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Archive for the ‘WWKIP’ Category

Since last I updated (a million years ago, I believe, although I haven’t done the math), I haven’t knit a thing.

OK, technically, I guess I have knit – or half-knit – a thing, but I’m going to frog it, so I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count.

I wanted to get in on WWKIP day/week before it passed, so I decided to knit a toddler-sized version of a doll-hat pattern I found in my stash. The name escapes me now, so hang on just a minute…

Here’s a kitty picture to occupy you while I fetch my project from the car:

If they fits, they sits... or something like that.

If they fits, they sits… or something like that.

Found it! The pattern is called Eyelet Beret. It’s by Deb Denair of Debonair Designs. It’s so cute… and it’s available free on ravelry.com. Just click on the pattern’s name in the 2nd sentence of this paragraph. Her designs are made to fit 18″ dolls, specifically those in the American Dolls series. Anyway, this particular beret design caught my eye a year or so ago, and I’ve been planning to make it… eventually.

When the last day of WWKIP 2014 rolled around and I still hadn’t knit a stitch anywhere, I decided to take advantage of a two-hour car ride to start this hat. In truth, I had every reason to think I’d finish the hat before the end of the returning two-hour car ride, given my now-decades of knitting experience and the relative simplicity of the charming pattern.

However… the knitting goddess was not being reasonable.

True, I had ignored her for months.

Also true, I was modifying the pattern to be larger…. something I’ve done many times in the past, although usually with a bit of math written out to back up my changes.

And also also-true, I was changing it from a knit-flat pattern to an in-the-round pattern… something else I’ve done many times in the past, with no difficulties.

Alas.

This time, I knit for an hour or so before deciding my calculations (in my head, of course) were off somewhere… or my gauge (which I didn’t swatch, of course) was wonky… so the hat was going to be too big.

No problem, says I. I am no stranger to curative properties of a timely frogging, after all.

I ripped out the WIP and started again, this time carefully noting (in my head again, of course) the changes to my original modifications (still in my head, of course).

Alas.

So I’ll be ripping the poor thing out again, only a little daunted.

Perhaps just daunted enough that I’ll write out my modifications next time… and take notes of any on-the-fly changes I make.

So, not knitting, but I have been sewing.

Back in July, I finally stopped procrastinating and not just because it was the day of the show in which i was to wear them and made a pair of bloomers for Cupcake, my medieval faire alter ego! My group, Just Desserts, was performing at a local club, The Midnight, and my old bloomers were worn out and falling apart. I’d stockpiled some bloomer-destined fabric back in the early spring, and with only 7 hours before showtime, I got serious and started sewing.

True to form, I’d tempted the sewing goddess by not starting sooner, then by not making sure I had all of my supplies (elastic cut to the right length for my calves, I’m talkin’ about you!) before I took off with the almost-finished bloomers to meet the other wenches and start getting ready. “Oh, no problem that they’re not really finished! I can quickly thread in these two elastic pieces in the leg casings and stitch them closed,” said I… only to discover (when I was far from home and without my stash of notions) that one of the pieces was about 3 inches shorter than the other, which made it about 3 inches too short to fit without cutting off the circulation to my foot.

I made a down-and-dirty desperation decision (yay, alliteration!) to use a ribbon on that leg, just for that performance, so the fabric would gather appropriately. But ribbon is not elastic, and that leg drooped. I’m not sure if any else noticed, but I sure did, mostly because it felt all wrong.

After the show, once again at home, I replaced the ribbon with elastic, and the bloomers were truly finished.

Here’s how they look (on a hanger):

Arrrr!

Arrrr!

That photo makes the pirates’ hats look kind of purplish, so how ’bout a closeup of the leg casing and fabric:

Avast, ye landlubbers!

Avast, ye landlubbers!


I also sewed two tablecloths for an author-friend of mine to use at her author appearances.

