December 08, 2005


I'm overwhelmed by the number of sweet comments on the bag - thank you! A (spottily) illustrated guide to finishing a bag the way I did follows:

Instead of knitting the side panels straight, I decreased to make a sharply sloping piece - I picked up the directed number of stitches, and decreased one at either edge on the fifth row and every fourth row thereafter for 61 rows. I did knit a hem of five rows, and sewed it down.

After felting, I blocked the piece over a padded portfolio that happened to be just the right size and shape. The first time (pictured above), I didn't get everything perfectly, and ended up reblocking it later to straighten seams and pull out irregularities. For such a structured bag, it's worth it to get the shape exactly right.

I cut four pieces of heaviest-duty craft interfacing

and quickly whipstitched them into place.

Then, you need one of these things - a spring punch fitted with a 1/16" (00) tip - to make holes that run the entire length of a 72-inch leather strap.

I sourced the strap and the tools from Tandy Leather, a huge retailer with lots of stores as well as an enormous mail-order and internet operation. The troll-ish little man who sold me my wares tried to insist that I also purchase a groover, for marking the stitching line, as well as an overstitch wheel for marking the hole locations, but I (apparantly) commited leatherwork heresy and just eyeballed it for the short length I had to do.

The strap itself is just a 3/4" (that's the width of the buckle it takes; the actual strap is about an eighth of an inch narrower) strip of 6-ounce latigo leather. Punching the holes is really easy (and strangely satisfying), though it certainly takes time.

I sewed the two ends together to make one long loop, laid it out this way:

and put the bag on top, to get an idea of where the handles should begin and end, where the straps would turn the corners, and where the feet should go.

I psuedo-rolled the portions I'd marked off as handles:

Rolled handles are typically done with MUCH thinner hide, wrapped around a core of cotton piping or the like and sewn with a machine. I just saddle-stitched the two sides together, pulled as tightly as I could, and forced the center into a round shape. It would have been a lot easier with a clamp of some kind, but I rigged up a system with a pair of pliers and rags wrapped around my hands to protect them from the waxed linen thread. It worked tolerably well, even if I did look like some kind of deranged, leprous little match girl.

Here's the hardware I used:

Two-part magnetic clasps from JoAnn, and nickel 1/4" round spots from Tandy. Both are the simple-installation type with prongs that just need to be inserted into two tiny slits and bent over to secure.

I attached four spots for feet in the places I'd measured, and sewed the strap to the bag body using a simple backstitch. I basted in a guide of contrast thread, first, in the exact place I wanted the outside edge of the strap to run:

To sew through the interfacing without resorting to a pair of pliers, you really need a glover's needle, or some other kind of needle with a sharp, wide point. During strap installation, I tried to focus on the consistency of my stitches - I wanted to pull the thread tightly enough that it sunk into the leather a little, but not enough to pucker it or the felt. Even with concentration, I found that the bag was a little shorter along the sewing line - about 1/4" - than anywhere else. That was fine - just sturdier, as far as I was concerned - but I did make a point to sew in the same direction (bottom midpoint to top edge) for all eight seams (two for each strap), to keep any and all gathering going in the same direction rather than pulling in opposition.

This is the inside of the bag after it was done:

Now, I'd originally intended to add interfacing just once - the point was to give stiffness to the felt and to make it a little tougher for seaming - but I found that the felt kind of rippled and puckered where things had been pulled slightly out of joint by my imperfectly tensioned sewing. I cut out the interfacing on the wide panels, leaving only the strips where it was sewn into place, and added new, better fitting panels.

I made my closing flap, and put in my magnets:

The flap (not pictured) was made of a small piece felted along with the bag - fifteen stitches wide by thirty or so rows, worked with two stitches of moss stitch at either edge to prevent curling. I took a snip of lining fabric, wrapped it around a piece of interfacing cut to be just a little smaller than the felt, and installed the male magnet to it. Then, the piece was machine-sewn to the felt rectangle, and the whole thing backstitched to the back of the bag with more waxed linen.

