30 June 2010

One swatch , two swatch

7 Small Shawls: T - 185 days and counting down.

Knitting continues on the sekrit project. Slowly. Because the yarn is splitty. I mean really. I've only ripped this part out 20 times. I should have at least another 20 to go before the yarn splits. Right? ;)

Meanwhile, with my hands on auto-pilot, I am dreaming up the rest of the beaded beauty - #3 shawl. It needs to be starry, of course, and I've been looking around for starry looking stitches. I like to start with a stitch dictionary and then modify the stitch to make it exactly what I want. I came across this:
and this.
I'm going through permutations in my mind while listening to Lady Gaga. (I know; I have eclectic taste, to say the least. Other artists on this play list: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Band of Horses, Roy Orbison, Eagles, R.E.M., James Taylor, The Cure...you get the idea. My favs.)

The stitch pattern will, of course, be beaded. And I'm working on the exact transition to the lace from the beaded garter stitch. I really want to be finished with my stealth knitting and on to shawl #3! It's calling to me, and every time I take my stealth project out, it peers up at me accusingly from the depths of my knitting bag.

Cool news today: another sekrit project is coming my way! This promises to be a super fun one. :) My favorite thing about stealth knitting? Using yarns that I wouldn't otherwise try and loving them!

I'm off to get Maia ready for release!


29 June 2010

Do I need help?

7 Small Shawls: T - 186 days and counting down.

Hello. My name is Romi, and I am a knitting geek. It first started at a young age, and has gotten worse and worse. Whereas I just used to make up patterns as I went along in a haphazard way, I now have purchased more and more knitting geeky tools to render pattern making and writing more precise, therefore furthering my sickness. Last week it was more stitch dictionaries. This week it's a scale.
Sure, it's helpful. Sure, it measures troy ounces too (ooh! jewelry geek!). Does this mean I have to go overboard and weigh everything? Apparently so. I am incapable of stopping myself. Where will it end?

For instance, I can tell you that Lisa Souza's cashmere/silk fingering weight yarn is 2.065 ounces with a yardage of 400. (And it smells yummy, too).
This gorgeous Serenity Silk from Zen Yarn Garden (in 14k) is 104.1 grams with 500 yards. That should mean the Lisa Souza yarn is finer, but that's not really the case. More of the extra light cashmere (45%) in the Souza yarn gives you more yardage for the weight.
This gorgeous yarn from Wabi Sabi (in Paua) is pure merino - superwash - and weighs in at 106.5 grams/400 yards.
And then there are the these two beauties from A Verb for Keeping Warm. They are destined to become a striped shawl and weigh in at a total of 207.3 grams for 770 yards. The colors are The French Monk's Finest and Magic Bean.
The funny thing is that, although the yardage varies all over the place, the yarns are all about the same thickness. But maybe an even funnier thing is that I actually care about stuff like this. Do I have a problem? I think so.

For others of you with the same problem, do not despair. You are not alone. And I also have good news for you. Karen at The Royale Hare has put up the yarn I used for Maia on her site for pre-order. Now you can have your very own Bug Juice. Woot!
Back to my sickness. Hee. :)

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28 June 2010

Feeling hot hot hot!

7 Small Shawls: T - 187 days and counting down.

I am feeling very very fortunate about now, to have air conditioning. Especially since it's still fairly warm outside. Even at 11:30 at night.

Today, I've been playing catch-up and kid wrangling mostly. It's been one of those days when there's so much to do that I tend just to stare at it all and not actually do anything. This, of course, is not helpful. So I did the only thing a fiber enthusiast in my position would do: I got out some yarnz and petted them. Aaaaah. Much better. :) Along the way, I realized that I only have 4 more shawls to do for my eBook, but I have more yarn than a hyperactive squirrel has nuts at the end of summer. Here I've been seriously wanting to make a dent in the sock yarn stash, but, um, failing rather miserably. I did narrow down the last four yarns I will be using for the main attractions in my book. I split them into two color groups: Non-green:
And green:
Yes - you do indeed see five yarns, and not four. That is because one shawl will be striped! Green stripes to be exact. :)

In other news, I did a special order the other day for a woman who has two ballet dancing daughters. Pointe shoe pins.
Aren't they cute? I can almost see them on her girls!

