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Monday, December 3, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

Three of my most favorite things intersect this month like cool whip on a crispy pumpkin pie: Tim Burton + musical + Johnny Depp!

But can he sing?

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

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knitting in the wild...

And, but of course, we live in the Urban Jungle, where a *blind* isn't in a tree watching wildlife, but perhaps, cooling our jets curbside waiting for traffic to clear before we can continue the hunt.

I have a new purse! It is Big. I can stuff it full of yarn and needles.

It's slouchy, slouchy pewter metallic with a braided handle and side topstitching.

I love it!

I've been wanting a metallic bag for a while and when I spied this glorious pleather roaming free in the shopping valley that is Target I pounced.

You can see in the picture above it is lighter and shinier than what's on line, but still more subtle than some of the gold and silver ones I've seen, which blind me with their uberBling! although this one is pretty cool because it L@@ks like an EARRING!

Now that I have a suitable carry-all, I can carry on with my December mission: Find and Fix the Knits. I've been cleaning like crazy for the hoidays and washing and fussing with all the hats and sweaters and clothes. Lots of stuff is gone out the door.

Some stuff has jumped back on the needles.

Ever since I discovered how to Add-a-Cuff in November, I have been fearlessly picking up stitches wherever I can.

One of my favorite hats has become larger over time (or, am I a legend in my own mind and my head has become smaller? don't start) anyways, it is constantly falling in my eyes. I don't remember it doing that when it was new...

So, rummaging through the remnants, I actually found the original leftover yarn from this project: red Lamb's Pride (3 cheers for PackRats everywhere!).

While on the #66 bus, I picked up stitches in a 1-to-1 ratio along the bottom of the hat and have started to knit a garter stitch band...

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

Strike up the BAND at the USPS!

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Our new holiday stamps are out and many of you have already seen them—

but did you know that the Uncle is serving up Knit-Ins at post offices around the country to Celebrate YOU and your knitting! Here is a list of the sponsored events. Today, they are in Portland, ME, Salem, OR, Fayetteville, GA, and Columbia SC. I am crying because the closest they get to Chicago is Belvidere (outside of Rockford) on Friday! I would if I could...

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

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the Washie-Washie continues...
jumpin' out of the sudz, you see a hat a scarf some gloves...

My favorite bubble bath for all my handknits is a tub of warm water with a couple of squirts of $store dishsoap. I quit drycleaning my wools a long time ago, convinced that the Chemicals were much worse than the Dirt. Then I read about how spinners degrease their fleece with simple soap and I just had to try it.

Chic Knits

Happy Birthday Little Hat: this topper is about 5 years old (pattern released to celebrate my second year blogging) and still going strong. Three cheers for HandKnits!

It has served me well as a cap but with a couple of minor adjustments has become a slouchy beret! HOWhowHOW?

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The body of the hat is made in Shaker Rib, which has a lot of flex. It is one of those stitches that relaxed is very compact (and thick). It easily stretches out and with a gentle wet blocking into a flat shape, becomes a circular piece.

Re-Make/Re-Model: with the addition of my garter stitch band and slight surgery at the top, the cap now has a base to perch on.

modern knitting patterns

As seen in the wild along Grand Ave. somewhere near D'Amato's hunting for a slice of sausage pizza bread...

Favorite Stretchy Bind-Off: Knit 2 sts. Insert Left-Hand Needle through back of just knitted stitches and K2TOG. [1 st on Right-Hand Needle.] K1 from LHN. Repeat the K2TOG as before with st on RHN. Repeat across until sts are all bound off.

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Weekend

Chic Knits Twist



New Threads Weekend Edition I
*************************************

Twist
Design: Chic Knits
Yarn: Cascade *220*
Color: #627 Walnut Heather

Master Knitter & glamorous Los Angeleno, Miss Diane hits the catwalk with a brand new Twist!

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As I write this, it is 13° (with windchill - 1°) in Chicago and I am so thrilled to see a Twist on another coast, this time, the lovely West Coast! And yes, it's Sweater Weather today in L.A.: 45° — WHOA!