Almost done now! I'd skipped the bottom facing, so I made a cardboard bottom insert with a piece of extra-heavy chipboard, cut just large enough that it would fit tightly into the bottom. I covered it with interfacing:

And stuck it in. It was amazing, how it seemed to square everything that was a little bit cockeyed, and made the whole thing seem straighter and more solid all at once.

I figured out the shape of my lining:

Cut all my pieces:

Made a zippered pocket with the help of this clever little tutorial, and whipstitched the completed lining to the bag. It's kind of a clumsy solution, but I didn't see any other way to do it. The thread sinks into the felt, and closely matches the lining fabric, so it's not too clumsy. The lining is a little bit too big in the bottom (enough to bunch a bit in the corners), but it fits absolutely perfectly at the top, so I'm happy.

Things I learned from this project:

  • I loathe pictoral intarsia. Blocks of color are fine - even argyle patterns can be fun - but I hate, despise, abhor this garbage about cutting a new length for three stupid stitches five over from a block of the same color; I dislike not being able to easily estimate how much thread you need; I detest the general sloppy and imprecise nature of it. I would never do a project like this that wasn't felted to hide gauge problems.
  • working with leather is probably a lot of fun...if you have the right tools. Then again, working with leather probably isn't ALL that much fun, judging from the staff at the store - hotboxing Bronco 120s inside a teeny, cramped, stuffy little storefront and laughing immoderately at the poor guy who sliced his hand up trying to follow their instructions
  • sewing is not for clumsy people; neither is ironing

It was worth it, though. I think.

Oh - I'd forgotten - I received my invitation for the shower that the Baby Fair Isle was meant for. I've learned a lot about Fair Isle since I stopped working on it, and the sloppy math of the original design kind of annoys me now - no big deal, right? I'll refine it, and be glad that there isn't much actual knitting involved. Except, uh, the shower's on the seventh of January, and I get back from a week of diving in Puerto Rico late on the sixth. Crap! Preemptive yarn-ing today, and hopefully I can get it done in the week after Christmas.

December 07, 2005

Floral Felted Bag




I am really proud of this one.

Pattern: Floral Felted Bag, by Nicky Epstein for Interweave Knits fall 2004
Yarn: N.Y. Wool (Korean) Fine Wool merino in chocolate brown and cream
Yardage: Approximately 300 yards main color, 150 yards contrast
Yarn Source: Gift
Needles: 4.5mm (US7) Crystal Palace bamboo circular
Gauge: 14st/4" before felting; 18.5st/4" after felting
Modifications: DK weight merino substituted for Jamieson & Smith Double Knitting; two colors used instead of seven; side panels narrowed instead of pleated; leather cargo-style handles used instead of twisted, felted icord; purse feet and magnetic closure added; backed with heavy-duty interfacing and cardboard bottom insert; lining with zippered pocket added.

This was an adventure for sure. It's not perfect - one of the handles is a bit wonky, and my sewing leaves a lot to be desired - but I hope the overall effect is "carefully handcrafted" rather than "shoddily homemade".

See all entries on this project

December 06, 2005

Fever pitch

December 05, 2005

Two steps back

Thanks, you guys, for the rooting you're doing for the felted bag. Will it keep for a couple days? I ripped everything I'd done and reblocked the bag last night:

Before, it looked fine - even on close inspection - but it just wasn't even. Blocking it over a form made the shape right, but the seams kind of wandered, and it was annoying to sew the straps on and feel like I was fudging for symmetry's sake. Besides, I think I ironed the wrong side of the interfacing - rather than staying patiently put, it was flapping and flopping around every time I moved the bag. I picked up some more interfacing, and the bag has been pinned to painstakingly precise right angles.

Are you getting the feeling yet that I maybe didn't plan this out very well? You would be right. Observe:

That's the reverse of the latigo saddle straps I'm using here. Ugly - that's the, uh, cow side of the skin. The body of the bag covered it up, of course, on the strap portions, but I didn't have a plan for the handle part - I tried lining it with the pink shantung, with mixed (pretty, but irredeemably wrinkly) success. I thought about lining it with another strip of leather, but that might have made it too thick.


