About Me

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O'ahu born and Rockville bred, both Maryland and Hawai'i are home. Middle-aged knitter (believe me, my 40 is NOT the new 20) seeking the courage to live consciously, each and every moment. Now if I could just remember where I put my keys...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chptr 34: Ode to Bookstores with Lots of Yarn Books*

Victorian Lace Today
Mine!  Mine!  Mine!
One thing I did not share about yesterday’s stoned (albeit in a medically prescribed way, so I’m not starting my sobriety count over again, dammit) (and, yes, may as well come out now:  I’m a white, lesbian, Russian style which is 'backwards' knitting AND crocheting, 40-something, fibromyalgic (see, I’m owning my reality here), SOBER born-this-way woman)… ack.  Need to start that sentence over again

One thing I did not share about yesterday’s trip was the visit we took to a large, shall not be named, chain bookstore.  (If I find out they have health benefits for part-time workers and allow domestic partner health insurance, I will name them.)  The Bookstore had a great (although not magnificent) yarnie section on knitting and crocheting.  I wanted to show Meredith that I was not alone in my knitting and yarn obsession, and to keep her occupied while I cruised the racks like a predator, I put a book of Yarn Harlot essays in her hands.

Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a KnitterYarn Harlot, I love you.  (And while yes, I am gay, no, not like THAT.)

Should this posting dissolve into a puddle right now?  (I’m tearing up.)

Meredith is speed reader and at one point, she looked up and said “I really like her.” (Yarn Harlot, that is.)  And put her nose back down and I had time to really get into my look at the books. 

Because I wasn’t going to buy one.  Really, I wasn’t.  I was just there to show Meredith that WE yarn people are a legitimate demographic.  But… they had Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.  In soft cover. 

I pulled it out the rack, and snuck a glance at Meredith.  Safely absorbing The Secret Life of a Knitter.  I pretended I hadn’t put it down to the side and went back to looking through the shelves of titles.  I reminded myself I’m on a budget and when I had checked Victorian Lace out of the library last year, I didn’t end up making anything from it.

Devil Stasher inside me whispered, “Yes, but that was last year – you’re a much better lace knitter now.  You’ve finished 2 lace projects and started 25 more.  You need this book for your very own.”

Budget Stasher inside me yelled, “Girl, you just got 3 skeins of Colinette Mohair from a Ravelry member in Helsinki today AND you have the pattern for it, and you got 3 more skeins of Colinette Mohair from a vendor in the UK on Tuesday AND you have a pattern for it, and let’s not forget the trip you took to Looped Yarn Works on Wednesday and the Blue Heron Rayon Metallic skein and the 2 skeins of Kidsilk Haze, AND the purchase you made on eBay this morning from Shanghai of 200 stitchmarkers and plastic tapestry needles" (I am in a stitchmarker crisis, more another time) "and the three patterns you have downloaded using Paypal from Ravelry designers this week  – girl, you done used up your yarn money in a budgeting scenario that takes retirement into consideration for the last two YEARS in this week alone and even if you did have a budget you are sticking to which you don’t and which if you did have you would be violating big-time.  And did you not just commit to knit through Vogue Shawls & Wraps?  You know this book would be a distraction.  Put. It. Back.” (Please note that Budget Stasher channels Queen Latifah in kick-him-to-the-curb-sister mode.)

Devil Stasher whispered, “Pretty.  Look how pretty.”

I gazed at the cover.  I wanted to be that woman, confidently meandering on very high heels out of a country house with very high French doors, with an artistic breeze blowing my artistic skirt in a flattering flutter, while I gracefully and effortlessly (think ballerina fingers) shape my hands into accessories that present my main attraction: A Very Green and Lacy Shawl.

Devil Stasher whispered “This belongs to you already… you know it, I know it, the library that fined you $20 in overdue fees because you wouldn’t return it knows it… “

“Shut up.  Just shut up,” I said (probably out loud) . “You had me at ‘Pretty’.”

Stitch 'n Bitch NationIt was time to leave the yarn books, my oasis, my peoples, my pages and StichnBitch Nation.  I looked again at Victorian Lace Today.  Too big to hold casually until we got to the exit where I could just dash over to the checkout counter and avoid  talking about buying the book until after the deed was done.

I had to be bold.  I held the book out to Meredith.  “I love this and I’m going to get it.  I shouldn’t get it.” I put it back on the shelf.  I pouted.  I took it back off   “No.  I need this. I’m getting it.”

Meredith, clueless to the chattering of Devil Stasher and Budget Stasher continuing in my head, said, “OK.”

I love her.  And I love Victorian Lace Today.  I fondled it proudly all the way to the checkout counter, stroking its smooth virgin covers, front and back, which would likely soon be marked with multiple coffee mug rings.  I looked ridiculous.  I was still moderately in la-la-getting-used-to-and-taking-too-much-of-Lyrica-land.   I didn’t have the guilty flinches at the register, no, I demurely gazed at the book while I forked over her fee, thinking hot thoughts about later. 

Writing about this this morning, I realize that once out of the bookstore, I have not thought about Victorian Lace Today very much.  I have not taken her out of the Wooly Ewe bag I just happened to have with me yesterday in the store and I have not strolled through her pages.  I have not seen That Pattern and scrambled through my stash and needles, and my G.D. stitchmarkers, wondering if I have what it takes. 

I saved that for today. 

