Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Annette tagged her readers with a meme, and I'm playing along, too. Here are ten knit-related things you might not know about me:

1. I'm drawn to "classic" garment patterns, including those of Erika Knight, Kim Hargreaves, Debbie Bliss and Louisa Harding.
2. I own 76 balls of Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair. Isn't that insane?
3. I love Harris Tweed. Well, any kind of tweed, really, but Harris Tweed, with its history and scratchy durability, is beautiful.
4. I collect patterns of skulls (which most of you probably know) and food. I don't know why, but knitted food just cracks me up.
5. I prefer knitting with circular needles.
6. When I'm knitting lace, I usually have two lifelines. Just in case.
7. I love to swatch.
8. Je deteste le fil nouveaute.
9. I knit patterns from magazines and books in roughly the same proportion. The few stand-alone patterns I've purchased are predominantly for lace shawls.
10. I love the fairy tale aspect of knitting lace and felting. These items turn from ugly ducklings into beautiful objects by our creative acts. Magic.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Pattern: Felted Pumpkin Basket from Because I Felt Like It (available here)
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Carrot and Evergreen
Needles: Addi US 13 16" circs
Modifications: I left off the brown handle called for in the pattern. I also added a leaf and a curly vine.
Rating: 4 out of 5 balls of your favorite 100% wool. It's a great pattern for an advanced beginner to learn new skills. It also may be adapted to make all sorts of other bowls/baskets, which is very handy indeed.

Last October I took a class on how to make this basket at a nearby LYS. The class was a great learning experience, as I'd never felted before. Or used DPNs. Or made i-cord. Delighted at adding these new skills to my knittin' repertoire, I cranked out five of these fruits in various permutations - some had handles, some didn't; some were large, some small; some were round and squat, some taller - for friends and family (hi Mom!) last fall. This year, as my thoughts turned to autumn a few weeks ago, I realized I didn't have one for myself. So, I pulled out the leftover yarn, got busy with this easy peasy project and voila!

Hungry for more Cucurbita pepo? Patterns may be found here, here (a cute pincushion) and here.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Good Deal

Taped to the yellow Formica table that serves as my desk is a fortune cookie fortune from some long forgotten restaurant. It reads, "You will find a real bargain." The tape which holds it down is frayed around the edges, and dull from me running my finger over it. This everyday talisman is the truest fortune I've ever gotten, because indeed, I do like a good deal.

I began haunting thrift stores and antique malls in my teens, and they played a fun and wacky part in my life until several years ago, when the homogeneous effect of eBay dried up the flow of donated merchandise. In fact, thrifting was a big part of Tom's and my early life together. We'd scour the Salvation Armies and St. Vinnys for tiki mugs and exotica LPs, California pottery and funky 50s lamps, hot rod novels and vintage clothes.

We'd wind up dusty and breathless from laughing, our loot clutched in our hands as we made our way out the door with slices of other people's lives that were now part of ours. We had our rules - Never pay more than a dollar for a tiki mug. The pottery can't be chipped or cracked. The records must play, no matter how cool the cover artwork. If you ever see vintage microphones or bakelite radios in good shape, buy them. - and we had some very interesting conversations with the customers and checkout clerks.

Nowadays, we'll visit a flea market once in a while, but for the most part our thrifting days are over. My love of a deal still exists, however, especially for yarn and knitting tools of the trade. And, like the dollar tiki mug, they're out there, if you know where to this one for the Kool-Aid dyers in the audience. Five for a buck at Vons this week!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Delusions of Grandeur

In January, I announced to my knitting group, the wonderful Pasadena Daytimers, that my New Year's resolution for 2006 was to make six sweaters. Six. These words from a woman who has previously only made one adult sweater in her life. Said sweater took two weeks to knit - it's a simple cardigan made from bulky Takhi Soho Tweed - and nine months to block and sew up.

But, whatever. So it took me a while. In the sparkly optimism a new year brings, I figured things would be different. In 2006, I'd show the world I have the ability to overcome my boredom with sewing seams, and would have no problem cranking out onetwothreefourfivesix sweaters. I'd become a sweater-making machine.

