Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Project Begun

Tradition: Oversized Doily


I believe I have written about this project in the past, but let’s do a rehash of the details
I hate doilies. I despise them, but my mom likes them. She even had a gigantic doily-type table cloth for our formal dining room table. I love my mother, but I hate doilies. For my wedding we put after dinner mints, in cute containers at the reception. The containers weren’t really food safe so my mom was going to line them with doilies. I might have had a bridezilla level meltdown over it. Thankfully, the clear head of the non-brides in the room figured it was just as easy to line them with napkins. It worked and I was allowed to continue with my non-doily wedding.

With such a strong aversion you would think shawls, lacey drapey shawls would not be my thing. They are, after all, just giant doilies knit out of wool instead of cotton. You are WRONG. I live for shawls, I love shawls, I think they are possibly the most gorgeous items ever knit.

My friend Amy is an amazing and ambitious knitter. She bought the book A Gathering of Lace and knit the Tea shawl as her FIRST lace project. She made it out of Kauni which fades beautifully from one color to another. I am in love with that shawl. When she brought the book to knitting one week I flipped through and fell in love with a shawl with a huge celtic knot in the middle. Then I saw the chart. I can’t imagine there are that many people that have knit this pattern, but ravelry lists 6 finished shawls.

About 60 Rows

The chart for the center is 2 pages by 2 pages. Each right side row is charted and there are no repeated rows. Now, I do not consider myself ambitious like Amy, but this shawl had stolen my heart. I couldn’t get over it. I talked about it every time she had her book or her other shawl at an event we both attended. Inevitably I decided that I wanted to knit it. So I asked Amy and she was game, even though she had already started a second shawl out of the book.

Next step, of course, was to choose yarn. I have a plethora of lace yarn and I love all of it so you would think that I could pull something out of stash, but no. This project calls for roughly 3200 yards of yarn. Yes 3200. Now, I have well over 3200 yards of laceweight, but I don’t think I own 3200 yards of any one yarn. Amy found her yarn at Tess’s yarn in ME while on one of our knitting trips. She got a grey color that has a hint of blue and it is amazing and soft and single ply and small skeins and squishable.

I found my yarn online at It was beautiful, but I didn’t want to spend the money. On a whim one Saturday my friend Jillian and I drove out to webs and I found the yarn in the warehouse for cheap. They didn’t have the exact color I wanted (a very light grey) but they did have another color grey. I found 3 skeins and bought them. The yarn is almost everything that Amy’s was not. The yarn is two ply, on the brown end of the grey spectrum, came in large skeins and is almost stiff or sturdy. Nothing about my yarn is bad, in fact I love it and I already had one skein of it in another color. It’s just different from Amy’s and I can’t wait for the finished objects so we can compare.

A couple Sundays ago Amy came over and we marked our pattern and got started. I am using addi turbo size 1 needles because when I swatched I didn’t like the drape of the fabric on the recommended needle size (2).

100 rows

This is where I am so far, only a few rows in, already made 2 mistakes. Fixed one, left the other.

It's going to look about the same for the next couple of months as I make my way through the 500 rows of the center chart

Monday, February 21, 2011

Skirting Around

In the first Fall knitty this year there was a cute skirt. The model in the picture looks a lot like my little sister (skinny, long dark hair, absolutely adorable) so I knew the skirt would be a perfect fit in Kinna’s wardrobe. When we discussed it we decided red would be the perfect color. Then I went to buy the yarn. NOT a success. I had a gift card for a yarn store where the selection of high quality yarn has been dwindling so the red options were gross. I made the executive decision to change the color to grey and wound up using Berroco Peruvia.

As usual I didn’t swatch, I just used the recommended needles. I like it, but the fabric felt rather stiff. So I undid the first couple of repeats and chose a different needle and went to town. It was a FAST knit partly because my sister is little and partly because the pattern is just quick. I knit to the specified circumference and then added the crochet. The crochet did it’s job keeping the waist from stretching, but I had done it so tight that it made the skirt too small for my sister. I ripped out the crochet and then the skirt sat for a few weeks while I decided what to do. Eventually I ripped out the buttonhole section and added a repeat to the skirt. This time I did extra tab at the top so there is an extra button. It looks adorable. I wasn’t going to bother blocking it, but the bottom edge liked to roll under so I did a quick block and pinned out the edge.

It is adorable and my sister will love it I am sure. She is friends with a woman who sells some amazing buttons so I’m going to let her work that connection to find a good button choice.

Basic Info:
Pattern: Carnaby
Yarn : 4 skeins Berroco Peruvia, dark grey
Adjustment/Modifications: Added 8 stitches in length, used a bigger needle and added a tab with an extra buttonhole

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Caterpillar the February version

I haven’t done an official caterpillar list in awhile, but after the most recent CCSBC post I figured I should

27) Best American Short Stories 2007 – the shorter the story, the more I liked it. It reminded me a bit of reading the Junior Great Books as a kid

28) It’s Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder – fun book set in Oregon, which made it even more fun to read with my little sister

29) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – liked it about as much as outliers which is to say, not much

30) Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout –I think the point gets missed because of the layout/style. I liked this book, but it was missing something. Many of the stories felt stilted and some seemed unfinished. I realize this leaves an opening for the reader but at least two just felt like cop-out endings

31) The Teammates: A Portrait of Friendship by David Halberstram – poorly written, felt like 20000 news articles with some repeating information from others and yet in no logical order. I like some of the stuff I learned just didn’t like the way it was written. Johnny Pesky makes me cry in real life and in every article and picture I see of him and this was no exception. I also didn’t realize how big of a jerk Williams was. 

