Of Muttonchops and Commentary...
Those who've traveled to the SKIF knit-a-long blog
might be aware of certain unfortunate "events" that took place while I was knitting Zena (Warrior Princess
(check out the button somewhere over there)
These events centered around my inability to count, as well as my sieve-like memory. At some point in knitting the body, I decided to add a little waist shaping. (Because I can't just leave well enough alone.)
Anyway, I decreased a few stitches at each side. (Unevenly mind you. I have no control over when the sieve will just let a plan fall right outta my head.) When I went to create the neck shaping, I was missing a few stitches...
While I don't mind retelling a story, I think the flavor of my mood at the time I discovered (remembered) the "event" is best expressed here
Go on, read. Laugh. Feel the full-throttle-ness of having a mind like a rusted-steel trap.
I survived the scare with a bit of retail therapy
. Some new Habu
just followed me home like a stray as well. Here it is (the amethyst color) just to the right of the light lavender color in the center:
I've passed the 50% finished mark and I've tried the sweater on whilst on the needles. Happily, I can report that all is well. The bust should fit just fine even though it is a few stitches narrower than it should be. I decided for such an oversize sweater it was okay to sport more of a "Jane Mansfield
" fit, (or Jane Russell
, or Marilyn Monroe
Now for the tie-in to the title of this post. (In the interest of those with sensitive constitutions, no knitting or person was harmed in this event)
In former posts, I've mentioned a dear former co-worker "K-Dawg
" and of her predilection to drinking while writing
(well deserved mind you). While she was in town she, "Flower child" (her sister), and I met for a pint at a favorite watering hole
where we also purchased tokens and promotional mugs for a blessed Stumptown event
. As we were walking from the pub to grab a late night bite, K-Dawg stops to chat with a former co-worker ("The Man") as her sister and I continue.
As we were walking a stranger asks us for change and when we denied him, he attempted to rob us of our promotional mug bag.
Now there are a few things to note when attempting to rob someone:
A number 1) Make sure the person you are trying to knockdown is not built like a Cadillac Coup'deville
B number 2) Do not mess with a knitter. (Hey dude, didn't you see the set of 10½ double points in my hair???)
C number 3) Do not mess with a black woman. We don't play.
I'm pretty sure our attacker realized this because he stopped momentarily to assess the situation. This brief pause gave "The Man" just enough time to catch up and come to our aid. (If you've never seen a Bostonian go "Southy"
on someone you are missing out).
As our attacker was being held at bay "K-dawg" and "Flower Child" were glued to their cell phones, talking to emergency services. These are sample sentences from the ordeal:
K-Dawg: "The perpetrator is about 5'6" wearing a beige baseball cap. He has blond hair but darker facial hair. He has muttonchops
. He is wearing a gray raglan sleeve
Flower Child: "...and now he is running across the street. (pause as she hears K-dawg's raglan sleeve comment) My sister is on the phone with you right now as well. She's actually giving you a thorough description, while I'm only giving you commentary..."
All ended well. The mugs were shattered but the knitting and needles remained unmolested. The authorities came promptly and arrested our attacker. None of the ladies were hurt. "The Man" sported just enough of a black-eye for bragging-rights but is okay other than that. In the interest of quelling fears about walking through the streets of Portland at night or of street people in general. Our city is just as safe (or safer) than any other city in the US. Our attacker was not a local. While that is neither here nor there, it was chance that brought us in his path and I am happy the episode ended well here in Portland rather than badly anywhere else.
Labels: Alchemy, DPNs, Habu, knitting pergatory, Portland, SKIF Knit-a-long, sweater, The Blogger, update, Zena
Rhapsody in ... Spruce?
