March 25, 2009

Blocking for Dollars

I have finished Talia, but cannot show it off just yet. I thought it was blocked, but when I put it on this morning, I realized that it is not blocked enough. It grew very nicely length-wise and the lace opened beautifully. But the width. That's another story.

It goes around me, but with buttons actually buttoned, not so much. Sausage casing comes to mind. I could wear it open -- like Rhoda Morgenstern -- but this was not the look I was going for. It just dawned on me that maybe steam blocking might help with the width -- I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It also dawned on me that maybe there is something to that formula or theory that one should weight within ten pounds of one's high school graduation weight. I'm not keeping my fingers crossed for that one.

In the midst of this blocking problem, I also remembered that at Rochelle's shop, they had a finisher. You left the piece or pieces of knitting at the shop, and a week or two later you picked up the finished garment! It was sewn together, perfectly blocked, and fit like a dream! At least that's how I remember it. I never thought of the poor knitter, probably woefully underpaid and squinting under a bare bulb at her dining room table, all to do the grunt work on someone else's sweater.

The last time I asked a shop owner whether she had a finisher, she looked at me balefully and said, Well, I guess that would be me. Then there was an awkward pause. That was ten years ago. So, I've learned to sew and block, and even pick up stitches at the neckline, although it does scare me. I always imagine that having completed the bulk of the knitting, I will now somehow ruin the sweater with shoddy blocking and finishing.

Instead, I can show you two items that required zero blocking: a Tender Blankie for a friend's new baby, and a pair of red mittens for the big sister.

March 19, 2009

Oh Sherrie


It is Timmy's role, as the resident Morning Person, to wake up the entire household on school/work mornings. After much trial and error, he has come up with a winning method that 1) is efficient, and 2) does not fill the rest of us with a murderous rage. Here's how it works: at 6am the alarm goes off. He immediately leaps from bed and into the shower, leaving me about 10 minutes of peaceful languishing. He then turns on the lights in our bedroom, and in the hallway, which in turn shines through the transom windows into the kids' rooms. He then turns the radio to a local station which plays "the best of the 80s, 90s and today." This is key, because he used to turn on NPR, which often stirred up household debates -- not a good way to start the day. More often than not, the songs are cheerful, or at least pleasantly nostalgic. Today was no exception as I woke to the sounds of Steve Perry belting out "Oh Sherrie."

I'm not sure if I can convey my undying love for Steve Perry - his voice, hair and nose speak for themselves. I do know that it seemed he was the heartthrob of every girl in 80s Chicagoland. I just watched to youtube video, and even Sherrie herself, who seems like a sweet, lovable dope, can't take her eyes off him.

The downside of the wake-up method is that eventually we turn off the radio and the reverie is broken (sometimes by Phil Collins or Men at Work.) We rouse the kids from their beds, and Maudie turns on the shower radio to Hot 100. And now it's Beyonce or Lady Gaga or Kanye West. Don't get me wrong, I love Kanye, but he's no Steve Perry.

On the knitting front: Talia is finished and blocking, I've got socks for Timmy in the works and an early spring cardigan from Sweaterbabe - I love her simple, elegant designs and excellent instructions - all Raveled here.

March 5, 2009


I have no FOs to show today; I'm in a bit of a knitting lull.

However, I do have two fabulous gifts to show -- one knitted and one quilted.

First, from my sister-in-law, the quilt she made as a gift for Timmy's and my wedding. I can honestly say I've never been given anything quite like this in my life. It is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and also mind-boggling to the non-quilter. How did she do it? We originally used it on the bed, but then decided that a) it might fall victim to Snuffy's toenails, and b) it deserved to be displayed (to anyone who just happens to walk by our bedroom.) One of the great things about living in a house built in 1893 is the height of the ceilings -- the quilt seems made for the space.

Second, from my mom, the Modern Quilt Wrap, another project which I have admired from afar, but am way too chicken to attempt. I have been wearing it non-stop, and in addition to its unmitigated fabulousness, it keeps me warm in this drafty house. As a family friend once said, "One is always warm when one is wearing a scarf."

I feel lucky and blessed to have these women in my life.