Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Another log from Aimee (pictures from Aimee, too). Now I can keep track of all my knitting again! Oh, that's what the blog is for? I'm more detailed in logs I can write in. What you can't see is that each page is a pocket, too, so I can put a little bit of yarn and a photo (if I ever take them--that's what the blog is for). The cover is made from a favorite dress of mine that was torn and worn beyond repair. Now I can use it always. Thank you, Aimee.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Vacation = Yarn

Last week I went to Kentucky for work. On my way to the Louisville airport, I stopped at Carma Creative Needlecraft. The yarn selection was okay--a bit too much novelty yarn for me, but a few nice things, too. They had a couple of cashmere yarns and a huge selection of pattern booklets. I went away three skeins of Classic Elite Premier richer.

After my brief trip to Kentucky, I headed to Brooklyn, New York to visit Dan over the holiday. What does one do in New York? Well, shop of course. On Friday we visited Purl in Soho. Very small store with a lot of great yarn and a lot of workers. I think the ratio was one worker per customer. I picked up some Euroflax Originals. The grey may be for the Mason-Dixon After Dark Nightie (or any number of patterns in that book. They seem to love that linen). The green was just calling to me. I'm not sure what it will be yet.

On Saturday, I visited Brooklyn General Store, which is just a few blocks from Dan's place. The store was nice, if not a bit dark. They had great yarns. They also had fabric, notions, and such, but I couldn't stop looking at and touching the yarn. If I lived in Brooklyn, I'm sure I'd become a regular. I picked up some Rowan Summer Tweed (maybe for a bag or a tank),

and a ball each of Rowan Cotton Glace, Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, and GGH Tajmahal. YUMMY!! The Tajmahal is so touchable. I plan on swatching them to decide whether or not to buy more. The silk may be destined to become a lacy shawl.

Finally, I finished a hand towel wash cloth thingy from some Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy I picked up from Loopy Yarns. I didn't have a plane project so I ran over there on Tuesday during lunch. I'm so last minute. I'd never been to Loopy Yarns before. The woman who rang up my yarn (I also bought some Suss Twisted in brown and pink) seemed to have knit a tank from everything.

Dan ended up being the recipient of the hand towel. He needed one in his bathroom. He liked his socks, by the way. They were too big, but he says they are perfect as house socks. Fine by me.

Finally, a picture of a jellyfish from the Aquarium at Coney Island. These jellyfish were my favorite part of one exhibit.

This is the view from the Wonder Wheel (we chose a swinging car). Thanks to Dan for all the pictures.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

In Praise of the Dishcloth

I finished the cat on Friday night. Looks just like Jack.
Because I'm in this knitting funk (though no longer an emotional funk), I don't have any projects in line. I just can't settle on anything. I've been fondling yarn, searching through books, browsing online patters. I have even started a few swatches, just to become bored three rows in. Besides a few things that are on hold, there is nothing on the needles right now. What's a girl to do?

Knit some dishcloths, of course.I finished this today. I have some Sugar 'n Cream that I bought ages ago on an impulse. Those Mason-Dixon knitters got it right. Knitting dischloths and washcloths are great projects. Especially when there's nothing interesting in the queue, or when there's nothing in the queue, I should say. Perfect.

Here's a picture of the other--the one I finished while my sister was visiting.

Back to browsing for patterns now. I hope something jumps out at me. I guess a girl can never have too many dishcloths, right?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rainy Blahs Continue in Chicago

I was reading some other blogs today and it seems like I'm not the only one in the Knitting Doldrums. Maybe it's the rain? Maybe the promise of summer is too strong; I feel like I'm biding my time until it is sunny. But I knit always, so I don't care if it is warm or sunny. Give me some needles and a good natural fiber and I'm happy as a clam.

I'm working on Kate. I'm changing it to look like my tuxedo cat, and I'm adding a tail. It's for Joseph, since the first one didn't quite work out. Jen tells me that when she asks Joseph who lives in Chicago he sometimes says my name, but usually just says "Cats." He can then tell her the cats' names, even BAMA, who hid the entire time Joseph and his parents were visiting.

I made a quickie Mason-Dixon washcloth. Well, not so quickie, since my knitting funk meant I didn't know how to count. I had to cast on three times. I'll take pictures when the sun peeks out. It's the only way my camera phone takes pictures that look like something.

Oh, and if you live in or near Chicago and want to learn to sew or learn to reupholster stuff (or crochet, or knit), you should go to The Needleshop. She's got classes for gauchos, tunics, messenger bags, A-line skirts, and all sorts of very interesting things. The Needleshop is the only place to learn this stuff. Really. Not only does Rachel know her shit, but she's really fun and a good teacher, too. So sign up for classes NOW.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Funky Town

The good thing about being in a knitting funk? Well, because I don't have any project attached to my hands at all times, I have time to finish up a couple loose ends, if you will.

Last night I sewed buttons onto the orange sweater for Sue. Today, I stuffed Aunt Chris's pillow. It's a bit lumpy, but the shape of the pillow didn't allow for a pillow form. I wove in the ends of Dan's socks (I am sooooo lazy). Finally, I wove in the ends for the baby bolero. My sister is in town this weekend, so she'll take home the pillow and the orange sweater. I have finally completed my Christmas presents. Better get started for next year.

