Sunday, March 21, 2010

Feather and Fan-tastic

Here's the feather-and-fan blanket I made for my new great-niece, Violet. It's folded and ready for the box to ship to TX (along with some other sweet baby things).

In case you can't distinguish the colors, it's pink and Violet (actually, it's lavender but we'll use a little poetic license here), with a hint of orange/pink/yellow in it.

Just curious: What's your favorite baby blanket pattern?


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Friday, March 12, 2010

In Praise of the Ordinary

I call it my Everything Shawl. I've worn it daily all winter long and believe me when I say that's the last thing I thought I'd ever do. I mean, it's mohair. I love mohair, love to knit with it, but mohair itches and I have the type of skin that loves to make me crazy.

The shawl started out as Road Trip Knitting (should that be trademarked??) and it was originally intended to be a cage cover for one of the parrots. I intended to make three huge covers because mohair traps the warmth beautifully, is feather-light (no pun intended), works up fast and looks pretty.

And I had a lot of it in my stash. (Outback Mohair, if you're wondering.) Anyway the plan was to cast on three stitches, knit them, then do K1 YO K1 K rest of row for as many rows as it took me to reach the desired width of the blanket then start decreasing in similar fashion until I was back down to three stitches. Bind off et voila! A finished blanket that would be light, warm, pretty, and useful.

So I started knitting. And knitting. And knitting. And suddenly the wingspan on the thing was well over seven feet and I was sooooo tired of all that garter stitch. What the hell, I figured. I'd loosely bind off. Maybe fringe it one day. And I'd end up with a shawl I'd probably never use in a color that, while pretty, wasn't really me.

Oh well.

Then came the first cold day. I was looking around for something light and unobtrusive to drape over my shoulders when I saw the shawl. Now if you're like me, you haven't made many things for yourself. For some reason most of my knitting goes to someone else. Especially the pretty knits. So I grabbed my huge, kinda ratty looking, shawl (still unfinished! lots of loose ends!) draped it over my shoulders and laughed as the point scraggly ends puddled on the floor at my feet. (Which isn't easy since I'm 5'9" tall. We're talking a lot of shawl here.) What to do? Why not harken back to my European ancestors and wrap the ends across my chest, bring them around back, then forward again to knot them at the waist. Hey! I kind of liked it. The shawl was securely in place. I was warm but not too warm. And it didn't look half bad.

And that was when I fell in love. The shawl isn't pretty. it isn't fashionable. It isn't even finished. But I love it beyond reason. I love it so much that I slept with it over my shoulders every single night. I wrote with it around my shoulders every single day. (I'm wearing it right now.) I draped it over my head to run out for the mail on snowy days. I plunged my fingers through the big accomodating garter stitch holes when I didn't have my hand warmers right next to me.

If anything ever happened to the shawl I would throw it a big funeral and sit right down and knit up another one.

The picture below shows my other two comfort knit favorites of 2010: the socks are from Wendy Johnson's Knit Simple pattern, knit up in Regia Softy. Fun to knit with, incredibly soft and cozy, but they shed inside like a chinchilla so beware when you wash them. The hand warmers are my favorite default pattern - Bonne M. Burns's Voodoo Handwarmers from Knitty a few years back - done up in good old Lion Brand Wool-Ease in denim. I can't tell you how many times they've been through the washer and dryer. I would be lost without them.

Do you have any well-worn favorites?

PS: Thanks for all the great Road Trip suggestions! I'll contact you over the weekend w/questions and hope to mail out yarn next week. xoxo

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Yes, it's true. I've been unfaithful. After years of fighting it, I finally succumbed to the lure of Facebook and I've been posting like a crazy woman the last few weeks. Not my knitting, strangely enough, but cooking photos.

I know, I know. What's up with that? I'm not exactly sure but I've been posting photos of stir fries and homemade granola and all sorts of goofy things and having a lot of fun. My theory? I think I'm posting photos and recipes because that's far easier than actually stringing words together to tell a story. I'm deep in deadline psychosis right now on Sugar Maple #3, SPUN BY SORCERY, and I don't have so much as a syllable left over when I'm enjoying down time. Sometimes the writing is easy; sometimes it's like pulling teeth. I've been having dental nightmares lately so I leave it to you to draw the inference.

I'm starting to put together the back material for SPUN BY SORCERY and am putting out the call for your thoughts on road trip knitting. Do you love it as much as I do? What's your favorite road trip knitting project? You can let me know in comments or email me here and we'll talk.

My favorite road trip knitting? Socks, definitely. Magic Loop. DK weight. Simple stockinette. Nothing taxing. Nothing fiddly. Just lovely round and round as I watch the world roll by the window and let my mind run free. (That makes my mind sound like it normally needs a leash, doesn't it?)

Send me your comments and I'll send you some yarn. (No, I'm not above bribery!) Snail mail addresses go here with ROAD TRIP as the subject.

I can't wait to hear from you.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

And The Winners Are ...

How appropriate the yarn is going out on Oscar night, huh?

And yes, you read that right. There are two winners because it turned out I had an extra Sockin' Sox in the blue/beige color (Color #1).

Congratulations to Sharon Spaulding and Kim Helmick! You've each won the sock yarn I just described. We'll expect pics when you're finished knitting.

Stay tuned, peeps, because I've got more giveaways coming!


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Monday, March 01, 2010

How To Knit A Love Song

I'm so excited! Our own Rachael Herron's first novel, HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG, hits the stands tomorrow and you really, truly owe it to yourself to pick up a copy ASAP.

Am I biased? Yes. Definitely! I'm a shameless fan of Rachael's blog and was thrilled beyond measure when I had the privilege of reading a review copy of HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG last year.

I loved it. Honestly loved it. I loved it so much that it was my favorite fiction read of 2009. It's the one I can't quite get out of my mind. And trust me, knitters, you are going to love it too.

Rachael doesn't know I'm posting this. I may even embarrass her. But there's only one first novel and there's only one Rachael Herron and I couldn't let the moment slip by without shouting from the rooftops: "You've gotta buy this book!"

Mazel tov, Rachael. Enjoy every second of the excitement.

And please write fast, okay?

xoxo from BB

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Help! Looking for a pattern

I have some lovely bamboo/cotton blend yarn I want to use to knit a summer sweater. I'm looking for something with short sleeves, fairly form fitting and not a crew neck. No lace, please. Can anyone point me to a good pattern? Thanks! Cindi