Friday, August 31, 2007

Dishcloth #4 and #5

Cathy B was yesterday's winner. She's also the talented knitter responsible for the garterlac dishcloth you're looking at. I think it's done in Peaches & Creme (same as my monstrosity) but I hope Cathy will deny or verify when she has a chance. What a difference a pattern can make! (We won't mention a knitter's skill set, will we? Thank you.)

Monica, you're today's winner! An email is on its way.

You know that old theory about the Full Moon? The one that says we all go a little crazy right around then? I've always believed it to be true but I now have proof that the Full Moon Effect can last an entire week and pretty much drive the last remaining grey cells from a middle-aged writer's brain.

1. When do men stop doing things that can kill them?
2. Do they ever get too old to be recklessly stupid?
3. Why do their wives elect to hold the ladder while they do said stupid things even though the wives in question know they shouldn't aid and abet insanity.
4. Full details here tomorrow (Saturday.)
5. And may you never receive a letter that begins with the words "We're sorry to inform you that the theft of a laptop containing sensitive information may have compromised you."
I swear to you the only thing that kept me from hurling myself into the Raritan River was the fact that I'm almost done with Goldisox's sweater.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dishcloth #3

Janin D joins the Dishcloth Challenge today.

And that's all I've got, knitters. It's been a work-outside-in-the-sun kind of day while Goldisox risked his life in various and sundry forms while I held the ladder and wondered when we'd finally be too old for such nonsense.

And how was your day?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dishcloth Winner #2

Adrienne, it's your lucky day! An email is on its way to you right now.

The skinny red strip over there is take #1 of the Kata/Felicity scarf in Wool-Ease Red Sprinkles. It's not the right yarn for the job -- you want bigger and softer -- but it's working. I started over again with slightly larger needles which help display the razorshell pattern.

One thing bugs me about the pattern: the left side has a two stitch stockinette edge. The right side has only a one stitch edge. (K1 YO K1 on the right. K1 YO on the left. This ends up giving you two consecutive knit stitches on the right but only one on the right.)

Almost a full 12" of sleevage completed., The end is in sight.

Nancy, hooray on the mil's gorgeous sweater. You must be ecstatic!

Wahoo and hallelujah!

The pieces are all done for the MIL sweater! No more endless black stockinette stitch! (Well, only a little: the collar which has to be knitted on after the rest is put together.) Thank you, Great Goddess of Knitters for ending my misery!
Now comes the part I need help with from you other Knitting Goddesses. I haven't sewn a sweater together since before I was married (and that was 22 years ago). Help!
Here are my first and most basic questions:
1) Do you block it before you sew it together?
2) How do you put in a zipper (and what kind of zipper should one buy)? (I've NEVER EVER dealt with a zipper before.)
3) Any helpful hints on the proper order to do it in? It's shoulder seams first, right? But then what? Pocket? Zipper? Sew sleeve seems and then attach to armholes? I'm lost in a sea of black yarn here.
P.S. Just got my brand new copy of Arctic Lace and I'm having all kinds of fun picking out a pattern for my Qiviuk yarn. I think I'm going to modify an existing pattern because I really want a stole but need to stretch the yarn a bit to reach those dimensions. Of course, this will undoubtedly get me in a ton of trouble but, hey, it's only Qiviuk, right? LOL
P.P.S. I have no idea why Blogger is running all my paragraphs together--I've got about four returns between each one and it's ignoring them. Sorry for the difficult reading!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Great Dishcloth Challenge #1

Kenyetta, watch out! A ball of Peaches & Creme is on its way to you. The rules are simple: knit whatever you want with it but be prepared to share pictures when it's done. The yarn is fantastic to work with. I think you'll love it. (And get far better results than I did.)

It's late. I'm tired. (Hey, I was out running around having fun all day. There's only so much of that a woman can take . . . ) Back tomorrow with knitting updates. (The red scarf is approaching two feet long. The top-down sweater has a finished body, finished collar, and one 1/3 finished sleeve. The Snowflake Sock is temporarily stalled. The scraps shawl continues to grow.)

Two great books in the mail: WRAPPED IN COMFORT by Alison Jeppson Hyde and KNIT KIMONO by Vicki Square. BTW if you want to see a terrific kimono jacket, check out Wendy Knits. Great pattern!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Great Dishcloth Challenge (NC-17)


Don't let those innocent-looking balls of cotton fool you. Those babies are lethal!

