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Monday, January 2, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

Top Ten Words for 2005

10. Inept

9. Levee

8. Conclave

7. Pandemic

6. Tsunami

5. Insipid

4. Filibuster

3. Contempt

2. Refugee

1. Integrity reported by the Miriam-Webster Dictionary

First of all, I'd like to register my extreme astonishment that the word FIERCE didn't make the cut... Tyra must be pitching a high maintenance fit somewhere this very minute! But Oh, Goody! Why just the other day I overheard someone say, "Hmmm, you know, pandemic Uggs with an iPod chaser seem to be the order of the day on the #66..."

What was your Regional Most Used phrase or word in 2005?

...banished words list via Betsy

For Marg - from the Calgary Herald - "So out, they're in: We look at 10 trends you probably thought were over, but are back in style again."

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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

and so it begins...

Of all things knitting, last year had to be the Year of the KAL. They were everywhere - I jumped in feet first on Alison's February Fix-a-Thon and the Martha KAL over at Jessica's Rose-Kim Knits...

Why KAL? I would say it all boils down to one word: ENERGY.

Being in a group of like-minded people, attempting a challenge to a finish is just the Ultimate Needle Team Sport. It motivates; it inspires; and it can bail your frilly fanny out (ahem, the LaceForAllSeasons that I lurked on to make my first shawl, hi Wendy, happy belated birthday!) when you get stuck. And, yes, I'll admit it. I get stuck quite often. And people were always there to give me their individual/collective wisdom to grease my sticky needles along. Thank You! oooxxx

There is not one project that I've made that I didn't benefit from the Feedback of others.

Ahhh... The Butterfly KAL: I spied this beautiful camisole fashioned by the lovely Eilene early on but just didn't have the time to join in...

Little skeins of something called Kidsilk Haze snuck into my Stash whenever I wasn't looking until finally, this posting by the Skinny Rabbit herself tipped the scales. She was wearing it the way I could envision myself wearing it - over another (long-sleeved) top.

I had to do it.

But I couldn't. Just didn't have the time - even though I'm determined to make more lace...

But I could make this, a little ChicKami, using the KSH. It wouldn't have the lacy drama of the Butterfly, but it would have the *L@@K* - a sheer vest, a simple frosting effect.

I fired up the machine and made some swatches.


This, IMHO, is the most important part of the process ever. It is the Blue Print, the definition of the building blocks you use to fashion that *wall* that sheet of fiber that becomes your fabric. It probably comes as no surprise that I have a dressmaking background - and I usually approach knitting as a way to make fabric. Here you see the personality of the gauge (20/28) working with the strand itself - sheer but by nature of the mohair, dense enough to carry it off.. (The white borders are the waste yarn you use to start a piece when you machine knit.)

AH and what fabric a piece of knitting is.

It is alive. Not only is it shaped in progress, it has an inherent organic flexible quality that woven fabric never achieves, a quality that mimics the body shape it is worn on allowing us, if we pay it its proper homage will repay us in spades.


Up she goes on the dress form to see if it can really seal the deal. This is knit using Rowan Kidsilk Haze in the Spray version - color #572 Pebbles. The pooling is intriguingly different on the front and back pieces. I cannot describe how delicious this piece feels - but it is both substantial and gossamer...

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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Ah - would that the Holidays could last forever!

I could just party Party PARTY IF they were all like the wonderful bash that Mason-Dixon Knitting threw for Chicago area knitters...

l. to r.: Helen, Ann & Karen B.

The M-D connection traveled up to CowTown and Ann and Mary Neal (her newly transplanted sis-in-law) hosted a friendly evening of knitting at Mary Neal's loft (drool along with the pictures from the January 2 entry @m-d). Joining hands and needles together to meet old friends and new: Erica, Jodee, Dana, Carla, Emily, Diane, Collette, Karen, Corinne, Helen, & Elizabeth! And if just circling us all up wasn't fun enough, there was FOOD!

(Coincidence? Good Knitters = Good Cooks?)

And there was MAGIC! The night was emboldened by the Sorcery of Hand PomPoms! I learned something like this as a child but it took the prowess of a mighty Fiber Queen to induct me into The Mysteries...



the Magic of one Karen B.

