Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays and off to Michigan!


Live in the greater Grand Rapids area? Around for the holidays? I'll be leaving Boston on the morning of the 26th to come to Grand Rapids to visit my family for our traditional post-Christmas Christmas celebration. We wake up on the morning of the 27th and pretend it's Christmas, with stockings and everything. My mom pokes her head into my room and says, "Merry Christmas! Coffee is ready!" and then we talk about waking my sister up.

I have a special event this year, too. I'll be at Country Needleworks in Jenison, just outside Grand Rapids, from 10 to 2 on December 28. I'll have all the samples from White Whale Vol. 1, some of the samples from Craft Work Knit, and copies of both books. I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of knitters I know through email and knitters I know through my parents. Come see me!

I'll probably be wearing this:

Happy holidays to ME! Yesterday I made myself a Schmatta while watching Moby-Dick, the William Hurt as Ahab version (good TV but not really Moby-Dick, I think, with the exception of some of the whale chases and William Hurt brooding in his cabin), on TV. This pattern was my excuse to buy a skein of Malabrigo Rasta and elevate my army surplus fall and winter jackets (which are truly schmattas, but, like most of my clothes, I just keep wearing them because they're functional, comfortable, and because I like their aesthetic better than the other women's stuff out there).

If you need a gift for, say, tomorrow, and have some bulky yarn lying around, you can have one or more handknit presents in a matter of hours. Pick your Christmas Eve TV marathon (mine is Oddities), and have at it. This one, however, is MINE.

I also made a Moss and Ferns in some worsted weight oddballs. Here it is as worn:

And here's the full-on shawl view:

I had to cut the "fern" charts short because I ran out of the green/blue yarn, but it's big enough without them. I used size 13 needles. Like the pattern? You can buy it for $5 here:

So, happy holidays to all! If you live in western Michigan, I hope to see you on the 28th!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baltimore and Connecticut

Pardon the photo-heavy post. I've had too much adventure over the past week and a half to write it up. Just thinking about it makes me both exhausted and delighted.

For those of you who didn't see me last weekend (and I saw a LOT of you), here's where I've been. I drove to Easton, MD last Thursday, about an 8-hour trip. As I entered Maryland, I caught a photo of the sunset from my car. It was lovely to drive, listen to the radio, let my mind wander, and NOT WORK.

On Friday, I drove in to Baltimore to meet Wendy, whom I met online when she was working on her Oranje, and the owners of Woolworks. I crossed the Bay Bridge on my way. Stunning!

The store is cozy; lots of wood and beautiful yarns. I did some Albers Cowl modeling.

Note Wendy's Oranje, the White Whale books, and the yarn behind us. I love this photo. After this, we all went out for sushi. I'll be returning to Woolworks in February to teach some workshops; details to come!

Saturday was the Sanguine Gryphon open house. This is the Easton studio, which is large and full of light. About half the space was filled with yarn for the event.

There was custom dyeing in the portion of the space that was not filled with yarn.

Of course I got some yarn. It was difficult to settle on a sweater's worth of any one color, so I got a lot of different things with plans for colorwork projects. The reds at the top and the red-violet on the right were for my sister, who is already turning them into a large scarf of her own design.

There were THREE Oranjes at the open house!

After I left Sanguine Gryphon, I stopped by the Neighborhood Fiber Company holiday party and open studio. Karida's live/work space is beautiful (note that Karida is on the couch finishing the last square of an Albers Cowl. To the right are kits for The Lamp shawl and the Albers Cowl in Karida's yarns--The Lamp was designed using her Maisonette DK yarn. Karida's color sense is a perfect match for mine!).

I came home with two yarns I haven't used before: Loft and Penthouse Silk Fingering. The Penthouse Silk Fingering is on the second shelf on the right. Even in this mediocre photo it glows. I'm excited about the possibilities; it's been a while since I've designed or even knit with anything other than wool or a wool blend.

After leaving Karida, I drove to Essex, CT for a book signing at the Griswold Inn store. I arrived around 1 am. Note: The power plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey is absolutely beautiful at night.

I was there with the fabulous Gail Zucker, of whom I did not manage to get a photo (I was pretty tired). She, however, got LOVELY photos of the event and the store, which you can see here.

