Friday, September 28, 2007

Counting stitches isn't math, but it can still screw me up

oKAY, so maybe paying attention to one's knitting is important. Not paying full attention will result will henceforth be called the Britney-Pam Incident.

First, shots of Britney as she was last night. I was able to knit quite a bit on the train home, and was able to do the split/castoff for the armholes, and get a bit past on both sides.
Britney 4 detailsBritney 4 details front
Looks pretty normal, doesn't she? I thought so. Until I decided to hold her up properly.

Then I noticed the problem.
Britney 4 details tinybackBritney 4 details Pam
On the left, the back of the sweater, marked by the red arrows. Compared to the front, it's tiny. On the right, the front, marked by green arrows (and dots, because I was having fun). Clearly, I am not knitting this for myself, but for Pamela Anderson. As she can (and does) actually knit for herself, I figure I really need to be fixing this. So, much frogging ensues, and then the joy of trying to get something resembling lace made from packing string back on the needles. (I refuse to use a lifeline with yarn this big. Maybe I should re-think this.)

I decided to find some stitch markers. Having failed after a few minutes of rooting around my corner, I came up with a fistful of hairties. As I now have danged close to a crew cut, hairties aren't all that useful for hair-tying puposes. As stitch markers, though, they worked great. And their squishy elasticity makes it really easy to show off hte inside of the sweater. On the right is a happier, more well-adjusted Britney.
Britney 4 details hairtiesBritney 4 details better

Naturally, I had to stay up past midnight to get everything fixed and back to where it should be. (Note: I had to work late, then go help my mother clean up for her heater inspection tomorrow, plus the season premieres of CSI and Without a Trace were on - so I didn't get started until after 10 pm.) I'm now about 1/3 of the way up the armholes, working both sides of the sweater at the same time (with two different balls of yarn. Somehow steeking a lace pattern just seems wrong.)
Britney 4 details armhole
Oh, look, it's smiling at you!

And, about those floors of mine...
Floor BooksHalf-finished Compass

On the left, part of the chessboard floor, with various reading material: Historical fiction (Jean Plaidy) (red arrow); Regency romances (light blue arrows)/ contemporary romance (Alexandra Potter) (green arrow); Spanish language workbook (white arrow); Entertainment Weekly (yellow arrow) and some fun Jazz (magenta arrow). Books seem to congregate under the spare folding chair. My bookshelves runneth over! On the right, the compass floor when it was halfway cut, just because it's a cool picture, and you can sort of see how I did it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

To Knitalong, or not to knitalong...

I'm giving some thought to also trying the Mystic Waters Lace Shawl knitalong, run by Knit & Knag. It has its own blog, and you just need to e-mail Anna to join. The only reason I can really consider it is because I'm going to be at the Stitches East Market before it starts. And if I can't find 1,200 yards of laceweight non-wool in a color that screams "I am Mystic Water!" at the market there, there's something SEROUSLY wrong with the universe. Market is also about ten days after Secret of the Stole's first clue drops - if I've finished it by then, I may be allowed to start TWO shawls. Oooo!

(And let's not forget that it's been a week today since I did anything on the Cat Sweater, and it's "due" by the end of October, too. It's still sulking - mostly because I forgot to print out the top half of its pattern AGAIN. *scurries off to remedy this to stave off further sweater sulking*)

Cup-o-Shawl is going through my mug collection, trying to decide which mug will be its new home. It's presently torn between the mug from the original Hampsterdance.com, the 10th Anniversary "Star Wars" mug, and making me go out and buy a nice, clear mug so it can be seen properly as it visits various locations. Honestly, when did my knitting projects start getting so pushy?

At least the Britney sweater is behaving. Four more rows, and I'll be up to the armholes. I'm going to (gasp! shock!) deviate a bit from the pattern so that things will work for the oddities of my short-waisted figure. (Short waist: I'll never model lingere. Not that anyone's been offering to have me do so, outside of my spouse, since I quit modeling back in the 80's.)
Britney Sweater #3
My lovely sweater. At least this project hasn't given up on me yet.
Either that, or it likes either (a) my cool Disney Baddies Tabloid Bag or
(b) the lovely inlaid tile floor I did in our front room.
Yes, I actually have a Compass Rose in my main room.
And a Greek Key, Chessboard, Shoo-Fly Quilt and Tetris Board
inlaid in the floors in other rooms.
Iz crafty.
Iz allergic 2 carpetz, I needz kewl floorz!

