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Bonne Marie Burns
that reflect the way you
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Sunday, July 1, 2007

and HELLO Cambridge, MA

>>>>> MAKE some Summertime FUN! <<<<<

We are pleased to announce the arrival in your area of the Chic Knits Hard Copy Portfolio!

GO visit the fabulous folks at Woolcott & Co and see what kind of cottony trouble you can get into! Sean is making a beautiful Ribby Shell and you can see it at the shop along with all their scrumptious yarn and our new pattern line!

Woolcott & Co.
61 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
tel. 617.547.2837

Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m.


Get Dressed...

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Monday, July 2. 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

>>>>> My country tis of Glee <<<<<

Which colonists told the most jokes?

What kind of tea did the American colonists thirst for?

What protest by a group of dogs occurred in 1773?
The Boston Flea Party!

What happened as a result of the Stamp Act?
The Americans licked the British!

Why did Paul Revere ride his horse from Boston to Lexington?
Because the horse was too heavy to carry!

Why did the British cross the Atlantic?
To get to the other tide!

What do you call a parade of German mercenaries?
A Hessian procession!

What would you get if you crossed a patriot with a small curly-haired dog?
Yankee Poodle!

Did you hear the one about the Liberty Bell?
Yeah, it cracked me up!

What would you get if you crossed George Washington with cattle feed?
The Fodder of Our Country!

What did one flag say to the other flag?
Nothing. It just waved!

Why did the duck say "Bang!"?
Because he was a firequacker!

Did you hear about the cartoonist in the Continental Army?
He was a Yankee doodler!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Being at the halfway mark of the year is always a jolt! Here's a pile of rUkidding ME WIP!

click this to see bigger pictures...

Clockwise: Olivia -- (Jo Sharp *Maple* cardi); Groovy Condo (August 5, 2003!); Ribby Hoodie -- (Teal Cotton Fleece); Rowan Saffron; Citrine Shell

The last few days have been fresh and mild and the house has been airing out -- a perfect time to complete my *Spring* Cleaning. I've been moving furniture, stacking and culling magazines, cataloging yarn and projects. And I, having found a hidden cache of marinating projects, am staring them down--they're all yelling FINISH ME! at top volume and I am reaching for the coin to toss because it's Summer and my brain seems to be on hold...

Instead how about a little poll...

Help me!!
Groovy Condo
Ribby Hoodie
Cirtrine Shell
Free polls from

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Tuesday, July 5, 2007

Lace: 10 -- Knitter: 0 ?

This time of year, I am filled with incredible optimism. The trees are lush and full; the days long and balmy, here in the lovely Land of Lincoln.

Things are so darn squeaky clean and bright that one feels like they could do anything, and do it well. Your neighbor's kid just passed you on her bike, little feet pedaling away, her bike a two-wheeler now instead of four. The PostMan waves at you as he comes down your front steps, having just delivered your mail on time.


You go up to the neighborhood Yarn Hut and get some new threads, some cool threads some of the softest prettiest threads you've ever held. And you Cast On.

Some of you, erm, about 4331 but who's counting, might of heard of a little thing called the Mystery Stole #3 KAL over on Yahoo. I've been lurking around Pink Lemon Twist for quite awhile, steeling up my nerve in case another edition hit the fan, the first two being not only lovely but incredibly presented by their creator, Melanie. This time, even after two personal shawling FlopFests, I was ready: 3rd times a charm on 3rd Rock, right?

So I plunged in, Clue #1 and black Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino in hand, ready to take the dive off the cliff of my life.

Also in hand? Addi Turbo Needles--#3 (3.25mm). Not the new lace ones, which have been eluding me, but ye olde style nickel plates. Over the weekend, I got 50 rows done--good for me, little slow skert lace knitter that I am.

Then last night I picked it up to continue on and just HIT a WALL. I don't know what was different (the humidity? the millions of firecrackers being thrown by my neighbors? the sweatiness of my summer hands?) As far as I could tell, I was doing everything the same. But it had changed. My Gauge. The needles just wouldn't knit; they balked and stuck and blunted me out so hard, I cried UNCLE and changed to #3 (3.25mm) Inox Teflons.

WHEW! Their pointy selves just poked and flipped and handled those stitches as fine as a flap-jack master in a short-order truck stop.

Trouble was, that pesky little thing called Gauge. Again. With. the. Gauge.

It was slightly larger. Just a teeny, squeeny bit. Now, a local guru I know, with a slightly curled lip just scoffed and told me it would "all come out in the blocking" (ie. get over it). I must say, I couldn't! I am stuck in some (self)delegated Limbo between Process & Project Knitting that won't allow me to just roll over like that.

