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Monday, August 1, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

It is going to be in the steaming 90's today, so I thought I'd pull somethingout of the closet that would be très chic - très cool...

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005


What's wrong with this picture? Well, besides being a little boring in the content department, there is one really odd development on my knitting landscape...

The needle is the same color as the yarn!

This is causing a crisis of knitting confidence in the workshop. Take a lace pattern, add a splittsy yarn, coupled with a monotone needle with a real pointy end and you have


After you go through your entire collection of needles, you find THIS is the only needle that will work with your combination of yarn, tension and goofed way of knitting to make an even stitch. Hmmm. You don't have a BAMBOO needle in this size and suddenly you are convinced this is the ANTIDOTE to your stitch poison SO you run to the yarn store to get one and VOILA!

They're closed. On a Friday. On PayDay. Which, in your middle-class world is like the biggest door slamming on your head! (Just go to my local Target on a Friday night and see the PayCheck Partay going on over there...)

Should I soldier on or go back for another round of Not Got?

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Thursday, August 4, 2005

Sometimes you kick Sometimes you get kicked Sometimes you kick

Come on come on come on come

I look around unsatisfied At what they're giving me Then I think to myself Is there someone else Who feels the same as me Do you feel the same baby

Sometimes you kick Sometimes you get kicked

...INXS 1987

OY! My head's as thick as a brick!

What seems like MONTHS of +90 degree weather has finally taken its toll on my bod and laid me low for a day. My job puts me outside in smack dab in the middle of it 50% of the work day and dehydration is a foul state (but generally short lived). I'm happy to say, I'm back on track after a day in a dark room with plenty of liquids. OY!

I woke up long enough last night to catch some of that *new* reality show even my jaded buddies are watching - the Rock Star INXS Battle of the Band lead singers. (Who knew Dave Navarro's hair never moves? Is it just me or is Brooke Burke the doppelganger of Carmen ELectra?)


I really am pulling for JORDIS UNGA but I'm kindof thinking MIG AYESA is gonna kick it - he's Australian, mate (And, he has a blog)...


Now THIS Kicks some ---!!!

thanks Lynette!

And in the mail from one of me mates, Lynette sent me some beautiful stitch markers! GORGEOUS! Thanks so much - so unexpected - I was a runner-up in her CottenEase Stash Count Contest! Miss L is the Stash QUEEN of the Year! She has over (by now - am I right Lynette?) 131 balls of CE! BRAVA!!!

Behind the lovely markers you see some Jagger Zephyr that I ordered last week and that is destined to become a shawl. Believe it or not, that is enough yarn to do it too! Now if I can just make up my mind about what pattern I want to use...

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Friday, August 5, 2005

Eat or be eaten. Beat or be beaten...

...Iggy Pop (1982 - Zombie Birdhouse)

Yarn Snob? Not I!

BUT, I am a NEEDLE SNOB! Addis or nothing!


BUT unable to go shopping the last few days to try and find some needles to keep working on my Gwyneth pulli, I rousted about the hut and found some neglected circular needles. Their color was perfect; now my grey yarn stood out on a background of receding color and I could relax and just knit to it...

BUT! These needles were what I considered *light duty* numbers - unfit for anything but stitch holding! They were Boye circulars I bought on sale at a Joann's that was closing their yarn department. I had 2 pairs of #4's - they were used when I was doing machine knitting where you are often left with a few rows to finish by hand. I'd pop the waiting stitches on those Bois knowing that its stiff cable wouldn't lose ANYTHING...

NEVERMIND the rather funky tips, the weird cable...

I applied some blunt force, right on the BUS! and bent them to my will


Top: Before
Bottom: After

Believe it or not, the finish on these is a little sticky and just right for the slippery cotton I'm using. And the rebellious cable (that even under high temp torture from my hair dryer relaxed but just a little)? It is now out of the way just enough to HELP me keep tension on the line...


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ChicKnits New Threads Weekend Edition


Minimal and comfortable ...

