"The Nation's Leading Bi-Regional Knitting Blog" --Ann's husband • "Kay sure is wasting a lot of time on this" --Kay's husband

February 28, 2008

Teeny Project Runway: Finalists!

Dear everybody,

Congratulations to everyone who entered Teeny Project Runway! If you read the comments from our last entry, you will see the overwhelming feeling that these 62 entries have, in the words of Tim Gunn, knocked everybody's socks off. And in a world of knitters, that is a LOT of socks.

We need hardly point out that this has exceeded our expectations in every way. Still chuckling, still puzzling, still hearing speculation about whether Annabell the Rat is actually alive or stuffed.

All you entrants will be pleased to know that Project Runway's official fan site linked to the contest yesterday, so your creations were viewed by tons of people who came over from Blogging Project Runway. (SPOILER ALERT: if you're watching the TV series and don't want to know who wins next week's big finale, avoid this site until next Wednesday. They tell all over there!)

Who knows? Maybe Tim Gunn got an eyeful of your nutty creature couture.

The Voting: Chads, Lockouts, Misvotes--Are We in Florida???

Now. There has been a fair amount of trouble with the polling software we used for the voting. Blogpoll has some glitches. The fact that it is totally free is not one of them, and that is so compelling to us that we'll put up with all sorts of weirdness. We do, however, want to be fair, and fortunately, we think the vote has turned out to be clean enough.

One glitch: Blogpoll automatically selects the top choice until the voter picks another one. This sort of lame-o design will get the Blogpoll people the U.S. presidential election contract.

Another glitch: the Blogpoll limit of 20 choices per Blogpoll meant that we had to cobble together four Blogpolls in order to list all 62 entries. This made it possible for voters to vote four times, so maybe the total number of votes cast was higher than it should have been. However, it was NOT possible to vote for one entry more than once per computer, so nobody could stuff the ballot box from one computer.

But the fact is, I think that knitters are a noble, rule-following people. And having to choose one favorite is the sort of excruciatingly delightful exercise that makes a contest like this fun in the first place. And furthermore, if you're cheating on a contest like this, you'll have a lot to answer for when you get up to the pearly gates and Elizabeth Zimmermann is there waiting for you.

If you emailed me about a voting difficulty, please know that I kept your vote on hand if it was going to be needed as a deciding vote.

We blew the deadline of 12:34 pm Central Daylight Time by two minutes, because we were on the phone actually, with each other, working on the new book which means mostly that we have multi-hour conversations sort of like when I used to watch TV while on the phone with my friends in seventh grade. "Are you still there?" "Yeah." "Fonzie is so hot." "Yeah."

But at 12:36, I cut and pasted the vote totals from the Blogpolls, sealing them deep in the recesses of my computer, locking in the vote counts at that precise moment.

The Results

The top five vote-getters today at 12:36 pm, CDT, were:

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Entry #54: Jill Goes to the Oscars, 626 votes

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Entry #12: Babs the Sock Monkey, 328 votes

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Entry #53: Giuseppina, Kermit's Sister, 321 votes

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Entry #20: Annabell the Rat, 300 votes

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Entry #29: Mr. Potato O'Head, 300 votes

Congratulations to you all!!!!!

The Final Vote

Please go to view the Finalists here, then vote below.

The finalists are shown here in a random order as determined by drawing the names out of a black lizard cowboy boot. PLEASE VOTE CAREFULLY--click your choice, then click Vote.

Voting will be open until Friday, February 29, 9:59 pm Central Daylight Time.

Again, our kudos to you all. Really stunning!

Love,

Ann and Kay

Posted by Ann at 06:44 PM | Comments (38)

February 26, 2008

Teeny Project Runway: It's Time to Vote

Dear everybody,

WELCOME TO THE RUNWAY!

The teeny weeny runway, that is. We are proud, humbled, and awed to present the entries in Mason-Dixon Knitting's Teeny Project Runway.

(If you are just now joining us, here's the story of what the heck we're doing here. If, on the other hand, you've been waiting impatiently to see this slide show of garments knitted for stuffed animals, figurines, and taxidermy, well, you're just nuts.)

Fasten your seatbelts--it's going to be a freaky ride.