In sum, thanks to all the generous, lovely people I met last weekend. If you missed all this, I'll be back in February, so get in touch: Happy, happy holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Road Trip Agenda

Last weekend was a frenzy, and the only photo I managed to take was of a Starbucks right across the street from another Starbucks. Look closely. You might have to click to make it big. It's there. It's absurd.

I spent some time in my cubicle this week. Note the nameplate. It appeared while I was in Germany last summer. Because I don't do any editorial assistant work but do just about everything else involved in publishing, I edited it to accurately reflect my job duties.

Tomorrow I leave for Baltimore in the early morning. I'll be hanging out in Baltimore on Friday, visiting the Neighborhood Fiber Company open studio and the Sanguine Gryphon open studio on Saturday, and driving up to Essex, CT Saturday night for the Griswold Inn Holiday Showcase, where I'll have books, patterns, kits including Neighborhood Fiber Company and KnitinK yarns, and even some handknits for sale, like the Albers Cowl shown below. I've started knitting Albers squares to wind down after long days of editing and working on complex designs. I use them as examples in my color theory workshops, but perhaps this one will find a new home with a non-knitter.

One important note: Because the Sanguine Gryphon is disbanding into two companies, there will be a period during which the patterns I have designed for them will not be available. Ambergris will continue to be sold by one of the two new companies, but I'm not sure how soon it will be available. It will also be included in White Whale Vol. 2, which will come out sometime in late spring/early summer 2012.

I will be offering Possum Belly Hobo and A Tea Tray in the Sky as individual pdfs, but I need to take new photos and revise the instructions and layout so the patterns are consistent with my self-published style. I'm ridiculously overwhelmed right now, so I don't know when this will happen. If you've been thinking seriously about making any of these three designs, I recommend purchasing the pattern from Sanguine Gryphon before December 29.

Thank you in advance for your understanding. I don't want anyone to be waiting, impatient and disappointed, to make one of these garments.

So, onward and upward!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Places I will be (lots of them)

In addition to organizing space for next year, I've been working out the logistics of many events taking place over the next two weekends. If you're in any of the following areas, here's where you can find me and my stuff!

Saturday, Dec. 3: I'm having a trunk show with garments from both my books at The Black Sheep Knitting Company in Needham from 11 to 2. It's shocking, I know, but I've never been to The Black Sheep before but have heard great things. I mean, check out the site--it looks gorgeous!

Sunday, Dec. 4: I'll be teaching a Color Theory workshop at Snow Goose Yarns in Milton from 11 to 12:30. I think there are still a few spaces in the class if you'd like to join. The cost e $35 and I'll be providing color wheels for everyone! If you're interested, call Snow Goose at 617-698-1190.

On Sunday my things will also be available at the KnitinK booth at the Boston Bazaar Bizarre. Adrian will have copies of both my books and kits in many colors for a pattern I just finished using her vibrant, soft, amazing She-Hulk bulky yarn. Here's a photo of the new design, which will soon also be available as an individual download:

It's based on a chapter in Moby-Dick called "The Hat," and I'll be playing with the design and offering a few versions in White Whale Vol. 2. Unlike my usual super labor-intensive designs, you can make this project in two nights for about $24!

Friday, Dec. 9: I'll be in Baltimore hanging out. Yep, I'm taking a road trip. In the area? Contact me!

Saturday, Dec. 10: I'll be stopping in at the Neighborhood Fiber Company Holiday Party + Studio Open House. I love Karida's yarn and can't wait to shop from the huge selection at this event. Karida will have kits for The Lamp shawl, which are a REALLY good deal, and for the Albers Cowl! Her color sense is amazing, and I'm honored that she's using my patterns to showcase her yarns.

Sunday, Dec. 11: I'm part of a very cool Holiday Showcase at The Griswold Inn in Essex, CT. Old-time coastal New England and Moby-Dick knits are a perfect match. I'll have copies of my books, kits for The Hat (see photo above) in KnitinK yarns and for the Albers Cowl in Neighborhood Fiber Company yarns, and even a few finished items for sale, including at least one Albers Cowl and a few hats. Gale Zucker will be there, too, with copies of her books, including Craft Activism.