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Monday's Musing

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was an amazing and insightful woman, no? My goal this week: follow my heart. What's yours?


27 June 2010

Best intentions

7 Small Shawls: T - 188 days and counting down.

I really planned on getting so much knitting done this weekend, but, as often happens on swim meet weekends, it didn't happen. For one thing, I kept having to rip back part of my secret project. For another thing, the boys' events were fairly well spaced out, so there was not much down time. And for yet another thing, our canopy became home to the swim team temporary tattoo parlor.

At meets, you often see body art. "Eat my bubbles" and "kiss my splash" are common, and the kids get psyched up for races by drawing all over one another. So, last meet, I decided it was time to invest in a set of different colored Sharpies, the weapon of choice. The kids were really excited, and they drew on each other a little bit, but mostly they ended up standing in front of me while I drew all over them (with parental permission, of course, in case you were wondering!). First came the turbo buttons.
And then the stakes were raised.
Go Neptunes!
This one turned out a little wonky on Mr. Tickley Wiggle-worm. But no matter! It was just as great for his team spirit.
Did you know that Sharpies don't write on sunscreen? Well, it's true! Luckily, the swim shop that sets up at all the meets had body paint pens. And we were back in business.
By the end of the meet, almost every square inch of my kids and their friends was covered. I drew the line at faces, but if I hadn't, there would have been some kids walking around with tridents down the length of their noses!

It was the most fun I've had at a meet, and there have been some great ones.

Back home in the AC now, and it's back to work for me!


25 June 2010

Oh, hai!

7 Small Shawls: T - 190 days and counting down.

Thanks to everyone for your kind congrats on the cover! In answer to some questions, the yarn is Donegal Tweed by Tahki. I wasn't thrilled with it when it came, but by the time the sweater was finished, I was surfing the site to see what all colors I could get. I love the stuff! It is soooo soft when it's blocked! And it feels so wonderfully woolly. There's something about that yummy feel that just is so completely different from any other fiber!

There's not much to show you today since I was working on stealth knitting in the part of my day not taken up with dramaz (sigh). But I did get a few little things in the mail: my very very favorite wool wash and t-pins. You can never have too many t-pins!
For those of you never having used Kookaburra wool wash, you are really missing out! It has the amazing fragrance of tea tree oil, which is a natural bug repellent and anti-fungal, and it also contains lanolin and other natural oils. Love love love it.

So...the other day, at the suggestion of some of the knitters on my Ravelry forum, I went looking for Oral B Super Floss to try a different method of adding beads to my knitting. So many people love the floss! When I got to CVS, though, all I saw that was remotely like the product described was Ultra Floss. What the heck, I thought! So I bought it, thinking that maybe I had mis-remembered. Nope. No stiff end, just waxed, so very fiddly to use with beads. Although I must say that my beads are now minty fresh. :) I've ordered some online (thanks be for online ordering - I'd never find half of what I need around here!) and it will come next week. I hate the waiting; I am firmly an instant gratification kinda gal!

This weekend is a swim meet, so knitting will be done. Gotta get my rear in gear!!!

24 June 2010

Beads and more beads

7 Small Shawls: T - 191 days and counting down.

I got to work a little on my beaded beauty today, but most of of the day was spent running errands, going to swim practice and working on my secret project. Shawl #3 has a random pattern of beads, and they are all placed using a crochet hook, rather than by stringing the beads beforehand. I prefer this method for several reasons: the beads stay where you put them, they can be seen equally well from either side, they don't have to slide up and down the yarn, and this method doesn't require much pre-planning at all. It's a very simple process, really. Really! It is. :)

When you come to the spot you wish to place the bead, get out your teensy crochet hook!
You start by placing a bead on the small hook. This is a size 14 steel hook and a size 6/0 square holed seed bead. Then you put the hook through the next stitch on your left needle.
And you pull the stitch -with the hook- through the bead.
Pull the stitch off the left needle.
And then replace it.
Work the stitch as usual.
And there you have it! Beaded!
In other news, remember last week when I said I'd have something exciting to share this week? Well! I can finally tell you that my sweater is on the cover of the fall Knitscene!
I am beyond excited! It's up for pre-sale today on Interweave's site. Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