Before you take a look at the models, a few bits of housekeeping:

1. Viewing. Each entry represents the work of a brilliant designer. Every photograph has with it a comment by the designer (or novella, or confession, or explanation, or apology). It is very important to read these in order to understand the process behind these creations. As if any of us can understand what we are doing here, but whatever.

2. Reading. When you click the link below, it will take you to Flickr.
Click on the Teeny Project Runway icon.
Click "View as slideshow."
Click the "i" button in the center of the image to see the commentary by the designer.
Be sure to view all 62 entries, because there are a lot of surprises in there.

3. Voting. Choose the one creation that best completes the mission set forth in Teeny Project Runway:

Create a garment that perfectly suits your client. Get to know your client, make the most of your client's assets and minimize the less-than-perfect parts. Fabulousness is key here. Make your client fabulous.

Please come back and vote after you have carefully studied all the entries and read the designers' comments.

Let's start the show right now!

Voting

Vote for exactly ONE entry, then click the "Vote" button that appears below the entry you chose. Because there are four boxes of choices here, it is possible to vote once in each box. We heartily encourage you NOT to do this. Let's keep the integrity of the process intact so we don't have to count hanging chads or whatever. There's one vote allowed per IP address.

Voting begins RIGHT NOW, and goes until 12:34 pm Central Daylight Time on THURSDAY, February 28.

The top five vote-getters will move on to the Final Five, a runoff which will determine the winner of Teeny Project Runway.




Kudos to everyone who entered! As far as we're concerned, you are all winners--crazy, but crazy winners.

Love,
Ann and Kay

Posted by Ann at 10:36 AM | Comments (98)

February 25, 2008

The Liberation of Rag Balls! Freedom!

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Dear Kay,

Motoring along on the Tailgate Rug, 2008 edition. I'm so hooked on this thing that I am lugging around two cones of Peaches n Creme double worsted--as if they were PORTABLE or something. My blue rag balls are holding up well, though I'm a little concerned that there's a little too much cobalt in the dark blue. But not concerned enough to do anything about it. It's a rug, right?

So I'm flipping through the New York Times spring fashion supplement, which is something I do only when I'm feeling kind of strong for it. It's so maddening, that thing. So much energy put toward stuff that often seems self-indulgent, hard-hearted, or just unlikely. I mean: I understand the trickle-down nature of fashion, but I just can't get too cranked about the day when the sterling-silver clutch cast from a piece of termite-bored wood shows up at Old Navy.

ANYway, I flip past the six-inch heels and the gilded bronze chokers, and I come upon this:

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Woohoo! "Free spirit" Chloe Sevigny is grooving on rag balls! Rag balls made from Liberty fabrics, even. High five, Chloe!

Love,
Ann

PS The runway show of Teeny Project Runway is in the works. It's hard work, putting on a fashion show, people. It'll be tonight before the show begins. But get ready. Chloe Sevigny has NUTHIN on you designers.

Posted by Ann at 12:01 PM | Comments (18)

February 21, 2008

Tailgate Party, 2008 Edition

Dear Kay,

So much to tell you.

Topic Number One: Teeny Project Runway

The entries are arriving daily here for Teeny Project Runway. It's like Fashion Week at Bryant Park inside my computer. The fabulousness! The models!

There's still plentee of time to cook something up for our contest--the deadline for entries is Monday, February 25 at high noon.

Remember, the real Project Runway designers usually have one DAY to create their entries, and their garments are never designed for stuffed animals less than 24 inches high. So get on it! All the contest details are right here.

Topic Number Two: Tailgate Antiques Show Report

If it's bleak, gray, and snowing, it must be time for the Tailgate Antiques Show! Shockingly, I wasn't even going to attend; what is WRONG with me? I haven't wandered the parking lot of the Fiddler's Inn motel for ages! How could I forget? What a blessed relief that Frannie called with an urgent need to go find a dresser for cheap. Ten minutes later, we were heading up Briley Parkway, hoping the weather didn't improve too much. It doesn't feel like bargain hunting when the sun's out.

We were operating at such speed that I tragically forgot my camera. But I can report the sighting of two busted yarn swifts ($175 and $225), the tiniest pair of knitted mittens I have ever seen, and a pair of socks that can only be described as used. They were not vintage; they were not weathered with the passing of time. They were old, creepy, unloved, and on sale for $55. I nearly backed into a giant stuffed bison head as I fled in horror.

