Sunday, June 29, 2008

Duster Disaster/Miracle

I hardly know where to begin, so let me start by saying that Norah Gaughan is divine. I'm a huge fan, as the drool stains on my copy of "Knitting Nature" can attest. We've had a very cool spring here in the Pacific Northwest so I got a jump on making her Tilted Duster so I'd have it for autumn. I was thrilled to finish the skirt and even though it was supposed to be 90 degrees yesterday, I decided to knit the collar.

Oops. That's when I saw the unbelievably stupid
and huge mistake. Take a look:

Do you see it?


Have a closer look:

Yes, I had carefully attached the left and right front bodice pieces to the wrong sides. Now, I have been knitting since I was seven and sewing since I was eight. I know how garments go together, so how did this happen? Well, I have ADD, and I didn't read one little phrase in the pattern carefully enough. When making the right front, just prior to binding off for the armhole, it says "Mark beg of last RS row completed with removable m or scrap yarn (to mark armhole)."

Italics mine. Yup, I saw that marker when I was putting my my pieces together, and figured it had to be there for a reason. To mark the armhole! So, against my initial instinct I sewed it up as you see above, picked up the stitches and knit the entire skirt.

When I realized my gigantic mistake, the first thing I did was go on ravelry, to the Norah
Gaughan group and share my tale of woe. I swear that within five minutes, the amazing Ms. Gaughan herself responded! Here's what she told me:

I think I understand what you are saying. I’ve had to face a lot of these kinds of emergencies in my career.
I think you should bravely clip a thread of the pick up row on each front and, stitch by stitch, pull out just as much of that row as you need to in order to free the fronts from the skirt. If you’ve used peruvia or another wooly yarn, the loops of the skirt won’t be going anywhere. After switching the fronts You then can graft the skirt back onto the fronts - or join yarn, bind off and sew them back on.

You can do it!

With words of wisdom and encouragement like that from the Divine Miss G, I had to push through and do it.

I never cut a piece of knitting before.

Avoided steeking all these years.

I had to do this, not because I couldn't frog the whole skirt and knit it again, but because frogging would have been the easy way out. I know how to frog! Done it many, many times. But this "surgery" was a knitting challenge. I wanted to prove that I'm smart enough to cut and reattach pieces of knitting.

So, I did it. The first "cut" was not great, and had to reknit the right front, but the second cut
was right on. Have a look:

Here's the one that I "goofed" on, but still, the skirt is saved, so far!

I cried only once. Well, maybe a few times. I yelled at my kids a couple of times when they had the audacity to try and talk to me. I played with these circular needles again and again until I knew where and what to cut, and what to do next.

Deep breath.

Here's the skirt, liberated:

And here is the left front, ready to reattach.

And finally, here are the photos of he deed, done.
Today I knit the collar, tomorrow I block.

When everything is smooth and dry, I'll attach the sleeves. Stay tuned for final photos. Oh, and I still need to find the perfect buttons. Maybe I'll hunt them down later today. I hope this encourages anyone who makes a mistake to take the plunge and fix it. And frogging isn't the only way.I still can't believe I did this. Stay tuned for the finished photos here and on ravelry. And again, Thank You, Norah!!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

the "Perfect" Stash?

First of all, please forgive my recent silence.

When I was a little girl and I was feeling sad, my mother would say "You look like you lost your best friend." That phrase rang in my ears again and again this week upon hearing that my dear friend, who I've known since high school, Robin lost her long battle with breast cancer. So I've been sad, and quiet, but I have many, many warm memories.

Just last month, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Robin's daughter Jessie Here is a picture of Robin and me at the wedding.

I have learned much from my dear friend, and she has always been an inspiration and role model for me. Robin lived life better than most; I always felt she had a better handle on being a grown up then I ever would. I miss her so much. In the coming weeks, I will post some more photos and share more memories.

Now, as to the question of a "perfect stash". Well, if it were perfect, it would be like this:

  • Take up no more space than I could fit comfortably in my yarn bin system.
  • Hold yarns of every hue, value and tint, organized according to the color wheel.
  • Each yarn would come in lace, sock, dk, worsted, aran and bulky weight.
  • The fiber content of each yarn would magically change with the seasons as well as my mood. On hot summer days, I could find a lace weight, or cool bamboo, silk or rayon yarn, but as the days draw closer to fall, I'd find wool, alpaca and maybe even cashmere (hey this is perfection, right?)
  • There would be no acrylic yarns or ugly colors.
  • Each yarn would have the exact yardage (plus a little extra) for whatever I felt like knitting at any given time.
  • Each skein would have it's label intact and legible.
  • My stash would automatically repel moths and dust.
  • If I had to move, my stash would pack itself up, compress into portable dimensions and teleport to my new destination.
Perfect enough?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer! ???

It hasn't been anything like summer here this year. In fact, it hasn't been anything like spring, either. Apparently, this is the worst "sprummer" weather the Puget Sound region has seen in a long time. It's June 18th and the temperature is now 49 degrees.

