Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Amazing Lace Challenge #3 - Poetic License to Kill

Rachel and Theresa, the organizers of The Amazing Lace, are a diabolical duo who have challenged us Lace participants to write a poem which embodies our team. Lately, our team has felt more disembodied than embodied, due to JayJay's impending move from New England to Southern California. As such, Schachy and I have taken over her blog and are solely responsible for this entry (with a lot of help from our good friend VHH-she's quite a hottie so we enjoyed hanging with her).

Here is Lolly's lovely haiku:

Joy in knitted lace
Transformed from hank to beauty
Wool becomes art

However, to truly appreciate this poem you need to follow the link below to hear Lolly read her poem herself, accompanied by an interpretive dance by the Takumi Twins. This video was directed by Schachy. The video is here. Please take the time to view this poetic multimedia extravaganza. (Warning: there is sound and lots and lots of silliness).

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Temporary Absence of Reason...and Blogging

I am in the process of moving across this lovely country of ours, so that means that blogging will dwindle for the time being. Rest assured my antics with crafting and life will continue even after I move to California. Indeed, the oddness seems to follow me whereever I go. My Amazing Lace teammates will be in charge of posting my submission for Challenge #3, and they seem to have quite a scheme cooked up! Be sure to watch for this multimedia extravaganza! Meanwhile, I will leave you with one of the reject shots from my Challenge #2 entry. Nice hair, huh? If there's one thing I've learned in my current job, it's how to wear a wig (I will explain someday, I promise).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Crafters Gone Wild!

I think it would be funny to have a video of "Crafters Gone Wild." What would a crafter do to get a coveted piece of fabric or enough silk yarn to make a shawl? You think spring breakers are bad, but I'm sure the crafters could outdo them. I sense a web contest coming on.

Of course crafters aren't known for being sexy, so we'll have to change our image to sell the video. Maybe we should start small, with a calendar? The Sexy Crafter Calendar. Imagine the creative poses with skeins of yarn, fat quarters, and strategically placed embroidery hoops! A few months ago I saw a clever calendar that featured naked people posing with produce. Surely, crafting supplies would lend themselves to even more creativity? This would just take the idea of Flash Your Stash Day to another level. Any volunteers?

Until I get this business idea off the ground, I plan to take inspiration for my next crafting adventures from Theresa at Knitting Underway. She's going to have a knitting project a month, chosen from a stash of lovely, yet heretofore unused, knitting books she has in her library. She will also try to use yarn from her stash. I plan to pick a project a month to work on, from my long list of abandoned projects. Will I finish the project in a month? Hopefully. Either way, this will result in changes in my sidebars and whittle down my yarn, fabric, and crafting supply stashes. Ah, happiness all around. Watch for the master list of monthly projects. And the Sexy Crafter Calendar.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy Feet

This weekend lots of packing got done, but sadly very little knitting. The one time I did get to knit was while I was getting a pedicure. Yes, this was quite an indulgence, for which I have my very good friends L, R, R, & J to thank. They gave me a gift certificate for my birthday, which I used for two pedicures. Here are the results of the pedicure, as my knitting progress is too boring to post. The color is Rodeo Rose. I'm not clear as to whether this refers to Rodeo Drive, or cowboys and rodeos. I prefer to think that it must refer to the latter. I imagine this is the color a cowgirl would wear on her nails for riding steers or bucking broncos. That way you could still catch glimpes of the bright pink polish as she was whipped around. It suddenly feels rather tame to have merely knit while this punchy color was applied. Perhaps I should make sure my feet have some exciting adventures in this polish? I did find a lovely yarn to coordinate. Its Kelly color 101 by Needful. I love the colorways of this yarn, and already have 3 skeins in 064 (technically mine is California Color by Gedifra, but it's really the same thing).

As for my current knitting, I am working on the endless rows of seed stitch for the raglan sleeves on the Schachenmayr sweater. I should switch to the white/pink/mauve striped Knit.1 tank top, so I don't bore you and myself too much. Don't expect to see me in a rodeo anytime soon, but there's a small chance I may show you my knitting. Be sure to watch out for the bright pink polish on my toes, as I may be moving quite fast.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Amazing Lace Challenge #2 - X-treme Knitting!

