Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This One's for Me.

I loved the Nomad Hat and Scarf when I saw it in Interweave Knits Fall 2007. I changed the yarn to Noro Kuchoron (wool/alpaca blend, yum!) and used smaller needles for a smaller hat and tighter fabric. So I took a break from knitting gifts for others, to provide for myself. It was a quick knit - 3 days, and easy, too. Now, I love the hat because it is so wonderfully warm.
Right now I have all the supplies for two sweaters sitting waiting for me - patterns, yarn, and needles. They've been put on hold while I knit holiday gifts. I've noticed a pattern of procrastination - the big stuff gets pushed to the side for smaller projects with more immediate gratification. Am I the only one spending what seems to me to be huge amounts of money for yarn for sweaters that just sits there? Are the others who share this weakness? Do you do it one sweater at a time, or do you also have several stashed away?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

You Know you're A Yarn Addict When...

you realize you like the smell of wet wool.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Some People Know How To Do Things Right!

First, I have to thank Anja in Germany for sending me this marvelous sock yarn. I joined a swap for a skein of sock yarn. She not only sent the yarn, she sent a sock-making kit! Needles, stitch markers, needle point protectors, and even a hand-made bag to keep them in. And just in case I feel the need to relax after all my knitting, she included two bath cubes (which aren't in the pictures) .
She put everything together so thoughtfully. Thanks, Anja!
With the holidays approaching with more speed than I anticipated, I have been knitting constantly in an attempt to get presents done. I've already switched to Plan B (mittens for 4 kids, adults will get wristlets and/or washcloths with a really nice bar of soap (Frost Fish Cove Soaps).
There are, of course, a few other things on my needles that might go into the gift pile (the Nomad Hat & Scarf from Interweave Knits Fall 2007 knit in Noro Kuchuron, sorry about the spelling, that's almost finished).
I might end up repeating what I did last year: spread everything I have for gifts out and then get my sister to help me decide who gets what.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Look, I'm Spinning!

This is my first skein of hand-spun yarn! I am using a top-whorl spindle, and having a great time.
I won a book from Wiley Publishing as part of the Charmed Knits KAL, and chose "Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning." Then I got got 8 oz of roving at the TKGA weekend in Manchester, NH, and ordered a spindle from E-bay. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that learning from a book is possible, but there had to be an easier way, so I went to Mind's Eye Yarn in Porter Sq. (Cambridge, MA) and had a spinning lesson from Lucy Lee. What a difference!
My plan is to spin all this yarn and then knit myself a hat and mittens, and maybe a scarf from the yarn. Maybe for this winter, and if not, there's always next winter. After all, I live in New England.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I've Been Busy

Who am I to be picky? I kept waiting to blog until I had some good pictures, but in the meantime LOTS of good stuff happened. I went to Rhinebeck - what a blast! The Knit-A-Yarn crew went to film and interview, so we were there for three days, and I still didn't get to see everything! I did manage to get some shopping in, of course. I feel like a bought a little of everything. The one thing I kept missing was hooking up with the Ravelry people. It took me over a week to recover from that trip.
I got two skeins of boucle yarn at half price because they were dyeing misadventures. I knit up one into a shawl.

It has a collar because I sort of mitered it by increasing down the center, as well as increasing at the edge. The actual color of the skein can be seen in the small hank of left-over yarn. I overdyed the shawl with blue food coloring. I'm much happier with the new color.

I love the ball band dishcloth pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting, so a bunch of people will be getting dishcloths/washcloths paired with a fabulous bar of soap from Frost Fish Cove Soaps. I've already given this set away to a good friend.

I'm trying to confine my knitting to promised items with a deadline (like the Aran sweater) and holiday gifts. I have finished one major gift for my niece - an entrelac hat (my design) and scarf knit in Nashua Wooly Stripes. I have a pinwheel sweater on the needles for another niece, and several sets of cabled wrist-warmers laying about that just need to have the thumbs knitted in. What is it about knitting thumbs that leads to procrastination?

