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Monday, October 2, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  


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Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Now that it's sweater weather here in the Great Lakes Region, I'm all about the wool. Even though I have a couple of things to finish up in Calmer & Bali

[ giddyup Little Bad Muse ]

I am lusting after the sheepy smell and feel of some fine fine fiber in my hands. There's always a moment in the early Fall where my obsession FLIPS full force.

Cant' rush the feeling either even though it seems like Retail gets Seasonal earlier and earlier every year. Now I know when you're ordering 1 million buttons and bows for mass production the machine must roll merrily along but somewhere in there is the hint of the contest. Do You really *feel* like seeing all those plastic pumpkins on the store shelves the exact second Labor Day is over? And because, as my ex-husband used to mock me, I learned everything I know on TV, just take a look at your televison schedule. One show will start 10 minutes before the other; or be premiered a week in advance of the regular scheduled programming. This, rather accurately, is referred to as a *spoiler*.

But there's no spoiling going on over here unless you call Stash Diving an Olympic Sport. I swear, mamma, I got all that yarn with specific projects in mind. As it grew and grew (while I was sleeping) those projects just escaped me.


So maybe it's time to pay it forward. Red Wool! Energy!

This should be a wonderful Wake-Up-Call for me as I knit a scarf with my early cuppa on the dark autumn mornings - the color and yarn and intended vibe will complete a cozy circuit of good sure to start the day right. The Red Scarf Project, an effort put together by the OFA and sheparded for the knitting community by the wonderful Norma, is a great opportunity to reach out to our college friends with some Valentine's Day Care Packages.

Especially our freshman! I don't think there's anything like that first term with it's deadlines and homesickness and maybe even lonliness even in the middle of the crowd. My Busia (Polish for Grandma) used to send me $5 dollar bills every once in awhile. Written in the card: "Buy yourself a cheeseburger, honey. Love, Busia." Those cards were always an Instant Ray of Light & Hope.

So here's to the OFA's Red Scarf Project and the care packages they put together for our college students. You can join other knitters HERE or start a group of your own - or just mail it yourself to the OFA!

I made a little button for our KIP group and some folks asked me to put their name under the banner so they could use it too!

If you would like this button with your group's name on it, send me an email with your details and I'll make it for you!


Or, just take this one for your blog

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Wednesday, October 4, 2006


Digging through the studio, I found I had an arm.

Actually, 2 arms - gotten at a display sale when someone in the suburbs was going out of business.

So on with the SLEEVE!


I thought I'd be at least done with the first 3/4 Chocolat CeCe sleeve, but too much socializing means not much knitting and I'm Almost Done. Just a couple of inches to go and Sleeve #2 will be on the needles.

I still am in love with this color and yarn - after you get used to its weird handling qualities, you see in the knitted fabric that it is quite forgiving and evens itself out automatically as you go through your rounds. Wish me SPEED!

>>>>>>>>>>> I'll get Knit <<<<<<<<<<<<
with a Little Help
from my Friends

OOHLaLa! Donna and Robin have reached the Finish Line!

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Thursday, October 5, 2006

New Sleeve Thursday


Following the Muse into the Dark Side, I worried myself into a nub over nothing. QUE? All the hand wringing I was doing about flat vs. circular sleeve knitting was for naught. The Sleeve insisted on being knit with 2 circular needles. #1 is an FO.

It resisted all attempts with a long circular for the Magic Loop - even with a nice flexible cable, the size of the cable at larger needle diameters also increases. So it was just fighting me everytime I finished a size and pulled the next end through for knitting the next side. [Read more about knitting small diameters with one needle here]

I finally went with 2 - 24" circulars and after the first inch (always trixsie on any project) it went smooth as silk.

Sip 'n KIP - tonight - 7-9pm 2144 W Division Letizia's Bakery

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Monday, October 9, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

New York has him.

Paris, (oui), has him at the stairs of
Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, and yes,
now Chicago is not alone.

I was out shooting some pix a couple of Sundays ago and came

with Our Very Own
in My Kind of Town

Here's what the New City newspaper had to say in their "Best of Chicago" edition last week...

