Thursday, December 28, 2006

third in the series

One last gift knitting report. All gifts were finshed on time, just barely . There's one more hat that was knit enroute to Washington DC in the car and gifted upon arrival so it won't be making an appearance here. It was just a simple beanie, anyway.
Having knit a swell Swell, I needed a differerent style earflap hat for my favorite bro-in-law, a guy who likes some flash and funk in his handknits. Here's what he got:1206FamVar080
I considered every earflap hat pattern I could lay my tired eyes on. I liked Fathom's Snowball Fight for her graphics but bro-in-law wanted a point on top, and a point he would get. I cast on for the visoppskrift earflap hat I found at the Garnstudio site. It was plain but I figured I'd add graphics, making them up as I went.

I was completing the O's on the earflaps with absolutely no plan or idea of what to do next with the colors when the winter Knitty came out and there was Center Square. It was a chanukah miracle- the repeating pattern divided neatly into my stitch count and oh man, I knew I'd thrown the gimmel dreidel (meaning, I win).

The main modification to the hat was my limey green lining. I have become a devotee of The Lined Earflap. Besides, the hat needed the kick of bright.

I thought all was just right until my younger son, a fan of his uncle's style, declared the need for a very special tassle on top and offered to use his mad gimp skillz to create the chinese staircase embellishment.

As soon as it was unwrapped last weekend, bro-in-law declared it the perfect hat and plopped it on his head, flipping the earflaps up to form kind of pointy side panels. Does he have style , or what? (yeah, I know, no photo. Guilty. Cobbler's children syndrome, y'know).


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

stubborn is as stubborn does*

*title sounds best when said in a Forrest Gump accent

When we last left my felting endeavors, we had a jumbo pair of red fuzzy mary janes. I was optimistic in saying they sort of fit me. In fact, scientific testing proved they fit a mens size 10.5 us and were well suited only for, if you are 13 years old, a running start in the living room, gliding across the rest of the room, through the kitchen and off the step down into the family room without ever lifting your feet. This didn't enhance their giftability to my much smaller footed niece, but gave them a light coating of kitchen-y crumbs.

I couldn't bring myself to cast on another pair. They're, let's face it, a bit of a boring knit. A friend suggested I cut them apart , trim the soles, make seams on the uppers to narrow, and sew them together again. This appealed! I was going to cut them up into flowers or something anyway. Slide-ability fun aside, no one was really going to wear them. As luck would have it, my sister was over for one last night of latkes when I approached surgery and she helped me simplify.
Angled cuts from just forward of the strap crossing section, down to the sole, then pull tight, a sort of felted slipper facelift, overlapping and stitching in decorative X's, using darning needle, sportweight yarn, lots of muscle and thimbles. Pliers would have helped. This was some dense felt, let me tell you.

Once stitched, the toes came up in a pixie-ish way, the heels were well covered and it brought them narrower. All I needed to do, aside from aggressive shaving to remove excess fuzz'n'crumbs, was buttons. I was dreading this, the needle struggle when seaming was painful, until I came across these in the bottom of my sewing box.
Funny how the right tool can cheer you on, isn't it?


I won't claim them as my finest work but they were giftable.
My niece's reaction? My niece is the coolest almost 18 year old. She unwrapped them, exclaiming,
" I've never seen anything like these! I love them! They're sooo fuzzy inside. Look! Cute buttons!"
Then she stood up in them, danced a little jig , slipped and fell gracefully to applause.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

light hearted

Happy Solstice tomorrow!
More light in the world!

And speaking of levity:
A policeman spots a woman driving and knitting at the same time. Driving up beside her, he shouts out the window...

"Pull over!"

"No," she shouts back, "a pair of socks!"


Thursday, December 14, 2006

tears of a clown

This was going to be a short light hearted post. First I'd show Day 1:day1 and tell you how these, my latest knits were sitting on the sofa.
Says a passing son " Ummm, Mom? Are you knitting clown shoes now?"

Then I'd show you Day 2: The cute little Felted Ballerina Slippers (Mary Jane style) for my niece. They are knit with a yarn that felts, is on record as felting, I have seen felted. No matter how you conjugate it, all should proceed as expected. The slippers would be about the length of the scissors, to fit her just right. I'd even sew on cute little buttons that I can't decide between.
bton And that'd be it. Short, amusing. HA.

Hear me sob?
Day 2, the reality:
Observe the scissors.day2 After 6 times through the washer, the slippers have ripped seams on two pillowcases and taken down an old bath mat, along for the agitation. You can see the white specks of deconstructed mat backing in the fuzz. The only thing more agitated is me.

