Monday, April 30, 2007

Green, Yellow and Pink

Truly this has been a wonderful trip for project spectrum colors. Both Hong Kong and Germany have been rich in green, yellow and pink.
1. pink rhody, 2. energy saving sign, 3. yellow tree, 4. palm seeds?, 5. coral lily, 6. coral rhody, 7. yellow gourd?, 8. pink flower, 9. moss and ladybug, 10. yellow flower, 11. succulant vine, 12. keep clean sign
1. yellow roses, 2. road through fields, 3. lawn, 4. snapdragons, 5. rotating flower bridge, 6. pink flowering tree, 7. flowing bushes, 8. Rapeseed fields, 9. Rapeseed Plant, 10. ornamental duck, 11. pink mum, 12. tulips

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Elbe SPS

This weekend we went with Salvbard's family to the Elbe River. There we got to take a boat to see the sites from the water. Somehow this is the only photo of me from this day, but at least you can see how beautiful the area was. Plus I was wearing on the wonderful hand-knit sweaters and my great sunglasses we picked up at some gas station on the Autobahn.
As an added bonus you even get a photo of "fiber on the hoof" that we saw on the way there.
Yes it does look already shorn, but they are still sources of potential fiber right?

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

An Embarrassment of Riches

Part of our trip to Germany was the opportunity for me to meet Salvbard's family there. I could never expect what wonderful people they are. Even more than that, many of them of so creative whether it be with the camera, paint or knitting needles. It was really inspiring to be able to see their work.

One of Salvbard's aunts, in showing me her many wardrobes full of her beautiful hand knit sweaters, pushed one on me. To say that I was surprised is more than an understatement. They had only just met me, and yet here I was being laden with hours and hours of her handiwork. I was a bit misty then, and even thinking about it now I am getting sort of all teared up.
Ultimately I ended up being sent away with a bag full of these beautiful hand-knits, that I still do not know how to express how cared for and honored that I feel. I am left plotting my handcrafted revenge, probably starting with a pair of hand-knit socks. Now I only need to confirm the foot size that I would need to make for.

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Friday, April 27, 2007


I wanted to make sure that we would be able to stop in Lubeck, while we were in Germany. My maternal grandmother's family can trace their line through the middle ages in the church records of a "kirsche" there. I know that she had already gotten these records, but unfortunately Salvbard and I weren't sure which one that was.

Despite that we had a good time. It is a beautiful city. On the way back to the car to leave for our next stop, I spotted a yarn and fabric store. Since then I have seen several fabric stores, and it seems like sewing is very popular here.
So now we have sock yarn enough for 2 pairs (one for myself and one for Salvbard) to remember the trip. The Regia is for me, though in a colorway I have not seen at home before. The SuperSox is a brand I had not heard of before, so it will be interesting to work with.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

FO: Shapely Tank Top

Do remember that I wanted to finish this project before I left for the trip? Um, well I didn't. I did bring it along though, with just the ends to be woven in and one side needing finishing. We got some pictures of it in use while we were at the Autostadt, which was beautifully designed. Obviously it was Salvbard who added this stop to our itinerary, with his great love for all things Volkswagon, but it was just too beautiful a spot to not do my photos there.
Yarn: Classic Elite Classic Silk in Moss
Needle: US Size 8 32" circulars
Pattern: Shapely Tank by White Lies Designs

Ahem, I appear to be completely unable to follow a pattern without making changes. First of all I knit this in the round. I threw in an extra set of decreases/increases for waist shaping. And I rearranged the decreases for the neck and armhole shaping to provide a more shallow arm shaping and shorted straps. (Hey I am not only short, but also short-torsoed.)

