Behold the damage one can do in a mere forty minutes at Canvas Works in Olympia. Even though I appear to be coming out of my shopping slump, I am already regretting a few of my vacation purchases.
I spent a few hours this evening trimming patterns and laying various pieces on fabric (either brought or bought), and it is unlikely that I will fly East with a completed skirt. Given that my apartment lacks the space for laying out fabric and cutting pattern pieces, the reality that I spent a good deal of money on useless patterns and fabrics is slowly sinking in. What a waste of money! The cost of just the Amy Butler pattern makes me feel sick.
While I am in the throws of buyers remorse, I will declare that The Eco + will probably be a stinker as well. The yarn is quite soft, almost like a wool version of of Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton, which concerns me. I have a suspicion that both yarns do not withstand wear well. I fear I will be nothing more than a pilled pumpkin after a few wears.
30 May 2007
Wish You Were Here
Packing was not a matter of if I should bring knitting along, but which projects should make the trip West. I settled on a Fixer, a Finishers and a Starter -- Molly Ringwald, Nerissa and the Sweater with Frills from Rebecca 33 (aka Miss Frilly Milly).
The pain of picking up stitches and working the neckline on Nerissa was dulled by nearly seven straight hours of Law & Order: SVU, courtesy of JetBlue. The armholes still need to be finished, and it will be once I lay my hands on either a #3 12" circular or a set of DPNs.
Today, I paid a visit to the wonderful Jessica at The Fiber Gallery where I purchased two hanks of Cascade Eco +. The yarn is slated for the V-neck sweater in Fitted Knits. As the yarn is in the car and I am in my robe, no photo is available of my first Pacific Northwestern fiber purchase.
At my request, Teri and I popped by The Frock Shop for an in-person glimpse of those coveted Dottie Angel slips. They are gorgeous, however, there is still weight to be shed, and such a special purchase must be postponed until "fighting weight" is reached (and maintained).
Bucking my better judgement, I cast on for Frilly Milly on the plane. The yarn is Yarn Art Jeans. New to me, I found it at Yarn Central Thursday evening, and I fell in love with the the peach shade -- perfect for Miss Frilly Milly!
Extreme sleepiness and 204 stitches do not mix well, and after counting stitches ten times -- each time getting a different result -- I called it quits for the night/flight. Naturally, I was more astute the following day, and I have managed to squeeze in a bit of work on Miss Frilly Milly between jaunts here and there -- not to mention the gym!
26 May 2007
Tonight I fly Pacific Northwestward to visit my friend Teri for a week -- which may or may not result in a temporary disruption of posting. I cannot be restricted.
Have a crafty and fun week.
24 May 2007
This new knitting funk, combined with my general funk and a lack of sleep had me teetering on the edge of reason all morning. But Miss Sharyn came to my rescue and pulled me back.
During our standard 11:30am lunch confirmation phone call, Sharyn listened to me gripe for two full minutes before blurting out, "I have a little prezzie for you". Lunch was only an hour away, but I was tempted to zip across campus at that moment. I held strong, and at lunch Sharyn presented me with this little pick-me-up/early sort-of birthday present:Frankly, the adorable tin was enough to make me smile, but the sweet little shoe pendant from Caught Red Handed had me squealing with delight. Never underestimate the power of shoes -- even miniature art shoes.
23 May 2007
The season opened with a sudden onslaught of tears while driving to work today. The Proclaimers I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) was on the radio, which may or may not have been the trigger. I am a child of the 80s, and I can rarely turn away from a John Hughes movie. Pretty in Pink is not my favorite, but the zany and lovable Iona (Annie Potts) is one of my favorite film characters.
Even at 20, I felt a strange affinity for Iona, who could either be taken for a loser -- experimenting with various trends and hanging out with high school kids -- or the ultimate champion of individualism with a strong personal style.