The ChicKnits Cutaway Cardi favors your form with
its curvaceous charm...

Bracelet sleeves and a pocket-top length define
Cutaway's flattering fit...


SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner

35 (37, 39, 41, 43) "

YARDAGE (DK weight yarn) :
shown in RYC Cashsoft in "Donkey"
1050 (1100, 1150, 1200, 1300) yds

22sts / 30rows over 4" St st
using #5 / 3.75mm needles


Get it HERE...

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Monday, August 8, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

...overheard on the Bus...

"I see this guy standing next to a seated Little Old Lady..."

He says, "Let me see your purse." She replies, "Whaddaya wanta feel my pulse for...?" as she holds out her hand.

"NOT your pulse your purse!" he says.

"And I say to her, "Are you gonna let him have it or are you gonna let him HAVE IT?!"


Thug cowers under blow from handbag and rushes away...

I LOVE THAT PHRASE: "RU Gonna Let 'em Have it, or are you gonna LET 'EM HAVE IT?"

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Picture this: you're moving right along knitting a new exciting sweater and BAM! Off comes the needle away from its join right in your hand!


With enough steam coming out of your ears to clean your carpet you do what:

What do you think I did? :)

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

But of course!

I GLUED them back together...

Even though they did not deserve it! Even though the Super Glue had exploded in the utility drawer because of the HOT weather and had melded many many ODD things together! Even though I had to pull out the Big Guns, Mr. & Mrs. Epoxy (tubes 1 & 2) and MIX the crap together with a cocktail stirrer! Even though it was in the A.M. and I couldn't enjoy a cocktail WITH my stirring (if you do the math, Broken Needle = Mojito)! Even though I had to rescue them from under the couch where somehow they had taken refuge from my Needle Rage! (Yup, I tugged on the other side and it too, came right off in my hand...)

(Damn, I ought to dust under there once in awhile...)


AND I am happily using my Addis once again!

WHY you ask, oh Gentle Reader, after going to all that trouble? Because, the naughty Bamboo Babies were not the right needle for the job after all. I was getting uneven stitches in the fabric - I had tried the bam-boo-s to begin with because, actually for this project, I needed, not #7's, not #8's, but #7.5 's! And mysteriously, this didn't show in the original swatch, but was only apparent after about 4 inches of actual knitting. So OFF with Its Thread!

SO, this story has a Happy Ending even though the Little Bad Muse made me k*** some A** HOT-5.gif


In happier news, I am keeping my fingers crossed for some great knitting weather tonight because I'm meeting my #1 Work Buddie, Eden, for some lakeside stitching. I hope to make some *homework* swatches for my classes this weekend at Stitches Midwest. The sleeve class takes only 3 swatches - arrggh!

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Finally - the weekend has almost arrived! I am busy making my swatches for my sleeve class at Stitches Midwest. I actually have the day off and am being called by the siren song that is the Yarn Market over there but there are too many chores to do today to go play...



I picked these four classes:

Sat AM: "the Perfect Sleeve" taught by Jean Frost (!)
Sat PM: "Grafting with a Russian Twist" taught by Galina Khmeleva
Sun AM: "Where Do My Hands Go?" pockets as taught by Barry Klein
Sun PM: "7 Things that can Make or Break a Sweater" by Margaret Fisher

I really can't wait for the POCKET adventure to begin - I think they are the sweetest (and functional) little additions to sweaters and plan on sprinkling them liberally around once I know how to do them better.

So far, I've done pockets you've sewn on afterwards to the right-side of the garment; picked-up pockets (nay! picked pockets); pockets that are knit first as a facing then joined to the garment after some stitches are bound-off for an edging; and DrumRoll please, a version of EZ's AfterThought Pocket, which just might join my Holy Trinity of Naughty Knitting Techniques (Steeking, Felting, and Frogging) because you get to CUT the stitches right in the middle of a row and continue!

