Sunday, August 22, 2010

I really should be embarrassed...

It's been a little crazy around here the last few days. Three weeks ago I broke my toe for the second time. The first time I broke the toe was six years ago when I was hurrying out of the bathroom to get downstairs in time to see Regis & Kelly's host chat. How embarrassing is that? Well, this time I was walking across the family room to give Groucho a Cracker Jack and crashed into the hassock. How embarrassing redux, right?

A broken toe is more of an inconvenience than a catastrophe and I was getting around great when The Husband made a running dive to catch a forty pound upright vac that was flying down the staircase under its own steam. He lunged left, vac sailed right, he pivoted, caught the vac but did something ugly to his back.

Moral: Save your back. You can replace a vacuum cleaner. Backs? Not so easy.

So the last few days have been filled with wifely duties, lots of teasing, and lots of knitting while I kept him company upstairs. He's about 80% back to normal and I managed to cast on and complete the gorgeous Burning Embers designed by Kristy Howell.

What a beautifully written, clearly designed, delightfully absorbing project! I can't say enough good things about Kristy Howell or Burning Embers.

Here it is in the just-beyond-cast on stage:

Here it is hot off the needles:

And here it is right now, post-blocking and drying on top of the washing machine:

Next time you see Burning Embers, it will have buttons and be all ready to face the fall with lots of knitterly attitude.

A few details: Knit Picks Harmony US6. Noro Silk Garden #84 - 1.25 skeins.

You have to give this pattern a try!

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Yellow Mohair: We have winners!

Congratulations to Alexis H and Rachel C, winners of the gorgeous yellow New Zealand mohair.

I sent emails to both of you. All I need are your mailing addresses and we're in business. You can send them to me here or at barbarabretton AT gmail DOT com.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mohair Winners!

Yes, two winners!

  • One Sheep Short
  • Kacy Ellis
I sent emails to both.

Since the pretty pink mohair was such a success, how would you feel about a soft lemony yellow?

Same gorgeous NZ mohair, same talented spinner/dyer and two lucky winners.

Send me an email here or here at barbarabretton AT gmail DOT com with YELLOW in the subject header and the wise RNG will pick the winner on Tuesday night.

Good luck!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mohair, anyone?

How about some 12-ply mohair from New Zealand handpainted by Jan Gilray? 100 grams, 200 meters of luscious yarnage to enjoy.

Type NZ MOHAIR in the subject header and zap it off to me here or here at barbarabretton AT gmail DOT com and Saturday night I'll announce the winner.

I finished Thermis the other night but I'm not too thrilled with my choice of needle size or yarn. The truth? The thing is humongous. It's blocking right now (the photo was taken in the laundry room) and maybe the addition of buttons will help but I've always said I loved drapey cowls and now it looks like I may have to eat my words.

BTW, that's trick photography. Sixty percent of the blasted thing is folded underneath...lurking. An easy, fun knit and one I would do over again in a heartbeat. I used Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Aran and US7 needles. I should have used US5 or US6. Live and learn.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another winner!

Sara B from NH won two skeins of Regia Square.

Stay tuned for another giveaway later today. (And more knitting angst.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And we have a winner

The winner of two skeins of gorgeous Regia Square is Marsha C! Now all I need is a mailing address and we're good to go.

And I'll pick another winner tomorrow!

Thanks for the terrific storage ideas. We all seem to have the same problems, don't we? I never thought I'd have an appreciable stash. Stop laughing. I mean it. I thought I'd be a one-project-at-a-time kind of knitter who finished a project before moving on to buying yarn for her next project. Who knew that the yarn itself could be so deeply satisfying...or so beautiful? Some skeins just beg to be left alone in all their pristine glory, displayed in a pretty basket or a glass bowl or just lying around all nonchalant on a bookshelf.

In your dreams, Bretton...

Did I tell you there's a sneak peek of Spun by Sorcery available on my website? Click here and then here. Enjoy!