Day 3: After assurances and virtual hand holding (there is no end to felting! it will go smaller still! persevere!) , I get serious. I am the grand torturer of slippers. They are doused with boiling water, plunged into cold water, pummeled in a low water level by old jeans, a towel, a tennis ball, a baseball and some kind of hard dog toy ball that rolled into my line of sight in the basement. All gnashing vigorously in the top loader. A baker's dozen of times through the cycle and they are smaller. I need more shrinkage. Amused, Dave suggests a multi-appliance approach: the microwave? A few minutes in the oven? Steam 'em in the dishwasher? I am not laughing. (maybe a little, its ridiculous).

My last best effort:
Out of the agitation 2 cycles later, I plunge them into ice water, then back to the washer for a last cycle.
The right one fits me, the largest female foot in the family. The left one remains capacious. The niece will be getting a pair that I'll cast on sometime later this week, in a smaller size.
(close with sounds of weeping).

Saturday, December 09, 2006

part two of a series

A hat for a sister. Its some kinda Swell.
Pattern: Swell from Knitty summer 06
Yarn: Farmhouse Yarns from Hopyard Spinnery, Andy's Merino
Needles: size 6 circulars, loving that magic loop for hats
Notes & changes: Heavier yarn. I was near gauge for the stitches but row wise? Gaugeyness. I moved the wave down by a few rows, and added lining in a color called Wine Rose (but I'd have named it Blood Orange).

The pattern has the first row with earflaps attached purl all the way around but I knit the earflap stitches in that round to avoid a a ridge where it joins the hat. After completing the hat as written, I knit earflaps and about 2 " of body in the orangey yarn, then cast it off. Its attached to the hat edge with whip stitch using a darning needle. When I attached the lining around the inside of the hat I used a crochet hook to pull the darker blue yarn through the stitches, somehow it was easier for me to line up the colors. It gave me a better tension than the needle stitching did. You can see how its kind of wonky in spots. I hope its passing as a touch of the hand rather than a touch of incompetence.
And lastly: I'm loving the lining. Now the earflaps are thick enough to keep the wind out and it gets rid of any residual curl. Blocking would have flattened them but I kept thinking of Sister Bertrille.
For us members of the Chronically Indecisive Club,lining's an extra chance for color in a non-dominating way. I'm still working on my left handed knitting and did some reverse stockinette , which came out strange looking. The nice thing about lining? Its all inside. I am undecided about a tassle on top, the slightly
HoJo-esque side strings are probably enough whimsy. Maybe I'll offer the option when she opens it for the first night of Chanukah, this Friday.
Back soon with part three. Its a felting venture. Cross your fingers for me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

just call me the

I decided to give my mom membership to a sock yarn club for her birthday this weekend. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? Well. Fishing around for where to join pulled up so many choices that, in the spirit of not wanting anyone else to kill half a day the season, I'll share my catch.
In case you want to dip your toes, kitchener'd or otherwise, into the same waters.

Options? We got'em. Clubs that close, clubs that have rolling enrollment, clubs with patterns, clubs that include cool indie craft items, clubs that send only handpainted, clubs that are only commercially produced yarn, clubs that let you choose the projects, clubs that offer mixed drinks....oh ,sorry, no margaritas and chips. But that'd be a good idea, wouldn't it? Join the cruise anyway.

Over There
Thanks to Emma for gettng me to think transatlantically!
She recommended Fyberspates in Wales. January-March you get a different sock yarn fiber each time. Lovely looking and how cool to receive a package from Wales -- unless of course you live in Wales in which case I'm sure the novelty is missing.

HipKnits in England is the membership my mom received. Why? Its a four month membership beginning whenever you sign up. The price is quite reasonable. The yarn is self-striping, and the patterns exclusive, it supports lots of indie yarn artists, and last but not least, its run by Kerrie Allman of MagKnits and I want to support her.
edited a year later to add: OK, the HipKnits sock club membership didn't work out exactly as promised, although after some delays, many emails and changes over at their business, my mom got some interesting and lovely yarns , so caveat emptor.

Its a good thing the Posh Yarn Socks Club is closed for the moment, because six months of a cashmere merino sock project arriving at the door is tempting me out beyond the budget buoys. Always good to be prepared for the future. Bookmark it.

You want Flexible?
Check out Spunky Eclectic's Clubs. Awesome handpaints, subscribe for as few or as many months as you wish. You can join for sock yarn or for fiber. Start anytime. Downside, no patterns included but she has some great designs posted on her site.

Original sock patterns come at you monthly from the Fiber Nooks and Cranny Sock Club, along with Opal sock yarn. You can see some of her past projects at the site. As many months as you like. This would be great for someone who likes simpler patterns. And Opal Yarn.

