31 August 2007

Jacket for Miranda Priestly--I mean Mom

For those who have seen The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep's character Miranda Priestly is scarily similar to my mother--in both looks and attitude. My mom is beautiful, formidable and classically chic.

While in South Carolina, I visited Rosemary of The Elegant Stitch, near Pawleys Island. Rosemary is semi-retired and operates the shop out of her home in a private, gated golf community... all visitors must be pre-screened by security before being allowed to enter, so you have to call first. I called by accident because Google maps' directions, which did not account for the 10' barbed wire-topped gates blocking off Maintenance road, landed me in a golf cart repair shed.

After following some circuitous directions, I passed through the gates and arrived at Rosemary's home. I was feeling a little disoriented, because I expected that perhaps the shop would be in a little strip mall/storefront, similar to those in large planned communities. She smiled and welcomed me in and showed me upstairs to the Yarn Room. The outside of the door, sure enough, had a large wooden sign which read, "The Elegant Stitch." Turns out that Rosemary used to have two retail stores--one in Pawleys Island (in a group of upscale shops--along with a wonderful jewelry boutique and the Lilly Pulitzer shop) and one near Myrtle Beach. I wasn't sure what to expect, but about three seconds after entering the Yarn Room I knew I had come to the right place. Luxury yarns from floor to ceiling, impeccably organized, arranged by color. There was Anny Blatt, Missoni and Adrienne Vittadini everywhere. Silks, alpaca, metallics, chenilles, cottons--the finest of everything. After spending a few hours browsing and chatting with Rosemary, I settled on a jacket kit for Mom and a chenille wrap kit for myself. This, however, is not the end of the story for these two projects.

S. Charles Belled-Sleeved Cardigan in MICIO

This morning I received an email newsletter from my favorite LYS. Among the offerings was a notice that they would be at Stitches East. I had heard mention, through other knitting blogs, of Stitches West and Stitches Midwest--however it hadn't occurred to me that there might be a Stitches East. I decided to check it out. Most of the classes were already sold out. Then I saw, "Lining a la Chanel":
"Learn how to assemble, sew in a lining, and finish a jacket in the manner in which Chanel couture garments are made. . . . get hands-on experience in lining and finishing your jacket like a pro!"
This might be overkill. I might have to make another jacket for it, but we shall see. I know it might be a bit silly, making this for my mom, when she can buy her own (real) Chanel jacket. But I showed her the pattern and she really liked it, once I explained that the beauty of a hand-knitted sweater is that it is customized to fit the wearer's body--it's fully custom. Even St. John doesn't do that.

Rosemary gave me a copy of Vogue Knitting's Fall 2007 edition. While flipping through, I saw an advertisement for real fur yarns. Now, I adore fur. Weather cold enough for wearing fur is my absolute favorite thing about winter. How is this relevant? Back to the chenille wrap. It's made from a Berrocco yarn called Chinchilla and edged in a fluffy eyelash yarn that mimics fur. When I bought it, I thought how beautiful it would be were it edged with real fox. So I'm considering ordering the fox yarn from FurYarn... guess I had better knit it first. This story to be continued.

Not the End
This is only one part of my knitting adventures in South Carolina.
Up Next: Feathers and Marabou, Wild Stuff, and Island Knits.

photo credits: (1) imdb. original photo here.

29 August 2007

About the Crinoid...

I'm trying so hard to avoid a Gollum reference, but the line that keeps running through my head whenever I think of, look at, or pick up the Crinoid Shawl is, "We hates it! We hates it! It burnssss usssss!"

Now, I have nothing against the lovely people at Morehouse Farms. I met a couple of 'em at MD S&W and they were delightful, friendly and helpful. Nor is there anything wrong with the kit: the instructions are well-written; the merino yarn is soft, springy, and a beautiful deep red. However, I feel it should come with a warning label:

470 st-st over and OVER and OVER again. It makes perfect car knitting, because I can look out the window while knitting it and not have to worry about counting or patterns or anything. The downside is that when one is not being driven somewhere, and instead finds oneself curled up on a comfortable chaise with a seaside view, the shawl presents its surprisingly potent soporific powers...

