May 27, 2003
Template's back, hooray. The sampler quilt shot is added.
And, more importantly, I have a button! Look, it's over there in the sidebar, where it says, "stitch this"! It comes courtesy of my web Xpert friend Suzanne, and I'm tickled pink. I guess I better alert the blog-button collectors. Check your mailbox.

posted by Maggi at 5/27/2003 05:29:00 PM

May 26, 2003
Well, blasted Blogger's being buggy -- I'm trying to make some template edits, on the b'days and WIPs, and it's giving me blankness. And then there's my other problem with my camera software for some unknown reason causing bigtime errors to the whole computer (Windows) when I try to download pix from it to the hard drive. [Fixed the camera glitch, or got to a try that worked, so here's a progress photo on Daypack]

I also have a new quilt to add, but Blogger says it doesn't have my template! What gives? Otherwise, a fine holiday weekend despite intermittent deluge. My latest Elann order arrived and I excitedly cast on a swatch of the less-costly yarn I'd ordered for the Smooch knit-along. Despite my guesswork based on the online info and the picture there, it's too fine a strand for that tank, although I think I can do something with Bonne Marie's boatneck shell pattern that calls for 5 st/in. I think I'm going to break down and buy some Rowan All Seasons Cotton, as the pattern is written for that -- it hasn't been the price that's stopped me thus far so much as none of the colors grabbing me. Alison, if you're reading this, I swear I'm not nearly so indecisive in real life, although I am a Myers-Briggs P! #

posted by Maggi at 5/26/2003 02:27:00 PM

May 23, 2003
You gotta love a 24-hour knitting project (actual knitting time considerably less, of course)! Here's the catnip mouse, posed against the paw of its stoned recipient. As I wrote to Wendy when I send her a pic for the mouse-along gallery, Bring on the full-size arans! (But not until the fall; I've a stack of summer projects to knit before wallowing in wool again.)

posted by Maggi at 5/23/2003 10:01:00 AM

May 22, 2003
Uh-oh. I fear I'm suffering from that finish-phobia: Since I've knitted all of the pieces of Amelia's Haiku sweater, I've started three new projects, two of them last night. Thankfully, I have her birthday as a completion deadline, but that's not until July; still, I should complete it completely!

Meanwhile, here's a look at one of the newer two. First, a summer scarf knit from a cotton-blend yarn called Portofino that I picked up in NC over Mother's Day weekend. I cast 15 stitches onto US15 needles, and am working six K rows (three ridges) alternating with nine (K2tog, YO) rows.

The other is to be a catnip-stuffed mouse for Ethan, at the prompting of Wendy who posted a simple aran pattern on her blog and created a gallery to display the mice and their delighted recipients.

Either of these new WIPs is sized for knitting on the go, and I needed a new one of those (she rationalizes.) And knitting also continues on the daypack, having received Rob's reassurance that one strand will felt into a sturdy accessory. I'm into the rounds now, but not to the first stripe. #

posted by Maggi at 5/22/2003 10:46:00 AM

May 20, 2003
I finally cast on the daypack last night, experiencing for the first time the use of provisional stitches in a waste yarn. I'm eager to have this for my summer bag, even if it is wool. But I must check with Rob & Matt at Threadbear to be sure I should only be knitting with one strand of Cascade 220, because my other felted projects thus far have used double.

Caroline's birthday party was big fun, despite the rain that kept us from spreading to the deck and garden. She's been enjoying the many books she received, and takes frequent turns on the rocking ladybug, but I think her favorite gift was the rain or shine set from my knitting mentor friend, Frances. #

posted by Maggi at 5/20/2003 10:05:00 AM

May 18, 2003
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAROLINE! My daughter is two years old, and we're having a pizza party this evening. Yea!
Meanwhile, the venerable (although not so much so, given the recent Jayson Blair revelations) New York Times features an article today on blogging -- in the Styles section. Check it out; I, for one, am glad we're concentrating our blogging, for the most part, on knitting. #

posted by Maggi at 5/18/2003 11:29:00 AM

May 17, 2003
I just realized I have another WIP. Once upon a time I tried some crocheting, and made a baby afghan that I thought would be for Caroline, but that I ended up giving to my friend Cary, the mom whose birthday it happens to be today, as she left for Russia to adopt her daughter Jaqueline. Then I bought some more Sugar & Cream cotton to make a second afghan, but meanwhile started knitting again and realized I liked to knit more than to crochet. So, I frogged (can we use that term for ripping crochet?) the rather wonky afghan-in-progress and decided to knit it in squares like a quilt -- so that I could do just a bit at a time, between other knitting projects. Nowadays, I work on projects between projects and have left the nine-patch blanket be. I hope that placing it on this public WIP list will lead me to finish it -- eventually! #

posted by Maggi at 5/17/2003 09:48:00 AM

May 15, 2003
My friends Elizabeth and Matt (recipients of quilt and Fuzzy Feet) wed this hour on the bank of the Piankitank River. Congratulations!