Remember the stunning dishcloth Our Fran showed us last week? That gorgeous lemon-lime Lily confection that literally had me drooling over my keyboard?

Well, I didn't quite get the same results with my Peaches & Creme. See that monstrosity below? That's the sampler I was noodling around with. I probably should have told you to ask your children to step away from the computer monitor lest their delicate young eyes be damaged by such unremitting ugliness.

And it's not the knitting. Really. For once this knitter is blameless. (For the most part.) The bottom section is Fiesta Ombre in the classic Mason-Dixon Ballband Dishcloth pattern. Notice how it did NOT stripe beautifully the way Fran's Lily did? The color repeats are very short, reminiscent of the truncated color repeats on Plymouth Outback Wool, and that does not make for a graceful look. The second band of color is one of the blue variegateds. That didn't work either. The top is orange solid and turquoise solid, kind of an homage to the Mets. Or Howard Johnson, depending on your point of view. While it's not exactly easy on the eyes it at least proves I have some proficiency with the needles.

Which is where you come in.

I challenge you to knit with some variegated and/or ombre Peaches & Creme and share your results right here. This is one of the nicest yarns I've ever knit with and I can't believe that their flagship pattern doesn't work with their own colorways.

Send me an email (wickedsplitty AT earthlink DOT net) with DISHCLOTH in the subject header and I'll enter you in my P&C giveaway. Starting tomorrow I'll give away one ball of deadly variegated cotton yarn each day for one week.

But this time it comes with strings attached. Whenever you get around to knitting with it, I'm begging you to share your progress with a photo or two. I need to know what happens!

Friday, August 24, 2007

And the Qiviuk winner is...

Kim, aka " kshotz"! Congratulations, Kim! Email me your snail mail address at and I'll send you your soft, warm, woolly muskox fiber. We'll be eagerly waiting to hear what you create with it.

Next week, I hope to have some Malabrigo to give away as promised during Yarnapalooza. I stopped by my LYS today but it was closed for lunch and I didn't have time to wait. If I can't find Malabrigo, I'll get some other lovely yarnish goodie for my favorite bloggers.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I took this photo just before sunset a couple months ago when the duck pond down the hill from my house still had water in it. The photo has nothing to do with knitting (unless you want to speculate about colorways and do a duck pond reflections colorway). However, it’s an apt photographic metaphor for my current state of mind.

Last weekend I helped my youngest child move into the university dorm for the third time. My baby is a college junior, my eldest is 23. And still, my mind remains stuck in Mommy mode in unexpected ways. For 18 years, chaos has ruled my household the week before school began. The level of chaos has subsided significantly in the physical sense, but mentally I haven’t made the adjustment.

Years ago I fell into the pattern of planning and scheduling projects and goals for the next calendar year during the kids’ winter holiday break. When the school year ended and I had summer activities to work into the schedule, I reassessed. The same happened when school resumed in the fall. Now, the kids are grown and handle their own schedules, transportation, and shopping, so these school year changes really don’t affect me much. My mental pattern is set, though. It’s as ingrained as the seasons in my psyche, and I’ve decided not to fight it. Periodic reassessment is a good thing.

And what have this week’s reflections on the year to date shown me? Overall, it’s been a reasonably productive year so far, with enough golden moments to keep me smiling more often than frowning. I can’t ask for more than that. And so I shall enter the final third of 2007 with an updated schedule of goals and commitments and renewed enthusiasm.

And just to keep this firmly on topic . . . my youngest reminded that I should finish sewing together the purse I knit for her so she can use it. Plus, winter will be here soon, and I should get started on that mohair scarf we talked about. I’ve penciled both those projects into the new schedule.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Qiviuk Heaven!

(This is the fiber in its raw state.)

Remember when I asked on this blog what yarn you'd most like to knit with if price were no object? Someone (my apologies for not remembering exactly whom) mentioned "Qiviut", yarn spun from the undercoat of the muskox. I'd never heard of it before but checked out the websites and was fascinated. Imagine my ecstasy when my family took a vacation to Banff, Canada, and I found an entire store devoted to all things Qiviuk (a variation in the spelling but it's the same fiber).

The saleslady at the store thought I was insane for two reasons:

1) I took a dozen photos (which I'm sharing the best of here with you);

(Can you tell these are cute little muskoxen knitted into the scarves and hats?)

