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Monday, October 1, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


oowh. we're still in the infirmary cleaning up our computer messes from last week...

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Back in the Saddle...

WHEW! I think things have calmed down over here for now (that is, until I trip over my computer again) and I can get back to The Knitting.

Here's my current bus-mate: a Ribby Pulli in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in the Rue colourway I love So Much. Some people, including me, call this Duck Egg—is that right?

In retrospect, this project alone just might cure me of my lacksidaisial freakin' habit of having a zillion projects flying around. [Or, hidden in the marination chamber, as the case may be, where they now get some bad habits themselves.]

This sweater, like many who are bordered by ribbing, start out on a smaller needle. When this one came into being, I worked those first rows right up to the point where you switch to Larger Needles, and worked one row of the Body of the Garment on larger needles. I think.

Usually, when something has been sitting this long, idling, plotting, and stewing, it will exact a revenge of its own on the unsuspecting Knitter. This Foul Play takes the form of distorted stitches when you finally start knitting again.

I know this.

I usually rip back a row or two and cut out the offending kinks. This time I just blithely went back to business without doing the clippage. And, yes. I have a funky row all up in there. Needless to say, because of my blurry attention span I wasn't even sussed about it until the ribbing got to be, uhmmm, over 3 inches long and it smacked me right between the eyes.

Now I don't know about you, but sometimes my Little Bad Muse [on my left shoulder] will NOT let me rip after a certain point, mocking me for my carelessness.

I'm hoping this state will just Go Away after the first wearing and washing. (Yes, it's really one of those things only a TypeA person would fret about ANYWAY. Hold on. I'm going to go look at it again. Yup. Still there.)

OOPS #2. Even though this is like, the, zillionth sweater I've knitted, I kept No Notes.

Notes are Good.

Here's what I usually do:

1. Make a working copy of the pattern so I can write all over it.

2. Mark the yarn used by the yarn section—substituters, raise your hands! ;p

3. VIP: write the Needle Size & BRAND & TYPE used by the tools section.

4. Write the start date on the front page, just so I can laugh at myself much, much later...

Now, perhaps the most important thing for a procrastinator like me to do is #3.

Why is this important?

Well. Since I also have a very pronounced bad habit of stealing needles from one project to Start Another Project I sometimes get unexpected gauge shifts. Ususally, I will use a slightly smaller or even really smaller needle as a Holder; I just slip-stitch those boys off quickly and forget about 'em.

And this bites me quite a bit. WHY I am in denial about doing this remains between me and my professional, but let's just say, as above, I will just pick the knitting up after a Long Delay and check NOTHING about it and just knit like mad.

MORE: with this Pulli, I didn't count the stitches to see what freakin' size I had started until 4 inches of ribbing were done. At this point I discovered I was making a size too small.

So immediately after finishing the bottom ribbing, I increased 4 sts, 2 sts in on the center panels. I repeated that INC after 5 rows, for a total of 8 sts increased. Because of the nature of the yarn, it should be OK...

I think all is quiet on the western front here now; the pouch pocket is about 3/4 done...

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Congratulations Liz! who, using a random number generator, was picked to receive my extra copy of "Lacy Little Knits."

And thanks to everyone for joining me at the dance with DAVID LEE ROTH!

OMG! It's not enough that he was just a gigolo a few (!) years ago; it's not enough that he, perhaps, singlehandedly defined the Spandex Moment for HairDo Rock (would YOU buy these (gently used !) for your next big gig?); it's not enough that someone thought Diamond Dave should replace foul shockjock Stern on a radio shoe..

What struck me as almost (!) magic about this video is that David Lee was just So HAPPY!

I especially loved (in a very very run-and-hide way) the way in the first few seconds he kind of shimmies his torso at us in a "U+ME=Let's Dance" kind of move...

That he was Secure Enough in His Manhood to rock out with some Blue Grass is so modern, so "Men—we’re the new women" kind of way. Sensitive. Well-groomed. Smiling no matter what. Moisturized.

I salute you David Lee Roth.

But no doubt about it. What I need is a haircut. If men are becoming so slick, what's up with me not getting the strands stroked for, hmm, almost 5 months?

I've bee saving up for this:


Who it works for: People who want rock star texture and style, but without the fuss.

Tell your hairstylist: The shortest layers should hit the bottom of your ears.

