Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hackers and other Hell Hounds...

My Gmail account was hacked yesterday. I can assure you I am not stranded in London bruised from a mugging or desperate for cash. I spent the entire day answering the phone and responding to frantic emails from people wondering if I was alright. I was searching for the bright side to all of this when my town manager found it. She was mighty impressed by how many people sprang to, ready to bail me out. I was, too. It speaks to the quality of the people with whom I hang out!

So, thank you for worrying about me and please, NEVER trust pleas for money over the internet.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who is Joe Fisher?

So, there's this knitting farmer down in Winterport. He knits great stuff but is KNOWN around here for his, hmm, what should I call them? Dr. Who monsters? Sea critters? Garlic? All of the above? We honestly have no idea what that man will bring in next. He designed a gorgeous entrelac yoke sweater and brought it to us sloshing in a bucket. Needed help blocking. His teeny, little mom came in wearing the Christmas sweater he knit for himself (Joe is Bunyanesque).

Gauge?!! He signed up for Cheryl's Bohus hat class and then SUFFERED at my counter when I made him knit a swatch. Two rows is plenty! Joe learns, though. He's planning Meg Swansen's Christmas sweater this year and will be spinning and dyeing the yarn for it from his Icelandic sheep. And making a really big gauge swatch. In pattern. Right, Joe?

So, who is Joe Fisher?

One of the reasons I love my job.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Um Ya Ya!

We're back from St. Olaf College and our daughter Betsy's graduation. If you see her around town wish her Um Ya Ya!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another Example of the Importance of Small Things...

Times are tough. Life is complicated. And I have found the balm that eases the stress on my soul. Swallow your coffee before reading on... self-striping sock yarn! I'm on my third pair in 9 days! I amaze all beholders! Why this sea change in a woman known to rant about the dullness of sock knitting? Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age, but I don't think so. I wanted a thrill in my knitting since my life didn't seem to have any and now that life is tossing thrills out faster than I can bat at them I want my knitting to feel languid and calming. Of course, there is the heady excitement when the color changes! What's that all about? I can see it coming. I know it's in the pipeline and yet I'm still shocked when it arrives on my needles! I'm such a baby, but I'm a baby with a new toy and I'm luvin' it!

KnitKnitPurlPurlKnitKnitPurlPurl, TEAL! KnitKnitPurlPurlKnitKnitPurlPurl, BURGUNDY! .......aaaaaahhhhh.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Callinectus snowzuponus...

...also known as The Rare Maine Snow Crab. The inspiration for this bad boy was an embroidery challenge presented at the annual crewel retreat I attend in Chincoteague, Virginia. We were given a line drawing of a blue crab and told to go at it. Naturally, most of us waited until four days before the next retreat to start the thing. My older, more dignified colleagues were referring to the beast as That f-ing Crab. We all thought he would be a quickie, but we underestimated the little crusty. I attacked him with three types of buttonhole stitches - elongated, eyelets and the household variety - and a billion french knots, but something was missing. I was drinking port one evening and throwing baleful glances at the now hated bugger when it came to me. Mittens! Icy froth! The Maine Snow Crab was born! If you've never sat tipsy in your favorite chair on a cold night and calculated the gauge for crab mittens, well, Honey, you've never lived! I was so dang tickled with myself! Our crabby adventure will be featured in the next issue of Needle Arts magazine, so stay tuned. Bad Boy is headed for the Big Time!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

For Larry

I will spend today embroidering handkerchiefs for my cousin. Her husband, Larry, was killed Tuesday while riding his bicycle. He was 43, father to two daughters, ages 3 & 7, the youngest of seven sons. I made up my mind yesterday, while I was driving home from Baltimore, to embroider hankies for his widow. Larry was not a jewelry kind of guy, but he designed a charm for himself that incorporated the letter "L" and the number "7" and wore it on a chain around his neck. I will stitch that and my prayers for her and the children into each hankie. What else can I do?

Wake up!

Why do we knit what we knit? I suspect knitters are split between those who want to make a specific thing and those who like the rhythm of stitches moving on needles. May I rudely suggest that while both of these "reasons" are okey doke both are LACKING INSPIRATION. Oh, I hear many of you heaving a sigh - she wants me to WORK and all I want is to RELAX. Well, open your brain flaps for a moment and THINK about this. You can be an ARTIST. You can DESIGN. And that means you can put something of yourself into what you do. Here's how it works. Look about you and really notice what your favorite things look like. Do you love a gravy boat your grandmother gave you? If so, why? Does it have a spray of roses in a pretty shade of pink? What if your next pair of socks were the exact pink of those gravy boat roses? If you were to make a pair of pink socks that match grandma's gravy boat roses I PROMISE you will NEVER put them on without remembering your grandma. And that one small difference will ELEVATE the mundane. And that is ART.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Man vs. Starmore...