For those of you that won't be joining us out in Rosemont, there's an online primer written by the wonderful Nina Savar. Right-click on the Afterthought Pocket link on this page and choose "Save Target As" to download this document to your harddrive (It's about 1Mb). And speaking of joining - if you have a knitting group in your community, check it out! Our Windy City Knitting Guild is always chock full of adventure and KNOWLEDGE - they have demonstrations every meeting and wonderful workshops. Don't have a group where you live? Start One!

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
10% Dixie
10% Yankee
5% Midwestern

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A more sane, nay, a more moderate person would've been within the laws of fiber and nature to just go home and unwind. Après Fest requires a cooling off period; perhaps a nice foot soak with some scented oils in a dark room with some candles...

That scenario was NOT the one that played out at Chez Chic after the close of Stitches Midwest. Even after two days of stuffing my head full of new and exciting knitting techniques, even after gabbing my fool head off with new and old friends, even after zooming around the market hall and getting absolutely, thoroughly INTOXICATED with YARNneedlesPATTERNSfellowship, I needed more...

I needed to MAKE Something...


On the way home, while I was driving my little Jeep Wrangler in thick traffic, I became obsessed with the above yarn. Said yarn was not in my car among the new fest fibers; it had been deep stashed for, hmmm, several years after my very first Fiber Frenzy - the TKGA convention that was held in Chicago in 2002. It was slated for socks but was destined to become more, after my brain exploded somewhere in Exhibit Room G, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Who cared if my first flirtation with shawl making ended in a disaster? Why should that experience hold me back? (Hmmm - just because a girl commits the crime of trying to knit (May 29th entry) a 6 foot long stole from Black Slippery Devil Yarn, she should'nt be sentenced to a lifetime sans shoulder coverings SHOULD SHE?)

So, as soon as I got home I found and wound the yarn from the skeins and opened my new book - wrapSTYLE - and started an Evelyn Clark number called "Shetland Triangle". My master plan is to do 1/3 blue and 2/3's orange which I believe wil make an incredibly BOLD but wearable color combination for me to head into FALL.


Three Swatches made over an evening and morning taught me some Lace Making Manners!

FIRST PITFALL: too small of a needle for the stitch pattern.

SECOND PITFALL: pattern was too bumpy and boring even expanded a little with a larger needle size.

THIRD PITFALL: changing the stitch pattern might not be the solution unless you also change the needle size.

I found Ms. Clark's other much loved shawl pattern, the Flower Basket Shawl in my stack of mags, and decided to give it a try instead of the wrapSTYLE pattern. The yarn I am using is a Hemp/Wool blend that is slightly elastic but not enough to do justice to the book pattern. I think the Shetland Shawl in the book was made from super springy yarn and they blocked the bejesus out of it to get the pattern to really open up. The picture makes it look very spirally (which I adored and am now going to have to find a stitch pattern that does this!) but my own swatch showed a dense, more closed-up version.


The stitch pattern used is the classic Shetland Fir Cone - which Barbara Walker warns: "has a tendency to pucker" which it did, badly.


But the Flower Basket stitch has more open spaces and compliments the fiber structure of my yarn better. Here is where I am now, starting the third lower basket on the body. I am going to do 5 baskets out of blue and see where I am at that point before I start the orange. be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

what my Friend did on her Summer Vacation...


Being trapped in the Cul-de-Sac that is the MidWest sometimes prevents my brain from tripping naturally around the greater North American region. Not So for my good friend Lorri, who just returned from a fabulous biking adventure up (see what I mean) in Nova Scotia!

One of her stops was River John. And what happened in River John? Why she scooped up a treasure of souvenirs for her little buddy in Chicago: MOI :)

Isn't this the most beautiful yarn ever? AND it is coupled with some handmade Birch Swing needles - all this came from the Lismore Sheep Farm - crafted by John Crawford...

The very best thing about this is that Lorri gave me a paper sack in the lobby of the building where we both work. I pulled it out and started weeping! Why the tears? (beside the usual sentimentality between good friends?) well - my two oldest friends are not knitters - and for Lorri to NAIL IT like this just blew me away!

b.LIMEY, Mate! I am the luckiest girl alive!