As for my personal style, I have been on the hunt for lounge clothes. I want something to wear around the house that does not scream -- work! gym! or frump! -- and it is a bloody challenge. Most of what I see reminds me of Marge Simpson, but I want to deny my outter Marge and connect with my inner Maggie the Cat.
While they may be a bit impractical for scrubbing the bathtub, a Dottie Angel slip appeal to my notion of "lounging around" (with a cocktail, thank you). My first thought is that such clothing would invite the scorn of What Not to Wear hosts on both sides of the pond. My second thought is a rather unladylike and terse "Piss off".
I bet you one month's pay Joe would sooner pick up his socks for for Maggie than Marge.
22 May 2007
Totally Tubular Tuesday
The remedy? Reapply for a position, fill out new paperwork, forgo commission and take a 10% cut in my hourly rate. Honestly, I had remained on call mostly for the employee discount and the bit of extra money here and there. Under the new rules, the discount was less attractive without commission, a fair hourly wage and profit-sharing. Once my hand was forced, it was easy to let go, and I took this little lesson home with me and weeded out my book shelves.
I am still on the fence about Molly Ringwald. In spite of PSSO's similar outcome and brave decision, I am operating under the belief that a hot wash and a sewing machine can make Miss Molly wearable. If I am hiding my head in the sand on this one, I am facing the world with eyes wide open in my Tubular Camisole.
And as of today -- this photo in particular -- I am finally ready to let go. In all fairness, she is minus straps, but straps or not, I do not look or feel "right" wearing it. The shape hides my waist and creates a most unflattering spare tire spilling into ginormo hips look.
I can say with complete frankness and certainty that a blousy tube top has no place in my wardrobe.
Labels: Projects - Tublular Camisole
21 May 2007
The Process of Packing
Alas, vacation is looming, and it is time to begin the process of packing. This vacation is no ordinary vacation. I will be heading to Olympia to visit Teri who knits, quilts, sews and embroiders. She also walks, bikes and goes to the gym. I may well have to bite the bullet and scrap the usual insistence on carry-on only and bring a larger piece of luggage to check. Teri is telling me that Memorial Day weekend at the lake with her family is a knit-and-sew festival. I cannot arrive in vintage-inspired pumps without a project. I need proper outdoor clothing and proper project(s).
Here is the run-down at present:
Nerissa needs stitches picked up and worked around the armhole and neckline.
Aurora Cap-Sleeves Raglan Top needs 3" of knitting on the back and seaming.
Tubey needs...well, it needs more help than I can commit to at the moment.
Retro Shrug Redux needs to have the rest of the border stitches picked and worked.
Molly Ringwald needs cap sleeves and to be resized (if possible) by sewing machine.
Tubular Camisole (still) needs some sort of straps.
Ribby Shell needs to be ripped and reknit.
Frankly, I think I need a new project for my trip West.
At any rate, Friday through Sunday were devoted almost exclusively to ferocious bouts of sneezing. The sort that makes your throat and lungs hurt. Somehow, I managed to squeeze in some errands whilst (literally) blowing my way through two boxes of Scotties.
After dropping off bags at the consignment shop and Goodwill, Joe and I popped by the Beacon Farmer's Market for lamb sausage. I exchanged a knitting book for a sewing book. My dreams of sewing are just that -- dreams. The machine sits idly in the box. My Summer Hours start this week, and I am determined to make that additional 30 minutes of personal time count for something -- either at home or at the gym. Hopefully, the public announcement will shame me into alternately breaking out the sewing machine and breaking a sweat.
It seems mere procrastination, but this week is not the week to start a new plan. I leave for Olympia, Washington Saturday evening, and I suspect the week will be filled with panicked shopping for suitable "casual" clothing.
17 May 2007
Seven Year Itch
In fact, as I was stepping out in my Singapore Slings today, I was thinking about restless I have been feeling. The Singapore Slings intensified that feeling because I bought them in Singapore, which reminds me of the fact that I used to be a Manhattanite with a good-paying job in fashion -- with clothing and travel perks.
