Thursday, September 30, 2004

That time of year again...

StB™, all rights reserved
Many folks seem to be heading to Rhinebeck in a couple of weeks, and there will be many opportunities for knitbloggers to meet and greet.

That's right. It's time to prepare for Spot the Blogger™.

Some folks will wear cool hats, some will be wearing the Fastest Aran Ever Knit (though we suspect that—as much as we at small hands would absolutely love to meet her—it may not be safe to approach this blogger, as the sleep deprivation, inavoidable pattern errors (and resulting frogging and reknitting), and final exultation that comes from winning against all odds, will all have made her slightly unstable). And some folks will have Blogger Bags™.

Join in! You know you need a big ole bag for all of the Rhinebeck loot. You know this is your only chance to break the yarn fast you're on since you bought way too much yarn this summer even though it was summer and there shouldn't have been very much cool fiber out there, so when it came up you had to snatch it 'cause it was like a little summer miracle each and every damn time. Or maybe that's just me.

But we'll all be getting loot! So make a bag to carry it in, AND represent your little corner of cyberspace.

For details on two different ways to make a bag, you can check out my archives here. (Don't bother looking for that Salt Peanuts page. I am a bad knitalong hostess. I will try to do better next time.) And Ann's archives here.

I will say that if you try to do the iron-on transfer, you absolutely must wash the bag first. There is sizing on it when you buy it that somehow repels the transfer.

If you make a bag (or even if you don't but you will be wearing a miracle sweater or a funny hat) please give a shout out in the comments.

On Poetry
It was brought to my attention the other day that my poem did not meet the requirements of a Haiku, since I wrote it with 7-5-7 syllables instead of 5-7-5. However, after a little research, I found this great link that dispells the 17 syllable misconception around the art of Haikus. Seems that even Ezra Pound wrote a 19 syllable haiku, and many consider it pretty good.

Now, I wish I was so punk rock and well-read to have written my poem as I did on purpose, but I really thought it was supposed to be 5-7-5, I just transposed the numbers in my head. But now, I feel good about it's Haiku-ity. So go crazy, one line or four, 11 syllables or 17, just stick to the essence of the thing. That is, be brief and celebrate nature and the human heart.

Dreaming of wool in
New York. While the clouds whisper:
"Pack your umbrella."

And I leave you with this beautiful vision of harvest:

Here is a larger version if you want it for wallpaper, like me.

Disclaimer: I am sure this image is copyrighted, but it was emailed to me, so I cannot give credit where it is due. I certainly hope that the artist, wherever he or she may be, does not feel that I am using it in a way that is unacceptable.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Of cabbages and kings

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

Because I don't have anything really organized to say, I thought Lewis Carroll might usher in this post, rather than I. You can read the whole poem here. Not the cheeriest thing, I'll grant, but a great bit of nonsense, nonetheless.

Last night I spent some long overdue knitting and chatting time with Lara. We waited out the brunt of a fantastic rainstorm at Barnes and Noble just before a terrible poetry slam started up. Terrible because of the turnout, not due to any lack of trying on the emcee's part.

Here is a shot of the Pagoda hat in situ.

For a less silly pic, click here.

Pattern .. Morehouse Merino's Pagoda Hat
Yarn .. Lambs Pride in black, Tess's Merino/Mohair in a brilliant carmine
Notes .. This was my first stranded project, and it turned out pretty well. I need to work on carrying yarn up the back of my work. The "seam" of my hat has all kinds of wonky awkward jogs and peeking MC and whatnot. But the floats are very consistent and the hat actually fits! This is a big ole success in my book.

And now for something completely different... If you need a good Christmas present for an older science buff child-friend (say 10ish), I would strongly recommend Triops. These lil guys are WAY more interesting than Sea Monkeys, in my book. I bought some for Sweet Baboo (I am slowly working him up the evolutionary chain towards a dog... Should take about 15 more years). And so far we like them a lot. Our first batch hatched 5 Triops and within 10 days, here is Fat Charlie (at about 3/8" or 1 cm he is our biggest).

The tank is made of magnifying plastic, so he looks a little bigger than he is. But essentially Triops are a type of Brine Shrimp (like Sea Monkeys) and are a true living fossil (approx. 220 million years old, give or take an eon). They look like little horseshoe crabs, and live for about two and half months. And they are crazy water acrobats. That, plus the three eyes, how can you not be entertained for many minutes at a time? For more info on Triops, click here. To order some for your budding marine biologist, click here (I got the DLX kit and it was worth it for the neat terrarium, perhaps for a turtle next).

