Thursday, September 21, 2006

do sweaters have movie rights?

today i was going to blog about resurrecting a UFO from the knitting basket graveyard... but since it is that time of year, i think its more accurate to compare it to a television show.

(cue flashback music)
Last season on "St Moritz":
A difficult sweater was chosen as her entry into the Knitting Olympics. Striving to push the boundaries of her knitting world, she splurged on the Dale of Norway kit and eagerly swatched. With weather, roadtrips, and help from internet-friends she made good time.
(music slows down)
But despite the best intentions, the challenge is not completed. Vowing to finish in a timely manner, she kept plugging along. Body and sleeves were completed, and scissors poised to steek...
(switch to dramatic cliffhanger music)
... In the dramatic season finale she cut open the neck of the sweater, sealing its fate for eternity. At the same time, she realized her near fatal mistake. Will one knitter's hubris doom St Moritz to sweater purgatory?! Will she overcome this tragedy and design the shawl collar of her dreams?
(flash teaser shot of scenes from this season)
st moritz collar
Tune in next week for the season premier of... St Moritz! only on KBC, Knitters Broadcasting Network.

Friday, September 15, 2006

too tired to think of something clever

I have no interesting knitting progress to show for this week. Fall classes have started and i am TAing this year. I really enjoy teaching and so far its going quite well. I have a great group of students in my review section and they are making it more enjoyable. The downside is that it eats up a lot of time. Add that to a new early bed time (so i can get up for early Yoga) equals less knitting time.

There has been quite a bit of dyeing going on at Casa de Skeintily over the past few weeks, however. This batch of sock yarn will soon be whisked off to The Little Knittery in Los Angeles. The rest will go to Worcester with me on sunday.

Now, if only i could make my western blots look as pretty as my yarn! bad science, bad. bad!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Sheep Shopper

this goes back to my earlier series of "Things for Wool-Loving People Who Also Love to Shop", aka "Sheep for Brains".

I found this card at my local pharmacy while browsing for birthday cards. Its odd, but strangely endearing. i love it!

sheep card
The inside: "What is WRONG with these people?"

(Its made my Hallmark's "Fresh Ink" brand, and i got mine at Walgreens.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the perpetual woostah cheerleader.

This weekend is stART on the Street '06! It is going to be an amazing gathering of artists and i'm really looking forward to it. Its been getting better each year and i think its going to be great this year. (even though its no longer my hometown, i still love woostah!!)

I'll be there sharing a boothful of yarn with Woolarina Kate. She's going to have a hard time keeping me in the booth... i really want to go shop at all the others.

If you go to Worcester on sunday, please stop by and say 'hi'!

Monday, September 11, 2006

the sweet rewards of procrastination

... yes procrastination is sometimes rewarding. especially if it is someone else who is avoiding their work. and they make you gifts instead!

Every time i knit socks, i manage to create a giant tangled up puke-ball of yarn in my purse. I put the skeins in little plastic baggies to try to keep them organized. No luck. Somehow, the center of the ball barfs itself out into my purse, gets tangled up with my keys and cell phone, and turns into a hopeless mess.

On more than one occassion, K8 has been kind enough to patiently un-knot this pitiful mess and make a new ball for me. She's got a really nifty little fabric pouch that someone sewed that keeps her small projects neatly and safely separated. I am tres jealous of her sock pouch, have inspected it several times, and often declare that i'm going to sew one for myself.

I fully intended to make one this weekend. Before my lovely STR ball barfed itself into a mess in my purse. But as usual, i had too much going on. (and in the spirit of full disclosure, i my craft room is a disaster zone. i would have to excavate a path to the sewing machine, and i just don't have that kind of free time.) Things i did do this weekend: finish my first falling leaves sock. I dyed a whole whack of sock yarn! I went to yoga, went to a picnic, and attended a funeral. Not done: house cleaning. cooking. laundry. craft room cleaning.

First thing this morning, i got a visit in the lab from Mrs. Zeebi. (she has a new knitting blog. Go say 'hi'. then tell her to stop knitting and work on her thesis! Then she can be Dr. Zeebi!) She had a secret present for me...

