Thursday, September 28, 2006

So there's pictures....

but Blogger's not letting me upload them. (I'm going to start calling Blogger Booger. Who's with me?) Anyway, thanks to B. (i.e., Bill, the Boy, b.f., etc.), who had an extra camera cord, I was able to finally illustrate my last post.

Happy Thursday!

Phyllo Yoke Pullover

Phyllo Yoke Pullover
Originally uploaded by Yo La Tejo.
This is my birthday project! Woo hoo! I got this Rowan Calmer on ebay with birthday money from my mom and dad, and plan to make this pullover from Knitting Nature, the book that my Boy got me.

In the wooly woods

In the wooly woods
Originally uploaded by Yo La Tejo.
Here's the great needlepoint I found at the flea market last weekend for a buck! I'm going to make a pillow, and went scouting for fabrics yesterday. I'm thinking either green and blue stripes, or a dark blue. Piping, or no piping?

Movie night

Movie night
Originally uploaded by Yo La Tejo.
Here's the great Knitflix swap I got from Becky, who is originally from Australia. Hence the Australian themed movie night! Can't wait to watch that movie this weekend.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In every blogger's life....

must come a moment like this. Y'all, I can't find my camera cord.


Whilst hunting for it all over the house, hither and yon, I realized exactly why it's possible for me to blog--I have this digital camera. It's not the best, and it's definitely not the newest, but it does the job. I'm a pretty lucky girl to have it at all, and hey! It would appear I'm lost, blog-wise, without it.

Because I have so many things to show you! So many! And I have to fall back on my lackluster descriptions. Poor you.

First of all, the mystery box. I'm surprised and tickled that you guys have actually taken an interest in the box the postman delivered on Saturday. It's my birthday yarn, that I bought to make a sweater from Knitting Nature, my birthday book. And guess what? I splurged on Rowan Calmer. Yes, I did.

I guess this jeopardizes my Ghetto Knitter status (where are you, oh Chris of Bits of Knits, to revoke my GK license?), but I so did not pay full price on these 7 yummy skeins, because I bought them on ebay! Honestly, I was shocked that nobody else came in and swiped these away from me at the last minute. Anyway, they're delicious, although maybe not the first color I would have picked, but I do love the dusky blue I ended up with.

My special delivery was really just the beginning of a very crafty weekend. The Boy and I stumbled across an outdoor flea market on the way to brunch (nothing like the 29th street flea in New York, but what can you do?), and I found adorable needlepoint someone had finished. It's a picture of trees, birds, and a kitty cat, very seventies style, but really the sweetest thing ever. I bought it for a buck, and it came with the hoop and extra yarn. I can't wait to make a cute little pillow out of it.

Do you guys ever feel like you have to adopt every handcrafted project you see when thrifting? I went to Goodwill to scout out some placemats for a very cool idea Kodachrome Knits came up with for a needle case, and I saw a Project Linus blanket with the tags still attached. I mean, come on! Who got a Project Linus blanket and then promptly shoved it in a box to give to Goodwill? I suppose there's the chance that this person got too much stuff, or didn't like the colors, but it still breaks my little crafter's heart.

That night I went to the movies with my friend Cristina, and we saw The Science of Sleep. Has anyone out there seen it? Such a great movie! It's got hottie Gael Garcia Bernal in it (holla, Jennifer!), and it's about this guy's dream world, blending in with his everyday life. I was particularly charmed (and I know you would be, too), because his love interest is this girl who lives next door and makes stuffed felt animals by hand. And in one scene, she's running a hand-operated knitting machine! So cool.

Maybe the most charming moment for me was when he is describing her to someone else, and says that he loves her because she makes things with her hands (and waves his own around). Swoon! Finally, a crafter's love story!

On Sunday, I spent a good hour going through a pile of crafting books at Borders. These may not be new to you, but they were new to me, and I loved them:

Get Your Sparkle On: Create and Wear the Gems that Make You Shine: Beautiful photography, cute, tasteful projects, and guest projects (for example, the accessories editor of Glamour designed a chunky colorful necklace, and then the author gives instructions for it).
Simply Baby: the new Debbie Bliss book. Need I say more? Just absolutely freakin' adorable knits.
Last Minute Fabric Gifts: From the people who brought you Last Minute Knitted Gifts (duh!). Love this book. Love it sooo much! Ideas for recycling thrift store finds, as well as projects using new fabric. And a sewing tutorial in the back. Everything is well illustrated and the directions seem clear and reasonable.

Sigh. I was there to buy a birthday present for someone, so I can't tell you about that yet, but I was strong, and restrained myself to just the one purchase.

Besides, it's not like I haven't had an embarrassment of riches lately. It seems like that ogling postman is coming to my door every other day, because on Monday (and I was properly dressed this time!), he delivered my Knitflix swap. Coordinated by Jennifer at Craftylilly, this is a cool swap where you basically put together a movie/knitting night for a pal. I could hardly stop from jumping up and down, I got the best package!

