Betsey Do

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Irie Knits podcasting from Oregon.

I'm listening to back episodes of Irie Knits after just discovering this podcaster from Eugene, Oregon. Irie has a cool way about her - very calming yet straightforward and still fun, like there is an inner smile, soft eyes and her shoulders are relaxed.

I just listened to episode #2 where Irie talks about the (then) much-blogged discussion of baring our stash. I too am a little bit of a minimalist. I can easily get overwhelmed and resentful of the projects I wanted to do but haven't, so I keep my stash somewhat at bay, but will always grab a new yank or two when inspired by it or a pattern that needs it. So now, I'll not be measuring my stash for mileage of yarn, but envy those who have their miles and miles and can live with adding to it happily. It's fun to watch and listen and live vicariously through them, and then sit in my own space of limited stash.

In this podcast, she plays a really terrific jazzy Belinda Underwood. She's like a younger sounding Diana Krall, with a more wispy light sound to her voice, but Krall's styling. Love her!

I think I would like to invite some L.A. crafters and knitters over for some Church of Crafting, and Underwood could be one of the CDs to play. Sweet.
A Lavender Celtic-cabled Bag is in Process.

I am almost done with one side of this bag. It's knit up from a lovely shade of lavendar wool from New Zealand from the Kona Bay company. It was a beautiful shade of lavender that I purchased the last 3 hanks (100 gms each) at Black Sheep Knittery at their kick-ass sale last week (50% off everything in this gorgeously stocked store). Crystal, who owns and runs this store, was very kind to let me sit and knit there all morning (to get away from the algebra homework and be around knitters!) and it was fun watching women come in, discovering that her on-line announced sale included everything, including needles and books! These girls were buying large bags full of Noro, Manos and KPPMs, handing over their credit cards and asking her not to announce the total, they'll find out later when they decide to take a look at the bill.

This was fun to sit and watch. I'd been mistaken twice for working there since I was the only one not wildly buying, but sitting, knitting and chatting once in a while.

The pattern calls for doing this same piece again for the other side, then knitting the gusset and piecing them all together.

If you hold the rows straight across so that the pointy ends hang down, it looks like this might make a beautiful flared out bottom to a skirt. I'm inspired to take this idea to a cone of tweedy, very light weight yarn (baby weight or fingering) to make a nice skirt out of this.
The bag pattern calls for #9 needles; for a nicer drape with the tweed fingering, maybe I'll try something still almost as large as #9s, maybe #7s.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Celtic knitting? I meant celtic cabling

Back in January, I started 2007 with the first post listing the following 5 things to do:

1. Completing my first pair of knitted socks.
2. Learn spinning .
3. Finish the Swatch Blanket
4. Buy a pet Alpaca (or at least shear one).
5. Practice some Celtic Knitting.

Today, I have found the project I have been looking for in doing the Celtic Knitting. But I realize now that I meant a celtic-cables type of knitting. when I wrote this list, and added the celtic knitting entry, I was inspired by the cover of Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge. I loved the cabling of the scarf on the cover, but knew I would never use that type of a design in a scarf. But then I saw this bag on Moonlight Stitches Blog just as I was thinking how much I'd like to knit a bag. (A thought inspired by Tracey Ullman's tweed tote story Knit 2 Together AND the cool cable bag that Karen is working on.

I have two choice yarns in my stash to work from on this bag. Either the really nice cream wool that Adrian gave me, or the green over-dyed stuff from the frogged thrifted sweater. So I'll be swatching to see if they match the 14"=4 inch gauge on my #9s.

Oh, and to update on the 5 things list. 1) I've knitted both of the first pair of socks. Done. 2) Learned spinning and am on my second color - a beautiful pound of blue roving with subtle flecks of other colors in it - really nice! 3) Still working on the swatch blanket and am pulling it out today to plan the next few swatches. 4) Umm. Maybe a trip to the zoo this Sunday? and there we go.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Podcasting from L.A.

