Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

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

Sunday, August 27, 2006

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night! (biggest post ever)

My oh my, where have we been? Thanks to the "StressBustersClub" at Tempe Yarn and Fiber, we have been knitting our (broken) arses off. There's nothing like the smell of competition, the camaraderie of other obsessive stitchers, and an actual list of things you want to get done to make you knit like the wind. All four of us try like mad to get something done (or many, many things finished) by Saturday nights so we have something to show. And to get tickets for the drawing. And, of course, because we really, really like the feeling of FINISHING projects, both new ones and the dusty, neglected ones from under the bed.

The Club was originally intended as a way to get knitters and other artists to think about holiday projects early in the game (July), and to reward them for completing said items in plenty of time to actually enjoy the winter holidays. I think that we all had visions of relaxing fireside with cocoa, kids and stacks of brightly wrapped knitted gifts at our feet, maybe Dad reading some Charles Dickens aloud....nevermind that it will be too hot for a fire, or even cocoa. So, we merrily made our way to the first of 14 weekly meetings with sugar plums and Christmas stockings in our heads. But something happened. While making our tentative lists of recipients and gift ideas, we realized that some of the best gifts are "Gifts to Self", especially when that gift is the joy of completing long-neglected UFO's. Our lists now grow by the week, and I for one have basically forgotten about what I was going to make for Hanukkah and Christmas gifts. There's still plenty of time for that, right? It's not even September yet!!!!! No, really, we are all cranking out so many projects that we have a nice little stack of goodies for the people we love, and I feel so darned VIRTUOUS! So ahead of the game. But don't worry. I'm not so deluded that I think I won't be awake all night, every night in December, trying desperately to finish "just this last thing". With knitting, enough is never enough. Oh, and hand-spun yarn counts, too.

With that said, let us apologize for the lack of recent posts. Lucy still hasn't decided on a name for "Dolly Doe", so feel free to offer more suggestions. And enjoy this long, long, very long, extremely long post...full of photos. That's a warning. It could take you some time. Come back to it later if you need to, because we won't....at least for awhile. We are too busy crossing things off of our lists.



Did we mention that we LOVE our Saturday Night Gatherings at Tempe Yarn and Fiber? We did? Oh, well, at the risk of repeating myself, let me just say that it has added so much to our weekends. The best part has been spending time with people that we love, and getting to meet so many talented, instant friends (just add fiber!). This is Faith, an awesome knitter with a keen eye. And she looks like Meg White, don'tcha think? She made Stephen's "Jellyfishin'" pattern from LGStitched Episode One. She even dyed the yarn herself! It was the perfect gift for her son when he lost his first tooth. He thinks she's a genius. We know that she is.

Hey, remember when Lucy had that birthday? Apparently she is still having it. Last night both girls received the most awesome gifts from Bernice....more on that, and other fantastic booty from our lovely family of knit and crochet goddesses, later.

Here is one of Lucy's many gifts. It's a little sampler shawl that I made for her from that strange and gorgeous mystery yarn from Interlacements. I used several lace patterns from Barbara Walker, Nicky Epstein, and some that I came up with on my own.

Ummm, leaves. And here is the bit that I like the best, I think. If I weren't so lazy, I would get up and find my notes, so I could tell you what it is....OK, so I found my notes, but can't decipher them. A lot of help that's going to be when I am ready to design my next shawl. This project was supposed to help me design a shawl using some of Stephanie's yarn from Spritely Goods. I was trying to narrow down some of the patterns that I liked and wanted to try, or to expand upon, but all it did was make me want to try more. There are really just too many great ways to make lace, and I have a hard time choosing. I am pretty sure that this bit (the part in the middle with the little dots) is the Cob Nut Stitch from Nicky Epstein's "Knitting On the Edge".

At first, this was made to be a headscarf, for Lucy to have forever. But I kept adding to it, and then after blocking....well, it is also big enough to use as a little shawl. She looks so beautiful in it, either way.


Sorry for the blown-out image here, but we wanted to show one of the headbands that Pam made for Lulu....in her favorite color (Pam's too, I think). Lucy is really, really quite the prep, so I am always glad that our friends support her love of beautiful clothes and accessories. I am hopeless when it comes to fashion. Hey, it takes a village....