And the man wins! This is the THIRD sweater John has made. He learned to knit on the Starmore his wife was knitting him - she did the body, he did the sleeves. Then on to a Kaffe Fassett intarsia project. In true Science Guy fashion he calculated the amount of yarn each of his stitches took, counted the number of stitches in each block of intarsia and laid his trusty Stanley tape measure on the bedroom floor. Then, running back and forth he measured out the EXACT amount of yarn he needed to wind on each bobbin. His latest Starmore is a wonder and he completed it in a few short months. Kudos to John the uber-knitter!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Knitless Weekend

Well, Spring is here. I know when it arrives because NOTHING can keep me in a chair. I tried to knit. I wanted to knit. I simply couldn't knit one stitch. Instead, I did paper work and sorted through my books and other belongings - typical Spring Nest Building. Cheryl came in this morning and said she did exactly the same thing. It's necessary and part of the renewal process. I've already uncovered ideas that were buried under the weight of mail and un-filed papers. Stay tuned for a burst of creative energy!

p.s. - Today is our 25th Wedding Anniversary!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Knitting Sally, the Eco Fairy

Yesterday, a hip, young thing named Alia (see? even her name is hip!) came in looking for yarn to knit Sally, the Eco Fairy. Sally was a www.knitty.com beauty from a while back - you can find her in their archives. Many of you know how suggestible I am when I see you carrying armloads of one of my yarns. It usually goes like this, "Lopi! Now I want to knit with Lopi!" and then three minutes later, "Silky Wool! Now I want to knit with Silky Wool!" On and on. Well, Sally jumped on my needles before I could stop her for two reasons: 1. she's quick, and 2. she's fun. I'm not a dolly girl, but I started thinking how much fun it would be to give her brown skin and and little french knots for hair and put something subversive on her little underpants. I can make her hefty in a worsted weight yarn or petite in a fingering weight. Scraps will be used. Does it really get better than this?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Earthshaking Sock News!!!!

Through away your old sock patterns and enter a brand new day! Lori Law, the genius behind Oceanwind Knits has re-thunk the heel flap and gusset model of sock knitting. RUN to her website at www.oceanwindknits.ca and purchase the pattern for Sleepy Hollow Socks. It will change your Sock Life FOREVER!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Einstein Coat, finally...

I know I'm a little slow catching up on things. Sally Melville introduced us to the Einstein Coat in her book, "The Knit Stitch" in 2002. So, I've been busy! Anywho, one of my customers walked in wearing a gorgeous number done up in a tweedy gray Lopi and she looked so good, it's all I can think about. I found a "gently used" copy of Sally's book at my favorite local bookstore - Front Porch Books - yesterday and took that as a sign to begin Sweater #16. I want mine done up in a dark red Lopi. It takes 11 skeins of the regular weight Lopi and at $6.50/skein that's some affordable coat.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Knitting Candy

What do you do when you count the projects in your stash and find you have fifteen sweaters going, none of which are even close to completion? You knit hexagons! I call these Knitting Candy because they're addictive little suckers. I can complete one - from cast on to pinned to the table - in 50 minutes. Come and get your free pattern. Yum.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What not to do...

NEVER put the date on a complicated bit of knitting unless you're POSITIVE you'll finish it before the year's end! I messed up the decrease points on this mitten for my friend Katie - in DECEMBER - and it was the end of all things. Well, Kate, maybe this Christmas?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Knitting disaster!

I spent my ONE measly day off working on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Hurry Up Last Minute Sweater (see December in her book, Knitters Almanac). It's knit at a gauge of 2.5 stitches/inch and I had already joined the sleeves to the yoke and was cruising for home. I figured I would knock it off my needles in an hour or two. If you're familiar with this sweater then you know the yoke decreases come to a point miraculously at the neck edge. I realized something major was amiss when I still had 106 stitches on my needles after many rows of decrease. I calculated the distance from the underarm to my neck would be 2 feet, 1 inch. Dang. I'll admit I thought some less than respectful thoughts about dear EZ, may she rest. After much puzzling and musing I realized I had cast on 126 stitches to make a sweater adequate for a person with a 50 inch circumference standing 7 feet, 7 inches tall. Why?!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A new day...

I never thought to blog before because it never occurred to me anyone would want to read my disjointed meanderings on the fiber arts. Apparently,(and rather flatteringly) I was wrong. The new and developing projects that I strew around my counter are of much interest to people looking for something different or, and this is more likely, wondering what the hell that whack job Michele is up to today. I promise no cat stories or kid stories, just fiber stories. Enjoy!