Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

A blog devoted to the art of the Luscious Gracious clan.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

We Knit Faster Than We Blog

The other day we decided we needed to post about the projects we were working on. Before we got the post done, we got the projects done. So here they are.
These are socks for Illanna that Kiki made with Lang "Jawool", superwash wool 78%, nylon 15%, acrylic 7%, # 83 white, 190m skein equals one pair of socks. Kiki dyed the yarn using Kool-Aid. Find out how by clicking on the tutorial over on the sidebar. She used her usual home-made sock pattern.

Kiki also made this sweater. The pattern is from Rebecca #24 - "#2 Sweater with Gathers" (Love those catchy names). She used 2 strands of laceweight Merino by Skacel, most of 2 skeins at 1,400 yard each.
Here is a close up of the "with Gathers" part. Kiki made up the crocheted border as she went along.

Steve finished his "Crazy 8's Purses". The first is the "8 of Squares" made from Classic Elite Lush Angora 50% and Wool 50% in Grey & Pink. And yes he felted it! Call him crazy, but it is still super soft and a little more sturdy than before. It is finished with a simple snap.

Here is the other side where the pattern is reversed.

This one, the "8 of Circles", is made from Blue Sky Hand Dyed Alpaca 50% and Wool 50%. He used the same pattern on both sides of this one.

It was finished with a metal chain belt as a handle. If you like the "Crazy 8's", the pattern is available here.

Of course, there are more projects on the needles as we speak, but some of them are surprises. Stay tuned, and happy knitting.

K and S

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Yarn Yarn Yarn!

We love yarn. Here is some we recently added to our stash! The first group is from the Downtown Phoenix Public Market where Lisa Takata sells hand-spun yarn. Some of them are from Navajo Churro sheep wool. She is there every Saturday!

We also dyed some of our own yarn using Kool-Aid. Look for the tutorial over in the sidebar.

Illanna played personal shopper for us while in NYC. She brought back yarns from the Renegade Craft Fair by Crafty Ladies of Chicago and My Paper Crane. She also brought back some cool stuff from various NY specialty shops.
Illanna also gave us some of her leftover R2 paper & Point 5 Mushroom yarn. She is so great!
The best yarn Illanna gave us was this beauty that she handspun with our girls! It is so beautiful, we love all 3 of the spinners!
See, I told you we would post again soon. Stay tuned to see what we make with all this yarn!
Steve & Kiki

Friday, July 29, 2005

Camp Blog Hiatus

So the kids went to Camp Grandma & we went to Camp Blog Hiatus. Just because we haven't posted doesn't mean we haven't made anything. Here are a few pictures.

Kiki's Eleni Scarf I

Kiki's Eleni Scarf II

Kiki's Crazy Socks

Kiki's Houndstooth Purse

Kiki's Hat for Baby Luke

Kiki's Baby Sweater - Anyone having a baby?

Steve's Sphere Bag for Lucy - Kiki's tried it out in Lucy's absence, it holds 20+ balls of yarn!

I'm not going to apologize for not blogging, because I've heard we shouldn't. Just know there will be more posts coming soon, plus patterns for many of these items and other fun website updates.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Birthdays, Departures, Arrivals, & Surprises

HLB! (Happy Lucy's Birthday) It is hard to believe that our first baby is 10 years old! It seems like just yesterday that she looked like this.

Or this.

Now she is grown up into a beautiful girl.

Here she is in the birthday dress Mom made for her using Kiki's "Illanna" Pattern. Unfortunately we weren't able to be with our baby on her birthday. The kids departed for Indiana on Tuesday.

As you can see waiting in the airport was their favorite part. Before they left, they worked hard along with Kiki to create special gifts for friends and family in Indiana. They weren't knitting in the airport, because their fingers were sore!

They made this whole pile of wristbands in about 3 days!

A close-up of some of the named wristbands.

Both girls created lovely dolls for baby cousin Cali, who they were meeting for the first time.

Lily made this cute bunny from a pattern we found on the internet, here at HeartStrings.

Lucy made this doll and dress! The doll she turned into a pig like Miss Piggy. The doll pattern was from one of her kids knitting books. The dress pattern is her own invention!

Detail shot of the bunny face.

Detail shot of the pig face.

Pig Tail!

Bunny Tail!

Luckily, just as our two daughters left for "Camp Grandma" in Indiana, our Illanna came home, from her "Camp Grandma" in NYC.

Kiki made her this Fair Isle pillow as a welcome home gift (Free pattern coming soon).

Here is the other side of the pillow.

Some of you may have been as Surprised as I was when the Knitty Man Issue came out this week. I looked all over, but to my Surprise, my pattern with article was nowhere to be found. What a Surprise! But then, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise, I saw my name listed here.

When I asked Amy, she said Surprise, you are one of the two Surprises this issue. Apparently they like to Surprise even the contributors with their Surprises. She also Sshhed me, but I figure a sneak peek won't hurt anything.

Look for the Surprise around the first of August, the exact date...a Surprise, of course.