BEST REASON TO LOOK FORWARD TO A WICKER PARK WINTER: Surely there will be fewer sightings of Gene the Dancing Machine, a tall, shag-cut Korean recent arrival in town who favors standing on the traffic island at North, Milwaukee, and Damen in front of the wraparound windows of Fancesca Forno while stripped down to a leopard-print thong and white knee socks while bouncing his abs and thrusting his crotch while clapping and barking at the customers within while undulating to secret beats. "Just vibing," he tells the cops.

bonus #1
bonus #2

Gene was even skateboarding through my
picture of Missy Twist!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yup. It was the weekend and even though there were a million things to do,
only one was the surefire cure for boredom: bring out the DyePot.

A couple of ideas were spinning around my head and only one had the fiber to begin. After a mind boggling stash dive that left no box, bag or shelf unturned, the only real candidate was no candidate at all.

It was boring. It was dirty. It was old.

No my friends, we are not talking about moi, we are talking about some eBay yarn I got last year (?), delivered in, of all things, a liquor carton for Chivas Regal. [Now, these types of boxes have been the Moving Boxes of Choice for years at Chez Chic, so I figured I was in for a treat.] Inside, 14 skeins of worsted weight English Wool - with a simple Union Jack label.


Anybody ever see this Brand before?

The color I was craving was an ashy purple - a little lighter than what I'd done on a Ribby Cardi before - less brown, more subtle. This is the result of a Yellow Gold + Royal Blue + Magenta Lanaset dye mix:



The original Purple seen in this Ribby Cardi used Turquoise instead of Royal Blue. That little bit-o-yellow in the turquoise made the end result browner. Royal Blue brought it back up to a clearer tone - although because of the depth of dye used & the orginal slightly taupey color of the yarn base, it is subtle - smokey - sophisticated...

You can also see that the Ribby Purple has light and dark areas in the yarn itself. When I dyed that yarn, I only let it soak in a sinkful of water long enough to wet it.

These days, I fill the sink with hot water (for wool), add a couple of small squirts of Dawn dish soap, swish, add and SOAK for about an hour before the dyeing begins. This really cleans the yarn (I will use two passes if the yarn is really dirty like this Union Jack stuff) and opens its scales to accept the dye. I also have been using a kitchen timer to remind myself to stir the pot every 5 minutes or so...


End Result: clear color, clean yarn. :) more Adventures in Dyeing HERE

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Wednesday, October11, 2006


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Monday, October 16, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  


How I Spent My Fall Color Tour in Northern Lower Michigan


I knit about 1" for every 1" of snow - care to guess how much that was?

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

a pile of cheatin' on the 3-at-a-Time Rule...

Even though 5 days passed up in Michigan with barely an online visit (no email, no web, nuttin), there was NOT an FO in the pile.


There was some dancin going on.

Clockwise WIP: Khaki Ribby Pulli; Chocolat CeCe; Violet MissBB;
Navy Elemental; Navy Nicole...

Ribby Pulli - 5" done: I had hoped to finish the Pulli - am getting very close.

CeCe - 0" done: CeCe forgot to get on the Bus and cried until we all got home...

MissBB - 5+" done: MissBB makes her debut - this was the traveling yarn - hoped to finish a whole sweater in 5 days, right, i was dreaming...

Elemental - 0" done: the nearest canidate for FO status - only too dark to work on in the wild (dog hair anybody?)

Nicole - 1" done: Nicole was too good in Cream not to be done in fabby navy wool/silk (hello Xmas party over a navy lace blouse) but ultimately had to hide from the puppy love too...

Actual SnowFall: 8" ???
[check out my pal Curley's pic]
Actual Knitting: 10" !!!

Watched tons of movies - Pocketful of Miracles, Anne of a Thousand Days, Murder on the Nile, etc etc etc

filled out this meme:

48 Things You Could Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Bonne Marie

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Rhett & Scarlett's daughter Bonnie Blue Butler (but my name's pronounced Bahn - go figure!).