Okay, so there isn't a dramatic amount of progress since yesterday, but There Will Be. (Last night, I was totally NOT going to get sucked into any of the new NBC shows. Instead, I was actually watching "Life" intently enough that I wasn't actually able to knit at the same time.... *sigh*)

I was muttering to myself yesterday about getting together a crafting PodCast. Once the house is in a bit better order (and I'm taking a week off in October to make it so), I may look into the whole getting-a-site-and-going-for it, starting in December. Because November is "minimal knitting month" - aka National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, and I've been participating (and winning) for several years. Oh yeah, I'm a writer, too, in case you hadn't figured that one out yet.

I will knit at lunch. I will knit at lunch... Drat, might not get lunch at all today!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What do you do with a sulky sweater?

The Cat Sweater is sitting in its carrier, sulking. I promised it that I'd print out the top half of the pattern today so I can pick it up again without worrying that I'm going to do something irretrievably horrible to the lovely sweater I designed. (It'd be fine, either way. Stupid Cat Sweater is all "well, how do you KNOW you're knitting the right thing?" and I'm like "Hey, I'll just change the pattern to whatever I knit!" and it's like "Well, that's totally cheating!" and I'm like "Is not!" and it's like "IS TOO!" and it totally forgot that I'm bigger than it, and I can shove it back in its carrier if it gets mouthy.)

Doing well on the Britney sweater. I'm on the third of five balls of yarn, and I should have just enough to finish it so it doesn't look lame.

With Flash
Britney Sweater, with flash,
so you can see the pattern
Without Flash
Britney Sweater, without flash,
so you can see the actual colors


I have a tradition of making sweaters with Just Exactly Enough Yarn: to wit, my Hot Tamale (my "design" - but how much "design" is really involved in "knit around until you get to where you want sleeves, split, knit back and forth until you get to where you want your shoulder seams, join shoulders?"). She's that size because that's where the yarn stopped. (Fortunately, there was enough, or she'd be a more dramatic one-shouldered design, which I can't quite carry off just yet.)

Hot Tamale, to show off
(Hm. Just noticed Princess Leia is lurking over the sweater's left shoulder. Other people get Shoulder Angels; I get Princess Leia. This explains much about my life....)

For the the "EEEEK, you're FAMOUS!" entry of the day, I discovered an ARM. Over on the Yarn Harlot's actual blog, there is an actual photo of L's ARM! It's the topmost of the group pictures of the Bailey's Crossroads/DC leg of the trip, and hers is the light blue arm all the way on the left side of the photo. (Tiny detail of photo, with red circle to indicate the world-famous arm.) I'm further past the giant speaker pole, closer to the wall, so I am not at all depicted. But that's L's arm, right there!!
The Famous Arm
The Arm Seen 'Round the World

In the "What were they thinking?" category: Winner for most bizzare photo shoot of 2007 (and kids, you know there have been some wierd ones this year): "Devil Worship is the new Black!", from the French version of Vogue, viewable here... The commentary that the Jezebel writer added makes looking at several of the more-than-slightly-creepy pictures worth it. Artistically, one or two are pretty, I'll give them that. But other than getting everyone to talk about it, was there really a reason to do the shoot this way? Nevermind, just answered my own question.

And finally: Yes, Vykky, we need to talk: I'm *down* from 217 UFOs. ONLY 56 is actually quite a low number for me!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's all Diane Zangl's fault

As I said yesterday, it's all Diane Zangl's fault that I now have 56 UFOs (and it's a miracle only five of those are knitting... although that'll change when SoS starts in two weeks). And the fact, of course, that the yarn has been sitting on my end-table since March, just staring at me. Between the insistent yarn and the new Zangl pattern, I really didn't have a chance. You understand.

