June 30, 2003
Making up is not hard to do! For starters, I'm more confident a ripper -- used to be I would always tink stitch-by-stitch, for fear of not getting the knitting back on the needles correctly. Maybe the body of the Rowan ASC yarn holds to itself better than some I've knitted with, but Smooch was easy to take back to the six-inch mark and reknit from there. Now, three days later I've knit well past the point I'd reached incorrectly before -- and that's after knitting but two hours on the weekend (because I didn't take the pattern on the road with me, and feared doing too many or too few increases before forging on). In fact, I think I'm ready to start the armhole shaping tonight. I'd intended to knit Becky's swatch, too, having narrowed my choices and packed the Banana Cream Cotton-Ease skein -- but I forgot to take an extra set of needles, and chose not to take Smooch off its pair for that. Since we have neighborhood Independence Day festivities later in the week, the Becky-square may be the perfect thing to tote around the corner. #

posted by Maggi at 6/30/2003 02:05:00 PM

June 26, 2003
Today's quiz: Are you a knitter?
Well, duh, but it was fun to see how the quiz defined me, its choices ranging from young to cutesie to granny to hip to masterful. I'm content to hang in the middle (although disappointed with the fuzzy graphic):

Granny knitter
You may not be a granny, but you've got the
mentality. Hard work and artistic vision lead
to your beautiful knitted results.

Are you a knitter? brought to you by Quizilla

BUT, Smooops, I feel I may not deserve the granny-knitter tag. Last night I realized I'd knit way too far on Smooch without making the increases that correspond to the shaping decreases. I got so excited about plowing ahead that I paid insufficient attention to the directions, which Kim Hargreaves or her Rowan editors have published using the metric system (while I thought the UK used inches). I saw a measurement of 15 and started thinking inches, even though that would be WAY too far up, rather than centimeters, at the 6-inch mark. So I bet I'm gonna be ripping back all I've done with the second skein. Bummer. At least there are a couple of good flix on cable tonight to accompany my frogging.

posted by Maggi at 6/26/2003 02:52:00 PM

June 25, 2003
THESE caught my eye as I was photographing the Portrait mohair lace scarf, so it seemed as good a time as any to offer a few garden shots as others have done. As I noted previously, I've only got about 400 square feet, with the brick garage bordering the far end, a tall wooden fence on the alley side, and a low wooden fence between us and dear neighbor Emily (who grows -- and shares -- lovely roses). The excessive rain has been good for all things green, including the dastardly violets I can't control. They bloom pretty, in my favorite color, and are associated with my birth month, but they grow too abundant and large in this small space, alas. I didn't shoot a full panorama, but here are my lacewing hydrangea and hosta, sedum Autumn Joy, and the purple trio of coneflower, butterfly bush and lavender. A small Koosa (sp?) dogwood grows over the hosta, while across the way a white crape myrtle has thrived so much that it's stolen light (& life) from its purple neighbors.

What you're not seeing: spirea, coral bells, moonbeam coreopsis, bee balm, daylililes, one camellia, azaleas, Carolina jessamine and a red honeysuckle climbing the garage (their unfortunate mustard & catsup colors joined, for better or worse, by a pale lavender clematis, planted from an unlabeled container), a lovely pink-blooming shrub called wigeala, a nandina, and something beneath it whose name I've forgotten. Curved lines on one side are defined by monkey grass, and by stones on the other. Last summer we had the deck rebuilt, with a bit of a pergola, but I've not had a chance to use it to advantage this soggy season. Maybe next year . . .

And, let me not forget the knitted colors that sent me in search of good light! Here's a progress shot of the scarf I've been knitting at lunchtime (and in a staff meeting this afternoon), made with Artful Yarns' Portrait in the Weeping Woman colorway. It's my first real go at knitting lace, and I'm really enjoying it now that I've got the simple pattern (noted in an earlier post) down. The ball band suggests one skein will make a decent accessory, but I have two, so I can decide once the end of this one approaches.

posted by Maggi at 6/25/2003 09:37:00 PM

June 21, 2003
I must say, I'm having a lot of fun flipping through The Knitting Stitch Bible, trying to decide what will comprise my square for Becky's patchwork afghan. I figure I'll use the yellow Cotton-Ease that I have for Caroline's jumper, but the stitch options are pretty much countless.

