Thursday, June 30, 2011

Got brains?

Last weekend DD and I were hanging out together after she had another round with the oral surgeon. She was on light duty, so to speak, so we were looking for low impact activities. Got Paint? came to mind, and we trekked on over to the mall, figuring we'd spend the afternoon painting and bonding. Those paint-your-own-pottery studios are a blast. You get to make a mess creating cheesy, useless chotchkie, and somebody else cleans up. If only the rest of my life could be this way...

The pottery studio is pretty close to a Borders bookstore that some moron attempted to blow up the night before. (Take note of the guy's last name.) Apparently, he has nothing better to do than try and blow up bookstores and strip clubs. I don't get the connection, but I doubt he does either. We had no idea this was going on until we drove up to the mall and saw the crime tape and the news trucks everywhere. We checked things out on our phones while we were debating whether or not to stay. That's kind of a weird discussion to have, but post 911 and Columbine, it didn't feel out of the ordinary. I told DD we'd go inside and if my crap detector went off, we'd go someplace else. That's just how it is nowadays--welcome to the new reality.

We ended up spending several hours there and I painted a big ol' coffee mug with my new logo. It took me a little while to feel totally comfortable and maybe that's why the mug looks like a blindfolded kindergartener painted it, but we had a good time.

You just have to wonder what possesses people.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Odds and Ends

I was trying to clear my brain yesterday. Multiple projects for multiple people, an unexpected trip to the oral surgeon for DD, and a serious case of start-itis left me out of focus. I decided to play with the camera and worked on shallow depth of field shots. This close-up of my wee bit of lavender isn't exciting but does illustrate fairly well the concept of shallow depth of field.

DD had a complication from her wisdom teeth removal back in March. I will spare you the gross details, but all is well now. She is one tough cookie, that daughter of mine! One day she will come to the Way of the Wool, and sheep everywhere will rejoice. Or not. Her choice. Last night I started a blanket for her new dorm abode. It is black and gold, the University of Colorado colors. The part of my brain with common sense says to plan on finishing this in time for Parent's Weekend at CU, mid October. The Screw Delayed Gratification Finish It NOW part says get it done in time for move-in day, mid August. Let's see which side will win. I haven't started working with the gold yarn yet, so no photos. I find black notoriously difficult to photograph, so I'm not wasting the pixels.

Work on The Book continues. Everyday I'm thankful for Donna's guidance and wisdom. Without it, I'd be in deep dodo. She has such a clear vision of what our book will be--I have no doubt it will get written and published and be something we can be proud of. I have no clue how many copies we can sell, but I do know what all my relatives and friends will be receiving gift-wise for a long, long time. To borrow a phrase from, yes, I did write it and no, you can't return it.

Have a lovely weekend everybody!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Update

I'm in the midst of getting test knitters for the patterns we will feature in the book. This can be challenging, requiring skill, timing, and diplomacy on my part. You might be surprised at just how diplomatic I can be--I could be called by the U.N. at any moment, that's how good I'm getting at this. But wait, it gets better. One of my responsibilities is to contact yarn companies and ask them for yarn. I send an email or make a phone call and like magic, they send yarn--FREE YARN--just because I ask for it. Dropping the name of a famous and published knitting author certainly helps. But still, I love this part of the job. I hope I never got over the excitement of when they email me back and say, "Sure! We'll send you yarn. How much and what color?" I'm sure I'll come back to this moment when I'm in the middle of writing my chapters and I get a terminal case of writer's block while ripping my hair out by the roots. Or not. I'm working on developing the cocky side of my personality, the one I never show you. STOP LAUGHING. I GET FREE YARN.

But here's the thing I'm discovering about that free yarn. Designers who have gotten to the point where yarn companies will supply them with yarn for their designs have earned it. By the time they're well known enough to have that privilege, they've put in countless hours swatching, drawing, knitting, frogging, cussing, and worrying about whether the designs will be accepted and liked enough to be knit by anyone. And I'm sure the yarn companies don't mind the publicity. Don't get me wrong--designers don't get all of their yarn for free. But when somebody like The Yarn Harlot or Donna Druchunas or Jared Flood even mention a yarn in their blogs or books, people rush out and buy it. (This only partly explains my enormous stash.)

I don't know if I'll ever get so famous knitting-wise that my name alone will get me free yarn from Plymouth or Brown Sheep or Cascade. But I intend to keep on working hard and having fun at all this. For me, that's the point, but having a dream can't hurt.

You're not famous until my mother has heard of you.
—Jay Leno

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Most people who read my blog are knitters and crocheters, so you get what I'm about to tell you. For my non-fiber followers, I'm probably not talking to you. If you follow this blog, you most likely "get it" or are at least polite enough to act like you do. For that, I thank you. For everybody else...

Knitting is NOT like watching paint dry. For the record, I have watched paint dry and it's not nearly as exciting as taking yarn and pointy sticks, or hooks, and creating something wonderful. Seriously. Even knitting something hideous is way more fun than most non-knitters seem to think it is. I don't knit because I'm old and don't have any other options like wild sex or sky diving. I knit because I love the feel of yarn through my fingers; because I love taking a big ball of string and turning it into this; because I can't NOT knit.

I'm not into proselytizing. When a non-knitter friend or acquaintance doesn't get excited over something I've made or has zero interest in my blog, I don't try to force them into the Enlightenment that is Knitting. If you are meant to know The Way of the Wool, it will happen. But say I tell you I have some photos you might be interested in and that they might be on my blog later, how about not rolling your eyes and asking me to email them to you instead. This kind of thing gets your name permanently engraved on my "I Won't Even Knit This Person a Rope to Climb Out of a Burning Building" list.

