Wednesday, March 22, 2006

furry basket shawl

What?? Two posts in one week?! I know, I almost need smelling salts myself! But there's no time for fainting now- I have something I want to share with you!

Yarn: Crystal Palace Kid Merino in Blush
Inox Size 4 circs & Grandma's vintage aluminum circs
Started: 3/10/06 Completed: 3/21/06
Blocked Dimensions: 72" X 36"
Modifications: None; 11 repeats of Chart 2
This was such an enjoyable knit! The Kid Merino was an absolute joy to work with and I loved this pattern. I have to say, my relationship with FBS went a lot more smoothly than my tryst with Kiri. With all of the leftover baggage after being dumped by Kiri the first time around, though, I couldn't help but be paranoid in a new relationship. Like a jilted ex, I was always looking over my shoulder for warning signs of trouble ahead with FBS. I think I grew wiser after courting Kiri, though. I didn't allow myself to fall blindly this time. I wasn't deceived by promises of perfect row counts. No, this time, I over-analyzed every stitch like a paranoid freak, checking the alignment with previous rows and never letting my guard down. FBS grew patiently and indulged my crazy compulsions. She never betrayed me, though I tested her many a time. In fact, I even learned to trust again- trust in my ability to analyze how each row was built upon the last so that I could catch mistakes several stitches later, rather than several rows later.

In the end, we really hit it off! Overall, I'm really pleased with FBS. It actually initially blocked out a little larger than what's in the picture, but lost about half a foot in length and width after unpinning, presumably because of the high nylon content (44%). Nonetheless, it's the perfect size for a vertically challenged gremlin like me. I could actually see myself wearing this one... you know, with my scintillating social calendar and myriad of formal engagements to choose from! That's okay. Even if it only serves as my princess-in-training diva costume at home, I'll wear it! This was a fun Project Spectrum knit and a great warm-up for the big-gun, the Sampler Stole, which I'll be casting-on for tomorrow. Uhm... yeah, okay, seriously, that wasn't a punch line, so you can stop laughing hysterically now. Yes, let's try to remember to laugh with, not at. Aww, who am I kidding? Even I'm LMAO right now, so you may as well, too!! Start tuning up the Man of La Mancha chorus for The Impossible Dream!

One of the aspects I liked best about working on FBS was the yarn, which was soft and cuddly. You can't really tell in the pictures, but it's also actually quite, well... furry. In a good way. Like stuffed animal furry. Or like domesticated animal furry... you know, the usual, dogs, cats and the like. Not to be confused with bad furry. Because there's definitely bad furry. Like orthoptera furry. (This one's for you, Aloha Knitter Michelle!! :-)) Better known as B-52 Flying Cockroaches to you and me. Back in my swinging bachelorette days, I had my own little pad near Waikiki, just me and my cat. I was used to him falling asleep near my leg, and his furry little presence always brought me comfort. So, one night as I was drifting off to sleep, I thought nothing of it when I felt something furry on my thigh. I insticinctively reached down to pet what I'd presumed was a little furry paw. Of course, just then, that little paw crawled up my shorts and my eyes flew open as I realized that something was terribly amiss. That furry little paw was about to scamper into the unmentionables when I grabbed it and hurled it against the wall for all I was worth. I ran to turn on the lights and saw the biggest, nastiest, furriest, Chibi needle sized-roach you've ever seen, kicking futilely upside-down on the floor! Like a twisted gladiator overseer, I loosed the real furry paw to take care of the imposter furry paw. Natural insecticide, if you will. Revenge is sweet!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

this weekend in paradise

... Project Spectrum Pink Flower Basket Shawl, sans edging and blocking. Knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, clicking my heels three times and throwing a pinch of salt over my shoulder- there may be an FO post later this week!... More Project Spectrum pink- in the form of our State flower! Technically, the yellow variety is the "official" bud, but these pink ones are my fave.... Long overdue, but during our 12-hour reprieve yesterday from the month-long rain, I snapped these photos of my "backyard" from high atop scenic Tantalus. This spot at Pu'u Ualaka'a holds a special place in my heart as it's where Mr. W and I exchanged our marriage vows, overlooking the island of O'ahu. Infamous Diamond Head . The beautiful Ko'olau Mountains. Punchbowl Crater of Hawaii Five-O fame. The sky and water weren't blue yesterday, but I'm hoping to rectify that soon. With any luck (and a dose of Blogger Metamucil!), I'd like to make "This Weekend in Paradise" a monthly feature to showcase the beauty that is Hawai'i.

