Friday, May 28, 2010

Not Quite Halfway

When last we spoke about my Aunt's Prayer Shawl, I was knitting it up with some Patons SWS.  However I got about this far:

and decided that I wasn't going to have near enough yarn to continue on.  So, I ditched it and headed to Michael's.  There was a time when I went to Joann's or Michael's and every other skein was a ribbon yarn.  Remember that?  It wasn't that long ago.  That's what I was looking for to replace the SWS.  I finally find a project that would be perfect for it and there's not one skein to be found!  None.  It was time for plan B.

I searched a bit more and found something very pretty.  Acrylic, but really pretty even so.  It was a ball of Vanna's Glamour in black.  There are gorgeous black shiny threads running throughout the yarn.  This shawl is going to be very elegant with that yarn.  I'm actually surprised at this yarn.  It's pretty, doesn't feel squeaky on the needles and it's easy to work with. 

Here's a closeup of the project so that you can see the sparkle:

I'm not quite halfway finished with the shawl, but I'm almost there.  Say, about 45% complete.  It's turning out lovely, I think.  I just hope my Aunt thinks so.  My arm and wrist are already starting to ache, but I've several more hours of knitting to do tonight and tomorrow before it gets close to being done.  Just think how much further along I would be if I hadn't wasted my time with the first version of this shawl.  Time!  I need more time!

Here's how it looks full length:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Murphy Loves Me

Today's post was supposed to be about progress on my Aunt's Prayer Shawl.  However, Murphy has reared his ugly head and interrupted all my well laid plans.

I went to my giant chest freezer to put some loaves of bread into it and water came gushing out.  Yikes!  It's quickly defrosting and it's 5:45 pm.  Any repairman that does make it here tonight is going to charge megabucks.  But that's nothing compared to the hundreds of dollars that is now defrosting.  I may be cooking deer meat and other vittles all night just to try and salvage what I can.

Had I told you that we had finally paid off our credit cards?  We may be adding a new freezer back onto those cards.  noooooooooo!

Anyway, I gotta go and so some fast salvage work.  I'll update you on this and the shawl tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Knitting a Prayer Shawl

My Aunt Sherry (an Aunt by marriage) lost her Eldest sister today.   Her sister was 80 and had a long list of ailments that combined with Pneumonia, was just too much for her.  It was expected and long in the coming, but hard nevertheless.

So, in honor of her sister's memory, I decided to make my Aunt a prayer shawl.  Since I have to have this finished my this coming Saturday (yes, I'm nuts to think it can be finished by then) I decided  to use some honkin' big needles and this pattern:  Purl Shawl by Allison Blevins from Tangle.  It's a free pattern and it's super easy.  Although, if you hate doing purls, you probably won't enjoy it.  There are no knit stitches in this pattern!

It's supposed to be knit with ribbon yarn.  I don't happen to have any ribbon yarn in the stash, so I've decided to make do with two skeins of leftover Patons SWS in Natural Earth.  I'm hoping that the two skeins will be enough, we'll see.  After I get a few more inches on the needles I'll be able to tell a little better.  If the Patons doesn't turn out to be a good match, I'll get some sock yarn out and start over.   With the huge needles, it will go quickly either way.  I hope.

For those that don't know, a Prayer Shawl is for comfort in loss, dealing with sickness or for those in just general need and is begun with prayers for the recipient and the prayers continue with each and every stitch that is knit.  It's not necessarily a certain type of shawl. Any pattern can be used with any needles and the knitter's choice of yarn.  It let's the recipient know that the shawl was knit with love and with them specifically in mind.  As they wrap themselves in the Prayer Shawl, they also are wrapping themselves in the prayers said for them.  Everyone needs a Prayer Shawl at some point in their life, don't they?  

I'll have a progress report for you tomorrow.  I'm going to go knit my little fingers off!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Mary Poppins Closet

I'd love to be able to say that I was incredibly crafty today, but it's just not going to happen.  You see, I got a wild hair today to empty my walk in closet.  It's been a disaster area for quite a long time.  If I didn't know what to do with something, that's where it got piled. 

