Friday, November 18, 2011

afraid to say anything lest the universe take it awry

I know, another boring no-pictures post.... but y'see the last time I was really happy about work clearing up the universe decided to punish me for my crimes.  I'm not sure what my crimes are, which makes it excessively difficult to keep from doing them again.  I've never been good at mind reading, to my chagrin.

I'm not dead (much like The Harlot, my Mom also chased me down because I had only blogged worrisome things and disappeared... must be a Mom thing :).

I've just been working 80-96 hour weeks.  On one hand, YAY yarn money.  On the other hand, WAAAA no sleeeep.  I find that I'm not young enough to pull these hours for more than 10 days at a time. 

I also find that I cannot pull these hours sans knitting and keep my sense of humor.  Knitting makes me a better person.  A better, calmer, more sane person.  Last week, no knitting, lots of yelling.  This week, some knitting, zero yelling.  My coworkers have noticed a difference, but haven't put it together that it's the knitting that keeps me sane.

I have a secret not so secret that I'm working on.  It's a class, an actual knitting class (rather than a technical class which requires more swearing and less alpaca).  I'm not quite ready for more details, given the last time that I was joyous about having time... well, yeah.... but I'm really excited about the possibilities and about the possibility of sharing my  joy and passion with more people. 

I still have posts I want to write, but I best look busy before something work-related comes to hoist me by my own petard. 

Hopefully will write again soon, but until then Happy Knitting Adventures!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

THE untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.
--Walt Whitman


Monday, November 7, 2011

if I can't say anything nice

So I have been pretty much barricaded in my house, cleaning up technical nightmares generated by one of my coworkers.  Without getting too much into it, I'm sad to find out that I'm the only one capable of doing what I do.  I've been working overtime like crazy, and I don't want it.  I'd rather be able to sleep at night, and get my dishes done on occasion.

But I digress. 

I have stayed away from the blog on the few occasions I've had a few minutes because I've been so tired and feeling so emotionally ugly about the entire situation that I was afraid it would all spill out on the page.  The things we say when we're over-burdened, tired, and mad are not necessarily the things I'd want to represent me.  After all, I'm not always in that kind of state.

This week, I'm hoping to pick up the pieces where I left off.  Kind of a keep calm and cast on to steal a phrase.  I've been sadly low-knit for almost a month and I've got a real yearning to spend quality time with sticks and string.

I just didn't want folks to think I'm pushing up daisies or anything.  I have a couple of planned posts that I want to get to, and a couple of thank yous that really need to be shared.  But I'm going to wait until I've had a full night of sleep, I think.

Happy Knitting,
Weary Knitter

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

how could I make you wait for alpaca?

Ok, so before work decided that they own me I did manage to sneak my boys out to see the alpacas.  For the pumpkin festival (as I think of it), a mama alpaca and her cria were visiting in front of the Spotted Sheep.

You can see the tent with the alpacas behind the yarn shop sign.

The alpacas were visiting from Destiny's Farm in Weare, which is just about in walking distance from my house.
We did visit the whole crew at the farm, but it was a dreadfully rainy day when we went so I didn't bring my camera.

I am not able to post a lot of the pictures, because I'm not comfortable with posting other people's children without permission.  But here are a few just because alpaca are almost sinfully cute!

Shorty feeding Mama
Yeah, that last picture, the focus isn't so good.  Part of it is I cropped it so the other children wouldn't be exposed on the internet. 

The fiber on these alpaca is amazing.  Most folks know that knitting with alpaca is pretty much like knitting pure love.  Soft, silky, warm, with an amazing halo... alpaca fibers are my go-to when I want comfort while I knit.

I actually have a portable project that I've knit up in the white alpaca fiber from Destiny's Farm, and as soon as I finish the second mitt off (and pry them off shorty) I will be posting about those as well. 

The couple that runs Destiny's Farm is truly amazing.  They love what they do, and it shows.

The farm is immaculately kept, the animals are obviously well cared for and their curiosity shows it.  Prey animals tend to be more cautious than curious, so them coming over to sniff you when they think you aren't looking is a sign of a very well loved animal. 

Plus, the largest ones are a little taller than me by virtue of long, graceful necks... so seeing one "sneak up" in the corner of your eye is both a little comical and very sweet.

But back to the yarn.  The yarn is usually sold on Destiny Farm's Marketplace site, but is currently available at the Spotted Sheep. 

It is spun at a local mill (I did find out where, but the name escapes me at the moment), and it's a bit of a rustic spin.  By that I mean the mill that does it has some variability in the spin of the plies.  So occasionally, you'll find areas that are slightly over-spun and occasionally there will be fat under-spun sections.  Knitting with it is a joy.  I haven't managed spinning, it's not a skill I count as mine. 

