Saturday, October 31, 2009

SOOO Cute!

As you may recall, I made a baby sweater for my friend Macchiato's baby Single Shot.

Well, she finally fits into it, so Macchiato sent me a photo:

Isn't she adorable?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Warm Hearts Warm Heads

My friend Belle's mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She has already had the required surgery, but now must also undergo chemo.

Belle called me last week to schedule a time for me to come over and help her with some quilting she wants to do. (Yes, I quilt. I actually am probably a more skilled, though less frequent, quilter than knitter. Quilting isn't as portable as knitting...) While she had me on the phone she asked, in a plaintive manner, if I would consider possibly knitting her mother a chemo cap.

Here is the thing. I am very busy right now with school and work and life. Belle knows this. I am also trying to finish up my gift project queue. Belle knows this as well. She was very reluctant to request anything, but really wanted the chemo cap.

Here is the other thing. My mother had breast cancer. My grandmother had breast cancer. I knit mostly because I see it as a way that I can serve others. There were no grad school assignments, library duties, or social obligations that were going to keep me from making that cap.

I went to Knit This, Purl That on Sunday and purchased the softest yarn I could find. It is a cashmere, silk, merino blend. I found several patterns online, and had Belle pick out the one she liked the best. Then I put all other projects on hold till I got the cap finished. (I had a deadline set...tonight when I was going over to Belle's house for the quilting counseling.)

I got it done.

Here is Belle modeling it. (Please note...this photo was taken LATE at night after approximately 6 hours of quilting...)

Best wishes to Belle's mother! I hope that as this cap keeps her head warm, she is reminded of all the warm hearts who love her and are praying for her speedy and full recovery.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I have a knitting blog. (Which you probably know, because you are currently reading it.)

On said knitting blog, which I committed myself to updating every other day, I discuss my current projects, successes, epic failures, and quirks.

I also have something called the Christmas Queue, which is the list of all the gifts I need to make by Christmas.

The Christmas Queue essentially devours all available knitting time from approximately September 1 through December 24. (And often later, since I tend to give out gift IOUs.)

The recipients of projects on the Christmas Queue have 2 things in common.

1. I love them
2. They are the vast majority of people who read this blog!

There is a definite incompatibility problem here. I want to blog about what I am knitting, I want people to read my blog, and yet I don't want anyone's Christmas surprise to be spoiled.

It is a conundrum.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why I Love My Yarn Shop

I went to Knit This, Purl That this afternoon.

The owner's daughter, who is around my age, was the only staff person. (I feel really bad, but I never can remember her name...luckily this blog doesn't ever use names, so I can call her YarnMaiden.) I shopped, we chatted, we looked at pictures of handknits from movies, and critiqued the shop's Twilight-inspired custom dyed yarn shipment.

I love this store for many reasons:

1. They have a great yarn selection.

2. They are NICE. They will let me wander around and pet/squeeze skeins undisturbed, or chat with me...depending on MY mood, not THEIR mood.

3. They go the extra mile. (Today I had taken in a pattern which called for one skein of a Cascade yarn that KTPT doesn't carry. It did not tell me how many yards I would need. YarnMaiden looked it up online for me while I browsed.)

4. They have stash cards. (Although, I tend to horde my filled cards...since no project ever seems important enough to use my $25 on.)

5. They are right up the street from the BEST THAI RESTAURANT EVER! (Pleasanton Thai House)

Where else can I go to enjoy the softness wonder of alpaca/silk blends, discuss recent and upcoming films (YarnMaiden and I have run into each other at the theater), be inspired by breathtaking works of handknitted art, and laugh at my own knitting foibles?

A good yarn shop is a terrible thing to waste!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why I REALLY Love My Job

Yesterday: another teen movie. (Well, to be accurate, the same movie, a different library really just another screening.)

Finished: another burp rag.


The truly exciting thing was that this burp rag had a much more intricate stitch pattern, but since I had JUST watched the movie the day before, I was able to pay more attention to what I was doing!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why I Love My Job!

I supervised the teen movie at the library today.

I was able to get one Burp Rag done.

I get to supervise another teen movie at a different branch tomorrow.

Perhaps another Burp Rag will be done as well?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Australis Scarf: Beta Testing

I finished the Australis scarf that I designed for The Client.

I finished several weeks ago.

Actually, I already delivered it.

It is gorgeous, in a manly way, if I do say so myself. (Which, apparently I do.)

Unfortunately, the yarn was also not very photogenic. It was very dark, and so the stitch definition was not showing up very well. (And it is a very architectural design...visible and photographable stitch definition is CRUCIAL!)

So, before I post pictures of it (or possibly post the pattern), I am going to knit another one.

(Rumor has it that the scarf will be worn on a cruise ship off the coast of Antarctica in a few months...any pictures of the scarf as a whole will then, of course, be posted!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

They Come In Pairs

I spent the evening with Brother, Sis-In-Law, and Big Ben at a reading by one of my favorite authors.

