Friday, October 26

Ply It Again, Ma'am

Thanks for the great comments about Cherie Amour. She makes her debut tomorrow and just wait until you see the whack skirt I've cooked up. Goodwill rocks!

Superwash Merino roving, source: unknown

Angelina recently plopped down this roving at our SnB group. Someone had sent it to her and she was destashing. I politely waited a second or two before pouncing on it.

I spun it up and fooled around with using a short draw.

I plied it loosely and had a bit left over that I plied with some merino/tencel. It looked like a bad marriage between soggy ramen noodles and a nursing home lobby in Ft. Worth.

It was time for...


But it was still tired and limp. And no red-blooded woman wants that.

The savvy SNB spinners rode in on their wooden wheels and advised me to ply it again.

And it worked!

I'm knitting it up into a little cardi with a lace edge and 3/4 sleeves. I'm knitting dangerously as I've about 500 yds, more or less.

Now, it's off to the school carnival where I get to turn live people into skeletons for the "Day of the Dead" spookhouse aka "Mary's Revenge on the PTA." Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Friday, October 19

Cherie Amour

Noro Lotus, col. 156
Noro Lotus, col. 156

It all started when I saw Turtlegirls's Cherie Amour on her blog on Oct. 14. I had seen the pattern in the Fall 2007 Knitty, but didn't appreciate the details until I saw her photos. It was soooo pretty, soooo curvy, soooo perfect for my ensemble for our first ever visit to the Renaissance Faire in about a week's time. I shopped the stash for a bulky weight yarn which I don't have a ton of because we live in Hades (90 degrees today, people). I found a bag of Noro Lotus (Attention Yarncave shoppers, there's a bag of Noro in bin 3!) that I scored on eBay because I've always liked this yarn ever since I made the Chinese Charm Bag from Stitch 'n Bitch. It's got lots of preeeety stripey colors, metallic sparkle and knits up on size 13 needles like the way I drive---real fast...unless the kids are present.

It's 57% rayon, 23% nylon, 12% acrylic and 8% cashmere which seems like a total waste to me. I guess if you closed your eyes and thought real hard you'd feel that cashmere, but it's not exactly overwhelming you with it's 8% presence. Anyway, this high falutin' Japanese acrylic-san was perfect for the pattern and our less than frosty winters.

I downloaded the pattern, swatched and knitted like a big dog all week long. And I mean BIG dog.
FYI: Don't let the following notes put you off this pattern. The numbers all work out quite nicely. It's just that I have a habit of pimping my sweaters.
Cherie Amour w/ChuyCherie Amour, front detailYes, my arm is up (again) and I'm convinced that it looks thinner. Hey, let's raise both of them and see what happens!

Cherie Amour with Chuy Alterations:

I made a size medium, thinking that this yarn would have zero memory and relax with time. Plus it looked great on the T-Girl.
I made the bottom lace section shorter than the pattern calls for because the world doesn't need to see 31 rounds of lace traversing my beam at its broadest point.
I used a size 9 needle as called for the 2x2 ribbing but switched to a size 8 for the middle bit to cinch in the waist a bit more. Just call me the Sands of Time because I've got the hourglass, baby.
I read Turtlegirl's observations closely and she mentioned problems with the front decreases. Boy, was she right! I ended up making my own chart so I could get those decreases in line with the 6-stitch pattern repeat. And all of this headache over 20 friggin' stitches to start with. Remember, it's a 6-stitch repeat and stitch markers are your friends. You may end up working a few more decrease rows than shown on the chart. Ok, maybe that's a me thing and not a you thing.

TIP: I worked one row of knit followed by one row of purl on the back and the fronts before that 3-needle bind off for the shoulders--it gives more support for a bulky yarn.
Cherie Amour, back detail
Methinks it's mead time.

Sleeves: I cannot wear a bulky weight long sleeve in this climate plus I wanted something in character for RenFaire. I didn't want thick seams or the pain of joining a sleeve in the round, so I got creative. I picked up stitches around the armhole with a size 10 needle and worked about 7 inches in the 2x2 rib. I tried doing a couple of repeats of the bottom lace pattern, but my brain couldn't handle the lace and the Red Sox in game 5 at the same time. So, I opted for my alltime favorite lace cop-out; YO, K2tog followed by a purl row. I worked it back and forth so I'd have a split cuff and the Maid Mary, Mary thing going.
TIP: I don't like an unfinished edge on a neckline so I worked a row of single crochet around mine with a strand of Anny Blatt Victoria in burgundy to give it a flat edge and a nice finish. (DMC floss or a solid yarn will do, I just happen to have accrued tons of Victoria after 3 years living in France.)

I realize that you may think that all this lace is wasted on such a busy yarn. It's true that you can't see the detail like you would with a solid, but here the lace serves the dual purpose of air-conditioning as much as decoration.

Forty grams left and the Red Sox won!

Thursday, October 11

Komon Kimono

Presenting the Komon Kimono from Knit Kimono. Noro Silk Garden Lite with Noro Cash Iroha for the neckband.