... My ongoing Project Spectrum "WIP's!"

Stinky in Pinky and Bossy in Bull-Headed Red. And who could resist hanging out in our fave red monster's room at Bishop Museum? Project Spectrum pink and red abound in Elmo's World- just ask Dorothy!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

warm and cool

Ribby Cardi
2X2X3X1 all-over rib; collared version
Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Natural-4 hanks
Size 5 Clover Circs, Size 6 Addi Turbos
Started: 2/23/06
Completed: 3/8/06

I know nobody believes me, but it actually gets cold in Hawaii occasionally! Take this past week, for instance. We've had torrential downpours and flashflooding all across the state. It started raining so hard this morning that Bossy turned to me, eyes wide with wonder, and asked, "Is God going to flood the whole world again?" We've been reading a children's version of Noah's Ark at bedtime, so I think the concept's been weighing heavy on the poor little guy's mind! I had to chuckle at his remark, but after listening to the thunder rumble for hours, I could certainly see how he might start to wonder about that covenant. Granted, even with all the rain, the mercury has yet to dip below 70, but trust me, by Hawaii standards, it's chilly!

Enter, Ribby Cardi! I saw this pattern and knew it would be the perfect solution for staying warm and looking reasonably cool. "Reasonably" is through no fault of the pattern's, mind you... "reasonably" cool is just a best-case scenario for a harried mama of 2 who just as often as not has clean and combed hair with graying patches and remnants from Stinky's breakfast crusted on her clothes. I'm sure that others with combed, un-gray hair and clean clothes look fantastically cool in this cardi! Overall, I'm very pleased with the way this cardi turned out. I went with size 5 and 6 needles rather than the 6 and 7 called for in the pattern since I knit loosey-goosey. I knit a size 36 bust as I didn't want anything overly-fitted, but I'm kind of wishing that I'd stuck with a 34 instead. I think a 34 would still have been large enough to accommodate thick shirts underneath and not appear overly-fitted, without being as loose as this 36. In any case, I still love it! (PS: Note my little flash of Project Spectrum March Spirit under the cardi!)

The zipper installation was tedious but not nearly as bad as I'd anticipated, thanks to a wonderful tutorial link from Amanda. Thank you, Amanda!! I went with a heavy-duty Coats & Clark zipper designed especially for jackets, so it's sturdy and zips well. Next time, though, I'd love to try a custom zipper, just to compare. Do any of you have recommendations for any fave online vendors that you'd like to share?

In the end, I found the zen in all the ribbing and grew to love it. Plus, I'm happy with the finished look of all that ribbing. Actually, the worst part in making this cardi was waiting for the blocked pieces to dry so I could start seaming! Patience is a virtue and all, but with all of the recent rainfall and humidity, I had to wait a full 48 hours for the pieces to dry. Which wouldn't have been so bad in and of itself, except that I had to police Stinky, who kept threateningly hovering her foot above the drying knits, Karate Kid style, all the while giggling an evil laugh. Had it come down to it, I would've chosen the cardi pieces in a heartbeat. Now that the cardi is done and keeping me warm and cool, I can finally cast-on guilt-free for Project Spectrum and the Sampler Stole. Stay tuned!