2) I walked around petting the beautiful scarves, sweaters, hats, etc. Yes, I'm a Sweater Petter. But this stuff is just gorgeous to touch.

(The store had something for the ladies and something for the gentlemen. The cost of these sweaters was gasp-inducing but touching was free.)

My husband watched me oohing and aahing and absolutely insisted that I buy some 100% Qiviuk yarn to make myself something with. I will not tell you how much three tiny balls of yarn cost--you would pass out--but if my husband insists that I buy something, who am I to argue with him? (I chose the russet red you can see behind the green.)

So now I'm looking for a really gorgeous lace stole/scarf pattern that uses about 650 yards of fine weight Qiviuk yarn. Any suggestions?

Prize alert: Wanna touch some Qiviuk?

Since I love you guys on this blog, I bought a small (10 grams) bag of raw Qiviuk fiber to give away to some lucky spinner. I mention spinner because this isn't yarn (couldn't afford that without my DH's support), it's fiber so someone who spins would make the best use of it. (That's it below.)

Here's a little info about Qiviuk from the card the store gave me:

Qiviuk is the Inuvialuit word for Down: the fine, inner, insulating blanket of the Canadian Arctic Muskox. Qiviuk is the softest, warmest and most luxurious fibre in the world. This amazing coat allowed the muskox to survive the last ice age as it roamed the earth along with the woolly mammoth, and it currently protects them from the minus 60 degree Celsius temperatures of the Canadian high Arctic.

Inuvialuit Natives (people of the Canadian Arctic) harvest the beautiful inner fibre form the legendary northern "Umingmak" (Inuit word describing the muskox, meaning "the bearded one"). These people, with their strong belief in a harmonious existence with nature, carefully monitor and manage the wild muskox population, ensuring their unthreatened existence.

According to the flyer, Qiviuk is worn by the Queen of England, Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Jean Chretien, Anna Wintour, and the Dalai Lama (an interesting concatenation of celebrities).

If you'd like to add it to your fiber collection, post a comment here and I'll get Barbara to fire up the Random Number Generator to choose a winner.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

2008 Red Scarf Project

Most of you probably know this but I just discovered that the 2008 Red Scarf Project is on an accelerated schedule this year: scarves will be accepted between September 1 and October 15, 2007 which means it's time to cast on if you want to participate.

Because knitters are amazingly generous and will knit until their arms fall off if the cause is worthwhile, we're being limited to donations of five scarves this time around.

You can mail your scarves to:

Orphan Foundation of America
Attn: Red Scarf Project
21351 Gentry Drive, Suite 130
Sterling, VA 20191

If you'd like to know more about the project, visit Now Norma Knits.

I'm casting on tonight - the Kata/Felicity scarf.

Pictures tomorrow.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The finished sweater

I'm very happy with how it turned out. I made this to replace what I refer to as my 'writing sweater' -- the sweater that hangs on the back of the chair in my office, which I wear almost every day during Spring, Winter and Fall. My previous writing sweater was a thrift-shop find that I bought for $5 seven years ago. It was thoroughly worn out, with holes and stains.

This new sweater has the same loose fit and soft feel, long with pockets. To recap, it's the One-Stitch cardigan from Lion Brand knit on number 8 needles with Main Line in Blueberry. The trim is some Wool Ease I had in my stash. I opted for a zipper instead of buttons.

Now back to the top-down cardigan I'm knitting for my mother-in-law. I'm definitely a fan of top-down knitting now.

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Snowflake Sock Update

Two full pattern repeats. One more to go and then it's heel flap time.

Working this pattern is like having an open bag of barbecued potato chips next to you: you can't help dipping in for just one more.
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Socks Sport in Navy and Natural. US3 circulars. Magic Loop method. (The pattern specified US2 but that didn't work for me. As it is, stranding creates a firmer, less elastic fabric. I wanted a little more wiggle room.)
The heathery blue squid gained another inch yesterday. Ten or so more to go before it's time to do the collar and sleeves.
And I can't believe I'm typing this, but I'll probably cast on for the Kata/Felicity scarf this afternoon.
And a dishcloth.
Like I said, the Knitting Bug is back.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Sugar 'n Cream Stripes in Lime. One ball of yarn. Best: No ends to weave in.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Crazy Time

It's official. I've totally completely absolutely lost it. "It" being my sanity, of course. Goodbye, one project at a time. Hello, pandemonium!

