Wednesday, October 31, 2007

DH poses as Millhouse-

heh. DH should not send me photos with admonishments. "Don't put this on line" is like a red flag to a bull. Why tempt me with things like that??

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween humbug-and easy costumes-

I read an article today about this year's Halloween costumes and their skank factor. Seems some parents were a little upset by the racy factor. The article mentioned Party City, so I wandered over to their website to take a look. Holy crap. Most of the girls' and women's costumes were crap. We can be sexy vampire, sexy RAGGEDY ANN (travesty!), sexy mermaid, sexy little Red Riding Hood, sexy cave woman. The list goes on and on. Very few are clever. Or cute. Or modest without looking slightly retarded.

I thought about why Halloween has become a spandex and boobs holiday for women. I think it must be because spandex and boobs don't actually need to fit well. And they can be sewn up cheaply. But I am irritated with the skank factor.

So, in the spirit of actually DRESSING UP (as opposed to undressing), here are easy costumes-

1) Fifties girl-plain capris, flat shoes, bobby sox, ponytail, big white shirt and scarf
2) Thing 1 or Thing 2- Red T-shirt and turquoise hair spray. Tease hair. Spray with color, don red shirt.
3) Tea bag-two white garbage bags-fill lightly with grass clippings, leaves or straw. Staple together at shoulders. Add string and tag.
4) Bride of Frankenstein. Tease hair. Put in white racing stripes. Powder face, do makeup as desired. Put on white robe. (Old Princess Lea costume recyling!)

Be something besides a bimbo for Halloween!

Where we play with tams, lace and swirling Autumn leaves

I had to break out of Entrelac Jail this weekend. IWK has a great lace tam in the Christmas knitting issue. I cast on for it, looked at the chart and said "Shit, that's boring." I think part of the reason I love tams so much is the impromptu design opportunity, so I rummaged thru my Barbara Walkers instead.

In book two, there is a lace leaf border. I used it as a central motif for my hat. I dug out the tam formulas from an old IWK, and decided on a swirl top. I dorked it slightly, but managed to pull it out successfully. I was supposed to K2tog every row, right before each marker. Unthinking, I worked it like a wheel (every OTHER row) for about 10 rows, then had my DUH! moment. Oooops. It inadvertently added more depth. My hat is REALLY big. 'S ok, my DD has a big ol' head, it will be perfect for her.

I also paired eyelets with the decreases. Every fourth row, I worked a YO K2tog right after the marker, so it added a little laciness to the top.

Knit in Elann SuperKydd, double stranded, carried with a strand of CTH Suri Alpaca laceweight. I think I have enough to make a second hat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More stuff I want to keep in mind-

I was cruising Project RunGay and saw these GREAT Catherine Malandrino jackets. Ok, Blogger is being crabby, just click on the bars.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Looky, looky!

Air Force Basic Training Photos! You gotta love it! DH and I searched for our photos-I have to scan mine in, because they don't have it.

Can you find someone YOU know?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Match Game

My sleeves match. Fairly well, actually. I'm sure that would make my sewing teacher proud. I, for one, was relieved that the colors came up right and made matching 'not a pain in the ass'.

The one thing I have noticed about my pattern that bothers me is that my entrelac squares start out at 20 stitches, and get progressively smaller in subequent tiers. But the pattern doesn't tell you HOW to do this without leaving a hole, or having a short side and a reallly long edge. How am I handling it?

I pick up as many stitches as I can fit in the area. On the return, I evenly space my decreases. For example, I might pick up 20, but finish the return row with 18.

To make sure my blocks aren't long skinny ribbons, I work the block as directed until I have two stitches left on the left-hand needle. Then, I slip1, K2tog, Psso. That makes the row count shorter.

I am not sure if they are technically correct, but these seemed like the right methods for this garment. Stay tuned for the results!

Both sleeves-DONE! I have twopointfive complete tiers done, and I am getting ready to start my second hank of Kauni. Do I have enough?????

Friday, October 19, 2007

I think I've found my true calling-

Everyone has a destiny. Lately, incidents and events occured that are, perhaps, indications that I have a promising career as a Secret Shopper. I'm really qualified at both components. The Secret part-I've become an oba-san (a little frumpy Japanese woman that doesn't look like she's going to buy squat), and the Shopper part-trust me, if there's a good buy, it had better be in my cart. I am the perfect secret shopper because I look so average. And I am not swayed by a stupid pitch.

