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Thursday, November 1, 2007

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OK. You get ready for work. You are about to run out the door, and your reflection in the bathroom mirror sez: OH NO YOU don't.

And although you tragically realize your lip gloss is adding about 1/4" to your kisser, it's really the chapeau that says: try, Try Again...

Stand-by for re-felt, remodel...

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Friday, November 2, 2007

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Felted Bucket Hat pattern HERE

Standing with its Bucket peers, one can see the dark grey hat is a bit bigger than the rest—the result of blocking on a too large form.

But not to worry! I've found after rounds and rounds of felting, that if it didn't go right the first cycle through, another cycle just might be the answer.

So I plopped the hat back into the washing machine with my old faithful 2 pairs of jeans and went through, not 1 but 2 more cycles of churning and agitating. This yarn is Sweetgrass Wool, from Montana, a beautiful natural yarn, that I got from those Men Who Knit in Lansing: Threadbear Fiber Arts...

I knew it could take it and after the first cycle, after I tried it on my head, I knew it needed more pounding. After the second cycle, I tried it on once more and VOILA! It was the fit I was going for: snug, not too tight, with the brim hitting right at the top of the brow.

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Now it was time to block it and because I was less than thrilled with my Foam Blockers (just the wrong size & shape for this hat—but a really great tool—it really delivers for a wide flat flat brim hat), I returned to my LoTech Tools of choice: a towel, a can and a stand...

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How Luddite is it? Well, drape the can and get to it...

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After the hat is shaped to my liking (I flatten it with equal pressure all around the mid-section and angle the brim a little), I let it almost dry on the can. This is the most important shaping part—it is always exciting to me to see how the wool will lock into shape with blocking.

Then, to get a tiny lift in the crown, I hang it over a plate (indeed, that's Fiesta Ware!) balanced on an old candle stand. This lets the air get up and under it so it dries faster and thoroughly.

Now I have to figure out what to *dress* it with. Any ideas for embellishment? The Grey Flannel-ness of it seems to push the daisies right away...



New Threads FRIDAY!
*************************************


Cotton

We've been busy busy busy in the Workshop and we're pleased to announce an update for the Scoop du Jour pattern. Offered now in the new Chic Knits format, this new version also includes some sizing upgrades as well for Finished Chest Measurements of 36 (38, 40, 42, 46, 50)".


Wool


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Monday, November 5, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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silly Wombat...

OK. Maybe this has happened to you.

You're shopping along and it just grabs you.

The Label.

You don't need it. You don't really know what it is.

But in your hot little hand it lands...

You don't need it.

Until you do...

+++++++++++++++++++++++

identify the above OR confess to impulse purchases below...

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

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People in the 21st practice with abandon a skill called Multi-Tasking.
You see it everywhere.
Small jobs bundled together to get it done.

I salute those with the attention span to be a Maestro of the Multi.

I am not one of these as the pictures above attest! :)

While doing several computer jobs, cooking, phoning and laundry, the Crime occurred.

Who the heck snuck in my house and set the water heater to a billion degrees?! Who filled the tub with said water and soaked a pile of handknits in some friendly sudz? Who then forgot all about it for hours until passing the laundry room and SHRIEKING!!!

My beautiful handpainted (and up to this point colorfast) cardigan canabalized two others. One 100% wool cardigan escaped it's bleed...

The other two were microfiber blends, the one on the right, cotton microfiber (ggh "Bali") and the one on the left, wool microfiber (Austermann "Rubino").

They were tatooed with fuschia in blotchy, weird patches. Oy.

This but of course, brought back a marital memory. One day, after weeks of gentle requests, my husband finally did the laundry. Everything he washed turned Pink. Apparently, his wedding band caused a tightening in the brain area controlling Laundry Sorting and 30 years of successful bachelor warsh with no *oopsies* had gone right out the window. I digress...

After I quit crying (oh, how I LOVED that green cardi), I pulled out the chemicals.

Door #1: I tried an intervention with some rinsing and washing using a detergent I had. "Synthrapol is used to suspend and carry excess dye from cotton fiber. It removes any unfixed or unreacted dye to keep it from redepositing dye onto areas of the fabric that you don't want to be stained. It is recommended for use as a pre wash to remove excess dye (especially in reds and blues), sizing, dirt and oils."

We had plenty of reds! And even after a nice dunk in the Synthrapol sudz, we still had plenty of reds!

Door #2: Pulled out the Big Guns! Enter the Wombat. This brown tone was an all-in-one dye product from Landscape Elements and I thought it would be worth a shot to try and work some magic. Overdying a blended fiber is always a crap shoot. Mixed metaphors aside, the nature of the content might require different temperatures or fixatives or handling. Some man-made fibers might not over-dye at all.

