May 31, 2008

What's Up

We've been working on the yard. We're going to go ahead and sheet mulch (thanks to reader Andi who gave me lots of good advice) the whole thing and not worry about planting anything until later. Right now we're clearing all the fallen canes and big stuff. We've got some people coming tomorrow to haul off all the yard waste. We've gotten cardboard down with a small bit of bark chips in one corner of the yard. There's a LOT left to do. We've got calls in to some local arborists to see if they can dump some wood chips here.

I'm still working away on the Merino Lace socks. I'm just finishing the gusset decreases.

My sewing has been languishing. I was doing really well with the Dear Jane quilt-along. In fact not only was I completely up to date as of mid-April, I won the contest for people who were up to date! And have only finished one block since then. I went to a little sewing bee on Monday and brought all my Dear Jane stuff with me. I had blocks prepared to sew already. I started stitching and felt like I had never done it before. It was awkward and uncomfortable and the results were shit. I'd show you a picture but it's just too mortifying. Last night I ripped out the really embarrassing parts and managed to finish a block. It's okay but no masterpiece. I'm half-way through another two blocks. They're getting harder just as I'm feeling less confident. I know I just need to work through a few to get the feel for it again. In a sea of 225 blocks no one will notice the wonky ones. It's dark now so I'll get some photos for tomorrow.

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May 30, 2008

Queasy

I just realized my travel arrangements (I did not make them) for TNNA are wrong. I'm really hoping this gets fixed. Or it will totally suck.

Deep breaths.

ETA: Well, it's all taken care of and fine. I just need to get my heart rate back down.

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May 29, 2008

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I have found a new disturbing effect of Big Ass Knits. They don't just repel pants. Even the yarn is trying to get away.



See how it's all working it way out of the sweater to regroup and try to leap off the hem? The poor yarn. It wants out. After the failed hem-line escape it makes its way up to the collar.



The beads aren't too happy either.

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May 28, 2008

The Yumness



You can see here that I'm actually making progress on my socks. And you can also see the subtle, chocolate-y beauty that is Cocoa Kiss in Smooshy Sock. Click here to see really big.

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The Next Step

Now that I'm crafting lobsters I suppose this is the next step.



A lobster sweater from Doctorknits.

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May 27, 2008

Proud Parenting Moment

My ten year old was telling me about his day. He told me he went on a walk with Wes but his younger brother stayed home because he wasn't feeling well. He then pointed out that his brother felt "better" (with air quotes) when it was time for computer games. Look at that. He's mastered sarcasm and air quotes. My little boy's growing up. Sniff.

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May 26, 2008

Knit-Crochet Smackdown Lobster Style

So somehow I ended up starting two new projects this weekend. One is knit and one is crocheted but they're both lobsters. Weird, huh?

A customer mentioned knitting a cute lobster pattern from Ravelry. I went to look for it and found this crocheted lobster(.pdf) first. It called for 75 yards of worsted weight yarn. I remembered that Amanda had given me a skein of Mission Falls cotton in a tomato red colorway. And that Isabella had gotten to it and dragged it around and chewed it up a bit. I know that most people would have thrown it out at this point. I, for whatever reason, chose to save it. When I pulled it out I had to spend a little time untangling it and winding it into little balls.



I made all the pieces then realized it looked really crappy and was way too loose. The stuffing was showing all over the place. It was lumpy. Blech. I ripped it out and have restarted it on a smaller hook. It's looking a lot better.

While I was working on the first lobster I continued perusing lobster patterns on Ravelry. There's a lot more than you'd think. When I found the knitted lobster I had to cast on for that too.



The pattern is cute and looks a lot more lobster-y than the crocheted amigurumi style. This appeals to my Nantucket side. I can make buoys to go with it if I want to. We had lobster pots briefly when I was growing up. I don't remember them yielding many keepers.

Since I was hot on this whole toy theme I also finished knitting my charcoal Terra Bear. He's just hanging out waiting to be felted.

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Doubleknit #2

May 25, 2008

Two Weeks of Goats

After two weeks the yard has been transformed from a blackberry jungle




to a barren wasteland.




