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Clb3Do you know, my phone was ringing within HALF AN HOUR of posting yesterday!  Yup, there was the birthday girl wailing "What the F*CK is the matter with you…"  Heh!  Claudia is actually not "that" put out by the public outing of the family photo album, and she knows that I have the mother lode of embarrassing photos at my fingertips, so let me state explicitly, there will be no nudie baby shots.  She’s also plotting my payback when I turn 40 (many years from now).

Today’s shot goes further back in time to June 1966.  This is toddler Claudia!  Isn’t she precious?  She’s wearing a hand knit sweater and letting us know the answer to the burning question "Who’s the cutest 40 year old?"

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Birthday Countdown

Embarrassing1This Wednesday, December 1st my big sister Claudia will be 40!  I know, crazy.  This only leaves us with TWO days to put her into the birthday mood.  I’ve decided to kick things off by showing y’all a different childhood photo every day until the big Wednesday.  Just to show I’m not above embarrassing myself, you’ll notice I am in this first photo.  This appears to be circa 1971, and I’d like you to notice the matching dresses on my sister and me.  Fabulous.  Can’t wait til tomorrow’s installment, no?!

Xray Vision

First off, for the last week the photos on my blog were floating around the top left corner of the page, rather than their rightful homes in the posts.  Now bearing in mind this only occurs when viewing my blog with Internet Explorer, not Netscape, wouldn’t you think SOMEONE, ANYONE would have asked me what the f*ck was up with my HTML proficiency?  Oh no, you’re either all too polite (and I’ve met a lot of you–so that’s not it) or all use Netscape.  Not a peep…Typepad is looking into my problem so don’t worry too much.

Second, did you see this nutty article?  Apparently the Memphis teachers could take paddles to the kids until a few days ago.  Uh, WHAT!  How can folks who barbecue like angels think smacking their young uns would make ’em smarter?  More pulled pork please…

Secretsock_1 Okay, now for actual knitting content.  I’m knitting socks for a secret gift thing and in case the recipient is looking I can’t show you how cute these puppies really are.  What I can do is monkey with my rudimentary photo software and make this xray sock photo.  Cracks me up every time.

I’ve also taken quite a shine to this little number from the geniuses at Phildar.  It’s from the Tendances Hiver 2004/2005 catalog and is currently a free pattern on their website, called Le Pull col montant.  Now I don’t speak French, but it appears to mean High necked sweater. The only bad part, in my eyes, is that it is made from chenille–the most evil yarn known to man. Has anyone used the Phildar chenille? Is it nice or an unholy, godless hell fiber? As the most sensitive of you may have picked up on, I don’t like working with chenille. But for a cute, sexy sweater, maybe it’s not so bad.

Out with the bad…

The bad bolero is no more.  The multi tonal, unintentionally ruffled bolero is now ripped, skeined and shoved into the box containing Claudia’s birthday present.  Yes, the first step to recovery has commenced.  It was much more fun ripping than knitting that freaking bolero…that’s not a good sign.

As for the good, remember the Knitting Basket Project from last Christmas?  I see Yentala has the paypal account link on her blog for this year’s donation basket.  Just click on the "make a donation" button to make a contribution.

On the knitting front, The Clapper is looking fine.  For those of you interested in knitting this pattern with lace weight yarn as I am, I followed the pattern and am using size 5 needles (that’s a 7 for normal folks) and getting a scarf about 17 inches wide unstretched.  The Jaeger JB20 Cable Gal sweater is underway, though I noticed that the front cables on both sides of center front go the same direction.  Shouldn’t they be mirror images to make it "read" symmetrically?  I think this would bug me if I didn’t change it.  Stop calling me anal!  Now!

Hate It!

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Did you gasp! I sure did when I tried this dog on last night. I just don’t like the fit of the bolero, it’s not long enough and check out the back where the band is! I didn’t know I was making a ruffle! Now I knew from my sewing experience, the band should be very slightly smaller than the body. You then stretch the band to fit the body and said band will cup flatteringly into your body. This is what I did, but there is no cupping. It’s more like kicking. I’ve not blocked this mess yet, so that would theoretically help it’s unsightliness, but my hate is so intense I shan’t bother. It’s going to be frogged, so blocking would only get in the way of the rip party.

So what’s the plan? Rip it post haste, skein it up and send it to Claudia for a dye job. I won’t even entertain the notion of using this otherwise lovely yarn until it’s all the same color. Only then will I search out/make up a bolero pattern that is not hideous.

Bo-ling for Color

Happy Veteran’s Day!