But this yarn gives me the joy and the wonderful look of a solid, well-crafted handspun for a very reasonable price.  Your finished object will be gorgeous, and being locally made, spun and sold it will also be a lower impact on the environment.  Can't beat low impact luxury!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Spotted Sheep Review

I'm recovering from being oncall, and it's slow going.  Something about having to be awake during the day and being unable to sleep at night in anticipation of a night filled with increasingly anxious sites.  On the worst night I've ever had, I had 6 sites down at once... so you can tell what trauma inspired my sleeplessness.

But despite all that, I did manage to sneak out and get some pictures to show and tell with.  I took both of my boys to the Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe, both to pick up some sweater stuff and to see the visiting alpacas.  I'll have another post about the alpacas to come, but this one is about the local yarn shop.

The Spotted Sheep is located in a cute little building that has had several purposes in the time I've lived here.

The building itself is quaint, and sort of victorian inspired meets modern amenities. 

Inside, there are (as to be expected) yarns of all colors and weights.  The walls are a spring green, which is very different from any shop I've ever been in.  However, the pictures should illustrate how surprisingly neutral the color is, and how well it showcases the neutral colors that usually blend into the background.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

These photos are all from the downstairs area, but does not include the sitting and internet area.  The downstairs portion of the shop also has a lovely connection space for internet knitting searches and visiting folks (like shorties or non-knitters who were dragged along for the fun).

The upstairs space is finished up, but still being organized.  I got to peek and am very excited.  There is a mini kitchen upstairs, and a really beautiful classroom space with long tables, sturdy chairs and a sizeable couch.  Margaret was speaking about her spinning wheel, and getting stock organized upstairs... and how much work is going on in the background to get things ready for the Grand Opening on Nov 5. 

Frankly, every time I go in there are improvements and more fun things to experience.  The yarns are beautiful.  Margaret and Bruce love alpaca as much as I do, and running through the store with your eyes closed will show you exactly how much!  The yarns are a tactile delight.

I'm really looking forward to see this shop grow and refine.  What they have already is fantastic, and I only see great things in their future!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

new things to love

Okay, last night after seeing the hat and cowl I've made from the white alpaca Destiny's Farm yarn that I purchased on Oct 1 from the Spotted Sheep... shorty decreed that they are good, but "I also touched a brown one Mom."

Lucky for both of us, the new LYS is really really local!

So, to appease shorty (and lets be honest, to amuse myself) I headed down during my lunch break.  I have permission from Margaret to bring my camera next time & review the shop!  Plus an invitation for Wednesday Knit Night!

I'm excited, and am looking forward to both.  And feeling guilty that the blog is hungry.  Since the LYS is really really local, I will probably sneak down on Saturday (yep, still oncall) to take pictures both at the shop & of the Alpaca Visitors.  If you're in the area, check it out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

momentarily distracted, a Little Red review

This month, I'm spending more time oncall than usual.  Between that and some unavoidable obligations, I've not been making as nice with my blog as I'd like.  I think maybe I owe it chocolates and flowers.  Possibly a foot rub.  We'll see how the make up goes this week.

Last week, I spent a lot of time either trying to catch up on sleep or swatching.  Two equally brilliant, but mutually exclusive activities.  When I wasn't coordinated enough to swatch, I spent some time reading my copy of Little Red in the City by the insanely talented Ysolda Teague. 

She and I definitely do not share the same taste.  I believe that the projects included in the book are interesting, but I would not wear them.  HOWEVER that being said, this is the best write up of shaping and applied sewing technique to make a fitted knit that I've read yet.

I've been asked a few times offline how I managed to make my mother's sweater fit so well.  Especially considering that I knit it in secret and changed up the numbers without having her measurements.  I used a combination of comparative analysis and simple math.  Essentially, my mom is petite where I'm dead average.  I know where typical clothing is wrong for her, so I knit using my own body as a guide. 

This is a bit free-form, and I think it only works for me because I spent more than 2 decades sewing.  I tend to apply the lessons I learned while learning to sew crazy stuff that didn't have an extra boob in the middle of my back. 

Ysolda has written out instructions for grading a curve, for estimating ease in fit, for getting correct measurements....

This is all stuff that's handled by cutting away fabric when done in sewing.  In knitting, it's done through generating exactly the fabric you want, in the proportions and drape that you want it to be in. 

Little Red in the Big City is one of the best and most comprehensive studies on how to get the numbers you need to make any knitted garment flatter your specific shape.  What she has collected here is something it took years to learn, and information I'd only managed to gather together in 5 different books previously.

The instructions in this book are clear.  They are well enough explained that I would be confident in using this book to teach a beginner how to shape a garment.  And through it all, Ysolda's personality shines through.  After reading this book, I wish I could meet the woman behind it.  She seems to have a deadly sense of humor, and I think she would be the perfect knitting companion.