Use scissors not a razor to leave ends feathery.

(THIS is what sealed the deal for me) Maintenance: Cut every 3 or 4 months though you may go about 7 months without ill effects.


When I went to NYC a couple of months ago, with my hinky short shag, I saw the most perfect shag on a woman waiting in line with me for the plane. I SO wanted to take her picture, but was too shy. She was about 6 feet tall, very thin, tight jeans and a striped shirt, really pointy short red heels; and a long long shag haircut.

I'll never make it to long-long, but well, after growing out all summer, (and I SALUTE MY HAIRDRESSER for giving me something that really really kept its shape), I'm going for the gold...

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Friday, October 5, 2007

bumpy & lumpy: no air!

Because I'm such a dedicated follower of fashion, I thought it would be fun to record a little extreme makeover of the Blocking Sort.

What you see above is the sea of raw knitting that is the lace piece I've been working on (Miss Dashwood). The yarn is Wensleydale Longwool and in its primary stitched state is both puffy, hairy and more than a little wild looking.

But I'm a believer! Seeing the wonderful blocking pictures of lace knitters online has made me a forever finisher.

My 1st tool of choice in the finishing list is my steam iron. Paired with its padded board, things snap-to rather quickly.

Here's a view from the wrong side of the piece; on the left is the bumpy rumpy unironed side. On the right, is a slightly steamed side that's starting to come into flatness.

I use the iron just floating above the fabric; never touch. Never scrub. Just steam as close as possible to the surface.

Up on the mannequin, the new improved, well behaved fabric.

But of course, this can be accomplished via soaking or spraying with water, then pinning out but in many cases, a nice little session with the iron meets its match and saves lots and lots of time because the piece does not have to dry out. And here is where lace garments differ from shawls: they need finishing to open up the stitch lovliness but not the *pulled* state most shawls need to achieve their final dimensions.

This is well on its way to becoming my Christmas Party Wear. I have to start looking for a top to wear with it...

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Even though it's acting like it's deep summer, even though Christopher Columbus, Queens Isabella & Little Italy left Our Lady of Pompeii and marched through the neighborhood, even though the Baby Bears didn't make it, it really is Autumn...

And that means one thing here at Chez Chic: Sweater Knitting whether the weather likes it or not ;p

I am lucky! The Ribby Pulli I'm working on is a wool/cotton blend [80% pima cotton & 20% wool ] and it is actually really easy on the hands; no clammy mitts here. I'm all the way through the pouch pocket and quite a few inches more up on the body--this one is especially getting a workout on the bus commute, when I get a seat, that is.

Kim F. writes: "Hi there Bonne Marie. After having knit your Ribby Cardi I must say that the new Ribby Pulli does catch my eye.. The only thing is... Are you going to post a notes page on the Ribby Pulli? I relied on the notes page on the Ribby Cardi a TON!

Although I might not write up formal notes, I've made a Category for this and you can see the entries HERE. That's actually what I did for the Ribby Cardi when I was working on that too. It's a little rough, but maybe helpful? :)

I like this feature of MovableType—you can see my whole list of categories in the right hand column on this page. All sorts of fun stuff in there—I especially like the pictures that go with the Flower Basket Shawl. [Or, any of the excursions into b.Lime land that I'm so addicted to ;p]

Here's some more categories to sample:
b.limey IIIze Dye PotMachine Knitting

DownsizingPullover ConvertGallery Green


Chic Knits Twist with both hood & collar options is LIVE.
See it HERE.



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Friday, October 12, 2007

New Threads FRIDAY!

Chic Knits Beryl

Pattern: Chic Knits
Designer: Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn: Cascade *220 Superwash*
Color: Blue Velvet
Gauge: 18 sts/24 rows over 4"
Needles: #8

I'm so happy that the temperatures have truly become my friend here in the Big Windy. 55° is forecast for today's high; right now as I sit here with my morning coffee, it's 44° and my tiny fingers are chilly!

Love That!

Bring out the wool! Bring on the FUN!

The sweater you see above is something I've been wanting for a long time and I finally made it. It uses the quick gauge of 4.5 sts per inch and is great for many of the wonderful aran weight yarns out there. I used a smooth matte one for the sample but have already got my hands on some yarn with a little more 'tude for another. The Beryl design would look great in many of the yarns from our beloved smaller producers like Bartlett, Beaverslide and more.

