You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

DSCN3651 There may be many reasons for knitting female anatomy but I suspect that the reasons for knitting food all ultimately fall under the "because we can" category.  Needless to say knitters and crocheters love to show off what they can do and knit and crochet food is very popular.  There are whole directories dedicated to knit and crochet food patterns.  Though I've observed patterns for knit beets and crocheted coffee with interest, there was something about the sweet simplicty of crocheted cupcake that drew me in. 

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Guess, I can't call this the baby Kimono anymore.  I followed the same Mason-Dixon principals as for the baby kimonos eyeballing the measurements as I went along to make a big-girl version. Some of the details that took this from baby to big-girl include: stockinette, understated crochet trim, straight 3/4 sleeves and seed stitch gores at the sides for a little extra ease and swing.

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At the risk of being blasphemous, I want to take a moment to salute some big-box store bought needlework:

Bbknits 010 The fuchsia sequined crocheted bikini.  My 5 year old luuvs it.  Though it probably wouldn't have taken too long to whip up, I'm happy to have let this one cut the line straight from the realm of possibility to finished object.  Anonymous person (people?) of China, we appreciate your efforts.

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The taupe cardigan.  This is a staple in my summer wardrobe; goes with everything, perfect for covering up bare shoulders at the office and transitioning from smoldering triple digit exteriors to breezy air-conditioned interiors.  35 stitches per inch of taupe stockinette surely is utmost cruelty for even the most die-hard hand-knitter. Thank goodness for the invention of the knitting machine so I can have my taupe cardigan and knit my purple Lush and Lacy cardigan too.

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The pink cardigan.  This is a slightly special case.  I think the way the vertical knit stitches magically slip and knit together (??) to become diagonals at the yoke is pure genius. I love how the simplicity of the stockinette and lone button closure are brilliantly challenged and enhanced by the yoke and eyelet edge trim.  I want ot knit one of these in my size (sweater shown is a child's size 5) but I'm not sure if I am clever enough to figure it out. 

I'm currently knitting a bigger version (child's size 5) of the baby kimono.  This is knitting on the opposite side of the cleverness spectrum.  I'm using Cristina Shiffman's concept of the one-piece baby kimono and brutishly modifying it to a bigger size.  My current version has three quarter sleeves (at the request of the recipient), a stockinette body and slightly odd proportions in the slope of the neckline and width of the body, due to my refusal to spend even 5 minutes doing some math before casting on.  Pictures to follow.

the results of my recent experiments in the kitchen (yarn was involved)

I proudly present red cabbage and onion skins (freed at last from the zip-lock bag in the closet):

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After prolonged simmering and steeping on the stove-top, the dye is ready to meet the yarn.  The yarn leaves the mordant bath and joins the dye bath where it frolics for hours.Cbirthdoll_007 Dscn3552   

In the end the yarn emerges transformed.  See red cabbage (lower left) and Onion-skin dyed yarn (lower right) shown with Turmeric (upper left) and … can you guess what produced the creamy golden brown?

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Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I made you a sweater.  And in the true spirit of hand-crafted mother’s day gifts there are a couple of things about it that are a little off.  Here it is: Cbirthdoll_037_3

I know it would be better if it were there, but it will get there eventually. Meanwhile, I’m not sure if it needs some tweaking first.  It was supposed to look like this:

Lush_cardigan_150 But I thought the ruffles on the sleeve were a little odd and over-the-top. I’m having a little trouble getting the buttons to lie as well and provide as much closure as they do in the picture lying relatively flat.  I know there is a bit of peak-a-boo space in the original as well, but am not sure if the whole double button thing is working.  Maybe I should stick with buttons on one side and have them go all the way down?  Cbirthdoll_022_4I love the lace flowing out of the pockets, and on the Cbirthdoll_023_2back and on down the sleeves. But there is something a little shrunken about the whole thing that worries me a little (even though I knit the size large, but large in L.A. may be a relative term)  This may the sort of cardigan that is mostly worn open.  Or lovingly stored in the closet as a momento of my affection.  That’s OK too.  I promise to send the needlework birthing doll (and knit uterus) soon. Much love, Mom Jr.

I’ve been psyching myself up about dying for some time.  I did a quick first pass last Easter with my attempt to resurrect what was left of the food coloring once it had lived out it’s full life as easter egg pigment.  The results were a Care-Bear kind of heaven: bright and cheery bursts of color in soft and comforting clouds of yarn. 
But I really wanted to dye naturally.  I surreptitiously began saving my onion skins.  I bought a mega 14oz bag of turmeric powder at the international grocery store without so much as a curry recipe lingering at the peripheral outer-orbit of my mental to do list.  I cast furtive and thoughtful glances at the beets, red cabbage and raspberries in the produce aisle. 
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For Christmas my mother bought me "The Root of Wild Madder" by Brian Murphy, a beautiful and informative book on so many levels about a man’s pursuit of the history and mystery of the Persian carpet.  It is beautifully and passionately written; Murphy is unabashedly romantic in his quest but his journalistic background enables him to weave current cultural and political context into his story in way that is neither dull, preachy nor contrived.  His search for wild madder, the natural dye used to produce the carpet’s signature shades of red, russet, rust and rose becomes the guiding thread that pulls him (and us) through his journeys in Iran and Afghanistan.
For Christmas I bought myself  "Natural Dyeing" by Jackie Crook, this is probably the closest  a 15 dollar paperback how-to book could possibly get to a coffee table book.  Each page is so beautiful, I was almost content not to bother going to the trouble of doing all the work and just loosing myself in the the glorious shades of color and texture on the page.  On each glossy page you see the original producer of the dye, the finished result, clear how-to instructions with handy tips and a spectrum of the varied results depending on the mordant used.  Most of the dyes are readily found at the supermarket (avocados! who knew?)
And yet, it was George Washington Carver who ultimately did me in. 
More on that in the July issue of Black Purl Magazine.