If you don't already have a copy of this book, invest in it.  It's that good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

inspiration struck

You have to check out what Kitten did with the pattern sent to him!  I'm inspired!  I need to try his mods, they're brilliant.

Sexy knitting, my friend.

how much trouble can I really get into?

This weekend is going to be either an event in self control .... or lack thereof.

I am going on a field trip with my children to a working Alpaca Farm.  Sadly, it's for sale.  But they have this weird string like thing that they sell there....

On the same day, there will be SOAR with vendors open to the public.

AND on Saturday... my town... gets a

Within walking distance from my house.

Yeah, I can hear my savings account weeping too.  I'd say wish me luck, but I'm not 100% certain what side of luck staying away or running to constitutes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thank you Kitten!

The second wonderful thing I need to say thank you for is a package I received from Kitten-With-A-Whiplash.  It was sent with things to make baby items.  Kitten discovered that I don't have a whole lot of little kid patterns, and so sent me a box of fun stuff to enable me to make baby items that have a chance of fitting an actual human baby!

Let's start here:
Can you believe how much yarn he managed to fit in that box??  It's like opening Fibber McGee's Closet!  More yarn than I though possible popped out at me, and it just kept coming and coming.  But this is only part of what Kitten managed to fit in there. 

Here's everything all together:

In an amazing display of generosity and non-euclidean geometry, Kitten-With-A-Whiplash has sent me more beautiful yarn and patterns than I could have imagined.  I am humbled and touched.  Thank you.

Let's get a closer look at the patterns.  They're really something special.

I've got the card with the Unicorns and poppies also on my cork-board so I can see it when work decides to stink.

While I've been stupidly sick and unhappy about it, I've been reading the books.  I haven't been able to knit because I've been grossly sick, so these books have been a life-line for me.  Thank you again. 

And if that wasn't generous enough, these were sent for me particularly!

Aren't they gorgeous?  I am so grateful and excited to use them!  I've been petting the pink when my fiber-withdrawal gets too tough to take. ;-)

So, I must thank you from the bottom of my heart.  These have helped me to be happy even when the cold swelled up my hands so I couldn't type or knit (although truthfully the knitting thing was more of a blow than the typing thing).  I am overwhelmed by your generosity, and I feel really blessed in the people I've met in this last year.

Thank you again!

thank you Rusty

Good grief, I had no intention of abandoning this for a week.  I swear I just set my head down for a minute and a week passed.

Today, (well last Tuesday really) I owe 2 people thanks.  I got some amazing things in the mail & am really excited to share.  This post is about a package of brightly colored cards that I received.

Look, aren't they pretty?

And these as well!

Apparently, the cold is affecting my ability to take a decent picture... but the cards are so lovely I wanted to share even if  they are a bit dark. 

I love the colors and actually have them set up on pins (as opposed to with pins through them) on my cork board so I can look at them while I work.  They are lovely, and you do fabulous work!  Thank you!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

fall in the air

I had a lot of things I wanted to write about today.  The different things that let you know it's actually fall again.  But the specific one that is on my mind right now is 'you know it's really fall when your kid brings home a super-cold and spreads it around the house.'


Oh!  I have a picture post I'm working on for either this afternoon or tomorrow morning depending on when my camera re-charges.  I've written all the words, but the camera took a nap after only a single picture.  Luckily, I've got a new battery charger!

Today is rainy and grey, with a moderate breeze.  It's perfect knitting weather, and I don't intend to let it go to waste.  I have a grey stripey blanket I need to finish (30 rows, and 1 million ends to weave in from done), and I need to spend some concentrated time doing suggested (and MUCH appreciated!!) edits to a couple of patterns.  Plus, I have a little boy sweater to finish sleeves on.  Bless stockinette for it's simplicity!

Hopefully by 5 today there will be a much more colorful post.

AH, yes.  If you don't read Knitty's Blog today is a good day to check them out (although really, there's no bad time).  They partnered with Quince and Co for a giveaway and a code for 10% off.  You  know I love their yarn.  It's a great value for the money, never mind that it's delicious to work with... so if you've got the opportunity definitely treat yourself to a perusal of Knitty Blog and the 10% off code for Quince.  Your needles will thank you!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Also, whomever the brave soul is who got to my little space on the web by google-ing "knitting hockey sticks"?

 Let me know if you do it, because that is a Challenge!


Without getting into how I know, let me assure you that being oncall for an extended period of time drains braincells.  In fact, after being oncall for a long time you may well find yourself brushing your teeth with hand soap because you are no longer awake enough to distinguish it from toothpaste.


Here's where Tuesday's sneaky peaks stand right now:

I suspect it needs a ghost writer... or a writer with a brain... but we'll see how it proofs out, shall we?

Yay, go knitters! ZZZZZzzzzzzzz.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

value, 3000 words

Long time no post.  As you can see, I've been busy.  So, I designed this thing for a friend of mine and all the boys at my house wanted in on the act.  Four serious scarves later... I'm back at the blog.

