Sunday, December 26, 2010

HCW Gift Certificate for Grabs

Psst. Head over to TT820's blog for a giveaway contest. She's one of the other designers in the Shelter project. You could win a free pattern from her store plus a $50 gift certificate to Hill Country Weavers. Good stuff!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hill Country Weavers Releases Shelter Patterns

What a delightful Christmas gift, to wake up and see that Hill Country Weavers now has all of the Shelter designs available for download and hard-copy purchase.

Back at the beginning of the fall, HCW approached a handful of local Austin designers and asked us to design a project using Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter yarn. I am flattered and, frankly, still a bit amazed to discover myself among such talented company, and if I were more excited about this design project I'd be tap dancing on the Christmas ham. (Wouldn't go well, there's a basting sauce.)

Allow me to present my pattern Sarah Rose:

As you're looking around, please check out the patterns from the other designers as well. (Sweater-ophiles like me will get stretch marks in their queues from all the sudden growth.)

The yarn itself, Shelter, is sturdy, versatile, and soft. Even high-end wools can bother my neck, but this yarn didn't give me one bit of itch the evening I wore it. (I confess to spoiling the surprise to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween; I figured that was safe as knitting has yet to take off in the under-10 crowd.) While I'm often the first to go looking for substitute yarns, in this case, you should really look into ordering the yarn that's called for, because it's such a treat to work with.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Betrayed by a Towel

Hi there!

So tonight, I'm talking to a friend and teaching her to knit (inject quick dance of triumph and glee), and I mentioned some story or other. She said, "Right, I remember reading about that on your blog."

And I said, "I have a blog?"

Not really. But you know.

Tonight, I'm going to interject quick pictures of knitting - mostly WIPs, 'cause that's all I got - with a story that I personally find hilarious.

My husband has been sick the last few days with a fever, poor thing. (That's not the funny part.) Last night, he felt so achy that in a fit of desperation, he slathered himself with Icy Hot.

Unrelated knitting picture #1:

Later, I followed him to bed. I washed my face, and reached for a towel to dry myself off.

Unrelated knitting picture #2:

My first thought was, "This towel smells like Icy Hot."

Unrelated knitting picture #3:

My second thought was, "WWOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

My husband managed to get a picture of me:

(I bore a strong resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, I think.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

See you soon, Kid 'N Ewe!

We're headed to Kid 'N Ewe tomorrow morning, bright and early - and not just to shop.

We're running a whole booth full of hand-dyed, handspun yarns. Strand Fiber Reserve debuts this weekend with one heckuva showing!

Say hi if you see us at Kid 'N Ewe!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sorry, Rangers. I'm Ambrosia.

We went to a Rangers game (regular season, nothing fancy) a few weeks back. I brought some knitting. Lately I've been committed to working on a few larger projects, so I found myself running out the door with only a few minutes to find something portable. This is right after the most recent Knitty came out, and I just so happened to have 2 balls of Noro Silk Garden sitting out. I decided to work on a Spry hat.

Now, some might say that intarsia is not the best choice for a live sporting event. Perhaps. The concrete floor was sticky, and I was more worried about dropping one of the four mini-balls of yarn on the ground than I was about the game. Still, I pulled it off.

My fella might beg to differ. Josh Hamilton hit a home run and got something like two runners in? I'm not sure, because everybody in the whole stadium stood up and cheered except me with my four mini-balls of yarn in my lap that I didn't want to spill in the beer puddles.

"What are you doing?!" my fella demanded. "This is incredible!"

"I can't, I'm doing intarsia!" I told him, desperately stuck to my seat.

This didn't go over well with him. He brought it up again on the way home. "No, no, no," he mimicked. He did his imitation of knitting, which looks kind of like a baby playing with chopsticks. "Sorry, Rangers, I can't stand up and cheer, because I'm ambrosia."

At any rate, I survived the game and later finished the hat:

Here's a shot of the intarsia:

(Intarsia isn't that horrible. Really. It just gets a bad rep from knitters whose husbands have tried to take them to a baseball game.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Challenge on the Back of the Cheerios Box

We went to visit my parents last weekend. On Saturday morning, I got up before the fella and went in to breakfast. There was a plate of Cheerios on the table. I thought they'd been spilled, but as it turns out, it was a logic puzzle.