You remember my diatribe about an extra project bag? I got brave and ordered something else from the same company on Oct 9th. On the 10th, they wrote,

Good Afternoon Ms Junior Goddess:

I'm sorry to inform you that we are all sold out of Country Meadow Cedar. Would you like us to fill your order without that item?


I ordered SIX balls of that yarn. Which, according to the website, were all there. Yeah, ok, two oops in a month, from the same company.

Many of you survived Monday's Great Rowan Calmer Famine at Elann. This past week, all four sale colors sold out in three minutes. Three. I tried SO hard to get some, and had to give up, empty handed.

YESTERDAY, someone popped up and said, "Hey, the good place to buy yarn in MA has it on sale." So I skedaddled over and put 12 balls in my cart, hurried and paid. Six of those were for me, and six were for AmyQOY, who was trampled in the Elann Calmer Famine. Fifty-eight remained in stock.

This morning, I got a message from the good place to buy yarn in MA:

Thank you for your order! I am writing to notify you that the 12 skeins of Rowan Yarns Calmer in color 487 that you ordered is currently out of stock. We are anticipating getting some of the yarn back in stock, but we do not know the quantity as of yet. We should know for certain in about a week as to whether we will be receiving more of the Calmer in stock. We will contact you again depending on whether we are able to fill your order or not.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

We greatly apologize for the inconvenience!

I need to be a secret shopper. I spend a lot of money on yarn. This year, Discontinued Name Brand Yarn has about a 35% order fulfillment oops rate. Herrschners has about a 10% rate, and Webs, the same.

The small independent shop I ordered my SeaSilk from has a 100% error rate. I called in my order. Benne called hers in a few hours later. Benne got her yarn a week later. I figured out that there was an error when she called me to tell me about her yarn. Technically, Benne got MY yarn, but it's not her fault that the store sold the same hank to both of us. It took me three months to get all components of my order.

In 2007, the only company with a 0 error rate is Elann. I have heard of very few errors since I started shopping there.

Is it my calling to become a Secret Shopper? Or am I simply taking one for the team?

Still in entrelac jail.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I kept seeing today's date

and wishing you Happy Birthday, Dad. I thought about going out and having a chocolate bar to celebrate your birthday. The first thought that struck me was "You are supposed to be dieting." The second thought I had was "I am still mad about that damned Hershey bar you had the day before you died." That freakin' thing just pissed me off.

Everyone talked about a heart attack, but I read a receipt for a big-assed Hershey bar and the words "complications of diabetes mellitis" on your death certificate.

I know what you were thinking. Chocolate fixes a lot of things. In this case, it both fixed and broke you all at once. I'm still sad about that stupid candy bar.

When it was time to get you ready to go, I didn't know what to do. I made sure that you had your cowboy boots on, and I spit shined them. I tucked a picture from your birthday in your wallet-the one we took two years ago, with you and all the girls. I've never seen you look prouder. Dang, I wish I had a copy of that photo, it was my favorite. Here is another photo from that day.

I am really glad we had the party, glad we surprised you, glad we all squished into the studio at Walmart and took the picture (hey, who's the round-eye in the picture?) glad everyone showed up on time and played well. If you are only going to have one birthday party, that's the kind to have.

Evelyn wanted to know: I am the exhausted woman at the lower right.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On math and entrelac-

The reason I wrote Shirley Paden was because the VK pattern had one tier decreasing one stitch. On the return, the stitch magically reappears, making an undulating entrelac. Which is a damned FASCINATING concept, but not for this coat.

I think Shirley wrote me such an in depth explanation because the VK site is down, and she only wanted me to pester her once. It was nice of her to make the effort.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Entrelac-Tober Coat update

Here it is! I should be finishing this tier today. It should bring me right up into where I need to be for the sleeve; I'll be finishing up on the moss, and starting the mauve.

I had a staredown with the directions this week. Vogue's site is down, so I wrote Shirley Paden, the designer, for clarification.

Dear Shirley,

I have a question about the Entrelac Coat pattern in the Fall 06 Vogue Knitting. I have checked Vogue's website (they are down, kind of sorta) and I did not see corrections for this particular garment. On the instructions for the back, it states that I am to decrease 1 stitch on each block in band 3 (18, 19, 20) stitches. On the next band, I have the impression that I have to increase 1 stitch in each block, because the stitch counts read 19, 20, 21 stitches.

