Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tasty Link of the Week--Handknit on the Red Carpet

And the winner is...The Knitting Heretic! Annie Modesitt, one of my knitcrushes, created this stunning dress that worked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards. Worn by the stunning Ami Brabson, wife of the stunning Andre Braugher, who won for Best Actor in a Miniseries for Thief (we forgive you for that Poseidon remake mistep). More details on the dress on Annie's blog. How cool is that?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My 100th Post

It's my 100th Blog Post! No prizes or anything, I'm just sayin'. Is it just me, or does summer seem to end sooner every year? Drove the oldest child back to college yesterday, prepping the younger two for re-entry, DH has been officially annointed as High School Principal and me--I'll be back at work judging 2 year olds as prospective nursery schoolers on Monday. Sigh. On the other hand, there's good stuff about the coming of the New Year (although not Jewish, I have adopted Rosh Hashanah as the logical start to the new year, calendar be damned--back to school means a new beginning).

Picked up a copy of the Fall 2006 Interweave Knits; while nothing grabbed me by the lapels and shouted "make me," and I'm not quite ready to give up my Mason-Dixon obsession, I do feel my fingers tingling to get back into some wool. There are certainly enough UFOs mewling for attention, and Rhinebeck is just around the corner.

Oh, and it's my wedding anniversary. 21 years of bliss, and I wouldn't change a thing. Not even tempted by reports that Bruce and Patti are on the rocks. We've always been cuter, anyway:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Survivors Ready...Yo!

Oh no they di'n't. Taking a break from knitting content to report on my second favorite pastime...TV watching. On this morning's CBS Early Show, my secret crush Jeff Probst announced the twist for the upcoming season of Survivor: they're dividing the tribes by race. I don't know whether to laugh or cry--aw, hell yeah I do...I'm laughing my ass off. It's yet another case of being careful what you wish for: the multicolored family and I (dedicated Survivor watchers all...sorry folks, but Project: Runway is just a way to fill in the gap between seasons) have long complained about the lack of diversity on the show and, Cerie aside, the lack of viable black role models for the kids to root for (oh, who am I kidding--they don't care...I'm the one who rants about this stuff). Anyway, I'm scared--can you imagine what the Fox Network is dreaming up right now?--but I for sure am watching. Would feel more comfortable if the tribes of color got to choose the turf (Survivor: 131st and Lenox, 3 am y'all), and definitely dreading the singing of Kumbaya when the tribes merge, but it will be...something completely different.

Now, speaking of something really worth watching, do not miss rebroadcasts of Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke on HBO.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Terror Alert Ballband Dishcloth

threatdownAs promised, the Terror Alert Ballband Dishcloth, presented here by The Colbert Report (if you’d like Stephen Colbert to showcase your very own FO’s, go here for the Threatdown Generator). The three of you who read this blog (hi, Mom) might remember that the finished product was promised to splindarella, who correctly guessed the significance of the color scheme in a contest entry below. OK, so she was the only entry, but she’s still a winner. I figure if you gotta go, you might as well go with clean dishes.

Snakes on a Plane Update: With two teenaged boys in the house, even extremely cyniclal ones, there was no way I wasn't going to see it on opening weekend. So, while DH snuck off to the Lincoln Plaza Cinema to see something arty (smell him), there I was at Magic Johnson on 125th Street with a rowdy talk-back-to-the-screen audience. The good news: I only had to look away fron the icky action and pretend to be engrossed in my Mason-Dixon Ballband Dishcloth a couple of times. The bad news: well, there really isn't any bad news. It's exactly what one would expect--snakes...on a plane...a good-bad toss your popcorn in the air experience if you can suspend your cinematic scruples. Slate Magazine’s review has an interesting slant: a reading of Snakes on a Plane as a post-9/11 allegory.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tasty Link of the Week--Snakes on a Knitter

