on knitting and healing and other stuff

Archive for April, 2007

One Chick, 3x Chic, and a Frog…

Posted by Janis on April 12, 2007

For Easter, my mom used to make a chick cake. This is a long time ago, when we were little, and a cut-out cake seemed quite special and even kind of magical. (The fact that the chick was standing in coconut grass with tons of jelly beans could have been a factor.) If I remember right, she got the idea from my grandma, who made one once, and Mom was not to be outdone. So for a few years there, we had a chick cake every Easter. I decided to make one this year and was distressed that I couldn’t find her original handwritten instructions, which had a very cute drawing of the finished cake. Dad and I Googled for a chick cake and were surprised that we didn’t find a very close match, except for one candidate whose directions ended by saying, “Cut cakes and assemble according to diagram. (The diagram wasn’t included with this recipe, so use your imagination!)” So we did. Here’s the chick cake 2007.chickcakefix.jpg I have reason to believe this chick looks a good deal more frantic than the ones I remember Mom making — you can’t expect knit therapy to solve everything.

My other Easter weekend feat was to complete – yes, complete! – the Knitty 3x Chic sweater I started at the end of last summer. I always get myself worked up over the seaming, but it really wasn’t too bad this time. I should get a patent to sell the seams as bulletproof fabric, though — man, you couldn’t get through those things with an AK-47! I had planned to sew the seams with a slightly lighter, similar fiber, smooth yarn, but at the last minute chickened out and used the original yarn. (This is what happens when you read all 8 or 10 sources you have on the subject in your knitting library and then just freak out from too much advice. “Always use the original yarn.” “Use a different yarn for seaming if you knit in a bulky or bumpy yarn.” What if it’s just plain cheapass yarn, huh? What then?!)3xchic.jpg

A couple of caveats for the newbie knitters out there on making your first sweater (or in my case, the third): If you think you should use cheap yarn for yourself on your first sweater, think again. I know it seems sensible on some level: This is my first big project, what if I screw it up? Or my personal favorite: This can be my learning sweater, then if it turns out OK, I’ll make it again in a really nice yarn. Ah, but knitting is kinda like taking a vacation — do you go to a new, exciting destination this time or do you return to someplace you know you already love? Tough call, friends, but I know where I’m going next… a new pattern.

The worst thing about using a petro-product yarn is that, at least in this case, by the time I had sewed it up, it was already getting a little fuzzy. ACK! All that work for fuzz?! And I am very careful about handling and storing projects, so it wasn’t me this time. I keep thinking what a really lovely sweater I’d have right now if I’d just bought some Lamb’s Pride or something — not even luxury yarn, just a good, basic animal fiber. (Of course, by the time I finished it, I had all sorts of nice yarn in the stash, but that’s another story. And a scary one, so we’ll save that for later.)

Hmm, let’s see now — one other knitting update. The frog. I spoke too soon on the bamboo scarf and the hubris fairy smacked me down. Not all the way to the cast-on, but to the part where I picked up stitches and started the long part of the scarf between the borders. It is good for the soul to sit down under bright lights and fix a mistake properly, I must say. That is how I spent my evening last night and I am much happier today for it. Don’t you love a happy ending? So do I, but I’ve got a helluva long way to go before I have one on this scarf.


Posted in On the Needles, Recipes | 5 Comments »

Me Old Bamboo…

Posted by Janis on April 10, 2007

dickvand.jpgIf you are a fan of the film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (or even the stage version), please get out your cane and sing along. If not, bear with us while we relive our childhoods and kick up our heels. “Me old bamboo, me old bamboo – You better never bother with me old bamboo! You can have me hat or me bumbershoo’, but you better never bother with me old bamboo!” (I won’t tell you how long I Googled trying to find an image of Dick Van Dyke dancing in the corresponding scene from the movie.) (But how adorable is DvD in this pic? Oh, I just love him…)

bambuscarf.jpgThis scarf is the object of all this fuss about bamboo. I hadn’t tried bamboo yarn before, and I love it. The pattern is from “Victorian Lace Today” and is the easiest scarf in the book. It is very easy to follow (both chart and written directions) and though the recipe calls for pure silk, I thought the bamboo would drape nicely, too (at a fraction of the cost) and it’s working out. This may the first time one of my little “yarn exchange” ideas actually works out the way I’d hoped. On the other hand, one-fifteenth of the way into the scarf may be a bit early to tell…

Posted in On the Needles | 2 Comments »


Posted by Janis on April 10, 2007

In addition to petting and admiring the new additions to the stash, I did get a few projects finished in March. The Sock Exchange socks for Lisa (received finally and they fit!), my niece Hannah’s socks (from Christmas), my friend Kay’s pedicure socks (now that it’s 80 degrees and too hot to wear them), a scarf for my Danish AFS sister from high school, Nynne (and a hat to match since I had yarn left, but it’s not in the pic), and a chemo cap (no pic) for my nephew Shelby (who thankfully is now nearly finished with treatment and is doing very well). somsox.jpghannahsox.jpgpedisox.jpgnynnescarf.jpg Not the most artful composition of these images, but there they are.

For those of you concerned about my state of awareness — yes, I did remove the needles from the scarf at the end. This is an in-progress pic I took when I was feeling optimistic about finishing quickly. The red needles are some of my favorites (for straights, anyway) — they’re Bakelite – oh yeah, Bakelite! – and came in a set of vintage needles Orestes found for me at a flea market. Only the #10’s are Bakelite, the rest are shiny, pointy aluminum in dreamy retro colors. (But there are 2 sets of #10’s – the other is a robin’s egg blue-ish Bakelite – yum!) If anyone else has some old Bakelite needles and you’re interested in some sort of swap or wheel-and-deal, do let me know.

Posted in On the Needles | 1 Comment »