Because of my lack of camera, I found myself facing into the blunt reality that I was going to be forced to purchase the item that I would otherwise have simply photographed. If only I'd remembered my camera! Now I'm the owner of this:

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Sigh. We saw this quilt folded up under a crapped-out tavern table. Frannie immediately turned the screws on me. "Ann," she said, in that resigned voice. She nodded. "I don't think this even needs a thought."

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At first glance, this quilt is a set of appliqued wheels. The closer I looked, the tinier the stitches became, and the more clearly I saw the Coogles and the Wrays and the Holidays. Who were these people?

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Just think: someday, all our knitting will find its way into dresser drawers, and attics, and maybe a tag sale or an antiques shop. It's one of the lovely things about what we do: it stays behind, often anonymous, a small mystery for someone down the road.

Topic Number Three: Tailgate Aftermath

At one point, Frannie's eagle eye spotted a pile of rag balls. Incredibly, I do believe I said, "You know, I think I have enough rag balls."

Which sent me, on my return home, down to my stash of rag balls which really are required by law to be stored only in a room that is below ground level. Keeps the whiffy marinating process going.

I DO have enough rag balls, I concluded, but I got a fever for a Tailgate Rag Rug that could not be stopped. I fished out all my blues, hoping to go for a boro sort of vibe.

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I fished out my cones of Peaches n Creme double worsted, got out the book because I'd forgotten the pattern, and got to it.

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I haven't done a log cabin in a while, and I have to say, it's pretty much totally addicting.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 12:33 PM | Comments (40)

February 19, 2008

It Is So Hard to Find a Decent Emu Egg These Days

Dear Kay,

Well it's about dang time, is all I have to say. I'm at Whole Foods today (I've taken to calling it the Food Museum due to the priceless nature of its exhibits), and I come across this item:

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Emu eggs. $19.99 the egg. Granted, this emu egg is, like, four inches long and could probably make for a one-egg quiche, but still. Who would ever crack one, what with the incredible color of this thing?

Really gorgeous.

When I pulled out my camera to take a photo of the eggs, one woman with a toddler in her cart gave me a look. But when I said, "Emu eggs!" she clearly wished she had had her camera with her.

I got in the car, looked at my hands which were wearing brand-new, just finished Fetching Mitts

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and I realized that they're kind of emu egg colored.

This yarn, for the curious, is the Fibre Company's Terra, in a shade called Black Walnut, which is a fine name for a yarn, but I think we can all see that there's a little emu egg in there. If you're wishing for a little yarn wallow, go have a peek at the Terra shade card, which is flat-out glorious. It's pricey stuff, but you can get a pair of Fetching Mitts out of one skein, at a total cost of $16.

By the way, I got this yarn at Close Knit in Portland last year. Souvenir yarn. So great.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 04:29 PM | Comments (58)

February 14, 2008

Dishrag Detox

Dear Ann,

As much as I love, love, love knitting dishrags, I think they've become a problem for me. A crutch. Whenever I'm feeling fidgety lately, in knitting or life, I cast on a dishrag. This keeps me busy, but it's not like I need the dishrags. I'm well fixed in the dishrag department. I hand them out to pals like sticks of gum. "Here, have a Wint-O-Green? A piece of Trident? A countertop mop?"

While I respect dishrag knitting, I have to acknowledge that it is getting in the way of my commitment to other projects. The time has come to break the 100% cotton, $1.28-a-ball chains of the Demon Dishcloth Cotton. To slip those slipped stitches and breathe free.

But first, a small dishrag.

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Larissa is collecting cream-colored 6-inch dishrags for an art project. I love dishrags! I love art! I'm so in! You can use any pattern. I went out on a limb and used the Ballband Dishcloth pattern. To get 6 inches at my gauge, I cast on 27 , although I had to block it to get to 6 inches, and who blocks a dishrag? So if I were starting again, I 'd cast on 33 and let it be unblocked. (Hey! I could apply some i-cord to it in case it de-blockifies in the mail!)

The Cure

We are heading out on a little fambly Presidents Day vacay. To complete my dishrag-detox treatment, I am taking only one project with me.

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I am going to attempt Ether, from the new Rowan magazine, in Euroflax Originals Sportweight linen. (The top so great it makes you pass out on the lawn.) I'm working without a net here. I'm taking just the linen, the needles, and the magazine. Worst case scenario: linen dishrags.

