Friday, November 30, 2007

Power Drive '07

I was on my way back from lunch today when I was struck with inspiration and the need to write it down. I am thrilled (there is no other word for this inner golden light) by the feelings of respectful love and true hope. True hope being the deeply held belief that people are/want to be good.

I work at a diesel service shop and distributorship. In September, a coworker and I approached the CFO with the idea of running a food drive over the holidays. He was encouraging, but warned us that giving campaigns had never been successful at our company in the past. He committed to matching whatever we collected (5 pounds = $1) and wished us luck.

With the help of five women with true hope and vision, I am coordinating our company's first Second Harvest food drive. We christened it "Power Drive '07", tuning it to the nature of our industry. Designed as a 6-week drive, we set the goal at 1,000 pounds of food to ensure success. Nothing's more sure to deflate the holiday spirit than an unreachable goal, we reasoned. We create a huge thermometer to show progress in the lunch room. Posters, paycheck flyers, table tents, barrel signs, and inspirational posters were created in Word, and printed at the local OfficeMax.

On November 2nd, the laminated table tents were put on lunchroom tables, the posters hung on doors and walls and in bathroom stalls, the thermometer propped up on an easel in the lunch room, and paycheck flyers sent. We held our breath. How would our fellow 120 employees receive this?

The goal was shattered by the end of week two.

Four weeks into it, we are at 1,690 pounds and climbing. I'm humbled and awestruck at how people can come together when working toward a common goal. It seems to me that the key is to respect the individuality of each person while encouraging each to strive for a higher community self. Somehow, we have accomplished that.

Our people have risen, and it is beautiful.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I have already broken my heartfelt promise of last night to my husband that I would not buy any more yarn until after Christmas. Rats. Damn these Etsy bewitchers with their seductive yarn! In my defense, I bought it because I am almost done knitting a certain someone their Christmas socks and it was my favorite yarn, so I'm sort of replacing it. With something completely different, and it comes with the green contrasting yarn for the heel and toe! The name of the yarn is Whovilles Grinch. The only drawback? I have to knit them up by Christmas so I can wear them to the family gathering. I really didn't think this through, did I?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas List

So... I've tallied up the projects I must complete by December 25th. It's fairly daunting and I think I'm done with knitting socks until the list is complete.

2 smallish purses*
1 larger purse*
3 pairs of felted slippers
1 pair of socks
1 pair of mittens
2 hat/scarf combos

See the asterisks? No pattern there. Have to wing it on those ones.

Oh, dear. I must get going now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The DBS is DONE!

This is what my Saturday morning looked like. Crisp fall air, nice big picture window through which to watch the leaves fall, hot sweet coffee and the DBS. Eleven hours later, I am freeeee.
And here is the finished ensemble:
I embroidered a little butterfly on the hat!

Altogether, I'd say it took me about 40 hours to make the booties, hat, and sweater. I learned a lot. Mostly about how I don't know if I ever want to knit an adult sweater. For now, I can get back to knitting socks. Lots and lots of socks. I hope I have enough yarn...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hand-Painted Sock Yarn, Get Thee Into My Stash

I got ALL of these great links from ONE comment string on What an amazing community of knitters! I bought this beautiful yarn at for a steal at $26, and I feel little to no shame. Sorry, Richard. It was a crime of passion.

Here's a bunch more great links. I checked out every single one. What a great "cruise" through the gelatinous, wobbly, super-saturated world of sock yarn. Ripping off a Tom Robbins quote from Still Life with Woodpecker, hand-painted sock yarn is as ruddy and indiscreet as a plastic sack full of hickeys. Porn for knitters. : Spindlecatstudio : Sunshine Yarns : Yarn by Epicurus : Great little bags perfect for socks or other small projects. : Sophie's Toes : LotusYarns : Sundara Yarns : Woolly Boully : Franklin sock yarn by Kangaroo Dyer. Good yardage, very strong. : Yarn Pirate. GORGEOUS. : YarnChef : DharmaFey : PigeonroofStudios : dkKnits

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How do you eat Cheerios?

This is a general observation, based on a recent conversation with one of my more neurotic coworkers (we get along fabulously). He and I both eat Cheerios (and Rice Crispies) in the exact same way.