I will definitely make this again, but next time I plan on at least 1.5" less ease for the whole thing. This was already the smallest size, but I would have liked it a little bit smaller. The silk/cotton blend makes a wonderful summer garment though, and I am very happy with the yarn choice.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last Day in Hong Kong

We spent our last day in Hong Kong on LanTau. This island is so beautiful. We took many pictures that I want to sketch or paint later, but there was so much to get done I wasn't able to do any right then. Here is a photo for Lucy: the Giant Buddha is part of the Po Lin Monastery. From our hostel we could hear the chanting through the woods and mist. This was such a beautiful and restful place.Sorry that there aren't any sock progress photos. I turned the heel, but then had to pack it away since British Airways is not allowing any knitting needles at this time, not even my short bamboo DPNs. Sadness!

*Sorry about the delay in posting these. Connectivity in Germany has been even more elusive than in Hong Kong. Please forgive me if your feed gets busy in the next day.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Cheung Chau

Today we moved from Hong Kong Island to the small fishing village of Cheung Chau. This has been a great island for creative inspiration. Salvbard has been taking lots of pictures so look for them soon. I have been doing some stuff of my own too.
My sock is coming along well. I kept finding myself wishing over and over again that I had brought my favorite size 1 40"Addis. Then when we were emptying out our bags completely to do laundry, I found I had packed a set in my checked luggage. Score! In my sleep-deprived pre-trip state, I don't even remember doing that.
Cheung Chau boasts a beautiful beach, well protected by a shark net. While Salvbard was enjoying the water, I took a moment to paint one of the local views. I am totally starting to understand why there are people who only use watercolor moleskines for everything. I have to say that it is really enjoyable to work in.
Also on the beach we spotted a mystery crocheter. This was sort of interesting, because I had been stopping traffic by knitting (well foot traffic as there is no vehicular traffic on the island) on the Twisted Flower sock. Little old chinese woman in particular seemed fascinated by the white girl with the needles. What is so interesting? I have no idea. Perhaps it is the idea of making socks in a place where you often do not even wear them. Maybe it is the idea of knitting, as my chinese co-workers are equally fascinated and mostly only learned to crochet in school rather than knit. Who knows, in any case it has been amusing to watch.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007


This week's rather dark SPS is brought to you by Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. In the back ground you can see the skyline of Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon side. Notice the giant backpack and gortex coat strapped to it. Since we were changing islands this day, we had to take all of our luggage with us.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

HK Museum of Art

I wasn't sure that we would have time, but I am really glad that we ended up making it to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. One of my favorite things about visiting art museums is just wandering around and seeing what calls out to you.
The 2 sections that we spent the most time in were the Lin Fengmian exhibit and the Calligraphy and Painting exhibit. I noticed that the pieces that attracted me most were of 2 types. There were those that used a strong sense of line to produce really clean images that spoke to me, as an artist, of strong confidence . There was also those that had a looseness of style, that allowed the artist to work in brush strokes that were evocative of what they were painting, while not being caught up in the exact placement of each line to be completely realistic.

These are both styles that seem unattainable to me at times. My own work feels more tentative. I am usually still happy with the result, but I spend a lot of time with hesitant small lines. This trip I am really trying to achieve more of that looseness, and with any luck maybe some of the confidence will follow.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

HK Yarn Shops

Today we hit 2 yarn shops, one in Wan Chai and the other in Mong Kok. Yay for souvenir yarn!

The first we went to was Nathan Woolen Co. in Mong Kok. This one took us a while to find, as the sign outside the shop had changed. You needed to go through a dark, narrow hallway to the small, metal lift. We took pictures of both the outside and the "store front" on the 5th floor to forward to the Hong Kong Yarn Guide. There was a lot of cottons and acrylic blends, which weren't what I was looking for this trip. Not a ton called out to me here. Most of their wool seemed to be on sale (due to the changing season?) but they had so little english (read none) that I am not sure. Salvbard says it had more "character" than the other though.