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On the bolero front, I’ve been lazily knitting up the loooonnngg ribbed borders that circle the bolero. Need I say how boring this is. To spice up the knitting, I noticed as I broke out the last skein of this otherwise soft, yummy wool, that it is yet a third different hue from the other two skeins. I guess I should have seen that one coming, but in my glass is half full yarn world, I was surprised. I know it’s hard to see the difference online, but trust me, it’s very different.  I think of it as my own personal triumverate of evil. This last skein for the border is the darkest yet–they’re all really pretty but looked the same when I bought them from the vendor, and they’re very different knitted up. We live and learn. I’ll (read Claudia–please–I got you a great birthday present…heh) overdye this bolero when it’s done, so all will be fine. 

Because the ribbed banding on the bolero is so boring, my mind wandered to the ruby red Highland wool from Elann. Hey, it was just laying there waiting to be garaged, looking at me imploringly. I cast my pea brain back to this little number that I’ve been coveting from the Jaeger (JB20) booklet by Martin Storey. The yarn that this pattern calls for is heavier than the Highland, but hell, I’ve got a calculator and a fine degree from an accredited university, I will master this! Those astute readers will have noticed, as I did rather too late, that I’m escaping bolero ribbing boredom by swatching for a ribbed sweater. Perhaps the aforementioned university will be asking for it’s degree back. Fear not dear readers, they have to catch me first. If they do, they can see that my calculations are correct, my gauge is spot on for the schematic measurements, and is DARN cute.

Because all knit and no sew makes Sil a dull girl, I WILL start a little tweed jacket with velvet ribbon detail, in order to have it done for Thanksgiving wear. This jacket is Vogue #7900 (strangely from the Vogue "Woman" collection which is, how shall we say it, is the more matronly collection). What the fuck, I like it though. I’ll be using this pink wool tweed remnant that I’ve had since fashion design school. I think I’ll be able to eke out the pattern with some judicious layout. I hope you can see in the photo that the pink tweed has nubs of wine red and green! No wonder I’d held on to it for five years.

Bo – Lero Flex

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I’ve been working steadily on the Bolero from Rebecca #28, and yesterday while steaming the pieces flat for assembly, I noticed that the skeins are producing different colored fabric. Yikes! The sleeves are “purpler” than the “bluer” body. Is it a huge deal, no. Is it noticeable, yes. Hmm. I’ve pretty much decided to carry on with the sewing up. If it really bothers me I’ll toss the thing in a dyepot and see what damage I can do.

This little bolero is still waiting for its ribbed band that encircles the body. I’ve done the bands for the sleeves and they add about 2.5 inches all around the body. Without this additional inchage, I’d be yanking on the body to cover the front porch. Not really the best look for me.

Dozens of Reasons

Rubies are for non-commital project.

Nice big pile o’ stuff.

What can I say, Carolyn and Mariko made me do it.  I mean they both CALLED me to make sure I knew that Elann had just added Peruvian Highland Wool to their veritable orgy of clearance priced yarn.  Yup, an even dozen ruby skeins just landed here at the house.  What does it want to be you ask?  I was thinking of Cherie from Rowan Vintage Style or BonneMarie’s Ribby Cardie pattern.  I haven’t really decided, I’ll have to swatch and see.  I seem have a touch of the 24 hour startitis that’s been going around.  Cough, cough…

Get the Dictionary

Are you like me, and wonder what the heck “clapotis” means? I googled and found this definition on a website:

Clapotis is a nautical/kayak term for a condition at sea. The condition happens when the flow of waves comes in contact with reflected waves. The resulting feeling is a lifting followed by falling.

Does this sound right? Is this like when it feels like the airplane is falling during turbulence (must relate it to something I have experience with, ya know)? Now if you’re like me and the only way you’d get into a kayak would be at gunpoint, check out the “clapper” here just in time for Christmas…

Clap On!

It’s the "Summer of Love" Clapper.

The blue, blue sea of sleeve island.

The clapper came with me to LA and progress was made between purloined Snickers bars. The Morehouse merino lace weight is making a lovely, flowing scarf and I must reiterate my praise for the Clapper pattern. Fun, easy and on-the-road doable. Keep this one in mind folks. I’m looking forward to using my natural browny alpaca to make one for ME! I’ve been wrapping the alpaca skein around me to see if I like it. I do.

My other project is the Rebecca bolero from the current issue. I’ve finished the tiny body piece and the lengthened sleeves and one sleeve band. Next up is the loooonnng band that goes around the body piece. Easy, but dull. This bolero should be done soon just in time for that freezing California winter. Yup, get the longer shorts out.

For those knitters who enjoy a bargain, check out the link Carolyn brought to my attention. Elann has this yummy yarn in a huge array of colors just itching to come to your house…please, sir, more yarn.