A sock pouch!! With bowling vintage girls on it! its so awesome, i can hardly stand it. Her procrastination = my gain. rock on!

I started laughing maniacally as i pulled my purse out of my drawer and showed her the current state of my sock:

(note that in my attempts to fix the problem, i somehow managed to get the yarn inextricably knotted AROUND the handle of the purse!!)

Lucky for me, Mrs. Z loves untangling knots. She says it calms her. We managed to get my second Falling Leaves sock disentangled from its pukey mess and into its now bowling ladies sock pouch. sweet.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

we luv puns

Hey knitting scientists:
Check out this cute cartoon over at Double Helix. tee hee!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

why can't i get paid for that?

Serious folks. you have GOT to stop writing amazing blogs about knitting and spinning and all things crafty. I just don't have the time to keep up with everyone that i want to. My bloglines subscription has 2500+ unread posts! And i keep stumbling across new and amazing blogs that i really want to keep up on.

I really hate not knowing what other people are knitting, doing, talking about. That's one of the great things about craft blogging, its not done in a vacuum. You really get a chance to chat with, e-interact with, and sometimes even 'actually' meet so many cool people with similar interests.

On a related note - Eve has created a really clever new 'blog carnival', or Yarnival. She takes you on a little tour of some cool blogs you may have never read before. I do NOT need any new blogs to read! And yet, i still clicky-clickied my way through all of them! curse you, eve! If only

i could figure out some way to wrangle a professional blog reading career. dang.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

well that was d'uh!

I've known for at least 3 years that the minor league baseball team in Lowell MA is the "Spinners".

I've known for at least 4 years that Lowell MA has a rich textile history, being the home of the first major fiber factory in the US. (Technically the first was in Waltham, about 4 blocks from my current house! how very cool.)

So why is it that it wasn't until a few weeks ago that i put the two together and figured out that the team was named for, duh, fiber spinning?! oh mah gawd. How cute is their logo of a spindle/baseball bat? They even have some t-shirts that say "wicked good yarn"!

We went to a game with friends and i decided that they are my new favorite team. Darius even bought me a tres cool spinners t-shirt:
Lowell Spinners

Monday, September 04, 2006

customer service so good, its bad

Many knitters have mentioned a recent rash of yarn store owners/employees with a bad attitude. I've heard many complaints of apathetic, bitchy, and just plain unhelpful staff. Last weekend i experienced a store full of friendly employees and friends, so helpful that i wanted to scream!

It started with a need for road trip knitting. I wanted sometime small (a la socks) but not too boring. I've just knit 2 pairs of plain jane stockinette socks, so i'm thinking a little more spicy. But i will get car sick if there's too much cabling or pattern reading involved. So i decided on the falling leaves pattern. Gave the pattern a quick read through, didn't see any red flags or unexpected shaping. seems like a straight forward toe-up sock with simple lace patterning. sweet. Wound my beautiful STR lightweight into a ball the morning of the trip, throw size 1 and 2 double points into the knitting bag with skein and pattern. (swatching? no time! that would require forthought. as if.)

In the car, i found out there might be a hiccup. The pattern is written for 3 sizes, but the pattern gives cast-on numbers for only 1. Curious, i thought. Then i notice that there are 3 different gauges listed. huh? It took me a few minutes of puzzling and confusion to figure out that one is to adjust the size of the sock by changing needle size and gauge. (the 12 stitch pattern repeat makes it hard to change size by changing number of stitches cast on). Perhaps this is obvious to other people, but I don't normally knit lace or patterned socks. This was NOT obvious to me, and it is not mentioned in the pattern notes at all.

but i'm a smart gal. figured it out. Unfortunately, my smallest needles (size 1) were too large and my toe was coming out huge. I started to plan a way around it in my head. ooh! there is a nice little yarn shop in the neighborhood we are visiting; we've stopped in before on previous trips to visit D's parents. Since it was a saturday afternoon, i figured i could stop by the store and see if they happened to have some size 0 needles in stock. Or maybe i'll pick up a different sock yarn that's a little thicker than STR lightweight. It would be a nice, easy solution. yay.

