Friday, January 30

Go ahead, wander over to Obamaconme and goof off. Have a good weekend!

Sunday, January 25

Barking Mad sweaterBarking Mad sweater, back"Barking Mad" sweater inspired by Keith Haring for my slightly mad, dog loving son. The pattern is my own but I did use the Norwegian collar from Elizabeth Zimmerman. I had always been curious about that collar. I used Classic Elite Newport Light cotton which is a discontinued yarn. The orange and navy blue were purchased at my LYS while I found the white on eBay, hence the rugby shirt effect.

Malabrigo/Noro chevron cardigan and catGirl Genius here thought she could convert the top-down 'Star Capelet' (Bernadette St. Amant) into a cardigan. Well, ten jillion short rows and a couple of wonky sleeves later, I'm here to prove that you can level out the angles and still end up with something best suited for Mothra. This has been frogged and placed in the ubiquitous Ziplok bag. I'm sure I'll find something in "Knitting Noro," by Jane Ellison who I met at TNNA in San Diego. She was simply lovely and a little stunned, I think, by the sheer numbers of vendors and the legions of Noro cult members trying not to storm the booth. FYI--Noro is coming out with a lot of new colorways which means some old friends will fall by the wayside. I'm already stockpiling col. 184 in Kureyon. Go to the Knitting Fever website to doublecheck those colorways.
My old boss and old friend, Anneke(Anneke's Needleworks, Miami), and I meet up every couple of years at TNNA to goof off and place orders for the shop. She (with the help of her trusty sidekick me) loaded up at Blue Sky Alpacas who had the cutest booth at the show. Did you know that there are 37 colors in the alpaca/silk? Which means choices had to be made. We also got into a lot of trouble at Tanglewood Fiber, where the 'Newport Rocks' colorway was killing me in their beaded cashmere/silk blend.

And did you know that Louet is coming out with a vicuna blend fiber later this year? I was very disappointed that they wouldn't take my firstborn as a down payment for a bag. Other items that caught my eye were the buttons and shawl pins at Annie Adams, Alcheny sock yarn, the great looking samples knitted up from the new book, "Knit One Below," by Alexis Xenakis and the groovy felt kits from Artfelt. Last stop of the day was Tilli Tomas which is like eating the chocolate truffles after you've just had dessert in a fancy restaurant.

But did it stop there? You can order yarn at TNNA, but you can't buy yarn there. I had mentioned the Brooklyn Tweed Noro scarf to Anneke who wanted to cast on immediately. This led to us zooming all over San Diego in our friend's rental car with me frantically pulling up the map and Ravelry on my iPhone while Anneke and her daughter, Sophia, were providing the color commentary in the backseat in a knitter's version of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride." Our choices were severely limited by who was open on Mondays. We got to The Needlecraft Cottage in record time and were out of there in less. The shop in La Jolla was closed, so we drove to the Bonita Knitting Store(only ten miles away from Tijuana!) which happened to be closed as well. We peered in through the window and were equally disappointed. I may be a yarn snob and usually I'm not a shop snob, but both of these shops had that sad, 70s dusty time-warp quality about them. Half the yarn was still in bags with a 'do not open' sign taped above with out of date pattern books in the corner and a few samples piled on a table. I have been in huge 4,000 square foot shops that have left me cold and I've been in tiny little shoeboxes that were full of charm and personality. We had just come from a building full of yarn where even the most seasoned shop owners get a gleam in their eye to chapter one in "How Not to Sell Yarn." It wasn't a total waste though. I got back to my hotel room and was treated to this:
San Diego sunset

Wednesday, January 21

Yes We Will

My friend Julie went to DC at the last minute and took photographs of the city and the people at the inauguration yesterday. I was flying back from TNNA in San Diego and spent the whole day in airports and on planes. I want to share these amazing images with you. You can see them HERE and HERE.

Please excuse me while I go get some more tissues.

Thursday, January 8

Resolutions for the well-intentioned

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but it does give me an excuse to update my current priorities. I really want to do a lot more colorwork, especially one of these wonderful fair isle designs.
So I started with a little something to get warmed up as my first 2009 FO:

Lucha Libre!
Lucha Libre
The pattern is from "Son of Stitch 'n Bitch." I picked out the yarn, Berroco Comfort acrylic, and Tex picked out the colors. Don't worry, Bandit's got one in the queue. I made the crown about 1" shorter. I'll probably make the space between the nose and mouth a little shorter on the next one and keep the original numbers for the crown. Also, the pattern calls for a size 5 needle for the ribbing and I think it's a little snug. I'll probably use a size 6 on the next one.

Lucha Libre
If there's a guitar playing, skate boarding, slightly moody pre-teen boy in your life then you have to make this. It's quick, it's funny and, best of all, they'll actually wear it.

I also plan to knit extensively from the stash and only shop locally as needed except when there's a killer sale and I've been looking at that Sea Silk for months and...well, you know how that goes. My Patternworks gift card is an exception and will be used as my 'lifeline' in case I get a little twitchy and start trawling the here and here. That's right, you go check out those deals. I'll just sit here a spell and finish a few hundred WIPs.

Last year, I quit smoking and I feel great...except for the 20 lbs that I gained. It may not seem like much, but it all went to my gut which is new territory for me. Usually the extra lbs go to my butt and thighs. Anyway, I'd like to lose that weight instead of shopping the sales for larger sizes. I've got the gym membership and diet books. Now, I need a new gadget. Well, no, I don't need one but I ordered it anyway. Yep, I've ordered a Bodybugg. I get the gizmo, plus 6 months computer tracking AND it's Mac compatible. (not all of these things are).

I don't need pep talks, I just need the raw data. As in "Honey, you better get off of your ass and swing a few cats because those three Milanos just cost you 180 calories."  And you want to know what's really cool about it? It not only keeps track of calories burned while walking and working out, but while knitting.

I can't wait to see how many calories a sock burns!

Friday, January 2

Lidsville for Crafters

I wish everyone a Better New Year and many happy returns!

I fell in love with a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the Edgewater colorway at Gauge and brought it home to meet the stash. I immediately went to Ravelry and found a link to this basic hat pattern(FYI: you can also use Touch Me...this would get me out of making the vintage scarf pattern from "Scarf Style" that I meant to make eons ago) which I knitted up as a Christmas present for a friend. The colors pooled in a nice blobby way. I had just enough yarn leftover to make another hat, so I used the same pattern but knitted *yo, K2tog* every row. Yep, my old friend, Barbara Walker's Turkish Stitch, most recently utilized in the Christmas Creep Scarf.
Swirl Beret
Ah, the world of knitting is an organic place, especially on the internet--constantly changing but always tapping into the old. You think you've come up with something terribly clever and then you get an e-mail from Knitting Daily announcing their free patterns. You scroll down and spot the one called "Swirl Beret" and dang, if it's not a Turkish Stitch pattern.
Swirl BeretGreat minds think alike?
Swirl Beret, detailCheck out that lovely Fair Isle effect! I used the Latvian Cast-On which my friend and uber-knitter Jane Lippman showed me at our local coffee shop. It's basically a longtail cast-on where you alternate looping your thumb over and under the yarn. It makes for a very stretchy edge. Later, I added a couple rows of crochet to lengthen the hat a wee bit and finished it off with an I-cord loop, very handy for hooks.

There's been an addition to our family of Bollywood tree stumps. This one is on the street, quite close to the driveway of our neighbor, Mr. Wilson aka Mr. Grumpy.
older tree stumpstree stumpnewest tree stumpIt's amazing what hot pink vinyl and sequins will do to a dead stump. Saucy little devil, eh?

self portrait