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Monday, May 1, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

OK. That's enough.
Are you sick of being held hostage by
clueless Hollywood Casting Directors?

Over tea and biscuits in the neighborhood, Theresa and I decided that the casting of one Robert Langdon in the Da Vinci Code* had pushed us over the edge. WHY would we believe that Tom Hanks would inspire the kind of lust that would cause a MUCH YOUNGER any actress to throw caution to the foul medieval winds and be swept away by his magnetic ministrations.

AAAK. Now it's your turn to change history.


Cast Robert Langdon
Viggo Mortenson (47)
George Clooney (45)
Denzel Washington (52)
Matthew McConaughey (36)
Kenneth Branagh (46)
Alan Rickman (60)
Tom Hanks (50)
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

* how many times have you read it?

** write-in casting gleefully accepted below :P

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Tuesday, May 2, 2006

and the People's Choice? V-I-G-G-O and Viggo was his name-O

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OMG! How did I ever leave Colin Firth off of the list...

Travel once again is whispering in my ear - in a couple of weeks, I'm going up to Michigan to visit my family.

Yes, that's UP. As a Midwesterner, I join all the other regional neighbors in the universal head shake that accompanies the Phrase "Upper Lower Michigan". Or is it "Northern Lower"?

What I do know is that even though it is going to be the middle of May, the P.M. temperatures of the area will not be Kindly Springlike; ie. balmy, warm, caressing.

Nay. They will be cool and damp - we are almost in the deep woods - I'll be visiting an area that bills itself the "Headwaters of the Pines" and indeed, this is a place where bath towels might fight to dry after a normal use. It's the Trees.

But this, in the grand Chic Knits Tradition, calls for New Clothes - wool clothes - which are the only ones which shake their nappy fists at the Damp and Dread.

I am finishing the Elemental sweater I started this past winter. It is a fusion knit - part machine part hand - made from Jo Sharp DK in a rich navy. I love navy. Even better, if truth be told than I love black.

First up is seaming and blocking the sleeves - I get to use my little Michael Graves ironing board - so much fun! Steam pressing as a blocking move is something I first read about in the back of the Rowan magazines and it works very well with wool that is not in need of extreme shaping - the steam nudges, softens, and sets the stitches wonderfully without any pinning.

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look out pine trees I'm comin' to getcha...

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uno dos tres Quatro Mayo KIP 2144 W Division Letizia's 7-9pm

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Lisa writes: "...are there just some knitters that are doomed to never wear anything that they have knit? Or is this just a phase that all knitters go through? Like adolescence?"

AH - the slump, many times experienced when making a transistion. Like from scarves to sweaters - or knitting to finishing. I've been in one myself - the sweater you see above has been "marinating" for a few months, when my goal was to finish it sometime last winter.

What made it re-surface into the GetItDoneNow pile? Well, I wanted to have New Clothes. AND I had a deadline to shoot for - a trip that needed this hoodie. This made me re-focus my energies. Lisa - you are not alone - all of us slump on the timeline occasionally. What really helped me was starting to knit with others - in the KIP group, in public - or if you can't geographically swing it - virtually, in a KnitAlong (KAL). I think the common goals of a KAL, along with the support system it offers, can maybe help you jump the final hurdle and walk that runway!

Discovered in my needle stash was a cool circular I'd forgotten about - one with a hook on the end. When I first bought this, I didn't notice that feature and was pretty POd when I unwrapped it until it dawned on me what it was really good for - PickUp'nKnit! Yeps, you just use the hooked end like a H@@K! and then slide the picked up stitches down the cable on the rest of circular needle.

Above you see the beginnings of a band around the hood of my sweater. It is made from DK weight yarn so I'm picking it up in a ratio of: pick up 5, skip one - or 5/6. I think you can see the little gaps between the groups of picked up stitches. That's where the skip one is. Here's another view:

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It's really easy to count your total stitches this way too - just count the number of groups and multiply by 5.

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Monday, May 8, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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this is a package of Peppermint Breath Spray

I have a *friend* who occassionally needs this...

What are you giving YOUR Mom (or, yourself!) for Mother's Day?

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

and just how should one feel after major Stash Enhancement?

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Jackman Bear Fountain, Glenview, IL

Alrighty now - I've been on the quest for super work sweaters for awhile now, and the yarns to make them. One of the most elusive candidate fibers thus far has been something called Bluefaced Leicester. Lustrous. Strong. Hard-wearing.