I'm still working on the top-down cardigan for Goldisox. I keep trying to get a halfway decent photo but at this point (about four inches past the divide-for-sleeves part; maybe 16 inches altogether) it looks like a heathery blue squid. I'll try again tomorrow but no promises. Normally working on a big project like this would be more than enough for me, especially since I'm not the world's fastest knitter and would really like to finish this by the time the weather turns cold enough to wear it.

But I hadn't counted on the Fall issue of Interweave Knits. I told you about it last week: a real occasion of sin for the weak-willed knitters among us. I cast on late Sunday night for the Snowflake Socks and did the CC beginning of the cuff. No knitting Monday but Tuesday I jumped on it and finished the cuff and the first pattern repeat and I am in L-U-V. Bad 60s spelling and all. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Socks Sport in Natural and Navy. KnitPicks Options US3.

I can't tell you the last time I had so much fun with needles and yarn. Will the sock actually be wearable? Who knows. Actually, who cares. I'll probably frame these puppies.
The Outback Mohair Scraps shawl continues apace. I'll keep knitting as long as I keep digging up scraps of yarn.
The yarn for the Composed Mitts is on its way. And, after great fuss and much sleuthing, I tracked down the last remaining two skeins of discontinued Hunter Green cashmere on line at a greatly reduced price which makes my scarf plan for a dear friend's Big Number birthday later this year eminently do-able. The plan is for the Kata/Felicity Scarf in Tara Jon Manning's Mindful Knitting book.
So how's your Knitting Week shaping up?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Darn you, Barbara!

So there I was, trying to decide what yarn to make my marble cardigan out of (this after sending back the Plymouth Patches that made my hands break out) and taking pictures of my pretty yellow Missouri primrose and my gorgeous red hibiscus when Barbara confesses all about her dishcloth festish.

What's a girl needing a project to do? Why, she buys some Sugar 'n Cream yarn, of course! And not just any Sugar 'n Cream. Oh, no. She buys Sugar 'n Cream Stripes - one ball of greens and white and one in red, white and blue - and she proceeds to emulate Barbara by making dishcloths.

So here I am, knitting dishcloths and writing my book and still trying to decide what yarn to use for my marble cardigan. But at least I have something to do. And for that, I suppose I really should say, "Thank you, Barbara!"

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Blocking for Blockheads

Blocking has been one part of the knitting process that has always been mysterious to me. None of my books have detailed instructions about blocking. I had the idea that I should wet the garment, arrange it in the shape it should be and let it dry. But how wet? Should I do it before or after the garment was assembled? Should I pin it?

This weekend I finished the garter stitch cardigan I've been knitting for myself from this free pattern from Lion Brand. And I determined to learn everything I could about blocking the sweater correctly. I surfed the web and read a number of articles on the subject. My favorite is this one from See Eunny Knit

Armed with all this information, I set out to block my sweater pieces. Since I'm knitting with a wool/cotton blend -- Main Line from KnitPicks -- and since I didn't trust myself not to burn the heck out of myself with a steam iron -- I decided to go with wet blocking. Above you see the pieces soaking in my bathtub.

Next, I spread trash bags on top of the quilt on the bed in my guest bedroom. I started pinning. The bed made a great place to lay out everything. The pins sank into the quilt and held. I worked about an hour getting this all in place. I liked that I could even pin places (often where the thread is knotted on the backside) where the ribs were crooked.

I left the pieces on the bed with the window open. They should be dry enough by tomorrow to sew together. Then I'll need to sew in the zipper and put on the trim.

I'll let you know how it goes. Do any of you have tips for blocking?

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm Really Really Sorry but --

I'm apologizing in advance for what I'm about to do to you but I am, as has been noted, an enabler.

So here's the story. I've been once again bitten by the Wash Cloth Bug. Yes, the same Wash Cloth Bug that bit my butt last year and sent me into a shrieking, hideous fit of borderline insanity as I struggled with Cotton Chenille and pretty much cursed up a storm between knits and purls. I made the mistake of thumbing through Mason-Dixon Knitting again and there were those damn dish cloths and those double damn wash cloths and all that praise for Peaches and Creme (sic) yarn and well, I caved.

I'm easy. I'm a roundheels when it comes to yarn and knitting. A streetwalkin' hussy who would ply her trade in front of Patternworks in NH or WEBS in MA if she wasn't 57 . . .

I have to knit the Ball Band Dishcloth. I absolutely have to. It's out of my control. There's some force dragging me, kicking and screaming, back into the fray.