Most of the time I consult Ms. Style on every aspect of something that I am making for her, but I whipped this one up unsupervised while she was at Camp Grandma this summer. It is made from R2 "Paper", and is knit all in one piece using Barbara Walker's "Petite Lace Pattern" on page 155 of her Third Treasury. Another simple lace pattern, with only 6 rows in the repeat, and three of those are purl even rows, so it was a snap to memorize. Sorry, like the other birthday sweaters, there is no pattern. My girls are really one-of-a-kind. Or is that two-of-a-kind? I finished the sweater with two colors of Cascade "Fixation", and that took more time than knitting the body...why is that? I did go out on a limb and added various huge vintage buttons. Thank heaven she approved!

Have you heard that babies wait to be born until their knitting is done? It's true. Stephen stayed up late to make this hat one night a couple of weeks ago (Cascade "Fixation"), and took it to work with him the next morning. Mom (a very sweet co-worker) called in to say that she was in labor...she'd been waiting for him to create something, of course! Aren't the colors perfect for a baby girl? They are if her Chinese name translates to "Phoenix Sun". Isn't that the most awesome thing ever? Her daddy is a fan. So, the hat, which is a variation of our Winchester Toboggan pattern, is waiting in his desk drawer for when Baby visits.

Poor Dolly No Name. At least she has a sweater!!! Lucy made this one, and then felted it down to size. It's so soft, and such a nice design...she followed one of the patterns in the Knitted Babes book.

Lucy has also been spinning. She made this yarn for JDub's birthday. Jessica loves yellow yarn.

Did you all vote in Tempe Yarn and Fiber's "Karaoke" contest? Stephen made this gorgeous summer bag out of two balls of "K", as well as some some bronze and some purple Berroco "Soft Twist" that we had. Of course he felted it, and added a fabulous beaded belt from Target for a strap. It's for me. I love having a knitting husband. He's happy, I'm happy. The shape of this bag is quite unique, a bit like a flower pot. He's so good. And he won the contest, even if we didn't all vote for him. Really, all of the bags are fantastic. They range from a wine bottle cozy (which fit into the contest theme of "cool") to beribboned baskets and handbags covered with beads and felted flowers to inverted pyramids. They are still on display at the store, so check them out!


And here is something else crossed off of Stephen's list. He made this "Precious Cozy" (he calls his Archos AV 130 MP3 player his "Precious") out of Lopi Lite, using a pattern and a Fair Isle pattern he created.


Look, it flaps open! And here's the back, which really shows off those FI skills, dear! This little cozy really protects his Precious as he hauls it back and forth from the car to home. Too bad it's full. Time for a new one. And a new cozy, I guess.

Last weekend Lucy knit this sweet dino from the pattern on. She made him out of Cascade 220, and he has some personality. I will be sorry to see him go, as he is intended as a gift.

JDub brought Lucy a beading loom for her birthday, and this is her first project. It is a green and blue bracelet, and looks like water. She really enjoys making jewelry, and the loom is a perfect gift.

What does a wool doll do when it is just tooooo hot out there? She cools off in her pool, of course. Lucy created a little bikini (her own design, we are so proud) out of "Fixation".

And check it out.....yes, those are flip flops.

Remember our One Skein Secret Pal exchange? We are quickly approaching the deadline, and Lily whipped up the bottom of one of those wonderful cupcakes from the book. She used the idea, but designed the pattern herself, complete with a Fair Isle interpretation of her pal's blog name......can't show you that yet, though. And her partner in crime, Dad, is helping with the cupcake topping. He's knitting icing, yum. Lucy and I are going in a lacy direction with our reveal gift, but it's not nearly finished. I am feeling the heat....

It's not that I haven't been busy. Here are just a few of the things I've been producing.

This is a felted cell phone cozy, for my new phone. Now if I could figure out how NOT to take pictures of my feet while I am trying to answer the thing....I attached a magnetic snap, which helps to keep my phone and my keys toward the top of my bottomless bags.

This is a peek at Curran's contest prize. It's Fixation, if you need a hint.