Lastly, I would like to leave you with some sheepish zen... This is a very contemplative Jacob Sheep at the Montgomery County Fair.

For even more zen, click here.

He's saying 'ohmmm' in his own way. Today's Goal: Practice Random Acts of Relaxation and Meditation!

Monday, September 27, 2004


I spent all weekend sitting on the couch watching movies and knitting. I knit myself into a migraine. And still I kept on like a squinty Energizer Bunny. I don't know why the compulsion... I have been wondering lately whether I am actually moving forward at all in my life, so I can see how the visible progress of knitting could soothe that concern momentarily. God knows I have enough fiber to keep my neurosis nicely transferred through next Winter.

First up is the Winterthur Shawl. It is a terrible picture, but imagine it draped cozily across the shoulders of a statuesque Gaelic princess or something.

It's all in the details.

I love this shawl. I know this is heresy, but the first time I felt an AbFab, I was not especially impressed. The mohair seemed so scratchy to me. It looked all fluffy in the pictures, and I assumed—thought I know the danger of it—that (for the exorbitant freakin' price) the thing would be soft as baby bunnies and not unlike silken clouds. But mohair has a bit of a bite to it that helps it stick together to keep out drafts. This mohair clings bitingly against a chill in a very comforting way. And between the Manos and the Prism, I can stare at the colors for far longer than is publicly appropriate. I am converted. Without further ado, the stats.

Pattern—Winterthur Shawl, Colinette Comforts booklet
Yarn—Colinette Mohair in Velvet Leaf* and Pierrot (1 skein each); Manos in 113 Wildflowers (1 ½ skeins); Colinette Prism in Toscana* (one skein)
Size—approx 22 x 65... very frustrating that my measurements are almost spot on, but the picture in the booklet is obviously not to the same dimensions. I would guess it uses at least one more pattern repeat (if not two) to drape around the model the way it does. And the fringe looks to be 8 or 9 inches rather than the pattern recommendation of 6.
*Best Guess Colors (BGC)©

It knit up very fast. I alternated every other two rows between the light green mohair held with the Prism and the darker green with the Manos. I carried them up the side (and this made the tension on one side the tiniest bit more snuggly—need to watch that next time). I only had one skein of Prism and had planned on making up the other two with Manos, so just before the halfway mark, I cut the Prism and just used the Manos for a couple of repeats before bringing the Prism back in. I have enough of the mohairs and Manos left for a small scarf, but the Prism only had enough for a little adorment on some future project.

Did I mention that I love this shawl? It's only fault is a fair bit of shedding. But I am willing to overlook that. If you see it drifting through the sheeps and fiber at Rhinebeck, say hello.

Next up, the fastest hat ever. Gina sent me this yarn in swap for an RAOK giveaway. It was the perfect amount for this hat (and an add-in on my next "patchwork scarf").

I used the Vickie Square recipe in Knit Great Basics for a "sports beanie" and modified it for the 2.5st/in gauge. It took around 2 hours on size 11 needles (going down to 10.5s for the decreases). One of the yarns is Katia's Himalayan (it looks much lighter because of the flash, it is a darker camel color) , the other is an unknown mohair-y type yarn (caramel tweeded with a darker brown). Sweet Baboo, modeling above, says "This's gonna be one warm hat!" Thanks, Gina!

In between Sleepy Hollow (loved it), New York Stories (not so much, a bit too shmaltzy), and 13 Conversations about One Thing (made me sad, in a good way), I also worked a bit on Amon's green and red socks, which were not feeling photogenic, and started a gift scarf that I am not sure I love yet.

I also finished the knitting and started the finishing on Little Boy Blue. I hate this sweater on many levels. The yarn is unwieldy, the pattern is awkward, and between them they exemplify a perfect example of poor substitution on my part. (And that concludes today's alliteration.) Pics when the sweater is —finally— done.

Lastly, I love haikus and am sad that I have been too busy to participate in the lovely Haiku-along that I first saw on Norma's blog. So, better late than never:

Autumn geese, pure wool knitting
by the window, while
leaves fall, in the afternoon.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ideas from the blog-o-sphere

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone out in cyberknitspace has heaps of fun things planned for the weekend. I know I do! Why I am going to clean house, do laundry, and finish up some WIPs. The excitement is palpable.