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? October 15, after leaving Mommy's house from a visit, right after I RAN OUT OF GAS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Sometimes. The experience of learning it from ruler smacking nuns took some of the fun out of its beauty.


6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I would! Then I'd borrow all my yarn!

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Nay - only me blog...

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? YES! I am proud of this. I know not why.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Oh yes - right after I bought the Brooklyn Bridge with your Visa.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Kellogg's Corn Flakes with very cold milk and blueberries.


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I think I am, now that you mention it. Wanna arm wrestle?


14. SHOE SIZE? A friendly and common size 8.

5. RED OR PINK? How about Red + Pink = FUSCHIA!


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss my poor dear Mom so much I ran out of gas two days ago while thinking of her being all alone in the North Woods.



20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A bowl of Rice Chex.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? My neighbor practicing guitar (Keith Richards WATCH OUT!)


23. FAVORITE SMELL? My favorite perfume: Angel by Thierry Mugler.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My good buddy, know only to y'all as the Smurf.


26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? YES! Hugs to White Star Sam's!!!

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Cosmopolitan

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Don't hate me - is this a sport? NASCAR!!!

29. EYE COLOR? Green

30. HAT SIZE? 22"

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Non - glasses all the way.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Is this food: Snickers Candy Bar



36. HUGS OR KISSES? Hmmm. Hugs & Kisses.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? German Chocolate Cake with Pecan Frosting



40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Devices & Desires by P. D. James

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? Don't have one - using a WACOM pen even as we speak

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Johnny Depp in *From Hell*

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Rain on a chilly day heard from under the covers.



46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Annoying co-workers because I actually whistle while I work


48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Cribbed from White Star Sam's blog...

Blizzard - so bored you can taste it...

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Thursday KIP KIP KIP Letizia's 2144 W Division 7-9pm October 19, 2006

check, check, is this thing on?

One would think by now that I could knit ribbing in my sleep.

THAT would be an almost true statement, but with this pulli, I was eyes wide open, but trying something new.

So it wasUP on the mannequin to see if it worked.


Because this sweater is knit in one piece from the bottom up, after you join the sleeves to the body, you have a ginourmous amount of stitches . I used two circular needles to tame this beast.

see post from Sept. 1 - knitting-in-the-round with 2 circs

This was the first time I tried this on a large ribbed section (previously worked on St st areas) and while I was knitting it, the join area at the edge of a rib column was looking rather raggedey, crooked and uneven. I was so blithely knitting along (don't ask how many times I ribbed into the plain knit sections then frogged) that I didn't even notice it until the cap area was about 3 inches long. FuPhooey.

And this is where the knowledge of all the knitters who've gone before saved me once again. Rachel wrote awhile back when I was stressing over nasty looking SSKs: "Maybe about 10 yrs ago I read a magazine article by a woman who was given access to some of the really old knitwear in museums, while she was researching and reconstructing patterns. Can't remember her name. Maybe Nancy Bush or Lizbeth Upitis.

What I do remember is that at first she marvelled at how perfect & smooth the old knitted pieces were, & wondered why modern knitters didn't have such skills. Then it dawned on her that the stitch tension had evened out with wear & time.

So I try to smooth out a wonky stitch by sending its excess yarn to its neighbors, then just leave it be, figuring magic will happen later."

So I just ignored it and finished the yoke and neck - all that's left is the whatever I decide to top it off with! And guess what? After all the attention traveled up and away from the troublesome points as I got closer to the end, the stitches seemed to do some kind of handshake deal with each other and agreed to even themselves out - kind of like when you go late to the movies and you have to take those seats in the middle of the row and you have to ask all the people to move it a little bit here and there and they see your supersize popcorn and drink and gladly step away...

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

The incredible craftmaster
[just check out her finished Peacock Shawl!!!]
Quietish Elf, herself, Rosemary
sent me this fabullous picture of her modeling her Ribby Cardi.


Rosemary writes: "I finally got a zipper put into my Ribby Cardi, so I thought I'd share some pictures with you :) Even before I had the zipper in (I finished in July, I think) I wore it fairly often.

I used Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in 400 Ambrosia and 409 Night. Lovely yarn."