(Devil Stasher is gloating.)
* Please notice that I am being politically correct, craft version, to crocheters and weavers and all forms of yarnistas and tatters.  (yes, there is something called tatting, and it’s really quite interesting and my grandmother did it and left me her tatting stuff but I could never quite figure it out.  One day.)  (Don’t laugh.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chptr 33: In Which We Change the Blog Name (and owe David Sedaris a scarf, at least), take too much pain medication (by accident, I swear), walk in the park with dogs, and visit the kiddie mayhem that is downtown Silver Spring on Halloween Saturday (at least they played some Santana)


After typing that title, I've pretty much filled you in.

The chick to the left (Barbra attitude with Bette Midler hair, don't you think?) was on display at the DT Silver Spring open air Saturday Market.

The woman with the dolls said her 13 year old was making them (there were 4 more).  I got her email address so I will post a picture of the other dolls tomorrow.

Another vendor there was a toy designer who got started knitting and felting toys  (see the cat and friends below) for her son and now has a whole menagerie of clever little animals and mermaids and flying saucers that are felted. 
I'm ready for my closeup...

The cat did it
So, more on this little excursion and my new knitted and crocheted friends tomorrow.

Today's main obstacle has been that this morning I took a nighttime medication by mistake... because this condition that shall not be called fibromyalgia that I have, I get to take a low dose of a pain medication that my doctor thinks will help with the pain that wakes me up in the middle of the night.  Today is my third day taking this (or fourth, remember I'm not math girl, especially when medicated).  The grogginess is supposed to dissipate within a week, but this morning I was so groggy I went to take another medication and grabbed the wrong bottle and realized after I'd feebly swallowed my pill that I had taken the nighttime med.

Today has been interesting, to say the least.  I'm new to all this pill stuff, and I'm hoping to keep it to a minimum - I'm too young to have to use Grandma's weekly pill planner.  But today I see the wisdom in such organization.

Look, honey!  A LOG!  I have to take a picture
As a result of imbibing too much Lyrica, everything was very very pretty today.  Meredith and I walked in Rock Creek Park with the dogs, and it was all soooooo pretty.  The leaves - LOOK! A RED LEAF, HONEY, WOW! - the creek, the dogs cavorting, the dogs growling at other dogs, the mud, a log. 

I was very friendly today.  A man taking pictures of Rock Creek - I had to look at his images and make a voice recording and get his email and he promised to send me his website and he works for GE and I probably would have kept talking to him, except the dogs were getting bored.  And that was just in the park.  Once we got to the Saturday Market, the camera was out, I was a people person!  I was working the crowd, making friends, influencing people. Everything was amazing.  The world was my oyster. Lunch was spectacular.  There have never been such good drunken noodles in the history of Thai cooking, EVER.  Deeeeeeelicious.  And I even got a red velvet cupcake at Cakelove for later.

How does this affect my knitting, you ask? (Let's pretend you did.) When I took out tonight what I had worked on this morning after double-dosing on the pain med... well, let's just say that mohair is a very forgiving fiber, and I'm working on a shawl where the fuzziness will obscure the stitch tension, which I gotta tell you was all over the place.  Yarnovers were tight, three pattern repeats later, they were loose as a goose (don't get me started).

Scariest of all, is that now I want to write about it.  That and mismatched stitchmarkers which haunt me like mismatched hangers in my closet (can't stand that).

Oh, and to address the name of the blog, which was formerly "Running with Needles", I have found someone else is actively blogging under that title and I'm kinda over Augusten Burroughs, and while I love Amy Sedaris, I was not going to title this blog Knitting for Poor People or Strangers with Needles, and so borrowing and adjusting something from David was next on the list.

And, yes, I'm planning on knitting a pretty scarf for David and sending it to him and thanking him for it, and, no, Mo Rocca is not getting one ever. (Hmmph.  Did more research. Maybe he should be on my list.)

Yawn.  Am I boring me?

It will be so interesting to read this posting tomorrow once the fog clears - happy clicks.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

This Knitter's Cat (aka coming out of the closet to the dog people who read this)

We all have at least one.  (We=knitting bloggers. One=cats.)

Here's mine: Mac.

Mohair fanatic responsible for 2 DOA lace projects ("I leave you alone for 5 minutes...")

Good thing he's cute. (Well, he prefers to be called devastatingly handsome.  I have a hunch his role model is George Clooney.)

Mac is a 5 year old Maine coon cat (from Sarajen Maine Coons in Arlington, VA).  His nicknames are T-Bill and My Alaskan Vacations.  BOTH YEARS I had money saved for a vacation to Alaska, he has gotten sick; once a mystery virus that prompted an operation he didn't need but I still had to pay for (not using THAT vet anymore) and then a P.U. operation in 2009 in which he became, as my friend Lisa J put it, "the tranny cat".  He has a surgically created girly part instead of the boy bits he was born with.  He's a miracle boy, though, as he was in the first stages of kidney failure and pulled himself back with great care from Kindness Animal Hospital in Wheaton, Maryland.  They let me spend hours each day with him while he was in kitty ICU and I am so sure it made the difference.

Mac loves to help me knit.  He has a preference for mohair yarn.  If I leave it unattended for any length of time, any fuzzy yarn, really, he creates a nest of it and starts to knead it.  Yes, I anthropomorphize and call it his knitting.

