Thursday, May 31, 2007


The young man agreed
He would satisfy their need
So they danced for his pleasure
With a joy you could not measure
They would wait for him here
The same place every year
Beneath the sheltering sky
Across the desert he would fly

Tea in the Sahara with you
Tea in the Sahara with you

I got this song in my head as I started to write this post. Remember? It's The Police, from Synchronicity. Do you think the sisters wore this lovely number as they danced for his pleasure? I think they might have.


Yarn: Tilli Tomas Pure and Simple (2 skeins) and Disco Lights (1 skein) in Hibiscus
Needles: Sizes 4 and 6

Notes:Wow. This really is the most luscious yarn I've ever worked with. I knit the XS size after reading in the pattern notes about the tendency of the yarn to stretch. I think it'll be fine, except that I may need to tack the neckline together a bit more because I think it's already starting to stretch out a little and if I'd turned a little sideways you'd all get a nice glimpse of my bra.

A word about binding off: I learned that just because the pattern says to bind off loosely, it doesn't mean that you can just take really loose stitches with the needles you're using. I bound off the neckline with the size 4 needles I was working with and the neckline was so tight that it hiked the bottom of the lace panel all the way to my cleavage.

I undid the cast off and because I was working with Disco Lights, I stripped the yarn free of all the sequins, because let me tell you what, it is a nightmare to pull out the stitches if you have to frog.
I then cast off with size 6 needles, and it was better, but I undid it again and tried Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off, which is a super stretchy bind off (here's a nice tutorial from Knitty). Ta da! Like magic. I went back and redid the hem with this bind off, as well.

Because I am a relatively new short rower, I was wrapping the stitches on the cap sleeves without picking them up and knitting them. That little piece of information (about picking up the wraps) is at the beginning of that section, but of course I missed it, and a little voice inside my head kept saying, this isn't right, this isn't right. Sure enough, at 2:30 in the morning when I had finished the first sleeve, I focused my bleary eyes on the pattern again and realized that it does say to pick up the stitches. It just doesn't say that in the instructions where you might expect it to spell that out for you. Doh.

This just may be the most beautiful thing I've ever knit. Now, I just need to find a party to wear it to! (hey, if I open some wine, I can start the party right now...*grin*)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Coming soon, this holiday weekend.

I hope.

It's Sahara. Here's the diamond rib hem:

I think I see an end in sight. I'm currently taking a break to rest my aching arm from the p3 tog through the back loop on the neck band. This is a technique that is the Devil's plaything, I am sure.

Hope you all have a fun Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2007

This 'n that. And a meme.

Hoo, boy. It's been a while since I've posted, and while I haven't made much progress on my Sahara, I've been kept busy with lots of other little projects, here and there.

It's been the busiest gift season for me since Christmas, what with baby showers and Mother's Day. A little knitting, a little sewing, and a little painting, and I got through it...I even managed to work on a little something for myself:
Yay! I finally tried freezer paper stencils, after watching everyone else turn out adorable projects. This is a stencil of a graphic from one of my favorite local bands, Maneja Beto. They haven't gotten around to making and selling band t-shirts yet, so I finally decided to take matters into my own hands.

I have a sticker that I based this sketch on, and then traced that sketch onto the freezer paper. I love the way it turned out! I've now washed it, and the only small problem is that the paint is cracking a little where the ribs are on the tank top.

You should also know that I brightened this picture with Snipshots, an online photo editing tool that one of y'all turned me on to (sorry! I can't remember exactly who it was, but I'm very grateful!). It's got limited capabilities, but it's great because you don't have to go through the hassle of creating an account or anything like that. You just upload your picture, fix it, and save it back to your computer.

I was so happy with the stencil that when my friend Lena got a baby shower invitation that specified "homemade gifts only," I helped her paint some onesies with a giraffe and an elephant stencil I found here. I think we had the most fun we've had crafting since kindergarten fingerpainting. I got the same shower invitation, but I just finished the Pasha I was working on and wrapped it up. I didn't get any pictures for the blog, but both gifts were a big hit, and I actually think that the mom-to-be might hoard Pasha for herself!

And here is an apron I made from Lotte Jansdotter's Simple Sewing:

This is for a friend's mom, for Mother's Day. She and I were shopping at Williams-Sonoma and she was admiring an expensive, overpriced apron. I joked that I'd make it for her and only charge her half, and she got excited and asked me to do it. We went straight to Jo-Ann's and she picked out this pretty home decorating fabric, and because the apron is reversible, we got some lightweight cotton for the other side. I modified the pattern slightly by adding a pocket and trimming the top and bottom edges with bias tape.

I really love this book! I joked with Karen, who made me want the book in the first place, that some of the patterns seem sort of ridiculous (napkin? Um, isn't that just a square?), but the simple patterns are definitely a good place for beginners to practice their straight seams.

I mostly bought the book for the tote bag and the duvet cover (um, isn't that just a really big square?), but all of the designs are adorable and practical--now I want to make the wall organizer, the magazine holder, the bedside pocket, the sun hat... I'm sure the book will keep me busy for a while.