British!

Do I let a little thing like the Atlantic get in the way of my Quest?

No need! All I need(ed) was a little help from my friend(s) - and Rachel, who's fancy footwork unearthed a load of this fine fiber, joined me on the Metra Saturday for a field trip to Glenview, Il. home of The Village Knit Whiz yarn shop.

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948 Harlem (Olympia Plaza) Glenview, IL

These fine folks had small stock of same and we had a fine day exploring their excellent collection of yarns.

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Into my arms, leap-o Navy Divine! 15 balls of discontinued Berroco Connoisseur Collection Blue Faced Leicester destined to become an aran design this fall...

But in the meantime? A few balls of some denimy cotton blend DK by Zitron called POLO - on the needles before the BFL reaches the start point?

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

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Further evidence of my love affair with cheap yarn, here lies a special flash from my past. It's all washed and getting ready to go UP to Northern Lower Michigan this weekend.

This is a cropped Aran cardigan, made from a Vogue Magazine pattern (I don't have it anymore) that my Mom had, year unknown. I made it about 10 years ago and it's something I'm wearing all the time this Spring - it's short, it's textured, it's now...

It's also made from Peaches'nCream Cotton Yarn. I think. I remember it came on a cone and was probably best meant for a dishcloth but why pay attention to little things like that when you can fantasize! I believe the original yarn called for was Rowan Handknit DK cotton - in my infinite wannabee yearnings, this was the best my pocketbook could do.

And how now, cash cow? Actually, not too bad! This got softer and better with every washing - and since it was cropped to begin with, a little shrinkage didn't hurt TOO much. I actually was totally naive about shrinkage in that era - even though I owned jeans that shrank in length, I didn't grasp the fact that 100% cotton yarn almost always shrinks, (unless it is pre-shrunk and then it still might shrink!) Now, in the New Age of Yarn Awaremess that I live in, I swatch, wash AND dry the little bastards to see *exactly* what I can expect.

Bottom Line? I'm pretty darn lucky - this sweater made it in spite of my ignorance!

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Friday, May 12, 2006

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Green Day 12

TGIF!

see you from the North Woods where it's shaken not stirred...

          ...Project Spectrum Participants

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Monday, May 15, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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Report From Upper Lower Michigan:
round here, the dogs watch Hockey...

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Green Day 15

and the people celebrate with a CupCake Dog
the perfect Mother's Day Treat. All Gone!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

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What's this? A garment actually being made with Green Yarn?

And this is no ordinary green yarn - this is Sale Green Yarn. And it is a very sassy Yellow-Green Yarn. AND, it is made out of something that we haven't tried before - viscose & acrylic.

Viscose is very common in clothing in Europe, less so in the US. It is made from wood pulp (cellulose) so me thinking is that since I'm actually in the Pine Forests it is fitting that I Knit with Wood...

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Friday, May 19, 2006

It was Thursday and that meant only one thing:
right at the ice cream, left at the stump.

And here in the Stump Capitol of the World, was the Trufant Flea Market.

Even though it was windy and fifty, the flower vendors brought all their wares...

The very best thing about the Flea Market was

seeing my sister, Catherine, selling all her beautiful creations in the open air. She is a practitioner of the Prim Arts.


click on pic for larger pic

Ann & Sally Prim at the show
with their Crow Pie...

Steps and stools and
fancies for the home.

As is my wont, I wandered and rambled in the cold morning air. Little tempted and reached my hands except for the extra large coffee I carried around.

Others as cold as I were enticed by the Bunnies for Sale - many stood for a long time huddled with one for warmth - until overcome by cuteness they would offer to buy the bunny. Here you see the lady farmer on the left sexing her rabbit. We City Folk find that endlessly amusing. I cannot explain why.

I admired the soft down of the cozy baby ducks she had for sale and wondered why in nature we humans were just plain naked as the day is long in our natural state.

Another solution to the cold weather was kindly offered here at the Hair Booth - I looked for anyone actually wearing hair extensions at the market but I think that is saved for Saturdays.


Here in a shed there was a loud and exciting auction going on. Many trucks were lined up outside the shed piled high with boxes filled with anything and everything.

The shed would be filled with the boxes and then auctioned off - there was booty good and bad - thrilling and mundane - worthless and mighty...