I've tried to tell him that George Clooney most likely does NOT knit and, further, likely has no interest whatsoever in mohair.

Is he amused?  You decide.

ETA - let's see if this works (warning - I cuss like a sailor):


Chptr 31: In Which Our Narrator Gets Looped (and loves every minute of it)

Ahhhh.... yesterday's blues (see The List in last post) got soothed by two good visits in the afternoon. I am going to take them in NON-chronological order because the first visit is not so much knitting-related. And this is a knitting blog and not a kvetching blog. I think.

Visit the Second
So this is amazing.

I walked up to the shop from Dupont Circle - it's 2 or so blocks north on the west (left) side of Connecticut Avenue.  This alone is happy-making - the buildings around Dupont Circle are so varied - mostly old architectural styles with some modern ones sprinkled in.  I used to live there, and I never ever (and never ever will) get tired of looking at the rooflines around there.  Each time I'm there (and we're probably in the thousands of visits), I see something new and usually whimsical, and stimulating, and lovely.

I walk up the steps to the store (it's a 2nd level shop).  Off the street, quiet light-colored stairwell with soothing whitish walls and one large old picture of a row of knitters, one landing to pause and let the world be outside, and up a few more steps, through a door and... then... (pictures here are from the Looped Yarnworks Website - I didn't have a camera with me):

To the right

To the Left

And in the middle of it all, my enablers, Janie and Jessica!

Get ready for this... knitting celebrity moment...

So I walk in and Janie says "Hi, Jann - this is Tanis" about the woman sitting next to her at the meet/greet/decision/pay station.  I say, "Tanis Gray?" 'cuz I've been looking at the shawl on page 130 of Vogue Knitting Shawls & Wraps, the Lacy Leaves Shawl (confusingly also known as the #10 Beaded Shawl and I gotta link to this picture 'cuz it's MINDBLOWING BEAUTIFUL), and thinking, "Hmmmmmm...."  (but all but like 3 pages of this book makes me go "hmmmmm," I swear - if you were watching me page through this book, you'd probably see me vibrating).

(Backstory: bear with me here - it all comes together...) The narration about the shawl states, "the lovely colorway, Tanis Grays, is named for our yarn editor."  This registers with me (cuz I've fixated on this page, looked at it millions of times), so I was kind of joking when I said "Tanis Gray" - but get this - she says "yep" and I say "Tanis? Gray? Really?" and she says, "uh, yeah" and I am thinking, "wow, Janie got some good visiting knitting experts here" and then it turns out Tanis Gray WORKS there!  YIKES!  I got all giddy and stupid and it was likely quite pathetic but wow.  Just wow.  She WORKS there!

And then I visit with Janie who is absolutely the most fun person you could ever hope to meet and we talk yarn and life and connective tissue issues (see Visit the First below), and I show Janie and Tanis and Jessica (whose magic touch made my Visa work) all pictures of stuff on my iPad and how there are great apps for tracking time spent on projects (Timemaster app), and knitting rows (VogueKnitting app), and reading patterns (Goodreader app) and general yarn happiness, and I hem and haw over colors and fiber content (they have me solidly in the luxury yarn section - why? cuz I like it) and I decide on these things:

Deciding between the Autumn Vines (by Jess Savin) and Hearts (by Susan Pandorf) patterns for the Blue Heron Rayon Metallic.  Colorway is Celadon

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am officially cheating on the Alhambra I had started this week - I found a mistake below a lifeline and I need to put it down and decompress a little = simple pattern, constant esrrors, ARGH!

And so, a follow-up to yesterday's anxiety...

Visit The First
***Warning:  Health related and therefore boring if you don't know me (and maybe even if you do)***  My first visit yesterday was to a doc who was empathetic, and all that - I'm verklempt just thinking about it... short story - I probably don't have RA (further blood tests will reveal all), but what I have is a connective tissue disorder (I am not calling fibromyalgia - yet). Apparently, I'm ridiculously flexible and all the dance lessons of my youth and yoga of my later years, ok, and the party tricks where I touched my feet to my head in various exotic poses, exacerbated the looseness of the connective tissues holding my joints together and if you think of the connective tissue as rubber bands (thanks for the analogy, Janie) that have been stretched out so many times that they no longer have elasticity - well, there you have an image of what's going on with me. The doctor explained why this results in pain, but I was so high from hearing I most likely don't have arthritis (I can knit! I can keep on knitting!) that I can't remember what she said. Nerve endings, synapses, messages to the brain... somehow it all fits together, but I was thinking about lace.

I never thought I'd have anything in common with performers in Cirque du Soleil, but apparently, this is what happens to them as they age as well. Thank goodness I never took pole-dancing lessons!

Best of all, the doc has a non-medicative strategy for dealing with this... happiness!  Involves physical therapy.  And NO MORE YOGA.  Hmmmm....  not like I do much of it anyway lately cuz it hurts, but no more yoga?  Eeeeeesh...

Not quite like hearing "No more knitting", but wow. No more yoga.

("There must be a way to modify this instruction," I think. Dear Lord, I even THINK in knit-speak...)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chptr 30: Does My Butt Make My Knitting Look Fat? (and other anxieties)

Just a picture to remind myself that while I have my boy(and Meredith) (and my amazing family & friends) (and yarn) (and stitchmarkers), all is actually gonna be right my little world and I need to stop pouting and KNIT THROUGH IT.