Yo yo westside!
So I'm checking my emails yesterday.
Got the daily digest of postings from SnB LA. And Anne from Moonlight Stitches lets us know she's jumped into the knitting podcast arena.
Yeah Anne.
I just listened to it really quick this afternoon while finishing off some homework and she did good! She chose Aliens Get the Blues Too, Erik Lee when she brought up her UFOs - way cool.
Then she brings up stuff like knitting with this cool pink and green with sparkle thread yarn that I just scored a bunch of a few weeks ago (I loves this stuff, even though I'm not a novelty yarn girl, this yarn has a certain rustic quality that I got me), so I kinda liked having that "me too" moment.
And the subject of knitting at the movies. She was knitting at 300 and this is a great thing to blog about: go see a flick, knit there, talk about the movie = great!

While I haven't shelled the $ for the light up needles, my ex-boyfriend heard about these and showed me his stash of light-up pens (using an led light) that he thought I could use. I clip the pen on my shirt, sit in the back row, and it works great! While they're not cable knitting or lace knitting great, they're good for simpler projects that I might need a little dim light to just check how things are going.

back to Moonlight Stitches.
Anne has a great voice for this, sort of reminds me of listening to The Knitting Cook, but with her own mellow quality.
Anne - thank you! I really look forward to hearing more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

* Mother's Day Campaign for Afghan Mothers *US due date: May 13.
Afghans 4 Tomorrow is the same organization that handled our two major collections last year. Afghans 4 Tomorrow is an experienced US-based non-profit organization with offices and relief and development projects in Afghanistan: Afghans 4 Tomorrow has been distributing material supplies to the people of Afghanistan for many years. They have trained, capable personnel on the ground. Afghans 4 Tomorrow would like us to supply:Baby blankets (in a dense stitch; not lacy; minimum dimensions of 40" x 40")Caps for newborns and infantsSocks for newborns and infants (no booties).
When I took a look at the pictures in the afghans4tomorrow gallery, it struck me again how good I have it in Los Angeles here. These guys are walking around in the freezing cold happy to get our donated clothes and a handmade hat or some socks.
Yesterday we just got over the shock of hitting a 90 degree day in March. I got a @*!%$# ticket for not wearing my seatbelt today and didn't want to face my part time job tonight, I was so upset.
Yeah. Right.
I have a job. I'll pay the ticket and still buy anything needed for our basic needs and comforts. And the comfort of another mom too, maybe?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

CMP ATC #2 Alphabet Soup

YEAH. Judi from CMP sent to me this ATC.
I got this wonderful little card from Judi in the mail today. She and I swapped ATCs in Amy's ATC Exchange #2 where the theme is Alphabet Soup.

I've done other types of mail swaps, but never an ATC. I'm not stopping any time soon. What a great way to have fun and swap it all out and get some back!

Just wow.

Needle and the Damage Done

Damn, I wish I thought of the name The Needle and the Damage Done.
So far, by far, my favorite name for a knitting blog.
And the weird thing is that this is the knitting blog by Faith, who podcasts as The Knitting Cook. I've been listening to her podcast ever since Amy mentioned her lemon cake recipe (which I've yet to try).

Faith, who just moved to Germany with her husband and two boys, And is pregnant with a third, talks about her knitting projects, great recipes that she cooks for the family and stories about living in Germany, in a small town, while learning her German really fast.

In he podcast this week, she talked about the Meathead Hat pattern, so I finally took the time to check her show notes about the hat. Any pattern with a name like that intrigues me. It's a neat hat pattern - kind of like an Elfin hat that would be a great snowboarder hat AND a nice hat for the Mountaineering girls. It would be way cool to knit up with all this leftover scraps of wool I have and make some christmas hats this year. I found the flickr group of Meat Heads and really loved one version where a girl knit up the hat and then added 2 long braids "ear-flap" style. I'm sorting out stash right now to see what colors are going into this idea! The hat pattern was being sold to raise some funds and the fund raise just ended! Hopefully I can still buy - awaiting a response when I emailed.

