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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Haven't heard enough about the yarn dyeing party?

Good! Because I wanna weigh in too! I cannot express what a blissful day I had dyeing yarn with the other spiders at Marie's fabulous apartment. Lots of knitting and chatting and red wine and baked ziti and hummus and the requisite chick flicks. I hadn't even heard of Showtime Women!

And I suppose I must mention that poor Amanda got stuck in the bathroom -- and she'll probably never hear the end of it. Here are Joy and Lisa trying to determine if she could be rescued from the roof and before Stephanie had at the door with a knife.

All silliness aside, it was an inspiring, relaxing and fun afternoon. I'd never dyed yarn before, since I probably have too many hobbies as is, and Marie was an excellent and patient and generous teacher. I brought two skeins of lace weight yarn from Knit Picks, and here is what I came up with.

Since it's a sort of sad color, I'm dubbing it the Anderson, after CNN's pensive and earnest Anderson Cooper.. (You Spiders know this is in obvious tribute to Stephanie, who is naming hers after legitimately dreamy men. Only she has a real knack for this and will start a great business, whereas I will just keep knitting and watching CNN.) Here's a close-up:

Now this mix of pinks and reds will be the Fredericka Whitfield, mostly because the other anchors call her Fred and that makes me uneasy so the least I can do is name my yarn after her.

close up!

Now just a few more shots. Here's Sandra, plotting her colors:

And here's Stephanie, Bronxie and Julsey doing what they do best:

Be sure to check all the other blogs -- some have wonderful progress shots and pictures of Marie's craft room that will make you drool.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Taking shape

Work in progress shots are always a little tough to take. I attempted to wear the partial tubey, but it looked simply ridiculous, like a bad half-shirt that might have been worn by a character on "Saved by the Bell." So here tubey is so far, on my rumpled bedspread:

I like it so far, but the stitches on my sleeves look a little wonky. I even ripped out one sleeve, reknit and still was unhappy. With luck, blocking will do the trick. But I can't block the ribbing, right? Oh dear. This is complicated. I just haven't had as much time as I'd like to work on this. And the ribbing, well, it gets a little repetitive.

What helps cure the boredom of 3 by 1 ribbing? Buying new yarn! While looking for a lace project for the Knitting Olympics, I stumbled back upon Ella. Now, there seems to be no way that I could ever finished this in 16 days, but I can start it, right? I've never been much for competitive sports anyway. (I played tennis and field hockey in high school but kinda lacked that killer instinct. Plus, you know, I wasn't very good.)

I've read a lot about Brooks Farm Yarn, and I've seen a few finished Ellas made from it. So I broke down and bought this lovely color called Amy:

But this is certainly one of the dumbest things that I did this week. I somehow accidentally ordered just two skeins when I need three. I tried emailing them immediately, but the order was already shipped. So I had to have the third shipped seperately. I'm a little sick to my stomach over the shipping fees, but it's nice to know that they ship so fast!

And I hope you are all aware of the Steelers triumphant win last week and impending trip to the Super Bowl. I can't tell you how many readers have emailed me asking, "Where can I find the lyrics to the Steelers Polka"? (Ok, none of you have. But that's probably because you didn't know it existed!) So here it is, thanks to my former co-worker's blog Pittsburgh Dish. Feel free to sing along!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Is my Tubey frowning?

Why yes, it might be. This has not been a fun week, and even my knitting knows it.

No need to get into the particulars. Let's just say there was a database, and it was big, and it needed to be fact checked. It was so upsetting that even my Tubey seems cross. Maybe that's because I haven't had much time to work on it, and I cannot wait to be finished with the sleeves. It's kinda cool, though, to knit a project where you get the sleeves out of the way first.

Of course, I'm already looking ahead, and I'm considering joining the certain heartache that is Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics. How fast did word travel on this one? I'm thinking of doing a little lace knitting, but I dunno what project or what yarn. I did recently received this beautiful package in the mail:

Of course, the mailman delivered it as I was getting out of the shower because I'm a loser. It's some Knit Picks that the super-talented Marie is going to help me dye. Maybe I can use the lace weight for a shawl? Any suggestions folks? I also ordered the pattern for the Sweet Mary Jane cardigan, but I haven't seen one finished yet and I'm not sure it's for me.

In other crafty news, even though I have no room in my apartment and I already have a perfectly servicable set of Fiesta ware, I keep dreaming about making these
beautiful plates featured in Martha Stewart Living. Tedious, maybe but so nifty nonetheless.

Oh, and one more thing. My Pittsburgh Steelers (Stillers for you locals) are playing Sunday, so I thought I'd include a little memorabilia from my youth. I don't recall ever seeing a "Mean" Joe Greene paper plate in person, but it's kinda awesome. One for the Thumb in 2006!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The new gal in town

Here she is, glampyre's angelica via Hip Knits.

Now, this is hardly my most functional knit, but it was quite a luxury. I used the silk sold on the Hip Knits site in a color called Owl. I really loved the color changes in this yarn and how, well, silky it felt on my needles. I'd never knit with silk before!

Instead of knitting the arms flat then seaming, I, of course, used magic loop. I'm not wild about the increases around the hips, but I couldn't come up with a better solution. But I adore this color, found a button that matches perfectly and really enjoyed the process of making this. (Though I'm totally over top-down raglans.) And I have more than a hank of the yarn left. Maybe a silk shawl?

