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Brooklyn Knit Chick

Monday, January 29, 2007

A little slice of home

Last night the company of Legally Blonde invited the company of Jersey Boys to see their Sunday night show. They're in San Francisco doing their pre Broadway tryout. It's was the only performance on their schedule that didn't overlap with ours, so we were so glad to be able to see the show. It's in great shape and was a lot of fun. They've gone 13 days without a day off, so they had reserved a bunch of tables at the Clift bar to relax and unwind. It's funny, back at home it was exactly the kind of night I'd usually pass on. I'd always rather go home and knit in front of my fireplace then hang out in a bar with a bunch of Broadway show folk. . . but, since I'm so homesick, it felt so nice to hang out with everyone from New York.

Between shows on Saturday I felted my bag. We only have a front loading washing machine at the Steinhart, so unless I wanted to cause a small flood, that would not work. Luckily they have top loading washing machines at the theatre. Here's the finished product. It's a little larger than I'd like, but it's still pretty nice.

Here's the unfelted & felted pics

I changed the straps a bit. The pattern said to knit a 40" 6 stitch icord and then sew it into the bag 1 1/2" from the edge. I wanted more of a sloping look up to the straps. I also hate sewing and didn't want to worry about making a strong enough join for the straps.

The bag had 40 stitches for front and back and 20 stitches on the sides.

Working from the beginning of the round, I bound off four stitches, then kept 10 stitches on a stitch holder, bound off 16 stitches for the front middle, put 10 stitches on a stitch holder, bound off 24 stitches, put 10 stitches on a stitch holder, bound of 16 stitches, put 10 on a stitch holder, and then bound off the last 20 stitches.

Starting on the RS, I added a ball of yarn and knit the following:

row 1 (RS) - SSK, K6, K 2 tog
row 2 (WS) - P 8
row 3 (RS) - SSK, K4, K2 tog
row 4 (WS) - P 6
Knit 6 stitch 1 cord for 20 "
put 6 stitches on stitch holder

Repeat for the left side of the strap. Using the kitchener stitch, graft two halves of straps together. Repeat for the other side of the bag.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Spinning and Felting

After my triumphant cast off of the winterwonderland sweater it was time to get back to something a little less successful . . . spinning. I had two spindles of single ply that I had spun back in New York, but never plied. I was going to try to keep the natural color a single ply since it was kind of spun thickly (not on purpose, I just still kind of suck at spinning). I asked one of the spinners at Chicks with Sticks and she told me that I should soak the ply and then kind of whip it against the side of the tub (like snapping a towel) to let the twist shift down from the over twisted parts to the under twisted parts. That did NOT work out well for me. It's really over twisted, so what I got was a horrible twisted mess.

Here it is wet

And dry

I could have stretched it out to "set the twist" and hung a weight on it, but I've been warned that any single ply that is too overly twisted would just twist right up again when the knitted garment got wet. So. . . I gave up and decided to ply it. Since I didn't have that much and I didn't know exactly how to evenly divide it into two spools, I decided to try the Andean Plying method. A wicked cool little way to ply a double from a single ply. Here's my hand in the midst of spooling it up getting ready to ply

Here's the ball of plied yarn. A little chunkier then I wanted, but what the heck.

It's only about 55 yards. I don't really know what to do with it. I also plied my more successful purple roving that my pal Francesca got for me from Rhinebeck. That's about 45 yards. I suppose I could do something using them both. Maybe gloves with the purple used as edging.

Any ideas? Any patterns?

Come on knitting readers help me out with what I could do with 55 yards of natural wool and 45 yards of dyed wool mohair.

Here is the beautiful purple, blue wool, mohair

I bought 4 oz of the "almost solid" series from Spunky Eclectic. I got a kind of purple mix that I thought would go well with the stuff I already spun. Maybe I can figure out something to do with them together.

I also bought 8 0z of a really cool wool, mohair, alpaca blend. It is mostly grey with some little bits of color. I'm not at all sure what kind yardage 8 oz spins into.

How do you spinners decide what to knit out of what you spin? I'm still not sure how to figure that. I must buy a niddy noddy to help me accurately figure out yardage.