On the back of the current Cheerios box, there's a challenge:

Take away six Cheerios, but every row and every column must have an even number of Cheerios left.

My father, then my mother, had attacked this first. Then they tried it out on me. None of us figured it out, and I need to say here that we are a family of very intelligent people. (You just have to trust me on that one, sorry.) My father had even tried Googling for the answer but couldn't find it in such a way that didn't require him to fill out mailing list info. So we were stuck. In fact, we were drafting letters to General Mills telling them about the irritating typo on the back of their cereal box.

A bit later, in comes my fella. He sits down, asks about the Cheerios. We tell him. He stares at it for a bit, occasionally poking a Cheerio, here and there. Meanwhile, we start talking about how positively careless and cavalier those cereal box people are, how they shouldn't allow a problem like this onto the back of the box without thoroughly checking it, and don't you think there's a better way to spend a morning than to --

"I got it."


Yeah. He got it in about three minutes.


Here's the answer:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

There you have it. And I didn't even ask for your contact information first.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Medicinal Knit

What a week. One day, I came into work at my new workplace to discover mouse droppings all over my desk.

And that was one of the high points.

Two things that cheered me up:

1. I saw a really, really funny play. I can't tell you about it because the review won't appear until Thursday. But it was great, and the laughter was medicinal.

2. I finished an Ysolda hat. That Ysolda: the patterns are cute, sure, but there is something so ingenious about how she constructs these designs that they are more fun than average to put together.

The pattern is called Ripley. This is Malabrigo Worsted, and I now understand why there is a group on Rav called the Malagribo Junkies. Dang that stuff is good.

...and that's the news from Lake Woebegone. Knit on.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stress-relief socks

The last several weeks have seen nutty things in the land of MightyGoodYarn. I started a new job and am still transitioning away from the old one. We went on a quick trip out of state. We continue to figure out what to do with this new house we somehow managed to make our property.

I have a number of exciting design and yarn projects on the horizon, and I can't wait to share them once they're, you know. In existence.

I did, however, knit these socks as a stress relief mechanism last month. Man, oh man - that self-striping sock yarn, and in my very favorite colors of all time? I'm tempted to frog them just to re-knit them again.

Tempted. Only tempted.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Design: Ballybeg Homeworker's Gloves

Sometimes, it's tough to keep quiet about things! I knew for a few months that the current issues of Piecework would feature my article and pattern, and I couldn't peep.

It's well worth it, however, to see the magazine out in print now. It's a fabulous issue about needlework in literature. Check it out - there are also some great guides to intricate borders for things like pillowcases and handkerchiefs.

I contributed an article and pattern about the lace gloves that the characters work on in Brian Friel's play Dancing at Lughnasa. The play, which is loosely based on the author's own family, features an example of the Irish homeworking industry of the early 1900s, which provided one of the few ways in which women could earn money for themselves and their families.

Check it out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dear Santa

No, I don't know how my spare size 1 DPN found its way into the washing machine.

Yes, I know it's bad for the blankets.

Still. I'm being such a good girl this year...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Futurama Episodes

We were well-prepared.

Pattern: Bender Bending Rodriguez from Soph Stitch (free)

(Here's where I admit that you won't see loads and loads of crochet from me in the future, 'cause... I don't think I like it as much. Cute stuff, but my knuckles freakin' hurt now.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Kitchen Did Not Burn Down

I would like to report that I made this Lime Yogurt Cake with Strawberry Sauce tonight for myself, my fella, and his parents.

(Dish without sauce; with sauce, its life expectancy decreases radically.)

I am pleased to report that after one hour, we all appear to be of sound health.

The strawberries were hand-picked by the fella's folks on their own land, and I happen to think they were all the more delicious for it. (The strawberries, I mean.)

Meryton: a knitter's nod to Jane Austen

I recently uploaded a new pattern to Ravelry, available for $4.99.

Meryton is an excellent cardigan to wear over a close-fitting top. It provides enough extra coverage to give you more outfits to wear to work or school, and it keeps the chill off your shoulders for a walk through town. That, plus the empire waste, suggested the Austen-inspired name.

My two test-knitters did superb jobs helping me to find the occasional error in the first draft, and they wound up with great FOs themselves. Thanks, Frick and Soprano1!

