Sunday, September 30, 2007


Oy three days of beer, brats, polkas, and that damn chicken dance!!! giggle/snort

Had a FABULOUS time.

And I just know you guys are dying to see what fools I made of us, so without further ado......

TA DA.....

Joe in all his lederhosen glory

Meine Herr Joseph

Und Frau Tracy

Auf Wiedersehen!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Deep Breath

I have to go lie down.

4 Days til Oktoberfest

It wouldn't be much of an Oktoberfest countdown unless I posted some progress photos now would it.

First up Joe's hiking socks.

I am soooooo cheating on these. I'm using two strands of WoolEase with #8 needles.

I used the Riverbed Architecture from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways. book for the foot and a very simple 4 stitch mock cable that runs along the outside of the leg. The rest of the leg is k2p2 ribbing. I am kinda liking the way the calf increases are looking. Totally cheated on the increases too, nothing fancy there, just worked the new stitch into one strand instead of both of them. I'm thinking these will be done tonight if there's a good movie on tv.

I guess I should have put something in the pic to indicate the size of these things but you can imagine, 12 inch foot, 22 inches from ankle to knee, and I'll prob'ly add 4 inches of ribbing on top of that. Egads!

The Alpine jacket is turning out quiet nicely, IMHO.

It began as this:

And now looks like this:

I still have the trim to sew on, and the closures. Loving the trim. Got it at JoAnn Fabric for $1.07 a yard.....score! The original garment was a of course a Thrift Store find from eons ago. It's an extremely heavy boiled wool with get this...a flannel lining!! WTF No wonder it was thrifted, it was nearly impossible to get on or off with all that fabric friction going on, so I threw in a normal lining.

And now the lederhosen...............

They too began their life as a Thrift Store find. It's not everyday that one finds a pair of Michael Jordan black leather pants for $5.00. :-) Joe and I picked these up a couple years ago. Oh the possibilities a pair of black leather pants possess as far as costumes go, so into the costume closet they went.....doesn't everyone have a costume closet??? Apparently not. Talking to my Bro the other night telling him about this Oktoberfest project he asked his wife if they had a costume closet? Trunk? Box? Nope. Well, we've got a whole closet, and a box or two.....guess my Bro and I don't travel in the same crowd. :-) One of these days I'll dig up photos from past costume parties, they are sooooo funny. Anywho, whatever possible costume these might have morphed into, a pair of lederhosen was never on my radar. lol

So here's a crummy pic of what the they looked before reconstruction, all full length and shiny black leather.

Now they look like this. Short, turned suede side out, zipper removed and waist band reattached.

Next step in the process is to make the front flap thing. I have to cut along the line that are indicated in the photo below by the pieces of yarn, and add some more leather to make the flap wider. You can see what I mean in the second pic, it is one I snagged from a website that sells the real thing.

Things are moving along swimmingly. Although I have to confess, that the real reason I'm blogging and not working on these things is pure unadulterated fear. The same mind numbing, paralyzing terror you feel when your ready to cut your first steek.

I'll get over it. Prob'ly by the time any of you read this it will have been done, just talking about it makes it better. Plus the fact that I've already scoped out the stash and know that I have enough brown suede to make a whole other pair from scratch if need be. :-)

As for my costume......I've been working on that too. Not a lot to show you though. I've made 2 prototypes of my vest and have tweaked the pattern enough to like the fit, and I've made my blouse. But I'll address my costume in another post.......Maybe later today, if I'm still avoiding the lederhosen. :-P

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oktoberfest Countdown

Just a real quick post to let you guys know what the current projects are. Wonder if I'll ever be able to write that sentence in the singular form?

