Archives for category: loquat shawl

I took a refreshing few weeks off from the powerful lure of the Internet and now I’m just a wee bit overwhelmed with trying to catch up with work, seeing what’s happened in blogland, and trying to pack up my house.

I battled food poisoning of some sort (probably brought on by eating too much kebab at a really great Afghan restaurant my parents took me to), finished the Loquat Shawl with one day to go, and tried to model it during a crazy heat wave–my dad said it was 107 degrees where they live.

My camera didn’t like the light and the pictures didn’t come out that great, but they’ll have to do.

I fulfilled my bridesmaidly obligations–fetched and carried, walked down the aisle, did my toast, and toted a Maid of Honor Emergency Kit around with me everywhere. A word of advice to any other first-time bridesmaids–everybody wanted safety pins for one thing or another; they will be the most useful thing in your purse. The groom needed one for his boutonniere, one of the wedding guests needed one because her dress started to come apart during the reception, etc.
Other things in the emergency kit, most of which were useful at some point:

  • ibuprofen
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets
  • bobby pins
  • Kleenex
  • baby wipes
  • granola bar

I wish I’d had bug spray, too, because the mosquitoes were out in force, but this is not something that will be applicable to most other weddings.

The wedding was beautiful, a 70-person affair in a little wooden chapel by a mountain lake. It was small, short, informal, and intimate, in stark contrast to the grand party of multiple ceremonies and costume changes at the wedding I went to the previous weekend. The cabin where we were staying didn’t have electricity or potable water and was only accessible by boat, so there were some good times after the rehearsal dinner when the boat motor broke down and the 8 people in the boat took turns rowing across the lake by moonlight (we were saved after 45 minutes by a neighbor who came by and gave us a tow). Thank God it was informal, and that my hair is pretty low-maintenance, because there was no real opportunity to iron my clothes or blow-dry my hair before the ceremony.

I slept in a sleeping bag in the cabin attic with the mice, and ran down the granite slope to swim in the clear, cold lake the morning of the wedding.

Sarah ended up wearing the shawl during the reception, not during the ceremony. We danced in a meadow and ate olallieberry pies and her dearest wish was fulfilled when we set up a fight in the meadow, complete with hats and lasso and fake gun, between a Viking and a cowboy. She watched her sister (in a cowboy hat) roping her uncle (in a Viking helmet) and turned to her mother-in-law and said, “This is just how I always imagined my wedding day would be.”

It was lots of fun–how all weddings should be.

So, aside from that, I saw family and friends (between the wedding and family visits, I somehow ran out of time and didn’t get to meet up with everyone I had hoped to see) and got to go play in the Bay Area a little bit. The best part was when my parents and I went up to Point Reyes and, while we were walking on the beach, saw a humpback whale frolicking in the water! It was out there for a long time, so we saw its tail and back and face and lots of puffs from its blowhole. Plus we saw pelicans, spotted fawns eating grass in the marsh, turkey vultures, egrets, various little birds, and what was possibly a seal turning around in the waves.

After that initial terrible heat wave, the Bay Area spent the rest of my visit living up to Mark Twain’s adage “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”–I was freezing most of the rest of the time I was there, as the temperature hovered around 60 or below, with chill winds whipping in from off the Bay. But I did some of my favorite things–I saw friends and family, went to Thai Temple, Chez Panisse, the Edible Schoolyard, Berkeley Bowl, the Ashby Flea Market, Stonemountain and Daughter, and a pub quiz at the Missouri Lounge.

I finished a Branching Out scarf for Molly in the llama yarn I got from Yellow Wood Llamas, and we spent a craft-shopping day at Lacis, General Bead and Artfibers, topped off with yummy crepes from Ti Couz. (This was the only day I actually made it into the city the whole time I was back home.) I did stop off at the new yarn shop in my old neighborhood, K2tog, but only for a few minutes while I waited for Molly (sorry, Kristen, I was going to look you up but didn’t have time!). I got fabulous but expensive Japanese stitch dictionaries (one knit, one crochet) at Lacis, some earring supplies and vintage blue glass buttons at General Bead, and some more Kyoto (the glowing red color) and Golden Chai (a silvery gold color) and yarntastings at Artfibers.

Back at home again now; in the last week, I sewed a dress and a shirt from Simplicity 3835, the ubiquitous Built by Wendy pattern, spent a long day helping our friends Steve and Jeanne move out and clean their place, packed some stuff, made a yummy beet and tempeh salad, and went on a 25-mile bike ride along beautiful, empty rural roads to Unionville and back… that was a heavenly morning; the sun was shining but not too hot, blue and white flowers were blooming in the meadows, the corn was high and green, the roads were empty and filled with the sounds of birdsong and cicadas. Aside from one giant hill and a time when I lost balance while getting started and very slowly fell off my bike and bruised my hand, the ride was easy and stress-free. (There were a few places where Rahul said dogs like to come out and chase you, but we didn’t see any this time, thankfully.)