Hear Hear! I love this color combo - have been meaning to try this yarn for awhile now...

Rosemary is also part of the CraftBorg podcast team.
Their current cast is now LIVE

[I am especially envious of the Luna Lovegood Radish Earrings!]


See this cardi and the whole portfolio by clicking this button

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Monday, October 23, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

When the other work laid down its weary head,
the housework demanded equal time.
First up on the Rooster: LAUNDRY.

Tell me what this is and why it's FUNNY
- win enough yarn to make these -
the #1 accessory pattern amongst Bike Messengers in NYC...

thanks Mary for your company & inspiration - check out her cool Voodoo!

--- entries taken until Friday, October 27, 2006 - TBA Mon 10/30 ---

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I am going to go out on a limb here and TESTIFY how much fun I had doing this little wrap fest of yarns for Ariann. I encourage all of you to try it - something about playing with the yarn this way, in close proximity and close comparison, makes a lot of things CLICK.

You can see many fundamental characteristics, up close and personal, as you make this little chic stick - loft, density, tensile spring, controlability - all things that make a yarn good for a project or a dudley.

It also totally reinforces, for me, the fact that the ball band on any yarn is just a starting point. For instance, I assumed Karabella Aurora 8 is best knit with a size 8 needle for a gauge of 18/24. However, this yarn and one with a similar recommended gauge, Rowan Cashsoft Aran, totally benefits with a slightly Tighter Gauge.

This is easily accomplished by using a #7 needle - making the gauge 4.75 sts per inch instead of 4.5. It helps the fabric made from yarns with a more delicate fiber content become slightly more crisp and well behaved. Just that one little adjustment can make your garment last longer and wear better.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

New Threads FRIDAY!


Pattern: Chic Knits
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Jo Sharp *DK Wool*
Color: Navy
Gauge: 22 sts/30 rows over 4"
Needles: #6

The crispy, damp weather in Chicago has made a Sneaky Pete find the finish line!

This is my favorite time of the year (give or take a little of the damp back to where it belongs - North Sea?)

Now is the time I can relish the sweater wardrobe and pair it with a down vest or two. My favorites - an older Black down vest with stretchy knit sides - and a new vest I got up in Northern Lower Michigan a couple of weeks ago at a J.C. Penny's coat sale. It is Chesnut Brown, very fitted, with some nice channel quilt detailing. Much more wearable than your run-of-the-mill square quilting you see everywhere else.

My other must-have on a vest - SNAPS! paired with a zipper, for quick closure + quick release. Fantasy wish list: 2-way zippers on ALL outerwear for the chilly climes. Why men's clothing almost always have his option, but not Ladies is Beyond My Ability to Understand -wtf? I run; I jump; I split those single zippers like banana peels.

I love the look of Navy with Black - this is my uniform for Winter 2006-2007 - I love how the hood on this turned out. It folds really great - a combination of shaping and drape. Not the best picture - but this is body conscious/fitted and has nice active-wear fitting sleeves as well. This is the second sweater I've made from Jo Sharp DK Wool - why did they discontinue this stuff?

Although I knit this almost to the buttonband gauge of 22.5 sts per 4", I think this yarn would work well even at 19-20 sts per inch. [omg we're pushing the envelope here step back].

The lovely Amisha (doing some swatching for Ariann) even says: "I'm currently having excellent luck with Jo Sharp DK wool, the regular kind. Ball band says 22.5 st/4 in, and I get pretty close to that on a size 6 needle (and a pretty tight fabric). On a 7, though, I get exactly 19 st/4 in (and in fact JS has a couple of patterns that are at that gauge)-- I have to say I like the fabric better, the knitting is a bit quicker, and it works *perfectly* for your designs. The yarn also seems to be very sturdy (it's not merino, but it's completely un-scratchy-- more of a substantial feel) and it doesn't pill. Wheee!"

WHEEE indeed - I've been *compiling* a bit of this stuff myself since they discontinued (and discounted) it. Now I can go amuse myself and make some swatches at this bigger gauge and see what up.