A few have asked: will this work on other body types? Yes, it will. The diamond shape of the lace crossover draws the eye up, which is generally where most of us fare best.

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

If Knits Could Speak

Some of my recent FOs speak up on my behalf.

"Stand up straight, young lady."

Funny... I didn't actually intend to wear that dress that day. But then I tried it on to take pictures with this new bolero I had just finished, and the zipper got stuck in a major way. My fella had already left for work, so... I wore the blue dress.

(Pattern: Ribbed Lace Bolero)

"Maybe crochet isn't so bad after all."

(Pattern: Foamies)

"No, I'm not pregnant."

I just think Wii hands are cute.

(Pattern: Miittens)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wisdom Tree

I got no pithy intro this afternoon - it's a holiday, and my nap-addled brain is like a dehydrated fig. (Wait, is that pithy?)

At the beginning of this month, I finished this:

It's for the Arthouse 5x7 show. And y'know what? It sold the first night. Didn't expect that!

I called it Wisdom Tree. It's supposed to represent the tree from which Odin hung for a week while he figured things out; the eyeball is the man himself. (High concept? Me?) I imagine some folks might look for heavy interpretations, but in truth, it was all about "Dang I wish I could just finish this," since I had two days to start and finish, thanks to our recent move.

My fella also contributed a piece - which also sold. See the wall of artwork for sale? This was taken on the second night. Ours are right next to each other, the only ones with the tags taken. (To purchase at this show, you take a tag to the cashier.)

I have enough iffy things in my life without starting a career as a visual artist, too, so this is likely a one-off deal that was lots of fun.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Creatures You Meet

Yes, it's been a while.

So we bought a house.

And I didn't want to say anything, because for a while there it looked like it would all fall through. Then it didn't, and we had a house, and we had to move into the house. And I was like, blog? What? Do I have one of those?

But we're moved in now. It's way more suburban than we'd prefer, but there's this thing about price ranges and location.

On the upside, we have a yard. I've planted some things that will hopefully survive, and there's room for us to take crazy art projects (more on that later) outside where we won't destroy the wood floor.

On the downside... we have a yard. DANG it.

And suburban though this might be, I'm learning that having a yard brings you a little closer to nature. You take care of the lawn and observe every critter you see, in case its behavior turns invasive.

In fact...

We chose this morning to attack the lawn. I went as the vanguard, trowel and gloves at the ready, pulling weeds so the fella could mow. (And by the way, there is no faster way to age yourself and face the sudden reality that your hipster days are like so totally finished than to push a lawnmower around the place. Again: DANG it.) Everything was going swimmingly - and then, I spied something unusual:

At least, I thought it was unusual. I don't know, we're new to suburbia. Maybe these things crawl out of the sewers all the time.

But that's probably Florida. And this is Texas. Do they have free-range crawfish in Texas? Um.

He was still alive, too - he was crawling through the St. Augustine. I was willing to pick up the guy, but we had no idea where to put him. Should we be humanitarian and give him a shot at life? Or boil him ourselves?

Turns out, the neighbors are having a crawfish boil. He'd set down the cooler for a few minutes next to the house... and a couple escaped, and tried to make a run for it. Quite fresh and healthy little buggers, too: they were like five feet from where he'd set the cooler. The neighbor kindly picked up the stray crawfish and returned them to death row.

We combed the yard to make sure no more renegade crustaceans waited for us. After all - and I'm no expert - but I think that would gunk up the mower.

(DANG it.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

2010 SXSW update

Currently I'm caught in a messload of stockinette on a sweater of original design, so I thought instead of knitting content I could provide you with an update on SXSW 2010.

Except I'm like totally sick. I'm pretty sure it's just a cold (if you trust the hack doctor at the clinic this a.m., and yeah, there really are hack doctors), but this has become perhaps my number-one worst cold of all time. I'm not issuing a challenge, mind. If there are worse colds out there, it's fine. I believe you. No need to prove it with me. All I'm saying is, this is a bad cold. It's even spread to my eyeballs, and that's the kind of detail right there that makes you lose readers.

