Monday, July 30, 2007

My baby sister's getting married!

So I finished the shawl at long last, then vanished into the ether. Not so: I've been incredibly busy getting ready! I had more things to make before the wedding. Like ties for the boys. Really run to make, and so much nicer than anything we found while shopping.

And a purse for me. The purse is a bit special: the black fabric came from a jacket that belonged to my grandma who died when I was only five, the pin is hers as well, and the green silk I made into a dress for another wedding (and Dan helped me pick out the fabric back when we were just friends). I love how it came out.

Oh, and here's the dress I'll be wearing on Friday afternoon. It has a corset back and oh, my, I feel so elegant and special in it. Dan's eyes light up when I try it on, too. I had to hem it quite a bit (the perils of being five foot one), but now it fits like a dream.

All of this preparation has a purpose: to help my sister finally marry the man of her dreams. She's all grown up now at thirty five, but to me she'll always be my baby sister, partner in crime, queen of hide and seek, the one I told my secrets to. These past few weeks have been a blur between knitting the shawl and preparing for our trip out to California to be there when she gets to marry her best friend. I couldn't be happier for her or more excited for what life has to bring her way.

We're leaving first thing in the morning and won't be back until Sunday, hopefully with pictures!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Almost Cobweb Crepe Shawl, complete

I can't believe I finally finished the shawl for my sister's wedding. The edging went on for seemingly miles and miles, but I finally grafted the ends together, blocked it out, and got a chance to sit back and marvel at the airiness and loveliness of it. The pattern is simple, yet elegant. I made more mistakes along the way than I can count, but those mistakes are part of being human and proof that someone made this with imperfect hands.
Pattern: "Cobweb Crepe Shawl" from the book Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 in white
Needles: US size 4s for the center garter stitch section, two long size 3 circulars for the wider Old Shale border(I knit that in the round), then size 2 for the final Clematis edging
Modifications: The Zephyr is a larger gauge than the cobweb yarn specified, so I had to adjust the original number of stitches for the center section and do a bunch of math to end up with everything the correct size and have the edgings and center balance well. I also knit the Clematis edge without picots, which I think works much better with a larger yarn.Here is my favorite picture of all. The chair belonged to my great grandmother, and it's the same chair Dan sat on when he looked at me, face shiny with tears, and asked me to marry him. I thought it right that my sister's shawl should rest here for a moment.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Look what I got in the mail!

My apron swap buddy Tara has been under the weather, and that's an understatement. She's been pretty sick, and not only that but her sewing machine decided now would be a great time to get sick as well. Despite all of this, she made me the cutest apron! I absolutely love it. We'd agreed on an Asian theme of sorts, which this has in spades.

Look at the charms at the waist (that's my view, looking down). I was oohing and aahing over the apron, flouncing around the house in it, and then I stuck my hands in the front pocket.

Wait...what's this? A necklace that matches the apron and most of my wardrobe (click to take a better look - it's gorgeous!). I'm so touched that she took the time to make something so beautiful, especially with everything going on in her life. Thank you, Tara!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Turning a corner

Literally! I started the Clematis edging on the Almost Cobweb Crepe Shawl and just turned the corner. This is the first time I've done a lace edging that attaches as you go, so it was a little nerve-wracking at first but simple once I figured it all out. The shawl still looks like an odd blob of itty bitty yarn, but I'm starting to see stretches of finished edge, which is exciting. I have to finish this before we leave on the 31st, so I'm knitting like mad at the moment.

I'm doing the Clematis edge without the picots (as per sister), and I really like how it's coming out. The final double yarn overs make a nice outer edge and should fall into really pretty waves once I block this out. Good call, Laurie!

In other news, I just took my first test in almost ten years. Food and Nutrition, when it's aimed at nurses to be, is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Lots of chemistry, lots of detail, lots of studying. So I was a bit worried when I took the first test on Tuesday, since I really need to get an A in this and all of my other pre-requisite classes so I can get accepted into nursing school.

Got an A :-)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Portland sure has a lot of knit bloggers

I went to the first PDX Knit Bloggers meet up tonight. First I made my way over to West Linn to meet Patty, who offered to carpool with me. Well, I went along for the ride while she used the GPS and got us right where we wanted to be - Knit Purl. As we walked in, I thought it seemed pretty empty, at least until one of the staff there pointed us downstairs. That's more like it! A room filled with knitters, cookies, brownies, and glasses of water. Perfect! Sat myself down, and eventually we all introduced ourselves. The smarter, more well prepared ones had cards to pass out. Oops. But I did write down names and blogs. Oh, and while I was doggedly writing out the chart for my shawl edge, completely oblivious, a gorgeous deep eggplant skein of ShiBui Merino Kid yarn landed right in my lap! Knit Purl had door prizes for people with stickers underneath their chairs, but one prize went unaccounted for. So it was tossed into the air and right to me. Reward for working so hard, or karma, I'll take it.

