Wednesday, March 29, 2006

F is for ...

Finland! I took a thousand photos while I was there for my book on Finnish soapstone, but this photo is my favorite. I was staying in Juuka, a small town in the east/central part of the country. There are no hotels there, so the company I was working with had a small series of flats to put up guests. This was the middle of my trip (last October) and the first day I finished all the work I had to do and didn't want to die from jet lag. Since it was an hour or so before the dinner I had to attend, I got my sock-in-progress out of my knitting bag and hoofed the 200 feet down to the little dock. This was my view while I watched the water float by, and knitted a sock. Heaven. That was my first trip to a Scandinavian country, and hopefully not my last. I am hoping for an author tour when that books comes out, although that is a LOT to hope for!

F is also for Fable - a gorgeous yarn which is pissing me off because it doesn't want to be anything I want it to be. I bought a whole bag of this at Handknits - my LYS which is going out of business soon. So sad that my SnB will be no more, but hey, 60% off is 60% off. So I have ten skeins with 184 yards per, 85% pima cotton, 15% silk. And I want a cardigan in the worst way and am dying to cast on. But the yarn apparently does not approve of any of my pattern choices and so refuses to cooperate. Sigh.... some day it will let me know what it wants, and in the meantime I keep swatching.

Did anyone have anything to say about the fact that I skipped E? I thought not....

Friday, March 24, 2006

Soft socks

I LOVE these socks. Yarn is some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport that I got in a swap at the Knittyboard, the colorway is Iris something. I never made sport weight socks before so couldn't guess the yardage, so I went with a toes-up pattern - Dye Your Own Socks from the book Socks Socks Socks by XRX Publishing (great book by the way, I love it).

The swirls are made by well placed increases and decreases, no cabling required. I love how the pattern goes up the whole front of the sock to the edge, although I wish it didn't roll down - will have to figure out a way to make that not happen next time. I would have made them a little taller but ran out of yarn. SO soft and comfy though - I hadn't intended to wear them today but when I put them on to take the pictures I just couldn't take them off so they are off to the mall with me now.

The Kid is finally finished a whole stinking week of state-mandated testing - amen! She was so stressed, I felt really bad for her. But they are celebrating at school with a cupcake party this afternoon, and then she and I are going to go do some "recreational shopping" at her new favorite clothing store, followed by a Mexican repast at the local Qdoba Grill.

F turned out to be for Flu, which I have had all week, thus the lack of posts. I do have a real F post though and will get that going soon. Yeah, I know I skipped E, but I couldn't think of anything clever....

Friday, March 17, 2006

These boots are made for walking

Or perhaps crawling... This is the second time I have made this pattern and I just think they are too cute to be believed. It is the Baby Uggs pattern from the DIY web site. One of my colleagues at a fashion magazine is expecting her first child. She is already and Uggs addict so I thought this would be a very appropriate baby gift.

The pattern knits up very easily, then takes a year to finish! You have to embroider all the lines of Plush except the very top band which is knitted in. The only other problem is that the yarn (Berocco Suede) is a trillion dollars. The good news is, I was able to make the soles and the fuzzy stuff from the leftover from the first pair, so for this pair I only had to buy the main color. So now instead of one pair of $30 booties, I have made two pair of $20 booties, which is still no bargain but somehow much easier to take. I figure I paid a little bit for the enjoyment of knitting these, and a little more for the happy reaction that I know they are going to get.

BB was somewhat annoyed that she couldn't get her big fat paws in them, but she was somewhat mollified by being able to pose alongside them. If I ever get that Dulaan scarf blocked, she will definitely be able to make an appearance in that.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The world gets smaller every day.

Haven't gotten much knitting done in the last week - I am the parent of a rabid step dancer which, during the week running up to St. Patrick's Day, feels a lot like being the parent of a cute elf during Christmas week must feel like. All that deedle-ee deedle-ee deedle-ee dee music is making my head pound. We marched in a parade on Sunday, and she is taking extra classes this week, and is doing demos at her school assembly on Friday.

Speaking of Friday - guess who got stuck stage managing the assembly? That would be me - all of the glamor days of working in television production coming back to bite me in the ass. I begged one of the other tv parents to help me out (he is a director but will run sound for me)((and that means parents who work in television, of which there are several in this neighborhood, not actors who play parents on tv))(((I have a parentheses problem today - will this bit of visual interest make up for the lack of photos?)))

So last night I am doing a late telephone interview for an article I am writing, with a very nice man who owns a sunroom company in Charlotte. Turns out he used to live nearby, turns out he used to work in tv production, turns out he used to work with the poor guy I roped into running the assembly with me and they haven't seen each other in 18 years! I mean, what are the odds of that happening? And what are the odds of all of that info coming out in the course of a twenty minute interview on marketing for sun room dealers? The global community indeed!

Anyway, I have to finish the sunroom article and get ready for school assembly dress rehearsal tonight. The kid is doing two very short numbers, the rest of the entertainment is being provided by the Latin American Club, the Korean Students Club, the Japanese Students Club, and Some Morally Upright Club That I Have No Idea What It Is For Club. Note that there is no Vaguely Irish Students Club, just the poor kid out there on her own. Not that she really minds, she never has been one to want to share the stage.

Deedle-ee deedle-ee deedle-ee deeeeeeeee

Friday, March 10, 2006

BB has the Clap...

...otis. The Clapotis pattern from which I love, but which has been spreading like ... well... a disease.