This has taken almost all day to complete.  I completely emptied it and trashed by bedroom with it's contents.  It look like a hurricane had hit.  I wish I had taken before and after pics of everything, but I probably would have been too embarrassed to show you.

There were two pieces of furniture in the closet; a small chest of drawers that holds sweaters and a standing jewelry box.  If you tried to open one, the other was in the way.   I tried six ways to Sunday to get the chest of drawers to go up under the hanging shelves.  I wasn't smart enough to use a tape measure to find out if it would fit into several spots.  I'm blond, obviously.  Eventually, I got lucky and found just the right spot.  I took the jewelry box out of the closet completely.  I'll worry about what to do with it later.

Shoes.  Who knew I had so many that I didn't wear?  One bag of shoes went into the donate pile.  I filled three garbage bags full of clothes that was added to the donate pile as well.

Four, I repeat, four boxes of books (the kind of box that holds copy paper) full of books left my closet and headed to the attic.  Egads, that sounds like a lot of books.  But in reality, it doesn't hold a candle to the number of boxes that I could fill with all the books that I own. 

One large box was filled with books that is going to be donated to the library.  Did you know that, unlike clothing, when books are donated they keep most of their value?  If you donate a lot of books to your local library, that adds up quickly to be a fantastic write-off on your taxes!

The attic is going to be filled to the rafters.  Besides the boxes of books, I added a large storage bin of purses/bags to go up into it.  Also, some baskets and one box of knick knacks. 

My closet reminded me of Mary Poppins' carpet bag.  I kept taking stuff out and then more stuff and then even more.  I'm amazed that I ever got all that crap in there in the first place.   It's embarrassing. 

In between all the closet cleaning I had to make lunch, referee a fight between the boys, give the Eldest a piano lesson, referee another fight, make dinner, referee another fight, you get the drift.  I think back on when I had no children and how much time I had on my hands.  I reflect, quite often, on how I could complete a task without having to stop a hundred times in the middle of it.

My older self really started to envy my younger self when I came down stairs, trash bags in tow, and saw that a hurricane had plowed a huge path through the downstairs of my house.  That would be "Hurricane the Youngest", officially named after this little rascal:

I'm sure that as soon as I get the lower half of the house straightened up again, "Hurricane the Youngest" will go up and demolish my nice, clean and semi-organized closet.  :sigh:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Knitting Books!

The Mail man and I have become really tight.  Actually, he probably just thinks I'm a stalking nut that has cute kids that like to meet him at his truck to collect the mail (he brings them candy, he's really a nice guy and the children adore him.)

I have, despite being a mailman stalking nut raising mailman stalking children, at least kept him busy lately:

Sweater design has been very much on my mind lately.  I have several designs that I want to implement, but have run into some problems.  I can easily make a sweater to fit me, but I want to get into the design side that makes patterns for others and I've run into a few brick walls lately.  Therefore, the two design books in the lower part of the photo. 

There are numerous books and how-to's for designing your own sweater, but there is nothing for the aspiring designer.  Here's an issue that I'm having:  Grading a pattern.  That's where you have a pattern written out and you want it to be expanded to fit multiple sizes.   Some magazines cough: Vogue :cough tend to want to just add two inches to every number in the pattern.  But, just because someone is six sizes larger than me, doesn't necessarily mean that their arm length is 12 inches longer than mine!

So where do I find out how to properly grade a pattern?  When I queried designer Melissa Leapman on how to learn to do this, her answer was to read tons of patterns and reverse engineer them to find out how the professionals do it.  I'm currently doing that, but wouldn't it be cool if someone wrote a book on how to do this?  There's a large void in that part of the market.  Someone could make a mint writing a book like that.  Bonus points for them if they put in some info about the business side of creating knitting designs. 

Any designers out there listening?  anyone?