I've charted out the pattern, and need to get some decent shots of the scarf in action.  But look for it Friday-ish, it worked up quickly and charted well.

So, about planning for power outages in the Summer.

I have a box filled with 4 flashlights, and 3 LED lanterns.  I also have a gas-range top which allows me to cook camp-style.  When I had my last child, I invested in a chest freezer.  In the spring, I make up a bunch of ice cubes, and keep them in 2 large bags.  If we lose power, we can move our most perishable items into the chest freezer to keep them cold for up to 3 days.

Otherwise, I also make sure that we do a lot of stir-fry meals, and a lot of soup in the summer.  All stuff that doesn't involve a functioning oven.

Then, just make sure that I have fresh water in case the town water gets nasty (it did one year, so I make sure to keep 5 gallons of fresh water bottled in the house).

And then, we play a lot of board games.  Lots of them.  Criminal amounts of card games too.

And then there's always the manual preparations for winter that can be done when there's no power.  For instance, knitting...

eventually I'll show you the figures on how the power of wool saves us roughly 400 USD a year over the course of the winter.  Knitting, there's very little it's not useful for.

Friday, September 2, 2011

what to do when there's no electricity

Us New Englanders are hardy (see also cranky) folk.

We get sub zero temperatures with biting windchill in the winter, and we have 100+ degree Farenheit with humidity you can almost drink out of the air in the summer.

We know suffering.  One might almost say we welcome it, because really?  There are more temperate places we could live.

So, if you ever find yourself without power (again, almost a sport in New England) and you haven't sold the 100 shawls necessary to purchase one of them nifty generators.... here's a list of things you can do to keep you occupied.

1.  Play a rousing game of 'which of the trees do you think is going to kill us'
2.  Knit.
3.  Contemplate whether the roof is still water proof.
4.  Think about knitting.
5.  Board games (during which you will either knit or think about it longingly)
6.  Catch up on your reading  (possibly of knitting magazines)
7.  Be really glad that you washed the floor and the dishes before power went out.
8.  Take COLD @$$ showers.
9.  Cook camp-style on your gas range top.
10.  Catch up on sleep.
11.  Surreptitiously knit in candle light after the family falls asleep.

Well, at least you'd get a lot of knitting done!

Tomorrow I'll put up a list of what we really do to get prepared and how we actually weather the storms.  But today?  Today I'm taking a hot shower and rejoicing.

Ah yes, let me also assure people that everything has been posted.

My post office can't decide whether they love or hate me, but they haven't kicked me out yet.

In other news, the river has totally receded!  This is great!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anniversary party results, in which the knitter says 'why not?'

So, before I announce winners I want to thank everyone for entering and for all you kind comments.  I have been really enjoying reading about your favorite kind of knitting.  It's been a long weird week and this has been a fun thing for me.  Thank you for indulging my curiosity!

Second, thank you for your kind wishes on the broken yarn winder.  My foot is fine, the broken winder mainly hurt my pride... which will no doubt recover in time hehe.

Before I announce winners, I want to let folks know that I will be mailing off packages after the hurricane passes through.  My local post office has flooded in the past, so I want to make sure all threat of that has passed before I trust your goodies to their hands.  Local weather is saying Monday should be clear, so if it doesn't flood I'll be making the local post office happy Monday morning.

Anyway, back to what I intended to write about.  So, this week as interesting entry followed interesting entry, I started to feel sad that I only had 4 prizes for so many great entries.  Without really thinking about it, I started gathering a little box of nifties.  You know, little things that make knitting easier.  Just in case, sort of thing.

And as I was gathering, I had the thought that I probably had more of the paintbox yarn hanging around because I had knit a bunch of faux fair-isle bags for teacher retirements last year.  So I hunted that out, and with it found some more mochi plus set aside for projects that had already been finished.  Huh, and in my stash there was a little big more of the saucy....  an idea began to take form.

My little pile grew and grew as I gleaned through my stash looking for things that might match.

So, looking at this pile of fibery loot I thought "HUH.  Why the heck not?"

See, in my first give-away ever I had a small amount of entries and was able to give everyone a prize.  I know I won't be able to do that every time, but for this first Anniversary.... Everybody Wins!

The original 4 projects have more elaborate goodies because I planned them out way in advance, but I hope that the little goodies in the rest of the prize packs will make everyone's knitting life easier and more fun.

With the help of shorty and a magic mug (my super big coffee cup), folks have been matched up as follows:

Beki, you were the first name to be pulled, and get the original saucy yarn with the dangerous curves market bag pattern.  This is a fast project to knit, and it contains enough yarn to make a large and a small bag.  Plus, it will survive playing with your kids (my bags are still kicking strong 2 years after I made them)!

