Friday, April 28, 2006

Say Backpack, Say Backpack!


It's sitting a little funny because i hacked off the star/flower in a fit of rage then had to shave and refelt the side using hot water from the sink and a scrubby sponge. Then I made a colorful star from felt and sewed it on. It's not a pocket, it's the magical activated star pocket at the moment the stars hop inside. So there.

Anyway, it's sitting funny because that side is still a little wet.

But it's finished.

Glue Help!

Glue is not holding the crappy felt to the bag! help! help! what can i use?


This is what I was trying to glue. The face bits. I ended up sewing them on, which for me is seriously no small feat. Does it tell you anything if I tell you that the only sewing equipment I have in the house is a little kit from a hotel that I've had for about 10 years? Luckily it had lots of colors, though I used up all the red and had to finish the mouth in fuchsia.

Photos to come.

Felting Complete

Well, I see a few things I would modify, but for designing in the dark at various movie theaters, I'm pretty pleased. It took three whopping hot wash/cold rinses for a total of $4.50 which almost makes the Malabrigo cost effective compared to Cascade, but you can't beat the availability and color range. So I'd use it again, for sure.

In the meantime, the star pocket came out looking a bit floral. Not sure how to fix it other than knitting a square, felting, then cutting out the star. since that's not going to happen at this late date, I'm going to live with a floral star pocket. Watch. You know the first words out out of The Divine Mouth will be "look, a flower!"

Oh, and thanks for the thoughts about preventing the pockets from felting shut. of course i didn't even attempt to listen to either one of you (especially when you started using that f-word that makes my eyes glaze over). the short version is they didn't felt shut. not even a little. not even the little loose ends that I left dangling inside the star just to see what would happen. So now we know.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Star Pocket! The Star Pocket!

If you've seen Dora you know what I'm talking about. If not, rest assured that the title is not just me being insane. So here's my star pocket. I made it, sewed it on, and realized it completely disappeared when I did that. So i added a braid trim all around the border. I hope it felts well. I am sick of this thing.

oh. And here's the map pocket.

Tomorrow I felt this thing. I can't wait. I'm totally nervous.

Hey, are my pockets gonna felt closed?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oh, My Stars!


I figure if I adjust the pattern to be the width of the side of the backpack (where the star pocket goes) pre-felting, then the star should felt to the correct size, right?

haha. I should have read the pattern before I rushed to that thought. Did you see that pattern? i don't have any idea what it's about, much less how to reduce it to the dimensions I need.

I just made 5 garter stitch triangles, joined them, knit in the round fudging decreases until a little creative cinching got it to close and be flat instead of domey. That goodness for felting.

Photos to come.

More Evil Backpack

Thank you all for your suggestions. I finished the backpack at the movies last night (Kinky Boots, well worth seeing) and came to some conclusions there. I came home to read your comments and hearing Davina of the enviable haircut offer the same conclusion I reached myself makes me sure it's the way to go,

I'm going to felt the backpack as it is, then cut out the details and sew them on afterwards. The question now is do I try to find craft store felt or do I knit up swatches, felt them, and cut out shapes from my swatches?

I've also decided (i think) that instead of a drawstring, I'm going to add a velcro closure. She is, after all, three, and I don't think the whole drawstring thing is within her realm of stuff she'll even think about wanting to do when she's throwing all manner of things in her backpack as I stand at the door bellowing "come ON! let's GO! please!!!"

I fear the velcro and the felted backpack is a recipe for disaster, but what's the worse that happens? it pulls and pills? I can shave it, right? or not care because she is, after all, three?

I'll also knit a swatch and cut out a star, sewing along the bottom and velcroing the top so it doesn't get flaccid points. Nothing worse that a flaccidy pointed star.

Here's the flap I "designed" in the dark without counting during the movie. Luckily it turned out ok. I did mark the back before i started so the flap is not rounding a corner or something. I think the extra random purl row might be a nice touch when felted. but maybe it won't matter at all. I find the flap curls in a bit, because i cast off on the wrong, so i'm contemplating flipping the whole thing inside out before felting. Should look the same either way, right?