Picture coming soon. Oh, not to mention the beach-knitting update, and the things I bought at the knitting shops of Pawley's Island... two words: MARABOU and FEATHERS.

14 August 2007

How Low Can She Go? Plus, International Knitting Adventures!

I am projectless at the moment. At least, I am as projectless as a knitter can ever be. Let me rephrase. I am stuck in Knitting Limbo--the time when, after having both celebrated and mourned the end of the last project, the knitter dabbles in an aimless sort of way through a variety of UFOs and UFOs-to-be--seeking purpose, substance and sustenance in a hefty project of shawl, sweater or blanket proportions.

I have stash. I have patterns. I have even tried matching stash to patterns with little success, although that could be a subconscious passive-aggressive ploy to buy more yarn. I have one thrummed mitten finished, and 9/10 of a mitten to go. I do not like thrummed mitten knitting. It is very hard on the wrists and hands. Whine.

I am preparing for the beach, which means I must prepare my travel knitting arsenal. I placed a rush order from KnitPicks last night for Options US4 and 5, plus a copy of Cables Untangled, or something like that. The size 4 needles are (cross your fingers) to get correct gauge for Bryan's Beanie. They are also for the Crinoid Shawl (which is sitting next to the stash, looking forlorn, gazing up at me and saying, "knit me. Please knit me. I'll be so sad if you don't."). The size 5 are my insurance policy in case I guessed wrong about the 4s. The book is for seaside reading.

I'm not sure how well knitting and sand are going to go together. I have a feeling I need to get a new, beach-ready tote. I don't want to get my favorite (and only) knitting tote sandy.

Last year I finagled internet access at the beach by reprogramming some defaults, fiddling with the router and resetting some passwords. I do not know what awaits us this year, as we are in a new house. I also do not know how long I will be at the beach, so... if there is no blogging for a couple weeks... I'm sure your drug yarn of choice will help you cope.

Side track:
One of the upsides of Knitting Limbo is that I spend more time reading random knitting blogs, linking to links of blogs I like and having a grand time of it. I recently came across Bagatelle while searching for help translating this pattern, and am now damned curious to try Evilla 8/2. I'm not normally one for variegated yarns, but I love the transitions and blending. And it's Icarus, and I have a pattern for that! I still think I'll make Icarus in Suri Elegance as suggested; I like the stitch definition. Or, perhaps, Silk Maiden, or whatever it's called, from Hand Maiden yarns, after seeing this rendition. Ah, Handmaiden Lace Silk. What appears to be a full line of Evilla is available from wollsucht.de. My German is a bit rusty--but, you know, love makes all things possible, and boy do I love buying yarn. Also check out the evilla website... some of their projects are marvelous, especially in the "pattern pullovers" and "hats, gloves, scarves" categories.

In closing, you know you have a knitting problem when:
-- before you leave for vacation, you search for yarn shops near where you'll be staying.

I found three.

This should be a good vacation.

13 August 2007

Clearly, this has gone too far...

I wonder how all this LOLthings business works out for people for whom English is not a native language? Granted, it started out by making fun of poor translations. But will this impact English grammar for a certain segment of the population? Or does the affected segment not care about their grammar anyway? I cringe at the number of mistakes I see almost daily--things which ought to have been sorted out in *ahem* grammar school. Isn't grammar the first thing you learn in a language? I understand that everybody makes mistakes. Nevertheless, everyone should have a basic grasp of their language's grammar and spelling (I wonder if European countries have the same problems, or whether it's just a combination of the subpar American education system and the relative flexibility of the English language). For no reason other than I can, here are my top grammar pet peeves:
  1. Loose, lose. The first is an adjective; the second is a verb. Here's a happy helpful sentence: "Shelly had loose lips; Sam was happy to lose her because she said he was a loser."
  2. there, their, they're. Location, 3rd person plural possessive, contraction of "they are." "Are the Smiths in Austria yet? No, they're on their way there."
  3. don't get me started on apostrophes. I'd still be ranting about the proper use of them tomorrow.
All right, class, here's your homework: buy a copy of Elements of Style. Read it; cherish it; keep it with you always until you have memorized the knowledge within its well-worn pages. Pray I never decide to go for my English PhD after all and become your English professor. I'll make the legendary Doctors Gossett look like pushovers. But, by damn, you'll know how to write!