Being this disciplined is extremely hard, since I have the yarn for two sweaters for me that I'm itching to get started on: a lovely entrelac jacket by Sarah James to be done in Noro yarn, and a pullover sweater by Ella Rae (details eventually).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I dyed...

Let's make a long story longer...I joined a hand-dyed sock yarn skein swap. When I rooted through my stash for the Knit Picks Bare sock yarn that I knew I had, there wasn't any. I could have sworn I had some, but no. What I did have was several skeins of lace-weight yarn; but these did not meet the requirements. To complicate things, I was laid off towards the end of August, and, since it was unexpected, my finances were a bit awry, so I couldn't just jump on line and order more sock yarn. My swap pal was very understanding, and did say that she liked lace-weight yarn, too, so lace-weight it would be.

Being unemployed does NOT mean that you are not busy. You might have noticed my previous blogs about launching Knit-A-Yarn, and then there was the month of career counselling my previous employer provided - now this is actually a valuable resource, but a month is a bit short, so I've been running off to seminars (very helpful, BTW) on resumes and interviewing and such. If Knit-A-Yarn goes as planned, I won't be looking anywhere else, but it never hurts to have a good backup plan.

Where is all this leading? Just that it took me longer than I anticipated to get around to dyeing the yarn. But today was the day!

I had done some multi-tasking with my homemade swift and used it to rewind the yarn into 4 separate sections, so that I could have four different colors that would stripe. Next I soaked the yarn in a vinegar and water solution, then I put out four strips of plastic wrap in a sort of fan shape, and twisted newspaper to make each section into a cradle for each section of yarn. Then I mixed my Wilton's cake dye in hot water, added it to a squeeze bottle and dyed each section. I used paper towels to absorb extra fluid, to avoid flooding. Note, the horrible green background is the vinyl tablecloth I had the sense to put down.

I'm hoping that once the yarn dries, the shades will be more pastel - lavender, pink, blue, and gray, but subtle enough to to used in a shawl or stole without detracting from the knitted pattern. One can always hope.

Then I carefully folded up the bottom part of each plastic wrap section, sealed in the yarn, and put it in a big bowl. I did open up a little at the top of each section to vent it, because the next step was to stick it in the microwave and nuke it for a minute-and-a-half. Then it sat for 15 minutes. Then I repeated the nuke and sit routine 3 more times...I wanted to make sure the dye was heat set, but didn't want to melt the plastic wrap.

By then it was time to go off to work at Fabric Place for the evening (my part-time job)(they have a very nice yarn dept.). When I got home, the yarn was nice and cool, so I rinsed it out, a section at a time, and then laid it out to dry.

Rewinding it is going to be an interesting challenge, but I'm sure I'm up to it.
On a more literary note, I finally got a copy of "Mason Dixon Knitting," which I've wanted for awhile. I am very taken by the Ballband Dishcloth. So today on my way to work, I detoured through A.C. Moore and stocked up on Sugar 'n Cream. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Love At First Site

First, a picture:

I fell in love with this yarn instantly. How I found it is part of a longer story, so read on.

Knit-A-Yarn is a Web channel for knitters. I am the Channel Producer. I have been spending almost all of my time working on the content for the site. There will be video PodCasts for your viewing pleasure, a blog (I'm calling it Loose Threads) about what we're doing and how it's being done, a Projects page with links to stuff to do, a Knit For A Cause page with info on charity knitting, and more. I want to have a page called "Goat Herd - for kids who knit." You can tell I have a slightly skewed sense of humor. A big part of what we will be doing will be driven by input from the knitting community. So where does that luscious skein of yarn (Seacoast Handpainted, 100% merino, 560 yards in Truffle) come in?

Part of my mission is to visit all the yarns stores I possibly can within reasonable driving distance to find out what makes each one different or unique. So I started close by - The Knitting Room in Arlington, MA. I almost stumbled over this yarn, because it was part of a display that had been set in a basket on the floor. The colors just drew my eye. I loved the fushcia and the subtle shading into lavender and gray, and the golden browns gave just the right balance of contrast. But I didn't buy the yarn. I was laid off in August and was trying to be financially responsible; but I did talk to Jackie, the owner about the possibility of filming a PodCast (filming is scheduled for Thursday).

