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Brooklyn Knit Chick

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ode to Blocking

What takes a nicely knit piece and turns it into a PERFECT piece? Blocking. I was shocked recently when one of our regular customers (you know who you are) admitted to me that he never blocks his pieces. I just finished blocking the top of the Feather and Fan Cardigan. I used my two new toys - the blocking wires I bought with my niece Alana's gift certificate (THANK YOU) and my new blocking blocks that one of our teachers, Hannah, turned me onto.

They are called Knitter's Block. They are interlocking blocks that you can put together in a variety of configurations (more about that later) with an absorbent side.

The interesting thing is their blocking method. It comes with a large cloth. You pin your piece in place, and then (depending on the fiber and pattern), you either steam block it, or spray the whole piece with water. Here's the interesting part. You then take the cloth, get it good and wet and cover your piece. When the cloth is dry, your blocking is done!

Here's my sweater pinned in place in the lovely evening light:

My other new (I don't know how I ever lived without them) tool are my beloved blocking wires. I bought a full set that has straight wires in two different lengths, and flexible wires. These were PERFECT for this project. They helped me create a straight edge for the side of the cardigan and take out the large swag that happens with feather and fan. Here's a close up:

The only drawback to the Knitter's Blocks is they are not built to be put together in any configuration. As you can see from the shape of the upper bodice of the sweater, what I needed was a T shape, like this

The blocks however, only fit snuggle one way. I had to kind of force them, and it didn't really work perfectly

Never the less, the next morning, I removed the dry cover to reveal my perfectly blocked piece

So here it is, the finished upper bodice of my cardigan. Now I just have to knit the miles of stockinette . . . kill me now.

Speaking of kill me now. . . my brother agreed that the 11" wide scarf he wanted was insane. I ripped out the scarf and recast it on for a 9" width. Still REALLY wide, but not a baby blanket. I also changed to US 17 instead of 15 which made it more flexible and drapier. It will still be the world's warmest scarf

It looks like I'll have two whole skeins left over. I bought 4 back in the day when I thought I was making the insane 11" wide scarf. I have a crazy plan for it, but more about that later.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Springtime & Passover

It's that time of year when our thoughts turn to Matzo and mulching. I had two swell Seders with David & our pal Nell and two big gardening days.

Sunday we tried to play catch up in the garden, and I continued for four hours on Monday. Things are still pretty behind, and we had some casualties. The peach tree looks pretty damn dead.

We did manage to plant a bunch of veggies, we put in lettuce, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, yellow pepper, basil, sage, lavender. Today I got the Canna in and divided and planted all the Dahlia bulbs in starter pots.

(The lilac tree about to bloom)

(The Gerber Daisies)

(The Peonies a comin up!)

(Our AMAZING climbing roses . . . stay tuned for when these babies bloom)

(The Lilies, you'll have to wait until late July until these bloom)

(My favorite tree ever - the Japanese Maple)

(The first of the Strawberries coming in)

(The peppers, zucchini & herbs)

(The, now, sad looking lettuce . . . just wait)

(The basil & eggplant)


So, after two backbreaking days of gardening . . . I present, our April deck. Not much to look at now, but it will be:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Feather and Fan detour

After the most recent debacle with the Feather and Fan Cardigan, I was happy to set it aside for a bit for two knitting distractions. The first one was knitting cupcakes for the shop window. An addictive little pattern and a great way to get rid of scrap yarn. I'm up to five so far!

The second is a little larger . . . my brother's 11" x 8' scarf. What? That's right, my beloved brother wants an 11" x 8' scarf. I bought Cascade Magnum so I wouldn't be knitting for the rest of my adult life. Only one problem . . . it's so damn thick that his neck may be slightly strained under the weight of it. I'm doing a basket weave with it:

Monday I'll start the Feather and Fan again . . . and clean the apartment . . . and start exercising . . . and file my receipts . . . and catch up on e-mail.

Or maybe next week.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

One step forward, two steps back

Everytime I make a little progress with this pattern I realize how much I've screwed it up and have to rip back to fix it. This pattern is feeling like a metaphor for my life lately. Ah well, if only it were as easy to frog your life and just go back a few rows/years.

I was almost to binding off the left sleeve and upper bodice of the Soft Linen Feather and Fan Cardigan when I realized I forgot to change to the LEFT bodice instructions and I had just repeated the right bodice again. Since I'm not a mutant. That ain't gonna work. Frog (again)

Saturday night I got home from work at my favorite time in my favorite season in my favorite place. It was twilight, springtime in Park Slope. I went straight up to the roof to check out the light and see our garden.

Here's the Park Slope springtime sky

As for the garden, the woefully untended garden, well, springtime is nature's do over. Gives me hope that I can keep reinventing myself and still be okay.

The tree we moved last fall . . . we didn't kill!

The tulips bulbs that we didn't move up in the bed after we dug up the Dahlia's . . . in bold defiance of our neglect, decided to bloom

and the Flowering Quince that we killed from a total lack of watering, decided to give us another chance

We'll try to do better this year.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Long lost friends, springtime and other contradictions

I've been missing my friends lately. It's my own fault. We say we're going to stay in touch but we never do. Life gets in the way. We are spread all over the place now. My pals Maggie, Tom & Rachel are in Chicago, Michele is in Ohio, Genevra is in Carbondale, 1 Francesca is in California, 1 Francesca (that's right I know two) is on tour and god only knows when she's coming home. Just as I was really missing my old friends I got a call from Michele to say she's visiting NY!!! Yeah, I needed a bit of home.

Time is moving so fast that spring totally snuck up on me. We've done NOTHING in the garden, yet spring comes whether you do anything about it or not. I went up to check things out and saw:

Nature doesn't really wait for you to catch up!

The Feather and Fan Cardigan is coming along, and I can safely report that Classic Elite Soft Linen takes being ripped out and frogged VERY well. I've screwed up this pattern more than I can say.

Here it is so far