The team was disappointed with our performance on Challenge 1 of The Amazing Lace, and desperately needed to perform well to stay in the game. The pressure of competition was starting to get to us, and team solidarity was starting to break down. Lolly and I thought that Schachy was becoming a bit of a diva, and thus a liability to the team. There was some serious frogging (almost 3 inches) last weekend, and I was nearly in tears at the end of it. The fate of the team was hanging by a thin, silk-blend thread. Not even Lolly's sturdy worsted weight cotton could hold us together. We needed serious help. I called in a favor and was able to get advice from another trio who had faced tough assignments together and prevailed. Lolly and Schachy were thrilled to meet Charlie's Angels, and get some good advice.

It had been a long time since I had last seen the Angels, so we decided to unwind with a little dancing. After we had some fun and caught up, I asked the girls how they manage to stick together, even when things get rough. "You have to trust each other, and have confidence that your teammates will come through when you need them." "Working together you will always be a stronger force than working alone." Armed with this great advice we were ready to get on with the competition.

We had to do some X-treme knitting and fast! What could we do? Finally, I had an inspiration. To demonstrate the most outrageous, extreme knitting, we had to knit while astride the giant termite, Nibbles Woodaway! This was certainly going to be a tricky feat. Dressed in our best "Charlie's Angels go incognito" outfits, we managed to smuggle ourselves into the building, and then onto the roof of New England Pest Control.

We were ready to face off with "The Big Blue Bug" (as he's known on the tough streets of Providence). Would Nibbles make short work of us, or could we tame him and win the challenge? Thankfully, Schachy had packed lots of wood to distract Nibbles.

I was able to hop on with Schachy and start to knit while Lolly distracted the bug. Charlie flew in with his helicopter just in time to be able to snap a photo. We managed to complete the challenge before the deadline! Now that's some X-treme Knitting, all thanks to teamwork! Thank you Angels, and of course thank you Charlie!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

Last night was my final hurrah for the Brown knitting group. I felt a little teary as I knit with this wonderful group of friends for the last time. That combined with looking at this mess of yarn is enough to reduce anyone to tears.One more week until we move to California! Here are my craft supplies, all packed and ready to go. I hope the knitters in Cali are as wonderful as those here.

Stop back this weekend to see my entry for Challenge #2 of The Amazing Lace! There will be danger, excitement, and even guest star appearances. You don't want to miss it!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Amber Waves of.....Yarn?

It's nearly Independence Day, so "America the Beautiful" seems somewhat appropriate. During the lead-up to The Fourth of July, our patriotic holiday, I will be moving across country, from New England to California, observing the aforementioned beauty first-hand.

I know what you're thinking. It's about time that she posted about something made of yarn! So, by popular demand, here is a crocheted ripple afghan (which look to me like ocean waves). This is a "scrapghan" in the true sense of the word. My mother started it using leftover yarns, all cheap acrylic, of course. For afghans, acrylic actually works pretty well. You can machine wash and dry and abuse the heck out of it and it still looks pristine.

The colors are limited to tans, oranges, yellow, and blues, giving it a fall-like appearance. There are three large blocks of solid cream as well, so it doesn't look overly busy. This thing is monstrously huge. I guess I wanted to make sure that on cold midwestern evenings I could fit me, my husband, our kids, and any friends who are visiting under my lovely afghan. These are important considerations in places where the actual outside temperature can get down to 40 below. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I am happy to be moving to southern California. But what will I do with my extensive wardrobe of bulky wool sweaters, heavy wool socks, glove liners, and silk long underwear?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Real Reason Zebras Don't have Ulcers

Anyone read the Robert Sapolsky book, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers? I'm beginning to think it's because they aren't stupid enough to accept a job 3,000 miles from their current job. Ok, that's stretching it a bit, but I have to admit that THE BIG MOVE is starting to stress me out. Which is why this "knitting blog" has had very little knitting. An even bigger tragedy is that as I was working along on the schachenmayr top I realized that I had misread the pattern. It said "increase at the each end of every fourth row" not "increase at the end of the row every fourth row." Looking back, it seems rather obvious, but in the exhausted haze of packing and blogging, blogging and packing its easy to see how I may have misread the pattern. Thus, I tinked back more rows than I care to contemplate. Let us have a moment of silence.

Anyway, back to planning my big move to Southern California. That's one small step for man, one giant leap for a knitter from a farm in the midwest.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Stitch in Time

So, in previous posts I've mentioned that during one stage of my life I was an avid quilter. Maybe avid is the wrong term. Obsessive is probably more accurate. Obsessive compulsive may actually hit the nail on the head. Sure, there are medications for this kind of thing, but isn't is just more fun to see what you can do with all the coolest quilting supplies?