Anyway, after the disaster that was the Drops 97-9. I've begun Drops 79-8. I wanted/needed something on my needles that was big and chunky. My wanton desire for something quick and mindless won out and I picked up plain old Lion Brand Homespun and started. Wow it does, or rather, did move fast. I got the back and one front completed in one day!! That was Sunday. I haven't touched it since.....sigh. BTW, no problems, everything is/was moving right a long. I did NOT stop working on this cuz I'm not very fond of the the yarn (never have been) It's not quiet "yuck" cuz I can't get beyond the fab colorway, and how soft it feels to the touch, but I really don't like this yarn. It gets too fuzzy in that "worn-out" kind of fuzzy instead of that nice "relaxed-fuzzy" that only something NOT acrylic can do, and that soft feel it has screams plastic to me, if that makes any sense. But it was at hand, worked to gauge beautifully, and I didn't have think about if I had enough. (got in a grab bag from an estate sale)

No, the reason I put this aside (which is ultimately going be a sweater for Annie, daughter #1, she'll like) is because Joe asked if maybe I could do a little sewing this week. Um, yeah, a "little" sewing. He wants to go to the Oktoberfest in costume. So since Monday I've been working on a pair of lederhosen, a boiled wool Alpine jacket in case it's cold, and a pair of knee length hiking socks, for him. He actually thinks I'm going to be able to make a hat too! LOLOLOLOLOLOL

As for my costume, it just so happened that we were eating dinner at the Kaiserhoff (the MOST excellent German restaurant) and I asked Gary (the proprietor) if he might have an extra dirndl hanging around. He did in fact and I brought an entire outfit home with me. It fits me OK. I'd certainly be making adjustments if it was mine and not just a loner. It's a lovely, very nice, proper Frau outfit. Joe I'm sure, no, I know, has something a little more Frauline barmaid thing in mind for me. Can you say cleavage? :-) To help satisfy Joe's desire for a little bit more, I greed to make one of those low slung vests that allow for boobage. Cuz of that, it means I need a different blouse. The one with the borrowed outfit isn't quiet right, and besides, it's soooo nice I was a bit fearful of spilling something on it and staining it. I'll be much more comfortable in my own blouse, while we're manning the kegs. (as workers folks, I don't really like beer!)

So now I have nine days to make:
  • One pair of Lederhosen (as authentic as I can leather)
  • One Alpine jacket
  • One pair of men's size 12 hiking socks (Oy)
  • One blouse
  • One vest
  • One apron
  • One hat
  • And all the embroidery
I'll go into details of each pieces with other posts, I've already taken too much time writing this post. Anyway, suffice to say, of course my sewing machine died Monday night. I did a stupid thing and now I can't get the shuttle and race to align properly, sewing machine......HUGE SIGH I spent 3 hours on Monday night, and another 2 hours on Tuesday morning. I can't get the damn thing to work. So yesterday was pretty much a bust. I did get the lining for Joe's jacket cut, and I got one prototype of my vest cut out and another couple waiting in the wings. I'm hobbling bits and pieces of various sewing patterns to make my vest. I'm making prototypes cuz with a bod like mine NOTHING fits right out of the pattern and this vest is such a fitted affair. I've also done some hand sewing on the lederhosen. I didn't get the socks started until late last night, cuz believe it or not, with the sheer tonnage of fiber I have in this house, it could not yield enough natural or grey wool for a pair of socks!!!!

Last night Joe and I drove into town, for the purpose of buying material for my blouse, trim for his jacket, material for my vest, and a pair of hiking socks. I figured trying to make the socks was just plain silly, and since we were going into town we might as well buy a pair. Didn't work out that way. I got the blouse fabric, notions, and trims, and found the most perfect material for the vest, when Joe saw it he decided that I just HAD to get enough of it to make myself an entire outfit. So I guess you can add dirndl to the aforementioned bulleted list!!!!!

