Monday, July 31, 2006

Book excerpt

If you haven't read this book, I think you should. It's a wonderful, personal story. Look how the writer uses simple words to tell her story--I love that.

From The Little Locksmith: A Memoir by Katharine Butler Hathaway (1942):

I have an island in the palm of my right hand. It is quite large and shaped like an almond. To make this island, the fate line splits in two in the middle, then comes together again up toward the Mount of Jupiter. I don’t know what an island means in palmistry. No two people ever interpret it alike. But it looks to me, and that is enough for me, as if it meant that a quiet respectable fate were suddenly going to explode in the middle of life into something entirely new and strange, and then be folded together again and go on as quietly as it began. And because something of this kind has happened to me I get a rather foolish magic-loving satisfaction from believing that my island represents that period, the cycle of precious experience which befell me and which I am going to write about in this book. I treasure that little thing in my hand. I pore over it reminiscently, gratefully. I like to know it is there. It is the lucky coin that saved me. It is the wafer of beneficent magic that made everything all right at last. It is the yeast that made my life rise.

When I was young I was so sure of the marvelous way my life was going to unfold that I never wasted my time looking for signs and portents. But something went wrong. The future I expected didn’t come, and so I began to be superstitious and sometimes took a furtive look at the palm of my hand when I was alone. And there I found the curious and possibly hopeful island.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Back on track

I cast on the sleeve again and crunched the numbers and wrote down where I wanted the decreases. I'll refer to my notes when I do the second sleeve. Feeling good! The increases are in a more specific place, so maybe the rest of the sleeve will be easier.


So I started on the first sleeve, but I kind of haphazardly made the decreases. They are not that evenly divided along the row. Will it show? Perhaps.

This project is too special to do a rotten job. I'm going to have to rip back the sleeve and start again. Luckily, that's just three or so inches. I would regret not fixing it. Upon reflection, I think I know how to evenly divide the decreases now. Gee, I'm not math-inclined!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day Thirteen

Knittin' steady on the sweater: tonight I finished the front! Happy dance!

Cast on first sleeve. After investing this much work--and it has been fun--I've decided I will wear this sweater proudly, even if it somehow turns out looking like crap. It'll be my crap. My lovely, soft-feeling crappy sweater. Just three months 'til cold weather!

Monday, July 24, 2006

When crafts go bad

What cat doesn't want his or her own pirate hat?

Doesn't your dog need a button-up shirt?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Weekend hangover

My head hurts real bad. Advil ahoy! I had a fabulous weekend. Everything I touched was gold. Here's the rundown:

1) Friday: Went fabric shopping and ran around town with mom; she also spent the night and made Dodger very happy to have company. Bought flannel--on sale--for my Wee Wonderfuls dolls.

2) Friday: Had annual retina exam and passed with flying colors--I thought I would, but it is a relief anyway.

3) Friday: Went to a music show where I knew I would see someone I went on a date with and who never called me again. Dressed attractively and did not initiate contact with said man. He came up to me and the first words out of his mouth were, "Hi, Sarah! I'm sorry I never called you back." (Now, if he were really sorry he would actually call me, but let's look on the bright, satisfying side of things: the prospect of his regret.) Also had a great time talking to my friend Colette at the show.

4) Saturday: Ate lunch with SPQ ladies, a large, happy, spunky group. Was treated for lunch. Shocking!

5) Saturday: Susan called and invited me to eat Greek. Yum, yum!

6) Saturday: Talked to my bestest friend, Leslie.

7) Saturday: Finished back of My First Sweater.

8) Sunday: Visited my sister and bro-in-law in Murfreesboro, had a cool day for the dog park. Still happy about You're So Nashville If contest, and I got home early enough to chill before the workweek.

Maybe I should go to bed early and cash in my great-weekend chips while I can.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day Nine

Tonight I finished the back! I got confused in the last few rows around the neck, but I sorted it out and all's well. I knit a couple of inches for the front. I'm not knitting every day because in order to carefully follow the pattern I have to set aside enough time to come to a good stopping point. I don't feel like I can pick it up and knit unconsciously without losing my place.

