Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coffee, Slideshows, and Yarn

Good morning, everyone...here is the third installment (of five total) on how to knit a sock:


If you missed the first two articles, they are embedded as hyperlinks in the first paragraph of the above article.  Moving on from THAT...yesterday, I barely moved from the couch, despite my list of crap to do, which kept getting longer and longer.  It resulted in me starting about five projects and completing zero of them.  But for some reason, I got a ton of knitting done.  I can see the headline now...Crazy Cat Lady found next to a four-page To-Do list, surrounded and covered by six hundred finished projects and five unfinished projects.

Okay...maybe that's too long for a headline.

Anyway, I think I just got so giddy over having three days off in a row that I threw my life away and went for the relaxing tasks.  It's not exactly a sin if you look at it that way.

This month, I have gained almost forty subscribers to examiner.com, including a couple of the local yarn shops.  Yay!  Separate from my knitting life, however, Bert bought the dogs a new rope toy and a new oversized tennis ball that squeaks.  Here is a video which illustrates how gifted the dogs are (keep looking for Penny's snout at the bottom of the video...she's pacing back and forth the whole time):

It's barely past nine in the morning, and the two knuckleheads are exhausted.  But they TOTALLY look like killers from the window.  It's all that matters.

I have September's scarf completed with just a few tweaks I have to make to the pattern, October's scarf started, the sock over a week ahead of the articles (so I'm not knitting the last row of whatever I'm talking about that morning), and the kimono sweater that I have to rip back a few rows, so I can re-do the bind-off on the sleeves.  I'm oh-so stressed (that was irony).

So yeah...I think I'm going to postpone anything important for one more day and go off to knit the afternoon away.  I may also eat junkfood.  And wear bluejeans.  And I may even take pretty pictures of nature (and Teeny Jesus, obviously).  Be well!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Month of Success

You know, I'm having a good month.

Today is the first day of three days off in a row...this hasn't happened since mid-July.  Sometimes the retail industry flat-out sucks for that reason.  But whatever...I made it, and that's all that matters.  Okay, first thing's first:  here is the news coming out of Frankfort, Illinois, home of Yarns to Dye For and More.  Sale sale sale sale!  Obviously, I have enough yarn.  But Cascade 220 almost never ever ever goes on sale, because it's sort of the Frito Lay of yarn.  Good stuff.


My month started with me having the stoopid idea of knitting a pair of socks, and teaching the examiner.com-reading public how to knit them as well.  I posted the story.  I went to work.  I came home and was reading through my facebook feed when I saw that editor-in-chief of knitty.com, Amy Singer, had blogged about my article.  Poof.  Instant fame.

For a Chicago-based knitting journalist, anyway.

So then, I had the Chicago Yarn Crawl, and of course my pattern got distributed to probably 200 knitters (not to mention the number of people who shared the pattern, since it was free) in a week.  I then got to meet Trisha Malcolm, editor of Vogue Knitting Magazine, and of course Teeny Jesus was photographed with her (although she may not know that just yet).  Finally, today's story was retweeted by Jim Kerr.

Big deal, right?  Some Irish guy picked up my story.

Except he is the founder of Orbitz.com.  I had three brushes with fame this month and I still have five days to go!  Maybe one of them is hiring and will be interested in throwing some money and benefits at my skills.  I just have to figure out which god needs to receive my prayers.

I started the October scarf today, and I also finished the heel flap for next Knit Tips Tuesday.  It's been a knitting kind of day.  I also saw "The Campaign," which was horrendously amusing if you can handle jokes that are so inappropriate that your ears flush every time someone talks.

Time to get back to knitting.  I need two free hands for that.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Pit Bulls and One Chair

Good morning, everyone!  Today is my only remaining day off this week, so I'm taking full advantage by knitting, possibly getting out of my pajamas (I make no promises), and maybe even going outdoors because it's so lovely outside.

