28 February 2007

workin' 9 to 5

sparkle hatit has been a while since i really posted because i have been working a temporary full time day job at my graduate school alma mater in addition to my design work. my poor mum was bored the other day and she didn't have a blog entry to brighten her day! bad kittything!

to the left we see a hat i am knitting. it is a basic sockinette hat on circulars, but it is sprinkled with lovely pailettes. they are a bit hard to see in the angle of this photo; they are the funny dark circles. i did finish the pink and black scarf i posted progress photos of last week, but i will show the finished product with the finished hat. i decided to do the knit hat before the matching crochet number because my knitting needle set finally arrived on saturday, and i really want to wear this hat before it gets too warm.

project bagin addition to the job, i have had a little fun this week. myself and about seven other gals had a clothing swap on monday night. it was fantastic. i gave away some wonderful clothes that i simply don't wear anymore, and i got brand new items from the other ladies. the whole thing is a free swap with the idea being that your nice stuff will find a good home and your embarrassing items will go to charity. it is the very definition of "one man's trash, another man's treasure". only, the men are women and the treasure is sometimes a pair of red leather Coach loafers.

yes, i gave away a pair of Coach loafers. they will live a far better life on the feet of my friend.

pictured to the right is an awesome bowling bag style purse another fabulous gal gave to me. i plan to use it as a medium sized project bag. it is nice and compact, but it will hold a lot of yarn. it will probably debut next week at the stitch 'n bitch i plan to attend next monday. that's right. stop the presses! two weeks of fun mondays in a row! slow me down because the fun is getting too crazy!

cold front

i took a bunch of pictures on sunday because it actually snowed for real in DC. now it still wasn't a lot. i mean, there were only 4 inches on my car when i left thehairyape's place that evening. still. it is more legitimate to freak out over 4 inches than... um... melting snow flurries that don't accumulate.

we woke up to this sunday.... i was totally unprepared and said "holy sh**t!" when i looked out the window.

parking lot
but the trees were very pretty by that evening.


and just because the kitty is the official mascot here, these a few pictures of toby. thehairyape liked the first one (he does look cute) and now i have photographic proof of how fat toby is in the second photo.

23 February 2007

yay! boo! huh....?

flash!clearly this is a day of mixed emotions.

to the left we see the happiness of it all. this is some beautiful Classic Elite Flash that i plan to crochet into a pretty summer shawl/swimsuit cover-up for one of my girlfriends. it came in the mail today--another ebay treat. besides being beautiful yarn, i love the label. it has a neat little lightning blot on it and a list of reasons to knit with flash....

  • bright fun colors
  • easy care
  • great for kids and the kid in you!

it seems so quaint and old school. but the claims are all true. it just makes me smile. the yarn is wound in quaint old school hanks as well, so i get to do some old fashion winding into center pull balls.

now the bad.
my knitting needles have still not arrived. 20 mailing days, people! i checked the tracking, and at least they are back from their side trip to new jersey. (they started in texas, went to california, and then they crossed the country and landed in capital heights, maryland. they ran off to jersey and now they are back in capital heights. sigh!)

and i will end this on a note of confusion. lion brand came out with a new yarn this week. it is called sasha, and it is supposed to look like persian lamb with "just one stitch!" there are just so many questions.... first, why make a yarn that only looks good in one stitch (garter stitch!?)? and if you have such a specific product, why not write more patterns for it (only four?!)?

and understanding that you make these very specific yarns in hopes of making a lot of money off of them because there are no others out there like them (no substitutions) why price it so the trend oriented people can't afford it?!? there are 21 yards in a ball. and a ball costs $6.99 ack! i am just baffled!

can there really be that many visionless, gullible garter stitchers in the world? i hope not.