We were visited by KnittingInMind
from Seattle yesterday so she could show off her latest FO, a Rhapsody in Lace & Ruffles
using ShibuiKnits Baby Alpaca DK
She decided that she wanted some more ShibuiKnits yarn for her next
wicked WIP, which is when we (okay, 3M
) managed to get an "action" shot, too:
(am I the only one reminded of Carmen
Anyway. We love to see beautiful (and even not-so-beautiful
) WIPs, FOs, and crazy projects you might be planning. Bring 'em by the store and we just might post 'em all over the Interwebs
Now, for those of you (unlike The Blogger, I think we have more than 2 subscribers*) who are more interested in crazy projects
than beautiful FO's (I know you exist), here's some eye candy taken by The Blogger, who was a little trigger-happy yesterday and produced a collection d'art
focused on our SKIF KAL progress:
Now, The Blogger's Zena makes me a little embarrassed because I didn't embrace the SKIF philosophy as much as my coworkers
**. But, in my defense, at least I managed to get the organic feel of the pattern copacetic
with my yarn choice.
The Blogger and I have been making steady progress, clearly, but one has to wonder: will we finish in time to walk down the Catwalk? Or, like so many knitters before us who didn't gauge their knitting time well, will we end up walking down that red carpet with half a sleeve un-knit, circular needles still hanging in distress, glaringly obvious?
Clearly I have no
anxiety at all
about finishing on time. Which explains perfectly why I bought enough yarn for another SKIF sweater yesterday***. As I have often said, denial was a necessary development in human evolution. Without it we'd never have left the caves, crossed any oceans, or CO that 13th pair of socks OTN just because.
And, anyway, that Tsumugi silk
looks ever so nice in my stash right now.
more than 2, admittedly.
**Yes, yes, I cheated. I admit it. Move on.
Labels: crazy, lace, Neptune, Rockstar, ShibuiKnits, SKIF Knit-a-long, store workings, update, Zena
Noro Kureyon sock yarn!
... we interrupt your normal blogging for an important YarNews Flash:
Knit/ Purl now has Noro Kureyon sock yarn in stock!
Yes, you read correctly, Noro Kureyon sock yarn
Much like our familiar friend Kureyon, this new sock yarn is single-ply, thick-and-thin, and features loooong, vibrant color repeats.Unlike
the traditional Kureyon, this is 30% nylon for durability and knits up at 7.5 sts/ inch on 3mm DPNs.
For more information, check out our 7 new colorways
or drop by the store :)
Labels: Noro, sock, yarn, YarNews
A Rock Star and the News
Where to begin... there is just so much news on the yarnfront... Mind you it's not good news. Tragic news is the best word to describe it actually. The best way to take the sting out a bit is to sandwich the news between some happy news.
Happy news: we have a rockstar in our midst and her name is Esther Hynes. Since Esther lives in California we do not have a current photo of her. I imagine she looks like this. Here is a picture of her with her sister.
As you know, rockin' is a tough job. You're traveling to the next gig, eating food on the road, and you need to make sure you look hot for the next show. You just wore the black lacy outfit at the last show and you'd like to bring out something colorful for that very special groupie you've had your eye on. Something like this:
The "Butterfly Poncho" from Knits from a Painter's Palette. It can be worn in two different ways making the costume changes between sets easy.
You would really like to wear the "Kimono Jacket" that Maie Landra designed in the Vogue Anniverary issue, but you've been knitting for one year and you are only 25% done:
It uses a crazy amount of Koigu, but the color change keeps you entertained and the blues and greens really makes the color of your eyes pop. Perhaps you can finish on the way to your next gig in Portland. Yeah, 'cuz you're a Barracuda.
Now for somber news: in May the Malabrigo factory had a fire.
(Told you the news was tragic.) We will take the sharp inhalation of breath as a response similar to our own. We are sick. Pit-of-the-stomach-stabbing-pain sick.
The good news is the mill is still running, but because they are in Uruguay and have to deal with Uruguian bureaucracy, they haven't even been given the okay (as yet) to return to rebuild the warehouse, or start dyeing again.
The delay means any Malibrigo yarn available in the store right now is all we can get. All of it. I want Lace Baby in "Amoroso" for my next SKIF project, but it's not gonna happen. We would love to get more to you but we can't. Because they can't. Because of Uraguian beaurocracy, the space-time continuum, and the Ides of March. No more.
At least, no more for awhile. The rumor mill has the first Lace Baby being available sometime in April 2009. So there you go.
