Jul 30, 2007

Knitty's Amy Singer & Lettuce Knit Loot

I keep getting these great reminders of why traveling for work doesn't entirely suck.

First stop - Tim Horton's Doughnuts - a Canadian gem!

I crossed the Canadian border last weekend and found a fiber haven - none other than Stephanie's infamous hangout, Lettuce Knit in the coolest, very hip(pie)st part of downtown Toronto. What a treat! I had this on my Sunday plan just as soon as I found out I'd be traveling to TO (which was 2 days before the trip by the way), but here's a photo review of some of the unexpected treats that awaited me there.

Green Art
Green Art

Toronto Yarn Stop 002
Lettuce Knit Yarn Shop

Denny of Lettuce Knit
Denny, TO's coolest LYS owner

Upon entering the store, I overheard a a fellow knitter and Knitty fan, Julie talking with another person in the store. Julie was just so sweet and modest that when I saw who it was she was talking to - I realized the source of her shyness. Knitty's Amy Singer was in the house! After some chit chat and some truly admirable patience(we'll get to that in a minute), a great little story unfolded.

Amy and Me

The story behind Julie's patience is that when she very modestly introduced herself to Amy, and Amy greeted her immediately like an old friend, I could see a HUGE photo opp awaiting us, so I offered to be the photographer (knitters, bloggers, you know how this works.) Well, wouldn't you know it - my camera batteries picked that very second to crap out. But I don't give up that easily. Julie was getting this picture, and if I was lucky, I'd get one too. It took me 3 trips to 3 different stores and alot of running down the streets of mid-town TO to get them, but batteries were procured and photos were taken. I didn't post Julie's photo here because (duh) I forgot to ask her permission to do so, but she has my blog address now, she'll let me know ;)

Amy Singer, Editor of Knitty.com
Knitty Buddies

So, the only thing that could come a close second to meeting Amy Singer in person, is NEW YARN!

HandMaiden Ottawa

TO Yarn Loot Manos del Uruguay
My first Manos del Uruguay!

Traveling for business and pleasure - such a welcome combination when you're a fiber fan. As a Canadian citizen, there's a special place in my heart for Canucks who love the yarn and the needles. If you've never been, I highly recommend a visit - tell them I sent you!

Jul 26, 2007

From the Mouth of Babes

Adachi (to Mizan): PBS Kids says that an asteroid is coming toward earth

Mizan: Oh no! We need to tell mommy and daddy, and then they can tell God and then God will do something about it.

Seems to me they have the logic right (even if PBS Kids might have their information wrong).

Jul 18, 2007

May I Present: The Walnut Raglan Pullover

C'est Fini! Knit in 18 days. Pretty happy about that. This project monogamy thing is not half bad!

Raglan Sweater Complete 071707 005
Pattern: VERY loosely based on Circumnavigate from the book Children's Sweaters & Hats: Knitting Seamless Raglans Top Down by Mary Rich Goodwin
Size: Child's size 6, 28” chest circumference

Raglan Sweater Complete 071707 006
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Worsted in Walnut (from Stash)
Yarn Amt: almost 600 yds (200 yds per ball)
Needles: Knit Picks Option - US 8 (5mm) for body and sleeves, US 7(4.5mm) for ribbing on sleeve cuffs, US 9(5.5mm) for bind off on all edges
Great Balls of Yarn in South FL

Raglan Sweater Complete 071707 007
Modifications: 3x1 ribbing on the lower body to avoid too much pulling in. I nixed the Fair Isle patterning but did use the suggested short row yoke method to pull the back up slightly (love that!); made the sleeve ribbing 3" instead of 1" and bound off loosely for a slight flaring effect.

Raglan Sweater Complete 071707 009
Raglan yoke was done with evenly spaced increases, but the number of stitches from the join of each section was varied around the yoke; sometimes I would inc 4 sts before and after the marker, sometimes 6, then 2, then 10. Because of this there is no distinct raglan line, but the shaping is still that of a raglan yoke.

Raglan Sweater Complete 071707 010
Cast On: 6/29/07 during a weekend trip to Tallahassee & Jacksonville
Cast Off: 7/17/07 during an episode from Season 3 of the Gilmore Girls

Raglan Sweater Complete 071707 011
I think she likes it!
This is about as bread & butter as knitting gets. Knitting in the round; stockinette with a bit of ribbing; only 2 armhole gaps to close and a fit-as-you-go construction from the top down. 5 stars in my book. Now I want one for me...

Jul 16, 2007

What is it About a Deadline

...that suddenly makes me OK with monogamous knitting?

Raglan Sweater Progress 071607 003

I've woven in ends, I have one sleeve to go, and I'm happy with the overall (albeit baggy) fit. I think I just might make the deadline for my Stashalong goal for July.

Raglan Sweater Progress 071607 002

Raglan Sweater Progress 071607 001

Who knew I could churn like this when I put my mind to it? Better not tempt the Fiber Fates though...I'll get back to my project A.D.D immediately. Well...after that second sleeve is done of course.

Jul 13, 2007


From this ...

...to this

...to this

Good to the last bite! Only 27 more in the yard to go... wish I could share with you!

In other news, my trip to Jersey was quite productive knitwise, I have a deadline of July 31st to finish a sweater for Adachi, and...

So far so good!

Have a wonderful and restful weekend.

Jul 11, 2007


*n. /start eyetis'/: A common condition affecting those involved with handcrafting, specifically the fiber arts. Primary symptom is an overwhelming need to begin multiple projects, usually before other projects have been completed.