I'm already making Nr. 2 using Oatmeal colored Barlett fisherman's wool and am going to use natural brown horn buttons for the finishing POP. This is a look that can go beautifully casual or formal depending on the yarn chosen. [Read more details below...]

The sweater is knit in one piece to the arm area with set-in sleeves. Beryl is trimmed with texture: Seed St and a flat pique rib add interest without bulk. A curved scoop flatters and highlights the neckline area. Instructions included for 3/4 & long vented-cuff sleeves. Sweater below shown in sz. 38 on a sz. 36 model.

Chic Knits Beryl

SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner

35 (38, 40, 42, 46) "

YARDAGE (Aran Weight yarn):
1100 (1200, 1300, 1400, 1550) yds

18sts / 24rows over 4" St st
using #8 / 5mm needles

Pattern: $5.95

see the entire
collection of Chic Knits® Designs here...



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Monday, October 15, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

this year in 2007, many knitters in the UK have been making charity hats of a different sort to raise $$ for Age Concern, a group that supports older people in the winter months.

Here, a couple of hat knitters teach a
wannabee hat knitter to KNIT!

more fun:
SUPERGRAN, the Movie

hat of the week

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

self-portrait Tuesday


oh BOYoh. October. She's at the half-way point. When did that happen?

There's some kind of weird interval acceleration that happens after the age of 35, isn't there? Like someone cranks the handle of the Time Machine and you're zooming into the next day just when you've barely said good-night to the last.

Add that phenom to jobs with a deadline and at some point you just have to Sit Down. Stop. I see people where I work running down the hallways sometimes with sheaves of paper in their hands, and I want to yell, like a hall monitor: "No Running!" But they're on a mission, they have to deliver. If what they do doesn't get to the target, the show does not go on.

Luckily, my personal show can grind to little halts here and there.

Here I sit on the couch this weekend. Sprawled actually, feet right, legs akimbo, one under, one flung. At some point, as I was knitting along on a lacy sleeve, I looked up and realized I was in the middle of most of my WIPs, so suspended in the magic that is the Weekend Afternoon, that I didn't even notice.

Scattered the way you see someone with the Sunday paper, there's a sweater to the left, one beyond that in a heap, patterns everywhere, a tee shirt I just traded for (I love trading have I hit you up yet just wait), pillows, and bits of yarn (and popcorn) from Last Week's sprawl. There's spillage on the floor because it's a slippery old sofa—books, magazines, shoes launched and landed.

Do you know anyone who won't let you touch their messy, messy desk?

THIS is my *desk*. This is my incubator.


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Thursday, October 18, 2007


Especially when it's made out of W.O.O.L.

When the Bartlett folk named names, they were not kidding ;p

But I, being a geek and scientific knitter decided to take it to the test.

What do you think?

I think it's a natural color so rich I want to eat/knit it right up!

I am actually a little further along with this version of the Beryl sweater than in this picture, after two mad bus sessions commuting yesterday. It's cold enough here that my busmates are excited by my projects again instead of hitting me with those pitying sidelong glances for holding something so weird (a wool sock).

This yarn is so right off the ranch that I keep thinking I'm going to faint from the marvelous sweet sheepie fumes. I wonder if the bussies notice this too or if they think it's just my personal parfum? Hmm.

Underarm bind offs, here I come.....................

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Monday, October 22, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

..the Devil Wears Chic Knits

The devil wears Chic Knits...

quote the Raven: "Halloween is just around the corner! Get scared yerself here...


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Tuesday, October 23, 2001


Just what does an already good pair of boots need this Fall?


Colored tights; textured tights; yes, even black tights.

When it came time to shoot the new Beryl sweater pictures for the pattern, it only seemed natural to find some color to go down the runway with it! The dramatic blue of the sweater (called *Blue Velvet* by the yarn co.) seemed to want a little fun of its own...

In front you see the first thing I found: a pair of turquoise leggings. Now, I'm not really on the leggings bandwagon but I felt with a little cropping they might work.

I'd already visited WOLFORD & WeLoveColor and had been inflamed with the possibilities of leg-to-go but I had to find something in town, that very afternoon.

The leggings were from Express on Mich Ave. Then I wandered up to Bloomingdale's and even though they had a wall of Wolford, they did not have any colors—

I ended up with the second set of hose you see by Donna Karan: textured grey herringbone. This seemed to be a working alternative to pair with the grey skirt we planned to use in the shoot.