Reading my blog makes you smarter. And it shows you have good taste. These things are true.

12 August 2007

As Promised...

c'est finis!

"Blue Baby Shawl" by Debbie Bliss, Special Knits.
Yarn: 7 1/2 balls Rowan Cashsoft DK (57/33/10 extra fine merino/microfiber/cashmere) in SH503
Needles: US6 Knitpicks Options, 32" cable
Δt: ~1 month, knitted in sporadic, feverish intervals.

and just for kicks, the Blue Baby Shawl together with the store-bought embroidered baby blanket:


note that the store-bought blanket is woven.
(Wo-ven. Weaving, weaving, looms!)
Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

To wit, Courtney's Loosely Hypothesized Formulas for Fibercraft:To be continued...

08 August 2007

All The Cool Knitting Blogs Are Doing It

That, and it's scary accurate.

Your Life Path Number is 11

Your purpose in life is to inspire others

Your amazing energy draws people to you, and you give them great insight in return.
You hold a great amount of power over others, without even trying.
You have the makings of an inventor, artist, religious leader, or prophet.

In love, you are sensitive and passionate. You connect with your partner on a very deep level.

You have great abilities, but you are often way too critical of yourself.
You don't fit in - and instead of celebrating your differences, you dwell on them.
You have high expectations of yourself. But sometimes you set them too high and don't achieve anything.

Damn right, I'm a prophet with this here yarn. I'm the Yarn Prophet, and I prophesy that it's going to be SUMTHIN EFFIN AMAZING when I'm done with it.

"Your purpose in life is to inspire others." This explains all the naked photos, right?

07 August 2007

Hurrah! It's New Insanity Tuesday!

I have been seized by the desire to knit Shetland Lace. Excellent examples of this at Heirloom Knitting.

This desire is apparently blind to my past attempts at lace knitting on size 6 needles. That, or it assumes that since I failed dismally at knitting lace large-scale, I simply need to experience it on its proper scale, using a string of carbon nanotubes cobweb weight yarn and visible under 1000x magnification size US00 needles.

(Maybe if we ignore it, it will go away...)

Ok, but seriously, I'm going to take pictures of that Blue Baby Shawl soon. And I'm going to cast on for a new project as soon as I'm not insanely busy with work and school... I should get around to a proper knitting update sometime this weekend. What will be in that proper update? Well, there's a certain cast-on I want to share with you... maybe some New Project Goodness... but you'll just have to wait...

06 August 2007

Blue Baby Shawl...

I finished the Blue Baby Shawl on Saturday. I'd write more about it, but I think I'm having some sort of postknitum depression over it. Sentiments run something along the line of, "Oh, goody, I'm almost finished! *pause* Hooray, it's finished! *pause* I'm sad that it's finished. It's been off the needles three minutes and I miss it already. NOTHING WILL EVER BE GOOD AGAIN."

Readers will be glad to know I'm rebounding with a mitten. Oh, we might look rather cozy but I have to admit--it's just for the knitting. Nothing I can get too attached to--a casual, easy, give-away-to-charity fling. It's cute; it's soft; it's good for curling up with on the couch for a few hours' diversion... but at the end of the day I can stick it in a FedEx bound for Kansas, or South Dakota, without any regrets.

(If only men fit in FedEx boxes.)

Photos coming soon.