One lady got a huge box full of wonderful baking pans and cook pots for $.50. Something about the wonderfulness of that score suddenly loosened up my own pocketbook and I was ready to steamroll that flea market and Get Mine...

These brooches were $1.00 and are about three inches wide each. I especially like the bottom one whose flower is made out of wound painted wire.

But best of all, for later, was the food that ended up in my bag - the best Amish-made Cashew crunch I have ever tasted, homemade peanut butter cookies, and blueberry jam.

Pardon me, now it's Friday and I'm going off to make some noodles et beef...

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Weekend, May 21, 2006

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Need a little somthing to wear anywhere, EveryWhere?

The glamourous Michele models her new CeCe cardigan, made from Klaus Kloch Clip!

Michele writes: "...Hi, loved your CeCe pattern. I started two weeks ago with 4 skeins of stashed On Line (or Klaus Koch) Clip 5 st./in. and ended up with the sweater in the attached photo. I chose the size  38 and it fits perfectly.  I didn't want it too tight or stretched.  The Clip yarn is very dense and drapes beautifully, just the way I like it.
Thanks for a great pattern!"

Très chic - très sophistiqué Michele!


CeCe - perfect for DK weight cotton, wool or blends!
$4.95


CeCe would look FABULOUS in these yarns too!

Almedahls - Cotton Lux Brn Sheep - Cotton Fleece
Butterfly - Super 10 Cascade - Pima Tencel
Classic Elite -Provence Debbie Bliss - Cathay
Diamond - Cool Linen Elsb Lavold - Cotton Patine
Estelle - Young Touch Filatura di Crosa - Brilla
ggh - Bali Goddess - Carmen
Jaeger - Trinity James Brett-Kool Kotton DK
KnitPicks - Shine Nova - Sari
Patons - Brilliant Patons - Washed Haze DK
Reynolds - Saucy Rowan - Calmer
Rowan - CashCotton Rowan - CashSoft
Rowan - Luxury Cotton Sirdar - Breeze
Twilley's - Freedom Cotton Vittadini Marissa

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Monday, May 22, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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I used to hate washing dishes until I used a handknit cloth that I got as a prize at a church potluck...

I was lucky enough to get these at the Trufant Flea Market from a lady who makes and sells vegetables and more.

Feel the Love...

Dishcloth Boutique
the Dishwasher Oracle
the Mason-Dixon KAL
Cara's Peaches & Creme Name Contest Entries
Monthly Dishcloth KAL

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

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I thought my second little CeCe would be finished by now but it's almost there - I couldn't resist trying it on yesterday morning, of course I was brushing my teeth at the same time - didn't even really notice how absurd that was until later! Sometimes my mornings are a chain reaction of Must Do's - it seems like many very tempting ideas irresistibility collide with my routine duties just as I'm about to go out the door. What gets done? BOTH at the same time if possible - we call that the One-Man-Band at my photo job. The only thing missing is the hand stand.

This is actually how I knew I finally was an adult. When you are very young, a day can last forever - the drama and angst of close self orbit will gobble time slowly. As you stand alone on the later horizon, however, things start moving fast, very fast sometimes, and you can find yourself in a landslide of activity and it only makes sense to learn to be a master juggler. (Or does it?)

I've been juggling a lot lately - but I always come back to my knitting to calm down. For me, it seems something that desires (not demands) gentle focus - I haven't been able to do much more than sometimes watch television or listen to programs while doing it - but I have seen people read at the same time.

Knitting lace is too tricksie for that - but not too much so in this case. I can always pick up a little speed because all the wrong side rows are purl backs :)

Why I like knitting in the round or one piece from the Bottom Up: I seem to have gravitated towards this technique as the best of both worlds - top down and piece work. I like the control of it better - you can test out your stitch patterning and gauge on a sleeve (just like I always do in piece work). Then, one can also be assured the bodywork is to your liking rather quickly in a more simple area, especially knitting lace.

But the main reason I like Bottom Up Knitting is the control you have over the look of the shoulder area. I prefer shoulder shaping done with decreases - you can manipulate them several ways for an elegant appearance, a more invisible fit and seamless shaping, although I especially like what is called the "Full-Fashioned Decrease" for the tracks of its geometry.

I always find myself holding the knitting away from me for a good look at the *seam* that forms the raglan after a few rounds - I smooth it and yes, I pet my work - always a moment of small but satisfying enjoyment that pushes me forward but not out the door!