I’m looking forward to coming back to Thursday knit night this week, and I hope to have some time to put up pictures of the llama scarf and my Built by Wendy FO’s–the dress I made from blue striped shirting is very uniform-like and I’m not sure how to fix it, but perhaps I’ll have some adornment ideas soon. I may have to consider the blue version my muslin, and make it again with a cuter fabric, like Mari’s. It came out pretty well overall, though–i.e. it fits and I didn’t make any really horrible mistakes! And it has pockets. I strongly approve of pockets in a dress.

I’m safely in California now, and at long last a few rows into the edging for the wedding shawl. I decided on the Wave Edging with a bit of faggoting between it and the body of the shawl.

This last weekend, I made it through Rahul’s cousin’s wedding, an intense, three-day party, full of dancing, drinking, and delicious food, for hundreds of friends and relatives.

After the wedding, Rahul and I and a couple of his cousins were asked to help clean up the altar. Most of the stuff went into a big trash bag or a box to take back up to the bride’s family’s rooms. However, we came across one problematic item–a big bowl full of ghee (clarified butter) that had been used during the ceremony as an offering to Agni, the fire god. The priest had been dipping a wooden stick of questionable (but surely very holy) origin into it the whole time, so we thought we shouldn’t put it back into the jar. However, also, apparently, at this point, the ghee was special or blessed or something and should not be thrown away. (Plus, I knew from my parents’ work at Three Stone Hearth that it was really awfully expensive to make that much ghee, and I couldn’t bear to put it in the trash.)

So, as we gathered up betel nuts and flowers from the altar, We handed the ghee to Rahul to dispose of somehow. Afterwards, we went out into the hallway outside the hotel’s banquet hall and found this sitting on a table (his head got a little bit cut off, but that is Ganesh, you can tell by the rat he’s sitting on.)

Free Ghee

Leaving for Toledo today, California on Sunday. I may or may not be posting while I’m gone over the next 2 1/2 weeks or so. Any suggestions for good yarn shops to visit? I have no idea if I will actually have any time for such things–I’m not going to be in the Bay Area for a decent chunk of that time due to the wedding, and there are plenty of other things I want to do while I am in the Bay Area, but just in case. I know there’s a new one in Albany called k2tog, and I am always interested in visits to Artfibers, Imagiknit, Article Pract, Stonemountain and Daughter, Lacis, and Stash Yarns, but I’ve been to all of those except k2tog already.

Project list (I certainly won’t knit up all of it; it sounds like a lot, but there will be many hours in the car and airport/airplanes, and I expect many hours of downtime, too, so I should be able to make pretty good progress on something else once the shawl is out of the way):

The latest and greatest on the Loquat shawl:

I’m having some doubt on the edging pattern. I was thinking of using this one (Classic Bead Edging from Barbara Walker), with that top garter strip changed to faggoting to match the pattern in the main part of the shawl, but maybe it looks too bumpy, too open/uneven in contrast to the stockinette triangles in the Honeybee lace. The swatch below has been blocked, by the way. What do you think? The Wave Edging used in the Print o’ the Wave stole might be nice–it’s one of my favorite edgings of all–but I was worrying that it might be too small-scale to work with this shawl and might not be stretchy enough to bind off the faggoting stitches, which are very wide. I’ll make a swatch tonight if I have time… otherwise, BW vol.2 is coming with me on my trip to Toledo.

Perhaps I shouldn’t do the sideways edging, but extend the pattern downwards (I was thinking of using a variation on the Razor Shell pattern in order to make scallops). Full of doubt now, as that part of the shawl gets closer…

Anyway, it’s a good 42 inches across the top, now, stretched out. I knit a bunch on it last night and finished Fitcher’s Brides (it’s based on the Bluebeard fairy tale, so perhaps was not a great book to be reading as I was knitting a wedding shawl… I will have to find a “happily ever after” book to read to counteract it. Bridget Jones’s Diary, maybe.)

It actually goes over the shoulders now (I will have more to say later about the cloud dress you can see me wearing):

Here are details of the mini-cables leading into the honeybee lace at the 4 increase points on the shawl. They twist in opposite directions on the two sides of the shawl.

Stretched out, the shawl reminds me of a big, yellow, pretty, lacy, manta ray:

I am almost comically tired and stressed out from work and wedding/trip prep: I’m attending two weddings in the next week, I don’t know if I mentioned that, but the first one is in Toledo this Saturday, and I will be driven to the Indianapolis airport on the way back from that wedding so I can catch my flight to California for the second one, the one in which I will be a bridesmaid. This afternoon, while I was in the midst of my work day and feeling very busy indeed, we discovered that I thought we were leaving on Friday morning, and Rahul thought we were leaving on Thursday morning, and his parents were coming to pick us up for this wedding a day earlier than I had planned.