The big question everyone keeps asking is "Now what?"
I don't know. I know I want to get out the rest of the ivy and dig up all the blackberry roots. I know I want to put in a non-grass lawn (maybe some kind of thyme or other low ground-cover). Beyond that I don't know and frankly I'm a little stumped. I just need to move quickly before it all grows back.

The goats have been moved over to Molly's house. For those of you eating dinner along 45th St. last night, you're welcome for the free show with your meal. I'm thinking Molly and I were quite a sight walking two goats down the block. Interestingly many people didn't even notice. I miss those little cuties alreay. They sure are sweet.

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You Can't Buy Happiness

But sometimes things you buy can make you happy.
Amanda took me on a field trip to Keepsake Cottage in Bothell. It's a lovely fabric shop with a great selection and a very friendly staff. I got myself a few fat quarters of 30s repro fabric. We were heading out when I saw an antique store. I convinced Amanda to go in with me (she's not into the whole antique shop thing). Inside I found a shelf of feedsacks with the labels intact. I don't know anything about vintage feedsacks or pricing. I found one I thought was really cheerful and decided to get it.




I did one tour around the shop and then I saw it. Something I have wanted my entire life.

A Muppet lunchbox.



The whole gang is here.







I'm very happy with my purchases.

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May 24, 2008

Long Ago FO



Pattern: Sleepy Bear in Rabbit Suit from Teddy Bears by Debbie Bliss
Notes: My son was looking in my office today and found a long lost project. I started this bear years ago--probably in 2000. I got it all finished except for the buttons and then threw it in the back of my closet. The bunny suit isn't too bad. I didn't weave in then ends properly and then snipped them too short to fix and there are some stray purl bumps on the front. The bear, however, is a Frankensteinesque nightmare, crudely hobbled together.

I don't have any idea what yarn or needles I used to create this little fellow but this morning I sewed on his buttons making him finally complete. Then I handed him off to my son who proceeded to swing him around by the ears.

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May 23, 2008

Easy Ripple Afghan



Pattern: Easy Ripple Afghan
Yarn: Mystery wool from Rebecca
Hook: J
Notes: After a few rows I had the hang of it. I really like the more subtle look of the natural colors than what you typically find in ripple afghans.

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May 22, 2008

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I have three words that should make you happy.
Kazakhstan Fashion Week.









Apparently in Kazakhstan you either go big or go home.

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May 20, 2008

Your Daily Moment of Goat Zen

Speck


Spot

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Catching Up

Let's see. Where was I?



On Sunday I got to have a free luncheon aboard the MS Westerdam. This was promotion for Craft Cruises. I have been thinking about doing an Alaskan cruise for a family trip. I've never been on a cruise ship before and was really curious. The lunch was really nice and it was very interesting to get a chance to see the range of accommodations. It was also hilarious to see how tacky the decor on the ship was. I created a Flickr set of all the gold-gilt kitschiness.

That evening Wes and I went to see Dr. No. I won tickets through the Seattlest blog. It was the first time I saw the whole movie. It's funny because there are so many iconic Bond moments in the film that I think we all recognize. There were also many laughable moments in the film with over the top acting, bad effects and other 60s silliness. I think the whole audience enjoyed the experience.

There are these sheep with arrows spray-painted all around Seattle Center. Does anyone know where they lead?



I woke up at 3 am on Sunday night when I suddenly remembered I had a class to attend the next morning in Port Gamble! I could not get back to sleep as my mind raced thinking about what I needed to do to prepare and worrying about what other important things I had forgotten. I finally fell back to sleep around 4:30 and got up at 6:30. Yuck. At least it was light out. I got myself to Port Gamble pretty quickly and easily.



The Artful Ewe is moving up the street from the old fire house to the old meat market. Heidi's new space is big and clean and bright and it was completely empty still so there was plenty of room for all of us to spread out. I don't know if I can say anything more about taking a class with Judith that I haven't before. She's knowledgeable, funny, immensely talented and born to teach. I left in the evening very sad that I wouldn't be joining everyone for the second day of class.