I know, I know... Snakes on a Plane is officially over. My darling son, self-appointed God of the Internets, has proclaimed so on his blog. However, I couldn't resist a Google image search for "Snakes on a Knitter," and came up with this hinged-jaw-dropping website for Adele Recklies, who does custom knitting, crochet and beadwork for theater and film. The 15' 6" beaded snake at left took her over a little more than a year to make. And I complained last night when my middle son asked me to knit him a pirate eyepatch for camp dress-up day (it only took me one and a half Law and Order SVU reruns to finish...take that Adele).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

...and all i got was this lousy warshrag

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the Mason-Dixon KAL Member behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled , "PULL OVER!" "NO!", the Mason-Dixon KAL Member yelled back, "IT'S A WARSHRAG!"

Maybe you sort of had to be there. Anyway, I'm back from the much anticipated Nova Scotia vacation, experiencing the to-be-expected letdown. Knitwise, all I did was this one ballband dishcloth, which I had fully intended to finish in time to leave as a gift for our guest house hosts, but gin & tonics, lobster and good-bad Canadian TV got in the way so it traveled back with me to NYC (in all its blurry glory, I have dubbed it "The Grapes of Warsh"). I did hit a couple of nice yarn stores on the way (The Loop Craft Cafe in Halifax; Have a Yarn in Mahone Bay), but I did more fondling than buying...saving my money for the aforementioned G&T's and lobster. I did have a wonderful time, but it's good to be home with my stash. I've always been something of a loser with the vacation shots, preferring to live in the moment, but here are the few I took:
nova scotia 002First, the obligatory "Guard at the Halifax Citadel" shot. He was such a photo op I felt guilty not taking it and feared they would take away my tourist card if I didn't make goofy faces to get him to smile. I did and he didn't.
nova scotia 001Then, there was this weird-ass statue near the harbor. It had something to do with turned-away immigrants, but I liked it because it reminded me of the Dementors in Harry Potter. If the Dementors served pie instead of sucking souls.
nova scotia 003And finally, the picture postcard shot (OK, so I cut off the top spire) of the Lunenberg Academy in...well, Lunenberg, a seaport town settled and still populated by an alarming number of German expats. We never got to go inside for the tour, but it was pretty impressive for an elementary school. At least, they claim it's an elementary school, but I suspect some sort of Boys from Brazil thing going on. To this native New Yorker, the folks in Lunenberg were very friendly...too friendly. Which is why I'm so rarely allowed on vacation. Canada rocks, however. Even if we did have to leave behind our gels and toothpaste to get back home.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Well, I'm heading off to the yarn shops...er...wilds of Nova Scotia for a week, so if you're looking for updates (yeah, right), there won't be any. But feel free to leave a comment with best wishes, hot gossip or (especially) prize notifications and we'll catch up as soon as I get back! xoxoxT

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tasty Link of the Week - I Pity the Fool

Since I've been doing an inordinate amount of web-surfing lately, and inspired by the glorious blog re:knit and the late lamented You Knit What??, I've decided to add a new feature: the Tasty Link of the Week. I'll aim for weekly updates, but I have a warped sense of time.

Enough jibba jabba--let's get to it: the folks at craftster.org laid down the challenge--best sock monkey ever. In a strong field, the undisputed champion: I Pity the Fool, a heart-stopping likeness of the one, the only Mr. T (I bow to the winner, and be sure to scroll through the other entries--wonderful stuff).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Absorba in Progress

If someone had told me a few months ago I would be knitting a bathmat using three strands of thick cotton on giganormous needles, I would have said "Ummm...no." But, this being the summer of all things Mason-Dixon Knitting, I find myself turning the corner on the Absorba. It's a gratifying project in a put-upon fairy tale princess way; as I slog through I keep waiting for some dwarfish gnome dude to pop up and demand that I guess his name or he'll take my firstborn. Whatever, it's really good for mopping up sweat. Here it is, in progress, surrounded by newly acquired cheapo cotton stash for more more more warshrags. I am into naming my ballband dishcloths these days--draped on the stash up top behold The Grapes of Warsh.