When I went back for a location scout with my sister, Melissa, Knit-A-Yarn Executive Producer (my family believes in nepotism), the yarn was still there. I gave it more fondling, but still didn't buy it. There was also a laceweight yarn in the same colorway...

I finally went back last Friday, and almost had a panic attack because when I walked in, the yarn wasn't there! (took a couple of deep breathes), then after some fast searching, I located it. Jackie had rearranged the yarn displays. So now it's MINE! (happy dance).

So come on over to www.knitayarn.com, and let me know what you think!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tofutsies Update

Friday evening I sent an e-mail to customer service at SWTC aabout my Tofutsies yarn problems, with a copy to the company president. The next day I got a reply from Jonelle (pres) saying, "I am very sorry you have problems with the Tofutsies. I will have a new ball of yarn sent out to you on Monday."

I appreciate the quick response and will appreciate the new ball of yarn when it arrives.

If they know which yarn to send me, it means that they did check out this blog (I included the blog info in the e-mail).

It should be interesting to see what they send.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Socks Tote Kids

There is no linear progression to this post.
I've been doing a lot of knitting. All I've finished is a couple of dishclothes. They're quick, fun, and useful. I have been working on a pair of socks for a KAL for the Zig-Zag Sock, but the yarn - Tofutsies - has been giving me a lot of trouble. I keep encountering knots, and after I cut them out and rejoin the yarn, about two rows later - there's another knot! So I tink back and remove the short piece of yarn, rejoin, and keep knitting. This has happened twice. I ignored a couple of small knots (which I may regret later), but then I did a cut and rejoin a third time, and look at what happened!

Can you see where the yarn actually changed? This is not a gauge change, it is a different dye lot, or something. Pisses me off good. Tofutsies is gonna hear about this.

On a happier note, I finally dyed the yarn for the Gryffindor socks that I am knitting for the Hogwarts Sock Swap 2. I found a really great pattern at Blue Moon Fibers, which I can't reveal until after my swap pal has her socks. But here's the yarn: Knit Picks Bare dyed.

I've cast on for the first sock, and am enjoying the process of knitting. I really like working with this yarn.

The Aran sweater looks better all the time (such modesty, ;-) ). I'm almost up to the armholes on the back, which should be nearly complete by the end of the weekend. I did take a picture, but the quality of the shot was terrible. So no pic for now.

I have a project, a to-be-felted tote bag, that sits next to me at the computer, and as I wait for something to upload, or read a long post, I knit a couple of rows. I ask you, who's afraid of a little color? I keep a basket of yarn (Lopi) next to me, and randomly pick colors to knit, most of the time.

I'm knitting it side-to-side in garter stitch, and I like the back, where the colors overlap more, almost more than the front!

Moving on to knitting related news, on Mondays the Malden Stitch 'n Bitch meets at a local pub. This Monday, I took my 7-year old niece with me. She's a knitter, too. I taught her last year, and after knitting in fits and starts, this summer she began to focus in. On a recent trip to New Hampshire with her parents, she knit in the car, and finished her first ball of yarn!

The SnB was a small affair, one other person showed up, but the three of us sat, knit, and chatted away. Jasmine loved it. I'm not going to bring her every week, but I think it's good exposure for everybody.

Gotta go and e-mail Tofutsies.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Here's a "New" Acronym

I "unvented" an acronym: to WILT, or WILTING - to weave (or weaving) in loose threads. The penultimate task before finishing a knit item. I was going to call the blog that I'm writing for Knit A Yarn "WILT," since I'm going to be gathering up bits of (hopefully) interesting information about what is going on behind the scenes, but after some editorial discussions, the new blog is "Loose Threads." I like the name for the blog, but I can imagine knitters starting to talk not only about UFOs and tinking, but adding wilting to their conversations and further confusing the uninitiated.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Creating an Aran Sweater