But what is that Peaches & Creme yarn? How do you find it if you don't have a LYS? I did a bit of Googling and found some goodies.

You can order Peaches & Creme directly from the manufacturer (Elmore-Pisgah)!! It's dirt cheap! Shipping was dirt cheap! The colors are gorgeous! And they even take Pay Pal.

Click here to visit them and see what I mean.

The other oft mentioned source for kitchen cotton is Lion Brand, an old favorite of mine. Did you know you can order directly from the Lion Brand website? All those wonderful yarns, every color they make, easy as pie. And they ship at the speed of light too. (Something I know from experience.) Their kitchen yarn is available right here. (Lion Cotton yarn as opposed to Cotton-Ease, which is geared toward knitted wearing apparel.)

I figured out that I tinked over 1000 stitches yesterday. No wonder I'm cranky. Ten more rows and I can divide for the sleeves and continue down the body of the sweater from hell. Okay, so it's not really the sweater from hell but it's going to make me a few more days to recover from the horror of it all.

To be continued . . .

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Queen, Meryl Streep, and a Major Tinkastrophe

The last few days have been completely out of whack. I mean, how bizarre is this: a tornado grows in Brooklyn! Yes, a tornado. A twister dropped down one block to the left of my pal Kali, lifted up, then dropped down again one block to the right of her house, leaving damage everywhere it touched.

I grew up in Queens. Queens and Brooklyn are conjoined twins. We didn't have tornadoes in Queens. We had subway flashers, garbage strikes, and hot summers but we didn't have tornadoes.

What the hell--??

The storm that produced the twister raised some havoc here in central NJ as well. The show started around 2 a.m. and continued until almost 6, a hellish combination of endless, freakish rolling thunder and the kind of lightning that illuminates the sky and doesn't go away. The first hour was interesting (albeit in a weird kind of way) but by hour two I was starting to freak out. What's with the rolling thunder this year? I'm accustomed to the big loud bursts of noise, the jagged spears of lightning that come and go, not these end-of-the-world displays that just don't stop.

Is it any wonder I dreamed that Goldisox expressed untoward interest in The Queen and Meryl Streep? I woke up in an absolute fury with him. Poked him in the side and told him my heart was broken, that I couldn't believe he betrayed me that way, and my God, the Queen wasn't even wearing the ermine robe and the good jewelry, but one of her Balmoral walking outfits. You know the one I mean: sensible shoes, heavy woolen skirt, rain jacket, and the ever-present babushka around her head. To make it stranger, that cozy little menage a trois went walking together in our old Queens neighborhood (hmm . . . Queens . . . the Queen . . . ) by the railroad tracks.

Yeah. That could happen.

Kind of explains why I found a major mistake in my top-down sweater this morning and had to tink 5 long, LONG rows (took over three hours) and redo it. If I'd been knitting the sweater for me I would have made a mistake on the other side and considered it part of the design, but this was for the (unfaithful wretch) Goldisox so I bit the bullet and redid. I suppose I could have ripped back and picked up the stitches but there was something weird about the yarn. I ripped back about five stitches and they all somersaulted into the stitches below them like they'd been planning a jail break. Tinking was a major p-i-t-a but for me it was the way to go.

What a long strange week it's been.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Observations . . .

Daughter 1: Hey Mom, the FedEx truck is here, and the guy won't get out. I think he's scared of the dogs.
Me: Must be new.
Daughter 2: He's cute. Come look.
Me: I don't have a shirt on. You rescue him.
Door slams. Dogs stop barking. Time passes.
Door opens.
Daughter 1, walking back inside: Hey Mom, you got a box from Interweave Press.
Me: My scratch-n-dent knitting books! Give me the box!
Daughter 1: Stay away from the window, Mom! He's still out there.
Daughter 2: He's cute.
Me, emerging from the hallway, having changed from my stinky barn-cleaning clothes into something less fragrant: Hey, the new FedEx guy's cute.
Daughter 1, already opening the box: Yeah, and he brought dog biscuits.
Daughter 2: Not the green ones. (This is important because my dogs dislike the green ones.)
Daughter 1: Yeah, the old FedEx guy must've warned him. Look, she got a book of dog sweater patterns.
Daughter 2 sneers in disgust: I can't believe you're going to make yippy dog sweaters.
Me: I need coats for the winter lambs & goat kids. The patterns should work for them.
Daughter 2: Oh, that's okay then.
Daughter 1 holds up the books: Hey, what do men and dogs have in common?
Hint: Check out the photo above.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fortune Magazine article on Jimmy Beans Wool

I don't know why I Googled Jimmy Beans after sending off the last post but I did and I came up with a fascinating article about the store from July Fortune Magazine.