This piece has a backstory that involves LIES, Trickery and deceit. As soon as I bought the yarn and received my copy of Knit Kimono the same day, I just knew it was destined for a very special person, someone dear to my knitty heart--Miss Renee from my SnB group. She had just announced that she was getting a big fat promotion after years of hard work (yay!) and was relocating to Dallas(boo).

Fellow posse member Robincat was all over the idea like a duck on a junebug and she cranked out the fronts and the sleeves while I banged away on the back and the 54-inch neckband. I mention the neckband because at about mile 36 I was getting a wee bit tired of the garter stitch with built-in i-cord over and over again. Blatantly knitting on it in front of Renee gave me the extra gas to get it done. See, Robin and I are such good liars that Renee never suspected a thing, even after reading my blog. This bears thinking about if we ever embark on a career as the knitting embezzlers or the handspun hackers.

The big day arrived for Renee's farewell lunch at Maudie's Tex-Mex and here are the results:

Before margaritas......

and after.

We're gonna miss ya, honey!

Friday, October 5

YPF and then some

Handspun merino(?), 20 gms=100yds. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Regia Kaffe Fassett, col. 4261

This is a pair of Naughty Monkey flats that I bought for $2 on the sale table at a local boutique. Sometimes, I think it's my role in life to rescue the fugliest sale items, find all of the orphaned skeins buried deep in the discount bin and pick yarn in the worst colorway imaginable to keep them from their pending doom of oblivion--that perennially dusty corner in the shop where everything has been picked over so much that the labels are all tatty. I call it The Land of the Misfit Fug. Personally, I like these shoes--they make me laugh with their goofiness. That's why I'm wearing them right now with my yellow La Tejedora t-shirt and jeans.

Last night, we saw "A Ride with Bob", the musical about Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and there was a trio of fiddlers called The Quebe Sisters who are not only crack fiddlers but great singers as well. I bought their CD in the lobby and they all autographed it, plus their guitar player Joey. Great show, gals!
This cd is the perfect soundtrack for reading all about Ree and Marlboro Man.


My friend, Renee, is moving to Dallas and bestowed upon me the honor of babysitting her mother's extensive collection of knitting patterns from The Hamlyn Publishing Group. The company is based in England, but apparently published these patterns in a series of packs in the early 1980s.

"Starmore, MacShmarmore. This bleedin' sweater pattern will never sell."

(just for you, Robin)

"It was Evangeline Henry's solemn duty to break the color barrier for African American models in the knitting industry. Sipping Listerine was a small price to pay."

Sixty years later, Ms. Starmore has the last laugh until...
"Uh, Miss Rashad, Mr. Cosby thought it would be more wholesome if you wore matching sweaters. Miss Rashad? Miss Rashad, please put the ashtray down. Aaaaaaiiiieeeee!"

Wednesday, October 3

Greetings from Tyvekistan

In my neighborhood, if you don't know the neighbors personally then you name their houses. There's the yellow house aka Marytopia, the yappy dog house, the dead magnolia house, the three ancient Volvo station wagons house, the rooster house, the Steelers fan house, the creepy old man house and so on. And now we have Tyvekistan, a hulking 4,000 square foot structure being built for three people; 2 adults, 1 child. Three people. And no backyard.

I will try to keep my rants to a minimum, I promise. I will try to channel my negative energy into something positive, something constructive, something that celebrates the indescribable beauty of life on planet Earth. Like planting more bamboo.

I'm just about done with the Komon kimono and it should make its FO debut fairly soon. In the meantime, I spun up this wee bit of laceweight from a wee bit of roving that was included in an order from the Black Lamb. It was good to get my hands on something smooth and slippery after going mano a mano with the burro, whoops, churro.

I have about 100 yds as single ply. Hmm, maybe I'll make a little hairband doodad with some cunning stitch from Barbara Walker. The color is almost burnt orange which brings me to...

Hey, sportsfans!

I grew up with a father and two brothers who marked the beginning of football season by having the TV on nonstop from September until after the Super Bowl in January. After we had grown up and moved out, my father set up a command center in the kitchen with one TV, 2 radios and the other TV in the living room all set to different games. The wall behind the TV was decorated with University of Texas Longhorn football memorabilia and pictures of my brother, a former offensive lineman for the Longhorns who played with Earl Campbell. Weekend visitors to this hallowed ground were admitted only if they(including my blessed sainted stepmother and the dog) understood the house rules:

1. No chatting, gossiping or 'girltalk.'
2. Drinks may be refreshed only during commercials, especially those involving the ice maker.
3. Telephone calls are forbidden unless you go to another room or you are absent and call after the big game.
4. Shouting and cursing is dictated by seniority; the younger you are, the less noise you can make.
5. Doorbells will not be answered--go to the back door and come on in.
6. Any personal, emotional, or financial issues will be addressed after the sports highlights on the local news and the Longhorns win. Otherwise, deal with it.
7. Never, ever, walk in front of the TV during third and long--this action could get you banned for life or seriously maimed at the very least.
8. Questions will be answered as deemed necessary; be prepared for stony silence and glares.
9. No jiggling of change in pockets, tapping of feet or any other irritating and repetitive sounds.
10. Shut up and watch.

I will be enforcing these same rules from my own kitchen command center this weekend when I watch the Red River Shootout and keep an eye on the Red Sox. Things could get real ugly around here.