This is the first Diane Zangl thing I did, and the first pattern-from-magazine I ever tried. It was a lovely Fair Isle sweater in an issue of Knit n' Style from the early 00's. I'm fairly certain she used slightly more subdued colors in hers, but I had all this lovely rich pastel Caron supersoft. It'd be perfect to wear to Stitches East... if I can figure out what safe place in my house I've hidden it.

Diane Zangl's Fair Isle Sweater
The sweater, modeled here by my Mom. Man, I was so proud that I got the pattern on the set-in sleeves to match the pattern on the body. I know it's supposed to work that way, but I'm just really hipped that it did, even now, years later!

I'm up to the pattern rows on the Britney Sweater (much, much easier to carry around than the Cat Sweater!), and since I'm doing it in the round, and every other row is k12p2 around, it goes really fast, and doesn't really require watching.

If I could just learn to cross-stitch without looking the way I can knit and crochet without looking, I'd have a LOT less UFOs!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The yarn, it just attacked out of nowhere...


Ooooops.

I had a Yarn Accident. Or rather, Diane Zangl drove me to it. She's got another pattern in "Knit n' Style", to which I can assure you she's a regular contributor. Of all the designers out there, something about her patterns just click with me; of all the designers out there, she's the one that will definitely cause me to buy (or not buy) a magazine; and, of all the designers out there, she's the only one I'm 100% certain I've knitted at least two things she's designed.

Or, rather, about two and a quarter, as of last night. You see, first there was the yarn, Reynolds SANTANA in "Peach Pink Green" (Hmmm. There are skeins available on this website. I could use three more skeins... or five, then I could have sleeves... Hmmmm.):
Reynolds Santana in PeachPinkGreen
...and then there were the magazines. I bought the latest Knit n' Style, Knitter's Mag and Knit 0.1 on Saturday night. I flipped through them at the store, and decided that yep, there's something I'd knit out of each one. To wit:

Knit n' Style: Diane Zangl's "Britney Top" (See Fig. A in photo, below)

Knit .1: I picked this up despite many truly hideous "future" designs (although the top right Vulcan-style top is OK), thanks to the really cool cape in the "Back to School" section (a photo of which I'm not finding on line; See Fig. B in photo, below). The magazine actually lists itself in the engines as "for hip 18 to 35 year old knitters". Because once you're over 35, you're just HOPLESSly uncool. Yeahright.

Knitter's Magazine: the "Rustic Redefined" sweater/jacket, bottom left photo, sort of. Trust me, the rest of it will be scrummy... and I finally have something to do with the sixteen skeins of "Colonial" Lionbrand Homespun in "Colonial". Frighteningly, when I re-began knitting and crocheting in the mid 90's, after the "Ewwww, that's what my mother does" hiatus after high school, I really thought I'd need sixteen skeins for a sweater. (I wanted to be sure I had enough.) I also want to do the "Fine Imitators" bolster - in the yarn that would have been my Southwestern Mosaic shawl, but got unwound. (See Fig. C in photo, below) I think several pretty bolsters would be *much* more fun (and much more useful in my that's-still-not-enough-pillows style of decorating).

So, yarn accidentally fell onto my needles:
Britney Sweater #1
ANYway, I have five balls of the aforementioned yarn, and that should be just about enough to get me my very own Britney Sweater, or something like it if I do run out of yarn. And, since it's in the round with just one strand of yarn, minimal patterning and no steeks, it should just fly off my needles!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Big Adventure!!

The Big Adventure: Meeting Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot!

I'm very excited I got to do this, which was only possible because my friend L offered to drive us from work to the event. (I swear, no prompting, begging or cajoling on my part. If I'd thought of it first, though, there probably would have been, so a double thank-you to her for (a) the drive and (b) sparing herself my mewling pleas.)

Lots of photos follow. First, the familiar:

The Cat Sweater, given I had a LOT of knitting time (3pm-9pm!)
Cat Sweater 4b - where it is
And look - I made it to the armhole steeks!
Cat Sweater 4 - steek

Now, the fun - the Journey Begins:
(And one of the reasons I'm less-than-fond of Blogspot's HTML interface is the fact that I can't get rid of this giant amount of white space, which isn't in MY code...)















