Saturday, September 30, 2006

For Laurie

This is an all Laurie-inspired post.

For those who may have just returned from the Biosphere, the International Space Station, or some other remote place where access to the internet is limited, (the horror! talk about roughing it!), Laurie writes a very funny, entertaining and popular knitting blog called Crazy Aunt Purl.

Go ahead - catch up on her last few posts. I'll wait. But I warn you, you'll be sucked in. So don't start reading her archives until we're done here, mmm-kay? ;-)

Anyways.... Laurie recently revealed her penchant for knitting voyeurism in a post asking her readers to email her pictures of their knitting spots. I debated as to whether I wanted to reveal yet another cluttered corner of my home for all the world to see, but then decided, ah, what the hell.

So here's my knitting spot:

That's my relatively new leather couch, (purchased about two years ago, along with a matching loveseat on the other side of the coffee table). Note to cat owners who are also bad housekeepers (like me) -- leather is GOOD. Cat hair does not stick permanently to leather as it does to most fabrics, especially the tweedy woven upholstry fabrics -- it slides right off. Life is good with leather.

When I bought those leather pieces, I wanted instant gratification, (shocking, I know), and could not wait the six weeks for custom-colored leather upholstry to arrive from Italy, (nor did I want that expense), so instead, took what they had in their warehouse, which is the snooze-fest beige you see above. So I figured I could jazz up the sofa and loveseat with cushions. I found those flowered turquoise pillow-forms at a local Tuesday Morning, and then figured I'd find some nice, non-bedroom-looking Euro shams to cover them. That was two years ago, and these pillow-forms still remain sham-less. (And perhaps shameless, as well). Have I mentioned that I'm lazy? I did search high and low for shams for awhile, but gave up after I couldn't find what I wanted. But, boy, are these pillow forms bright! Kinda kooky-crazy. And they've sorta grown on me. Have I mentioned that I have no taste? If you had any doubt, there's your proof.

My desk with computer backs right up against the couch. (Tiny house here: ~900 ft²). My television sits underneath the staircase to the loft, and is about four feet from the end of that couch. The head of that couch, where the pillows are piled, is about two feet from the fireplace. I don't have fires in it very often, which is why I can have the couch so close to it.

I have a large rubbermaid tub of yarn stash on the floor next to the couch, squeezed in next to the coffeetable. On top of that is more yarn, various knitting needle assortments, and my Vera Bradley knitting bag. Way in the back, you can even see the fiber and drop-spindle from my lesson with Bess. I'll be seeing her on Tuesday, so here's hoping she'll give me another lesson!

Okay, enough about the knitting spot. More than anyone wanted to know, I'm sure.

Onward to my next Laurie-related topic.

Again, if you've just returned from another planet, I'll sum up here -- Laurie's grandmother was recently put in a convalescent hospital and some of her readers decided to pull together a knit-along to create a blanket for her grandmother. That knit-along can be found here:

The organizers of the knit-along sent me an invitation to join, and so the other night I whipped up a little square and then washed it in a little Eucalan and blocked it with towels on the only uncluttered horizontal surface in my home - my kitchen countertop. It wasn't yet dry the next morning, and my being the inpatient sort, (shocking, I know), I decided to use my handy-dandy brand-spanking-new blocking device, otherwise known as my new Whirlpool Duet dryer with it's handy-dandy drying rack:

The blocked item lies flat while the drum and air rotate around it. According to manufacturer's instructions, I set it to low heat for an hour, and voila' -- dry and blocked. I love my new dryer! By the way -- I got the washer to match, (purchased after last week's deluge), my first extended experience with a front loader. (When I was working in St. Louis our hotel had these wild Euro-machines that were front-loading and both washed and dried clothes in one machine. A cool concept, but I found their reliability to be iffy, at best.) Anyway, I like the Duet front-loader, for the most part, although there are still times when I think a normal, top-loading, high-water-volume washer w/ agitator would work better. It requires a special detergent, which is not a big deal - you can find it anywhere these days, [although my favorite detergent (Gain) does not yet have an "HE" version, so far as I know - I'm a little bummed about that]. And I'll never be able to felt things with the front loader, so I hear, because there's not enough agitation. So, for that I'll just have to run over to mom & dad's house, I guess.

Again, more than anyone wanted to know about my washer and dryer.

So, back to the knitted square:

Do you recognize that design?

I decided to go with the "Virginia" design, (other state designs can be found here), because I always comment on Laurie's blog as "Mary in Virginia" to distinguish myself from several other Marys that are frequent commenters. And this way, Laurie's California-living Grandma will have a permanent reminder that her blanket squares came from all over!

A closer view. Knit in Paton's Classic 100% Merino in "Too Teal"

That block is now in the mail and winging its way to California. (View the Flickr group of everyone's squares here). My square is a little larger than requested - they asked for 8" x 8" squares, and mine ended up being 9" x 9". Here's hoping that's not an issue -- maybe they can sew it to the other blanket squares from inside the garter stitch border, so it'll fit. Otherwise, I guess I'll have to knit another one and just reduce the number of stitches in the border and around the edges, (or else go down a needle size - duh). I think it would be cool if a few other states showed up in the blanket. That fifty-state flag blanket on the Knitting Knonsense website is right cool, ain't it? But I'd hate to have to sew it all together. Kudos to Kristy and her helpers for organizing this knit-along and for agreeing to sew all the squares together!


Krista said...

I wish I could have such an inviting knitting spot. I just have to keep all my knitting away from the kids. Love the VA square!

lv2knit said...

Thanks for visiting our blog and the nice comment about Rogue -- do you have the pattern? It is quite a fun project. I, too, comsidered the cardigan but opted against it because I love the way the hood cabling springs from the center v-neck. I thought it too pretty to disturb, though there is sure an argument for the zipped up hoodie! I am going to make the Eris cardigan for that reason. Happy Knitting!
PS -- love the VA square!

emmy said...

Your knitting spot is very cozy looking. Thanks for the link to the VA square. Might have to make that in a dishcloth. Yours will be a wonderful addition to the blanket.

Kristy said...

Hey Mary! I can't wait to receive your square! (And yes, I will find a way to make your 9 inch square work. We're going for a patch work look, right?) I'm sure it will be lovely! And I think your state themed square is fabulous.

Anonymous said...

ok, you've inspired me to frog the second square i was knitting for the blanket & do a NC square. i'll try it with a size smaller needle to see if it works as 8x8. (thanks for that tip!!)

Bess said...

Oh - I thought about posting a photo of my knitting spot - only - I have several of them. I knit everywhere. And when she first asked for a picture, i was doing all my knitting in bed!

knitfriendly said...

Love your square! Your dryer is amazing! I have placed it on my mental wishlist!

RandomRanter said...

I have the same bag! Cool!