Sunday, July 31, 2005


The scanner connects to computers via the antiquated parallel port which does not exist on my shiny 7-month-old iBook. I could hook it up to the old laptop but that would require way more work than I'm interested in doing right now, so I just took some pictures. Kaufman kimono prints, Moda batiks, an Amy Butler print, and a yellow rose "Pattern of History" from Moda.


Excitement and adventure and really wild things

Today I went on an Expedition to the previously mentioned quilt store, just because I had some spare time and what the hell else is there to do on a Sunday afternoon? So, armed with a Google map and directions, I set out for Pennington, some ten miles southwest of here. I got lost. Well, not really lost, I knew where I was, I just couldn't find the store. So I called Oliver (I love cell phones) and he told me that I should have gone north instead of south and I muttered a few choice phrases for Google Maps' directions and turned around. But if it hadn't been for having to go back into town by way of Main Street, I wouldn't have seen the yarn store! And a yarn store with the adorable name of "The Woolly Lamb," no less. Unfortunately it's closed on Sundays like just about everything else in downtown Pennington (with the exception of Vito's Pizza and the paint-your-own-pottery place) but now I have a reason to go back.

When I finally started going the right way on 31 I passed a John Deere dealership and felt right at home. Did I mention I'm from Kansas? Eventually I made my way to the quilt shop and it was as fabulous as I had imagined. Oh my God, the fabric. So much fabric. I spent rather a lot of money and I'm going to try to set up the scanner real soon now so I can scan in all the gorgeous prints. The whole store is full of bolts and bolts of every kind of cotton print you could want, and there are MANY baskets full of fat quarters like this one. Those are not cheap remnants you see. Those are baskets full of Alexander Henry and batik Moda International fat quarters. Like I said, lots of money. I think I stood in front of the sparkly Asian kimono prints shelf for a good 45 minutes.

Eventually I dragged myself out the door (I messed up my knee the other day and it was getting sore from all the standing around, otherwise I could have been there all day) and drove back toward Princeton. But on the way I stopped at the Cream King for a mint chip cone. That is the "small." They're not stingy at the Cream King.

I pushed my luck and took a different route home because I was going into town instead of straight home, and amazingly enough I made it right into town without having to turn around or anything. I went through a part of town I hadn't seen before and holy cow, there are MANSIONS in this town. Huge gorgeous houses. (For anyone who knows, this is in that part just north and west of 206 as it cuts through town.) I went to the library and picked up a copy of "Bleachy Haired Honky Bitch" by Hollis Gillespie, which is proving to be a truly excellent read, and I happened to wander past the A section of Children's Fiction and so I ended up with some Joan Aiken and Lloyd Alexander, too.

Then I went to the Wild Oats for some groceries (corn on the cob, watermelon, those excellent kalamata olives, frozen veggie burritos for lunch) and came on home, arriving just after the baseball trading deadline. I'm happy that Manny Ramirez is still a Red Sock and also that we beat the Twins again, which is the way it should be.

Now I should go wash some dishes, but maybe first I'll try to wrangle the scanner while I'm still awake...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Some knitting was achieved last night, on both the ChicKami and the shawl, mostly while posing for "Alex knitting" pictures! The best of the photos is now posted here. My hair is a lot longer these days and none of my pictures represented that.

The shawl knitting is getting a lot easier - I'm starting to understand how things should go from one row to the next, and since it's getting wider, I have to repeat each row's pattern more times. Of course this means that the gratification of seeing it get longer is going to slow down quite a bit. Oh well. Hopefully much crafting will be done over the weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Plans for another tote bag or two are in the works... this is one of the color combinations that I like. The fabrics are Kaffe Fassett "Gazanias" and a Moda marble print (which is a bit darker in real life). Mostly I'm posting this to test Blogger Images, which is new to me. It's not bad, but now I need to figure out if I can stash all those thumbnails on the Blogger servers so I'm not eating up Princeton's bandwidth.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Mixed Greens
Blue pencil case
Updated pix also posted for Skyespun, Flower Basket, and (sadly out of focus) ChicKami II. Peaches also helped me demonstrate how large the skeins of Shilasdair yarn are. :-)

On Friday I taught the two guys in the lab how to knit. They picked it up remarkably quickly - whether they stick with it remains to be seen. Still, do I get super-geek points for sitting around in the middle of the genomics lab teaching my fellow scientists how to knit?