Cheer Wool in Wan Chai was a lot more of what a yarn shop is like at home. Although not everyone spoke english, there was a designated english speaker who stayed nearby in case we needed any help. My only complaint here was that everything was in plastic bags, so you weren't allowed to touch anything. I am such a tactile shopper this probably saved me money though.
Now normally I am not one to buy buttons. Perhaps I am cheap, but there are so many other finishing methods, and buttons often can be pricey especially if you get neat ones through a yarn store. So I was really drawn to the button selection at this shop. I informed Salvbard that the Asians seem to have a monopoly on "teh cute". But how cute are these? They are all plastic ones, so they aren't like super high end or anything, but I can see them as wonderful additions for baby sweaters for my new niece. Plus for the price, you certainly can't complain.
So from both locations this ended up being my yarn hall. I probably won't end up visiting any more yarn shops on this leg of the trip so this is it for my Hong Kong acquisitions: some Jaeger Matchmaker (plans: DK socks), Steinbach Wolle (plans: socks), and some Ruby Campus (um, no plans). The last I just bought because it was something I could not get at home (it is a Japanese yarn) and because the label said this:
If you can't read that it says "Please have a useful knitting time. This yarn is fresh like a gentle breeze." Yup I have absolutely no idea what I will use this for, but that was too great to pass up. It is a little too scratchy for most small yarn projects that I usually do, so I am thinking perhaps a felted something.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Long Flight

So arrived safely after the long flight. Since I couldn't do my international security check until NYC, I didn't bother to start my socks in case they took my needles (5" US Size1 Brittanys). Even after I got on that flight though, I didn't get as much knitting done as I had hoped since all the courtesy lights in my row didn't work, which meant that after the cabin lights went out I couldn't really do something complex like this. Here is a photo of my progress so far, taken in the Hong Kong International Airport. Over by Arrival Hall B there was a beautiful black stone fountain with benches and plant life around it. The photo of the SIP was taken on one of those benches while I was waiting to meet Salvbard. (Sorry about the blurry photo.)
Towards the end of the flight though, I noticed that one of the other passengers had lifted the shade on their window so I did the same. There was the most beautiful sunrise over Taiwan, that I was immediately inspired to break out my watercolor moleskine. As you can see I was sitting basically right over one of the wings, but I really like its addition to the composition. I wish I had brought a finer pointed pen though. And yes this sunrise really had a pale green. It was incredible!At the moment though, I am exhausted. I am writing this in the airport, so we still need to get to the hostel before I can crash.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fitted Knits Giveaway

So the a few weeks ago my mom surprised me with a copy of Fitted Knits (Carol wrote a great "no-bull" review that you should go read if you haven't yet). I had had this book on my wishlist for months before it came out, and she pre-ordered it as a random-for-absolutely-no-reason surprise. (Isn't she awesome?) The only problem? I had already bought it at a local independent bookstore almost a month before, since Interweave Press makes their books available at independent bookstores first. (Which by the way rocks my socks. I love the fact that they are thinking about the little guy, and not just about making the largest profit they can as soon as possible.)
So here is where you can make out. I already asked her, and she would rather it went to someone I thought would use it than to return it. So I am going to give away the second copy of this book. Just leave me a comment to this post with the following information before May 4th. As I have been hinting, I am going to be doing some travel with my partner. (I am super excited. We are going to Hong Kong and then Germany.) To enter tell me the following information:
  • Where has been your favorite place to go to (or would like to) and why? This can be international or domestic.
  • What is one item you consider essential when you travel?
That's it! The winner will be selected after I get back from my trip.

Also if you know any yarn shops in Hong Kong, Germany, Amsterdam or the Paris area that I should try to visit, please let me know. So far all I have to go on is this yarn shop reference to Hong Kong.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

L&V Swap Package

Yay! I am leaving the country tomorrow evening directly from work, so I was super excited to receive my L&V Swap package in today's mail. Given that it was Patriot's Day I figured there was no way I would get it before I left, but I was proven wrong!This package was so thoughtful, and there are so many things in it I wish I could use right away. Well I admit the chocolate covered almonds really were broken into right away. I am really intrigued by a bunch of things in this package though.

I have never used the "soft grip" crochet hooks before, so I look forward to reporting back what I think of it. Unfortunately I am not packing any crochet on this trip though. The stitch markers are so cute, but I am terrified of losing them so they too will stay at home. My toiletries are already packed, but I am really looking forward to the lemongrass soap when I get back. And how cute is that notebook, set of cards and letter sticky notes? The ArtYarns Supermerino is completely luscious, but will stay home since I wanted to pack something with more spi to last me to long flight times.

