Saturday, January 29, 2011

Working on the Go-Go Granny Tunic from Knitting It Old School

This project has been a lifeline. It's been the thing that's pulling me into spring. You'd think the longer days, the slightly less cold temperatures even the cute cardinal couple that regularly visits my mother's backyard bird bathbath and feeder would do the trick. Nope. This Go-Go Granny tunic is it. Sunny, cheerful and so unrelentingly fun, it's pushing me to a future filled with sunny days, warm weather and beachy clothes. A time when I won't have a cast clamped onto my leg. Heck, I can even picture a pair of cute shoes on my tootsies even they're not high heels or wedgies. Maybe I could visualize myself in a pair of cherry red penny loafers trimmed with white piping and shoelaces. The tunic, loafers teamed with a pair of sailor pants. Maybe even a floppy hat. And if I'm wearing a boot at that point? Who cares? I'll be walking again on my two feet.

Back to the granny square tunic, which is straight from the pages of Knitting It School. I had fully intended to make it from leftovers from other Cotton Classic projects. And I have...but you know crochet projects, like sewing, always call for more materials. It's far easier to get more fabric especially if there's a bolt left. But yarn? A different deal altogether. You have to match dye lots, which is something I've never had to do in the world of machine sewing! Never. Luckily, crochet, particularly the granny square kind, doesn't need to match. In fact, it's best of if it doesn't. It looks less like it was stitched together by some crochet hook machine in China and more like something that was perhaps crafted in someone's Austin, Texas background perhaps fueled by a margarita or two. This is truly the kind of crochet that can be done while drinking. What's the worst thing that can happen? An extra treble crochet won't hurt it. If you care about symmetry, simply stay away from alcohol when you've got a crochet hook in your hand.

What you see above is one sleeve, minus a square or two. But it's looking promising, this sleeve. A lot of weaving in of ends. That's ok. I have plenty of time on this overcast Saturday afternoon with nothing more than dinner, maybe a movie on the laptop and more crochet on my schedule. Just think! I could be wearing this tunic to get my new boot or to my book signing at the Chicagoland Vintage Clothing, Jewelry, Textile Show and Sale next month (Sat., Feb. 26, 1 p.m.). The possibilities aren't mind-blowing but they do give me a goal beyond fishing out a snack from the refrigerator.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Winter? It Must Be Time to Make a Cotton Granny Square Tunic

I was happily working on my vintage 1930s yellow wool sweater last week. I felt like I was in the last quarter of a football game (and a football game analogy is a little awkward because I'm not a fan, but I was watching a Packers game with diehard fan last week. Her team was winning, she was in a good mood as she headed home from the bar to follow the rest of the game at home. I felt flush like that with sweater.) I was working on the left front making major progress even if the sweater looks like it will fit a four-year-old. But then I got sidetracked by the book, Old School Knitting. I had already started making granny squares from Cotton Classic scraps from previous crochet projects. I thought, "I just need a little more new yarn and I can finish this by the weekend!" So I scampered downtown to Chicago's Loopy Yarns to use my birthday gift certificate. I breezed out of the shop, now located in an old train depot, with $40 worth of yarn.

I started working that giddy last fifth row on a number of the squares. Took some pictures uploaded them to Ravelry...and scooped up a bunch of squares to work while I was on the bus later to head to church in the evening.

Long story short, I never made it to church that evening. I slipped on the stairs on my way out the door, twisting my leg underneath me. By the next day, Martin Luther King Day, I was in the ER, my crochet bag in tow. A few x-rays and a examination later, I found out that I had broken my ankle in three places. Somewhat like the tin man in the "The Wizard of Oz," I learned that I would need a plate and screws to put my limb together again. Since surgery, I have been working these squares, trying to make sense of things, crocheting my life together again.

While I really don't need more yarn, I just felt like I needed something to give me hope, so today I went to the giant blow-out sale at Village Knit Whiz here in Glenview...I had a thin orange laceweight yarn and then a lemony yellow ribbon yarn, Chat from Takhi. I chose a big bag full of the Chat and left the orange thread behind. The yellow ribbon is lighter than my wool sweater in the works..but yellow is the color of hope and here I come April, May and June with something cute and sunny even I'm never able to wear high heels again.  

P.S. Fabric U, my iPhone app, is free for the day. Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Appy Birthday to Yarn U, the iPhone App

Friends, I'm back in action, blogging after a long a while. This is the new blog, basically dedicated to all things DIY, but in particular knitting and sewing, my biggest passions. I'll also be promoting two of my iPhone apps: Yarn U (The newest baby on the block) and its older sibling, Fabric U. Occasionally, I will talk about Chicago's Fashion History (1865-1945). Now I won't be in constant promo mode, I promise, but I'm proud of these projects. They're like my children, I need to show 'em off! I do fully intend to get back in finishing projects, taking pictures of  them and uploading them for you to see. I'm  hoping the blog will prompt me to at least finish what I have started. There are more than a few UFOs that were started years ago and really need to be completed.

Back to Yarn U, the newest app in my family. We  celebrated its first-month anniversary with cupcakes at Knit1 in Chicago on Wednesday, but the actual birthday was yesterday. And what a month it has been! In one day alone, more than 2,000 users downloaded it during the 24 hours I made it free last week. Amazing. Now I've got 34 reviews,  giving it major 'traction' in the iTunes store.

And that's not all. I'm already updating the app so I can have a new version ready for the iTunes store in late February. I'll update all 100 entries to include fiber content breakdown, brand and yardage. I'll add at least 20 new yarns. (I plan to make this app the go-to-guide to the most popular yarns. There will eventually be 500 entries.) So bring on the suggestions on how to make this app the most useful one on your iPhone or iPad. (Speaking of the iPad,  I had a chance to use one at Knit1. All the images on the app look amazing on the iPad. You can really see details. I highly recommending downloading Yarn U to the iPad.)

The suggestions about exactly what to add Yarn U next have been flying faster than bamboo knitting needles on sale for 50 percent off. Here's what friends and users are clamoring for. You can add more:

  • Lorna's Laces
  • Opal 
  • madelinetosh
  • Ella Rae
  • Magnum (Cascades)
  • Misti Alpaca

As you can see that's probably at least 100 yarns right there, which should keep me busy for the next few months. However, don't let that stop you from adding to the wish list. I want this be an app with the yarns you love, not my favorites. I'll sign off for now with some more eye candy from Yarn U. By the way, if you're so inclined I will be speaking at Sulzer Regional Library on Tuesday, Jan. 18 to the Windy City Knitting Guild. I'm going to focus on Chicago's knitting history. If getting this slide show ready to go has been any indication, the actual talk should be a blast and a half. I plan to pass around vintage yarns, patterns, etc. for show and tell. Be there will with your knitting needles and yarns! Also I have some free promo codes for Yarn U. Message me for the code.

I forgot: as my blog name implies...I'll definitely be blogging about hats that I make.