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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We Are(n't) The Champions, My Friends

But we'llllll keep on fighting, 'til the end.

Nerm nerm nerm (my lousy guitar impression).

Air Guitar.  This baby rocks!

We are the champions!  We were (sorta) the champions!

We could have been the champions, except we changed out our knitting, and by "we" I mean "me" 'cause WE ARE THE CHAMPIONSSSSSSS.....

Of the world.

I double dog dare you to sing it out, because I especially wrote that last bit to flow with the actual melody from Queen, in a freestyle sort of way.  Freddie Mercury would have liked that.  I bet he was a knitter.  Or wore some knits.  Something. 


Yeah.  I didn't make it.  And I wasn't even close.  Oops.

Also, I took pictures with my camera, which I love, but I have misplaced a very important cord and and can't upload the nice, crisp pictures of my Tomten Jacket, taken at dusk, because the freakin' cord is missing and possibly about five states away.  However, my husband's cell phone camera works wonders in a pinch. 

You apparently have to stand preternaturally still in order to take a picture with an iPhone. 

I knit the body.  I knit the hood, and had to make obnoxious sounds about how cute it was, how it had a iddy biddy widdle hoodie with a point on top and all that.  I started the sleeve, and then that was all she wrote.  The Olympics ended, I obviously wasn't finished, but I'm cool with that.  I feel like that Irish fellow who made it to the Olympics--the first Irish gymnast in either a bajillion years or the first Irish gymnast ever--he did his floor routine, tumbled around a bit, lost his balance here and there, and knew he wasn't going to make it to actually compete for a medal, but hey, he was AT the Olympics.  I participated, just like the Irish guy.  I showed up in good faith and I did my best.  I didn't medal, and neither did he, but I don't think it's always about that sort of thing, do you?  Yes it's meant to be a challenge, but I'm not the kind of knitter that is going to go skeins-to-the-wall and stay up until two in the morning each night until she's done.  Not at this point in my life, the two-small-children point in my life.  

I am going to take the next couple of weeks and do my best to finish up my knits that are still at the top of the heap:  my Tomten, my Twenty Ten Cardigan, and of course, the brown sweater.  I'm beginning to think about what is coming after that, though, and the promise of the next fun project, in time for the next blog post.  What did you knit or crochet on during the Olympics?  Did you finish?  Please email me pictures (ellarine23ATyahooDOTcom) and I'll put them up on the blog.  See you next time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Road Trip!!

Wowee, it's been a year since I first started blogging on here.  Do you know how I know that?  Because this time last year, I  blogged about our family trip to Cincinnati.  And here we are again.  Ah tradition! 

Tradition!  Tradition!!  Traditioooooooon!!!  Oops.  "Fiddler on the Roof".  Sorry, Topol

I also have to tell you that I came to a drastic decision regarding my Tomten.  I just wasn't feeling it.  Wasn't feeling the love.  People told me it was...ok.  Not great.  I wasn't feeling like it was the nice little unisex Tomten I had hoped for.  A little too masculine, which is ok, but not what I was wanting.  Especially when I want my cute-as-a-button daughter wearing it.  So...

I took it over to Yarns Etc.  DJ, Mary and I looked at it.  You know it's not a good sign when people are trying to find something nice to say about your handknit.

"It's....fine.  You know, it's...um...nice."

"Maybe just a different....color?"

I didn't have enough gray yarn to do the sleeves and the hood, and the magic just wasn't there between us anymore.  So....

YOU'RE FIRED!  (My best Donald Trump impersonation)

This close to the end of the Olympics Ravellenic Games, I didn't have time to mess around.  I went to the yarn that I had been hankering for in the first place, wound it up, and....

Reunited and it feels so good.....

This is Cascade Eco + yarn.  I've mislaid the yarn lables (one of the joys of a road trip) but the blue is a lovely heathered one, and the purple is smashing with it.  I cast on for this Tomten last week (was it on Wednesday maybe?) and already am knitting up the hood.  The triangular openings are for the armholes/sleeves, and I feel confident that I'll be doing the sleeves soon, followed by a fetching I-corded border, toggle buttons, and all that jazz. 

Also, I'm excited to say that there is a (drumroll!) YARN SALE!!!! at Yarns Etc this week.  Starting Thursday and continuing through the weekend.  Big lovely yarny sale-y goodness, and you know you want to be a part of it.  I'm going to definitely be a part of it.  See you there, right? 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brown, Black, and Gray

I've been knitting up a storm lately, how about you?

I've nearly finished my brown sweater.  I kept thinking, "I'll finish today, no problem" and then was surprised that I was hardly any closer to slapping a neck on it, the shoulder shaping just. kept. going. on. and. on.  A bit of knitting quicksand, but I slogged through.  All it needs now is of course the neck, and to graft the underarm stitches together and voila!