So I had to take an additional day off work, which I really hadn’t wanted to do, and then the rush project I spent my weekend slaving over suddenly blew up and became a mild disaster around 4 PM. So I spent the next 6 hours or so downloading new files, proofreading, copy-pasting, generally trying not to have a nervous breakdown. Gah. Rahul got me out of the house around 10 PM and because the comedy show we were trying to go to was sold out, we ended up having a relaxing white trash trip to White Castle, Wal-Mart, and the gas station, and the surprising thing is it actually seemed to help me unwind. I think that must say loads about how shitty my day was up until that point. I got a new pair of pantyhose (no runs!) and these patterns, in anticipation of more relaxing days: Simplicity/Built By Wendy 3835 and Simplicity 4077 (the latter totally inspired by Flintknits’s awesome series of Simplicity 4077 blouses). Say what you will about Wal-Mart, patterns are cheap there.

Aside from eating gluey burgers and wandering the aisles of the Megalomart, the good things from today are:

1) Purlescence is now carrying my patterns! And Robynn is going to be putting them together with yarns into luxe little kits. Her yarns are all delectable, so I’m really excited to see which yarns she ends up pairing with which patterns.

2) I got my order in from Knitpicks. (Um, my first order. Simply Shetland 4 came back in stock, and since it’s kind of hard to find it on Amazon, where I buy most of my books with my credit card rewards gift certificates, I decided to go ahead and get it since it’s 40% off, and I am dying to make Autumn Rose at some point. Wow, that was a long sentence. Although I sold two books this week, they have immediately been replaced with two more. Net destash: 0.)

In today’s package, I got some Options needles, yay!–so I’ve transferred my Loquat Shawl to a needle that’s actually long enough that I can stretch it out to see its real size–just about 40 inches wingspan at the moment. (Should I be panicking yet? I have enough time, technically, to finish it before the wedding, since I have approximately 8 hours of airplane time, 15 hours of time in the car, and an unspecified, hellish number of hours in the airport between now and then, without even counting days once I get to California, before the wedding… but it will also need to be blocked before Sarah can wear it.) I also got New Pathways for Sock Knitters, which looks fascinating even though I don’t really knit socks (yet). I figured it would be a book with lasting value. Perhaps I’ll take it along with a skein or two of sock yarn as vacation knitting, and make a pair of socks once I’m done with the shawl. I’ve made a lot of sweaters over the course of my knitting life, but only one and a half socks (1.5 socks, not 1.5 pairs). And four pairs of felted slippers, which should count for something.

3) I’m going to knit a row of the shawl and then go to bed and read Fitcher’s Brides for a while. I hope I can finish it before I have to return it to the library.

Bolstered by the success of my first Infinity Dress, I have gone on a huge sewing and fabric-buying rampage lately. (Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos in this post. They almost all came out very bright and overexposed. Just pretend it’s a halo of heavenly light and I am about to ascend into a hovering spacecraft, and you are an exclusive witness to this special moment.)

First, Rahul and I biked out to Wal-Mart the other day–a harrowing 4.5 mile ride along narrow, busy roads, on the west side of town, across a freeway. My bike nearly fell in a ditch and when I corrected to stay out of it, I nearly got hit by a truck. It was scary. But my reward was 4 yards of 1×1 ribbed black knit fabric for only $1 a yard. I went home and made another Infinity Dress, and then made a drape neck top with the leftovers. Because my fabric was only 45 inches wide, I made a gathered skirt instead of a circle skirt, so this one has a slimmer silhouette.

I also accidentally sewed the band on top of the straps instead of underneath, but I think it’s still OK.

Here’s the drape neck top. It is sewn together rather poorly. The rib knit was much stretchier than the jersey, so I ended up with a lot of lettuce edges where there shouldn’t have been any. The pattern is Simplicity New Look 6470, View B.

Here’s the new dress.

“Oh my god, that looks SO WEIRD,” said Rahul this morning, as I was going out to water my basil plants on the balcony, and took this picture of the back of the dress to demonstrate how weird it was that my dress had no back. I thought it looked fine, but the sleeves fell off when I was bent over my plants, so I retied it to cross over in the back.

Because the skirt has a pretty slim silhouette, I just wore it underneath my next two FOs instead of changing into a new top.

These are both made with quilting cotton I bought a while back at Shiisa Quilts, from their $4.99 bed sale.

