The Sweatshop of Love Blog

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October, 2009

One Year and 200 Posts

This is my 200th post! I’ve been psyching myself out a little about it. I saw it coming for a while, and in the back of my mind I was trying to plan something big. It’s 200! That is a lot of posts. That is a big deal!

Then I just let it happen. The Sweatshop of Lover’s Blog’s 200th post just naturally fell on the one year anniversary of the first time PT took me out on a date.

PT Working Hard

PT Working Hard

PT and I met at a Halloween party last year and, thanks to the magic of facebook, he found me and asked me out. We met at Green Eye the following Thursday, October 30th. PT was late and had no money. And when he went to the ATM to get money out, he had no money in his checking account to take out.

So, naturally, I didn’t think he liked me. I just giggled, paid for the beers, and figured I wouldn’t hear from him again.

Then, a year later, we are making pumpkin ravioli in the yellow kitchen of the apartment we share. So what do I know?

Anniversary Bouquet

Anniversary Bouquet

I’m not anti-anniversary or anti-Valentine’s Day, but I am anti- ‘oh, it’s our anniversary? We better go out to dinner.’ It’s just boring. And PT and I don’t need an excuse to spend time together.

So we made pumpkin ravioli! I had half a pumpkin in the fridge already. The only ingredient we needed was fresh sage. The only fresh sage that Strack and Van Til had was super fancy organic sage wrapped up like a bouquet of flowers that cost $7.20. $7.20! That was more than the bottle of wine we bought for the night.

Ready to Bake!

Ready to Bake!

We pulled out the pasta maker and made up some wheat pasta and the pumpkin filling. We stuffed and cooked the little ravioli, then made a butter, sage, and brown sugar sauce to pour over them while the browned in the oven.

Hello, Lover

Hello, Lover

Before we dug in we sprinkled with some Parmesan and more brown sugar.

Oohhhh!

Oohhhh!

The $7.20 sage really does make a huge impact on the taste of this dish. All the flavors are really subtle except the sage! And those browned and sugared leaves are amazing.

PT and Sequence

PT and Sequence

Me and Pudge Rodriguez

Me and Pudge Rodriguez

After dinner we opened the anniversary present we bought ourselves – Sequence!

And Pudge couldn’t keep herself away.

I can’t think of a better topic for my 200th post. PT is fast asleep next to me on the couch in the blue room. The Michigan game is about to start and I’ve got yarn piled up next to me just waiting to be turned into my rebound project. It’s Halloween! Life is good, y’all.

And I’ll tell you right now what Post 201 is going to be. My costume is ready and tonight is going to be a blast. Happy Halloween!

Pink Poo

Freaking Halloween is Saturday! That is THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW! How did that happen?

OOhh Lady Gaga

I had been planning on being Lady Gaga for Halloween all year. I figured all I would need is some black leggings and a blond wig. Easy! I was even trying to keep track of her music to make sure she had a hit somewhere in the neighborhood of Halloween so I was topical.

THEN she goes and dyes her hair brown and starts just wearing bathing suits every time she leaves her house.

Lady?

Lady?

Which is a problem. I’m not one of those girls who uses Halloween to dress like a prostitute. My goal on Halloween is to be funny. And to not freeze to death. Prostitutes are not funny, and if I’ve learned anything from Charles Dickens it is that prostitutes freeze to death all the time.

Felicity Loves Halloween

Felicity Loves Halloween

I’m still working my way through the entire series of Felicity. I’m about half way through the fourth and final season and, while I was contemplating my Halloween costume dilemma, Felicity had a Halloween party, where she was a witch.

NOT helpful, Felicity.

(Side Issue: Felicity had a party in season three where two people were shot. Wouldn’t people being shot deter you from wanting to have another party? THEN, during this Halloween party someone gets alcohol poisoning and almost dies. Stop having parties, man! Just stop!)

... Real Life Pink Happy Poo?

... Real Life Pink Happy Poo?

This is sitting in the blue room right now. It is my Halloween costume, and it is almost done.

Any guesses?

Girl Friday Sweater Finished!

Bumpy Lace Pattern

Bumpy Lace Pattern

Wavey Front Panel

Wavy Front Panel

In the Girl Friday pattern she says that the lace pattern blocks out really well, and the few people who have finished it and posted it on ravelry have said the same thing, so I thought it would be another great example of a blocking before and after.

These two pictures are of Girl Friday before I blocked it. The sleeves are a tiny bit short and small. The front is very wavy and smaller than the sweater itself, and the lace pattern is bubbled. The sweater itself is shorter than what I was aiming for.

Was I worried? Of course not! I know the amazing powers of blocking.

(Honestly I was a little worried about the front. It was much shorter than the sweater, very wavy, and I thought I was going to have to take it out and bind it off using an even looser bind off than I already did.)

DRUM ROLL!!

Pretty Lace!

Pretty Lace!

Perfect Sleeves!

Perfect Sleeves!

Hello, perfect sweater I knit. How are you? My name is Allyson and I’m going to wear you ALL THE TIME!

The sleeves stretched out perfectly, width-wise and length-wise. The lace pattern calmed down and isn’t bumpy at all anymore! The entire sweater itself stretched out to a really nice length, and, most importantly, the front is perfect! Not wavy at all and the same length as the sweater.

So I made some modifications to the pattern, but not many of them.

I’ve been saying that I knit the  body all in one piece, which I think turned out really well.