Why do my shoulders sag at the thought of finishing my WIPs? It is like a little goodbye to a friend when I weave the last end in, I think, so I put it off. (That and it is a little like cleaning grout, too: you carefully over under over under and then voila, done! Then you recount, and sure enough, there are 9,733 ends left to go. Which is also why I put it off.)

And while I say I am not excited, I really am. An FO, after all, means I can start a brand new project if I want. And I have no shortage of ideas there, so really, it will be a wonderfully productive and gratifying weekend.

If you don't have heaps of fun things planned (even if you do, but you need to take a break from it), I would like to recommend learning something new. I am a taker-of-classes, and a reader of how-tos, because like yarn stash, I can't stop stocking up on information.

Are you having trouble with a technique, or are you afraid to try something that sounds really tricksy (like socks or entrelac)? Do you have a UFO in the bottom of the pile because the cables didn't behave, or you can't figure out the neckline?

Well, never fear! Your knit-bloggers are ready to come to your rescue! There is amazing tutorials and mini-lectures all over blogdom, if you look. Here are some of my favorites (and a few new finds as well). PS, thanks to Lauren for the first link that got me on this train of thought.

Since Fall is in the air, I have been thinking of chunky woolly arans and complex cable patterns. Not that I will pull one off this year, but I may practice a bit.

On Arans, Guernseys, Cables, and More

  • Stitch Definition - A comprehensive treatise by Mary (Morcaknits). I have just started looking at this one, and there is some really great information so far (check out the great resources in the sidebar).
  • No-Frog Mis-crossed cables fix - How cool is this?! Robbyn has a great tutorial for fixing a wrong cable a couple of rows down. Very nice pictures and text. But, as she points out, this won't work for a "bad" cable in a finished piece, so she thoughtfully directs us to...
  • Judy's Mis-crossed Cable cable fix - This site had exceeded bandwidth when I visited, but I will leave the link because of Robbyn's glowing recommendation.
  • Running with scissors - For the stouter hearts, follow along as this intrepid knitter actually cuts up some cables to fix them. Thanks, Aven for boldly going where I would be too chicken to! (She recommends The Harmony Guides Knitting Techniques Vol. 1 for more detailed instructions on cutting your cables.)
  • Cable needles? We don't need no stinkin' cable needles! - Teresa, Robbyn, and Wendy do it... now you can too. Also, don't miss Stephanie's story of her conversion to needle-less cables.
I hope to have some FOs by Monday. Oh, and SP3, you have a pressie on the way!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I have been knitting, no really, I have

I hope I can keep this blog up at least through the SP3, but I am working so much the next few months, and I feel terrible when I don't update with something...

I do have some outdated progress pics.

Here is Morehouse Merino's Pagoda hat when I boarded plane 1 to Austin:

And here is how far I got by the end of flight 2:

The color of the red is not quite as brick as the first, and not quite as pink as the second. It is a true deep crimson. (From Tess' Designer Yarns.)

Meanwhile, back at home, I have been working on a Colinette Winterthur Shawl (from Comforts) in Prism, Mohair, and Manos:

(For a detailed pic of the yummy autumnal goodness, click here.)

The colors are so wonderful, they make my mouth water and my heart leap. It is both reassuring and somewhat alarming that fiber can do this for me, but it is what it is. One of the Mohairs is Pierrot (thanks again, Monica!), and the other is (I think) Velvet Leaf. The Manos is this amazing variegated (don't have the number here) and the Prism is part of the mill pack, so I haven't the faintest idea. It is definitely greenish, but with a lot of cranberry/orange/gold and bits of brown/cream/navy.

Notice, peeking out from underneath, is a copy of Artyfacts. This great little booklet will help me use up all the onesies and twosies from my millpacks. Hats, bags, scarves, and mittens! Could it be any better? Thanks, Stacey, I think this was the book you recommended.

Monday, September 20, 2004

How often do you hear this?

Thank God the weekend is over.

RAOKers, Secret Pal 3, new knitting friends, and old knitting friends... I couldn't have made it without you.

I don't want to dwell on the details, but it was a trying and emotionally exhausting weekend. One good thing about Uninvited Out-of-town Guests: I did get to see some interesting things at the Smithsonian and National Gallery. And even though said guest did not have any interest in my interest in knitting (it is not, after all, an art or a science, so what is it but an almost-charmingly out-dated way for women to keep busy and waste time all at once? ... Not that I am dwelling), I briefly peeped in at the DC Knit Out and Crochet Too...