But when I look at the picture above, I see the PINK! Something landed and stuck like glue. Why not the Wombat?

Indeed:

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But the end result was not the best! It was a muddy olive, more tinted than dyed. I believe I used too much liquid for the amount of dye powder and *fabric* I had. So, back to the Pot!

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Stewing in some Procion "Warm Black"
even as I write this.

OMG. I'm multi-tasking again...


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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

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If you are downtown this Friday and want to mingle with some great knitters, yarn & snacks, come visit with Chic Knits @Loopy Yarns.

We are going mobile with the fall collection AND presenting a mini-workshop on yarn substitution. I am very excited to be able to explore some yarn in situ, in its Natural Habitat: a LYS...

Our lovely model, Zoya, will be with us to stroll and help us visualize the yarn subs.

It's been great fun working together this year! In addition to Zoya, the fabulous and incredibly talented Franklin Habit joined us for the Fall/Winter collection. We were thrilled he could take time out from his 1000 Knitters Project to help showcase our autumn designs.

The pictures we're showing this season were from a photo shoot he did a few weeks ago on premises.

I want to give the biggest shout-out ever to Franklin for the lovely photos and thank him for the love and energy he brings everywhere he goes. MWAH! hugz.

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from l. to r. Beryl, Twist, & Miss Dashwood

A big SHOUT to Corinne, who styled the shoot, keeping the behind-the-scenes afloat, wrinkle-free, and flowing as smoothly as a Vesper Martini. Thanks Corinne!

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Obviously, 2 heads are better than 1...

SO if yarn's your thing (no?) and swinging on a Friday night with some TGIF snacks and friends blows the work week right outta mind, come down to LOOPY, 719 S. State St. 6-9pm...

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Monday, November 12, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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meet my new little friend, Didge, who came to the fashion show on Friday with the lovely Mary McCain, who finished his amigurumi foot on the spot and put him in my little hand when she left! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

This Wombat is absolutely delightful!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

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It's Friday and you just might want to leave the week behind...

Imagine a knit night with wine and snacks and YARN! You can bring your knitting and relax and then the Floor Show begins!

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LOCATION: Loopy Yarns. LIGHTS—ACTION: Every few minutes or so, a Chic Knits sweater, worn by the fabulous Zoya, hit the runway and traveled the room, designer in tow. It took everything in me to not just roll around in All That Yarn so instead, I grabbed some...

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We had a fun interactive chat all about substitution and gauge and ball bands and no brands and how the nature of the yarn really tells you at what tension it should be knit.

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Bright lights big fashion made the designer lose her place more than once, but everyone was gracious and curious and we just couldn't lose the FUN!

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The beautiful blushing Mary and Ellie gave me a little token to remember such a marvelous night, one Didge the Wombat (OMG! Love Him!). MANY THANKS to all who came out and joined in the ruckus and a special thanks to Kristin for all of her kind kind help and Vicki the incredible maestro of the Pleasure Palace that is LOOPY! AND, a special thanks to KarenB & Rachel for taking all the pictures you see above...

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Friday, November 16, 2007

L@@K out now: flying cliches everywhere!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Jack of All Trades. Master of None. To do two things at once is to do neither. If at first you don't succeed, sit the H down.

I did not sit down.

Carlene writes: "I'm sorry, but I love the olive cardie!"

Would that I would've listened to you, Miss Carlene! After the last go-round with the Wombat colored Australian dye from Landscape Elements, I thought I'd like a little deeper cooler look to this. We were initially coping with up a red-dye migration glitch that was covered pretty darn well with the first over-dye attempt.

So I mixed up a batch of Warm Black Procion and dunked again. The result?

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It's a little darker. A little cooler. But it is still green. Betcha never thought you'd hear me utter that I was flinching from the verde. Indeed! This is a lovely olive that is growing on me by the minute, but I was hoping to tame and master the microfiber in this yarn and it was a no go. Lesson learned: don't mix unlike colors/fibers in boiling hot sudsy water, or Pay the Piper.

Margene writes: "I'm listening to a radio broadcast (while working and reading blogs);-D and the author puts forth the premise that multi-tasking dumbs us down, makes trouble and causes dangerous things to happen. You proved him right!"

Indeed, the multi-tasker in me is tamed instead. Somethings just need to be given one's full attention while doing. The result if one spreads oneself too thin? Here's the Atlantic magazine article that made me cry...

Speaking of tears, I've gone back to my original Movable Type installation. The template set-up of MT4.1 is just beyond my time frame right now. Looks like a good thing to attempt in the middle of winter during some long long afternoons...