As with all great crafting obsession, it began with a book from the library. The book is Debbie Mumm's Quick Country Quilting. She was (and probably still is) the Queen of Country Quilting, with her own line of fabric and everything, and I was going through a country phase. It was a match made in heaven. Using two of her patterns, I actually managed to complete two projects: A tree wall hanging and a watermelon table cloth. The watermelon tablecloth is a bit wrinkled from sitting in a drawer all winter, but you get the idea. I was particularly proud that I was able to find red watermelon seed-filled fabric! Even the green fabic is mottled just like watermelon skin. I was also able to showcase two quilting techniques with this one project: The watermelon is applique and the border it patchwork. It turned out pretty well, and it's a fun, silly tablecloth, perfect for summer.

The tree quilt is a source of much grief, as people always comment on the lovely "Christmas" quilt. I never intended for it to be a holiday item. I think my use of a dark green and dull red take it out of the holiday realm, but some people can't see a damn pine tree without assuming it's a Christmas tree. Where I grew up pine trees were an all-year-round decoration (it's called nature people!), so I just don't see it.

In addition to these two projects, I also made two full-size quilts. One I gave away to a friend, who moved and was never heard from again once she had my beautiful handiwork in her possession. It was nine patch, mostly in dark greens (her favorite color). I used a lofty batting and tied it rather than hand quilting. Never even got to snap a photo of my masterpiece before it was gone forever. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

The other quilt was a hand appliqued butterfly quilt. My mom started this sometime in the 70's, and I finished it in about '98. (I just love finishing other people's half-done projects, another sign of OCD?). I paid to have it machine-quilted by a quilting shop near where my parents live. I still haven't been ambitious enough to hand quilt anything larger than a baby quilt. I actually kept this for myself and I love it!

My last completed quilting project was a sailboat quilt much like this one, for a friend who had a baby boy. I used a similar color scheme of red, white, and blue. The little boy's name is Sam, so it seemed appropriate. Again, I forgot to take a photo, but I'm sure it is being loved appreciated. I actually handquilted this one.

My quilting tastes have evolved somewhat and I am now working on projects where I play more with color and use more geometric quilt designs. However, I still have a strong desire to make Debbie Mumm's cow quilt, as a homage to my humble dairy farm upbringing. And really, who can resist cows?

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Ghosts of Crafting Past

This post is an homage to those things I purchased or scavenged, which at the time seemed like a wonderful idea, but upon further reflection were just plain nuts. Not that I plan to abandon all my crazy crafting schemes. Really, they make life worth living.

First, the wooden bow. At just $1.99 how could I pass up such a bargain? What I should have asked myself was what the hell someone does with a large wooden bow. Since I still haven't figured that out, it goes in the box for charity.

Next the old faucet. This one I plan to keep to make my own outdoor water fountain. I haven't decided what I will have in the center, but one particularly whimsical one was made to look like a sink of dishes. I probably won't go for that, since I see plenty of real sinks of dirty dishes every week. I am definitely keeping it though, and will continue to scheme about my fountain.

Finally, the spindle turned into candle holders (sort of). I found this old spindle at my parents house, had it cut in two, drilled a shallow hole, and glued them to small wooden circles. I painted them a lovely sage green, which I intended to follow with a crackle paint treatment and gold paint. Thus, the green would just peak throug the gold. That was the idea. The reality is that these have sat in the craft box for almost 10 years. My crackle stuff and gold paint dried out. I really need to finish these puppies. Oh, and my brother finally figured out that the spindle belonged to a coffee table. Which he wanted for his apartment. My poor dad had to make new spindles since a coffee table with only three looks a bit silly. The lesson is to never leave crafty-looking refuse near me or you could end up missing a spindle.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Lollipop, Lollipop

This will be a short post, as it's Friday and I need to catch up on the work I was supposed to be doing earlier in the week. This week I spent a lot of time on the phone and running around trying to arrange for an apartment in California, some more time listing any large furniture items we had decided to sell on Craigslist, and even more time arranging for buyers to come by and pick up the items we sold. Oh, yeah, we did some packing too. I'm so exhausted I may fall asleep while typing. I did discover that I have an addiction to Craigslist (more later on my tendency to become obsessed with things). I keep finding new things to sell. My husband is getting concerned that I may sell all our possessions before we move. I've tried to convince him that the "spare, austere" look is in, and it will be easier to move if we don't really own anything. He insists that we really need such extravagant items as a bed, tables, and chairs. Whatever. I'm just psyched that with very little effort I can pretty much sell anything in my house with the click of a mouse. Pocket lint anyone? It's priced to sell!