First, look at the KILLER GOOD parking space L got. We're pulling into the lot, and I say to her, "Too bad my mom's not in the car, eh? She's got PARKMA. She'd be where we are, and that little grey car in front of the door would pull out, and we'd get..." at which moment, little grey car's person comes in and pulls out, giving us the best space in the entire lot. I must remember to invoke my mom's Parkma more often!
The Parking Space
Then, we found ourselves at the end of the line. We were in the 25th spot when we arrived at 4 p.m. (Stephanie isn't slated to appear until 7:30 p.m.)
Waiting in Line, 3:00 to 5:30
Naturally, lots of knitters turned out for this event. I think we were probably the first ones there, of course, because we wanted seats (darnit!!), and in this town, the Early Bird rules. (Tweet tweet!) Several had some truly incredible things they were working on, either for themselves or various charities (the Hats for Knitting Without Borders, The Red Scarf Project, etc.). Really cool things. Like this Knitted Chicken.
Knitted Chicken!
Better shot of Knitted Chicken and her owner, whose name I forgot to get. (Bad, bad Gryphon.)
Chicken and its Owner
Also in line, the lovely lady who blogs over at Ariadne's Thread, with her beautiful Dayflower Dream shawl, done in Lacy Lamb:
Ariadne's Shawl
Then, at 5:30, the line moved. We got our numbers for the signing (I was 25, L was 27), and moved to The Seats. We got GOOD seats.
Waiting in Seats - 5:30 to 7:30
Here's me & L, waiting in our seats. I'm not sure where my extra chin came from...
Me & L
(See? Less chins!) Here's me, working on the Cat Sweater.
Cat Sweater 4a
Here's Cup-o-Shawl, patiently waiting for
its moment of glory (to be seen below).
Cup-o-Shawl at the Store
Just before 7:30, the Appointed Hour, Dan, the Man(ager) of the store began his introduction. Being a bright lad (and vastly outnumbered by people with sharp, pointy sticks), he appealed to the knitter's sense of community by producing a hat a friend had knitted for him thirty-five years ago, in 1972. He still wears the hat, proudly. And is willing to be photographed in it.
Dan, the Man(ager)
Then: Stephanie!!!
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee 1
Wheee! Right there in front of us, the Yarn Harlot!
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee 2
Her talk was VASTLY entertaining. I jotted down a couple of great quotes (my favorite was something along the lines of knitting from the dawn of time until now has been "pull one loop of yarn through another loop of yarn with pointy stick"), and had my husband in stitches relating The Saga of the Pretentious Party and The Yarn Equivalent of a Corvette.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee 3
Here, Stephanie demonstrates the proper tone and body posture for the not-to-be-overused "What yarn?" response to "Wow, you've sure got a lot of yarn..."
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee 4
Then, upstairs to the second waiting-in-line, this time to get actual signatures.
Waiting in Line, 9:00 to 9:30
 
Stephanie is very cool. If you brought it, she would sign it - so many authors (in fact, most!) will only sign their current book, and frequently their venues (or publicists) only allow them to sign books bought at the store. She signed my much-loved, dog-eared copy of At Knit's End, and then the new one I bought as a Christmas present for my Boss-Who-Knits. Anyone who wanted a photo with her got one; anyone who brought up a project to be photographed with her, she held it. She got a lot of cool gifts from fans - I got to see the gift of three different sizes of mega-huge Zip-Loc bags, which fascinated her. She is so sweet to her fans, and we all appreciate it.
While waiting in this second line, we got to see an AMAZING full-lenght knitted coat, with celtic knotwork and borders and wow it was amazing (I think the knitter's name is Daphne?). This would be a picture of it, but someone stepped in to take a picture just as I clicked. But you can see a bit of it (red arrow). Also, all of Stephanie's works, conveniently located in case someone forgot something (green arrow).
Waiting in Line, the Sweater-Coat
And Ariadne's shoes (I really should've read her real name... at least I remembered to get her card?). These are Birkenstocks, and she says they're now available Stateside, although she got hers in Germany. Sooooo cute!
Ariadne's Shoes
Then, me & Stephanie, and Cup-o-Shawl's moment of glory. (Stephanie suggested I should get a Mug-o-Shawl, because she thought it would be hysterical. I must do so!)
Me & Stephanie
And here's L and Stephanie. Here, Stephanie holds the almost-finished socks L is knitting for her husband.
L & Stephanie

All in all, totally worth the trip, and if Stephanie comes to your town, GO SEE HER!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oh, the excitement!!