More variety and challenge over at Joslyns Fiber Farm Sock Club , flexible length of membership and its all their own yarns. Scroll through earlier months' kits and you'll see.
Holy K2 tog YO! They have a Shawl Club too. Its quarterly. Phew.

Another sock club or lace club choice is yours at MamaLlama's, handyed colorways that go with the seasons. You can sign up for a half year or full year, and you express color preferences within the range for each quarter. Options! Options are good.

Still more sock knitting challenges, Red Bird Yarn offers monthly or every other month sock clubs . You can tell her some preferences in color etc. All of the past months' kits are viewable so judge if its what you're interested in - the weights and styles vary a lot.

Amy Swensons Sockaholics Anonymous sock club is another join for one month or as many as twelve deal. Different yarns but only the good stuff, note that. Patterns included from Fiber Trends or her own. Niiiiiice. (Sorry, we can't stop doing Borat around here).

Many varied sock projects is sock club, another pay for as many months as you like deal. They have a link to past months for the curious. This one's great for someone who doesn't want to be in a rut. Sock wise, I mean.

Handpainted superwash merino DK weight sock yarn from Fancy Image Yarn club can come to you for 3, 6 or 13 months of membership. No patterns included but check out her colors and price, if you like heavier weight sock knitting.

At the PickUp Sticks Sock Club you have to pay a registration fee to join for 6 months, but you get some goodies for it. No new memberships till next month, though.

Closed For Now but You Can Get a Gift Certificate for Their Goods
Scouts Indie Swag Clubfilled up lightening fast, because her brillant handpaints packaged with a little something special from other indie craft artists is so perfect - but you can still give someone a gift certificate to the shop and they can put together a pairing for themselves. (Thanks for reminding me, Scout.) I have messenger bag and needlecase envy from browsing over there.

Sundaras Petals Collection Club is closed, and future uncertain. sigh. Custom dye orders always accepted.

Socks That Rock from The Blue Moon Fiber Club. Get on the list to be notified for signup. Pricey but with a devoted following.

Carole recommended MamaE's. There's not much there to see now but when you're a one woman show, the line between swamped and not busy is merely fingering weight. Ask me how I know. So check back, because Carole wouldn't steer us wrong!

A few final thoughts
The wide range of personal style of club owners is seen on their sites. The way your package gets presented each month will vary accordingly, and that's a biggie. I don't know about you but throw in interesting packaging or nice tissue paper or a little lagniappe.... or heck, even a bit of ribbon and a cool label and I'm yours.

I'm sure I missed a couple clubs but it wasn't a conscious act. I have no personal experience with any of these so I'm not endorsing them, but I am so tempted by them all. Let me know if you have more info.

And... if you're wondering, my mom LOVED her gift and is delighted to get yarn and a pattern from England monthly. She thought the overseas aspect made it even more fun and now she gets her wish to knit one pair of socks a month , at least through the winter.

Friday, December 01, 2006

hide & seek

I've been found.
In almost 2 years of this blog, no one who knows me knew of it.
I mean, I've met living breathing people, wonderful people, through the blog but my real living breathing family & friends weren't aware of its existence. Till this week when surfing around, friends came upon it. (hi josh! hi julie!) I've been outed.

It wasn't a big deal secret. Initially, my blogging thought was "wow this is such a nerdy thing to do, I'm going to quietly give it a try". Then after a while, I figured, who cares? and I never mentioned it. So when I announced over pizza to Dave and my 13 year old son that a friend found the blog and was amazed she hadn't known, they said....... " wow, that's nerdy."
Although I'm pretty sure it was said in admiring tones.

I've just sucked up gallons of time looking for a moderately priced half-year or every-other month sock yarn club to give as a present. The Sundara club is closed. The Blue Moon one only has the yearlong option. I'm loving Scouts Indie Swag club but I'm not sure the giftee would, and anyways, I think I'm too late for it. I want to keep it simple. Sock yarn. Any ideas? Send 'em quick, the birthday's tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

the new tricks product report

manickin I am happy - or does this say manic to you? does that make it a manic-quin? - to present the New Tricks Red Scarf:

Knit almost entirely, except when I couldn't help myself, holding yarn in my left hand. Sometimes the continental mojo kicked in and I knit along smoothly, if not speedily. Other times, the repetitive stress injury was overtaken by a painful spasm in my neck from clenching my teeth in concentration. To see me working on this is like watching yourself brush your hair in the mirror but using your opposite hand. (Go try it, its supposed to be good for our brains.)

