Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Epic Novel

Have you ever noticed how knitting is like an epic novel? At first, you meet the players - the yarn, the pattern, the new stitch on the block. Then we do a little character development - how does the yarn look off the skein, knit in the pattern? What's the gauge? Do you understand the pattern's motivation? Then the story begins and goes along swimmingly at first, you're turning pages like there's no tomorrow and then IT HAPPENS. There has to be a plot twist. A heart wrenching turn of events. If there isn't then you don't really have a good story do you? You need an epic battle or an evil villan to make it more interesting. We must slay the dragons to come out victorious. Then of course we have to finish up with a happy ending or else you won't recommend the book to your friends now would you? Well I believe I am approaching my epic battle in figuring out the next section of my tote for the International Tote Exchange but I am hoping that I will emerge the heroine and it will all have a happy ending. Stay tuned for future installments.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I Love Surprises!

I came home from work the other day to a great surprise. My friend Bonnie had sent me a package. In it was a Knit It! magazine she thought I'd like and some Lions Brand Cotton Ease and some Cotton Fleece. She'd been telling me about these yarns and how much she likes them. I've never knit with them before and so I'm really looking forward to trying them out. What is even more special is that she sent me a purple skein of each. Both Bonnie and I love purple and apparently they don't make these yarns anymore. So for her to part with the purple skeins was extra special. Many thanks to Bonnie - this was so sweet. I can't wait to make lots of purple things!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why is it so hard to knit for someone else?

I don't think I've ever gone to a yarn store and left without some yarn. Even when I've gone for a specific purpose like handles or a pattern - there is always something that calls to me - some yarn just begging to be knit. Now maybe I've just publicly admitted that I have absolutely no self restraint (fine - I'll admit that) but my point is that when I go to the LYS looking for yarn for someone else I find that nothing is "quite right." Why is that? I have joined the International Scarf Exchange again and have been assigned my pal. I've read her likes 3 or 4 times and set off to the yarn store. I walked around and around. Nothing seemed to work. Too thick, too thin, not soft enough, not the right colors and finally I settled on some nice yarn and bought 3 skeins (I'm always afraid I will run out). Then I kept looking at the yarn, showing it to my SP8 pal Brooke and worrying that one of the colors that ran through it might not appeal to my pal. So I returned the yarn and got some yummy soft yarn that seemed perfect. I knit a swatch and quickly realized it was way too think for the pattern I had chosen. Even if I cut back some stitches each side was going to be about 10 inches wide! So then I had to decide - a different pattern or different yarn. I had my heart set on the Matthew scarf so off I went to a different yarn store. I walked around for about 45 minutes (it's not that big!) once again finding nothing that was quite right. I found LOTS of yarn I wanted, but for some reason nothing seemed quite right for my pal. Finally I found some Koigu that seemed like the perfect color. I'd heard that people love Koigu and that to knit thicker things you just put 2 strands together. So I got it. Now I'm making the scarf with the Koigu Painters Palette and I do love the colors - they remind me of a Monet painting. But I'm worried that it is not a soft and snuggly yarn! It's funny because at the Yarn Harlot event I was talking to a nice woman in line behind me and she asked what I liked to knit. I told her I was doing some exchanges and she said, "Really? Don't people just knit up crappy stuff and send it?" I had to laugh - if only she knew the stress and trauma we all go through in these exchanges! Maybe I should just go knit something for myself - I know I have some yarn . . . .

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Day the Harlot Came to Town

Tonight the Yarn Harlot came and spoke at my LYS. I have been so excited to see and hear her and she did not disappoint. She spoke for an entire hour and was hilarious the whole time. I know from reading her blog that she is nervous speaking in front of large crowds but she sure doesn't show it. There were over 300 people there and she seemed as calm as could be. Afterwards I got some books autographed and she even held my Tote Exchange tote (together with the infamous sock!) for a photo op. Hopefully my downstream pal will think it's a cool as I do that her bag has been fondled and photo'd with the Harlot. She knew instantly that it was Malabrigo yarn. That really surprised me because there are so many yarns in the world but she recognized it right away. I told her it was my "first time" with Malabrigo and she said, "beware - it won't be your last!" Another really great part of the evening was that I got to meet my SP8 Upstream pal in person. Brooke drove over 4 hours to see the Harlot and it was so fun to meet her. Since I don't know how she feels about photos of her on blogs I took one from the back. She is very nice and I really enjoyed getting to meet her and spend some time with her. All in all a fabulous evening!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Crossing the Finish Line

They say that finishing the last 10% of any project is the hardest part. Anyone who has remodeled a house or tried to lose those last 10 pounds knows what I am talking about. Well the same holds true for knitting. We are actually all yarn harlots at heart - we are so excited to purchase the yarn, find the pattern, cast-on the project. Then we knit away, loving the yarn, loving the pattern, loving the fill-in-the-blank. But then something happens. We become fickle. We put down that project before finishing it and pick up a new love. We'll get back to the other project - truly we will. I once read that if you can count how many projects you have on the needles you don't have enough! I definitely don't have any issues there. But then ultimately we remember our earlier love, pick it back up and "finish" it. But do we really? Yes we finish knitting it, we cast off and say "it's done". But did we bury the ends? Sew on the buttons? Attach the handles? Well I have several projects in the "finished but not done" state so this weekend I devoted myself to finishing them. First was my runabout purse for the Bag KAL. I finished knitting and felting it in July but it still needed something. The yarn was very pretty by itself and flecked with multiple colors before felting but afterwards it was just sort of solid purple and needed "something". So this weekend I sewed on two cute dragonfly buttons (they are more colorful than the photo shows) and put in the snap. Now it is truly done and ready for use. Then I finished knitting the bag I started in Oregon and I felted it. I'm very happy with how it turned out. It still needs the snap but what can I say. I figure that now that those two are basically done it's time to start a new project. So the yarn above is to begin the bag for my International Tote Exchange II partner. It's wonderful, soft Malabrigo which I've never used before. Now if only I can finish it . . . . .

Friday, September 01, 2006

What's Growin' On

Awhile ago I posted about planting my vegetable garden in Transcendental Vegitation. I cleared the weeds, tilled the ground, planted the veggies and watered and fertilized them. Now you can see some fruits of that labor. This bowl of tomatoes represents a mere fraction of my harvest but I had to show it off along with my wonderful new Schaefer yarn called Marjaana . Wouldn't it be totally cool if I could plant a yarn bush? I guess that is sort of what a sheep, llama or alpaca is but they are a lot harder to care for than a tomatoes! I bought it in a color called Toni Morrison. Apparently all their Marjaana yarn is named after famous women. Pretty neat actually. Also, just to make sure I was not alone, I talked my friend Bonnie in to buying a skein as well. We have now decided to both make the faux cable scarf from the recent scarf insert in the Fall 2006 Interweave Knits magazine. I now realize that this is very similar to planting my vegetables. I planted the seed of the yarn, sent my money to the till, picked the pattern plant and now all I need to do is water and fertilize it and next thing you know I'll have a scarf crop. Hopefully it will be just as yummy as the tomatoes. I wish you all a healthy crop of knitting this holiday weekend!