Saturday, September 27, 2008

Muddling through

I missed a blog post last week, unfortunately - after years of being more or less manageable, my chronic migraines have suddenly gotten all out of whack again, so I have not been feeling very well for a few weeks now. And as a result, I've been taking some new medications to try to get control of the situation again and they've had me feeling a little loopy, I must say, so I just never managed to get to the computer and get my thoughts out there into the blogesphere. But while I am still definitely not feeling quite myself I have gotten out of the migraine cycle, where one headache kicks off another, and another, and another..... It will take a little time but I'm sure I will be able to get back on track in the near future.

And I learned an important lesson. At one point I was taking a medication that had me very decidedly muddle-headed, and as can be seen by the unraveled mess in the photo above, this was definitely not a good time to attempt to knit even a simple lace pattern. I was doing okay while in the straight, unshaped portion, but as soon as I hit any kind of shaping at all it was all over.

So what is this lace I am knitting on? I finally faced up to the fact that the Teal Leilani was not going to work, and then got entranced by a pattern from Knitty called Hey Teach! that I saw progressing on several blogs, and it suddenly dawned on me that a much more fitted style like this might work for my limited yarn supply.

Once again, the gauge of this pattern is much larger than what my yarn can do, so I would need to do a lot of reworking, but I thought that if I did a provisional cast-on for the bodice, at the beginning of the lace pattern and knit the entire bodice,and see how far my yarn went, it would give me a very good idea if I really had enough to knit the whole sweater. If I was happy with the results of the bodice, then I could pick up the stitches from the provisional cast on and knit the remainder of the body from the top down. If need be, I could even leave off the sleeves for more of a vest-like garment.

So I started with that back and had no problems, and then knit the 2 fronts together, and had oodles of problems as evinced above with all the unraveling, but got passed them eventually. The shoulders were knit together as I usually do, and blocked the whole bodice pretty severely to open the lace out. After sewing up the side seams I removed the provisional cast on and picked up all the stitches to begin working the remainder of the body downward toward the hem all in one piece,with no seams. There's no doubt no - I have plenty of yarn.

And as an end note - I finished the 1,000 Petal Lotus Chair back and both pieces are blocking now. The two pieces will be part of a slipcover of sorts for my sewing room chair; now I need to figure out what to do for the back and lower portions of the chair to say nothing of how to actually construct the darn thing. But I sure do like how it looks so far!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I have been doing an unprecedented amount of non-garment knitting in recent months for some reason. Perhaps this is due to my squirrel-like tendency in autumn to hoard, to nest, to make my home ready for winter. I often go through phases of introspection and home-based activity in autumn, so turning my attention to knitting for my home seems to me to be a logical extension of this state of mind.

The chair cover I began in last week's post has progressed very well and quite quickly - the top of the chair seat is done, and is pinned over the actual chair for the purposes of the photo. I also tried the piece on the chair back for size and was pleasantly surprised to find that, with minor changes to the shaping of the top edge, that I could basically knit the exact same thing to make the chair back. I always find it to be an agreeable thing to not have to recreate the wheel and no less so with this project. There are still many decisions to be made as to how the chair cover as a whole will actually be constructed, but it will evolve as I finish each knitted piece - one finished part will inform the next, and so on. I usually find three-dimensional objects to grow in this fashion; I've never really been able to plan them out in my mind or on paper in their entirety ahead of time. I need to see what I have done and then respond to that before I can plan my next steps.

My other homey project is at long last done. The Moderne Log Cabin Blanket concluded yesterday after a long stint as the perfect couch potato knitting project. During the recent spell of 90+ degree weather it was less enjoyable, but now that the evenings have cooled down it's been great to be able to sit under it while I slogged along on the final stretch. Just about at the point where I thought it would never end, it suddenly did - and all that was left was a simple attached I-cord border, which took only a couple of evenings to complete .

The yarn (Silky Wool by Elsbeth Lavold) is wonderful for a blanket - light, softly warm, not itchy at all, and the colours are gorgeous. I think I could knit very happily with this yarn for years without tiring of it. I acquired the yarn for m y blanket a bit at a time, and ultimately ended up using less than the original pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting called for,resulting in a slightly smaller blanket - 42" x 54" instead of 50" x 60", but it's plenty big enough to nap under.

The blanket feels so good to sit under that TW couldn't resist hamming it up a bit for me as my willing model. There he is in all his glory, watching the Raiders (who won, I am happy to say), recliner fully reclined, remote in hand. Doesn't he look happy? (and no, he doesn't really wear the hat while watching TV).

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lotus blossoms in my sewing room

I have a very practical and very unattractive chair in my sewing room that I have thought about recovering for some time. The photo shows that its unappealing appearance can easily be discerned. My thoughts had not yet resulted in any observable actions when last July Kay of the Mason-Dixon blog suggested starting a Ravelry group devoted to the idea of knitting upholstery. This was the very spark I needed to help me make the decision about how I was going to prettify my chair. I would knit new upholstery (or perhaps more aptly, slipcovers) for it.

As I still had a very large Kaffe Fassett-esque "magic ball" and a similarly large ball of beige/taupe yarn of a similar weight, the decision about yarn and colours was already made. I looked through my Kaffe Fassett Pattern Library book and chose the large Damask Flower design, which after blowing up on a photocopy machine several times turned out to be very close to the proportions of my chair seat. I was off and running on getting a new look for my old chair.

I have chosen to call this the Thousand-Petaled Lotus Chair Seat - the 1,000 petalled lotus symbolizes absolute reality, and a place where consciousness enters into a new realm of perception. As I spend so much of my creative and restorative time in this chair it seems to be the perfect image to use on my chair seat.

I haven't decided yet what exactly I will do for the sides of the seat, or for the back. I'm really winging it on this one so it will be an ever-changing project as I progress on it. At some point I will run out of one or the other yarns so it will be an eclectic project as well.