The official report:
A scarf for the Red Scarf Project and let's not forget Knit Unto Others, knit horizontally, my own design aka Make-It-Up-As-You-Go-Along. It has three rows of double moss stitch along each long side to keep it flat.The rest is rows of knit interspersed occasionally by 2-3 purl rows, to make it more ridgey and 2 sided.
Yarn: A skein of red Berroco Pleasure. A skein and a half of recycled sari silk. (Cool stuff). The better part of a skein of Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb in sky blue and some Brown Sheep Lambs Pride in orange.
Dimensions: 6" wide and a whopping 70"+ length , before fringe.
Who knew it was going to come out so long? I cast on, if not with gauge , then with gauginess (sorry Colbert) and as it was squished up on the circular needles, I didn't see the proportions till I cast off. I was wondering how a not-so-wide scarf could hoover up so much yardage. Duh.

Notes:I ran low on red way sooner than anticipated, so the scarf is more blue than I would have chosen in advance. Not a color combo I am drawn to ordinarily, that bright red and quiet blue. I wasn't sure how I felt about it in finished form until my professional trend-spotting sister stopped by. She's the director and buyer for a museum shop, so she knows groovy.
She said it had a Sundance Catalog look, neo-bohemian hippy but with good materials & textures. Actually she said a lot more on the subject including what trend it followed and why but I didn't retain it . She had me at Sundance.

My mom finished a Red Scarf too, hers decidedly more manly, seen here on my nearest man model.momred A basket weave stitch, done in a machine washable boucle because, as mom says, what college student will handwash a scarf? My answer of course, is what college student will wash a scarf at all? I hardly remember to wash scarves and I'm an otherwise responsible adult. When you're home for Thanksgiving, that's not the conversational angle to pursue at any age, so I patted and admired and we agreed that its going to be appreciated for its cuddliness.

Back to new tricks practice. More product soon.dogstick

Saturday, November 25, 2006

so, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks

oldDogBut it'll really mess up her gauge.
I've got some repetitive motion stress injury in my right arm. Not saying knitting's the culprit but it definitely aggravates things.

My solution to move differently is knitting continental. Easily said. Slower going. Purling OK, knit, not so much. In the end, when my elbow and hand are better, I'll settle on the combination style that Annie Modesitt promotes, its most natural to me, and I already knit through the back by habit.

The garment taking the hit was my first version of Swell. I can't show, I ripped too quickly, but I'll tell. I started it in blue with a black wave. I reassessed. Aside from the, ahh, lets say homey-ness of uneven gauge from left handed knitting, there were issues.

Too masculine for the giftee I had in mind. She and I have talked about how when the weather gets colder, we find ourselves wearing boy clothes. The black wave was handsome but just too. Also, the pattern has the first rows with ear flaps attached as purl completely around, creating a non-roll front forehead (good) but a ridge through the earflaps (not so). You can barely see it on the pattern but on mine, it looked like the earflaps were an afterthought. And my row gauge was longer so the wave placed too high. Applying my three strikes and you rip rule, its history.

I took a while to decide on the new colors.

This time I think I like it. (woof).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

my best thanksgiving

(At the end it relates to knitting and the Red Scarf Project)
My best Thanksgiving dinner ever took place 16 years ago. Far from home, far from the Land of the Pocohantas and the Pilgrims. It was in South America. These were the guests of honor :
These cuties were in the process of being adopted from an orphanage by families from the US. Dave and I had received an official adoption decree in court the day before, for the tiny guy on the far left. The US Embassy was closed to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving and we needed to wait till Friday to get our baby's green card, to take him home.
We found other families in similar limbo to share the day. The meal itself was forgettable, save for the can of jellied cranberry that a woman from Kansas had oddly brought with her. What is forever memorable is how thankful we were to have our son, and be a family, and how we marveled at the dips and turns life takes to place you in such wonderful moments.

Being an adoptive parent makes me forever conscious of what family means. Years later I worked on a book about what happen to kids who age out of foster care. The one thing the subjects all said, whether their lives were going well or a struggle, was they wished they had a mom or dad. Not for the big things but for the small. Someone to show up at your sports games, or know you won a prize, or to call on a bad day when your car breaks down and fail a test or have a problem with a co-worker. One man in his twenties, a huge strapping entrepeneur and former college football player got tears in his eyes telling me that no one, zero, zippo, was there to see him graduate from college.

That's what the Red Scarf project is all about. The students who get a hand knit scarf in a care package this February don't have families to send them something that says"I'm thinking of you". But they'll know that someone was, thanks to the efforts of the Orphan Foundation and the goodness of many knitters.

