Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Knitter's Halloween


It was a dark and blustery October, and Princess Amie was alone in her castle hovel, relaxing after her entertainment with Nessie-the-Sock.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to our fair princess, a cold, cruel wind was beginning to blow.


It began with a certain lack of accountability. You see, Princess Amie had begun a sweater, then stopped working on it for several months. For seven long months, the sweater lounged in a beautiful, high-quality bag, with nothing but charming notions and pretty hand-made stitch markers. And in all those seven months, even knowing that the princess needed to have the sweater finished by the KR Retreat mid-November, the sweater knit NOT ONE STITCH on itself. It lolled about without a care for deadlines or any sense of duty. Complete and blatent disregard for manners. Seriously, not even one tiny stitch. Like that would have been so hard? and here we are ten days from the retreat and just who do we expect to finish this sweater, I ask you that, huh? huh?


Anyway, our plucky princess decided to trudge onward, wielding her needles with lion-hearted verve. But she was completely unaware of the evil spell cast upon her.

The princess attacked the sweater with relish, passion, zeal. But after a full day of working feverishly, she noticed something.

Let's see if you notice it too.
(hint: count the blue spots)

That's right. The spell cast by some anonymous evil necromancer (because clearly this was not Princess Amie's fault!) had caused the princess to skip over two inches of the pattern, and had shaded her eyes so she couldn't see the error for several inches. Frustrated by not ready to abandon hope, the princess gallantly tore the new work out and made the neccessary repairs.

Feeling that, surely, the ill wind was now at her back, Princess Amie went back to her work with glee and jubilation.

But the black arts had not yet faded away.
Yarns which should have switched colors were not doing so, as though possessed with a mind of their own.

But this time the Princess fought back - like a mighty warrior, she ripped the needles from their stitches.

With gusto, she gutted the offending colors.

And with no sign of doubt or hesitation, she tamed the ferocious sweater, conquered the evil spell, and was well on her way to finishing the sweater in plenty of time....
just as soon as she becomes an enchantress and learned that pesky time-altering spell.

(I'm halfway up the back and halfway up one sleeve. I have ten days. Please feel free to freeze time as you choose.)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2006

'Twas the week before Halloween

... and knitters were squirming
as they pulled out the wool stash
to commence with the warming

When what through the lilypads
did come a'splashing
but a spooky Sock Ness Monster
who was also quite dashing

Great for kids and adults
with a great sense of humor
and they'll keep your feet toasty
(and that's not just a rumor!)

For a measly three dollars
you'll get charts and a pattern
and go toe-up to cuff
making monstrous new friends!


$3 gets you a 4-page downloadable PDF file which includes charts and photo instructions to make these charming Sock Ness Monster socks toe up with a Turkish Cast On and Short Row YO Heel. The foot and leg are knit with a monster scale pattern, the back fins are knit on directly with no sewing. The pattern will work with any sock yarn at any gauge, and can be sized to fit any foot... well, any human foot anyway...


Make payments with PayPal - Download with PayLoadz


(What the hey - make two - they're small!)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Til Death Do They Part

A lovely woman I know is now married, as of about 6:30 last night.

It was for her that I spun that gorgeous merino/tencel of Mama E's.

It was for her that I carefully plied it

and washed it

and wound it (with some assistance)

and made this beautiful yarn.

It was for her that I knit this shawl, thinking of all that goes into a marriage, and all that she faces before her.

With a unique variation on a stole shape, a straightforward but elegant lace pattern and a reversible cable edging, this shawl is simple without being ordinary. A simple reversible cable border gives a little weight to the edges, and the pointed stole shape is wearable and flattering to all figures.

The pattern itself is written to be easily adapted to any size, any quantity or weight of yarn, and can even be made into a scarf if you so desire!

For just $6, you can download the 6-page PDF of Suzanne's Wedding Shawl, which includes written as well as charted instructions, with photo extras including tips on making and attaching tassels and a clear photo tutorial on cabling without a cable needle!
Make payments with PayPal - Download with PayLoadz

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Quick! Before they cancel it!

I can pretty much promise you that The Nine is going to be cancelled soon.

The reason I know this is that it is one of the most captivating, fascinating, character-driven programs I've ever seen.

It doesn't center on anyone whose sole purpose seems to act inappropriately sexist and arrogant. It doesn't involve eating digusting things, or flashing breasts for the sole purpose of... well, flashing breasts.

It has compelling, multi-dimensional characters, a gripping, creative plot, and an engaging, riveting cast.

And therefore, it will be cancelled.

Watch it before it is.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Different Spin on Things

We've been innundated with news reports about school shootings lately. We can't get away from them, can we?

And what can we do? Hold our children a little tighter? Be a little more afraid? Judge a little more severely when we hear the next story?

