Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lion Brand Wool-Ease Does, In Fact, Felt

Hello!  To non-knitters, the sentence above makes absolutely no sense.  It just looks like bad English grammar.  It's not.

Felting is a knitting process involving agitating something already stitched in order to make it more fuzzy, solid, sturdy...basically, you are turning yarn stitches into a piece of fabric that looks and feels like felt.  Remember felt?  The stuff that you used to cut out during the holidays and put under your Christmas tree so Santa knew where to put the gifts, and Mom didn't have to vacuum the needles directly off of the carpet?  That stuff.

So, rewind to 2007, when I was living in Portland, Oregon and just picking up my knitting juju.  I used to go to this yarn store in the Sellwood neighborhood on Saturdays, drink coffee, and practice my knitting.  At the time, it was definitely, I can do things like read patterns.  Then, well, it was more like reading Gregorian Chant.

One day, I decided I would practice decreases.  How hard can it be, after all?  Knitters have been doing it for over a thousand years!  I had half a ball of Lion Bran Wool-Ease with me at the yarn store, in addition to the purchase I had made earlier in the day.  It was my practice-ball; make a mistake on three-dollar yarn, and it doesn't hurt as much if it looks like poo in the end.  I cast on 100 stitches, and just knit across each row and decreased one stitch on each end until I had two stitches left.  What I had left was a very elongated triangle...about head-wrap size.  I tied the ends together, and POOF.  Instant headband.  I loved it from the moment I first put it on my head.  Silly, garter stitch, light blue, 75% acrylic and 25% wool yarn.

One of the girls at the yarn store told me that she uses Wool-Ease all the time as practice yarn as well, but the one thing she did not like about it is that it didn't felt.  I was afraid of the felting process...I still am, actually.  I don't understand making something pretty and then mushing the beauty of the stitches up in the washing machine.  Same feeling about knitting socks, although I agree with the world that my sock-knitting fear is something I have to get over.

So yesterday was July 29, 2011.  Over four years after I made my silly headband, I wear it all the time because I was told by my workplace that bandanas are inappropriate for management.  It has been tied in the same position for so long that I just leave the knot where it is, but now I have less hair than I had back then (see my facebook page for supermodel-hair photos).  For months now, I have been telling myself, "I really should just take the five seconds to make that knot tighter..."

Turns out it didn't matter.  At 3:45 this morning, as every Saturday, I went to dig out my laundry so I wasn't going to work naked.  out falls something blue...and felt-looking.  Apparently, my headband went into the wash.

And I assure you, it felted.  It felted like no other mainly-acrylic could possibly have felted.  That sucker was SOLID.

But it was no longer too loose!  Just the opposite...the felting process makes all of the little wooly barbs stick together, so it causes the item you're felting to shrink on you.  I now had to un-knot the thing to get it on my head, and of course the knot was all felted over as well.  Hmm..hell hath no fury as a knitter scorned by felt, I tell you!  I ripped that knot as if I was using a hand-clamp to pry loved ones out of a burning car.  Success.

So to the girl in Portland who told me that Lion Brand Wool-Ease doesn't felt:  You can go eat it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Yarn Pictures All Over the Place

Good afternoon!  I have of course been knitting up a storm, and I have been trying to write up a storm as well, but I have had a case of the mushes.

Brainwise, I mean.

So here is the most recent article for, about Children's Memorial Hospital and the wonderful parents' program they have for knitting lessons:

As proof that I finished the store sample for Yarntopia, here is a photo:

Huh?  What?  You're impressed?  Because so was I...I was knitting it at the yarn store and the other ladies think I'm nuts for doing that in front of others.  Lace is usually not knitted in groups.  But hey...I live on the edge.  I had so much fun, I decided to knit another store sample by the same designer, Laura Patterson...

And then this is what I decided to do with the Trekking Hands that I bought at Knot Just Knits in Oak Park, Illinois.  I know it looks like a bad thong to non-knitters, but you have to be able to see the potential in it.  I'm feeling lucky that it's actually going to work, yo!

Below are all of the places you can find my stuff on the web.  Incidentally, the first picture is from a pattern called Niobe, which has several double-yarn-overs in it (that's how you make bigger holes instead of smaller holes).  My internal dialoge when I'm knitting lace goes something like this...see if you can spot where the double-yarn-over is and why I have to have a giggle-fest if I'm in the incorrect mood for it:

"Slip one, yarn back, knit knit knit, yarn over, slip slip knit, knit, yo yo, knit knit, knit two together, yarn over..."

