A little bit of writing, a little bit of knitting...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Knit Happens...

Check out my article, "Knit Happens: It's Not Just for Grannies Anymore," on Associated Content. And while you're at it, check out Associated Content for more great articles on knitting and a plethora of other topics...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Catastrophe strikes

With just over three weeks to go until the wedding, at which I'm supposed to wear that gorgeous lace shrug, catastrophe hit. I got too comfortable. I didn't pay enough attention to the pattern, and I suddenly realized that I'd gone 10 rounds past the point where I was supposed to stop and do something different. So last night, I spent the evening ripping it all out, stitch by stitch -- I even took out two extra rounds, just for the sake of getting everything evened out (and figuring out a couple of stitches that I dropped). That's 12 whole rounds of lace. *Black* lace. I broke a sweat doing it. But now it's done, and I can start back again. In fact, I'm almost to the point of switching to flat knitting. That means I'm maybe a third of the way through. It's a good thing we've got a lot of time in the car ahead of us this weekend. I'll get some time to work on it then.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Salsa and knitting...

Yesterday, Paul and I went to the Greens' house for dinner. Julie's one of the store regulars -- as are her girls, Elise and Emily (who was a regular at Kids' Camp this summer). Julie's been going through a serious foodie phase lately, so she invited us over for dinner, to help them try out a new pork taco recipe from Cooking Light magazine. We got there early, so Paul and Roger could bond over their common loves of hockey and biking and other manly things (as well as commiserate about their crazy knitting wives, who constantly make them feel everything, even though, as Paul recently told me, "I trust you when you say it's soft. I don't have to feel it.") -- and so I could hang out in the kitchen, hoping for Julie's culinary genius to rub off just a little tiny bit. I learned how to make the most spectacular fresh salsa, which I may very well be trying out on my family next week at the cottage. And dinner was a dream...

After dinner, the guys watched football, and Julie got out her swift and ball-winder so I could wind a couple of my hanks of lace yarn (which, of course, I brought over for her to feel). Then we joined the guys and pulled out our knitting. Poor Roger sat in the middle of us, where he got to enjoy "knitting in stereo."

We're so lucky to have such tolerant husbands. Then again, they're so lucky to have wives who knit (which, in turn, makes us especially tolerant).

We had such a great night. And I've promised that as soon as we get a *real* dining room table (meaning one that doesn't endanger anyone who sits on the old, rickety chairs), we'll return the favor.

And until then...the Blue Jackets start practicing on September 13, and Julie and I will be there (with our knitting, of course).

Friday, August 26, 2005

Why do I do this to myself?

I just took pictures of everything (despite the fact that it will most likely make me late for work), and now I can't get the stupid things to upload. Grr...

Anyway...I found myself in a panic yesterday. In about four weeks, I have to get up and do a reading at our friends' wedding, and Barbara talked me into knitting a pretty lace shrug (my first real lace project, and no one dissuaded me from using black, darnit). So it never seemed to be the right time to work on a lace shrug, so I had gotten nowhere (which is funny, since I've gotten a long way on my mom's lacy alpaca scarf, which doesn't need to be finished until Christmas). So last night, I put it into high gear, and I made it past the elbow of the first sleeve. Still, I've got a long way to go, and I'm working on coming up with a backup plan -- something I can quickly knit the week of the wedding to replace the lace shrug, which will inevitably have only one sleeve.

Anyone have a good recommendation?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A busy week for the washer...

After I finished my Monday bag and brought it into the store, I started another felted bag on Monday. This one is my Vegas Bag -- a pattern that was sent out in last quarter's store newsletter (and it's soon to be published elsewhere -- I'll let you know when). Instead of using worsted weight, as I did in my first bag (the blue one), I went with bulky weight for this one. I just love the project because it's so fast -- and it uses leftover yarn. Can it get any better than that?

Vegas Bags in Two Sizes Posted by Picasa

And here is the contraband (meaning: yarn not purchased at The Store) that Barbara brought for me in an unmarked bag on Monday:

Stash enhancement! Posted by Picasa

Isn't it gorgeous? The Wool of the Andes (on the left) is going to be striped in a felted bag that I'm making with some grey wool that I recycled out of a thrift store sweater. The Shadow (right) is going to be a yet-to-be-determined lace shawl for me. And the Alpaca Cloud (bottom), which is absolutely luscious is going to be a scarf for Mom. I think I need to buy more for me -- even if I just carry it around with me and feel it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back from the dead...

Last Tuesday morning, I woke up with a sore throat. That's always a sign of terrible things to come... So, for the last week, I've been taking endless naps and surrounding myself with boxes of tissue, endless glasses of water, and tons of cold medicine. And I'm finally getting above it (though I'll admit that I did sleep in this morning, but I deserved it -- I worked a 10-hour day yesterday!).

