Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lace Knitting in Paradise

That's my Arctic Lace scarf draped over a sculptural piece of driftwood on the North Shore of Oahu. Beside it is the gorgeous lei I was presented with at our hotel's luau.

I am happy to report that my No. 3 bamboo needles passed the airport security inspection and accompanied me on my looooooooong flight to Hawaii. Lace knitting is a perfect way to pass the time on a ten-hour flight; it requires just enough concentration to keep your mind off the fact that you're 36,000 feet up with nothing between you and the ground except very thin air (can you tell I'm a white-knuckle flyer?) but doesn't tax the mind overmuch the way revising a book proposal does (can you also tell that I took the book proposal on the flight and didn't touch it?)

I wasn't sure if the needles would get through so I had my lifeline threaded through the last row, ends securely tied together, just in case I had to sacrifice the needles to the war on terrorism. But the screener didn't even flinch.

One evening I was so exhausted by the delights of Hawaii that I even sat and knitted on our lanai overlooking the blue, blue sea. Mostly though I was out on the beach or kayaking to a volcanic island or eating sushi so fresh it practically swam off the plate. Can you tell I really liked Hawaii? There will be more on that later, after I sort through all the photos I took (over 700, but, don't worry, you won't have to look at all of them).

Because I love you guys on RTY, I thought of you even whilst immersed in paradise. I couldn't find a knitting shop but I did find these beautiful earrings which are based on a Hawaiian quilt design and brought them back as a prize for some lucky knitter.

If you'd like to enter the drawing to win them, send me an email at I'll draw a winner on Monday, August 11th. (I don't want anyone to miss the drawing due to a vacation!)


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lots o'winners

I ended up not being where I thought I would be, doing what I thought I would be doing, when I thought I'd be doing it.

But I'm back with some winners:

#25 - Amy R

#26 - Harriet W

#27 - Denise (Knitting Without Needles)

#28 - Trish

#29 - Betty

#30 - Cheryl

Huge congratulations to everyone!

I'm halfway finished with a second BSJ. Work continues apace on the World's Biggest Garter Stitch Blanket. And I'm timidly dipping my needles into the murky waters of Lace.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Tale of Two Cardis . . . and Winner #24!

Congratulations to Jane C, our winner #24!

(BTW, thanks to everyone for the great knitting superstitions. One, in particular, hit home. I'll tell you about that tomorrow.)

It was the best of designs. It was the worst of designs. Mostly, however, it was my fault for opting out of the original design when the original was so clearly perfect.

It's a Knitting Pure & Simple top-down cardigan (#264) by Diane Soucy. It's easy, fun, everything you could ask for. And Goldisox wanted buttons. He really wanted buttons. God knows why, but he did. And being a Good Wife, buttons I gave him.

Unfortunately the buttoned-up cardi made him look like Ozzie Nelson, which wasn't exactly what I was going for.

I knew I had to make changes but didn't gather up the knitterly energy until this week when it all suddenly came clear to me. I removed the buttons. I lightly basted the button bands to the body of the sweater, creating a facing that would give the industrial-weight zipper more stability. I hand-sewed the zipper in. (Funny how those old dressmaking skills from years ago [when the only clothes I could afford were the ones I made for myself] dusted themselves off and pitched in to help.) Then I picked up stitches around the neckline and followed the directions for the shawl collar.

Et voila! A truly terrific sweater!

It doesn't droop like that on a real live human of the male persuasion but right now I can't get my resident human male to put the sweater on outside so I can photograph it but I'm working on him. This makes it look deeply v-necked but it isn't.

I am completely delighted.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This Will Be Quick

Like I said, this will be quick. It has to be. I'm trying to post it between tornado warnings. Yes, tornado warnings in central New Jersey. Has the world gone mad? We're not supposed to have tornados in central New Jersey. Then again as far as I'm concerned we're not supposed to have 36 hour thunder/lightning storms from hell either.

Winner #23 is Nephele! Big loud congratulations, Nephele. Watch your email for my note.

Did I mention last night that the buttons came from As Cute As A Button? I should have. I also wanted to tell you (and did tell you in the first, vanished post) about revamping the sweater I made for Goldisox last year around our anniversary. I'm insufferably proud of the mods, the zipper, the everything and hope to have nots and pics tomorrow.

Unless, of course, I wake up in Oz . . .