Now even more somber news (anyone need a therapist yet?): In keeping with the theme of rumors, or fires, or Pit-of-the-stomach-stabbing-pain we are loathe to announce...
You might need to sit down for this...
Our good buddy Lars (good ol' Lars), of Unicorn Book Publishing, told us the news...
We are loathe to announce: the warehouse fire that destroyed the master copies of Poetry in Stitches.
Yeah that's gonna sting for a bit. Try some aloe or some antibiotic ointment.
Can you even believe it? It seems getting a copy of this book is like trying to kill a windmill. So, the first editions that those smart knitters have (The Blogger is not one of them) is like gold, wrapped in platinum and coated in diamonds.
Eventually there will be more. For everyone who signed up on our list (all those names we painstakingly recorded) do not worry. We plan on making big announcements when we hear more about the return of the book. Just keep us updated on your shipping address if we are to mail your copy to you.
After all that gut-wrenching pain, I leave you with a bit-o-pretty:
Isn't she just divine?
I sprinkled some Catherine Lowe Alpaca in the mix and now I must have more. See the pretty plum color (as opposed to the chocolate or blueberry color)?
Knitting it in was akin to heaven.
My yarn diet is collapsing in a big way.
Labels: books, Catherine Lowe, Koigu, lace, Malabrigo, pattern, PoetryNStitches, Rockstar, SKIF Knit-a-long, YarNews
An Ice Cube Tray and Yarn
To start off our SKIF Knit-a-long out right, for those trapped underneath something heavy and can't make it in on Tuesday nights to hangout and get your SKIF knit on, I present to you today's topic:
I know it sounds absolutely thrilling. Right now one of you is thinking, "If I can pick out my own socks in the morning I can certainly manage choosing a yarn that I love."
Au contraire, mon frère (and mon soeur). Choosing yarn is sometimes as hard as finding that perfect bottle of soft drink to go with backyard barbecue. Would you pair Jolt cola
? How about Chocolate Yoo Hoo
with German style potato salad
? I didn't think so.
So let us just consider for a moment the weighty (worsted-weighty) decision you are about to undertake and let's travel to the magical world of the Standard Yarn Weight System
as brought to you by those wacky kids at the Craft Yarn Council of America (cue music
The SKIF patterns are knit at gauges from 4 to 4½ stitches per inch on US needle sizes 8 or 9 (4.5 or 5 mm). If you were to create a garment from just one yarn for these patterns, you would choose a worsted (or Aran) weight yarn. In the land of yarn, this is medium weight.
However, you are no sissy. You are going to take on the full-throttle joy of knitting a SKIF International pattern
for the full Monty
effect so you choose multiple fine gauge yarns. (Deep in your psyche your alter ego sports a bicep tattoo that features yarn and needles with the old-time banner caption of "Balls of Silken Stainless Steel
Now here comes the perplexing part: how do you find fine gauge yarns to equal a worsted weight?
Think of the worsted weight in terms of its parts (I won't use the word fraction
here because as I think about typing it I hear cogs grinding and springs sproinging in the collective minds of the math-phobic masses). Think of worsted weight yarn like an ice cube tray! As illustrated here:
Does your brain-machine feel better now?
Worsted weight yarn is composed of many skinny yarns called plies just like the tray is composed of several little ice cubbyholes (what else can you call the individual hole that makes ice other than a cubicle? I already lost half of our two readers with the math reference. I don't want to loose the other one with office-speak). Most worsted weight yarns are about
is a very important word. Sometime the crafty mill-mongrels will make really pretty worsted yarn that is single-ply, double-ply, and whatnot. But for illustration purposes we shall pretend all worsted weight yarn is the same and is made from 8 plies. As we have taken the trolley
to the land of make believe, we shall also pretend lace weight yarns equal a single ply.
Worsted = 8 plies
Lace = 1 ply
Ergo 8 strands lace = 1 worsted yarn.
HURRAY! Whoopee! Yay we did it!