I photocopied the pattern, and I'm crossing through the directions after I've finished them. Often I'm given a certain number of inches to knit, rather than a set number of rows. I stop and pin the sweater to my blocking towel to measure the length, estimate how many more rows I need; knit, then measure again. Sounds a bit more tedious than it actually is. Because the sweater is stockinette stitch, I'm knitting pretty quickly!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day Six

The sweater back is 17 inches long. I've started on the armhole shaping. Now I'm confused about whether I measure the armhole length diagonally, along the slant of the armhole, or vertically, prependicular to the cast-on edge. Holler at me if you know!

I got my Wee Wonderfuls doll pattern on Monday--oh my Lord, it's so precious! I got some tracing paper last night because you are supposed to trace the pattern pieces rather than cut them out of the booklet. I wondered where I'd get wool felt, and then I saw Hillary Lang had blogged about her wool felt. Beautiful, bright colors!

I have been *incredibly giddy* since this morning when I saw I got two entries published in the Nashville Scene's You're So Nashville If . . . contest!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Eureka! Photos!

Well, I finally got the photos I took in Eureka together. Although my dad successfully evaded the camera, he was on this trip too, believe it or not. This album is perfect if you like old buildings, gardens, and my sister Anna.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is an old Victorian town that grew because of its natural springs, which people believed had healing powers. Eureka is in the Ozark Mountains, and has neighborhood after neighborhood of Victorian houses. It's a really special place my family's been visiting for years. Yes, we took our dogs this time. Enjoy! Eureka Springs album

Saturday, July 15, 2006


First time ever, hallelujah! Check out my knitting and sewing projects album!!!!!!!

Day two

Sweater progresses! This is the bottom of the back panel.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Day one

Cast on sweater. Knit a few inches.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Felted art

Blurring the line between art and craft, Middle Tennessean Lisa Klakulak has an exhibit of her felted art.

Update: I knit a swatch of My First Sweater yarn with size 6 needles and it looks like the right size! I'm now blocking the swatch, since Stephanie Pearl-McPhee told me I had to not only knit a swatch but also wash the swatch before I could start a project. I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and say "nyah nyah nyah, I can't hear you!" Luckily I bought an extra hank, so there is plenty of yarn for a swatch. No worries there.

Laurie has a really "Kool," explicitly photographed blog about dyeing wool yarn with Kool-aid. Check it out and be amazed!

Hillary Lang has a new booklet of adorable fabric kitty, bunny, and bear doll patterns. What a genius! Jennifer C. and I want a human doll pattern as seen in the postcards at the bottom of the same page, but I don't think she is selling that pattern. You can also buy dolls Hillary Lang has made.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yarn delivery

Got the order I placed after work Friday, today! I ordered from Knit Happens, and I'm really happy with the speed at which My First Sweater yarn arrived. I think they have a good little selection too.

The yarn is pretty and silky feeling, and doesn't look like much yarn at all; it came in a small bag. I suppose it doesn't look like much because it calls for size 6 needles. I may have to knit a couple of swatches. I'm afraid I knit a tad loosely and size 6 will be too large for the right gauge. Of course, I'd rather not have to calculate gauge at all, so I'll cross my fingers that 6 will be perfect. I mean, really cross my fingers.

Yesterday I got the pattern for the Mother Bear Project, and I've got most of one bear done. The bear is basically a twenty-stitch-wide scarf that you fold in half and sew together. Easy peasey. I think they should make the pattern available online, but they didn't ask me. . . .

Like My First Sweater yarn (color: slate), my bear is a gray shade too (Woolease Oxford gray). I think I have warm associations with gray because of lovely Dodger.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Katie and I are going to make some cat toys for our boss, who cares for many, many cats, and who is on medical leave. I went looking for yarn candidates and found that my "stash" is nearly all scraps! Plen-ty of options. I've got leftovers galore. I can't throw the scraps away!

I started wondering what I had that wasn't a scrap: Sugar n'Cream--whole balls, sock yarn, ribbon novelty yarn, fuzzy novelty yarn, and my Cascade yarn from Kate the knitted cat. I wouldn't call the Cascade scrap because I think I have enough to make a third Kate (I finished a second Kate this weekend).

