Friday, August 31, 2012

A Block-Swappin' We Will Go

Happy Friday, my friendly fiberistas.

After publishing my open letter from blankets and squares, I decided I wanted to make myself a new  blanket. I went to the previous Ravelry group in which I had swapped blocks, but it's virtually defunct. After a few inquires, I was directed to the Vanna's Choice Fan Club group, where block swap groups form with regularity. I pretty quickly joined the "froggy" block swap - the color theme is various shades of green and brown. The goal: swap 2 blocks with each of nine people, then create yourself a lovely blanket with the blocks you receive from your fellow swappees.

Here are my first four blocks, two of which are about ready to hit the mail stream:

Bold Smocking from Nicky Epstein's Knitting Block by Block.
The pattern page photo in Ravelry is not the best.
JulieAnny's Stained Glass Square
Duckbill Dalliance, and
Circle Star, one of the blocks from Interweave
Crochet's Chain Reaction Afghan project from 2010
I do want to point out that this is 100% acrylic - not my usual yarny fare, but it is a good choice for something that I plan on machine washing and drying with regularity. And I am a fan of Lion Brand yarn generally, so a little Vanna's Choice use is a good thing.

The swap period ends on September 30th. I'm creating blocks at lightening speed. Lightening, I tell you.

Now don't forget to go, like lightening, over to Andrea's blog and see what yarny adventures, swap or otherwise, people are getting into this week.

And for all of the U.S. readers out there, happy Labor Day weekend - the traditional end of summer. Don't work too hard (unless it's at a fun barbeque) and remember all those unseen, unsung workers who have in the past, and will in the future, toil in ways large and small.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We Interrupt This Blog ...

... to bring you an unofficial message from the Fall 2012 edition of Interweave Crochet - Doris Chan's latest design, the Rockin' Red Dress, which is a take on Lt. Uhura's infamous Star Trek dress:

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you'll note here an Artfully Voie de Vie questionnaire response from one Doris Chan about her last design: a Star Fleet uniform done in Louisa Harding mulberry silk.

Well, this isn't Louisa Harding mulberry silk, but it's definitely the Star Fleet uniform. I'm wondering which came first: the questionnaire response or the design that's made its way into this fall's Interweave Crochet (the digitial version of which is here, on newstands the beginning of September)? Given the long lead time in publishing, I expect the dress design came before the answer. That oh-so-clever Doris Chan.

No matter, really. Just please tell me this isn't the last Doris Chan design?!!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

VK Crochet: 3rd Installment

Now that herculean Ravellenic Games crafting efforts are over, I thought another installment in my series of finished projects by real people from the special edition VK Crochet magazine was in order. Today's design features one close to my designing heart, since I love all things tunisian crochet:

 Design: #32 Tunisian Lace Tunic

Mary Beth Temple, of  Getting Loopy! podcast fame, has been a crochet and knit designer for many years. This lovely tunisian lace tunic is, to me, her most engaging tunisian design project to date. American audiences are still learning about the wonders of tunisian lace (although Japanese crochet pattern books are repleat with the technique), and I'm thrilled that someone has a completed project from this design (in fact, there are two thus far).

The interpretation:

Annette (ANetTow on Ravelry) has captured the easy wearing yet sophisticated appeal of Mary Beth's design. She's been crocheting for over two decades, and I was so pleased to see in her notes (as well as her photos!) how blocking really opened up the lace stitches:

As anyone who reads this blog regularly is aware, I think blocking is magic. The proof is definitely in the stitchy pudding in this design. Annette also used a light fingering weight merino/bamboo blend, which allows for that great drape.

All in all, a nifty little top that I hope she enjoys wearing for many years to come. My thanks to Annette for her kind permission to use her photos.

There's more in store in this series, so stay tuned. Same bat channel. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Servings on the Current Yarny Plates

If it's Friday, then it must be all about yarn ... and finished objects. Since I can't really talk about my current projects, I thought I'd let you see some of the fiber I'm currently working with:

and this:
and finally this:
The first two are custom-dyed silk (heavenly color and oh-so-gorgeous fiber) and the Lion Brand superwash merino/cashmere is just so soft, I cannot believe it's machine washable!
The finished projects news may have slowed to a summery trickle, but it doesn't mean I'm not busy here at chez Voie de Vie.
Now please pop over to Andrea's blog and see what everyone else is serving up this Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday.
And, people: we are at the penultimate summer weekend here in the northern hemisphere. Where did  the summer go?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Someone Paid it Forward

Way back in April I blogged about a paying-it-forward scheme that a fellow Pacific Northwest blogger, Michele over at pdxknitterati had posted. I filled the third and final slot on her list.

Well, guess what? I received my hand-made gift last week! A lovely bracelet made by Michele:

Isn't it purty? Purple, clear and multicolored beads strung on a crochet chain - how simply elegant.

Thanks so much for the smile Michele! This was a very pleasant surprise in my mail box.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ravellenics Wrap-Up

Well, everyone, the games are over. I am in games withdrawal, since I am an absolute, official Olympic Games junkie. No more pool poetics or track terrifics or gymnastics dramaturgy. Oh, and let's not forget volleyball of all sorts.

Initially, my two completed Ravellenics projects are posted below. I'm really thrilled with the two shawls I completed.

My Counter Revolution Colour Revolt Shawl,
from What Would Madame DeFarge Knit?

I'm still working on my Chi-Chi cowl, and that should be wrapped up in short order. I completely failed to work on a cowl that's been in process since February. I will get to it, I will get to it ...