I got a commission (paid job) to knit an Aran sweater. It was an anniversary gift to replace an existing (barely) sweater. I did what I usually do when I'm knitting a sweater - took measurements, checked out the person's (Glen's) likes and dislikes, and then we started on the yarn quest. Glen liked the denim blue color in Lopi yarn. So Glen and his wife Carol bought the yarn and I took it home. After I knit a swatch, I had to tell them that Lopi was definitely not (IMHO) an appropriate yarn for an Aran sweater - it was too fuzzy for the patterns to show up. They agreed. Over the next few weeks the two of them were on a quest to find THE yarn. They finally did - Tahki Donegal Tweed Homespun - in a light gray that has little speckles of color throughout which gives the yarn more visual interest.

I knit a swatch. I liked the yarn - I have a "thing" for yarn that still has the lanolin in it. I knit several sections: stockinette; moss stitch; and one of the cable patterns Greg liked on size 8 (US) needles. I got a gauge of 4 stitches to the inch for the stockinette and moss stitch, and 6 stitches to the inch for the cable section.

Next I started to plot out the actual cable patterns and placement. Eight hours later, I had the pattern. The cable patterns that Glen had liked wouldn't work with the way the sweater needed to be set up, because Glen wants a longer cardigan with a shawl collar. I had to find a central pattern for the back that I could divide for the front. The math for the number of stitches wouldn't adapt to the chosen cable patterns. So I finally worked out something else, still using elements that I knew Glen liked, charted them out (by the way, my recent foray into lace knitting has sharpened my chart-reading skills, so that I found working with charts for cables to be much easier!), and started knitting.

When I next met with Glen and Carol, they were a bit uncertain about the changes, since they were unfamiliar with reading knitting charts, but were good enough to accept my explanations. I told them that we'd meet in a week and if Glen really didn't like how the sweater was progressing, I could rip it out and try something else (be still my beating heart...).

I was trying to get a balanced design: while it is mostly cables, the center panel is more open, and since the center cables are a repeat, this pattern can be split to go up the front of the cardigan. I used tight 4-stitch cables to delineate the larger patterns, and used a more closely twining cable pattern as the secondary pattern. Then I used bobbles (trinity stitch) and then for the underarm area, the moss stitch. I think the diagonals on the bobbles and the diagonals of the moss stitch, subtle though they be, complement each other.
The cat, Dilly Llama, can't knit, is smart enough not to voice opinions, but likes to hang out around wool.

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Socks are Great, but my Posting is Late

I was thrilled when my Sockapalooza 4 socks arrived; and the timing was perfect because I actually got to wear them several days later when I went to see my niece perform at the Open Air Circus - where she had learned to walk on stilts. It had been raining during the day (it cleared up for the performance at a local park), but it was cold and wet, and a nice pair of wool socks kept me quite comfortable.

Here is a picture:

I did take a picture of socks on my feet, but they looked better on the cat... the fit was fine, and I love the way the stripes line up, but the angle made my ankles look too fat!

Here's another picture. After I wore them, I washed them!
I found a package of vinyl-coated hangers and bent two of them into a sock shape. It is a great way to block socks or simply hang them up to dry.
So a big THANK YOU goes to Liz, who knit them for me.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

At Least I've finished Something!

I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I finally can put something in the mail that I've knit for someone. Case in point -- this felted purse for Int'l Tote Exchange IV. My patient swap pal finally received it more than a week after it was due. The whole thing was an adventure. I'd never knit a trellis pattern - it's fun, and then the embellishments - flowers, vines and leaves, and a knot-and-frog closure, put this project over the top for me. If I'd had more time, the purse would probably have ended up looking like an overblown rose arbor.