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Winners #21 and #22 plus beautiful buttons

I had an entire blog post typed up right here and ready to go. I hit PUBLISH and you guessed it. The dark demons of the internet swallowed it whole.

I'm too depressed to try again but promise to give it my best shot tomorrow.

But I will say congratulations to our winners

#20 - Cristina
#21 - Redhawkmom

And in case you're wondering why I'm posting another photo of the Baby Surprise Jacket, it's because the tiny pink heart-shaped buttons arrived today, I sewed them on, and I'm officially in love.

More about that tomorrow after I recover from this blogging tragedy.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Winners #19 and #20 . . . and a question for you

We have two more winners:

1. Elizabeth
2. Megan (ikisti on Ravelry)

Three cheers!! I'm glad you found us.

And of course the month is still young. There are more goodies yet to be won so stick around.

Now that I've buttered you all up with yarn promises, I have a favor to ask of you. Remember that old knitterly superstition that warns single knitters about the dangers inherent in knitting a sweater for a sweetheart. You know the one. You knit him a gorgeous Fair Isle or luscious cashmere Cobblestone and the son of a whatever walks out the door and straight into the arms of some do-nothing who wouldn't know knit from purl if the instructions were written on her--well, you get the picture.

I just can't believe that's the only knitter's superstition out there. There must be more. If you know any, I hope you'll share in the comments. I'm toying with an idea and need all the help I can get.

Thank you!! (Sorry. It's a two !! kind of night.)

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Winners 17 & 18 . . . and A Plan

Let's take care of the fun stuff first. Winners #17 and #18 are:

Elizabeth and Martha! Congratulations to both of you. I'll ship your prizes tomorrow.

I had a brainstorm last night. A true Eureka! moment. You know how you blink your eyes and it's the end of September and the holidays are starting to breathe down your neck and you know you'll never in a million years finish all the things you want to finish for the people you love and why didn't you start knitting sooner . . . like back in July?

Yep. I'm starting. Actually let me amend that: I've started. I decided (this is brilliant) (it really is) to cast on for a number of the items I know I want to knit up as gifts. Maybe do a row or two just to truly commit myself to the project. Bag 'em in Ziplocs with all the necessary yarns, needles, extra doodads. That way I can reach for a bag in spare moments and actually accomplish something other than moaning about how I'd love to be working on another Vintage Velvet scarf but I just don't feel like casting on and knitting the onerous first row.

Last night I started a bright yellow and white Baby Surprise Jacket in Berroco Comfort on Addi Lace 24" US6s and a pair of pink Regia Silk socks on 32" Knit Picks Options #3, Magic Loop. I want to start two Vintage Velvet scarves, restart the Sea Foam scarf, and (even though I swore I'd never knit another one) a Fiesta La Boheme Famous Shawl, and a sweater for Goldisox. Pattern to be determined. Oh yeah, and continue working on the Elizabeth Zimmermann Garter Stitch Blankets . . . and the Log Cabin.

And write a book.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PURRRR-fect Contentment (OT)

This has nothing to do with knitting (unless you count all the hair the cat is shedding as potential yarn) but I just thought it was too good a picture to pass up. This is Squeaky, the stray cat who showed up skinny and starving at our house two winters ago. She hasn't missed many meals since, and it shows. Ah, but that's okay. She's a lover and we love her lots.

Back to the book in progress. I'm envying Barbara's word flow as mine has slowed to a trickle. But such is the writing life.

I'm almost finished lining my purse. That's been more difficult than I imagined it would be as well. And I've started a V-neck pullover knit from the top down in a pretty lime green Silky from The Olde Stash. Unfortunately, I've had to tink twice but now I think I have the hang of it. I'll have photos (and more giveaway sock yarn) soon.

Maybe my problem with my writing and my knitting is I'm trying too hard to be perfect.

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Winner #16 . . . and Insomnia Redux

Is it insomnia if you're perfectly happy to be awake and the words are still there? I'm not sure. I probably shouldn't have bothered going upstairs to bed at the ungodly early hour of 1:30 a.m. Once again my brain whirred into action the second my head hit the pillow and within minutes I knew courting sleep was a waste of time. So here I am again, virtuously ignoring my knitting in favor of work.

Except for this blog and our latest winner:

#16 is Knitnana who could be found here. Hooray!

