July 29, 2003
Did I mention that I got a scanner? (This is not a photograph of it, nor one it scanned.) It gave me the capacity to post the Caleb photo in the last entry. I also added an image to the quilt section, of a pillow I made for my goddaughter. I actually made several similar pillows over two Christmases with fabrics from my mom's log cabin quilt; guess I should scan those as well.

I'd planned to try scanning the knitted fabric of Cutie Patootie for this blog entry, but we ran out of time this morning. I need a snooze button, but my alarm clock (above) is analog, and battery-powered -- the clock radio is in the bathroom so I can listen to NPR while prepping for the day -- I like this Michael Graves-designed timepiece better in the bedroom anyway. So I'll see about scanning the knitting tonight. Can anyone with a scanner tell me if that works? I feel like I've seen more than 2-D stuff depicted via scan (i.e., Bonne Marie's header earring); guess I'll just have to try it to find out.

Later: Look! I did it:

On the knitting front, I'm continuing on CP and Smooch simultaneously. I sure hope the curled bottom of the stst of Cutie will block out, although I also figure the crochet edge finishing will stop the rolling. I'm almost to the point of taking it off the long circ and dividing for back and fronts. I'm planning to do three-needle bind-off on the shoulders, another variation in addition to my having worked the back and fronts together to eliminate side seaming. The pattern calls for the sleeves to be attached and then the sides and sleeves seamed together, so I'll cross my fingers that the seamed sleeves set in with ease.

As to Smooch, I've worked past the increases that put it to matching the back, but I am considering adding a few more stitches and following the instructions for the large front. I"m hardly busty, but I might not mind a tiny bit more coverage and ease. Then I'll adjust before the shoulder bind-off so they'll match for the seaming I have to do there. The scary part -- that eyelet neckline -- approaches. Wish me luck!


posted by Maggi at 7/29/2003 10:29:00 AM

July 25, 2003
Crochet Confessions

Jillian has let it slip that she and Squib Amy will be attending a crochet class. I, for one, think that's a perfectly good idea. Why not learn all the needle arts? Knitting will still reign supreme in all of our opinions, I'm confident.

I learned crochet first -- probably in the 1970s. I taught myself from a book (or booklet), and used a mirror to view the photographs for left-handed crocheting. I've a vague recollection that granny squares were involved, but no documentary evidence survives. When I started the Stitch & Bitch two years ago, I was working on a quilt, but the next "genre" I took up was crochet: I made a baby afghan for a gift (and still need to collect its photo for the gallery).

As that Sugar 'n' Cream cotton worked up pretty comfortably on the hook, I moved on to a baby garment in the same yarn, a cardigan with matching hat. Lucky for me, the pattern booklet included both knit and crochet versions of each -- because by the time I finished that sweater, I didn't want to crochet ever again. You'll see that I knit the hat, and thereby completed it much more quickly, using a more reasonable amount of yarn. Another lesson learned: crochet is for edging, only -- and the occasional nostalgic granny square. (Caroline's favorite blanket is in fact a giant granny square that my friend Bunny worked on at S&B, right under my nose!)

Indeed, I've not crochet since, but I'm talking about it now, for the finishing of Smooch, and I know I'll face it for the finishing of Cutie Patootie.
And I'm OK with that. #

posted by Maggi at 7/25/2003 10:22:00 AM

July 23, 2003
Needles, no damage

When I first learned to knit, the only needles I knew were aluminum. I still have a hank of those brightly colored Boyes in my needle vase, but in the past year's obsession I've gained a number of Clover bamboo straights and circs, and I've liked using them -- with wool. This summer's cotton blends are another story, retold to me last night as I switched sets between Smooch and Cutie Patootie -- both knit on #US8 -- trying to get comfortable for the long haul(s) of Stst. I did the front eyelet section of Smooch using the bamboo circ, and appreciated its slowing me down while I concentrated on the pattern, but then I switched back to the shiny green straights I'd used for the back piece, so I can cruise. Maybe if I had the lauded Addi Turbo circ I'd stick with the back & forth on circs that I see so many bloggers using to great effect, although I have not the easiest time, being a left-handed knitter knitting right-handed (throwing with my right, Anglo-American-style). I've bought a 16" Addi circ in an 8 (for Sitcom Chic's sleeves), but that's too short for Smooch.

