Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Novelty Yarn Bonanza

I have turned into a scarf knitting machine.

Knitting Satisfaction
One of the most satisfying components to my knitting, is having the knowledge to know what kind stitch is best suited to a specific yarn.

I've learned how to best use alpaca, and cotton and silk and different types of wool, and even blends. Now I'm learning how to best use these crazy novelty yarns, and I must admit, figuring it out and making it work has been just as satisfying as working with the natural fibers.

My current scarf is being done in Dune, by Trendsetter.

With all of my novelty scarves, the mission is to create an acceptably long scarf, that looks good, and doesn't use more than $13 worth of yarn, and doesn't take longer than 3 hours to make. With the Dune, it requires that I use a very open, lacey stitch to meet all of the criteria, and I can make one in about an hour and a half.

The "free scarf pattern" (used to get more hits on my site), for this scarf is as follows:

Cast on 13 stitches on a US13 needle.
Knit four rows.
Next row: K1, Yarn Over to last stitch, K1
Next row: K1, slip yarn over off the needle, to last stitch, K1
Next row: Knit
Next row: Knit

Repeat the last four rows till the yarn is almost gone. Knit four rows and use the remaining yarn for fringe.

For the Lana Grossa Pep and the Fee yarns, I just cast on around 18-22 stitches, and Knit two rows and Purl two rows. It makes the scarf longer than plain garter stitch.

Here's my remaining stash of about a dozen balls of novelty yarns, which include Fee, Pep and Dune.

Non Curliing Stockinette Stitch
Thuy asks me if there is a way to cast on (or off) so that stockinette stitch won't roll.

My favorite answer to this enigma was from Dani who clearly understands that the knitting is created only by selling your soul to Satan. That would explain how well J. Crew does as well.

But other than loose cast-on/cast-off, using loosely spun yarn, and blocking a lot, the tubular cast-on is the only solution that seems to have some general agreement.

Here are two links where you can read how to do tubular cast-on:


I'd be interested to hear if anyone tries it, and how well it works.

Thanks everyone for your advice and tips. The experience of the folks who read this blog are amazing.

Readers Comments/Questions
Clark is my newest favorite knitter. In a week, he got someone to teach him to knit, made a large swatch of knitting and purling, found my favorite local yarn store and bought a pattern and yarn for a hat which he's already finished.

And he found my site.

It doesn't hurt that he's one of the most attractive men I've ever seen in a yarn store either (sorry girls and boys, he's married).

Welcome to a new and fearless knitter. He also builds boats and teaches at one of the best prep schools in the country. Quite a Renaissance man.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Blog Wisdom Required

A blog reader asked an intriguing knitting question. Since I don't know the answer, and I'd like to, I'm going to ask the folks who read this blog if they might know.

Non Rolling Stockinette
Thuy asks me if there is a way to cast on (or off) so that stockinette stitch won't roll.

She has a scarf and a sweater from J. Crew with no hem, done in plain stockinette stitch that doesn't roll.

Here's the proof.

Does anyone have any ideas on how one might accomplish this? The sweater is 100% wool in case that affects your answer.

Craft Sale Manic Knitting
This weekend has been non-stop knitting. Mostly for the upcoming craft sale on the 20th of December.

So far this weekend, I've completed four scarves and two London Beanies, and I'm well on my way to finishing a fifth scarf. I'm using Pep, Fee and Dune for the scarves, and Kureyon for the London Beanies. I also have two Pep scarves and two Koigu scarves at the local yarn store and four Headhugger Hats left over from the previous craft show. I'm hopeful to have about three dozen items that I can sell at the show...if not more.

I get to see my friend who's hosting the craft sale this evening for movie and a dinner, and I wanted to show her my extensive progress.

Other Knitting Progress
I did do a little work on the Ronas Hill vest.

Not really enough to merit an updated picture. I also brought Ronas Hill into my localy yarn store when I went in to buy more novelty yarn, and everyone fawned over it.

There was a newly obsessed male knitter in the store when I went in. When he saw me, he said he had been to my web site...and he's only been knitting a week. Hi Clark if you get to read this. Hope your hat is coming out well.

Readers Comments/Questions
Jojo asks who puts out the Pep yarn (she likes the colors).

The Pep yarn is a Lana Grossa yarn. It' similar to Fee and some of the other "hairy" yarns. The reason I buy Pep is that is has about 20 more yards, and cost about $2 less per ball than most of the other hairy scarf yarns.

Pubah asks if I've ever seen anyone wearing these scarves?

I actually have seem some folks wearing them, and like funky clothes, some folks can get away with it, and some can't. And as Kathy mentions, it's the folks that go way overboard with this stuff by wearing it all at once that makes these scarves look way more stupid than they might otherwise.

The best comment I've seen so far from my readers is actually on Wendy's blog. It's the total amount she and Theresa have collected for Heifer International (it was almost $2,500 last I looked).

For any of you who have made contributions, you are amazing...thank you. For those of you who haven't, please consider doing so if you can. Click here to contribute.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Holiday Knitting Charity

Interested in charity? Want to find a way to make yours knitting related? Read on.

Knitbloggers Knitting Basket Project
Theresa and Wendy have organized another amazingly kind thing. By leveraging all of the folks that read their blogs, they are looking to make a charitable donation to Heifer International that helps the needy and is knitting related.

I won't go into detail here, since Wendy and Theresa have described it very well, but if you don't regularly ready either of their blogs, and don't already know about this kind thing they're doing, please stop by their sites and contribute whatever you can.

I wholeheartedly support their efforts and hope you will too.