Clapotis In Progress 003

Clapotis In Progress 013

That's right. What you see there is a picture of what I assume must be the 9,000th Clapotis cast-on and in progress. Was I expected to resist it though, really? I mean with sites like this one showing proof that you truly can make this scarf/wrap in just about any yarn, and with pictures of finished objects posted everywhere on the net - did I ever really stand a chance? Obviously not.

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert (uh huh, you have this one bookmarked too, right?)
Yarn: Auracania Atacama Alpaca in Color 506, 10 skeins to make a large wrap
Needles: started on US 7 (4.5mm), but dropped down to a 6 (4.0mm) for a firmer fabric
Gauge: 5.5 sts/inch in the stockinette areas

Have you made one yet? I sure would love to have links to see some finished by you. If not, let me know if this is in your queue...perhaps we could knit along on it together? Good times.

I can't finish up without saying, simply - YOU ROCK! Our last round table discussion was a good one, just as I hoped. As you could see, we share some common hesitations with our pointy stick passion. Mostly I was impressed with the positive attitude that still comes through when you write about what you do plan to tackle when the time is right. Love, love, love the conversation. We'll have more of them too. Why not write and tell me what you would like to chat about and hear about from your fellow handcrafters? I'm always willing to take Round Table suggestions, so speak up!

Sending you sunshine and good thoughts from blistering summery New Jersey this week. Stay cool!

Jul 4, 2007

Skeery Knits: Techniques That Terrify...Let's Discuss

My good buddy Sean and I first "met" in cyberspace and discovered that we had a string of random things in common - Florida, knitting, similar page protectors for our patterns and fasting for better health. You can check the archives for more on any of those topics, but I'm including this disjointed intro to say that our stars aligned yet again today. I was just thinking this morning that we're due for another go 'round our discussion table, and there he is in the comments saying the very same thing. Thanks for the nudge Sean!

Koigu KPPPM  3

This discussion is one that I've wanted to open for some time, and to break tradition a little I will include my own answers within the call for responses. I've been spitting out FOs left and right lately (and there now, I've just jinxed that by writing it...ah well). Each of those finished objects is the product of thousands of stitches and anywhere from one to 5 different techniques. In some cases, these are things I had tackled before (cables, shaping, picking up stitches, Turning A Heel.); and in others, the techniques were new to me, and therefore quite daunting (magic loop knitting, 2 socks on 2 circulars). But in all cases, I knew that there were only a few ways to skin the cat, if you will, and without pressing ahead with a specific technique, the project just would not be finished. Believe me when I tell you that the thought of some of these steps gave me great pause. In fact, something as simple as mattress stitch seaming up my Central Park Hoodie caused me to neglect it for weeks. And don't get me started on what picking up over 300 stitches evenly did for my confidence (shudder). For my Sangria Socks, I snapped a dpn and cursed another pair of socks tying up my circulars before I finally buckled down and googled "Magic Loop" to get the pair finished on a spare needle. Why so afraid of these things? Well, they were either unfamiliar to me, or they had very negative associations based on what I had heard or read from other knitters.

Shrug Sleeve/body junction

Speaking of other knitters...there is much talk of knitting stardom around our community, and what constitutes a really good knitter. Whether someone is or isn't a Knitter with a capital "K" gets tossed about quite a bit. And let's face it, we all measure how "good" a knitter is by what techniques they have been willing to try, and by how well those attempts come out. Now, allow me to digress for a minute - the amount of courage one has does not always directly equate to the measure of one's skill. To see that someone has braved Fair Isle, or a moebius, doesn't necessarily mean they are a better knitter. So to put such a knitter above yourself based on their courage to try such things doesn't seem quite right to me. I think learning to cast-on at all, and then sticking with it is about the height of knit bravery, because really every other thing is just a product of that, right? Hmmm..that may well be a discussion for another day. I will concede that if you have tried or are willing to give certain knit tricks a go, then you do deserve the admiration you get when it works. Hopefully, as a group, we can agree to let those examples inspire us.

Alpaca From KnitNY - Resized

But we're not talking inspiration today folks, we're talking fear.
I assume you all traverse the web at least as much as I do, and if you haunt the library and bookstore craft sections as I do, then you've probably seen just about every technique out there. Which of them just gives you the heebeejeebees? Is it mitered squares? How about (GASP!) steeking, or shadow knitting? Have you done a sock yet? What about cabling without the use of a cable needle? Is it tools that get you shook? Are you afraid to branch out in the round by trying those new fangled circular needles? Maybe you throw (English) and you've considered trying to pick (Continental), but haven't made the switch. And what about yarn and pattern types?! Does the thought of lace knitting with cobweb weight yarn on size 0000 needles just make you dizzy? (That one makes me a bit lightheaded I must say)

You'll notice I intentionally didn't link to many of these techniques I've mentioned and that's because (a) I trust your research skills, and (b) I would not want to bias your answers here by linking to some page/example that actually makes you afraid to try something you were not daunted by before. However, please feel free to share your own links with the group - links that address the dreaded techniques you see listed by others, or those that show examples of your own unconquered skill. That way we can better appreciate what makes you quiver, or we can find something to add to our own list of Techniques to Tackle.

2nd Sock In Progress 060207

So, Share with the group...we promise we won't laugh. If anything we'll more likely say things like "Mmm hmmm, I know that's right." Let's name the enemy, call it out and face it together! Just think - this could be the start or the expansion of your knitting arsenal. Pull up a chair, and let's discuss...when it comes to your knitting,

What techniques terrify you?