I took an obligatory stroll through the yarn section and ended up with an armful of WoolEase for Joe's socks. So much for saving time by buying the socks. Included on the list of notions I had to get, was a set of shoulder pads for Joe's jacket. While I was at the cutting table, I sent Joe over to the wall of notion to get the shoulder pads. Picture if you will, the floor plan of a typical JoAnn Fabrics. Notions on the far wall, cutting table running the center of the cavernous building. Standing at the wall of notions, Joe hollers. "Hey Babe, they have those boob enhancers too." Walking toward me, cupping, lifting and pushing together, imaginary breasts, he continues, "You know, the things that push them up and out, should I get a pair of those too?" Um, yeah, that's my guy! :-)

Joe went and got his mother's old sewing machine for me this morning. I'm not stressed yet. While the list sounds daunting, it's really not that bad. Some of the garments are reconstructions from existing items, I have some "special" tricks up my sleeve I'll explain later, and I'm working these socks double stranded on #8's. I'm to the heel on both already. Now upstairs with fingers crossed that this sewing machine that hasn't been used in 5-10+? years will sing for me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Silver? eh, ok.......Gold? ho hum......Copper?.......WOW!

Yeah, I've got a thing for copper. My shower/jacuzzi area in the bath has walls of copper. My cook top is surrounded in copper. Light fixtures, lamps, outlets, switch plates, heating vents, nick knacks and doodads adorn the Hermitage in all their coppery goodness. I've been knitting, wrapping, winding and crocheting copper for as long as I can remember. This summer I began weaving it.

Ahhhhh the intercourse of Copper and a tiny Weave-It loom.

What can I say? This little box tickles me to no end.

Weave-It Looms are fab. You can readily find them at estate sales, and you can now buy them again online. A few years back some chick bought the rights and is selling them again. I believe hers are made of wood. From what I can tell, the vintage ones only came in two sizes 4 inch and 2 inch, she sells them in several sizes and rectangular ones as well.

The little box above was made with 5 squares from a 2 inch loom. Just in case you don't know what a Weave-It looks like here's a pic of a 4 inch one. The pieces beneath the loom were made with embroidery floss.

And what could be better than a 4 inch Weave-It? How about a 18 inch loom?

I made this loom a couple weeks ago. Aside from the stick woven rugs that will be spewing forth this winter, I'm thinking a few Weave-It rugs will being spewing too.

These squares were made with Mother Load stash.

And just because I could, I did this to one of the patio tables.

We spend a lot of time outside. We often eat outside, and nothing bothers me more......ok there are some things that bother me more, but work with me here.....nothing bothers me more than the clanging of a glasses on a metal table. And you know how impossible it is to have a table cloth on a table outside without using those dorky clips, so I took some gimp (the stuff you use to make lanyards and key chains out of at camp) and wove the table top. The gimp has just enough thickness to it to keep the glass bottoms from touching the metal, but is thin enough so the surface is flat and your glass won't tip or "catch" on the edge of the gimp. Three other bonus features, it's washable, can be dried after the rain, and while everyone else on earth has a mesh, black metal table top, no one has one like mine! :-)

I haven't decided about finishing the ends yet, the jury is still out. Some people like the "fringe", some don't. If I decide to keep the fringe obviously I'll cut it all even, if not, I'll make it disappear underneath the lip. What do you think? Fringe? No fringe?

Plans for the larger round table are on the list of things to do. I'm thinking of some wild more colorful zigzags radiating from the center umbrella hole. I'll prob'ly do the chairs that match the round table too, but that is waaaaay down on the list, prob'ly next summer.

Hemp Rope Rug

As promised yesterday, another post catching you guys up on some of the fibery stuff that has been happening around here.

Not sure if I mentioned it here before, but I've been working on a rug for the patio for a couple months now. Haven't touched it for over a month. I'm using a hemp rope that I picked up at an estate sale (go figure) several years ago. I got 3 kegs of this for 50 cents each. Duh! Snatched that up in a hurry! LOL

I'm making the rug in random pieces of knitting, crochet, and a couple kinds of weaving. At some point, when I run out of rope I guess, I'll figure out exactly how I'll place the pieces. In the pic I just have them sort of laid out NOT in any particular way, it's just so I could get them all in a photo. I plan on joining them and making a border with a heavy coarse cotton that is also, of course, an estate sale find.

I'm finding it very interesting how much the texture of the stitches/technique used plays havoc on the color of the pieces. I kid you not, they are all the same color from the same keg!

Here's the first piece I made, it's just a little 4ft spiral crocheted rug for in front of the door. Nothin special, I just wanted to get a feel for the rope.