Finally, I'll be visiting my family in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the holidays, and am planning a visit to Country Needleworks in Jenison. More details soon!

Now it's time to attack all the copyediting and knitting that I need to complete in the time I'm not going to all these places!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kicking off year two of a small business with some space and some yellow

Weaverknits LLC will occupy nearly 600 square feet of industrial/flex space on January 1. Chris has promised to help me paint one of the walls yellow (after I was strongly drawn to another, more expensive space because it had a Yellow Wall).

I see weaving, blocking garments, storing yarn, samples, and books, teaching workshops, a large table for laying out garments for measurement (I can't imaging doing this without having to push my coffee table against the apartment door), and a desk for writing and copyediting.

And more.

There's a small "office" room with a window off this room, too.

In other news, KnitPicks has a new Wool of the Andes color called Caution. Look how it brightens up the pile of knitting stuff by the side of my bed! I'll be knitting all of that into a new design for publication early next year. It's an amazing, amazing yellow . . . on the golden side, deep enough that it isn't retina scalding. Imagine the possibilities for well-placed Caution in colorwork!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


It's official. The amount of crap in my very small apartment is not only testing my husband's patience daily but also making me feel crazed and claustrophobic. One can only write and copyedit full time from a desk that abuts one's bed and use all available surface and floor space as a "knitting studio" for so long. I feel myself reaching the end of the period for which this has been acceptable.

I am in search of space. Above: the future home of Weaverknits LLC?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Yarn Adventure

Today I rewarded myself for all the boring editing work I've waded through over the past few weeks (which is part of the reason the blog has been so quiet . . . well, that and the fact that most of the things I'm knitting are secret things that won't be revealed for months and months). Most of my days are spent working at my large desk in my bedroom/office. About 18 inches to my left is this:

They wake up and get feisty at least once during the late morning/early afternoon: CAT FIGHT!

This is good for some comic relief.

In addition to the copyediting, I've been working on a lot of new designs, including a hat knit from my friend Adrian's amazingly saturated chunky yarns:

She dyed these four colors to match four Color Aid cards I gave her. They are RIGHT ON, too. Amazing! Designing accessories is so much fun. I've made two versions of the hat already, and have a third, more complex version in mind. Because it takes about two hours to make one, I can improvise while I'm knitting an actual hat, rather than in swatch after swatch, like I do for sweaters. The hat will be in White Whale Vol. 2 (release date TBD, depending on how much other work comes my way in the next few months), but will be available as a kit from Adrian at this year's Bazaar Bizarre, so look for it!

So anyway, this afternoon I went to Gather Here in Cambridge, a gorgeous knitting and sewing store and workshop. Somehow I had not yet visited Gather Here . . . I don't know. It's unfathomable. Life is busy. I saw some of the coolest people I know, met some new people, and got a lot of new yarn.

I'm wearing the simplest version of the new hat here (with details concealed on the left side) and holding hand-dyed yarns from Dirty Water Dyeworks and hanspun yarn from NJ Stacie Made. It was a good day. A relaxing day. Now it's time to get back to work.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Color honesty destash!!!

Thanks to everyone for the compliments on my new shawl! It's been getting a lot of wear. For those of you interested in trying overdying, I use Cushing Acid Dyes. Those little packets have instructions for how to mix the dye. This website gives all the necessary information. It's easy!

I feel like posting about that purple shawl has made me much more honest about my taste in colors. I've found a few more yarns to destash based on the fact that the colors do not inspire me. I admit it: There are only so many hours in the day, and I'm not going to spend them knitting things in colors that aren't my first choice, especially because I have such a gigantic stash that contains all the colors of the rainbow. These colors are some of my first choices.

Or these, as used in my sister's nearly complete Albers Shawl. I found this in her bedroom when we visited her last weekend. The outermost color will be a mushroomy brown.

Before posting about the purple, I (egotistically? Solipsistically?) though that if I didn't like a certain color, none of you would be interested in it, either. Now I know there's a home for everything, except, perhaps, hospital green. But I'll keep those. Or beige. But I don't have any of that in my stash. And while many of you are not yellow fans, those of us who are, watch out for us. We make up for our small numbers with our commitment and enthusiasm.