Knitting Event
When Marilyn and I get together, we both agree that the best part of this blogging thing are some of the people we've met during the process. Blogging takes quite a bit of time and effort, and knit-blogging requires the additional effort of producing knitted products to display on the blog.

The payback for me has been that my blog has introduced me to a number of folks who are incredible

people, as well as interesting and/or talented fiber artists. This past Sunday, I got to meet up with three of them.

Marilyn hosted a Knit Luncheon at her new house (ritzy gated community home) for me, Lisa and Kathy.

It's always energizing to be around such interesting and creative folks. What made this day even more amazing was that Kathy decided it was time to do a major de-stashing of the yarn that she would never get to in three lifetimes.

Now, don't be jealous, but she brought five Hefty bags full of yarn for us to pick from it anything we wanted. To make this story even more amazing, her yarn was amazing stuff. She had full sweaters worth of yarn in beautiful merinos, soft and luxurious silk/wool combinations, and colors that were incredible.

I walked out on Sunday with two full sweaters worth of amazing yarn. I honestly wanted to take all of it, but truth be told, I already have more than I could ever knit with in a lifetime, and I decided I would only take yarn that I would definitely use, and let Lisa and Marilyn enjoy the rest.

It was an awesome time in a yarn orgy, eating, laughing kind of way.

Knitting Progress
Work has been keeping me very busy, and I've done a little bit of work on the Regia sock, and a little bit of work on the Ronas Hill vest. Neither of them have I made enough progress to merit a picture.

I did, however, also finish the Pep scarf (the first of many) for the December craft show/sale that I agreed to participate in.

I'm very happy with how it came out. The length is perfect and it's soft and beautifully colored. I know these scarves will be sold very quickly.

Hopefully, I'll have more to report on the other projects over the next few days.

And please, even if you can only contribute a few dollars to the Knitbloggers Knitting Basket Project, please consider it.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Knit Blog Controversies

People, this is just a reminder. It's only knitting.

Knitting for me has always been an easy, fun-to-learn hobby/obsession.

It always cracks me up when someone gets so wrapped up in a comment I make on my blog, or a comment someone leaves in the Comments forum, that they get infuriated enough to write angry comments.

Even funnier, is when it starts a major, nasty flame war.

It must be the time of year, because both Marilyn and I got some interesting comments. Marilyn even had to ban someone on comments.

Back to Knitting
Ronas Hill is moving along swimmingly.

I've gotten about 10 inches done on the body of the vest, which means I've only got 5 more inches before I start the arm hole shaping.

Since I plan on making the shoulders more narrow than called for in the pattern, the arm hole shaping will take a little upfront calculations and changes to the pattern.

Other Projects
I also got a little more done on the Regia sock (the second of the pair). When I work on this damn sock, I seem to knit and knit and knit, and after it's all said and done, I've got an inch done.

I've also agreed to show some of my stuff in a craft show/sale toward the end of December, so I've started to supplement my novelty yarn scarf supply in anticipation.

I'd like to have at least a dozen of these scarves to sell by then, but we'll see how bored I get with doing them.

I love the Pep yarn, it's soft and makes a great fabric. While I wouldn't personally wear anything made from it, a lot of folks love the resulting scarves.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Hot Mass Murderers

Finally they've found a mass murderer who I don't find attractive.

Green River Killer
This guy has confessed to killing around 50 woman, and I don't even think I'd look twice if I saw him in a g-string in my local gay bar.

So there's hope for me yet that I'll recover from this obsession with hot looking mass murderers.

Interesting Comments
I have to say, the comments from both the regular readers and the new readers have been very interesting lately. They have kept me highly entertained throughout my work day. Thanks to Lisa, I have been fortunate enough to actually see the infamous "Butt Bra"

Click here to see -

Knitting Progress
I kept meaning to take a picture, and I never got around to it. But I've finished a third repeat of the 18 row pattern on Ronas Hill. I'll have an updated picture in the next blog entry.

I didn't do any work on the Regia sock.

I didn't do any work on the Janis project.

I completed the other secret project. This project is a possible business venture. A friend asked if I would knit a prototype product that he'd like to have commercially made and sold.

I think the idea is excellent, so hopefully he'll like the prototype. I finished knitting it, but I have a little finishing to do on it.

Readers Comments/Questions
Marilyn mentioned: "Although I do recall Joe's problem with a certain Fair Isle and screwing up the armhole steek placement...."

Thank you Marilyn for you timely reminder. That was a tragedy, and I still have the four inches of knitted, Fair Isle fabric tube to torture myself when I get cocky with my knitting.

The good end to that story is that I did finish that Fair Isle, it came out great, and it didn't stop me for starting a new one. Yes, I do make mistakes, and some monumental ones. I just don't let it hinder my growth in the avocation of knitting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Knitting Excitement

I know when I sit at work dreaming about working on my current projects, my excitement level for knitting is high.

Knitting Projects
I am truly enjoying how Ronas Hill is progressing. In addition, I like the work I'm doing on the Regia sock as well. But if that weren't enough, I'm working on two projects that I can't discuss or show pictures of in the blog, and both of them are keeping my interest as well.

I truly do sit at work a lot thinking about working on one or more of my current projects.

Knitting Progress
As mentioned, I'm continuing progress on Ronas Hill. The pattern repeats are only 18 stitches wide, so I memorize them after the first or second repeat. Not having to refer back to the graphic in the pattern makes it much easier and quicker to complete a rown. It also increases my eagerness to continue onto the next row.

You'll see in the picture for today that I've finished another half a pattern repeat which is extremely good progress for a "school night".

All this success on a Fair Isle progress is giving me hope that I will design a Fair Isle of my own as one of my next design projects.