Hope all of you in my time zone are sound asleep.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Winner #15

Winner #15 (can you believe July is half gone?) is Naomi who can be found right here. Check your inbox, Naomi, and congratulations!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Winner #14 and the BSJ

I'm delighted to announce that Teabird (also teabird at Ravelry) is winner #14. In the interest of full disclosure, Teabird was my favorite librarian when I lived on Long Island. This is what I love about the internet--how else would we have found ourselves back in contact again after twenty years?

Remember it's not too late to enter. Just send me an email with TWO in the subject header and I'll make sure you're in the running.

And now let me present my finished Baby Surprise Jacket. No buttons yet but other than that I'm finished and pretty happy with it. Yes, it's a circus-y, cotton candy kind of BSJ--not at all the crunchy granola BSJs I've seen. Acrylic, baby! Machine washable and dryable Lion Brand Baby Soft Print in Carousel for the body; Lion Brand BSP in bubble gum pink for one stripe and Stylecraft Wonderbaby in powder blue for the other. I used an Addi Turbo US5 lace needle (circ 32") and edged it with slip stitch crochet.

And now that I know what I'm doing and understand the pattern, I'm going to cast on and do it all over again in yellow and white Berroco Comfort.

What did I learn about knitting the BSJ?
  1. Do not change colors during the 10 ridge/90 stitch section or you'll be pushing ends out of the way when you're trying to cleanly pick up stitches along the side.
  2. Add stripe or two right after the initial 5 stitch increases on either side; that will give you lovely stripes right above the cuffs.
  3. If you're using a busy yarn (which I definitely was) follow Meg Swansen's suggestion and use a coilless safety pin to mark the two neutral stitches. You'll be glad you did.
  4. Get yourself a copy of Meg Swansen's Baby Surprise Jacket DVD. It made all the difference.

Highly recommended knitting experience.

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Winner #13

Hooray for Sharon K, our winner #13!

Yes, the circus has come to town! Details tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

All thumbs - winner #12

I am typing this with my thumbs. I am using my kindle. i do not like typing w/my thumbs. Why? because I am not 16 yrs old.

Hooray for Kim from Frozen Kiwiland!

Iam in Atlantic City. Yes, I am. We walked the boardwalk, ate cotton candy, jumped a few waves, gambled a few quarters, ate crab (he did; not me) and ice cream (both of us) and I finished the bSj.

Pics tomorrow. Heading out to the boardwalk one more time.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Winner #11

Big congrats to Connie B (who can be found here), our winner #11!

Weird day. I wrote a lot and knitted a little this morning. I wrote a little and knitted a lot this afternoon. I am 1.5 ridges away from finishing the Baby Surprise Jacket. Then all I have to do is seam the shoulders, sew on the buttons (when they arrive), and do a slip stitch crochet edging. I'm debating a collar. What do you think?


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Winner #10

Please excuse me. I have no brain. (And apparently no social skills.) I have been spending way too much time with my imaginary friends and not enough time with actual human people. I babbled like an idiot at the poor new mail carrier today. I heard this stream of gibberish spilling out and I actually started blushing as soon as the sounds hit the air waves. I wanted to suck them back in like those strands of spaghetti Lady and Tramp shared but it was too late. They were out there and I was a dead woman.

"Oh, what's that? You didn't ask how my summer was? That's okay because I'm not a summer person I'm an autumn person . . . oh, you didn't ask that either? You just wanted me to sign for that box . . . okay . . . boy am I feeling stupid . . . it must be summer . . . not my favorite month . . . wait . . . summer's not a month . . . it's a season . . . I probably should just go in now and crawl under the bed."

Unfortunately that's close to verbatim. I'm telling you I could hear the words before they came out. I knew they were stupid. And I still couldn't stop them! I swear they had a life of their own. And probably evil intent as well.

The poor guy is going to be afraid to deliver to this house from now on and I don't blame him.

On a happier note, here's winner #10:


Look for my email, Gladys. I'll need your snail mail address. Congratulations!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Winner #9

Three cheers for Linda Ladwig, our winner #9. Check out Linda's blog - I know you'll love it.

The day completely got away from me but I did find time to work on the Baby Surprise Jacket which all of a sudden started to actually make sense to me. I could see the sleeves! I could see how the cast-on turned into cuffs. I suddenly got where the neck edge was. It's a totally amazing knitting experience, well worth the new grey hairs and my increased vocabulary of four-letter words.

