All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: “These go to eleven.”

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I don’t know if it’s the whisperings of autumn in the air, or the fact that schools are back in session, but, whatever the reason, things in the world of knitting are starting to liven up lately. I’ve been collecting these links from around the knittingverse, and I’m ready to unleash them now. Please enjoy the following:

September Update — Finishes, Starts, and WIPs

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Where does all the time go? I can’t believe it’s September already, which means I’m two months behind in my half-year update, although I suppose that’s really right on schedule since I didn’t even post my year’s goals until the beginning of April. You’ll just have to take my word for it that I’m great about meeting goals in other parts of my life. I’m really very organized. Seriously. Anyway…

Update on Knitting WIPs and Goals for 2014

So, let’s see what I’ve gotten done since April’s reckoning. The progress bars in the right-hand sidebar will let you know how far along I am with my current projects. Here’s the list of knitting projects, some finished, some still in progress:

  • Baby Bobbi Bear and assorted outfits (a belated gift for my niece’s second birthday)   update: Baby Bobbi Bear was completed on 4/5/14 and the sweaters were completed on 6/29/14. Pictures and more details are below this bulleted list.
  • Winter Lace Afghan (a belated wedding gift — are you sensing a theme here?)  update: completed 5/16/14!
  • Breast Cancer Ribbin’ Scarf (seriously, all this needs is some kitchenering. Is that a verb?)
  • Felted Sashiko Cover (this is a little something I’m working on as a freebie pattern to accompany the sashiko-style cross stitch I’m designing for Wordsmith Designs — see below)
  • Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts (you know, because it’s so cold here in Los Angeles in springtime) update: completed 5/22/14!
  • Swedish Thora (a belated gift for my beautiful and patient Aunt Janet — there’s a point where gifts become so belated, there’s no point in rushing anymore. Sigh.)

And here’s Baby Bobbi Bear in all his glory:

And here are his fabulous sweaters:

There’s more info about all the yarns I used and the various crochet patterns on my Ravelry site (it would take too long to list them all here). The scarf is a simple 10-stitch 2 X 2 rib knitted with self-striping Adriafil Knitcol (color 46) on size 5 needles. Pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

Last April, I also stated “plans to make some Easter knits for the girls, including the Fiesta Tea Set by Annie Modesitt (knitted with Tahki Cotton Classic in yummy Fiestaware colors like lemongrass, peacock, plum, scarlet, shamrock, sunflower and tangerine).” Update: Done and done! Finished sometime in late June or early July. Here are some photos:

And here’s a picture of my niece Ella playing with her new tea set:

Ella Playing with Fiesta Tea Set

Ella Playing with Fiesta Tea Set

These were not part of my goals, but I also started a pair of the “The Wallpaper Had It Coming (Again)” mittens as part of a Sherlock-related challenge with the West Hollywood (WeHo) Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group, and the Spring Kerchief by Sachiko Uemura. I’m about halfway through the first glove, but I’ve only just cast on for the kerchief.

Needlework WIPs and Goals for 2014

As of April my current cross stitch WIPs were as follows (oldest to newest):

  • “Ewe and Eye Needlecase” by Maureen Appleton/Heart’s Content
  • “Celtic Band Samplar” by Homespun Samplar
  • “Union Jack,” an original design of the Union Jack flag which I will be “releasing” as a Wordsmith Designs freebie soon update: completed 04/06/14!

Since I’m being brutally honest, I will admit that I haven’t completed a single stitch on the Needlecase or the “Celtic Band Samplar.” They’ve been on hiatus for a few years now.

I had four other cross stitch goals for 2014:

  1. A set of four Shepherd’s Bush Christmas Stockings for my brother, sister-in-law and The Two Most Adorable Nieces in the World.™ Update: I’m happy to say I’m making terrific progress with these, and will have photos soon.
  2. The Mirabilia “In a Garden” series. Update: I’ve barely started the “Summer” version. Seriously, only a few stitches completed, and it’s “due” September 21st. My stitching time lately has gone to the Christmas stockings; I’d like to have those completed by the beginning of October so they can be finished professionally before Christmas.
  3. The 2014 Smalls Stitch-Along (the handy-dandy icon is in the right-hand sidebar). Update: I completed my smalls for April, May, June, and August, and I’m still working on July. Here’s the gallery so far:

Goals for Wordsmith Designs

For Wordsmith Designs, my first three design priorities for release are (in this order):

  1.  A sashiko-based design that I don’t want to go into too much detail about right now
  2.  A Celtic alphabet design that’s already designed and stitched but still needs some “polishing”
  3.  A design called “Memento Mori” and that’s all the detail you’ll get for now
  4.  A design called “A Rose is a Rose” and that’s all the detail you’ll get for now

Update: I haven’t met any of my designing goals for Wordsmith Designs. I’ve done some work on the sashiko design, but it still needs a lot more work. 

