First, as I watched the Oscars on and off (too boring all the way through), it ocurred to me that while most folks looked very nice, Miss Beyonce appeared to be filmed in Skank-o-vision (confirmation found here at the 6:03pm, 7:06pm and 7:58pm entries). Whoever styled her needs to be taken to Walmart and forced to shop. Okay that’s too harsh, taken out back and kicked in the goolies. I mean if you can’t make a pretty 20 year-old girl look nice, it’s time to go. Skank indeed…Even Prince (8:00pm) looked prettier than her!
Okay, on to the important stuff–yarny things. On this last day of February I’ve fixed a little bit. Remember this before shot? Well here’s the best supporting during picture. Now enjoy the best yarn "after" shot all balled up and ready to fix. Yeah baby, that auburn Marzen is the way to go.
But what should that pile o’ yarn be. I’m auditioning patterns and so far have found this picture from the latest Phildar Tendances magazine. Now I don’t own this magazine, but don’t you think it would be pretty darn easy to adlib that body of work?
Since I’ve not found any good patterns in the latest knitting magazines I thought I’d drop 29 cents at the thrift store to get some inspiration. This pattern leaflet dates from 1955 and brought to us by Coats and Clark. It’s price in 1955 was 25 cents, so I don’t feel too bad about the 4 cent markup in the intervening fifty years! Talk about appreciation. The content actually quite good, though the sweaters are very simple and basic. But hey, the latest Rebecca cost me $20 and I probably won’t make a thing out of it so what the hell.
The best thing about the leaflet are the pictures of seemingly demented folks wearing acrylic knitwear. My fave adult is this gal who looks like a demonic young Laura Bush. She’s got a truly evil look on her face and is rather frighteningly holding a hockey stick. I fear she’s just whomped someone with it and is congratulating herself on choosing a red sweater that cleverly hides the blood spatter.
demon spawn, uh, child picture front, check out the face on that boy. You just know he’s now a full fledged member of the San Quentin Aryan Lowrider gang, despite the best knitting efforts of his momma. I believe the young lady pictured now lives in a trailer somewhere in the south, I don’t know why, but I’ve got a feelin’…
Lest you think that my knitting output has been dwindling, I present the latest scintillating pictures of Brier pieces and parts. I’ve been working on this fine Rowan sweater while waiting for some more Phil Chenille No. 5 to wend it’s way from Europe to complete the sexy Phildar sweater.
The major issue with my Brier is whether to construct the CB seam and sleeve seams "inside out" to give it a pretty deconstructed look. I didn’t use the gorgeous Rowan Yorkshire Tweed from the pattern. I’m using the Peruvian Collection Highland wool from Elann. This yarn is very nice, but not at all tweedy. It’s more rich and sleek than that. That brings me to the horns of my dilemma. Do I use casual construction with a more formal yarn? I’m leaning toward NO. While that could be fun on some sweaters, I think on this one it would be kinda weird. I’m leaning towards a "normal" sewing up process and calling it a day.
After sorting through my sweater stash the other day, it became abundantly clear that it was time to join Alison‘s February Fix . I don’t care the the month is more than half over, I’m fixin to get fixin…
Fix #1: This beauty does indeed FIT ME! Why does the front look like this? I used the recommended Rowan True 4-Ply Botany wool. I followed the pattern faithfully, why do I look like Anna Nicole trying to squeeze into a size six!?! This is luscious washable wool in a pretty logwood purple shade that is begging to be something (anything) else. I’m thinking a pullover this time. This yarn creates a nice lightweight fabric that feels great next to the skin, pullover it is.
Fix #2: I love this pullover, yet never wear it. I love the crocked parts of the variegated soft merino wool. I love ORANGE! Why don’t I wear this sweater? Because it’s not a cardigan! I know, make the pullover a cardigan and the cardigan a pullover. What a contrary minx I am. But a minx must do what a minx must do. This sweater is a bit too heavy, baggy and the arms are crazy long, even on this monkey-armed redhead. It was fun to make, it’s the saddle shouldered hybird knit in the round from E. Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears. This was such a liberating, eye opening sweater to knit, but I NEVER wear it. It needs to be a cardigan and more fitted. I owe it to the orange yarn, no?
