Monday, December 27, 2010

fly-by december

Somehow the making, the working, the dog-refereeing , the holiday cheer, and well,  life , edged out the blogging lately.
aerial views of Bobo & Gordo. I make Bobo sit and stay to get treats, then I hand one to Gordo and tell him he gets snacks just for still being alive. He's, like 94 or something in dog years, altho still maintains his frat boy attitude
Sister Lulu's granny square scarf request for chanukah was met. Her parameters: the colors in a photo of heirloom radishes she sent me, and "burgundy, and grey--menswear palette, please".
Sounds picky to you? Nah. I can work with it. Grow up in a family of artists and a scientist engineer, and you''l find this normal and suitably precise.  I wasn't sure about the combo myself, till I added the olivey acid green in there, then it felt OK. 8201110FamVar_
All  except the purple  are Mission Falls 1824 Superwash Wool (colors 011, 015, 028 with 010 edging it all), and the (slightly heathery) purple is Berroco Ultra Alpaca. Great yarns both, but in my very limited granny square experience, the singles I used on this last crochet project were easier to crochet than these plied yarns. Splitty crocheter that I am.
Most importantly, Lulu  was  happy with it. I've seen her wearing it at least 5 times since then, so I know she means it, too.

Monday, December 06, 2010

my new dog is a metaphor

We're talking the Bobo factor.
A frisson of chaos . A sprinkling of energy. A sugar glazing of the unexpected . At any and every given moment.
Did I mention the whole point of that roadtrip last month was getting Bobo, the one balled American Bulldog to his new home with us ? Quite a bargain: not just a lovable gregarious  furry member of the family but also a whole circus of fleas, a case of heartworm and an enthusiasm for the lady dogs that matches only a 17 year old boy with his own species. Do you need to ask me how I know? I thought not.

So instead of showing the handcrafted gifts underway, accent on the under, way under, I'll give you a gift suggestion. The Color Scheme Bible.
For yourself , or for any knitter, or crafter  in your life. A friend hipped me to this at the library the other day; I can go on & on about why it is just exactly right. Starting with a spiral binding.
It hits the right approach to color theory and presentation for me. My problem with books showing color themes or combinations is they so often offer stripes of color, all even and glossy, then they show a decked out photographed room or outfit.  If I can't relate, like to a super-tztchotchkeed Victorian spread, then I can't get past the things to absorb the colors. Above is what most of this book is like.  A color theory.Like periwinkle gray as a neutral with accents. Or the pages below:

Simple  paint, flat and clear, with some size proportion to help the brain out.  There are also pages with equal sized full range color charts, but these examples work  for me, choosing  colors for knitting ( an Albers Cowl anyone? log cabin blanket? or colorwork mittens?)  . Or making pillows for a couch. Not that I sew much.  But after Bobo gets through testing how much sofa surfing he can get to while we're in another room, it may be ripe time to rev up the Singer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

3 weeks is plenty time to red scarf

How convenient !I needed something to show, 5133_GaleZuckerRTrip1110
and last week's pitstop near DC caught my mom with three scarves she & her buddy Claire knit for this year's Orphan Foundation of America's Red Scarf Project, which sends a handknit red scarf to approximately  2500 former foster kids now attending college. FYI:  The scarves should be sent to the OFA by December 15th, they get sorted and mailed on Valentine's Day.*
 This one is knit from the same Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Worsted in Wine Splash I showed last week, she can't remember which scarf pattern,  it was a 2 or 4 row repeat she downloaded. The red tweed one was Claire's; Claire said she had trouble following her directions, so the stitch is not  as it was supposed to  be but it looks pretty good in a different way. 
The last one is Wavy, from Knitty 06, in Cascade 220 superwash.  Although Leo is a  Miami-based college student who doesn't need a woolly scarf and, anyway, eschews handknits (I know!? let's not go there!) he modeled it  to prove that it looks pretty good on a guy even if he's making faces..
*All  Red Scarf Project details here .
• red or non-gender color yarn, any weight except super bulky (it mails in a fed ex box)
• any knit , crocheted or woven pattern that suits either gender. Lacy, not so much.
• 5-8" wide, about 60" or so long
The folks at the OFA are not weighing and measuring with scientific instruments, it's guidelines, don't fret! Send them by December 15 and feel good. Or, you can feel just as good by sending a donation of gift cards or money to suport the kids who have no "home" to call for reinforcements. Go, cast on for one. Or send. Today.
A few remaining red leaves. Just for inspiration. Doncha love red with light blue?

Friday, November 19, 2010

1400 or so miles later...

