Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MAN, February is SHORT

Good morning, everyone.  I have a big, white, oaf-ey pit bull on my left, and a red-splotched pit bull in my window.  The cat?  I don't know, but he loves sleeping on the Sock Monkey Kisses scarf so I often have to pick out kitty bits before I can wear it.

Here is today's Knit Tips Tuesday, complete with a link to last week's lesson:


My readership has gone up over 20% from last month to this month, even though we are currently in the shortest month of the year.  I thank all of you for your support...it's fun to be able to get messages like, "Hi...I live in Southern California and I love your column" and think to myself, she's talking about ME.  I most likely won't be quitting my day job but at least I know retirement will be pleasant.

I have a large, excessive blocking project in my future.  Not meaning that the project itself is huge, but there are a lot of pointy parts that will require a pin.  I am not looking forward to it...blocking normally doesn't bother me, but I'm just not feeling it today.  It may have to wait until tomorrow.  I also have to drive to St. Charles tomorrow (a good forty miles west of my house) for a training session, so I'm thinking if I block the thing in the morning, it will be dry and gorgeous by the time I get home!  Just like waiting on a birthday dinner.

Tonight, the Bistro Knitters are meeting at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro...if you're in the Chicago area, come and join us.  These knitters are just lovely human beings (not that it's often you find a knitting group full of mean knitters, of course).

Other than that, my three days off are not looking too exciting.  I just have three projects in my bag at the moment...not common for me but I'm hitting a moment of multiple personality and I can't help it.  I blame the Kauni.  I also don't know where Teeny Jesus will end up today, but in case you missed it, Walmart sells this children's backpack in Yoda motif.  It was on clearance, and quite honestly, Teeny Jesus could use a good friend.  What do you think they talked about?

Have a good day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Greetings From The Red Couch

Good evening!  Apparently, I can no longer blog from here unless I use Google Chrome.  That's a really crappy exclusivity clause, in my opinion...then again, I suppose freedom of speech can have a monetary amount attached to it, no?

Anyway, here is my February pattern from the Scarf Pattern of the Month series.  Silly, yes, but any excuse to get Bluto in a scarf is a good one, in my opinion:


And I was thinking about my math compulsion (or as Barney Fife says, compelsion), and I decided that today's Knit Tips Tuesday should be math-related.  Well, I decided it should be a series of math-related posts...I was sitting in a training class in Zion this morning, knowing I had the whole day to decide what to write because whipping out the laptop DURING training isn't a good idea, and it hit me.  Math is awesome, and so is knitting.  They are related.  They ARE.  And I'm here to prove it to you.

So here is the latest Knit Tips Tuesday, regarding converting knitting patterns for a different yarn weight.  The next two weeks will be related to the same topic:


I have one more sleeve to go on the Rowan-but-using-Lion-Brand sweater.  It's such a simple and quick pattern...smart knitters would have long-since finished the sweater in the Lion Bran so they could determine if it fits and move on to other luxurious and heavenly yarns, like Cascade Eco Plus.  But NO.  I'm difficult.  Either way, though, one more sleeve, a couple of seams, and a neckline, and POOF.  The thing is I still have to finish the next scarf sample.  I'm knitting pretty furiously, but I changed a few things and it set me back a bit.  The good news is that Tiny E will not finish before me (I don't know when it became a competition, but it did sort of piss me off that she finished the Sock Monkey one first).

Tomorrow, being Lent, is the annual "go on a really restrictive diet because I can't give up meat I already don't eat" diet.  I don't know about caffeine, because green tea is so damn healthy that it's not worth giving up, but the rest of the diet is modeled after the guy who invented P90X.  No alcohol, no sugar, no animal products, and no gluten.  I'll be all about the rice cakes, peanut butter, fresh fruits, and grilled vegetables.  It really doesn't sound that much different than my normal diet, except for the fact that I shun the vegan thing for a good baked item.  No more of that until the 8th of April.

Which reminds me:  I have to check my schedule.  I'm hoping to be off on Good Friday so I can do the stations of the cross at my old church.  Suddenly, I'm springing forward two weeks early!

Be well, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Good morning!  This three-days-on and three-days-off thing has me a bit confused, since I used to work Saturday through Monday every week.  My days off shift one day every week, so I have to actually remind myself what day it is.  I've never been in this situation!

Not to worry, however...one thing I do know is that I have to go say goodbye to someone day.  Mary Ann Parisi, owner of Knitter's Kniche in Lakeview, is closing her store after sixteen years in business next month...she is retiring and, hopefully, ready to dish on her sixteen years in business when I show up with my notebook and camera.  I thought I'd put on a fedora and stick a card in it that says "Scoop" so she would think I was a real reporter.