Renee Anne who shares a blogversary with me (Happy 2nd Anniversary!!!) wins the original Ionic Compass faux fair isle hat kit.  I'm hoping to introduce you to a whole new knitting addiction :)

Girlieknitwit wins the Climbing Leaves Smoke Ring project pack with the alpaca and the kid mohair yarns.  I'm sending both neutrals & greens, both are soooo textural-ly pleasing!

Rusty M.  wins the Serious Scarf One plus the Elann yarn pack in glorious moody blue.  I hope you get a kick out of the pattern!

Congrats to our first 4, the winners of the original giveaway goodie packs :)

Next up, Little Man chose the following 4 winners:

Graywolfie, you win a Dangerous Curves market bag kit.  The most basic of lace is just including yarn overs, so you definitely have your toes in the water already!  I hope that you enjoy exercising your lace skills.  :)

Pinkundine, you win an Ionic Compass tam set with a skein of Kureyon in color 188 and a skein of paintbox in color 06.  One is summer greens against a darkening sky, one is spring garden colors in full bloom.  I hope you enjoy dipping your toes in colorwork waters!

Kitten With a Whiplash!  You get a copy of the Climbing Leaves pattern plus some sexy Ultra Alpaca to knit it up.  Mmmmm, I <3 alpaca and hope you enjoy working with it!

Danielle, you win a Serious Scarf One pack containing Fishermans Wool in neutrals to make it up.  I really hope you enjoy working with it, the men in my life are in a standoff as to who gets the last one I knit up!

Yay, congrats to you guys, I hope you enjoy your projects!!

And finally, our last group of winners.

GailGodwin, you win an Ionic Compass kit with paintbox in color 01 and paintbox 11 which are subtle greys and purples and all colors of blue respectively.  Two of my favorite colorways!

Knittingdancer, you win a Climbing Leaves cowl pack and some gorgeous autumn colored worsted yarns to make it up in.  This is a toe in the lace-waters, and I hope that the project gives you enough joy and confidence to enjoy other lace projects too!

Madeline, you also win a copy of the Climbing Leaves cowl pack.  You are getting a lovely coral kid-mohair and a lovely deep red to go with it to make the Smoke Ring version.  I hope you enjoy the project, and that it tempts you to even more lace :)

So thank you.  Thank you all.  This last year has been indescribable.  I am terrible about replying to comments (mainly because I'm still a bit shy), but I read them all and treasure every one.  When I'm having a terrible day, I know that my friends in knitting are there and it takes the sting out of whatever craziness is going on.  So thank you again.  For enriching my knitting, for enriching my life.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Victory.... no wait.... Average! I'll take it!

So, being all gleeful in replacing the ball-winder of dubious distinction I was 100% set to declare Total Victory.

See, here's my victory shot:

With 12 oz teacup (2/3 full of tea) for size comparison.  That's 500 yds of Aran weight yarn in one ball.

I was happy dancing around, when I took a second look at my yarn receipt for the project I'm currently working on (as opposed to the Aran project which I'm only flirting with.  Cmon baby, I don't love the Aran the way I love the worsted already on the needles.   What kind of girl do you think I.... yeah, better not to finish that one.).

It said 4 skeins.  Uh-oh.  I looked at my notes and it said purchased 5.  Clearly one of them is wrong, and since Our Deb from the Woolery is awesome (and far better at math than myself) I have to conclude that I still can't count.

The inescapable reality is that knitting is my Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.
Me & King Arthur... 1, 2, 5.  Indeed.

So, one complete victory plus one utter defeat means average.  Especially since it means my accidental casting on with Aran weight yarn is totally not infidelity!  I mean, since I have to drive out to pick up another skein anyway, I shouldn't waste the knitting time until I can leave, right?  Right?

Happy Knitting!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

holy broken ball winder batman

I have made a discovery.  

The last thing any knitter wants to hear while in the middle of a 2500 meter aran-weight winding marathon is "crack."

The second to last thing said knitter wants to hear is the sound of the weighty ball-winder going "thock" into their unsuspecting and unprotected foot.

Me & my foot are going to buy a new ball-winder... so if you see a harried, limping, slightly fuzzy knitter mumbling under her breath.... just look the other way lest you be dragged back to her lair to wind the 'stinking yarn what did me in.'

best love,
crazed knitter

Monday, August 22, 2011

onna needles

Hello, hello, hello!
I thought today I'd share the direction that knitting has gone the last few weeks.  Cables + holes= texture galore!

I actually have 2 of these on the needles but wanted to show the color of this one.  Sadly, my camera is showing the color it wants to show instead of the accurate color.  This is Berroco's Ultra Alpaca in color 6285, and is actually almost teal in person in certain light.  Or green in others, or even a gorgeous dark blue in others.  This particular knit is not for the blog, but it's farther along than the one that IS for the blog so I thought I'd pop it out there.