What has really been distracting me is "Knit A Yarn." I am the Channel Producer for this upcoming, new video-podcast. I'm working with Realization Pictures to produce this new show. It doesn't hurt one bit that R.P. just happens to be my sister and her film-making husband. Melissa kept hearing me talk about knitting, knitting blogs, events, knit-a-longs, etc., so she finally turned to me and said, "That sounds like it would be a good video-podcast." -- we're aiming at a focused group - knitters, and the podcasts will be relatively short. The first one has been shot - it's me demonstrating how to make your own swift and will run about 7 minutes. That doesn't sound like a lot of time, but it took about 4 hours to shoot it. The second one was just shot last Thursday - now what happened in the Boston area last Thursday - the Yarn Harlot was in town, and I got to interview her before her "launch" at Borders in Burlington, MA. I saw the rough cut, and Stephanie is great. I need to polish my interviewing skills, but Stephanie gave great answers. If you checked Stephanie's blog - I'm the laughing lady in the front row, but I didn't throw any panties.

We're planning to debut within the next couple of weeks, so keep checking for more info.

As I get my picture uploading skills using my sister's borrowed camera sharpened, I will have more things to show you. I've gotten a great pair of Sockapalooza 4 socks, and my ITE IV pal sent me the nicest bag - perfect to put a sock knitting project in. As you might have guessed, I love joining swaps.

That's it for now!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap 2 Questionnaire

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire
Second Years

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?

2. Shoe size? Foot length? Foot circumference?
SHOE SIZE – 7-1/2, FOOT LENGTH 9”, FOOT CIRC. 8-1/2”

3. List your three favorite sock yarns.
a. vanCalCar Acres Flock Sock
b. merino
c. anything soft

4. Would you like to try a new brand of sock yarn? If so, which brand? I’ve used a limited selection, so anything nice!

5. Do you prefer variegated or solid sock yarn? I like solids, color tones, and long colorways

6. What colors would you like to add to your sock yarn stash? Happy colors – red, pink, yellow, oranage.

7. What kind of sock patterns do you gravitate toward? Lace? Ribbed? Fair Isle? I like lace and patterned.

8. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, animals, etc.)
No allergies, and I have 4 cats, and don’t smoke.

A Short Poem for a Sock

When yarn goes a little wonky,
Then it makes me slightly cranky,
But that's the way the knitting goes -
From cuff to heel, from heel to toes.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Slow Bee, Humming

I've added the Mystery Stole 3 "Slow Bee" button. I've spent more time reading all the posts than I have knitting the stole. I did get up early this morning to work on it, only to have to frog back 4 rows - to row 35. The good news is that now I'm up to row 43. This is NOT a project I'm going to rush because it is too frustrating to make mistakes. If I keep my focus - no tv, no audio books, no cats on my lap - I do okay.

The good news is that as I sit and read all the posts, I do my mindless entrelac knitting on a tote for the Summer KAL CAL, and I've completed two tiers in two days!

On another tack, I do knit on my commute to and from work, usually on a pair of socks. I have noticed that sometimes people seem hesitant to sit next to me. While I'd like to think that maybe they are just being considerate and don't want to disturb me, or maybe they're intimidated by my plastic needles; I think the truth of the matter is that I hum to myself as I knit - not loudly, but it might be audible. I've turned into the crazy lady on the train!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Let There Be (Yarn) Cakes! (DIY Swift)

HOW TO MAKE A SWIFT – by Suzanne Ress
2 pieces of ¼” x 1-1/2” wood cut to 37-1/2 inches long, plus the end pieces that are left after the cut.
2 pieces of ¼” x 5” pegboard cut to 37-1/2 inches long
1 fencepost cap (to use as base)
1 piece of 3/8” threaded rod (it was precut, about 12 or 18 inches long)
At least 2 3/8”-spacer hex nuts (about 1-1/2” long, or longer), you can get more.
2 hex nuts for the top and bottom of the threaded rod (3/8”), one of them could be a wing nut.
A packet of washers (1/2”)
One nylon or plastic 5/8” spacer that is ½” to 5/8” long and has a ½” hole
Wood glue
3/8” doweling, cut into 3” pieces
C-clamp to hold swift to table

Drill with 3/8” and5/8” bits.
Staple gun with heavy-duty staples, at least 3/8”
Miter saw
T-square angle ruler

Drill a 3/8” hole in the center of the fencepost cap.
Screw the threaded rod into the fencepost cap. Make sure it goes all the way through. If there is enough clearance underneath, add one of the hex nuts to the bottom of the rod.
Screw one of the long spacer hex nuts all the way down the threaded rod so that it snugs up to the fencepost cap and keeps the rod steady.
Screw the other spacer hex nut so that it is a couple of inches down from the top of the threaded rod (Note: I could only find two spacer hex nuts at Lowes, but if you want to add more to fill in the space from bottom to near the top on the threaded rod, you can).