(I am a bit puzzled by the Liquid Gloves though. What do you use this for?)

Some of these just have to come with me though. I unpacked my planned knitting project to pack some solid CTH sock yarn to work in the Twisted Flower Sock Pattern. I don't even know how to express my squeeing over seeing this. I loved this pattern so much, but I just had not yet gotten around to purchasing it. And on my long 16 hour flight this will be a great project to keep me busy. And due to the airline security restrictions, I am bringing short wooden double points, which means that I totally have need of the coil needle holders for when I put the socks in progress back in my bag.

BUT there was no note or anything inside. Oh Swap Pal, who are you?

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

FO: Garden Monkey Socks

Yarn: March Mind's Eye Yarns sock club yarn
Needles: 40" US Size 1 Addis (magic loop)
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A. in the Winter 2006 issue of Knitty
Yardage: 265 yards
Maration Mileage: 1.66 miles
Modifications: I did an eye of the partridge heel and changed the wedge toe to a slightly longer wedge toe with differently spaced decreases.I have to admit, when I first started seeing all the Monkeys showing up all over the blog-o-sphere I was sort of "eh" about the pattern. It was okay, but I just didn't understand what all the fuss was about. That all changed when I saw Rosemary's Hedwig socks. I absolutely loved this pattern in a yarn that was mostly one color, but with splotches of variegation.

So when I received the March Mind's Eye Yarn sock club yarn, I had a suspicion what I would make with it. Little did I suspect how much I would get sucked in. I started just one lone sock because I was "testing the guage of the lace pattern" to make sure this yarn would work as written. Next thing I know I am halfway through the foot. There was absolutely no SSS here. As soon as I finished I cast on the second one withing minutes and was happily working away again.

I am not sure quite why these are so addictive. The lace pattern is deceptively simple; I had it memorized almost immediately. And I love the way the blips of color among the green remind me or garden beds.

I have not quite 40g (1.4 oz) left, and I am not sure what I want to do with it. I am thinking of a square on the sock blanket, but I think I have enough for a baby hat for little baby L too. Hmmm decisions, decisions.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Spinning Corner

Do you remember months ago when the brake knob on my wheel broke? Remember that my partner was going to drill out the old splintered knob and replace it with a new break system? Well he managed to get the old piece out after about about a month, but only recently did he machine the new break system.

The wooden dowel was replaced with a piece of aluminum rod. That sucker won't splinter! Then the knob itself has been redesigned with to allow the wrapped brake band to sit in the trough of an adjustable tension bit (highly technical term). You can both adjust the tension of the break band by turning it like the old know, and you can adjust the tension of the turning mechanism itself to prevent slipping but allow for easy turning. Perhaps it isn't classically beautiful, but I love that he engineered and machined it. Plus it works really well!While that wheel was out of commission I was lucky enough to be offered a loaner from a friend. She had just moved into a smaller space and said that it just wasn't getting any love these days. Would I mind keeping it at my house for a while? Of course that was alright! It is the same make and design as my wheel (and Ashford Traditional), but about 30 years younger.
In addition to all the spinning wheel love in the house, apparently spring fever has hit the house as well. If you were to visit my house, you might notice that I have rearranged my spinning stuff into a neat little spinning corner. Adjacent to there are my bookcases, where all my craft books and the supplies on the shelves have all been rearranged. Fiber is nearby and ready for instant access. All and all this is starting to feel like a really comfortable little nook.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chiquita's FOs

My daughter has been working on lots of great creative stuff recently, so I thought I would write an entry on some of it.

The first thing was actually her project from last week's sewing class. It is a double sided elasticized headband that is super cute. She wears it all the time and has been getting tons of compliments.

Also, with some of the leftover egg-dye, she dyed some yarn that she says that she wants to knit. It was originally some white Knit Picks Palette, which makes me nervous that it will be to splity for her though. I guess we will see!