Start with a Tie! This is the most incredible advice - saves much trauma and stress later...


Begin the PomPom by wrapping the yarn evenly around your hand.


Keep wrapping until the mass becomes very thick. Remember: the thicker your wrap, the denser the PomPom...


WOOT! Use the piece of yarn that's been hiding under the wrap to tie the center tightly; you'll need to go around a couple of times.


Fan the wrap out in a flat circle and cut the loops open. Pull a little on the scissors to keep 'em even.



A little trimming here and there and you have a Super Duper Pom!


JOIN Us Tonight for a round of KIP at
LETIZIA's 2144 W Division 7-9pm

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Friday, January 6, 2005



Temperature: 28
Wind chill: 18
Wind: North 13 mph
Dewpoint: 16
Humidity: 61%

Since yesterday's PomPom seemed lonely and (thanks to) Meg and her mighty spinning spin spin, I now have Fine Hat #2, which is a tribute to, drumroll please: SPIDERMAN!

Fighting the elements in the climatic cul-de-sac which is the Great Lakes Region requires tough love, tough style. Super Cold Needs Super Heroes!

ANd we got 'em...

I found this weird little bi-color slip-stitch pattern adorning the crown of this hat in my Mom's Mon Tricot pattern book. I am too butt-lazy to do intarsia EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and might be saving myself for some fair isle down the line, but I needed some ColorWOrk. So I used Meg's russet tweed hand-spun for the ribbing and contrast and some navy Black Water Abbey left over from the Watson sweater. The handspun has little flecks of blue the same color as the BWA and they seem to sing a simple toon. (The picture doesn't show it very well, but the top is spidey web stripes...)

Mon Tricot: This little dog-eared paperback wonder is my favorite reference book - wonder if she's noticed it's taken a hike across State Lines. Wonder if I'll notice when parts of my library jump ship and take up residence elsewhere - oops already happening - an inherent byproduct of Object Gluttony - it walks, you don't care/notice, might say *Thanks* to the pilferers for helping you clean house. I seem to be the one (one per generation I kid you not) in the family who's inherited the PackRat DNA. Lots of Books. Yarn. Shoes. Magazines.

My sister started knitting around Thanksgiving (YAY!) so I'm praying the DNA (at least the strand for Ginourmous Stash Piles Everywhere she's a goner in the book department no turning back) migrates back to Michigan whence it started 5 generations ago when the family first set foot in the Land-of-Plenty...

In the meantime, it's all bets OFF! I'm makin' more hats...

Thanks so much for the Wonderful Yarn (and resulting fun) Meg!

JenLa is having an Avatar FUGin...

Here's mine...


make your own here...

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Chic Knits Weekend Edition

ChicKnits New Threads Weekend Edition
Happy New Year!
Bringing in 2006 with a BANG!



from Bonnie Evans!

Bonnie writes:" I just finished this for my son.  He liked my ribby so much that I made him one in his team colors.  It looks like a baseball jacket, anyway. "

Bonne Marie writes: "wowWowWOW! (and a hubbahubba for your son, too :) Can you believe how cool this is! Bonnie lengthened the body and sleeves (she suggests adding about 12 stitches to the sleeve width).

View #2 HERE


from Maggi...

Maggi writes: "Cascade from the stash, knitted Feb. to May this year ~ I finished the seaming at MS&W and wore it to Wendy's party with no zip! Love the pattern, love the sweater, will surely make it again!"

Bonne Marie: "Hi Maggi! You wear it well! I'm sorry I didn't get to see it at the MDS&W - loved the post..."


hello from Sweden!

Anna writes: " The pattern was great! Easy, even for one who doesn't speak English every day. I will be making more of them, I would just like to find a yarn in more colors, which is sold here. Want a green one! :) And I would like to knit the whole thing in one piece! Well... join at shoulders and just knit on up, you know... No sewing!"