What do all of my handbags do for leather straps? Why did it take me so long to figure out what to do? Bah. It does look pretty though, very finished and polished. There won't be any buckles on these straps - turns out that sewing them in would be way beyond my skills or patience - and this treatment will polish the look, I think, just as well as hardware would have done.

So, two steps back. Still, it's not a total loss. I went shopping last night and am now armed with everything else I need: zippers, magnetic clasps, feet, glover's needles, a thimble(!) - and most importantly, the beginnings of a glimmering of a clue as to what I'm doing. Bring it.

December 04, 2005

Anyone have a thimble?

1/4 done.

December 02, 2005

Up Up and Away

Floral Felted Bag

Last night marked the launch of The Great Felted Bag Adventure. I've never before done a sewing project like this, with fiddly construction and steps that must be planned in a logical order - when I do sit down at the machine, it's usually accompanied by swearing when I realize I should have attached the zipper before sewing the cushion in, or throwing the whole thing down in disgust when the thread somehow gets tangled around the presser, or insisting on complete silence as I meditate on the nature of the adjustment knobs and the mysterious forces they control behind a veil I cannot seem to penetrate.

Point? Oh, yes - I suck at sewing, but I really want the bag to be beautiful and functional, and am therefore dubbing this A Learning Experience. The construction and little mechanical details are proving to be sort of fascinating - everything flows in a logical progression, and you're forced to think about exactly what you're doing, and what comes next. I thought I could finish the interior of the bag and slap on handles later - but no, I'll want to do that before putting the lining in to mask the handle stitches - etc. etc. etc.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that cool extended-entry thing, and so am forced to subject y'all to witnessing the trainwreck/success story that lies ahead in The Great Felted Bag Adventure. Advice is freely and eagerly welcomed at all times.

(By the way - thank you so much for 1) the sweet comments about the bag, and 2) the excellent suggestions for notion sources. I'm actually going to head up to Baltimore this weekend to the Tandy store up there, for some discussion and possible decision-making)

So last night, I picked up some nubbly, rich shantung for lining,

with only a little bit of agony in the store. There was some cute pink pinstriped cotton, too, that would have made a witty little juxtaposition with the fuzzy jacquard, but would have instantly made the bag a very casual item - this (manmade) shantung has the right kind of heavy richness to go with the "parlor carpet" feeling we seem to have going.

I also backed the piece with some heavy-duty interfacing (seriously, this stuff feels like posterboard), hand-sewn in place and then ironed.

Once I got the hang of only picking up half the thickness of the felt, it was a breeze (though I started to wish I owned a thimble). The lining will look quite pretty, I think:

I've started to give some serious thought to handle attachment. What do you guys think of straps that run all the way around the body of the purse, buckled at the top to the handles?

It would obscure some of the flowers, but I think it might give it a tailored luggage sort of look.

Hardware and leather scouting are on the schedule for today - stay tuned!

Print O' The Wave Scarf

I'd almost forgotten about this project! To refresh all our memories, I'd intended a scarf out of some ocean-colored cobweb weight in a print o' the wave pattern. I had a hell of a time trying to find the lace chart - it is, supposedly, one of the oldest Shetland lace patterns, but it doesn't seem to have found its way into stitch dictionaries or the like. I could have purchased any number of patterns that encorporate the motif, but my stubborn streak reared its muley head - why should I pay $9.95 for a shawl pattern that leaves me cold, when this stitch was, in theory, handed down through generations without a chart? I could totally figure it out.

And holy crap, I did. I puzzled over different representations of the pattern, made the straightforward and unchanging YO zigzags my starting point, and went to town.

It worked! I can't believe it worked! There's some wonky stuff going on along the edges, where the stitch count seems to change every other row, but that's probably easily fixed. The fingers, too, could easily be made wider, I think.

I really don't know how lace designers do it. Charting this simple, ancient motif was pretty much blood squeezed from the stone that is me.

December 01, 2005


It actually worked. I can't help but feel a bit smug - it's just so damn pretty.