Am I correct in assuming that the bands decrease in size until there are (15,16,17) stitches in each block? And don't undulate back up in size? (I'm on the first band, so I need to know this fairly soon!)

Thank you!

Shirley wrote me back! She said

Hi Betsy,

Your assumption is correct. When you look at the schematic you will see that the shape is a trapeze. Therefore, the coat is wide at the bottom, then gradually tapers to a more narrow width at the shoulders. To do this the number stitches in the rectangles are decreased by 1 stitch in each of the rectangles based on the number picked up as you build out the rectangles on every 3rd rectangle row. For example, for size Small there are 19 sts in each of the 4 Back rectangles = 76 sts for the first and second Rectangle Rows, then 15 stitches in the 4 rectangles in the 9th and 10th rows at the shoulders = 60 sts. For size Medium there are 20 sts in each of the 4 rectangles = 80 sts at the Bottom Back and 16 sts in each rectangles at the shoulders = 64 sts. For size Large there are 21 sts in each of the 4 rectangles at the Bottom Back = 84 sts and 17 sts in each of the 4 rectangles at the shoulders = 68 sts.

If you divide the number of total stitches by the stitch gauge of 3.07 sts = 1" you will get the correct width in inches for each section. For example 76 divided by 3.07 = 24 3/4" at the Bottom Back for size Small, 80 divided by 3.07= 26" at the Bottom Back for size Medium and 84 divided by 3.07 = 271/2" at the Bottom Back for size Large. The decreases are worked as follow: Size Small: Rectangle Rows 1 & 2 have 19 sts in each of the 4 rectangles, Rectangle Rows 3 & 4 have 18 sts in each rectangle, Rectangle Rows 5 & 6 have 17 sts in each rectangle, Rectangle Rows 7 & 8 have 16 sts in each rectangle, Finally, Rectangle Rows 9 & 10 have 15 sts in each of the 4 rectangles. Size Medium: begins with 20 then after decreasing on every 3rd Rectangle Row 4x there are 16 sts in each of the 4 rectangles on Rows 9 & 10. Size Large begins with 21sts in each if the 4 rectangles, then decreases 4 times to 17 sts in each of the 4 rectangles on rows 9 & 10. Using this decrease method we can begin with a Bottom Back Width of 24 3/4" for size Small, 26" for size Medium and 27 1/2" for size Large and end at the shoulders with 19 1/2 " for size Small, 21" for size Medium and 22 1/2" for size Large.

I hope this will help you. I also hope that you have an established relationship with a local yarn shop. They can usually help you through knitting problems. If you have not already done so, I recommend that you read and work through the sample project in the article that I wrote to accompany the project in that VK issue. Working the project while reading the article will give you a solid understanding of the Entrelac concept. If you have already read the article I think the brief explanation above of the technique as it is used in the coat construction will enable you to easily knit the coat.

I hope you will send a photo of the finished garment.


Wow! She was very thorough.

Just for my reference-I did 3 rows of rib in a needle 3 sizes too big. Base triangles were done with 20 stitches, first row of rectangles have 20, and the return has 19. I did this specifically because I want it shorter-so on this next tier-the third, I will be re-joining the pattern at the "fifth" tier, which should take about 10" off the bottom.

I am ever so slightly worried about running out of yarn. I bought 530 grams of Kauni to team with a never-ending cone of Gardiner's of Sekirk. The pattern called for 2688 yards, and I have 2300+, but I am making mine shorter. I have no earthly idea at this point if I have enough, but Astrid has only the 1000 yard hank left right now. It's time for me to knit and see.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More comedy from the Betsy Show-

I had serious doubts about the pattern for my coat, and there aren't any corrections on VK's website. (That's been down for weeks. ) I wrote Shirley Paden about it, and guess what? She answered. More about that later this week.

I have the base row done, as well as MOST of the first row of rectangles. I am very glad that the blocks get smaller as the garment goes on. VERY VERY glad. This thing is going to go on forever-I have almost 300 yards in, and I haven't even made it to the 2nd tier. Hope I bought enough yarn.

My Discontinued Name Brand Yarn order came in. Can't believe I asked for an additional project bag. It wasn't all that. The yarn is beautiful, tho. So gorgeous, in fact, that I tried to place another order today. HA HA HA. No really, I saw some other stuff, and said "Hey, So and So would like that!" Buying Christmas prezzies for my yarn buds is getting harder and harder-it's a challenge to buy something they don't have. We all shop at the same place!