Monday, July 25, 2005

More sewing

I should retitle this page "Alex knits, sews, and reorganizes her craft space" because that's what it's been about lately. We went to the fabric store on Saturday (Oliver bravely accompanied me, since it's right next to the Cold Stone Creamery) to pick up some thread and ribbon. I found a nice pack of dark blue calico remnants, one of which promptly became four pencil cases (picture coming soon). I also made the green-on-green tote bag and I love it, though I still have to give it handles, and I keep forgetting to put in a pocket. At least I wrote down the measurements and some very sketchy instructions, so maybe next time I'll remember that part. If I were really motivated I'd even try to make external pockets with ribbon trim, but that uses a lot more fabric and I'm stingy that way.

My current problem is that I have a hard time bringing myself to drop a lot of money at eQuilter or ReproDepot (Fuzzy Mabel is another matter) and the only fabric store I know of around here is JoAnn Fabrics, which sucks. I said earlier that Oliver was brave to come with me - not because he's some dude who's scared of girly things like crafts, but because that store scares me too: it's full of hideous plastic lawn ornaments and fake flowers and God only knows what lurks in the pile of sale fabric bolts in the back of the store. Even the basic calico is not very good quality. So I need a better local source of fabric. I know we're moving to Colorado in five months, but still, I've been putting a pretty serious dent in my fabric stash lately. Maybe Google can help me...
Update: The answer is to search for quilt shops, not fabric stores. Pennington Quilt Works, only 11 miles away. I foresee an expedition!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Learn-to-spin kit from Skeintily Clad. Because, you know, what I really need is a new project.

Update: That kit is, sadly, sold out, but there's also this attractive one from Halcyon Yarn...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bulletproof Knitting

From a discussion of knitting at work: Kevlar yarn.
For the nerd knitter (like yours truly), this has tremendous possibilities. The fiber itself doesn't have much stretch, so it'd probably do best in a very stretchy knit.

Monday, July 18, 2005

"I do love knitting patterns."

Well, I got some knitting done at Stitch&Bitch, but mostly I played with Gretchen's adorable daughter Edith (age 10 weeks). But despite that and having spent the entirety of Saturday reading HBP, the ChicKami II is now a good six inches long, I'm about to start the third repeat of the main lace pattern on the shawl, and the Skyespun sleeve is maybe 2-3 inches long. I have new resolve regarding that sweater: it WILL be finished, and soon. Unfortunately last night I was having strange twinges in my back after knitting for a while, but I suspect that's partly due to spending hours and hours on the couch holding a 600+ page book.

I also organized my small fabric stash yesterday (yay!) and was struck with inspiration for another tote bag, involving that pale green 30s calico and a darker green batik/tie-dye. Right now it's just sitting on my desk saying "Make me" but maybe I'll cut it out tonight. The problem with making bags is that I like to use fusible interfacing, which means dragging out the iron and ironing board. Someday I'll have more space to work with so I can leave the ironing board set up all the time (and while we're daydreaming, I'd also like a big worktable like Megan's).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Skyespun Sleeve II has begun! I picked up the requisite 90 stitches and knit 3 whole rows of the sleeve. Now begins the "decrease by 1 stitch every 3 rows" section, which is a pain because I have to keep track of every third row. Still, it feels good to have started the sleeve.

I knit one more row of the shawl to finish the first repeat, and put in a lifeline, so if I make a huge mistake I have somewhere to rip back to. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

I also went to the fabric store and picked up more interfacing. And there, in the remnants bin, was more pale blue lining. (Also a quarter-yard of some really cute pale green 30s calico.) I see more sewing in my future.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I didn't do much knitting yesterday after all, mostly because the bag took longer than I expected. (Partly because I messed up the side seams and had to rip them out.) But it's a wonderful bag and I already love it. Now I have something snazzy to carry all my knitting projects in! It's just a plain tote bag, no pockets. If I were making it again I might put in a long narrow pocket for holding patterns, which seem to migrate to the bottom of the bag. However, I'm out of interfacing, so no more bags for now. I can't explain the sky-blue lining; I have some perfectly nice off-white that would be a better match for the fabric, but the blue just spoke to me.