Bonne Marie writes: "The lovely Anna is from Sweden! Thank you so much for knitting the Ribster and joining in the Gallery Fun - your sweater makes me want to immediately start another one in those colors."

a GINOURMOUS Hug & Thanks to all of YOU
who knit the Ribby in 2005!

visit the

for all the glorious details on these and many other fabulous garments!

these garments are listed on Page 3 in the Ribby Section...

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Monday, January 9, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

first of all, I'd like to apologize for ever posting the picture you see below (first terrifying readers in 2002) - WTF?! with those wonky shorts and background...

BECAUSE there are not ENOUGH hours in the day for slacking on the Internet, ladies & gentlemen...

the Face Recognition Geneology Matcher...

here is how it matched me...


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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

a very slow atmosphere permeates the region
we are frosted with chilly grey and the air is thin

Totally in thrall to my Pack Rat DNA, I've been meaning to put these gifts away, clearing my dining room table. It's January 10th - the month, indeed the year, is surely on its way. My big excuse though is that I live in a SoftLoft (choice realtorSpeak) and it really isn't a dining room anyway so why can't this furniture be a Display Table instead. Like FOREVER. (Like why take the Christmas lights down because you just have to put them back UP Next Year?)


AHH. Bless my friends and family for totally ignoring the Parka Culture I must live in on my *day job*. They know I have another life - a life as a Glamazon (if only in my mind...). Such girly treasure: a satin embroidered purse with a beaded handle. Satin beaded slippers. A huge Red Velvet/Brocade Hat Box with a Rhinestone Buckle...


Indeed! A hatbox filled with velvet rose petals, hiding a beautiful mirror hiding a Sephora Gift Card! OYE!


A Mirror which can tag along in the beautiful bag as it goes on its merry ways.


Joining the glitzy bonbon thats been hiding in my stash since 2002! Now that I am no longer in thrall to RibbonPhobia, let the adventure begin! What shall I make...

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Thursday, January 12, 2006


Got on & Cast-On! Knit!
Heel Turned while wheels were turnin'.
Toe shaped while corner made.
KITCHeNERD in route. WOOT!

THIS is the first sock totally fashioned on the #66 Chicago Ave Bus; it took about two weeks to finish. Why I'm so proud of it, I cannot say, except the Sock Love for this onsie is Strong!

Of course, the yarn colors are very passionate and bold: burgundy, dark and light; blue; neon and navy. And then there's Lime.

Just a little bit.

Shot through.

The color changes ended up being on an unexpected angle which attractively wraps around the tubes.


I orginally bought enough of this yarn to make a shawl! That was before I understood, apres Flower Basket, that bold variegated yarn just isn't the best for Lace - but subtle shading is just fine. Dhuh.

So I have either two more pairs of socks or ???????

I enjoyed an unexpected Bus Bonus yesterday on commute. I was all bundled against the early morning dampness in a bucket hat, down parka, really ugly glasses hunched over my knitting WHEN I realized it was time to pack it up. I swept off my hat, shook my head to fluff out my hair and put the glasses away and IMMEDIATELY this guy who had been staring at me for blocks started hitting on me. It was as if On Command from the Girl's Guide to Flirt. Shake and touch hair, Lose Glasses, Connect! WHY bonus instead of usual scoff? He was Really Cute...

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Monday, January 16, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  


QUESTION: What happens when you spend an afternoon surrounded by the most luscious fiber imaginable?

ANSWER: You start hallucinating hand-painted yarn EVERYWHERE - even in the nighttime sky (this is actually a sunset as seen reflected in the Fold's front windows)...

Just ask Theresa or Julie - they were witness to my madness...

We were in Marengo at a place called the Fold, and I SWEAR! if you don't lose your mind to the fleece and fiber here, your heart might surely be spun of straw.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006


the siren song begins...

It was almost Springtime last year before the Call of the Lime began for me. Perhaps it is the very balmy temperatures that have me looking for the green - in the grass, in the beds, on the trees. Something should be happening there, but it is JANUARY. The thermometer does not lie but it certainly is confused.

