Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Amazing Lace Challenge #4: Straitjacket

Strait-jacket \Strait"-jack`et\, n. A dress of strong materials for restraining maniacs or those who are violently delirious.

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall ... ninety-nine bottles of beer ...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sucker for a Good Yarn Sale

My knitting group, the
BAWDies (Bay Area Wool Divas) met today at Allyne Park in San Francisco. Since our regular Sunday spot, Valencia Street Books, recently closed, we've been on the lookout for a permanent place to meet on Sundays. In the meantime, we're a floating knitting group - not unlike a floating crap game - and we pass the word of our meeting places along to our members via a well-established Yahoo group.

After knitting, Tina of
Knitwhits and I walked down to Greenwich Yarn, which is having their annual yarn sale. I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive. The last time I had been there, I didn't feel welcome, almost a burden to the salespeople. This time, my experience was completely different. The salesperson was courteous and helpful, and didn't make a fuss when I mentioned I had a store credit to use. The sale was in full swing - many yarns on the shelves were marked down. And on the back patio, baskets and tables piled with high-end yarns marked way, way down made me gasp. I had to avoid touching the luscious Classic Elite Lush (angora and wool) - so soft, it's nearly irresistible. Debbie Bliss, Lang and Rowan were among the choices on the sales tables. Temptation was almost too much for me. I did pick up some goodies pictured here.

Madil "Film" - 60% viscose, 40% tactel, 25g, 87m (gold, fine, Italian ladder yarn)
Louisa Harding "Impression" - 84% nylon, 16% mohair (sportweight, supersoft, slightly glam Italian yarn)
GGH "Marathon" - 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamide (sock yarn from Germany)

The sale is worth a trip. It runs through the end of July.

One weird thing: If you're out there on the back patio looking at oodles of smashingly good wool and things, and you hear profanities beyond the back fence, don't worry. A neighbor hanging his laundry on the line may repeatedly announce, "... f***ing wind ..." and intermittantly curse is blasted socks.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Monet and A Tale of Two Beanies

What a lovely foggy day in San Francisco! My sister, my brother-in-law, my friend and I decided to visit the Legion of Honor's Monet Exhibition which runs through September 17, 2006. The exhibit comprises 53 paintings by the artist Claude Monet. Admission is $15 and includes the exhibition, plus access to the Legion of Honor and the DeYoung Museum all day. (On the first Tuesday of the month, admission is free, but you must pay $5 for the Monet exhibit.)

We arrived early at 10:00 am. The parking lot was nearly full, and the crowds were thickening. We managed to see everything (twice) by the time the crowd became overwhelming.

My favorite paintings were "Road at La Cavee" and "Low Tide at Varengeville." Seeing them up close is inspirational. The colors and textures cannot be captured in the books and prints of Monet's work that we so often see. We also toured the Legion’s resident collections, including works by Rodin, Rembrandt, Matisse, Picasso and more.

We stepped outside into the light of day and the fresh foggy air to snap some photos of my sister in her new Susan Shawl, a gift from me. Also, I presented my brother-in-law and my friend with their very own handknit beanies.

The grey beanie is 100% baby alpaca and the multicolored beanie is 100% hand-dyed superwash wool from Interlacements. The pattern is very simple and easy to memorize.

OceanKnitter's Basic Beanie

22 sts and 24 rows = 4" x 4"

50 grams DK weight yarn (two balls to be safe)
Size 5 - 16" circular needle
Size 7 - 16" circular and dpns (dpns to finish the crown)
Tapestry needle

Cast on 90 sts with smaller needle.
Join in the round.
K1P1 rib for 1.5 inches.
Switch to larger needle.
Knit in stockinette for 3.5 inches (snug) or 4 inches (if you want a little air in the top)

Decrease rounds:
Rnd 1: *K2tog, K8, repeat from * around

Rnd 2 and all even rounds: Knit
Rnd 3: *K2tog, K7, repeat from * around
Rnd 5: *K2tog, K6, repeat from * around
Rnd 7: *K2tog, K5, repeat from * around
Rnd 9: *K2tog, K4, repeat from * around
Rnd 11: *K2tog, K3, repeat from * around
Rnd 13: *K2tog, K2, repeat from * around
Rnd 15: *K2tog, K1, repeat from * around
Rnd 17: *K2tog, repeat from * around
Rnd 18: Knit last round

Cut yarn leaving about an 8" tail. Thread tail through remaining stitches with a tapestry needle. Sew in ends.