In other news, the camera finally behaved last night, conveniently after I had photographed the Portofino scarf on its new owner (who insisted I crop out her head for the gallery, silly woman). If I'd just sew those little sleeves and buttons onto the Haiku sweater, I could have another Finished Object on view. At least the birthday due date looms within the month, so I'll get to it pretty soon.

Finally, after the fact, this is the essential view from our Chickva location earlier this week:

We ate, drank, gabbed, laughed, read, stitched and watched from this dear mid-20th-century cottage that has been in my friend's family all the decades. Glorious hydrangeas cheered us, too, especially when the sun hid. #

posted by Maggi at 6/21/2003 03:31:00 PM

June 20, 2003
Fatal Exceptions

Dagnabbit, the pesky camera's having another spell of causing a crash rather than downloading its contents -- that's why I haven't posted since I returned home Wednesday night; I've tried for illustrations, and given up without them. I don't want to keep staring at that blue screen that states, "A FATAL EXCEPTION HAS OCCURRED." I thought I'd better put in an appearance at least, pix or not.

Chickva provided just the R&R I needed, and much knitting time, as Day Two was totally soggy. But I spread my efforts across three projects, including a new scarf begun with some Artful Yarns Portrait mohair from KnitPicks in a rainbow colorway I predicted might be obnoxious. But the lace pattern offered on the ball band (CO 30 on US10; Row 1: k2, yo, k1, k3tog, k1, yo; Row 2: K) makes a sweet lace that appealed to the co-vacationing Deb, so she became its designated recipient immediately. Remarkably, she and Elizabeth were stitch-free, having deemed their (quilt) works in progress too cumbersome to tote to the river.

I remain one of the Smooch stitchers at the back of the pack, but I'm just not going to let it bother me. Now that I have done the fab bottom edge and all the shaping decreases, the rows upon rows of stockinette stitch hardly call out to me. At least on Caroline's jumper there's the prospect of changing colors within a few rounds. I know I'll love the tank when it's completed, so it won't languish all summer, certainly. The finished work of Kerstin, Nora and the gang inspires me to keep plugging away -- but Alison's post today makes me a little wary. Here's hoping she figures out the pattern details and can then guide me, and others. (One of whom is Wendy -- who'll surely leave me in the dust with her green Smooch!)

Tonight I'm gifting my goddaughter (six on 6/14) and her mother (43 on 6/25) knit-related birthday presents, so (if the camera eventually cooperates) I'll finally have a photo of the completed Portofino scarf. Sallie's kit has a knitting spool and some other gear, including basic straight needles; I'm eager to teach her even though she's perhaps on the young side.

posted by Maggi at 6/20/2003 09:48:00 AM

June 15, 2003
Special Guest Stitcher

I'm off for Chick Vacation tomorrow, and one of my compadres, Debbie (moving soon from K'zoo to Muncie to get on the tenure track), has gifted our host and her new husband with a beautiful quilt. I actually like it more than the one I gave the same couple for Christmas. The file is large, so it's just a link here, but believe me, it's worth it.

I'm taking Smooch along for the knitting (one of three projects I'll have in the bag). Here's how much I've knit so far:

That's some clover I don't mind in my front yard. These daylilies are an even more pleasing feature there. The real garden, small though it is, is in back (about 400sf) -- but those pictures will have to wait for another day.