Diane writes: "There was enough cabling to keep me interested, but not enough to make me want to kill myself."

This, in a nutshell, is a Basic Philosophy @Le Chic Boutique and we just laughed and laughed reading this because we couldn't agree more! I love garments that have enough texture and interest to keep it going, to pull you to the finish line, to give you something special to wear, something that is not too far off-the-mark from off-the-rack so it keeps you on the current fashion timeline.

And speaking of finishing, I was delighted to read this from Diane:

"Okay, let me tell you something: seaming during lecture is not nearly as fun as knitting during lecture. However, I've discovered that I'm one of those knitters that actually likes seaming. Great!"

To read Diane's project notes and show her some knitterly love, visit her here:

LiveJournal: FO: Chic Knits Twist   or at

Ravlery: Twist Hoodie

TECHINIQUES: Chic Knits Guide to Sleeve Seaming

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Monday, December 10, 2007

holidaysweater.jpg

Alrighty now, time to get into the Holiday Spirit!

. . . make yer own here . . .

many thanks to Sullivan Higdon & Sink!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007


self-portrait Tuesday


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Well. If an elf is going to have to stand on their feet all the live long day, the elf should have Good Shoes.

Or, really Excellent BOOTS!

Wherein, ye olde Haus of Claus has clad my poor old dogs in some new Blundstone's (Blundstone 500: Stout Brown) and I must say: Thank YOU, Santa~!

I first spied these boots on   har7sm.jpg  someone we all know and love, seen here on the left, in 2005...

Then I read about the enchanting Enchanting Juno and her new shoes (ala November 16th) and I couldn't help myself any longer...

The very first pair that hit Chez Chic came a few weeks ago (before the snow, icy rain and below freezing weather). My neighbor and her 2yo son were in the hallway when our handsome UPS guy handed 'em over and you'd have thought I won the lottery! To tiny fanfare, we ripped open the box and pulled them out and VOILA! They were big, way big, and I was crushed and mystified, until I again visited them again online (ie. Sugar River Outfitters).

Never one to read the fine print, I made the mistake of ordering my American size: 8. In Australian sizing, that is the equivalent of U.S. size 10.5.

So back they went but quickly they came again...

And it was better than I could've hoped for! It is reckless for me to even try and buy shoes online. I have rather irregular feet; too wide, have a stainless steel pin in my right big toe from a surgery, and left foot front is twisted from rheumatoid arthritis I've had since I was a kid. But as soon as I slipped these on, it was heaven. They FIT!

And forgive me for saying this, but they look pretty damn swank with Long John's...

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

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One present done; a million to go...

Or maybe, one down, none to go ;)

(I could just get away with no more handmade Christmas presents for the rest of the year with this!)

This little Beryl is destined to the wrapping table asap. When I was almost at the finishing point, a friend saw it and said, "Oh, for me?"

What could I say? I made it a size larger than I normally do for myself and it fit her perfectly. It was meant to be! So off it goes to a new happy home and I will make another one for myself.

This one is made from Bartlett Fisherman Yarn in Oatmeal and it is a thick and yummy knit. The seed and texture stitch accents are subtle and organic; they don't quite merge with the yarn surface but don't pop out quite as dramatically as a merino like Aurora 8.

Happiest touch of all: I found some really beautiful antiqued brass buttons earlier this year at the late and lamented Tender Buttons on Rush St and they've been patiently waiting for a new home.

I love the marriage of buttons and yarns on cardigans and just for grins put an assortment of faux tortoise, white and pewter metallic on this big band.

But the music was made with the Brass...


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Monday, December 17, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

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Living in the City always means coming face-to-face with NEW!

Not too long ago, lovely bus shelters like this started popping up in select areas of Chicago (erm, NOT my neighborhood, where sometimes someone throws a bench with a real estate ad on the back...).