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Dulaan Project Knit-In Potluck

"Dulaan is the Mongolian word for warm. Think of it not just being physically warm, but also the warm heart of human love, and the warm feeling that grows from knowing that you have touched a life, even on the other side of the world."

Coming UP: Next weekend -
Saturday, November 4, 2006
Franklin Habit, from the Panopticon, is hosting
here in the Chicagoland
the most fabulous
Dulaan Project Knit-In Potluck

read all about it here
and find out how to sign up!

I'll be there with bells on enjoying all that
Pizza, Swag, and Give-aways!

See you there with your knitting?

>>>>>>> How to Help <<<<<<<

Participation in the Dulaan Project is simple

You may use whatever yarn and colors you like. There is a need for hats, mittens, socks, neck gaitors, scarves and sweaters for all ages from babies to adults - especially for children ages 2-10. Think warmth and simplicity.

Some Chic Knits Free Patterns:
Bulky Scarf
SuperBulky Scarf
Keyhole Scarf
Chic Cowl

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Monday, October 30, 2006

  Monday Morning Mirth  

so funny!


A groovy skein of yarn goes to this winning comment (left as a caption for this picture from last Monday):

"It's the horrid wool-sweater-laundry-tragedy-allegory about Kirstie Alley, before and after Jenny Craig."
Posted by Angela

and because everyone had so much fun playing and I had another skein of yarn, I drew a number randomly and found a second winner! And this comment is pretty darn funny TOO!

"Mr. Washie gets revenge for being ignored. Not only did he shrink one of these sweaters, he sucked all the color out of it and hid it somewhere, waiting for an unsuspecting load of whites to dump it on."
Posted by Tracy

The Story of the Little Sweater: or, Meet My New Hat - a couple of years ago when I picked up the needles after a long hiatus, I made a beautiful alpaca sweater.

Alpaca can be very warm, so I made an elbow length mock turtleneck, which became one of my favorite little numbers, dressing up and dressing down.

ALAS! It was so little when wet that when I washed it with some other sweaters, using my machine as a *laundry tub* it hid against its sides and partied hardy with some blue jeans, the next load in the long line of post-poned laundry cramping my lifestyle.

What is really funny is something I wrote back in 2003:
"Secret #3: I felt things by washing them in hot water with two pairs of blue jeans and a little squirt of Dawn Dish soap. Scrubbing Hot Bubbles = Felting."

I'll say! Read the rest of the secrets HERE.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Scary Monsters; superFREAKS

Behold a Ghost from Workpile Past
(those of you younger than 12, leave the room now):


OH how I want to put this on and wear it today but ALAS! it is about 5 sizes too big for me. It is like my very own Personal Mobile Home/Tent. Indeed, I followed the pattern. Indeed, I blocked and seamed and MOST OF ALL, I swallowed my own pride and I admit it, I Knit INTARSIA!!!

Why the pattern makers of the day (Rowan #3) thought a 50" circumference for a size Medium was the standard is perhaps the Scariest of ALL! But scarier still? No, not those drop shoulder seams guarenteed to give about a pound of bunch under the arms. No. Not the ginourmous width of the sleeves. But this: not once did the measuring tape pass through my hands! Not once did the thing get eyeballed for scale. I just blithely ran down the Rosy Path to Ruin.

And it took 12 years.

That's right.

I started it, got about 3/4's of the way through than left it up at my Mom's because the thought of weaving in all those ends was driving me INSANE. I gave her a bunch of yarn to distribute to her friends because I had a surplus from my Divorce. [What, you didn't get a huge stash when you got divorced? Oops. I must've been self-medicating with Those Fiber Capsules (erm, skeins) we all know and love so well.]

Years (and years) later while rousting about her spare room, I found it.

And more importantly, I was nutz enough to finish it.

I have to admit, I love those big birds! And the Buttons! Any ideas on what to do with this? I am going to recycle the collar -

This was a substitution from the collar as given in the pattern and took a long time to make.

You could call it Old School Fun Fur: it's individual *fingers* of yarn that makes a rasta salad of a fabric that just deserves to be on something else -


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