This week's episode of The Knitting Cook is equal to about of weeks worth (or more) of checking links and writing about things I like. Foe one thing, The Wallaby Sweater is so similar to the sweater pattern I'm planning for Ty in the Mary Rich Goodwin book of top down raglans I still have here. Goodwin's pattern is called Little Fair Isle Hood with a pretty neat construction for the hood and top down raglan design. A good yarn would be the Bernat "sweatshirt Denim" warn or Lion's cotton ease. Ty does best with a cotton/acrylic blend like these so I'll be checking out my yarn stash of the Bernat sweatshirt stuff and filling in the gaps needed to make this Little Fair isle Hood.

I Love the Merry Go-Round pattern in this book, which I'm still knitting up from the frogged oatmeal shade of wool.

This Merry Go-Round is definitely working. The shaping of the rolled collar before the ribbing neckline and the top-down raglan shaping looks pretty fun. The sleeves are 3/4. Because I love 3/4 sleeves.

So the Merry Go-Round sweater is getting close to done, just have the bottom of the torso to finish up in stockinette and ribbing. I tried it on Sunday night, just a few rows down from the finished sleeves and showed Robin. Wow. she wants one. In baby blue.

so I've decided to find a nice baby blue variegated yarn in a softer fiber than wool (Robin can deal with Any wool) and voila - I realized the perfect thing to search out: Light blue denim!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

knitting 101

Wow, Karen finished her pinwheel sweater! I love the colors she used. knitting 101

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I listen to alot of podcasts.

Not just once, but many times. I will listen to the same one again in a later day or week.

Maybe one day I'd like to podcast a little. Robin and I play podcasting sometimes. We'll set the recorder and talk about stuff that we do and think about.

I've gone through all of Brenda Dayne's CAST-ONs, most of them twice. Most knitters know Brenda (and if you don't, PLEASE click the link and start!). Brenda started a knitting podcast when there wasn't one around. I found out about her when I got to listening to Creative Mom Podcast and started thinking, "maybe I'm weird, but wouldn't it be great to do a podcast and talk about knitting?". Amy at CMP turned me onto Brenda and bam, weird or not, Brenda did it first and made it work.

Brenda made it work so well that many have followed in her footsteps - some at her suggestion to do one "your own way." If you didn't like her music and wanted a knitting podcast that was more punk, Brenda was telling y'all - THAN do it - we all want to hear yours too. And so many followed: Knitting Cook Podcast, Lime N Violet Podcast, Sticks and Strings, Knitty D and the City, Beneath the Fiber Moon, and scads more.

So Brenda lives in Wales (after moving there from Oregon).
I need to repeat this. She Lives In Wales.

I want to live in Wales. And I do, for a while every time she talks about being there. When it's St. David's Day, she'll talk about the procession of druids. She talks about the boot sales. I miss boot sales.
and Jumble Sales.
I picked up a wonderful pea coat for 5p back in 1979 when I first arrived in East Grinstead, England. It was much colder in East Grinstead during February than what I predicted as I packed my gear in Los Angeles for the trip (I was only sixteen years old and I knew England would be colder than L.A., I just wasn't prepared for COLD).

Brenda also finds the coolest podsafe music from all parts, but many great tunes from Brits with fiddles or synths - whatever. Its all soooo cool.

She did a series of podcasts in the Spring of 2006 which follows along with discussing each of the nine Muses in Greek mythology and what aspect of knitting that each Muse relates to. Her Muse series (which I believe starts in episode #15 or #16) will probably get another listening by me over the next year. In fact, I'm re-downloading them now since I know there's alot more I'll pick up in these podcasts that I missed the first time (and maybe second) time around.

There have been knitting bloggers from the early days, circa 1997 that, through the years, keeps on building up into the knitting community together to such a way now - I can't believe it. Through Brenda, and other podcasters of fiber who followed, this community has a voice and I'm listening to it all with an appetite that doesn't quite keep up with the time to digest it all, check all the links I want to follow and the projects I'd like to try as well. These are problems I do dwell on sometimes and really - have to just let it go.

In the Summer and Fall of 2006, Brenda she did some wonderful touring around Wales and close-by areas, to speak with locals who work with Sheep and wool. Oh and don't get me started on her music choices.

Okay, do.