22 February 2007

this week is WIP-ing by

spring in winterthe week is flying by. this is what happens when i pick up a "day job" gig. those weeks fly by because i am trying to cram extra work in at unusual hours. i also find when that day job is sewing related, the week goes by quickly because i am more tired from being in the shop. working in a shop is not the best for one's body... crouching, reaching, stooping, standing on concrete all day while using pointy objects. you get the idea.

to make matters worse, i tried to kill someone today. not really, but i felt like a total jerkface when i merrily took my afternoon snack break and one of the other girls in the shop had an allergic reaction to the peanut butter i was eating on my apple.... from across the room. i didn't know anyone was allergic. and in my defense, someone else was eating PB on celery earlier and there was peanut butter candy sitting out all day and everything was fine. what's a girl to do?

anyway. in happy news.
pictured above is my latest WIP. it is an open work scarf and hat set. the scarf proper is finished, and now i am adding the border. the hat will be made of the black yarn with a pink border. i love scarves and hat. they are my favourite "change it up" accessories, and i make plenty of them. for this reason, whenever i make them, i tend to go lower end on the yarn. i'm still reserving judgment on the yarn i selected. so far, not so good, but we'll see after i throw it in the wash.

the set is supposed to be made in Aurora Bulky, but it retails for $8.50 per ball, and this set requires 8 balls. ha. yeah. not for a set that will see maybe maybe 5 turns up to bat per year. i'm also pretty hard on 100% merino items. it is so soft and the twist is usually so light that i find it pills up more than i like.

full details when i finish the hat!

20 February 2007

3-d cupcake

cupcakefailing to photograph myself in the sweater, i borrowed the dress form at CUA today. she doesn't have hips, and her bust is a wee bit pointy, but you get the idea of what the sweater really looks like, at least.

it was strange to go over to CUA, where i opened a show just 5 days ago and see it already struck. because it is a university, of course the shows are about process and not final product so much. so they run for only 6 performances. after working on shows that run at minimum 4 weeks, it seems like a lot of work for so little pay off. well... payoff for the actors. i still got a full design fee.

backi sent the handpainted cotonyarn back today. there really was not 10oz there, and that is unacceptable. i am tempted to leave negative ebay feedback because the lady was in total denial that there was a problem and then when she cheerfully refunded me, she didn't refund the shipping even though the problem was her fault, not mine.

oh, yeah. and did i mention that the package arrived with a way too flowery smelling dryer sheet in it? i had no idea why until i stuck the yarn under my nose and sniffed it like a dustbuster.... cigarette smoke! lady was trying to cover up her nasty smoke smell with a nasty dry sheet! ugh! i can't even believe she sells (ugly) handmade baby afghans from her home. i bet she chain smokes away while she crochets her acrylic granny squares in lorian, ohio.

i'm from the midwest. i'm allowed to make fun of my own people.

on an up note, i did find a replacement for the handpainted cotton boucle. this is not handpainted, but it is the suggested yarn for the project and i did not pay retail. i'll post a picture when it arrives.

sweet treat

cupcakei finished my sweater last night! i couldn't get a good picture of me wearing it, but it actually looks fantastic on, which had me worried when i first decided to make it because the model looks a little funny in the pictures. now i realize it is because she is a model and not a real girl. this sweater looks much better on the non-bone-thin.

the details...

designed by Laura-Jean Bernhardson
published in Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker

stitched in Lion Brand Microspun (Ebony) 100% acrylic microfiber on a size "I" US hook. seams sewn together with scrap Tahki Cotton Classic. neck ribbon detail out of braided Tahki Cotton Classic (Black, Hot Pink, Magenta).

i made the smallest size with a few minor changes. in the schematic the small has a 31.5" bust, and the medium has a 36" bust. i added more increases to the small in the bust to get it closer to my 33.5" and avoid a baggy or busting-out-all-over look. i also was lucky enough to have scrap black cotton yarn in my stash to sew the seams. there was no way i was going to deal with the untwisting microspun in the seams. the extra cotton gave me the idea to braid three strands to make the ribbon accent instead of buying some stupid polyester satin ribbon. i think it looks really nice.

neck detail
my final change was to the way the sleeves are put in. they are supposed to be sewn together for 1" at the bottom and then set in. to make the armseye more comfortable, i set them in more like a raglan without them meeting at the bottom. i hate a tight armseye, and this really made the sweater comfortable.

this is when i thank my lucky stars for all the experience i have sewing fabric garments. i can make small adjustments like that and know what impact they will have on the finished garment. i can imagine that lack of garment construction experience could be one reason why people hate the finishing steps of knitting or crochet. that and the fact that you feel like okay, i'm done... now i have to do all of this!?!?

i think i may make another one eventually in a fun color. yay! fun!