Lest you think I've forgotten, I know that I owe some of you outdoor Hawaii pics on threat of bodily harm. As soon as the weather cooperates, I promise to hold up my end of the deal! And finally, I was tagged for a meme by Lynda- thanks, Lynda! Get ready for a voyeuristic experience because here, ladies, is where all the hot action takes place... knitting action, that is! That's my half of the bed where I sleep-knit most nights till the sleep half finally takes over. And I'm a very lucky girl because that's the beautiful Elizabeth Austen knitting bag that my sweet mom gave me for Christmas. Now you've got the down and dirty on my late night escapades!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

hodge podge

I'm running on a bit of an adrenaline rush right now and lack the focus to find some witty way to connect all the topics I want to blog about... so a hodge podge post in list-n-pic format it shall be!
  • My best friend (of Crunch Ali Om Yoga Bag fame) just gave birth a few hours ago (hence the adrenaline rush) to her second child- a baby girl!! She opted not to find out the sex of the baby, so we were so thrilled to find out that it was, indeed, a girl! (Oh, the Debbie Bliss baby girl knits to contemplate!) Mom and baby are doing well and the next few days promise to be busy ones as I will be babysitting her older son (Bossy's best bud!) while she recuperates. (Sorry, I kind of feel like that was an SNL General Subliminal paragraph!)

  • The Ribby Cardi of blog harakiri fame is progressing well. The back is completed, as are the two front panels. I'm working two sleeves at once on circs and am about 1/4 finished. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my next post will include pics of a completed and modeled Ribby Cardi! That, of course, is barring any unforeseen disaster with zipper installation, which I am a little apprehensive about. Any suggestions or advice (other than, "better you than me, sucker!") would be much appreciated!
  • On a more serious note, if you have the time, please consider knitting an 8" X 8" blue afghan square for Christine's brother, Jef. Jef is battling cancer and this afghan, infused with so many knitters' support and love, will be sure to bring him warmth and comfort during this difficult time. Christine is such a sweetheart, and it breaks my heart to think about what her family is going through. Please see Christine's blog for further details.
  • Today is the kick-off of lovely Lolly's Project Spectrum!! Pink and red fever are spreading through Blogland like wildfire- it's infectious! I set this yarn aside especially for Project Spectrum March and hope to finish at least one of the two intended projects before the end of the month. The red Cascade Sierra is for a Vittadini twist top and the pink Crystal Palace mohair/merino is earmarked for one of those ubiquitous Flower Basket Shawls that I just can't resist. I've also hauled out my cardstock, scrapbooking embellishments and papercrafting supplies to get started on my postcard for the Project Spectrum Postcard Swap. I'm really looking forward to exchanging crafty snail mail with my swap partner! I also have another pink project planned for tomorrow... but more on that at the end of this post!
  • After almost half a year of blogging (tempus fugit!), I finally have a blog button, thanks to wonderful Kimberly over at The Giving Flower. She creates such fun buttons and beautiful crafty items that I joked with her about making a blog button for me, not expecting her to actually take me seriously. What a sweetie! Thank you, Kimberly!
  • Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win a contest over at Plush Knits and received this wonderful prize package from Michelle this weekend. Art Yarns Supermerino (in a gorgeous red colorway....hmm, potential 2-for-1 Project Spectrum and Sock-A-Month KAL material!), red Ghiradelli chocolate (which I'm hiding from myself), a wonderful Green Canyon Spa face care kit and beautiful stitch markers. I love it, Michelle!! Thank you so much for the lovely and generous prize!
  • Finally, tomorrow, March 3 is Girl's Day or Hinamatsuri, a day to celebrate girls in Japanese culture. Traditionally, parents or grandparents present dolls to their daughter or granddaughter at birth, which are then displayed annually during Hinamatsuri. My granparents presented me with a doll, and likewise, my parents presented Stinky with a doll just days after her birth. (Pink and red everywhere, Lolly!)The Japanese kanji next to Stinky's doll can be read as either "beautiful blossom" or "she will blossom in beauty." I guess my mom felt Stinky needed extra assurance, as the coned head and lack of hair didn't bode well for her after birth. I think Stinky's finally living up to the second kanji interpretation. ;-) It is said that it's unlucky to leave Hinamatsuri dolls on display past the 3rd, as it may forebode a delay in marriage. Growing up sansei (third generation Japanese-American), we celebrated Hinamatsuri with many traditional treats, such as mochi and hina-arare rice crackers (pictured next to Stinky's doll). Following suit, tomorrow, Stinky, Bossy and I will be whipping up some pink mochi for Hinamatsuri- sticky, sweet, yummy fun! We'll enjoy eating and sharing it... especially with Crunchy Ali's beautiful new baby girl!! Happy Girl's Day, everyone!