I'm confident that I could come up with an interesting colorway for the design, but it will be a challenge for me to come up with a pattern repeat that I can fit into a standard pullover or cardigan pattern.

I'll also take a lot of care in how I frame the design with ribbing, collar and/or button band. The success of many of Ron Schweitzer's designs are in how he frames them, so I've realized how important that is.

Sock Knitting
Since I haven't needed the distraction of mindless knitting in the last couple of days, I haven't done any additional knitting on the Regia sock.

Readers Comments/Questions
Barb mentions that she thinks I'd look hot in fishnets.

I have always had great legs, and they look amazing in fishnets. I've always thought it would be fun to knit a pair, but I honestly don't think I'd put so much work into something so impractical.

Jojo mentions that she's waiting for the Simply Knit 2 book from ThreadBear and hoping there are interesting, easily knit items in it.

The good news is that Simply Knit (the store) just got their copies, so Matt/Rob's should be there by now or if not very soon. The original Simply Knit 2 books that were sold at Stitches were ordered via FedEx airmail at an outrageous cost so they could have the patterns to go with the kits. Anyone that bought them there paid cost for their books, I think.

The bad news is that the two most simply patterns in the book aren't designed by the ladies at Simply Knit. But I'm sure you'll find a lot of patterns that you'll want to knit anyway. The book is as good as the first one.

Deb ask how the thumb is (out of hand therapist concern).

As Kathy quite correctly surmised, even a "sports" injury doesn't stop me from knitting. The swelling went down in two days, and the pain was gone the day after that. Nothing traumatic or causing anything chronic. Thanks for asking.

Linda mentioned the Sandness sweater by Ron Schweitzer in the Jamieson 2 book.

I can't see the pattern very well in the one web pic I can find of this sweater, but the colors are stunning. I'll have to take a closer look at both the pattern and the yarn when I get home. Plus the Jamieson Spindrift is a helluva lot cheaper than the Shetland 2000. My vest kit cost US$50 more than the same size pullover kit for Sandness.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Hits on the Rise

I'm not sure if it's just a general rise in interest for knitting blogs, or due to the post from the other day, and your comments, but my average hits per day have gone up about 22%.

Fun Experiment
That was a fun experiment, and you folks are funny as hell with your creative entries to the topic.

But honestly, I'm don't really care if hits are up or down. It's kind of flattering having a popular web site, but the truth is that I'd be writing this blog even if no one read it.

Knitting Progress
I've gotten another pattern repeat done on Ronas Hill, so it's moving along about as quickly as I had expected.

Two of the colors in this sweater are only used once every 18 rows. The lavendar and the red yarn are used very sparingly, and I'm liking the effect that has on the pattern.

Just confirms my theory that Ron Schweitzer is a genius at this stuff.

Sock Knitting
I've also been doing a little work on the Regia sock over the last week, when I don't feel like concentrating on Fair Isle. I got up to the point of doing a couple of rounds of ribbing.


So, despite a stupid after-hours bowling injury, I've been able to continue knitting without too much difficulty or pain.

Readers Comments/Questions
Jennifer asks if I'd consider adding video instructions to my blog.

I have the technology to do that, but my blog site offers only limited storage space for files and pictures. I don't expect to be doing video in the foreseeable future.

MEA asks: "How does this from your Newcomers' Rules:

'First and foremost, I want this place to be a place where folks can feel comfortable expressing their opinions about knitting and all things related to it.'

relate to the subject of Naked Knitting etc.? Don't tell us it is another joke.

Fortunately, I'm not a Newcomer, so I'm not subject to those silly rules.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Naked Knitting

Do a Google search on Naked Knitting and it will amaze you how sites are out there.

Increase Web Hits
I've decided that I'm going to talk about naked, sex orgies regarding my day-to-day knitting so that my web site will appear in even more Google searches. Not that I ever mix the two, but the increased traffic of adolescents looking for porn sites might help me if I ever decide to go commercial with my blog.

I figure that if I add words like slut, and anal sex to my web site on a regular basis, it's bound to get the attention of the porn-starved masses who also like to knit.

Unfortunately, I can't add words that would attract the attention of the really hard core perverts, but I figure just these simple words will definitely get myself more Google attention.

Did you realize that if you put "Knitting Blog" in a Google search, mine is the first one to display? How cool is that.

I guess it helps that Google now owns Blogspot (the host of my blog).

Feel free to pepper your comments with indiscriminate sexual comments as well, since Google scans the comments for search words.

Knitting Progress
Large Breasts.

I did get a little bit more done on Ronas Hill, but not enough so that today's picture would look much different than the last picture you saw.

Here's the place that has been keeping me busy the last few weeks.

In addition to all the work I have during the day, they have also been scheduling a lot of after-hours events. Last night it was bowling.

Bowling and Knitting Don't Mix
I'm not a very good bowler. I don't own bowling shoes (unless you count the ones that look like bowling shoes). I don't own my own bowling ball.

Last night, using the only ball in the entire bowliing alley that would fit my fat fingers, I completely strained my knitting thumb.

My right thumb is bruised and swollen, which made for some painful knitting last night and this morning. It was bad enough that I had to subject myself to such a blue-collar "sport", but to have it cut into my knitting activity is just intolerable.

So this is just my warning to those would-be Pro Bowlers who also knit. Bowling can be dangerous to your knitting health.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


If you want to know what your priorities are, just look at what you focus on the majority of the day.

Knitting Priorities
I've heard a lot of people say that they wish they could knit all day, or find some way to work in a fiber-related business instead of what they currently do.

I admit, I have those dreams as well. But when I review what I end up doing on a day-to-day basis, the major focus of my life is generating money. Secondarily, that money is used to buy nice yarn and knitting paraphernalia, but the income comes first.