Glue the pegboard onto the wood, making sure that the ends are even, and positioning the pegboard holes to be clear of the wood on either side.
Staple through the wood to hold the pegboard and wood together
Mark the center of each arm, measuring from end-to-end and across.
Drill a 5/8” hole at the center mark for each arm
To make braces to hold the swift arms at a 90° angle, use the miter saw assembly to cut a 45° angle at each end of the two leftover pieces of wood. IMPORTANT: make sure the angles are cut along the SAME long side of the piece of wood, so they both lean towards the center and towards each other.
Place one arm on top of the other, aligning the center holes. Put the nylon spacer in the hole to keep the arms lined up. Use the T-square on the bottom arm to square up the top arm.
Take one of the wooden braces and slide it against the wood, under the pegboard, with the short side of the brace towards the center of the swift. Since the pieces of wood for the arms are not even with each other, this has to be fiddled a bit. Mark the point on the arm and on the brace when the brace is set to hold both arms squarely. Put some glue on the brace and slide it back into place. Staple it on one arm of the two.
Repeat this on the “other” side of the swift arms, so the two braces are opposite each other.
Turn the arms over, and secure the brace to the “unsecured” arm.
To make life easier, I numbered the pegboard holes with indelible magic marker, to assist in even spacing of yarn hanks.

Put a washer on top of the spacer hex nut (you can add a nylon spacer on top of the hex nut, as I did) on the threaded rod.
Add the swift arms.
Fit the second nylon spacer over the threaded rod and through the center hole on the swift arms.
Add another washer on top of the swift arms.
Add the second hex nut or winged nut to the top. Screw it down to the swift arms, but DO NOT screw it down tightly. The arms should move freely.

Using the miter saw, cut the dowel into 3-inch pieces.
Use the pencil sharpener to sharpen one end of the dowel.
Push the dowel gently, using a twisting motion, into the holes in the pegboard to hold your skein of yarn. As I wound the skein, I found it loosened a little, so I kept readjusting the tension on the skein by moving the dowels.

As I wound yarn, the spacer nuts would loosen or move a little, so stop every once in a while and make sure that everything is secure.

Look, now I have yarn cakes!!

Guarded by Dickens.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Taste for Lace

Despite my moaning about all the UFOs I have, I've gone and succumbed to 'startitis.' I joined the Mystery Stole 3 KAL. I've done enough lace knitting so that I 'understand' the concept, but I've never embarked on this large a project...but I'm not alone. Judging from the e-mails to the Yahoo group, there are alot of people who are developing a taste for lace, or are hoping to. So far there are over 1800 people signed up. There are actually shortages of Zepher yarn in white being reported, not to mention a run on beads. I don't think anyone anticipated this level of response.

Just to prove I can knit some lace:

this is a scarf I am currently working on. I adapted the Knitty pattern "Convertible" by Rebecca Hatcher. I've done some lacy socks...now I'm beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of the shawl.

On the good news side - I won a book from Wiley, the publisher of "Charmed Knits" as part of the Charmed Knits KAL. Since I don't buy lottery tickets, I rarely win anything, actually, even if I do buy lottery tickets, I very rarely win. I was given a list of their craft books to chose from, and choose one on spinning. Winning could be dangerous.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Not All Non-Knitters are Muggles

On May 30 my sister drove with me to Northampton, MA, to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot. She drove so I could knit in the car. We stood in line chatting with knitters, we had more chat time in the theater, and we laughed and enjoyed outselves immensely during Stephanie's talk. During the Q&A, one woman asked "What were muggles?" Most of the audience responded in surprise. But Stephanie actually answered and told us all that muggles was an old word that Rowling had used in her books and it meant "someone outside a closely affiliated community." Is Stephanie the only one who knew that?