I am going to follow Robert Green's advice and build a proxy blog to test out all the Style Sheets before going live. Why the drama? With over 1234 entries (going back as far as April 2004) to preserve, it is beyond my skillset to just migrate it. This new version does not recognize the archival structure of the previous versions, so they must be re-mapped. I was overjoyed with the fact that I finally figured out how to set up a server side MSQL database! My poor ole Berkeley DB is hinky-dink. There is some minor corruption in there that doesn't quite crash the party but scares me silly with its lurking about.

Maybe I'll just hook up with WordPress instead ;p
didge_0705.jpgDidge agrees we should just walk on by...

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Monday, November

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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I intend to tell these to the children during dinner...

Why did the turkey cross the road?
It was the chicken's day off.

What sound does a space turkey make?
Hubble, hubble, hubble.

Why did the police arrest the turkey?
They suspected it of fowl play.

Why did they let the turkey join the band?
Because he had the drumsticks.

What would you get if you crossed a turkey with a baked fruit dessert?
Peach gobbler!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

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I am very big fan of Finishing As You Go.

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I am also a very big fan of using my steam iron to block things. I am 2/3's of the way done with my Wensleydale Longhair yarn *Miss Dashwood* knitting patterns and was just too excited to NOT block out the border on the sleeves.

You can see my little sleeve ironing board on top of my regular sized ironing board. The little one was purchased at Target; the big one, picked from the alley behind my house ;p

I put the iron on the "Steam: Wool" setting and steamed out the entire sleeve. Then I pinned out the points of the lace at the border edge and give it a couple of blasts.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

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when Social Knitting Goes Bad

Whatcha gonna do when you need to knit, talk, and maybe eat??

After losing the good fight (repeatedly) of trying to knit things like lace in a group setting, one must soldier on with an easier project.

I give the wayTHumbsUp to this one: the Chevron Scarf.

IF you can keep the double skeins out of the Cool Whip (don't ask), you are home free, slap happy and I guarantee you can chatter away WHILST KNITTING while eating while funning at your holiday table ;p

{sidebar: I've had to work the last couple of days and have been praying non-stop that today I do not have to do that Shopping Story! ayeEE. If you see me, give me a shout!}

BUT if you are fighting the good fight out there, HAPPY Hunting and I hope some cool yarn sneaks into your bags...

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Monday, November 26, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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If you are *lucky* enough to live in an area where there are parking garages with so many floors they rival the Sears Tower, you've probably lost your car.

I am notorious for this activity, maybe because I'm usually a bus rider and not a driver, maybe because I have a short attention span and am rushing rushing around.

Problem SOLVED!

I have to Salute! the builders of garages who now offer pattern recognition coupled with theme music in an attempt to Wake Us Up so we wanderers can remember where the H we parked the car.

This is what I saw leaving a garage the other day. The picture was accompanied by Kermit singing "It's Not Easy Being Green". ;p

What's your favorite?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

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Interestingly enough, even though its almost December (!) Chicago people are still firting with the weather.

Even though we know better, even though there might be 40 mph cool-running winds at the bus stop, we are trying to go Bare Naked.

Hatless.

Glovless.

Witless.

Not I.

I admit, for several days, I tried to pretend it wasn't really cold enough and was forced to repeatedly reach for a gnarly black polar fleece headband I found in one of the many, many pockets of my parka. It is my go-to emergency wrapper, the don't get caught without it number, and if you live in an environment like this one, you know what I mean.

Just WHEN did it get to be Serious Hatteous Season?

I'd say the day last week when there were 50 mph winds in some parts of town and it just seared through your nostrils like a dental drill.

Sorry.

Chicago is not kind. We are the City of Big Shoulders. The City of Big Winds. Big Chill.

So now that I'm out of Big Denial, I went diving in the closet and tore through all the many, many hats I've accumulated.

Most of them are now laundered and safely on their way to the SavArmy because I've discovered a very unusual thing.

I only want to wear things I've made myself on my head.

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And if it's any indication of a trend, it would appear the hat I most reach for is...

A BEANIE!

Doesn't blow off. Beckham made it coolio. You can dress it up or plump it up to meet the Windy Need.

The hats above were the ones I chose to keep for myself. And I noticed that I was within the Stylings as indicated by the drawing I made a couple of years ago on the #66 bus. Today's #66—Black Anything: oh yeah. Stripes: still going strong! Chunky: eatin' it with a fashion fork everywhere! Earflaps: Burning Man Forever!

Conspicously Absent: Tweety Bird and the entire comic character genre of polar fleece. So Long, suckka.

What is funny about my Beanie Collection is that it spans all temp ranges. Some of them are single strand worsted; some are double-strand Lamb's Pride mohair/wool (and they are just about imprevious to the wind!); others are just nice and chunky.