Goals for Moon & Sixpence Knits

For Moon & Sixpence, I am working on three free patterns:

  • an update of my (very basic) Michael Nesmith hat pattern, one that is more historically accurate and includes the four-button variation Nesmith wore sometimes
  • a scarf and cowl with a breast cancer ribbon-style cable pattern (I’m debating whether to charge a nominal fee so the proceeds could go to breast cancer research)
  • a small cabled heart design based on a Christmas ornament that IKEA was selling a couple years ago

Update: Apparently, design-work is not my top priority, which is sad because it’s a way of generating at least some income. As I stated in April: “I would love to have the breast cancer ribbon-style scarf completed by October, which the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” That seems like a goal that could still be met. Stay tuned.

Check back on December 31st! And wish me good luck and good motivation!

 

 

August 2014 Smalls Challenge (and a little bit about July’s Challenge too)

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"Happy Black Black Cat Day" by The Trilogy, my August 2014 Smalls Challenge entry

“Happy Black Black Cat Day” by The Trilogy, my August 2014 Smalls Challenge entry

My August Smalls Challenge 2014 entry is this little cutie by The Trilogy, called “Happy Black Black Cat Day.” I actually finished this one on time (August 30th), but then I procrastinated for a week before posting it on this site (and, by extension, the Smalls Challenge site) today. Even when I’m on time, I’m not on time.

I thought I was working on 32-count natural linen, but it turns out it was 28-count, so the whole design is a bit larger than I expected. I also messed up and the cat is actually one row longer than it’s supposed to be (and one row higher in the lower half, which necessitated redesigning the “Z” in the alphabet and the orange star next to it). My eyes are getting too old for this kind of stitching, I’m afraid. As a result, the design is a bit more rectangular than it was originally supposed to be.

I also made some deliberate modifications in the design. Instead of the colors called for, I used Gentle Art Sampler Threads “Cornhusk” for the cat’s eyes, “Green Apple” for the alphabet, and “Brethren Blue” for the collar. I used Weeks Dye Works “Mulberry” for the purple lined edging, “Autumn Leaves” for the orange stars, and “Mascara” for the cat (it used an entire skein plus a little bit where I supplemented by using one strand of “Mascara” with one strand of virtually indistinguishable DMC 310). I also added some whiskers in DMC 3799, and left out two of the tiny star charms.

My overly ambitious entry for July, Eileen Bennett’s “Very Victorian… Acorns,” is still underway:

Eileen Bennett, "Very Victorian... Acorns" WIP, my July 2014 Smalls Challenge entry

Eileen Bennett, “Very Victorian… Acorns” WIP, my July 2014 Smalls Challenge entry

This is sooooooo not a “small” design, even though it’s less than 90 X 70 stitches. I don’t know what I was thinking! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a sampler, and I thought it would go quicker than it has. I can also tell a huge difference in the quality of my eyesight since the last time I worked on a sampler like this that requires such tiny, precise stitches. For example, the line I’m currently working on is supposed to have the word “acorns” in the center done in one-over-one stitching. I’ve already had to frog it twice today. Blurgh. I think I’m going to set this one aside for awhile.

I’ve already decided that I’m going to do something quite small for September. It’s important to set realistic stitching goals.

Giveaway: If you’d like my gently used copy of “Happy Black Black Cat Day” with two of the small star charms included, leave a comment below letting me know.

Smithsonian Yarn Bomb

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I’m working on a much longer post at the moment, but for now this little tidbit will have to do. The Smithsonian Museum, specifically the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, has turned to yarn-bombing their gateway to promote the current Chiharu Shiota Exhibition. The results, as you can see, are spectacular:

Yarnbombing at the entrance to the Freer/Sackler Galleries

Yarnbombing at the entrance to the Freer/Sackler Galleries

There’s even more information and gorgeousness at the Freer/Sackler’s own blog, including background on who did the knitting (the staff of the museum; many of whom learned to knit specifically for the occasion) and what they’re going to do with all the yarn afterwards. Be sure to click on the links to the exhibit itself, which also uses red yarn in a really lovely way to, literally, tie together her installation on the things we leave behind (in this case, shoes).

If you’ve never been to the Freer/Sackler Galleries, the intertwined Asian art museums of the massive Smithsonian complex, you are really missing something. Their collection is not too vast that it’s overwhelming, and it’s beautifully curated, including James McNeill Whistler’s famous Art Nouveau masterpiece, the “Peacock Room.”

Maybe it’s time for a visit to my aunt in Virginia…. hmmmm….