(Sarah, I really wish I could have stayed and knit for a few minutes or an hour, sorry to be gone so quickly...)

I have some pics that need posting, but it will have to wait. I need to recover tonight with a movie and a hot bath. The weather has been a little cool these last two days, and that (and the overwhelming kindness of friends and not-yet friends) is making me feel much better.

Wow....THANK YOU so much, SP2!! (I forgot I used my work address for SP2, so I had some great surprises in my mailbox.) She just sent me a fabulous prezzie! (And since the return addy is NJ, may we pass eachother on the streets of Rhinebeck Fest.)
  • More Luxury Cashmere! I am gonna be swimmin' in the stuff... this time a beautiful creamy white.
  • Moda Dea Burst in cream and warm browns (it will go great w/ the cashmere!).
  • Some very cute musical charm buttons.
  • A Chibi (Now I am finally a real knitter!!) and some sweater-shaped Dbl point protectors (I really needed these, how did you know?)
  • No. 4 bamboo dbl points, a size previously missing from my collection!

SP2, you have really made my day! Thank you again.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

As quick as I can, so I can go collapse...

I am so exhausted that I have little pieces of toothpick holding my eyelids open.

In Austin I met some amazing knitters, but I am too tired to write about how great it was... you can read up at (L-R) Cynthia's, Lisa's, Susan's, and Karen's.

After a long week of travel, I arrived at the airport in Austin to sunny skies but with concerns about Ivan's path Northward. Said the airline: We haven't heard anything about any delays to Dallas (this was great, because DFW shuts down if a bird sneezes). In DFW, the airline said: We haven't heard about any delays to Dulles (DC).

Then, over Dulles, this:

Yeah. Wow. That for an hour, until: "Um, ladies and gentlemen, they have evacuated the tower at Dulles due to a funnel cloud touching down at the airport. We are going to need to land at another airport, and they are currently telling us that will be Buffalo."

Excuse me? BUFFALO?! (Turned out it was Baltimore, but not for another hour and a half.)

So, tired, sans luggage (they wouldn't take it off the plane at the "wrong airport" for security reasons; remind me to rant about that particular bit of bureaucratic idiocy later), and dreading the next morning with "awkward relative," I came home and passed out.

I didn't open the substantial looking envelopes from fellow RAOK-ers, I didn't even get all excited about the little postal "we dropped a little sumpin-sumpin off at the apartment office for you" note (I love those notes so much, so much possibility in them, so fun to go to the office with the little note and say "I'd like my pressie, please!")

But hoo boy in the morning! I had Baboo get the packages from the office while I raced about getting ready for tourist-entertaining (slightly more fun than the dentist).

I can't write about how fun the night with the gals was (can't wait for the trip out there next month!), how uncomfortable and maddening today was with "estranged relative," (ugh, ugh, and UBERugh) and I can't yet gush about the great gifts from fellow RAOK-ers (Gina, Uli, and Caro, you are all the absolute best, I will write more after I get some rest)...

But I just can't sleep til I brag on this:

My SP3 has read up on me! See that little blob on the (best ever) milk bath packet? Want a closer look? It is a shiny green beetle! My SP noticed that I collect insects... she probably has no idea that I have one of those EXACT same beetles in my collection and have nearly rubbed it's soft carapace to bits... AND, there is some cashmere yarn... FANTASTIC for a woolly hat or mittens, which I am totally obsessed with right now. AND some pampery salves and things (which I can't get enough of, seriously), AND a lovely little silver box that will fit stitch markers or earrings perfectly... thank you SP! You ROCK! I hope I can be as good a pal to my own SP... This really was a great surprise to come home to. Even Sweet Baboo was impressed with the "right-on-edness" of this little bundle o' joy.

Lastly, thank you to all who sent in patterns for the contest! I got some great ideas, and can't wait for a spare moment to get going on some of them. My Sweetest Baboo drew a name out of the proverbial hat and MEGAN is getting the Wigwam. I love contests, so keep your eyes peeled for another in the not-too distant future.

Sunday, September 12, 2004


I am off to the airport in a couple of hours, so let's hope I can make this brief.