I have received a couple of your Project Teeny Runway entries by mistake and I have been laffing my head off. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

See you next week,

Love,
Kay


Posted by Kay at 08:07 AM | Comments (35)

February 13, 2008

Snowflakes and General Flakiness

Dear Kay,

Aw, we have a bit of snow this morning in Nashville. Here's a look out the kitchen window.

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These were taken through the glass, about an inch away from the snowflakes.

Teeny Project Runway Is ON

Oh, man. The entries have already begun to show up in ye olde Teeny Project Runway In Box.

If anybody needs a little Tim Gunn-style counsel and advice, email us about your problem client, send a photo if you can, and we'll have a little workshop to figure out how to make it work.

If you're wondering what the heck Teeny Project Runway is, here are the rules for the contest. Plenty of time to enter: deadline is Monday, February 25. Bring it on!

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 11:58 AM | Comments (23)

February 12, 2008

I've Come Over All Tutorial

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Dear Ann,

My applied i-cord adventures continue. Applied i-cord is the new dishrag. If it doesn't move, you really ought to apply some i-cord to it.

A reader asks (and she's not the only one): "What do you do when you get to a corner?"

I'll tell you what I do: I stop. I wonder why I didn't foresee this problem even once during the previous 6 feet of i-cord application.

I consider getting up off my hindquarters and pulling a book off the shelf. I consider googling: "applied i-cord corner". Surely I am not the first i-cord artiste to run smack into a corner.

But that seems like an awful lot of work. So I sat there and made something up. I don't think this is an invention, or even an unvention, because I don't think there are too many ways to do such a thing as make an i-cord go around a corner without making the corner curl (which is what would happen if you just kept i-cording--there would not be enough ease at the corner to prevent it from curling). I think the fancy name for this is: SHORT ROW. On the knitter's Swiss Army knife, the short row is the pen knife--you can solve a lot of problems with it.

Anyhoo, here's how I do it. Feel free to tell me there is a better way. (I already know about using double-pointed needles to slide the stitches instead of slipping them back onto the right needle.)

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Today's i-cord victim, by the way, is a Baby Surprise Jacket that I made a while back because I felt bad to be the last kid on my block to knit a Baby Surprise Jacket. I came across it recently when I was frantically rooting through old shopping bags looking for something to apply i-cord to. The idea was to run applied i-cord all the way around the thing, and while I was at it, to use the i-cord to join the shoulder seams. So far it's working out OK. Fiddly doing the shoulder seams, but OK.

Applied I-Cord: How to Turn a Corner

Achtung! You are approaching the corner. Let's review: until now, you have been working every row like this:

Pick up one stitch in the edge to which you are applying the i-cord and place it on the left needle, *slip the 4 stitches onto the left needle, k3, knit the 4th stitch together with the picked-up stitch, pick up another stitch from the edge and place it on the left needle; repeat from * until the edging is complete--OR UNTIL YOU COME TO A CORNER.

What you want to do now is work a couple of extra rows to ease the i-cord around the corner. At the same time, though, you want to keep those rows attached. Because otherwise it would be detached i-cord, or have a hole in it.

Work the next row, beginning at the *. as follows:

SHORT ROW:
Slip the 4 stitches onto the left needle, k4 (INSTEAD OF 3, and do not work a k2tog with the picked-up edge stitch), NOW GO BACK TO THE * and work a normal row of applied i-cord, then repeat the short row one more time before resuming normal applied i-cord.

In other words, you work an unattached extra row twice, once before the corner edge stitch, and once after. I think this will make sense if you read it with the needles in your hands. If not, do not hesitate to shout out in the comments or send me an email.

[EDITED TO ADD: Reader Gretchen helpfully checked Meg Swansen's instructions on turning a corner with applied i-cord. To turn an outside corner, Meg prescribes working 2 rows of unattached i-cord before attaching to the corner stitch, and 2 more rows of unattached i-cord after the corner stitch row. The extra rows give a little more ease to turn a sharp corner. My improvised way, which worked fine for this baby jacket, made a slightly curved corner that I have plucked at until it looks sufficiently cornerish. Thanks, Gretchen!]