Or do something productive.

Try to put good back into the universe.

Try to push the pendulum back towards the positive.

If you've been reading this blog for any time at all, you know how I feel.

"The opposite of war isn't peace. It's creation."

I choose to not be afraid. I choose to create.

And so did these women with this beautiful idea.

They have enough knitters at this point, but I believe they're looking for more spinners.

If you can, please do. There's enough destruction, enough hatred, enough fear.

You can do the opposite of all that. You can defeat it. You can create.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Knit Lite - Bright Idea?

As everybody's favorite Miss Coween mentioned the other day, she and I spent a good bit of time last Saturday playing with the new light up knitting needles, the Knit Lites. It was all for a knitting/charity event at the AC Moore where I teach, so I was there for work and she was there as my entertainment.

And entertain she did.

You see there the beauty that she created, when forced to play with Red Heart (don't believe her. She begged and pleaded for those colors. Held her breath till she turned blue. Jumped up and down screaming. It wasn't pretty.)

I've heard a lot of skepticism about these needles. Heck, I've uttered a lot of skepticism about them. As one who can (and does) knit in the dark, I couldn't see how they'd be useful. They looked heavy, cumbersome, and I couldn't imagine the tips would be pleasant at all.

I was wrong. (Somewhere, my husband is twitching furiously that I actually put those words down for all to see.)

First off, the joins are really quite smooth. The needles are long, so that's a little cumbersome if you aren't used to long straights, but they aren't nearly as heavy as you'd expect (they light up using three watch batteries). The tips aren't terribly pointy, but they do feel good. As you saw, Coleen played around with what we'll loosely call "colorwork" (tee hee) and did very well (seriously, mock her if you must, but the thingy she made was much cuter in person). I was able to get up enough speed to knit 77 of the 81 inch scarf you see there on the needles.

What I was most surprised by is how much easier the dark yarns were to work with (pardon the dangling participle). After just a few minutes of working with the dark blue yarn and the lighted tips, I was so impressed with the help it gave for those tricky darker yarns I made sure they brought out other colors of yarn to test with. As you can see in the bad photo there, the lights are directly behind the stitches you're working.

The light did fade drastically in the four hours of solid knitting time. But I think it was just tired, because it seems to be back just as strong now, several days later. So I can't speak for the length of battery life. And they do only come in the long length at this time, with size 6US being the smallest size, but going up to 15.

But all in all, I was pretty impressed. The needles are expensive (about $15 a pair), but most of the craft shops that sell them also offer coupons, so you can get them at a reasonable price. And if I had to knit a flat project on dark yarn, I think these would be needles I'd consider reaching for!

In other non-news, I've been knitting furiously on a shawl for a friend. She's getting married next Saturday, so that's what that gorgeous Ceyeber Fiber superwash/tencel that I spun up last week is for. Right now I've finished knitting one cat length.


Actually, I've knit 25 inches (pre-blocking) and I expect the whole thing to be about 40 - 45 inches pre-blocking.

Not that you can see, but it's a simple lace pattern, knit side to side, with a cabled border. There will be one tassel at each end, with a large bead that can serve as a button closure to hold the shawl shut. I think it will be really lovely, assuming I can get it done.

Which means no more bloggy update tonight - back to the knitting!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Boberta the Builder

The weather we've had this summer has done horrors to my house. The biggest problem the rains have caused has been the door jamb, which has swollen up to nearly mythic proportions, and made the door not the most fun to deal with.

And I was a little cranky.

And my husband likes to leave a sledge hammer by the door. *

Beware cranky redheads wielding sledge hammers.

So I took off the door jamb with the sledge hammer - forgot to take before pictures of the swollen jamb, but this is an after.

You can even see my little handmade toile curtain that was the first thing that went up when I moved in, replacing the torn tee-shirt that was hanging there. Straight men should not attempt window treatments.

But then again, apparently neither should cranky redheads attempt demolition.

I sorta got stuck once the door jamb was off.

I made a trip to my local neighborhood Home Depot, where I was reminded why I should have gone to Lowe's. I found the wood I wanted, and asked someone if I could get it cut to length. Without so much as a smile, nod, or word, she turned on her heels and walked away.

A moment later she returned with someone who did take the hurculean effort of lifting his arm slightly to point down the aisle and saying "see that cutting thing? the customer does it himself." and walking away.

But yes, in fact, the customer does do it HERself (ahem) and I did it very well, thank you, including some rubber weather stripping for additional insulation.

Yeah, it's probably all wrong. But the stinkin' door closes (though it's partially open in that last picture), and even opens again, and I'm proud of myself.

And very, very, very sore.

*I think this is in case someone is breaking in, so they have a way of getting past the pitbull. I have since moved the sledge hammer.

Marriage is love.