This is the only place I like them (while writing and kvetching, basically). I fight against them at work and at home. Bad experience with an ex who lived by them, and got a little worked up when things didn't get accomplished.

I know, management by ADD does not really equal management at all, so I SHOULD look to lists - I SHOULD! And I try. I try to make them fun.  I buy iPad programs that have them (iThings - let's not go there on a review of THAT application), I create spreadsheets of them (interesting for about 12 minutes and 32 seconds), I want to create perfect lists and then execute them brilliantly, and I never do, and so don't you agree that avoiding them is actually the route to True Bliss? (Just nod.)

List of This Morning's Anxieties:
  1.  I am knitting on something that does not like me.  I know this because it is a fairly simple pattern (Alhambra Scarf), and I'm using my favorite yarn (one of, at least) Colinette Tao, I love the designer (Anne Hanson, here's her blog), and there are a billion beautiful finished ones on Ravelry and everyone else is rating this as fairly easy.  I, however, am having issues.  I am EVEN USING LIFELINES - I've completed two full-size lace shawls WITHOUT LIFELINES and now this simple little scarf is kicking my ass and so I'm only knitting the damn thing 1.75 times to get a finished object with the lifelines, whereas I'd probably have to knit it like 7 times without them.  (what are lifelines you ask?  they are sanity, I tell you, sheer brilliant sanity.  here's a clip.)  It is also a gift, and I have kinda got a deadline on it, and I've started 3 other projects for this person and ended up co-opting all of them for non-gifting-to-her purposes, so I have this karmic knitting debt I'm working through.  And karma is indeed being a BeeeeeYotch in this instance.
  2. I have a doctor's appointment because a recent blood test pointed positively to me having rheumatoid arthritis, and so off I am going to an arthritis specialist this afternoon.  I have been feeling pain lately (lately being the last 15 years since whacked by a car when on a bike with subsequent icky major injuries), especially in my hips, and this is pissing me the eff off because, while personally I LOVE anything that keeps me home with books, dogs, knitting, and is an excuse to stay in PJs all day, I also have a little bit of a "just deal with it, I don't want to hear about it" attitude towards folks who feel chronic pain.  Now, don't get all righteous on me, please.  Be kind.  I have felt pain in my life and sucked it up.  But now it appears it is leading to something that threatens my knitting.  So off I go to deal with this.  All the while, as with item 1, contemplating the karma thing.
  3. Car issues.  Can't talk about it.  Let's just say it involves a "check engine" light and I got no money right now to deal with check engine lights (but I do see a yarn sale... ack.  I will be good).
  4. Work.  It's work.  We all have work.  But work is starting to feel like my knitting: too many projects, not enough time.
  5. Appetite and Butt Size.  Anxiety leads to me wanting to eat everything, especially if sweet, and this leads to fluffiness in the hip-ass-stomach area, and my wardrobe options constricting.  You know what?  It has occurred to me that women must like buying cars because when you choose your car, you choose what other folks see of you from behind.  It's like being able to choose your ass, and then your ass stays that way.  Unlike with life when your ass shape basically picks you.  Wardrobe-wise, today I had to go to my handy Chico's travellers pants and a long jacket because I could not face Spanx.  It sucks when you are getting too big for your Spanx, which I am. Cuz I'm anxious about items 1 through 4.
So.  More than you probably wanted to know.  Do I feel better for being all TMI on a knitting blog?  Not sure.  I don't like the docs, I never remember everything I want to tell them or ask them and don't bring everything they want me to, and can't find the office, and it's raining and I haven't been to this office before so phoooooey.  Bleh.

We'll see how it goes.  I do have another couple yarns cued up for the Great Colinette Felting Swatch Experiment:  Mohair and Zanziba.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Swatch This Space: The Great Colinette Felting Experiment - Shimmer 5

The Great Colinette Felting Experiment was born because, unlike with other yarns, I couldn't find enough info on the felting of it online to guide my way into committing any of my precious yarn to the wash machine.

It pains me to swatch anything (too impatient and I don't knit a lot of fitted stuff and plus, Ravelry - some of you know what I mean!).  But Colinette - well, I'm not a wholesaler, I (should) live on a budget, and at over 20-25 American per skein, well - you do the math ('cuz I try to avoid it).  Also, I'm new to felting and kinda a sceerdy-cat about it.

Note:  The postings regarding felting are going to be edited as more information is gathered, they are not standalone blog posts.

So, shall we commence?  Shimmer 5.

Here is Yarndex's info page on Shimmer 5 - Colinette seems to be discontinuing it, but not sure.  HA!  Here is Ravelry's page on Shimmer 5 (not sure if this will work, but I'm gonna try).

My notes about Shimmer 5:  I just love the gloss on this yarn.  It's really subtle, and "shimmer" is a great adjective for it.  I have tried (tried, I tell you: see this Rav posting) to substitute Shimmer 5 for Point 5 in Colinette patterns, to limited success.  "Limited" in this case meaning no success with fitted garments.  Also, because of the rayon content, it doesn't have the give that Point 5 does.

But pretty!  It is so effing PRETTY!

So here are my Shimmer 5 swatches prior to felting - I did one in moss stitch and one in stocking stitch.  And I have to apologize to those of you who do metric - my trusty measuring thingee is in inches with no metric.  I will try to do conversions at some point.  (be gentle on the layout here, I am new to adding pictures and placing them and how this looks in multiple browsers, and I'm trying, people, I'm trying...)