Yep.  I'm all about the yo yo.

The Fiber Friend
Chicago Examiner:
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Monday, July 25, 2011

How's THIS for backward?

In case it matters, as I really do want to keep my standing with these people positive, all names and references to individuals have been removed.  I would appreciate your respect in NOT mentioning names in the comments section if you happen to have more information about my life than the average reader.

So yesterday, I was on break at work.  Basically, I walked through the break room, went into the manager's resource room (in other words, a tiny office with two chairs where managers pick up their mail), pulled out my bag, propped my feet up on the desk, grabbed a Gatorade and some yarn, and started knitting.  Someone higher than me at my workplace passed me and asked what I was doing.  I pondered for a millisecond before I said, "I'm just being alone."

Apparently, not only was that the wrong answer, but it was the wrong action.  I was called into an office today to talk about the incident from yesterday.

So here it is the fourth paragraph, and you're saying to yourself, "What incident?"

I was asked about my circumstances surrounding what I was doing when this person walked by me, and how I was giving off an attitude that I didn't have a care in the world and I'd do whatever I wanted.  I was told that this person had never seen anyone else in the building display themselves in that manner, and then this person asked me, "So have YOU ever seen that sort of carefree behavior before? What are people supposed to think when they walk past you?"

My response was as follows:

"I didn't mean to offend you.  I was on break, my legs hurt because one of them is longer than the other and I'm not allowed to wear my roller-bottom shoes anymore, and I was trying to unwind.  I've had several people walk past me and never say that my feet on a desk in a room nobody sees is offensive.  But to answer your question, you asked me if I have ever seen such a display of 'I don't care' behavior in this building.  I see it every time I see people congregating in the Smoking Breakroom." 

I think smoking is disgusting and it kills people and I can't think of a single positive thing to say about it.  But I also think that knitting in the breakroom with my associates, who I am sure need a break from ME at that point, is equally disgusting in their eyes.

But feet on the desk or not, knitting doesn't hurt anybody.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Update: Day Four

So, for those of you keeping score, I had to see what I could get done in the knitting world this week when I was up north.'s how it went:

The store sample:  DONE.
The Regia:  Didn't touch it because I fell in love with a different yarn in Oak Park.  I'm such a cheater.
The new shawl with the Trekking Hands:  Pattern written, now onto the knitting.
The garment:  Getting there.  The first ball of yarn, seriously, just won't die.

So I have that going for me.

This weekend I get to be a Walmartian, so not too much knitting.  But by next Friday, I hope to have every single ball in my stash knitted up.  Not likely.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Project update: Day Three

It's official...I have no will-power.  The good news is that I have self-control...the bad news is that the limit on it is not zero.

So, I have the last thirteen inches left of the shop sample to shouldn't take more than an hour or so because the rows are less than thirty stitches at this point.  As I say at work, "Can I get an EEEEEEE?!"  I'll knock that sucker out on the train, despite the fact that I usually have a rule not to read a pattern on the train.

Then, I finished the first ball for the garment.  This may not sound like that big of a deal, but garter stitch sometimes just feels like it takes forever.  I am very proud of myself...I am only about ten inches from a Kitchener Stitch.  For you non-knitters, Kitchener Stitch is my worst nightmare...even worse than socks...because it involves sewing in a particular direction to make something look like it was knitted continuously.  I flat-out don't have the brain for it, but once it's done, it's DONE.

Finally, Elizabeth down at Knot Just Knits is having her sidewalk sale this weekend.  I saw this ball of yarn that I thought would make an excellent shawl, and this ribbon yarn that I thought would make an excellent SOMETHING but I currently have no ribbon yarn in my stash.  So for less than the average bill at Leona's (seriously!), I purchased each of them and started a shawl with the first ball.  The best news ever (well, in my little world) is that it's superwash, so I can keep ripping out and re-knitting and I don't have to worry about the strand I'm working on turning into this hard piece of twine!