The sum total of yarncraft completed on the road trip. 
I think we can safely say daily blogging and completed sweaters this month are out the window. When November began I hadn't planned on driving from Miami to Connecticut, or having a rather large and personable dog join the menagerie here, so, really, no complaints, the window has some fine if unexpected, views, along the road.
Bobo keeping an eye out from the motel in Georgia
 Bobo was a model backseat passenger, and those hours of togetherness let me really bond.
Obligatory posed photo of big boy, big dog and really big old tree. Brunswick GA
Leo was good company too. I was tickled to realize that Bobo the American Bulldog is a version of  Chance, from an old fave movie Homeward Bound, a 90's kidflick with Michael J Fox as the voice. I already told Bobo under no circumstances is he to take a cross country journey with an elderly golden retriever and a haughty cat.
Our theme, aside from driving hella fast, was grazing north.
In Florida, roadside citrus.In Brunswick Georgia, we got an inside scoop of favorite shrimp boats. We left town with five pounds of just caught shrimp on ice.5079_GaleZuckerRTrip1110 
Sub-theme, blue eyed bulldog mixes. I know: weird. This is QBall the shrimp dock dog.5032_GaleZuckerRTrip1110 
Further north in South Carolina, on this porch, we discovered a LOVE for boiled peanuts (edemame-ish) and in a thank-god-they-do-not-sell-these-up-north way munched on deep fried peanuts.  You eat them shell and all. Sort of like a peanut wrapped in a kettle cooked potato chip. Also, thumbs up to benne wafers. And peach cider.
See what I mean, another blue eyed fellow, Bobo romped with him outside the peanut place.
At lunch, still further north, Leo polished off the $3.89 lunch special: 2 pieces of homefried chicken, bowl of rice with gravy and peach cobbler.  (That really is $ 3.89, not missing a 1 in front.)
Spanish moss, Hipstamatic style. Psychedelic, baby!
Spanish moss, regular camera. Still kinda trippy, doncha think?
By 10 pm we were at my parents in suburban DC boiling up the shrimp, and by the next night, at home in Yankee territory.
I really do love a road trip.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Dark and early this morning I flew south. I crocheted some granny squares on board. A bonafide granny admired them.

- when I got there, I rented a car and picked up Leo and Bobo, the one balled American Bulldog (see what I mean, you can't make this up)

- we did a quickie drive 'round his new 'hood, had some ceviche and then immediately headed north

- we have some farmstand fruit, water, podcasts & music with us
- and 3 days to get home to Connecticut.

Ps I was warned that along with his good looks and considerable charm, Bobo is flatulent .
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Pershing Cir,Brunswick,United States

Saturday, November 13, 2010

variegated book: solid thumbs up

It doesn't take more than a random sampling of  things I've knit to see I have a dangerous attraction to variegated yarns. It's the "oooh pretty" factor in the skein, plus I'm a horribly indecisive shopper. A variegated skein lets you choose all those colors at once.  Even though a great deal of the time I wish the FO were solid. Because, you know,  all those colors.....
So, when I heard about this book, I thought it would be worth checking out.
Espeicially when I saw who wrote it. Lorna, from Lorna's Laces. now there's someone who should know what to do to make variegated and hand dyed yarn behave. Although I have to admit I was skeptical. You know what? Loved it. Lorna knows her stuff, and writes about all the various styles of from printed to handpainted. She explains how to guess what the yarns will do when knit up over a certain amount of stitches (really, you can sort of predict the pooling, striping, flashing, splotching? who knew?). I picked the book up to page through it and ended up reading it one end to the other.
Best part? Many examples of stitch patterns, in color, showing the effect you get with certain styles of multicolored yarns. Easy enough to substitute these in to patterns you love.
Or, say , plan for a red scarf in kettle dyed yarn. That's what I'm doing. For the Red Scarf Project .  But you probably guessed that.
disclaimer: I was given the book  The Knitters Guide to Handdyed and Variegated Yarn by Lorna Miser by PotterCraft to review. But I mean every word of it.
• • • • • • • • • • • •
And, the winner of the KnitCircus subscription is Ptarmigan. She was chosen by my random number generator, when I requested a number between 1 and 42.
It's good to keep a random number generator hanging around.