Oooo... less than 10 hours now before we see the Yarn Harlot in person!! I've packed my Cat Sweater, Cup-o-Shawl (which actually is the Lilly of the Valley shawl), my copy of At Knit's End: Meditations for Women who Knit Too Much, two Zone bars, a bag of Wintergreen life savers, and, most importantly, my husband's new digital camera (he's worried: there's only space for 743 pictures on it).

My friend L and I will be headed down a few hours early to grab seats and, of course, knit. And take pictures. Of which many will be posted here tomorrow, just you wait!

I'm going to go totally fangirl, I just know it!! EEEEEEE!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Talk like a Pirate Day!

Not that I'm going to talk like a pirate here; I just thought I'd remind everyone that today is, in fact, Talk Like A Pirate Day. In the world of YAAAARRRRRRRN (okay, I had to...) I got something done on the Cat Sweater:
Cat Sweater, not much progress
You can kinda see that there's almost another half-row done. I mean, compared to last Friday's picture, I *have* gotten a whole row of pawprints finished, and another half-row past that. Maybe by the end of Wednesday (today) I'll finish the second "KITTY" row... ? Probably not, though, since while I really like my Big Orange Knitting Bag, it's just a bit too big to commute with. I will be carrying it tomorrow, since I'll be in a bookstore for many, many hours tomorrow evening, and I really would like to at least get up to the arm-steeks this week.

So, for today, I switched back to smaller bag, plus much smaller project. Cup-o-Shawl!!
Cup-o-Shawl!
Yep, I'm back on the Lilly of the Valley Shawl from Lace Style, for which I am allegedly in a knitalong. As there's not really a time-frame, it's whenever I feel like working on it... and the day after I've been lugging around Really Heavy Cat Sweater With Really Large Knitting Bag seems like a good time to me! I'm a bit scared that I was able to pick up the pattern and start again without actually having the pattern on me. Maybe that just means I've finally crossed over to being able to read Lace? That'd be cool!

Finally, in news-of-knitting-past, it finally got cold enough that I can wear my Hot Pink Poncho!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
It's made from Red Heart Kid's Craft Yarn (two strands at once on size 13 needles - took about two days), and wears like IRON. Should never, ever be washed alongside a green towel, though. Took many, many days to free it from a ton of tiny green pills... but it's all better now, and pill-free. And, might I mention, that the picture really doesn't convey just how BRIGHT it is in sunlight. It flouresces. It makes the eyes of others bleed. Try to say you didn't see me wearing THIS in the crosswalk, Mr. Driver-on-Cellphone...!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday & Tuesday post, combined (oops!)


Okay, Cat Sweater... um. I really shouldn't give myself super-duper hard deadlines on projects. It just makes me avoid them. I did manage to pick it up this morning, and I've finished Thursday's row and half of Friday's. But there will be no saying "Oh, this? I just started it last week, and I only have to finish this sleeve" to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Drat.
Cat Sweater in Cat Sweater Carrier
Most of the weekend, Cat Sweater stayed curled up in its nice, warm carrybag under the bright, warm lights.

On the other hand, I got some cross-stitch done on a 16th Century Knot Garden that I bought back in the 90's (... okay, so if I *have* deadlines, at least I finish things in a timely manner...), and Brittercup Designs' 2007 ornament from the Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. I actually finished the ornament; pic over here (for those who care about that which is other than knitting).
I *will* have progress pics - and actual progress - to show you on the Cat Sweater tomorrow.

Oh, and did I mention I was out sick yesterday... and didn't knit ANYTHING? How sad is that?