It shrunk from 19" x 9" x 7" deep to 15" x 7" x 5" deep. The fabric is wonderfully firm and dense, and my lazy end-finishing (that is to say, none at all) seems to have been completely masked. Just as everyone else who's made this found, the suggested hand-felting instructions are total bullocks; it took two cycles in the wash for the magic to happen.

I blocked it on a padded portfolio pilfered from a long-ago conference, bent and folded to accomodate the flare of the sides:

It needed some rather aggressive pulling and shaping and pinning to even everything up, but it seems to have resulted in a perfectly flat, smooth, heavy-but-drapey felt. Backed with interfacing, it'll be perfect.

Lining shopping today, and then some investigation into sources for some of the hardware I need (hint: Googling "leather straps" does NOT give you purse and handbag supplies, gah).

While the wash ran, I gave some more attention to The Fair Isle Project. I've come up with a pattern:

based on a jumper in the Shetland Museum:

I am completely besotted by this sweater, totally and wholly in love with it. I've taken some of the motifs from it, and am planning to work them as shaded bands of dark-pattern-on-light-background on a natural white canvas, punctuated with threads of currant red for a little visual wink. The yarn is wound:

and swatching has begun:

That edge is the product of cutting a tubular swatch. They're telling you the truth - it won't unravel. Could it be a real possibility to scissor gaily away into an unreinforced sweater, without madness or a mind otherwise diseased? The idea is starting to flirt rather dangerously with my brain.

November 30, 2005


Goodness - thanks for the nice comments about the socks! It really is a fun, tidy pattern, sensibly and clearly written (would you expect anything less from The Great Grumperina?) but plenty interesting to knit. Just one (very mild) warning about the pattern - the zigzag stitch does indeed make for a hugging, supportive fit, but it comes at the expense of lateral stretch in the fabric. DON'T worry too much about mods to make them smaller, unless you have very wee dainty little fairy feet. I wear a size 6 shoe, and found that I couldn't get the cuff over my ankle on the first go-round, when I'd blindly tried doing the whole thing on size 0s.

Everything yesterday was excessive. In eighteen waking hours, I:

  • drank enough coffee to float the Spanish Armada;
  • sent out more rock-solid queries and proposal packages than I normally do in a week;
  • got excited about some more ideas I'll solidify later
  • ate Ghandi's weight in butter chicken and tamarind pickle;
  • spent something roughly equivalent to the GNP of a small country on yarn;
  • talked until my tongue ached;
  • single-handedly brought about the extinction of several species of fish in a sashimi-related natural disaster (also known as "dinner");
  • poured cup after cup of sake for my dad, and accepted those proffered in return, until we were both pleasantly maudlin and weepy;
  • knitted and knitted and knitted and knitted.

I mean, if you're going to do anything, you might as well do it thoroughly, right?

The lovely-in-real-life Laura and I made the most of an otherwise grey day with some good food and some good yarn-ing. We swung by Knit 'N Stitch in Bethesda, where I picked up some felting-destined Cascade 220 in a pretty heathered rust color:

and then went on to Yarns International, just down the street. I LOVE this shop - All About Yarn is so close it's made me lazy to head anywhere else, but I'd forgotten how beautiful this shop is, full of thoughtfully selected fibers and an almost reverent regard for traditional knitting. They carry an enormous assortment of J&S Shetland jumperweight (I'd say almost half the line), but I knew what I was looking for:

Their own brand of 2-ply jumperweight in natural fleece colors, spun and put up for them by J&S themselves (in Shetland, to boot!). I bought one skein of each of the nine colors, plus a dark wine dyed J&S color I just couldn't resist, in an effort to further my FI education. Here they are, grouped into the basic light-on-dark shadings I'll start with:

That wine red will look dandy, I think, as a single line of pop in the horizontal centerline of the pattern bands. Does it make me a complete loser if I confess that I can't wait to start snipping yarn and swatching and arranging and charting for Armwarmers v2.0 portion of The Fair Isle Project?

