Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dear Northwest Airlines,

It was lovely spending 9 hours of December 26 at Detroit Metro Airport thanks to your non-weather-related , completely unexplained delays and cancellations and meeting so many of your employees of varying competence. Above, Chris and I make the best of the Airport Bar experience.

Below, I get quite a bit of knitting done on my second Baby Surprise Jacket. For those of you who noted that this was an addictive project, you were absolutely right. This one is for a baby of as-yet-undetermined sex whose parents are serious deer hunters and all-around outdoorsy people.

To the right of it is a rusty nail. Thanks, Northwest!

Once the Northwest bit was over, however, we had a fun Christmas in Michigan. My mom's Minimalist Cardigan was a perfect fit. Here she is, full length and doing a sort of serious elegant look:

And here is the happy look:

And the first Baby Surprise Jacket was given to the mother-to-be. That baby girl will be fabulous!

We're heading back to Northwest Airlines in about two and a half hours. Send good thoughts our way!

Monday, December 15, 2008

On Babies

First of all, THANK YOU for all the lovely comments about my last design! I'm actually wearing it now. I wear it all the time. To answer some questions, the buttons are from Windsor Button in Boston -- give them a call and they'll send you some, I'm sure! The boots I'm wearing are Frye "Campus" boots, an investment I recommend. The hat is a Felicity from the lovely Wanett on Knitology. You know you want one (I've made four and kept two).

While holiday knits continue to cross the finish line, I've had some time to think about all the little guys that are going to be born this spring in the extended circle of my family and friends. One cousin and one cousin-in-law are pregnant, as is a very close family friend. For the family friend's little person, I'm making my first ever Baby Surprise Jacket, in a mod black-and-pink combo I think will really stand out:

That's Blue Moon Socks that Rock Heavyweight in one of the Raven colorways (Grawk?), with accents of Knitpicks Swish Superwash and Classic Elite Waterlily. All machine washable, of course, and the variegated black will hide stains nicely.

Though I won't be having kids of my own (for medical reasons, so no, I won't change my mind), and while I don't like babies in general (there! I said it!), specific babies tend to grow on me, especially when the parents are people who I know will do a bang-up job of it. And these babies need something cool to wear, so that's what I give. Later on Chris and I will be the eccentric aunt/uncle figures for some of these little guys, and I think that will suit us well, too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Everybody Knows

the dice are loaded

Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed

It's a new design in the Winter Knitty! For excellent modeled photos and the free pattern, go here (the photos died with the hard drive on this machine). Enjoy! I've been wearing it just about every day since I finished it in October, aside from the days that friends of mine were borrowing it. Though I borrowed the name from Leonard Cohen, it was inspired by a photo of Joe Strummer wearing a jacket with the collar turned up.

The yarn I used, Fly Designs Woolly Singles, is what would happen if Malabrigo and Manos had a child: Far softer than Manos, far less pilly than Malabrigo. The flat photo of the sweater published on Knitty was taken after over two months of solid wearing and several hand washes, just to demonstrate how it holds up.

Enjoy! It's the simplest, warmest, and most versatile thing I have ever made.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Strong Finishers


A little over 60 inches of garter stitch handspun for a friend's Christmas present and one big book.

How about a closeup of that handspun?

I am the Finisher. I Finish.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This year I'm thankful for a lot of things: Being at one job for an entire year without hating it too much, having a functional new to us 1998 Volvo (New Mulva!), not being at work from Thursday through Sunday this week. Lots! And lots of Christmas knitting progress. First, the handspun. I've been on a 2-ply barberpole heavy worsted kick.

All but the pastel skein are going into a long striped garter stitch scarf that will be a gift.

And the Minimalist Cardigan: Here shown in pieces. I haven't been showing progress on this sweater because there's really nothing to tell. I knit exactly according to the pattern, with the exception of choosing a lighter-weight yarn (Reynolds Soft Sea Wool) than that suggested (Lily Chin somthin somthin I've never heard of) but that knit to gauge, to create a drapier, lighter, stretchier garment. It's a perfect pattern as written, really lovely, and I can't think of anything else to say except you should absolutely at least consider making one.

Oh hey, AND I'm thankful for all this Terra that I bought on sale at A Loom with a View in Newburyport, MA, which I highly recommend visiting (I mean, Terra. On sale. No more of this color though, heh).

It will be a new design, a jacket I'm modeling after one that Nick Cave wore at a concert I saw several years ago, which was velvet and greenish-blue and fabulous. I'll call it The Jacket Like That One Nick Cave Jacket. If there's interest for a pattern designed after a wiry man with ecelctic style, well, I'll write it up.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I made a new sweater!

Okay, so the green one is new; I made the other one over a year ago. This new one will be a gift. Making the gift sweater gave me the impetus to "read" last year's sweater and take notes this time (I swear I had notes the first time, but who knows where they went) and turn it into a very easy and enjoyable pattern, now available for $5.