Click here to read it.

The whole thing is intriguing (young Silicon Valley couple decide to open a yarn shop in 2002 and it explodes into a $1,000,000 per annum business!) but the most provocative statement is the observation that knitting's popularity has peaked.

What do you think? Are we as hot as we were two years ago or is the craze settling down into something more permanent?

Caveat Knitter

Beware Ravelry all ye who expect to get anything other than knitting-related stuff accomplished after entering their glittering portals.

OMG! It is beyond wonderful. It makes me feel all super-organized and on top of things. Even my stash. (And being on top of my stash is akin to being on the summit of K2.)

I tried to copy a print screen of the Books section for you but so far no luck in saving it to JPG or BMP.

I urge you to put your name on the list (pretend it's 1979 and you're trying to get into Studio 54) (although why anyone would ever wait on line for the pleasure of having some bouncer say you're not hot enough to play with them is beyond me) and wait patiently for your number to be called. It's well worth it. (And it's an egalitarian wait, strictly chronological.)

There's a real energy to the place; you can feel the powerful surge of knitterly strength bursting the cyberseams.

I was dubious at best initially. I can't say I particularly cared one way or the other about joining in.

Boy, am I ever glad to be wrong.

BTW, we're talking about Ravelry.

And for being so generous and allowing me to jump up and down and rave about Ravelry, here's another wonderful on-line knitting vendor. Jimmy Beans Wool ships at the speed of light and has one of the best collections of patterns I've ever seen. Lots of Knitting Pure & Simple top downs, Oat Couture, Fiber Trends, all the stuff I love. And Kureyon! Click here to see what I mean.

I didn't quite get as far on the top-down cardigan as I'd hoped but I made some progress.

And yes, I would have made more if I hadn't been sucked into the Ravelry madness . . .

Saturday, August 04, 2007

From the goodness of my heart . . .

. . . and because if I'm going to be buried in a giant mountain of yarn I want company, I bring you a few more yarnal temptations:

Herrschners - you do know about Herrschner's, don't you? Kind of old school in feel, lots of stamped and counted cross stitch, some embroidery kits, and lots and lots of surprisingly upscale yarn choices (e.g. Noro, Debbie Bliss) at very good prices when on sale. Sign up for their sale email notifications and pay attention! The good stuff literally flies out the door within an hour or so.

Wool Needle Work - odd name, great selection at nice discounts. I think it's a Canadian company.

Alpaca Direct - not necessarily sale priced, but gorgeous stuff. (Not just yarn, btw, but other alpaca-related items)

I'm having way too much fun working the neck-down cardigan. Highly recommended pattern.

And did I tell you I joined Ravelry? I need another knitting time sink like I need a hole in the head, but their stash management section is FAN-TAS-TIC! I've only typed in a tiny percentage of my stash but I'm loving the experience. Oh, and there's this: you can enter your books in a personal "library" and the covers magically appear on bookshelves! (I'm a sucker for stuff like that--don't ask how much time I spent playing with that feature.) I'm "wickedsplitty" on Ravelry. If you're there, please say hello!


Friday, August 03, 2007

Occasions of Sin

I told you Smiley's was dangerous, didn't I? I wish you could have seen Goldisox's face this time last summer when three humongous boxes landed on our front porch with a very big thud. All from Smiley's, all chockful of (I should be ashamed to admit this but I'm not) Red Heart yarn. I like to crochet nice thick cage blankets for animal shelters and even though wool sounds wonderfully warm and inviting, something machine washable and dryable is a much better bet. Red Heart works perfectly. Besides, I have a theory that bright colors and pleasing combinations might draw the eye of someone looking to adopt a rescue pet into their family.

Anyway, even though I should take pity on your credit card balances, I want to direct you over to Elann. See the What's New button in the upper left-hand corner? Click on it and prepare to be dazzled by the number of full-bag blowout sales currently in progress. It isn't often that you can score over 1000 yards of high-quality yarn for $20. Also, Ann Budd has a sock book out and my beloved Twisted Sisters just released a sweater book which is cause for celebration.

