Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Links, Links, and More Links

Good morning to you!  I have finished my stretch of six straight days working overnight for my day-job, and of course after coming back from Seattle and Vancouver, I have this ridiculous clarity that's riding me through the rest of November and December and hopefully into January.  So here are a bunch of links I want to share...a few have been previously shared, but just choose what you want to see and skip over the rest...I'm not a snob about my shameless promotion.

First, if you have a account, go ahead and download my free pattern for something quick and warm.  This is the "I bought a ball of super-bulky yarn, and now I don't know what to do with it" pattern.  I used Malabrigo Rasta and it's heavenly...when I took pictures of Sarene wearing it, I decided it looked so damn cute on her that I just gave it to her.  There have already been 79 downloads since I posted it one week ago...yay!  Now I hope people start posting photos of it when finished...I love seeing other people's knitted things, whether or not they are making my pattern:

Then, I've moved up two spots in my ranking, but I'm having a pretty darn awesome month so I'm just hoping it continues and my next ranking will be even better!  So here are the last few articles I wrote, with a bit of background.  The one from today is about a guy named Steve Malcolm, who lives in Vancouver and I met him at VKLive.  When I was going on my mini-sabbatical and settled on Seattle, I thought to myself, "What knitting things should I...wait!  There was an artist from the Pacific Northwest and the It Takes Balls to Knit guy!  Maybe I could interview them?"  So I did.  Ladies, prepare yourselves...if you open the article about Steve, you get a nice teasy photo of him naked but for a scarf draped over his shoulder.  MEOW:

And here is the article on Artist Kelly Fleek.  I published it, went to sleep, woke up for work, went to work, came home, and checked the stats on the article.  Normally, I don't do much with StumbleUpon and I'll see two or three recommendations per article.  To date, this one has 476 recommendations on StumbleUpon:

Then, I wrote an article about Vicki Twigg, who invented TwiggStitch.  It's not too often that something new gets invented after 1,500 years of a craft, but Vicki sure did do it.  And this was another (relatively) viral one...I went to sleep and woke up a few hours later to see over 50 "likes" on facebook:

And finally, my book review on Vickie Howell's new book, Step It Up Knits.  It's great, seriously...teaches you every intermediate technique on the planet, and the projects are both cute and quick so you don't have to worry about packing sixty balls of yarn with you on that vacation.  Of course, I'm assuming you're going on a vacation to a place with no yarn shop, so it's not like you have to leave room in your bag for the yarn you're purchasing:

My readership is up, my subscriber list is up, my unique visits are up...the plan is working!  Yay!  I just want to thank all of you who read my means the world to me when I see something I write about gaining popularity.  I support all of my topics, and it's nice to see that others find them interesting as well.

And now...I'm still finishing up the December scarf pattern for my Scarf of the Month club.  I already warned everyone that it will be late...this work schedule has me passed out at the weirdest hours, and it's cutting into my knitting time!  But again...there's a plan in place for that as well.  It's just a long-term plan so I will probably have to continue figuring out how to circumvent my time.  Right now, I write a bunch of articles on my off-days and release them on days I work, so they are published in a more even and organized (and timely, if the subject matter is time-sensitive) way.  Beyond that, I'm walking the puppies in the afternoons, praying to the lottery gods so I win enough money to buy the NHL and end the lockout, and I'm just being me.  Not a bad life if you can get it.

Thanks again!  PS...if anyone knows someone who wants to adopt a puppy, my tenant is looking for a forever home for this girl...she's eight weeks old, and she currently lives in a house with two dogs and four little kids so she's being socialized and obviously approachable and non-aggressive.  She is a little sweetheart.  Contact me if you know anyone who is interested...I have enough spare time to coordinate transport, and if someone would like her for a Christmas gift (to a RESPONSIBLE home), we can keep her until then for sure.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stepping It Up and Interrupting Cables

So today is all about the writing and the knitting...I have to get my crap together because I have to work tonight. And the next five after it.  That's right...six nights in a row...78 hours on the schedule in one calendar week.  If I fall over, then all i can hope for is someone friendly puts a ball of yarn under my pillow.

But today, I finished the review on Vickie Howell's new book, Step It Up Knits.  The book is worth every penny for not only yourself, but any knitter in your life...Vickie did a great job at capturing the simplicity of each technique through every pattern.  Here it is:

I also finished the pattern from Seattle and posted it to  Here is the text of it, and the photos can be found on the Ravelry page...hope you like it!

Interrupted Cable Cowl

I spent the entire year making scarves for my subscribers enrolled in my Scarf of the Month Club, and then after fourteen prototypes, I went to Seattle and forgot a scarf.  Or rather, I forgot all of them.  I made a bee-line to the nearest local yarn shop and whipped something up in a few hours.  It’s only a ten-row pattern, and you can get any cute buttons you would like to jazz it up!  Not bad for an afternoon walking around Seattle.