And right around the corner in my very own house is YARN! The beauty of a Stash is such that perhaps one doesn't have to venture far to fill the need. In 2003 (see Oct. 7th), I made a poncho using triple strands of yarn to make a bulky one. One of these strands was a yarn by Crystal Palace called Merino Frappe, in Pea Green. I also swatched for a cool cable sweater at that time because I had a whole bag of the stuff - but the texture of the fabric was limp and my idea flopped right along with it.

Then I got this last week. I am surely saving my pennies for some of the yarn as shown in the book but in the meantime, this jumped out at me and I was in LOVE!

And I asked the Frappe to dance...

Serendipitously, I found a new yarn store on the far south side (My Sister's Knits) and picked up a couple of balls of the Frappe in a light sage green. It will become the huge shawl collar on the sweater - so I have bright olive wrapped in a silver olive shot through with the bright. Both the yarns are blended heathers and not totally clear but quite alive with both high and low lights.

The beauty of the pattern is that it is knit at a much tighter gauge than the ball band gauge listed for the yarn - I swatched. It worked. I'm OFF!


The body of the sweater is now a nice firm sort of flannel looking fabric and the shawl collar will be as drapey as the original piece I made a couple of years ago. This time it works in my favor!

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Thursday, January 19, 2006       KIPKIPKIP Letizia's 2144 W Division 7-9p

Now that my color train is of the one track kind,
not even my Stash is safe.

Lurking in the mulitude of skeins and balls is POTENTIAL. Potentially Green. Potentially fine...

This yarn was a little something Santa left for moi last year.

This is wet Plymouth Baby Grande Alpaca, color #1830.

I used a little of it to make a cowl - then lost interest in it. QUE? The Color was fabulous but just not too flattering on me. It was a Fuschia that was too blue.

It needed to go green...


What could possibly make that brilliant pink a subtle green? Well, I needed to subract some of that blue out of it - (I tried this successfully before using Procion dyes on a cotton/acrylic blend. That result was a little more subdued because of the fiber content. Alpaca saturates strongly.) So when I mixed up the Sabraset Dyes, I used 20% less of the blue that would be required for the color I was lusting after. The end mixture was 20% Royal Blue & 80% Yellow Gold. The gold color toned down the pink as well, making it behave towards a more calm color space - a color space where it's easy being GREEN...

...I washed and soaked the skeins thoroughly before dyeing - most important, I believe, for good dye penetration when you are *overdying* yarn or a garment that is already another color and not virgin fiber. Then, I used my big pot to dye the skeins in so there was plenty swimming room...

[miniHAHA: Too tired to knit or even WASH YOUR SOCKS? As seen in the London Edition of DAILY CANDY: sock subscription service...]

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Friday, January 20, 2006

New Threads FRIDAY!



c'est bonne

Pattern: ChicKnits
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Rowan *Kidsilk Spray*
Color: #572 Pebbles
Gauge: 20sts/28rows over 4"
Needles: #5 & #7
Type: Fusion

WOOT! The first Finished Sweater of 2006! Just in time for a weekend romp - the Kidsilk Haze ChicKami...

I have to nod ye olde noggin' towards Spencer at Letizia's for providing a Finishing Vibe last night @KIP. He is their barista and also a wonderful musician and previewed his new CD for us while we stitched. Very NICE! Many thanks...

I have to admit, I was a little scared to mattress stitch this - don't know why. But of course, here's where I venture a guess: the Kidsilk is so skinny and slippery that I thought there would be Control Issues. Well, I don't need $$$$$'s dollars of PsychoThr to understand that I have enough Control Issues already and surely don't need a tank top to be pushing me around.

A mere Cupcake, juice and CD later, and we had Lift-Off! WHEW!

And there was joint rejoicing in KIPville last night as well- D wore her new Lara cardi and it is DIVINE! It has inspired all of us - Corinne is already well on her way into a luscious blue one made from wool/hemp. I am so tempted - we all decided All Women Look Wonderful in BLUE! Especially the subtle handpaints these sweaters were made from.

...Speaking of Variegated Yarn - I was pretty satisfied with the color striations in the Kidsilk Spray. There was *splotching* in a couple of places - but it added, IMHO, an interesting design element overall. My favorite place was on the skinny straps where it checkerboarded neatly, on both sides. (As always, if pooling pushes your buttons, you can use two balls of yarn and knit alternate rows. I'm doing that right now on a Manos cardigan that's in the sample stage...)