Now, do you see where this is going? Because, well, how many sweaters have I completed this year? Zip. Zilch. Zero. Granted, one of my secret projects is a sweater, but it, like my previous one, is stalled at the blocking/finishing stage. I hope to have it done by the end of the year, but of course I could be under the same yarn-sniffing delusions I was when I made my ridiculous proclamation nine months ago and thus totally unreliable.

But I hope not. I'd like to be at least a little trustworthy...and so, as I've been thinking about what I want to make for my fall/winter projects, I'm contemplating a sweater or two. First up is Marnie from Melissa Leapman's Hot Knits. A single button cardigan with an interlocking pattern, I picked it because it looks like a good choice for my first patterned garment. I'm using the recommended yarn, ggh's Samoa, in black. I swatched a few weeks ago and...sigh. Couldn't get gauge without going down four needle sizes, by which time the cotton blend yarn was unworkable. I was about to panic, but luckily Jillian came to my rescue and helped me figure out how to use one of the smaller sizes in the pattern to compensate. Thanks, Jillian, from teaching me a new math skill (eek) and saving the day.

The second sweater I'm considering is Knit One Crochet Too's Coco Cardie. This pattern, a simple button down stockinette stitch cardigan, uses K1C2's Petite Boucle, an airy mohair ribbon yarn that knits up as a dense boucle. While I love the yarn's construction, I also can't get gauge without going guessed it, four needle sizes. By which time the yarn's...unworkable. Huh? More fiddling with the pattern sizing is called for here, too, so I'll probably just start Marnie.

Or maybe I'll go look for a swell felted purse pattern for this yummy colored Shamrock yarn in the Doyle colorway....

And the finishing I'm supposed to be doing? Oh, I'll get to that later.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Rule of Five

Five is a good solid number. Halfway between one and ten, it feels dependable, but also like it's going somewhere, like it has plans to be a bigger number someday. You see fives in nature - the senses, the points of starfish, the digits on hands and feet. Some people say there are five elements - earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Others say, "Hey, wasn't The Fifth Element that wacky sci-fi film with Bruce Willis and the great costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier?"

In my life, five is the number of citrus trees in my backyard, the number of my husband's siblings, the number of cats with whom we once shared our home. It's also the number of knitting projects I work on at any one time. 'Cause I'll be frank. I'm one of those people who needs structure and guidelines. If I didn't set a limit, I'd run around willy-nilly and never finish a thing. Five is good for me. It doesn't allow me to be bored, and it keeps me from casting on every ball of yarn I've ever purchased.

That being said, the Rule of Five is a loose guideline. Often I fudge, and have six or even seven (gasp) projects going. Often I don't include projects that are done except for the blocking or sewing up, since I'm very zen about finishing stuff.

But for once I'm (nearly) following the rules. First off, I have two mystery projects which I cannot tell you about, so we'll ignore those for the time being. So, coming in at number three we have...

#3: Lala Scarf by Kat Coyle (from Greetings from Knit Cafe) in Rowan Kid Silk Haze Color Wicked

Status: Super quick knit (yeah, I know, I haven't gotten to the picot edging), but it's boring me to tears. Currently living in the bottom of my yarn closet with...

#4: My first attempt at knitting a sock in squeaky red Encore Worsted. While part of me longs to be a sock knitter, I'm forced to face the fact that right now might not be the time to learn. So, the sock lies abandoned for...

#5: Hanging Garden Lace Stole by Sivia Harding in Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace Color Charcoal

Status: The love of my knitting life. I'm enchanted. Utterly. It's gonna take me seventeen bazillion years to finish, but I just look at it and feel like I'm a grown-up real knitter.

#6: Pumpkin bowls ready for felting. Knit in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Colors Carrot and Evergreen.

Isn't it almost time to hit the stash and start swatching?

Friday, September 15, 2006


Welcome to my blog.

I'm a crazy knitter and crocheter who's obsessed with all things fiber related. Yarn? Check. Patterns? Check. Needles? Check. Thus, a large part of this blog will be spent discussing knitterly subjects. Oh, I'll babble on about other important stuff, too: my husband and our two cats, our love of all things mid-century moderne, the Great Termite Infestation of 2006*, my nerdy Netflix fixation and adventures in Kool-Aid dying and'll all be here.

Hope you enjoy visiting!

*more on that later