I told Becky, my swap pal, that I wanted to see Rabbit Proof Fence. It turns out that Becky is Australian, so she put together an Australian themed package with the movie, candy treats, a Cadbury bar, and included some Vegemite! Ooh, I've never tried it before, but she warns me that it's an acquired taste. :-) Oh, and some Regia sock yarn in blues and greens, and the best thing--an adorable tote bag she made herself! Thank you so much, Becky, I loved it all!

Damn you, camera cord! Where are you???

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Potatoes are my waterloo.

I'm a pretty good cook. Not like gourmet quality, but sometimes I do well. Last week, I made the best chicken soup I've ever turned out, I think.

So why can't I ever get fried potatoes right?

At least I had good, exciting, fun news to balance out the demise of my breakfast this morning. It has to do with ebay and yarn.

I heard a pounding on my door as I sat here sipping coffee and reading blogs in my nightie, and not having a chance to put anything else on because the postman began pounding again, I opened the door.

"Didn't wake you, did I?"

No, I laughed, and joked about wondering who would come see me so early in the morning (it's eleven am).

My merriment (augmented by the priority mail package he held out) went unnoticed, preoccupied as he was with getting a good look at my boobs before I shut the door.

But there's yarn! I'll tell ya more soon.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Well, if you got money for yarn, then surely you can find a little extra for this.

I may be the last person to post about this in our little corner of the knitting blogosphere. But if there's a chance that you don't know that Karen G., blogger and graphics designer, is raising money to fight diabetes, then you should. She is participating in the Walk for Diabetes in October with her husband, and you can help by donating here.

I think that Karen is brave for having shared her personal struggle with this disease, but look at what the results have been! Her initial goal of raising $500 has already been surpassed, and now she is well on her way to the $1000 mark.

I'm writing this post not just to help Karen raise money, but also to thank her. In her original post announcing her fundraising drive, she wrote that she doesn't expect a cure to be found in our lifetimes, but that children now who are being diagnosed perhaps have a chance for that cure. Her selflessness continued when I told her that both my parents are diabetic, and she wrote that she would think of them as she walked. I was so incredibly touched by this, that she would offer to keep in mind people she's never even met.

This is a picture of my sweet mom and dad, enjoying the Taste of Chicago festival in Grant Park a couple of years ago. My mom was diagnosed quite a few years ago, and my dad more recently. They've been able to keep good control over their diet and even got a treadmill so that they could take walks even in the dead of winter. Living so far away from them, I worry of course, but feel lucky that they have each other to help stay on track.

This is Gloria Anzaldua, one of our most beloved writers in Chicano studies. She passed away in May 2004 of diabetes-related complications. Her groundbreaking book, Borderlands, gave a voice to populations who feel most marginalized in our society. I spent the last year archiving her papers for the University of Texas, and I can tell you that there are boxes upon boxes of projects she'd been working on, that she never got a chance to finish. She still had years of work she wanted to see through, and she died at the age of sixty-one.

Of course, with treatment, diet, and exercise, chances of survival are excellent. But the outlook would be even better if we were able to find a cure. If you donate through Karen G., she will enter you in a drawing for knitting-related prizes, and you also have the option of buying a sock pattern designed especially for Karen's walk, with the entire proceeds going toward the cause.

In another giving-related note, I blogged recently about donating my hair to Locks of Love, which makes hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children who have medically-related hair loss. Laura wondered if she could donate even if her hair was in layers and/or colored. As long as your hair is in a ponytail of 10" or more and healthy (it can be colored but not damaged), you can donate it. Layers should be separated into their own ponytails.

And, if you go to one of the participating salons listed on their website, you can get the haircut for free! What's not to love about that?

Monday, September 18, 2006

What? A free moment to blog?

Oh, the many moments over the past week that I've thought about posting...even going so far as to download FO pictures to my computer. But I've been trying to be good, and trying to make that little prospectus progress bar on the right sidebar move, just a bit. And so I've been doing some school writing, and making a little headway here and there, for a few hours every day.

But when it became clear that today would be a wash in terms of writing (meetings scheduled all day, lots of personal stuff to do, like trying to renew my car insurance!), I realized that I would actually get to blog! And then I opened up Blogger, and What was I going to write about?

Oh yeah, an FO. No, wait...two FOs!