19 February 2007

letters from home

heartsi am very excited. my mum is sending me this pretty dishcloth she made. she has been trying to improve her knitting as well. clearly she is further along than i am because she is practicing lace patterns.

hopefully i can make pretty lacey things one day!

she also sent me this picture from christmas. that is my parents' dining room and sunroom behind me, and the pup in my lap is samson. he is my mum's (huge!) jack russell terrier, and he jumped up in my lap because he was bored and annoyed that no one was playing with him. mum was making christmas eve dinner, and i was crocheting a hat. he looks just terribly neglected doesn't he?

with sam

i made a sweater for sam for christmas, and my mum is working on pictures of that for me. maybe latter in the week!

17 February 2007

in the continuing saga of yarn and disappointment...

rainbow bouclei am grumpy. ebay is letting me down in ways it has not before. i love ebay for my higher end yarn needs, so i decided to try buying some other craft related items. pictured is the awesome yarn that arrived today. it came super fast and the colors are just as fantastic in person as on screen but (and there is a big but) the posting title and description stated that this would be a 10 ounce skein.

the skein that arrived is only 6 ounces. i need the additional 4 ounces to make the gift i intend to crochet from this awesome cotton boucle. i emailed the seller, and we will see if she can send me more. i hope she can, but i won't hold my breath because it is hand painted by the seller, and she may simply not have any more stock. if she tries to dye more, the colors probably won't match.

the second ebay disappointment is still floating in the ether. i ordered a set of interchangeable circular knitting needles on january 27th, and they still have not arrived. i'm giving it until wednesday before i start jumping up and down on the seller. by then i should be done with my sweater, and i really want to cast on for a hat.

keep your fingers crossed for me. especially about the cotton yarn. it is just perfect for a project, and i really want it to work out.

happy valentine's day

pink carnationsyes, i know i am late, but on the actual 14th i was working my behind off to get ready for a meeting, and thehairyape had a show. so we just talked on the phone. i think he got the card on time that i sent him, but he didn't get to see me until last night, which is when he gave me the hot pink carnations.

i love carnations, especially the mini ones because they look like the wildflowers you see growing in the medians on ohio highways. aren't they pretty? and yes, that is a pickle jar because thehairyape and i are both just that classy.

i also have a V-day present for a certain little (flightless) bird. i present.... toby! this is thehairyape's cat. i live vicariously through him because i want a cat so badly. i like to lavish toby with bits of ribbon yarn, rabbit fur mice and sometimes treats.

less with the treats because he is fat. i think i took 20+ pictures to get one of him holding still. i'm certain he won't let me take his picture because i am always telling him he is fat.

soon i will post a picture of another fury friend.

16 February 2007


image property of lion brandit will probably come as no surprise, but Lion Brand, aka The House That Fun Fur Built has broken my heart again. this time they have given me a yarn with dreamy qualities that just don't stand up to reality. i am talking about microspun, their microfiber sport weight yarn.

it seemed like such a good idea.
i'm crocheting a 50s pin-up gal type of sweater, and i am a little unsure of the pattern's ultimate effectiveness. so before i invested the money in the suggested yarn (which happens to only be distributed in canada, so i would have to buy it online and pay canadian shipping rates) i decided to make a trial run sweater out of microspun. bad idea.

cupcake sweater you see, this yarn untwists like nobody's business when you crochet it. this causes loops of the twists to suicide off your hook and make the work less pretty. i pride myself on very pretty stitches, so this is hugely disappointing. the only solution is to slow down the pace (painfully so) and tear back every time you notice a lost little loop.

don't believe the photos on the website! this yarn is not nicely twisted together like lion brand would lead you to believe. it is inexpensive for a very good reason. it is a shame i was tricked by the softness and seduced by the promise of a soft drape. don't fall into this trap! it will only lead to sorrow.

but on an up note, you will see from the photo above that i have made good progress despite the nasty yarn. the sample sweater may be saved yet. with any luck it may go on to live a long life as an actual garment in my wardrobe.