I'm hoping this felts solidly because there are a few flaws in the knitting, as evidenced in this photo. A few extra-saggy stitches and a couple of spots where i knit into the stitch itself as well as the one below. I seem to do that a lot in the dark.

I got into a brief discussion about the bag with the 70-something woman leaning on her cane who was waiting for admission with me. She cursed like a sailor and wondered why the hell I was making a backpack "out of that stuff." She wasn't really granny material, I have to say. Except for when she leaned over to her friend during the movie and said "Want some chocolate covered Matzoh? Help me finish this or I'll eat the whole box."

"When did Passover end?" her friend asked, equally loudly.

Un-Granny snorted "That's why it cost 10 cents a box. Eat it."

Back to the Divine Miss M and her birthday for a moment. We received a gift from someone who I considered a close friend until the moment I saw what was inside the box. A set of 56 wooden stamps and an ink pad.

Oy Vey.

You'll note that before anything even touched the paper she had stamped the back of both hands, just like at storytime. help me.

See this look of innocence? see the ink all over her hand as she holds it up precariously over the table?

Friday, April 21, 2006

help. i can't think.

i have a cold. i can't think. i have a billion questions. answer them for me.

1. i intend to duplicate stitch the face on this thing. i knit cascade 220 on 10.75s (7mm) so it's loose. if i duplicate stitch then felt how can I be assured the embroidery stays on the top?

2. how can i make a star-shaped pocket without resorting to crochet, at which i suck?

3. why am i doing this?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Backpack Begins

Cascade 220. This was one of my first yarns. And then I went away from it. I loathed it for a time. I wonder why? I'm really enjoying it. It's no minimally processed organic something or other, but it's nice and even and reliable. And cheap. And available 5 minutes before Downtown Yarns closed in the perfect color.

Pattern? No idea. totally winging it. I didn't do a felted gauge swatch so i'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. I'm trying to decide if i should really make it roundy on the bottom like the "real" backpack or if flat is more practical. Of course I was planning on a map pocket and map (I was thinking craft felt and a sharpie) but now i realize I should do a star pocket, too. *sigh*

I don't have Cascade for the face - i plan on duplicate stitching it on pre-felting - should I worry about different yarns felting differently? Do I need to buy red and white Cascade just for the tiny bit of embroidery?

The unsuspecting recipient. You can definitely see the Italian in her in this photo, no?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Ides of April

Made it to the post office 4 minutes before closing, which is really 56 minutes after the one locallest to me closed, but before I was doomed to trek to the main PO at 34th street. My husband met me there to fulfill his marital filing jointly duties, and I got those taxes postmarked on time.

Even though i stood in line next to a huge "Tax day is April 18, 2006" sign, i still feel like i got away with something bad. And that they're gonna fine me. And frankly, I can really only handle writing out one check per year to The United States Treasury.

In the meantime, it's not only tax day, it's my sister's birthday. So i sent her the Booga. Postmarked today, of course. So it's late but only in the when it actually arrives sense of the word.

I have to say I love the Booga Bag. I love it made with Malabrigo. I love the texture, I love the colors, I love the size and shape of it. It is far too feminine for my taste, but it makes me instantly think of my sister, who is brave enough to love mango colored things and is a beautiful, feminine woman.

For my next felting experiment I will be making a lavender backpack complete with face and map pocket for A Certain Squid who turns three on Saturday.

That would be The Squid in question. as opposed to this:

for whom i am quite sure i shall never knit a backpack.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Progress Report

Making progress. Finally able to felt the Booga. I love the way the colors turned out. Marbled, almost. This is after having run through one 10 minute hot wash cycle. I am very happy with the dimensions (4" deep, 6.5" wide, 7.75" tall) It could be a hair shorter, but I'm ok with the size as it is. It's blocking on a child's shoe box, which is the perfect size for the bag as it is now. the top seems a bit flared, but maybe the strap pokeage will alleviate that.