I'm on drugs now - the fancy-schmancy prescription kind - but my SXSW participation level has been lacking. As in, zero. Which apparently raises me to the level of a True Austinite: Complain about the traffic, welcome the sudden and temporary burst of municipal income, tell people not to move here, but above all, do not participate in SXSW if at all possible. (Unless, you know, you're an income-generating business. But don't worry, folks, I'm in no danger of becoming one of those. I'm a writer.)

So instead of standing outside Shangri-La trying to get into the showcase of a new Icelandic jazz/hip hop-fusion label and wondering where the nearest pink Port-o-Potty is in case the last $6 Lone Star (special SXSW prices) I guzzled is going to demand action, or standing outside a movie theater wondering exactly how far into the wristband line they're going to go before declaring capacity and hacking off all the people who didn't want to buy a badge, I'm watching a clip on Discovery channel about a newcomer hippo hoping to defeat the overlord hippo in hopes of having a chance at one of the like 200 hippo chicks in the watering hole. And what I'm wondering is, if he loses, what's the overlord hippo gonna do? Boink all 200 ladies? Come on. He's a hippo, not a rabbit. How is this to the genetic advantage of the species?

I'm also nosing over to Twitter on occasion to see Tweets like this: "Woody Harrelson moving E on 6th St. Watch out." And I'm like, (1) Where did Woody start out? Sixth Street is pretty long, if you're on foot. Did he start out at Buffalo Billiards? If so, then he's really going through some heavy foot traffic. Or did he start at I-35, in which case he'll be dodging tight-pants hipsters and Chevy pickups coming in from the East side and teed off that all these fariners are messin' up their town? Give us a starting place, or we won't be able to "watch out," and before you know it, we'll be nose-to-nose with Woody and boy will he be mad at you for not having been more specific. (2) Leave poor Woody alone. Dude probably just wants to find a blue Port-o-Potty. 'Cause the $6 Lone Star.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ravelympics: why the heck not

Occasionally, I do strange things.

Back during Ravelympics, I made one of these.

It's a single-cell flagellate organism, knit from laceweight scraps.

It has little purpose other than to sit between the two panes of a picture frame, in the style of a microscopic slide.

I had a reason, if you must know. But every time I start to type it out, my nerdiness begins to appear socially fatal, and I think in this case it might be best to leave the world guessing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic rundown

1. I finished a hat for Ravelympics:

Pattern: Sixteen-Cable Hat, by Circe Belles.
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Lovage. I love this yarrrrrn.
needles: sizes 6 and 8
notes: I think my gauge was off (didn't check). Two fewer rounds of ribbing, started decreases after third cable round instead of fourth. Love it; husband seal of approval ("I like the twisty bits").

2. I dyed yarn for Ravelympics:

I don't know what to use it for, because I suspect the base (Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb Sport, tag removed by the weirdo store so I don't know the colorway but it was white) is too scratchy to wear next to the skin. I'm not getting a "felt me" vibe off of this, either. Thoughts?

Still: look at what you can do with food coloring and Kool-Aid! Just mix your complementary colors until the Kool-Aid is coaxed out of neon status, and you can get almost anything.

3. My husband and I attended a curling league open house last Sunday. There were 600 people there.

4. Yes, I love the crazy pants of Norway.

5. SXSW is almost upon us. Brace for impact.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FO: Mitten Puppets

A few weeks back, I finished a late Christmas gift for a couple friends of ours.

See? They're mittens...

and they're puppets!

The puppet faces only sort of resemble my friends themselves, but it's enough to get the point across. I'd suggest it as a great gift for any newlyweds in your life.

Pattern: Basic Mitten Pattern from Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns (remembering to take at least 10% off her stitch count for each size, of course).
Yarn: Rowan Soft Baby, color SH004, less than one ball.
Needles: Size 5 bamboo DPNs, and oh my gosh has anyone told you how wonderful those feel? Very light and easy on the hands.
Notes: The embroidery is all scraps from the stash, in fingering and laceweight.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Defeating Bad Juju, One Skein at a Time

Sometimes, you're in the middle of knitting a sweater for somebody, and a big reason comes along to stop knitting it. Sometimes you keep going with it, and along you float down De-Nile river, feeling increasingly sad about the state of the sweater, mean things that have happened, health care in America, every possible character flaw you might possibly possess, and the Amazonian rain forest.

