One Skein Wonder

Published on Friday April 28th, 2006

Welcome to the new Blue Garter! We’ve moved to WordPress and worked up a snazzy new banner – huge thanks to gleek for her expertise in that department. She’s also responsible for those adorable sheep dividers. We’ll be adding more content here over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for new stuff!
Okay, you asked for it. I’d rather be inaugurating the new and improved site with pictures of a finished Hourglass sweater, but it isn’t finished. I’ve been scrambling to complete my Sockapaloooza socks and haven’t touched Hourglass since I got home. So here, instead, are pictures of my tricked out One Skein Wonder. [Go on, click the thumbnails to get more detail – we’re testing out Lightbox!] I used some decorative stitches to give it a little ’40s flair:


The color is true in this second shot:


That’s swag stitch on the shoulders, and a simple diamond pattern of purl stitches I made up for the back. I decided to use ribbing instead of seed stitch for the cuffs, hoping it would draw in a little more around my less-than-bulging biceps, and I chose a 2 x 3 rib so it would match up with the swag stitch. I also thought that introducing seed stitch might give a little more of a “sampler” effect than I wanted, since I’d already dressed up the body of the piece.

One Skein Wonder, by Glampyre, modified by yours truly

Every last scrap of one skein of Cascade Sierra, 80% wool / 20% cotton, to make the 15″ size

24″ US size 6 circular needle

I finished in about three days, making this a very quick and rewarding knit. Heck, maybe I’ll even wear it to my cousin’s potluck tonight just to get a little more use out of it. We’re certainly having the weather for it. But don’t count on seeing any more shrugs up here, okay? One is enough!

Now I’m off to put away some boxes of clothes and work the toe decreases on my Dalarna sock. And then we’ll see how well the wire hangers work for sock blocking. I promise I’ll document the process for you.

God bless Texas weddings

Published on Tuesday April 25th, 2006

I’m home from the Great Wedding Tour of Spring 2006 – three in four weeks! Whew! My beautiful sister-in-law’s wedding in Alpine, TX was a hoot:

My Sister-in-Law Laughing

This photo also captures the elusive Mr. Garter: I’m not sure if he’s ever appeared on the blog, but there he is in full stripey regalia behind his twin. Handsome devil, isn’t he? Mr. Garter has a strong sense of style, which I admire in a man. Too bad you can’t see all the jazzy stripes and the bright orange lining of this jacket, or the orange bow tie he wore with it for my uncle’s wedding last weekend. (His sister nixed the bow tie for her wedding, so he wore a more somber navy tie…but it had a print of Democratic donkeys. That’s my man!)

His sister has flair herself – check out these awesome cowgirl boots she wore under the big white dress:

Great Boots!

Perhaps it was the fashionable company that led me to break all my own Rules Concerning Garments Lacking Fronts and don the infamous One Skein Wonder. However, it seems that the camera sensed my hesitation – not a single picture of the shrug came out clearly enough to be useful for the blog! Here’s the one shot that shows a little peep (these first three photos are courtesy of my talented friend Sean Scrivner, by the way):

The Shrug is Barely Visible

Clearly I think it’s hilarious that I’m wearing this thing at all. So I’ll have to do a little shruggy photo shoot for you tomorrow.

Meanwhile, as I traipsed about the west, the clock was ticking for Sockapaloooza. Here’s Dalarna sock #1, reclining in the glory that was the (surprisingly enormous) trunk of our candy red Chevy Cobalt full of gerbera daisies for the wedding:

Sock 1

Sock 2

These socks have been quite the little travelers – I’ve knit them in five states! Sock #2 is past the heel and gusset (the last decreases were knit in the car this afternoon waiting for emissions testing at the DEQ), and since my pal has small feet, I anticipate finishing in the next couple of days. They want blocking, though, so I need to allow myself a couple of extra days before they hit the mail. I’m sort of considering going out to my father-in-law’s little workshop to see if he has a band saw and some scraps of wood I might use to whip up a set of sock blockers. I want them to be looking their best for my pal, but I’m just not willing to drop thirty dollars for the Fiber Trends model I spied in the LYS. This kind of situation makes me appreciate how spoiled rotten I was to grow up with a woodworking dad and a fully loaded woodshop at my disposal. Were I up on the island, I’d trot down the hill right now, have a rummage in the scrap bin, and fire up the power tools. Yippee ki yi yay!

Okay, more hot shrug action tomorrow, as long as the thing is reasonably dry after its post-Texas bath. Cotton is truly incredible at holding moisture.