We went to WEBS, and I stood in line to have Stephanie sign my copy of "Cast Off," chatting all the while. The woman behind me pulled out a sweater she was knitting of Noro wool, and I truthfully said, "that was the best pattern I'd seen for Noro." She generously gave me the pattern. I promise I will knit it up.

Still basking in the glow of enjoyment, I was recently talking to my sister about the event, when she told me that as we were leaving the theater, she had made some comment to me about not having much interest in looking a wool, and the woman behind her, with whom she had been talking, said, 'Oh, you're a muggle." Her tone implied distain. My sister felt insulted. By the very fact that she was there, she was NOT a muggle. She may not knit, but she is a strong supporter of knitting. She respects knitters for their creativity and work; she appreciates hand knit items, and encourages her daughter to knit.

Any stereotype is dangerous and can be hurtful, so please consider who you're calling a muggle.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Variety is the Spice of Life, if it doesn't give you heartburn

My knitting progress has been like some just learning to drive a manual shift car...that uneven, jerking forward motion. I'm working on too many projects.

I'm knitting three display items for the Fabric Place (my second, part-time job): a tank top (Classic Elite Cotton & pattern), a beaded ascot (Scarfstyle, Classic Elite Classic Silk), and a yet-to-be-started pair of socks.

As I wait for the computer to boot up or load a new page, I work on my baby afghan for Afghans for Afghans. I'm using KnitPicks Yarn of the Andes - one strand of Amethyst and a second strand of another color (which changes every 3 rows, randomly). I was quite pleased to see that the result was a tweedy sort of blended striping. As I watch tv the Charmed Knits Beanie or the Orphans Foundations red scarf get some attention - I'm almost finished with the beanie.

I did finally pull together the yarn for the bag I will knit for the International Tote Exchange 4, but I'm still waiting for the sock yarn I ordered for the Hogwarts Sock Swap, and haven't made any decisions about my Sockapalooza socks. On one hand, when I'm knitting for someone else, I'd like to turn out something special and memorable, on the other hand, I keep telling myself that I have to choose something that I can finish by the deadline without losing my job, my mind, or my friends.

I'm not really complaining. I'm a process knitter, and enjoy having lots of different projects going. This way I can knit what I feel like knitting, and when I'm ready for a change, there is always something else to do. Since I like all the patterns and yarns, and I do have a streak of "project knitter" in me, I eventually do get stuff finished.

I've started dyeing yarn. I've only done two skeins, but I keep planning how the next colorway is going to go. My crockpot will probably get more use from dyeing than it ever got from cooking! Since I want to blend colors during the day with natural light, my next skein will get done this coming weekend.

Monday, May 28, 2007

From Old to New - Knitting Projects

I finally figured out how to upload pictures, so here is the first batch:

The Norwegian mittens on the left were knitted about four years ago. I have knit this pattern with various colors and weights of wool over the years. My father still has the pair I made for him at least 10 years ago. The pair on the right were finished this past winter, and are from "Basic Knitting" They knit up large, but since I had used Cascade yarn, I gently felted them, which made them smaller and warmer. For additional warmth, I always wear a thin pair of el cheapo stretch gloves inside the mittens. This has gotten me through many a cold New England winter.

I do like colorwork, and started this Baby Norgi sweater from Knitty when I learned that my SIL was pregnant. I also had scheduled a class on two-color knitting and thought that this would be an interesting display to promote the class. When the class was cancelled, I slowed down, but now the baby is here, so I once more have a greater incentive to finish.

I have managed to finish a couple of things for my new niece: a bib from "One Skein" using Classic Elite Bamboo; a "Pi" jacket out of Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton, which was a delight to knit with; and a Vine Lace Baby Hat from "knittingdaily." Since the family is up from Nashville on a visit, I can hand over the finished items, and hope that they will be put to some use.