Meanwhile, before the switcheroo, I swatched the Cotton Twist on the aluminum straights, then, post-switch, cast the whole baby sweater onto the bamboo circs. The Berroco pattern wants me to knit three separate pieces, but I'll go for the combo till it's time to divide for armholes. Because of the rayon blend in this yarn, it goes a little faster than the All Seasons Cotton on the bamboo; I need the length for 130 stitches, so it'll have to do!

I've added some Pony Pearl DPNs and a couple sets of Swallow casein straights to my collection this year, for the socks and lace I have yet to attempt. (That recent Portrait scarf, while lacy, took US10s.) The Brittany DPNs I've used for sleeves and wrist warmers have been smooth and comfortable (not that I've tried them with cotton). I look forward to experiencing their different properties as well, once I turn toward an autumn of gift-knitting. #

posted by Maggi at 7/23/2003 10:48:00 AM

July 20, 2003
All of one, half of another
On Friday night I completed the one-skein, instructions-from-the-label, Portrait lace scarf. It's blocked and wrapped to send to my friend Debbie, for her new winters in Muncie. I bought one more skein along with this one, in case I wanted to do the longer scarf, but I've decided the 43" length is adequate and attractive. I shall make one more as another gift, but will work on a different small project in between for a change of pace. [I photographed it against the window to show off the lace; click on the image above for a larger view.]

Last night, I finally finished the back of Smooch, and tonight I cast on the stitches for the front. Other knitters-along have me a mite worried about my sizing choice, especially now that I can stretch the size M back across my front. I'm wondering if I should try making a L for the front, as I saw Bonne Marie was doing (she may have even mixed a L back with an XL front -- and I'm pretty sure she's smaller than I am!), but I am not confident in my ability to merge the parts once complete. Plus, the border eyelets are even Vs in the Medium, and I'm afraid I won't like the off-kilter Vs if I mix. I have to look at the pattern some more, and the archives of the rest of my fellow Smoochers. It's not like I'll be short-rowing shoulders and doing a three-needle bind-off -- again, I'm just not there -- yet.


posted by Maggi at 7/20/2003 10:43:00 PM

July 18, 2003
Ancient History

Since I doubt anyone noticed that I snuck a photo into the top of the FO list, as well as the bottom, let me present you with one of the sweaters completed during my first incarnation as a knitter:

At my request, my friend Lanier's mother Suejette taught me to knit in the mid-1980s. The first thing I made was a fuchsia cotton shell, pretty much plain stockinette, as I recall. Sometime there was a sweater or vest with actual cables, but it has gone on to the great beyond (i.e., Goodwill, thrift store, etc.) Then I made a cardigan out of a delicious, tweedy, silk-wool blend -- but since I was knitting on my own (my "teacher" in another town), with no bloggers to guide me, I had not learned the importance of swatching for gauge. The thing was gorgeous, but the thing was HUGE. [Now, it's being reincarnated as a cardigan that will fit, thanks to Bonne Marie's guidance through the frog pond and out the other side; I've knit the back and most of one front already.]

The last thing I knit in that decade (and century) was this sweater, my first go at changing colors. I'm proud to say that it's remained in my wardrobe ever since, despite its loose-styled fit. I was even more proud to find that the aforementioned Ms. Burns has knit it, too, putting her own spin on things, I believe, by reversing the front and back. My photo above shows the back of mine, while she's presenting the same pattern on the front; here is the front of mine. Thanks to Bonne Marie, I can now date the sweater, since her site notes the source as Vogue Knitting, Fall 1988.