We walk in, say 'hello' to the ladies in the shop, and i head over to the needle corner. I notice they are having a class or group as there is about 5 ladies sitting around the table knitting.
One of them gets up to ask me if i need help (that's a great start! some yarn stores ignore you until you ask for help). I said "yes, i'm wondering if you have any size 0 needles in stock. circular or double point". This set off a cascade of responses from everyone in the store, almost simultaneously:
lady 1: oh, i don't think so. not out front. let me check the free needles in the back to be sure.
lady 2: what are you knitting on tiny toothpicks?
me: oh, socks. i'm on size 1 needles now, but the gauge is too big
lady 1: (from the back) oh, i found one size 0, but let me see if i can find the mate
lady 3: (before i can answer) no, she's knitting socks, she doesn't want straight needles.
lady 4: oh, do you need such small needles? i'm knitting these socks on 3's and they are coming out fine.
me: well, i've already got the yarn and its pretty thin (i pull sock toe and yarn out of my purse)...
lady 2 (cutting me off): oh you're knitting on double points, you know you could do that on circular needles, right?
me: oh yes, but i happen to like double points, they work for me....
Lady 3: (cutting me off) What's your gauge? have you measured it? (i'm getting the idea that she's the teacher or in charge of the group...)
me: i think i'm 7.5 stitches to the inch. i'm knitting in the car, so its a little hard to measure --
lady 3: (snatches my sock from my fingers and starts to measure the gauge).
lady 2: are you you married to that sock pattern? maybe you should just knit something else. Lady 3: you have 8 stitches to the inch. What does the pattern call for?
Me: well, its a little confusingly written.
lady 3: (snatches pattern from me.) let me see it.
[at this point its clear that she thinks i'm a newbie/idiot. i shoot Darius a glaring look.]
me: No, i'm not married to this pattern, but i'm on a road trip. And this is the one i threw into the knitting bag with me. i don't have all my needles. so that's why i thought i'd just stop in and see...
Lady 2: well we have plenty of sock patterns, i can show you another one.
me: Well yes, i could knit another pattern. In fact, i have a generic sock pattern memorized, so i don't really need one thank. I just wanted to try something knew.
Lady 3: It says 32 stitches to 4 inches. which is what you have. You must have cast on the wrong number of stitches.
me: (my patience with this crew is now frazzled. i'm trying to somehow get accross to them that i KNOW HOW TO KNIT!) Yes, i did. its a provisional cast-on, then short row toe, back up the other side, so that you have 72 stitches around. The problem is that its a 12 stitch repeat so if i remove 24 stitches from the whole sock it will be way too small.

This continues for a few more minutes while i try to get accross to these ladies that yes, i know what i'm doing. i am perfectly capable of using that stitch pattern in another sock pattern. But i simply thought i'd see if they had size 0 needles or another yarn for an easy fix. THANK YOU. They finally let it drop and let me shop in peace. Not seeing any sock yarn i wanted, i bought a book that i wanted and we left.

Now, having worked in a yarn store before, i can completely understand both sides of the coin. Customers are often confused, annoying, and stupid. Many customers don't really know how to read a pattern or are really confused. But just because you don't recognize me as a regular, don't assume i'm an idiot. PLEASE treat all customers with equal respect. I know they were trying to be helpful, which is why i still bought the book i wanted. But i was supremely annoyed and probably will not stop in there next time i'm down there. I will go out of my way to visit yarn stores in neighboring towns if i need anything.

ok, i'm done ranting now. g'day.

Friday, September 01, 2006

socks in a purse

a colorful, but content-light post today.

2 pairs of "purse socks" that i recently knit. Each pair is from 220 yds of my handpainted sock yarn.

currently on the needles: Falling Leaves in Socks that Rock (color lovelite? will check the label at home).

I've got a long/involved rant/story that i want to tell, but that will wait for this weekend. Ciao!