I then took advantage of my family, by turning them into handknit couriers. I asked them to deliver a pair of burp rags I had made for a couple I know from their church.

That was when I came to a stunning realization:

I always make burp rags in pairs!

I thought back. The first burp rags I made were for AVB. I made them two. I went through everyone I have made them for...they always get two.

So, I decided to break tradition.

My nephew is going to get TWICE as many burp rags as a normal run of the mill baby! I am going to make HIM four! (In his nursery colors: orange, green, brown, and white!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just Keep Winding

just keep winding...just keep winding, winding, winding!

1000 yards of lace weight takes FOREVER to wind on a nostepinde. (Although, I am betting it would still take a long time even if I had a mechanical ball winder.)

Total Time Elapsed, Measured in Things Viewed While Winding:

2 hours - graduate school lectures
1 hour - Castle Episode
2 hours - Biggest Loser Episode
1 hour - House Episode
1 hour - Lie to Me Episode
1 hour - NCIS Episode
1 hour - NCIS: Los Angeles Episode

9 hours total

Open message to all spinners/dyers/yarn manufacturers: If you are going to sell yarn in quantities that exceed a half mile in length, the polite thing to do is pre-ball them. Thank you.

By The Way: The yarn was some of Blue Heron Yarns' Egyptian mercerized cotton in "Deep Blue Sea" that I bought on sale when my favorite LYS in WA was going out of business.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Honk Honk Rattle Rattle Rattle Crash Beep Beep

I was in a car accident this morning while on my way back home from Brother's house.

(Disclaimer: I am fine. My car is surprisingly fine.)

I rear ended a pick up truck on the freeway. He stopped suddenly, presumably because he saw the cop on the side of the road. I hit my brakes, and would have stopped in time if it had not been raining. My tires stopped moving, but my car kept going and slid right into the truck's bumper.

It shook me up quite a bit.

I got to work, but they sent me home to de-stress.

I de-stressed by STARTING to wind a skein of lace weight. It is calming, but taking longer than anticipated.

I think I will take a break and go knit something brain-free.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Forgotten Projects

I am at Brother's house this weekend. Sis-In-Law is out of town.

I was getting ready to get in the shower this morning and realized I didn't have a towel. I went out to their hall closet to grab one, and saw this:

It is the red afghan that I made Brother for Christmas one year, before he had even met Sis-In-Law.

I had forgotten that I had made it until I saw it there this morning.

Frankly, I was surprised that he still had it. It isn't that great of an afghan, comparatively speaking. I was still a starving undergrad when I made it, so it was lovingly crocheted out of cheap acrylic yarn from Wal-Mart (which was my only option at the time due to geography and budget). I shudder to recall the many hours of Law and Order reruns I watched on TNN while making it.

It has held up shockingly well, considering that it has crossed the country several times, been washed often, and used.

It also has gotten me to think about other "forgotten" projects. I think Sister still has her blue afghan that matches this one. I think I gave a creamy colored one to my aunt in TX, too. But there have been a lot of beanies, scarves, dishcloths, and coffee cup cozies handed out over the years. Many that I can't quite remember...and now I'm wondering how many are still in use/existence...

I am also wondering now how many of the things I cherish have been completely forgotten by those who gave them to me...


Friday, October 9, 2009

Switching Paddles Mid Stream

I had been working on yet another scarf for myself, the Corn Rows Scarf.

It was very pretty.

It was also fairly skinny.

I liked it.

Then, I got around to finally organizing and cleaning out my closet.

During said cleaning, I got down the tub-o-scarves. I saw the plethora of skinny, pretty scarves that it contained. All of a sudden, Corn Rows seemed...redundant.

I didn't want to frog it. I didn't want to abandon it. I still liked it.

So, I am switching modes in the middle of the project without changing any of the already completed work.

I am making a belt.

Scarf + Buckle = Belt!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Song That Does Not End

Yesterday was the third and FINAL Kids Get Knittin'@The Library program this session. (And I don't currently have a kids' program on the winter/spring calendar...)

We added this session last minute, and only opened it to the kids who had been wait listed from the first two sessions. As a result, I had a much smaller crowd. There were four girls, second through fourth grade, and two were sisters. I had not asked Volunteen to come in, because I asked that the kids RSVP to me if they were going to make it. And, although she was standing by, Miss-A didn't come in either.

There was a brief moment of panic shortly before the program began. Although I had left the hand knit socks, the instruction sheets, the project yarn, and all of the paperwork in my program box...for some INEXPLICABLE reason, I had taken my spare needles, demonstration needles, and demonstration yarn home with me the week before! This would normally not be a big deal because I am me. I always have knitting in my purse. Unfortunately, yesterday's knitting was a coffee cup cozy and a sweater...both of which were on circular needles!

I decided to wing it.

I took two pencils out of the supply cabinet, sharpened them, and stuck erasers on the end for needle stops.

The girls thought it was pretty funny that I was teaching them how to knit with pencils.

