Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yarn along, May 22, 2013

What I'm reading: The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill. Not sure if this is the latest in the Simon Serrailler series of mysteries set in England. Just started it last night after a long wait for it at the library.

What I'm knitting: Satsuma Stripes by Sharon Matarazzo, a Breton-type sweater knit with navy blue and white sport-weight yarn. I think I'll be finished knitting this on the weekend.

The weather: cold and rainy. A perfect day for knitting, reading, and tea.

It's also our anniversary today. Fourteen years! Sometimes our wedding seems like it was yesterday, but then I look at O and realize all that's changed in my life. :-)

See what others are reading and knitting today in Ginny's Yarn Along ...


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bay City Rollers love

Last week, O and I were at the mall, wandering around Newbury Comics, when I spotted life-size cutouts of some cute-looking boys.

"Who are they?" I asked.

O gave me That Look. That Look that imparts I know absolutely nothing about pop culture. "Those are the guys from One Direction."

"Which direction?" I asked. Loudly. (This is how I get back at him for sassing me at home.)

He explained that One Direction is super popular with the girls at school. When I asked if he'd like a One Direction CD, he wrinkled up his nose.

"I guess that would have been like offering my brother a Bay City Rollers' record back in the day," I said.

When I was about O's age, I was head-over-heels crazy in love with the Bay City Rollers, a pop group from Scotland. They wore leisure suits trimmed in tartan, had these doofy spiky hairstyles, and were unbearably cute. Not to mention that when they weren't singing, they spoke with sexy brogues that turned on just about every pre-adolescent girl in America.

Most of my friends in sixth grade loved either Les McKeown, the rakish lead singer, or Derek Longmuir, the blond drummer. But I loved Eric Faulkner, the guitarist. I look at pictures at young Eric now and wonder what I saw in him, but when I look back at all my girl-crushes on movie stars and musicians, I can see it: the eyes. He had such sad-looking puppy-dog eyes like Paul McCartney's, my first pop star crush when I was in second grade. (I was too young for the Beatles; I only knew Paul as the lead singer of the Wings. Yeah, I know ... sad. But I was a child of the 70s.)

I just looked Eric Faulkner up and prepared for the worst. But you know? I think he's even sexier now and I suspect I'd like his mature music better. What do you think? Were you a Bay City Rollers fan-girl (or fan-guy)?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Candide Aran Cardigan DONE

Aran cardigan

I should have titled this post, "Ready for St. Patrick's Day 2014." ;-)

In a fit of Type-A obsessive-compulsive pique, I finished my Candide Aran cardigan yesterday in a marathon of YouTube watching, picking up stitches, knitting, seaming, more YouTube watching, button sewing, and ends-weaving. I couldn't bear to see all the panels draped around the house anymore and was feeling immense guilt about starting a new sweater project with this one not officially finished.

Aran cardigan

What I love about it: it represents five months of solid knitting work for me, meaning I didn't work on much else except for a couple small Christmas gifts. I loved working with the yarn, Briggs & Little Heritage -- such a pleasure for my hands and a very sheepy Canadian wool. :) I love the real leather buttons. I love that I was totally terrified and cowed by this pattern, but I went for it anyway, and I love that I learned a lot knitting this sweater, everything from how to cable without a cable needle to not minding too much about ripping days worth of work out to fix an error and how to drop stitches down to reknit a mis-crossed cable. (I did that last one a couple times. I felt like such a knitting stud!) I love that mom, when she saw the pictures, said, "You could make a pretty penny selling that sweater." LOL. As if!

Aran cardigan

What I don't love about it: it's about a size too big for me, and I'm losing weight right now, so it's only going to look baggier on me. The stitches are kind of wonky looking, but I haven't blocked the sweater yet; fingers crossed everything will smooth out. The seaming was a beast, especially on the shoulders. I know in a few years I'll look back and be embarrassed by my amateur work.

Aran cardigan

On the other hand, I did my best with the skills I have today, and you know what? I think it looks pretty damn good for my first Aran sweater. I'll be wearing it with pride, baggy or not.

My Ravelry notes here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Anniversary gift

Birthday present

Our fourteenth wedding anniversary is coming up in two weeks so I've decided to sew my husband a proper men's shirt. What am I, crazy? More like over-confident, LOL. I've been altering his shirts for a few years, going so far to shorten the sleeves and redo his cuffs. I know this is a big job because his tailor in Cambridge quoted him $35 per shirt and when I heard that, I insisted I do the work myself. I must have done a pretty good job because when I was up in his closet just now, rifling through his shirts, I couldn't tell which shirts I'd altered. I only figured it out by measuring the sleeves against shirts I haven't gotten to yet.

I'm hoping he'll be pleased. One of his fantasies is having his shirts custom made. I've offered in the past, but he's not very encouraging of my sewing. In our generation, home sewing was on the outs and the only reason why I'm into it is because I grew up wearing beautiful clothes my mother made for me. No one guessed that the smocked dresses and embroidered collars were -sniff- "homemade."

I'm thinking about giving him the finished shirt and not saying anything about making it myself until he tries it on (and, knock wood, loves it!). Then maybe he'll get a clue. And I hope he really does love it because I'm knocking myself out altering the pattern to fit his slim physique! I found a surprisingly nice cotton shirting in 100% cotton at Joann Fabrics last weekend (40 percent off to boot, woo-hoo!), which will look great on him; blue is definitely his color.

Next up is to cut out the pieces in muslin and machine baste them together to get a sense of how it'll all go together. Having a three-dimensional garment to compare to a shirt that fits him well will also help me. I'm thinking about blindfolding him when he gets home and have him try on the muslin, but I'm afraid the blindfold idea will get him thinking about some other kind of birthday present, LOL. (If my mother-in-law is reading this, I'm just kidding. Really!)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Candide Aran update

Candide Aran cardigan

What is this you ask?

Why it's my Candide Aran cardigan taking a lukewarm Eucalan bath in my kitchen.

Yes, I finally finished knitting all the panels. Once I get the sleeves and cardigan fronts blocked and dried (I blocked the back panel a few weeks ago), I'll seam the shoulders, pick up stitches around the neck, knit the neckband, seam the rest of the sweater, and sew on the traditional leather buttons I picked up at WEBS last month.

And it'll be done ... just in time to pack in mothballs for the summer. ;-)



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A few reasons why I love May

Trees flowering

Closeup of flowering tree


O meeting me after school



February snowstorm


That last one is to remind me of what it was like around here just a couple months ago!

Today I biked into town to run some errands. What a glorious day! May and June are my absolute favorite months of the year. I adore all the birdsong, flowers, sunshine, warmth. greenery, and earthy smells. I was really enjoying my ride today when -- ooops! -- my alarm went off and I realized O was coming home early.

So I called him on his cell phone and he met me on the bike path for a short ride to the farm for a dozen eggs (me) and root beer (O). And to celebrate the season, I had a big plate of roasted asparagus for dinner. This time of year I could eat asparagus every night for dinner.

A glorious day!