I'm also working toward amassing enough money so that in a handful of years I can affort to not work, and do something I'd like, such as owning a yarn store.

Knitting Progress
I got a few more rounds (five to be exact) done on Ronas Hill.

As the pattern starts to emerge, I like it more and more. I'm going to enjoy wearing this sweater vest a lot. The only thing that I've found odd about the pattern, is they he calls for you to place a stitch marker between the Right Front and Back, and then another one between the Back and the Left front, but you never really need to do anything at those parts of the sweater. Arm hole shaping starts 12 stitches before it.

I'm not complaining, the stitch markers help to show progress on these endless rounds, but it just seems odd to include them in the pattern instruction.

I thought you might want to see the reverse side of my work:

Knitting Lessons
A coworker has his wife in Albany for a few weeks, and she's a knitter and crocheter. I saw them in the concierge lounge of the hotel last night, and she and the Concierge were trying to remember how to do a seed stitch, but they had done three rows of garter instead.

Since I enjoy showing off, I ripped out the three rows for her (she's using a mohair blend that is VERY clingy), and I showed her how to do seed stitch.

All-in-all, a very ego-boosting evening.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Happily Knitting

I know, I know...what fun is it when everything is going well?

Knitting Progress
I did pick up Ronas Hill as soon as I got home on Thursday night, and I've been working on that primarily since I've been home. So far, I've finished the ribbing at the bottom and gotten the first couple of rows done.

Now that I'm up to almost 400 stitches in total, and having to follow the chart, it will move along even more slowly. But it is only knitting now, and I've gotten pretty good at the two-handed stranding technique.

As with intarsia knitting, I weave in my ends as I go along, even though I could hide ends pretty easily in the steek and button band finishing. I'm also weaving in the floats every fourth stitch, so the floats will never be longer than 3 stitches wide in the back.

Finally, when I steek, I alternate the dark and the light color yarn each row to give a checkerboard effect (you'll also notice that I'm using one of Janis' stitch markers she made for me).

I read somewhere that this makes for a more stable steek after it's been cut (was that on Wendy's blog?)

Yarn Store Purchases
Before I could start on the body of Ronas Hill, I had to get a circular US4 needle. I'm still amazed I couldn't find one stinking US4 circular in this entire house, but alas, I couldn't.

I'm kinda glad I had to stop at my LYS. They had the most recent Rowan book, which is their 25th anniversary issue.

I've already read it cover to cover, and I like a lot of the designs in it. The Brandon Mably and Kaffe Fassett designs are beautiful, and I may even decide to make another Kaffe design sometime in my future. His new Argyle one is a very possible candidate.

Regia Sock Knitting
I did some work on the second Regia sock as well. It still provides a little bit of respite from the Fair Isle knitting.

I should have a full pair in a week or so at this pace. Not too bad.

Reader Comments/Questions
First of all, I knew y'all would have lots of good "Ways to piss off a knitter"...I liked many of them better than mine.

Sean asks/says "your honeybun didn't give away your sweaters to goodwill! no!!!! me? i'm starting to look for suitable sweater patterns to make my first one!!"

(have I mentioned how much I love Sean's Blog?...his is the only one I MUST read daily)

No, Sean, Thaddeus would never give my sweaters to goodwill. He knows better. In fact, it's Thaddeus' job to to say "Joe designed and made that sweater" whenever someone compliments a sweater I'm wearing. That way I can act all humble, even though I'm proud as a peacock.

Danny Ouellette gave suggestions on how to self publish designs.

Given that Danny is a brilliant designer himself (I will always love his Headhugger Hat pattern), I appreciate his guidance. I may just decide to do exactly as he describes, but it won't be in the immediate future.

Jennifer chides me for not taking "pissed off" moments as opportunities for education.

Actually, the list was for fun, and not meant to berate folks. And no, Kathy, this will NOT become like the Newcomer Rules debacle, thank you very much. If any of you got past the comment that Jennifer left and checked out her web site, she has an AWESOME quilt that she displays on her sofa. The colors are amazing.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

10 Ways to Piss Off a Knitter

Today I present to you my top ten list of ways to piss off a knitter:

10. Ask a knitter you don't know well, how much it would cost to have a Kaffe Fasset design knit for you.
9. Say to a knitter, "Gee, it's nice that you can save so much money on sweaters by making your own."
8. Send a box full of your knitting spouse's sweaters to Good Will.
7. Tell the Good Will attendant to make the charitable receipt out for $10.
6. Talk to a knitter incessantly while they try to keep track of a complex pattern requiring counting.
5. Ask a knitter to make you a cashmere sweater in plain stockinette, just like the one you saw on sale for $75 in the department store.
4. Give a handful of birch double point sock needles to the kids to use as pick-up sticks to keep them busy.
3. Remove the birch double point sock needles from a sock in progress to use them as shish-kebab skewers.
2. Show a knitter the hole in the heal of a sock you're wearing and ask them if they could fix it for you.

and the number 1 way to piss off a knitter:

1. Use the heirloom lace baby blanket she knit for your first born as a rag to clean up bleach spills around your laundry room.

Knitting Progress
Another night of practically no knitting. I did perhaps an inch on the second sock. Not even enough to take a picture of it.

I did dream incessantly about resuming knitting on the Ronas Hill sweater tonight when I get home.

Reader Comments/Questions
Liz mentioned that she'd love to see me make some of my designs available via the web.

I'm still not sure how I will get these designs to my adoring public. But seriously, I doubt that I will make them available as individual patterns because even if I charged $5 per pattern, and sold 100 of them (which isn't likely), it still wouldn't be worth the effort of setting it all up.