I wasn't the only one using the rubber erasers either. Two of the girls had purchased double pointed they got erasered as well!

Since I had a smaller crowd, I was able to spend more individual time with each girl. They were amazing, and caught on surprisingly quickly...especially considering how young they were!

(They all were VERY frustrated by the "out" in the "in, around, out, and off" sequence. But that frustration is normal in everyone I have ever taught from five year old Spaz up to senior citizens! It is a difficult step to explain. I truly have to demonstrate it one-on-one with their hands under mine on the needles...)

The girls got farther on their bookmarks than the majority of the kids did in previous weeks, but that is probably due to the smaller class size. No one finished though, but I didn't expect anyone too. The bookmark took me a little over half an hour and I have been knitting for over decades...literally.

The next library program is going to be in January or February. It is a scarf for teens at the other library branch. Also, at the beginning of the year, I have a two-part adult felted purse program. (That will be interesting, since for felting you need feltable yarn...)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bangle Bracelet Bags...Another Commission

Psych's mom saw the purse that I made Angel for her birthday and absolutely fell in love with it. She has two other granddaughters, and wanted them to have matching purses.

She offered to pay me for them, so I agreed. I had to do some improvising though since I didn't have enough of Angel's purse yarn to make two more, and I didn't have the same bracelets. Luckily, I did have some felt-able pinks. I knit with 2 colors of Cascade 220 yarn held together. I think the colors were 9478 and 7803. I used sterling silver bracelets in a dark steel color for the handles. Angel's purse used pink sparkly bangle bracelets.

So, while listening to the first round of grad school lectures this quarter, I knit up 2 bangle bracelet bags.

Finished the knitting on Thursday.
Did the seaming up and first round of felting on Friday.
Second round of felting on Saturday.
Will deliver them tonight.

Best part...since they were a commission, they are helping finance the sweater that I want to make! Woo-Hoo!

(Also, I am glad that they aren't exactly the same as Angel's, since I made Angel's as a special gift for her birthday. This way, her cousins have purses too, but Angel's is still one-of-a-kind!)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Living on the Edge

I am living on the edge! I am not going to buy another skein of the yarn for Les Tuileries.

I would like to say that this is because I am a risk taker.

Or that I am frugal.

Or that I am a math whiz who figured out that 2 skeins was indeed sufficient.

I'm not.

The truth is I am a weenie little spendthrift blonde.

However, I am an uptight weenie little spendthrift blonde.

I actually went to Knit This, Purl That yesterday to buy another skein.

Unfortunately, none of their stock of this "dye lot" was even remotely close to what I purchased last time. (Funny...I thought the point of having a dye lot was that the yarn WOULD me crazy...)

Anyway, the perfectionist in me refuses to buy another skein that is so completely off color.

I will make do.

It will be ok.

I hope.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Same Song, Second Verse

Tuesday was the second Kids Get Knittin'@The Library. Once again it was Miss-A, Volunteen, and me.

It amazed me how much having a different group of kids completely changed the whole dynamic of the class.

We had thirteen girls show up for the program. Of those thirteen, eleven of them were second graders. Of those eleven second graders, two of them were lefties. All I can say is that I am SO grateful to Sis-In-Law for being a leftie! Because it meant I had experience with knitting "backwards." (Actually, Jester was a leftie, too...I think.)

One major difference between this program and last week's program was the adult presence. We have consistently told the parents that they needn't stay. However, the vast majority of girls this week came for their brownie troop's field trip. As a result, we had 5 additional parents staying in the room. A couple of them even knew how to knit. This was very handy since the girls were younger and required more individual attention.

Another good thing was that this week all of the kids had the correct needles. We didn't have to eraser tip any double points, or give out loaners. (If we loan needles, we slip the projects onto unsharpened pencils when the program ends.)

Overall, it was a very smooth program.

I have developed a couple of mantras that I have the kids recite before we start each program:
"I love my needles."
"My needles are my friends."
"I will NOT strangle my needles with my yarn."
That seems to be the number one problem with kids knitting...they pull everything VERY tight.

Oh...and the steps to the knit stitch are also repeated verbally over and over and over and over:
"In. Around. Out. Off."
(Out, by the way, is wickedly hard for kids. They can get in and around fairly quickly. And off happens more frequently than it ought to...But "out" is killer.)

In the end, I had a lot of fun, and I hope they did as well.

We ended up with a large enough waiting list for both sessions that we decided to add a third session NEXT Tuesday for those who were not able to make the first two. (We are not advertising this however. Miss-A and I directly contacted those who were wait-listed. If everyone comes, the group will be half the size it has been. I am not sure we even told Volunteen about it.)

(By the way, as costume, Miss-A and I have been wearing my handknit rainbow socks and Sesame Street socks. Miss-A has been impressed with how INSANELY comfortable they are. She keeps offering to take them home and wash them. But I am afraid if she does that they will not make it back to me. I currently have them folded neatly in the program box under my desk, and there they will remain until next week when I take them to MY apartment and wash them myself!)