Well, I made it home after a busy week of working and some serious knitting, all weekend long. It was a great weekend, though my travel karma is definitely out of whack. More about that near the end of the post.

The week started on a great note, when the manager in OC treated me to some Spongebob goodness. Here are my bath pals.

They squirt water when you squeeze them. Is this an appropriate bath accoutrement for a 32 year old? I suspect yes. Did I use them? You bet your sweet tush I did.

I didn't have much time during the week for knitting, so I only did a touch of swatching for a future design that I am envisioning.

I started by following Jody's instructions for the Latvian braid (at the top, I prefer this stitch pattern inverted). I should have reversed the foundation row to achieve the proper effect. I was working a technique that was meant to be worked in the round, flat and I flubbed that portion, but that's no fault of the tutorial. Otherwise, it's very easy and a great way to start a 2-color piece.

I don't actually plan to knit this particular stitch pattern, and probably not in these exact colors, but I do plan to use some of my Blue Sky Alpaca of which I have a few other colors. While I like how the orange really pops against the blue, I think, in this particular usage, it's too much. The yarn is leftover from a project that I did for Kat's upcoming Baby Boho book. I really can't wait for it to be published since I'm so happy with the finished project.

Once the work week was over, I got to spend a couple days with my always gracious and welcoming friend, Julia. She had a very busy week, so I got some good bonding time with her kitties; Townes and Tuna.

Townes just walked all over me for the first few hours. Nothing says "welcome back, my friend" like being treated like furniture.

He also made sure I didn't oversleep during nap time. Thanks Townes!

Tuna was just blissed out the whole weekend

I took this picture right after she walked over to me and started linking my cheek. She's so cute. She did a few of those hardcore head rubs on my forehead and then plopped herself down for some belly rubs. I'm pretty sure that in Tuna's past life, she was a loving little lap dog.

Don't believe me?

Here she is snuggling her doggy chew toy.

There ain't no catnip in this teddy bear, just a kitty feeling all kinds of bliss with the world.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the beautiful Zosia, but she and I had some nice walkies and explored the hilly streets surrounding Julia's house.

I also, because I'm so great at this blogging thing, don't have any pictures of the subsequent S&B at Nicky D's. A few of my favorite people were there, and some were noticeably not and missed.

I did tons of knitting for a top secret project I'm working on for a McYarnpanted individual. You'll just have to take my word for it. No pictures for you.

The trip home lacked the joy of the weekend. I left for the airport very early, to allow time to fill up the tank of and return my rental car. That went unexpectedly smoothly which left me a couple hours to entertain myself in the Burbank airport. I got even more time when the first leg of my flight was delayed. Guess what that means? I missed my connection. The next flight didn't leave for another 2 hours and I was only granted standby for that. The good news; I got on that flight, narrowly, by the skin of my teeth. (Am I the only one who finds that image pretty horrifying?) The bad news; my luggage didn't get the memo. The OK news, United had it delivered to my home later that night.

All said and done, no harm, no foul and my greeting when I got home was as loving and enthusiastic as I'd hoped. Yay for visiting friends and yay for coming home.

This Sunday, I flew down to Los Angeles for work. Apparently, Sunday, at about the same time, another plane landed as well. Oh boy, 500 extra passengers, what could possibly go wrong?

There are words, some more family friendly than others, to describe the baggage claim area at LAX. Most carousels were collecting baggage from 4 or more flights at any time. This is a pic of carousel 1 which was at one end of the this terminal. My fellow passengers and I got our cardio workout walking between this and carousel 4, at the other end of the terminal. Every few minutes, someone would announce, over the intercom, the new expected location of our luggage. I found myself surprisingly unfazed by the whole thing. I flew in a full 14 hours before I needed to be at work and there simply wasn't anything to be done about the situation. Plus, who among us couldn't do with a bit more exercise? Others, though, did not seem to be so zen about it.

All of this is just to say that blogging shall be sparse this week, while I work, which is just as well since I will have very little knitting time until Friday. I did manage to bring my Portland weather to LA, though. Sorry to all my So Cal neighbors, though I have to say, I kind of like it.

Bellocq now available

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Stitch Diva is now selling the Belocq pattern.

I have also create a page in my pattern section that includes a photo that allows you to see the lace in more detail.

I have to dig through my old photos and see if I have any more pictures of the samples I knit before sending them off. I know I have some of the cuban heel detail, though most also include my various life lines.

Anyway, I'm hoping that people enjoy knitting these as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Revenge of the sleeve.