Things I've learned so far:
  • Knitting rope is a helluva lot easier on the hands than crocheting it. I have to use a leather glove while I crochet, think rope burns, and blisters. Knitting however causes no such problems. Weaving is the bomb.
  • The hardest, think most physical, aspect of working with rope is getting the rope to feed off the keg. If you just pull it from the top you'll get all kinked up pretty quickly, you have to pull or "roll" the rope off the keg. Pulling from the center as in a center pull ball of yarn doesn't work either.
  • Rope, just like wire or any other stiffer type material, will only "conform" to the size it wants to. In other words, it doesn't matter that the actual loop size of the knitting is the size I'd get with #50 needles, my #19 work just fine and are soooo much easier to hold.
  • Hemp rope is smelly, dirty, drops all manner of vegetable matter in your lap, and has careful and do this outside.
  • After it has been worked and has been outside for a day or two, hemp rope is "soft", cushy, doesn't shed or drop junk, and doesn't smell. :-)
I really, really, like making this rug. I'm eager to see how it turns out. I guess I'll have to get busy though, I won't sit out there when it's 20 degrees just to knit some rope!

Oh, one other thing, not sure how well you can see it in the pic but the shorter "lighter" strip that is near the top left......I did that in stick weaving. First time ever for stick weaving. LOVE the technique. Modified it a little bit by not actually using any sticks, just made the ends of the rope a little stiffer with some duct tape.....Red Green would have been proud. Expect to see some "stick" woven rugs emerging from this house this winter, it will be a fabulous use for some of the heavy cotton from the "mother load".

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Drops 97-8


First I have to tell you, I'm a Garnstudio junkie. Love, love, love, that site. Roll all the other freebie pattern places together and to me they don't even come close. They have so many more refreshing designs, they push the envelope (as do most European designs) a little bit. I'm forever getting inspiration from there, as well as a few gotta-do patterns. Which brings us to Drops pattern 97-8

There are a couple of patterns there utilizing this same concept of having a circular piece radiating from the side seam, creating a graceful curve for the front edge. This one does it in a large gauge. 10st/14rows 10x10 cm.

Oooooo how exciting, a quickie cardigan in a construction method, I've been eyeing for quiet sometime now. And now with the Hermitage all squared away, and life back to normal, I'm jonesin' for some knitting, it's been ages since I had needles in hand. Plus the snap in the air (we had frost last night!) a chunky cardigan fits the bill to a tee.

While Joe napped yesterday I swatched. Getting gauge was tough, and there was something else I had to contend with. Not sure how many other people knit the same way I do, but I do have some issues with my purl rows being tighter. In the smaller gauges like for socks or a typical 4 or 6 st/inch gauge it's not all that noticeable and does even out pretty well after blocking. BUT in a gauge of 10st/4inches, it screams at you. Doesn't even look like stockinette!! So being ever resourceful (lol) I started swatching using a #13 on the knit side and #15 on the purl side.......ahhh almost perfect stitch definition. Gauge??? 10.5 st 13.5 row 10x10 cm. Not bad, but not right, and you know this circle thing has to be right.....More swatches, back to using #13 on both rows adding and subtracting multiple carry-along yarns.

TaDa.......Perfect spot on gauge and no discernible knit vs purl wonkiness. I began as Joe left for work.

First part of the right front (circular area) spot on measurements! Wow this was going fast AND easy. Breeze through the funky wording of how to work the armhole shaping and the collar. Four full rows to go and then the shoulder bindoff and the collar tab.................SCREEEECH!!!!!!


Gauge is still spot on!?! How come this armhole is 30 cm deep?!?!!!!!

Go through site looking for errata. Nope, none...sigh Go through each translation to see if there's a typo of some sort in English version.....Nothing that screams at me. There is a phrase in the French translation that has given me a few ideas about how to fix this problem, one of those "at the same time" kind of things, but then the stitch count will be waaaay off. I'm stuck trying to come to grips as to how working a dec every 4th row 9 times when working a 14rows to 10 cm is EVER going to be 19 cm or less.