I may run it through again. Though I love the size, It is not SUPER felted. I'm having a hard time getting a clear photo, but this one of the base is clickable to make it bigger. You can barely see the garter stitches.

In this photo you can kind of make out the space between the knitted rows. It's not VERY obvious, it's definitely more felt than not, but the stitches have not completely melted.

The strap is, I think, a bit short. I made it nearly 6' unfelted but it seriously recoiled. Fortunately I have a ton of yarn left over so I can always make another one if necessary. I'm also not used to carrying a girly over the shoulder bag, so I'm a poor judge. I'm usually laden like a Sherpa when out and about.

In other news, I am also making progress on the sweater and my sock. The sweater is a little pooly in areas and nicely variegated in others. I'm trying not to be too anal about it and find the beauty in the random instead. It is, after all, a sweater for a toddler. It'll be covered in mud and dirt most of the time anyway.

And speaking of pooling... this sock yarn is doing the strangest thing. It's making thin stripes of brown with a tiny touch of natural on either side of the stripe, then a wide stripe of random pooling, then another brown/natural stripe again.

Odd, no? I adore this yarn beyond measure, though. I'm knitting it on 1s at a kind of mediumish tension. I wasn't sure if I should stretch it out while knitting or not. I guess I'd say I'm moderately stretching it as I go. It fits like a dream and I'm sure these will be my favorite socks, odd pooling stripes notwithstanding. And the fact that I paid NO attention at all to where in the color sequence I started this sock so who KNOWS what the other one will look like. I'm thinking these aren't the socks to wear under my Mary Janes.

Spring break at The Squid's school snuck up on me, so I've been feeling frantic and over worked these past few days. Here's hoping I finish a few of these projects (namely the sweater) soon. Not looking forward to the button and buttonhole plackets, though.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

Hate me because i got 28 bars of Dagoba organic, child-slavery-free chocolate in the mail.

Lost in Translation...

Despite my oh-so-fluent-sounding quote from "Go, Diego Go!" yesterday, I don't speak much Spanish. However, I'd like to start translating my patterns into some other languages. I've done them in Italian and the terminology is pretty specific, you need to be a knitter AND speaker of the target language to really do it. So I'm looking for a Spanish speaking knitter to help me. Anyone?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

¬°Al Rescate!

So here's the body of the Booga. I measured it after I knit it up, and I was thinking "hmm. seems kinda small and tallish. But I'm gonna trust the pattern for a change."

I looked and looked and looked at it, got completely impatient and decided to hand-felt the thing. Well, that made me even more impatient so i just ended up with a wet bag. So i measured it again, because of course, worsted merino knit on 10.5s grew quite a bit when wet.

My starting measurements were 8" x 4" x 12" and "blocked" i get 12.5" x 8" x 15".

I can't wait to see this thing felted. I have to make about 42 yards of i-cord first, though.

I photographed the wet version with my good friend Diego for scale. I figure Diego will be doing a lot of riding in this bag, if it turns into something I'll actually carry. So he may as well get used to it now.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Objects in Mirror Are Different From How They Appear

I saw "Capote" tonight and got a lot of work on my Booga Bag done. The movie was disturbing, Hoffman was amazing (i always like him in everything, though). the knitting was easy and fast. I'm wondering about the outcome, however. it's looking awfully narrow and tall. I have very little experience with felting, however, because I live in New York.

For me felting means paying $1.50 a wash, and not being able to just run the hot wash over and over, but i have to wait there, in the basement (meaning it has to be when my toddler is otherwise occupied and not coming along to help me), take the item out during the cold rinses, and run it again. For another $1.50 in quarters. Needless to say, I'm not big into felting.

So maybe the dimensions are correct on this one. I'm just glad I decided to follow a pattern instead of wing it because these are NOT the proportions i would have gone for. And knitting and felting a swatch? yeah, right.