I have actually accomplished more here than I thought I would, including the other non-knitting stuff.  Today is my last day...I have to make it count.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Project update for Day Two

So, yesterday I spent a lot of time jumping in and out of Alex's car and smelling mold and old's a long story.  On the heels of that, I stopped by Knot Just Knits to say hi to Elizabeth, and ended up instead hanging out with knitting teacher extraordinaire, Sue Jaffe.  She's nothing short of fabulous...if you have a question about a technique, pattern, or general yarn issue, ask Sue.  This girl has her poop together and she's about as nice as nice gets.

I did, however, finish yet another pattern repeat on the shop sample.  Since I'm on the decrease side, it's going faster and out, knitting world!  You're about to see a super-pretty scarf!  I hope to finish it today but it all depends on how much time I spend outdoors.  It was 103 degrees when I arrived at 5914 N Elston yesterday.  Mohair and profuse humidity and sweat are not a good match.

Today, I hope to finish the shop sample (damn, am I ambitious), and I am planning on over-caffeinating so I can hop in and out of Alex's car again.  I'm also going to stop by two yarn shops and talk to the owners about stories I want to write, and call a lady about a shawl.  Ooh...and I'm hoping to write stuff down that's been in my head, before the stitch patterns in me disappear forever.

I bet none of you even knew that I had stitch patterns in me!

And the big news of the article from yesterday's got certified as local, which may not sound like a big deal but it means that they pay me more.  It also means my article ended up on their four-story flash rotation on their front page.  Get me a fedora with a card in it that says "SCOOP!"

Thanks as always for your support...;-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Update One: Chicago is FREAKING HOT

...and this is coming from someone who just flew here from Texas.

Here is the newest article I wrote for's about the first yarn shop I ever went into, courtesy of my mom:

I have finished another pattern repeat on the store long as I don't knit it outdoors or at Alex's place, where humidity breeds like mosquitos, I should finish it by Friday.  I also can't knit that thing on public transportation, so I am that much closer to finishing the garment as well.  I got about 40% of the bottom piece done, which is pretty good considering I can knit garter stitch in my sleep.

Speaking of sleep, I keep picturing the shawl I plan on making with the ball of Regia I have in my bag, to the point where I had a dream about it.  I suppose that's god telling me to hurry up and write down what I am thinking!

While I fully accept that knitting conjures up images of grandmama and her twisted hands in some musty-smelling house, I am so glad I have an opportunity to be creative with something other than my singing voice.  It's about time some hobby can physically shut me up (thank goodness for the internet so I can write about it...).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where's Waldo?

Good evening, everyone...I did not fall off the face of the planet.  I was just busy this week, planning stuff I did not expect to have plan.  So here we are.

I am heading out of (well, into, depending on your perspective) town in the morning.  Knitting-wise, this is my plan:

1.  Finish the store sample.  The greatest moment EVER when you're knitting a scarf is hitting the halfway point, decrease point, or "neck" point, and knowing you're halfway done!  It will hopefully be knitted, bound off, and blocked by the time I return to Texas.
2.  Finish the garment pattern.  Yes, I'm breaking down and trying out a garment.  If it works, I'll write it up and prove to the world that I'm not JUST a one-ball knitter.  I have, however, made several one-ball and three-ball jokes that have gotten me into trouble with the locals.
3.  Start the Regia scarf.  I have about sixty ideas in my head...including that stunning ball of Schaefer that I put as my banner...but I can knit only so quickly.  If anyone wants to be a test-knitter, I'm contemplating writing patterns and have other people knit them for credit of some sort.  Anyway, the reason the Schaefer is getting put on hold is because the needles for the store sample are the same as for the Regia.  I like to pack efficiently.
4.  Drop by a few people I said I would meet, including the String Theory Yarn Company and Children's Memorial Hospital...more on that later.
5.  Try not to buy more yarn.  And that's all I'll say on that topic.
6.  Write a few of the patterns in my head, so I don't forget them before I actually get to the yarn I'm picturing for them.  KNITTING IS TIME CONSUMING AND MY BRAIN IS LIKE A RACECAR ENGINE!!!  However, I'm thankful I have a brain like that instead of one that's in Park, or Neutral, or someone with A.D.D.  I can control my focus and I'd be a mess without it.

Might be a bit ambitious for four days' time, but at least I can shoot for the whole plan and miss with half of it.  Let me know if anyone has free time this week in Chicago.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Pattern is UP!