I will either give them to a web site that would appreciate them, and be able to make some money off them themselves, or I will give them to my local yarn store so they can sell kits and give the pattern for free with the purchase of the yarn (like the Koigu scarves I've designed). Either way, I'll let you know, so if you want them, you'll know where to get them.

Danny asks what color Silk Garden I used in the mitered square pullover.

You are correct (if memory serves), it is done in color #39.

Gail asks if I will publish an RSS feed of my blog, so that the folks at Livejournal can be more up-to-date on when I publish.

I added some RSS tags to my site that I got using www.blogmatrix.com (which is the site you're currently using). I'm hopeful that by registering with them, and putting blogmatrix tags in my site, the feed will be more timely. If that doesn't work, I'll need to wait till BlogSpot adds RSS functionality to my level of service. Just so you know, I even looked into upgrading to BloggerPro, but they aren't taking any more upgrade since all functionality will eventually be in the standard package.

Let me know if the new HTML tags help with blogmatrix's RSS feed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sweater Weather

With each week that I drive my sorry ass up to Albany, NY, it gets colder and colder.

Of Two Minds
On the one hand, I'm glad to be able to get to wear the dozens of sweaters in my armoire. After my recent family visit, I was able to give away 5 sweaters to my two sisters, so I figured it would make room, but it didn't really even make a dent.

On the other hand, I hate the cold weather, and I hate the shorter days. Every year my "short day funk" gets worse and worse.

Practically No Knitting Night
Last night I was a little busy with some errands I needed to run.

My first errand was to get something to eat, which is pretty standard. But I also wanted to go out and buy the screenplay for the play I just saw this past weekend, and the book on which the play was derived.

"Anna In The Tropics" is the name of the play, by Nilo Cruz, and it won the Pulitzer. Some of the dialogue in the play is from "Anna Karenina" by Tolstoy, as read by one of the characters in the play.

Oftentimes when I'm moved by seeing a play, I will buy the book, so I can experience it from a different perspective. This time, I bought both the play and "Anna Karenina", which I have never read.

I'm looking forward to reading both.

When I got home, I got caught up with chatting with folks on-line, and I knit about 4 rounds on the Regia Sock.

I've decided I will keep a pair of socks on the needles for the entire time I'm knitting Ronas Hill, because I enjoy the mindless, chartless knitting of a simple sock juxtaposed with the more complex, attention-required knitting of Fair Isle (I'm clearly not like Wendy).

Another Hot Looking Murderer
I forgot to mention a number of weeks ago, there was a prisoner in jail in Pennsylvania for murder who escaped using 27 bedsheets.

I don't know what it is, but these murder-boys are hot.

Reader Comments/Questions
First of all, thanks for your nice comments on Thaddeus and I...ain't he a looker? I just loved my 70's hair-don't in that picture, and I'm glad I haven't been that thin since I was 25.

Janet mentioned she wore a mitered square pullover done in Silk Garden that I had designed, and got tons of compliments.

I love that sweater, and the best part is that the yarn does all the work. The colors in Noro Silk Garden are luxuriously beautiful, and I'm thrilled such a simple, easy to knit design came out so classically beautiful.

Finally I forgot to answer Cat with her question about whether I'm a crossword puzzle fan.

I like crossword puzzles, but I'm not one of those that does them in ink (unless I can only find a pen), and I don't know all those clever little four letter, filler words, like etui.

Sweater Weather

With each week that I drive my sorry ass up to Albany, NY, it gets colder and colder.

Of Two Minds
On the one hand, I'm glad to be able to get to wear the dozens of sweaters in my armoire. After my recent family visit, I was able to give away 5 sweaters to my two sisters, so I figured it would make room, but it didn't really even make a dent.

On the other hand, I hate the cold weather, and I hate the shorter days. Every year my "short day funk" gets worse and worse.

Practically No Knitting Night
Last night I was a little busy with some errands I needed to run.

My first errand was to get something to eat, which is pretty standard. But I also wanted to go out and buy the screenplay for the play I just saw this past weekend, and the book on which the play was derived.

"Anna In The Tropics" is the name of the play, by Nilo Cruz, and it won the Pulitzer. Some of the dialogue in the play is from "Anna Karenina" by Tolstoy, as read by one of the characters in the play.

Oftentimes when I'm moved by seeing a play, I will buy the book, so I can experience it from a different perspective. This time, I bought both the play and "Anna Karenina", which I have never read.

I'm looking forward to reading both.

When I got home, I got caught up with chatting with folks on-line, and I knit about 4 rounds on the Regia Sock.

I've decided I will keep a pair of socks on the needles for the entire time I'm knitting Ronas Hill, because I enjoy the mindless, chartless knitting of a simple sock juxtaposed with the more complex, attention-required knitting of Fair Isle (I'm clearly not like Wendy).

Monday, October 20, 2003


I can't tell you how comfortable it is being back among multiple knitting projects.

New Project
I've been chomping at the bit to start the new Fair Isle vest project I bought at Stitches. Now that there's no pressure on finishing the second Regia sock, and this arrived in the mail last week:

I decided to cast on for Ronas Hill.

I've only finished the first inch, so there's not much to see, but I have a little close up as well.

Even though I've only done an inch, I'm very glad that the fiddly part of starting multi-color ribbing is done. I'm hoping to fly through this sweater.

I was going to bring it to Albany as my "during the week" project, but believe it or not, I don't have the correct circular needle in my stash anywhere (this one requires a US4). I'm sure there's one in the house, I just couldn't find it.

I love the Shetland 2000 yarn. It's softer than most Shetland I've worked with before, and I'm in love with the colors. I do have to say that it has some of the worst skeining tangles I've ever dealt with. Trying to spin these hanks into center-pull balls was a nightmare. Tons of tangles and painful unravellings.