Child's Placket Sweater and Baby Denim Pants from Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Sweater pattern notes

Size: 0-3 months
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere, about 3 skeins from stash
Needles: size 4 circulars

Such cuteness! I couldn't get over how cute this sweater was when it was finally done (I bought some little 1/4" yellow buttons and sewed them on after I took these pictures). The ridiculous cuteness almost made up for the grief with the pattern...which has been well documented in other places in the blogosphere. OH, yes, and also on the Purl website. Sheesh, you'd think I would have checked that out first, no? Well, I did look for errata, but Joelle Hoverson, ever so thoughtful, has made the revisions available as a PDF, separate from the other pattern corrections listed on her website. Where did I look, though? I looked at the list of other pattern corrections, and not seeing it there, thought, hum. It must just be ME that's too stupid to understand why the placket is knitting up waaaay to the right side. But then later, after I figured it out, fixed it, and looked back at the website, I saw the link for the Placket sweater.

Anyway, yes, the instructions are confusing for dividing the sweater in the front and casting on extra stitches, so that even with the corrected pattern, I still don't think it makes sense. If you're going to knit this, take heed: The revised pattern tells you to cast on five stitches at the beginning of the round. (I think the uncorrected version says to cast on at the end of the round.) Either way, it's unclear what she means by the beginning or the end of the round since you've stopped in the middle front, X number of stitches away from the raglan sleeve where the round currently begins. If you turn your work to begin purling toward the other end, you might think this is the beginning of the round, and start casting on stitches here. That's what I did, and that's the way to get the placket skewed toward the right.

So once you stop in the middle of the sweater, turn your work. Purl back to the other side, and cable cast on your stitches there. These will become a seed stitch panel, which you will stitch to the front and will sit behind the front panel.

Baby Denim Pants

Size: 0-6 months
Yarn: Rowan Denim
Needles: Size 6 dpns

Pattern notes:

Yes! Finally washed, shrunk, sewn, and threaded. You may remember that I posted these before, half-finished with the crotch unseamed and without its drawstring. They turned out to be perfectly adorable, and they shrank in the wash, as promised. They also rubbed blue dye all over my fingers and bamboo needles, but whatever.

Together, the set looked kinda funny...the legs on the pants are sooo long and the waistband is so high that the outfit looked appropriate for some flamingo baby. But the seat of the pants is roomy on purpose for stuffing diapers in there, so it should look better on.

The recipient is now a month and a week, or thereabouts. I sent the package out today so that the child can wear it for a couple of days before he outgrows it. If the mom gives the OK, I'll send you on over to her blog so you can check out the new kid on the block. Heck, maybe we can even talk her into doing a fashion shoot! Between feeding and changing the new baby, and being mom to her four-year old, and feeding and changing herself, I'm sure she'll have time to humor me. Don't you think?

I don't usually like to toot the birthday horn, but I just have to share that my birthday was last week because I got Knitting Nature from my sweet boyfriend. He asked for a wish list, and I put a load of knitting books on there and also some fiction. He got two books from my list (I got the Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Urrea as well), as well as a beautiful pearl and gemstone pendant on a silver chain.

Seriously? It's long been my theory that men don't like to buy jewelry for girlfriends (billionares excluded) because they're petrified that she won't like it. True, jewelry is a very personal choice, but that's what makes a gift like that special. In my opinion, just the fact that your guy actually walked into a jewelry store, picked something out, and tried to imagine you wearing is just priceless. In this case, the pendant really is beautiful. Thanks, baby. I love it.

Maybe some of you have had different experiences (i.e., he showered you with loads of glittery jewels, enough to make Croesus green with envy), but I've not been given any jewelry since I was sixteen, when my high school boyfriend brought back a little gold heart on a chain from Hawaii. (And yes, I've been married and divorced since then. And no, the rings did not count...guess who paid for those?)

Not to neglect my other gift givers...I got loads of great presents and loved each and every one of them! And my mom sent me a check to buy myself a birthday present. Knitters, what do you think that'll be? Hee, hee.

I haven't spent the money yet, but have decided that the most appropriate thing to do with the money is to buy yarn for a sweater out of Knitting Nature. It'll be the birthday project! I have my eye on the sweater with the diamond eyelets around the yoke...and it calls for Rowan Calmer. Which would ordinarily be out of the question for me, since it's out of my price range...but with birthday money, it suddenly becomes much more affordable.

Anyway, must run now, but more! posts! to come!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Book Meme

Via Elizabeth.

1. One book that changed your life: The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros. I came to this book when I was about 21, via my oldest friend in the world, Maribel. We were going to a reading by this Cisneros person, and I think Mari bought me a copy for my birthday. I was knocked flat on my ass for two reasons--one, this book literally bore so many resemblances to my childhood in Chicago that I could have written it (if I had any talent), and two, I had just graduated from college as an English major and could not believe that Mexican-Americans or Latinos/as had published books and we had never read any of them in any of my classes. I was a women's studies minor, and not even in those classes were they teaching Cisneros (this was 1987-1991). Things have changed since then, but this book is primarily the reason I decided to come back to school, so that I could teach this kind of literature.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Gone With the Wind. Every time I open to that first page, I'm a goner.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: I'm tempted to answer with a knitting book, but then you'd need yarn, and who wants to knit with all that sand around? I'm going to say one good anthology of American or world literature. Maybe the Norton, maybe the Harper's.