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Monday, August 22, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

OK, all you Rock Stars (and Karaoke Divas) HERE's one for you!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This is turning out to be a lot more FUN! than I ever thought it would. Compared to my 1st Shawl Fiasco (black yarn, boring pattern), this one is whizzing along.


A few days ago, I had a swatch; now it really is starting to L@@K like a Shawl! Woot! Since you start at the neck with just a few stitches, every pattern repeat reveals a wonderful new dimension to the piece. Even the learning curve with the initial crochet provisional cast-on wasn't too steep (thank you LOIS for your cool tutorial - I won't bore you all on how many tries I did until I liked the way it looked! Let me just say it was a question of balance and skill not unlike riding a two-wheeler bicycle. You were either riding or flat on the ground.)

Also extremely pleasing to me is the variegations of the yarn and the way the colors are revealing themselves in the pattern. I've pinned it to its little Mother Ship of a chair and pillow in my living room (the two were partially responsible for me trying this Bold color combo to begin with). Now I can see it when I glance up from my other knitting; it's across from my favorite stitching chair.

Dirty Little Secret: You see, over the last couple of years, all of my projects are Test Drives until proven otherwise. In the past, I used to just blindly finish (or bury) garments to completion; now I pause a little along the way to test their appeal and my attraction to the initial idea. If they don't measure up, I'm much less inclined to continue and will rip that sucker out!

But this time, I must say to myself: "ON with its Thread!" be continued. For the whole shebang read it HERE...

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I cannot tell a lie - although I fibbed so hard my nose grew as long
as one of my size #13 Swing Needles, when I said I wasn't going to get any yarn at SMW...

All the knitting divas I've asked have told me, quaility work needs, nay! begs for quality Raw Goods. Who am I to argue...

L. to R.: Natural Grey Polwarth & Silk (for a stole); Dk. Grn & Navy w/Lime Malabrigo (for a felted Bucket Hat); and pretty colored Hemp/Wool Mini's (for socks!)

So imagine my surprise, when unpacking my goodie bag from SMW (finally this morning), I unleashed the yarn that grabbed me by the throat during the festival. These were things I'd never seen before! These were things I couldn't get around the corner, on the street or missed on the web...

Especially interesting - the Polwarth & Silk Fingering Weight, (from Rovings, in Canada). I wandered by a booth from our very own "the Fold" and overheard two teenagers talking as they were petting some wool in a pile before them. They were gushing as if it was the Waxy Head of Chad Michael Murray popping up for a quick pat and I listened with great interest (and actual awe!) as they waxed poetic over YARN!

DO TELL? And they did - they told me all about it! Both these young ladies were outfitted in their own creations - one in a beautiful lace shawl, the other a very cool poncho. They were spinners, fiber connoisseurs, and I listened with rapt interest! They said Polwarth, especially with silk, is surely worthy poetry and more. I intend to make a stole out of it. Reading in my copy of In Sheep's Clothing I found that it is also known for its softness and durability. And WHO could knock the Teen Seal of Approval?


Along with inspiring raw goods, one needs inspiring vibes to make glorious creations. ENTER THE HEARTthrob: it's so easy to watch TV while I'm knitting away and who better than Action Hero Don Eppes (do you know his real name?) to keep my needles company!

Is it just me or is this a picture (grabbed while I was fooling around with my creaky old digital camera) a little too reminiscent of one D. Duchovny? And where the heck is he anyway?

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Friday, August 26, 2005


Yum! I'm eating a peach while I'm writing so I'm going to have to pause a few times while I write this to keep the juice off my keyboard!

It's those perfect days of summer over here - the Farmer's Markets are bursting with fruits and vegetables - I saw a virtual field of flowers in Daley Plaza yesterday - bucket after bucket of zinnia's - just breathtaking. No camera in hand, but it was so beautiful and bountiful it's right before my eyes...

