Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome, Backyard Visitors!

One of my favorite things to do is to gaze absentmindedly out my kitchen door at my backyard.  We have bird feeders and our garden in the back. It's very pretty, and I love looking at the birds. But the last two days presented me with two new visitors to the backyard. Here they are:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, on the purple coneflowers:
I've never seen this butterfly before - it was not shy and let me get quite close to take 5 billion pictures. It was working hard on those coneflowers!

And then the very next day, a big gorgeous classic, the Monarch Butterfly, also on the coneflowers:
I've seen tons of Monarchs before, but not usually this big. He/she was skittish about my presence (perhaps because I tumbled out of the back door in my pajamas, hurriedly focusing the camera), so I was lucky to get a good shot.

Nice treat.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Stupidest UFO Ever

Periodically I go through cuckoo-crazy yarn/project purges. When I started working at The Tangled Web 10 years ago, I had never seen good yarn and I was blown away by the colors and textures and my 20% discount. I bought a lot of yarn and I started a lot of projects.

Over the years I've tried to be a little more selective about what I buy and when I buy it, but I still have a lot of yarn and a lot of unfinished projects. Every year when I teach UFO (UnFinished Objects) Camp at the store, it is always inspiring. Our camp started last Friday and of course as I always do I came home and started going through the old yarn cabinet and project baskets. I love getting rid of stuff!!!!*

Anyway, in my purging journey I came across what has to be The Stupidest Unfinished Object of All Time. Here it is:
Are you serious????!!!!
Yes, that is the 2nd sock of a pair of socks that I started a couple of years ago. At some point I finished the first sock, cast on and knit up the 2nd sock and stopped TWO ROWS FROM CASTING OFF. Say what?!?!?!?!!!! I couldn't believe it when I came across the bag that held this goofiness.

I knit 2 more rows, bound off the sock, and now it is done.
Finished 3 minutes later, for heavens' sake!
Note to self:  check through unfinished projects more often.

*It's like when you watch "Hoarders" and then throw every single thing out in your house because you're so afraid you'll get that way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Knitting

It's summer, and a knitter's thoughts turn to lace. Well, mine do.

I went through a gigantic lace knitting jag a couple of years ago and kind of got it out of my system. Because I'm not a Victorian society lady, I don't really need the 25 lace shawls I've accumulated. But I find that every year when hot weather rolls around, I suddenly feel compelled to knit some lace! Go figure.

The Tangled Web, where I teach, is featuring an Olympics Knit-Along next month. The Gold Medal Project is the Summer Flies Shawl, a free pattern that has a million projects on Ravelry. So I thought I'd knock out a sample to make sure it could be completed in 10 days (the length of the Olympics).

Cast on with #7 needles and Ella Rae Lace Merino. Done and done (in 3 days!):
Obligatory Japanese Maple Tree shot 
I like these semi-circular shawls (like Citron, too). They're fun to knit, though I don't especially love the way they wrap. They work better as big scarves than actual shawls.

So I finished the store project and thought, Now what? I poked around Ravelry (what is more fun than that?!) and found the Meandering Vine Shawl, by one of my favorite designers, Susanna IC.
(Not very impressive looking. Will take another picture post-blocking beautification.)
Cast on with #10 needles and a double strand of Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace in my favorite "color", beloved charcoal grey. This is a rectangle; I'm just going to knit until my yarn runs out. I have a feeling it won't be long enough for a wrap, so I may graft the ends together and make it a multiple-wrap cowl.

What's on your needles this summer?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Are You Serious?

This news story is easily the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. It's four weeks from Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee sends a Cease and Desist letter to Ravelry (for God's sake!!) not to use the term "Ravelympics", because it is "disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work"


First of all, the Olympics is a sports competition, that's all. You can ring out all the grand metaphors you want, but in the end it's sports. I say this as a huge sports fan.