13 February 2007

snow daze

stash enrichmentdress rehearsal was canceled tonight. it started to snow and everyone in the greater DC metro area began jumping up and down screaming "the sky is falling! the sky is falling!" it has since stopped snowing, and i am certain that our show's director is sitting a home grumbling and swearing.

i don't mind the cancellation because the costumes are in good shape. and i get some extra time to do other things i need to get done. something i did today that didn't need to be done, was pick up some on sale yarn for future projects.
i had to make a return at arundel mills on my way back from baltimore, so i had a chance to hit the sale. pictured above is the yarn that will eventually be two scarves, two hats, a little summer sweater, two dish clothes, and a pair of socks. the more exciting find than the inexpensive yarn, was the large hole pailettes. and only for $1.96!

i have never found them in a store, only online, and they are usually two or three times more expensive. they will be part of a fun sparkly hat from the first stitch'n bitch book.

enough playing hooky. time to be a big kid and do some real work.

coming up for air

i am in tech this week, so posts will be few and far between, but i need to take a moment to congratulate some people i admire.

The Helen Hayes Awards nominations were announced yesterday, and i have four particular shout outs. there are other friends up for things... i still love you guys... but a girl has limited space and time to explain why she loves you.

i have competing emotions because the Outstanding Ensemble nominations include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which my hairyape was in and did a damn fine job on... and Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. i designed the DSG costumes, and that cast has a special place in my heart. one of these shows must win--i can't decide.

congratulations also go out to one of my mentors from the grad school days who got three nominations for Outstanding Set Design. nice work DC!

and finally a congrats to my dear old pal aravail who is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Resident Play. this is his second year in a row in this category. way to rock it!

i am hopeful that i will be able to post pictures from Life is a Dream later this week. soon and soon!

07 February 2007

sock it to me.

gmail is great because it provides you links at the top of the page to items you may be interested in viewing based on the content of you email. well, today i had a link to something called the Sock Sack. it is a device designed to prevent your washer and dryer from eating your socks.

um, yeah.
it's called a lingerie bag. they cost $1.99 at CVS, not $10 + shipping.

i guess you could say that i am only being so snarky about this because i never thought to market a lingerie bag this way. perhaps this is true.

the graphics make this whole post worthwhile. go check out the fierce appliances shredding defenseless socks. and the joyful protected socks smiling and dancing because their owners were stupid enough to be overcharged on their behalf.

my mom is neat.

i tell people that a lot, but only a few get how rad she is. (see, cool enough to be rad, people!) she sent me these little guys. they are apropos of nothing, but i like pandas. always have. well, you remember the garter stitch scarf and the stunning model Panda(tm).

soon, i promise to introduce both Panda and Baby Panda. until then, enjoy this whole pile! i swear, i think i used to dream that my life would look like these photos--with pandas just piled up romping in my living room. ain't that sweet?

piles of pandas!aww
oh no, they are loose

WIP it good!

for those of you not familiar with crafty folks and their abbreviations (aren't we all?) a WIP = Work In Progress. today, however, i wish i was doing more whipping that WIP-ing. whipping the evil germs in my throat, that is.

instead, i am a cabling fiend. here is the progress. 32 inches bay-bee!


06 February 2007

knit + crochet = happy friends

cascade 220 The Heathersi woke up today feeling worse than yesterday, so it may be another two post day as i work on the cabled scarf. i will become a knitter yet!

this is my latest finished object to build my skills, and i think it turned out very well. i finished it sunday during the superbowl and it has been drying after being washed and blocked.