Mom is getting the Comfort Shawl from "knittingdaily". I found Misti Cotton, a lovely, soft cotton and silk yarn at my LYS, that I thought would make a lovely shawl for a nursing mother. This was my first Farose-styled shawl, and I really liked the shaping and the comfortable way it sits on your shoulders. I've added this pattern to my "Make It for Me" wish list.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sock Knitters Sub-Culture

After I told a co-worker about the sock knitters' sub-culture, the blogs, the sock swaps, the sense of community, he said, "So you could say they're 'sock-cessful'." This was too good not to share...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Projects on Needles

I sometimes think that I must be an ADD knitter - I have so many differnt things I'm working on!

There's the Ruffles scarf from ScarfStyle in a multi-color mohair blend that lives in a plastic bag hung from one of my drawers at work (for the 45 minutes on hold with the IT help desk).

The Hourglass sock pattern that travels to work with me on the T is a test run for my Hogwarts Sock Swap sock - I use one circular needle (magic loop) to reduce the chance of stabbing someone.

I take my responsibility as an aunt very seriously, so I'm working on the Vine Lace Baby Hat from Knitting Daily for my new niece, along with the bib from One Skein. Mom is getting the Comfort Shawl from Knitting Daily. I used Misti Cotton - a beautiful soft fuscia color in the softest cotton and silk blend (that one, at least, is finished). I'm preping the six different colors of Lara yarn I ordered from Elann for an intarsia sweater for another niece, and my oldest niece (who'll be seven soon) will be getting a pair of socks, among other things.

I just finished a pair of socks for afghans for Afghans. I used Lopi light, since they want warm items. I am de-stashing my KnitPicks Yarn of the Andes and using a double stand (one strand amythest, and the other strand changes color every three rows) for a soft, but warm baby blanket. Then there's the cabled hat for the Yarn Harlot's appearance in Northampton, MA, next Wednesday.

I do knit things for myself, at least I start them. I recycled some purple/blue dk yarn that started as a shawl...and will become the ribbed Tee from Knitty. One half-done glove in blue/green Silky Yarn is safely in a shoebox.

There's more, but guilt prevents me from including it now.

Once I figure out how to post pictures, I will., but I'm hampered because I don't have a camera. I just wanted people to know that I do knit on the rare occasion when the spirit moves me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Post-It Notes Appreciation

The value of post-it notes to knitters has not been publicly acknowledged. I use them constantly, and even carry little pads of them around with my various knitting projects. Why? you ask...They are perfect for keeping my place on a pattern or on a chart, and I can even mark them up as I keep track of the number of rows I've knitted.

Since I am going through a charted pattern phase as a preliminary to a knitted lace phase, I've found that post-its let me work my way through a chart without constantly losing my place, and they're not displaced if I close the book, fold the pattern, or am interrupted by a cat.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Taking the Plunge - First Post

I've been knitting since I was a little girl. My grandmother taught me during summer visits to "the country." The only thing I remember about the learning process was that at one point I was told that I couldn't have dessert until I could knit four rows without dropping a stitch. It was a powerfull motivation, because I can't recall missing any desserts. I also remember riding on the train with my Grandmother, watching her knit. It was a 2-row pattern and the result was a raised diagonal stitch. When we got home, I told her that "I could knit that stitch." She said, "Show me!" and I did. My Uncle Paul got a brown and black scarf for Christmas knit in that stitch.

Over the years, I've drifted away and back, knitting occasionally, as the mood struck. I did a couple of Aran sweaters, a Norwegian sweater, then Norwegian mittens. It wasn't until I became an aunt, that the full weight of my knitting responsibility descended. While Jasmine has been the recipient of a baby blanket (now with Hurricane Allie, another niece), a sweater that was too small (also with Allie), and one that was a little too big, I also branched out - socks, felted bags, entrelac - suddenly I was finding all these fun things to make. Now there are nieces and a nephew and samples for classes, family gifts, and even stuff for me. I have projects at work - a ruffled scarf from ScarfStyle - to work on during conference calls, projects I work on during my commute, promised items (Art - your beret is coming, trust me!), and things for me, unless I give them away.

So this blog is my attempt to Share the Joy (and the occasionall pain) of knitting.