Sock Knitting
Just because I started a new project with two other projects actively being worked on, I still had time to do about 2 inches on the second sock. Since I didn't have the correct needle for the body of Ronas Hill, I decided to bring the sock with me to Albany, and I'll be working on it throughout the week.

Hopefully, by this weekend, I'll have a completed pair of bright multi-colored socks.

I've got a benefit dinner this coming weekend with a silent auction. I donated one of the items in the auction which is a FiberTrends felted handbag done in Noro Kureyon. It's bright and multi-colored, so I figure if someone wants to meet the knitter, I can show off my multi-color socks as well.

Old "Wedding" Picture
About 19 years ago, I was a poor, starving banker wannabe, working in New York City for about $15,000 a year, and Thaddeus was a mill worker in a rubber factory. We were struggling to get by financially, and I needed to come up with a birthday/Valentine's day gift for Thaddeus that was incredible, but didn't cost too much.

A friend had taken a group picture, which included Thaddeus and I, and we both looked good (or at least I thought I looked good). I decided to get a cropped version of the picture put into a simple Duane/Reade frame (Duane/Reade is a New York City pharmacy, like CVS if you know what that is). I didn't have a copy of the negative, only the picture.

It turns out that to have a negative made, and create a cropped version of the picture cost almost $20, which was way over the budget I had hoped to stay under.

Fortunately, it didn't break the bank, and Thaddeus loved the picture as much as I would have hoped.

While it's not really a wedding picture, it's one of the earliest pictures of Thaddeus and I that I have.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

One Sock Down

Even without the competitive aspect of sock knitting, I was still able to get the first sock done.

Sock Knitting Non-Competition
It sucks that Lisa has been too busy to keep going on the sock knitting race, but at least I get to see some of the fruits of her labor this weekend. She produces a drama series at an amazing theater, that's not too far fom my house.

I get to go see the closing matinee tomorrow. The amazing thing about it is, she not only got comp tickets for me and Thaddeus, but also for a good friend whose birthday it is tomorrow. Even more amazing, when the tickets arrived last week in the mail, they were front row, center seats. I can't tell you how excited I am about seeing this show.

And here's the first sock:

I'll be starting the second one today.

Other Great Gift
With all the excitement around Stitches, I completely forgot to mention a gift I got from my knit-friend Kathy at Stitches (I think she felt guilty that I was giving her yarn from winning the blog contest, so she felt compelled to give me this incredible gift).

This little wooden peg, is made up of what appears to be a very old wood, that's been worn down a little with use over the years. When I separated the two pieces, I realized it was an antique needle case, but even more incredible, there were all of these old needles inside the case.

A couple of the needles are flat instead of cyllindrical, and one of the cyllindrical ones has a little, tiny ball on the tip to make it blunt.

I used one of the flat ones to sew up the Regia sock. Thanks Kathy, I LOVE it.

Reader Comments/Questions
I refer back to a question from Sammi that I answered last week. She asked if I was using Regia Stretch for this pair of socks.

I told her and you that I wasn't, but I lied. I was just looking at the label, and realized it was Regia Stretch all along. Sorry for being so oblivious. I don't feel a lot of stretch, but I guess it has more than the regular Regia.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Knitting Competition

Now that I might have regained my lost knitting time in the Lisa Sock Competition, I don't feel so bad about starting a different sock and ripping out the old one.

Sock Knitting Competition
So Lisa, do you think your socks will be done by the time I see you on Sunday? I'd like to say that mine will, but I'm honestly not sure. It will highly depend on whether I pick up another project when I get home because of boredom with this sock yarn color

But you'll notice I did get a couple of inches done on the cuff of the first one last night.

Short Blog Entry
Work is keeping me extremely busy right now, so today's blog entry will be short.

Reader Comments/Questions
Regarding some of the comments on wraps and stoles and shawls.

I'm not against them, and I honestly wasn't thinking about folks like Lisa who could get away with wearing anything because she has the looks and the attitude to pull it off. It's just that most of the folks I knit for wouldn't have a lot of opportunity to wear one. Most of them I think would prefer a sweater, which to me is just about as much work.

Charlotte asked the question I had been hoping to avoid. She asks, "What was the outcome of your meeting with the publishers at Stitches".

It was a very favorable meeting. They decided they wanted to publish FiestaWear and an older design that I had made for my sister if you've been reading that long.

However, I've since decided that I can't rightfully associate myself with other fiber businesses because I sometimes trash their customer base, or cause other controversy that I don't think they should have to answer for.

I've decided that if I want to design a publishable garment, I won't discuss it on-line. Conversely, I won't be publishing any designs I discuss in this blog.

That being said, I don't know what I'll do with the designs. A friend is considering publishing an on-line knitting magazine for a subscription fee, so I may donate the patterns to her. I'll also consider self-publishing the designs via the web (but I doubt it...too much work).

Suffice to say, I will be putting my designs out in into the public in some fashion. I'm just not sure how yet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Colors, Colors, Colors

Interesting and unconventional combinations of colors have always been incredibly appealing for me.

Brother/Sister-in-law Gift
My sister-in-law (this one is "in-law", she's my brother's wife) is an artist and art teacher. Each year, she and my brother make interesting gifts for Christmas. I always like when they do art-related gifts, because her sense of color is both unconventional, and yet very beautiful.

This past year, they made us a set of 8 ceramic nesting bowls, but they hadn't gotten time to glaze them before we visited them for the holidays.

We just recently got to see them, and got the finished bowls.