1. Pour cereal into bowl.
2. Pour milk over cereal slooowly, making sure to coat each single piece of cereal thoroughly in milk. Use back of spoon to dunk stubborn bits.
3. Sprinkle sugar over cereal evenly, from bowl edge to bowl edge.
4. With spoon, cut straight down through top layer of sugary cereal carefully so as not to disturb other potential bites. Scoop up cereal from directly below sugar crust. Milk to cereal ratio must be precise. If necessary, repeat until this ratio is achieved.
5. Deliberately lift bite away from its sugary brothers and into your mouth.
6. Savor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bag Accompli

My bag is finished. I sewed in the liner last night and attached the tiger's eye bauble today. I love it.

Vegetarian Yarn

I bought my first ball of Tofutsies sock yarn, color # 788, 425 meters (467+ yards). I bought it at a yarn shop I hadn't been to before, The Yarn House in Elm Grove. I was totally jonesing for some great sock yarn and $91 later I have half a tote full. Yes, Richard, if you're reading this, I promise to not buy any more yarn for awhile. Please stop choking. This yarn is knitting up beautifully and feels great running through my fingers. These are my first fingering weight yarn socks and I can feel an addiction beginning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This Damn Baby Sweater

That's the official name of the pattern now. I've declared it; let it be so. No matter how cherubic the baby that wears it, I will forever see this sweater as The Sweater That Would Not End. Sigh. It's coming together, but oh so very sloooowwwly. Saturday morning was four hours of NPR and seaming. Notice how lovely and almost undetectable my side seam is, below:
If I'm going to spend 1/2000th of my life working on This Damn Baby Sweater, it's going to look gorgeous. I'm SO not ready to make a grown-up sweater.

Escape to Noro

This Damn Baby Sweater is killin' me. So I dug into the stash and found something fast and satisfying: a bag. Last weekend one of my LYS's (see list on right - French Knots) had all their Noro at 40% off. I've never understood the lure of Noro. It's kind of scratchy, not very soft at all. The colors are sort of muddy. But it was 40% off, so... I found a pattern for a bag I liked in the Stitch 'n Bitch handbook that I remember had required Noro. I bought 3 skeins (usually $20/ea) of Noro Iro #40 which is 120 meters of 75% wool/25% silk. The original pattern called for 6 skeins of Noro Gemstones and that's extinct, so I used two strands of yarn together. It turned out super thick and sturdy.
In the book it shows the handles being sewn to the very top row of stitching but I liked this look better. I found a cool Tiger's eye charm that I'll dangle from it when it's done. Richard sewed me a liner (with pockets!) out of that beautiful blue sari material. I have the best husband in the world. Sorry, all you single gals, but I've got the best one and I'm not letting him go. Mmmm.
Anyways.. for the yarn around the handles I sort of butchered what was left of the last skein to get the blue, brown, and green lengths separately. I love it.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mouse Cozy

I whipped out this little computer Mouse Cozy today while I stayed home from work sick as a dog. It's a Christmas present and I'm sure the recipient will enjoy it thoroughly. I used a pattern I found online, but instead of expensive merino yarn I went to my local craft store and rummaged through the bargain bin (a few weeks ago, before this hellspawn flu was even a bad dream). I found a Lion Brand Chenille Thick & Quick, color "Old Flannel" ($2). Since I used a completely different yarn, I had to change the pattern considerably. To tell you the truth, I couldn't tell you how or where I changed stuff, but of course I used a LOT less stitches because Chenille is way chunky compared to merino. And I ended up using the back end as the front, because it just ended up tapering better that way. I didn't use an i-cord for the tail because the yarn was too chunky and it would have looked like a gray alligator tail by the time I had three stitches into it, so I just used a single strand of yarn after it was all done. I didn't use the white yarn for the whiskers because I spaced out at the store and bought a clearanced black instead ($2). I just looked a clearanced fuzzy yarn that looked like whiskers to me. Instead of the expensive ribbon yarn they recommended for the nose and eyes, I bought embroidery floss ($.33) and tripled it, then used a yarn needle to make the eyes and nose. It turned out pretty cute, I think!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

O-wool, How I Love Thee

I've knitted a baby hat and booties from this lovely organic 50% cotton/50% merino blend. Although I usually prefer bamboo needles, I recommend using aluminum because this is a stickier yarn. I used the natural off-white color as the main color, and will use the yellow/pink/green skeins for embroidering vines and flowers on them.
I'm also working on a baby sweater using the same colors.
I got all three patterns (hat, booties, sweater) from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, by Louisa Harding.