[By the way, is anybody else coming to the conclusion that what I am talking about is not really a short row at all? It's an extra row that's not attached. Nothing "short" about it.]

[ANOTHER EDIT: To make the beginning and end of a blanket's applied i-cord edging meet up tidily, check out Purl Bee's tutorial. Warning: provisional cast on! Kitchener!]

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See how neat it looks?

Other uses for this technique: It is handy to work an extra row of i-cord, without attaching it, whenever you get the feeling that your applied i-cord edging is too tight.

Carry on, naughty i-cord monkeys.

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 08:39 AM | Comments (35)

February 11, 2008

You May Already Be a Wiener

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Dear Ann,

I have News. The American Blanket raffle drawing has taken place, and Michaela has graciously allowed me to notify the world (and the winner) of the winner.

***JOAN HAMER*** of ***MANCHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA***, come on down!

Joan, I have your address, but please email me to confirm. I'm askeert to give this labor-of-many-hands to the United States Postal Service without at least double-checking the address.

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This past weekend, I bid a fond KayCam farewell to the blanket. I steamed it, I checked for holes at the seam meet-ups, I steamed it some more, I folded it, I refolded it, and I took many dramatic photos.

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Buh-bye, American Blanket Number 1.

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Be careful out there, ya big slipcover. Love you!

Hello, American Blanket Number 2

To be merciful to everyone concerned, American Blanket Number 2 is going to be throw-sized. Suitable for curling up on a small sofa, wrapping around your shoulders, and generally parading around the house pretending to be Kaffe Fassett. (Oh, like you don't do that. Please.)

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I'm starting with 11 zig-zag columns of 11 squares each. Then I'll be out of diagonal squares, and I'll figure out what to do next. Some kind of border(s). Log cabin? Checkerboard? Stay tuned, blanket fans. (If you already have tickets, you'll be in the drawing for this. If you don't already have tickets, (a) what is wrong with ya and (b) there is still plenty of time.)

Boom Market For Dead Animals

Ann. Honey. When we started co-blogging back in ought-three, I always knew that someday, taxidermy would be involved. (You seemed to know a lot about hides, is what I'm saying.) I wish you had given me a little more lead time, so I that I could have purchased a squirrel at a reasonable price for the Teeny Project Runway contest. I can't do an anteater, but I was hoping for a squirrel who died of natural causes after a happy, free-range, home-schooled life in the woodland. Now I have to consider the synthetic options. Oh well.

Happy Monday! Congrats to Joan!

Love,
Kay

Posted by Kay at 09:35 AM | Comments (35)

February 08, 2008

Teeny Project Runway: A Contest!

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Dear beloved nutcase readers,

Kay and I are proud to announce the first-ever

Teeny Project Runway.

Background

I had a revelation last week during a spasm of knitting for fake chickens to decorate the cast party cake for Second Grade Puppet Show. As I sat there, frantically cooking up outfits for fake chickens, I watched Project Runway, mesmerized as ever. I realized that I had found a way to wallow in the joy of designing clothes. For teeny clients who couldn't complain.

If you have watched this Bravo reality series, you too have thought: Gee, that would be fun. Or you've thought: Shoot, I could do that, too. Or you've thought: I don't sew, never will, and feh on all that.

Well, with this contest, you can (at last!) let out your inner Armani.

Your Mission

Create a garment that perfectly suits your client. Get to know your client, make the most of your client's assets and minimize the less-than-perfect parts. Fabulousness is key here. Make your client fabulous.

Your Client

Your choice of NON-BEAR, non-human stuffed animal, statue, figurine, taxidermy, whatever.

It can be any size from teeny to a maximum of 24" (60 cm). We don't care what sort of animal it is, so long as it's not a bear. No offense to the bear knitters out there, but we want to see couture for the other species. (Go Google "bear knitting," and you'll see what we mean. There's no new ground to break there.) For those of you who are jonesing to dress your taxidermy bear that Grandpa Phil shot sixty years ago, we're just impressed that you have access to a stuffed dead bear. But you still can't dress it for this contest. Especially if it's bigger than 24".

Rules

Now. Your garment must be completely your own creation. Nothing made from a pattern. Nothing removed from a Build-a-Bear, even if you put it on a rabbit. And we shouldn't have to tell you this, but no American Girl doll accessories.