Anyway, while wasting time taking a break earlier this week I used photoshop to project what the Knit.1 tank top will look like in my color scheme. Pretty cute, huh? Kind of looks like a candy cane, or one of those twirly lollipops to me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Have Craft Supplies, Will Travel

Aside from The Amazing Lace and my current obsession will all things yarn, I also do a large number of other crafts. I tend to get really excited about something, buy all the cool supplies necessary for that craft, make a few things and then get bored. Some examples:

I planned to make all my greeting cards by hand! It will save money, and will be more creative and personal. About $200 later I have a nice selection of stamps, paper, ink, embossing powder, and a really cool embossing gun (see photos). And no cards to show for it. This stuff takes a lot more time than I thought and no matter how many stamps I have I never seem to have the right ones for each person and need to buy just one more (at $4-$20 each stamp), then I don't have the right color ink or enough markers to color them in, etc. etc. I did make Christmas cards a few years ago and they were quite lovely, but $200 lovely?

- I will become a master quilter! I have the sewing maching mat, rotary cutter, template plastic, several pattern books, an entire underbed box filled with quilting fabric, several spools of hand quilting thread, and a huge quilting hoop. Again, I made a couple quilts and have all the materials for three more (two baby ones and a large denim one) which I haven't worked on in ages.

My obvious crafting obsession does pose a bit of a storage issue. Why do I bring this up now? As it so happens, My wonderful husband and I are moving clear across country, diagonally at that, from New England to Southern California. Every crafter dreads having to face the reality of "the stash" at moving time.

My totals look something like this:
3 underbed boxes of fabric, including decorator, quilting, and clothing fabrics
1 very large box of yarn
1 very large plastic tub of miscellaneous craft supplies, containing such important things as a large wooden bow (might need it to decorate something someday), 2 boxes of embroidery floss organized by color number, and an antique looking faucet I found under the deck of my last apartment (I plan to make a fountain out of it).
1 smaller plastic tub full of sewing supplies - lace, ribbon, sewing machine needles, etc.
1 large plastic tub filled with old blue jeans and a partially done denim patchwork quilt.
2 large rolls of 60' wide decorator fabric and lining to make dining room curtains for our apartment (the apartment we will be moving out of at the end of June)
1 small plastic bin of the afore-mentioned rubber stamping supplies
1 large self-healing quilting mat

That doesn't seem so bad, does it? (Just lie to me and agree, OK?)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Crafting Is My Life

At the moment I anxiously await to hear if I have made it as one of the six finalists in The Amazing Lace for Challenge 1. I feel my entry was strong, but there were many other fantastic entries. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Knitting with KB - I love the music. Nice touch!
Pick Up Sticks - the newpaper article is too funny!
Lickety Knit - I love the "American Idol"-style tryouts!

There are lots of other great ones, too. I don't envy the judges. With this type of competition, it's going to be difficult to win, especially when you consider that painfully slow progress I am making on my knitting! Yesterday, I spent most of the day working and trying to sign a lease for a new apartment in California. Apparently, getting into an apartment is more difficult than getting into grad school. Well, I suppose I succeeded at getting into grad school (a fact which I occasionally regretted), so this too shall work out somehow.

Speaking of crafting, here is a one of many craft projects I completed while in grad school. During my cross-stitch phase I made this monstrously large sampler (I've placed a pen in the photo for comparison). I'm not sure if you can make it out, but it in the center it says "You can always find time to do the things that are important to you." This strikes me as a nice bit of irony, since I should have been working on my dissertation instead of this silly cross-stitch. Finally, a testament to my true priority: crafting-1st, everything else-2nd.

Monday, June 05, 2006

X-treme Knitting - Don't Try This at Home

So, for our next challenge for The Amazing Lace we have to do something extreme with our knitting. Thankfully, I have lots of inspiration. Just to prove it, here is a photo of my friend K at our weekly knitting meeting. She is trying on her version of Tempting. Don't try this at home folks! You could poke out an eye with those needles, and don't get me started on what could happen if stitches started slipping off! This is not for the faint of heart.

