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Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Swing of Things

Not just any old sweater deserves a Brooklyn fire escape photo shoot. But by golly, Flair, you do!

I can't say enough about this pattern from Knit and Tonic. It was a dream to knit, relaxing and not-too-taxing but with enough seed stitch and buttonholes to keep things interesting. I used Cotton Fleece in grey dawn, which nearly matches the primer on the fire escape steps. Wore it to brunch this morning at Tournesol, and it nearly made me forget that I was in Queens. (No offense to Queens folks, I just had a few bad experiences there and hold it against the entire borough.)

Now, you may be saying to yourselves, Carrie, your Flair is lacking a little, well, flair. It's not as swingy and boxy and jacket-y as the original, but I just wasn't sure that I could pull that look off. I decided to make it longer and fit a tad closer to the body. There's still a little swing at the bottom, and if I change my mind, I can just alter the button placement. (I actually probably need to reblock the button band since it looks a tad wonky anyway.)

Jon insisted that I include this bug-eyed, sunglasses shot -- Like a lot of New Yorkers, I've been channeling my inner Naomi Campbell after her histrionics this week.

Speaking of buttons, I used these cute little numbers from Joann Fabrics. (I simply can't resist going there whenever I'm home in Pennsylvania.) I had trouble getting the design to photograph well since my camera is shameful. But they're like little doodles etched around the buttons.

Now I'm plotting something from "Fitted Knits," another treasure trove of top-down raglan goodness.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Guess who's crocheting?

My mom!

But she didn't want me to know until she'd mastered it. See, I came home this week because we had a scare with my dad -- who is doing well now, thank heavens. So when mom and I got home from the hospital, she told me, "I have a secret." She could no longer resist the lure of yarn and had purchased a "How to Crochet a Hip Hat" kit at her local Michael's.

This is a big deal because mom has rheumatoid arthritis and didn't want to give crochet a try, but she's using the special cushioned hook covers and doing well. The kit basically sucked -- a huge plastic hook and only enough scratchy acrylic yarn to make a cap for a sprite or a gnome or a lawn jockey. Certainly not enough to cover a human head. And the instructions appear to have been translated from another language. But she finished it and moved onto a double crochet scarf out of the Rowan cotton I picked up at Brooklyn General with the preposterous plan to knit a thong for my friend's bridal shower. (To the horror of Jess.)

But I thought better of that plan and instead intend to make a few Mason-Dixon dishcloths to go along with some kitchen supplies for the bride-to-be.

Maybe I'm just an idiot, but I've never understood bridal shower etiquette. Should you buy off the registry because they're a young couple and need stuff? Or do you only buy off the registry for the wedding? Or should you forget the registry and get something personal? These things always stymie me.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Not so flattering

I'm showing this one only because I know you folks won't judge me. Here's Emma:

Not the best look for me, I know. Despite all of the exhaustive measurements and math involved in this pattern, the fit is not so good. It's large, in charge and billowy, like something Bea Arthur might sport. (And I love Bea, but I don't aspire to dress like her.) This was done with Cascade 220 Quattro -- not sure how many skeins because it was reclaimed from my failed Prepster Jacket.

Maybe it was me and not the pattern. Maybe my math skills just aren't what they used to be, or maybe I blocked it too big. But the boxy, ill-fitting shoulders -- that can't be my fault. They're almost pointy!

The seed stitch lapel took forever ever and ever ever. That's why I couldn't bring myself to do the icord edging around the lapel - this seemed like a lost cause, so why expend any more time and energy?

But we're moving on to Knit and Tonic's Flair. I'm nearly done with the body already, and I know it's going to be a winner. As I was saying to my Spiders on Friday, I can't go wrong with the top-down raglan. They're my old reliable.

I'd also like to note that my Maryland Terrapins are in the NCAA tournament this year, thank heavens. This might sound out of character for me, but as a freshman at Maryland I actually slept overnight in Cole Fieldhouse for men's basketball tickets. It was a nasty experience. We played cards and drank cream soda and tried to do our astronomy homework. I remember wrapping myself in a pink blanket and trying to sleep on the floor underneath the stadium seats, only to find that the blanket became affixed to the sticky floor. Nasty.

And this reminds me of my favorite Maryland story, though it occurred after I'd graduated. Apparently, a truck rammed through a brick wall encircling the campus in 2003, taking a large chunk out. Overnight, some industrious students erected this little fella:

Only at a state school, my friends!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

i hate this sweater

So the Emma Jacket is blocking, and I can't bear to look at it a moment longer. I just don't think it's going to look nice, and I don't think I'm going to wear it. Maybe I'm wrong -- like maybe a good blocking will do wonders, and suddenly it won't look frumpy and bulky. But I ain't hopeful.

I had numerous issues with this pattern, which perhaps I should direct to Knitpicks. I mean, the pattern was only $1.95, but you still expect instructions to be complete and coherent. It was all over the place, not really written like a formal pattern. There was a lot of math so that the sweater fits the knitter perfectly. And in theory that's great. But I had to keep referring back to the initial measurements, and it seemed as though they weren't referred to consistently throughout the pattern. I felt as though I was guessing a lot of the time -- like with the underarm stitches. It says to pick up the live stitches and graft them. But the live stitches are only on the bottom of the underam, and there aren't an equal number of rows facing them. So I was just kinda winging it, and that never looks good. Maybe this yarn -- which was once the failed Prepster Jacket -- is just cursed!

I am moving on to other, simpler things. Like Flair. Ain't it just darling? I intend to make it as swingy as possible. I went to good ole Knit-a-Way and got myself some Cotton Fleece in grey dawn, and I am casting on maintenant.

Of course, while at Knit-a-Way, I bumped into Marie! How obsessed and pathetic are we? (Just kidding -- I was tickled to see her.) She was buying sock yarn, and I had green paint in my hair after spending a week working on this.

Sorry for the fuzzy shot -- and the gratuitous picture of my goose - but I wanted to show off our new wall color. I just couldn't face the masking tape-colored walls any longer, so now they are Benjamin Moore's apple blossom. It makes such a difference.