I also re-read previous Caterpillar book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Not only is it my favorite book of all time, it is also the book club book for our next meeting. I can’t wait!

What are you reading? What have you read lately? What’s up next?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Community Reading

Tradition: Book club


I joined a book club with a bunch of women from my church. We don’t read specifically church books, we read some great books, some lame books, but either way the discussion is my favorite part. Last month we read Still Alice. I started the book just days after losing my grandfather (who had Alzheimers) which was poor timing on my part. I didn’t love the book, in fact I found it too clinical and even a touch harsh to read, but not harsh enough for that to be the point. So when I walked into book club I was ready to bash it. Instead we had some amazing discussions that opened my eyes to some things, but didn’t change my opinion. It was wonderful, the best kind of book club.

My family is full of readers. Growing up my older sister had a huge collection of boxcar children books and I had a huge collection of babysitters club books. We read all the time and my parents’ house still has more bookshelves than beds. Each of the kids in my family has come to love reading at a different age and through different books. My youngest sister is not a bad reader, but until recently I didn’t think she had that hunger for reading. This made me sad, so while I was out in Oregon for Christmas I tried to come up with ways to get her excited to read. I decided that while I was there we would take turns reading a couple chapters out of a book every day. She chose the book (I’m not real up on the current reading trends of 10 year olds). We read it and talked about it and laughed and it was a great time, plus she didn’t seem to mind it too much.

Then I came home and prepared to attend book club and it hit me. A cross country sister book club would be fun! Keep in mind, I don’t think the book club itself will make her love books, but I’m hoping she is hitting the point where she can learn to love them.

I live far away so we can’t share reading time, but we can read sections then email each other discussion questions. She gets to choose the book because I think that gives her a power over the process. She bought the first book while I was out in Oregon, then I took awhile to get it, but after a quick amazon purchase it arrived: Loser by Jerry Spinelli. Since she had already started it I have to catch up. She informed me of my pathetic performance with the following email.

I am about to finish chapter 10. So I am basically finished. Have you started to read it? Tell me when you have and send it with a summary (shortened version)

My favorite part of that exchange is the explanation of what a summary is, because I’m clearly clueless when it comes to reading terms. Nothing like letting your ten year old sister put you in your place. Do you have suggestions for the next book club selection? Do you have a book club with a kid in your life? How do you encourage discussion?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ToT - Winning Movies

My husband and I do not go to movies in theaters. There are a zillion reasons I don't go, but with a great TV and a comfortable couch I prefer to watch them at home. That, combined with the fact that I can never remember what/who won what means that for this topic I had to go get a list of Oscar winning movies to determine what I had seen. Then I realized that the list of movies that have won best picture contained exactly 11 movies that I have actually seen. So, I may not love or hate these movies, but I have seen them! I included an extra just because the list didn't seem complete with 10/11

1) Sound of Music
2) Forrest Gump
3) Titanic
4) A Beautiful Mind
5) Chicago
6) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
7) Million Dollar Baby - I loved this film
8) Crash - I loved this film
9) No Country for Old Men - hated this film
10) Slumdog Millionaire
11) Hurt Locker - not as amazing as it was made out to be

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Knit Race!

Since so many people in my area had a snow day yesterday my friend Laurin decided to host a virtual knit race. Basically everyone knit as much as possible before 8 pm yesterday and then she awarded a prize. I had to work, so I knew I would not win, but like most races the fun is in racing, not in winning. I finished up the sock I was working on. This is by far the weirdest sock I have ever made. I had seen plenty of examples and determined the most interesting were those that used hand painted and/or self-striping yarn. So I pulled out some knitpicks felici that I had bought at a yarn auction last year.

Before starting the race

I started them with the recommended needles, but decided they were too large so I only increased to 68 instead of 72. Continued in pattern and finished the first sock last night. I think I might have done a few too many rows in the foot but I'll see if i can correct that in the second sock and if so I can rip the first one back. I really love these socks as odd as they are. They don't fit funny or anything they just look awesome!

Finished during the race

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

ToT - Bedside Table

My bedside table is a disaster, it is the place I put the random things I forget until the end of the day which makes this picture more like an I Spy game than anything else.

1) My favorite bracelet (by the waterbottle) and another great bracelet
2) Glass (used to have water)
3) Water Bottle (used to have water)
3) Double Pointed Needle, I was probably wearing it in my hair one day
4) Medicine
5) Book
6) Remote for the window fan
7) 2 tubs of lotion (one is probably empty)
8) Kleenex
9) Tiny ziploc of sparkly makeup
10) empty wrappers from either cough drops or lifesavers