I'm going to spend this Thanksgiving with my family, hopefully appreciating each other during a very long car ride but let's not get too carried away, OK?. I'll be knitting something red, and warm, and hopefully lovable as a scarf with this: 1106FamVar073

For more info on the Red Scarf Project.
Or visit the Orphan Foundation website, they're the organization that sends out the care packages and arranges mentors for former foster care kids.
For more information about National Adoption Month (November) go here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

part one of a series

First giftee off the list in this year's holiday knitting jamboree

Sisterly accessories to go with the Fetchings she got for her birthday not long ago, from the pink merino yarn that was in my grabbed bag of goodness from Hopyards Spinnery. I'd made the mistake of being so enthralled that visit with so many choices that I took a little of this, a little of that...and now I'm figuring out just what to do with 100-200 yards each of the yarns I chose. Crazy! I plan to do better when I return there for this week's sale.

Fortunately I've got a sister who likes lots of color and texture. The scarf idea came when surfing along, I hit this scarf on Hedgeblog (you'll need to scroll down but you can't miss it) , she received it in a swap , and said it was Misty Garden, a feather and fan stitch scarf in ScarfStyle in variegated mohair, but here it was done in bumpy yarn.

I liked the effect, but having only 100 yards at best that fit the thick and thin bill, I put it together with some other
Farmhouse Yarns that kinda sorta shared colors, and this scarf resulted. You know what? I like it. Feather and fan is always fun to knit, and on size 10 needles, it was done before I had time to think too hard and rip it out as not working.

Here's my knitter's version of the play-by-play. fyi, the yarns are named after the farm's sheep.

When I got to the end of it, I realized a couple of things.
1- if I'd wanted it to be symmetrical, I should have knit half the length, held the stitches on scrap yarn, knit an identical half and then grafted them, because feather & fan stitch is quite directional.

But, to quote one of my favorite books, The Vintner's Luck, " God hates symmetry".
Yeah, OK, I'm quoting a fictional bisexual fallen angel with a fondness for fine wine but, he's right. (BTW? its a great read.)

Where was I?
oh, yeah, that slightly peculiar hat.
2- I still had some of each yarn left over. A coordinating hat, its your basic beanie- loosely based on BonneMarie's Chichatpattern- with the raspberry Andy's Merino held together with : at the bottom edge, the Lumpy Bumpy, then with the Wool by Bessie. When that ran out, it was 2 strands of the merino itself. When I got to the very tippy top, I ran out with one round left to go. Not to be defeated, I topped it off with a yard of merino in Key Lime.So now I have 199 yards left of that color.
I'm not sure if I love the total effect but knowing that this sister walks her little dog at 5:30 am all winter, she'll, at the very least, stay warm headed in the dark.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

flap happy

Somehow I left this out when I showed you my "think red " walk from yesterday:
Modern hieroglyphics.

On the gift knitting horizon I've two requests for earflap hats, from people with very different personal styles but (apparently) a shared desire for ear warmth. One is a guy who likes a point and whimsy/funky hat. The other, a woman, wants something warm and stylish yet artsy, but was clearly against a point. I bet you can't guess how much time one can spend surfing around looking for just the right earflap hat pattern? I hit Interweave's back issues, all of Garn, Knitty, lots of sites, books I own, and am still not sure. If you have one you like, send me to it.

As far as the yarn goes, I've got me a plan: I'm going over the river and through the woods, literally, back to the Hopyards Spinnery later this week, there's another Farmhouse Yarns sale. If you missed my gleeful haul objective reporting from the last one I went to, check here. Worth a daytrip, November 16th-19th, 8 am-4pm.

Friday, November 10, 2006

red(y) to go

The Bar Mitzvah was a crazy joyful blur. We observed, we ate, we hora'd, we Motowned, we resurrected bad dances of the seventies through nineties, we gave meaning to the vow to dance like no one was watching. I may have one hell of a messy house and be behind for work pretty much everything now but oy, such naches. (linked because although there was plenty of eating, tortilla chips weren't on the menu and I don't want you non-yiddish speakers to get the wrong visuals).

I'm returning to my usual diversions of blog reading and pattern perusing and scheming what to knit next. There's the holiday gift knitting, of course, and big, so big, in my plans : The Red Scarf Project. I was thinking red all day. I haven't decided on what red pattern to do first but am loving this new Grumperina pattern. I am very very tempted by the red dominated sari silk on Destash, I figure that'd do well mixed in as stripes with with some solid red yarn , and some other colors I have here already, to knit simple lengthwise scarves. (I am so tempted you may see that first set of skeins sold by the time you click over there but fear not, there are more below it).

I was thinking about what colors went well with what shades of red, knowing not everyone loves the primary bright red, so I took my camera along the dog walking route today. There's surely a red for everyone. I'm inspired.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

life by the lists: a q&a

q: what? no knitting or yarn shown?
a: no. I've only got a partial sock to show you, and frankly, it looks like its mate did a coupla posts ago. You'd need to scroll down in the post and imagine about 2 inches before the heel.