The newest hat on the lower right is made with super-bulky alpaca. It looked like this to begin with but really didn't fit right. So I ripped it out when I was stuck in my car the other day, then re-knit it when I got home into columns. Total time— rip to weave-in-ends: 90 minutes.

What was especially exciting? Only 3 inches of yarn remained at the end...

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

downloadable knitting patterns



New Threads THURSDAY!
*************************************

Ribbed Beanie
Design: Bonne Marie
Yarn: Noro *Kureyon*
Color: #52
Gauge: 18 sts/24 rows over 4"
Needles: #8

To get this winter party started, nothing seemed more naturale than, well, another Beanie!

I have a bunch of single skeins of Noro Kureyon lounging in the stash and this one is especially exciting. Here's a bird's eye view of the top of the hat:

Chic Knits Bonne Marie Burns

Looks like a totally different hat, doesn't it? HA! But it works. I would love love love to go tour the Noro factory and watch how they combine the colors. I would l-l-love to understand why they put a certain color next to another. I've never been disappointed after the knitting was done, even though sometimes the trust was Not There in the ball...

There is something really wonderful about small projects. They refresh and renew. Give so much for so little. Bring smiles to others FAST!

I was able to help refresh a co-worker's knitting karma this holiday. After many years away from the needles, she decided she wanted to see how to make the stitches again and I showed her. She is now happily working away on a garter stitch scarf in yummy mango bulky alpaca. It was incredible to see her remember how to stitch; she'd learned when very young from her grandma. The only thing we had to practice with was my little pair of socks in progress and I had her just knit back-and-forth. I think she just let her fingers do the moves without fussing and thinking and before you knew it, there were several rows done with no discernible difference from my stitches. WooHOO!

I have another ball of #52 Kureyon and am going to make a neck warmer. I can't wear regular scarves while I'm shooting. They really get in the way. A neck warmer is perfect for high activity when I'm jumping in and out of trucks and buildings and don't want to get my tails caught in a revolving door whilst moving fast.

Also eats up small quantities of yarn. Small is good...

Speaking of good: good snacks fast company, tonight in our new winter HQ, KIP @ Alliance Bakery on 1736 W Division 7-9pm...

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Friday, November 30, 2007

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New Threads FRIDAY, yup, TGIF!!
*************************************

Twist
Design: Chic Knits
Yarn: Ella Rae *Classic*
Color: #42 Bluish Green
Gauge: 19 sts/24 rows over 4"
Needles: #7

I just couldn't resist a back-to-back new threads this week! And this second NewT is not only special because it's FRIDAY! (shout it out), it's very wonderful because it is the lovely Isobel! She has just finished a Twist sweater (with the collar option) and I must say, it is spectacular! The color and craftsmanship is so very nice..

Now, if I could, I would travel the States (and beyond) and visit knitting groups. Isobel and her friend Jane knit at a place called the Yarn Lounge in Richmond, VA. This group is always making the most wonderful knits and I know that behind the wonderful knitting there is always wonderful knitters :)

Someday, I'm getting on a plane and crashing this partay!

Until then, ladies, and everyone, have a Great Weekend!

Yarn for TWIST (or Ariann or the Ribby Cardi) - Wool, etc.
Gauge: 19 sts/ 24 rows over 4" St st

Araucania: Nature Wool

Ashford Tekapo:
New Zealand wool

Baabajoes: 10 ply

Beaverslide: Worsted Weight

Berroco: Ultra Alpaca

Blackberry Ridge: Mohair Blend

Black Water Abbey: 2Ply

Brown Sheep: Nature Spun Worsted
or
Superwash Worsted

Cascade: Cascade 220
or
Cascade 220 SuperWash

Debbie Bliss:
Cashmerino Aran
or
Merino Aran

Dzined: Wool/Hemp WWT

Elann:
Peruvian Collection Pure Alpaca
or
Peruvian Highland Wool

Ella Rae: Classic

Filatura di Crosa: 127

Filtes King: Extra

Jaeger: Matchmaker Merino Aran

K1C2: Parfait Solids

Karabella: Aurora 8

Knitpicks: Andean Silk or
Wool of the Andes

Lana Grossa: Cool Wool Big

Lion Brand : Wool or
Woolease

Lorna's Laces: Shepards Worsted

Louisa Harding: Kashmir Aran

Malabrigo: Merino Worsted

Nashua: Creative Forces Worsted or
Julia

Patons: Decor

Plymouth: Encore or
Galway

Rowan: Kid Classic

Rowan Classic Yarns:
Cashsoft Aran or
Soft Lux

Unger: Utopia


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

click this link to email yarn suggestions, ideas or concerns here info*chicknits*com

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