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23 June 2010

knit knit knit

7 Small Shawls: T - 192 days and counting down.

Today the reality of my secret project deadline hit me full force. And, I admit, I only knit four rows on my lovely shawl #3. I know I should have been doing my secret project more before this, but I so love my precioussssssssss beads and yarn. :sigh:

So today I have been knitting away on the secret, and not making much headway. On secrets such as these, I like to knit gigantic, family-sized swatches. Then I wash and block them and let them shrink or expand or do whatever they do when they sit around. It's one thing ending up with a product that doesn't fit when it's for your personal use and quite another when it needs to fit someone else's particular measurements exactly! I could always frog a project that doesn't fit me, or give it away. But that's not an option on this one.

So today, I'm afraid I have nothing exciting to show you. I hope you will forgive me, though, if I share my cupcake recipe with you. What do you think?
We always make this recipe for birthdays and special occasions around here because the Bear is allergic to dairy and egg whites, and this has neither. A bonus is that this is the absolute best chocolate cupcake recipe I've ever ever tasted. It is yummy, and it works great as a sheet cake, too! Just bake about 10-15 minutes longer.

The Bear's Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 24

Pre-heat oven to 350 F

Sift together and set aside in one bowl:
2 cups sugar
2-2/3 cups flour
2/3 cups powdered unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
scant tsp salt

set aside in another bowl or large measuring cup:
2 cups cold water
2/3 cups olive or other vegetable oil (not extra-virgin)
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp white vinegar

To a large bowl, add a portion of the dry mixture and a portion of the liquids. Mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients and liquids alternately, stirring thoroughly after each addition and keeping batter on the stiff side throughout the process, until all ingredients are used. End by using the rest of the liquids, as the batter will end very thin and you want to avoid lumps.

Pour batter into cupcake pans lined with paper or foil wrappers. Bake at 350 F for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool on rack. Frost with your favorite icing.

Enjoy! We do. :)

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22 June 2010

What a difference a day makes

7 Small Shawls: T - 193 days and counting down.

Thanks to all of you who sent encouragement! Today I've been feeling much better. I made a to-do list and crossed 6 items off. They weren't huge, but they did include secret project #1. I am so happy to have that gone gone gone! I am feeling a great sense of accomplishment, even though the large items all still remain! I did make a start on a couple though. Whew.

I continue to be absolutely smitten with my yarn and bead combination for shawl number 3 (yet to be named). The color in this post is much more accurate, although still not quite as stunning as in person!
I keep stopping and staring at it, turning it over slowly so the beads will catch the light just so.
The yarn is Enya sock from Saffron Dyeworks in the New Moon colorway. In my opinion, having seen them both, the color is every bit as saturated and delicious as the famous Wollmeise sock yarns. Delectable.
And although I love green with a passion, I have to admit that my very favorite color is the deep greenish teal (there! green again!) that the sky turns in the west as twilight fades to dark in the summertime. This yarn has streaks of the exact perfect color. I don't know how she captured it!

(In this picture you can see the coil-less safety pin I added to keep track of the correct side.)
And the beads. The beads are just sparkly enough, but not too sparkly. :happysigh: I love it when things come together properly. :)

Oh, hey! I promised a sketch of the shape, didn't I?
It wraps nicely around your shoulders!

In other news, #1 Son thanks you for your kind birthday wishes. Yesterday was lovely for him, full of reading, swimming, and cupcakes.

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21 June 2010


7 Small Shawls: T - 194 days and counting down.

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed right about now. I'm trying to get the first secret project gone, but I have to write up the pattern; I'm editing Maia based on test knitter feedback (thank heavens for test knitters!); I'm trying to get going on secret project #2; I have two big wholesale pin orders plus retail orders; and I'm also working on shawl #3 for the 7 Small Shawls eBook. I feel some hyperventilation coming on. I'm trying to breathe. And I feel so incredibly lucky to be so busy when so many others aren't. There. I talked myself down.

I'm thrilled with Shawl #3 so far! The yarn is so amazing. The colors are just stunning. More yarny goodness tomorrow.

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Monday's Musing - Happy Birthday, #1 Son!

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of." - Benjamin Franklin

Today is #1 Son's 11th birthday! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone.
Happy birthday, kiddo!!!