Here is my Knit Tips Tuesday, the second in a series about sock-knitting:


You are certainly not too late to jump on the bandwagon if you would like to start knitting socks with us...the pattern is fairly simple, the yarn is stunning, and the point of the series is to break down each step so you know why you are doing what you are doing.  Simple, right?  I'm all about the simple.  And wordy.  I can't help it...I have a ton of coffee that has gone from the pot to the gullet to the bloodstream, so I'm typing as fast as I talk.

Somewhere, my friends in Texas are trying to get a word in edgewise.

Anyway, next week is the first time since July 12th that I've had three days off in a row.  I plan on getting things done that I've avoided, like putting away the laundry and getting the damn papasan chair out of my car.  I ran into my friend Colleen yesterday, and she pointed to the papasan.  It dawned on me that the last time I saw her, I was having dinner with her a month ago and that same chair was in my car.  Time to break up with my procrastinatory (it's a word) side.

Oh, and speaking of knitting...which I always am...the designer of the pattern I chose for the knit-along is truly lovely.  I asked her a few questions about her pattern, and I even get to quote her in the article.  I picked through her designs on Ravelry, and MAN does she have her stuff together.  Really gorgeous pieces...I highly recommend going to her page on Ravelry and checking out her patterns.

Other than that, I am just trying to make it through the next four days and then relax a bit for the following three.  I often don't realize how much I need days off until I don't get them, and then it's like that scene in Young Frankenstein:  "I don't know, but his face rings a bell! (BONG!)"

So last night, I was knitting and listening to Pandora (first the Grateful Dead, and then Journey...I try to challenge Pandora).  Penny decided she wanted in on the action, so she climbed into the chair with me.  Bert took pictures.  Then, this morning she did the same thing, only I and my yarn were only interesting to her until the garbage man showed up. Then, she practically ran over my shoulder and the back of the chair to the kitchen, because she knows if she can get outside, the garbage man has treats.

Off I went to the kitchen.  Off the killers went to the back yard.  And out flies the treats from the garbage man.  See?  Everyone is having a good day off!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Internet is a Powerful Tool

Hello, everyone...what a fun knitting week this has been!  Quite honestly, it's been a fun week in general.  I mean, I started the week by winning seven bucks in that $352 million PowerBall lottery.  Might not sound like a big deal, but dang if I could not win most of my money back from the tickets and feel awesome about it at six in the morning.  Free Chinese food!

So then, on Tuesday I decided to finally do my multi-week Knit Tips Tuesday I have been dreaming of doing.  I am not a sock-knitter, as all of you know...I mean, I DID complete one sock.  The thing is that a lot of my readers ARE sock-knitters, and another large handful of them WANT to be sock-knitters.  I thought it would be fun to break down sock-knitting for the timid, the meek, and the ADHD who need to compartmentalize.  I wrote an article for examiner.com about the components of a sock, and then stated that the following week, we would be starting a tutorial knit-along.

Here is the article:


I posted the article on Ravelry, Twitter, and Facebook as always, and then something truly interesting happened.  I was scrolling through my feed on facebook when I ran across the following post on Knitty.com's profile:


Big deal, right?  Only that the editor of the premiere online knitting magazine got wind of what I was doing, with a pattern that appeared on her website, and told everybody about it.  So my number of subscribers literally doubled overnight.  Oh, and 1,100 clicks later, I'm making money on examiner.com this month.

I usually hit that threshold on about the 26th of the month or so.  To hit it before the month is half over, well, to me it's a bit of a big deal.

Well, then I went into panic mode and realized...sheesh...that now I had to knit a pair of socks!  The good news is that my plan was to make it a five-week tutorial, so I don't have to finish it by Tuesday.  I did, however, start it.  The pattern I'm using is the Sunday Swing from Knitty.com's summer 2009 issue.  I bought a skein of Lorna's Laces Solemate during the Chicago Yarn Crawl at one of my favorite yarn stores, Windy Knitty.  It's just fabulous, no two bones about it.

