Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I only sew white

I'm making dresses for my daughter's First Communion. I just finished the bodice and sleeves . It's a combination of two patterns because she liked the sleeves of one and only the other pattern was available at the time we were buying fabric. I suppose I could have waited until I got the pattern with the cool sleeves but circumstances dictated otherwise. It took the better part of Sunday to get this far. What with reaquainting myself with my serger in order to do the rolled edges on the sleeves. I had to thread the machine to do the normal overlock for the seam edges, test it on scrap material, then rethread for a rolled edge, testing again on scrap, then back again, test again and again. Four sleeves. Now my daughter only has 2 arms, but her bff (best friend forever) who is also having her First Communion and has two arms so I have to do this over again. This is not a before picture but the other dress. I've now finished both bodices (and those *&%@! sleeves) and can now move on to the skirts. I'm not sure what possessed me to think I'm qualified to do this. The last time I sewed dresses like this (at all for that matter) was 3 years ago for my oldest daughter's First Communion and the youngest's Baptismal dress (she was 5 at the time). But here I am.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Color Story

"Once upon a time there was a knitter who fashioned herself as a Fiber Developer. Her latest adventure involved choosing colors for the Twisted Float Shrug (Vogue Knitting Fall 2005). Her first effort was too hot. Her next effort was too, too cold. She pondered other colors, possibilities, twisting various colors together with her main color. Finally, after carefully studying color cards, a color wheel and other color references. She settled on a beautiful china blue and knit it all up." The End. Okay, well not quite the end but at least now the story can go on. I've even gotten farther than I did than with the first color combo. What do you think of the new blue? It's cooler than the Pink Blossom I orignally started with and much, much warmer than the Turquoise. I think it's a nicer color to add to the spectrum here but doesn't overpower or offset the original coloroway. Now on to the rest of the garment and the rest of the story. Can you see what's coming? How shall it all end? Should I use the original Black Purl (left) or the new Vera(right)?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Color Theory

Here's where I was on my Vogue shrug. It's going along just fine. I got through the first set of twists and started a new repeat. Increases are coming along. The colors all go -- nothing seems to be overpowering -- well besides the pink -- but that's the point, right? I'm really enjoying the main color changes with its blips of color popping out at random intervals.

Here's the back. As you can see I've got the wraps when yarn B is not in use going okay. (very well hidden on the front) . I've got this on two circs now -- should have started it that way. Increase used is kfb evenly spaced at odd increments. This increase is virtually hidden in the garter stitch front.

But I was not completely happy with it. The hot pink while striking just doesn't add to the piece -- it compliments but not quite complements it. I needed more vavoom.

I tried some other yarn in my stash and did what any other knitter would do at this point and headed to the nearest yarn store. There I considered this which contrasts the main yarn well -- I twisted it together with this new "B" yarn and it looked good.

So, I brought it home, frogged the previous piece (yes, it's gone) and got this. Better, yet what you can't see here is that the new color "B" makes the main color look dull. I didn't think that was possible but I think it's the "icyness" of the turquoise that does it. Anyways, I've stopped knitting this because I think I found a better color and well, it's not here yet.

However here's a hint, everybody, meet Mavis.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Meet Oscar