I foresee this simple sweater becoming a fall and winter wardrobe staple. 

The Twenty Ten Cardigan is also proceeding apace.  I'm almost to the split for the shoulders/sleeves.  Moss stitch looks very nice, but it is a bit of a pain to knit, as opposed to good old stockinette stitch, or garter stitch.

Geez Louise, I need to go get some brighter colors to knit with before I become a walking ad for the blahs. 

Thanks, Violet.  That's my girl, always seeking to bring a little joy and color to my blahs. 

Speaking of garter stitch, I cast on a project while watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies (ahem).  Just curious, did anyone else find the Opening Ceremonies to be a little...all over the place?!?  Anyhoo, the project I chose to knit on while I watch the Olympics (I'm being daring here) is a classic:  the Tomten Jacket.  I dove into my stash and pulled up all kinds of worsted weight wool (good old Cascade 220) and some alpaca/wool blend (the gray yarn) and I'm roaring through the sucker.  Besides tempting the knitting fates by bragging on the fact that I'm already to the shoulders and about to knit the hood for the jacket, I'm tempted to get some more yarn from the LYS and seeing if perhaps I can knit two Tomtens before the Olympics are over.

I'm in a little color quandary since I'm knitting a larger Tomten than I had thought (maybe Vi can wear this when she's...four...or so) and I'm running out of the yarn that I thought would last for the sleeves and the hood.  So now I'm wondering if I want to make red sleeves and a red hood, or do stripey sleeves and a red hood, or just....go the LYS and pick up some more worsted weight yarn.  Something a little brighter? 

Funny.  All roads lead to Rome, or, to the LYS for the knitter.  Oh dear, whatever will this knitter do!  It's such a treat chore to go the LYS.  I'll have to make sure I don't tell my husband.  Um....

What are you knitting on?  Any brightly colored knits out there?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Love Letter To The LYS

I was fortunate to get out of the humidity outside and the crazy young children inside my home this past weekend and collapse in one of the comfy chairs at Yarns Etc. 

There is something about walking in through the swinging glass door.  Every time, I find myself inhaling and exhaling deeply the moment my foot crosses the threshold.  Probably getting a much needed, concentrated dose of wool fumes.  My eyes take in the square footage stocked with cubbies full of many different types of fibers in hundreds, thousands of hues. 

What I like so much about the place is that it is jam packed with potential.  I find myself wondering how many projects could be cast on with all that lovely yarn.  I am an avid reader, and when I was a kid I used to daydream about getting "accidentally" locked in the library overnight.  Lately I find myself daydreaming about such a happy accident happening to me but maybe somewhere a bit more fiber-y. 

Why, I just didn't know what to do, so I just...cast on...a little something.

This time I watched the knitters come and go.  I saw how many of them were as tactile with the yarn as I am.  Going to the yarn store for me is a lot like a kid going to Chuck E Cheez.  It's not just the colors and how they look.  It's touching them.  Giving them a squeeze, and I was pleased to note that I am not the only one who sort of...cuddles...the yarn against her cheek when she finds a really good one.  Seeing what newcomers are in the baskets around the shop.  What new colors have arrived in the good old standby yarns like Plymouth Encore and Cascade 220 and Rowan, oh my, Rowan, among many many others (like Berroco, Malabrigo, Blue Sky, Elsebeth Lavold, and Three Waters Yarn, just to name a few more).   

Some of you have some fierce willpower, folks.  I was impressed by the whopping two knitters who were able to shake off the grip of some gorgeous yarn, declaring they couldn't get it just yet because they already were working on a project.  I tried to be subtle about picking my jaw up off the floor.  A project. 

A project?  Singular????  Like, only one?  Wha?

That was me.  Except without the suit. 

There was plenty of hustle and bustle, too.  You knitters were not letting the warm weather slow you down.  You know it's going to wind down soon.  The crisp winds of autumn will arrive, and your needles are already clicking away on knits for cooler weather.  I watched two knitters laugh when they realized that they each had fallen in love with the same pattern, but will be knitting it in two different yarns. 

In other knitting news, I'm still trucking away on my Twenty Ten Cardigan.  I am still loving it, but I feel like I need a miner's headlamp in order to properly be able to see what I'm doing while I'm knitting it in the black Cascade Yarns Eco + wool.  Moss stitch is really pretty simple, but with the black yarn, I've done a double take or two, since the purl and knit stitches look awfully similar in it.  Maybe next time in yellow?