Good morning, everyone!  I have posted the newest pattern on is the link:

If you (or anyone else on the entire planet) purchase the newest design, you can buy a second pattern at $.50 off the full price as long as your purchase both patterns at once, before 11:59pm on MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011.  Please specify which other pattern you would like to purchase.

Also, I turned a corner on the shop sample last night...despite all of the frothy mohair, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it will be STUNNING once finished!  I encourage all of you scarf-and-shawl people to try this one out.  More details when it's all done and there are pictures to post.

As always, thanks so much for your support...I know this may seem like a silly endeavor to some, but it keeps me sane and makes me think I might every once in a while have a decent idea to share with the world. ;-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Preview of the New Pattern!

First, here is the newest article.  It's about the two yarn stores in downtown don't even need a car!  You can take the bus, or if you're feeling extra-ambitious, you can walk:

And here is the newest pattern...I just have to write it up.  Give a big high-five to Kathleen, the model for the white one:

This is really just an excuse for people to judge the speed at which my hair is growing, I know.  Hopefully I'll have it up on Ravelry and Etsy by the end of the day.  Who wants to learn how to knit?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Maybe I Just Do It Differently

Today is my birthday.  I turn 36 today, and I'd like to depart from the subject of knitting for a moment (well, not make it the number-one focus) to talk about something else.What is the big deal about getting older?  I hear people say things like, "I'm going to be...gulp...forty this year, know...I'm not exactly looking forward to it."  What is so wrong with forty?  Or twenty?  Or seventy-five?

Your average child (at least the children I know, since I grew up in a pretty nice place and my friends and family who have little kids also live in nice places) has an annual flip-out about his or her birthday, and it usually starts a month or two beforehand.  Rightly' birthdays involve cake, streamers, people throwing brightly colored presents at the guest of honor...nothing but goodness.  Then, as we get older, we lose passion.  In general.  Not just for birthdays.

Did you ever notice how, when you were a kid, you were eating cookies and drinking Slurpees but you weren't worried about getting fat?  That's because you were playing Kick The Can, Marco-Polo, and hide-and-seek from your buddies in the neighborhood.  You were probably running from them or out-bicycling them to get away.  Birthday cake was a treat, since you only had about five really close friends who had birthday parties every year, and some stingy grownup was actually giving you an appropriate serving size of cake.  But what did you care?  You were having fun and eating cake!  All of your friends were basically motivated by the same thing.

Then, the kids got older.  Some of them became the star football player, some were good at drama or math, and some were no longer your friends because you were either too cool for them, or not cool enough.  People started to go unnoticed.

Now, in my thirties, I have to go to the gym so I can't feel my pants change in size when I eat the cake (I refuse to believe it's my body that's changing must be the pants).  Either that, or I do what I usually do:  I stop caring.  I will continue to look after myelf, but I will flat-out refuse to shun a piece of cake, birthday or otherwise, for fear it will make me fat.  I take pleasure in cake.

I also take pleasure in getting older.  It's not to say that I didn't lose the passion from being a kid to being a grownup like everyone does...I'm not any more awesome than the rest of us, so my passion has been doused as well...but I don't think my fall was as far as others' falls have traditionally been.  And the only reason I can think of, as benign and silly as it may be, is that I like being happy and having fun over being sad and living with regret.

While I will talk about it with anyone on the planet, I will only very rarely pull the cancer card on people.  Yes, I was treated for cancer twice before I even turned 30, but I was just lucky somebody noticed there was a reason for my fatigue and weight fluctuation.  Others are not as lucky as I am.  I did not, however, wake up in my hospital bed twenty times more grateful to be alive than I was the day before, after my surgery.  I found out I had cancer, and said to my supermodel surgen, Dr. Daphne Denham, "Okay...well, cut it out, then.  Fix it."

I do, however, play that card when people are complaining about things I think are not worth the calories to burn on the complaint.  Example:  "My boyfriend just doesn't get it.  I mean, why should I hang out with his friends at a bar during the Super Bowl?"

Yeah...I've had cancer twice so I totally know what you mean.  And by the way, it won't kill you to hang out at a bar for three hours so your boyfriend can show you off to his buddies.  The Super Bowl, like life, is finite...I promise.