Difficulty:  ●●○○○ (If you can knit, purl, and do cables, you can do it)

Approx. 6” x 29” (one size)

Malabrigo Rasta (90yd/150g skein), color 96 Sunset, one skein
Size 15 (10.00mm) straight knitting needles
Large-eye tapestry needle
Cable needle
3 cute buttons

K – knit
P – purl
C8L – Place next four stitches on a cable needle and hold in FRONT of work, (K1, P1) 2x next 4 sts, then (K1, P1) 2x stitches from cable needle

10 stitches = 4 inches in garter stitch

Cast on 16 stitches.

Rows 1-3:  Knit all sts.
Rows 4-6:  K4, (K1, P1) 4x, K4
Row 7:  K4, C8L, K4
Rows 8-10:  K4, (K1, P1) 4x, K4

Repeat a total of eleven times, or until you are almost out of yarn.  Bind off after Row 3.

Weave in ends. Sew three buttons, evenly spaced, on one end.  Buttons should be small enough to fit through stitches, but not so small that they can’t catch on the stitches.

If you look for me, I'll be trying to sleep, trying to knit, trying to write, trying to catch up...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Busy Busy Busy Busy Busy...

Good evening!  I am sitting in the red chair with my favorite seatmate, Penny.  See, Bluto doesn't crack the list because he just takes up too much freaking space.

Here's what's on the agenda...well, first, here's what I wrote today.  An article about Black Friday and the local yarn shops:

In the hopper:  an article about Steve Malcolm and his calendar, which raises money for prostate cancer research; an article about Kelly Fleek and her knitted art; a review of Vickie Howell's new book (sent to me by the publisher, along with another title she said she thought I would cool is that?); a story on String Theory and their annual scarf sale and bazaar; and an article on Vicki Twigg, inventor of Twiggstitch.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

BUT...I am feeling lucky.  My trip to Seattle and Vancouver gave me clarity like I never expected...a few walks and chance encounters made me realize just what I need, what I need to bury and forget, and the direction I need to go.  It's not a perfect plan, but there is a heck of a formula brewing in my head.

As you can see, the column is picking up a bit of speed.  Steve has actually asked me to design a pattern for next year's calendar...I tried to sound all non-chalant and, "Oh...sure.  That would be great."  But even in the month he's known me, I'm pretty sure my face told him, "EEEEE!!!  Really?  Yay!  Score!  Thank you thank you thank you!  I think you're awesome!  I think I'm not as awesome but yay anyway!"

Kelly, also, was lovely.  Knitters are such good people...and yes, there is a bad apple or two.  And yes, women sometimes gossip when they get's the nature of the yarny beast.  But in general, I haven't met a knitter I really didn't like...the common theme of people who knit is their warmth.

I've moved up the ranks by one at do like me on facebook, follow me on Twitter, subscribe to here and my articles on, and encourage others to do so because I want to kick the Pop Culture Examiner's pedestal over.  The links are below...

And finally, I'm donating 15% of the proceeds of my pattern sales this month to Movember, an organization which raises money and awareness for male-related cancers.  Knitting patterns make GREAT gifts...get in there before November!  I'm happy to hold a pattern you've purchased and email it to the recipient on Christmas if you'd like.

Be well!

The Fiber Friend
facebook: The Fiber Friend
twitter:  @TheFiberFriend
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Monday, November 12, 2012


So here I am, decompressing in Seattle on my friend Miles' couch, looking at a blank TV screen (because I wouldn't know what to do with one even if it was on), and feeling the Malabrigo Rasta on my leg.


Because despite the fact that I've made a scarf a month for an entire YEAR, I neglected to bring one with me on this trip.  That's why.  So I found the local yarn shop.  While there, I also purchased a pair of size 2 circulars because I am going to make a toe-up pair of socks out of a Crazy Zauerball, and I was able to dig into the middle of the ball and pull out both ends.  So far, knitting-wise, this trip has been a success.

Here is the article I wrote today for's about knitting for charity and what drop-off points are located in Chicago:

After zonking out on the plane while sitting in between a guy with zero humor and another guy who was literally 6'7" tall, I was up all day yesterday and then slept for ten hours last night.  This morning, I walked downtown and stopped at a breakfast place.  This is what I love about Seattle.  The woman asked if I wanted coffee, and I said of course.  She asked if I wanted cream, and I asked if she had soy milk.  Then SHE said, "Of course!"  Vegans are the majority here.

I also walked down to Pike Place Market, did some wandering around downtown, and sat at a coffee shop for a bit to cast on the Rasta.  Basically, I have spent the last...depends on who you ask, but...between few weeks and few months on a downward spiral.  I'm miserable.  And I'm tired of being miserable.

The good news is that I'm not hopeless, having suicidal thoughts, not getting out of bed, or anything else that would indicate I need medication.  I'm just in a really crappy place.

But every once in a while, something really cool happens and it reminds me that my lot in life isn't exactly horrendous.  Yes, I've had my struggles, but big deal...I'm here, I have a job and a family, some spare cash, and an upwardly-mobile attitude.  A woman bought one of my patterns today...she met me at a yarn shop and enjoyed our chat enough to buy one of my patterns.  That's trust, in my opinion.  Some of you may not see the connection, but I do.