And did I tell you that Interweave Knits published a Felting magazine? I'm dying to get my hands on it. I don't know about anyone else but I'm going to Get Felted this November and December and you're invited to join me. More about that soon.

I cast on this afternoon for the top-down zip-front sweater for Goldisox. I'm using the heathery medium blue Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky, US6 and US8 needles. I'm halfway through the shoulder increases and hope to be dividing for sleeves by this time tomorrow night. There's something almost irresistibly addictive about knitting top-down sweaters. It's worse than eating potato chips. Once I start, I can't seem to stop. One more row . . . come on . . . that book you're writing can wait . . . one more row . . . maybe finish the increases . . . you know you want it . . .

Sorry. Can't write any more. Gotta knit just one more row before I go back to work.

Belated prize winner

Sorry, I forgot to announce that Vicki Tallman won the second ToFUTsies skein. Congratulations, Vicki!

As soon as my schedule settles down a bit, I promise to head back to the LYS for another Malabrigo prize. Everyone seemed to like that and I'm always up for a yarn-buying expedition, especially for such a good cause. ;-)

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Last year I went a little crazy during a Smiley's Yarns summer sale. Our basement is now snugly insulated with mountains of Red Heart Acrylic worsted and tidy bundles of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in the old, bright, vivid colors I love.

Fair warning: they're running another sale right this very minute right here. Red Heart Symphony for 99 cents. Paton's Divine (which is quite divine) for $3.99. Lots of Lion Brand baby yarns for teeny tiny prices.

Have fun!

And don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Too Much Isn't Even Close To Enough!

I'm on a knitting high. I want to start fifteen new projects. I want to knit for a living. I want to roll around in yarn, decorate my person with stitch markers, and paper the walls with lace charts.

The second I finished the baby sweater I was on fire to start something new. I've been digging around in stash, searching for exactly the right yarns and have been rewarded with some lovely choices.

See the mustachioed gentleman over there? I'm going to knit that for Goldisox (probably with buttons at his request, although I lean toward the ziper) in a gorgeous heathered medium blue Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky wool. The pattern is another one of those fabulous top-downs from Knitting Pure and Simple.

Remember how I raved about the new Vogue Knitting last week? Well, the new Interweave Knits arrived today and I swear to you I am in a Yarn Swoon right now. It's close to the perfect issue, second only to my beloved Spring 2004, the sight of which causes me to hyperventilate. This issue is rich with patterns, articles, ideas, magic. You know how some magazines practically levitate off the stands and into your hands? I swear this one spiraled out of my mailbox, up the driveway, and into my heart. If you need something to reactivate your knitting mojo, baby, this is it!

Take a look for yourself.

See that handsome man on page 55? I think that's Jared Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed, the designer and knitter of that gorgeous Cobblestone Pullover. Knitters, it's knit in the round! The only seams are underarm seams! It's shown in Classic Elite Skye Tweed and -- even better news -- CEST is ON SALE RIGHT NOW at WEBS for $3.29 and $3.99 per skein, depending on color.

And how about the Snowflake Socks? Chrissy Gardiner designed them. The chart is easy-peasy and (how cool is this?) they're knitted up in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport which means faster progress.

Last but not least, I practically danced around the room when I saw Michele Rose Orne's Composed Mitts. Probably not the easiest knit on the planet but OMG would they be worth it! She uses Blue Sky Alpaca Sport Weight on US4s.

Great designs! Great textures! Great colors! Hottie designers! Short of delivering itself with a pitcher of margaritas and a cabana boy, IK couldn't have done any better.

The Sweater-That-Never-Ends

Okay, I’ve done the front.

I’ve done the back.

I’m halfway through one long black sleeve.

And I’ve stopped. (Yes, I know I should be doing both sleeves at once but I didn’t get that excellent piece of advice until I’d already started the first one and I couldn’t mentally shift gears.)

What’s left? Finish the first sleeve. Start and finish the second sleeve. Sew the whole thing together. Knit the collar on and stitch it down. Put buttons on the front pocket. Install a zipper (which is a whole other ball of wax I’ll be consulting you experienced types on when the time comes). It’s very daunting.

Right now the only thing that keeps me from putting the whole schlemeggy (sp?) in a dark corner of the attic is the fact that I love my mother-in-law and her birthday is in September. Of course, there’s always Christmas….

My question for all you pros is: how do you keep yourself going on a really long project like this one? What methods do you use to keep your interest up?