Who IS the Boss?

Hee. That would be me, using the Teflon wonders, starting over from Row 1. A piece of fabric that drapes beautifully, opens up just right and makes me smile when I touch it can't be all bad.

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Weekend, July 7, 2007

It's 07-07-07 and I'm feeling LUCKY!

top (@50 rows) size 3.25mm needles
bottom (@60 rows): size 3.5mm

Well, I guess when I wrote the other day that 3's a Charm on 3rd Rock it meant I'd be starting Mystery Stole #3 three TIMES!

Indeed, I took a good look at my second start and thought it was too dense. Then I read "A Question of Definition" and it pushed me over the edge! My stole gauge was too tight. But.

HEY! There's no expiration date on knitting, dear little slow-bees.

And now that I've gone up a needle size (to 3.5mm) you can see LACE!

There's Air in There. You can see how it's opened up in the mesh areas and the pretty little bit of light peaking through the St st areas.

Even though black lace is a B to shoot, let me tell you there's eyelets and yarn-overs, and K2TOG's all playing nice and liquid like a merino waterfall when I draped it over my arm.

And that's what's exciting -- we get to wear this! I have needed a stole for a long time -- my first attempt was a few years ago now and it's been many a summer night when I longed for something to throw over my shoulders and wrap me right. THANK YOU, Melanie!

The other excitement, the longer lasting thrill, for me is that I think now I *get it*. The Lace Thing. I was knitting a row and just sailing along -- not struggling with the needle size or fiddling with the yarn because it was either too stuck to the needle or slipping all over the place.

Thing is, I would've started over 300 times to Get It.

But it's 07-07-07 and I feel lucky. Gotta knit now.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

happy anniversary speed freak

OMG! It's been a whole year since I entered the ranks of DSL! While gone are the days of waiting endlessly for downloads (and I believe I got more housework done in those times by being the multitasking maniac I am) now HERE are the hours and hours of finding and playing with online goodies!

And because I'm a Big Fat Enabler, now you can too!

Here is my current favorite: the Rasterbator!

You can upload a favorite jpg picture under 1Mb and it will BLOW IT UP to the ginormous dimensions of your choice, then give you a PDF file you can print out in *Tiles*

I watched S. Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" this weekend, hiding from the HEAT.This movie was an unbeilavable portrait of excess and frivolity, just a slice, not much plot or substance, but oh those SHOES! OH the photography, especially the FOOD shots...

After you print out your tiles you piece them together mosaic style as a poster! Below is my new 25" wide X 22" high -- 6 page poster. You can use many, many more pages to get a HUGE poster!

-- --the picture I started with was a very loRez (72ppi: 4.5 x 3.2 inches -- 35k) very small JPG but it gave nice dotty results using the online Rasterbator

-- to get smaller dot size, use a higher resolution image to start with, and download their standalone app which lets you choose more detailing

-- beware: darker pictures take more ink!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    UFO Resurrection KAL

If you would've asked me in the Fall of 2001 if I thought I'd STILL be blogging almost 6 years later, I probably would've just fallen down in a fit of giggles! [ rUkidding Me? ] But this journal seems to be like the eBunny -- it just keeps going and going and going...

And I'm glad!

BECAUSE it has once again bailed me out.

It's one thing to stash (erm, hide) a bunch of WIP's you've fallen out-of-love with.

It's another to Rekindle the Flames and decide to try again.

In every case of the polled projects from last week, there was no organized storage. They were all in This Trunk. Nowhere near were patterns or notes or anything to indicate what the stuff even was.

Enter the Blog Archives. I added a Google Search feature to these pages awhile back (in the right-hand sidebar). I did a search on the words *Groovy Condo* and VOILA! It returned this archive page, complete with my tubular cast-on notes. [Did I ever mention that I adore Tubular Cast-Ons?! FAB! My links are toast -- here's a great one similar to the one I used but by a molto compiuto e bello Italian living in LA. Thanks Fluffbuff!] Also, on the right-side bar of long ago, the WIP list where I find my needle size and Pattern Book info.

There's the big fat Bamboo #11 needle that goes with this project. It was not even in the vicinity of the unfinished piece. I'd done something I like to do that I think keeps the stitches from deforming during storage: I used a smaller diameter inexpensive circular needle from an eBay score to hold the stitches. That's a big 7 come 11 baby -- and what could've been a crap shoot it now back on track.

This is YARN?!? /////

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

 Newbie = Slow-Bee buzzzzzzzzz

There's something really exciting about being able to say this. I don't know why. I don't know why I should be as pleased as punch, but there you go.