Luscious Collar
by Annette Petavy
published in Interweave Crochet Fall 2006

worked in Cascade 220 Heathers color #9462 (a black and bordeaux twist) 100% Peruvian Highland Merino Wool

this one is fun because you start it out by working in knit 2, purl 2 rib on size US "7" needles. after making the ribbed collar part, you pick up at the cast on row and begin crocheting the lace on a size "K" hook. the whole pattern is very simple for either a crocheter trying to learn to knit or a knitter who has never crocheted before because it only uses the basics of both crafts (cast on, knit, purl, chain, single crochet. half double crochet) and has little finishing.
luscious collar
i only made two small changes.
the pattern calls for a button closure, but i decided to not use one because i own a lot of brooches and i plan to close my collar with those--voila! instant new look every time! the second change was a little extra finishing. i decided to single crochet up the selvedge on the crocheted half of the collar to make it look a little more neatly finished. the knit edges are slipped to form a selvedge, so i wanted my crochet to look just as nice.

this was a lot more fun than a scarf to practice ribbing. i think i would get bored before finishing a whole scarf in ribbing. also, i really don't need another super basic scarf. while it was a smaller amount of ribbing, i still got to practice my Stitch Doctor skills. i goofed a few times, so i had to drop stitches to change them from knits to purls or vice versa. i also corrected some twisted stitches with ease. i was a knit-fixin' superstar. well, for now.

i can't wait to wear this!

stitch detail

05 February 2007

"X" marks the spot

i'm Sickly McCoughypants today. i woke up yesterday feeling crappy and it has not subsided. i'm trying to relax and take it easy, but i can't just flop out in bed all day and sleep. so i decided to teach myself to cable to help build my knitting skills.

people have always told me that cables are easy, but i never believed them. now i do! this is what two hours and some yarn will get you! if i don't wreck it, this scarf will look purr-tee with my olive military coat.


if this goes well, i'll probably make this to practice cabling in the round.


a dream in a clown

clarionand now for a taste of my working life. this is Clarion the Clown. well, it is a fabric fitting picture at least. the costume is not done yet, but it is coming along very nicely. kudos goes out to penguingirl and her crew, who are making everything so very purr-tee. i'll share more pictures this week as we gear-up to tech this weekend.
here are the details...

Life is a Dream
by Pedro Calderon de la Barca
on the Hartke Stage
at the Catholic University of America
February 15-18, 2007

if you have ever wondered what the collision of baroque elegance and an arctic rave looked like.... and love the golden age of spanish drama, this is your ticket.

03 February 2007

wavy gravy

afghanas promised, here is the afghan i made as a christmas gift for thehairyape.

Rainbow Stripes
from Afghans on the Double
published by Oxmoor House (uncredited designer)

stitched in Lion Brand Jiffy in colors Caffe, Chili, Apple Green, and Avocado on a US "P" hook.

this is only the third afghan i have made. these huge, repetitive projects don't really appeal to me. i tend to make them only for my close friends.
the first one i made was a double-bed sized red boucle housewarming gift for a friend who was moving far away. i made it as much for him as for myself, because i wanted to prove to myself that i could finish such a massive project. the second was a wedding gift for penguingirl and her man.
stitch detail
i decided to do this one for thehairyape because he doesn't wear many of the typical things people make--scarves, mittens, gloves, sweaters (i wouldn't make him a sweater anyway. they are cursed!) and he doesn't carry many bags.

the colors are pulled from the accent colors in a quilt thehairyape's mother gave him for christmas 2005. i also thought it would look nice on his aubergine velvet couch if he decided to keep it in the living room. i worked it in a mohair-look acrylic yarn because he can't have animal fibers against his skin, and it would be easy to wash. thehaiyape has a beautiful orange and white long haired kitty, so washable is a must.

overall, i'm pretty pleased with it. when he opened the box he said Wow! so i think it had the desired impact.

i want my Mtv.

sometimes i'm a creature of habit. there are certain small things i like to have the way i like to have them. both of my parents are this way, so it is no surprise. i inherited one of these tics directly from my mother. we both need our classic rock station.