I have to say that this is the most frustrating time to have a camera and monitor that don't fully reflect the colors of the subject matter. The inside glaze on some of these bowls is a glittery brown color that is indescribeably beautiful.

Sock Knitting Race
Speaking of colors, I got some work done on the Regia socks. The ones I'm racing Lisa to finish (or at least the second pair, since I'm ripping out the first sock tonight).

These colors look better when knit up than I expected, but I'm still not overly thrilled with them.

Also, speaking of Sock Knitting, Wendy has her monthly contest on free sock patterns for those who'd like to participate.

Reader Comments/Questions
Kathy asks what I plan on doing with the Weavette squares.

When she says "We don't like to sew", I'm assuming she means the royal "we". I actually don't mind sewing at all, as long as it's not on a machine.

I plan on eventually sewing them together into a blanket or something. I saw a great display at Stitches where the Weavette lady had made a quilt-like, small blanket using different sizes of Weavette cloths. Mayble I'll try something like that.

Sammi asks if I'm using the Regia Stretch for my current sock.

No, it's the regular Regia yarn without Lycra. I'm not a real fan of stretch yarns, although I've done a couple of sweaters in DK weight cotton/lycra in the past.

Sean says that it's comforting to know a knitting "expert" (and he is charitable in his description) has to rip out occasionally.

It seems that the better I get at knitting, the more I rip out. I have gotten much more particular with how a finished garment should look, and I have also gotten faster at redoing a ripped out section. Personally, I think if you're not ripping out knitting relatively frequently, you're either not challenging yourself creatively, or you're not as concerned about mistakes in your knitting.

Finally, a number of you agreed or disagreed on my opinions of the magazines.

I'm going to add to that to say three things:

1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one that saw that awful mistake on the boob tube (I'd consider it a mistake, and obviously Alexis wasn't craft enough to hide both sides of weird holes.

2. I love the look of wraps, but wouldn't make one. I don't know of anyone who'd wear one. I'd consider making them as baby blankets, though.

3. I love that we all have differing, yet strong opinions on design. It makes the commenting forum interesting for me.

Sunday, October 12, 2003


I started a sock. I stopped a sock. I started the Janis project. I stopped the Janis project. I went to start the Fair Isle. I didn't have the pattern.

Sock Knitting
I challenged Lisa to a speed knitting contest. Suffice it to say, she's winning (or has won, if she's finished already).

I ripped out the striped sock. It was too wide. I can't imagine I forot how many stitches to use for my foot, but it was way off.

I started a different Regia yarn, and messed up the toe. I threw it down in disgust.

I restarted a new sock in Regia, and while I'm not liking the colorway too much, I'm finding the knitting satisfying nonetheless.

Ronas Hill Fair Isle
I figured I might as well start this beautiful vest so I could at least show some picture of knitting progress. I realized I didn't have a pattern in the so-called "kit". I called Yarns International and I was told that the pattern is in a book, and no one told me I needed to buy the book separately. Christ...$194 for a vest pattern, and I have to pay for the book separately.

The book is winging it's way here now (hopefully).

I did get to use my new Weavette this weekend with some coned, cotton yarns. I experimented with two different colors on each of these 5" squares.

I was quite pleased with the result.

Janis Project
I found a prototype pattern for one part of this project, and started work on it. I'm not overly happy with how it's starting. I may have to rip out a few hours work.

I may just decide to try to salvage it, but I'm not sure yet.

Knitting Magazines
I found both Vogue Knitting and Family Circle Easy Knitting in the grocery store yesterday. Of course I had to buy both.

Of the two, I found that Vogue Knitting was worth the purchase price of $5.99, and Family Circle Easy Knitting wasn't (same price).

VK has a great zippered jacket done in a honeycomb pattern using a Filatura di Crosa yarn. Designed by Rosemary Drysdale, the design is quite nice. Valentina Devine has two items with amazing color combinations. I'm not fond of the garments, but I love the colors.

Norah Gaughan has a beautifully sophisticated jacket done in mitered squares. I would never knit it, but it's quite well designed.

Finally, VK had a small article on Knitting Blogs. No surprise that QueerJoe's blog wasn't
mentioned...lol. Sorry Marilyn, yours is a little too controversial too, I think.

Two of my favorites were mentioned, however. Congratulations to Wendy and Ivete.

FCEK had a good article on mosaic knitting. They showed how combining certain colors in a mosaic knit blanket could make for interesting differences in the overall look of the fabric.

Believe it or not, I also like a crochet coat designed by Lily Chin. It has some interesting cross-stitch-like graphics at the bottom hem. Probably one of my favorite designs I've see by Lily.

Other than those two pieces of the magazine, it was pretty ghastly.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Log Jam

I have so many things I want to start. I have very little energy.

Knitting Plan
I've decided I need to focus on two things with regard to my knitting:

1. Start working on the Janis project
2. Do the second child's sweater for the neighbor girl Rebekah

The first on sucks because it's secret and I can't disply my progress here. Fortunately, it's baby size, so it will go quickly, and once I give it to Janis, I can show off my handiwork.

The second one should also move quickly, but I'm not sure what I should do with the yarn. It a three ply, cotton yarn with festive colors. I'm thinking about doing a very simple cardigan. Perhaps even raglan sleeved. Maybe top-down.

Other Projects
The mandatory projects won't be overly satisfying for me, so I know I will need a couple of other things to work on as well.

I plan on starting the Ron Schweitzer Fair Isle design I got at stitches.

I was fortunate enough to meet Ron at Stitches, and he is a very sweet man. We had a lengthy conversation about how he started designing for Yarns International, and how he can be so prolific with such complex and time-consuming knit designs. The answer in short is, he just does it.