And then this is a semi-failed attempt at one of the felted bowls from the One Skein book. I still like it, even if it is floppy. It is made from Noro's "Silk Garden", and I love the color. Next time, more wool (which is kind of my mantra "More wool.....oooooooom").

This lovely creature is a successful felted project, and a Lucy Birthday Gift. Yes, it is a felted bag, and yes, Stephen made it. We bought this awesome yarn at The Needler's Nest (Hey, big sale in September!!!!). It's a subtle blend of colors in a yarn by Diakeito, called "Diadomina". It is a nice, very nice, so totally-worth-the-trip Japanese yarn.

Kind of reminds me of those macrame plant holders..... The cord is also from our trip to The Needler's Nest, and is Adrienne Vittadini's "Nicole". He knitted in eyelets before felting, and then ran the yarn, crocheted into a cord, through it in a spiral design before connecting them into handles.

This is my own "Karaoke" felted bag (hey, everyone's doing it), and I used some "odd balls" in colors that are not really available. When you live in the same town as the company, and you "Know People", the rewards can be very nice indeed. I used Fair Isle to write my name around the bag, but it kind of disappeared during felting. So I used a little needle felting to go over one repeat of Kiki, and I used tons of fun knitting and music buttons and pins to decorate the other side. I based the bag on the one in the One Skein book. We love that book....thanks E2K!



Another of my favorite One Skein projects are the Silk Sleeves. I made mine from Rowan's "Kid Silk Haze" #589/Majestic. There's a reason this yarn is called crack by those in the know. With the leftovers, I made this tiny beaded bag, which I lined with vintage fabric and poor hand sewing skills. Then I threaded seam binding through as a ribbon. You can't really see the beads here, sorry. And Stephen wants to apologize for the quality of all of the photos, as it is still too d***** hot to stand outside long enough to take a good one.

One night at the StressBusters meeting, Terry showed us how to made knitted ponytail holders. It was really fun, until I realized that I had over 200 sts to bind off because I got a little carried away on the increases. I unravelled it and made mine a crochet version. Same idea, and a great use for scrap yarn. Many other knitters successfully completed their ponytail holders; the error was on my part, not on the idea or the instructor. I am just lazy.

And even more felted bags. A nice cell phone cozy to go with the first felted bag I made from the One Skein book. The phone cozy is Lopi "Lite", Malabrigo, and Cascade 220....all scraps. The blue bag is Brown Sheep "Lamb's Pride Bulky".

More pink and brown sock yarn? Yes, please. I spun this from one of Stephanie's superwash 64 rovings. She dyed it, and I love it. I love everything in her store. I love her. I'm thinking about asking her to move in, but that would just be selfish. At least I get custody of her fiber, a little at a time.

Stephen did the presentation for last night's StessBuster meeting. It is his "Tears 4 Spheres" pattern, and we had fun making samples last week at our house. This one is a double decker. I made the lining out of "Karaoke", and the outer part is Kid Silk Haze.

Remember Stephen's Intelacement handspun for Father's Day? I have been working on my own....this time in reds. I love this stuff. The fiber is a dream, and the colors are ultra-saturated. I think that is the technical term. I may get enough out of 8 ounces to make an Arizona-friendly sweater. Maybe a vest.



A little more handspun. I spun these to go with the rainbow yarn I made a few weeks ago, before I had these two colors - lemon yellow and a slightly-greyed pink. I will just spit-splice as I go. Another technical term. Hope that I am not losing you, Sister Muffy. I am about ready to go to sleep reading this long post, and I am the one typing it!!! Sorry, dear readers. Bear with me a bit longer. Or come back after a nap and a cup of coffee.

Stephen made this felted bag for me. I think that I mentioned it before, back when he was still knitting on it. Cascade "220" and Galway - knit in his very own fold-up style and then felted. I used this bag to protect my sock knitting, as the dpn's fit under the flaps, and the in-progress socks and the ball of sock yarn fit into the pockets below the flaps on both sides. Then, there is room in the middle pocket for keys and wallet and phone and lipstick (the necessities). I use the long strap to hang the bag from my shoulder. The short straps keep the flaps closed and secure, until I am ready to knit on the go. Then those straps serve as wrist straps so I can keep my yarn in the bag while knitting socks as I walk. The man is something else. He really knows what form follows my function, if you know what I mean.

