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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A very sad day

No, one of my cats didn't die.

I am packing up my sewing machine for the move. I'm only moving about a half hour down the road, but I do still have to pack. I kept my vintage (my mom's old) machine up as long as possible, but I haven't done much sewing in the past week what with all the cleaning and packing.

Fear not. I'm about to go on a 6-week vacation to the States and will be working on my coat for the Great Coat Sew Along at my parents' house. That means I get to play with my mom's fancy machine and serger! I also have several knitting projects on the to-pack pile.

All is not lost.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Notes on the Purl Stitch

I actually LIKE the purl stitch! I prefer purling over knitting. It is much smoother, easier, and faster than knitting. Today, thanks to Elizabeth Zimmerman (who hated the purl stitch), I figured out why.

I've been knitting for almost seven year now. I taught myself how my sophomore year in college (not counting my nana's lessons when I was about 10). Yesterday, I started reading my first Elizabeth Zimmerman book, Knitting Without Tears. You can see in a post below that I bought this book to knit my husband a sweater for Christmas. Anyway, I've read MANY knitting instruction and pattern books, and somehow, this is the first time I made a very interesting realization:

I've been purling incorrectly for seven years!!

I don't wrap the yarn the correct way around the needle. I go the easy way (no wonder I think purling is easier), which makes the knitting side a bit more awkward from my vantage point. It all comes out the same in the end, but that accounts for why I prefer purling over knitting, unlike any other knitter I know. It should be interested when I start some circular kitting I have planned, to see how knitting is easier when I don't have my funky purl stitches on the previous row.

I tried a few rows the "correct" way today, and decided that since it's all the same in the end, I'll keep doing it my way. Now I have my own knitting idiosyncrasy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pretty White Box

I received a pretty, white box yesterday from elann. It amazes me how quickly they get my orders here. I'm in Germany, and I received this box less than a week after I ordered it. I really recommend them if you knit or crochet.

I ordered this gorgeousness to make my dad a vest for Christmas a la Brooklyn Tweed's. Instead of the hand-dyed, though, I'm just making two-color gray stripes. Hope he likes it!
And the below splendiferousness is for a vest for my hubby for our anniversary. I am sooooo late on this. I promised him a vest about three years ago. (I did make him a sweater in college, which he still wears - we didn't break up as the legend foretells!) He's hoping to actually get it for Chrismas, I think, so I'm aiming to surprise him for our anniversary in August. Wish me luck! I'm leaving for a six-week va-cay in the States in a few weeks, so I should have lots of knitting time away from him. The vest is going to be gray with a ribbed cable pattern and little touches of navy on the plain ribbed borders. This is a design we collaborated on several years ago but never knitted to the end.

Finally, I ordered this Elizabeth Zimmerman classic (I'm embarrassed to admit this is my first EZ book). I want to make my hubby a simple stockinette saddle shoulder sweater, again like a Brookly Tweed creation. At the top, I want to do a short placket with buttons, so the top will look more like this cardi. I already have the yarn, a khacki wool/alpaca blend of some sort.
I'm hoping aran weights and easy stitch patterns will help these bad boys fly off the needles in time!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Well, I have nothing exciting and finished to show you (although I do have a dress that's been sitting around just waiting for a hem since March). Instead, here's some updates on two knits I'm working on.

First is a big lace scarf/shawl thing. It's my own lace "pattern." I don't think I can really claim a pattern that's such a simple eyelet repeat, but I think it's beautiful. It really allows the subtly-varigated yarn to shine.
Of course, Cleopatra had to see what was so gosh-darn interesting.

Next, a sleeve for the little shrug I posted about maybe two weeks ago. I have one more sleeve to go before I can sew it up. I'm getting a bit worried I'll run out of yarn. This will require a lot of seaming. :-(
And here's a little swatch I made from my buttery blue linen-cotton.

I did cut this out into a collar-less jacket. Here's what I envision. 3/4 sleeves and hook and eye closure.
I'm going to sew self-trim all around the edges, but I can't decide whether to use the gathered stuff or the plain stuff and add some beading. Any thoughts?

Here are closeups of each side. First, the plain version

...and here's the gathered/ruched version.

I also got some knitting goodies in the mail today, but I'll post on that tomorrow.