She chose the fabrics and trims, and I supplied the labor. Each turned out about 8 ft long and 3.5 ft wide, simple rectangles with trim on one long edge.

Here’s a closeup of the striped one I made first:

Why, yes, there is a blue ribbon on that grey stripe!

Why, yes, there is a blue ribbon on that grey stripe!

And here’s a closeup of the second one, which is both my and the author’s favorite:

Love that sweet brown and pink trim!

Love that sweet brown and pink trim!

And here’s a shot of the second one, in the real world:

Here's one: in use... and in need of ironing!

Here’s one: in use… and in need of ironing!

And yesterday, I “finished” three pair of wench’s bloomers! I say “finished,” because the actual sewing is done on all three, but only one is ready to wear. That would be the ones I made for my sister wench, Tira McSu. It is, surely, a complete coincidence that these were also finished at the last minute on the same day they were to be worn in a performance. (We were one of the acts in a benefit show to raise awareness and funds for a local domestic-violence shelter and similar programs.)

I didn’t have Tira at my house when it was time to fit the elastic to the legs and the waist, so I packed up some sewing supplies and took them with me. Once again, I almost blew it, as I had not included a sewing needle in said supplies. (I know!) Luckily, it took only a couple of minute of frantic searching to find one in the house where we were getting ready, so the bloomers did get finished. The hand-stitching details (sewing the leg casings closed, slipstitching down the space in the waistband that the elastic was threaded through) did not, as I ran out of sewing time before we had to head out to our venue, but those little things can wait.

As a result, I did not take a photo of them.

I do, however have a photo of the fabric, taken while I was trying to sew it. As you can see, Gandy (i.e., Gandalf the Grey) was helping me sew, but you may need to click-to-embiggen to see the fabric print better:

"Not like that, silly! You forgot to put the legs right-sides-together!"

“Not like that, silly! You forgot to put the legs right-sides-together before stitching!”

The other two pair still need to have elastic fitted into their legs and ribbons in their waistbands (not elastic, so they can be worn by whichever wench wants to, waist measurements notwithstanding), then they need to assume the clothes-hanger-on-the-door photography position and smile for the camera. Once that’s done, I’ll post them, along with some adorable kitty-helper photos I took during the marathon sewing session yesterday.

Till then, I hope your summer has been all you’d hoped. And as temperatures start to become more fall-like and the kiddies start back to school in some parts of the world, I wish you smooth transitions.

Later, kittens!

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I haven’t knit a thing in the last couple of months, although I carry yarn and needles with me virtually everywhere. I have, however, kept quite busy. Mostly reading and working and hanging out with the family and kitties.

I’ve also had a wench rehearsal or two, and in fact we have a performance scheduled for tonight at a local downtown bar/eatery*. I am so excited! I love performing so much, especially with my wench troupe. We have the most fun!

Not sure if I mentioned it here in an earlier post, but I’ve decided that the troupe needs its own songs. Originals. Written for us, to suit our act and to expand our repertoire. That way, if and when we record a second album, it will have some really new material interspersed with traditional wench/pub songs. Fun, right? Right!

Alas, none of the other wenches feels she has the requisite skills to undertake songwriting… not even the group’s twice-published novelist.

After a bit of discussion, we decided that I should do it. After all, I’m the one who really wants it done. I’m the one who suggested it. And I’m the one who’s written a song for us before, albeit only one (i.e., the Men’s Birthday Ditty)… a year and a half ago. Never mind that the women’s version has been unfinished since that time, that I haven’t been quite able to get it right.

Anyhoo, I was pressed (by our first album‘s producer) to declare how many songs I intended to write for the group this year, which sent me into spasms of frightened laughter, as “intend to” seems entirely the wrong term. “Hope to” seems far more appropriate. And I do hope to write a total of six songs for us to incorporate into our act… and into our next album, should we record one. So I said that, or something similar, laughed at my presumption and pooh-poohed the compliments and assurances of my sister wenches and our producer, who all declared their faith in my talent and ability to do this thing.