My left foot hurts every morning after I work.  I have one gray hair that keeps growing in the hairline between my right ear and the back of my head, and every few months or so, I yank the sucker out because it doesn't lay flat.  I have crow's feet.  Galavanting down the street looks inappropriate now, but that doesn't stop me from doing it.  I have way, way more bills now than I did when I was twenty.

But I am proud to be here, I am proud to have made it through some pretty darn crappy times, and I am very proud to continue to get older.  It doesn't matter to me if people use me as an example of how to be or how not to be, as long as I make a difference somehow.  Anonymity, I think, is what makes people lose their desire to get older.  I may be may just be plain old fear...but if you have something to live for, then you have no reason to fear getting older.  And I have plenty.  I may have an inconsequentially small place on this planet, but it's mine and I like it here.  Bring on the crow's feet!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What does a knitter look like?

"You know, when I heard you were doing this knitting thing, I laughed.  I mean, you don't exactly look like a knitter, you know?"

My former boss shared this very thought with me earlier this week.  I am assuming he meant that I don't fit the "knitter's profile," and it is not solely a looks thing, but I am still not sure what he meant.  I decided to mentally peruse my favorite knitters for common characteristics.  It only took a couple of seconds to realize that the only thing I had in common with my fellow knitters are that we are mostly (but not all) female, so I went on to the more deep commonalities.

There were the Chicagoans:  a lawyer and mother who decided when her kids were older that it was time to pursue her dream of owning a yarn shop.  The twentysomething Bosnian immigrant free spirit who is well on her way to getting what she wants, because she knows who she is and what she wants.  The male, gay, spirited dentist who one day decided it was time to learn how to knit, and then never put down his needles again.  The woman who once was part-owner of a yarn store, and is now looking for her new identity...but she could still teach even the most feeble-minded humans (and possibly animals) how to knit.  The childhood friend whose mother taught her the knit stitch, and who has the same father and cancer history that I have and with a similar sense of humor about it.  The girl who teaches, works at the Gap, and always has three projects in her queue.

Then, there were the Texans:  the almost-forty single mother of two who would help absolutely anyone in need and is a sucker for a good shawl pattern.  The happily unretired teacher in her mid-sixties who knits for every member of her family first, and herself second.  The former Oregonian turned Mexican turned Texan turned nomad who traded in her CPA duds for yarn and needles and freedom from the rat-race.  The classy lady in her early eighties who has more life in her than most people twenty years younger.  The two friends who met at a knitting group and decided to pursue their dream of owning a yarn shop together.  The Idahoan and Alaskan transplant who will rip back her work until it is as perfect as she wants it.

And of course, there is everyone else:  The college friend who moved from one coast to the other to pursue another advanced degree, but still wants to go back to the previous coast.  The friend of a friend who reads this vey blog, and is about to take the step to learn how to knit because she finds it interesting.  The girl from Stage Troupe who gave up on marriage after a bad experience or two with it, but who never gave up on knitting.  The new mother who learned to knit from her grandmother, and does not knit often but sighs and smiles every time she sees someone else knitting.  The wealthy wife of a retired investor in Florida who uses knitting as one of about a hundred different creative outlets to turn her brain over. 

I guess there are really only two things I learned from this experiment.  One is that you can't tell a knitter any more readily than you can tell someone's natural demeanor of the person at the booth next to you at the diner.  And secondly, knitters do, in fact, have one thing in common.

They are all lovely human beings.

If you are ever looking for a new friend, target somebody who knits.  Their personality will not disappoint you, because their common thread is that they are good people.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Goals and Dreams Are More Feeble Than Yours

When I was packing for Chicago, or when I pack for any trip, the big dilemma is always deciding what yarn to bring versus how much I can actually get knitted.  I have this habit of packing six balls of yarn for four projects, two to start and two to finish, because you NEVER know.  Thing is, though, you do know.  Unless I am knitting on crack, I can't make that many knots in such a limited time.

So this time around, I brought the shop sample to finish, the thin headband (I finished the thick one), and another ball so I can see about designing a shawl pattern with it.  So I AM growing...I only brought one size of needles with me.  The problem is actually the headband...all I have left to do is the i-cord, and I'm not feeling motivated enough to do it.  Four stitches, sixty rows.  I could train a monkey to do it.

