Sunday, March 29, 2009

practicing practicing

This is the third time on one of Barbara Prime's critters and I believe that practice has indeed improved my stuffed animal making technique. It actually looks like a bunny.

Beneath it is the u-necked back to school vest from Fitted Knits slowly making progress. With it I am practicing my direction following skills.

I could show you the remnants of my MANY other practice sessions- some frogged- some merely tossed aside in disgust- as I attempt to tame the dark stepchild of my knitting called lace. Hours and Hours of time spent. Nothing really to show. There have been some lessons learned.

My brain is not nearly the sponge I'd like for it to be.

My attention to detail (or lack thereof) suggests that it is wise that I never attempted pharmacy school.

When practicing lace, it's easier to work with sock and dk weight yarn. I tried to combine a more difficult pattern with a more difficult fiber and believe that might be why there's nothing to show for it. Rosemary's "Muir" is set aside with the laceweight for when I grow up and I've got some Elsbeth Lavold silky wool on Mimknits' Adamas Shawl for now. No guarantees. (for anyone keeping track, it's the Elsbeth Lavold that was to be the Eliina shawl which is now frogged)

In addition to the fibery sort of practicing, I've also been spending some time with this:

As a music teacher I am the one who says regularly- "let's practice it, I know that's how you will get better." I wonder if I'm telling the truth.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Breanne turned Eleven and Absolutely Not.

Here is why I like my job every now and then.

Breanne (who happens to be the one who told me she liked the gray sparklies in my hair for my Halloween costume- she was 8 then-- I had no sparklies other than natural ones in my hair) turned 11 on Saturday.

She came to me during recess and said "I wrote a poem. Do you want to hear it?"

"Of course." said I.

The snow is blowing
I'm still growing.
As a child,
I'm still wild.

She offered a beautiful interpretation of her words and said "I knew you would like it."

In something completely opposite of that...

I have a student teacher. He taught for the first time today. He was discouraged with his performance (he's quite an overachiever.) I was pleased. In searching for a way he might have made it better he asked, "Do I need to accompany this song? Should I play with myself?."

I replied, "Absolutely Not."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

knitting content ahead

This is the Lettuce Leaf Scarf (ravlink) by Janice Lynn. The one KNQD saved last Tuesday.

For me it was a good "second lace" project. A few more repeats and rows than the Raha scarf from Estonia. Not sure what I'll try next but I've got some yarn coming from Stitchjones in a colorway called Sage.

One other tidbit about me to share. For those of you who know/watch/like/love the HBO show "Flight of the Conchords," (youtube link)- Last week while teaching I pretended I was Brett for most of the days. It made me love my job again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor Day

Yvonne's directions said this:

Travel - 79 north to the Parkway (279?) toward Pittsburgh.  Maintain LEFT LANE as you approach the tunnel.  You want to follow signs for ROUTE 28.  You'll Cross Fort Pitt Bridge then Duquesne Bridge and then it will deposit you on 28 north.  Just pay attention to the signs and you'll be fine.

As we approached the tunnel Mr. Sophanne remained in the right lane. I re-read the directions to him thinking maybe he didn't hear. He said, "I don't like traveling in the left lane." (note* the caps in the above directions were Yvonne's not mine) Fortunately he was well-enough acquainted with the amount of time it takes to go left after the tunnel and my fear of not following directions was proven unnecessary.

We reached our exit and spotted the dinner destination, chosen based on the rantings and ravings of knit night many months ago. It was indeed a good burger.

We continued to the Pittsburgh premiere of My Tale of Two Cities. A Michael Moorish sort of story about reviving Pittsburgh (showing at the Waterworks Cinema until next Friday- showtimes 2:45 and 7:00 pm)

I must say, we were expecting a little more of an audience. They are trying to make Mr. Rogers' Birthday a National "Won't You Be My Neighbor" Day. A day to wear sweaters and "Make doing good seem attractive." We counted sweaters. There were two. Mr. Sophanne's and my own. There was some dispute about whether sweatshirt hoodies counted and Mr Sophanne clearly needs a few more lessons on the difference between a cardigan and a jacket.

Things started to look up as we began to refer to it as an intimate gathering of Pittsburgh Insiders who read the Post.

Mr. McFeely was there. Carl Kurlander, the director was there and spoke a little after the film.

Reviving the area is what Mr. Sophanne and his railroad project are all about. Living life in a Fred Rogerly way is what I'm all about. The fact that there was a movie made to appeal to both of our passions simultaneously is reason enough to try and see it. (Something neither of us knew would be the case prior to the event)

The bonus of the night is below- you must know that I love blogland an awful lot to be willing to show the near goiter-like double chin in this picture. This was also after I cried a bucketful of tears because I am not done mourning the loss of Mr. Rogers.

That Mr. Sophanne, he sure knows how to be married for 5 years.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Last week at knit night I learned what a Mangle was. Apparently people used to iron everything.

Last night at knit night I saw KNQD save the day no less than 3 times, finding a lost lace stitch, suggesting a three needle bind-off as opposed to seaming a pocket and one other thing that I forget. I also learned that those hanging-slidy window shade banners can come off and fall on your head.