After felting:

ANNNDDDDD: so you can see what the purlside vs knitside differences are in texture, and I'm making these pics big for you to see detail:
Yes, I know it says "money" colorway, ha.  It's Monet but I seem to always type Money...


These are coming soon.  I have to consult with the statistics guy at work, 'cuz really I don't do math... not even knitting math.

 Happy clicking and hooking, y'all! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chptr 28 - in Which Chester Interviews for Witness Protection (aka Vogue Shawls and Wraps: Floral Lace Shawl)

So, one of my knitting goals is to knit through the Vogue Shawls & Wraps book. There isn't a page in there that doesn't set me into a pretty scary frenzy of "oh, I could..." and "This would be great with [insert name of super expensive luxury yarn that I only have a partial skein of here]" and "I could do that in about a week in time for [insert rapidly impending gifting occasion here]."

Why am I explaining to you? If you're reading this, you either know me and have seen this in action (in all its very attractive permutations) or knit/crochet like me and are fellows in fighting the SABLE creep (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) and the chaos we insert into our lives by thinking "I could do that in [insert completely illogical time frame for item completion here]. No problem!"


Well, this is a true exception to this - looked through the book, thought "they knit it in cotton, why not in mohair?" (keep in mind there is often an obvious answer to this question...), and it actually WORKED! I had about 3 grams of yarn left over (was sweating to the last edging petal repeat, let me tell you), the yarn and colors and pattern all went together like magic if I do say so myself, AND - get ready for this - I FINISHED IT IN A WEEK! Even though I had to repeat the edging 1.5 times and still didn't really get it right (but luckily the mohair kinda hides this...)

Here are a couple more pictures of the shawl.

One of it on the knit (right side) of it hanging from a trellis (the obligatory Shawl-in-the-Great-Outdoors shot). 

And one of it on my sweet love who RELUCTANTLY consented (but consented) to pose with it - I put the wrong side showing here because I think the purl stitching with the mohair looks lovely.

I actually plan to do this shawl again in Colinette Mohair in Twilight  (I think it's #95).  For ME.

The biggest problem I had with this was doing the cast-off ruffles - I loved that there was no pick up and knit on crap to deal with  in the finishing, but even though I measured off my last row with stitch markers (TWICE, DAMMIT), I was one stitch off at the end, and my little points didn't totally match up with the stitch pattern in the rows and no way could this be submitted at Maryland Sheep and Wool, but it is a pretty pretty thing, and Meredith (who had a bad childhood experience with a mohair sweater) finds the shawl non-irritating next to her (gorgeous) skin.

OK, and I admit I wore it one day after I finished it to work over a tank and it was PERFECT office weight.  So I looked a little like a fluffy puff of something from a distance - I can deal with that.  And the only way I could let it go was to order the yarn to knit the next one (let's not talk about when this is supposed to happen... but I had to order that yarn... because someday I will be all caught up; yes, I will too [stamping foot adamantly]...)

OK, yarnies - I gotta go earn my luxury yarn money.  It occurs to me that my retirement will be knitting through my luxury yarn stash in a hovel of some sort.

XOXOXOX - jann

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Confessions of a Knitting Addict

It's true. I can no longer deny it. Gone are the days when I could quit anytime I wanted.

I submit the evidence in three exhibits.


I recently ran out of stitchmarkers.  How the heck this happened, I have no clue:  I usually keep packages of them, and it seems that I rarely leave any type of craft or yarn store without buying some.

Actually, I still have stitchmarkers, but I took them to work and then left them there by accident.  (Note to co-workers - I didn't really lose them at work.  I NEVER KNIT AT WORK!  Or only during Sharepoint training.  Right? wink, wink.)

Started a new lace project (Alhambra scarf by Anne "Amazing Lace" Hanson), and even though I recently organized my knitting doodads, I could not find stitchmarkers.  Any stitchmarkers.  (Do you know how crazy this is?  Stitchmarkers to lace knitters are like NEEDLES - essential.)  A thought occurred to me: I'll bet there are some in the couch.  I tore apart the couch cushions like I've heard crystal meth users search for crumbs (no, ma, I don't know about this firsthand).  I found 3.  It occurred to me to vacuum.  JACKPOT!  And I got the bonus:  I found a tapestry needle in a size I recently 'lost' the last one of...  life is GOOD, baby.  Life is good.


DUH!  The reason I do laundry is to felt up test swatches!  (Here, Colinette Shimmer 5 in Monet, colorway #101.)

[I will soon be posting the great Colinette swatch experiment, which this is part of, so watch this space.]


Made this sucker big so you could see the price on it:  $26.99 for 50 grams. (Don't look, ma, you won't understand... and, no, it's not machine washable.)

Tao is 100% silk in a single-ply cord and OMG it is OMG so amazing to knit with OMG. Colinette Tao in Whirley Fig, colorway #157.  OMG.  And if you're nice to me, I'll let you touch it.

I shower because yarn this nice needs me to be worthy of it.  (Some days I succeed.)  And in our sex ed class in 6th grade, good hygiene was emphasized as being essential to laying the groundwork for others to like you.  And I want Tao to like me.  I really really do. (and sometimes it does:  hit me.)