How much do I like this? SO much that I am going to make one out of #597 Jelly (GREEN!) and one from #576 Vino [Spray] and, hmm, one out of #584 Villian... The ChicKami took less than two balls. I knit it flat, instead of in the round (take stitch count -divide in two - add 2 sts to each piece for seams - VOILA! - you are in the Flat...)

[miniHAHA: bet you might know some famous SPINNERS - yo, T. Cruz!!!]

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Monday, January 23, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

I recently received my new phone book - and imagine my surprise to find out that indeed

Knitting is NOT the New Yoga...


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Tuesday, January 24, 200

it's B-A-A-A-C-K!
and I'm glad...

Even though the small amount of snow outside on the trees resembles nothing more than a cotton bush


I welcome it!

We're back in the sweater saddle! Even though it has been below 40degrees, even though most people in North America would consider THAT Cold, even though I have been living in my Long Johns or something similar when indoors (around this time of the winter, I think your average Midwest person resembles a gnarly character in a High Plains movie, where we're all stuck in the cabin unable to do our laundry) - it hasn't seemed like Winter to me.

My wonderful neighbor added to this illusion by gifting me with a Cactus for Christmas. I added this lovely succulent to the mix.


Isn't this a lovely Color? The Teal Tonals here make me sing with delight! I had a garden once that had a little warm micro-clime area on a south-facing wall. I loaded the bed up with silver-bluegreen perrenials and succulents. These are perhaps my favorite plants of all...

Oh. There's yarn in the picture too! I am still on a little hat bender and we shall see what we shall see...

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Before, during and somewhat after the degree
I was bringing it...


first, the bread & butter...

then, the cocktails, hor'dourves, salad, etc.

I put myself through college by waiting tables. I worked at several different restaurants - starting with a Burger Chef! where I quickly rose up the ranks to become Night Manager (mainly because everyone else kept QUITTING) and just as quickly was Fired for giving the leftover food away to my friends once too often (I couldn't BEAR to throw it away hey we were all Starving Students!)

In quick succession (I was getting the hang of quitting and movin' on up), I worked at a Denny's (biggest menu in the Universe!), a diner, an Italian Dinner Restaurant (another ginormous menu totally out of line) and then the piece de resistance (for me anyway), a German BrauHaus. YES! I wore a dirdnl (black)! It was a money maker, baby...

One charming Oktoberfest, I wore a circlet of beautiful silk flowers with ribbons streaming down my back mingling with my long red hair. KA-Ching!!!

I have always held to the belief that this path led me to become the woman I am today (see uberdork self-portrait above). To understand why, read THIS... and if I waited on you, come back here and tip me like I should've been tipped back in the day mit oh mitout dirdnl ;p

...Hat #1: this simple beanie is made using my pattern HERE and Cascade 220 held double - the teal blue is Color: 8229 and the orange Color: I have no idea! Lets call it Pumpkin! I substituted 1x1 ribbing for the garter stitch edge.

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Friday, January 27, 2005

unbelievable what two stitches will do
together in close proximity...


For someone who's most exciting, mystical moment in knitting is the Turning of the Heel, the little piece of fabric you see above is like Gas on the BonneFire of the Imagination.


Flame ON!

This is a Collar.

A shawl collar.

Designed by the genius that is Debbie Bliss, from her Simply Soft book, it is one of the craftiest constructions I've ever attempted. Deceptively simple; beautifully curved.

Alas, only half-done but it just flies by so with any luck at all, I should have Lift0ff shortly. I was tempted to stay up all night working on this - have you ever done that - so enticing...


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Monday, January 30, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

dudes, I'm almost out of bandwidth this month so I present you with the following low class, low bw


do you miss Katie Holmes as much as I DO?

Bonus Fug - or why I love living in Chicago: because if you would go outside wearing this incredible combo, your neighbors dog would bark loudly and repeatedly especially at 5am and his owner(s) would have to tune you up...

get a pattern for the sensible item HERE...

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