THE YARN IS ALL SOLD! Thanks everyone! More to come... some for sale, some contests. This is actually a lot of fun!

So here's some yarn I'd like to pass on to loving homes. The theme seems to be harvest colors.

SOLD! Eight skeins of Knitpicks Gloss in the now-discontinued color Pumpkin. It's more of a rust color, I think, like colored leaves. Too autumn for me, not ORANGE enough. $18 plus $7 shipping, and it can be yours! 1,760 yards. Go crazy!

Two skeins of Spud & Chloe Outer in natural, which appears to be discontinued. Wound the one skein to make a cowl, then realized that a cowl in this color wasn't great with my pale complexion. $9 plus $5 shipping. Whee! I bought this yarn for my next cowl or shawl:

And finally...

Nearly five skeins of Rowanspun DK in a mossy green. I bought this about 12 years ago and still haven't knit it into anything, so it's time to pass it on. It's been stored in a sealed bag but may have a few random cat hairs. $15 plus $5 shipping.

Email me at if you're interested!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Overdye success!

Some black dye and and the dying pot...

Ta da! Dark plum. A little blotchy, but that just adds to the depth, I think. I've been wearing it every since it dried. Success!

And the winner of 238g/about 525 yards of purple yarn, determined by random number generator, is... commenter #7, Loribird! Email me your address at and I'll send you some PURPLE.

I LOVED reading all your color comments. I was laughing all week! I wasn't surprised that yellow and orange were difficult for a lot of people, and yes, "hospital green" is a tough one, too, although I think it has great potential. You guys are great!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Predjudice and Favoritism on the Color Wheel

When I teach Color Theory, I don't teach students what colors look best on them. I figure that by the time we're young adults we've all gotten plenty of feedback about which colors "really bring out" our eyes and which ones make us look pale and sick. Perhaps some of you were even assigned a color "season" through the Color Me Beautiful program. (Wow, I just looked that up and found that it is still going strong. Who knew? I remember when my aunt got her "colors done." She was a Winter. She told me I was an Autumn).

I argue that everyone can wear every color, in moderation, mixed with other colors. I wear all of them. However, if yellow is my Superman of colors, purple is my Bizarro. When organizing my stash, I found this partially finished Wool Peddler's Shawl, in purple (here modeled as a cat blanket because I feel such apathy about putting it on):

I almost ripped it, but it measures nearly six feet across the top, so I worked a few rows of garter stitch and bound off. But I'll never wear it. It's destined to be overdyed. What is it about this blackberry color? What IS it?

I have more of the purple yarn, which is Lorna's Laces Fisherman, a 100% soft wool (merino?), worsted weight, in blackberry (you can see the colors here; this blackberry is more muted than the color in the photo). It's a great yarn, very soft and far more durable than Shepherd Worsted. I don't know why more shops don't carry it. In any case, I'm obviously not going to knit another project from this yarn.

Like purple? Want the yarn? Just leave a comment telling me your least favorite color and how it makes you feel. I'll start: Purple. Lethargic. I'll pick a comment at random at the end of the week!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Try-Works

If "The Castaway" was the first vivid chapter from Moby-Dick that I was compelled to capture in a piece of knitting, then "The Try-Works" followed immediately. In this chapter, Melville describes the bloody, infernal process of rendering a whale's carcass into oil.

February 2011: I start swatching for The Try-Works. I wanted the garment, whatever it was (at this point I wasn't sure if it would be a sweater or a shawl) to be as near to black as possible without losing the definition of the cables. Briar Rose Fibers has just those colors.

When I ready Moby-Dick in my college American Literature class, we discussed this chapter from several perspectives, the most memorable of which, for me, was as an illustration of capitalism and industry. And not a positive illustration, as even a quick flip through the chapter makes clear. I chose to feature this quotation from "The Try-Works" in my book:

"Like a plethoric burning martyr, or a self-consuming misanthrope, once ignited, the whale supplies his own fuel and burns by his own body."

April 2011: I finish the body of the sweater with a cable motif that reminded me of peeling blubber and smoke.

Once the fires of the try-works are started with wood shavings, these fires are fed with the scraps of blubber that remain after their oil has been rendered. The whale turns itself into a product for sale and consumption. At what cost?