when we take a long car trip together, one of us is always trying to keep ahead of the radio signal so we can rock out the whole trip. i had established my station in DC--94.7 WARW (The Arrow). the station played 60s, 70s, and later releases from artists of the 60s and 70s. that all ended yesterday.

without warning!
thursday night it was still The Arrow. friday afternoon it became 94.7 The Globe. in part this is great because they have decided to go earth-friendly. they are only using renewable energy sources to power their transmission tower and studios. they are transitioning all company vehicles to hybrids, and so on.

the problem is the music.
they went from all classic to a mix of rock from the 60s to today. this wouldn't be so bad if they defined rock a little more precisely. one minute, you are listening to The Who. the next you have to hear Dave Matthews. yuck. i can assure you not all Cream fans are Coldplay fans. the second problem is that they will play stretches of music i like and then throw me for a loop with crappy trash metal BS from 2002 before switching to good stuff again.

so i can't bring myself to ditch the station all together. especially since i do love a lot of music from the 80s and 90s. i heard Soundgarden on the radio yesterday. it has been a long time since i had a station that would throw them in next to some Lou Reed.

i'll give them a chance. until they play Headstrong by Trapt. the person who wrote that song deserves to be taken out into the street and slapped silly. if they offend again, time to cut off their ears.

02 February 2007


someone is a dumbass.... me! congratulations are in order on my very first truly nice work, dumbass! mistake.

yes, that is right, i put my work down to take a phone call, picked it back up, and began knitting off the wrong needle. so on the right side of the picture, i have three completed rows, while on the left side of the picture i have completed five rows. oh, well.

the good news is that when i slipped the work off the needles and checked my gauge again, i needed to go down a needle size. i started out too loose and got tighter. pooh. i guess it takes the edge off of frogging for my other mistake. i may not cast on again until i get my circulars because i think it will allow me to knit longer.

having the work on my left needle makes that hand tired, and i have a hard time holding the needles for very long. my left ring finger and pinky are a little sad. when i was about 16, i was sewing and not paying enough attention to what i was doing because i was in a hurry (i wanted to wear the skirt i was making to go out that evening) and while snipping threads, i snipped into my ring finger with a big pair of shears. it has never really been the same since. i pulled a similar stunt on my pinky with an x-acto knife in grad school.

the only up side to this is that i can now effortlessly do the vulcan salute with my left hand.

01 February 2007

success! (and a gift revealed)

last night i gave away the glorious sweater to my even more glorious gal, the lovely penguingirl. there. secret revealed.

that is the back of ms. penguingirl wearing the sweater. i have a front view, but she isn't very fond of the picture because we quickly re-tied the sweater and it is hanging funny... oh, who am i kidding? we had both had a few beers and it was almost 2am when we snapped the pictures. it does, however, look fantastic. and, AND... the sleeves are the perfect length for my petite pal.

i had an amusing moment with another party-goer who was impressed/excited enough to say "ohhh! you make sweaters for people!?". ha. no, i don't make sweaters for people. only the truly worthy get handmade sweaters, usually people who understand and appreciate the many hours i put into the garment. i will go so far as to say, the recipient needs to be not only worthy of a handmade gift, they have to be someone who will use it. i don't buy into the idea that something is "too nice to use". if it is that nice, it should be used until it wears out so the maker can create a new one.

i have another funny gift-related story from the bar. the party last night was a joint affair for penguingirl (birthday girl) and our friend CG (birthday boy). thehairyape and i were talking to CG and his ladyfriend CD when CG dropped his scarf, which thehairyape returned and brought on this exchange.

CG: thanks. my girlfriend made it for me.
thehairyape: oh, yeah? well, my girlfriend made this hat for me. and i have another one she made at home.
CG: [to CD] you've never made a hat for me.
CD: yeah, because you would lose it.
CG: i would not. i haven't lost this scarf you made me.
CD: whatever.
CG: [to thehairyape] well, you don't have a handmade scarf.
kittything: the hairyape doesn't wear scarves.
thehairyape: [smug look]

men will compete on any topic. =)
by the by, i finally took real pictures of the afghan i made for thehairyape for christmas. i'll post one soon.