As for my Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater, I had been toying with a V-neck and three quarter sleeves.  I have decided to keep the three quarter sleeves idea, but I can't wrap my mind around how to do the decreases for the shoulders, make the V-neck while on a circular needle, and keep the whole thing from gapping ever so unattractively or, conversely, having an accidental V-neck that would get me arrested for public indecency.  Instead, I'm going for raglan decreases and a crew neck from The Opinionated Knitter.  I'm not quite done, but the sleeves are attached and the decreases have been started.

Just imagine this all joined up and slightly larger and you have it. 
 I think I'll finish it up today (knock on wood, throw salt, and burn ceremonial sage as a nod to the capricious whims of the Knitting Muses).  And after that?  Who knows!  Perhaps another trip to the yarn store?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry...

When I was a little kid, I took piano lessons.  There was a period of a few months where I knew about eight songs, and six of them were Christmas carols.  I vividly remember one day where my older sister Lauren had had enough. 

"If you play one more Christmas song, I'm going to call the police," she said.  "You're only allowed to play those songs at Christmas.  It is against the law to play Christmas music this time of year." 

It was June.  And, because I was (and still am) a little sister, I couldn't resist.

Jing-le Bells.  Jing-le Bells.

Then I was screeching from the piano after her, "Nooooo, don't call the cops!!!  I stopped!  I stopped!" as she walked to the kitchen telephone. 

Ah, good times. 

Why in the world would I reminisce about that particular story?  Why would I put it on the blog today? 

Well, let me tell you...knitters, crocheters, weavers, lend me your ears eyes.

Christmas is only 167 days away.

Hang on, hang on.  Do not smirk at me, you.  I see you raising your eyebrows, thinking I'm crazy.  Do you plan to knit presents for your loved ones this Christmas?  Hmmmmm?  Christmas is coming, yo.  Santa Claus is COMIN' TO TOWN.  It may be 167 days from now, but trust me, you're going to turn around a couple times, and suddenly, inexplicably, it will be December 20-something and you'll be scrambling through your stash, wondering where the time went.  I only know this because I do it to myself every year.

This person is obviously married to a knitter. 
This is an excellent opportunity to beat the rush.  My friends, there is a fantastic Christmas In July Event going on this upcoming Saturday, July 14th, at Great Yarns in Raleigh.  At Great Yarns, the holiday fun will continue on even after the store has closed (O What Fun It Is To Play In A Yarn Shop After Closing!  Do you know that tune?)  Yarns Etc will have its own little Christmas In July fun the following Saturday, July 21st, during store hours. 

Yes please, I'd like a cookie. 


There will be Christmas cookies, there will be Christmas music (and no cops), and there will be fantastic little kits of yarny loveliness.  Each kit will come with every single little thing you need to make a fantastic present for a loved one.  And the kits are excellently priced, starting at just $10.  With the combination of knowing what you're knitting someone, actually having it on hand (in a kit, for Pete's sakes), and having plenty of time to knit it in, someone is going to be looking pretty smart and be cool as a cucumber.  It's YOU I'm talking about!

Baby Polar Bear is going to be there.  He's got this. 
 In other yarny news, I'm working on two projects right now.  Neither have been festering in the UnFinished Object pile (UFOs for you muggles out there) and I'm enjoying them both immensely.  One is an Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater, knit from the bottom up, and I'm toying with just knitting three quarter length sleeves and also trying to figure out how to knit a V-neck.  Any ideas out there?  Are three quarter length sleeves on a sweater silly?  Any thoughts?

I'm knitting with good old trusty Cascade 220 in Chocolate Heather.  Yum.  I love this kind of knitting.  Round and round, knit and knit.  Fantastic TV knitting.   

My other project is a little more complicated.  This one is the Twenty Ten Cardigan by Veera Välimäki of Color Affection fame. 

This one is being knit in Cascade Yarns Eco + in a super inky black.  My camera is freaking out here--it's like trying to take a photo of a black hole.  It's slow going, moss stitch-y, asymmetrical goodness.  I hope I'm that cool, edgy knitter chick who will actually wear an asymmetrical button band.  I like to live on the edge...sort of.  

On another note, a fantastic, slighty controversial note, I have another Knitting In Public story to share with you.  I have to admit, I love love love all the attention us knitters have been getting lately.  From the Olympics to World Wide Knit In Public Week, we have been a rather sassy bunch lately.  But this lady really turned some heads last week.  She was knitting in public.  At Wimbledon.  That is just about 47 shades of awesome right there.  If you click on the link, you'll see what is sure to be a handknit shawl thrown about her shoulders, too (I wonder what the pattern was....).    The press tried to encourage the public to tell them who the knitter was, and no one has been able to identify her so far (from what I've heard).  I bet she got in her little car, drove off into the sunset, and still has no clue that everyone was foaming at the mouth about her knitting at the center line at Wimbledon.  Good for her! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I can't believe it.