A blog is not the place to discuss specifics of this sort, but rest assured, I'm still married. (Not that kind of sweater curse.)

In November, I abandoned one such case of denial. In a burst of highly effective catharsis, I frogged a partial sweater.

I used some of the yarn to make a gift bag for someone else.

With my new sewing machine, I sewed a lining out of a fabric whose color coordinates in a very clever way with emerald greens, browns, and grays. (Didn't shoot a picture, drat! Trust me?) The gift bag has been given, and with it some of that negative energy (dang, I sound like one of those people) has been defeated.

It was altogether for the best.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Help for Haiti donation: thank you!

Thanks to everyone who purchased my pattern in the last two weeks. I don't have an enormous donation - with my own money I'm rounding it up to $12 - but it's $12 that ought to be given.

I am giving the money to Medicine Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders today.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

January Updates

Man, oh man. I never get insomnia. My husband does (and not to be insensitive to his position, but try sleeping with an 800-pound gorilla with allergies and insomnia - it's more fun), but not me.

I do tonight. Let's make the most of it, shall we?

  • I'm interested in talking to some small-scale indie dyers, folks with great skills who have maybe set up their own Etsy shop and may be looking for another outlet for their wares. Everybody, search your stashes: whom can you recommend?

  • Everybody is already completely and totally aware that lots and lots of Rav designers are donating proceeds from their patterns to organizations participating in relief for Haiti. I joined in, and this is not a bid for me to get more sales. Honestly, if you want to make a bigger difference, donate directly rather than having part of your money sucked away to Paypal. If you were interested in purchasing my pattern or any of these other designers' patterns, now is a great time to do it.

  • Did you see that Ysolda raised over $6000 in a weekend that way? Holy moly.

  • I was amazed to see that the Fishens I knit on a whim in the fall have passed the 100-heart mark for favorites on Ravelry. That's pretty cool - and they weren't even the colors I really wanted.

  • I've got a couple test knitters cranking away on a cardigan I designed. FYI: test knitters are good. They catch things like me putting the repeat in the wrong place on the chart.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Endpaper Mitts FO with hand-dyed yarn

Way back when, I tried dyeing for the first time with Kool-Aid. I really enjoyed the bright blue that came out. But turns out, it's really hard to match vivid robin's egg blue with anything else.

Fortunately, I'm married to a graphic designer who knows color theory. (He comes with other perks, too.) Sweet man: he sat down with me one day and went through some color sample books and some graphic design websites until we found the best combo possible from my stash. I typically go for two complimentary colors, but he reminded me that you can reach for another shade in the same general family, and sometimes those can "pop," too.

Last week, I finished these:

pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
completed: January 12.
yarn: Knit Picks Bare, dyed with 2.5 packets of Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and Knit Picks Palette in Calypso Heather. What a shock, another blue-green yarn from Yours Truly.
made for: Now here's the thing. I ought to have used size 2.5 needles, but I don't own any, so I went down to size 2. Shocker: they're really snug on me, even after blocking with my handy-dandy new blocking T-pins. Not unbearably, but still. And I do have other gloves. Perhaps a gift for someone else.
mods: See above re: needle size. When will I learn?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Piecework Magaine: How could I almost forget?

It's a good thing in the life of a writer when you become so accustomed to seeing your work in print that you forget that it is still awesome.

And it is.

If you get a chance, pick up the current issue of Piecework Magazine. My article "Knitting for the Stage" appears.

Can you figure out what this gentleman is wearing that was in fact knit by hand?

Fredric Stone as Jamy in the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s 2009 production of Henry V. (Photo by Karl Hugh.
Copyright Utah Shakespearean Festival 2009.)

Read the article to find out!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Coming Clean

A Rav friend over at Briney Deep came clean about how big her stash has gotten. Six miles to be exact.

Huh. Well. You take the Rav stash feature, download it into Excel, sum up the column, do a little conversion...

Oh, mean.

THIRTY MILES. That's what I've got.

I did go to the yarn store this week -- research for something, honest -- but I couldn't buy anything. I just couldn't. The overwhelming feeling of knowing that I have THIRTY MILES of yarn at home waiting for me numbed my fingertips, I think.

I think I have my New Year's Resolution.