This evening we took the Liza Jane to her first dog park. Mr. Sophanne stood outside the fence. He's still a little wary of the big dogs after a dreadful bite not long enough ago (but before I knew him.) She was all bark in the car as we pulled up. Once we got in she backed off quite a bit mostly hanging out right near me. We'll go again and I expect after acclimating herself she'll be the most popular dog on the block. Must remember camera

Tomorrow is anniversary #5 for Mr. Sophanne and I. Number 5 is the anniversary of wood and spoons. Yea, I'll be stopping at the dollar store and looking for wooden spoons. Mr. Sophanne showed me a Mr. Rogers book he ordered for me and said there was a snow globe too but I didn't get to preview it. We are also going to Pittsburgh on Friday night to see the premier of a movie about the revival of Pittsburgh. He stopped at our local Gabes after the dog walk to see if we could find some matching cardigans to wear in honor of Mr. Rogers' birthday. That guy knows the way to my heart. I wish I could think of something as thoughtful.

I'm buying a flute this weekend. I always liked the flute and it sounds much better than the clarinet that I already know how to play. It's either a mid-life crisis or a practical way of enjoying music that I've been missing recently The clarinet got me to college, through college, and paved a way to my illustrious career. I think it's time to retire it. I have visions of carrying my flute with me and playing in the open air. I am so weird.

I started another project. The u-neck back to school sweater from fitted knits. I'm about 9 inches through the ribbing and heading for the waffle stitch.

I hate it when my brain doesn't compose blog posts as well as I think they should be. If you made it through- hey- thanks!

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Surprise- Babette the Two

I've made some executive decisions.

The happy dog picture must be something I can look at every day on the sidebar. Especially when I am forced to be away from the sweetness.

Making an afghan out of Alpaca Lite (Olive's Afghan) is just plain stupid when there is a cat and a dog in the house. The halo on the afghan looks like giant dust kangaroos. It's not done. It's warm enough. It requires that I vacuum daily. I will not be finishing it.

I don't right now have the attention span for EZ's Adult Suprize jacket. It has been frogged. I felt no remorse. It would be silly to "hold" the yarn until I'm ready for it again.

These two facts combined mean Babette the Two. I loved the way the first one turned out. I am constructing smarter after the first time around. I need an afghan for the summer (o.k. not so much.) Likely given the colorway of the new Babette, Mr. Sophanne will declare that he should have this one of more muted tones. That's fine.

Smarter assembly means doing the squares in the order of the pattern. Blocking the squares prior to sewing them together. Single crocheting rather than sewing them together and doing so as I go rather than making a big honkin' pile of squares and "hooking" rather than sewing the ends in.

Such a fickle knitter. There's some productivity on some lace. I am of the extremes.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cute Overload

We took Liza to the trail. We rode bikes and she ran with us. I believe she would run forever if we let her. Here is one moment of rest. They say dogs can't smile but this looks pretty close.

Another Barbara Prime pattern- The eyes and head are a little tilted. She's got kind of a WTF? look on her face and I like it.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Lambiekins 1.0

While I know he looks plenty cute posed and still in the window, trust me on this one. It was not a smashing success. I used Debbie Bliss chunky cashmerino. (Which is wool, cashmere and most importantly 33% microfiber) I also used size 10 needles.

The stitches were too big and loose from the start but I decided that maybe it would felt a little bit with only 33% microfiber. It did not.

Due to a decided lack of stuffings in the body (I was going for the floppy look not realizing the effect this might have on the neck) what started looking like a noose became a Frankenstein head once I tried to fix it.

I didn't pay much careful attention to the strings when attaching arms and legs, thinking that I would be able to snip them off with carefree abandon after the felting process. Instead, everything just became a little looser and Lambiekins 1.0 looks like a well-worn toy. If you're going for that look, I can help you out.

In spite of all of that, Lambiekins has a special place in my heart.

Barbara Prime is the designer- not that I've looked at a lot of them, but hers are the easiest to follow stuffed toy directions that I've come across. This weekend I'm working on a bear and his/her (not sure yet) accompanying cardigan. Same yarn, size SEVEN needles, lots of stuffings and no felting. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Lambiekins Binge...

or what a knitter will do to find some decent picture light so she can give her knitted item away.

This is the second attempt. The first will be posted for Crack Me Up Saturday. I'm working on the third and last installment because I love me some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky

It's a free ravelry pdf. This one was done in Cascade Heathers.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Rosemary and Joan~

This one's for you! My first knitted lace. Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring work.

From Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush, The Raha Scarf- Jojoland Melody sock yarn.

You could...

Here's a little somethin' somethin' about Mr. Sophanne.

The Man can talk. Give him a cause, give him a passion, give him a spark, give him a blank stare and he can get the verbal on.

I'm not saying it always makes sense, is interesting, or is relevant, but when silence strikes he can save the day.

Last Friday I was dreading the ride home from work (about a half an hour in which I spend most of the time perseverating in my head about the various incidents of the day focusing primarily on the unpleasant ones.) I phoned him and shared my distress. He said (without a moments pause)

I'm looking at these four oranges that you brought and left here on the table and they remind me of you. It might be gray outside but they are brightly colored and add sunshine to my life just like you.

I said kthanx bye. On a side note, when I shared this story with the secretary (who was waiting to see if he could come up with anything), she thought I said INCHES instead of ORANGES which certainly made me laugh the whole way home.

(yeah, baby I gotchtyer four inches)

At lunch today he was going on about his latest passion- a community action group to get high-speed rail using existing railbed from Pittsburgh to Columbus via the West Virginia Northern Panhandle. (POWV)

When he starts practicing his speeches about it in my general direction, my eyes (having heard everything he's saying at least three times prior) start to glaze over. Today when he finished his latest oratory I said, You could talk paint off of a wall.... but in a good way.

This thankfully turned the conversation tide to the possibilities of that phrase-

You could talk an egg out of a chicken.
You could talk wool off a sheep.
You could talk the peanut out of the butter.
You could talk the chrome off a Harley
You could talk the knick knack out of the paddywhack.
You could feel free to add your own!