Grad school followed soon after, and, for me, afforded little knitting time, although I did a fair bit of sewing then. I think I simply forgot about knitting therafter -- until I initiated my monthly Stitch & Bitch two years ago, and knitters showed up in my living room. Hooray, for now I am hooked again (or should that be needled?)! #

posted by Maggi at 7/18/2003 09:56:00 AM

July 16, 2003
Birthday Girl

Although Amelia's first birthday is not until Friday, her parents hosted a soiree in her honor tonight and I presented the Haiku sweater. Amelia tried it on (over her monogrammed toile sundress) before heading up to bed.

Caroline also attended the party, and wore her new striped jumpsuit, without the blouse beneath and with the addition of a crochet-chain tie to hold the shoulders up. Between the two projects on display, this knitter basked in compliments from many other guests. It is fun to knit for children, who are attractive no matter what they wear -- but I'm also glad that I knit for myself. I came home and made more progress on Smooch, after having completed the armhole shaping Monday night. I suspect I will choose to finish the sleeve openings a bit, perhaps like Becky did, with crocheted crab stitch. After all this st st, I'm looking forward to the ruffle & eyelet beginning of the front!

posted by Maggi at 7/16/2003 11:28:00 PM

July 14, 2003
Happy Bastille Day!

I know it's really Becky's place to celebrate a French holiday, but I have always noticed when this one rolls around. See her blog for parade details I cannot, alas, offer.

Caroline wore the completed jumpsuit yesterday, mostly so my mother could admire it. The straps seemed to stretch minute by minute, and she soon wanted to change into something else. I didn't have the camera with us, so will capture her modeling on the next go. Meanwhile, I moved the buttons and crocheted a chain to tie (one of my parents recommended a shoelace, but at least this matches) the straps and prevent them falling down. I hope she'll be willing to wear it Wednesday when we go to baby Amelia's birthday party, and I can capture both of my latest projects modeled in one shot.

In other knitting news, my slow Smooch continues, (oh my, a flashback of Kevin Costner in Bull Durham) and I will start the armhole shaping on the back piece tonight. #

posted by Maggi at 7/14/2003 02:27:00 PM

July 11, 2003

This is the first time I've answered the Friday Five, but I came across the link while surfing and thought, what the H, since I haven't knit but a few rows on the Portrait scarf since my last post. Here goes.

1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it?
David Morrisette, who is five months older than I am and lived across Hill Street from me. Interesting that he is the only male I mention here. As children age, their playmates tend to be of the same sex, which is probably a societal directive, if an unfortunate one. But in high school (and since) I had many male friends (David among them), several of whom also continue as my good friends to this day.

2. Are you still in touch with this person?
Yes! I have seen him within the past year, and I receive the newsletter from his winery. Tomorrow, when I join another best babe, Sarah, and attend yet one more friend's 50th birthday party for her husband, I'll get an update on David, as Sarah lunched with him this week.

3. Do you have a current close friend?
I am blessed to have several, from the three that go back almost as far as David to one I have only known for about three years.

4. How did you become friends with this person?
Let's make "this person" the latter friend mentioned above, Elizabeth, whom I call Lizzi. Rose, a fellow poet, brought Lizzi to our poetry group and we simply connected. Even though she moved to another (contiguous) state two years ago, we remain way close, she's my daughter's "gnosmother," and I just saw her three weeks ago when we vacationed together (She created, and hosts, Chickva).

5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why?
I wish I was still in touch with Lucy Blackford, who moved away a decade ago to attend medical school. Now she is a doctor, and married, and I would like to reconnect because she is a woman I admired and shared a great deal with, when we were in our early 30s and pursuing similar goals. #

posted by Maggi at 7/11/2003 01:10:00 PM

July 09, 2003
Jump, Mama, jump!