In the world of knitting, I cast on two new projects. One fast (yeah US 15 needles) and one that will take forever (boo US 6 needles). For the instant gratification project, I'm knitting up a wool market bag for felting. I'm used to felted objects being large, but this is HUGE. I'm just finishing up the straps, and it is the size of my love seat. Hopefully it will felt down to a nice size. I'll post a finished pic next time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I'm SOOOO glad I tried again

I LOVE my sweater. Not only is it my favorite thing I've ever knit. It's my favorite thing I've ever owned. I re knit it on US 13 (instead of US 15) and added shaping to the side. Here's the result.



Digging into my basket of yummy colors, I'm using the turquoise, gold and dark purple for the market bag

Here it is on the needles. It doesn't look like much now since it's a felted bag, it just looks like a floppy mess now.

In the land of Jersey Boys, it's been a pretty good week. Last week we went to the Tonga Room
for drinks after the show. It's a delightfully tacky bar in the Fairmount Hotel. It's a tiki lounge extraordinaire!

It's built in their old pool room. The pool is still there with a floating barge band.

Every 30 minutes there's a rain storm over the pool. Plastic fruit everywhere, tiki torches, and of course drinks in heads.

This week at work was a special treat. Our asst. choreographer was here, so we went back to a rehearsal studio with the understudies for 3 shows. For me it's a nice break from the usual routine. I called three shows, was on the deck for one show, was in the office for one show, and the rehearsal studio for three shows. A perfect week.

Tomorrow, more knitting, and another evening with the fabulous Chicks with Sticks at Bliss Bar.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Finishing Phobia (or fear of sewing)

In eight days I've frogged an entire sweater, soaked the yarn, hung it out to dry to reset the twist, re-balled the yarn, rewrote the pattern, and re-knit the entire pattern. Now it's three days later, and I've managed to sew the sleeves into the shoulder, and sew up 1/2 of one side. Why does it take me so damn long to sew the sweater pieces together. Oh, I remember . . . I HATE SEWING! I loves me some neck down, three needle bind off, pick up stitches . . . ANY technique that means I don't have to sew. I'm trying really hard to master the mattress stitch. I'm doing much better this time at actually making it an invisible seam

I'm so much happier with the sweater now. Here's it blocking in my apartment. Sweater on floor, sleeves on the ironing board

Note how it actually fits a human body now. Here's me in my sweater sans sleeves.

Now scarves . . . those are finish free joys. Weave in two ends, a little blocking and you're in business! Here's David's cable scarf on the needles and blocking

It was only when I was blocking both the scarf and the sweater at the same time did I notice a certain beigeness to my knitting of late. The next two projects I'm casting on are going to be all about COLOR! I'm doing the Knit - Picks market bag, and Knitty.com's tubey

I've also discovered yarn as a decorating element. Being away from home, hearth and hubby (the list is NOT in order of importance), means knitting is the thing that's kept me sane. Baskets of yarn are like little cozy reminders of home.

These are some of the colors I'm using for Tubey. More pics of colorful cast ons later. Back to understudy rehearsal!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Take two

It's been a full week. . . work, fun, and knitting.

At work, we had our new asst. Stage Manager join us. I had to get her trained in on the deck (backstage) which meant stepping away from the calling desk for five days. For the non theatre folks out there "calling" is when the stage manager sits at a desk backstage in front of various monitors which show different views of the stage. There is always a front view in color, front view in infra red (to allow us to see in the dark), and a conductor view. Then each show has whatever other view that show needs. In our case we have an overhead view of the lift (to make sure we don't drop anyone in a hole in the stage), and an overhead view of the upstage area (to see when the moving units are clear of the fences we fly in). "Calling cues" is telling the operators of the lights, flying scenery, and automated scenery when to execute their cues. We do this either verbally or by turning on and off colored lights.

Since I had only called the show three times before leaving it for five days, I barely remembered what the show looked like (well not really, but it wasn't cozy). By the end of this week it felt comfy again.

On Monday Richard (one of the other stage managers) and I went to Monterey. It was a PERFECT day! We got to the harbor and looked around for a bit and had lunch.