This is the life (or at least one that's fun to sample). Caroline's caregiver's gone to Boston, so I've taken two days of vacation this week to hang with the wee one. Yesterday: Power walk with a pal (& strollers), iced coffee al fresco, a visit to the LYS, swatching and other naptime tasks, and goddaughter's soccer game coupled with the discovery of a great new playground.
Today: Yet another playground with a mom-tot pair o'friends, the Farmers' Market and it's naptime again, so who knows what the afternoon holds!

One more blog note: I've added the pseudo-Suki to the gallery, having finished the handles to Mom's specs -- she opted for short and doubled, which I find dandy. On to the next . . . #

posted by Maggi at 5/15/2003 01:32:00 PM

May 14, 2003
I've felt a bit odd working on only three projects for a few weeks now, so I'm ready to get a start on the popular felted day pack designed by the team called Two Old Bags. And, no surprise, I purchased the pattern and the Cascade 220 from the fellas at Threadbear, and was mightily pleased to have color guru Matt's approval of my choices. But it was Joe's remark I read yesterday that prompted me to set up the winder, so I could try placing the skein label into the wound yarn, comme ca:

Thanks, Joe, for a great suggestion. I look forward to casting on later today.

Another aspect of my winding set-up was suggested in the forums at Knitters Review when I was researching swifts and winders to determine whether I wanted to own one or both or neither. Here, as a result, is my lampshade swift, which works just fine, thanks!

posted by Maggi at 5/14/2003 08:27:00 AM

May 12, 2003
Virtual House Tour for Pioneer Melissa
But first let's talk about some stitches. I had a chance over the weekend to photograph the log cabin quilt I made for my mom for Christmas 1999, so that image has been added to the gallery. And progress on Haiku continues, so here's a shot of it spread out, rather than in pre-assembly pose:

So, Melissa's thinking about paint, and put out a call for ideas and glimpses of the choices others have made. I've got the house, I've got the digital camera -- so here, Pioneer, is one more knit blogger's homestead. When I arrived at this home nine years ago (!), all walls were an off-white; I've left them that way in the living room, the study and the upstairs hall. But, as you'll see in the photo, we enhanced the stairway itself with some bright yellow paint, as suggested by my friend and consultant, Chris, a design professional. This paint had a number rather than a name, Melissa, but the dining room walls are Crabapple by Martin Seynour. (Look, it's the pile o'knit chair, adorned with the Sitcom Chic yarn in a bag.)

The kitchen was the first room I attacked; if I had a scanner I'd show you the before picture -- but the changes have occurred over time. I painted the cabinets (and the refrigerator) right away, gloss black and a blue with a number that I subsequently couldn't get more of when I wanted to paint the wall to match. The mixing men did their best. A few years later we replaced nondescript vinyl flooring with black and white tiles, then about a year ago opted for new laminate countertops, stainless steel backsplash and open shelving. (The hanging ladybug flag thingy awaits the passage of pollen to be hung on the back deck.) I forgot to photograph the powder room that's off the kitchen, not that there's room to shoot, but its walls are covered in apple-green gathered muslin because I found them unworthy of paint.

Shall we go upstairs? Here's the bathroom, and let's show off the mirrors I made from the spare tiles that remained after its complete makeover. This was the project where I met the aforementioned Chris, when he worked for the contractor. All credit for its delightfulness are due him, but he made me feel like a participant as he guided the design decisions.

It's a small space, but made reasonably roomy by the choice of a corner tub and the diagonal placement of the sink. I couldn't photograph the paint feature here, Melissa, but know that the ceiling is the same aqua as the laminate facing on the side of the counter.

The walls in Caroline's room are painted another Martin Seynour color called Arizona Sky. I've never seen skies this shade out there, but it's a nice dusty peach that worked in the room for years before it became hers and I found fabric for curtains. There's the ladybug pillow, my second knitted object of this century! The other bedroom is in its second incarnation, having been painted about three years ago this lovely Sherwin Williams shade called Fawn. To view the carpet, scroll up to today's sweater shot!