Chickva '03 awaits! I missed this annual gathering last year, so I'm especially excited about my three days/two nights on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. When Caroline & I delivered provisions this afternoon, the weather was damp & gray; I'm hopeful for some clearing, but, if not, the company of good friends in an idyllic setting will do me right regardless. And we'll all be stitching some, so pix upon my return! #

posted by Maggi at 6/15/2003 11:14:00 PM

June 13, 2003
This is not my beautiful house

I noticed Sandy's post about this wacky site called Googlism, and gave it a go. It plugs your word(s) into Google and gives back a list of the references without the URLS, etc. Many of mine were related to the actual Maggi company that makes condiments, or about some house in Italy! Of about a hundred listings that were generated, here are some highlights of the Googlism for: maggi (with my editorial notes)

*maggi is a writer
*maggi is hard to catalogue
*maggi is capable and diverse enough to handle the rustic sound with competence
*maggi is for everyone of you who want to experiment with your outlook and achieve the best effect
*maggi is equally at home at a small country crossroads or in a large academic setting
*maggi is prize
*maggi is

*maggi is always comfortable with new people and has never been skittish about loud noises
*maggi is a younger 42 yrs old
*maggi is a gourmet cook and exercise fanatic

*maggi is a reporter in the capital bureau of the times
*maggi is a writing fellow at the american prospect
*maggi is a research associate with the centre
*maggi is associate professor in the department of romance languages
*maggi is a geophysicist who works for jpl
*maggi is a registered professional civil engineer
*maggi is running for congress in pennsylvania's open 18th district seat
*maggi is professor of microeconomics and industrial organisation at the university of lugano
*maggi is also an examiner for the coast guard small vessel checks and is an active director of the port alberni marine rescue society

*maggi is holding lectures and seminars in the following fields
*maggi is all but assured a second term in january
*maggi is a name you see a lot on the continent
*maggi is an american living near frankfurt
*maggi is an american who has lived in many countries in europe

*maggi is op en andere verhalen
*maggi is een merk dat reeds generaties lang een belangrijke rol speelt in iedere nederlandse keuken
*maggi is een merk dat al generaties lang een belangrijke rol speelt in iedere nederlandse keuken

maggi is not exactly a promise of stardom is it now? #

posted by Maggi at 6/13/2003 03:11:00 PM

June 12, 2003
I finally started Smooch, the sweet Rowan tank I'm making in a knit-along -- the same day that our motivator/coordinator Alison designed this groovy button for the Smooch-along:

I must say, I was really grateful that others had started this sweater ahead of me, because I had some helpful hints in hand that got me started where I might have otherwise tripped early on. Blogworld rocks.

And yesterday I discovered that another non-tank knit-along group has formed (using Yahoo Groups), and they are knitting Sitcom Chic, so I may get that going, too. I'll take the materials for both projects (and the striped jump) on my mini-vacation next week. Big Suki bag full o'cotton-blend yarns! I'm only going away for three days and two nights, but at a river cottage there's plenty of knitting time in conjunction with talking, drinking and video-viewing. I'll keep the food away from the yarn, and the yarn away from the sand & water. #

posted by Maggi at 6/12/2003 10:56:00 AM

June 10, 2003
Why, look! The same day I received my Cascade 220 color card from Threadbear, I felted the daypack made from the latest Cascade Matt & Rob had sent me!

I think the straps may be a little long for my tastes, but I can work some adjustment if need be. It's still drying so I haven't loaded and tried it on, but I'm sure pleased with how it turned out. (See pre-felting photo in a recent entry below, June 1.) Felting knowledge gleaned: Single-strand felts more quickly than double strand, and the final fabric is not significantly thinner. I now believe the double strand was definitely my downfall with the red Fuzzy Foot that took so much hot and cold water to felt. This bag was ready in 20 minutes, while the double-strand Suki, also made in Cascade, took 30 or 40.

The new Knitty arrived yesterday and it's a great read, full of insightful lessons and reviews and delightful patterns. Yea, Amy, Kristi, Bonne and all!

