I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

mo' book

Behold the book I got from my sister on my birthday last month.
I have no idea why they translated "Last Minute Knitted Gifts" into "hot needle". They did use the original title for the subtitle, however. Inside, all the original yarns got changed to yarns readily available in Germany.
This book has been on my all-time favorite knitting books list since it first came out, and now I have it in two languages! How cool is that?
Thanks, sis!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"No Sheep for You!"

My design, called the Berthe Collar by Amy Singer, is published in the recent book No Sheep for You! It's a very simply knit short scarf, or collar, that is shaped in such a way that it will lay flat on your shoulders.
When I first started knitting with the design in mind, I was thinking: there are no straight lines on our bodies. Yet we always knit things that are straight! I wanted to devise a scarf that curves with your curves.
Amy loved it and accepted.
And I am deeply deeply honored to be in that book, and humbled to be in such amazing company as Amy Singer herself, Jillian Moreno, and Sivia Harding. I am sure you will recognize a few other names when you open the book!
I am proud and cannot wait to submit more desgins to Interweave, Knitty, and others. I am thankful to Amy for having given me a stone to step on on my journey.
But here's why YOU need to buy this book: it is an indispensable guide to all fibers non-sheep (or non-cashmere, or non-mohair, take your pick).
Even if you never make a single item from the amazing line-up of patterns, you'd be able to use this book. I think you'd be a fool if you didn't try to make at least one She-Gansey or the gorgeous tank top by Jilian. But what I really, truly love about this book is that here's someone that tells it like it is: all these fibers, be they the ancient ones (hemp, silk, linen) or the new manufactured ones (soy, bamboo, and tech fibers), require a different approach. Silk is slippery. Soft cotton will pill. A hemp bag needs a lining.
In so many words, Amy in her inimitable style tells us knitters: these fibers are extraordinary, and extraordinarily beautiful, and some kick your butt when you try to work with them. But you can do it if you take the time to get to know them and pay some attention!
I owned a yarn shop for nearly 4 years, and I have worked with many many different yarns. People would sometimes come in with their projects and say to me: I paid a lot of money for this yarn! Why is it pilling/slippery/falling apart when I seam with it?
I wish I'd had that book when I had my shop. 'Cause just when I thought I knew almost everything there is to know about yarn, Amy comes along and proves me wrong.
And also, I will sheepishly :) admit that I totally and completely underestimated the issue of wool allergy/sensitivity. Duh. I should have known. My own sister, daughter, and husband are all very sensitive to wool. My solution was to not knit for them, or rarely. I mean, who can imagine a cotton sweater for a guy whose back length measures 27 inches?? Can you imagine how heavy that sweater would be, and how far it would droop on day 2?
Thank goodness we have all those gorgeous fibers and blends available to us now...and a pattern book to go with them.
Thanks, Amy.

(PS: I want to offer one small correction. The stitch pattern on "Tomato", that cute T-Shirt, is not called herringbone...it's a houndstooth check).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

the mittens that wouldn't quit

I made these mittens last winter. They are made from a handcarded and handspun (not by me) single skein of yarn, 50% mohair and 50% wool. I had gotten the yarn at Cummington, at the Massachussetts Sheep and Wool Fest, the year before. Your eyes are not deceiving you, the colors are pretty true in the picture. If you look at the mitten on the right, it merges from purples into a gold hue at the tip. Then the thumb of that one is gold-ish, too. Then I made the other mitten, which is almost entirely gold.
The crazy thing about these mittens is that I had lost them last winter and could not find them for about three days. Then one day as I was making my way to work on foot, as I did for about 4 years, in rain, shine, or snow, I found my mittens in the intersection near my house. They had been run over by cars, salted, flattened, melted, re-frozen. I carefully carried them into the house like an injured animal and left them on a paper grocery bag (since I still had to get to work!)
That night, I hand washed them about seven times, laid them out to dry, and they were PERFECT. Well, now that I look at them in the picture, one of them looks to be a little longer. But still!
Today, I was making snowpeople with my DD, with those mittens on. They refused to absorb moisture. While my hands did get cold after a while, those mittens held up beautifully.
I love my mittens...

1st pic

Kristine asked for a picture taken with my new camera.
Here is a beautiful pair of mittens I received as a gift from my friend Sharon.
Soon, pics of my own work!
It's a busy week with two birthdays (DD and DH), so I am falling behind with knitting and posting.
After all, I need to talk about the book that came out that has MY DESIGN IN IT!

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Between Thursday night and Friday afternoon, I made a pair of ladies' medium sized mittens out of a single skein of Noro Kureyon #128, which I had left over, and size 6 needles. That one skein was not enough to finish them, so I took a color from another skein of Kuryeon to do the thumbs, and they came out great. I gave them to my daughter's afterschool program director, a wonderful young woman who takes good care of the kids. I had just grabbed her hand the other day and held it up against mine, and said: You have just been measured.
She said: Finally! :)
Friday, last day before winter vacation, I gave her the mittens, by putting them on the desk in front of her.
She said: Did you make me mittens?
I said: I did.
She said: Cool! Thank you so much. Can I give you a hug?
I said: yes! Then I showed her the book "No Sheep for You!" which I had just brought in and showed her my design in it. I told her: See? You now have mittens made by a published designer! Now, these here mittens are made from wool. Are you OK with wool?
She said: I love wool! Then she walked off and showed them to her staff.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

good folk

I'd like you to go and check out the blog I've added to my list. It's called Our Wee Farm. Melanie runs it and posts and photographs and raises the sheep and also dyes some yummy yarn, with her friend Allison. So often, you hear about Big Names and what they're doing every minute of the day, and how they're on their way to becoming famous. Or how they are famous already and are becoming famouser all the time. Which I can appreciate, but then there's your everyday Good Folk. These guys live according to a principle, and they follow through, and they dye yarn and one of them raises sheep and they have full time jobs besides to pay the bills.
I know these women personally, they were my customers when I had my shop and then they began dyeing yarn and I sold it. That's how that went. Simple. And everyone was having fun at nobody else's expense! What a concept.
Pretty soon, the three of us will embark on a new adventure: we will simply knit some Dale sweaters together. We don't care how long it'll take (though I'd like to be finished by the end of the year). But steeking is something that none of us has ever done, and we figure it's truly about time.
And when I finally get my new camera -- any day now! -- I'll actually get some pictures up here.
Till then, go say hello to Melanie and the sheep!