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Friday, February 2, 2007

It is -8 degrees right now in the Big Windy, and by gum if that ain't sweater weather, I don't know what is! Many Windsters don't believe this though, and are still walking about in sweatshirts, no hats, with TEARS streaming down their face.

The sun lulls you into believing you can walk the two blocks to your parked car with just a cuppa Joe in your hand for warmth - but NOo.

I am not a scoofer.

I am layering and have pulled out the Polar Parka which hasn't made an appearance since, hmm, around January 2004.


Big Parka.

Big Sexy.


One of the best ways to keep one's mind off the weather and on the runway is to knit something warm! I am making another Twist - here you see I've added the cable pattern up the sleeve and lengthened the ribbing.


I love this Picture!

Why? One of the most frequent questions I get in my email box, right up there with wanneBbigger?, is Blocking? noBlocking?

I block.

Just like I would not go out in this weather without a hat on my head, I will not wear or put together a sweater before I take this important step!

You can see in the picture an unblocked sleeve on top of a blocked sleeve.



Not Runway Ready.

Blocking finishes the piece to the specs of the pattern and perfects the details.

I love it.

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Monday, February 5, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

Congratulations COLTS!

While I went to thaw out and repurpose my broken fan-heart, I found this online...

what would you call YOUR signature look!? (For now, you can see mine in the entry below this one...)

bonus poll: would U wear this...

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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

the consolation prize...


Even though the thermometer says its -1 degrees right now, I am having warm thoughts.

Tradition demands that some things stay the same - hence the continuation of the lazy a** bathroom mirror shots that I'm so fond of [I don't think I've ever looked more pleased with myself than in this shot].

And tradition demands that I REWARD myself occasionally with a Consolation Prize in the face of some traumatic event.

Here in the Big Windy, we have Two-fer Trauma for sure: Bears/Arctic Weather.

Solution? New Clothes!

What better than a nice super-bulky alpaca HAT!

In no time at all, I'd whipped up a new crown and kept my hands warm at the same time.

We love that.

Sorry but I'm too verklempt to continue...

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

the flip side of the Super Cold Coin is Super Warm

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The more I see the grey, grey skies, the more I seek the something warm indoors.

Hot coffee in my cold cold morning hands. Check.

Hooded, felted sweater. On.

Vintage Fuzzy Feet. Check.

b.Lime on the Mannie. CHECK!


Well, all the stash diving I did to find this yarn warmed me right up! It's better than three days up in Wisconsin! BTW, have any of you ever gone up and sampled those indoor heated Water Parks at the Dells in the middle of winter? Better than Vegas, baby...

From "H2 whoa! With about 20 hotels now luring guests to jump into their pools during what used to be the off-season, Wisconsin Dells is the world's chlorination capital. We're not talking about a Jacuzzi and a couple of floats tossed into a pool. The features vary from property to property, but some of the bigger resorts boast indoor water attractions that rival most outdoor water parks."

looking at these picture galleries makes me warm inside....

WHOA. But I've been doing my own kind of warm-up: straight from the stash, some chartruese Jo Sharp DK, [they called the color "Maple"]. I've been burning up ye olde machine doing knitting *laps* and it's time for an inspection. I've blocked and seamed the body and have pinned the sleeves to it to check the fit. Check.

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Friday, February 9, 2007

... things to do ...


Swatch, swatch, swatch! Indeed, you can find the motto above (and 9 others) painted around the perimeter of one of Chicago's finest moments, the Stitching Salon!

free knitting patterns

Gathering on any afternoon, you will find like-minded and passionate knitters of all ages and skills DOWNTOWN at 72 E. Randolph St. I took this picture on opening day when it was standing room only - so many knitters showed up they were lined up outside the gallery waiting to get in!

This has proved to be so popular,
it has been extended until March 31, 2007.
Read all about it here...


... more TGIF ...

Sock Yarn Party!!!

Tonight - 5pm to 9pm

Come see what projects including socks
can be knitted out of sock yarn.

1934 S. Wabash

Featuring Yarns from:
…and more

Demos will be given.
Light refreshments will be served.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

During this arctic blast in the Big Windy, people are flocking in droves to their local spas for fabulous indoor beauty adventures.

Especially popular - the Group Event - where 2 or more folk might enter looking like BigFoot but leave looking like a million dollars!

All alone in the outlands somewhere?
Not to worry!

Join me and my very good friend for a special day...

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

UNbelievably Blizzardy and WINDY!

What better weather to flash some stash!?!?!

My dear auntie from Georgia sent me some birthday bucks and what's a girl to do?

Grab some STR, that's what...

top, Downpour; bottom, Carbon

This is so exciting - I've not used the Medium Wt. stuff - any suggestions to needle size and gauge? The label suggests 8 sts on size 2 or 3 needles.

On my only other foray into STRland, I used #1's and got 7.5 sts / 11 rows per inch using Lightweight. [Talking to Self: wasn't paying attention, one sock is done and it's Too Small. Hmm. I used 60 sts - should've used 64 - hate the sock - frog no frog - yikes.]

Garnet Dream colorway

The WTF part of this? It's been so long since I made the initial sock (Oct. 2005), it disappeared and I recently found it in the sock drawer hiding with real pairs of socks. I was desperately needing clean ones and was so happy to see it until I figured out what it was - a single. A onsie.

And if you've ever been single, you know what that means. Limited invitations because maybe, sometimes, you make the wives sweat. Anybody?

I also could not remember what needles I used. Between brands, of which I currently have 3 (!) there are .25mm discrepancies between Size 1, 2, 3.

Off with its THREAD!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007



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Friday, February 16, 2007


Just a little giddy from the cold over here in the Big Windy - it's that biting kind of cold that turns your nose into an instantaneous faucet the moment you walk indoors.