Well, I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs, but I won't. You get the idea.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


After seeing 10 billion Color Affection shawls on Ravelry
(That's not mine - I wish!)

and reading Yarn Harlot's experience with hers, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Though I love finding obscure new patterns, I admit I love knitting with the herd too.

I happened to have 3 gorgeous colors of sockweight yarn in my stash and proceeded to cast on and knit. And knit. And knit. And knit. I gleefully finished the first part (solid gray); then the second part (2-row stripes of gray and burnt orange); then started the third and final part - the good, wedgy, short row-y section with all 3 colors (gray, orange and navy)  The construction is fun, the yarn is beautiful.....and yet.......

I looked at it yesterday and thought, "I do not like these colors." Uh oh.

Then I thought, "I do not like these colors at all. But that is a whole lot of knitting I've already done."

Then I thought, "I do not like these colors at all. But that is a whole lot of knitting I've already done. But when it is finished, I think that I will never wear it."

And then I thought, "I do not like these colors at all. But that is a whole lot of knitting I've already done. But when it is finished, I think that I will never wear it. And so I must frog it."
Back to the drawing board.

Friday, March 2, 2012

And The Winners Are....

....Karen, who chose the Koigu yarn and the Easy Toe-Up Sock pattern....and India, who chose the Spirit Trail yarn and the Twisty Toe-Up Tube Sock pattern.

Thanks everyone for your funny good comments here and on Facebook. I loved reading them all!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy St David's Day!

To all my Welsh relatives and friends and readers out there, here's a bunch of daffodils for you today!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day! And A Giveaway!

I was watching "30 Rock" the other day; they had a show about Leap Day and how you should do something completely different every February 29. Though of course the show is a comedy, I thought that was a great idea.

I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do differently today, but I thought for festivity's sake, I'd do a GIVEAWAY! Here's two pairs' worth of yummy sock yarn and a free copy each of Easy Toe-Up Socks or Twisty Toe-Up Tube Socks.
Spirit Trail Fiberworks "Autumn Leaves" on left; Koigu KPPPM "P107B" on right; slightly disgruntled cat "Funny" in center (not included)

Leave a comment here or on Facebook about what your Leap Day activity might be today and also which yarn/pattern combo you'd like. I'll have my impartial judge (who, being born on March 2, 2000, was almost a Leap Day baby!) pick two winners at random.

Happy Leap Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cozy Wrap Poncho - New Pattern!

I love a nice poncho or wrap, but I haven't wanted to look like Marcia Brady since 1971.  Enter the Cozy Wrap Poncho, the newest pattern from Momogus Knits! It's one rectangle with one seam - easy-peasy! You can wear it with the point in front, a la Marcia, but I like to wear it with the point off to one side, oh so casually!
Adult Textured Rib in grey, Child's Garter Stitch in red
The pattern is written for two weights of yarn, bulky and super-bulky, so it's perfect outerwear on a late winter afternoon or an early spring morning. I have been known to wear the grey sample in the photo (knit in yummy superbulky Ushya yarn) all day long in my drafty old house.
Back View
There are two stitch pattern options - a simple textured rib and good old garter stitch, and there are two size options - Adult and Older Child. The shape of the poncho is so flexible it really fits a wide range of people shapes and sizes. And though I like the openness of the neck opening, I've included instructions on how to modify it to make it more close-fitting or higher or even into a turtle-neck.

Go here to purchase yours today. It's a great-looking, easy knit perfect for this time of year!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Be My (Knitted) Valentine

I like Valentine's Day. I don't mind all the fuss that merchants make, though i don't love chocolate.... I love yarn!

Here are a few ideas for quick little Valentine's Day presents that a knitter could make.

You can personalize a Valentine's Day card with a little flat garter stitch heart:

Wah - sweet! Instructions are here.

You could throw a few littled felted hearts in with a box of chocolates:

Tee hee - those little eyes kill me!! Instructions are here.

For the more practical-minded, you could get some nice nice soap and give it with a knitted heart washcloth:

Instructions here.

Enjoy! Give someone you love a hug.