Yeah, right.

And that same night, not an hour later, as I was driving home from rehearsal, the germ of a song came to me, a lyric line, complete with its melody. By the time I went to bed, I had a chorus and the structure for the rest of the song laid out in my mind.

The next morning, in a little over an hour, I had the first song written, and with some technical help from BC17, I recorded a stripped-down version and sent it off to the group for input.

To a woman, they loved it! We’re going to work out parts, etc., at our pre-show rehearsal this evening, and it will be a real song!

Wanna see the lyrics?

Sure, you do!

Check it out:

A Man Like That

I want a man who knows my hills and dales,

One who’ll keep my garden wet,

Who’ll chase the wolves and never fail

To give me puss a pet.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

Who’ll plow your fields both day and night?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

I want a man who sets my soul on fire,

A man with heaven’s keys,

Who gives new meaning to “oh, god!”

And who brings me to my knees.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

With an angel’s smile and a devil’s touch?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

I want a man to tower over me,

Who is masterfully built.

A solid man who’ll stand the test of time,

With calves to rock a kilt.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

With shoulders you can prop your feet up on?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

I want a man who can take the heat

Who will stoke my forge and fire,

Who pounds my metal hot and sweet,

And shapes my heart’s desire.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

A man who knows just when to strike?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

You can spend your life in drudgery

Feeling lonely, sad or fat.

But you’ll never see who’s right in front of you.

No, you’ll never meet a man like that.

 

(final chorus)

So lift your head and fluff your girls,

Sing and dance and laugh.

Give the game of life a loving whirl.

Don’t you know a man likes that?

Don’t you know we all like that?

© 2014 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved

I know it loses quite a bit in the translation to words on a screen. If I could figure out how to embed my little recording of it, I would. Sadly, I do not. **

On that same fateful drive home from rehearsal, I also had the idea for second song! It plays with and  off of the idea of the wenches being the musical instruments a minstrel group might play… And it’s nearly finished, too. In fact, I thought it was a fait accompli, but I’ve decided I want it to end differently, so I shall be tweaking it further after I finish this long-overdue post.

And I think I’ve worked out the wenches’ birthday thing, too… although what I’ve come up with may be too short and simple. We shall see.

Still, I feel so productive! And only mildly guilty that I’ve nothing on the needles. Still, with WWKIP week coming up in only one short week,*** I feel a growing compunction to get back to the ol’ KPKP, if you know what I mean. The urge has been building, and I can resist anything but temptation.

I am, after all, a wench. 😉

* It’s called The Midnight. We go on at 9:30, probably doing two sets. We’re headlining, which sounds very fancy, but really means a couple of guys we don’t know and didn’t pick are gonna play guitar and sing before us. Still, headlining has a nice delusion of grandeur ring to it. Come on down and hang out with us, if you can and are so inclined. We’d love to see you.

** Oh. Apparently, I have to pay for a “space upgrade” to post sound files. Grrrr. I think, instead, I’ll post a link to a Youtube recording of it later, once we’ve made one and published it.

*** June 14-21, according to this FB page someone set up. And who am I to argue with a FB page someone set up? Hey, it’s on the internet, so it must be true, right? Riiiiiight.

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… since my last post. (I missed a day or two.) But the socks are growing, despite the slow pace. Check it out:

Just a few inches more...

Just a few inches more…

The socks now measure 11 inches in length, all done on a US size 000 circ. On the most recent round, I switched to a size 00, to allow for shaping changes without my having to add stitches to accommodate my calves. I am not one of those stick-leg ladies, so there’s definitely gonna be shaping required.

Not sure how long I’ll make these, but they will continue at least until I run out of yarn in the original two skeins (one skein per sock). I do have a third skein, but I don’t know that I want the socks to be that long. We shall see.