Outing My Stash

This is my stash. I'm outing it, right here in public. I refuse to pretend to be ashamed of it, like I see so many knitters doing online. I love mine. It's pretty and I picked out every single skein with projects in mind. It's part of the joy of knitting, imagining all the lovely as-yet unknit things to be made. Knitting castles in the sky as you finger a fuzzy nylon, or a sweet as sugar baby sweater with that organic cotton. You can almost feel that rusty blue scarf made from that bulky clearanced yarn. Fingering, handling, buying, knitting, wearing or giving. These are the wonderful things to be done with balls of string. Don't be ashamed to love to dream. When my stash gets too big to use, I will share it with other knitters, or take it to retirement homes and knit with elderly folks who have lots to say and nobody to say it to. This string will never be wasted.

Jelli Beenz Baby Hat and Booties

This Baby Pip Hat snared me as soon as I saw it. After work that night I went to the local craft store and picked up two clearanced 107 yd skeins of Plymouth Jelli Beenz yarn, color # 208. I knit the hat that evening and the Oh! Baby Baby Booties the next. I added the poms; it makes it look like they have tiny floofy noses. Too fun! My hairdresser is having a baby in January and they don't want to know the sex, so this is perfect.

First Socks EV-ER

Aren't these the loveliest socks? I took a beginner sock knitting class and used two 120 yd skeins of Knit One, Crochet Too "Wick" yarn, color # 558, on size 4 DPNS. I can't provide the pattern here because it's copyrighted.

Richard's Hat and Scarf

This is the hat and scarf set that I made my wonderful hubby Richard shortly after I took up knitting again. He had his heart set on having a suuuuper long hat and scarf, and he loved these. The original stocking hat pattern called for stripes, but he chose a variegated yarn that turned out just beautifully. It measures about 4' long with the ribbing.

I made up the "pattern" for the scarf, which was so simple I won't bother making a separate pattern page for it. CO 30 stitches; knit 1 rib pattern for 10 rows, then K30 in garter stitch for 10 rows. Then repeat these two rows until scarf is as long as you like. I made it super long to match the very long hat. I think it looks sort of alpine-y, making me think of a ski lodge.

Second Scarf and Hat

These were made for a good friend of mine for Christmas. The Earflap Hat didn't take long at all. The Color Block Scarf is a very simple pattern that I made up myself. It's all garter stitch but I staggered four colors with three color-block sizes. It's simple but I was delighted at how it turned out.

First Hat (with Matching Scarf)

This was the first hat I ever made. It's got some mistakes but all in all I'm pretty happy with it. Since I was the first child my mom ever made, I'm giving it to her for Christmas. Ahh, synchronicity.

I found the pattern on one of my favorite websites/blogs, I Live On A Farm. The Lavender Hat and the matching Lavender Scarf were too cute to pass up. I'm on my third hat using this pattern with a super soft baby alpaca. I had to mortgage my unborn children but it was worth it.


1st project post-scarf phase: Dish washing cloths.
So as I said, I'm going to use this as a sort of knitting log, to keep track of projects and make notes on them as needed. That said, how cool is it that I get to combine all three of my passions in one place? Photography, knitting, and writing. OMG it's too cool. Anyways, I am going to start out with the very first batch of dish washcloths I ever finished. I used all Lily Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton yarn for these. For the big green/white one I knitted in garter stitch and crocheted around the edge. For the striped yellow one, I played with different textures created by using knits and purls together, and crocheted around the edge. For the pure yellow and smaller green/white one, I used the Classic Washcloth pattern.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Yarn, Knitting, Blogging.. It All Makes Sense Now

This is my first post on my first blog, ever. Even though I've been a programmer and in the IT industry for over ten years, I guess I've been too busy reading/knitting/fighting sociological ills to really notice blogging. How weird is that?
About 4 or 5 years ago I knitted 6 scarves and gave them away and then lost interest in knitting. I guess I just didn't know there was more to it, like purling. So this August, prompted by a friend learning to knit, I re-took up knitting with a vengeance. So far I've made 5 hats, 3 scarves, a pair of socks, a shawl, a baby sweater and 2 pairs of baby booties. My husband knows we can't drive by an unexplored yarn shop without me becoming VERY animated and insistent that we stop. I get even more excited when they're open.
I'd like to make this blog a sort of knitting journal as well as a way to meeting other knitters and get fresh ideas. Mostly, I just like talking about knitting. So at long last, here I am!