So, let's see...what else? The two Monica tops are done. They are for Wes's cousin's daughters in LA. I'm working on my Merino Lace socks. I'm thinking about pulling another project off my hibernating list. Maybe it's finally time to get back to Frost Flowers and Leaves? I'm also completely behind in my sewing. The Dear Jane quilt-along just keeps on moving. I'm behind several weeks and many blocks by now. Must make some time for hand sewing soon.

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May 19, 2008

Monica 2




Pattern: Monica from Knitty
Yarn: Cotton Classic
Needles: US7, 6 and 3s
Notes: I used a smaller needle (6)for the ruffle because it was all I could find. I only cast on 75% of the ruffle stitches; I didn't want it to be too big or take more than one skein of yarn. I used the smallest needle for the bind off and straps like last week's Monica.

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So Much to Tell But No Time

I'm off to an all-day class with Judith MacKenzie-McCuin. I had a very full, busy day yesterday. I even did things not related to the goats! More later. Have a good Monday.

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May 17, 2008

Keep It Down, Will Ya!

I am trying to get in touch with my goat zen which is slowly losing out to my seething neighbor hatred. Here you can see just how noisy and disruptive a goat can be in the middle of the city.

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Oh No You Didn't!!!

Today is our older son's 10th birthday party. He requested a home-baked apple pie instead of a cake. Wes baked a beautiful pie while I was at work. We took our son and his friends out to dinner then Wes took the boys to see Prince Caspian. I went out in the yard to do some more work. Isabella ate the whole fucking pie. And smashed the pie plate to bits. Wes is going to kill me.

(Younger brother and I just ran to the grocery store and bought another pie. I'm still in big trouble but at least there's dessert for the kids.)

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Dear Passive Agressive Anal Retentive Neighbors

Bite me.
If you have a problem with the goats perhaps you could have talked to me, like a normal person, instead of filing a complaint with Animal Control. If I didn't hate everything about you before I do now.

Sincerely,

Jessica

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Oh Goody

George Clooney and I will have something in common.

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May 16, 2008

I Don't Want Isabella Getting Jealous

I have adorable video of her too.

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Breakfast of Champions

This morning I went out in the yard "just for a minute" to trim back what the goats ate last night. An hour and a half later I was still out there. My co-worker, Debbie, asked me yesterday if the goats have uncovered anything interesting. Does my neighbor's garage count?



Incredible.

I ran over to Erin's after that to record Doubleknit episode 2. I brought cupcakes. Erin said, "Yay, breakfast!"

Rebecca came by last night to take some photos with the goats.

Here is your daily moment of goat zen with awesome munchilicious sound.

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May 15, 2008

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Sandra Backlund's designs are pretty entertaining on the runway.



But I love them even more as animated gifs!

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May 14, 2008

Competitive Bleaters

This morning I woke up when Wes started jabbing me in the arm. I knew immediately what was happening. The goats were bleating in the yard below our window. He must have thought I was talking in my sleep or something. For a few moments we lay in bed worried that the bleating would disturb the neighbors. But soon we couldn't hear goats because the other kids, our children, were running around screaming. They quieted finally too. Because our older son decided to squeeze in a little cello practice! Please people, we're trying to sleep here.

The new goats are much noisier than the other two. I never heard Obi-Wan make a sound and Obie would just bleat once or twice when I came outside. I pretended she was saying hello when I know she was really saying, "Please don't take my food." As she and Obi-Wan were being taken away yesterday they were frantically grabbing up every leaf they could reach on the way out to the van. As I clear the stripped branches the goat (both sets) run alongside me to make sure I'm not taking any of the good stuff. Don't worry, folks, there's enough to go around.

And now your daily moment of goat zen.

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May 13, 2008

Life in the Goat Lane

Things are moving along pretty quickly.


Before Goats


After One Day



After Three Days

Wait a minute. Who are you?



Meet Spot and Speck. Obie and Obi-Wan got swapped out this afternoon. Obi-Wan's foot was bothering her. Her owners thought it would be better to replace them with some goats that were less pregnant. These two are boys so there's no danger of anyone dropping a kid while I'm at work.