The garment must be knitted. Crocheters can go make up their own contest.

Use whatever yarn, whatever materials you like.

Embellishments are allowed, as long as the clear majority of the garment is knitted. Remember: bad trim has doomed many a Project Runway garment. Use it for good, not evil.

How to Enter

Take one perfect, iconic photograph of your client wearing its garment. Pretend you're Richard Avedon. Email your photo.

One entry per person.

The Deadline
Noon Central Standard Time, Monday, February 25.

The Judging

The winner will be selected by the mighty, taste-filled readers of Mason-Dixon Knitting. It's like American Idol! Only weirder!

The entries will be posted online. Likely a Flickr group. Readers will have 24 hours to choose their favorite design. We will have two rounds of voting: Round 1 including all the entries, The Finals with the top five entries.

The Prize

Semi-immortality. A photograph of the winning entry will appear in our forthcoming book, Mason-Dixon Knitting: Outside the Lines. That is, if we can persuade our publisher to let us do this, which is very likely given that they're probably going to be off at some sales conference next month anyway. In the event that we can't beat the deadline, the winner will receive a swellerific prize that will include (of courser) delicious, squishy yarn.

In Conclusion

Time is short, designers. You have 17 days to dress your client. Make it cluck!

Love,

Ann

PS If you have a question about the rules, please leave a comment and I'll respond.

Posted by Ann at 10:25 PM | Comments (65)

February 06, 2008

Day Of Destiny Approaches

Dear Ann,

I have been in contact with the United Nations High Commission for Blanket Raffles, which has declared that all is in readiness to raffle American Blanket No. 1. Those aspiring to own this patchwork salute to Kaffe Fassett and the Ancient Art of the ZigZag should buy their tickets by noon (New York time) on Saturday. The drawing will be held later in the weekend, and the winner will be notified and announced on Monday or Tuesday. depending on how fast the carrier pigeons can make the transatlantic crossing.

[To review: To purchase raffle tickets, go to PayPal.com and send a payment to [email protected] Each ticket costs $2.00 US or 1 British pound. Your payment automatically enters you for the appropriate number of chances. All proceeds go to a fund for the purchase of a wheelchair for our 9-year-old friend Oliver, which you can read about on Emma & Co..]

The light has been dimmed by fog for the past two days, so I have yet to take my Cecil B. DeMille shots of the blanket. I did go to Brooklyn on Monday to show the finished work to Amber, who made such a heroic late-third-trimester effort with the layout, and had the idea of doing the inner borders as chromatic strips (to set off the zig-zag, and because we like chromatic strips).

The light was no better in Brooklyn, but Amber took a picture that gives an idea of the size and the layout:

oliveramber.jpg
Very nice!

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I introduced little Benedict to distressed denim. Raise 'em right!

To whom it may concern, I would like to update my requested epitaph:


Tombstone Generator

Love,
Kay


Posted by Kay at 08:26 AM | Comments (43)

February 03, 2008

I Believe In Applied I-Cord (and Eli Manning)

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Dear Ann,

I do not know how I lived, and knit, this long without embracing applied i-cord. Applied i-cord has it going ON. It's a RUSH.

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Applied I-Cord: How I Roll

To work an applied i-cord edging of 4 stitches, using 2 straight needles:

Cast on 4 stitches and place this needle in your right hand. Pick up one stitch in the edge to which you are applying the i-cord and place it on the left needle, *slip the 4 stitches onto the left needle, k3, knit the 4th stitch together with the picked-up stitch, pick up another stitch from the edge and place it on the left needle; repeat from * until the edging is complete.

oliverdone3.jpg

You can also apply i-cord to live stitches. Instead of picking up the stitches one by one, you could pick up and knit a bunch of stitches along the edge of the blanket, and apply the i-cord to these stitches, one at a time. If you are planning to work applied i-cord on the cast-on edge of a sleeve or sweater, use a provisional cast-on that you can unravel later to give you live stitches. Live stitches are smoother and more even than picked up stitches.

oliverdone4.jpg

The biggest challenge in working the edging on this blanket was picking up stitches in a visually consistent way. The gauge of the squares varied, and since the edge stitches often were the result of a K2tog, they could be devilishly tight little nubbins. But I'm a tough old bird. I kept at it, and I like it just fine. Sometimes I had to put my eyes so close to the stitch that I could feel the fuzz of the wool. (This was Mostly Unattractive.)