SP12 wants to know: As a kid, what did you look forward to most about summer vacation/break/holiday?

I was never much of an outdoor kid, so what I looked forward most to was having unlimited time to read, knit and crochet. When I was outdoors, I was usually riding my bike, making sidewalk art with chalk or playing elaborate games of hopscotch. (Anybody remember hopscotch?)

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Favorite Summertime Drink w/Recipe

My favorite summertime drink is: venti decaf sugar-free cinnamon dolce latte with light ice. The recipe is:

Drive, walk or bike to nearest Starbuck's, add order and money. Enjoy!

On another subject, Sock Wars iii, about which I MUST talk (Rule number One) has apparently devolved into an Irish sweepstakes. Yup, it's a lottery, and you have to send your name (if still alive) to Ireland to be drawn out of a hat. I hope it is a BIG hat, since there are over 300 of us left standing.

Actually, I got the news yesterday and my socks arrived today. I guess that means I can still play the game, but I do feel a bit cheesy about it.

Kudos to the folks at South West Trading Company for being such mensches about this whole debacle.

I'll post my very cute socks as soon as I find my camera.....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Secret Pal 12, I'm Ready!

Here are my responses to the questionnaire:
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love the classic yarns; wool, cotton, alpaca. I like lace weight up to aran, but I don't have much use for heavy yarns. I also like bamboo, tofutsies and "new" fibers. I dislike acrylic, chenille and anything scratchy.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I mostly use circulars and got a "second" of The Circular Solution a while back, which is where most of my needles are when not in use. I have been vaguely lusting after a more portable system for circulars. As for straights, I have a few prized pairs of Lantern Moon and other exotic wood needles which I do not have a really good place for storing. BTW, I prefer pointy to blunt on all my needles.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I have been knitting since I was seven and would consider myself somewhere between intermediate and advanced. Not many patterns would scare me off, but I do not enjoy intarsia as much as I think I should.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I do have an wish lists and my username is AbbyC

5. What's your favorite scent?
Stargazer lilies and lilacs. I also love lavender. My least favorite scent is cigarette smoke.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Not much of a sweet tooth. I do love really dark chocolate, but one bar can last me a month or more.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I make lampwork glass beads and I sew. My bead website is I have done a little spinning on a spindle but don't know how to spin on a wheel -- yet. It's definitely in the plan.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My musical tastes are eclectic. Some frequently played examples from my ipod: Vampire Weekend, Of Montreal, The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Decemberists, North Mississippi All Stars, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Chris Thile, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie. I could go on and on.... I also recently started playing the mandolin.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Purple would be my favorite, but I like most colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Two teenagers! No other pets, but I keep threatening.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves: rarely, hats: occasionally, ponchos: NEVER.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I love to knit socks and lace, but I am trying hard to get myself to make more sweaters. I love to wear cardigans. Pullovers usually make me too hot. I like making hats, gloves and mittens also. I also like to knit tank tops and summery lightweight feminine things.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I am in the middle of my third pair of Detonators for Sock Wars iii, Norah Gaughan's Tilted Duster, that beautiful cable and lace top from the latest Vogue knitting, a pair of Monkeys (sock pattern from and I am sort of trying to make the Lotus Blossom tank.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I love Addi turbos and want to try their lace turbos soon. In straights, I like the exotic (read expensive) woods like rosewood. As I mentioned above, I like my points pointy!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
About three years. It's a Hanne Falkenberg Da Capo that just got way out of control. And I don't like the colors anymore.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Just one? I'd have to pick Purim. Close runners-up are Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving and Halloween. The Summer Solstice is particularly fun in Seattle ;)

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides dust bunnies? Yes, BOOKS, beads, glass (for beadmaking), jewelry findings and tools, music. Looking at my closet, I think I also collect shoes and bags.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Oh, man. See my wish list. I always lust after the Rowan magazine, but since I've never knit anything from it, I have trouble justifying the expense. I subscribe to: Interweave Knits, Knitter's, Vogue Knitting and Cast On (TKGA mag).

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I would like to learn spinning on a wheel, get better at drop spindle spinning and learn the secrets of intarsia.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Oh, yeah! My foot is small; I wear 5 1/2 or 6 in shoes, depending on how they're made. I have a very high instep.

23. When is your birthday?
February 24. Pisces.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? My Ravelry ID is Abbyknitz.

More about me: I have ADD, I love to read, I am short. I love the ocean and snow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Greetings from the Garden State

That's New Jersey to you! I've been back here for five days having a fabulous time with friends and family old and new. While here, I finished my second pair of Detonators, but so did my second victim, so it appears the next phase of this game for me is in the hands of the postal workers. My weapons have to get all the way to Winnipeg, so this may be the end of the line for me, but who knows?
Since I am currently in Sock Wars limbo, I started a pair of Monkeys for myself out of Tofutsies. It's a very pretty yarn, not quite as easy to knit with as wool, but a good weight for summer. Photos of them soon, but here are the Detonators.

Tomorrow I fly back to soggy Seattle.