My little friend is wearing Sock #2 of the Green Sock extravaganza. Green Sock has been living in my parka pocket all week and gets a little row here and there and there as I've been waiting in line, etc. I am just tempted to sit down and finish it once and for all but for now it's just my pocket pet.

This concept reminded me of an "unscientific" poll on Best Celebrity Dog Owners which cast Oprah as the #1 Pooch Princess and, yikes, Britney Spears the worst (now taking over another important world shattering office from Paris Hilton). My unsolicited advice to all Trendsetters out there: put a sock in your pocket instead of a pup. You can even name it *Lucky*. No fuss, no muss, later something cool to wear on your very own dogs.

I salute all ye who have made it through this week of incredible weather! Our street still isn't plowed out. I was shoveling snow and witnessed a van trying to get away from the curb. It slid and stopped just touching another parked car. The driver asked me if I knew who the owner was - didn't. I thought it almost heartbreaking to be stuck like that - can't push it without gouging both vehicles, odds of finding the owner of the other car by actually going door-to-door zilch because NOBODY answers their door in the Big City via bell ring if they are not expecting anyone. It struck me as a little pathetic that the street was full of cars who I could not connect with a human. One or two, tops.


Antidote to the Deep Freeze of 2007:
knitting knitting knitting
for the first time ever
alpaca makes sense to me...

The smiling ceramic face you see above is the one thing I would take to Antique Roadshow if I was ever able. It is a curious pottery item circa World War II - a "chia-pet like" vessel. It represents a popluar comic strip character the Army used (so I was told). Its head under the hat area is grooved to accept the seeds, and it has an opening in the top of the hat to fill the head with water so it can Grow Hair! Someday I'll find the back story on this one...

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chic knits ariann

Kristi, from Red Dog Knits, looking absolutely gorgeous in a simply chic grey Ariann...

Kristi writes: "My first real sweater that fits -
it's official - ."

Join me in congratulating her on such a fabulous job!


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Monday, February 19, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

May all your dreams come true in the
Year of the PIG 2007!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Right now, I'm just a little scared of what I see above.

Moments ago, that knitting you see was an entire front section of a sweater.

Now, it appears to be not much more than a swatch!

Here's the silver, swatch is good! Rather it be a puny-size potholder shaped portion than a sweater with not one, but two cable crossing disasters. I swear! I was drinking coffee and chatting and before I knew it BLAM! I spied mistake #1, about 8 rows back.

Yikes! Then I inspected the rest of the thing and BLAM! Mistake #2 WAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down by the ribber-side.

For a microsecond, I considered the cure, the re-knit, the weave.

But then it was: OFF with its thread.

I decided in this yarn, with this tension, with this pattern, it would only drive me around the bend if I started fussing with it. There are two cable actions quite close together and by my estimates (and factoring in the b-Marie patience quotient) it would be more efficient to just rippit. I'm a fast knitter, right?

More is more, then less.

I feel a little giddy....

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Threads THURSDAY!


56 St 56 Row Socks
Designer: Nancy McGlynn
Yarn:Regia *Crazy Color* - 2.25 skeins
Color: Green Multi #5264
Gauge: 7 sts/10rows over 1"
Needles: #3

Whoo HOO! These are some Cheerful lookin' threads!

Soft too - after I washed them in some lightly soaped water, they bloomed and got very nice. I even threw them in the dryer because I wanted to wear them today.

It is still brisk - around 30 degrees this morning which is 30 degrees WARMER than last week at this time. The Weatherman said we had zero or below since January 26.

It helps me to block it out by looking at my feet now. Maybe I'll sprout some daffodils between my toes ;p

{oooh Melanie - where's yer twosie?}

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Monday, 26, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


how I wish I would've
read this
before I watched the Oscars!

The ONLY thing good about this excruciatingly LONG & Boring (yes, redundant to Even Mention It) Show was that my absolutely Favorite Director of All Time FINALLY was given his due!

(but how about those shadow dancers? Snakes on a Plane? The James Bond thingie really made me nervous!)

(oh, and my favorite moment? Duet or Duel? The song between Beyonce & Jennifer - was it just me or was that so over-the-top that you too had to run to the kitchen to get some Girl Scout cookies to escape the firing line?)

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

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It is no wonder that my #66 Love Bus mates think what I'm knitting is a scarf!

It's all curled up on itself; the Stockinette St sides just can't help themselves.

In fact it is the Right Front of my Twist cardi that I ripped out last week now re-knit. Its going really fast - even though I had hoped to finish the WHOLE SWEATER by now, it is still going well. Fate always seems to intervene in my personal wardrobe, stalling, mauling and giving me random reality checks.

It's really OK, though. This little piece went on the road this weekend, out to the Western suburbs for a workshop.

The very accomplished ladies from the Fox River Valley Knitting Guild invited me to present a morning of tips and tricks to their group. We had an outstanding time learning all about basic body measurements and fit, taking turns measuring a partner and finding out what our own bottom line was.

I've found that many of us don't come from a sewing background and garment construction, even after knitting multiple sweaters, can be a mystery. Or in my case, even with a sewing background, I didn't learn how to really understand what a pattern was doing because I didn't take the time early on in the process to investigate how that particular pattern was actually going to measure up to my real world figure.

The peculiar thing about knitting is there is rarely a Dressing Room where you can go try it on before you start! It is a leap of faith on our part when we cast on those first stitches and let 'er rip! And sometimes, because we didn't think it through, we have to let 'er rip in another more Tragic Way later.

The piece you see above replaces the first Front piece I did because of some heinous cabling mistakes I made early on. So, I took the opportunity to tweak it some more - I wanted longer ribbing, and now I got my wish.

Almost a Squee Moment replacing the earlier weeping. Almost.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


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