I saw all this Wool in the Woods (who is going out of business, BTW) and thought-"hey, this will be nice" Well, I placed my order early this morning. Around two, I got a message that said "Ms. Mamo, we are sold out of blah blah." (Sorry, Benne, that blah-blah was the perfect yarn for you, and they don't have any left.) I wrote them back and said "Dammit, let's go for coffee." Can't believe it. Not another snafu.

Got great stuff in at the store--it's my Christmas stuff, and I am out of room! I really like it, and the price points are just dandy. I can't wait to start putting in on the shelf. I am a month early.

Lastly, I heard a great joke yesterday-

What's the difference between an introverted engineer and an extroverted one? The extroverted one will look at your shoes. HA HA!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Blocking Magic

Hosted a quilting party last night. Didn't get home til two, but everyone had a damned good time. I managed to finish my Devon swatch, and today, I took my entrelac sleeve to Wallyworld so I could wait out an oil change. That was a sight-lugging a ball of Kauni and a cone of Selkirk 2/9 all over the darned store.

Despite some vague instructions on edge triangles, I finished the sleeve and cast on for the coat body. I'll have to stop and do another sleeve when I get 'round to the mauve again. Don't know why these patterns have NO finishing on the edges. When I cast on for my coat, I did three rows of rib (the needle was 3 sizes larger, but I think the hem will need the give) just so I won't have a weirdo unfinished edge.

I couldn't stand the suspense, so I dipped one corner of my sleeve into some water, just to see how it would look. (upper right) It flattened nicely, I am right on gauge, and it doesn't look so much like accoustical foam.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Needle little love?

I am the only person in the county that knits. Or so you would think. Which is a little lonely, but it also means that I get stash/needle/pattern enhancing stuff any time anyone dies/goes to see Aunt Irene/stumbles across stuff at a garage sale. A lot of times the stuff is yuck. Once in a while, it's nice. Regardless whether these needles are rusty, solo, or still in their vintage plastic case, boasting a neon TG&Y sticker, I look at them all.

They are dear.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sorry, dumbass, it doesn't WORK like that-

I read a news blurb about Obama yesterday. The headline read
Obama Stops Wearing Flag Pin

I totally understand why he doesn't. I don't have a yellow "We support our troops" magnet on my car. I spent my magnet money making goody boxes to send to deployed people I know. (An Old Navy St. Paddy's Day shirt is a pretty good morale booster, ya know.) I sent goody boxes to other people's family members. That's a good use of my magnet money.

But as someone who actually wants to represent our country, doncha think Obama ought to reconsider?

The jaw-dropping part of the article was

"At one stop, he called for new restrictions on deployment of National Guard and Reserve troops along with an expansion of benefits for them and their families.

"I will not be a president who extends tours for our Guard units overseas while Americans are stranded on rooftops right here at home," Obama said."

OMG. OMG. It doesn't work like that.

For one thing, it would take at LEAST three days to bring troops home. And a bazillion dollars. If Nagin couldn't think to issue an evacuation order three days prior, he surely wouldn't have thought to request troops.

And that is the big sticking point. Since Guardsmen are a STATE asset, they have to be requested. Invited. Ushered in. Our Texas Guard waited, packed and ready, for their invitations.

For two days.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's Entrelac-tober and I started-

nothing, yet. Actually, that's not true, I have almost a whole sleeve done. But I haven't worked on it in a week.

There's still plenty of time to KAL.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ravelry update-

Found you!
You signed up on August 2, 2007
You are #22642 on the list.
825 people are ahead of you in line.
16051 people are behind you in line.
56% of the list has been invited so far

Monday, October 01, 2007


Here's a swatch of Van Dyke Leaf Lace from BW #2. I am convinced there is an error in row 24, because I had to fudge an extra stitch out of thin air three times in a row. This is easily solved by working SL1, K1, PSSO, instead of SL2, K1, P2SSO in that row. You will notice that early in the square, the leaf veins look different. I liked the look of slipping both stitches together at once, as if to knit. I think it looks very clean. Took me a while to figure it out.
And there's my boo-boo. And the fact that trying to knit anything of a particular size has me nudging in, not easing out.
Sigh. I like the stitch pattern. I think it would be BEAUTIFUL worked on sleeves.