I'm working on the Mason-Dixon washcloth. I had this idea to finish it before my sister came to visit so I could present it with some nice soap and her towel. Yeah. I didn't even sweep the floor before she came. Now I'm just working on it for something to do. Maybe I'll save it for Christmas.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I grew up in Detroit, six blocks from the State Fair. Our street was the most diverse in our neighborhood. People spoke in different languages, wore different kinds of clothes, and there were signs written in Arabic.

There are a few people who stand out in my memory. Of course I remember our neighbors and all of the kids I played with, and the boy who hit me in the side with a rock from his sling shot. I remember the man with the big husky dog with blue eyes. I remember Pops and his criminal family. I remember the old, old, old grandmother who moved in next door to us when Aunt Betty and Uncle Harold (not our relatives) moved out. I remember Peanut, who was five years older than me but more of a friend than a babysitter. I remember her parents (her dad was named Basil, like the herb, which I thought was really cool), her older brothers, her cats and kittens and dogs. I remember our tenants, and my parents' friends, including Jimmy and Judy and their dog, Bear. I remember the people who worked at the corner store.

And I remember the guy who drove a gold Camaro. He was real slick, wearing gold chains and styling his hair. I'm sure now that he was probably only in his early twenties, but when you're eight you have no idea. He seemed a lot younger than my parents, who were in their late twenties then. He stands out in my mind because he would drive down our one-way street (sometimes the wrong way) blaring his music. He played Middle Eastern music of some sort. Now, I knew about music in different languages--my family had some Polish music albums and I'd been around Polkas. I'd even heard Middle Eastern music on a public TV program called "The Arab Voice of Detroit." As far as I knew, music in cars only came from the radio.

It boggled my mind that Middle Eastern music could be coming from this guy's car. What radio station did he listen to? I had never come across these songs while I switched through the stations. One day it dawned on me that he had bought cassette tapes of this interesting music. In that moment, the world made sense.

This same kind of realization happens when I learn something new in knitting. The Somewhat Cowl is an example. I'd knit from the top down. I'd done raglan sleeves. I'd made sweaters. There was something about this knit, though, that just clicked. Sure, I increased too much on the armholes, and sure, I should have made the ribbing a little longer. But the sweater is still so pretty and impressive, and it was all done with no seaming. Wow. Now the world makes sense.

This is also the reason I can't settle on a new project. Nothing seems to live up to the hope and promise of learning to knit from the top down. I'm thinking lace, or maybe entrelac. Maybe I need a short, satisfying project to fill the void, like reading a magazine between books Interweave Knits is encouraging the lace, which I don't think I have the patience for right now. So, I'm stuck. I need someone to drive down the street in a gold Camaro intriguing me.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Knitting as Therapy

I've heard it said that knitting is therapeutic and relaxing. I guess it all depends on what you mean by therapeutic and relaxing.

Dan's been gone for almost a month now. I'm pretty sad and lonely, I'll admit. I had gotten used to having him around. I feel like I've easily transitioned back into singledom, with the bonus of near-nightly phone calls. But I'm still sad. So what do I do? Sleep a lot? Eat a lot? No. Well, not anymore than usual, anyway. I knit.

I wouldn't say it is therapeutic. It is just a way to veg out for a few hours at a time. It keeps me from pining. I've been trying to pay attention to what I'm feeling or thinking while I'm knitting, and it doesn't seem to be much of either. This, of course, works nicely with the way I deal with things, so I'm not complaining.

As for relaxing? During the hours I am knitting, I find my shoulders creeping closer and closer to my ears, my feet falling asleep from being tucked under each other, and my hands cramping from holding the needles. Oddly, though, I am relaxed. I may find myself in uncomfortable positions, but I feel calm (barring any gauge issues). I don't fret over anything; I don't think about work; I don't yearn for Dan; I just am. This is good.

In the meanwhile, I've made two gifts. I finished the One Skein Wonder for my sis, and I finished the Baby Bolero. I'm just going to show a detail of the Baby Bolero for now. I'm not sure it will fit the new baby--Joseph was pretty big--but the description says "For a newborn, teddy bear, or doll." I figure it will fit something.

Next I'm going to swatch for the Pale Blue Jacket from Rebecca 30. I'm using the recommended yarn, GGH Scarlett in a really pretty, shiny blue (shade 16). I am having second thoughts, though. I may switch to the Lacy Cardigan from Vintage Knits by Sarah Dallas, but there's only one size (32-36) and I'm just a little too busty for that. I haven't read very many good things about these patterns, either. I've made the Cabled Mittens and they were great, but I'm hesitant to make a sweater. Besides, it bugs me that she used at least two of the same patterns from this book in Sarah Dallas Knitting (and one other in Rowan's Vintage Knits).

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Frustration: Part Three

The socks are done. One skein of the Lorna's Laces was about six rows short of two full socks. One is bigger than the other. One has a grows in width from the heel to the toe. They are huge (though they may still fit Dan's foot). This may have put me off of socks forever. Well, just knitting the socks. I like looking at sock yarn.

I've been thinking about knitting lace. I have a couple of friends who are engaged and I've been thinking it might be nice to knit them, or one of them anyway, a lace shawl. We'll see. I've been doing some half-hearted searching for lace yarn and patterns. I figured, I've tackled socks, now I can work on some lace. Am I crazy?

I'm working on another One Skein Wonder for my sis out of some yarn I bought when we were in Florida. The first one I made for her was so small it probably wouldn't fit anyone over five. I am also itching to make the Baby Bolero from One Skein (is there a theme?) in sage Blue Sky Organic Cotton. I have the yarn, the needles, and the pattern. I'm going to start it tonight!