Ptarmigan, can you email me , ezisusATsnetDOTnet and we'll get you set up? Thanks everyone for your comments.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the how'd I miss this? giveaway

Knitcircus magazine.
Today, my little spy  Google Alerts emailed  to say Shear Spirit was mentioned on Knitcircus blog. Our book came out in 2008 but is still on my "I-Love-this-Project" list. I mean, not to sound all jaded and uppity,  but I  have hundreds of published projects. I was passionate about most of them while working on them, but a couple years later? Not quite as fired up. Not Shear Spirit though, I am still so proud of that book, and can blab endlessly about the fiber farms, the incredible subjects we visited and included and the knitting.
Which led me to the Knitcircus online magazine itself. Wonderful! At first I thought I'd never seen it before but in looking at back issues, I realized I'd seen a very early issue . Uppity & snobby sounding snippet # 2 for this post: well, I can't help it, the visuals didn't do much for me at the time so I barely looked. That was then.
Now, Knitcircus has evolved into a beautiful & interesting magazine. Great layout and function, better content, engaging visuals and big beautiful photos.
It's sort of a hybrid of some other faves  like  Knitty and Twist. Presented  in the same page turning format, optional PDF download as Twist but, instead of having each pattern for sale individually, catalog style, you  order the whole issue's worth for $7.99. There are yarn & book reviews, interviews with knitwear designers, sock talk from the sockiest source I know,  Wendy Johnson, and the cookie recipes, yum, are free.
When I emailed  Jaala Spiro, the  editor-in-chief to ask permission to use some covers/pages here,  she generously offered a year subscription giveaway. Cool, yes? That's 5 issues! So, here's what you need to do: go look a the Holiday Gift issue. In  the comments, tell me what you liked. Could be a project, could be some of the reviewed yarn, could be the interview. Maybe the cookies? Enter by midnight Friday November 12th. Drawing by random number.

Monday, November 08, 2010

sign of the times

If I didn't start the holiday knitting this week, it was not going to happen. One bulky hat is almost done. With a pompom. Another request for an electric blue hat, possibly with some "strong yellow" and another pompom has been noted.  I'm kind of looking forward to looking for electric blue yarn. Hello, malabrigo, I might be looking at you. I already mentioned the heirloom radish granny square scarf request, right? Colorful this year. Oh, and  something for Marla. But she reads here so I'm not blabbing.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

q & a sunday

q: Does it bug you that you already missed a day for NaBloPoMo ? 
a: No, not really. I'm taking the yoga attitude: I'm blogging with the intention of doing it daily.
q: Is a cicada a bug, truly ?
a: Yes, so they say in Canada
q: What do you like about this photo ? 
a:  The colors. I am loving odd color combinations. Maybe it's the time of year. Some photos I look at just to let the colors resonate. Not so much for content or composition.
q: Are you actually knitting anything ? You seem to be avoiding the topic? 
a: Yes. No. Details later .

Friday, November 05, 2010


My little sidetrip into granny squares. Shown here, while revealing that my affection for  kitschy stuff extends beyond the crochet realm. That's one of our much abused lawn flamingos in the right background
There's something I like about this scarf,although it's about as well finished as the construction site  new porch/deck/stoop that is our front entrance.
I didn't really have a plan as to how to attach the squares; I don't like the slip-stitch-as-you-go look for this, and I couldn't decide if I liked single crocheting them together through both loops, the outer loops or the inner. I read  about a braided attach but it seemed too elaborate.  Maybe I just don't have enough crochet finesse. Yet. But the playing with colors? very fun. This is vintage Brown Sheep Lambs Pride in oatmeal natural that was koolaid dyed some time ago (the light  green, aqua) Andys Merino (orangey) , some purple Cashmerino I got in a swap.  They're all edged with  Invernal, which is less hefty and fuzzier than the others, of indeterminate color and kind of makes it all pop.
The granny square, she may have her detractors (cough, Mary Lou, cough) but me?  I'm ready to go for scarf #2.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

nov 4th

This son turned 17 today. My wish for him, my Muay Thai fighting dude,  is the same one as every year since the beginning: use your powers for good, not evil !
He gave up his capes and cowboy boots years ago. The attitude? Still got it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

digging in

my holiday making so far:
• survey loved ones who like receiving handknits as to what they wish for
• remind them  there're no guarantees
• receive a photo of multicolored radishes at a farm stand from one sister, saying these are the colors she likes for her gift request of a granny square scarf
• rejoice that they are an interesting combination, with odd green leaves. 
• consider it a definite upgrade from her request last year of grey. 
• nothing against grey but I don't actually think of it as a color.
• radish inspired yarn put together* , some newly purchased, some here already.

* when I say put together I mean gathered, put in one bag,  or looked  at in a pile with a satisfied nod of the head
One gift sprouting. It's a start.