Not so fast my young Padawan
. We used a word of infinite magical power. We used the word: about
. The reality is yarn is made by madmen, purchased by the insane, beloved by the stark-raving mad, and coveted by the crazier-than-owning-three-vacuums (I fall into the last category... none of them work properly either but that's a story for another day). Due to this unhinged quality in the world of knitting, you might find that seven, six, or even five strands of lace can equal a worsted weight yarn. You may decide you aren't feeling the lace weight love and want to use sport or double knitting (DK) weight yarn. How do you manage that?
You let go of the control and dare to imagine:
Lace = 1-2 ply
Fingering = 2-3 plies
Sport = 3-4 plies
DK = 4-5 plies
Your head might be swimming at this point. Take the edge off with some fresh yarn
stash enhancement. Don't worry we'll wait.
So now that you have some fresh stash, the next thing you do is prune some of your old stash-beast to go with it. Take those single skeins that you bought "just because" and those leftover skeins and sort them by color. Pick your favorite color(s) then sort that pile by animal/vegetable. Anything that is the hair from an animal goes into one pile and everything else (including silk) goes in the other. If you have a blend use the primary fiber as a guideline. Choose the yarns that seem to go best together, but make sure you choose a some of each: animal, vegetable, smooth, and textured yarns. The combination you choose will make your garment completely unique. If all this gives you a headache, don't fret. Tomorrow's post will show you examples of how to blend and mix your yarns together.
Until then lets see some examples from real live coworkers:
Tsumugi Silk Combo=Fingering Weight=3plies
Doubled Sea Silk= Doubled Lace Weight=2plies x 2
That's crazy! SandyKay is making her's with 7plies! Aaaaaaa!!!! Panic! Panic!
Feel better? Did you get it out of your system? There's no need to panic because she's getting gauge so there is no need to worry.
This one is a whole bucket of crazy... like owning-three-vacuums crazy
I have taken my stash apart and grabbed all the silly little leftover balls of lace weight mohair
and sock yarn
and added some Tsumugi Silk
from Habu, Flaxen
, and Alpaca 1
for my Zena
. Who knows, the urge to buy more yarn might come on me again and I might just add something else.
The patterns require anywhere from a pound to a pound and a half (.5 to .6 kilo) of blended yarn. In terms of yardage (or meter-age for the rest of the world) that is approximately 890-1350 yards (815-1230 meters).
The nice thing about the patterns are they emphasize and encourage knitters to just go with the flow and think of the experience like a Sous chef
thinks of cooking: blend, mix, experiment. Some of the tips offered in the patterns are: "Be glad when the shop runs out of your dye lot" and "Keep switching yarns the whole way through".
Think of it as an opportunity for anarchy
For those of you Anarchists
out there who want to post pictures and progress on your own SKIF knit, write a blog post on this all inclusive blog
: skifkal dot
Labels: Catherine Lowe, Classes, crazy, Habu, Handmaiden and Fleece Artist, pattern, SKIF Knit-a-long, sock, sweater, yarn
The latest crazy plan.
As I'm sure you've noticed, The Blogger and I have a tendency to hatch weird and slightly insane schemes when we're left in an office alone together. The latest and greatest of our grand plans...
Which is why I can happily blame my latest yarn addiction, to Joseph Galler Inca Cotton, on The Blogger and be completely
honest. It's proving to be a lot of fun to work with.
If you're concerned with tackling a SKIF pattern on your own, you may want to enroll in The Blogger's SKIF Knit-a-long Emergency Aid Class
. Students will receive (aside from help knitting the sweater of your choice) a 10% discount on all yarn, needles, and goodies they buy to participate AND a free mini-workshop with Fearless Leader on sewing handknit garments with a sewing machine. If you don't
want to enroll, that's totally cool. Join us anyway, and we'll all keep each other going.
Because, on July 31st (during our weekly SipNStitch), we'll be hosting the first ever
Knit Purl Catwalk Party
SKIF KAL participants will be invited* to walk down the red carpet (oh yeah, we got one) and show off their mad knitting skills to the world.
So, c'mon, join us. It'll be fun. Honestly.*Don't put it past us to inebriate you to get you up there.
Labels: crazy, SKIF Knit-a-long, store workings, store workshops