I would have previously dismissed the idea of an inanimate object suffering from the seven year Itch but my Singapore Slings indicate otherwise. Purchased in May 2000, these cuties have served me well, and I was careful to not overuse or abuse them. In spite of my love for them, there appears to be a need for separation -- the right heel from the right shoe to be exact.
While some of you may think my behaviour a bit over-the-top, as they are only shoes, others of you will wonder why I am not driving at blinding speeds to the nearest shoe repair shop. Shoes like this are once-in-a-lifetime. Even if I boarded a plane to Singapore tomorrow, do you think I will find these shoes seven years? No. These shoes are irreplaceable.
How this heel broke is a complete mystery. Even more mysterious is the parcel I received yesterday.
This is a "Knitwit Bangle", an adorable bangle fashioned from a knitting needle by Liana Kabel. The mystery is why the bangle is in my possession. I do not remember ordering it, and My Etsy confirms that I did not order this. Perplexing.
**update: The bangle was a secret gift from a long-time friend, Deb. Thanks, honey!
15 May 2007
Tea & Sympathy
But enough about you...
Even when I had the body that I now realize was the best body I ever had (but bitched about it then), I had some serious fit issues with skirts and trousers. Trousers were the double whammy of fitting my hip-to-waist ratio fit and my inseam, which is why I gravitated to skirts -- no inseam issue. I now fit into the first round of fat clothes that I bought as I was working my way up the scale, but I still need to do a bit of tweaking to get things as I would ultimately like them to fit and look for now.
Yesterday's ensemble of French Girl's Brigitte over a thrifted camisole with a cream skirt needed refinement. Brigette could use some waist-shaping, but ripping and re-knitting with Rowan Cotton Braid is out of the question. I tell myself that the openess negates the need for it. I have to tell myself something to spare the life of one hand knit.
More disturbing is the cream skirt, and I have earned a few credits in the art of Rit Dye. However, I was more keen on instant results so grabbed the 100-count box of Lipton tea bags. The results were so-so -- a very light tobacco shade -- but better than the cream.
My real dilemma is Nicole. I lucked into some cream Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere, but maybe the lilac Rowan Calmer reclaimed from Ribby Shell would be more suitable?
I sit frozen in anticipation of your input.
14 May 2007
Last August, I was pleased with the fit of my Chicknits Ribby Shell, however, this summer brings a bit of disappointment. It could have been poor storage (or poor eyesight), but I failed to notice then how terribly the hem rolls. The middle back (left) is particularly bad. The hem could easily be reworked and blocked into submission, but instinct tells me there is no easy fix for this.
I could fit a Thanksgiving turkey or an Easter ham in there -- with room for sides! The 37" size fit just right last summer. In fact, I would say that is was sassy and slimming then, but not now. It is positively flabby and frumpy.
Hell, I am thrilled to be minus one 25lb turkey, but it is depressing to realize that the few precious hand knits that survived my fits of frogging are headed for the gallows anyway.
I know two things about my Ribby Shell: the Rowan Calmer can survive multiple froggings, and it is a quick knit. But what knitter wants to devote time and needles to reknitting all that has been knit before? I would much rather cast on for Nicole than reknit the Ribby Shell or rework the ill-fitting Molly Ringwald -- which shall henceforth be call Muu-Muu Ringwald.
Labels: Projects - Ribby Shell
12 May 2007
Start Wearing Purple
The owner, Rosemary is all Elvira makeup and purple hair -- no doubt the reason for featuring that song -- and as it turns out, Celeste, one of my more fashion-funky friends, is well-acquainted with Rosemary. Her husband landscaped and mowed the lawn at Texaco Taco -- before it became a haven for all manner of lawn ornaments and chachkas.
Given her age and location, Rosemary is unique in her look, and and I applaud her for her willingness to thumb her nose at fashion and convention. I am not so bold. Certainly, I do not think that age needs to fully dictate fashion, but I do think it needs to inform it somewhat. As much as I adore the boldness of Rosemary and the style sense of Ysolda and Black Apple, my desire to reconnect with my inner goth is eclipsed by my fear of being mutton dressed as lamb.