I finally made it to the craft store to buy the clasp to finish the closure on my crocheted necklace. I couldn’t find the exact findings mentioned in the magazine instructions so I got those big silver beads. I think they’re a tad big, but I’m too lazy to get smaller ones. I just threaded a bead onto each end necklace, made a little loop and twisted the tail around the neck of the loop above the bead. It’s kind of like sewing on a button and making sure you have some thread underneath to so the button can close. I used my trusty needle nose pliers to squish the ends close to the neck. I attached a clasp and that’s all there was to it. Easy.
In the spirit of using up one’s stash before the ever closer Maryland weekend, I decided to break into the Knitting with Wire kit I snapped up at NY Sheep and Wool. I’d picked up a beading magazine the other day to supplement my complete lack of knowledge. Generally I find the projects in these magazines to be way too busy and over the top (read "ugly") for my simple, puritanical taste, but there was a cute idea in Bead Unique that I could use with the aforementioned kit. Score!
For those of you in possession of the Bead Unique tome, volume #3, I adapted the "Fabulous and Funky" choker project to suit my taste and resources. Even though my wire was slightly finer and I had way less beads with which to work, I was aiming to make an approximation of some wire jewelry I’d seen in Nordies weeks ago.
Strictly speaking, the Fabulous and Funky choker is CROCHETed, not knit. This turned out to be just fine with me, as I suspect crocheting with wire may be easer than knitting. You begin by stringing your beads on the wire in an attractive (read random) arrangement. As per the instructions, you crochet three single strands of beady wire. I shoved a bead into every second or third stitch. After making three strands, you twist the ends of one side together and braid the three strands together loosely. Note: To anchor the end of the my braid I shoved the ends between my monkey toes, perhaps not the recommended professional method. When you have the braid the way you like it, twist the other end wires together and attach the closure (I haven’t done that part yet). Voila! You can flatten and shape the wire to nestle into your neck.
Now I had some beads and wire left over and decided to crochet a bracelet to match. I just crocheted a beaded strand, joined it up and crocheted a plain round then another beaded round. At that point I was out of beads and wire, so I called it finished.
Rather than bore you with pictures of curly, whirly stockinette back pieces of Brier, I’ll remind you that this Wednesday is the start of the lunar New Year. In the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the Rooster. I found a fun page here with lots of info and fun New Year card making.
Now wasn’t that more fun than a stockinette back piece? Fear not, Brier is well underway. I have been thinking of NOT sewing up the sweater’s center back and arm seams wrong way out as described in the pattern. I adore that in the tweedy version shown in the Rowan book, but my rich, red Peruvian Highland wool is much smoother and sleeker looking. I’ve been thinking of ribbon or satin trim (since I don’t like the selvages at the back vent showing). I’ll kick the idea around for a bit and may end up knitting a small-type edging at the back vent.
I also saw this sweet little girl’s sweater in my Burda sewing magazine this month. It’s a lacy little number, nice and light for the LA girl I’ve got in mind. I’ll have to root around in the garage to see if there is any suitable stash yarn for this one. I mean, that stash needs to be reduced as Maryland is coming up soon!
Every now and then I realize just how small the world can be. After determining that I needed a miracle for the amount of Phil Chenille No. 5 that I’ve got left to be enough to finish my sweater, I emailed Nicole in Belgium. Within hours, she’d found two more skeins in the same dyelot, totalled up the order (no–I didn’t order anything else–I was tempted though) and I Paypalled her in Euros to settle up. That would have taken weeks in days gone by, but no, a few hours was plenty. Very nice. Sexy sweater is back on track.
Since I didn’t want to continue on the chenille sweater until I’d determined how much yarn I’d have to work with, I began Brier. I’m using the Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in ruby red that Elann had on sale a bit ago. It’s super nice to work with, especially after the chenille with no give. I’ve been able to get stitch gauge, though not row gauge (freaking row gauge!) in the place of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK. The substitution is no reflection on the Rowan yarn, it’s gorgeous. I just happen to own a great quantity of Highland Wool.
Speaking of Rowan, Carolyn pointed out a great link to Rowan Magazine sweater models. I see that the new Spring/Summer (#37) edition is out and I think it’s beautiful. Great sweaters in cotton and blends, and considering it’s 72F here today, I should spend some time thinking about cotton. Don’t worry that we’ll overheat here in Cali, I just washed the car so that should bring a nice wintery rain storm…you can thank me later…