My participation in WWKIP week has been minimal. And by “minimal,” I mean that I knit a couple of times at work this past week. That’s it.

What fun in-public stuff did you do while knitting this week?

 

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What I did last night

… at Loosey’s, while waiting for my next turn at the karaoke microphone:

No, not holding the socks up for photos… Knitting! I promise!

Pardon my derpy look. I wasn’t exactly sure when the snap was going to happen, as it was quite loud in the bar and the hubs and I didn’t arrange any hand signals beforehand.

For the record, I knit 7 rounds on each sock and am rapidly approaching the point where the cabley stuff will stop and the K1P1 cuff will begin. (Yay!) My secret hope (which I’m not gonna say too loudly, to avoid jinxing myself) is to finish the socks tonight. It’s my last night off (out of 7!) before going back to the ol’ work grind, and I’d love to be able to show off wear my Widdershins socks Monday night at the comm center.

I’m still waiting for Gayle to send me a photo from Friday night’s karaoke/WWKIP adventure, but you can picture the socks as they were then if you think “about half an inch shorter.” (And yes, I’ll put the picture up when I get it, if it’s in focus, etc., etc.)

My song list: “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, “Come to my Window” by Melissa Etheridge and “These Dreams” by Heart.

I also submitted two others, but didn’t make it up for those, ’cause there were so many other people wanting to sing, too. Still, it was good to sing again, even if it hadn’t been 24 hours since my last time onstage.

After the bar closed, our group was standing on the sidewalk, gabbing and laughing, when one of a trio of men nearby started talking to one of the other chicas in our party and somehow it came out that three of us were part of the singing wench troupe Just Desserts. That’s right, I was with Cherri Tart and Tira McSue in our non-wench garb and personae, of course. The guys asked us to perform a naughty ditty for them and we were only too happy to oblige. We did an impromptu version of The Chandler’s Shop, a number Gayle-as-Tira doesn’t normally do, but she sure rocked it! The guys said they loved it and told us we could make a fortune if we set up a busking post downtown! Not likely to happen, as we all have full-time jobs, but a nice compliment, nonetheless.

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Last night was karaoke night and I felt the need to sing. (You know how that goes, right? Right. I knew that you did.) The locale is a restaurant/bar at a bowling alley, which sounds way seedier than it is. The hubs and I joined my friend and sister wench Gayle (a.k.a. Tira McSue) at Splitz. (Cute name, right? Right.)

Due to Florida’s laws banning smoking in indoor public-use locales, including those that sell food, the air inside is clean and fresh enough to breathe and to sing and to not pollute my Widdershins socks-in-progress. So it was a no-brainer* that I should bring my ubiquitous knitting pouch containing said socks, then pull them out and knit while others were singing.**

* Well, only if you interpret “no-brainer” to mean that all the reasons I stated above were already deeply ingrained into my subconscious mind and therefore didn’t require actual cogitation. Otherwise, my decision was at least a “little-brainer”… which just sounds wrong, so let’s stick to “no-brainer,” okay? Okay. Thanks.

** Yes, there is photographic evidence, but it’s on Gayle’s camera and I have to wait till she sends me a copy before I can post it. Sorry, kittens, but neither of us wenches could figure out how to use our cellphone cameras to send pictures to someone else.*** (Note to self: find youtube video of that and learn how to send frakkin’ pictures from the frakkin’ cellphone to other cellphones and to email!)

*** I may be slandering Gayle’s cellphone-camera-picture-sending abilities and/or knowledge, because it was really loud in Splitz when she told me why she was going to use her actual camera and not her cellphone to take the photo. She may have said, “My cellphone camera doesn’t have a flash and won’t get a good picture,” or “My cellphone’s camera isn’t working right now,” or “Wouldn’t you rather have a good photo taken on my actual camera than a possibly crapola one taken with my cellphone camera?” As I said, it was really loud in there. (Ahem.)