 

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: Quickie (Tenth) Edition

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I’ve been out of town for a few days but I’ve somehow managed to complete/start/continue to make progress on many projects (except, of course, the Smalls Challenge project for July — I’ve completely missed the deadline there). However, those will have to wait until tomorrow to get the full attention they deserve. In the meantime, some links for you to enjoy:

  • I’m not much of a tattoo type (not that I think there’s anything wrong with them, they’re just not my thing), but I think these are gorgeous. Is it weird that I’m kind of disturbed by the ones with needles pictured as sticking through the skin? I guess I have a hard time maintaining proper representational distance; to me, the needles look like they would hurt.
  • A geeky trifecta: Doctor Who, cross stitch, and a twelve-sided die. (thanks, stitchbitch, for the last two links)
  • An article on the centenary of the outset of World War I that addresses the eternal fashion question: do the times dictate fashion or does fashion dictate the times? Read all about sleeveless sweaters and “bifurcated garments for feminine gardeners” here.
  • I love the idea of cross stitch designs being displayed in a gallery setting for charity, but my guess is that most of the designs are criminally underpriced (even for charity purposes).

Happy Stitching and Happy Knitting to you all!

Magazine Giveaways!

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Sorry I’ve been behind in my postings lately, but, unfortunately, sometimes one has to make earning a living a priority over one’s stitching. A sad but true reality.

Yesterday, in a desperate attempt to do anything besides finish grading the final set of research papers I just received, I cleaned and reorganized my home office. My home office has always had something of a split personality — half Victorian scholar’s cubby-hole, half knitter’s storage unit — but lately it’s taken on a kind of manic, schizophrenic, oKnitting Traditions Fall 2012ut-of-control quality that makes it nearly impossible for me to get anything done. Needless to say, on most days I find it hard to work up the energy or the passion to tackle this ravenous beast, but when I’m confronted with a stack of (largely uninspired) papers to grade, I often find myself excited to do all kinds of things that would otherwise be unthinkably dull.

However, my procrastination is your gain, my friends! I have discovered that I have duplicate copies of two very nice knitting magazines, the Fall 2012 issue of Jane Austen Knits and the Fall 2012 issue of Knitting Traditions (pictured below and above, respectively). I don’t know what I could have been thinking about in Fall 2012! Anyway, one or both of these can be yours if you leave a comment below with one interesting observation about your own (bad?) knitting habits.* Good luck to all!

Jane Austen Knits Fall 2012

*Special note to international readers: I will try my best to find an affordable way to send your magazine to you, but I reserve the right to cancel this giveaway if the cost of postage becomes prohibitive.

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: Part the Ninth

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From far and wide, from across the Interwebs (a.k.a. the Electronic Cat Database) and beyond, I bring you all the news from the worlds of knitting and stitching that I could gather this week:

  • Professor Fonz has done it again! You may remember her designs, like the “Deduction Game Chullo,” from my obsessive posts on the knits featured in BBC Sherlock series (the first one in the series is here). To go with her cardigan based on the popular “The Wallpaper Had it Coming Again” fair isle pattern, the “#SherlockLives Cardi,” she has added a boatneck-style sweater entitled, “Let’s Play Murder.” According to the Ravelry pattern site, it’s “crime-solving at its most luxurious.” I’ve been working on ampersand design’s “The Wallpaper Had it Coming (Again)” mittens which, although based on the same fair isle pattern, is obviously a much smaller design, and I have to agree with Professor Fonz’s assessment that this fair isle patterned sweater is probably not a project to be entered into lightly by someone who is just beginning to work with the fair isle technique. The results speak for themselves, of course:
Let's Play Murder by Professor Fonz

“Let’s Play Murder” by Professor Fonz

Smalls SAL June 2014 (Better Late than Never?)

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"EduCATed" by Bent Creek

Pardon the wrinkles please! I’m on a deadline.

Continuing in my fine tradition of sneaking in just under the deadline of the grace period (or at least what I think is the grace period), I bring you this month’s (by which I mean June’s) entry for the Smalls Stitchalong (SAL) challenge. This is my version of Bent Creek’s “EduCATed,” a sweet little chart I bought eons ago and have been meaning to do ever since. It combines two of my all-time favorite things: cats and books. Together at last. And a punny title! Who could ask for anything else?

This pattern has two personal connections for me as well. First, the cat in the pattern reminds me a lot of my adorable, big beastie of a boy cat, Barnaby. Here he is in all his glory:

The Amazing Barnaby

Could I be more handsome?

I took it as a sign from the cross stitch gods that the name of the floss for the cat’s body was Gentle Arts Sampler Threads “Barn Grey.” “Barn Grey” for my grey Barnaby. Serendipity.

