Monday, May 16, 2011

Star Date: 510.11

I drove to Blacksburg, Virginia Tuesday last week to move my daughter back home for the summer.  One thousand six hundred two miles round trip, and the invisible company of knit podcasters.  Luckily, I was bringing home a tired girl and some dirty laundry, not an entire fuselage.

Arrived home Thursday night and performed some mad sewing skills for the prom.  My son's (darling) date donated the stole/scarf that came with her gown, and I turned it into a coordinating vest on Friday before and after driving to Logan Airport to retrieve The Big Guy from a long business trip.  Also went to Ikea when My Guy's travel plans were delayed.  

I remarked to my husband on Saturday night that I hadn't had a moment to get all giddy about New Hampshire Sheep and Wool. Carded some wool to spin for the NH Spinners and Dyers Guild Demo.

Forecast: Rain.  Sunday packed up my wheel and my knitting and a waterproof pair of green wellies.  Demonstrated what good fun spinning can be, even if you're a noob like me.

Met Gwen's llamas.
(note to self: don't forget dentist's appointment on Wednesday)

Scored some Green Mountain pumpkin wool - I love the depth of color they achieve by using a grey twist as a base.

Picked up Stitchy's book (headache-hilarious) and was able to visit with her briefly.  Stitchy picked up a (heavy) knitting machine.

More sparkle from Leslie Wind, a twist-on fastening scarf pin.  It's for when I need to be spectacular. (note: my Mom made the scarf.   I know, right?).  I was so tempted by Leslie's silver darning needles (featured in Vogue Knitting!), but I do very little seaming in my knits. 

This is Mad Color's Indulgence in Pharaoh's gold.  The label says superwash merino, but I doubt it.  I think it's made of butter.  And a trampoline.  Mad Color used to be known as Serenknity.  I think we can all see that a name change was in order (especially if you've seen the booth).  This will be a hat, possibly a cowl, but more likely a hat.

Photo heisted without permission from Tammy
Tammy who carries a Star Trek notebook
 and inspired the theme of this post. 
Tammy who is so very charming. 
 Had a lovely visit with Misa, who wore orange wellies.  We hit almost every puddle, ate delicious Egyptian food, and petted all yarns orange and yellow/green. Ball and Skein had a consistently busy booth, but they somehow always find time to make me feel special. 

Today I could not get out of my own way.  Tomorrow will have more bounce.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

No Good Deed (or bad) Goes Unpunished

I keep my ipod loaded with knitting podcasts.  There are several I enjoy, including WEBS' Ready, Set, Knit!, KnitPicks, and Let's Knit2gether.  I look forward to long drives where I can listen to several in a row, or ten hours' worth. I also dig some seventies tunes, like Electric Light Orchestra, and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Last Saturday my family participated in our local Adopt-a-Highway Festival.  That means we park at the side of the highway and pick up all the garbage that folks leave at the road's edge.  Here are some things we found: a camera, fishing lures, a skeleton of a four legged type, diapers (dirty and swollen), the entire grille of a Range Rover, an enema,  a can of brake cleaner, overdue bills, mini-me vodka bottles, poop, Gatorade bottles, a tire, and a Christmas tree.  And ticks, scads of them.  And when I arrived back at my truck some local children had left little mud pies on my bumper.  :o)

How are these two things related? 

When we got home my son went to get his cell phone out of the truck, and it was missing.  We searched high and low, took everything out, no phone.  And then we discovered my ipod was also missing.  And then I put two and three together, and considered maybe the mud pie makers were also little thieves.  :o(

I quickly stopped service to the phone, and my son and I combed the highway to make sure we had not simultaneously dropped our electronics from the vehicle.  We went by the police station to report our situation.  My son's connection to the outside world was missing.  My knitting podcasts were gone.  There was a tick-picking party at our house and we were missing it. It's all in the police report.

Quick page-flip forward to the happy ending:  through daily visits to the homes of the Mud Pie Thieves, by Wednesday our story's hero, Officer Small Town, managed to wrangle our electronics from their muddy little paws and deliver them to our door.

I delight in the notion that they plugged into my ipod to find not Eminem, not Katy Perry's Teenage Dream, but Kathy and Steve Elkin's radio show all about yarn.  To a pair of thrill-seeking sixth graders, it was probably about as interesting as a radio show about rice. 

I'll be taking all my knit-podcasting friends to Virginia with me in a few days, a fourteen hour trip, listening to "Happy Feeling" by Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

Our thirteen year old son recently made a pair of speakers out of some pine and some new naked speakers (you know, just the circular part that makes noise).  He toiled over the assembly for days, and really created some beautiful work.  But it wasn't quite right to him, and so he took them back out to the garage and tweaked some more.  After several hours and the sounds of lots of power tools, he came in with unusually long arms and face, and asked if we could go purchase store-made speaker assemblies.  My husband assured him that when he was thirteen, he kept his family warm for an entire heating season (or was it two?) with all of his failed projects.  It was too early to give up, and off they went to Home Depot for more pine.

In February I brought home five skeins of Ball and Skein's Providence yarn, a lovely light worsted merino.  I always have a library of designs in my head and on paper, but none of them was quite right for this yarn.  It has very crisp definition : I needed interesting stitchwork, but not a sweater full.  The silhouette needed to feel familiar : retro in a comforting way.  I had to use pleats - I don't know why.  My husband recollected ladies with hankies tucked in their sleeves (a large chunk of my knitter's block broke off with that detail).  So I designed this, Fannie Fouche :
and I did all the swatching and the grading and I was halfway done with the math for the raglans which looks like this:
and I made the charts too

and then I said to myself, "Self, I think this yarn is better suited to a set-in sleeve".  So I went on a quest to learn set-in sleeve construction, from the top down, knit simultaneously with the yoke of the sweater.  Tuulia Salmela has a fantastic downloadable pdf book and excel spreadsheet, The Tailored Sweater, that took me step by step through the construction.  In order to fully understand it I had to knit a sample:

I haven't admitted to anyone yet that most of a sweater was knit in the middle of knitting my Fannie Fouche.  Frankly, I think I'm a little embarrassed.  It is now on the back burner.  I wanted to change up the sleeve cap shape and the shoulder technique, so I made these knee warmers:

Then Quince and Co came out with a lovely cowl pattern that was so similar to the stitch pattern I had planned to feature, that I felt the need to change gears. More swatching:
More drawing:

A major rewrite:

 One false start:

And now I feel like a I'm riding a unicycle and juggling, watch me go:

And here are the new speakers:

Can you hear them?  I can.