In perhaps more exciting news, I met the Spiders Friday night. It was definitely surreal to read their blogs for so long then finally lay eyes on them. They're all as wonderful, creative and friendly in person as they seem on their blogs. I only hope I can get there more often, and that I didn't babble too much. (Babbling is what Carrie's do best.)

I didn't work on Angelica while out with the Spiders because I cheated and began a new project -- Tubey in the very nice and very affordable Luxury Aran Cashmere that I purchased at, gasp, AC Moore. I was able to reconcile starting a new sweater because I was stuck with jury duty on Thursday and needed a small project. It was sort of blissful for a day -- we watched "The Price is Right," "The Tony Danza Show" and some mindless sitcoms while waiting to be called for a panel.

My name was selected for an intriguing civil case that sounded a little like a bad joke. A Korean man, a Tibetan man and a deaf man got into a car crash on Northern Blvd. in Queens, and they apparently all needed translators. Can you imagine the aftermath of that accident? Long story short, I wasn't selected. But I did make some progress on Tubey. (Apologies to folks at the knit-a-long who have seen this already.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

News flash!

How did it take me this long to make the Headline News cabled newsboy hat from Stitch N Bitch Nation?

For some reason, I really felt compelled to knit this on Saturday. I picked up some readily available Patons Classic Wool merino and finished it in a jiffy. See, now I can wear this and stand on a street corner, hawking my own newspaper. "Extra! Extra! Read all about whatever I wrote last night!" Might be a good way to pick up some extra cash. How else will I afford 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran? (If anyone has other yarn suggestions for Tubey, please tell me.)

Obviously, since I was inspired to make this, I haven't yet finished Angelica. I just really hate knitting sleeves. Instead of knitting them flat then seaming, I am -- of course -- using ye olde magic loop method. Still, it ain't as fun as the body, and I needed a wee break.

And in some very EXCITING knitting news, at long, long last, I will meet the Spiders Friday! Best boyfriend ever is taking my evening shift so that I can head to the Point. I've been reading their blogs for so long that I imagine it will be a bit like walking into a work of fiction.

So this might not be the dumbest thing I did this week, but it's perhaps the most humbling. Like a lot of you, I recently stumbled upon this new fangled
face recognition database. The idea is that you upload a handsome photo of yourself, and through the wonders of modern science, the computer will tell you that your facial features resemble those of some fabulous actress, singer or other luminary. A few knit bloggers have been compared to the likes of Neve Campbell, Fay Raye and similar comely celebrities.

Never one to watch the bandwagon rattle by, I upload a picture of myself and eagerly await the results. So who do I resemble? Well, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello, of course!

So, so wrong. (Oh, and by the way, he's dead. So now I have to feel bad that I feel bad that I look like him!)

Friday, January 06, 2006

The return of selfish knitting

How did I ever knit before getting a DVD player? I've been watching my spunky idol and cruising along on Angelica. It's so shiny, if a little too curvy.

I've only used about two hanks of the delicious silk yarn, so I imagine that I'll have some left over. I'm not wild about the increases in the hip shaping, but I didn't have any better ideas. And I definitely need to find a cute brooch to secure the neckline.

When I finish it up, probably this weekend, I will either buy yarn for tubey or I'll select a project from this wonderful gift:

Jon's mom (also a knitter!!) gave me this for Christmas, and I have picked it up every night since just to flip through. The photography is beautiful, and the projects are so different. I might make one of the felted totes, but what I REALLY want to knit is the armchair cushion. Problem is, I don't have an armchair, so not only would it set me back 12 skeins of Manos, it would set me back an armchair. That's a tad obsessive.

I'm not certain how many of you are news junkie, so I don't want to bore you with more talk about the West Virginia miners. It's just that it sort of consumed me this week. If you weren't awake at 3 a.m. Wednesday, when jubilation turned to devastation, consider yourself lucky because that terrible, crestfallen feeling will stay with me for quite some time. Beyond the obvious tragedy of the deaths, I'm also touched personally because I'm a coalminer's granddaughter (and great-granddaughter). So when the widows and orphans were talking on CNN, I kept thinking how little seperates me from those families -- only a generation and some good luck, really. I thought I'd post a 1939 picture of my great-grandfather, John, holding my dad's cousin, Theresa. He was a dinky locomotive engineer at a mine in Central, Pa.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

In with the new

My first hour or so of 2006 wasn't so hot -- I volunteered to work and, let me tell you, a lot of people feel compelled to shoot and stab others immediately before and after the ball drops. But since I stepped out of the office, I've had a marvelous new year. We saw "Brokeback Mountain," which was heartbreaking and wonderful AND shows lots of sheep. Then we ate at a yummy French place in Long Island City. And now I plan to do some knitting on this lovely lady:

It's Angelica, and I hope she turns out as purdy as the others I'm seeing at the knitalong.

Now these photos are a little goofy, but we're feeling lazy here at chez Every Word's. They show the pom-pom scarf I whipped up with the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan that my mom gave me for Christmas. I'm not usually a boucle fan, but this stuff was so squishy and bouncy and great. So I made up a scarf pattern where I increase, increase, increase then knit straight then decrease, decrease, decrease, so there are pointy ends where I place the pom poms. It's no work of art, but it satisfied my need for a pom pom scarf.

Minus me.

Oh, and, if you are looking for a New Year's resolution, here's one from Pittsburgh's Strip District via my mother's cell phone camera.