I am DONE with Clue #1!

In fact, I am on Row 109 in Clue #2!

A little here, a little there, I snuck in some knitting on my Mystery Stole #3 with my early early morning coffee over a few days time. I like working on this in the AM; my stitching seat is in a bay window with the sun rising over my shoulder. It makes the black yarn so easy to work with compared to the tungsten PM glow that might come later.

Path of the Newbie: but of course, first of all, I printed out the charts and taped them together to make one big one. I'm using an 18" steel ruler right on the chart to *highlight* the pattern row. It has a strip of cork on the backside so it doesn't slip around and the whole thing just sits on the couch cushion next to me. I like the fact that I can see the preceding rows clearly with no markup.

I am also using a click-type counter for my row count. I love these things -- it tickles my inner geek to no end to get to the end of a row and CLICKit.

Here's a bunch of different row counters I have. I'm using the one on the lower left for this project. Wonder why they're all red? ;p

As I get more deeply into this project, I keep having those daylight in the swamp moments -- the main one being immersed into the essence of the knitting. For instance, after several pattern rows of the borders on either side, I became more comfortable knowing I was totally on track with the graph -- the design moves back and forth in a natural flow. Where the SSK's or the K2TOG's fall let you know repeatedly that you are in the right place and they become touch points for an entire area.

The symmetry of the piece is soothing to me as well. I know if I made it to the center point without Wonking Out, chances are that I will successfully make it to the end of the row with no problem.

But even with all this new found karma, around Row 69 I fell down. Nothing wrong with the chart or instructions -- I, for no particular reason, went off-count and just couldn't figure out WTF I was doing for many many minutes. Instead, I sat in the glow of the table lamp (yup, PM insanity) and stared at the stole moving my head back and forth like at a tennis match until I almost made myself dizzy. FINALLY I noticed that a space was on one side and not on the other and found the exact mistake: missed YO! Only two rows down. Not TOO painful.

I am so happy I switched to the larger needle size (#4 - 3.5mm)! Now the YO's are specific and more open and when giving the surface of the stole the Big Picture treatment, it was easy to see if I was on track.

Luckily, I'm still in love with the feel of that Baby Merino and it was just double the pleasure to knit it again.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

LONDON (the Economic Times): "A £10 million security operation featuring an army of guards, satellite tracking systems and draconian legal contracts has swung into action to prevent any leak of details of the seventh and final book about the tales of boy wizard Harry Potter. As millions around the world eagerly await the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Saturday midnight, only its author J K Rowling and some 20 other people, including the book’s editors and illustrators know Harry’s fate. When the finished manuscript was taken by hand from London to New York, the lawyer for the American publisher, Scholastic, sat on it during the flight."

To celebrate the pre-release of this tome, Chez Chic had a pocketful of Bernie Bott's All Flavoreds and a weekend of *vintage* Harry Potter. Not only did we enjoy a 2nd go-round of Half-Blood Prince, but we hustled ourselves to a theatre showing of the newest movie release: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

My Review: "As cryptic as this series has always been, it is most mysterious that the longest HP book resulted in the shortest HP movie to date. More logical and satisfying would've been a version that chewed the scenery with better detail of character and intent; discrimination and appreciation of subtleties. Instead, we get an adaptation that plays like an over-ambitious trailer, moving at such supersonic speed, one leaves the theatre with whiplash from trying to keep up with the agressive editing. To be sure, one would wonder and ponder why WB would hand over the reins of a blockbuster series to an unproven TV director? This enigma $mells $trongly of an imperiou$ cur$e $omewhere along the line...

2.5 **'s

...stay tuned to see my Top Ten list countdown during this week
-- Left Sidbar -- Cultural Froids --

discussion welcome ;p

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

self-portrait Tuesday

1. Coffee (check)
2. Deck (check)
3. Bare Feet (check)
4. Swing (check)
5. Lace (check)
6. Smile (check)
7. SUMMERTIME! (checkcheckcheck!)

Nothing, and I mean nothing, for me beats the early hour before my neighborhood fires up! Out on the deck, it's July with a captial J for joy in the morning.

It is surprising how calm it is at this time of day and if 6:30 makes the birds sing, who am I, sitting and swinging almost three stories above ground, to argue?

We've gotten our backyard condo project almost finished --

The guys excavated the grass and dug out the space, then tamped, sanded and paved. We used irregular light adobe colored stones we found at Home Depot.

We ladies designed and dug the shaped beds and put in the trellised Clematis vines, Russian Sage, Blue Campanula, Petunias, Day Lilies, Alyssum, Veronica, and soon, coming this weekend, Lily-of-the-Valley & some steppable ground covers, topped off with some mulch.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Destination. Determination. Deliberation.