First, here is the progress on Little Boy Blue (as he is now so dubbed):

I am not loving the fabric; though others seem to like the drapiness, I think it looks a bit holey. The GGH Aspen should probably be knit at a quarter or half a stitch/inch less gauge. But the intarsia looks great. Only a few more rows before the neckline goes in. That will have to wait til next week.

Next, I got my first official RAOK in the mail (though I have received many unofficial ones over the past few months—you know who you are). From Maggie, I received this great little stash of Fargo. This will make someone a very warm and soft scarf or hat!

And now for the first contest ever at small hands....

I am always looking for cool patterns that are available online. Lately I have been craving the usual fall stuff: pullovers, scarves, hats, mittens, and now, socks (worsted wt). Send me your favorite fall pattern (or a working link to it) at devakali at verizon dot net with "blog contest" in the subject in the next week and your name will go into a drawing for this:

One skein of Colinette's Wigwam in a very vibrant turquoise with hints of dark navy and splashes of red. The color is pretty close in this picture, but it is a little brighter.

To qualify for the drawing, the patterns can be free or paypal-type .pdf downloads (I am happy to support designers!), but please no mail order—I like my gratification quick! The cutoff will be Friday at 5 pm CST.

See you all next week!

Friday, September 10, 2004

No-Ideas Friday

I got nothing today. I am about to leave for a week in Austin, TX. It will be mostly business, but I hope to catch up with some friends as well. If you are reading this, and you know where the Austin SnBers meet, leave me a comment! I would love to drop in.

My SP3 sent me a wonderful email wherein she told me that my life seemed glamorous with all of the traveling, and big city living...

Thank you SP, for reminding me to appreciate my life these days.

Too often, I focus on the negatives (like traffic, too much work, not enough time to knit, no best friends for thousands of miles...) instead of being grateful for the amenities of a big city (why don't I go to museums more often?), new friends (I hope to make October's meetup, and an Arlington SnB at the end of the month), a job that makes me think and lets me travel (ok, airports aren't the most fun, but you can't beat the great knitting time in-flight and on the train!) not to mention it brings me into contact with great consultants who bring me amazing hauls of yarn from across the pond (possibly one more batch next month, we at small hands have ALL of our fingers crossed!)... I am going to work on a little appreciation for the next couple weeks.

Believe me, I am going to need it. Next weekend will be very difficult, as I will be dealing with an awkward visit from a rarely-seen relative. I am trying to stay positive about this as well, but it is very hard. I will likely arrange a spa-day and a shopping spree at the end of it, just to dissipate the bad mojo. I know that my attitude is everything, so I really need to turn it around or it will be a miserable coupla days.

The posts may be thin next week, since the hotel internet connection can never be guaranteed... I am hoping to work on a pair of socks and a new something on my trip (not sure what yet... I have a little scarf to finish, and about a million things in the queue... I think I want to surprise myself). There is a black sweater in my future, but it won't be blog worthy (on account of not being very photogenic) so I need some bright somethings for my three regular readers. (You know who you are.) :)

I am also trying to think of a good blog contest ('cause I will never use up all of this stash). I hope to have an idea (and a prize) up this weekend... Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is a wonderfully altered pic of my other FO from the Princeton trip (Jessie, thank for the LYS recommendation, I was only in town for a couple of hours this trip, but I have one more planned and will try to hit that shop.)

My Sweetest Baboo has artfully removed me from the pic (as I looked much too old and haggard). And he added the lovely inset so you could see the stitch pattern. The pattern is a large loop that can be worn as a neck-wrap (looped twice), or as a hood with one of the loops pulled up.

Pattern: Esperanza Knitted Loop-thing from Little Box of Scarves
Yarn: Schaefer's Esperanza in Edith Piaf on size 11s - approx 2.5st/in.
Mods: I added 12 stitches to the loop, and as a result had to cut out one repeat of the pattern.
Start/Finish: Not sure, I had one row of knit done when I got on the train on Sunday, and finished the last when I got off the train on Monday. It was a very quick knit!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Am I blue?

I dunno, I might be... But regardless, my current knitting content is.

Here is the nephew #2 sweater in progress:

The pattern is from Vogue Knitting Kid Knits, the Colorblock Pullover.

On my very brief trip up to Princeton, NJ (approximately 20 hours), I finished the Blue Wave Scarf. I haven't blocked it yet, but here is a peek.

Click here for more.