Yesterday, after my trip, I had to return the rental car downtown. This was, but of course, also a two-fer - because it would get me very close to work without having to take the bus. Imagine my surprise to wait in line behind about 12 people for my turn to check-out then discover no wallet in me pocket! The Hertz clerk was very kind about my cardless, $$$ status but I was not.

This meant I had to walk 3 miles back to my house to get my IDs and driver's license - essential when you might have to drive a company car, no? The day was clear and brisk and as I walked through the river neighborhood back towards East Village, I had abundant time to think. I could fill my eyes with the wide blue sky and wallow in my brain about where my life was leading me and my family. My Mother is ill - she is suffering and needs treatment, to be determined. Suddenly misty clouds loom over my eyes blotting out the blue. I turn and see those are only tears.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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These lilies of the valley started out in my Grandpa's garden and are now hundred's of miles away in my Mother's.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and encouragements...

The waiting is the hardest part - the tests are tomorrow - I feel especially discouraged because I am so far away.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

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Things are looking up. Or rather, I'm seeing up...

It's funny - when times are discouraging for me, I actually walk with my head slightly down and see, really, just a ways in front of my feet. The side lines get blotted out; the horizon is where?

Things haven't changed much from last week. Illness still looms, still without decision, still without direction. Like many of you, I stand at one of those *unique* family crossroads, where roles can suddenly seem to go into lightening fast reversal from offspring to parent because of sickness or circumstance. Nature throws you the huge Medicine Ball and you catch it.

Heads Up!

So while everybody practices their curve balls, it seems the perfect time to be as industriously positive as possible. Now is the time to really clean my house! I have new towels and rugs for the bathrooms - a yummy mix of sage, pistachio, and greyish aqua - a refreshing and restortive palette for the wee morning hours...

I've got Knittin' to do - my red CeCe cardi is almost done - a little band work and a button and she's good to go - I am loving this Warmer weather - there's a very pretty white cotton dress, trimmed in lace, waiting in the wings, that just might need a fresh little topper. Fashion is thy Happy Face!

Then it's on to some pullovers - one shell (Delilah) and one T (Gwyneth) are off and running. The Gwyneth T has been on the bus with me - a teenager insisted it was a hat the other day - alrighty now...


Wishing you all a FABULOUS holiday weekend!

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Weekend, May 28, 2006

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I must say
this really made my day!

Heather, so gorgeous, models her
brand new Cece cardi...

Heather writes: "...I finished my CeCe sweater. I love it! Thanks for the great pattern! The yarn is Cotton Fleece - Truffle number 825, and I needed about 2 3/4 skeins for a size 36. I knit it an inch longer becaue I am long waisted."


CeCe - perfect for DK weight cotton, wool or blends!
get it
HERE


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Monday, May 29, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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For one who is captured in toto at various bus stops around town, it is always entertaining to see what the advertising pundits want us to become...

I for one, if I could, would be a Dandy! (...read more about this phenom, also known to our beloved Brits as "the Peacock". Are you, or your man a Dandy? Take the quiz...)

This advertisement has been up for months (hence the expired xmas threads) but features none other than Tony Sinclair Socialite Extraordinaire! Bravo! I never tire of toasting Tony in the early a.m. Rush Hour.

But lately, an urban vandal has been *spoiling* all the tiny billboard advertising in my neighborhood by pasting little ovals over the eyes of any models in the pictures. This tagger goes by the name of Olivier Sipod - and if that isn't embarrassingly DANDY for a Tagger, I don't know what is. WTF is this world coming to?

And WHO is Olivier Sipod?

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Threads TUESDAY!

*************************************

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a little RED!



CeCe
Pattern: ChicKnits
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Brown Sheep *Cotton Fleece*
Color: hand-dyed Fire Engine Red
Gauge: 20sts/28rows over 4"
Needles: #5 & #6
Type: Hand-Knit

24/7/Memorial Day>>>Labor Day! White Jeans white skirts white dresses, thumbs up, OK!?! The Question is: Do I dare wear them out of the house? How long can I go without spillage, pillage or sitting on a picnic bench covered with...

Oh.

I'll take me chances, matey! It's summer temps here and it just feels right. We've been in the 90's for DAYS now and I (and my sinuses) are diggin' it. I finished my little red sweater and it feels extra nice when I have to sit in the AC.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

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I fall into its soothing tones; I swim in its sunlit joy...

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