The Boy Wonder also made this blue and green felted bag from Cascade "220 Quatro". Another singular piece, another experiment, another use of cords and eyelets and pottery-like structure.


This one is one skein of Berroco "Foilage". He made it with a square base, four sides, and with straps that go from corner to corner. It reminds me of a berry basket.

Lily worked very hard to get enough points to be entered in the drawing on Saturday nights. She has been spinning some great wools lately on her drop spindle. The girls love to spin, and with JDub's help, they got Pam hooked on it too. After a brief lesson from Stephanie on Friday night, Pam went through all of the fiber she had in her house and needed more by Saturday. Ahhhh, she is well on her way. Our biggest hope is that spinning can be a way to help her relax during her last months at school. If you don't know Pam, please allow me to lengthen this post even more by telling you a few things about her. She has a "thing" for Sherlock Holmes (which is not as strange as Letoya, who has a thing for Danny DeVito). Pam used to dress up as a baby dinosaur known as "Diaper Dude" and made appearances in malls across the country. She dresses her dog in hand-made shrugs, despite Amish peer pressure. And, the most fascinating thing that I learned recently - she used to live with the guy whose job it was to fill, and repair, the crane machines in Del Tacos and K-Marts. Awesome.

Thank you for listening.

MenATimes, this is a bit of Lily's recent spinning. It is a gift for someone, someone who reads our blog. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe it will be for you!!

The girls are back in school, and they go through a lot of water because they are so busy, and much of their day is spent outside. Lily carries a water bottle everywhere. I decided to make her a fancy cozy with one of those awesome magnetic clasps so she could attach it to her backpack or her belt loop. I do not have Stephen's felting abilities, or luck, or whatever. This poor cozy, knit from scraps of yarn that did not felt at the same rate and one which did not felt at all, is a disaster. I promise, little one, to make you another soon.

I think that I blogged a photo of the SWTC "Optimum Dk" yarn that I dyed and overdyed with Kool-Aid to get dark purples and all sorts of greens. Anyway, I decided that I was buying and spinning so much sock yarn that I could use this ball to make a bag. This is another from Stephen's "Tears 4 Spheres" pattern, this one with the teardrop-shaped bottom. The top crochet edging and the cords are "Fixation", and I used some fancy glass beads with the bottom fringe. When I was looking for the beads, I found these in my collection, but I didn't want to use them at first, even though they were a perfect match. I found myself not willing to "waste" them. I know that I am not the only person who does that, who writes on the back of napkins instead of "using up" the good stationery. We knitters do it with yarn, making a gorgeous pattern out of less-than-perfect yarn because we are afraid to use the good stuff. So, I made a decision (forgive me, it was the middle of the night). I will now use the best that I have, and not worry about saving it. And I will encourage my friends to do the same. Bernice told me last night that "there is always more", and I agree. Thus, the fancy glass buttons are on the bag. If a purse made from yarn that I dyed in a pattern that Stephen designed is not the perfect time to use these beads, when is the right time?

Just because I love them, I am making even more pink and brown knee socks. I cannot get enough. These are Yarntini's sock yarn in the "Pure Knits" colorway. The yarn is so pretty. And yes, I did already show these socks. Sorry. I like them enough to show them again, and this post really needs the extra content.

This yarn is "Summer Birthday - JDub Remix" made for Jessica's birthday. I spun all kinds of pinks, oranges, peaches, and magenta bits of wool together and then plied it with that creamy lemon yellow for her. It looks like fruit salad, and she knit up a little swatch already. The yarn stripes in a very cool way, if I do say so myself, and I cannot wait to see what she makes with it. She is a champion knitter, and has a great eye. And she has a weakness for yellow yarn. Especially yellow fun fur (not really, do NOT send her your yellow fun fur. I know you have some). This yarn was really, really fun to make, and I got a little carried away. I hope that about a thousand yards is enough. You never can tell.

There was a little left of the mixture after the yellow was gone, so I plied the stripey stuff with some of the first handspun I made. The older yarn was so overtwisted that it looks like chenille. I probably couldn't make it that way on purpose, but I like this. Too bad there are only 67 yards of it....