Can't say if Caroline will appear in every shot of her summer-stripes-in-progress, but she wanted to hold it this morning. I've joined the legs and am now working in the round on a 16" needle, which is good because I'd thought I'd have to put it on hold to work on Smooch, which I want to knit on the longer circ, but not in the round. These cottons slow a bit too much on bamboo, but that's what I've got, so that's what I'll use!

posted by Maggi at 6/10/2003 10:33:00 AM

June 07, 2003
Ooooo, I don't feel well right now, at all, so this will be short & sweet. I hope it's just something I ate. Or maybe it's got something to do with the excesses of yarn consumption this week. Between the sales at my LYS, KnitPicks, and Ben Franklin Crafts, I've saved so much money on yarn -- but of course I realize I'd have more money in my figurative pocket had I never ventured into shops, local or virtual (I hit Elann again this week, too).
Once I had my All Seasons Cotton for Smooch in hand, and compared it to the Cotton-Ease already in waiting for Sitcom Chic, I looked through the Rowan booklet and decided that I needed more Cotton-Ease for two other ASC patterns -- especially since Ben Franklin was having a Customer Appreciation Sale. And the night before I went to buy, a friend returned a copy of Family Circle Easy Knitting from 2002, wherein a found this cute pattern for a toddler jumpsuit, also well suited for Cotton-Ease. So now, instead of starting either summer sweater for myself, I've cast on the beginning of a leg of this outfit, displayed along with its designated recipient. If only I wasn't feeling so queasy, I might be knitting it now. Instead, better go join the wee one in napping.

posted by Maggi at 6/07/2003 03:43:00 PM

June 04, 2003

Ten women came for Stitch & Bitch last night, including a couple of out-of-towners returned for the summer, Sarah (currently quilting) and Nadja. And three bears, above, the white ones crocheted by Michelle, now working on another baby sweater, and the rainbow one knit by Heather, who's now making a Suki bag. Also present for photographing were Hettie, working a fabulous fair isle scarf in the round; Alice, knitting a little headband; and newcomer Leslie, with her big brown scarf. And, for a while, we had our happy little observer (and ladybug rider).
My achievement was the seaming of the shoulders and sleeves on the Haiku sweater -- all that's left now is to attach the sleeves, which will be a completely new experience for me.

Earlier in the day yesterday, I made a lunch-hour dash to my LYS, which is celebrating its 23 years in business with a 23%-off sale. I bought some Cotton Twist to make the Cutie Patootie baby set for an August due date (free pattern here), some #2 dpns in anticipation of finally trying to knit socks (perhaps for brother and father birthdays, also in August -- but maybe for Christmas), and my splurge gift to self, Knitter's Stash, the lovely pattern book.

(Which, I discovered when snagging this image, I could've purchased for less on amazon, but that's not how impulse buys happen.) If I get/make some pattern perusal time, I may hit the Knitting Basket once more before week's end, or I may try to resist, since I've stash aplenty and so many projects in the queue already. #

posted by Maggi at 6/04/2003 11:15:00 AM

June 01, 2003
I'm just not going to fret about a record number of days for me between posts. I've only had this blog for two months; I don't think there are masses out there waiting with bated breath for the latest. Suffice it to say, last week was quite a busy one all around, and I had company over the weekend. But I did manage to complete the bag portion of the daypack, shown here before I reached the cast-off row.

And I'll mention that I worked on it for a couple hours Thursday while hosting a meeting at work -- I was just listening in, but as I wasn't an active participant, and I had gotten the speaker's permission, I knit away and no one freaked out. I finished the Portofino scarf Friday, but am thinking it may become a gift instead of my own, so I'll hold off on the photo, in case the intended recipient has been reading my blog.
Lastly ( and this is my second attempt at this post; the first was surely better as I'm getting tired and annoyed with Blogger!), I'll gladly note that I have ordered some All Seasons Cotton for the Rowan Smooch knit-along, thanks to a tip from Amy about a sale at Personal Threads. I am eager for it to arrive, since others have already begun knitting!


posted by Maggi at 6/01/2003 11:35:00 PM

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

[ACME License Maker]


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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