The liberation that comes from ditching black for color is quite amazing, however, the challenge of feeling chic and sexy in yellow or peach is a rather daunting one. Enter grey...and purple. Grey is like a softer black, and purple can run the gamut from sweet (lilac) to sexy (deep purple). It has just right amount of "zip" to transform frumpy to funky.
And a gal needs to feel funky when she is in the midst of dumping the frump and growing out her hair. I could see that my stylist, Deborah -- who has lived through a record five visits -- was a bit tentative when I said I wanted an outlandish color to get me through the growing-out phase. She has lived in Dutchess County long enough to question the client that asks for anything other than long layers and gold highlights. But my persistence paid off.
All I need now is pretty purple petticoat!
10 May 2007
Lucy died Friday, May the 4th. She was named for Saint Lucy, and her symbol was a bundle of wheat. On her birthday (December 13th - St. Lucy's day), Lucy would prepare wheat berries for family and friends. There was a wheat berry salad on the salad bar at work today, and it made me smile. It made me a bit teary as well.
But funerals in my family are like that. We laugh, we cry and we eat. In fact, I cried and ate in near equal volume over the past five days.
Death has a way of bringing life into sharp focus. The "bad" in my life is insignificant in the face of world hunger, war and poverty, and I am lucky enough to have the ability to improve my life and myself. There are areas in which I need to make some tough decisions in the name of making my life better and in the name of my future.
04 May 2007
People get rather uptight about sacrificial burnings and weeping women, so I took the high road. I plinked out the woven in yarn (and that annoying elastic thread), ripped out the bind off row to the second set of strap stitches and bind off again. I had convince myself that I owned some yellow grosgrain ribbon (bought last year when I originally knit it), but is MIA at the moment. I suspect I will find it when I stop looking for it and begin my quest to find my misplaced Keihl's lip gloss.
I have the itch to cast on something from either Fitted Knits or Lace Style, but that will be my reward for finishing and/or fixing a few of the projects languishing presently. Last week, I discovered the Karabella Cap-Sleeves Raglan (or whatever it is called) rotting in my desk drawer -- at work. Once upon a time, I confined losing my knitting projects to my home or my trunk, but why not take advantage of the additional real estate my office affords me?
Labels: Projects - Tublular Camisole
03 May 2007
Building a Better Yarn Stash
Yesterday, I decided to take firm action and stop pissing about with my yarn stash. I updated both my stash and potential project spreadsheets to match yarn to projects and vise versa.
Much of my yarn was bought for a particular project, but some not. I updated the spreadsheets to show the corresponding yarn and pattern, and then I physically gathered the project-specific yarn and labelled it with the pattern name and location (magazine issue, book, etc.).
Next, I paired my "homeless" yarn with patterns, and I updated the spreadsheets again. While this sounds like a great idea (Knit from Your Stash!), it feels rather like squeezing into a skirt because you refuse to buy a larger size. It is wonderful when a pattern calls for a gauge in your stash, but there is more to yarn than gauge. Color and texture are a large part of the equation. Yarn substitution is widespread, and I would guess that color and texture is more important than gauge. After all, a bit of math solves the gauge issue.
In my case, the pretty olive Debbie Bliss Cathay (front and center) is the perfect gauge for ChicKnits Nicole, but originally, I had envisioned Nicole in either a typically feminine color or a neutral color. So the battle of knitter's guilt rages. Do I use the yarn because it is the correct gauge even though the color seems “wrong” to me?
This sort of debate illustrates the saneness of living relatively stash free and buying yarn by the project. Such an existence would save this sort of nail-nibbling and guilt.
Here is my homeless stash, with only two lots identified for immediate projects. While most of what you see is the highly usable worsted weight, it bores me to tears. The sameness of color is unexciting, and who wants to knit with unexciting yarn?