There was wildlife all around us, seals in the water, sea lions on the rocks, pelicans on the dock, otters hanging by the buoys.

After lunch we headed to our whale watch boat. After saying hello to the dogs of the boat, we got on and settled in for the ride.

We passed by a light house, and some fabulous waves.

Here's me scanning the horizon for whales.

Before too long we spotted our first grey whale. We saw it's huge back roll and then it dove. Here's a shot of it's tail.

We also came across about a hundred or so Reeses Dolphins. We got tons of pictures of them, but here's a really good close up of one of them.

Next we headed for the Aquarium. It was in Cannery Row (of Steinbeck novel fame). Richard was disappointed that it wasn't more museum-y and less tee shirt store - y. The aquarium was really cool. Our favorite part was the jellys. Here's a few cool shots.

The only drag of a perfect day was we didn't get back in time to get me to my knitting bar. I'm going tomorrow though. Can't wait!

This may sound a little crazy, but I 'm SOOOO grateful that I knit. Being on the Jersey Boys tour is great, but I've never been away from home this long. I feel like my knitting is litterly keeping me sane. I look forward to days like this (my day off) which is spent primarily knitting.

This week I made a lot of progress in my knitting life. I finished the red scarf for the red scarf project. Here's Richard posing in the scarf (with the goofiest smile I've ever seen!). Here's a more detailed shot.

I cast on a new cable scarf from the alpaca I bought at the New Jersey Sheep & Wool Festival. I'll add those pictures in the next post.

Then there's my winterwonderlandsweater. Here's the model in the shapely yet bulky sweater. Note how it hugs her curves (not quite like the shapeless blob I knit)

Last Sunday I ripped the whole thing out. I measured myself, and redesigned the sweater and started again. I've now finished the entire back and 3/4 of the front. Here's the old sweater versus a picture of the 3/4 of the back of the new sweater. As you can see I added some shaping to the side.

To check the fit, I pinned it to a tee shirt so I could try it on. Here's me wearing the old sweater and the unfinished new one.

In addition to adding shaping, I re-figured the gauge and knit it up on US 13 this time, instead of US 15. I think I'll be much happier with it now. I'm sure I'll finish it tomorrow, so I'll post some finished photos later.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Back to the drawing board (or knitting needles)

So, I promised more knitting content in the next post, I just didn't think it would be tragic knitting content.

When I got on a plane headed for San Francisco back in late November, I cast on for a new sweater. It was a chunky turtle neck shown here. I finished the front back, the turtle neck and 3/4 of the sleeves. I knit the small size, AND I made it two inches narrower and 2 inches shorter than the pattern.

It was still HUGE on me. I will never learn. I just think somehow it will work out and make sense when I finish it. I should always measure myself and costumize the pattern for myself. I should have learned from the muppet sweater affair (when I ripped out the whole front & back when I discovered it was huge & shapeless). Here's me in the shapeless wonder:

I knew I would never wear it, so . . . even though it was a lot of work, it was time to do the dreaded frogging. It being a fuzzy wool alpaca blend, it was only slightly less a pain in the ass to rip out then mohair. Then when I tried to reknit a gauge sample it was just too kinky.

I then had to salvage the yarn by winding it around my arm, wetting it down and handing it to stretch out the kinks.

I'll rewrite the pattern and give it another shot. Stay tuned.

Back in Jersey Boys land . . . I started calling the show this weekend. It went pretty well. I made a little boo boo on my second show, but nothing an audience would notice. Today's show was a little rough, but it was not my fault. We had some automation problems with the scenery. I'm glad it was on my 3rd show calling instead of my first.

As promised, here's some pics of my aparment. Much nicer than my old one room place at the Oakwood:

I finally finished my red scarf project scarf. I'll photo that
next post.

Next I've cast on a cable scarf for David from a skein of Alpaca that I bought at the New Jersey Sheep & Wool Festival last summer. . . and of course, I'll recast on the chunky cable sweater.

Tomorrow I'm going to Monterey with Richard from the show. We are going on a Whale watch and to the aquarium.

Tomorrow night I'll head to Chicks with Sticks for some quality knitting time. More later.