After missing our kids, the Knitty surprise, and a 60 hour work week crammed into 3 days, I am looking forward to a weekend of knitting with our AZ friends.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Summer Knitting

We continue knitting, with wool, a decidedly wintery occupation, here in the desert. It is a little hot and sticky, but with air conditioning and lots of freezer pops, we are making progress.
The girls are leaving for Indiana for an entire month of "Camp Grandma" this week, and have been working on special gifts for special people we've left behind in the humid midwest. Without giving too much away, here is a little Wristband Turned Coin Purse

by Lily Grace Hall Hartley. It is out of Brown Sheep.....of course.

Lucy made a wristband out of Cascade llama yarn. I'm sorry, but I don't remember the exact name, just that it is luscious, and pink!

And here we see a little Dolly and her dress. Pam gave Ms. Lu this stripey yarn at WorldWideKnitInPublicDay.....and Lucy has used it several times already.

The dress is chenille, and is left over from the baby layette we made for Cali last fall. Orange, yellow and red are good unisex colors, no? As you can see, Dolly needs a little stuffing and stitching, but will be ready soon.

Ms. Illanna is coming back to town (Phoenix, the official alternative to the Big Apple) TODAY!!! In her honor, I whipped up "Illanna", my version of all of her breezy summer tops.

The top section is made of Cascade 220, and the bottom is Noro Kureyon. I even wrote the pattern, and it is available here.

Aside from the bra-like upper shaping, the other interesting piece of the sweater is the lacey bottom. I used my special "Random Lace" technique to create a swingy bottom. This is a pretty close-up.
Ummmmm. Yummmmmmm. NORO.

I also finished a test knit for Steve's "Tears 4 Spheres" pattern. Mine is, obviously, a Tears version. I added fringe and beads, much in the manner of a post-modern Victorian pocket.

I know, I's all wool. And it's HOT. But suck it up, people. It's all in the name of knitting.

Speaking of sucking, Steve is a lazy boy and hasn't knitted a thing. Not true. Just hasn't FINISHED a thing. Here are a couple of (surprise, surprise) bags he is working on now.

Made from Berroco Hip-Hop & Noro Daria.

This last one isn't even wool, well almost. Rowan Wool/Cotton & Online Linie 95, "Summer Mistral". This is the "Tears 4 Spheres", Sphere version, for the Birthday Girl.


Luscious Gracious Knitting Tips - #1

Use that favorite yarn!

Someone told Kiki this bit of wisdom about fabric back when she was a full-time quilter - you know, B.K. (before knitting). If you save it (whether fabric or yarn), and worry that you will never find a project worthy of it, or worse; that you will "mess it up" because you are not yet a perfect knitter, remember the following:

1. Using it, actually knitting with it, expands the pleasure you get from the yarn. Chances are, you chose this beauty not just because of the way it looks, but because of how it feels. Get it out, wind it into a ball, play with it, swatch it. Then knit it up and wear it with pride. Experience that tactile bliss with each stitch, and then *gasp* every single time you put it on your body.

2. Don't worry about using up your favorite yarn. This is a common theme - the fear that you will never find such a perfect color/texture/shine again. The truth is, yarn companies come out with thousands of new yarns each year. Even if you aren't one of those people who finds a new passion with every visit to the yarn shop, you are likely to come across something you can't live without in the next 2 years' worth of offerings. Trust me.

3. All tastes, even yours, change. If you have been knitting for a long time, think back to what your favorite yarns were when you started. Did you used to favor shiny novelty yarns while you now lean toward fine laceweight mohair? What I am saying is this; believe it or not, your current favorite may not always be at the top of your list of fibery goodness. There may come a time when you only stitch with yarns that you spin and/or dye yourself. Take the opportunity to knit your current favorite now before you look back at the dusty skeins in five years and wonder what you ever saw in them.

4. Instead of thinking, "But then my special yarn will be gone," think, "I could very well stop knitting next week/month/year." Knit like there is no tomorrow. Lifestyles change. Knit it now while you have the interest, time, and ability. And the yarn, like energy, is never "gone". It is simply transformed. If you put the finished item in heavy rotation in your wardrobe or in your home, you will see, feel, and enjoy it on a regular basis. Even carefully preserved knitted heirlooms (think baby gowns and bridal lace) see the light of day occasionally and garner more applause than any beautiful skein of yarn hidden away in your stash.

5. Don't fret over finding "the perfect pattern". The most beautiful materials are often showcased in the most simple ways. Select a project with clean lines and few distractions. Choose something you've knit a dozen times, something you know looks good on you, or that you have found, through experience, that the intended recipient will actually wear.

Do that best-ever yarn a favor and USE IT!


Looks like Kiki needs to take her own advice. This shot is from a crate labeled "Kiki's Favorites, Don't Touch!"


Friday, July 01, 2005

Steve's Old School Shot Of The Moment #3

It is hotter than flukem here in Phoenix! Here are some pictures from a winter past, in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, to cool you off. They were taken with Scala black & white slide film. You might ask, "Why do you need black & white slide film when no one ever projects slides anymore?" I don't know, it is just cool! Speaking of cool, doesn't that ice look refreshing?

For more photos of Hocking Hills, other beautiful places, and great gorillas, visit our friend Dave Liggett.

In other news, we just made our website shopper friendly. Check it out here or over on the sidebar. More goodies coming soon, including Free Stuff!