And, little pretties, it needs knitting on now, so off I go - happy clicks!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chptr 26: in which I am lying in bed at 5 am ON A SATURDAY morning thinking about knitting

Maybe it's that time of year.

I can't figure out my budget but the rule seems to be "Yarn First Bills Sometime Soon"

Am still far out enough from holidays that in my generous plans, EVERYONE is getting a hand knit something or other; but I know gift triage is impending.... Cue creepy scary music soundtrack

It's finally COOLER. See, this year I'm thinking global warming held off autumn. But it's here. Can't walk the dogs in bare feet first thing in morning anymore. (note to self-knit slippers-?)

The colors have changed outside. We are going from green to brown as the main color scheme, with a brief dip into reddy-golds. Must change out yarn wardrobe.

So, do I knit or do I sleep? Ha. We all know the answer to this one. (sorry honey - thank God you're a sound sleeper. I so lucked out with that.)

Some kinda picture later.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chptr 25: In Which Our Hero Models the "Opie", with Eye-rolling Resignation

This is really a poncho. Really! Great drape for a scarf, though, don't you agree?

Pattern: Opie
Pattern Book: Colinette Akashya #51
Ravelry Pattern Review Page: hit me

Yarns I used for this one, and they look spectacular paired - Colinette Giotto colorway Dusk (#77) and Colinette Silky Chic Colorway Castagna (#128).

Future plans do include frogging the poncho and making two shawls out of it BECAUSE:

A)   It's really, really fuzzy.  And funky looking.  And I DON'T live in Berkeley or Portland (anymore). And I have to wear what I knit to work (well, I don't have to, but my hobby and my clothing allowance are one and the same, which gets complicated when it's time for new underwear), and if I could reproduce the look I got from the HR admin when I walked in the door wearing this (see below), I totally would.  Double take, eyes bulged, and then eyes rolled.  Shoulder movements were also involved. 
B) Again with the downward growth of garment!  When I finished it, it was well above the ground (see above) but after a couple of hours, it had stretched so far I looked like I was wearing a bedspread, and that fringe was acting like a Swiffer and sweeping away my footprints.  Which could work on a covert operation in the woods, but which prompted more eye rolling at the office.  (Admit it, though, you love the red boots.)

So, a planned posting on Looped Yarn Works in Dupont Circle, DC.  LOVE!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Come Here Often?

This is one of those items that looked smashing when initially done, but had problems:
  1. The yarn was so heavy the jacket pulled way down and the flounce ended up around my widest part (Stacy and Clinton would have a LOT to say about that).
  2. The seams were a nightmare, even when you're loosey-goosey about seams and rarely even care if stitches match up.
  3. And, most importantly, I kept thinking I could improve it by doing this, or that, or the other, and it just turned into the Jacket That Never Was Finished And Caused Persistent Underarm Chafing.
However, I do love the colors.  I love that Colinette tries, how they try, to give us patterns that kinda sorta make Point 5 wearable in sweater form.  Someday I may find that pattern.  As cute as it is, there's that stretch thing - and I blocked the mo-fu out of this sweater - knit it small, blocked it stretched out like a masochist on the rack for a fun weekend, hoping-hoping-hoping that would eliminate the vertical stretch.  And it didn't work.

So there you have it.  Ravelry page with more pictures (of my cat helping) here.

Enjoy your knitting! I'm off to check out Looped Yarn Works in Dupont Circle - very excited!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yep, More Socially Conscious Peer Pressure: 10/20/10 - Wear Purple to Support Gay Youth

Sometimes Chester doesn't get how very very blond he is...

And although Chester's mama sort of feels like it's way too much like caving to peer pressure,* she will be wearing purple today specifically for a friend's daughter who is an out lesbian at 15 (go girl, and boy do I love her parents) and experiencing bullying at a high school in a liberal, affluent, NPR-kinda neighborhood. Glee aside, it's still a rough road out there and sometimes I'm really glad I was in denial until college... This one's for KP!

Colinette Shimmer 5 in Florentina colorway - tried to make the Marilyn jacket from the Colinette book "Rock Gods and Movie Stars". Wasn't working on me, but it made a cute Chester pic before it got unraveled. (more another time.)

* ETA: for my ex-US friends and folks reading this down the road of time, in the USA in September/October 2010 there have been a rash of suicides of teens who are gay or who were thought to be gay. One of the outcomes of this has been the "It Gets Better"/Trevor Project, delivering messages of empathy and hope to youth who might be contemplating suicide because of homophobia. Another has been a day of wearing purple to show support for youth who are considering that their sexuality is not 'straight' (whatever that is anymore) and who are experiencing bullying by other teens, or family, or anyone...


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chptr 22: in Which Our Hero Reminds Us We Are Interfering With His Nap

Or just wants to remind us he has teeth.

You decide.

Colinette Tagliatelli scarf: 2 skeins, simple k2 p2 rib, Fresco colorway.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Chptr 21 - In Which Our Narrator Pairs Colinette with Noro to Sublime Result

Talk about Noro and Nature!

This is Jen's Poncho from the AMAZING Sally Melville*'s book "The Knitting Experience Book 1: The Knit Stitch" which I highly recommend to any level knitter as a pretty darn cool book with great instruction, helpful information, and patterns that are not just interesting, but functional as well. If I was less ADD, I'd pick this as a book to knit through, reading whatever the Divine Ms. M has to tell me. I checked this out of the library originally and after keeping it long enough that the fines equaled what I could pay for a copy on Amazon (including shipping), I decided to get it for myself.