Tonight is the All-Star Game, so I expect to spend a lot of quality time with the couch while watching Manny and Papi hit 'em out of the park.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Much knitting last night, mostly on the shawl. I should probably learn not to knit tricky things like lace when operating on 5 hours of sleep, but it's really addictive to watch the lace pattern grow. Also, they were showing the first Harry Potter movie on TV, and I've seen it about fifteen times and own the DVD, so dunno why I watched it on TV but it was perfect to have in the background while knitting. Oh, and a reminder to myself: that green upholstery thread you bought by accident three years ago will be perfect for a lace "lifeline," which you should do soon given that you're almost done with the first repeat.

Maybe tonight I'll be virtuous and pick up the stitches for the second sleeve of Oliver's sweater. Only problem is, it's this enormous pile of Shetland/Gotland wool, and it's 93 here today, and even though we have air conditioning it takes a while to cool down the house after I get home from work. But I'm still going to try. Maybe if I have some ice cream first...

Later: I made a new knitting bag! It's cotton with fusible interfacing and sky-blue rayon lining, and navy grosgrain ribbon trim.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A small introduction

It's a blog! I migrated my old knitting page over to Blogger so it won't have to move when I change jobs in six months, and so it can be more blog-like. Hopefully this will encourage me to knit more, so that I can post more often.

Newest project: the Flower Basket Shawl! Beth and I are having a knit-along. The yarn is white Misti Alpaca, though I also bought some navy blue in case I need to make another one. Yarn from Fuzzy Mabel, which has free shipping for July and August. The shawl is, as of today, approximately 1.5 inches long.

I'm still working on Oliver's Skyespun sweater, purchased on the Isle of Skye during our honeymoon. Update: One sleeve finished! Next: other sleeve, and collar, and then the Great Weaving In of Ends will commence.

I'm also starting a new ChicKami in Rowan Handknit Cotton ("Diana"). I already made one in pale blue; I had to re-do the straps and neckline ribbing to add a few more rows and make new, shorter straps, and it fits much better now! The new one is going to be a size smaller, so it'll fit more snugly. Someday I'll learn to measure myself more carefully before choosing a pattern. The color is quite a bit darker and more purple than in the photo at right.

I put the Rowan Bonny sweater (in navy blue cashmerino) on this list solely for motivational purposes. It has many rows of moss stitch on #3 needles and has been about 1 inch long for 3 years or so. Embarrassing.

Details of the finished projects:

  • ChicKami I, Rowan Handknit Cotton in Chime. This is a great yarn for summer stuff, though my cast-on edges seem to get a little fuzzy in contrast to the smooth knitted fabric. From Bonne Marie's outstanding pattern. Keep in mind that the I-cord straps will stretch significantly when you're wearing it - make 'em short.
  • Needle case - not one of my most perfect sewing efforts, especially as it was made before I bought the rotary cutter, but it does the job, and I like the fabrics. It folds in half and then in thirds and ties shut with a ribbon. My own design.
  • Fuzzyfeet, from the Knitty pattern, a birthday present for my mom. Yarn is "Town" from Glenmarle Woolworks and trim is, um, what the hell is it? Oh yeah, Plymouth Furlauro, super-soft eyelash. I also made myself a pair in screaming purple but haven't felted them yet.
  • Purple mittens, from a kit from Morehouse Farms, a birthday present from Beth. Color: grape juice. Dense, warm, a delight to knit and wear. Only problem is they clash horribly with my new red coat, so I may just need to make another pair. Or five. We are moving to Colorado, after all. I can still wear them in the fall with a sweater instead of the coat.
  • Pink fuzzy scarf, yarn bought at 2004 Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest. Two different yarns: one 50/50 merino/mohair, one entirely mohair, simple 2x2 rib. It's fuzzy and warm and HOT PINK. Also clashes with aforementioned red coat, but I wear it indoors a lot.
  • Gloves, KFI Cashmerino in gray and blue-green, from the "Johnstone gloves" pattern in the Rowan "A Season's Tale" book. It was a little confusing knitting gloves flat and then sewing as I went along, but I followed the pattern faithfully and it turned out well. My one correction: the distance from the top of the ribbing to the base of the thumb was too long for my small hands. I love the stripes though, and being able to make my own gloves so the fingers are the right length. Fortunately I have more of this yarn as I expect to wear these until they fall apart.