Over the weekend, I did very little. I was finally to the point where, from time to time, I could knit, so I did a bunch of brainless stuff -- three dishcloths, a plain-jane scarf that I've been playing with (and still have to finish, since I want to drop a couple of stitches, and I need Barbara to talk me through it). On Sunday, I was feeling a little better, so I started a really simple lacy scarf for Mom.

Oh, and I also finished this:

The Monday Bag Posted by Picasa

It's my Monday Bag. I've been working on it for the last...oh, six weeks -- but only at the store on Mondays, when my kids' camp kids are in the store. I was almost finished, and since yesterday was our last day of *summer* camp (though we're continuing into the fall -- just later in the afternoon), I decided that now was the perfect time to finish. So I did. And really, it's quite cute if I do say so myself. Kay liked it so much that she bought the yarn to make one of her own (which, of course, is the whole point of knitting store samples...). But I need to get the pattern written up for her by Friday when I work next.

The details:

Yarn: 2 skeins Kraemer Naturally Nazareth Aran in Jack-O-Lantern
and 2 skeins KFI Solstice in color #02

Needles: #10.5 (6.5mm) and #11 (8.0mm) circular needles, 24” (or 16”, depending on what you’re comfortable with)

Finished size (after felting): Approx. 11” W x 3” D x 7” H (not including strap)

Price: US$4.00 for an electronic copy

If you'd like your very own copy of the pattern, email me.

In honor of our last official day of summer camp, I had to get a picture of my girls, Heather and Evelyn, who have made Mondays worthwhile all summer. They both go back to school in the next week, but we're excited to keep it up this fall. I'm sure with all the homework and craziness of school, a little time to get away and knit will be good. I'm sure it would have helped me when *I* was their age...

Heather and Evelyn Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Summertime Mondays have been exhausting, but they've been a load of fun, and I realize that I'm really going to miss them. For the last six weeks or so, I've been spending my Mondays with My Kids -- my Kids' Summer Camp kids. Each Monday, they show up (well, most Mondays, at least). The kids under 12 come in the morning, and the kids 12 and up come in the afternoon. And I have to admit that I've kinda attached myself to the afternoon girls, Evelyn (12) and Heather (14). They've come faithfully each week (except last week, when Evelyn didn't show up and Heather freaked out), with their grandmas in tow. They've met their goal of actually finishing some projects, and they've knit some pretty cool stuff. (That, and we sit around and giggle a lot.) Next week is our last week, and I'm pretty bummed.

During our session this week, I got to teach a new "kid" -- actually a woman who came in with some needles and yarn, totally baffled by the instructions in the book she had. I've taught a ton of kids, but I've never taught a single adult (at least not "professionally"), so it was kinda strange for me. But Jan pumped me up as an "excellent instructor" (also the one who happened to be sitting on the couch at the time), so I accepted the challenge. I figured the same old kids' rhyme would work just as well for an adult as it does for a kid, so I used it, and it worked. In no time, she was knitting away. Then we ripped out her first row, and I taught her how to do the knit cast-on that my kids tend to prefer. And she was so excited (and you should have seen the excitement on her face when I walked her through the store and showed her all the possibilities!). It's always great to see a kid get excited about learning to knit -- but it's every bit as exciting to see an adult who's just as thrilled to have figured it out. I'll never get tired of hearing a new knitter tell me "This is fun!"

This week, I'm working on putting together our third-quarter newsletter. Once again, I get the same question: "So what classes are you teaching?" It's so strange to hear that question, since I don't really consider myself to be an old pro or anything. But we'll see... Maybe I'll actually teach something this time.

New book review

Barbara Albright's Odd Ball Knitting won't be out for another week or so, but you can check out my review at NightsAndWeekends.com.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Capelet Replacement

Yesterday, I finished the capelet that I had to make for myself to replace the one I gave to my sister-in-law. I have to tell you, I wasn't exactly planning on giving it to her -- I was just planning on having her try it on and see if she liked it so I could make her another one. But she absolutely loved it -- so what can you do (even if you just bought the perfect tank top to wear with it)? So I pulled out my extra stock of orange Microspun and got to work. While Paul hung a few pictures around the house (we've been here since November -- we figured it was about time...), I put on the finishing touches. And I'm going to wear it this week. Yes I am.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

New excuses to knit

(As if I needed one)

Over the weekend, I got to give away one knitted gift. It's always a little nerve-wracking when you give away something you put the time and effort into, but I gave Lisa her Brilliant shawl, hoping that she'd actually like it enough to wear it on her wedding day, as planned. And she was thrilled. She said it's the perfect size -- and it'll be perfect for keeping her warm in her strapless wedding dress. I was so happy.

Also over the weekend, I got news of a few more knitted-gift opportunities:

1) My sister-in-law, Suzanne, just got engaged. She and her husband-to-be are thinking about getting married in April or so, right before they move into their new house (which is currently just a big pile of dirt in the middle of a field). I spotted a gorgeous afghan in an old Jo Sharp book, and I was thinking it would make a good wedding/housewarming gift -- though it might be a bit ambitious, since Christmas is also coming...