Friday, September 14, 2007

Cat Sweater Fever


Aaaaaugh!! I've fallen behind on the Cat Sweater schedule!!
Cat Sweater 4

Just look at it. I'm TWO ROWS behind at the time this photo was taken (shortly before 7:00 a.m. today). Thankfully, I am now only half a row behind... from YESTERDAY. I must finish 12.5 more rows today to be back on track. Why is this important, you ask?

Because on Thursday, I'll be knitting this in front of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot. And I'd really like to be on the sleeves, having successfully cut the sleeve-steeks and done the shoulder grafting. I'm really hoping to get a photo with her - my friend L. and I are leaving work at noon for a 7:00 appearance. That will probably be early enough to get seats... and either way, it's about five hours of pure knitting time (since L.'s the one driving).

Ahem. Back to the sweater... Right now, I'm (really soon now... I wonder if they'd notice if I knitted at my desk today?) about to start the fifth Row o' Pawprints, which contains the second "Kitty" and the "E" of "Here". And, good heavens, there's a heart in that row, too. Drat. It's really hard for me to be subtle about knitting when my nose is glued to my pattern. Why on earth did I make it this tricky? What was I thinking? Oh, yeah, I was thinking I wanted a good shot at a gift certificate and an autographed book. That heart has to go.... (scrambles quickly into DigiStitch, moves heart up one row). Okay, that's better. That should only give me kittens, instead of flat-out-hives. Must remeber to look at new pattern instead of old pattern...

And yes, I'm a maniac with scissors: I steek. I knit up lovely things, and then hack them viciously apart with scissors - and I tend to do this with Acryllic Things, so there's not even the hope the wool will bind to itself to prevent unraveling of my entire Acryllic Thing in the event of a scissors incident. Steeking gives my mother hives, but she's never had my "Oh well, that didn't work, let's try again" approach to things that don't quite work the first time. (She calls this being a perfectionist; I call it being practical. I think *she's* the perfectionist. For me, things have to be right eventually; for her, they have to be right the first time out of the gate.)

See? Here's the front steek, sort of visible, and indicated by the red arrow. (There are a lot of things in my house, but, honest, random red arrows floating conveniently in the air aren't among them just yet. Not that I've seen, anyway.)
Cat Sweater 4

Row-of-Pawprints six (now containing a heart and the "R" of "Here") is the last before I begin the sleeve steeks, if I deem the sides of the sweater long enough at that point. If they aren't, then two mysterious rows containing random hearts will be added. Right now, I don't think they're going to be long enough; I like my sweaters to... DRAT.

I'm going to have to figure out if my sweater is long enough BEFORE I start the next row... because I'll want to move up the second "Kitty" and the "Here". Oh, dagnabit!! Where's that ruler? Okay, have ruler. From tight-under-armpit to where I want it on my hip... how convenient, it's exactly a foot! The sweater thus far is 7.25"; the two rows of blocks up to the original armhole-steek constitutes (assuming my gauge stays the same) another 4". That's 11.25" - which is just shy of a foot, and that's before the usual pulling-and-whacking that passes for blocking Acryllic Things. (AAAAA! SWEATER MATH AAAAAAA!) From armpit over bust to shoulder, it's 10" (assuming a .25" seam, which is probably more than it'll actually be).... and that's four "rows" up to the breastbone/neck steek, and another for the shoulders... 10".

Holy Hannah, I must've measured myself before I came up with the Cat Sweater Pattern, because evidently what I've got *will* actually work. *Phew!!!*

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tag!!

Another "row" done on the Cat Sweater:
Cat Sweater 3
I'm not sure if I'm *completely* in love with the lettering - it might be too easy to read. Will have to see how the second set (in "row" four) goes. I'm really liking the hearts and the paw prints, though.
I'm hoping I'll be able to keep churning through a "row" a day... this would give me plenty of time to figure out things like "the lining" and "sleeves". Remember, this sweater is due at the end of October if I want in on the Prize Drawing!