I'm thinking about stuff for winter.  This winter while my arm was immobile, I wrote up a number of long stoles/shawls for really cold weather.  I craved texture, and I wrote it wishing I could knit it.  August is not a great time to be knitting heavy stuff, but the texture in the knit and the gorgeous feel of the alpaca/wool combination are something I know I'll be wanting to wear very soon.

I'm really interested in the answers to the Anniversary post!  It's interesting to see how many different styles people enjoy, and to see that (although there are some favorites) it still comes down to a love of knitting in any form.  The joy of creation, in a nutshell.

I'm looking forward to the 27th, and am also looking forward to a few more sneaky-peeks over the next week until the first 2 patterns of this 2nd year will be finished, blocked, and revealed.

Happy knitting all!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

First off, I want to thank all of you for your kind words and support.  Once again, I am stunned at the open hearts and minds of the knitting community.  Thank you, with all my heart.

Now, last year on this date I started this blog.  I didn't know what it would become or the things that would happen in the last year.  I didn't know how many wonderful people I would meet through the blog, or how much life would change.

So welcome to our paper anniversary!

In celebration of every step of the way so far, I'm giving away some full projects.  I've got patterns, I've got yarns, and I've got some secret goodies to go with them!

Without further ado, here are the details.
First up is a weekend project.  Something you can finish in a weekend, and that will be useful.  I use this myself all the time, and I knit them up for friends as well.

Dangerous Curves Market Bag!
This is a good project for a beginning knitters.  It uses slipped stitches, knitting back and forth, picking up stitches, knitting in the round, and the most basic of lace.  It's designed to allow you to carry back your goodies without breaking your long breads and it is washable to boot.

The yarn to make this is in blue rather than red, and I'm including enough to make a 2nd smaller bag.  Here are the skeins in question:
blue cottons, cable construction
Our small project is something a little different.  Colorwork.  Shown below as a tam

And here on my model (bribed with hot chocolate) shown as the slouchy version.

This is a small project that uses faux-fair isle techniques.  The yarn for the giveaway includes enough to knit both hats.

Next up, our medium project.  This is a smoke ring, a loose lace cowl knit using 2 strands of lace-weight yarn to make up a heavier weight.  First, my increasingly antsy model wearing it:
And now the yarns
This project actually has 3 different sizes/patterns in it and the winner has a choice of greens or the neutrals shown on little man above.

And finally, the large project.  I'm going to send the winner of this project a fully written out version of the serious scarf pattern.  A copy of this pattern will be offered for free on the original page within the next week, but in .pdf format instead of just the recipe instructions.  I'm hoping to encourage more masculine lace!

And to create your scarf (or lap blanket, etc), I have 10 skeins of Elann's peruvian highland bulky
In a gorgeous almost-navy color.

I know my modeled shots of the other items are not fabulous, but I will be putting up better ones soon.  I have a date with a friend who has agreed to model.  I won't have to chase her around the house begging, "please just let me take the picture."  I know, very novel!

Giveaway details!  To enter, simply leave a comment telling me what your favorite kind of knitting is.  Is it fair-isle?  Is it lace?  Is it cables?  Inquiring minds want to know.  Please include some contact information so I can contact you to get you your goodies.  This will be open until August 26 at 11PM Eastern.  Winners will be announced on the 27th.

Thank all of you for your support and encouragement!  You've made this last year a delight, and I hope to harass you with posts for many many years to come.

Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have a dream.

So, I don't know if anyone realizes this but I'm actually filled with a lot of doubt and indecision.  I suppose it's not uncommon.

Where is today's post coming from?

I know that folks know why I originally started this blog.  I wanted to use the talent I have to make my in-laws lives better, while taking care of them.  (And let me assure you, I'm still not positive that talent is the right word here.)  We all know how that turned out, and this post isn't to dwell on it.

Unsurprisingly, the folks who visit here on a semi-regular basis (and really, I only post on a semi-regular basis, so I'm just thrilled that people enjoy my insanity enough to keep visiting) are knitters.  I know, shocking!  Knitters would rather make their own stuff than buy something someone else knit... after all, knitters are enterprising and intelligent people who can also do stuff with string.  *wink*  Again, shock and awe!

So, the original purpose of this is not being terribly well served.  And this is okay, I'm enjoying the ride and the excuse to knit my brains (what little still survive) out!

But, there are still things I'd like to do around the house to make it nicer.  Fencing the yard so shorty has a safe place to play would be a start.  We live on a numbered road that the great State of NH cares for, so we get a lot of faster-than-it-should-be traffic as you can well imagine.

Add to that, I want so very much to be in a position to give space to my folks when they're ready for it.  And overtime or chances for extra work at work are far and few between in my current position.  Not that I don't have to work overtime to get the job done, but it's not approved overtime... just what is necessary.  So, yeah.