I just...

I mean....

It's almost too much to comprehend.

I finished Vlad  First off, whoa holy cow, whodathunk?  I knit lace!  Someone throw me a parade right there, ok?

Seventy Six Trombones led the big parade....

When I was binding off my stitches, it sort of looked a little....blah.

Vaguely reminiscent of what a human pancreas might look like, actually.

Erin, why is your pancreas laying on the ground? 

Or if a jellyfish were to go skydiving.


Aw, bummer.  The chute failed.

But then the miraculous process of blocking happened.  I love this part.

The straight pins were administered, the white fluffy towels did their best, my queen sized bed had a cameo and the Ella Rae Lace Merino really got to shine.

Can I tell you how much I love the scalloped edges? 

I employed a good idea during blocking with my straight pins.  Always count them out as you're using them, so you know how many you need to pick up afterwards, and you (or your husband) do not roll onto one in the night, since you're (read: me) blocking on the bed.  I quickly got a second good idea when I was picking pins up:  learn how to count properly.  46 pins down does not equal the actual 43 pins I picked up.  Blocking while talking to your children is not a good idea.  So far no one has found any stray pins, though, so I think we're in the clear.

So...I knit lace!  Yay for me!!!  Another part of the world of knitting has opened up to me.  I no longer have to look at lace shawls with wistful sadness because I think I can't knit lace.  I have done it!  Swallowtail Shawl, you better watch out!  I will conquer you one day very soon.  Now that I know about lifelines and how helpful they are, I can't recommend them strongly enough. 

More pictures!!

Whew, ok ok ok, I'll simmer down now.  What's next on the knitting horizon?  Well, Ravelry has a name for the games:  The Ravellenic Games.  Good for them!  Are you going to participate?  If so, what will you be knitting? 

I've already cast on two more projects, and pictures of them will be forthcoming for next week.  I think I'm going to figure out what my Ravelympic Ravellenic Project is going to be.  See you next week!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Let's Give 'Em Something To Talk About

Well, we knitters have had a heck of a week, am I right?

Thing 1:  Apparently the Olympic Torch isn't the only thing that burns hot during certain summers.  I presume that you know there are knitterly...pursuits...that coincide in a friendly way with the Olympics, meant to encourage, support, and challenge us all while we watch the Olympics.  The plan is to cast on for a project at the lighting of the Olympic torch, and complete the project before the torch is extinguished at the end.  Pretty harmless, right? 

Apparently not. 

Ravelry got a rather snarky Cease and Desist Letter from the US Olympic Committee, which made unfortunate use of the word "denigrate" in relation to us knitters, and then there was basically a response of..."Oh no  you di-int!" from the knitters of.the.entire.internet-o-verse. 

Aw, snap.

At which point all hell broke loose.  Maybe you didn't feel it, but there was definitely a disturbance in the force.  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the originator of the Knitting Olympics, had her thoughtful opinion of the whole thing.  Others were quite...livid about it.  Regardless of feelings, it looks like Ravelry will be picking a different name for the event.  Perhaps the Rav-a-Limpets?


We will definitely be using a bit of K2,P2 ribbing on this, and some increasing....


Yes, I think there's a solution right there. 

Thing 2:  There will be some fun events coming up in July for Great Yarns and Yarns Etc.  A little Christmas In July thingy, sounds like fun, details to follow soon.  Because, as knitters, crocheters, and crafters, Christmas is only 181 days away.  Other regular non-knitters may scoff at that, but we know, oh yes, how the time flies when you're deluding yourself that A) you will knit everyone's Christmas present and B) you have loads of time.  I would know that because those are the two things I tell myself every.freakin'.year.  Also, (ahem) a little knitting concurrent with a certain sporting extravaganza...that tends to be broadcast on what is known as a television.  From a country that may or may not be British (I need a lawyer!) . 

Thing 3:  Worldwide Knit In Public Week was last week, and I got a couple of great pictures from knitters. 

A little poolside knitting from Emily.  Ah, the sweet life!

And one that is for us history buffs,

There's our Jane keeping company with a knight in peaceful repose in Leipzig, Germany. 

Thing 4:  Geez, how come so many things?!?!?  Well, on the last blog post, you knitters out there voted that I should actually finish something in particular.  I should finish Vlad in particular, actually

I have actually made it through the body of the shawl, and am now on the edging (knock on wood, throw salt over left shoulder, etc etc etc), and maybe might could be done sometime soonish!  I can't believe it.  I was so ecstatic at being done with the body that I drew out pretty much all but the two most recent lifelines (turquoise yarn towards the top), and I hope the sucker looks way better after a thorough blocking. 

So that's it for now...details to follow on many things next week!  Promise!  See you then!


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