Lascivious Biddies' Neighbor. My. What a great sound. What a ground song.
speaking of Brenda and music - her episode the MASH UP was one of those exciting thrilling dorky drive-way moments of WOW, she gets it. MASH UP is my life. I mash'd up on tape mixes getting the strangest artists together for the party or camping mixes thrilling my friends and brother with combining Country, Punk, Standards and TV Commercials into a fun ride with cocktails in hand. and MASH UP is my fiber life. Mixing up Red Heart acrylics with Noro Garden silk lite into a free crocheted hassock and pillows. Fair Isle strange 70s ombres with colors that don't come anywhere near matching thrills me straight out more than any soft cashmere pair of socks or Fetchings ever would. (I love socks, I love Fetchings. But I would rather do socks or Fetchings in something weird and make it work. THAT's thrilling).

This is why I love designers like Teva Durham and Betsey Johnson. and Norah Gaughan. and Leigh Radford. and folk work done by the hands of those in the roads of third world countries and Scandinavian type of places, and Latvia. These people MASH IT UP.

Whew. Passionate much?

If Brenda mentions a stash-along by Wendy Knits, I'm signing up and have signed up and have had the best five weeks of knitting just stash. Of planning mixtures and combinations to make single and small balls work together and the cushions I've made are truly exciting. One is sort of a smaller hassock that I place near on the edge of the bed, sit cross-legged on and do my drop spindle spinning with some nice length to the floor to work with. All this in front of episodes of and extra disc special viewing from the Lord of Rings DVD collection is priming me up for the Rennaisance Faire coming around in a couple of months.

Must lurk and plan some fyne garb for Robin and Ty Kai.

Toodles. My head is spinning and I still have to get some damn AA batteries for the camera to get some picks on this site.

Top Down Raglan Starts

I've started my first knitted top-down raglan ever. From the frogged thrift shop sweater.

I've knitted a top down raglan before. It took 2 hours total. The second one I also knitted took just over an hour and was entirely done in Noro Silk Garden Lite. They both fit Barbie barely, so they hang now on nicely crafted Wire hangers (crafting little wire hangers could keep me happy many many hours).

So yeah, I've done a top down raglan. Even though it was in miniature, it gave me an idea of the whole raglan construction: increasing at 8 points on the increase rows in order to expand into front, sleeve, back and other sleeve; then doing the sleeves on DPNs, and then finally stitch the back to the front in the round with said DPNs. These sweaters inspired me to go for my First Ever Raglan for the human body. It's knitting up from a frogged sweater of some wonderful wool.

I did not refresh the wool so the stitches are uneven and bumpy. I thought I might like that and wanted to see how this would turn out without refreshing said wool (I have another project from yet another frogged sweater where that yarn was refreshed and redyed, so I'll get to see some of the differences).

I've worked the neck and yoke down so far to about 11" from the top. Since the "top" is a rolled neckline (the first eight rows call for stockinette stitch before changing to a 1x1 ribbing), the yoke really has a "lay" on the body of 9". Being nervous that maybe it was getting too big (it's really crowded on the needles!), I fed a "life line" through the stitches and took them off the needles to try it on.

WOW. (Sorry, no pictures taken). It looks way cool. I see flaws, yes. The increases could be done differently next time (and I wish I noted every stitch now, but that'll come with practice). The rolled collar is really a cool, sweet, funky take on the normal raglan cardigan and the sleeves look kind of like Teva Durham may have done this during her early "teen" years (in my imagination of her, just like I imagine what Betsey Johnson's trial experiments may have been like when I f up some shirt and then add some sweet embelishments, patch a Marilyn Monroe in ballerina dress onto my bike bag, etc.)

The un-refreshed yarn really is loopy and the #10 needles are obviously too big, but still - I LOVE IT for it's flaws. It's Garage-bandness. LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

So back on the needles they go for another four rows on the yoke to get a good 10" to 10-1/2" (or 13-13 1/2" laid flat) before I start working each sleeve. I'd like to keep it somewhat fitted, but have to make sure I can lift the arms or wear something under it when all is said and done. All increases after this try-on will be done at 2 stitches before and after each marker. Up to now the increases have been somewhat haphazard due to that being the instruction in the pattern.