But then on the way to the bus stop, I stopped in at H&M and found these:


Now, all this color might not be everyone's cuppa but that day it was mine ;p

I've been living in a black, grey, taupe kind of world and it seemed maybe I could just Branch OUT, just break out of that corner and run into the street where there's blue sky, RED stop signs, big yellow taxis and horns!

It is saturated; contrasting; sassy—done...

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Friday, October 25, 2007


Oh, it's Loose Ends Friday [when I'd hoped it'd be New Threads Friday!]

My silly day job [40+ hrs a week toiling in photojournalist land] has been eating into my knitting time lately...

Consolation Prize: an assignment where I not only got to climb scaffolding and be up high but one that allowed over 700 boxers to wave and make smileys at me as they passed my position. They were part of the AIBA Boxing Championships Parade that went down State St from the Palmer House to the Chicago Theatre. Imagine my delight when the rather, or should I say, really, handsome Italian team went by and blew me kisses...

Most foxified: the Argentian Team. Most We Mean Business, We're Boxers: a tie—the teams from Moldova & Kazakhstan (and you thought that was possibly a fictitious country!)

This is such a big deal here in Chicago, it is even on my bus pass!


Never before in my life have so many men waved at me while I was wearing a Hard Hat!

I digress...

The Beryl cardigan Body piece is FINI!!! And, one sleeve is almost done. I washed the Body to set the stitches and will wash it again after the sleeves and bands are done for a final blocking.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Purlescence Yarns
click on above for most excellent larger pic

Wishing a very Happy FIRST ANNIVERSARY to that wonderful WonderLand in Palo Alto, CA: Purlescence Yarns!

Generous and friendly and talented (and did I mention Gorgeous?), Sandi, Nathania & Chloe have brought to the Bay Area a most incredible knitting haven where people of all skill levels and talents and vision have found a home.


And I send my warmest thanks for the wonderful year we've had together :)

This is a picture of Ribby Pullis made during a KAL at the shop! I love the variations and incredible ways people expressed their sweaters. BEAUTIFUL!

I Chic Knits PURLESCENCE & all the Sunnyvale Knitters!!!

Purlescence Yarns
586 S Murphy Ave
Sunnyvale, Ca
408-735-YARN (9276)

Cynthia's Ribby
Nathania's Scoop Neck Ribby
Sandi's Scoop Neck HOODIE!


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Monday, October 29, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


this was from 2006

Bark Wars
Prarie Boo

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007




A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away (erm, 2004) I made what's ended up being one of my favorite sweaters.

It was the third Ribby for me, but what was unusual was the yarn it was made from. First of all, it came from an indie yarn painter I'd met at my first fiber fest. Secondly, it was the first time I'd asked someone to handpaint something just for a project I was dying to make...

Over the three years I've been wearing this sweater (3 yrs! a good reason to knit yer own...) the hemp/wool yarn has gotten even softer and more comfortable. The only glitch was one that eternally plagues me: the sleeves. I like my sleeves to be the correct length and these were a tad short from the very beginning, but I was in denial.

There's been lots of projects over the years where this Denial Factor creeps in; sometimes it's better to just move along. Other times, even years later, it can be fixed!

The Catalyst: our little building of three families decided to have our windows washed this month. The requirements by our WindowMan was to take out screens (yikes! I'm on the high second floor!) and move furniture away from the windows. He was unable to place ladders outside so was going to perch on the sills and do the deed.

To accomplish this, I had to wade through my office and start moving things and it led to first, mass hysteria on my part when I realized what a mess it was; and second, it was the Muse's Fickle Finger of FATE wagging in my face telling me to streamline and TRY and get it together...

In moving all the stuff around, I found a small ball of Hemp/Wool from long ago. The Muse smiled as I split the ball (I measure the yarn out in *yards* using the length of my arm to my chin—39"—no really) and made two from one.

Then I picked up stitches, one-to-one, on the bottom of each sleeve. I knit ribbing *down* to the point where it crests over my thumb area by about an inch. You can see in the second picture that it leaves a little ridge inside, which doesn't really bother me at all.

Because Now I have a sweater with the Sleeves that I would've liked from the beginning, in 2004...



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