Monday, August 09, 2010


I am not known for my organizational abilities. In fact, if I am known for anything it's for my lack of same.

Which means the state of my knitting supplies lies somewhere between appalling and downright tragic.

I've been trying to squish everything into my mother's old picnic basket and it's not going well. Some of my circs are currently in zip-lock bags. Some (the Knit Picks Options and Harmonys) are in their little Knit Picks case. Or they would be if I hadn't overstuffed the poor thing so much that it exploded. With the exception of dpns, I've pretty much purged the house of straight needles which is kind of funny since straight needle storage was the one thing I had down cold. (Empty Quaker Oats cylinders. Funky, adorable, practical. Why isn't all of life so easy to contain?)

How do you store your knitting hardware? One of those over-the-door fabric thingies? A taboret like The Wendy uses? Once upon a time I tried sliding my circs into page protectors then filing them in four-inch binders but it seemed ridiculous to use so much shelf space for maybe four ounces of aluminum.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Somebody Stop Me

I need an intervention. Seriously. I can't seem to stop knitting Baby Uggs.

They keep popping onto my needles when I'm not looking and a couple of hours later, there I am embroidering the white fluffy parts and wondering how I ended up with another pair of finished Uggs.

Believe me, they're cuter than the photo would lead you to believe. I should've stuffed the toes with cotton and done all the stuff a serious knitwear photographer would do but I'm a writer, Jim, not a photographer and sometimes the best I can do is point, shoot, and pray.

Speaking of socks, there's still something to be said for the thrill of knitting a very plain sock in a very fanciful yarn. That's Regia 4-fadig Square below and I can tell you it was a pure joy to knit with. Bright juicy colors, fun patterning, Regia quality. Square made plain old stockinette fun.

Did I mention my cowl obsession? It started late last year with Tudora and continues apace. That's the start of Thermis below. I'm about 80% finished now so a (bad) finished photo should be coming in the next day or two.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Kathy M won the evil baby yarn. (Say a prayer for her, okay?)

NEW GIVEAWAY: If you'd like to win two skeins of Regia Square in the colorway shown above, drop me a note here with Square in the subject. Winner will be announced Tuesday evening.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi from Hell

Oh, I know it looks all innocent over there, wide-eyed and pink and oh-so-sweet but don't you believe it for a moment. That cardi is the devil's workshop.

The pattern was beautifully simple, clear, well-written, error-free. You couldn't ask for more. So why oh why did I struggle so much with the #*@*!@( thing?

I'll tell you why: the yarn. Plymouth Baby Boutique (also spelled Boutic on some ball bands) (See what I mean? If the yarn doesn't know its own name how can you trust it?) made me totally crazy. I swear it has a life of its own. It's not meant to be a stretchy yarn but some end-of-row stitches stretched out to three and four times their length. And let me tell you, that's one scary sight when you have almost 300 stitches on your needles and no desire to tink, frog, or jump off a high building.

It's a mystery, that's what it is. A knitting mystery. Stretchy yarn shouldn't stretch like that. And it shouldn't spring back into position as if it never happened. Shouldn't there be a calling card left behind? Some little hint that the knitter at the helm isn't crazy? That the whole now-you-see-it-now-you-don't thing wasn't a figment of her imagination?

Don't answer that.

In case you were wondering, I have been sucked into the Facebook universe and am struggling to return to the land of Blogger where thoughts can be expressed in more than three sentences. But oh how I've come to love Facebook and if you're over there too, please friend me. (I never thought I'd type that sentence. "Please friend me." Friend as a verb. Oy.)

SPUN BY SORCERY is set for release in November and my anxiety attacks are gearing up in preparation. I'm hard a work on Sugar Maple #4 and struggling to come up with a title that combines magic and knitting. And that's a whole lot harder than it sounds.

Because I've missed you (and have an inherently evil streak) drop me a note here with Baby in the subject header and you'll have a chance to win some of that possessed Baby Boutique yarn. But don't say I didn't warn you.

So what have you been up to?

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