Here she is in all two trillion stitches. Yarn is Cameo 100% rayon by Wool in the Woods, colorway is Napa Valley. I used almost 4 skeins and it is really long because I am 5'10" and I always think short scarves look dorky on me. Could maybe have gotten away with three skeins, which is of course all I bought when I bought this yarn at an LYS over two hours from my house. They were very nice though and mailed me the fourth skein.

Love this yarn, love this pattern. I took a subversive glee in dropping the stitches ON PURPOSE. You know, not that I would ever accidentally drop a stitch - not me. The kid liked the stitch dropping too, and came and peered at it every time I was letting one rip.

I want to make something else out of this yarn - I just love it. Love how it handles, love the color shift, love the colors. Feel free to leave pattern suggestions (if you have any) in the comments.

Still trying to make myself finish the Ugg booties that I knitted up weeks ago. Love the knitting, hate the finishing, which actually takes longer if you embroider the little furry lines of Plush.

And I knit a thick ol' garter stitch scarf for the Dulaan pile last night, will post pix after I block the heck out of it - it is a little too short but I can fix that!

Seven weeks until my favorite LYS shuts its doors, boo-hoo. Where will I go to SnB??? But the sales.... oh the sales....

On a non-knitting note, I had the good fortune to interview former Seattle Mariner pitcher Norm Charlton for an article about his vacation home. The house is gorgeous, and both he and his wife were wonderful interviews.

And I got the funniest email today. I mentioned before (and will probably mention it again because I think it is way cool) that Threads magazine is running an essay I wrote in the issue that hits the newsstands next week (#126 I think). The essay is about how hard it was to retire my ancient sewing machine that had traveled the world with me when I was doing wardrobe on the road. At the very end of the piece, I mentioned that I bought a shiny new Janome machine - and the Janome office sent me an email today saying that they loved the essay, and wishing me many years of happiness with my new metallic companion. Isn't that cool? I love this whole 'getting email because of an article' thing. No one really writes me when I write about cool houses, or home maintenance, because the info is the key, not my voice as a writer. I can't wait to see what happens when the magazine is actually available to the public.

Happy weekend all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Product Placement

Just got a copy of Threads magazine with my essay on the back page and if I do say so myself, it looks pretty fab with the illustration they chose.

Also got my first piece of e-fan mail today - how cool is that?

We now return to your regularly scheduled blog content - but do go to the local bookstore and read my piece, even if you sneak the magazine back to the stand when you are finished...

Photo starved

I haven't been able to finish a darn thing in the last week, thus the lack of photos. But I hate not posting for a whole week so here we go anyway.

I picked up a photo shoot on Friday which was a lot of fun - three models I have worked with before, and five contest winners who were having a blast with all the clothes and lights and general tedium that is a fashion shoot for a major magazine. I only have one or two clients left from my wardrobe days, but I still work as a set tailor with this one mag because I enjoy them and the pay is decent. While I was kept busy wrangling, I didn't have to drag out the sewing machine and do any major alterations which was nice, and it is a stylist I find very calm and collected to work with which is nice, and somewhat of an anomaly.

And if I haven't mentioned it before, the kid is a pretty serious Irish step dancer. So this past weekend (like the two previous weekends) she had a feis, which is Gaelic for festival, and in the NYC area often translates to 'blood thirsty competition from hell'. Not that there is mean-ness - it is more like an athletic event than a beauty pageant (although with the wigs and the shoes and the fancy dresses it would be easy to make that mistake). But there are often close to one thousand competitors (mostly girls) divided by age and experience, fighting for a limited number of prizes. K had 27 girls in her division this weekend which is sort of a lot, but consistent with what we have seen since this season started last month. She pulled out two third place finishes out of four events despite the beginnings of a cold, so while it wasn't as strong a finish as she had hoped for, she really wasn't feeling as good as she usually does. Thankfully we have the next two weekends off, but when she comes back from that she will be competing five events instead of four, and in a higher experience level than ever before. She started this season with a burning desire to qualify for national competition within two years (a HUGE goal for a 9 year old) and will make it or die trying. Me - thank God I was a dresser before as my job is to iron and curl and pin and polish. Oh and drive - lots and lots of driving.

So I haven't finished a darn thing knit-wise, although I finally got to the decrease section on my clapotis. The last skein arrived so I had no excuse. I worked on that a bit during Oscar viewing last night and hope to finish it tonight or tomorrow. I also am fighting with a pair fo Jaywalkers - love the pattern, hate the yarn choice I made. They are much tighter than they should be, but instead of frogging half a sock (I hate to frog) I will hand them off to the kid - they will fit her just fine although they aren't her favorite color. She never says no to knitwear however, so I would rather they be worn that start over.

Off to interview sunroom manufacturers - the glamorous life of a freelancer!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


No, not the kind where I get out the drop spindle and make yarny magic, but the kind where I have about two hundred things to do, and manage to get so involved in worrying how I am going to get it all done that I don't actually accomplish anything. Which is sort of what I am doing right now.

I have a book to finish laying out and a book proposal to finish before my agent drops me. I have three article assignments in already with March deadlines, and it might be realyl good to get one or three of those done. Plus I need to update the web site, review some books, send out some queries or I will have no work next month, pay the bills before they shut off the cable... the list is endless.

I did manage to get the grocery shopping done this morning, but all I really want to do is sit in the corner and knit socks.

Part of me whispers that since I am not accomplishing anything anyway, I might just as well go sit in the corner and knit socks. But the louder part insists that I should sit at the computer and try and do something, anything, useful.

Blog entry - check!