Sadly, lately, I spend more time watching that television in the background than I do reading. But I do enjoy old-fashioned hardcover books like the ones in “EduCATed.” My current obsession is collecting all of the Coralie Bickford-Smith Penguin editions. They’re repros, not vintage (obviously), but she uses contemporary colors and styles to capture that nineteenth-century Art Nouveau look beautifully. Here’s a pic of her first series, some of which you can also see in the background from one of my previous blog entries:

Coralie Bickford-Smith books, first set

So beautiful… and they will all be mine one day…

So that’s it for today — short and sweet, with some beautiful hardcover books at the end. Seriously, check out the whole collection — it’s amazing.

Update July 27, 2014: In case anyone’s interested (and, I suppose, in case anyone’s not, too), I made some floss substitutions for “EduCATed.” The green book (second from the bottom) and the green in the green-and-gold book (third from the bottom) are two different (very different) dye lots of Gentle Arts Sampler Threads “Dried Thyme.” It’s hard to believe they’ve been sold under the same color name. For the collar and the lines on the book second from the bottom, I substituted “Chesapeake” and for the cat’s eyes I substituted “Olive,” both by Weeks Dye Works. I chose “Olive” because it was a better match for Barnaby’s eyes. For the pages in the books, I substituted color #120 overdyed floss by Needles Necessities.

 

 

 

All the News that’s Fit to Stitch: Special Fourth of July edition!

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Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! And happy “War of American Colonial Aggression” to my British readers! And happy “just plain July 4, 2014″ to everyone else! Regardless of where you may be or whether or not you’re celebrating, I bring you the latest from the world of knitting…

  • Two days ago, it was “all knitting, all the time” on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered news program. First, they gave us this little gem, the story of how the tradition of knitting continues to flourish in the Shetland Isles, in spite of its recent unexpected oil boom. In light of this juxtaposition of the old, low-tech ways and the new, high-tech economy, this story also balances out its obligatory “granny” reference: “Here in Shetland, knitting is not a hobby reserved for grannies or for hipsters. It’s something people do because they’ve always done it. It’s one illustration of how this island cluster in the North Sea mixes old and new.” A special shout-out to my friend, Stitch Bitch, for drawing my attention to the “granny count.”
  • And as if that story weren’t enough, All Things Considered followed it up with a story on the specialized lingo of knitting, specifically “frogging” and the “boyfriend sweater curse,” featuring Los Angeles’s (and USC’s) own Laura Birek of Picture Perfect Knits fame.
  • And, because protest is — or at least, it should be — at the heart of what it means to be an American, let’s celebrate the “knit-in.”  My favorite part:

“Palmer was knitting what appeared to be a turquoise scarf, and had knitted about 8 inches of it before Vermont Gas closed at 5 p.m.,” VPR’s reports.

“It is unclear if she was allowed to continue her knitting at the police station,” he adds.

All the News That’s Fit to Stitch: Part the Seventh

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Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Knitting America — from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press!

    • It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  The new fall Knitty is online and I’m like a kid in a candy store. My three faves are Jasseron, Indigo Cones, and Heart’s-Ease Bouttonière (I include the latter in no small part due to the fact that I worship the ground Franklin Habit walks on).
    • Three novels that feature the dark, figurative, “kick butt” complexity of quilting, as recommended by Tracy Chevalier. I’ve read two of them (Alias Grace and Beloved) and although I wouldn’t strictly call them “quilting novels,” they’re wonderful. I’ll have to read the Carol Shields novel now to complete my quilting trifecta. The comments section also has some suggestions. Alas… so many books, so little time.
    • For any knitter in the Los Angeles area: the Craft and Folk Art Museum (on Wilshire Boulevard across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits) is having an amazing sale on yarn and other knitting- and crochet-related items from their yarn bombing campaign(s). Every ball of yarn is $1. Support a great cause and replenish your stash!
    • The Great Tapestry of Scotland. In keeping with the theme(s) of this blog, some of my favorite panels include, of course: “David I Fosters the Wool Trade c.1130s” — an important moment in history for any knitter to celebrate (in fact, sheep are a recurrent image throughout the tapestry which even includes a tribute to “Dolly the Sheep”), and “Mary Queen of Scots” which depicts the queen (and famous needlework enthusiast) working on her embroidery, the panel celebrating “Shetland Knitters” and the panel devoted solely to “Fair Isle Knitting.” The Victorianist in me loves “Victoria at Balmoral 1850s/60s” and “Robert Louis Stevenson” And, of course, I can’t possibly not mention “Charles Rennie Mackintosh Designs Glasgow School of Art.”  This entire project is so amazing; words fail me.
    • Il faut souffrir pour être belle.
    • And, speaking of fashion, the knits aren’t the only beautiful items in this collection, but they do remind us (if we needed it) that knits have a lot of contribute to haute couture. (Thanks to my friend, Ashley Gormley, for pointing out this collection to me).
Alas, there's a lot of truth to this...

Alas, there’s a lot of truth to this oldie but goodie…

 

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