I got 8 rounds (a full cable repeat) completed on the pair, which adds about another inch to the length. Here’s a photo I took this morning of one of them on my foot, with the other lying alongside and one of the skeins hiding the razor stubble on my leg providing an idea of how much yarn remains to be knit:

A much nicer fit, doncha think? Me, too.

Gayle invited us out for karaoke again tonight, at a different venue, where KIP will probably be more noticed and noted, which is the point of WWKIP week, right? Right. I don’t know if there will be table space for it, as this place had much less elbow room per person the last time I sent there, so the project bag may remain in my purse. But never fear, it will be with me and, if the opportunity presents, I will KIP like a mutha’! Represent!

For now, I bid you adieu. I needs must take my tired tuckus to my amazing waterbed of joy and read a bit, then sleep the rest of the day away, so that I might be arise refreshed this evening at a decent hour and then go out and sing some more! (Have I ever mentioned how much I love, love, love to sing? No? Are you sure? Well, I do. So now you know.)

[Updated to add:]

My songlist for the night: “When Will I Be Loved” by Linda Rondstadt, “Come to my Window” by Melissa Etheridge, “Alone” by Heart. Oh, and my horrendous first-ever attempt at “Magic Man” by Heart. That last one will need a bit of work before it’s ready for prime time.

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WWKIP Week 2012 (so far)

We’re halfway through the 2012 WorldWide Knit In Public Week, and this year** I didn’t miss it. That’s right: I’ve been knitting. At home and in public!

(Shock, right? No? Really? OK… fine. Sigh.)

** Last year I almost forgot about it entirely just couldn’t get it together much. I mean, I did do a little knitting (e.g., at Cracker Barrel and, maybe, Books-a-Million), but my awake times were out of sync with business hours. This year, though, I’m off for the week and I’ve reminded myself to get out there and represent… more than usual. And by “usual,” I mean a lot. Or at least every once in a while. Heck, even when I don’t KIP, I always have my knitting with me, so it’s like knitting could spontaneously break out at any minute. That’s me: living on the edge… where knits, purls, YOs and cables are never out of the question… whatever the question is. (It’s 42, I’m pretty sure. No, wait… that’s the answer. Well, crap. Disregard, then.)

Anyhoo, I started the week by frogging at work. That’s right, I ripped back my Widdershins in progress (WIP for realz, yo!) to the top of the heels and reknit the back needle’s stitches over a bunch a few more stitches. I left 3 border stitches on each side of the socks, then worked four cables across the back. (That’s 15 more stitches than in the original pattern. I think. My counting-/memory-fu might be faulty.)

It freaked a couple of people right out to see me just ripping back my knitting, but I wasn’t worried. After all, I know how to pick up stitches and fix mistakes, so it’s all good, right? Right.

After leaving work on Saturday morning, the hubs and I went out to breakfast, where I knit some more. (No pictures, sorry. I didn’t have my camera with me and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to send a photo to myself from have had some technical issues with my new-ish cell phone. So you’ll have to trust me on that one.

I knit some more at work on Sunday night, then didn’t knit at all on Monday night (my first night off). Here’s how the socks (well, a representative single sock) looked and fit before my last knitting session:

Better, no? Yes!

Last night, I pulled them out again while I was watching some webisodes by Felicia Day and her crew of talented miscreants on the Geek & Sundry channel on youtube.com. I continued to knit on them while the hubs and I made an emergency fresh-donuts run to our local Krispy Kreme. (FYI, emergency = craving for raspberry-filled donut perfection.) Here’s a photo of the socks and the amazing box of donut joy:

There’s socks on that there box… and mouthgasms inside!

The good news about ripping back? The socks fit now (so far, so good) and I’ve reached the point where I’m ready to use “new” yarn. (FYI, new = virgin = unfrogged = never before knit.)

All that remains is to knit the legs until I run out of yarn. With occasional fittings and adjustments and… well, you know. Details to follow.