You can't quite see everyone(and the ones here are only make up half the PDX Knit Bloggers list), but here are:

That was so much fun! Great group of people, all kinds of beautiful (and soft) projects to ogle, luscious yarns to drool over at Knit Purl. We'll have to all do this again soon!

(oops - missed Natalie, who is now on the list)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My apron got to Canada!

My apron swap buddy, Tara, has been having several not so good things going on in her life lately. I'm so glad the apron got there and cheered her up a bit - she loved it! So now, of course, I can share pictures.

I went to the fabric store, looking for something Asian themed and colorful. Already had the pattern (Butterick 4945), which I was going to play with a bit. This geisha fabric jumped out and said, "pick me!", so I had no choice. Then I looked all over for a good contrast fabric and found some subtly patterned deep blue that went really well.

I used the contrast fabric for the neck ties, figuring it would frame the neckline really well. Also added contrast pockets to give it a little oomph:

Contrast ties on the back (like the lovely ironing board dress form?):

Here's a closer look at the fabric. Now if I only knew what it read in Japanese...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Twenty eight rows later...

Hmmmmm. It's hard to tell much of anything by the picture (lace is famously unphotogenic before it's been blocked. I also swear the shawl isn't yellow - what happened?), but I don't think that's a wide enough border. Do I add a third twenty eight row repeat? It looks like that might be just about right. I keep trying to take some kind of wild stab at how large the shawl will be, but putting a tape measure against this airy blob it a bit like wrangling a bunch of wet noodles - everything keeps slipping and sliding as I try to find a flat surface. The goal is a smallish shawl, one that will go nicely over my sister's very petite shoulders and that will eventually wrap well around a tiny niece or nephew (hence the square shape). Sigh. I was hoping this second repeat would be enough, but it just isn't wide enough against the garter stitch center. Have to get this border done so I can get cracking on the outside border - I only have twenty nine days left!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A month and a half with no shampoo

Hard to believe, but it's been that long since I've shampooed my hair. I've managed to streamline things a little in the meantime. I have a lightweight mug that I keep next to a bottle of white vinegar and a jar filled with baking soda. Before a shower I add some baking soda to the mug and grab the bottle of vinegar. Most days, I just use around a tablespoon of baking soda in around a cup of water (nice and warm from the shower head), but if I'm feeling really grungy I use it straight, rubbing my scalp well. I've learned to use a lot less vinegar - maybe a teaspoon in over a cup of water - to use as a final rinse. The vinegar (or lemon juice) is important, since the baking soda opens up the cuticle of the hair, so you need a very weak acid to close up the cuticle and make things shiny. But you don't need much at all.

I love my hair now. It's shiny, full of body, and it behaves better than it ever did before. I have gotten questions on how well this regimen does with removing styling aids from hair, and I just don't know since I don't use anything on my hair. I have heard that there's less need for products when you go the no 'poo route, and I would guess that the baking soda would remove just about anything, but I don't know. I'm really happy with my hair, and using the baking soda and vinegar doesn't end up taking any more time than a shampoo and rinse so there's no extra effort. I also love how cheap this is! Does my frugal soul good. Also no scary chemicals or additives to worry about getting into me or my environment. Very nice.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mystery plant(s)

This year was my first attempt at companion planting. Also known as "put plants that play well together next to each other". Now, I'm still learning about gardening in general so I'm figuring all of this out as I go. I read that green onions and carrots are great planted together since the onions have very shallow roots and tend to keep some bugs away and the carrots obviously go much deeper. So I cheerfully sowed a bunch of carrot seed and then a bunch of green onion seed and waited for them to grow.

Here's the rub. Did I mention that I'm a bit new to gardening? I didn't know what green onion sprouts looked like. So when a bunch of thin green sprouts came up, all was well. Or so I thought. But now I'm staring at a thicket of something that is definitely not onion of any sort. Whatever it is, it's growing like a weed, but it can't be a weed since it did come from one of my seed packets. Just not the green onion packet. I did have some flower seeds, but I don't recognize these at all.

Anyone want to venture a guess?