We also had a lovely conversation with two extremely knowledgable, very proficient ladies in the shop about Fair Isle method and design and history (the older lady told a funny story about Norman Kennedy whipping off his homemade sweater during the middle of a concert to show her his construction method - "Och, lass, I haven't finished the ends yet, and it's been near twenty years!"). There was some general bemoaning over the Starmore debacle, some really good information exchanged about steeking, and some wonderful advice about good theory books. With their encouragement, I bought this,

which has an amazing discussion of color, and am on the lookout for copies of some other books they recommend. Traditional Fair Isle Knitting, by Sheila McGregor, is supposed to be a really invaluable resource for straight charts and thoughts on line and shape, and of course there was some general swooning over the Starmore book.

Oh, right, and I did a little work on the bag:

That is, I finished all the knitting for it and sewed it up about half way. I changed my side treatment, to create sharply sloping sides that almost meet at the top,

which I think will look a lot more finished and a bit shapelier than the box-with-handles in the pattern instructions. I'm thinking the Kate Spade Bexley Maddox bag

is a spiritual sister to my little project - with that in mind, I'm going to be very thorough with construction for this. No floppy, frowzy felt tote for me - there will be interfacing, there will be turning out through lining, there will be buckles and feet and interior pockets.

But first, there must be felting. I think I just felt a little shiver run down my spine.

November 22, 2005

Lesser nerds, stay away!

Thanks for all the sweet comments about the smoke ring and the shawl, guys. They were both fun knits that receive two thumbs up from the Eunny Jang School of Knitting.

Take it with a grain of salt, though, since, the EJSoK isn't necessarily the most conscientious institution out there. Take, for example, our most beloved maxim:

An ounce of detergent

covers a multitude of sins

Hopefully, anyway.

The construction for this bag is going to be an interesting little puzzle. At All About Yarn the other day, I saw a display of patterns and kits by Noni Bellows, a local designer who makes fresh, seriously good-looking bags and totes with felt. Some of the stuff is fairly standard - cylinder bag with eyelash trim, anyone? - but other items are absolute knockouts, not so much because they're terribly original, but because of a spectacular sense of color and shape. There's very little messy, sloppy frowsiness in her designs (present in almost every felted bag I've ever seen); instead, they walk the narrow tightrope between clean and soft; fresh and romantic. And besides, they're just so pretty - what dark heart beats in he who could find nothing to love in a pistachio-and-dark-brown striped baguette adorned with giant pale pink flowers?

In examining the sample bag, it looked like it had been knit in pieces, felted, cut to size, and then seamed together and reinforced with plastic needlepoint canvas between outer layer and facing. I'd rather felt it already seamed, but I do want to adopt some of the clever shaping ideas I saw with regard to pleats and handle attachment. I'm thinking that instead of doing this incredibly awkward side pleat:

(which even looks awful in the modeled bag, so you know I could never make it work:


I'll do one deep pleat, perhaps by making crease lines with columns of purl stitches. I'm also dead-set against using i-cord for handles, so I'm thinking I'll attach deep brown leather straps around the reinforcing dowels along the sides - maybe sewn into place, or maybe buckled to themselves.

Does anyone have ideas for lining fabric? Right now, I'm leaning towards a rich pink solid, but we are nothing if not flexible here at the EJSoK.

November 03, 2005

In a hurry

Laura asked what the brown and white intarsia piece was - it's Nicky Epstein's Floral Felted Bag from the fall '04 IK.

For a variety of reasons, I went with two-colors rather than replicating the pretty-but-awfully-twee full-color bag pictured. Just a very leeetle more progress has been made on the second intarsia panel.

And I started charting and swatching for the fair isle vest project:

I'm going to think of this project as an exercise in color and pattern, and keep the shaping fairly simple. Right now, I'm thinking columns of infinite knots mixed with traditional peeries...but I don't know. At any rate, it will have to be a slow-burn kind of thing - I can't justify knitting too much for myself when there are gifts waiting and deadlines piling.

Speaking of which, I'm off to get another skein to finish the Fir Cone. Look for a FO by the weekend!