He's also very artsy, in that he finds inspiration for his designs everywhere he goes. Since many of his Fair Isle patterns are very exact, I was thinking he was perhaps a more logical man, than creative. I was wrong.

In addition to the Fair Isle vest, I plan on working on socks as well. The striped Regia sock I was making is turning out way bigger than I wanted. I'm going to have to unravel the entire sock and start again.

I think I'll work on some different yarn instead for my sock project.

NJ Ride for AIDS
I got an extremely nice e-mail from Karen, thanking you all for helping her raise money. She went on to say that the ride was the most difficult and life-altering things she's ever done. It made me glad that I had helped in a small way, so I wanted to pass those thanks on to you, as well

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Post Stitches Let Down

After all the last minute hectic knitting getting ready for Stitches, and then the exuberance of the actual event, I've cut way back on my knitting this week.

One Last Stitches Blog Entry
I didn't want to sound conceited in my post about Stitches yesterday, but something else happened to me while I was in Atlantic City.

The picture is awful, and it makes me looking like a crazed beauty queen, but yes, Bert Parks did crown me Ms. America while I was there.

Current Project
I know I have to finish Rebekah II (the body's done, but I still have to do the sleeves). I also have a lot of projects in progress, such as the Hemp sweater from Lana Knits and the Alpaca Bedspread/Grave blanket. I also have to get my ass in gear with the baby item for my friend Janis.

I just couldn't stand to face any of those projects, so I brought a sock project with me this week.

It's simple, and mindless, and I'm enjoying the colors.

NJ Ride for AIDS
Thanks to the generosity of many of the readers here, Karen was able to almost reach her goal by contributing about $1,300 to the AIDS charities.

Congratulations to her great work and thank you all for letting me ask for your help.

Reader Comments/Questions
Geane asks what I mean when I say she was exactly as I had expected her to be.

I forget sometimes that my feelings for people aren't obvious to readers. In my opinion, Geane's blog is written in a very casual, smart and easy-to-read manner. She comes across as very personable and witty.

She turned out to be all of those things, or at least that's how I assessed it in our brief meeting and conversation.

Richard offered a web source for Bergere de France for Barb who asked about inexpensive, good quality synthetic yarn. He wasn't sure if he was breaking a rule by doing it.

Not at all. If I find folks are leaving spam in their comments, I will delete it. I considered Richard's comment helpful and responsive to Barb's inquiry. Not spam at all.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

The Best Stitches Yet

This year, Stitches reminded me of my first year, except BETTER!!!

Blog Readers
I was amazed and pleased to have gotten to meet about twenty or so blog readers at Stitches.

Everywhere I went, I ran into folks that recognized me from my blog pictures and just wanted to introduce themselves. I have to say it was way cool to meet so many folks who read this blog.

In addition to folks like Kathy and Marilyn, with whom I had scheduled to meet, I met Ivete of Knotology blog fame. And then I got to meet Geane, another co-blogger. What a treat, she's exactly as I'd expecter her to be from her blog writing.

I also met way too many folks to mention by name (even if I could remember them all).

Thank you all for taking the time to say "hi" and introducting yourselves. It was truly a pleasure.

I only do two things when I go to Stitches:

1. Shop
2. Chat with friends

Shopping this year was a lot of fun, and I spent quite a bit of money. I was glad to see a lot less novelty yarns in the market this year, and vendors going back to some of the more basic yarns and designs.

Here's the inventory of what I bought:

Sock yarn from Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks - Hand dyed sock yarn in beautiful muted tones of blues, tans and browns that they call Sandalwood

Fortissima Socka Yarn in three different muted/manly shades.

A new Weavette, in a larger size (6" square). I liked the smaller one, so I bought the larger one, as well as a weaving pattern book.

And finally, I splurged and bought a Fair Isle vest kit from Yarns International. It's a Ron Schweitzer design, called Rona's Hill. The colors and pattern design are splendid, and I'm looking forward to knitting this garment more than anything at the moment.

I still blame Wendy for this sudden surge to do a second Fair Isle garment, but at least this one is just a vest.

Stitches Awards
First, I thought I'd give the "Worst Of" awards:

- Ugliest Sweater goes to this contestant who used a hideous color and big loops to create a design that I wouldn't donate to a homeless shelter.

- Most Garish Sweater goes to this amazing mixture of over-bright novelty yarns that would make Twiggy look as puffy as the Michelin Man.

My Booth Awards go to the following booths:

- Best Small Booth - Rosie's Yarn Cellar
Their booth always has a cozy, family feel to it, and they carry a large array of high-quality yarns. I always feel warmly welcomed when I go there.

- Most Improved Booth - Simply Knit
In the last few years, Simply Knit has had a couple of tables with sweater kits and a rack of sweaters that customers could try on. This year, they had a very professionally done booth with yarn, kits, books and tons of their great designs for customers to try on.

- Best Overall Booth - Habu
Amazing yarns, amazing designs, and great people. I loved this booth.

While I didn't find anything that I could make for myself or friends or family, I loved their designs. They are unique, and the yarns or the coolest blends of natural fibers like hemp, raffia and paper, along with wire-cored threads. The colors are more than amazing

Reader Comments/Questions
Thanks everyone for the tips and translations of the Foreign Blog reference. The blog was indeed Finnish.

It appears that Blogger.com (the folks that host my blog), somehow showed my blog to anyone that went to Henry's web site (can you imagine their surprise to find Henry's new blog site title?). Henry personally wrote to me to let me know, and he said most of his readers found it funny.

Also, with regard to the Massage Therapy picture. That is just a random picture I found on the web. It is neither me, nor my massage therapist in the picture. Although my massage therapist is very cute, he's not California buff with a pony tail.