You saw the "Tears 4 Spheres" bags that I made. Here is Stephen's newest one. He felted some "Karaoke" and made a biggish version of the rounded bag. I think that I need a new room to display and store all of my cool bags. Back in our life BC (Before Children), I had a room for shoes that was like that. Ahh, the good old days.

OK, don't get excited. This is another cotton sweater that I knit myself. I couldn't help it. It's my favorite color - you know, no color. It's a yarn I had never heard of, but I liked knitting with it. Maybe that's because it is Egyptian cotton, made in Norway. It is "Mandarin Petite" by Sandnes Uldvarefabrik.

The lump at my waist isn't a design element, just a wadded up tank top. I made this sweater like I do all of my sweaters; in the round to my measurements, in one piece, with raglan shoulders. So boring. So predictable. At the raglan I used a "Lobster Claw" stitch that I saw in one of JDub's very old books. I like it so much that I am considering using it for an entire sweater, maybe in red. And, all sweaters FROM NOW ON are going to be short sleeved. We can actually wear them that way.

Did you think that Dad didn't knit for the Lucy Birthday Celebration Spectacular? Of course he did!!! This is a sweater that he dreamed up, sketched and knit in Drops "Silky Tweed". The sweater is made from four panels, then joined. He loves this stuff, and Lucy looks amazing in it, even though she wasn't here for the construction to try it on. She looks a bit like Frida Kahlo when she wears it. It's the eyebrows.

In this photo you can see the keyhole detail of the back, and the decreases that make the miters. The man is a visionary.

We have been so lucky with our One Skein Secret Pals. Lily received this huge (374 yards) ball of "Outback Wool" from Plymouth Yarns from her pal this month. It is very sheepy, and a great yarn. I may have to get some of that for myself, thank you very much. She has cast on for one of Dad's bags with hers, and loves the color. Great job, Lily, and perfect choice, Secret Pal!!


Whew! Did I make it all the way through? Did you? Now it's time for a nap.

Next time, more of what your mama gave you!

Knit on,

Kiki

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

THE KIDS TAKE OVER #3

Hello once again luscious-gracious blog readers! The parents have been too lazy to blog. Again. We have been in Indiana for six weeks on summer vacation. We visited
cousins





(some are brand new!),


aunts,





uncles,

grandparents,


friends,




and babies.
We visited some of our favorite places like Indianapolis, Brown county,

Kings Island,

Chicago, fairs (where Lily and our cousin Braydon showed pigs, which Lily will talk about shortly), and other things I forget about.

We made cool stuff while at Papa & Mimi's, like these clay groceries for the game we made up.

When dad came to visit, he brought this great skein of Manos from my One Skein Secret Pal. Thanks Secret Pal, I love it!

Well anyway, here’s Lily with the pig-showing report. This summer, when Lucy and I went to Indiana, I showed four pigs in the 4H fair.


My cousin Connor was the "Pig Assistant" while he visited.

I showed 2 gilts (girls) and two barrows (boys). For the gilts I got 4th and 5th place and for my barrows I got 2nd and 7th place. In showmanship I got 3rd place. Then Braydon and I went to the Delaware county fair to show pigs. Braydon showed in pre-4H and got 2nd place and I showed in the open showed in the open show and got 8th place.

In other summer farming news, I helped deliver a calf!

Here is an original L.G. kid’s recipe: Summer Sun Salad

Ingredients: salad mix, clementine slices, your favorite dressing, grilled or fried chicken breast, nuts (optional), and corn

Instructions:

1. Cut up chicken breast

2. Sprinkle chicken over salad mix

3. Add orange slices around salads to make rays for the sun

4. Add nuts and corn

5. Pour on dressing

6. Enjoy!

And now the knitting! I (Lucy) made a super cool doll that will we be named in a contest that you, yes you, could participate in!

The doll was made from the book Knitted Babes by Claire Garland. The dress was made by mom and the hat by dad. She is a cutie, don’t you think so?

So leave me a comment with a name for the doll. I will pick my favorite and give a prize to the winner!

Until the next post, so long.

Lucy and Lily