Here are the things that will stay in my memory from this Olympiad:

1. The strength of womens' sports: I must agree with NBC's commentary that this was the womens' games. While several of the mens' medal favorites didn't live up to pre-games hype, the women, by and large, far surpassed expectations. Moreover, female team sports is where it's at. Full stop.
Remembrance of Great Yarn, my version
of Lily Go's Remember Me Shawl

2. Usain Bolt plays possim really well: Did he even run as fast as he really can at any point during the games? I'd say maybe (and that's a shaky maybe) in the final team relay event. Otherwise, I'm convinced he's still got more in the tank. Scary.

3. It's nice to see authentic excitement and exuberance: In our post post-modern, irony-filled world, Missy Franklin's genuine love of her time in London is exactly the breath of fresh air we needed. She has integrity far beyond her 17 years. Go Missy Go. 

4. Those English do put on one hellofa show: London has never looked so good, and British humor was in top form throughout the 17 days. Team GB also had a fine host run of it - good on them.

5. A final shout-out to our Miss Intrepid: Did everyone see all the places Mary Carillo went and all the things she saw during the 17 days? From Shakespeare to Welsh daytime drama to bog snorkling (yes, snorkling in a dirty bog!), high British tea to drinking green sports shakes with athletes, there was no place or thing beyond Mary's reach. And she reported on all of it with good humor and genuine fun. She deserves the gold medal for late-night games reporting. Hat tip, indeed.

Now, only less than two years to Sochi.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coming Down to the Wire

Well, everyone, we're almost at the Olympic Closing Ceremonies. I don't have much this Friday, because I'm trying to finish up my fibery projects. I've completed one, and have another two in process ... so I'll have purty stuff to show off next week.
In the meantime, a few commenters from last week were impressed with South Africa's Oscar Pistorius (as am I). As he and his teammates get ready for their surprise 4x400 final, Pistorius' advantaged/disadvantaged status reminds me of that excellent Kurt Vonnegut short story, Harrison Bergeron. Vonnegut's opening gambit sets the scene beautifully:

"The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General."

A thought: would you want to live in Vonnegut's dystopic world? Do you think Pistorius has an advantage? I love how this athlete has made all of us pause to consider the nature of fairness ... and how he has brought out the best spirit in his competitors.

Take that, o ladies of badminton.

Do make certain you head on over to Andrea's blog to check out what everyone else is doing this week. To not do so would definitely be unfair.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We Have a Winner!

I'd like to thank everyone who read last Friday's blog post and commented, not only generally but also specifically regarding the fall issue of Crochet! Magazine. I am so thrilled to have two designs included in the edition. Like ... squee.

There were six comments that corresponded to the give-away, and the random number generator picked 2 - so Katrog, you are the lucky winner. I'll be getting in touch with you to arrange delivery of your prize, which again is a copy of the fall edition of Crochet! Magazine, as well as one skein of Berroco Lustra in the ratatouille colorway.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the creativity that flows from these designs. In that respect, we're all lucky winners.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday: Summer Olympics Highlights and a Give-away

Since showing olympic rings would be a copyright
faux pas, I'll just show rings of a different sort.
Well, it's been one week since the London opening ceremonies (what was your favorite moment?), and a round-up of "bests" so far is in order:

Best Line Spoken in Answer to Inane Interview Question - has to go to Michael Phelps, who has looked visibly disinterested during those post-race NBC interviews, when asked about his chance of winning in a particular upcoming race : "I'll let my swimming do the talking."

Fullest Olympic Dance Card - goes to Missy Franklin who still, with less than 15 minutes between races, managed to swim fast enough to qualify for the finals in the first race, and win a little hunk o' gold in the second race (with a quick dip in the warm-down pool in between).

Most Original Controversy - Doping? Nope. Badminton girls gone bad? Yup. Who'd of thought that 8 badminton players would be ejected from the games for trying to lose preliminary rounds of play? Holy shootin' shuttlecock.

Most Amount of Useless Hot Air - goes hands down to Ryan Lochte. This is his time? You need a new watch my man because you have been, at best, underwhelming. Oh, and please ditch the grill. So not attractive.

And now for my projects update:
I've only worked on two projects thus far, and both for Team Cooperative Press Gearheads:

1. The Colour Revolt Shawl: Well, so much for winding my yarn right before the start of the opening ceremonies ... you know I switched up my yarn! The worsted weight I had originally thought would work would have provided no drape. Zip. Nada. Stash diving I went (no medal attached) and came up with fingering/laceweight in three colors that I'm using simultaneously and carrying up the sides of the shawl. It currently looks something like this:

2. My Chi-Chi Cowl: I switched up my yarn on this project as well - go figure. As I was knitting, the combination of the gray cotton and brown/gray handspun was just a little too dark. So .... I put the handspun on hold (I've got another project in mind for it) and went with two strands of cotton in gray and cream, and it's now looking something like this:

I do apologize about these less-than-perfect photos. My trusty camera needs some major repair, so I had to go to Plan B.

And now, for the wee give-away. To celebrate my pattern publications in the fall edition of Crochet! Magazine, I have a copy of the magazine + one skein of Berroco's Lustra in the ratatouille colorway to give to one lucky winner, which will get the recipient started on making their own La Symphonie Jacket Wrap. In order to be eligible, just leave a comment here telling me which projects look most appealing in the fall edition of Crochet! Magazine (and it's perfectly fine if they aren't mine!), and anything else about crochet you'd like to share. 

I'll pick a winner using the trusty random number generator next Tuesday. Good luck ... and now head on over to Andrea's blog and see what everyone is up to this fibery week.