Meanwhile, I was very excited about the Wee Bunny I made earlier this week because it finally meant I could do something with the fabric scraps in my fabric stash. Yes. I have two stashes. It frightens me sometimes.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Monkey on your head . . .

. . . even better than monkey on your foot! Monkey on a stick, even better than monkey on a string! Um, that's sort of an old inside joke of yea, these many years ago, perhaps even junior high.

Did you notice there's a Sock Monkey Hat
in the summer issue of knitty?!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sweater fake out

I faked to the right, toward the Union Square Market Pullover, but what's this? I'm bobbing to the left, toward the Essential Indulgence sweater!

I found the yarn this pattern calls for on sale. I caved. I totally ordered it online. It's half silk and half alpaca. Should be gorgeous! The pattern is also from Interweave Knits, Fall 2005.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wee and wonderful

Tonight I whipped up a Wee Bunny from fabric scraps. Man, it was super quick! I used dried pinto beans to weigh down the bottom.

I really need a digital camera.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mother Bear

While browsing in Angel Hair Yarn today, I saw the back issue of Interweave Knits I've been coveting, Fall 2005. Hoorah, I bought it! I figured I've liked the cover sweater since last September or so. This is a lasting sweater attraction.

I realized today that if you want to knit a project from a well-known magazine or book, you can get ideas for yarn substitutions from online knit-alongs. That's where I got the idea to use Knit Pick's Palette. (My friend Laurie has blogged about her sampler of this yarn.)

When I googled the alpaca yarn the pattern used--and realized that I'd need to buy needles too--well, the cost of knitting the sweater grew quickly. And I've never knit a sweater before. Yikes.

But the Knit Picks yarn and needles are highly affordable! I ordered a color card.

I also sent $3 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Mother Bear Project, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit bears."

Leslie made one and said it's very basic, pretty much a scarf. Leslie lives in Memphis, and yarn stores and Temple Israel there are pumping out the bears. I believe the pattern calls for Wool-Ease or Plymouth Encore. After you get the pattern, you make the bear and send it to the group with a $3 donation to defray shipping costs to lands far away. I really ought to talk to Sheila or some other yarn shop owner about being a drop-off site for bears.

I have been ignoring my cut-out mandarin dress for several days. Busy knitting.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Chicago, Chicago

Most of this weekend I've been dog sitting in Columbia for my parents. I was sorely disappointed that their computer was not working at all. I felt so out of touch!

My sister and bro-in-law were looking in Chicago for an apartment so they can move up there in about a month and pursue their careers in acting (Abby) and music and film (Chad). Coincidentally, my dad was working up there. He was staying in a hotel down the street from one of Chicago's many art museums, so he called my mom Monday and said why don't you come up here? My siblings, Frank and Anna, stayed home with all the doggies. I went down to fill in the hours when they were both working.

The dogs were very good, and calmer than they usually are when I visit, when they're riled up and hyper. Too bad it was so burn-your-flesh, sweat-a-quart hot.

Mom brought me a black T-shirt from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, that says in white letters on the front "FEAR NO ART." I love it! Dad made a crack about "Fear no fart," ha ha, dad humor.

Mom reached into her bag, "I brought you back an onion."
An onion? I thought.
She pulled out a little newsprint flyer; oh, The Onion !
It's published in Chicago, and apparently you can pick up a free hardcopy around town. I had no idea.

This morning I finished knitting, stuffing, and sewing Kate, a toy from I love this designer, Jess Hutchison. I originally bought yarn for Kate to knit her in Eureka, but I just didn't have time to make her. I used Cascade 220 in orange sherbet (7825), fuchsia (9470), and turquoise (8906--instead of maroon), and size 7 needles. I really liked working with this 100-percent-wool yarn and think it would make a pretty sweater. It seemed I didn't use much of my yarn. I could make another Kate or two, or something else.

Carley update

Leslie found a home for Carley, the calico cat she's been fostering. HOORAH!