Huge thanks go out to my friend Amy, who is modeling the brown/orange original World Series Sweater... it was so cold outside when we took these photos. I am wearing the green new World Series Sweater since I like the fact that it looks cool with a lot of ease (I am wearing the 36 inch bust size, and the sizes are meant to have about 3-4 inches of positive ease - so it actually measures 40 inches across the bust, and I am a 32 inch bust). The brown/orange sweater is the 32 inch size, and Amy is somewhere between a 32 and 34 inch bust, and I like the way the sweaters are so flattering on both of us. I don't think you can mess this one up, flattering-wise.

I don't think I've ever made such an easy sweater, and the color possibilities are endless. And it has a Missoni vibe to it, but it's not make out of whatever synthetic blend Missoni sweaters tend to use... it's all wool, baby.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

One year in review

Last Wednesday was my one-year anniversary at my current Job, which was actually more emotional than I expected as I joked about it (throughout the year... "look... 4 months!.... 8 months and 3 days!.... In two days it will be 10 months, which is 5/6 of one year!").

I know a lot of you work jobs that don't use your talents, cubicle jobs, "support staff" jobs to pay the bills (barely) and for health insurance. I know I do. When I think about where I "fit" into the world of employment, there is no easy answer, certainly no answer that really makes me happy. But every day we go do it, don't we? How do you do it? Here's me celebrating one year at Bukowski Tavern downtown:

We pulled out the warm blanket this week, and I realized that I've never photographed it. I made it during the cold winter of 2001-2002, the first year of my PhD program, when boxes of Lopi arrived one after another at my tiny apartment and I slept under the blanket on my tiny twin bed as I crocheted it together.
I have two designs coming out very soon, one of which will be available for free, and the other of which will be a download (remember this? I'm making another for a gift in a different size than mine, so I've decided to write out the pattern and make it available here), which explains the low knitting content lately. However, I'm also doing a lot of boring but lovely Holiday knitting, including a Minimalist Cardigan made of Reynolds Soft Sea Wool. What a yarn! A tightly-coiled yarn, springy, so textural, and, for some reason, I've found it super-fast to knit with. This is the second sleeve. I mean, check out that yarn!

Soon much will be revealed. I'm off to work on that!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Here are a few of the cowls prepared for the Bead and Fiber Holiday show sale! If you don't knit, you can purchase one. If you do knit, get some inspiration and whip one up! These range from about 6 ounces to 1 pound of fiber.

It was a lot of fun selecting and preparing the rovings, then choosing the right vintage button for each from my collection.

After biking into Boston to drop off the cowls at the gallery, we got in our fancy dress for Chris' dad's retirement party. Chris is rocking a jacket we got from a street vendor in New York on the Lower East side, and I'm representing the handknits!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Biked to the polls as soon as they opened here after waking up at 4:30 am and being unable to go back to sleep.

I wanted to get a more dramatic photo from today, but this is the one I have, so it will do.

Monday, November 3, 2008

In honor of Studs Terkel

Who died Friday at age 96. His book, Working, has been both an inspiration to get to work every day, no matter how ridiculous the job, and a reminder about the inherent unfairness and often soul-crushing nature of said job. Chris and I drank martinis in his honor for most of Saturday afternoon while waiting for an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar to get our Mac Book fixed.

All the martinis and Studs Terkel discussion helped soften the news that our hard drive had died and that the new one was going to be $200.

So the computer is working again, and I must say that Apple customer service is AMAZING. We went from dead computer to live computer in 5 hours, and most of that was spent waiting for our appointment, since it was Saturday afternoon and the mall was packed. Oh, did I say MALL? Yes, that's right, we did the "Real American" thing Saturday and drove our - currently bug free knock wood - car to the mall. God Bless the USA.

Knitting? Yep! Two pairs of Christmas socks done.

Spinning? You got it... that's about 650 yards of my very own handspun.

Can you tell I'm having trouble focusing on larger projects? Only soothing things until tomorrow night. I'll be up until it's over. Let's get out there and make it happen!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Totally Out of Control

I had a pretty ugly bike tip-over Saturday while riding to get our "new car" (remember the car shown a month or so ago? Yes? Well, it failed inspection and had to go back to the dealer three times because the "Check Engine" light was on. Luckily in Massachusetts we have a Lemon Law, which means that used cars must pass inspection; if not, it is the dealer's responsibility to fix any problems that come up within the first month of ownership). While at a stop light, in front of a mess of traffic, I leaned over to roll up my left pant leg that was catching on my water bottle cage, lost my balance, and brought myself and my bike crashing to the ground.