That's most of the inside, Melissa -- I only skipped the study from which I often write, and the basement which has green porch paint on its floor and basic white sprayed onto all remaining surfaces. I find it interesting that you see the primary colors on the ground floor (and if you stand in the kitchen can view all of them at once) and the secondary variants upstairs. I didn't plan it that way, but there you go. #

posted by Maggi at 5/12/2003 10:02:00 PM

May 10, 2003
Happy Birthday, Mom! While I knew all along I was making the one red Fuzzy Foot for my mother's birthday, I just decided last night also to gift her with the pseudo-Suki. As she's still working up to her prosthesis and therefore not staying back here at home yet, I have no reaction to these presents to report. But we'll take a picture, and I'll add it to this post later.

Much car-knitting progress on the little sweater yesterday, especially as a tornado blocked our progress and gave us an extra hour sitting still on the highway. It occurred well ahead of us, but downed trees had to be cut and cleared. We were amazed at the twisted trunks and branches when we finally passed the storm's path -- but we were moving, and the camera was in the trunk! #

posted by Maggi at 5/10/2003 09:36:00 AM

May 09, 2003
Amelia's sweater is progressing nicely. I'm glad I started with the sleeves. Here's a shot of the half that's complete (but that sleeve isn't really attached yet.)

The knitting goes a bit faster on the body, because one is either working in garter stitch or in box stitch, rather than switching between the two as I did on the sleeves. We're going to visit my parents this weekend, and I'll only have to drive one way, so I've got some good knitting-in-the-car time ahead. I also plan to stitch up the parts of the pseudo-Suki, so I took it off the WIP list -- leaving me with only two projects! Guess I'll get to start the daypack soon -- something to work on with the Suki knit-alongers, since I've already made one plus.

Of course, it's occurred to me that all three of my goddaughters have summer birthdays, and Amelia's is actually the last of them, so why am I not also knitting gifts for Kathryn and Sallie? Maybe because they are bigger and I can't generate theirs as quickly . . . or because they are growing too fast (turning eight and six, respectively)? Kathryn's in Carolina, and I don't have her measurements, not that I couldn't enlist her parents' help. I think the better plan here is to knit their Christmas gifts!

posted by Maggi at 5/09/2003 10:33:00 AM

May 07, 2003
REPORT FROM S&B: Six of us showed for Stitch & Bitch last night, everyone knitting except Lisa (uncharacteristically, as she even made Ethan a knitted wonton between the last S&B and last night). Since I was the one wielding the camera, there's no shot of my completed sleeves of the Haiku sweater, but they're bound off and the body's begun.

Heather continued work on a multicolored bear (I can't recall if she named its designated recipient), while Pam sewed together the two sides of a bag she's knitted, and thought about how she'll decorate it with buttons. Frances demonstrated how to twist up cording, which she then attached to a trio of fuzzy felted bags she's made for her nieces for Christmas. The prolific Michelle worked on a little baby jacket, and needed me to call up the pattern because her printer had cut part of it off -- I'm amazed that I remember the URL 14 hours later and can link it here! Finally, here's Lisa repairing the hem of her darling vintage skirt that's printed with square dancers and musicians (and she wears with her red cowboy boots).

We were sorry that Alice wasn't there to tell us about her recent workshop with Nicky Epstein, but happy that she won tickets to a concert that kept her away. And I'd hoped to see Molly's first baby sweater, but there's always next month! #

posted by Maggi at 5/07/2003 10:30:00 AM

May 06, 2003
You gotta love it when you don your latest creation and your kid takes a look and enthusiastically says, "Knit!" Tonight I host S&B, so, yes, I want to show this off. I've heard a lot of show & tell is coming our way, so I'll share photos tomorrow. I think this meeting marks the two-year anniversary of my Stitch & Bitch, where attendance has ranged from three to 18, and needlework run the gamut from mere mending to beading, with crochet, cross, embroidery, knit, needlepoint and quilt stitches between. Age range from teens to 50s, but no gender diversity -- I guess I don't know any men (in town) who stitch, alas. They're not barred, by any means, and in fact a couple o'Daves stopped by once, briefly, to observe.

This blog's about the knit and not the cat, but I can't help noting that our Ethan turns 17 today, the same age Wendy's Izzy would have, this summer. He's gotten a good bit of extra attention in this week since Wendy lost dear Isolde -- not that his personality ever permits him to be ignored. Despite the fact that my mother calls him "Ethanthatsonofabitch," I'm hoping we'll have a good handful of feline birthdays yet. #

posted by Maggi at 5/06/2003 10:01:00 AM

May 04, 2003
This smiling nine-month-old is goddaughter Amelia, recipient-to-be of my current sweater-in-progress:

Really, she's 9-1/2 months, which gives me 2-1/2 months to finish. At this point I'm hopeful, even though Caroline's sweater took me longer, and that was back in the fall when I only knit one thing at a time!