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This entry has also been posted at the Create Along.

While I have done a fair bit of design, there are still aspects of the processes that I can only perfect through trial and error. All the excel sheets and schematics in the world cannot reproduce the look and feel of knit fabric adhering to all the laws of physics. Julia has a really nice post in which she discusses the process of designing without knitting the piece herself. In her case, her sample knitter helped ease that processes by providing continual feedback, as she was a fine designer in her own right. However, I think this is a valuable lesson to take away. While I consider Julia to be a hugely skilled and technically adept designer, who has years of experience knitting and designing knitwear, even she cannot completely predict the way the finish piece will need to be constructed in order to execute her vision.

As a side note, this is one of the beauties of the web and why I absolutely love being a part of this CAL. I cannot imagine how critical I might be of my own work, if I didn't have the blogs of other designers to show me that all of us face the same challenges and missteps.

Back to the topic at hand, Lily has gone surprisingly easily throughout the body portion of the piece. While I debated on length, a bit, and I may still close the side vents up a little bit, the bulk of the design process went pretty smoothly, once I had my original vision.

From here, I knew I wanted to knit the sleeves up to, but not including, the sleeve cap, so that I could join all the pieces and work them together, to avoid any possible offset of the motifs.

There were no problems with the body, the sleeve, however, has dogged me. This humble elbow length sleeve is the product of, not one, not two, but 4 trips to the frog pond.

It's a testament to the quality of Calmer that I see absolutely no change in the yarn, despite all that ripping and re-knitting.

My first thought was that I'd migrate the motifs from the front of the sleeve, around to the back seam in preparation to run the motifs up the sleeve cap. I felt that just running the motif up the seam would look peculiar and unbalanced. Something really needed to pickup the theme, on the outside of the sleeve.

If you are astute, you've already caught my big mistake here, however, I knit about a quarter of the sleeve and realized I just had too much ease worked in and ripped the sleeve to start again. It was only when version two had hit about the halfway point, that I realized my fatal flaw. If the motifs were correct at the outside of the sleeve, they would be flipped at the back seam as shown in the illustration below.

As the great philosopher, Homer, said, "DOH!" That was a real head slapper moment.

I realized that my new calculations worked out perfectly to fit 2 full motifs across the entire hem of the sleeve (a centered full motif on the outside of the sleeve, with two half motifs inside by the seam). I knew I didn't want to carry the outside motif up the entire length of the sleeve, firstly, because it would be too busy and secondly, because when it came time to decrease for the sleeve cap, I'd be left with a lot of lace to wrangle into submission. I decided to just work the outside motif once. I tried maintaining the purl ribs up the length of the sleeve but found it added a sort of sporty feel that was inconsistent with the vast stockinette of the body.

So I took out the purl ribs, after the first repeat.

I was getting much closer but there were two things that bothered me. First, the outside repeats just seemed to look uncontained. There were still strong lines delineating the edges of the motifs on all sides except the top. Something just seemed off. I also didn't care for the fact that I had begun the sleeve shaping, while working the first repeat. It meant I had to increase in the purl ribs between motifs. Since I was eliminating the extra purl ribs and motif, it just didn't look cohesive.

After all that, 5 times was the charm.

I added a purl ridge to the top of the outside motif, which added the visual container I felt the motifs needed. Additionally, I held off on any sleeve shaping until I had completed the border of repeats, allowing me to increase in the stockinette area, as I had on the body.

I think the final product is consistent with the style of the body and deals with the design concerns I had, in a logical way.

For now, Lily needs to go on temporary hold while I complete a project for a friend. Lucky for me, it's in Calmer too!

I hope to complete that in the next week or two, while I'm traveling and then I'll get back to Lily and all that she entails. I'll try to get a couple tutorials up in the interim, if time permits.

tampontificate.jpg

A company called Seventh Generation, who manufactures safe and environmentally responsible household products, has a program called TamPontification.

Per their site:

Women’s shelters in the U.S. go through thousands of tampons and pads monthly, and, while agencies generally assist with everyday necessities such as toilet paper, diapers, and clothing, this most basic need is often overlooked. You and I may take our monthly trips down the feminine care aisle for granted, but, for women in shelters, a box of tampons is five dollars they can’t spare. Here’s some good news: you can help us contribute to rectifying this situation by making a virtual donation below!
For each virtual donation, Seventh Generation will send a pack of organic cotton tampons or chlorine-free pads to a shelter in your state.

So swing by their site, if this is a cause you think is worth supporting, and make your donation.

Link via LAist

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