(I've been doing a lot of admin stuff on the site lately; if you're using IE, you may have to empty your cache to see the changes to the stylesheet. There's been some cosmetic stuff, but the big organization changes are as follows:

1-You can now click on any item in the "In Progress" list to see all entries mentioning that project;
2-You can click on any item in the FO list to see a bare-bones spec list on the project, hopefully containing only helpful information. At the bottom of that page, you'll see a link to displaying all entries on that project.

Thoughts? Like it? Hate it?)

November 02, 2005

(Expletive Deleted)

Silly me. I made a slight miscalculation yesterday when I said the edging would only need 904 rows. I forgot that there are two edging rows for each border stitch - that means 1,736 edging rows will need to be worked. That's 124 pattern repeats and - count 'em - 24,304 individual stitches needed to complete this shawl.

The edging is very pretty, though; the most successful representation of a wave I've seen in knitted lace. It's got a rolling, undulating sort of feeling created by cleverly manipulated decreases and YOs - the double-thick area where the decreases run actually looks like a crest along the top of the wave. It shows that I'm enjoying it - I'm about to turn the first corner already.

There's only one problem.

Why do I feel absolutely infuriated about this? I knew going in that I might have to buy more yarn; I'm subbing yarn and needles, so I couldn't say that I had any real certainty about yardages. So why did it send me into an unbecoming little tantrum, complete with foot-stamping and oath-growling, late last night?

The only local source is closed on Tuesdays, natch.

Time to tackle the WIP list and get some stuff off the production line to make room for more exciting projects (the knitting is always greener on the other side).

October 19, 2005

Danke Schön

Thank you so much for the nice comments about Der Schmetterling! It's pretty, but it's not exactly practical for everyday wear anymore. During the summer, I wore it a couple times over a plain white strapless shift, under a fitted bracelet-sleeve jacket. The pink dress I have on under it in the photo is something I bought at Ann Taylor many moons can't see the back, but I couldn' it all the way. Gah.

It took about four ounces of Jaggerspun Zephyr, a laceweight Merino/tussah silk blend. The yarn is fabulously airy, with that peculiar rich crunchiness silk gives, tempered by the softness of the wool. It's exceptionally strong for its weight, too, which is more than I can say for other laceweights *cough*Merino Oro*cough*. I liked making this a lot - it goes blazing quick on 4.5mm (US7) needles, since the lace stre-e-e-e-tches so much when blocked. There are less than 100 stitches on the needle at the widest point. The double frill was the most tedious part...the rest was mindless, Zen knitting.

New things: the Norwegian Stockings out of Nancy Bush's Folk Socks are an object of desperate coveting for me (and I am the Grand High Poobah of covetousness).

I'd call myself a process knitter more than anything else; I like having a FO as much as anyone, but (nerd alert) I take a lot more pleasure in the nitty-gritty of technique and method. I actually cast on for the stockings last night with some random yarn ends lying around in my stash, just to try 'em out. I'm planning to get yarn for the "real" project today, but I was very taken with the way the cuff is written, and wanted to see it knit up right away. Nancy Bush stripes the ribbing with a row of plain knitting at each color change, so the integrity of the stripe isn't compromised either puckered

Or stretched

Why didn't I think of that before? Narrow stripes in regular ribbing look fuzzy in the purl portions of the color change, since the loops of the preceding color show below the loop of the new shade. This way gives you proper stripey stripes. Brilliant.

And THANKS, too, to Meg of Yarn Expressions for her tip on intarsia, taken from Kaffe Fassett. I'm sure everyone else already knew this, but (as usual) I'm the last one to the party. She told me to use short lengths (I'm finding that even strands as long as three yards or so work fine), let them hang, and just pull them through when they get too tangled.

It works capitally. Kiss my bobbin!

WTF moment of the day: The squirrely-looking roofing guy who came out to investigate the water pouring down alongside the woodstove chimney apparantly informed my boyfriend that he (he being Jeff) is "smart not to get an Amurrican one, 'cause Amurrican ones are nuts." An American one of what? "Get"? Two for the price of one! Vaguely misogynistic AND vaguely racist, all in one comment! How efficient.