My ex-husband used to polish me off during an argument by commenting that everything I knew I'd learned from TV.


These days, I'd have to say my Horizons are just a little more grand.

It is not unknown to stare fixedly at the Unknown, in these parts lately.

Just last night, right after I picked up my lace knitting from its basket, I was staring fixedly at a mess in my lap.

Maybe mess is too strong a word, but after several days of lanquishing, I'd started knitting the glorious Mystery Stole #3 again and immediately dropped a stitch. And then I stared. And stared. Hypmotized, to be sure. Stumped. Minutes ticking by.

And then I probed it with a hook. Hee. Nada.

And then I frogged real fast. It's like closing your eyes and ripping off the bandaid from a hairy spot. Real Fast and its over. S-L-O-W and you suffer.

Fast and you're on your way again in no time.

But the lesson learned? Don't go too many days between knitting the MS#3 (or any other work-in-progress) because it might bite you.

And instead of getting to the end of Clue #2, like you'd been dreaming of, you are only on Row 137.

[hmm. a very good number. guess we'll do a little happy dance and visualize wearing this somewhere fab.]

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Monday, July 23, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

Chicago, sometimes best known for its Wind, should instead, be known for its MUSIC!

Where else can one wander into a complete screaming party in the middle of a Sunday summer afternoon, in the middle of a small quiet park? The Old Town School of Music, up on Lincoln Ave. was behind a rousing tent-town and unleashed upon its citizens: The Polkaholics!

And, ladies and gentlemen, where there goes Polka, eventually there goes CHICKEN!

[DANCE that is...]

But this is not any old chicken, this is Punk Chicken, baby.

Don't know how to make the dance? We teach you now.

You too, Miss Burns, no standing still, you slacker!

No person was unmoved by the POWER of the POLKA!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

when is Non-Progress, Progress?

When it's a L.E.S.S.O.N.

Being that I am a charter student of the School of Hard Knocks, sometimes lesson becomes lessonS and it takes quite a few rounds, erm, rows before I get it.

My *Groovy Condo* shell is promising to be one of the most challenging lessons of all.

I picked it out of my pile of UFO's for a couple of reasons -- you all gave it quite a few votes of confidence in the Resurrection Poll a few weeks (!) ago and I really liked the design. It seemed very close to the finish line: a couple of inches of knitting on the Front; edging around the armholes; side seams; then a knitted band around the top.

It seemed the natural opposite/companion to the shawl project I'm working on: one is minute gauge; one is ginormous gauge. So we bit.

Here you can see the seaming went quite well -- I was concerned about those wacky condo stitch areas -- how the heck was that going to go together and not look ridiculous? My first choice was regular sewing thread and I was going to anchor Front-to-Back loops with some almost invisible thread loops.

But once I got going on the seam itself (regular old mattress stitch through the tubular cast-on areas and St st) ye olde light bulb poPPed!

All I had to do was use a length of my seaming ribbon (hmm, yarn) to make a singular bridge between the two St st sections. You know you have the right side of the piece facing you when you mattress stitch, but when I got to the condo areas, I stuck the needle in and flipped to the wrong side and made a small knot on the side of the seam. Then I smoothed out an equal amount of length with my seaming yarn to match the height of the condo stitch, held it flat with my finger and made another small knot on the top side of the stitch. This made an anchor between seaming areas (top and bottom of Condo Area #1). SMOOTH. Invisible. No extra work! Then I just continued mattress stitching to the next condo area and repeated.

So the sides of the piece are flexible and hang fluidly. Whew! To Inifinity And Beyond, people!

Got those armhole edgings done, check.

Got the Neckline Border done. Bleck!

Now came the fun part, but only if you are a process knitter! This design from Fatto a Mano #146 (using *Poesie* ribbon) calls for a ribbed neck finish. You work it sideways, then seam it on the piece. Ah, no. Thank. You.

I decided to knit it on as I went but the concept exploded because of the HUGENESS of the GAUGE! Ususally, I just get up to the edge in question with my band and SSK or K2TOG with a loop I pull through the body piece on every RS row. Approximately. After about 9 failed attempts, don't ask me why this went on like a scratched and heaving record sometimes knitting is like that, I went and got another needle and picked up my neckline stitches (which should've been left *live* to begin with but were sadly, bound-off). Then it was a breeze to SSK or SSP with the last/first st on the band side and attach! QUE? Making those stitches with the working yarn made a messy edge; making the edge with the *3rd party* stitches make it smooth.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

New Threads FRIDAY!