My new system of having various items to knit under various conditions is working nicely, I must say. I'm ready for the heel flap on Marco's sock, moving it from "mindless knitting" to "have to watch and count" knitting. In the meantime, I got through the increases in my sock, and it's moved from "have to count and pay attention" to "mindless knitting". So I worked on it in the lobby while waiting to line up for the movie. During the movie, i've found that knitting in the dark on 1s isn't the best idea, so when the previews ended i put the sock away and pulled out the booga bag.

Let's talk about this sock. The yarn is from Greenwood Fiberworks etsy store. I bought it several months ago, when this colorway was not yet called the original but simply was the original. Anyway. As you can see, my sock doesn't look like the demo sock at all. In fact, i've ripped this thing out a ton of times in the months i've been holding onto the yarn, trying different sock patterns to get more stripey stripes. Finally I just gave up and went for broke with a basic toe-up. Not only that, I paid no attention at all to where in the pattern i cast on, so these are not only going to be pooly but mismatched and pooly.

Doesn't matter much. I love the yarn. The colors truly are Neapolitan, and the pooling, in my opinion. merely add to that just-opened-the-box-of-ice cream effect.

Oh, I've been meaning to ask you...

my little Squid really wants to knit. But she's three. She rifles through my yarn a lot and when I suggest that manhandling the alpaca isn't really a suitable activity she wails "but i just love yarn!"

So i'd love to find some yarny activity. ideas?

Uni-finished Business

Finshed the sweater. Of course that's the famous "Child's Placket Sweater" from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. And it was pretty fast, except for my being too lazy to do the math before I started stripes, so I had to tear back a little. But it worked out well in the end, I think. I used Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (it's for a Florida baby) and knit it on 7s which is a bit bigger than usual for me but the fabric is quite nice and there are none of those wobbly bits I sometimes get with cotton knit loosely. In fact, the photo was taken pre-blocking, and aside from puckery seed stitch at the hem I think it looks very even.

In case someone else wants to do stripes and doesn't want to do math, I did 8 rows of seed and 8 rows of st st in the blue, then 13 rows of everything else. For the sleeve I did 8 rows of seed and then 3 rows of st st in blue before switching color and resuming 13 rows per color. I also added a buttonhole and did a single button just under the neckline at the final color change (so it's easy to find when dressing a likely-to-be-screaming newborn baby.

Of course that leaves me with two pairs of socks, a cardigan, and a bag unfinished still. I did actually finish the other things I was knitting, but don't have photographic evidence of that right now.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Unfinished Business

Remember him? he finally found a home. He's been donated to the NEST+m school silent auction. I need to make one for my kid's school's silent auction, too.

Unfinished business. I have on the needles and active (as in i worked on every single one of these today) Marco's last sock, the first sock of a pair for me, Asher's sweater, a bird, a bean bag, a small bear, and i cast on a Booga bag. why? because I must be the only knitter in the internet universe who hasn't. And because I didn't know what else to do with that orangey Malabrigo. And because it is project spectrum-worthy. And because everything else has grown out of its "knit in the darkable" phase.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What's in a date?

check out the time, my friends. that would be 1:23 4/5/06.

I Heart New York

This photo has nothing to do with this post except that it showed up in the mail yesterday and is a nice Project Spectrum photo.

In response to our family bedtime woes, my husband and i have a schedule. Each of us takes turns helping the beast fall asleep. If I'm in the house, though, she wants me to come. If I'm gone, she could care less. So every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I'm out on the town from about 7:30ish until about 10:30ish.

The first couple of times I went to a local wine bar. It's a good one, called "the place on the side" (it sounds better in italian) because it's next to a great restaurant. The place on the side has a different menu, and a huge wine list. Not that I know anything about wine. But I figure, i should do something productive with my nights on the town so I'm learning.

