August 31, 2008

another sweater, another story

ez sweater detail, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

In the early 90s I read Knitting Without Tears and discovered the knitting guru Elizabeth Zimmerman. I don’t think I quite got what ez was trying to impart to knitters which was this: gauge gauge, gauge, gauge. If you know your gauge, you can knit anything.

Around that time, the early 90s, knitting wasn’t as popular as it is today. We didn’t have the internet and we didn’t even get our first Mac until 1994. On Hawthorne, a knitting shop in a big purple house was going out of business. Old timers might still remember that epic sale. I picked up the brown sheep wool to make my first seamless yoke sweater for less than 20 bucks!

But I didn’t check my gauge. I simply cast on without much thought and the resulting sweater was way too big. I mean, just look at those sleeves! It's more like a dress than a sweater!

Still I was proud of my achievement as you can see (I like my haircut too).

I ended up giving the sweater to Liz, my sister, and she still has it. And still wears it. I think.

August 29, 2008

zoom zoom zoom

For a person who has knit as long and as much as I have…well…I have learned a few things about knitting needles over the years. 

I tend to break bamboo especially in the smaller sizes. I mean they just don’t work for socks for me. And in my hands, the aluminum needles get bent.

By far the best needles, the Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz of knitting needles are the nickel-plated brass. Aren't they gorgeous?

zoom zoom zoom, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

So I was extremely excited to discover them at Jo-Ann’s the other day. Pictured are the Susan Bates “Velocity” 29 inch circular in a size 7. Speed is an apt descriptor as the nickel-plated needles are also very FAST. Bamboo are fine for beginners, they actually “grip” the stitches, but when you’re trying to get a sweater finished in a hurry, there’s nothing better than nickel-plated.

I took the new needles and my current mindless knitting to Esther Short Park where the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra was performing a free concert. Patricia, Willa and Rosie also came along and we all piled in the car. Willa and Rosie, pictured here in a rare photo, are practically inseparable.

I entered the drawing for free season tickets but as I was filling out the ticket, I realized it was just another ruse to mine my personal data: Name, address, telephone number and email address. More junk mail I grumbled to myself. I relented, giving only my mailing address. Well guess who won the tickets? Yep, it was my big pink hat and me.

August 23, 2008

what Lincoln said

Abe is quoted as saying "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." I want to remind my darling daughter of this the next time she decides to make up her mind in advance. Before you do, decide to have a good time!

green leaf socks, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

Earlier, I took a break from my latest obsession of selling old newspapers on eBay to hunt down a child sized person to model the green leaf socks. A. did a splendid job. It turns out that her mother also has very small feet - a child's size 2! I have never met anyone with such tiny feet, me coming from the land of Germanincaly big feet.

A.'s sister T. also took part in the photo session. There is nothing more satisfying to me than finishing a pair of socks. *sigh*

Oh yeah, look for me on eBay as, you guessed it, "alicethelma". I'm selling all kinds of fun stuff - even yarn!

August 21, 2008

anyone recognize this sweater?

All I know is that the pattern came from a Vogue Knitting magazine, one of the few VK patterns I have ever knit, I made it in the 80s, and at the time, I hated it. Why? I can’t tell you as it’s a perfectly good, well-knit sweater. However, I’m not sure I would make it today, with those crazy sleeves…and the high neck. Damn! I wish I had those old VK magazines. I’d probably sell them on eBay.

I wore the sweater in Europe in 1987 so I’m thinking that I must have knit it that same year too. I remember that with the three-quarter sleeves and cotton yarn, it really wasn’t quite warm enough for Germany and especially a rainy Italy in October but judging from the photos, I think I looked pretty good in it.

In Germany at the MargaretenSee near Lippstadt.

Here I am posed with my beloved Oma and Opa.

Wearing it in Italy with some distant Tolomei relatives.

If you have any information about this sweater, please contact chris at heavydutydesign [AT] gmail [dot] com.

August 18, 2008

she's leaving home...bye...bye

it's only temporary, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

No – not forever. Not yet anyway.

Today Alice left for two weeks in Germany. Hope you have a great time baby. I miss you already.

August 16, 2008

a.t. and the bf

a.t. and bf, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

Yesterday was the annual summer opera in the park at washington park in portland (which may be better known as the rose garden) and it also happened to be the hottest day of the year so far with estimates of the heat ranging from 100 to 103 degrees. It actually turned out to be a bit cooler at this venue making for an enjoyable performance of Lucia de Lammermoor (even tho I know squat about this opera). I dragged along alice and her bf (aka the son-in-law) who spent most of the evening dodging me. That's fine. I'm sure I didn't want to hang with my parents at that age although it's so long ago that I barely remember. :-)

This evening I'm going to treat myself to a nice air conditioned movie. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is actually playing in vantucky. Can you believe it?

It's too hot to knit

Never thought I would say this but...I wish it would rain. There's a kind of symmetry to the weather here. In about six months, I'll be wishing for a heat wave. 

August 14, 2008

my official entry for the 2012 summer olympic games

cable hat, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

August 10, 2008

like magic

baby surprise jacket, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

It takes a lot of faith to make a baby surprise jacket (hereafter know as the bsj). Even though I have made one before, it’s still hard to be sure that you’re doing the right thing. You follow the instructions as closely as you can bearing in mind that they’re written in an offbeat conversational way. You knit away and knit away and end up with an oddly shaped piece of knitted fabric. I’ve heard it described as a manta ray. But then you fold it up like origami and voila! Like magic, you have an adorable little baby jacket. 

The only sewing up required are the shoulder seams. oh yeah, and the buttons (read previous post). But seeing as how the baby has already been born, I want to be sure he gets this before he graduates from high school.

The details, such as the pretty little border produced with a bind off in purl, are lovely.

And the best part on this particular jacket was the price. The cost of materials, including buttons – less than $5.

I guess I’m too practical to put an infant in expensive fiber only to have him (or her) spit up all over it. I suppose that’s the German in me.

Speaking of Germany, I'm sending a couple of gifts along with Alice who is leaving on the 18th. I'll post a pic soon.

August 7, 2008

why is it so hard to finish?

button flange pillow, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

I finished knitting this pillow over a year ago, amending the pattern and extending it to fit a square 16” pillow (because I could not find a 12” by 16” pillow anywhere). So in changing the pattern, I increased the amount of buttons needed to 6 on each side. For some inexplicable reason, I could not bring myself to sew those damn buttons on. And they’re so pretty, aren’t they.

Well I took the whole project including enough yarn to make a second pillow to my mother last year thinking (wrongly) that it would make a nice project for her. Needless to say, she did not sew the buttons on.

This year, I brought it back from California with me and in an extreme effort to actually finish a few projects, I finally sewed those damn [pretty] buttons on there. It makes a very decorative yet rather loose pillow. I make look for the next larger size pillow form.

August 3, 2008

it's august and I have a bad case of startitis

union square shawl/poncho, originally uploaded by alicethelma.

I have been eyeing this poncho pattern for a long time and at the same time I’ve needed a good mindless knitting project. Something that I can have in my hands when I’m watching TV or waiting in line and that will take a good long time to complete. Something that I can pick up a year from now or tomorrow, as the need arises. Well this poncho requires 54 inches – almost 5 feet – of knitted fabric so it’s a great long-term project for me. Oh and don’t worry about the cost. I have resolved to buy the yarn one 40% coupon at a time (dye lot be hanged). It’s Paton’s Classic Wool Merino wool in dark grey mix and it’s dreamy. The pattern comes from Melanie Falick’s Weekend Knitting.

My august case of startitis doesn’t end with this project. I think…I’m going…to start…a…sweater! Soon.