Groovy Condo
Design: Fatto a Mano Nr. 146 design 33
Yarn: Gedifra *Poesie*
Color: Aqua #2017
Gauge: 13 sts/17 rows over 4"
Needles: #11

To be sure -- le dictionnaire de b-Marie sez FASHION is something that is distinctively, elegantly in style, at a given time, in a given society or place.

This little shell would be right at home clubbin' it, after 11pm, dancing the night away -- en Vogue where vogue is fashion that is evident, enthusiastic [but perhaps] short-lived.

Turn the Beat Around: it echoes the 70's but it lives in 2007 via material and arrival. This style was termed "blouson": "n. Jacket or dress that is full at the waist; blouse-like in appearance."



I've seen a lot of bloused cami's in my neighborhood -- paired with tight peg-legged pants and very high heels, very P.M. Hmm. I found a pair of aqua capris that match this exactly -- and think I might have to wear high cork wedgies with mine.

I was flipping through the channels Wednesday night and by accident came across an incredible documentary on PBS.

This program is a fascinating look at the current state of Haute Couture, where it is, where it's going and who is wearing it: "The number of fashion houses showing haute couture in Paris has fallen from 100, during its post-World War II heyday, to barely a dozen today. Filmmaker Margy Kinmonth journeys from Paris to New York to California to meet both designers and customers in this exclusive, elusive niche in the fashion industry. As haute couture's traditional American customer base ages, fewer young women are stepping up to ensure its survival. Discover how much has changed — and, surprisingly, how much has stayed the same — in this story of decadent decline." [Just once! I wish I could wear my $100K dress to work like these divas!]

What I found most fascinating was the behind-the-scenes looks into the workrooms of Chanel and Galliano -- watching the women crafting the incredible, incredible garments.

I feel we knitters share a bond with these ultimate artisans -- we go by-hand into a realm of our own making where attention to detail can be a very exciting stitch-by-stitch commitment. No Pain. No Gain.

Encore -- WTTW Ch. 11 SECRET WORLD of HAUTE COUTURE: Sunday, July 29 at 3:00 pm

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Monday, July 30, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

harry potter deathly hallows

Well. All I've got to say is that I read it (dozing through the forest chapters -- damn that's a heavy book). I cried (a little -- when it falls on you, it HURTS). And I marveled (5 out of my 10 theories were right-on). But the most mysterious thing about Book 7?

Oh why. OH. W.H.Y. was he only on about 1% of the pages? The most interesting, most conflicted character (called "the Authentic Protagonist") in recent popular fiction is buried (literally) in the back field at school while we're subjected to the self-orbital musings of a spotty teenage boy sitting in a tent.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: harry potter deathly hallows

But of course, in the Internet Age, you are never alone! Here's some interesting opinions on this phenomenom -- feel free to leve me yours!

And here's one for you Ladies, which is probably why we all had a soft spot for Him to begin with . . .

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hi everybody -- due to a very Tragic Server crash, I lost all the wonderful comments you left about my Mom & our garden. THANK YOU for being so kind and generous -- I think we have the ghost out of the machine now but I apologize for the wacky site behaviour the past few days...

self-portrait Tuesday


What, you say? Who's that girl?
Well. This is a 50% Self-Portrait.

That is my Mom. ;p

She was visiting for a few days and we really got to it in the back yard. I thought she looked adorable (she's 75yo) in her jeans, working away on the ground (on my behalf!) Those are lilies-of-the-valley in the middle, liatris (sterile) on the right, and some unknown vine-y ivy in the front.

Two things are very special about this.

FIRST: my Mom is even here, especially doing anything. She was very ill last year at this time and it brings me great joy to see her traveling, gardening, doing all the things she loves. I have to salute her -- she took hold of the situation, has lost about 40 lbs and feels great!

SECOND: those lily-of-the-valley originally came from my DziaDzia's (grandpa) garden, maybe all the way off the farm. It's a touchstone of something we all have in common across the miles and years and I know I will love seeing it in the yard.

We had fun deciding where it was going to go. LofV is *much too friendly* of a plant, multiplying and going everywhere. Liatris, even though this is the hybrid kind, is like that too, although to a lesser degree.

So what you see above is my Mom's solution. She found a corner of the yard, where we weren't really planning on planting and made them their own habitat where their beauty can tickle us without torturing us with their bad habits.

What was really fun was that she used a ton of the rocks we dug out of the yard while we were excavating the space for the pavers. Our house is built on the scene of a fire; the previous 19th century house had burned down and elements of it are spread all over our lot.

She used the smaller ones to make a border between the pavers and the beds -- we hope to use up every bit of found stone -- very good luck :)

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