Ooh, AND...now that I'm an expert (meaning, I've done it more than once) at making a slideshow on examiner.com, I will be putting together a slideshow every week so readers can see what the heck I'm doing.  I am holding this big fat hunch that at the end of a month, I will be seeing photos of a bunch of knitters' finished Sunday Swing socks...sweet!

Hopefully, mine will be one of them.  Here is proof that I have casted on and am all set to indulge in this gorgeous stuff:

Oh, Lorna's Laces, how I love thee.  Also, thank you for your support, Ms. Singer!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Chicago Yarn Crawl

Good day, everyone!  I have been super-busy at my day job, and of course it cuts into my knitting time (who do those big corporations think they ARE, anyway?).  But this is the last week of hell for a couple of months, and it's time to say hello again!

First of all, here is my latest Knit Tips Tuesday...who wants to join me in making socks?


Okay...so here is my Chicago Yarn Crawl experience.  On the first day, August 4th, I started in the afternoon after the Mixed Nutz got their tune on for a few hours.  I went to Initially Ewe in Western Springs, a new entry in this year's Crawl.  CUTE store; in addition to yarn, they have children's gifts, personalized monogramming service, and a great Christmas stocking trunk show which I didn't get back to but at least now know where to go!  The two ladies who own the store are lovely; I walked in, asked for a passport, and they took turns showing me around and just generally keeping the high expectation of good moods in the air.  I bought one ball of yarn, and decided that throughout the crawl, I would buy one ball of yarn per store.

By the way, I worked out the math beforehand.  Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a tightwad about money, mostly because I want to retire before most people and still have a steady income from various sources to make it possible.  The money I was using for the crawl came from patterns I've sold, articles people have read, and that sort of thing.  This was yarn money going toward yarn; the perfect example of the circle of life!

Anyway, I bought a ball of Cascade sock yarn.  Then I moved on to Idea Studio in La Grange.  The three ladies who own that store were in great spirits, so of course I purchased a ball of Lamb's Pride bulky, in the hopes I would find it later at other stores as well.  To spoil the surprise, I did.  Idea Studio's free pattern giveaway was too cute for words...it was a little girl's skirt which incorporated ruffle yarn, so the skirt looks like a low-key tutu.

Then, I moved on to Knot Just Knits.  Elizabeth of course saw me walk in the door, and in a grand and exaggerated fashion said, "Everybody, we have a celebrity!  The author of our free pattern has just walked in the door!"  She asked me later that afternoon if I would autograph her copy of the pattern.  I asked her if backhanding was the same thing.

After working Sunday through Tuesday, and having to work around a doctor's appointment, I went to twelve...twelve!...stores on Wednesday.  You get entered into a raffle when you hit five, ten, and fifteen stores, in addition to each store's individual raffle.  Quite honestly, by the fifteenth store, I was tuckered out and didn't think I could make it to Number Sixteen even if I tried.

My fifteenth store was Sister-Arts studio in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, right around the corner from where I grew up, and across the street from the Burwood Tap.  The ladies who own/work there are horrendously silly, in the best way possible.  I actually bought two balls of yarn from them; there was this yellow silk laceweight that I couldn't put down, and then there was a replacement ball of yarn from when Penny decided to relocate a yarn ball when she was a puppy.  And by "relocate," I mean "take from the dining room table and into her crate, and proceed to treat it like a one-year-old's birthday cake."

These ladies also staged a photo-op with Teeny Jesus, complete with complementary yarn colors and a silly sign:

I ended the two days with two balls of Imperial Ranch Bulky Roving, the two balls from Sister-Arts, three balls of Lamb's Pride, two skeins of Malabrigo silky wool, some fun variegated scarf balls, a Zauerball, a ball of Regia, and Lorna's Laces Solemate.  This yarn will be used for the sock tutorial referenced in the article, above.  Jeez...I better get to winding and knitting!