And here it is wound into a center pull ball. I love it even more after seeing the colors all mixed up.
And her other big project at sewing class has been a baby blanket for her soon-to-be cousin. This blanky is so snuggly and warm.
And at 36" square it will make a good crib blanket, floor cover or lap blanket. She is so excited about the coming of the new baby.

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My Fridge

Wendy of Dame Candle Company recently asked in her blog what does your fridge say about you?Well here is mine, but I am not sure what it says. Mostly it is just basics: lots of veggies, milk, eggs, cheese and open canned goods (such as our fabulous pickled chiles from this past summer). There are also my leftovers, but at the moment that is just my homemade vegetable fried rice and a big bowl of salad. I am sure a bunch of my family members would say that this proves I am a "hippie".

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Toys - Watercolor

I was in Central (Cambridge, MA) anyways the other day, and I was drawn into Artist Supply which I have passed by before but never stopped in. (BTW it was great. I totally recommend this store if you happen to be in the area. The staff was incredibly helpful, the selection was very good and the prices excellent. Yay for local business!) I was on the hunt for a water pen, such as I had heard about on CMP, to do watercolor when I am out and about.

Next thing I know I am walking out the door with with a Koi Water Color Pocket Field Sketch Box and a new waterproof pen. (I love my Pigma Micron, but I wanted to try something a little different. So I picked up a 0.7 mm Staedtler pigment liner, which I love! Even if my hand brushes the ink right away or I paint over it immediately there is no smearing at all on watercolor paper.) This gave me an excuse to break into a small watercolor moleskine that I had bought a few months ago. I know some people like to break in new sketchbooks with a special drawing or painting. I am of the other school of thought: just do, don't worry about being special. The swatch squares here let me get a good feel for both the paints and the paper without worrying about making "a piece of art". Now on to the more interesting uses.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bridal Shower Invitations

A few people had asked to see what the finished bridal shower invitations ended up looking like.Here is the finished card with the original pencil sketch in my moleskine. (And yes that box is centered top to bottom, I just can't take a proper photo apparently.) Final verdict? I am pretty happy with it. Clean and elegant was what I was going for, and I think that it achieves that.


Monday, April 09, 2007

A Hogwarts Confession & Questionnaire

I just signed up for the Hogwarts Sock Swap and have been sorted into Slytherin. Please note that Blackrayne made a kick-ass Slytherin icon that I need to ask permission to put in my side bar as well.
I am a huge Harry Potter series fan, and both enjoy cannon Harry Potter and the fandom. In particular I enjoy the Dramione ship. Although Potter is a good enough hero-type I guess, what is not to love about that typical Slytherin snark and wit of Draco?

So without further ado, here are my questionnaire answers:

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Slytherin

2. Shoe size: 6.5-7 US Women's

3. Foot Length: 9.6"/24cm

4. Foot Circumference: 8.25"/21cm

5. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length. - I tend to knit magic loop a lot more than with double-points. I have had great experience with Knit Picks classic circulars, Addi Turbos, and Inox in lengths of 32" or more.

a. Susan Bates Size 1s (bought in a "sock set" of size 000-1) - inexpensive but excellent for the price, I like pointy metal needles :)

b. Unknown Brand US Size 8-10 Metal DPNs - I can always use these sizes. Ahem, have I mentioned I knit tightly? These are what I need for knitting dk-worsted weight hats.

c. Brittany bamboo 5" US Size 1s - these are my airplane sock needles, short and wooden are good for flying

6. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? I am curious about the new lace Addi Turbos. Be still my Slytherin hears, the lightweight slickness and amazing joins of Addis with actual points? What more could a girl ask for? Honestly though, I like most metal needles.

7. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference? not directed at me I am afraid

8. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? sure

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

SPS: Easter Egg Dye

Like many of you, our Sunday was filled with lots of eggs and dyeing.
Here is Chiquita working on her eggs. The key to this process is lots of newspaper to protect the table! Can you spot my Project Spectrum striped egg in the back?
Then after the little one was in bed I broke out the fiber. Here I used the leftover pink, green and yellow to dye some of Misty's correidale roving and then steam set the dye.
How great are these colors? I know a lot of people look down on "non-professional dyes" for their lack of many shades and color intensities, but I am absolutely loving the brights at the moment.
I know I won't get to spin this before April is over, but I hope to get to it in May.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

FO: Camera Case

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Super Glitz in Sugar Maple (discontinued)
Pattern: none, freehand knitting
Yardage: 40 yards (0.48 g)
Marathon Mileage: 1.50 miles

I asked my mom if I could borrow her camera for a moment this weekend, only to have her pull it out in a sock! I teased her a bit about whether I should knit her a case for it instead, and to my surprise she actually agreed to let me. Since I had the leftover Super Glitz from the Mad-tini socks which she had loved, I made it out of that. At least she won't lose it, right?

[sorry no photo]

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Super Glitz in Sugar Maple (discontinued)
Pattern: none, freehand knitting
Yardage: ~24 yards
Marathon Mileage: 1.51 miles
Afterwards I still had some left over so I knit a square for the mitered square sock yarn blanket I had started. I still have a tiny bit left, but I think I will save it for a ways away on the blanket.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

April/May Sock Yarn

I had a dream last night that I was digging around in my sock yarn stash looking for PS April/May colored yarns. In the dream I found only 3 balls of pink sock yarn (including the On-line in the photo below). So after I got up I thought I would really do this, and see what I have at the moment. This is the result of pink/yellow/green sock yarn with some bonus Classic Silk from the Shapely Tank I am working on. I was sort of surprised by how little pink I really had.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

WIP: Shapely Tank

Yesterday afternoon I was a little bit surprised when it started to snow a little bit. The weatherman has predicted rain turning to sleet overnight. The snow kept getting heavier and heavier until huge globs of snow were falling down and starting to accumulate. I guess winter was not quite through yet!
I caught a few early bulbs and annuals were out in the snow this morning when I was running errands. Fortunately it looks like most of the snow will melt today, since it is above freezing.
We have a few bulbs up in our yard too, but they are not in a particularly sheltered place and are not yet ready to bloom. Maybe next week.

In knitting news it seems like I will have to rip back. I started White Lies Designs' Shapely Tank in some Classic Silk I had in my stash. I was thinking that it would be the perfect top for some travel I will be doing soon, casual and cool enough to wear hiking but nice enough to wear out to dinner.

The worst part about this is that I really did swatch. I made 4 different swatches in the round before getting gauge. I even washed the gauge squares (resulting in no change in gauge but the yarn bloomed to a nicer fabric).
Yet after getting to a couple of increases above the waist, and it was looking big to me so I pulled out the tape measure. The waist is 34" which is over 6" of ease. Darn it! I don't think that is fudgable. I don't even know that ripping out to the beginning of the decreases will help since in measuring the bottom I am getting 37" rather than 36", meaning I would need to decrease about 7" in circumference over 3-4" of length. That seems awfully fast to me. Upset, I have set it aside to contemplate what I want to do about this.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Additional Mad-tini Shots

A few days ago I asked Salvbard to help me with photos of the Mad-tini socks, and after trying a few different light levels and sources we hit upon something that seems to have worked. (In case you are wondering, it was indirect morning sunlight.) I had already posted these in my flickr album, but apparently I forgot to get them up here!These photos are a lot more true to color than the ones that I took. They are mostly red, orange and yellow, but there are also touches of bubblegum pink.
Not only did he manage to get much truer color, but he was also able to capture the stitch detail on the leg, which had totally stumped me.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Shower Invitations

As I have mentioned before, my sister is getting married this summer. I suddenly realized this weekend that since we are planning to do some travel I really needed to get the bridal shower invitations printed by the end of this week.This sketch of a scallop shell is for the cover, since they go with her wedding theme. Now I just need to finish up the card designs and run them by the bridesmaids before printing.