The loveliness of the weather continues here as well - softer, cooler temperatures - making knitting all the more COMFORTABLE! Who can work on wool (!) when the HEAT is making your skin crawl with little clammy skid marks? Even with air conditioning it creeps up on me and all of a sudden my hands are overheated and approaching meltdown. EEEwwww...

Enter the Cotton Ribby - I've been working on this for quite awhile - it's the Mobile Bus Knitting of choice right now (the other cotton stuff, alas, is sidelined - who knows when it's going to be done?). I want my Ribby!

It will be very soon that I can wear this as my work jacket - back, one front, and one sleeve are done. I have half a sleeve done and the right front and collar to go. This one is going to have a button band too - I cheerfully found buttons in the stash to go well with the Brown I'm adding to an elongated collar. The buttons are dark olive - almost brown but still in line with the green tone of the body.

Maybe if I finish this, the cooler weather will land for good and the Real Knitting can begin. Can't you just smell the Sweater Weather???

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Sunday, August 28, 2005


Many of you have asked for a notify list to get a heads UP when a new pattern is coming from Chic Knits...

So here it is - and it will also be available in the right-side column of this page permanently...

Pattern Heads UP Notify List


...let me know if you had any problems HERE...

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Monday, August 29, 2005

  Monday Morning Mirth  

On the multimedia front, I've been really dragging my feet when it comes to some icons, no slower, it seems than getting on the Hogswarts Express!

That all changed a few weeks ago when I got an assignment to shoot a piece with the Man Behind the HP Audio Books: Mr. Jim Dale. In no time, I finally understood what all the fuss was about. His wit, charm, audacity and multiple personalities BLEW me away!

See for yourself HERE

(fast connections best)

I've read the first four books, in the short weeks since that day, and am now on Book 5 in the series...

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

alright, what kind of funny business is this Ms. ChicKnits?


Well, that would be a couple of swatches from my Stitches MidWest classes and the only thing really funny about it is that I just found them while cleaning my house! YES! I am that messy - it's been over two weeks with all my workshop items AWOL...

Well, maybe not really funny - unless you agree with me that sometimes being knee deep in paper and yarn alligators all over the place is HEAVEN and you just kick some of it out of the way to get to your favorite knitting chair.

Well, really funny, when you think that soon! you will have some cool new stuff to play with and wear and all that chaos & debris surrounding you is just like a cocoon that has been shed while the Butterfly takes wing...


No, that is not a knitted guitar on the left. It is a swatch from my "7 Things that make or break a Sweater Class". Without revealing the guts of the workshop (which would be naughty and we don't want to be bad), just let me say, I was naughty! I was supposed to have several swatches pre-made before I came to this class so I could have one swatch per technique. This was actually the last class I had that weekend and I was running out of steam in the homework department.


That's right, I *borrowed* a swatch from a previous class and just started knitting away on it - you see we practiced paired decreases and buttonholes and L@@K! Is that a button band I spy?! Why yes, and was I even crafty enough to use a contrasting color so perhaps in my future perusal, I would remember what I was trying to accomplish? Of course not, I was just running out of yarn! Who the heck knows exactly what this thing ultimately proves except YES! It looks like a guitar and I love it. There were lessons learned...

On the Right, a more wonderful example of WorkShopitude - a POCKET! You can see my iPod hand-modeling for me and showing off the knitted-in-band. Très Chic, my little Mini! I really went GaGAH in this class, taught by the charming and talented Barry Klein. We did about 5 different pockets in all and now I want to put them on EVERYTHING I make!

Well, almost everything...


Due to several reader requests, I want to write an entry about Photo Handling for Blogging.

Would you be kind enough to tell me what application you are using to trim and fix your pictures? Please email me HERE so I can see what folks are using.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Many of you have been writing to me asking how to prepare pictures for use on the Web.

Thanks for all the emails! I thought it would be best if I wrote it all down as a TEKtalk Topic - for all times sake, etc, etc, etc...

Without further ado - let's GO Back to School!


read the whole thing HERE...

Let me know if this is beginning to fit the bill...

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