(I really love how the pattern and Tess' yarn combine to create such wateriness!)

This one really took a lot longer than I would have liked... Three months or so? For a freakin' scarf? I am hoping that I can get the pattern a bit flatter with blocking. Right now, the "eyes" are curved outward (looking decidedly eyeballish) rather than flat and wave-like.

In other knitting news, I still haven't woven in the ends on the Eyelet Cardi, I am working on some Xmas gifts, and I am starting to get a little freaked out at the length of my list of KIWS (knits I wanna start). Maybe I will write it up later.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bring on the snow and sleet!

Pattern: Bonne Marie's H20
Yarn: Colinette Point 5 in a dark blue/black color (one skein with a little left over)
Mods: I added a single crochet edge to the hat in the lighter One Zero, and made a few fringes for the top out of both the P5 and the 1O
Time: 2 hours, spot on!

Pattern: Started out as Bonne Marie's Buttonhole Chic, but the yarn didn't show the pattern well, so it became all seed stitch. I also added a couple of stitches to the width. Still has a button hole, and some slub fringes made from both the P5 and the 1O
Yarn: Colinette One Zero in a bright turquoise color (one skein with a little left over)
Time: Few hours (mostly to figure out a good pattern)

I liked knitting with these super bulky yarns, it is like magic watching the shape "appear" so quickly. I am not sure if I like the aesthetic for a whole sweater, but for a couple of cold-weather woollies, it's perfect!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Dear Secret Pal

First, SP2, please do not let the following post lead you to believe I have forgotten you. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have a lovely set of socks planned for that scrumptious blue yarn and I think I will make the ruffly hat from the Gifts book for a friend's little girl. :) I hope you are well, and are able to enjoy a bit of time off this Labor Day.

Now, the rest of this post is as per request of my SP3. Thanks for the intro email, SP3! Although I was a little freaked out at the "from" line on the friend's email you borrowed, and thought maybe I was being spammed or stalked by "Aaron" from UNCW.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high-end/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
It is not all the same, but I do have a soft spot for Lion Brand. (And for Colinette, so go figure.) I like the affordability of LB stuff, and you cant't beat it for ease of care. Mostly I just like fiber. All kinds, all the time. I got it piled to the rafters in all shapes and sizes. My current favorites: drapey chenille, this great cashmerino knock-off I found at A.C. Moore, alpaca anything, and worsted wt. sock yarns. (I like socks, but am not yet ready for toothpicks so I stay at or above a size 3 needle.)
2. Do you spin? Crochet? I learned to crochet when I was around 8 or 9. I just got the Interweave press "special" crochet edition and there are a couple of things in there I want to make (but NOT that crazy Big Wool "cardigan," ugh). I don't spin yet, give me three more years.
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) I quit smoking exactly 592 days, 13 hours, 6 minutes and 50 seconds ago, so my house is finally "unsmokey," and I plan to keep it that way! Otherwise, no allergies.
4. How long have you been knitting? about 5 years
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I sure do, right over on the left side bar. Aside from books, I also have on my list: a nice windchime for my patio, a cool something to hold my wooden hooks and needles (like a vase-type thing, not a roll-type thing--I like to see them out), some kind of sachets for my new dresser (it smells kind of shellac-y) and I love cool stationery and stickers (especially japanese and "antique" look).
6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Oooh, I like lots. How about Sandalwood (not patchouli), Lavender (not thyme), Tangerine and Grapefruit (not lime), Mints, Spices... I love essential oils! I just bought some L'Occitane lavender bath fizzies and shea butter to pamper me on this two-day business trip.
7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Yep. I Love Chocolate, but I really need to cut out a lot of the sugar in my day. Please (much as it pains me): no candy.
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I used to be really into small scale woodworking, but I need a garage for even small piles of sawdust. I have embroidery and calligraphy "stuff" but haven't taken a break from knitting long enough to practice either.
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if you want to make her a CD) I love working out to world dance and trip hop (on my mp3 player). I also like folk, acoustic-alternative, emo-alt, anything that moves me, really ... favorites include: Jim White, Kristen Hersh, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Dylan, Jane's Addiction, Tom Waits, Nick Cave....
10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? ...blues and greys and deep reds and sagey greens. I like the golds and fires of fall, the crisp pales and stark constrasts of winter, and the soft greens and blues of spring. I do not like pink, salmon, coral, or teals much.
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I am currently in a LTR with my sweet baboo, who knows he will not get a sweater 'til he marries me ('cause I am superstitious). This has not encouraged him to propose, and I am trying not to let it affect how I feel about my knitting skills. We have no pets, but we do pet the cat that hangs out on the landing in our apartment building sometimes. We have one bamboo plant that might be named Norman.
12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) Ah, who knows?! I used to think I wanted to be an artist, then a healer, then a writer, and lately a teacher. I guess I am still searching.
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Most recently: Schaefer Esperanza, Classic Elite Premiere, Plymouth Encore (socks in, like, no time! and machine washable!)...
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I do not like chenilles, because I don't know how to avoid worms (but I LOVE the feel of Isis). I also don't like tiny cotton much (except for crochet). I haven't learned to love scratchy wools.
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? It's all about accessories, baby! Scarves, wraps, hats, mittens... maybe a sock or a glove if I am feeling adventerous. After two disappointing larger projects in a row, I am keeping the investment low and the pay off big. I have some sweaters in the queue when I get my confidence back, one in Jiffy and one in Peace Fleece.
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? See above. I really like scarves and wraps because I can get all crazy about a pattern or use a new or expensive yarn in a small amount to big affect. I am not into "furry" scarves, and have only tried one "cast on two stitches on size 1000 needles and knit til the end of your skein" scarf. I like a little more complexity. I just bought a bunch of Morehouse Merino's mittens patterns (I *can't wait* to make a pair of the grizzly bear ones with felt claws!)
17. What are you knitting right now? Esperanza hood/scarf loop thing from the Little Box of Scarves, merino/mohair "lace" scarf from Heartstrings FiberArts, and a little boy sweater out of GGH Goa from VKotG Kids Knits.
18. What do you think about ponchos? (this is really a curiousity question for us) I really want to make lots of them, but I am too hung up on smaller projects right now. I want a warm bulky wooly one, and an airy pretty one, and a versatile classic one (if such a thing can be said to exist).
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Each has a place. I don't like mixing them in a project as I have learned that my gauge is wildly different on each. I love wooden straight needles, and addi turbo or natura circs.
20. How did you learn to knit? A friend helped me figure out the instructions in a "How to Knit" pamphlet.
21. How old is your oldest UFO? I have two, a long scarf and a hexagon crochet afghan. Both are only about 8 months old, but that is already driving me nuts.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Ideas for Designer yarns...