More about that tomorrow!


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Winner #8

And winner #8 is:
Crystal Broyles!

I have your snail mail address, Crystal. The package will ship in the morning.

More writing than knitting today. I managed an inch on the cursed BSJ and regretted starting it in stash yarn and not picking something more . . . subdued. But so be it. I'm also muttering a few choice words over EZ's challenging (how's that for a diplomatic word?) instructions. Her designs are revolutionary. Her conceptual skills border on genius. But why oh why did she think some of us are smarter knitters than we are?

If we're not supposed to count the neutral stitches, please tell me! If we are supposed to count them, please tell me that too. IT'S IMPORTANT!!!

Sorry. I had to get that off my chest.

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The Last Knit

Just sticking my head in quickly to tell you all to check out this video on YouTube:

The Last Knit.

You may have seen it before as it's been around a while, but if you haven't, check it out. It's a hilarious knitting cartoon...and scary, too. I could see myself in that situation...

Hope you all had a terrific holiday weekend!


Monday, July 07, 2008

I Didn't Mean To Do It . . . and Winner #7

<--Baby Surprise Jacket in the early stages. It really looks like crap here, doesn't it? Like a baby circus tent in the making. A bad baby circus tent. I promise you it's looking better now.
I didn't mean to cast on for a Log Cabin. I swear I didn't. All I wanted to do was start another piece of the EZ Garter Stitch blanket. But you know how it is. I meant to grab ivory Sirdar Nova and I ended up 20 rows in before I realized I'd grabbed Sirdar Highlander. I don't want to mix my Novas with my Highlanders in a blanket (care issues) so I decided that the Highlander will become a Log Cabin. And I've always wanted to knit a Log Cabin blanket.

So now I have the hot pink OCEAN CURRENTS scarf OTN; the taxi-cab yellow EZ; the Cascade Eco EZ; the Sirdar Highlander Log Cabin; and a Baby Surprise Jacket.

And did I mention I'm writing a book that's due sooner rather than later?

Kept you waiting, didn't I? I wanted to draw out the suspense a little . . .

Winner #7 in our Yarnapalooza Giveaway is Diane Kurchmann. Look for an email from me, Diane, and congratulations!

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Winner #6 and something to make you cry

Congratulations to Lynne Gabbe-Harkcom, winner #6!

And because there was no sunlight today and my flash photos look like absolute crap, I'm bringing you something from You Tube that made me cry my eyes out. I cried so hard I nearly short-circuited the laptop. I found it on author Susan Wiggs's blog and then all over You Tube.


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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Winner #5

Hooray for Stacey (Purling Dervishes) because she is Winner #5!

Remember there's still plenty of time to enter. Just send me an email at wickedsplitty with TWO in the subject header and I'll do the rest.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth (Winner) of July!

Today's prize package goes to Sarah R! (You can read Sarah's blog right here.) Sarah, check your email for my note, okay? And happy knitting!

In honor of Independence Day (the historical event, not the movie) (I love the movie) (should I be embarrassed to admit that?) (Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum striding toward us through the desert, all tall and lanky and backlit; it just doesn't get any better than that) I want to tell you a story.

My Grandpa Larry was 100 when he died in 1997. He was easily one of the most patriotic human beings I have ever known -- the real kind of patriotism, too. Oh, he was a flag-waver (no doubt about that!) but he also put his money where his mouth was by fighting in three wars (World Wars I and II and Korea) and serving for 20 years as a mounted policeman with the NYPD. He grew up poor and alone on the Kansas plains at the turn of the last century and somehow found himself living what has to be one of the most fascinating lives I've ever encountered. He sailed across those plains in a prairie schooner, shook hands with Teddy Roosevelt, and was featured on the front page of the New York Daily News on the day Lindbergh received his ticker tape parade.

He was half Chippewa, half Scots-Irish, and to quote him, "100% American," and I only wish I had been smart enough to capture all of his stories before he died. (I also wish my family hadn't been so damned secretive but that's a whole other issue.) He was also an amateur artist who dabbled in watercolors, oils, sculpting, and managed to turn the practical business of sailor's knots into works of art I treasure. He created this banner for the Bicentennial in 1976. (He was 79 at that time -- a man in his prime!) This photo doesn't do it justice. This story doesn't do Grandpa justice.

(Did I mention he had five wives??)