". . . in front, the harpooners wildly gesticulated with their huge pronged forks and dippers as the wind howled on, and the sea leaped, and the ship groaned and dived, and yet steadfastly shot her red hell further and further into the blackness of the sea and the night . . ."

Melville's vision of industry is bleak.

As much as I wanted "menacing" photos of this sweater, I also wanted knitters to, well, desire to make one. So we took photos in the sun along the blue ocean.

June 2011: The photos.

This has turned out to be my favorite piece in White Whale Vol. 1. Despite the fact that it's probably not wise to wear a sample four or five days a week, I've been wearing it with everything.

October 2011: The Try-Works at Rhinebeck, with Karen of choochoo knits fame, who is wearing a dress of her own design that she probably whipped up in about three days.

In sum: Sometimes a scathing social critique, rendered in images that stick in the mind years after reading, can become something loved and practical. A great sweater that matches everything and fits fabulously. But behind it, a story. And one that's far from clear-cut. This is the goal for me, and I hope to realize it in all my future White Whale work.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Help dig me out

I'm drowning in yarn! I've been too busy lately to make much headway on my huge organization plans, but I got a few photos in today.

Note: Everything is sold and off to new homes! Thanks!!! More to come, I promise!

7 skeins of Silky Wool in a lovely dark chocolate brown. I planned a design in this yarn, but after swatching realized I will NEVER be able to capture this color in a photograph. $20 plus $7 shipping. GONE!!! Wow, you guys are FAST!

Nearly 3 skeins of Lorna's Laces Solemate sock yarn. This is over a skein of Vera, the variegated colorway, and nearly full skeins of the semi-solid green and purple. This is a great, crisp sock yarn, but once you've done one project in a certain color scheme it's less appealing to do a second. $10 plus $5 shipping. SOLD!

Claudia Hand Painted Linen Lace, about 175 grams/945 yards. One full skein (100 grams/540 yards) and most of a second skein that has been wound into a cake. It is lipstick pink, the color I used for this design:
World's most washed-out photo of this cardigan from Knit magazine. I'll be publishing the pattern as an individual pdf one of these days (note: this sweater only took about 700 yards, so this is enough for a sweater or BIG shawl). Anyway, you get the idea. This yarn rocks if you like linen. $20 plus $7 shipping. SOLD!

Still available as of 10:08 pm... I'm going to sleep and will check in in the morning...

Help me out people, and drop me an email at

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I'm back from Rhinebeck, which was fabulous, as always (look how much fun I'm having! Even better photo of the fun here). You can see more of me with old and new friends here. But I think I'll spend this post talking about my favorite color. If you've met me, and particularly if you've taken a color theory class with me, you know how much I love yellow. I believe I said something along the lines of "Yellow is always a good choice," or "I think yellow would be nice" six or seven times the last time I taught. Come on. It is a good choice!

People argue that yellow is a difficult color to wear. That's valid. I advocate mixing yellow with other colors, particularly deep purples and blues and neutrals. Like the Albers Cowl I knit from Icelandic laceweight and wore to Rhinebeck (I'm wearing the Try-Works, too). Or check out the Garfunkel Hat from O-Wool (I saw this sample in person at a trunk show a few weeks ago, and everyone there was smitten). Perfect use of yellow!

In fact, my friend Ann from New Jersey recognized me at Rhinebeck because "someone who looked like me" was reaching for a huge hank of yellow-orange yarn (I bet you can guess which one) at the Seacolors booth.

One of my goals at Rhinebeck was to get some true yellow yarn, the yellow hue, not sunshine yellow, not yellow-orange. Not yellow ochre. Although I love all those colors. I wanted cadmium yellow. I came back with a lot of yellow.

Front to back: Sami from Creatively Dyed Yarn in "Yellow Breeches" (the truest yellow hue I could find and also the one with the best name), Annapolis from Maple Creek Farm in "Bright Yellow" (it's got sparkles in it!), Seacolors Yarn worsted, and Briar Rose Fibers Abundance. Look for a few of these to make appearances in White Whale Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.

New yellow yarn means more destashing. Keep your eyes open this weekend for a post filled with yarn looking for new homes.