I held the top stitches, from the fronts and back, and did a three needle bind off for the shoulders and just picked those stitches up when I picked stitches up for the collar, instead of binding off then picked up bound off stitches.

I only did the collar short rows for about an inch, because I didn’t want the collar to fold over.

And I used a k2tog bind off, because I thought a stretchy bind off would be too much, but the regular bind off would be too tight. It worked out great!

My cats, though, want to eat this yarn! I had to beat them off the thing while I was blocking it because they were literally trying to chew threw the sweater. I had this problem with the yarn itself, too! I kept having to tie pieces of it back together that they had chewed through. I used the Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool! It’s wool! And they didn’t do this with my Vogue Cropped Jacket.

So, I have to keep it in a vault, but other than that I’m in love. It’s so cute and simple looking, I will be able to throw it over anything. Dress it up or down. Basically it’s the perfect sweater!

And now, present knitting. For the rest of the year, Allyson. I’m serious now.

What Gets Me Excited:

Big Box o' Yarn!

Big Box o' Yarn!

I wish I was a tiny person, like Thimbelina, so I could swim in this box I just got from Knit Picks!

Woodland Sage Gloss

Woodland Sage Gloss

I ordered this pile of fingering weight Gloss to knit this sweater:

Minimalist Cardigan

Minimalist Cardigan

Only I have to make it hard on myself. The cardigan calls for worsted weight yarn. But I’m going to wait to worry about that.

CotLin Planitarium

CotLin Planetarium

I ordered this pile of cotton linen blend in Planetarium to knit this sweater:

Dollar and a Half Cardigan

Dollar and a Half Cardigan

Which is actually close to the correct gauge! So that is exciting. You can see that half of the cardigan is cabled, and the other half is a stitch pattern rib.

So what am I doing lining up all these sweaters to knit for myself? 2010 is going to be The Year of the Sweater! I’m going to knit a sweater a month.

(plus that will keep me from starting any of these sweaters once I finish Girl Friday)

Want to knit a sweater a month with me next year?! I know you want to. Think about it. You’ve got some time to plan. I’ve got three sweaters already picked out! Three down, nine to go.

… might have to knit a sweater or two for other people. But, can you really ever have enough sweaters? I guess I’ll find out!

The Sweatshop of Love’s Yarn Crawl!

Just another example of how the word yarn makes everything better.

Just when you thought the DIY Trunk Show couldn’t make November 21st any better, The Sweatshop of Love is here to turn it into

Chicago’s First EVER Yarn Crawl!

shop_flag300For those of you who’ve never crawled anywhere before, I’ve mapped out a route and we’ve got activities planned and deals to be found along the way. Our participating yarn shops, nina and Knitting Workshop, have spectacular promotions for crawlers, and I’ll be rolling along to answer knitting questions, help you pick out materials for upcoming projects, and get you fully prepared for the upcoming hibernation season.

Yarn Crawl Schedule!

10:00-11:00 – DIY Trunk Show
Pulaski Park Field House, 1419 W Blackhawk in Wicker Park

11:15-12:00 – nina: a well-knit shop
1655 W Division St in Wicker Park

12:30-1:15 – Knitting Workshop
2115 N Damen Ave in Bucktown

1:30-2:15 – JoAnn
2639 N Elston Ave in Logan Square

2:30+ – New Wave Coffee
3103 W Logan/2557 N Miwalukee in Logan Square

DIY Trunk Show – The DIY Trunk Show is a diverse gathering of creative talent to showcase, sell, and promote handmade arts, crafts, goods and endeavors of all kinds. Free admission! So support local handmade right when the Trunk Show opens!

We will be meeting outside the Fieldhouse at 11 to walk over to –

nina: a well-knit shop – nina is a contemporary knitting shop in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The sleek, calm space has been described as a Zen temple to fiber. Beautiful yarns include angora, alpaca, silk, cashmere, cotton, bamboo, hemp, merino wool, and hand-dyed ribbon. Exquisite texture and colors, stylish pattern magazines and books, exotic wood needles – all are artfully arranged. The inviting atmosphere is sure to inspire your creativity.

Nina is offering a 10% discount on all yarn, a special sale section of products reduced to 50% off, and prizes for Crawl participants!

At noon we will board buses or hop on bikes over to –

Knitting Workshop
– Knitting Workshop is an urban and sophisticated yarn shop located in Bucktown. With tons of yarn options and advice for any project, they have something to offer for both the new and experienced knitter.

Knitting Workshop is offering a 10% discount on all yarn, free patterns perfect for holiday present knitters, and they will be raffling off a Knit Kit, a fun knitting tool case!

At 1:15 we are going to start walking over to –

JoAnn – There are lots of projects out there that you don’t need nice yarn for. Like cat toys! And mittens for your brother that you know he is just going to lose. Or maybe you need zippers for your cabled change purses! JoAnn is the place for all your odds and ends.

Then, if your legs can make it, at 2:15 we are going to head to our last destination –

New Wave Coffee – We burned off enough calories during this Crawl to treat ourselves to a cupcake and a coffee! Relax, show off what you picked up on the Crawl, and get started on your next project!

The Sweatshop of Love couldn’t be more excited to share this day with everyone! Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions, and be sure to email me to get on the mailing list for Chicago’s First EVER Yarn Crawl updates!

(See a Map of our Route Here)

We can only manage a couple of Chicago’s yarn shops today, but hopefully in the future we can spread out to include them all. If you would like to participate in future Yarn Crawls, please email me at allyson@thesweatshopoflove.com.