God Save the Queen!
This would have been today's title if Fridays weren't for ideas. My wonderful UK consultants (who a couple of weeks ago got me a very cool soccer jersey) have come through again.

For a closer look at the yarn pr0n, click here

They brought back two whole Colinette Mill Packs for me (one blue, one green). Mill Packs contain first quality skeins that have unreliable or unmarked dye lots. Colinette groups them into "Palette Packs" of ten skeins each.

My new super-stash has been grouped, ungrouped, combined, and decombined into many potential projects.

Since they are all different colorways and fibers, I have been looking for some good patterns that use a skein or two. If you have recently enhanced your stash with some super fancy yarn, and don't know what to do with it, check these links out:

From Bonne Marie Burns
The fabulous Ms. B has many freebies and a couple of "so inexpensive they're practically free" patterns that would work well with luxe yarns.

From Crystal Palace
This company has amazing yarns in their own right, I love the color options in the Chenille (which relates very well to the Colinette Chenille), and Musique is dreamy (and subs just fine for Prism). The Deco Ribbon is a bit wider than either Tagliatelli or Giotto, but I bet a creative knitter could get the patterns to work for either.

  • If you don't dig the flower washcloth that was all the rage (in Knitter's, was it? and also Melanie Falick's really beautiful Weekend Knitting) or are just ready for a new shape, here's a basic square chenille washcloth (you could get around three of these from a 100g skein of Colinette's Chenille).
  • Check out the very cute Deco-Ribbon Purse. I think it would look great in Giotto (even if a little math is involved to adjust the gauge).
  • A simple seed stitch dresses up a lush Musique Scarf.

And don't forget Lion Brand
Some may scoff, but LB yarns are often a great alternative to some of the more expensive stuff. Their Thick and Quick Chenille knits up at a similar gauge as Isis or Fandango (though both have much more drape), and the Wool Ease Thick and Quick is similar to One-Zero, while the WE Chunky or Homespun is close to Skye or Prism.

Have a great weekend, and get some knit on!