Important note to anyone (like you, Ann) who is planning on making a patchwork blanket of bias-knit garter-stitch squares: You will save yourself a ton of grief at the i-cord stage if you slip the first stitch of every row, and then work your increase or decrease to start the row. One knitter did that on her squares, and picking up the stitches on these squares was LIKE BUTTAH.

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So. Oliver's American Blanket is ready to be raffled. The stalwart Michaela is running these raffles, and she is going to let us know the Day of Destiny. If you want a chance at owning what is quite possibly the longest continuous length of applied i-cord in North America, go to PayPal.com and send a payment to [email protected] Each ticket costs $2.00 US or 1 British pound. Your payment automatically enters you for the appropriate number of chances. All proceeds go to a fund for the purchase of a wheelchair for our 9-year-old friend Oliver, which you can read about on Emma & Co..

Meanwhile, I'm going to try to take some decent pictures of the thing. I'm quite fond of it. The 2 borders, especially. I may have to get up on a ladder to get a shot that shows the grand plan of the borders. It's kinda like the gardens of Versailles, or a football field. You need to stand at the top of the stairs to get the full effect.

Love,
Kay

PS Since leaving Nebraska, where the people wear red on Saturdays just to go the the grocery store, I have fallen away from the Church of Football. I am innocent of all knowledge of the NFL, to the point that a taxi driver on the way to the Newark airport had to give my son the news that the Giants and the Jets play in the same stadium. But every year, I go to a fambly Super Bowl party in the Bronx, where we watch the commercials and a fairly boring, incredibly aggrandized game. But this year, I gathered from all the shouting, it was kind of exciting. As for me, I was mesmerized by those yellow (first down) and blue (line of scrimmage) lines infra-imposed on the field. How do they DO that? It's so cool to be able to see instantly whether they made the first down! I'm dazzled. (If they've been doing this for a long time, there is no need to tell me this in a snotty way.)

Posted by Kay at 10:21 PM | Comments (49)

February 02, 2008

Mute Poetry Jam

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(Some web. Courtesy of Google Images, y'all.)

Dear Ann,

In honor of the Feast of St. Brigid (and Groundhog Day), the blogiverse is celebrating with its third annual Silent Poetry Reading.

When it's my turn at the silent mike, here's what I'm going to read.

Location, Location, by Michael Milburn. (From this book).

Everybody grab a poem and get in line!

Love,
Kay

P.S. If you're here because you read a rumor that Ann was dabbling in handknit chickenwear, scroll down. And sit down. Our girl has flown the coop.

Posted by Kay at 04:07 PM | Comments (12)

February 01, 2008

A New Direction for Me

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Dear Kay,

It all started when I was tapped to bring the cake for the Second Grade Puppet Show. This is an event right up there with your Fourth Grade Play, with all sorts of rituals including the making of puppets, the writing of the script, the cast party, and the Cake.

This year's play is Beauty and the Beaks, the story of a bunch of beauty shop chickens who rescue a turkey who faces a future of being stuffed with chestnuts. Their solution: hide poor Lance from the farmer by dressing him up as a chicken. Like, with a skirt and a hat and the ultimate disguise, pantyhose.

The puppet show was a smash. Here's my fella, whose role as listed in the program was "Lance After Makeover."

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As for the Cake, the chickens in the book are fabricated out of cloth and feathers and such, so that immediately got my attention as I cast about desperately for the way to decorate the cake. We happen to own three fake chickens that usually come out around Thanksgiving time. That was 90% of the decoration: fake chickens.

Who needed clothes. Which led me pretty fast to the only way I know how to make clothing.

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Most of which was done while watching Project Runway and What Not to Wear.

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Which meant that I kind of got into knitting for these chickens maybe a little more I'd like to admit.

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To give these chickens their best look, I thought the fake chicken couture ought to draw the eye upward, toward those gorgeous chicken eyes, and away from the pear shape that so many barnyard fowl struggle with.

Accentuate the positive!

Anyway, this leaves me with an idea for a CONTEST. Stay tuned, people. In the meantime, go bone up on old episodes of Project Runway and What Not to Wear.

Love,
Ann

Posted by Ann at 09:46 AM | Comments (53)
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