4. One book that made you laugh: Bridget Jones's Diary. A friend loaned me this book when we went to Grand Cayman together, and it hadn't been published in the States yet. I remember standing in the customs line at the airport, reading the fire house scene, and laughing like a crazy woman.

5. One book that made you cry: I don't cry easily, either with books or at movies. I scoured my bookshelves and decided that yes, I must have cried at the end of Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier.

6. One book you wish had been written: Never Marry Your High School Boyfriend: You're Not as Mature as You Think You Are.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Ooh, this may have to be a toss-up between The Rules and Anne Coulter's new book. Both evil, in different ways.

8. One book you're currently reading: Well, I just finished my for fun book, Snapshots by William Norris. Now I'm splitting my time between Mexican Ballads, Chicano Poems by Jose Limon, Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser and Writing Chicago by Carla Cappetti.

9. One book you've been meaning to read: Goodness gracious, there's so many. How about The Devil's Highway, by Luis Urrea.

10. Six people to tag: Laura, Kodachrome Knits, Claire, Marisa, Jennifer, Joseph.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Would you like a new haircut to go with that finished object?

Finally! An FO to show, my finished Silk Camisole, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts! I've been done with the cami for maybe a week now, and have been wanting my talented boyfriend to take some pictures, but distracted by trying my hand at making pesto and watching the third season of 24 on DVD, and then by crepes and prosecco and lemon panna cotta (all slurped up at last night's First Thursday), I just kept forgetting.

So I fell back on the tried-and-true bathroom self-portrait this morning. (OK, maybe not so true...apologies for the blurry pic. I'll have to have another go at it, you guys deserve a better picture than this.)

Silk Camisole

Pattern--Last Minute Knitted Gifts, by Joelle Hoverson
Yarn--Jaeger Trinity, two and a half skeins
Needles--size 4 circulars

I wore the cami out on Saturday, so it's already been road tested. I didn't make any pattern modifications, except with the length of the straps. They were pretty long when I first tried it on, so I took off two inches. Boy, did this baby streeeetch out! The fit is definitely a bit looser (which is OK, because there's no shaping, it's not exactly fitted), but by the end of the day it was definitely hanging low enough to showcase my bra. I got home and shortened the straps another two inches, and now I think it's fine. With I-cord straps, though, I need to remember to wear the garment around a while before grafting them to the back, because it's pretty much guaranteed that they're going to stretch out with the weight of the piece.

I bought this yarn from Elizabeth's destashing, and really enjoyed knitting with it. It's nubbly, so it's not the smoothest knit, but I liked the texture beneath my almost feels like it's made of paper (it's a silk/cotton blend). Elizabeth bought it to make the Silk Corset, I think, but decided the yarn wasn't right for the project--a smart move. This fabric doesn't have a lot of memory, but it's light and drapey. Good for a cami, maybe not so much for a corset.

I also chopped all my hair off.

I was badly in need of a trim (I think my last haircut was in December!), but as the day of my haircut appointment approached, I wondered if it was long enough to donate to Locks of Love, an organization that makes hairpieces for financially disadvantaged kids with long-term medical hair loss. It turned out to be more than enough (it needs to be at least ten inches), and so off it came! With the Texas heat that's only let up just a little, you can bet that having a bare neck is a welcome relief.

Well, first Thursdays here in Austin, in addition to food and music and arts and crafts, also bring yarn sales at Hill Country Weavers! Of course I had to go to poke around, and naturally I found a great deal:

It's Noro--I forget the name of the yarn, but it's chenille. I bought three skeins for a scarf, but haven't decided on a pattern. What do you guys think? I'm thinking something lacy on biggish needles, but I've never knit with chenille. Would that work? I also thought that the multidirectional scarf that's in Handknit Holidays might also look cool in this yarn.

Oh, and there's this little guy, looking a bit like a Frankenstein baby knit with all those needles and stitch holders sticking out:

This is the baby placket sweater from LMKG. The recipient of this item has been born already, and is probably outgrowing the sweater as we speak! This'll have my undivided attention until it's done. Now that the sleeves have been attached, it'll probably go pretty fast.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who's wished me sweet dreams in the new bed! I was so happy when the bed was made up that I almost cried. I also have been keeping the bed made in the mornings, which is something I have NEVER done.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I found this story, via Dress a Day, about Macy's inability to get the signage right at Marshall Field's State Street.

As if it weren't bad enough already. Hey, Macy's! Take your asses back home to Seventh STREET and 34th AVENUE!!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006



Yes, Virginia, split box springs really do come in full size.