This weekend's knitting frustration has been gauge. I bought some lovely handpainted yarn from an eBay vendor who recommended 10 to 10-1/2 as the needle size, but didn't specify a gauge. I thought the yarn could go as well on a smaller needle, and so I started swatching, first on 7s and then on 9s. To my eye the fabrics did not differ vastly, and the stitch count was also terribly close. Tried 10s today, and I'm not going any higher. I'm currently toying with the idea of using a shell pattern that calls for 14 st on 10.5 -- I'm getting 15 st on 10s -- and making a smaller size. Anyone care to advise whether that will work? Guess I should crunch some numbers. #

posted by Maggi at 5/04/2003 08:59:00 PM

May 02, 2003
A big thank-you to Rob, who tipped me off to the ice-water plunge as a felting aid. After three or four more cycles (I lost count) last night, I got the red Foot down to slipper size -- and boy, is it fuzzy!

I used my jean jacket for co-agitator, so a denim sheen graces the fuzz. Shall I call it a design element? In hindsight, perhaps I should not have used the yarn double-stranded, and I think I should've swatched. When I made the first pair of Fuzzy Feet, the swatch sent me back to the LYS for another skein of that hand-dyed Peruvian wool that was on the thin side. I don't think I needed two strands this time. Live and learn! I may give this yarn one more try in the felting bowl, on something small like The Keyboard Biologist's tiny partitioned bag. First, though, in felting, it's on to the delicious daypack -- or at least I hope mine turns out so.

Here's a glimpse of my progress on the sleeves of Amelia's Haiku sweater.

The other night I broke one of the needles I was using when I tried to straighten it -- rather a stupid move, Maggi. One of an eBay hank o'needles, this pair was doing me right with the yarn because they were extra pointy, which helped me avoid splitting the plies. So I grabbed these bamboo circs that by contrast strike me as particularly unpointy, but I think I'll explore the needle vase again when I finish these little sleeves . . . #

posted by Maggi at 5/02/2003 09:35:00 AM

May 01, 2003
You win some, you lose some, right? Or maybe all is not (yet) lost . . .

Here, drying, is the Pseudo-Suki, my smaller variant on my fab knitting bag designed by Kathy for Knitty. It's quite the bucket, but I've made a tab closure to sew to the inside below the eyelash bit so it can be snapped. I attached one end of the I-cord strap before felting -- the thing really stretched out in the washer -- and I'll determine how long I want it once all's dry. You'll get one more photo here, I think, after the finishing and drying -- looks like I may want to pull more of the pink fluff to the outside, too.

Ah, but the Fuzzy Foot, which also endured three cycles of agitation, hardly shrunk down at all.

My positive experience here is that I threw it into a load of laundry before felting, and found that, indeed, the yarn became much softer after whatever was in it for coning and machine knitting washed out. It did felt some, though, so maybe I should give it another go. It was too late to keep at it last night. I'll check with Rob, who used ice-cold plunges to aid the felting of his gorgeous Kureyon daypack. #

posted by Maggi at 5/01/2003 10:05:00 AM

Colleen Messick

past stitches:

life and things I'm making of it

stitches in progress
nine-patch blanket

recycled fluted cardie

wave & shell scarf

Brotherman socks

finished knit stitches
1980s pullover
Caleb's set (K & crochet)
ladybug pillow
hooded sweater
Suki tote bag
Fuzzy Feet
three scarves
Voodoo wrist warmers
small Galway purse
Sequin/Lily scarf
one-cable shell
pseudo-Suki bag
Portofino scarf
Wendy's catnip mouse
felted daypack
Haiku sweater
toddler jumpsuit
Portrait lace scarf
Smooch tank
beaded/ribbed boucle' scarf
Cutie Patootie cardigan
Maori scarf
Jen's (Caroline's) Poncho
pair o'Fizz+ scarves
Santa Fe socks
Strawberry set for Baby Boyd
Magpie scarf
Tawa twins' booties
Sarah's cabled hat

completed quilt stitches
Bright Sampler
Kathryn's Pillow
Christmas Cabin
Wishes for Caroline
Marcher Wishes and More
Lizzi's Blues (& Matt's)

37 stitches about me

stitches back at me

the obligatory feline

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Lives in United States/Virginia/& Carolina, speaks English and Italian. My interests are stitching/poetry.
This is my blogchalk:
United States, Virginia, & Carolina, English, Italian, stitching, poetry.

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a songbird will come.
--Chinese proverb