20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Hope it was a great one. I'll be back tomorrow with yarny goodness! :)


19 June 2010

I am weak

7 Small Shawls: T - 196 days and counting down.

After playing with the beads and yarn, I couldn't resist casting on. This means I didn't work on my secret project or my wholesale pin orders. Weekends are made for relaxing right? And this is way more relaxing. :) I often think about that, actually. How many people are lucky enough to make a living doing something they'd want to do anyway in their free time? I mean, I'm certainly not rich money-wise, but I'm rich in so many other ways! I get to live in a beautiful place, be home with the kids, knit, metal work and sometimes I even travel on business. It's Good.

Anyway...back to casting on. I am fairly picky, and I don't like knots in my lace at all. Like this one.
So that means I've devised a favorite little method of starting lace. I cast on one extra stitch (I like the knitted cast on or backwards loop for lace) and then I don't knit the slip knot. This is how it looks, just kinda hanging out there on the end.
When I've worked a few rows and I'm satisfied that nothing will unravel, I undo the knot. And when I've finished the piece, I just split my plies, weave in the tail...and presto! It looks great and there's no knot!

So, as I was saying...I couldn't resist casting on, for I am weak when it comes to beads and yarn. This one is a modified triangular shaped shawl, knit from the neck edge down. I will show you a sketch of the shape tomorrow. And it has beads. My inspiration was a starry sky, and one of the versions (there is also an un-beaded version) has a random - uncharted - pattern of beads in the garter stitch top portion.
I am absolutely loving the way it looks.
l'm also loving not having to follow a bead chart. I just take a look at it and add beads where I want on the row. Without realizing it, I beaded in a little dipper. Hee. I am having a blast with this. But not to worry! For those of you who don't like random, the bottom portion of the shawl will be charted! Actually, Mr. Romi made the point that it isn't truly random. I would need a randomizer to make it truly random. It's so nice - on such occasions as these - to have an engineer in the house. N'est pas?

The kids are needing wrangling, so I'm off to officiate!

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18 June 2010


7 Small Shawls: T - 197 days and counting down.

Yesterday was one of those inevitable days when life happens to plans big and small. Mr. Romi was super super busy and out working in his shop. I had a pattern to finish up and put together for my test knitters. The kids had other ideas. Crisis, drama, and tempests in teapots ensued. Teapot tempests seem so huge when you're young: insurmountable. It wasn't possible to leave the kids alone for even a moment without one of them making a bad decision. Some days are like that, and I hate leaving a situation where I know they almost can't help getting in trouble. So I kept close watch. Very close watch. The situation was finally stabilized at around 8:00 in the evening while Mr. Romi was at Kiwanis. So at 9:00, when they went to bed, I went to work on Maia. I finished at 3:00 in the morning, and then couldn't get to sleep until about 3:45. You know how it is. I had my second (or third or fourth) wind! I was wired. And no. I didn't sleep all day today. I got up at 8 in the morning, and I'm a little tired now. Truth be told, I'm blithering.

But enough of that!

The New Moon colorway was calling to me yesterday and it was still calling me today. Why fight it when it's meant to be? :) And so begins shawl #3 of the 7 Small Shawls eBook! This one has beads, so that was the first order of business today.

I raided the bead stash and out came the contenders. The one thing about beads is that you can give an educated guess about what might look good, but something unexpected often looks amazing. So in my first round, I included a few that I thought wouldn't look too great: the lavender, the gold and the pink.
And I added my old stand-by, the clear bead with foil lining. All of these are size 6/0 seed beads, my favorite for knitting.
Next was to string them on the yarn and see what I could see. I eliminated one here: second from the left. The lavender didn't do it for me.
I eliminated three here. The second from the right stayed. (Can you believe that's the pink?)
The second round.
These go on a swatch. It's difficult to see in the picture, but the middle two were the real contenders here. And of those I chose the one on the right, the blue metallic. They look great in person! I was looking for something that sang to me, and these fit the bill perfectly.
They're not my cup of tea by themselves, but I keep a stash of them for knitting, and this is not the first time they've been pressed into service!
Then, of course, I couldn't resist casting on. I think this one is kind of a potato chip knit. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm feeling guilty about not knitting on my secret project.

I'm saving the secret project for when my brain wakes up.


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