Friday, November 30, 2007

Irrational Coveting

Six months ago, if you had asked me about something I irrationally covet, I would have thought for a minute and then said: pillow mints.

And I would have been dead serious. I cannot be trusted around pillow mints. I don't keep them in my house because I will eat them all in a single sitting. I can't be left sitting next to a bowl full of them. If there is a bowl of them across the room from me, I will eye them like a lost puppy. If it's a bowl of peppermints, or yogurt-covered pretzels, or brightly foil-wrapped mix chocolates... eh, who cares? But pillow mints. My god.

But no, that's nothing. This, now, this is irrational coveting:


(Blue Heron Cotton Rayon Seed, left, and Mercerized Cotton, right)

I walk into these every day I'm at the store. We received more today, and I got to pet each skein as I squeezed it onto the shelf.

It's a bargain, for what it is-- the mercerized cotton, especially. But suffice to say that it is expensive, the colorways aren't often ones I'd wear on my skin, and I am not a shawl person (which is the first thing that pops into mind for the mercerized cotton, which comes in 1,000 yard skeins).

Still, I want this yarn. It is something that will sit publicly displayed on the top of my stash for years, and I still want it. More than that, I want more than just one. I want them all, even that nearly florescent lime green (it doesn't show to its full potential here) that will make me look red and sweaty even when I'm not red and sweaty.

That's all-- I just had to share.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Knit Macabre

The Wallingford Center (where Bad Woman Yarn is located) has a tidal rhythm: people come in, people go out. Often they come in to get cupcakes. And then they need to get yarn. And then they go out. It's a reliable tide-- whatever little moon is orbiting privately around the building, it's locked in a regular orbit.

So, there are times when there are people in the store. This is most of the time. But this isn't about that time: this is about when there isn't.

The time when I've stocked everything that's come in. The time when I've combed out and re-wound every messy hank, chased down all the stray skeins and returned them to their cubby holes, straightened all the needle racks, moved everything we want to move, checked to see if we're low on anything and when we can get it in. The time where I sit there, with whatever store sample I'm busy working through (hint: current WIP involves one skein Keltic. Last WIP: mini-sock for the tree that's part of the holiday decor), and knit uninterrupted.

Today in particular, I was flipping through the lace volume of the reissued Harmony Guide. It's a good reference; I'm probably going to buy one of these days. But that's not what got my attention today, really.

Catherine Wheel is what got my attention.

Catherine Wheel, for the uninitiated, is a lace pattern. Basically an organic circle. Like a one-dimensional knit tumbleweed. A little bit different.

It is also -this is what made me drop my dpns- a torture device. Used in medieval Europe and Russia. The executioner would tie a person to the spokes, break their limbs with a blunt object, and then either a)leave them to die slowly of dehydration, etc, or b)kill them quickly. It's called a Catherine wheel because a Christian saint (not clear on details, just iconography from an art history class) named Catherine was, well, predictably martyred on one. My response:

a) grotesque.

b) a knitter from a bygone era just reached through time and smacked me with a stitch pattern from an era when it was acceptable to name day-to-day motifs after torture devices (admittedly, probably with religious and not macabre intentions in mind).

Still grotesque, but much more historically interesting.

But now I'm curious about how many other knitters have picked up on that. I mean, not everyone has read Geoffrey Abbott's "Execution." And not everyone should, either, especially if they're squeamish.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Don't Tell My Sister...

This is her Christmas present: the December Lights Tam by Mary Jane Mucklestone, Holiday Interweave 2007 (pac-man ghost is modeling, because my head is much bigger than my sister's and I look funny in tam.)

I'm not much for holidays these days, and less for commercialism (what's with the trees and snow and shiny lights after Halloween, shopping centers of America?), but my family still has the gift-giving tendency to an extent, and I've disgusted everyone I know by finishing my shopping early. One reason behind it: I'm avoiding all stores after Thanksgiving. Except, you know, grocery stores. And a watch store so I can finally get new watch batteries. And the one I work in, of course. But beyond that... no, not so much for shopping during the holiday season.

I'm pleased with the gifts I've arranged for the few I'm giving them to, however. Small, simple, and what I consider sustainable (for my sister-- handmade by me. For my dad-- handmade at a co-op in Zimbabwe. For my mom-- handmade from an Etsy shop). And that's it for the gifts. A few people will get cards. I'll feel guilty when people gift me. Fin. Now it's time to do some major stash-busting and finish a few sweaters. With the air so frosty today, I was desperately remembering how much I need something under my coat.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Gypsy Scarf (made from 3 skeins of N.Y. Yarns Gypsy)

Just the result of me playing with picked-up stitches; I rather like the effect. Finished it some time in October, but dallied in finding a spot to photograph it.


I spent a few minutes today mending a small tear in the pair of fingerless gloves I knit for a dear friend... going on four years ago, now, I think.

This is noteworthy to me just because they've lasted four years... the average longevity of his fingerless gloves, be they machine-knit or leather, is about 3 months. This says something about the survival threshold of handknits.

Here's to another four years.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Told you so.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Spinnerets

My life currently has a surfeit of minor inconveniences, including the demise of my camera's batteries. Judging how quickly I've replaced my watch battery (3 weeks and counting...), it may be a few days before I pick up more. Maybe I'll buy both at once!

This is a pity, because I did have plans to show off the extremely (accidentally) slubby results of my first attempt at spinning bats I've actually carded myself. I did not do a terribly efficient job on this set-- or rather, I don't know enough about blending artificial and natural fibers in the raw to know how they react together.

And I'm also just not terribly good at spinning, partly because I've never really bothered to pick up an official book on the subject.

But that ignores that the yarn is still rather lovely (several shades of pink and lavender, with a few darker streaks and some funny white rayon bits. And glitter), and enough for a modestly sized project. I probably won't ply it-- just too bulky and irregular, except for the lengths which are the weight I was trying for (light DK).

Ah, hell. Fine. I'll go get batteries this weekend.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

And it's off to work we go...

Hi ho, hi ho...

I probably won't make a habit of posting LYS samples here, unless they please me exceptionally. I have to say, my rendition of the Formal Boot Bag from BagSTYLE does come close-- I'm excessively proud of myself for sewing things on flat. My hand-sewing skills are not what one would consider impressive. Sure, I have my buttons down, I can yarn together a seam... and that's where I like to leave it.

So, I'm proud of myself here. It took quite a bit of time to sew that knit segment around the felted bag without making it pucker. Not only will it stay in place, but it looks passable, and the store's received several compliments on the bag. It bloats my ego every time.

Which leads to my other ego-bloating point: pattern vindication! I posted about a pair of convertible fingerless gloves awhile ago; they've been getting attention. A woman bought the pattern today, and two others signed up to take a workshop on them. My ego is now approximately double the size of my stash (fortunately ego is solider matter, or I don't know where I'd put it).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Yarn Pornagraphers: Senseless Decadent Stash Expansion

Look at this and say it doesn't make your palms sweat. All that dirty nasty yarn naughtiness.

Counter-clockwise from the top: one Knitscene (snagged the last copy, largely from curiosity), 1,330 yds super fine alpaca, dark grey; 1 skein Nashua for swatching; a(nother) skein malabrigo lace weight in pearl. Because, well, two skeins are a project and a half. Three skeins... two projects.

Alright, I confess: all of them have purposes. And they were a bargain. So it's not all that decadent or senseless. But I felt like a march hare making off with enough yarn for a wrap and then some.

FOs sooner rather than later. I'm re-purposing my blog somewhat. I have a surprise in store, too.