Howdy, y’all

Published on Thursday April 13th, 2006

I’m back in Texas. Yep, I didn’t learn my lesson the last time…. But Mr. Garter’s sister is getting hitched on Saturday, so here we are. I cast on for my second Sockapaloooza sock yesterday during the three-hour drive from El Paso. Since today is the calm before the nuptial storm, I hope to get a good portion of the leg finished. Tomorrow I’ll be filling Mason jars with green sand and votive candles and tying ribbons on tiny bells and the like, so knitting time will probably be scarce for the next few days. My one-skein wonder is complete, though! It truly was a wonder that I was able to finish it. I wish I could show you the eensy weensy pile of leftover yarn – it’s just the inch-long tail scraps I snipped off. I had to go back and tear out a few rows of the sleeve trim in order to finish the bare minimum of ribbing around the “body”. (I laugh, calling it a body.) It fits, and the decorative stitch work I added looks pretty awesome, I must say. It makes me feel thismuch less goofy wearing a shrug.

After the wedding I’ll be kicking around southwest Texas for a week before we fly up to Kansas City for my uncle’s wedding. So I may not have much computer access. Just pray for me that there won’t be any trips to the ER to report when next I write.

Psst – did you see the Knitter’s Review today? Seattle Knitting and Fiber Arts Expo, baby! I’m there! If you’re in the area and might want to meet up there, please drop me a line. I really need to meet some northwest knitters.

Blame it on the rain

Published on Sunday April 9th, 2006

Computer trouble and incessantly grey skies have delayed this post, for which I apologize. But this is April in Portland – a flash of sun one moment, raining the next, and the heavens a dreary shade of porridge in between. Terrible photography weather. So my pictures of Hourglass progress aren’t of the quality I could wish. But I promised them, so here they are:

I’ll try to reshoot these in better light so the colors will be more accurate. My sweater is much less puce than it looks here. I’m calling this Brooks Farms colorway “passion fruit” and it’s quite warm and luminous, with shades of redbud, crimson, brandy and marmalade. As you can see, I’ve got some funky spiralling action on the body. Unfortunately, the stitch count I needed for the medium size was exactly right to produce terrible flashing. So I began alternating balls right away, but this was as much as I could do to mitigate the effect. The sleeves are more pleasing to my eye. But you know, I don’t need perfect stripes. What would be the point of knitting a sweater that looks like you bought it at Old Navy? My spirals are offbeat and organic, and sometimes it’s just best not to fight the yarn.

I’m almost done with the sleeves. Then Hourglass is going to take a short break while I use these needles to whip up my own personal take on the One Skein Wonder. Yes, you read that right. This self-avowed Shrug Hater is going to knit a garment without a front, against all her better instincts. Here’s the thing: the movers aren’t here yet, and they probably won’t arrive before Wednesday, when we leave for Mr. Garter’s sister’s wedding in Texas and my uncle’s in Kansas City. So what to wear? On a whim, I packed a single dress for the trip across the country. It’s a slinky brown cotton jersey number I’ve always wanted to go dancing in. And since I chose to spend my money on a pair of shoes I could wear to the weddings (I didn’t think my Puma sneakers would fit the bill) and some basic pants and shirts I got on mad sale at Anthropologie (I was going to cry if I had to put on the same two outfits one more time. I’ve been living in these clothes for six weeks.) – oh, and the 25%-off sale Knit Purl was having on Socks That Rock – I didn’t feel I could justify buying a new dress, too. So when I saw a skein of Cascade Sierra in exactly the same shade as my new shoes, I knew what I had to do to complete my outfit. Desperate times call for desperate measures, people. Fortunately, it’s slated to be 84 degrees in west Texas all week. I don’t have time to make anything more substantial. Let the speed knitting begin!

And hey, want to see the fabulous present my fabulous husband bought me?

Meet Domitilla. She’s a Bianchi Milano Centroventi. (Click the link for better pictures.) This is one sweet bicycle, my friends. She’s like the Mini Cooper of bikes. And she’s a snazzy custom model they made last year for the 120th anniversary – there are only a handful of them in the States, and she had to come all the way from Ohio. I haven’t had my own bicycle since I outgrew the one I had when I was twelve. After that I used my dad’s, and since I left home I just haven’t ridden one. But Portland is arguably the greatest bike town in the country, and since I don’t believe in driving the car unless it’s really necessary, this is how I’m getting around. (Don’t worry, I wear a bright red helmet when I’m actually going somewhere.) She obviously needed a classy and unusual Italian name, so I’m calling her after the little daughter of my favorite pro cyclist, Ivan Basso. I’ve already ridden her to the yarn store in the next town over. Now I just need some of those wicker paniers and an old-fashioned headlamp so I can ride around in a skirt and a handknit sweater with a silk scarf around my neck and look like a Rowan model.