Someday I will knit the Einstein coat (for the story, hit this, and go down to the section on The Knitting Experience, book 1 - start at 2nd paragraph) - and I want to use Noro to do that.

This poncho was knit with Noro Silk Garden, 7 skeins total: 2 of colorway 279 (the stripes) and 5 of colorway 269. A Tangled Skein in Hyattsville, Maryland, did the honors of Noro supply. For suppleness and a bit of a friendly fuzzy aura, I paired the Noro with Colinette Parisienne (mostly kid mohair) in Soft Sienna (colorway #125). My stripe pattern was a 12 row total: 6 rows of the main color, 2 rows of complementary color, 2 rows of main color, 2 rows of complementary color.

After wearing a couple times, the neck was stretching out so I crocheted a cord and threaded it through the finishing border of the neck opening.

I literally had a woman stop me on the street and offer to buy it off me; and wouldn't you know, within 24 hours my puppy (NOT Chester, thank God or I would have to pose him in an all-out princess getup for his atonement) had chewed a little hole in it which I still have not had the heart to figure out how to fix and will take somewhere, someday, for repair advice.

This was has been an easy, very wearable, item... in fact, I will probably wear it today! To quote Jen S - it's very fallish.

* Seriously - her story, especially after 1993, is really a testament to the therapy that knitting and crocheting can be - I swear there should be a T-shirt knitters can get when life basically craps on you that says "Knit through THIS!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Yarn Makes Life Nice

Berrocco yarns and some knicks knacks from travels. Little pouch made on dpns for little electronic gadgets and earbuds. This was my work desk a couple years ago when you could still see a flat surface. Good times. Happy Saturday!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Chptr 19: In Which Our Hero Embodies a Quote by Cicero: "The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions."

Chester in a scarf knitted with Colinette Enigma and Colinette Isis yarns held together. Both are rayon-based yarns, so they have a great sheen and slipperiness to them. The texture of the Enigma is super-slidey - this was the yarn I HAD TO HAVE once I saw it at Aylin's Woolgatherers (LYS - just inside Beltway in Falls Church) - the way this skein of yarn took the colors of the Toscana colorway (#61) was magical. Soft, kind of faded in the greens and reds, but vibrant in the yellows and blues.

But, Gentle Reader, Enigma is enigmatic (at best) to knit with. This is the song that knitting with it brings to mind: hit me. I think Colinette has discontinued it - can't find it nowhere on their site. They put out a great pattern book of it (hit me), that a few online vendors seem to have, and it seems you can still get the yarn in bulk, and it takes color soooooo wonderfully, but the knitting with it is not a lot of fun. Especially if you drop a stitch. Fugetaboutit - you're screwed.

But, the book seems to be available on Amazon, too, so here's a link: Colinette Yarns - Enigma

The other yarn is Isis: I don't think it's going anywhere away - lovely pattern booklet. Although a rayon yarn as well, it has texture (think rayon chenille) and it's much easier to hold. When you drop a stitch in this, there is a chance it will kinda stick around long enough to rescue your work. I used Isis in the Cream Tea colorway (#144).

I used semi-huge wooden needles - there is no way I would knit with either of these yarns with metal or class or acrylic or even plastic. Knitting with 100% rayon, at least the way I knit with my yarn held very loosely, requires some texture on the needles to hold the yarn.

OK. I'd LOVE to hear about any knitting any reader does with Enigma - it's so beautiful, and I'm tempted to try and get some and make just one thing, but so many other yarns call as well - happy clicking, happy OCTOBER!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Walking on the Wild Side (and killing sticks)

Chester's favorite song for romping in Rock Creek Park. Not so ironically from the album: The House That Dirt Built.

SharePoint training ALL DAMN DAY today. I am trying to get to a place of warm receptivity and will ignore all the scary things I see friends write about it on FB.

I will resist bringing in my "I'd Rather Be Knitting" coffee mug.

Wanted: A mug that says "F*ck Off: I'm Knitting". I wonder if they make it as a bumper sticker....?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hot Child in the City (not)

No freakin' clue why, but this song has been going through my head for a few days. Nick Gilder? Why couldn't it be Nick Cave? I mean, really. Sometimes I want to give my synapses a good talking to...

So. This was taken Sunday, October 10, 2010, on Penn Ave in DC. The vestish long drapey thingee is actually Iris Schreier's "Chevron Ruana" from her book Lacy Little Knits. Which I own, and am knitting something from, but can't find! ARGHHHHHH!!!!!! My one knitting book that's MIA.

The yarn, hold your breath, is Colinette Tao in the Madras colorway (#153). Here. Breath again. This yarn is sooooooo beautiful - warm golds with glints of dark amethyst and deep turquoise. The Tao yarn is a single-ply, fairly smooth, nice silken cord. I've made some shawls with it, and loved them, and making this solely with about 8 skeins of luxury stuff was an investment - let's not talk about what I don't have in savings because I'm wearing a couple hundred dollars worth of yarn (and hours of knitting). Ok, changing the subject...