Tag, you're it!!
You're IT!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Stash Room Tour


First, the Knitting:
Well, I'm zipping right along on the Cat Sweater - all the ribbing and one set of paw prints done! I'd be a bit further along, but I had to take the next three rows out three times before I realized that the "KITTY" in the second set of paw prints actually starts right at the edges of the blocks for some letters (not all, of course, because that would be too easy). Guess what? Picking up stitches in Fair Isle when you're carrying a LOT of stitches, and need to switch up the colors, is a PAIN. But I think I've gotten everything started properly (fourth time's the charm?)...
Cat Sweater 2
And a closeup, so you can see the paws and heart thus far:
Cat Sweater 2 - Closeup
And now, the Fun Tour of my Stash!
First, the left side of the room. The entire wall (all six feet of it!) is covered by a lovely IKEA shelf system that just happened to fit perfectly in the space left over by my little folding shelves (under the window) and the loft bed. No, really, there's a bed in this room, under all the stash.
Stash Room 9-11-07 left
      A. The almost-finished Sept. 11 memorial wall hanging I've been working on for six years now. It's all pieced (in reds, whites and blues) in Shoo-Fly blocks on the front, and I'm carefully quilting hearts and stars so they look good on both sides. All by hand; hopefully finished before this time next year.
       B. A really cute little top-down t-shirt style sweater I made from some fluffy baby yarn. It's almost cool enough here to start wearing it again - yay! It's really soft, and, since there's ribbing throughout, quite flattering.
       C. This is a corner shelf full of Pounds o' Yarn. When Ames went out of business here, they had a huge yarn department. After the first week, they cut all the craft stuff to 70%-90% off... so we bought 'em out of any yarn we thought we'd use. About half of it is here (and that's an 8"-tall shelf); the rest is in my mother's attic. I really *don't* need to buy yarn to make sweaters for a good, long time. (Example: the Cat Sweater. The beige and chocolate yarn came right off this shelf, where it's been living for the last four years, waiting for its chance to shine.)
       D. This is a stuffed squirrel, a promotional gift from some healthy cereal I was eating a while back. (I would like to note that it was a gift; I don't get squirrel things on my own. They find me, instead. Someday, I'll tell you the Saga of the Squirrel Wars.) This squirrel is wearing a particle mask. To date, no family member has 'fessed up to putting the particle mask on the squirrel.
       E. Two green Bongo Bags full of yarn. Bongo Bags are WONDERFUL. I have four green, two red, and two orange. One red and the orange have nothing in them as yet, but reorganization (as you can probably tell) is still happening.
       F. These are two-sided Hot Wheels carriers. The kind that hold a MESS of cars. Guess what? They also hold cards of embroidery floss perfectly! Right now, mine are more or less all DMC (some Anchor, some generic have snuck in) and are sorted, more or less, into color families. While there are a couple of boxes that are numbered, and mostly in order, that system breaks down very, very quickly. You'll note I have more than a few of these boxes.
       G. Yarn is also stored in clear, under-the-bed style zippered bags, if it all goes together. This is a bunch of skeins of Lion Brand "Homespun" in a colorway that hasn't been seen since the 90's. I have twelve skeins of it, since when I really started knitting and crocheting again, I thought that's what I'd need to make a sweater. Once I determined that three skeins would've done it, what I had done on the sweater got unraveled (and unraveled and unraveled) and shoved in a bag. Eventually, just seeing the yarn won't make me cringe, and I'll try doing something else with it.
       H. Another green Bongo Bag full of yarn.
       I. A red Bongo Bag, half full of yarn.
       J. A really cool one-skein project: start with three stitches, knit around. Keep adding stitches and knitting around until whatever the color variations of the yarn are (use varigated/ombre for this!); then just knit around. Make matching tieoff somehow. Fill with yarn. I found this jammed at the bottom of the bag that was holding the Dragon Illusion Blanket - and it's a bag! It shouldn't be in a bag *with* yarn, it should be a bag full *of* yarn!