I was tired, not feeling well, not up for any of it. Here I am behind 777 Auto, the dealership that sold us New Mulva, with that "my husband is a jerk for suggesting we ride our bikes to get the car" look.

In other news, Fiber is taking over the house. This was my side of the couch Sunday morning.

Ouch. Note the handknit socks, however. It looks a lot worse than this now.

FIBAH! I'm doing a lot of spinning, and am also creating a few super-bulky scarves and cowls from roving for a holiday show and sale at a new gallery and shop called Bead & Fiber. Is there a market out there for such things? The owner of Bead & Fiber seems to think so. Why not.

The "Check Engine" light has been off for two days now. Think positive thoughts for us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Checks and Balances

Problem? Fury over the McCain "Health Care Plan." When Cindy McCain goes to a walk-in clinic, increased use of which is one of McCain's "solution" to the problem, for her pelvic exam, I'll be more inclined to listen. Not that I would agree, but I might listen a little bit. Or not.

Solution? Soothing sock knitting. Here's another Christmas recipient pair, from the Bloody Mary pattern (free!) and made in the discontinued KnitPicks Sock Garden, color Pansy.

When I left my State job a few years ago, I had to take COBRA benefits for a few months, and paid $450 a month for them. That's the monthly payment cost for a single person on a reasonable HMO, not one of the "Cadillac" health plans McCain says are the ones that cost more than $5,000 a year PER FAMILY. I worked in health care (first for the State, then as a hospital administrator) and have never, in my life, heard of a health plan that cost $5,000 per year per family. Triple that and I might listen. For a minute.

Solution? Spinning! Some of the brown fleece that was such a wonderful gift from my parents' neighbor, Ann. My spinning is getting more and more even and becoming a more and more calming experience. I see more of it in the near future, despite knitting deadlines. Besides, my right hand is cramping up from all my working for The Man.

Then I would think of my Dud and wonder what would happen if he lost his job. He's a paraplegic. His medical costs are through the roof. I absolutley could not imagine health plans "competing" to cover him, or even covering him at all. So I guess I wouldn't listen, unless the McCain's started getting their check-ups at walk-in clinics (probably wouldn't have caught that melanoma so quickly), raise the tax credit they suggest to three times the amount, and demostrate how someone in a wheelchair can get insurance for $5,000 a year. Or any insurance at all.


I splurged. Meet my new yarn for the next few months. Color group 1, extra small. I had to consult one of my friends with exceptional taste to reassure me about my choice... I don't tend toward pastels, but these are rich, multi-faced colors, even though they are lighter than my usual choices. I think it will make for more adventurous knitting.

Hope all of you are coping, too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heavy on the photos this time.

It's DONE!

And it looks fantastic.

Chris has the sleeves pushed up a bit because it was about 75 degrees in the sun on Saturday at the Flea Market we visited. He kept the sweater on until I told him that I wouldn't be offended if he took it off, it was a bit warm. So sweet. He's earned himself another sweater in the after-Christmas knitting future.

Details? Check out Ravelry.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The design experience I haven't talked about until now because it was upsetting

The Chris sweater is so close to finished I hate to put it down for the evening, but, thanks to that very sweater (knit in shetland at a tight gauge with all sorts of pattern action), as well as a bunch of submission swatch knitting under deadlines and a busy week spent primarily assembling and formatting large documents at the Job (think scrolling and clicking), my right wrist is killing me.

So I thought I'd take a moment to organize things here and talk about a pattern I wrote that I haven't mentioned on the blog but may be familiar to those of you on Ravelry. Meet the Tiny Brocade Cardigan, knit for the Smart Knitter Newsletter's August issue.

I think of this as the anti-Rowan photo. It's all about the sweater and not at all about the styling. It was taken in haste... those are the weeds outside my Job. No one asked what exactly was up with my hair that day in all the comments I got, and it is truly a horror.

The shot without the head is much better. By the way, that's a slip-stitch pattern, you only use one color at a time.

If you've clicked on that Smart Knitter link, you'll see that there isn't much there. I was contacted by the assistant editor of the newsletter, who sent me a sample issue, which I liked. When I investigated further, I found several other clever patterns on Ravelry that had been published in this venue (including three from Tikru, whose work is impeccable and inventive as anything), so I decided to work with them.

The August newsletter came out, I received it electronically, and I posted the pattern to Ravelry. And people wanted the pattern. A lot of people. A. LOT. And the Smart Knitter was not particularly helpful, so I spent a lot of time feeling really sad that people were having trouble getting my pattern and sending messages to the Smart Knitter people about the desire for my pattern and the troubles people were having, and didn't hear back. I still feel sad when I think about it, but it taught me to carefully consider where I publish my work and also consider my goals for my designs and designing in general. And that goal is not to make a full-time living, or even a part-time living, or to be famous in a tiny niche way (I already had that... well, not "famous," but known... in my little academic field when that was my gig), but rather to give others access to my ideas, challenge myself to write out and size patterns, and make a little extra money to, well, finance my knitting.

