Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Yarn Harlot Comes to Town

Yes, her visit was a week and a half ago. But my father was in town (and agreed to be dragged along - lucky for me, as he had his tourist camera on him, and I had forgotten mine at home) and so it's taken me a while to process my pictures and find the time to write even this short note.

I was afraid Third Place would run out of chairs, so we got there about half an hour early. (It didn't, but there were a few hundred people there to see her). It's a lovely venue which endeavors to be a community gathering spot - the bookstore is only part of it - so we had a bite to eat before the show started. My partner and father then wandered the bookstore while I sat down with my shawl and listened.

Man, the cameras went crazy when she did her standard shots of the crowd with the traveling sock. Of course, I was one of them:

Stephanie talked with us for a while, and was witty, funny, and enjoyable. She made me swell with knitterly pride. I'm not sure if it actually was a book reading - I've read the book and didn't recognize her piece as being from it - but her talk belongs in print, IMHO. Beyond the humor, one point that stayed with me, and impressed my father, was: 100 years ago, it was considered a waste of money to buy something that you could make. Now, it's considered a waste of time to make something you can buy. I'm quite pleased to be part of the movement that is taking back the value of making.

I tried to take some pictures while she was talking, but the lighting was poor. Here's the best I managed:

Pretty awful, huh?

With family in tow and a big crowd, I didn't stay for the book signing. But I did hover around the stacks to get a better picture of her in person:

I love that she's wearing Birkenstocks, because I was wearing my own pair that night.

Shawl update: I took Stephanie's message to represent for knitters to heart (although frankly would have done this whether or not I had made it to see her) and took my shawl to a two-day training I attended for work last week. I completed almost a full repeat and a half in two days and the training was much more enjoyable. And I've churned out another repeat since then! I've now finished 11 repeats, which is 45% done! With autumn upon us in earnest, I am eager to be able to wear the shawl soon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kimono Shawl

Lovely Kimono Shawl,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. You are my first lace project, and I'm learning so very much. Like the correct way to do SSKs. How yarnovers and decreases go together like peas in a pod. That purling Continental style is a breeze. Why it is important to pay attention on the purl-back rows. How to fix missed yarnovers, and how to fix mis-placed yarnovers four (count'em, four!) rows down. The value of lifelines, even though I haven't needed to use one yet.

2. You are being knitted in such a lovely yarn. (Knit Picks Gloss in the burgundy colorway). You have all the elasticity and warmth of your 70% merino side and the sheen and softness of your 30% silk side. Your color is a beautiful deep red that doesn't want to be photographed despite my many attempts. And you smell yummy too.

3. You are rectangular, so I don't have to worry about increasing to make a triangle or shaped for shoulders. (The next project or two, perhaps).

4. Your pattern looks like leaves and petals and feathers all at once. You are gorgeous.

5. I love you more with each repeat I knit. And I've finished seven now! (Of twenty-five.) I can't wait until you are done and I can wear you all the time!

Knitted Utility Bags

I finished these some time ago, but since I've been using them, I hadn't gotten around to photographing them until over this past weekend.

A sunglasses case, a radio face plate case, and a little camera bag. I was inspired by this gorgeous bag (without knowing she had made the pattern available online - I had only seen the picture on Flickr). Of course, the yarn I wanted to use was much bigger.

I knit them in the round on US size 9 DPNs with a three-way bind off. I used three strands of Silk City Perle 3/2 Cotton in different blue-purple colors, knit tripled. I love the way the three strands of yarn make a beautiful heathered fabric. (It kind of reminds me of the Artfibers Coat that Amy R. Singer is knitting, except of course the fibers are very different.)

Sunglasses case: I lost my sunglasses case, so knit myself one. It's a little big for the glasses and the things that go over your ears (what are they called?) have a tendency to get stuck, but I lurve it. I stuck a couple yarnovers a few rows down from the cast-on edge to run the drawstring through.

Face plate case: I got a new radio for my car, which came without a face plate case. So I took half of the old one (which had fallen apart) and knit a little bag to fit around the whole contraption.

Camera case: I began with some ribbing, but it totally failed in the cotton yarn and size 9 needles. When closed, I tie the strap around the end to hide the terrible ribbing. (I started this bag about 7 times, so was unwilling to frog and try again.)

Each project only took a couple of hours, but I only knit them when I wasn't interested in knitting anything else, which was rare, so it took a while to finish them.

I used the yarn from the cabled baby blanket that I frogged, and still have a small yarn cake left over.