As far as the progress goes, the goats eats leaves and small shoots. Then I come in with my loppers and cut off all the stripped branches and dead wood. There is a huge pile along the side of the house already. I don't know if I'm helping them clear the yard or they are just motivating me to do it myself.

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May 12, 2008

How Long Before Someone Makes a Mashup of These Two?

Kittens on a Treadmill (not embeddable anymore)

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Monica



Pattern: Monica by Christine Schwender
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic
Needles: US6(?) and 3
Notes: I knit this in the round instead of in pieces. I just subtracted out the four side seams. The three rows/rounds of garter at the bottom of the tank and the ruffle will not keep the curl in check. In the picture the piece is pretty aggressively steam-blocked. In real life this will curl a lot. I bound off the top and knit the straps on US3 needles. I had read that the straps were too stretchy and I didn't like the look of that whole area knit on the 6s. That is if I did use 6s. I think I may have accidentally knit this on 5s. It might be too small for the recipient. I have no idea though. I've only met her once and I didn't take her measurements.

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May 11, 2008

More on the Girls





The goats are being rented from The Goat Lady. Last year I tried, unsuccessfully, to rent goats for the same job. All the places I contacted said it was too small a job and they couldn't do it. This year I heard about The Goat Lady from Linda K. and got in touch with her. My yard isn't fully fenced so the goats are on tethers that are staked in the ground. I can move them around as they clear. The goats will be here for as long as I need. It will probably be two weeks. It is likely they are both pregnant. I was told to call if anyone gives birth and they would bring a replacement goat. Like I wouldn't call if one of them gives birth!

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May 10, 2008

Goat is the New Black

Today two goats finally arrived to eat my insanely, dangerously overgrown blackberry jungle yard.

Eat up, girls.




Goats appear to be taking over Seattle.

Yesterday's NYT had a this picture from the Getty Center.

There you have it. Goats are now "in."

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May 9, 2008

Lunchbox Swap



When I joined Oh Fransson's Lunchbox Swap I had grandiose visions of beautifully sewn, thoughtfully prepared items for my swap pattern. My first attempt came up short. I was kind of trying to wing things and it was my first time working with iron-on vinyl. I set it aside. Then I got crazy busy. Then I missed the deadline. Then I got really upset with myself and freaked out. I totally psyched myself out. So today I set aside a few hours and forced myself to finish my gift. I started from scratch and didn't use the vinyl. I pretty much used the Vintage Pillowcase Lunchbag Tutorial. I changed a few things for no good reason. It's done and I'm reasonably happy with it. I also got my buddy a blue bento set and some chocolate as an apology for being so late. I was ridiculously tense while working on this. I realized I was holding my breath a lot and my heart was racing. Crazy. Who knew a lunchbag could give me such severe performance anxiety? I'll be very happy when I get it in the mail tomorrow.

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Tailored Scallops



Pattern: Tailored Scallops by Pam Allen from Lace Style
Yarn: My handspun Cormo/Silk purchased at OFFF in '05 and spun for the Tour de Fleece '06
Needles: US9 and 10 Denises
Notes: This is a really simple, straightforward pattern. I think I dragged my heels on it because I hated the needles. I can't say why I didn't change needles. I guess I was worried it would change my gauge. There's something not quite right with the top of the sleeve cap. It comes out a little peaked which I see in other versions I've seen knit. It's very soft and comfortable. I'll need to find a good closure for it.

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Camouflage Knitting

Are you familiar with the concept of camouflage knitting? Try this. The next time your at a knitting group look around and see how many people's clothing match their knitting. It happens all the time. I see this at spinning events too.

I once had a customer in the shop who was struggling with her yarn selection. "I don't know," she told me, "I like these colors but I don't know if I'd ever wear them."
"You're wearing them now."

I had to laugh today when I looked down at my knitting and realized it was the precise same shade of mauve as my shirt.



This is Monica in Cotton Classic. I am making two for Wes's cousin's daughters in LA. We stayed with them (family of four) in a one bedroom condo! They deserve a nice gift.

Tailored Scallops is almost dry on the blocking board.