Now, the right side of the room:
Stash Room 9-11-07 right
       A. The shelf of Specialty Yarn I don't know what to do with and pillows I bought to stitch up for my grandmother years ago (she passed away in 1993). Some of this may be traded for other things at Stitches East in October. It's good stuff - I'm just not sure why I have it in the first place. We've all got a small corner like this. I hope. At least I don't think it's just me...
       B. My lovely Oriental rug, which will eventually be in the front room of the house, once construction is finished. Construction should be finished by 2012...
       C. Each one of the bags you see hanging up here has at least one cross-stitch project in it. Several have up to five. While I can't remember what is in which bag, it's fun trying to find things when I need them. Sort of like a treasure hunt in my own house...!
       D. Barely visible, there *is* a bed up here. Right now, it's covered in fluffy orange blankets and 100+ picture frames and glass. When Total Crafts went under, mom and I raided the frame departments at each store in the area, getting frames that matched that we knew we'd use for things, and getting the glass cut at the same time. All 60%-80% off - and getting the frame and the glass is the tricky part of framing for us. Eventually, construction will be finished to the point that my two BOXES of finished-but-unframed needlework will be framed. Yes, I know I have a wall shortage in my house. I just figure I'll rotate through it every month (although my mother has volunteered to take anything I don't want for *her* walls)...
       E. The orange Bongo Bags, tucked behind the ladder to the loft bed. Behind them are some completely inaccessible file cabinets that will eventually hold all my small notions in a nice, orderly fashion.
       F. A HUGE freakin' bag of crochet thread in almost every color and various weights. There was an estate sale down the block at the beginning of the summer; I got two BINS of crochet thread and assorted tools for $5. I also got a finished and framed cross-stitch of Arthur & Guenivere (and a peacock!) for $20. As in "materials were at least $20, even in 1986 when it was stitched, and it's a $200 frame job". What a bargain!! (Yes, if it's on sale, I buy in bulk . You never know when your area might run out of yarn, crochet thread, or totebags!)
       G. The Glorious Fuzzyness. This is a blanket made entirely out of the thick baby chenille Bernat had out two years ago. This blanket weighs a TON - no babies should ever be placed underneath it! - but it is SO warm.
       H. A bag from In Stitches. It is presently holding yarn, four handpainted canvases, and a bunch of cross-stitch patterns. And probably some fabric, as well. This is not the only bag like this in this room, but it's the only one that's easy to point out. Which tells you something about how much floorspace I actually have in here.
       I. My lovely orange knitting bag (the official one), a birthday present from one of the S&B'ers a few years back. It's currently holding the yarn that was the Yellow Fleck Sweater, before I unraveled it, and a cross stitch project I got the morning I had surgery, because I needed something small I could do in the various waiting rooms, and I couldn't actually lift any of my stash to *find* a small project. (I had not yet taken over this room at this point - everything was jammed in a corner of our back room, in and around the couch.)
       J. The two shawls I made last year - my turquoise-and-green silk, and my Ty-Dy, both done in a variation on Meg Swansen's "Shaped Triangle Shawl".
       K. Boxes and boxes of craft books and kits, in front of the under-the-loft shelves that the books are supposed to be on. Not quite sure how the physics-defying feat of getting the contents of all those boxes onto those tiny shelves will be accomplished as yet.
       L. The yarn for my this-will-actually-fit-me red, white and blue all-over cabled sweater. I made one of these, and didn't really understand, at the time, that cabling takes a LOT of inches off a project. When I lose 80 pounds, I MIGHT fit into the sweater I made. But I'm not getting rid of the one I've finished until the new one is done. I'm just not!
       M. Last, but not least, the lovely wicker basket my mother got me to put "all my yarn in" a few years ago. Slightly after the Ames going-out-of-business buying spree, so she should've known *that* wasn't going to cut it. But it's a lovely little basket!
Photos of projects somewhat visible or mentioned above:
The Glorious Fuzzyness, when it was almost finished. It's actually on a blue background, but I like the fact that it looks black.
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Ty-Dy shawl (in Ty-Dy cotton). Actually my photo; doesn't it look artsy?
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Shaped Triangle Shawl (Alchemy Silk). Just as a note, I BUILT those cupboards it's hanging from. I gots mad carpentry skillz.
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All-Cabled Sweater, accidentally made for someone half my size (Red Heart TLC).
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The next tour of the Stash Room will be conducted once enough changes have been made that you'd actually be able to tell something was accomplished just by looking at a photo.