Monday, January 31, 2011


This week I'm still reeling from the latest Mason-Dixon Knitting posts. I've known that Kay and Ann are magic since I purchased their first book, since I started reading their blog (well before I had my own blog).

I was fortunate enough to meet Kay when I was in NYC this December, and it was awesometown. She's far more than just a fabulous knitter and designer; she's the kind of person who makes me want to knit garter stitch exclusively for the next year and take up hand quilting. And read more. And think about design WAY beyond knitted garments. And she's kind, too. After I explained that the Bolt Bus was not "all that" (don't advertise free wi-fi if the signal is too weak t0 support my remote desktop work, please), she mentioned that she was driving to Providence, home of lil' sis Weaver, the evening of my planned departure. So I got a road trip, complete with pit stop at Subway, with Kay's fam and Olive.

Now, for an excuse to visit Nashville and see Ann. Is the snow here an excuse?

Note: I shoveled off that porch later in the afternoon. That was three days ago. My biceps still ache. It's embarrassing. A year ago I was working a job that was comprised of 10-12 hour days of shoveling motions, and these days 45 minutes of it incapacitates me. It's time to get back to the gym.

Reading Kay's post about the Albers projects reawakened the Albers magic in me. I'm doing a few squares in natural shades of laceweight Lopi based on Albers' grayscale work.

Now, a way in which you can pass on your knitting magic to others: Philly Care Caps. I met Crystal, one of the organizers, when I visited Philly this past fall. I'm sending a few simple hats I made from my handspun this past December, during the "down time" I had between book travel and my January-February design frenzy (still in progress).

That little striped Shacketon-style hat on the right is for a little one! Consider donating a few simple hats; they're guaranteed to be appreciated. Pass on the love! Now, back to design frenzy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Features: "What's Good" and "Did You Know?"

First of all, thanks for the massive response to Big Top! The pattern is now available for sale through my website and Ravelry here.

Second, I've decided to introduce some themes to the blog to encourage me to post more regularly. I present "What's Good Wednesday," in which I talk about knitting-related things that other people are doing that I'm digging. So what's good?

Today I received a package from Skein yarns: Frog and Toad sock in Industrial Age.

A friend of mine visited a few weeks ago and we drank wine and oohed over the Skein colors, and I splurged and bought these. We were enchanted with the name of this colorway and a little tipsy, but wow, what a good call! The colors in the photo are very close to reality. It's difficult to find colors that are on the dark side without being muddy, and this is perfect.

Oooh! ETA: Skein is having a big store update on Friday, Jan. 28, at 2 pm Sydney, Australia time.

Another new feature around here is going to be "Did You Know?". Perfect example: Did you know that RuPaul's Drag Race Season Three began last Monday? If you've been reading this blog for the past two years you know how I feel about that show, loca, please!

And, thanks to the fact that the copy editing business is slow, I get to sit on the couch, have a drink, knit, and watch it ALL, without any worries about having to go out with my horrible non-haircut (partial unemployment and occasional copy editing aren't financing a haircut these days). Can I get an a-men up in here?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Easy Garter Stitch Yipes Stripes

As a respite from my current design work, which has, in the past two days, involved my very first steeking experience and knitting the body of a cardigan in a linen yarn that is killing my hands (it feels like dental floss, I swear, but after washing and drying it feels amazing), I present my latest super-easy pattern: BIG TOP.

My superstar mom modeled it while I was in Michigan for the holidays.

I actually finished this scarf months ago. Here I am wearing it in Ithaca:

I love the pattern-on-pattern look; this scarf is great for a "yipes stripes" effect. Want to make one?

ETA: Wow, people. I sent out about 100 Big Top patterns for the 1-day giveaway, so please, knit them up and send photos! And thanks for reading!

The pattern is now available for $5. You know you want one.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stop Traffic!!!

First of all, thanks to everyone who shared boot and clothing stories. I'm now fixated on getting a pair of Grenson Brogues for myself.

This fall I was able to squeeze out a few handknit presents. My favorite: mitts for my Dud, whose hands get ridiculously cold in the winter (we think it has something to do with altered circulation after his spinal cord injury). In any case, I was inspired by a policeman directing traffic one day on my drive to work, so I made him these. And I made him pose as if he was directing traffic.

Then I told him, "LOOK MORE CONVINCING!"

He was a little bit cranky because it was cold and raining outside. Here's a closeup:

The yarn is Madelinetosh DK in Graphite and Edison Bulb that I purchased at Little Knits on my Seattle trip this fall. I made up the pattern on the go and ended with a braid.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Everything Old Is New Again but Made to Look Old

Manufacturing gets me down. Above, my Doc Martens from 1991. Made in England, purchased from a mail-order company in California because at the time I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Doc Martens weren't available there. My first big purchase with the wages of my first real job: School Janitor. They cost $110. I was 14.

I wore them everywhere in high school, then in college, after which I began to alternate them with several other pairs of favorite boots. They've been with me for over half my life, have lived in every city I have, and have even traveled overseas with me.

Because I love them, and because they are looking very worn, I looked into buying a new pair, a black pair. I learned that they are now made in China (I was tipped off that something was wrong when I realized they cost just a bit more than $110 now, 20 years later). You can even buy them with a "worn" look. Behold.

There's a "remarkable wearing-in process" taking place in Chinese factories to produce boots of mediocre quality (NOW I realize why so many people have recently told me that their Doc Martens fell apart very quickly. I wondered what they could possibly be doing to their shoes). That's so sad to me.

It looks like I still have a chance to purchase the black ones I want from the original factory here. I'll take 20 years of boot made in England for $100 more; would you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Oh nooooo 2011!

When attempting to take a photo of my sister wearing a brand new Wham Bam Thank You Lamb cowl that I whipped up out of some black Schaefer Kathleen, this happened to my camera:

Okay, so the camera dates back to 2004, but post-holidays is never a great time for unexpected expenses. Fortunately I got some nice photos of a few simple designs I'll be publishing over the next month or so, including this one:

As soon as I can get this into my new InDesign template, it will be up!