used Tilli Tomas Disco Lights, 'Ruby Wine,' for the whole piece. 240 gms total, straight from the stash--yay!
Size: Large
Gauge: 6st=1", 7 rows=1" on a size 6(4 mm) needle after light blocking and wearing.
length: 22.5" I made it shorter than the pattern. It was a judgment call not to have a sparkly red line bisect my generous posterior.

I had 4 skeins from 2 different dyelots/shops. I started with the lighter of the two and then alternated yarns across the bust before finishing with the darker shade with a touch of pooling. I think there were more sequins in the darker batch--at least it looks that way in the pix. I didn't change the shaping at all and, as a 36C, I'd suggest you give her measurements a long, hard look. The negative ease is factored in, but I wouldn't want this any more fitted than it is. I did split the bottom edge, working both sides back and forth, for a more tunic type look (due to a small waist and bodacious hips.) Now here comes the fun part:

I originally worked the front and back with the Diamond Rib pattern as called for, without changing needle size. There was a "p3 sts tog TBL" that nearly buried me with all those damn sequins. I tinkered with it, added an extra row of ribbing to get "k3 sts tog TBL." I don't know, it just didn't make my heart sing. I also thought that once the silk relaxes I'll have a splayed ribbing, even if I did work it on smaller needles as instructed. Sooooo, I grabbed my crochet hook and got busy. I'm no crochet genius, so I just did a row of single crochet with a few rows of double crochet topped off by a final row of half double crochet. One thing I really love about crochet is that it's self-finishing.

Sahara, crochet detailSahara, crochet detail

Eureka! This gave me a nice geometric mesh and a firmer edge. Think Moroccan tiles, the Alhambra and Naguib Mahfouz novels.

Now, how does it feel? Like a hairshirt for fashionistas.
Or the first ever knitted top that buffs while you shine.
Anyhoo, everyone needs a little ruby wine in their life, n'est pas?
Happy Spamarama everybody!

Sunday, April 1

No Stash For You

Sorry, gang, my heart's not in it this year.


Neko went missing last Thursday night when we had torrential rains. I knew something was wrong. I had the most awful sense of foreboding which I tried to pass off as overreacting on my part. I made up flyers yesterday and went all over the neighborhood dropping them into mailboxes and calling for Neko. Later in the afternoon, my neighbor from across the street came over and said she thought she had found him. She led us to an overgrown part of her yard and there he was. I think he was hit by a car during the storm and made it to the bushes where he died.
Neko in Kitty Pi bed6666-Toed Kitten

Neko was a slightly grumpy and very independent 6-toed Siamese mix with the most obnoxious yowl. He didn't like to be picked up and he tolerated petting only on his terms, usually on a full stomach. He enjoyed taunting the dog in various ways but would nuzzle him fondly as well. Neko particularly enjoyed sunning himself by the neighbor's pool and trying to catch the frogs in his pond. We're a pretty noise bunch around here, but Neko was the loudest of all.

Happy hunting, my friend. It's too quiet here without you.