I finished Lindsey's socks -- no picture -- she was way too hard to catch once she got her feet in them. I did however cast on a new pair of socks while watching the Oscars. This is how much I got done that night:
The socks are Conwy from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush -- these are the first contemporary socks that I've knitted with a leg shaping. The yarn is Trekking XXL. Like the girly striping? It was a bit of a surprise as the ball looked more variegated than stripey. This is a traditional 5 dpn pattern as Nancy Bush only uses dpns. I'm using a pair of 24" circulars in size US 1, sacrilege, but I had to try. It's the second pair of socks that I've attempted using 2 circs and the first pattern I've attempted traditionally written for dpns.
So far I've found 2 really good reasons to knit socks this way 1) you never drop/lose a needle and 2) you can try on your socks at any point during development without breaking anything. Yep, you guessed it I've done this before and am one needle short of a 5dpn set.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Yesterday I had a "phone screening". This is where a potential employer calls you up to determine whether it's worth bringing you in for an interview. A pre-interview if you will. I've never been "screened" in this way before. I take it things have come to this because of the sheer number of programmers out there looking. Basically the caller asked questions. I asked questions too, but she didn't answer my questions and to be frank -- I didn't have very good answers for hers either. She asked 9 questions, here's a list of the first 6:
1) [C++] Is the following a legal function declaration: static virtual void foo
2) [C++] What is the purpose of a virtual destructor?
3) [Win32] What's the difference between semaphore and mutex
4) [messaging] What's the difference between send and post?
5) What is a singleton pattern?
6) [COM] All COM interfaces are derived from what class?
The 7th question had to do with COM connection points -- I forget what it was exactly -- I was a bit flustered at that point. The last 2 questions were regarding MFC. I was surprised by the whole process in general. Especially the first question which I'd gotten as an interview question 10 years ago (it's a trick question and I have something more to say about it later -- not the tricky part though). Here's the thing, this was a screening for a programming position in C++ using MFC and COM. I haven't programmed a stitch of C++/MFC/COM in over 3 years. I had however for several years before and had done even more years of C++ programming before that. Many more. The point I'm trying to make is that even if I was immersed in this type of programming all week, I'd probably look up over half that stuff anyways. To give the caller the benefit of the doubt, I'm not sure if she was looking for answers to the questions or just general reactions, or maybe even a little bit of both. Whatever she was looking for, I shouldn't expect a call back. In my defense, I'm a seasoned programmer and am beyond stuffing my head with inane programming tidbits. You want the answers? Try Google. I'd like to think that I free my mind for things that are less tangible, more creative. That I can come up with programming solutions you can't copy and paste from an on-line database. In hindsight I wish I could have expressed that to her. But then if she's looking for specific answers, it wouldn't have mattered. It wasn't a total loss, the phone screening was good for practice, if nothing else. Now back to the first question. Ever wonder why programmers use foo and bar in examples for functions and variables? It comes from the acronym fubar, which pretty much summarizes my first "phone screening".

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Stitches Part 2: The Classes

Here's a continuation of the Longaberger basket parade and my Stitches West report .

Clip Keeper basket (used here as a pin dispenser). Bag purchased with winnings from Open Road. This bag can be worn as a conventional shoulder bag or around your waist as a hip pack. It has one main compartment with a pocket in the back, a zipped pocket in the flap, and a pocket inside the main compartment. Large Serving Tray with Norwegian Mitten topside, class Norwegian Mittens taught by Beth Brown-Reinsel. This is the 5th class I've taken with Beth. She is a great teacher and gives out thorough instructions pictured here with the mitten. Bagel basket with Norwegian Mitten palmside, the thumb has a gusset that was knitted in with the thumb added later. Along with the various patterns for top and palm, we learned about side seam patterning and deacreasing. This mitten was knitted in the round.
Letter Tray with Bohus swatch and postcard "Blue Shimmer". Bohus was a sweater industry in Southern Sweden during WWII. The class was taught by Susanna Hansson. We learned the history of Bohus sweater industry, designers and knitters. In class we knit a swatch for an original mitten pattern. Mine's knitted with shetland wool and size 0 needles!
Morning Glory basket with cards made in Cards and Scrapping, taught by Lorna Miser. This was a fun class, we got to knit little swatches and play with yarn and rubber stamps. Lorna had some neat ideas for cards, tags and journal pages.
Lucky Twist basket containg rubber stamps purchase from Carolina Homespun. Inspired by Lorna's class above I decided to add to my rubberstamp stash. These are stamps by Kaspareks.

I also took a wonderful class by the famed sock knitter, Nancy Bush on her book Knitting Vintage Socks. We knit a sample sock and discussed vintage sock patterns and techniques. Her book is full of terrific re-translated designs from Weldon's Practical Needlework.

That's it for stitches west. I did finish Mavis in time for Stitches which I wore to the student banquet.