However, spending three nights a week in a wine bar was becoming expensive, not to mention, you know, sitting alone in a wine bar 3 nights a week. Then I remembered about movies. So I've been going to the movies. This week I saw "Mrs. Henderson Presents", "Inside Man" and "The Squid and the Whale." or is it the whale and the squid? I don't remember. Well, the latter two were the ones I liked best of the three. And you know what's funny? I came home from Inside Man and said to Marco "Hey, guess who was in the movie?" and he immediately said "Ken Leung." And he was right. Ken is a friend of ours whom we haven't seen in YEARS. Since right before I got pregnant and moved out of the country in 2002. And since we've been back (gulp. two years now) we've sucked at getting in touch with old friends. Anyway, it was really nice to see Ken's face slapped on the big old screen and it made me miss him. And a whole era of my life. I directed Ken and another dear friend - the one who introduced me to Ken - Ron Domingo in a little play in 2000ish. Might have been 99. It was really good. I've known Ron since college. And i haven't seen HIM since right before I got pregnant and moved out of the country in 2002, either. But at least HIM i've talked to on the phone.

But I digress because Ken always makes me think of Ron.

So, last night I went to the Squid and the Whale or the Whale and the Squid and who's in it? yeah. Ken Leung. He plays a therapist. Now Ken is such a wise ass that I have a hard time not seeing him as mocking and ironic. Even though that wasn't what he was doing. But I saw it that way.

After the movie, my Squid still wasn't sleeping, so i stopped off - yes - at the wine bar. Yum. I was treated to a little plate of parmesan and an extra-delish Pino Nero from Trentino (don't I sound like I learned something? I didn't. But I like to pretend I did.)

When I got home, to make a perfect night even better, I inspected my movie knitting, a sweater for the newborn son of a good friend of mine. I can't link to her filmography because to the best of my knowledge she doesn't have one. though I think she's done voiceovers for her husband's documentaries.

Anyway, knitting in the dark again. To top off my wonderful evening, i came home and inspected my movie knitting and saw that i hadn't made any mistakes. And I even had a color change. Check this out:

I feel like a rock star.

Monday, April 03, 2006

April Showers bring Orange and Yellow

That's right, it's a new month for Project Spectrum! I'm very excited about this. I feel like i didn't get to spend enough time with pink and red, but that's ok. Growth means change. I've noticed a severe lack of yellow and orange yarn in my stash, so I guess it's time to go yarn shopping!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Great Stash Flash

Let's get this part out of the way immediately. Here I have the Crate Of Garbage. More Wool-Ease chunky than anyone should ever see in a lifetime. Some enormous straight needles that make me shudder. Some ladder yarn, other spangly yarns. Some kitchen cotton and some bright blue furry soemthing that I got as a free offer on some site which I have blocked from my memory. At the time i thought, free yarn! why not? Now I know why not.

Now we can start in on the pretty stuff. The following nine photos are all Mosaic Moon yarns. Why so many? well, they're lovely, first of all. And they're mostly organic yarns, which is nice. And the kicker is that I'm a toymaker and a little 2 oz or 1 oz ball is plenty for me to use for something fun. And Morwenna is a pants maker, so the small balls are useless to her. Therefore we work well together. Her yarn inspires me, and in exchange, i take the leftovers off her hands. I keep this separate from my other yarn because it's already spoken for.

These are all of my betrothed yarns. They're all promised to a certain project. Some of these have had rather long engagements, poor things.

This is my pile of alpaca boucle yarn. Someday this pile will grow up to be bears, or bunnies, or elephants, or lions. But right now? just a fluffy pile of yarn.

This is the bedraggled collection of sock yarn (or general sportweight or thinner yarns that may be sock yarn someday). Looking at it here, all unravelly, it's kind of sad. For all of the beautiful hand painted yarns I have, my sock yarn collection kinda sucks.

The next 6 photos cover all the rest of it. Largely wool, with a handful of cotton tossed in there.

Last, but not least, is my sweater. There it is, in all it's glory. Simply waiting to be designed and executed. I have two apartments in two different cities, and I am blessed to have a local yarn store within brief walking distance of both of them. This yarn came from the one in Italy, and it's a 90% merino/10% rayon blend that is cushy and spunky.