Speaking of which, here is the most recent article I wrote for examiner.com...it's about Chicago-based Ravelry groups (and really, Ravelry.com in general):


I posted a Knit Tips Tuesday on...well...Tuesday, and something weird happened.  Here is the article...it's about knitting with bulky yarn.  I enjoy it, but some people are intimidated by wrapping soba noodles around broomstick handles:


I usually get about 70 readers per day who click on my articles.  It's not like I write the weather column...I cover the craft of knitting in one town in the United States of America.  I'm fine with seventy readers.  Well, Knit Tips Tuesday now gets picked up by examiner.com nationally, so I went to check my stats the other day and had almost 300 readers in one day.  Apparently, in knitting circles, this means I'm hitting the big time.  So in addition to having only 80 Twitter followers but the vast majority of them being cool and important, many people want to improve their knitting as well.  Huh.

Today, I'm going to see if I can hang out with Mary Ann and have her wow over my lace pattern...she is a lace knitter and anything thicker than that is just plain condescending.  And if anything is below cost, maybe I'll buy it...I've been saving money the past two weeks and can afford about three new balls of yarn.  As if I need them.

I hope everyone has a lovely day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Me, Penny, Bluto, and Candy Hearts

Good evening!  Here is your newest Knit Tips Tuesday, about twisted stitches:


Apparently, you can plus-one all Examiner.com articles for Google now, so I plus-oned my latest article and then I googled "Knit Tips Tuesday."  Sure enough, almost ALL of my Knit Tips Tuesday articles appeared below the search box.  And not just with examiner.com...I saw places where I didn't know the link was picked up.  Score!

Again, I thank the...ahem...dozens of you who read my little column.  Much appreciated.

My boss was fawning over the Filatura di Crosa again today, and I actually had one more project in my bag that I took out.  Remember the Lion Brand Thick n Quick sweater with the Rowan pattern?  Well, I am actually halfway through the front now.  After finishing the back, I didn't really pick it back up.  I hate when I do that...it's counterintuitive to the whole "I want to finish projects and get ahead" mentality.

Speaking of which, Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent is coming up.  I feel sort of obligated to be a good Catholic and give something up, but here's the thing:  I can't give up knitting or anything knitting-related (except not buying yarn for forty days, and even I could do that without much sacrifice).  It's really more of a business decision, since it would set me too far back on my scarf project.  On the other hand, I don't eat meat as it is, so giving it up on Fridays doesn't scratch the tip of the iceberg.  I could give up irrational things, like being married or being employed or being a lefty or being a non-smoker, but that's just a flat-out mockery of the Catholic religion so it's not even very funny.

Lent needs to be like anniversaries, with the thing you give up based on the time you're Catholic.  The first year, you give up paper.  The second year, you give up wood.  And so on.

I don't know...I have some time to think about it.  Maybe I should do something "green!"

Here is a teaser for the February Scarf Pattern of the Month, which the subscribers have but will not be released to the public until the 20th of the month.  Of course, Bluto had to make an appearance:

Even when I don't dress him up, he's an embarrassment to his breed (and so am I, since I can't spell "embarrassment"):

Excuse me, while I move the couch to sweep it for pit bull toys...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just Another Thursday Night

Good evening...I'm sitting on the couch, watching food cook (I'm assuming it's not cooking itself and the husband is somewhere on the other side of the wall), and warding off the dogs.  Here's why...it's difficult to knit with yarn that costs twenty-eight bucks per ball when pit bulls smell...well...cashmere.

But the fun part:  my boss is a clothing designer, and loves to smell fabrics.  I now have her smelling my yarn and make an effort to point out when I bring new yarn into work.  Today was the Filatura di Crosa Superior, and of course since it's 70% cashmere, smelling was only a part of it.  The other part...and I'm assuming any normal human with nerve endings in their fingertips would have done this...is that she groped it.  A lot.

I've realized over the past couple of days that there really is something magical about this yarn.  See, I whipped it out at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, and it was groped by about four people.  Then I thought back to every Tuesday and Thursday when I lived in Texas, and I don't think a day went by where I didn't give that display a heavy-pet or two on my way to the comfy chairs.

What makes it even more awesome is that knitting with it is a dream.  The only problem I've had involves a slip, slip, slip, knit.  The space is too teeny to get the left needle into the back of the stitches.  Of course, part of the problem is that I started knitting on bamboo needles...shame on me!  It's LACE, for crap's sake!  And it's CASHMERE!  What was I thinking?  Well, this shouldn't come as a terrible surprise...my other size 5 circulars...the metal ones...are currently being held hostage by a different project.

And my size 8 Addi Turbos.
And my size 10.5 Addi Turbos.
And my one stitch holder.
And my metal fourteen-inch size threes.
And my size 3 double-points.

Notice the theme of this post is "I have problems."  Most of them involve yarn and needles.

But the Blackhawks are also losing.  Perhaps it's time for bed and I should just dream of my ball of periwinkle cashmere waiting for me this weekend (I most likely won't knit tomorrow, since it's day three of my rotation).  I hope the ladies in Katy had a good evening...I think of you often and of course have Teeny Jesus to thank...

Here's to hoping he prays for me tomorrow, when I have a visit from my market manager and I may craftily be by myself, thus putting the pressure on.  I'm confident in my abilities, but it still never hurts to have cashmere yarn being babysat by a Teeny Jesus in your bag at all times.