This one is made with a dark purple fabric printed with white dragonflies. I made it into a circle skirt with ties and a zipper at the waist. Because I only had about a yard of 45″ fabric, it came out shorter than I would have liked and the overall silhouette is a little bit 80’s. A learning experience. I should have stuck with a plain A-line wrap skirt like I had originally planned.

This one I’m very proud of. The fabric is a Rowan/Westminster Martha Negley cotton, dark red, striped with tree trunks. I drafted my own pattern according to the A-line skirt, fitted waist directions in Sew What! Skirts, an excellent book for the beginning skirt-sewer like myself–highly recommended. I went on to cut the pieces on the bias to make chevron stripes, put in side pockets (these need some work–for some reason, I cut them so the pockets don’t really dip down, just go straight in, so I can’t put anything in them, though I can use them to warm my hands) and installed what I think is an invisible zipper in the back. I just need to put in some snaps to secure the waistband.

After all that, I went to Jo-Ann and back to Shiisa Quilts, where they’ve dropped the price of the bed sale fabrics to $3.99 a yard and are having a buy one yard, get one yard free offer through today, so I scored a bunch of nice fabric for just $2 a yard.

Here’s some of what I got:

Cloud fabric (not on sale, but I loved it. This is Moda fabric, named, puzzlingly, “Bears just wanna have fun”)

Gray fabric with chartreuse hydrangeas, Kaffe Fassett Lille Arbour. I loved this fabric last time I was in the store, but Rahul prevented me from buying it with his protestations of how hideous it was. So I went back without him and bought several yards of it for half price. I think I might make the Anna Dress with it.

Some other stuff: from Shiisa, some blue Rowan Martha Negley fabric with green plums, some blue striped fabric, the aforementioned Kaffe Fassett fabric, and blue fabric with delicate geometric traceries–this is Free Spirit Mendhi Lotus, and is much drapier and silkier than the other fabrics. I haven’t decided what to do with any of this yet, though the default is “knee-length skirt.”

The linen print with brown embroidered flowers is from Jo-Ann (was also on sale) and is destined for another simple A-line skirt.

This is my new favorite summer dress. It was so fast and easy it hardly counts as an FO, since it’s essentially putting together a kit. I saw the fabric on sale at Jo-Ann and bought it on impulse: they sell a big roll of cotton gauze pre-smocked with elastic thread, and you just buy a piece a couple of inches larger than your bust size, sew a tube, add straps as desired, and hem it. I made nice wide straps to cover up bra straps and this dress fits perfectly, aside from the fact that I didn’t pre-shrink my fabric so I ended up with a dress an inch or two shorter than what I had wanted.

Edited to add, since I had some comments about this: if you’re in the US and don’t have a Jo-Ann Fabrics nearby, it looks like you can get pre-smocked fabric online via Hancock Fabrics. I couldn’t find this specific fabric on the Jo-Ann website, but when I was in the store they also had the same stuff in pink and green, and some tropical Hawaiian-looking smocked fabrics.

I also have some brown jersey (not shown) for yet another Infinity Dress and another try at that drape-neck top. All I can say is that it’s a good thing sewing is so much faster than knitting.

Speaking of which, here is the current progress on the Loquat Shawl:

Apparently, as maid of honor, I’m going to have to make a toast at this wedding, which fills me with a deep sense of terror and anxiety (I would rather eat bugs than do any kind of public speaking). If only they were traditionalists and left all the public speaking to the best man and all the fussy lady’s maid duties to the maid of honor. I’m sure I can carry bobby pins and straighten hairdos like nobody’s business.

I must soothe myself with admiring my newest yarn acquisition, the first shipment of the Sundara Seasons club, June 2008, the Autumn season. This is Sundara Sock yarn in Arabian Nights, a rich, warm brown shot through with henna highlights. Isn’t it gorgeous? I have a pattern idea in my head for this already, but can’t start anything new till I’m done with the shawl.

And a knitter’s PSA: Knit Picks is having their annual 40% off book sale, and they’ve just posted a bunch of new yarns for sale: delicious-looking semi-solid kettle dyes, new colors of many yarns, Imagination hand-painted sock yarn, Swish Bulky superwash, and more.

Here’s a little sneak peek at the current progress of the YELLOW! wedding shawl I’m making for my best friend. I could use some encouragement that yes, it looks pretty and is worth continuing on with… it’s a bit of a beast to work, as there is lace patterning on every row and due to the little minicable-and-lace increase pattern leading into each repeat of the honeybee-and-faggoting pattern, the chart is 46 rows long. Still, each individual bit of it is pretty intuitive, as long as I don’t get mixed up about which part of the pattern I’m working.

It’s a top-down triangle and I’ll finish it with a sideways knitted-on edging. I’m really loving the color and the yarn.