Here's some wool on the hoof. As they say to the sheep dogs, thatd'll do.

q: what's with this format?
a: a two part answer. One: I have extreme interview envy. I mean really, is this not the best knitting author interview? Ever? Where else would you read the ugly Noro vs backordered Rowan question? I wanted to get the Yarnplay before, now I must.

q: What's the second part?
a: Second? oh yeah..sorry. Stress.When I'm stressed I lose things. Like my train of thought. A Bar Mitzvah here next week. FYI, even if you are making a Bar Mitzvah that is laid back and small by 21st century north american standards, don't leave most of the details to the last minute. You'll thank me. I am now living by the "to-do" list. One for work, one for personal, and that is it. Then we celebrate.

q: and your holiday knitting? and the miters? what happened to all those cheerful mitered squares?
a: oh! so sorry! I see on The List its time to stop blogging. Buh- bye.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

knitbloggers, knitbloggers, lend me your ears

Because mine need some recommendations for knitting podcasts.
I've been enchanted by Cast-On. That Brenda Dayne does a great 'cast. Good music, with real life chat, touching essays, a sense of humor, lots of knitting talk, all seamed together beautifully. I'm through most of her backlog now. sniff, sniff. Spoiled from the start. So please, tell me what you've found to listen to!

Next lend me your eyes. I finished a little something.
Three little somethings. A friend helped out in a pinch with some graphic design, refusing pay but when pressed, admitted she'd love some handknits. Although I don't think my friend is in any way incomplete, she only wanted fingerless mittens , and something to cover her ears and part of her head, but not a hat. It seems oddly psychological to have only open ended garments but we'll leave that to some other profession. She requested them in wine. (I hope she meant the color, not floating in the liquid,now that I think about it....)

some details:
Fetching from Knitty
Yarn: Bazic wool from Classic Elite, on size 6 needles
Modifications: Longer cabled cuffs , longer hands, and more cables over the fingers, wth a longer thumb. No picots on the bind-off. Its a cute pattern as written , just too skimpy in its one skein incarnation.
Comments: Two (open ended) thumbs up for this yarn. Its a superwash, not stiff but spongey and soft. It has an extra nice twisted texture, as if one ply is fatter than the other.bazic
The color is so rich, I'd guess it had an overydye of something dark, just a touch, for extra depth. Or maybe its the texture that makes it look that way? It took almost a skein for each mitt. Unlike last time, I remembered to make the cables face each other. Progress!

and the headband is from Garnstudio Drops site, whatta treasure trove of patterns that is. Hopefully most are translated better than this one which had some major mistakes. Easy enough to see in advance though. That no such thing as a free lunch thing again. I suspect its the same pattern that showed up on Craftster as Panta , if not, they're close cousins, but the Panta write-up is too convoluted for me. Same yarn as above, also took one skein. Based on testing on my own and another visiting head, this could be the new go-to quick gift of choice around here. FYI, way cuter on a live being than it is laying flat.

Now I know I use to show off finished sweaters, then it was shrugs, then scarves, then hats, now, headbands. Do you sense a trend of diminishing returns? The downsizing of FO's? Soon I'll proudly exhibit a fuzzy string wrapped twice around my pinkie. Check back soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

out there

While I haven't been blogging, I've been living up to my name.
I've been out of town working on location for about 12 days of the last 3 weeks, not all in a row. When I get back home, I've been filling my time with more working like crazy, catching up on the family life : school! emails from teachers! a son who grows 2 inches in a week and has nothing , nothing I tell you, to wear! . And ack! bolting awake at 4 am to obsess over details I haven't taken care of for the Bar Mitzvah we're having here in 3 weeks. Yup, that's three. No, I haven't figured out the cake or painted the pots, planted mums in them for the decorations or figured out what to wear. Or, now that you mention it, lost the 10 pounds gained this year to make said what-to-wearing more fun.

But, the sheep..lets talk the sheep. A bunch of my time's been on sheep farms. I've learned a lot of fibery- life facts. For instance, farming doesn't leave a whole lot of time for knitting this time of year. Oh the irony. Surrounded by wool and not a minute free to knit. I think I might have spent about 20 minutes aggregate knitting. Most nights I was keeling over exhausted, and I wasn't actually doing the real work, just photographing it.

For instance, take Nanney Kennedy of Sea Colors.
If you're going to Rhinebeck? Stop at her booth. Swoon. It took heroic measure (and repeated mental reminder of Big Event needs, see above Bar Mitzvah reference) not to come home with a carfulof her gaw-jus yarns.

