Sluggin’ out Tuesday, Jun 24 2008 

It’s been very, very weird here in Western, Mass. The past three days have been filled with rain and thunder, unnaturally dark days with little tenuous bits of sunshine. It’s like ‘The Happening’, which I happened to love, but I’m pretty sure 60% of my love for it is a desire to be contrary and a girl crush on Zooey Deschanel (anyone want to go see this with me? Anyone?).

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting of course, mostly for the store. Knitting for the store like mad is a bit of an addiction, I’m afraid. We’re compensated in store credit which feels like Monopoly money, and though I really, really don’t need the yarn, I just can’t pass it up!

My latest contribution also marks a bit of a milestone for me–I finally figured out how to make a PDF and put up a pattern page here on the blog. I made a cozy scarf with Cuzco, a scrumdiddliumptious new Berroco yarn, 50/50 wool/alpaca with a nice bouncy twist. I’m totally digging Crotona, but it might just be the outfit in general, she reminds me of these fashionable sheep, still clinging to the ‘dark leg’ trend. I can see why, it’s a classic trend, if there is such a thing.

You can find the pattern for the Brûlée Scarf on my new pattern page!

Brulee Scarf

Also there is a link to a pattern I did for J. Knits that I think I forgot to blog about! I’m calling it the Downtown Clutch and it will also appear in an upcoming book from Storey Publishing. The yarn is called Charming and well, it is! I actually can’t describe the feel of knitting with it, but it is good. The last time I was this flummoxed by a yarn (Socks that Rock in this post) I started talking about it’s mouthfeel, so yeah. You’ll just have to see for yourself. There is already an adorable finished Downtown Clutch over at Ravelry, I simply love her mods. I am certainly planning to embellish mine similarly, hopefully before fall!

Downtown Clutch

Time to make the donuts,



Stitches West 2007 Saturday, Mar 10 2007 

Hi everyone! I know I promised to stop making such infrequent gigantic posts, but I’ve decided…maybe that’s just how I roll. Onward:

I had to laugh when I read Yarn Harlot’s freak-out about white paint. I recently re-organized my pattern stash and had to find a way to decorate that outer spine since they hog so much of the shelf. I dug out my stash of paint sample cards and settled on all watered down versions of primary colors, but not before flipping through about 20 cards of ‘whites’. My reaction was more ‘awe’ than ‘rage’ but I can totally see her point.

I’m glad so many of you agreed with my Interweave makeover reaction, which I felt wildly snarky about. I fully acknowledge the need to innovate, especially aesthetically, but I couldn’t help but feel a good deal of loss. To get over it I placed an order for color cards and yarn samples at the decidedly old school (in the best possible way) Schoolhouse Press. I threw in a wheel of unspun Icelandic and look how neat it is:

It’s supposed to be ‘nested’ in a box, not wound into a ball, and it’s like working with cotton candy. Very soft, very lovely.

Project Spectrum: My first Socks that Rock ( lightweight in the Lucy colorway, my mini-review to follow) totally fits this month’s call for blue, white and grey, neutrals that I love. Yes, blue is neutral to me. In another ‘late to the game’ move, I picked Grumperina’s Jaywalker for my pattern. If I’d known how addictive and easy to memorize it was I would’ve knit these a long time ago!! BTW, my new Knitpicks double-pointeds are JUST the thing for all those double decreases.

Stitches West 2007 haul/highlights, or The Gluttony:

  • Grass green hemp from Lanaknits for a lacy summer top. This booth was an oasis of calm–burlap lined walls just like Moving Mud, clean and modern designs, and a fun ‘by-weight’ way of buying that A) evokes a farmer’s market and B) feels a lot more accurate than buying by the skein. Did I mention hemp is a dirt cheap fiber? For $100 bucks I could have purchased a whole new summer wardrobe. I exercised restraint but I did show a slight moment of weakness when I purchased a…wait for it…poncho pattern. The lovely designer heard me making jokes and said “no no, it’s a ponchETTE!” Absolved! And a good thing too, since I’ve admired Winnie’s for…3 years now? Yikes! I’ve got a bit of a backlog going, eh?

  • A kit for a Habu bag that I’ve stalked for 4 Stitches now. Takao works her booth with one of these draped across her small frame, knitting swatches with the yarn nested in the bag. I’m thrilled to finally have the pattern, and to have found a kit in such atypical colors (for Habu)–instead of the usual stony neutrals, this one is orange and deep plum. I’ve started to play with this–it’s slow knitting, but so cool. Hmm…I’m just now realizing that the pattern was living in a magazine of mine all along. Oh well, it’s still fun to play with the new fibers.

  • Socks that Rock–I finally joined the cult, in a big way. I walked away with 6 skeins of sock yarn, many patterns and a severe sinking sadness that I wasn’t in the Club (for serious, that first kit for this round is so ‘me’ it hurts!’) I started working with the stuff and all I can think of is the sort of ice cream I enjoy–really heavy, extremely rich, full of exciting surprises to excavate with my spoon (or in this case, with each new round) and what gourmands call ‘good mouthfeel‘. This yarn has fantastic mouthfeel! I’m sure you’ve heard it called ‘delicious’ or ‘yummy’, I never knew how literal the evaluation really was until I started knitting it. Besides the two bright skeins picture first, I gravitated towards all of the colorways with a good dose of white. Odd, since they’re so famous for their saturated brights, but I went with it! To my dear friend Andra, it isn’t just hype, you have GOT to knit this stuff sometime! I UPS’ed my purchases home and was shocked that it was 8 lbs. In my defense, I had several bottles of wool wash, lotsa hemp (yarn, heh). I had to laugh when I came across this site that calls the yarn “atypically dense”. Amen to that!

  • The lovely Tina at BMFA (I think) laughed at me because I declared myself cut-off many times but kept stalking this amazingly soft top knit with their Bambu–it literally felt like water running through my hands. In the very last TEN MINUTES of the 4 day show she aptly cried “You’re obsessing!” and gave me the “pitiful grad student” discount. I couldn’t have been more thrilled, I truly did stalk the garment, and probably sold it to ten people while I did so! I was a total pain in the ass picking a color, she said Thunder (stormy pinks and purples), I was contrary and took Savannah (sandy browns and blues with a shot of rust orange), then switched at the last minute, in that panicky insane/typical Stitches customer fashion. Anyhow, I was quite the pusher for their booth and dragged my co-workers Sarah and Karen over before the show opened. They were smart and snagged the Bambu top ingredients the first night, but not before witnessing the stamPEDE of women running towards the booth the minute the market opened. We kept making bathroom detours to get a fix–a skein here, a pattern there–it kept us sane (make that elated) through the madness!
  • Lastly, I got a good deal on some Manos del Uraguay. I ripped out my heavy, droopy chunky alpaca version of Hot Lava and will hopefully have more success with this yarn, the one called for in the first place!

Okay, do I feel appropriately guilty yet…? I’d say so. Time to get to work.