Saturday, June 10, 2006


The party was last night, so (Cher's lovely and supportive comment notwithstanding), I thought I would post a rather more civilized photo of the finished steek vest (seen here with a bias cut black skirt from Le Chateau and black pearl drop earrings of my own design):

Pattern: yarn-over steek vest, p.104 of Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop.

Yarn: Jaeger Celeste (50% viscose 30% polyamide 20% linen) in white. I purchased 4 x 50 gm balls (90 m / 98 yds per 50 gm) but only ended up needing 3. Knitted on 10 mm needles as per the pattern.

Comments: I love the finished product, but this ribbon yarn was not the easiest to handle, and since the ribbon itself is very stretchy, my garment gauge wound up a bit smaller than my swatch. I knit the medium size, but since I have a long torso, I added an extra inch on the ribbing and an extra 5 or 6 rounds in the steek portions below the armholes - I could easily have added a bit more than that to compensate for the contracting gauge. Like so many sleeveless tops, creeping bra straps were an issue (and yes, I am one of those prudes who feels that showing bra straps just indicates poor planning). What I especially loved about the design was the steek portion - they actually don't reveal any more skin than the knitted stitches, but create a tantalizing illusion that they could - and therein lies one of my favorite fashion devices: the art of alluring suggestion.


The interminable dark and stormy weather this weekend has done nothing to abate my present passion for red. I decided to keep this for myself (had been debating whether to gift or sell it):

I think of it as "that 70's bag" because I knitted and felted it from vintage wool which had been languishing in the backroom bargain bin of a small town LYS since the 1970's. Knitted in the round in "make it up as you go along" fashion.

And the red socks:

I just LOVE how this is knitting up - it's my first project with hand dyed wool, and everyone seems to go on about "pooling" but this looks just gorgeously blended to me. It is Fleece Artist merino sock wool in Red Rock. I am knitting a simple ribbed sock to my own dimensions just to let the yarn shine. I'm not sure when I will venture into written sock patterns - I don't have "average" feet and ankle dimensions and I can't bear to use such lovely yarn on socks that might slouch.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


It's a bit of a hodgepodge today, as the cold rain presently driving against the windows has washed away any sense of creative effervesence. (Also Blogger's technical difficulties today have wiped out several of my more brilliant sentences, which I was too fogbrained to recreate.)

Firstly, an ode to the miracle of suction which turned this:

Into this:

Minus the books of course, but I was pleasantly flabbergasted to witness the smallifying power of air tight plastic and the common household vacuum. Suddenly enamoured with the sucking and consolidating process, I hauled down more yarn and proceeded to fill the other three bags. Turns out I need... well.... a couple more. Who knew? The important thing is, the stash now looks very very small. (See honey? It's really Not That Much Yarn.) Loose objects are now sticking to it, drawn by the inexorable gravity of its infinitely dense mass, but the stash is clearly little. Meagre even.

Next, the finished steek vest. (Well, mostly - I still have to tack down the woven in ends, which I think I will do with needle and thread, since the ribbon yarn is a bit slippery, and I don't trust it not to worm out.) Since the forecast for the next four days pretty much rules out an outdoor glamour shot by the shrubbery, I have resorted to that uniquely knit bloggish phenomenon, the Hideous Self-Portrait In Bathroom Mirror.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Red, to me, is the color of throwing caution to the wind, exuberance, celebration and joy. It mocks attempts to harness it in prim "matching" color schemes, and is at its glorious best in a lusty spectrum from orange to purple. My favorite memories of Crete are the eclectic pots of geraniums crowded on doorsteps, and the impossibly sweet sun-ripened tomatoes - that next summer after our honeymoon, I began an annual tradition of crowding my front walk with geraniums in every shade of red I could find. (We have since moved to geranium - unfriendly climes, but that's another tale and soon to be remedied).

Sadly, red is a color I have never had success wearing - demure pink is the closest I can manage without turning my complexion ill and blotchy looking. I am hoping that socks will satisfy the craving, because wearing red feels like exactly the sort of rebellious self-expression that I am presently in the mood for. "Ha!" my red socks will say to the world, "I am not just an interminably nice professional woman whose highest calling is to listen to the excruciatingly detailed list of your bodily sensations over the last week and advise you in well modulated tones regarding your eternal quest for regularity. I am in fact exotic, imaginative and quite possibly a little dangerous." And the patients will think, "Maybe I will start exercising and lower my trans fatty acid intake." Because there's no telling what a woman in red might do.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Almost finished:

The little steek top, due to be worn this Friday evening with a mid length black skirt from Le Chateau. I'm thinking some judicious bra shopping will take place between now and then.

The second sock, with plenty of yarn left over. Turns out I Needn't Have Worried. Ha! - I choose to believe that it was my incessant worry that in fact averted certain sock disaster. As Mad-Eye Moody would say: "CONstant Vigilance!" Perhaps I can get a little pair for my DS out of the leftovers.


Recently arrived:

The latest installment in the fortification of the stash against lean times to come. Clockwise from top right:

  • Fingering weight baby alpaca / silk from Elann in rich aubergine (my favorite color word) and a sultry olive green. For an as yet to be worked out original design featuring some combination of Fair Isle motifs and lace patterning. Might need some black to supplement. Haven't decided.
  • Aran weight wool from Knit Picks (bargain price, rather one dimensional crayon box colors) earmarked for the next Dulaan sweater. (2007 shipment, which reminds me, I'd better get my butt in gear and get 2006 in the mail - I am SO bad about mailing stuff. How hard can it be, I ask myself repeatedly - address it, go to the post office. No confrontation, no negotiating, just pay the nice lady whatever exorbitant fee she quotes. For some reason, it is one of my Avoidance Things. Except for the business - I get those out immediately and then don't sleep until they show safely delivered on the tracking system.)
  • Lovely charcoal grey worsted weight wool for either the wild cabled cardigan in Loop 'D Loop or some other wildly cabled thing of my own design.
  • Rich brown 40% wool / acrylic and polyamide blend - supposed to be super elastic - for that desperately cool cabled tunic in Loop 'D Loop that looks like tree bark.
  • Light blue cotton elastic blend for a bikini. Having thoroughly dissed Sexy Little Knits, I am going to put my money where my mouth is and make a bikini from the book. I do in fact wear the things, although not to walk my dog or go shopping in Beverly Hills - pretty much just to sit in the hot tub in Whistler sipping beer and looking at the mountains. And nice ones are actually rather expensive to buy, so this will be a sort of cost analysis experiment. How long will a handknit bikini stand up to regular hot-tubbing? I plan to wear it for the first time when no one is around and I have a large towel immediately to hand Just In Case. I may or may not post photographic evidence.
  • More books.
  • More lovely wool in dark blue and creamy natural, for a fitted cardigan featuring traditional Scandinavian motifs. Also a yet to be worked out original design. (Note the reference book of traditional Scandinavian knitting).
  • Last of all, two skeins of hand dyed sock yarn for a rainy day and because everyone else has it and I don't. Didn't.
  • Almost forgot - hidden behind the books are a number of vacuum sealable storage bags with which I am going to compress the entire stash into a small cube (or two) of infinite density. Ditto my lifetime collection of cotton print quilting fabric.