The lovely post-modern metal frame is surrounded by glass panels; there is a light at night in the inner ceiling and a small (really small) 3-person bench.

Some of the shelters have sprouted billboard-like advertising on the end panels and while we wait patiently for the ever-more late arrivals of our magic coaches, we can read about all sorts of products and entertainments; some of them scroll electronically. I've even seen some with small digital monitors inside but they gave that one up because they were too hard to read during the day and nobody wants to take public transportaton Downtown after dark...

I really love this new use, though:

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Within the end-confines of the shelter is a Garment!

Even though the ad is for Sweaters, I can clearly see this is a PONCHO! (Actually a rather delightful woven poncho, by DKNY, wow!)

But the best part is the ad exhorts us to finish that Holiday Knitting: "Another sweater and my plan is nearly complete."

But I'd just as soon look a this suspended in mid-air...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

bhat5_3368.jpg  Last seen around these parts in November, my new grey felted bucket was waiting for a little Elf Love.

I put this hat through 2 rounds of felting; the first time I blocked it out over a form that was too square and too big. It went back into the hot sudz once more and when I was satisfied it fit me right (I tried it on over a plastic bag On My Head while it was wet), I then blocked it over a coffee can padded with a towel.

This week I gave it another shave because the fabric of the hat right out of the washer was a little nubby, hairy and pilly. But, did you know that was been part of the process in finishing some types of wool cloth for a very long time? They get *cropped* by a machine with high-speed rotating knives in a series not unlike a lawn mower.

bhat6_0676.jpg  I used a BIC.

Then the fun started! Here's what some of you wrote on how to embellish the plain flannel hat.

Toby writes: "How to dress the hat?
Hmmm - well, how dressy do you want it? Conservative: I'd got to a fancy ribbon store and find some black and silver or perhaps some other color and silve/or grey ribbon and make a hatband - maybe even a small bow (if that is your bent). Not so conservative: Scarf in grey and other colors and tie it as a hatband. Really not conservative - cut down a small belt in any color - anything under an inch would probably do the trick here."

KarenB writes: "Great ideas, Toby! I, too, was thinking hatband. But a textured one; either woven fabric, leather or braided ribbons."

Deb in PA: "Another idea would be a shawl pin mounted on the side. There are some beautiful ones on the net. I love the idea of the scarf and belt. Very interchangable. People will think you have a new hat every time you change the accessory."

Adrienne: "That had is a great background. I would not use a 'permanent' embellishment on the hat, becuase it is so very versatile. Red rose one day, pink chiffon scarf the next, black satin ribbon with white polka-dots, purple with green striped grosgrain. That hat is a background for anything."

Jenifluer writes: "Feathers. Grey tweed and johdhpurs are meant to go together so I think a few nice irridescent black tail feathers on one side would finish it nicely."

WOWOWOW! I love all these ideas. Here's what I came up digging through the treasure chest that is my closet:

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I have a *small* collection of scarves. Shown at top around the Bucket is one that is from India and is quite intriguing. It is made from black netting and is decorated with beads and sequins in spiral & floral motifs. At the ends, there is fringe made from the fabric...

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Next, one of my favorites from my stash of men's pocket squares. I love men's silk pocket-chiefs! I believe Ties & Silk Pockets are one of the only and most interesting ways men have to express themselves decoratively in their dress. When I spot a particularly well put together set (unmatching but co-ordinated) in the wild, I go crazy for the man... Ahem. Silk Pocket Squares can go a lot of places: around the neck, tied to a bag, and here as a Hat Band! This is my favorite one: dark turquoise with red paisleys...

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Into the ribbon basket and we come away with a heavy corded bi-color braid that looks quite saucy around the hat...

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Although I loved Toby's suggestion for the belt, I just couldn't bring myself to trim one to size. (I'm on the look-out for fashion shorties though and who knows what might pop-up?) In the meantime, I found another belt-like substitute. Here we have some black Snap Tape I had left over from a project. I like the look of the black against the grey with the studded sliver accents from the metal.