This is completely inappropriate, but I keep flashing on the "I had a dream" section of Rose's Turn (done really well by this actor in Glee):

So, completely inappropriate given that I hate being in the lime-light and have horrible foot-in-mouth when in person.  (So bad, it should be illegal!)  In fact, those 2 things may be an effect + cause kind of thing.  And also completely inappropriate given that I am not attempting to shove my family into the lime-light either.  Also?  Not good to watch while working, because it always makes me cry.  Ah well.

But what all this rambling boils down to is, while I had my broken arm I spent a lot of time designing.  I even have a shawl design that I'm afraid to cast on for, although that's another post in the making (Orenburg meets Japanese Stitch-Dictionary... what was I thinking??).  I didn't just design lace.  I did a lot of lace thinking, but I also did some sweater thinking, some colorwork thinking, some small-but-useful-project thinking...  and I've been writing them up.

I have a small collection of the first year of 200 shawls.  I have a handful of discrete 'other' patterns that just kind of happen when you think about what to wear the shawl over.  Or what kinds of things would be fast and loved by recipients.

But is this something people would even be interested in?  I'm wordy.  Each of the patterns I've written has a techniques section, and a little bit about the how and why the idea came about.  They're not short, either.  Although I've come up with a 'clever idea' to get around that.

But am I being presumptuous?  I'm a kook who knits on her front porch in the middle of summer, and who wants everyone to love knitting as much as she does.  I'm not a great knitter.  I'm not a wise knitter.  I'm not a visionary, or a pioneer... I'm just me.  There are so many great designers, and great Knitters out there.  Is there room for a Just Me?

It's funny, but the ideas don't stop.  I was worried that I'd run out of ideas (although my problem seems to be that I need to knit them about 7 times apiece before I'm satisfied with them).  Instead I find that the more I come up with, the deeper the well goes.  Simple things, complex things, crazy things that make me faint-hearted to think about knitting.  Some days, I'm writing seeds of ideas down on napkins in the middle of writing emails just trying to keep ahead of them.

But (said to the tune of the video above) all this work, and would people like it?  All that time, and would people buy it?  Am I nuts, or should I go for it?

Blah blah blah...

So, if you've read this far through my fears and my indecision, I thank you.  I know today is a bit of a heavy post and I apologize.  I'm a weird mixture of excited and maudlin today.  But on the other hand, I do have some sneaky-peek shots to share.

That last one is for you texture lovers out there.  You know who you are ;)

I think I'm going to put up a poll.  Is anyone interested in the stuff I'm writing?  Would you buy it?  Am I smokin' crack?  Hahaha.  Anyway, if folks who visit would take the time to vote in the poll I'd be really grateful.

Happy knitting, and may you find your dreams.

Monday, August 8, 2011

BABIES are taking over the world

An old friend just reached out from out of the blue!
And they have a BABY!

You know what this means, right??

Baby knits!


I finally got the camera battery situation sorted out just in time to be steamrolled by work.  Joy.

I've got some pictures, some things blocking so I can take pictures, and some plans for more pictures.

Did I mention pictures?  I might have forgotten it in all the BABY excitement.

Now, if only I was an LDAP expert today would go smoothly.  Alas, my field of work lays elsewhere.  Onward, to programmatic battle.

Plus, I have knits, pictures, and pictures of knits to savor soon!

PS, did I mention recently that I <3 you guys? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

bad battery h-e-double hockey sticks

Ok, so here I am again.  I have not been posting because I don't want to put up *another* pictureless post when I've been doing photo-worthy stuff.  Even if it's not knitting, it's been photo-worthy stuff.  So, I am attempting to take pictures and I get low battery warning.

Three days later, the battery still hasn't finished charging?  In fact hasn't gotten more charge at all? 

Time for a new battery.  Tonight?  Tomorrow night?  Soon, my precious, soon...

In this next 15 short days, I'm feverishly preparing for our one year celebration.  This has been a wild ride so far, and I want to do something special to mark it.  I'm not a great blogger or a great mind, but this has been very rewarding.  Not even counting just being able to put things out there knowing that "this is what I did" and this is how I was feeling, I got to meet a bunch of really fantastic people in the past year directly because of this blog.  I never thought it would happen, and it's totally worth celebrating.

I'd love to give you sneaky-peeks on the stuff that is debuting on the 17th, and am frustrated that my technology turns itself into a brick around me.  On the other hand... if I can't be online or playing with the camera... I do have a lot of knitting time left over.

Speaking of which;  in the middle of this unholy heat we lost power for a few hours.  The guy from the electric company who was running around trying to figure out how far down the line the outage went actually stopped to stare at me for a few minutes while I knit on the front porch.  I heard him telling the guys on the radio "I think the locals are starting to get heat stroke, there's some weird stuff going on" as he pulled away.  I guess my laughter (maniacal, with tears streaming down my face) didn't help.  But seriously dude, it's linen.  I'm not as crazy as you think.... and what do you think the folks down the street were doing that he got really weird-ed out by knitting?  The world may never know.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

good lord

Ok, how the heck did I become the top google hit for "porno tube 17 yaren"

Yikes,  I didn't know knitting was so risque.