I know this photo makes it look like it's also the exact same shade of mauve. It isn't. It's a slightly browner shade of mauve. I'm flexible that way.

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My Life is So Glamorous

Here I am hitting the red carpet.

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May 8, 2008

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I just realized I hadn't shared all of my Moscow fashion week picks. I thought I covered it in these two posts.


Is there actually a garment here? I see scraps of fabric over leggings.


This one has a sort of I Dream of Jeanie meets Gwen Stefani meets Fergie kind of vibe.


Nothing says fashion like animals skulls hanging from your belt.

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May 6, 2008

I Am a Wrecking Machine

Last night while finishing up the last front of my Tailored Scallops I broke another Denise cord. That's two on just this project. In fact, something has broken on my Denise needles on nearly every project I've ever used them on. I'm just a brute I guess.

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Another Big Seattle News Day

Raccoon causes power outage in Ballard

I particularly enjoyed the line, "they could tell by the smell that an animal was involved."

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I'm Not Cut Out for a Trendsetting Lifestyle

So tired. So very tired.
Our trip to LA started on Saturday morning. Wes's parents agreed to come to our house and watch the boys for the weekend. We headed to the airport nice and early. Virgin America just started flying from Seattle to LAX. I highly recommend it. They fly from a different terminal than United, who I usually fly. Not only don't you have to ride the annoying little train but there was no line at security. No line. None at all. All the on-board amenities have been much hyped. There's a little touchscreen in the seatback in front of you where you can watch satellite tv (when it's working) or pay to watch movies or "premium" tv. There are music selections. You can create your own playlist but the choices weren't that great. There were some lame games, some music videos. The one feature I liked was the Google map that shows you where the plane is and how many miles are left in the flight.

In LA we stayed with Wes's cousin, his wife and two daughters in a one bedroom apartment in Little Tokyo. There was a big birthday celebration for Wes and another filmmaker, Michael Kang. We had a big dinner in Korea Town then karaoke back in Little Tokyo. It was, just by chance, across the street from where we were staying.

Wes's film screened at the Director's Guild of America. It's a very nice venue. There was a sold out audience and a very responsive audience.

A good college friend of ours and his boyfriend made us a wonderful dinner on Sunday night. Then we got up super early on Monday morning and flew back. I got home with about 10 minutes to shower and get ready for work.

I guess I forgot to set my alarm because my older son came bursting into my room and screamed at me, "IT'S 8:34!!!! GET! UP!!!" It's a lovely way to greet the day, I can assure you.

I forgot to charge my camera battery so the only photos I took are on my phone and Wes has the cord for that at work.

In knitting news, I have a few inches done on my Merino Lace socks and I finished all the pieces to my Tailored Scallops. I just need to assemble it and knit the collar.

One funny story from the trip: I was knitting at the restaurant as people were showing up to the dinner. One woman was asking me about my knitting and I was telling her that I made a baby sweater for Mike and his girlfriend. Another guy standing nearby heard just the tail end of the conversation, looked at my socks and thinking they were the start of a baby sweater said, "Are you trying to finish it up?" Later our friend, and knitter, Kristina Wong (you may remember the article about her [.pdf] in Vogue Knitting last year), came and I was telling her the story. When I said, "Are you just trying to finish it up?" Wes said, "At that gauge? Are you kidding??"

There is so much more I'm forgetting but I'm really tired and have a lot of catching up to do.

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May 3, 2008

Off to LA

Wes and I are going to LA for his birthday weekend and a screening of his film. This will be my third trip to Southern California in '08. Before this year I had been there once. Weird, right?

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May 2, 2008

Knit Your Cares Away

I started a Hemlock Ring Blanket for a shop model. It's a really fun knit. The beginning is a small bit of lace--nothing too complicated and then you feather and fan until the cows come home. I chose to start with a circular cast on using magic loop. I get really frustrated trying to keep four dpns from slipping or twisting when doing a circular start, especially on big needles (US10) like this. I quickly switched to a 16" circular. As I knit I noticed my blanket looked like an angry skull face.



It also strongly resembles the trash heap from Fraggle Rock.



It looked a little nicer once I got it on a 32" circular.


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