That's one of Caroline's oft-repeated phrases these days, whether she's on the last stairstep, exiting the car or just feeling like some lively movement. And now she's got a stripey outfit in which to do so (or will, once I block and attach the pocket and buttons). I found a nicely coordinating shirt last night at Old Navy, in case she's feeling modest -- or mom wants to ensure folks know she's a girl.

I seem to have a bit of finish-itis instead of the more common start-itis. Now I can devote myself to completing Smooch before I begin Sitcom Chic (for myself) or Cutie Patootie (for a baby due next month, but I'll make the six-month size). I'm going to a shower for the parents-to-be tomorrow, and plan to wrap a picture of the hat & sweater set, with some yarn attached. (While I had intended this project for awhile, and bought the Cotton Twist early in June at my LYS's anniversary sale, I didn't learn of the shower until last week, so chose not to push myself to complete CP in time.) #

posted by Maggi at 7/09/2003 09:52:00 AM

July 07, 2003

finally complete
goddaughter's first birthday gift
Amelia's sweater


posted by Maggi at 7/07/2003 09:30:00 AM

July 05, 2003
Independence Day was duly relaxing, as we attended the annual block party around the corner in its 31st year (It was covered by Southern Living sometime in its 20s). Caroline got balloons painted on her arm, and we decorated her car with flags and tissue bunting for the block-long parade. I think the day was mostly about eating for her, though -- that and swimming in the pool in the street (where I didn't risk my camera).
On Thursday night I completed my swatch for Becky, yesterday I blocked it, and today we put it in the airmail. The pattern is honeycomb cable (from The Knitting Stitch Bible, knit in Banana Cream Cotton-Ease (with a few extra rows knitted on the sides to make the square).

posted by Maggi at 7/05/2003 02:14:00 PM

July 03, 2003
Eight of us stitched last night, but I only got shots of three. Hetty was back with her freeform fair isle scarf, which she's knitting in the round, for her brother. Alice was experimenting with a combination of beads and crochet, but she and Leslie left for a literary performance/reading before I could get a closer look, or see what Leslie's new project is. Lisa whipped up a catnip mouse a la Wendy, while Pam started a Portrait scarf just like the one I'm making (progress picture of mine in an earlier post).

Frances was knitting something that's to be a gift, so we'll keep it a secret, and Sarah returned with her patriotic-toned quilt. I worked on my swatch for Becky, which took numerous tries to reach the six-inch requirement -- and reminded me that gauge in a pattern is not the same as gauge in stockinette! I also consulted with Frances about weaving in the many ends on Caroline's jumper; she suggested I may want to crochet or i-cord around its rolling edges as well. Smooch was neglected last night, but I got some fitting advice and am hoping to finish the back and move on to the front during the course of the long weekend. #

posted by Maggi at 7/03/2003 10:50:00 AM

July 02, 2003
Stitch & Bitch tonight!
I'm pleased and rather amazed that I've hosted a monthly gathering of stitchers in many media for more than two years now. I myself have sewn curtains and quilts, crocheted and knitted, but now it's mostly the latter, and indeed knitting dominates the crowd. With runoff (rainoff?) from the storm named Bill, this being the holiday week, and a switch from our usual first Tuesday, I'm still hoping for a good turnout. Photos tomorrow!

The local stop by this fine band precipitated the move of S&B from yesterday to today. Such talented young people, Nickel Creek! This photo's from Cleveland, but it was shot this month, so that's pretty much what Chris Thile (22, on mandolin), Sara Watkins (22, fiddle) and (her brother) Sean Watkins (26, guitar) looked like last night -- not that they ever stood still. Here's touring bassist Mark Schatz's take on their tunes: "The band goes from driving instrumentals with odd twists and turns and pop/rock grooves with contemporary vocal leads and flawless harmonies to placid lovely ballads, played with ultimate good taste, sweetness, and elegance. " Indeed. #

posted by Maggi at 7/02/2003 11:40:00 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