Fortunately, I did not sign over copyright to The Smart Knitter. I was paid a small amount for the pattern, but rights were not transferred. So to make things better, I have self-published the pattern, which is available now as a PDF for $5. After the Smart Knitter incident, I wanted to make it free, but I know that many knitters paid $10 for the newsletter in which it was published, so I decided to do what, after many nights of serious contemplation, I considered the most fair thing.

So here it is. I will post it to my sidebar soon, along with more organized links to all my downloads and free patterns.

I said this in a few forums on Ravelry, and will state it again here: If you paid for the Smart Knitter and did not receive the issue with my pattern, please email me at weaverbergh13@verizon.net and I will email you the PDF. For free.

P.S. Tiny Brocade is made of Cotton Ease, so it holds it shape better than 100% cotton and is a total cheap-o project. Hooray!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Things to do while waiting to vote

Handspun! I'm part of the Spunky Eclectic monthly fiber club, though you would not know it from my lack of spinning. I spun July's shipment, "Celebration" (on the left) as well as another shipment, the name of which was lost. Two skeins of two-ply barber-pole goodness at heavy worsted weight, about 160 yards each.

Right now the plan is to spin up a bunch of this lovely fluffy brown top that I've already prepped and use this funky barber-pole stuff as accents on some sort of simple cardigan.

Mitten! Made a mitten yesterday, the last in a series of three single mittens for a commission. It's a Lopi Mitten, made of Lopi, from the book Folk Mittens.

Socks! Rib and Cable socks by Nancy Bush from Interweave Knits Fall 2005 in Kureyon Sock. Christmas knitting is well underway.

And check this out for happy laughs, not "I'm so scared of where this country could be going" laughs. Happy laughs!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What are we gonna do now?

A bad day back at work on Tuesday, another sick day on Wednesday, dragging on Thursday, and finally back to something approaching normalcy on Friday... only to have a few drinks, watch the presidential debate, then make the mistake of having a few more drinks out of a growing sense of apprehension and disgust. I could go into detail, but the fact that my household, Chris and I, make far, far under the national average American income while living in one of the most expensive cities in the nation, the fact that I have far more education than anyone really needs but that it was all obtained on scholarship and has not contributed to my current employment or income, the fact that I worked in health care administration for years and witnessed first hand the inequality and discrimination along the lines of wealth and insurance, the fact that both my parents are public school teachers and the research for my Dud's spinal cord injury is all based on stem cells, research that can't take place in this country, you probably know where I stand.

Hair of the dog on Saturday. Note that I am drinking some sort of fruity malt beverage that I would normally consider "stomachache in a bottle" but was rather pleasing yesterday:

The latest knitting project: The home stretch on Lochinver for Chris.

What was formerly a brown tube of various textures now has a nearly-complete sleeve. Hooray!

Gotta love Alice Starmore for the man-sweater perfection. As I wrap this up, think positive thoughts for the country. Or run away. Boy GET RUNNING!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sick Day

Oh man, really, really not feeling well today... it sneaked up on me during what was supposed to be a long bike ride yesterday, cut short by my stomach issues. As I hung out in the bathroom of a service station we passed on our way back to the car, Chris made a small friend:

It seems he lives behind or within the station.

From my prone position yesterday I finished up something I've been planning for a while... a new pattern... or rather, blueprint for a pattern.

Remember the SCARF? Well, since cowls, scarves, and chunky knits are still very much the thing, I decided to write down everything I learned about knitting with roving and broomsticks and illustrate it with tons of photos so that anyone who's interested can make their own SCARF or COWL.

Seriously, I made the COWL this afternoon and it took about 45 minutes. What a present, right?

Enjoy! You can find the 10-page tutorial with instructions for both SCARF and COWL here for $3.00.

Hopefully it's back to the Job tomorrow. Until then, it's Law and Order reruns, lots of water, and some mindless round and round knitting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Outtakes from "Fast Cars and Hot Women"

In celebration of our new acquisition, a 1998 Volvo V70, and one of my new finished objects, a Purple Suede Bikini, I present the following photo shoot:

Old, dear Mulva, our 1992 Volvo 740 whose drivability was becoming questionable, was donated to npr, to which I am listening right now. RIP, Mulva.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Excuse me, Sir?

Is that Haven in Rowan Cocoon you're wearing?

Oh, wait, are you a boy or a girl? Your accessories and facial structure confuse me.

Seriously, though, shopping the worn-once "Confirmation Day" shirts in the little boys department at Savers is good times. And that's the Tamarind Cowl in the second photo. It's a Christmas present for someone. Read it and forget about it, you family and friends you!