I'm not in that mode right now. I wanted something mindless but interesting. I'll work on it another day. Or just take the concept and work the thing in garter stitch. Don't feel like revamping a pattern today, maybe another day.

Here's a pic of what I've done so far. It's going to be sleeping for while I think.

Pattern: Drops 97-8 Garnstudio
Gauge: 10st 14 rows 10x10 cm
Needles: 13
Fiber: Lana by Tahki color 7004 (royal blue)
with 2 strands of a random cobweb/lace weight variegated lt blue through navy. Had to do something that blue was waaaay too blue for me! Next go around I think I'm going to go with one variegated strand and nice grey solid for the other. It really is a pretty blue, just not me.

I'm still in the chunky mood and I still want a cardigan. I've considered this
and I'm thinking about this vest although I'm not a vest person, I think it too cute for words (the pattern does come with sleeves) And I'm thinking about this one too. Problem with the last two is that I've run out of printer ink and I don't really want to copy this off the computer by hand.....sigh

A Plethora of Posts

Thanx to all who have commented or sent emails regarding my well being. Yes, I am still alive and kicking. No, nothing is wrong, it's just been an incredibly hectic month(s). Dang, a whole month has pass since I last posted. Egads! Soooo much to blog about!!! If you're looking for knitting/fiber content, you'll have to move on to another post. This one is just lame ramblings about what's been going on, thus the title.....I'm making multiple posts today, 1)so you can easily skip the parts you find boring (can't imagine that's not all of them!) 2)so I can find what I'm looking for when I want to revisit something 3)so a single post isn't war-and-peace-long 4)so I remember to post everything I want too! :-)

As you know, I was a whirling dervish the months of July and August getting things ready for Silly and her BF to visit and it also was a good motivator to get lots of nagging Ms.-Fix-It things around the house done. What I hadn't planned on was getting a job the beginning of August. OK, I didn't really get a job....are you kidding me?!? What? Me work??? But OTH I did.....sort of. For a couple of weeks there, my brother tipped his hat toward the Congressional seat that will be open 2009, but eventually didn't throw his hat into the ring. Oh those were exciting days. Long days. Exhausting days. Exciting nonetheless. Everything came to an end at once. Gillian and Nick went back to Savannah and the campaign trail faded. I took last week off from life, put my feet up (they aren't black anymore) and basked in all the nothing-to-do-ness.

This pass week Joe joined me and together we basked in nothing-to-do-ness. Tuesday. Tuesday Joe had a dumpster delivered to the house. Not one of those little dumpsters you see outside behind the Burger Doodle places, nope one of the big HUGE honkin' dumpsters that is bigger than a NYC apartment! Honest to god I could have lived in that thing. Into the dumpster went every vestige of construction material known to man. All the leftover crap from this house renovation/remodel. Do you have any idea how much of that accumulates?? All those extra pieces of trim, drywall, subflooring, flooring, spackle, joint compound, wire, fixtures, siding, shingles, etc that you can't throw out while you're still doing the work just in case you'll need another piece. Yep, it's all gone, I have a garage now, and I guess this means......OMG.......I guess this means........the renovation/remodel is done!!!!!! WOW

It's been a very long road. We began this remodel in July 2002. We did most if the work ourselves, and we had some major set backs along the way. We both, at different times, loss our mothers, which knocked some wind out our sails. The new roof leaked and destroyed 9 brand new interior walls, and that fiasco took 8 months to rectify putting all other work on hold. And the really spiffy heated tile floor in the bathroom just....just.....well, let's just say, once it was laid, it shortly there after was tore out. We've lived here now for almost 2 years, moving in when the only things that needed to be done were some trim work, painting, staining, and a few Ms-fix-it things. Wow, they are all done.

Ooops, the trim around the patio doors still needs a coat of paint and the trim around the front door needs to be stained.........does it ever end???

I'm kind of liking primer white and raw wood how about you? :-)

And because this has a been a long, nothing but my ramblings post, here's before and after pix of the Hermitage.

Ahhhhhhhh hermitage sweet hermitage.