My brilliant plan to do tons of knitting while on the road and get ahead with the gifty/holiday list pretty much tanked . Instead I got close and personal with all kind of critters.
Including a conference with my fellow agency members, none of whom believed me when I said what I was working on. They were like "Sheep? Knitting? Really?'re kidding. Knitting? Heh, heh. ". Which only makes you wonder if we exist in a bubble, a very lovely dyed and spun bubble. We're talking some of the world's best adventure outdoor photographers, people who over breakfast mention they were just in Mongolia shooting flyfishing , or documentarians who tell you they're heading back to Cuba on Thursday, and hope Fidel kicks soon, so they can witness the change over in government and how it affects society. And I just shrugged and said. "yeah, knitting. Its, ummm, not just for, I mean it, knitting, and wool, like with needles..."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

knitted out, socked in

Sunday at KnitOut NY. The weather, a last hurrah summer day, was screaming BEACH but off I went to deliver a poster for the Red Scarf Project (get one yourself for printing out and hanging up at your local kntting venue, see info in my last post) to Annalisa from the Orphan Foundation, and catch up with friends.
Who would have thought that so many many people would choose to throng around yarn on a hot sunny day?

Two non-knitting friends & I met up just as the doggy fashion show launched. Furry animals in acrylic knits in 80 degree F? We went scurrying to brunch on a shady side street and that was it for a couple of hours. I love knitting, I can talk knitting any day, I'll knit anywhere but there's your proof. I'm not truly hardcore.

My favorite planned sighting? Kay and HaikuPanderer Cara, later, while the KnitOuters carried on stickily. You'd think being a photographer and all I'd be showing you a photo of them smiling, right? OK, they looked just like (if you scroll down a bit) this image of them over at Yarn Harlot's NYC roundup but I bet Stephanie saw them earlier in the day, by late afternoon we was all a bit wilty. So I thought I'd point the lens only at, y'know, real strangers. . Whatever. Friends don't let friends appear wilty.

Back at the ranch, the Rodeo socks are I'm happy, but wish the cuff were an inch longer. Entry level sock knitter that I am, I was so excited to get to the heel I started it too soon.

I'm not sure what this says about me, or my neighbor: Monday morning, she comes upon me sitting on my front steps in the sun, in shorts, photographing wool socks on my very own feet. Not batting an eye she walks over and starts talking about unrelated business, never letting on that anythng slightly odd is going on.

Soon as she left, I whipped this out.stripey With the Rodeos done, I cast on for my next pair. In the throes of first sock enthusiasm last spring I pounced on this Lornas Laces stripey yarn from the DeStash site. Six months later I'm thinking..."what was I thinking? Egg yolk and Playdoh blue? why?" but its coming along cheerfully and less garishly than anticipated. Might be just the thing on a grey winter morning. Such very nice feeling sock yarn. This time, no skimping on the cuffs.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

get out your red yarn and dance

Its time to start a scarf.

More info, an FAQ, links to buttons and plenty of company knitting along here .

The piece above is available as a big honking ready-to-print-as-a-poster hi-res JPEG. I'll send it to you. Strings attached (of course. are we not knitters?). You must promise to print it out & bring it to your local yarn store and get them to hang it up. Or anywhere else knitters are found. Send me an email at: ezisus at snet dot net .

Saturday, September 02, 2006

loose ends

Some literal.
Some figurative. What better time than Labor Day weekend to tie up the strings of summer left hanging?

The mitered square collaborative afghan , with my sister, started with a Memorial Day weekend cast-on. In a brilliant flash of knitting symmetry, I knit the last 2 squares today, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend .loose2 I could do more. I never tired of knitting these. Seaming, screaming and border scheming to follow.

For those who commented on the possible trauma to our sisterly relationship I'm happy to report we're getting along as well as ever. She joined us for dinner last night . We bickered opined opposing only over 1) how to cook the crabs
2) whether to make pasta or if bread & corn were enough carbos
3) whether I baby my younger son too much
4) whether a certain friend is nice but shy or has annoying social skills
and, finally, 5) whether
Lauryn Hill's version of Killing Me Softly with The Fugees is really great or should be turned off immediately.

But the afghan? We're totally getting along over the afghan. Phew. Not to worry.

In other loose ends and I believe we're getting literal again here, the dog's has successfully healed back on . I'm going to spare you any dog butt imagery. Before or after. The word ass-meat ,however, keeps getting stuck in my head.

Continuing...last June I tempted my mom into sock knitting (you'll need to scroll down to the last 'graph on the post) on a visit when I tried the magic loop and sucked her right into casting on a pair. In poetic knitting justice, her first socks came out in a size that only fit me, amongst the five women in our family.
My lack of competition for ownership may have everything to do with our voting them "Most Ugly Self-Striping Sock Yarn Ever Invented or Sold" . Mom wasn't very happy with them, she didn't like the sport weight yarn look, and so here's what I saw during my visit last week, with some fingerweight

My socks from that June visit, fyi, are an inch from completion.