I must get inspired to take my knitting to the next level! So far, I've hiked two "mountains" in Acadia National Park with my knitting, but this challenge seems to warrant something more.

So far I've come up with:
skydiving with the knitting
drag racing with the knitting
hot air ballooning with the knitting
climbing the Matterhorn with the knitting

Any thoughts? While I attempt to soup up the Hyudai Accent for drag racing (flames or racing stripes? Hmm....), feel free to make additional suggestions.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Yes, I'm a Yarn Ho

Now that I've introduced my projects for The Amazing Lace, I thought I'd take the time to showcase the yarn I've chosen and show my progress on my projects.

First, the Schachenmayr top. I am using Jaegar Trinity, a cotton, silk, polymide blend, in a lovely sage green. I did a guage swatch, went down a needle size from 4 to 3, and have started the left sleeve in seed stitch. This yarn has a slightly "nubby" texture, which I hope works OK for this pattern.

For the Knit.1 ribbed tank, I plan to do white, light pink, and mauve stripes.The yarn is 100% cotton worsted weight mercerized cotton. Very shiny, pretty stuff. What you see here is the bottom of the back started in the mauve. Hopefully the weight of all that cotton won't turn my fitted tank into a baggy dress after the first washing.

And what is this yarn for, you ask? When it comes to craft supplies, I am a very weak individual. After two aborted attempts to go to a LYS (the first store had closed permanently, and the second store was closed for Memorial Day, so I had to go back later in the weak) it seemed a shame to leave with just one hank of yarn. When I saw these beauties in the sale bin for 40% off, my resolve began to weaken. Then my husband said it was a very nice color combo, and I was a goner. Now, what to do with only 380 meters? I was thinking maybe Tulip? Wendy from Knit and Tonic just made one and hers looks lovely. I know what you're thinking, not enough yarn right? It would be if I made the bottom ribbed part in a solid color, using some Kim from Needful Yarns in a light taupe. Just a thought......

Yes, I am a yarn ho, I just need the tshirt to prove it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Amazing Lace - Introduction of "The Team"

My team introduction tells a story of new love.

JayJay and Knitting got together during a particularly vulnerable time, just after JayJay broke it off with Crochet. She and crochet just weren’t looking for the same things. JayJay wanted soft, stylish sweaters and Crochet only had stiff, scratchy fabric and ugly patterns. JayJay wanted more, and a lifetime of doilies would not do. Thus, JayJay turned to the cozy warmth of Knit.

JayJay slowly built a relationship with Knitting. Sure, there were hard times. That first scarf had to be frogged, but now a beautiful vest is emerging from the pile of yarn that was that first scarf. JayJay and Knitting decided to go to therapy to help them work through their issues, and after the help of a trained knitting instructor they feel they are ready to take things to the next level.

JayJay and two knitting projects have formed a young, scrappy team for The Great Lace. They feel that if they succeed in this challenge it will prepare JayJay for a lifetime commitment to Knit. However, questions remain about JayJay’s commitment to Knit. Recently, Crochet has come back to JayJay’s life. It insists that it has changed, and it now ready to give her beautiful soft garments she desires - e.g., short-n-sweet, cupcake, and prepster jacket from:

Can she resist the draw of Crochet and stay faithful to Knit, even as lovely crochet tops are in every store? Will her relationship with Knit withstand the pressure of competition? Only time will tell……

The team includes JayJay, a ribbed tank from Knit.1 summer 2005 issue with a keyhole and two eyelets for ribbon in the back (they count as intentional holes, right?), and a simple lace-edged top from Schachenmayr Nomotta Inspiration #75.

For the ribbed tank JayJay has chosen mauve, light pink, and white stripes in mercerized cotton (all three colors from different manufacturers).

The Schachenmayr will be made from sage green Jaeger Trinity, a silk/cotton/polymide blend.

Not the most complicated lace to be sure, but this ragtag team thinks it has what it takes to challenge even the best knitters! The Knitting and I have been doing some intense training in preparation for the competition:

Hiking should prepare us for the more physical challenges.

We've also been studying art and scupture to prepare for more artistic challenges.

But, in addition to our intense training regimen we also try to make time to go out on the town.

Without further ado, Our Official Team Photo (in all our finery):