So, there I was...

Just minding my own business.

No, let me back up a bit.  I broke my arm in December, and it healed up nicely.  With that came some unfortunate weather-wise aches and problems with my tendons. So, since Sunday night I haven't really been knitting.  I haven't really been able to use the hand because the tendons swelled up... and it put off the blog posts. 

I don't have any knitting progress since the tendons decided they needed attention, but I'm back to typing and I can show you what I got done last week at least.

So, this is where the big russet blob is:
And this is where the giant peach blob is:
I'm actually through 8 repeats of the center on this, and working up to edging...  I really enjoy this pattern, and want to try it in a tencel lace-weight next.

For fun, there's this blob:
It's a combination of 2 laceweight yarns, and it's in kid-mohair, alpaca and wool.  I may even get around to blocking it if I can stop petting it.

And last but not least, I';ve been test driving some possible patterns for quickie-gifts:
Aug 17 is coming quick!

I hope your knitting is treating you well & you're not melting in the heat.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

wordful wednesday?

So, I'm in training this week and oncall this weekend.  I suspect I will not be free to blog for a decent chunk of this due to scheduling conflicts.  I'm going to make an attempt to get a couple of progress posts up between now and next Monday... but it's going to be based on how busy I end up.

My Mom was over today for a number of reasons.  The one pertinent to this blog is she's helping me choose the projects for the 1 yr anniversary and giving valued opinion on the yarns available.  So, things are happening.  But not things I can blog just yet.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

la la la linoleum

So here we are and somehow it's not Friday.  Friday kind of got away from me there.

In between thinking evil thoughts and answering crazy questions this week, I also cast on for one of the new patterns.  With one of the yarns I'd skeined, even.  I know, that's crazy talk... but bear with me a moment:

See?  I almost managed a full repeat of the center instead of just the border....  craaaazy talk!

This picture is actually color accurate.  The above, not so much:
I just love this color, and I can't figure out why.  It's Molding Pink Grapefruit by Dye for Wool.

They do some amazing things.  Both their super saturated colors and their tints are just gorgeous, and the yarn bases they use are yummy.

But, since I can't hike 2 charts (large form for my tired eyes) into the next state and comfortably work from that, I'm taking the 2nd skeined yarn from the other day in gorgeous russet reds for a travel project.

These are the yarns shown side-by-side for comparison:
You're not seeing wrong.  The autumn reds single ply is thicker than the pale peaches 2 ply.  Both are considered lace-weight, but sometimes it's interesting to note the variation in a weight-class.  The 2 ply is not cobweb weight.  That's even wispier.  But, when you see the 2 shawls side by side, the single ply shawl will be more robust, while the 2 ply one will be more ethereal. 

To that end, I share the song that has been stuck in my head all week.  I hope your weekend lets you keep cool and knit in peace and happiness.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank you!!

Hokay, so as I mentioned yesterday I was having a craptastic week and I suddenly got an outpouring of unexpected goodies.  Everything was small and cute and just perfectly wonderful.  So, in order of the date they were posted, I'm going to upload photos.  Some of these were posted a while ago, so my postal hub is definitely experiencing technical difficulties.

I'm going to keep the senders identities for their privacy, but I know who you are and really appreciate all of the effort and affection that went into each of these.

First up was a really fantastical envelope and card.  Inside was something pretty fantastic!
Lookie, the other side is just as exciting:
Hehehe, I just love the puffy sheep!  I may have to admit that I've already got it helping me keep my spot in one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries.

Next up were these beauties:
Aren't they pretty?  They're soft jewel tones, and I just love them!  So much fun!
Next, I got an envelope with a weird squishy feel to it.  Inside was this little guy:
Hahaha, I love him.  I don't know if it's the pink or the squishy, but he's my laptop mascot now.

Here's all the loot together:
Seriously, thank you guys.  I was completely surprised and it was a complete 360 on how the last 2 weeks have gone.  You really brightened up my day, and I'm still giddy over it!

Thank you, for thinking of me and for sharing a bit of your whimsy and heart.  I really appreciate it.

For those curious, I used this as my staging for the photos:
Can't beat natural light for capturing stuff.  And the wooden bowl completely makes my questionable bread look decent haha.  I'm trying to do my photos in natural daylight so that I get accurate colors, and this will pretty much be my staging area for a little while.  Tomorrow, I will have a few progress shots on something new, and I am continuing to curse(?) fight(?) work(!) my way through the FO shots so hopefully I'll have some posts on that forthcoming (work allowing).

So thank you all again, I have to say that knitters really can't be beat for generosity of heart!