Anyway, tomorrow I am interviewing a woman named Kelly Fleek...she is an artist who uses yarn as her medium.  How fun!  And she is a vegan so she is picking a place for lunch that I'm guaranteed to enjoy.  Of course, if I had known my audience, I would not have said the following:

"Just so you know, I'm a vegetarian, but I'm not one of the crazy vegans that will throw red paint on your fur coat or anything."

Her response?  "Well, that's okay because not only am I a vegan, but I'm ethical too, so we'll find a good place to eat."

Damn...I hope she gets to know me well enough tomorrow to realize that I meant no disrespect.  If not, then I guess our hour will be the only one I spend with her...ha ha ha.

Other than that, I was thinking of going to Vancouver for the day.  I have access to a car, and ever since I saw the movie "Cousins" with Ted Danson and Isabella Rosselini, I have wanted to see that city.  Best line from that move...everyone should live by this philosophy:

"You've got only one life to live.  You can make it chicken shit, or chicken salad!"

Don't forget, I'm also donating a portion of my pattern sales this month to Movember, an organization which raises money for testicular and prostate cancer research.  You can buy my patterns either on Ravelry (thefiberfriend) or Etsy (The Fiber Friend).  Please share with's for a good cause and my patterns are super-cheap and not too challenging.  Yay!

Monday, November 5, 2012


Hello, everyone...I have been bogged down by my ACTUAL job this month, but I have hopes I'll get used to it.  Now...onto the knitting.  Here is my most recent article for, about a knitted-art exhibit at Northeastern Illinois University:

I'm working overnights now, and while I'm horrendously miserable, there are a couple of factors at work there.  In the meantime of getting me un-miserable, I have a plan.  Or two.  Or even a few.  First one is knitting-related.  After Vogue Knitting Live, I...wait.  I didn't tell everyone about VKLive.

Let me get to that.  First, I'm currently number 23 of the 1,569 Chicago Examiners.  For knitting!  Can you believe that?  I can probably name the people ahead of me...celebrity, sports, weather, current events...blah blah blah...and then knitting.  How awesome is that?

But I hate being number 23 (even though it's not only Michael Jordan's number, but also the classiest of the classy...Ryne Sandberg).  I want to be NUMBER ONE.  I need your help.  Please help me out...subscribe to my articles by clicking on the link below and hitting "Subscribe":

You just have to click on the article once it reaches your inbox, get the info you want out of it, and POOF.  I'm that much closer to NUMBER ONE.  Phase Two:  please share this with all of your friends, family, local yarn shops, blah blah blah (that's the phrase of the day), and get them to subscribe as well.  I will never retire on my income, but how awesome would it be if I was beating out the weather guy on an expert-driven website?  For KNITTING?

Please help me out.  Subscribe, share, and badger your friends.  Get the word out.  Get me viral.  Whatever you have to do so I beat out the Pop Culture guy.  Thank you.

So check this out.  I wrote my three articles about the event, but now is my time to totally geek out and tell people what I saw there.  First thing is this...I was walking to the line at Starbucks when Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, otherwise known as the Yarn Harlot, walked by me.  I dropped my jaw a bit and subliminally pointed at her.  Then I laughed at myself...most people have that reaction when they see Julia Roberts.  I have that reaction when I see a knitting goddess.  But whatever...I'm fine with it.

The experience was photos are WAY behind but a bunch of the designers and lecturers were absolutely lovely.  My press pass was like the Golden Ticket...people were being shut out of doors, and I just flashed my badge and it was like, "Oh, ma'am.  My apologies.  This way..." So I got to see some behind-the-scenes stuff I wouldn't have seen otherwise.  One example is that I got to worm my way into the very front of Nicky Epstein's fashion show...too cool for words.  That woman, as far as I can tell, just never ever sleeps.  She may doze off for a few minutes, but all it does is temporarily slow down her circular or double-pointed knitting needles.

I also met Vickie Howell, who was exactly what you would expect from a southern-belle-slash-crafty-moefoe.  She was adorable.  And classy.  And she was willing to pose with Teeny Jesus, which makes her that much more awesome.  She suggested I contact her publisher to get a copy of her book, so I can review it.  Really?  Yay!  I will do that...

Just as soon as I accept the fact that this column is going national before my very eyes.  What fun!  Again...I most likely won't make a living at this, but damn if the number of increasing clicks doesn't increase my yarn budget, and subsequently the design whirlpool in my head.

I told Deborah Newton, who designed my favorite sweater in Vogue Knitting's 30th Anniversary Issue, that the only thing keeping me from making it was the fact that it requires three gauge swatches.  She laughed and suggested that if I got the stockinette stitch one down pat, I should be fine.  Done.  Then, of course, I bought yarn for it at the event.  Duh.

So between that, and running into a bunch of my knitting friends (I'm talking to YOU Sue, Karen, Maureen, Lynn, Beth, and all of the LYS owners who were there), it was a fantastic weekend.

Sorry I've rambled so is the only thing that currently gets me out of bed, and I've drunk a LOT of it.  Back to the needles!