Some day I will be too old or too blind or senile to knit. (I hope I don't miss it. I imagine that would be like missing my very best friend forever.) I'm sure it won't happen for a long, long time and I've got the yarn stash to back up my optimism. But if I'm in The Home and you're the one who has to listen to me tell you, for the 47th time that day that I used to knit and blog about it, or that I used to party with the Yarn Harlot, or that I worked with Donna Druchunas, please just smile and nod your head. Otherwise, I've got one word for you--bedpan. Enough said.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I have no idea who Joe Palen is.

Awfully nice of them to let people use THEIR OWN CELL PHONES IN THEIR OWN CARS, wouldn't you say? I'm wondering how they feel about knitting in public. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my knitting. And do you get the irony of this photo? No, there's nothing oppositional about me, nothing at all.

# 2,499 from The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said:
If I had permission to do everything, I wouldn't want to do anything.
--The one best thing Joe Palen ever said

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pattern Revision--Sandia Crest Socks

For those of you who have downloaded the Sandia Crest sock pattern, there was a mistake in the gusset decrease section. I've corrected the mistake and reworded the section for clarity. Sorry about that!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shout-out to Yarn West

Yarn West is a lovely LYS in Evergreen, Colorado, where I used to live once upon a time. Unfortunately they didn't exist when I lived in Evergreen. It's a pretty quiet place when you get over the novelty of herds of elk in your backyard, so it would have been nice to have a yarn shop close by. And yes, John Hinckley Jr. did live there when he was a kid. I used to get asked that a lot. His parents left shortly after the whole infamous mess, and I'm not sure I would have known who they were if I saw them in the grocery store, but I can point out where they lived if you're interested.

Laura Watt opened Yarn West just over a year ago. She is seriously one of the nicest people you will ever meet and absolutely the nicest LYS owner I know. I hadn't seen her in a while and today she remembered my first AND last name, and knew everything that had come into the store, yarn-wise, since the last time I was in. She never makes you feel like you have to buy something, so of course I do. Not that I need coaxing... YW is such a nice place to hang out and knit or fondle the new merchandise or whatever. I seriously think she would be alright with a person camping out there for the day, knitting and socializing. She just makes you feel at home, and to me that's what your local yarn shop should be about.

Happy one year anniversary, Yarn West. Here's to many, many more!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Notice anything new?

I really should have waited before I unveiled my new look but I couldn't stand keeping it to myself a minute longer. Jill Zielinski Designs created this great new logo for me, and I love it! She's going to do a blog banner when she gets back from TNNA (lucky woman!) For now, I slapped the logo at the top of the blog and made the favicon myself. I haz skillz! Thanks Jill, for hanging in there and creating my new look from the dozens of crazy emails we exchanged. You are the best and the check is in the mail!

But wait--there's more! I've had something up my sleeve for a while now, and I'm finally ready to reveal it. I am co-authoring a book with Donna Druchunas of Arctic Lace fame. How cool is that? She and I have been working together for a couple of months now. The woman is like The Yarn Harlot--never sleeps and swears she does--and has a hundred projects going on at the same time. I'm doing fun stuff for her like editing, knitting, writing, and rounding up test knitters, among other things. Check out this issue of her blog, Sheep to Shawl, for details about the book.

I can honestly say that when I started this blog, I never envisioned all this happening so soon. I had dreams, but this is crazy-good don't wake me stuff. If I stop to think about it all I get a little panicky. Fortunately, I'm so busy I don't really have time to think about it too much.

I'll leave you with a bad iPhone photo of the other thing I've been doing with the spare few seconds I have--jewelry making, an old love of mine I've recently revisited. I bought the large bead at the center of the necklace at a bead show Donna and I attended a while ago.

But wait, there's more... hint hint.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fastest Kitchener in the West

I'm a big fan of the Kitchener Stitch. Yeah, I'm aware that officially brands me as a knitting geek, but whatever. I've been called worse.

Yesterday, I'm pretty sure I broke some kind of record for Kitchener-ing a pair of sock toes. Had to be less than three minutes for the pair, because that's all the time I had to finish them and head out:

Sadly, I didn't have time to properly block them (or take a decent photo) but I haven't figured out how to block and dry socks in a matter of minutes. Yet.

I made these socks for a tennis buddy who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Marcia is a tiny little thing who can just drive you nuts on the court with her diabolical shots. Some of us made her food she can reheat when she doesn't feel like cooking, but since I figured she has enough problems, I decided to knit her something instead. These are your plain vanilla generic socks with a baby cable cuff, in Cascade 220 Superwash. I hope they'll keep her feet warm while she's undergoing treatment, and remind her she's in our thoughts daily.

Her prognosis is excellent. She's keeping her family and friends informed through a wonderful resource: Please check it out when you have a few minutes. Cancer patients or their friends and family can set up a website to let people know what's happening with their particular situation. There are features such as a Helping Calendar, a photo gallery, and the Laughing Medicine Page. All this is provided free of charge and donations to this 501(c)(3) are tax deductible.

Enjoy your summer. I'm working hard at doing just that. There's only 72 more days until DD moves into the dorm. Not that I'm counting or anything...

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Our brand spanking new Ikea is due to open the end of July, more than two months early, but not nearly early enough for me. I need stuff from them so badly I could scream. Oh. Wait. I did scream last night, after searching for a hat blocking form for almost an hour and not finding it. Desperate times, but I can hold on.

Until Ikeahh! does open, I'll settle for the little things I can do now, like getting my circular needles organized. Today I went from this:

to this:

This Happy Bags etc. organizer was kinda sorta free. I used a gift certificate I got from A Knitted Peace, for spending $mumble-mumble in the last year.

I've searched all over the web and can't find a link to this organizers, which is a bit weird, but contact A Knitted Peace and I'm sure they'd be happy to send you one.