By the way, I promise a Ballband Dishcloth to the first person who can tell me what the row of colors on the left represents (for the record, and since my digital camera takes sucky pictures, those colors are Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange and Red. In that order.).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Baby Ballband Pillbox Hat

Baby Ballband Pillbox HatBaby Ballband Pillbox Hat TopWhen is a warshrag not a warshrag? When it’s a baby hat! Never one to leave well enough alone, I’ve converted the ever-popular Mason-Dixon Knitting Ballband Dishcloth into a knit-in-the-round dome cover. Totally impractical of course—any self-respecting baby would fling it off in a heartbeat—but easily adaptable to larger sizes. No baby available to model, so I used a box of grits…that’s the Dixon in this NYC girl coming through.

Semi-Homemade Pattern:

Size: Baby. To size up, cast on extra stitches in multiples of six. Since you’re knitting in the round, forget about the extra edge stitches at the end of the flat pattern.
Materials: Worsted weight cotton of your choice in at least two colors (I used three colors here, but the pattern is written for two: Color A and Color B). Less than a 1.5 oz skein of each.
16 inch circular needle size 7, plus extra circular needle or set of double points for decreasing.
Gauge: Meh, just knit…it’ll fit somebody.

With Color A, cast on 60 stitches. Join and place marker. Purl two Rounds, and begin Ballband Pattern, joining Color B on Row 3.

Here’s the Semi-Homemade part: Ever mindful of copyright and giving props, I implore you to seek out Ann and Kay’s Mason-Dixon Knitting or buy yourself a ball of Peaches and Crème from the folks at Elmore-Pisgah (the pattern's on the...wait for it...ballband). If your ethics are shaky, an internet search will yield results, but I ain’t giving them here.

The tricky thing is converting the flat pattern to knitting in the round, but basically all you’re doing is reversing the stitches on the wrong side rows, and always slipping with yarn in back (i.e. Rounds 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 are knit as you see them; on the even Rounds 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12, purl where it says to knit and always bring your yarn to the back to slip the stitch and move it forward again to continue purling).

Do 2 complete rounds of Rows 1-12 of the Ballband pattern, and then repeat rows 1-8.

Back to the Homemade part:

Purl 2 rounds. Knit 1 round, marking 4 points (here, the 15th, 30th, 45th and 60th stitches) for decreases. Use split markers, small safety pins or paper clips, because the markers will move with the double decrease** stitch (use a different color marker on the 60th stitch to indicate the beginning of the round).

Commence decreasing: *k to within 1 stitch of marked stitch, dbl dec** (slip one stitch, k 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over the 2 knitted together)*. Repeat around.

K 1 round.

Repeat these two rounds until you have 30 stitches left, changing to double points or 2 circulars when your stitches start cramping. At 30 stitches, start decreasing every round until you have 6 stitches left. Break yarn, gather stitches and weave in ends.

That’s all folks: steal it, embellish it, correct it--but please don’t sell it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

R.I.P. You Knit What??

Apparently, one of my favorite sites in the whole wide blogosphere has bitten the dust. Sure, there are other places out there that celebrate the fugly that is misguided needlework, but nobody did it better than You Knit What?? I will leave them linked in my sidebar forever. Thanks for the ride, guys.

Off to burn a ball of Bernat Disco in honor of my homies.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mason-Dixon Baby Kimono

Awwww....Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting; in the background, the ubiquitous Ballband Dishcloth (isn't it amazing how a new warshrag appears on the needles as soon as you've finished one?) and a Ninepatch. For all, I used stash cotton so antique that the ballbands have been long lost (which is one of the many wonderful things about the book--it really doesn't matter so long as it knits up nice). Tarted up the kimono a bit by adding a 3-stitch i-cord tie and a single crochet trim. Onward...I love this book.