Whelp, it looks like the 7 random things meme is making the rounds again, and Nancy tagged me this time. In fairness, Marisa tagged me a few months ago with the 6 weird things meme, but since I couldn't think of anything weird or eccentric about me (ahem), I'll let this one count for both.

Seven Random Things About Me

1. My childhood names were Cookie and Lili. My niece now calls me Tia Cookie.

2. When I walk into stores like Banana Republic or J. Crew, I have to touch everything I'm interested in, and sometimes I pick things up and smell them. Silk and leather smell the best to me.

3. I've had the same pair of Rollerblades for 12 years, although I've switched out the wheels once. I still use them, but have lately been considering an upgrade.

4. I hate bathrooms on airplanes and refuse to go unless an accident is imminent.

5. I love horror movies, but am having a hard time watching them alone the older I get. I'm borrowing my friend's husband to see 28 Weeks Later tonight, because all of my other friends are too chicken to see it.

6. I love nothing better than to organize someone else's mess, but hate cleaning my own desk/office/apartment.

7. I've only had two "real" vacations in my adult life, which I call those trips that had nothing to do with visiting friends or family: Grand Cayman and Paris. I'm about to take my third in June...Cancun! Yay! With my friend Jennifer and her lovely family, who agreed to let me tag along on their annual vacation. I. CANNOT. WAIT.

I'll tag Jennifer and La Rebelde. If you want to play along, consider yourself tagged!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Possibly the most beautiful thing you will ever see on this blog.

Two skeins of Tilli Tomas's Pure and Simple, and a third of Disco Lights. It's the Sahara kit from kpixie.This was the bundle of self-indulgent yumminess that was waiting inside that priority mail package the other day. I didn't mean to leave you guys hanging for so long! I wanted to post about this right away, but the grading of student papers is totally cramping my style right now.

I'm not usually this extravagant, but this is a special package. I was emailing with Ashley a while ago about feeling blue due to some personal stuff that's been going on, and offhandedly mentioned that a trip to the LYS might improve my mood. Ashley, being the amazingly sweet, generous person that she is, sent me yarn therapy, in the form of a kpixie gift certificate.
I should say that Ashley is the only knitblogger I know in person, and that's because we met in graduate school. We were friendly, but I feel like I've really gotten to know her since she got her job as a real professor (yay!) and moved away (boo!)...and we began to read each other's blogs.

We commiserate about Texas, and Willie Nelson, and Nature's Most Perfect Food. I'm glad that I'm able to keep up not only with her creative genius, but also with updates on her adorable nephew, and of course, Bailey (do I even have to post a link? Girl has the best banner ever). Your thoughtfulness humbles me, Ashley. Thank you so much! I'm lucky to have found such a good friend in you.

Needless to say, when I got the kpixie email., I was completely floored and literally moved to tears. After I pulled myself together, I went yarn shopping! I decided to go all out and use Ashley's gift towards this kit, which was on sale for the short sleeve Sahara, in this hibiscus color and another pale yellow color.

Clearly, pure silk is the best kind of mood enhancer. This is how beautiful it is: I cast on provisionally and knit the first row instead of purled, which is how the instructions tell you to start. I'd gotten all the way to the armhole shaping (37 rows), realized my mistake, and happily frogged back without a second thought. Would my mistake have mattered? Probably not. Could I have continued? Sure. But I got to knit that section again. With that yarn.

In fact, this yarn is so magical that I fully expect that it will make me look exactly like that otherworldly, glowy-eyed nymph in the ad.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Knitting ADD.

I've got what you might call a severe case of knitterly ADD lately. Could it be because the semester's over! (Woo hoo!) Could it be because I unofficially stopped teaching two weeks ago because I smartly built in student presentations on the syllabus? (Can I get a whut whut?)

Well, the celebrating's a bit premature, because, alas there are still papers to grade. But behold the fruits of my work avoidance:

This is the Roundabout Leaf Tank (I think that's what the name is) from Knitting Nature, in Berroco Denim Silk (such a misnomer, there's so little silk in there and so much synthetic fiber). I started this a while ago, and have been knitting a little on it here and there.

Pasha! It's a penguin! Look, look! The magic of short rows. So cool.

Sweet Mary Jane, which I started a very, very long time ago (mmm, maybe around Christmas?). At first the lace pattern was giving me some grief, but ever since I switched from jump rings to regular Susan Bates stitch markers, it's been easy going. I've made quite a bit of progress lately! Which you can't really tell from the little bit of progress I had before, but trust me on this one.
The Lullaby baby blanket for my niece-to-be. I finally got it, Caron's Simply Soft in this pretty mint green. Searched though I might, there is no Cotton-Ease to be had in the Austin area Michael's or Hobby Lobbys. S'ok, though, because I'm really happy with this color, which seems to have a pearly luminescence. Not bad for acrylic, eh?

Today, though, I got what I think will be my cure for the knitting ADD. The yarny equivalent of Ritalin, if you will.

The big reveal for next time!