I just realized that "misogynistic" has "miso" in it. That can't be a coincidence. That's got to mean something. It's making me hungry, too.

Gratuitous shoe photo of the day. I was a solitary crusader against this whole round-toe trend, but I've given in. These are too cute to wage a war over.

October 18, 2005


Not much in the way of new knitting today, as I'm working on relaunching this site together with my proprietary food site and looking into moving Blogger archives to Wordpress. Come ONE, come ALL! You'll SEE categorized posts! You'll THRILL to reliable images! You'll be AMAZED at how much better it looks!

I did get a very leeetle bit done on the second intarsia panel of the Felted Floral Bag while watching 13 Conversations About One Thing (the characters and storylines are engrossing, but thought-provoking? Not so much. The pretension is so thick you could float a raft built of not-cigars on it and sail away).

Compare, please:

I really went fast and loose with the first panel, getting sloppy about tension and ends and holes because I figured it would all come out in the wash (har har har). I'm doing the second panel more carefully - starting a new strand for every block rather than trying to fudge long floats, paying attention to the twisting tension, and generally doing, you know, real intarsia as opposed to whatever Fair Isle mongrel thing I was winging before.

Now, of course, I want to rip back and redo the first panel. Which would be ridiculous. When felted, none of this will matter. Right? Right?

I realized, too, while going through my blog template, that I never showed pictures of one finished object. So here it is, the kupukupu, the sommerfugl, the papillon, the pulelehua, the farfalla, the mariposa, the paru-paro, the schmetterling - that is, Rowan 37's Butterfly:

(Please don't mind that odd pose. I think something in the stack I built to hold the camera at the proper height - a coffee mug on a stack of books on my alarm clock on the nightstand - may have been a bit askew. More than likely, of course, it was me)

October 17, 2005

Similes and Metaphors

Sunshine! Blessed, precious sunshine! I feel like dancing. That is, I would, if I didn't have roughly the same amount of grace as an elephant on a trapeze. Cirque du Soleil, indeed.

After hurling more expletives than a sailor with Tourette's and hating myself more than an anorexic celebrity, I have this:

What a difference some stem stitch makes. This is what it looked like last night:

Ugly, right? I was cursing, rubbing my raw fingertips together, seriously questioning my sanity and wanting to write a hateful letter to Nicky Epsein care of Interweave. Sadists! Jerks! How could you publish a pattern that clearly exists solely to shame and humiliate knitters who attempt it?! Who knit the sample in the magazine, anyway? A magical friend named "Photoshop", that's who. I got a box out and shoved the knitting in there, still on the needle, covered it up and went to bed.

It looks a lot better now. I went with two colors because I wanted a really graphic quality to the flowers; as written, I thought it looked a bit fussy and precious. It was pretty, and cleverly charted to make the flowers look three-dimensional...but for me, I thought it was twee-er than a toile-covered toilet paper holder. In stark brown and white, though, the shapes and lines really pop.

< very small voice> Besides, this would have been a pricey little project with seven colors. Spendier than my sister with other people's credit cards. < /very small voice>

I can't wait to see this felted. I'm thinking that I'll add leather handles rather than the felted I-cord called for, line it, and do a different finishing treatment for the sides and add a closure. And then I'll have a great little bag for portable knitting projects. I'll be cooler than a penguin martini.

October 15, 2005

Crazy in love

To whosoever receives this message:

Please help me. I am being held hostage by infinite butterfly skeins of merino. I don't know what they want with me; only that they are unwilling to listen to reason. They made me cast on; they made me do intarsia. I don't ever do intarsia; I hate intarsia; I'm sick with self-loathing over giving in to them. There seem to be more of them every second...I don't know where they're coming from.

Send reinforcements. And also, bobbin holders.

P.S. - Blossom over at Whispering Pine received the Trinity sweater! She looks absolutely gorgeous in it...and I can comfortably stop with the knitting-but-not-wearing guilt. AND, she's sending me some incredible sock patterns! Millstone riddance and new patterns, all in one day...huzzah!