2) Our friends, Dan and Amber, announced this weekend that they're expecting. It's quite ironic, really, since it was just Friday when I told a coworker how I was itchin' to knit baby blankets again, even though I didn't know anyone who was pregnant. They're due in April.

3) I talked to my mom yesterday, who told me that a close friend of the family (one who's so close, he's practically my brother), Dan, and his wife, Luanna, are expecting their third. Also in April.

It's time to get busy. I have baby blankets and booties and sweaters and hats and pretty wedding afghans to work on! Jerry talked me into trying the Baby Surprise Jacket (an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern). And I'm excited for the baby blankets. We just have so much great baby yarn at the store -- I can't wait! :) But I need to start making lists. I also have a ton of other stuff on my to-knit list, so I'm going to have to get myself organized and get to work!

Oh, yes. And there's also:

4) I was reluctantly starting on that black lace shawl to go with my dress for Jay and Lisa's wedding. Now I really need to get it done -- and make it look good -- since I was just asked to get up and do a reading at the wedding. Now I have to look good!

Friday, August 05, 2005

On the road again...

As soon as I get out of work for the day, we're off to Toronto for the weekend. Did we just get back from our last road trip?

Paul's best friend is getting married in September, so we've got a party for them this weekend. I'm going to be bringing the bride her silvery white shawl that she requested. I hope she likes it!

I've also already packed my knitting. I've got my sock, my lace shrug (which I'm supposed to have finished in time for the wedding next month), my capelet, and plenty of cotton for dishcloths, if necessary. And some Cotton Fleece for a top. Think I should pack more?


Thursday, August 04, 2005

The next thing to hit the knitting geek's wish list...

Check out this article on CNN.com about the fancy new counter that does all the work for you. Considering how attached I am to my counters...and how likely I am to forget to count a row every once in a while...this is just the thing for me!

Yarn shopping excursion

I've been working my butt off lately, so I haven't really had a chance to get out much. But yesterday I did. I met up with Julie and her girls, Emily and Elise, for a yarn outing. We did a little scouting of the other stores in town -- since one just opened and the other moved to a new location. There was some good, some bad, but I realized that ours is still the best store in town. After that, we had lunch at Bob Evans -- and then hit Michaels...since we were in the neighborhood.

We did, however, make a side trip. Before going to one of the stores, we stopped at Tuesday Morning, where we squealed with delight upon finding bags of Cotton Ease. I got two bags of yellow (six skeins) and a bag of minty green, which may end up going to Barbara. That takes my Cotton Ease stash up to...a number that I do not care to think about.

I am obsessive, and I know it's pathetic, but I just can't stop.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Happy (belated) birthday to me!

So here's how I spent my birthday weekend:

How I spent my birthday... Posted by Picasa

We headed south on Thursday morning for a weekend in the Smokies. Since Paul and I were both turning the big 3-0 (and since it was our first birthday in the country in *years*), we decided to go on a little (much-needed) vacation. And there's not much I love more than the mountains.

On Thursday night (my birthday), we showed up just in time to settle in and head to town for a late dinner... I went through a bunch of wardrobe options, and I asked Paul to quickly snap an overdue picture of my Interweave Ruffle Shrug. In the end, I liked it so much that I decided to wear it to dinner (see below).

I liked it so much...I wore it for my birthday dinner Posted by Picasa

On Friday, we hiked the Appalachian Trail for a whole 1.7 miles and back. It wasn't exactly a walk in the park, and we, brilliantly, had decided to change into our jeans, since it might be chilly in the mountains. It was hot and humid and exhausting, but it was worth every minute.

On Saturday, we celebrated our birthdays with a helicopter ride.

Old...but fearless and adventure-ready Posted by Picasa

It was unforgettable. Now we want our very own helicopter.

Perhaps part of our weekend helped us prove to ourselves that we may be old, but we're not slowing down. We can still hike miles up mountains without collapsing. We're not afraid to soar through the air, just feet above the tree tops. My brother-in-law (who just turned 21) tells me that I'm now to the age when I can start beginning sentences with "When I was your age..." I look forward to his 30th birthday. I'll be sure to tell him, "When I was your age, I was climbing mountains and flying in helicopters..." :)

Giving in to peer pressure

Everybody's doing it, so I had to do it, too. I finally broke down and bought the pattern for the One Skein Wonder. To start, I made one out of one of my many skeins of Cotton Ease. I brought it to work to show it off last week, and Julie took a couple of pictures (then promptly bought the pattern and made one for herself). The top picture is of the front, in the middle of the store (I know...it's total yarn insanity...and that's only part of it), with Emily, Julie's daughter, who's one of my Morning Kids' Camp Knitters (Isn't she adorable? Just be sure to keep her away from the scissors... ;)). The bottom picture is of the back, with my horrendously long hair (which is desperately in need of a major cut -- know anyone good?) pulled out of the way...

The front...with one of my Knitting Girls... Posted by Picasa

The back view... Posted by Picasa

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