Today, it is my favorite!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

***** New Threads Thursday *****
Miss Dashwood in Wensleydale Longhair Wool

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why I adore the CTA

Any given weekend before Christmas can be chock full of shopping, parties, recitals, services, homecomings, travel...

If you live in the area known as the Great Lakes Region, it can also be FULL of exciting unpredictable Weather...

Imagine getting ready to go to your company xmas party. You've picked the outfit; you've even made a feisty little femmie wrapper to decorate yourself FESTIVe in the holiday spirit of it all.

Around 4 pm, Mother Nature starts hemming and hawing and pelting the Region with everything liquid and cold, solid in ice.

WHY get up off the couch and put on the eye liner?

WHY sacrifice the open-toed opera pumps to the inches and inches of sleet snow and ice that is piling up outside on the trees and streets?

Because it's CHRISTMAS and you're a girl!

You want to wear the Dress :)

You want to TWIRL!!!

Even when you find no taxi within 30 miles is going to come take your powdered, coiffed, sprayed (and booted) self to the party site, you are not deterred!

You go to the corner and catch the damn bus. The incredible, the magnificent # 66.

Your Chariot!

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Your fellow crews clean up real good and that Band! Isn't it
the Blues Bros. that plays at the Bull's games?

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Coconut Cake? and about a thousand other desserts!

It's all a swirla twirl, especially when your name is called and you put your hand in the Grab Bag and come up and out with an iPod Shuffle. In green...

You scream and curtsy and yes, I think you TWIRLED!

Even when it was time to go and you were out on the street with hundreds of other Theater District partiers trying to corral a cab in six inches of snow, did you stop twirling? Never!

You merely ran down into the Blue Line Subway something you'd never do that late at night but it was full of happy people just waiting for a train because it was Christmas.

And when you came up on Chicago Ave out of the tube, there was the Chariot again. Right where you left it and you hopped on board the #66 and it twirled you home...


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Friday, December 21, 2007

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Let them eat Sugar Plums!

And cookies. And fudge.

The gift knitting is d.o.n.e.

I finished this hat yesterday while stuck in traffic on the #66. It's been quite exciting commuting the roughly 3 miles from my house to downtown; everywhere there are people last minute shopping; the crowds are extra large it seems.

It took until right about Tuesday afternoon for the Spirit to hit me. I love this time of year when suddenly everybody goes smiley face, well almost everybody!

And when the chores are done, all that's left is to party and enjoy!

This Cassidy's Cap went very fast, faster than I thought it would and I really like the softness of this version. The yarn is Rowan Kid Classic in #840 Crystal and it's a soft icy grey.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


DARE to WEAR!




FUG & nonFUG Ghosts from my Xmas Past
(for every year from 2001 — l. to r.):


cottonstarTN.jpgxmasdayTN.jpgbigblueTN.jpgshazamTN.jpg

tiffanyTN.jpgqueenblingTN.jpgMissDW_3860TN.jpg

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Merry Christmas to One & ALL!

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Weekend December 29, 2007



For a little studio time at Ravelry:

Rachel & I would like to cordially invite you
to join the freshly minted
Chic Knits Group!

CK_GroupButtonF.gif

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Monday, December 31, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  



...from the 2007 Esquire 100, not quite #1 but

"No. 11: Tight Sweaters, the New Cleavage

Forget plunging necklines, the female news anchors of America are wearing clingy sweaters. And they look good. The tight sweater has always allowed a woman to appear totally demure and irrepressibly sexy. With the recent emergence of the female news anchor as one of the most important female archetypes in pop culture today (that and the cop-show heroine), the sweater's double duty is being employed more than ever. Take the women of Headline News, for instance. Or almost every female news anchor at Fox or MSNBC. They have to look sexy, but cleavage would be wrong. Shrunken cashmere, however, suggests that they want to attract us and coyly repel us at the same time. They want us to listen, and someone has determined that if we are slightly turned on, we'll listen better. So: SWEATERS."

discuss...

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