Happy WWKIP Week, kittens! And good luck frightening the muggles… or perhaps (best case scenario) helping someone discover his or her inner knitter. Now, that would be some real magic.

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And I have proof. It’s not much and it’s blurry and it’s… well, it’s not pretty, but it is photographic evidence.

Exhibit one:

That shadowy thing in the 3-to-6-o’clock quadrant? Yep, that’s it.

Exhibit two:

Glare much?

Do yourself a favor and don’t click on them to embiggen them, as they are lo-res cellphone pics and they look much better small. Trust me.

Chronicled above you see the start of a pair of K1P1 fingerless mitts. I knit each mitt separately up to about row 15 before putting both on one circular needle and knitting them at the same time. Obviously, this required I start one mitt from the center pull and the other from the outside of the skein, as I had only purchased one skein for the pair. And I still have nearly half a skein left, so that was clearly a good plan.

Anyway, later that same week, I had two more KIP sessions that got me about halfway through the mitts. In the same length of time, I probably would have finished a traditional set, but these have extra length before the thumbs, so they cover quite a bit more arm and don’t leave a gap for the wind to sneak up a sleeve.

After WWKIP week, I put them down for a few days, then finally finished them in the wee hours of Saturday morning. (No final picture, sorry, ’cause they’re a gift and I don’t want to spoil any surprises.)

In the week that I wasn’t knitting, I was working (duh) and doing stuff to get ready for the BC14’s 15th birthday. What stuff? Stuff like getting me and him involved as actors in a murder-mystery dinner show! In one week, we had a read-through/rehearsal and costume-shopping, then the show itself this past Friday night. That same Friday night? Yep, that was the BC’s birthday!

This was his first time acting for a “real” (i.e., non-school) audience and he did so well. He played the host of the show, opening it and moving the action/plot along. We were both expecting him to be nervous, but he really wasn’t… not after his first three lines and his first laugh… which came exactly on cue and with enthusiasm. (Whew!) And he had so.much.fun. (His words.)

As did I. I played the murderer (bwah-ha-ha-ha!), pretending to be a kindergarten teacher attending the dinner, which included a costume contest, so I was dressed as an escaped prisoner. Before the action of the play began, I dined at a table with some of the actual guests, improvising in character (of course). So.much.fun!

The other characters were a cop, a waitress, a professional escort, the victim, my character’s husband, and the host. The cop asked the scripted questions, then the audience got to ask about 18 more (one per table), so the actors all had to improv in their responses. Each of the audience members got to “vote” on who the murderer was, via paper ballot, then five of the people who guessed correctly got prizes.

Shockingly, more people thought the kindergarten teacher in the inmate costume was capable of murder than any other suspect. I hate to think what their early school years must have been like!

What a terrific way to spend the boy’s birthday evening. He got to fulfill a newly expressed desire to perform (and got paid for it, BTW) and I not only got to see it, I got to perform right alongside him. And his dad was there, too, taking pictures of the whole thing. It was darn near perfect.

And I mean it when I say “newly expressed desire”, as the now-BC15 had told me only a couple of weeks before this show that he was hoping for a chance to get involved in theater, as an actor, not backstage. (His older brother has done backstage work on several plays and liked it that way.) I was thrilled to be able to facilitate this so quickly.

The opportunity arose when an actress/dance/student friend of mine (hi, Joan!) asked me if I wanted to be in a show her stepmom was arranging for the opening dinner of her professional association’s Florida conference. I jumped on the chance (after getting coverage for work that night) and asked her if there was a part for the BC. There was, and the rest is history!

It was such fun to do a show with my son! He was confident and had great timing and composure and… well, I’m very proud of him. (If/when the hubs gets me some of the pics from his camera, I’ll post one for you all.)

And on that note, I leave you all to head off to dreamland. I’ve work tonight and it’s bedtime. Ciao, kittens!

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