Iris' book will be linked here once I consult with my webmistress about how to do my Amazon Associate hookup. (ETA! WOO HOO - figured this out on my own!) I am a jump-right-in kinda girl - I DON'T read the manual - give me the quickstart guide every time, please. However, I will say that if you haven't knit an Iris pattern prior to knitting something in that book and figured everything out on your own, you probably should at least cruise through the intro. And swatch. Yes, I know, it sucks. But there's less super-direct instruction in her patterns than I was used to and more reliance on the techniques in the intro ("K 5, P 3: end of row is 8 stitches" vs. "knit until it's about 5 inches measured the Iris way").

That said, and this was the first thing of hers I knitted, and I did NOT swatch, and I barely skimmed the intro, I'm happy. I had to start the damn thing about 5 times (swatching would've taken about 3 false starts off that), and if I had to do it over, I'd sew up the armholes a bit tighter, and maybe make the whole thing a little smaller 'cuz the yarn stretches out.

But this pattern + this yarn is a total winner. Especially if you dig looking like a bohemian kinda funky chick and are in denial that you're middle aged (even though you're dressing like a crazy old aunt).

And a shout out to Chico's. Damn, I never thought I'd say that. If you are going the Statement Piece route (and this is a Statement Piece), they have great plain tanks and tops and pants to set off the color. Jewelry's a little pricey - I like the sale counter at TJMaxx or Marshalls. Or Etsy.

OK. Dogs need walking and I just remembered something I forgot to do yesterday at work... crapola. Happy Wednesday and happy clicking.

ETA - Ravelry page on this project here

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Reluctant Muse

I'm in sooooooo much trouble for this. But doesn't it look perfect on her?

Thanks, babe. I love that you wear what I make. Grateful and please please please spare my life.

Colinette pattern Oreneta in Giotto yarn, sunrise color way. More at this post.


Friday, October 8, 2010

SOLD: Will Knit for Coffee. Or Money. Or Coffee Money...

So. This is the first sweater I made and sold - to a dear friend who is now starting to knit!


(Can I tell you that I am feeling excitement dangerously close to the kind I imagine I would feel if I was in a cult and scored a bonus-points convert - ? The kind of convert with a large trust fund and no heirs.)

Looking back at my notes on this project on Ravelry, it took me slightly less than a month to knit. I'm thinking I was fairly devoted to the project, and wasn't knitting on a lot of other stuff at the time.

Pattern Designer: Colinette - of course!
Pattern Book Title: Nostalgia (Colinette #63)
Pattern Name: Millais
Yarn Brand: Colinette
Yarn Type: Parisienne (in Fire, color #71 ) and Tao (in Windfall, color #149 )

Come to think of it, looking at the dates (March-April), I betcha this was knit with yarn I purchased at Woolwinders in Rockville (no longer carrying Colinette - but who is in DC these days? *sniff*) after getting a sweet little tax refund. It came out a little small for me, but I wore it a few times anyway, and when Leslie saw it her eyes lit up, so when an offer was made, I accepted.

Some notes on knitting this up: Pay attention to the Tao stitches. Also, they are a little tricky - the pattern is written for right-handed yarn throwers (English style) and I am a picker and knit in the Russian Continental style (more about that someday, it is such a pain to figure out stitching, let me tell you, and I am going to at some point get up and going on that; I need to do a page transposing stitches for those of us like me). I've even had English throwers contact me about how to do the stitch. Not that I'm much help.

Also, the way I knit, the pieces have a lot of horizontal give and not a lot of vertical give. So, I would go a tad longer than you think you need, at least on the body, and maybe go a little narrower in the body pieces.

Finishing: this was pretty darn easy to finish. I used the Parisienne to stitch together and because of the nylon or whatever man-made base is in that yarn, it's quite strong and disappears nicely. Just did simple mattress stitching (article with pictures from Knitty.com here), and it worked just fine.

Leslie mentioned this as a beach sweater - something nice for evenings in summer on your vacation when a chill is coming off the water... I have to say that the pattern dresses up and down, makes a great preppy-style shoulder wrap as well as a nice little pullover.

Work. Not at the beach today. Damn. Oh well...


BTW, poking around online it looks like the pattern and yarns are being kitted and sold as of the date of this posting. If you are thinking about it, it is probably a good way to get a great color combination for this project, especially as not many US shops are currently stocking Colinette yarns. A state of affairs I would like to see changed! You really have to touch and feel and SEE Colinette to get it. Amazing stuff. (I know. Foaming at the mouth is not all that attractive. Sorry.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NOT SOLD: A Poem Rejected by Poetry Magazine

This morning, last night
We are back to air unencumbered
By the wet of the Summer.

Oh it may kick up its heels again
And give us a taste of season we have just left
But the corner is in sight
To the Fall.

We met, you and I, in air like this, face to face
In May
Here it is October
And we have moved through the heat
The thunder
Long wet nights over too soon
Days where everything has melted:
Bodies and souls
And disentangled to part ways.

This Summer each parting a little less precise
Pieces left behind on purpose or in haste.

The heat of the Summer
The rain, tremendous rain
Puddling us deliciously
Expanding in the heat
And the hum of the coolness inside.

This Summer I have loved well.

It is not for us to know how many seasons stretch before us
But one is complete
And I would change not one bead of sweat
Or drop of rain
Or blade of sun parched grass
Or toppled or torn tree -
For this will forever be
The Summer I have been
Explored, known, conquered, surrounded,
Surrendered, lost, found, soothed, suckled,
Gentled, graced

And loved

And loved

And loved

© 2010, Jann R. Mouer