The remants of Ernesto are blowing hard, it looks like summer's about washed up here in the Northern Hemisphere. I hate to see it go.............

Sunday, August 27, 2006

my vacation? it was...Fetching

It really was.

Pattern: Fetching from Knitty

Yarn: Hopyards Spinnery Farmhouse Yarns. Andy's Merino in Magenta....I think. This was part of the grab bag I, umm, grabbed.

Notes, modifications and an excuse for why these look quite different than the pattern as written:
First off, the yarn is heavier, so I went down to size 5 needles. I cast on 40, instead of 45 stitches. When you're talking mitts, it gives them a different look with one less rib.

And speaking of needles? It occured to me that the magic loop could be used well here. No dpns were lost in making these mitts! Admittedly a cable needle took the leap into sand at surf's edge. With the tide rising before I noticed, it was covered and gone. It was one of those small curved metal ones, so when it shows up piercing a skim boarder, I bet a fisherman will get blamed instead of a knitter. I am torn between feeling guilty and smirking over this.

Secondly, I finished the first mitt. It was skimpy. I took a good look at the pattern sample photo and I'd indeed re-created the item . It wasn't what I had in mind. More coverage was in order.

I am very relaxed on vacation, it bothered me not a grain of sand to rip it out and start over. This version has more length before the thumb to make the wrist longer, and an extra repeat of the cable round, after 7 plain rounds, before I cast off. The thumb, too, was extended.

Thirdly, that cast -off. I love the picot cast off on the pattern. It somehow looks raffish and polished at the same time. Not in a heavier yarn though. In this lovely yarn it looked too rough and hung away from the hand. I tried a picot-every-three-stitch cast off. That looked plain old strange. I went with a cast off in rib pattern. I'll save the picot for a Fetching pair knit in a lighter weight yarn.

Finally, the alert amongst you'll notice the cables are the same on each hand, although the designer cleverly made them cross in opposite directions so there'd be a Left and a Right. I love details like that! But apparently, not enough to cut through to my brain while I was knitting them. With no gussets, it hardly matters, the fit is identical. So, my left handed sister will receive two left hands for her birthday later this week. Does that make me extra thoughtful? Or what?

Monday, August 21, 2006


The pears, the guys, the long ignored sock knitting, the cameras, the lighting, the clothes, the music, we have all hit the road. Our first stop , DC for some work. A shoot that had, in part, this knitterly charm.
Then everything back in the car, on to the family rendezvous at the Delaware beach. The single category of Item Not Along for The Week? The miters. My little square friends and companions this summer are sitting it out at home, to save the surprise of their existence from my parents who will, someday not too far in the future, receive the squares in afghan form.

So there I was in my beach chair right at the edge of the surf, knitting away on a sock, when a woman jogging by in a bathing suit smiled, nodded her head, and as she passed, this trailed out toward me from over her shoulder "hey, good beach project!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

csi local

I don't need Horatio Caine (who makes up these names?). I have all I need to identify what's going on here. Process this:

evidence of a good outing
client list
Julie & I went to the Hopyard Spinnery's Farmhouse Yarn sale. Its exactly on the way to nowhere, just past the charming village of East Haddam, CT. If you can't get there this week, at least look at the yarns and ask your LYS about them. Heavenly. I may have mentioned in the past how jelly-like and spaced out indecisive I am in a normal yarn store. I am not stash prone. Without a project in mind, pointed at an array of fiber, I am jello left too long on a sunny picnic table. I'm the one who walks out empty-handed.

So there I was, with a meadowfull of rubbermaid tubs of half price yarn ( how many tubs can a meadow hold? like, I dunno, a few hundred in case you're wondering), behind which sits a small barn full of mixed up tubs of handyed yarn of many weights and styles, which , we were told by the dyer herself, we should stuff into a shopping bag and pay $ 89. for the whole lot. Really? I hesitated. Julie plunged. We shared a bag. I think she could see I might just implode otherwise. It was a Very Good Outing.

When we unstuffed the bag later, our juicy assortment included this selection of mine.
Do you think I still had beet juice on my mind when I picked up these? This'll take care of that itch, in a way that only beautiful dyed merino can. I just love it, I'm thinking simple striped lengthwise scarf for me.

This morning, grievous evidence of a tiny fruit thief. This, on the left,
percomp is what I saw on the back deck this morning. I practically flew over to the tree to make sure it wasn't stripped bare. Its our 14th summer in this house, it came equipped with 2 spindly pear trees out back. Each year we watch 2 or 3 lonely pears develop a bit, then rot or fall off or just lose their will to thrive . This year? A bounty. A mystery of green speckled beauty. We decided the crime scene should be taken as a hint, not an affront
Harvest time!