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Favorite Things . . . and winner #3

Congratulations to Carol, our third winner! Depending on circumstance, your prize will go out on Saturday or Monday morning. BTW if you have a website or blog, let me know and I'll share it right here.

I've been meaning to respond to Liz's wonderful Favorite Things post from a few days back. I'm so late now I might as well do it right here.

1. Favorite Project Ever: Vintage Velvet from Scarf Style. Totally satisfying on every level: the yarn (Touch Me) was scrumptious, the pattern (reverse cabling) was entertaining, the process of lightly felting/fulling was positively magical. The transformation was honestly breathtaking. Highly recommended.

2. Favorite Needles: Knit Picks Options (although I have an old nylon Susan Bates circular that I absolutely love)

3. Favorite all-around yarn: Noro Kureyon

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Excuse Me For Yawning . . . and Winner #2

Yes, it's really 5:18 in the morning and no, I didn't just get up. I've probably mentioned--oh, like a thousand times--that we're night owls around here. In true night owl fashion we went up to bed around two and boing! My damn eyes shot open and all the words I couldn't force onto the screen during a long hard day of writing suddenly began to spill from one side of my brain to the other.

I heard voices, okay? Characters talking to me faster than I could listen. Clearly there was no way I was going to be able to sleep with all the yakking going on and besides, I've been in this business long enough to know you never remember all the things you think you're going to remember. This was a gift, a winning lottery ticket. Time to haul my lazy butt back downstairs, fire up the computer, make a cup of tea, and go back to work.

Which is what I've been doing the last few hours. I almost succumbed to the siren song of my garter stitch blankets but I stayed strong and captured what I needed to capture.

Now I think I'm going to reward myself with scrambled eggs and hot sauce.

And a brand new Yarnapalooza winner: Heide Presson whose wonderful blog came be found right here. The package goes out first thing this morning.

Oh wait. It's already first thing this morning, isn't it? Time for more caffeine . . .

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

11 Inches of Mobius Scarf

There it is: all the progess I've made so far on the (somewhat altered) Mobius Scarf from Arctic Lace. It's not quite 11 inches' worth.
My husband keeps asking me how many man-hours have gone into it (he listens to a lot of cursing when I have to rip back to the life lines) and I tell him he's missing the whole point of knitting: it's not about the product, it's about the process.
I think a lot of people don't get that about knitting. It would be vastly cheaper and more efficient for me to go out and buy a lace scarf but that wouldn't give me the pleasure of making something beautiful with my hands. It also wouldn't keep me entertained through endless innings of Yankees baseball.
Writing is the same sort of thing. I could write faster and more efficiently than I do but then I wouldn't enjoy the process itself. Nor would my books be as good. Good books need time to percolate in my subconscious, for the characters to fill out all their dimensions, and for the plot to thicken. I love spending time with my characters and I don't want to race through to the end because then I have no excuse for hanging out with them anymore.
So this started out being a post about lace knitting and somehow changed completely (just like my books do).
So tell me what knitting is about for you: process or product? Or both?

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Big Yellow Taxi (and Yarnapalooza Winner #1)

The plan is this: I'll post every day this month (I can't believe I'm typing those words) and among other things, I'll announce the day's winner.

That said, can we have a drum roll please for our July 1 winner Chris Silker who can be found here. Chris, you'll find an email in your inbox. I have your package ready to ship in the morning.

See that big blob of eye-searing yellow? That's the first piece in my second EZ Garter Stitch Blanket. (Yes, garter stitch is addictive.) It's from my stash of Sirdar Nova Chunky (Chunky Nova?) and I hope to tone it down a little with some white. Or maybe I'll add orange (another favorite color) and make yarny candy corn. Either way I'm having way too much fun.

I also have Baby Surprise Jacket on the needles. Maybe a picture tomorrow. (I take terrible pictures.) I grabbed some Lion Brand Baby Soft from my stash (The Stash That Ate New Jersey) and jumped into it and it's certainly an interesting experience. More about that tomorrow too.
The hot pink scarf has doubled in length and I'm eyeing some gorgeous Muench Touch Me and thinking of casting on another Vintage Velvet.
Don't you just love this part of knitting when anything's possible and your needles are just dying to be put to good use? No frogging! No tinking! No dropped stitches! I swear I almost think I could knit a wedding ring shawl without lifelines.

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