So my goal, by hook or by crook, is to just finish the headband because I'm tired of looking at the lonely thing on the needle like that.  I'm borderline ashamed of myself that I couldn't just stop at a Starbucks and finish it over a cup of tea, bring it into a restaurant and finish it while I waited for my food, finish it in stop-and-go traffic (I am not condoning knitting while driving...but yesterday, I spent the vast majority of my time in "stop" due to an accident during rush hour)...

The shop sample may not be finished by the time I get back on Monday, but it will be well over halfway done.  That's all I can ask's a complicated stitch pattern and the finished version is six and a half feet long.  The other ball...well...I have to have the idea first.  I might just start knitting and see what I come up with.  It's sock yarn so it's a good ball to rip back repeatedly and not worry about turning the yarn into a wormy pile of poo.

I am also writing an article for about knitting for the holidays, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to Pack Yarn in Small Spaces

I know what you're thinking..."TWO BLOG POSTS IN ONE DAY?!?!"  Understand, if you were to subscribe to a Yahoo Group called Fraudvixen's Volumes, you would see that I was blogging way before bloggin was even cool.  But even then, I didn't put that much word to screen.
First, here is the latest article for the me how much fun THIS looks like!  Seriously, organic produce and knitters sort of belong in the same place anyway:

Then, I finished the prayer shawl.  I still have to finish the second headband...finished the fat one, need to finish the skinny one...but as soon as I do, I'll write up the pattern.  For the prayer shawl, here is the easy version of the pattern:

Gauge:  not important
Yarn used:  Joann Sensations rainbow boucle but any yarn will do
Needles used:  24" size 11 (US) circular needle

Cast on 60 stitches (or any even number)
Rows 1-4:  Knit all stitches.
Row 5:  K1, *(yo, k2tog) to last st, K1.
Row 6:  Purl all stitches.
Row 7:  Knit all stitches.
Row 8:  Purl all stitches.
Row 9:  K1, *(ssk, yo) to last st, K1.
Row 10:  Purl all stitches.
Row 11:  Knit all stitches.
Row 12:  Purl all stitches.
Repeat Rows 5-12 until piece measures 66 inches.  Repeat Rows 1-4 and then bind off.

Cut 60 22-inch pieces of yarn, tie a knot on each end (to prevent the boucle from fraying), and fold in half.  Use a crochet hook to draw the middle loop through either the cast-on or bind-off stitch, and draw the two ends through the loop.  Pull to tighten.  Use 30 strands per end of the shawl.

POOF!  Instant prayer shawl.  Here is what the finished product looks like:

And here is what the stitch pattern looks like on more "normal" yarn:

Enjoy, and be on the lookout for the headband pattern, and the store sample if I can knit like a mad freak over the next six days!


While I would definitely say I am not an out-and-out sucker, I do think that promises lure me if the result is something awesome.

Especially if that result is free yarn.

My favorite little local yarn shop in Texas (one of four or five redeeming qualities of Planet Texas), Yarntopia in Katy, offers their local knitters store credit to knit up shop samples.  Until now, I had never been lured in, but this past Thursday, I caved like a drunk guy in Vegas on his last two chips.  Why, you ask?

Well, the item they needed is a six-foot long wrap with a lace edge on one side and a full-on lace panel on the other, with a plain panel in the middle.  The picture on the pattern, anyway, looked stunning.  I also have a soft-spot (no pun intended) for the yarn it calls for, Halo by The Alpaca Yarn Company, which feels like a built-in cuddle once it's knitted.

Then, I brought it to my friend Kathleen's house and had the same reaction to it as I have every time I start a lace project on difficult yarn:  "Just...can't...stop...the...pain..."

I was relatively silent.  Kathleen is used to watching me make stuff up as I go along, finish a project, be pleasantly surprised by it, and write up the pattern.  All the while, I am the Queen Dish of celebrity gossip.  But knitting lace on an alpaca mohair-feeling yarn is like being a Cubs REALLY, really have to have faith.  So here I am, following a pattern, using luxurious yarn that has the thickness of a split strand of fuzzy dental floss, all for a store credit.

But I have an idea for a pattern, and there is one ball of yarn in the store that's about a billion yards and it costs approximately the same as the store credit.  I obviously don't get to keep the shawl, but yarners everywhere will be fondling my finished product and I get to walk away with my dream yarn-ball.  Win-win, right?  I'll post a picture as soon as I am finished.