Saturday, January 28, 2012

Getting Things Done

Jiada is about to be blocked.

The body is, anyway. Of the 7 knitted pieces that make up the pattern, 4 are knit up. The remaining 3 are the sleeves and collar; the sleeves are on my needles even as I type this, but I have to cop to feeling some stockinette aversion last night as I knit a few rows. Some people truly enjoy this kind of knitting, rows and rows of plain stockinette. These people find it meditative and soothing. Me, I need more engagement. It's the knitting version or road hypnosis for me, my brain becoming detached and drowsy. It bores me. Sad but true.

Then again, maybe it is just this project; I don't know. Still, I am committed to finishing, and I want to block the body and sew it together before I finish the sleeves to make sure they don't end up too damned long, as so many drop shouldered sweater projects I knit up do. I like my cuffs to hit just below the wrists. Any longer and the sleeves need to be tight enough to push up, which is not the case with this pattern.

Like so many of my UFO's this project has become a monkey on my back. I shuffle through my stash boxes and the bag with the yarn and half-done knitted pieces surfaces again and again, like some floating dead body. OK, that analogy was a little too Norman Bates, but it speaks to the point: some craft projects you are committed to, once you start, but the process is sometimes really really NOT fun, for some reason. Jiada is one of these for me.

Still, I have surmounted my knitter's block--such is the power of 18 hours of driving to and from Phoenix with me not behind the wheel: a right front and both sleeves knit to the elbow. (I am a slow knitter, I admit it.) In the interests of proper fit, I am planning to take advantage of a free Saturday to block the body now, also good since I don't have the blocking boards or floor space to block the whole sweater at once.

There is another reason to finish this: I have been thinking about steeks. As I wrote in my last post, I took a steeking class at TNNA and the wheels are turning. I have three projects that I am planning to steek, now that I know how. I have one fairisle, Peony, that required sewing machine steeks. I can now forego these, add in twisted stitches before I join the shoulders and put in crochet hook steeks.

Another project is a cropped Noro sweater I knit several years ago. I like the yarn and the color, but the sweater is cropped. On me, not good. I have long thought to take off the sleeves, use the yarn to make it longer and convert it into a vest. Now I know how.

Lastly, is the infamous Zarah, that has haunted me for years--I have old posts on it, adding in bust darts, carefully checking gauge and trying to make it fit I was at a point where the bodice would need to redone to remove bulk at the shoulder to keep the sleeves from looking saggy. Now I can add steeks, instead. I plan to get all three items out in the near future and bring them back from the Sargasso Sea of unfinished fiber business. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig!

I am back from TNNA, and I hardly know where to begin.

Let's start with the mundane details and go from there. I got a chunk done on Jiada, while driving, although, as usual, I underestimated my knitting speed. As it stands, the body--back and two fronts are now done, and the cuff part of the sleeves and the right color band. That leaves the blue part of the sleeves and the collar. It may not seem like it, but I got a lot done.

On to juicier subjects, like, say...TNNA. Man. I am still gobsmacked over it all. I saw yarns not yet in stores, such as the lucious Noro Shiraito and a wonderful yarn from Dream in Color called "It's Nature Silver"--a hand dyed laceweight with a thin sliver thread running throughout that I can't even find link for on the net. Take my word for it--it is a GREAT looking yarn and I would love to get my hands on some.

And the ORANGE! The Pantone color of the year "Tangerine Tango" was abundant in yarn form, which made me giddy just seeing it. Picture me darting from booth to both petting the lovely yarn, like so many sunny orange tribbles. I saw orange and it was good!

There were also lots of lovely patterns and a few celebrity sightings. My group ran into Cat Bordhi several times and I have to say what a fun person she is! I also saw Kristin Omdahl and Ysolda Teague, but frankly thought just barging in on them to gush like a fangirl was a bit too forward. I did, however, chat with Anne Kuo Lukito, who was very gracious and had all her wonderful hats on display, plus several other models of her designs, including a really lovely jacket with a brioche stitch collar.

Another fave for me was the Alchemy booth. The colors they achieve with their yarns are INTENSE and gorgeous. I didn't think to pull my camera out--too touristy--but I loved what I saw. More orange and all good including "Monk's Orange", a true intense orange and "Blood Orange", orange with bright hints of poppy red. They also had a new shibori design called "Meadowlark"--watch for it--it's a stunner.

Another yowza yarn was Berroco's "Ricrac", with the rosabella and poppy colorways being my favorites.

There was a fashion show as well, and I saw some great designs including 3 from the Stitch Red project to raise awareness for heart disease. Another red design was one called "Johnny's Sock" on display at the Skacel area in Admiral red yarn. Another fab item I can find no info about online as of yet, but will keep my eyes peeled for it.

I had three great classes and a tutorial as well. "Norwegian Purl", by Beth Brown-Reinsel, "Steeks to the Rescue" with Chris Bylsma, and "Broomstick Lace Basics" with Mary Beth Temple. As if that technique feast were not enough, Skacel sponsored Brigitte Elliot in a free, one hour swing knitting tutorial. I was a busy knitter, let me tell you!

It was a fiber fest. What I have mentioned above is what I remember without referring to my notes, meaning those are the things that really stood out for me. The was more--lots and lots more, including needlework, buttons, ribbons and beads, but those items will have to wait for another blog opportunity, as will the framework exploits of me and my colleagues when not actually AT the show.

Now, I must go practice my new mad skillz...

Monday, January 16, 2012


Jiada is going on a road trip. Yep, the boring stockinette is going to be my traveling project, with me locked in a van knitting away, Maybe then I can get that bad girl DONE. I am going to TNNA and am excited as all get out about it, but I something easy on my needles. That would be Jiada.

Speaking of done, the green thing is FINISHED, as are two small scarf projects that have sat for months. Three things off the UFO list and it is only January 16th. Pretty good, I'd say.

Now to finish that packing...