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1. In life there are no do-overs. But there are in knitting. All the time! I started over on this Evenstar shawl five freaking times.  And every few rows I find something that requires me to tink back a bit. I do this more with lace than with any other type of knitting. Is lace somehow the antithesis of life?

My Evenstar. Oh so many stitches to go.

2. Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them. The person who said this never tried to bring their dropped stitches or messed up cables to my knitting group. Always bring your knitting problems to knitting group…20% can help you fix them and the other 80% are glad you asked because they have the same problem.

3. Enjoy your own life without comparing with that of another.  I derive great enjoyment comparing and sharing my knitting with others.  4 million+ other Ravelry users agree.

 

Rav

4. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. I find that my knitting shrinks or expands in unpredictable ways. Because gauge swatches lie!  It’s got nothing to do with courage and everything to do with the gremlins who come out at night and stretch my sweater arms out of shape.

5. Life is wasted on the living.  Try inserting “knitting” in place of “life” and you get a very creepy statement. All I can think of is my lovely knitting projects getting buried underground and full of rot and maggots. Yech!  When I die, pass my sweaters out to living people who can still appreciate them. Vampires don’t count (they don’t get cold).

 

Happy knitting, everyone. Remember not to take life/your knitting too seriously.

That’s one truism I’ll keep.


You have to admire an expert sheep shearer who knows exactly what he’s doing. Firm but gentle, so nobody gets excited.

I think this sheep was more anxious about her audience than she was about being sheared.

Sheepshearing1 SheepSheering2 Sheep Sheering 4 Sheep Sheering3 SheepSheering5 SheepSheering6

It’s amazing to me how little of the sheep’s skin/hide seems to get a pass from the clippers. It’s probably my imagination, but watching the shearer, it looks as though he knows where all the sheep’s hidden zippers are. Make a pass here, a pass there, and voila! Naked sheep. Ready to go Boundin’. 

Image from Pixar short Boundin’. Image retrieved from metatube.com

Imperial Yarn, I am taking this opportunity to publicly applaud you for two things you are doing right.

Thing 1: The way you tie your tags

The tags are securely attached, but with a firm bow, not a knot. That means I don’t have to trim with a scissors. That’s a little bit more yarn that doesn’t go to waste. I don’t always have the patience, or even the ability to untie the knots that yarn companies use to bind their hanks together.

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Thing 2: Tags that can be re-purposed

I greatly appreciate it when companies make thoughtful choices with their packaging. Some sort of label or tag is necessary when selling commercial yarn. Ball bands are secure and provide lots of surface area for printing text and images, but they’re fragile and easy to lose. And they really have no utility once they’ve been removed. Tags are often not much better, in my opinion, as they are too stiff to roll up and stuff into the center of a yarn cake and too small to be re-purposed as anything else. Plus, a lot of yarn companies (hello Quince and Co.) attach them to their hanks with such long loops of yarn attached that they seem to be promoting this tangling problem.

Imperial Yarn uses nice large tags, bound closely to their hanks, so they don’t tangle.  And those tags are exactly the right size and thickness to serve as coasters. I don’t know about you, but I think a home can never have too many coasters. My knitting is usually accompanied by a drink of some kind: hot tea or wine in in the winter, a cold beer or iced tea in the summer.  As an added bonus, knitters like me are littering their homes with free advertising for Imperial Yarns. A complete win-win, in my opinion.

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Hats off to you, Imperial Yarn.

Peter Pan busting out a joyous crow. He must have just finished knitting that tunic.

It’s time to crow.

I’ve made astounding progress this summer on my self-assigned warm weather tops knitting project . At the beginning of June, I posted about the first two completed tops:

#1 Austin Tee by Jean Chung

#2 Bonny by tincanknits

Since then I’ve powered my way through two more:

#3 Still Waters by Julie Tujorman

Knitted in Louet Euroflax sport. This tunic is light to wear and the lace panels on the sides and sleeves provide lots of, um, airflow. I usually pair this top with a cotton tank underneath. My husband likes it paired with a sports bra. That last has only happened once, on a very warm and rainy day. I’m pleased to report that this linen dried out very quickly after getting soaked in a mad dash across the Sherwin Williams parking lot.

#4 Sterling Peplum by Klever Knits 

Knitted using Hempathy, a yarn I’ve heard nothing but good things about. The day I finished this tank I put it on and wore it out to dinner with my husband. It’s a bit prickly next to skin right now, but will probably soften up a lot with repeated washing.

 

Fun to wear but sooo much stockinette

After all that stockinette I needed to take a break and knit some lace. So I threw myself upon Red Rock Canyon by Romi Hill with slavering glee.  I inhaled that lace.

Knitted using two hanks of Fish Belly Fiber Works yarn I won at Zombie Knitpocalypse

It wasn’t enough lace. I needed more lace. So much more lace.

So I cast on Evenstar Shawl by Susan Pandorf.

10% down. Lots and lots of fine lace to go.

This one should last me for a while.

I attended the Zombie Knitpocalypse retreat this past weekend. There are so many things I could talk about (it was a joyous experience). And I met so many wonderful new people.  However, the thing that’s tickling my brain right now is yarn –specifically, crazy colorway names.

Each night at the retreat Megan and Amy held a drawing,  giving  away massive amounts of yarn, fiber, tools, and other notions, donated by the retreat sponsors. While listening to the giveaways, I noticed that there seems to be a growing trend for wild and creative colorway names, many of which seem more like mini stories than simple descriptions of the colors.

Leading Men Fiber Arts has some amusing offerings.

Thus with a kiss I die

Fable Fibers is no slouch either.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

However, Kirbywirby Yarns‘s colorways blow everyone else out of the water:

Rocking by banana clip

Rockin my banana clip to the nkotb concert

 

70s afghan

The ’70s called, they want their afghan colors back

 

pass the rave

Pass the Rave Hairspray please, my bangs aren’t high enough

 

MESSIN__WITH_SASQUATCH__medium2

Messin’ With Sasquatch

Now of course, this set my own crazy little brain humming. Kirbywirby has already managed to take this idea up to 10. How could I take it to 11 or 12?

And then I remembered an amusing little web site called They Fight Crime.  (Sadly, the  web site is now defunct, but the original content has been kept alive by Paul Makepeace.)

Imagine, if you will, a series of yarn colorways inspired (and named for) unlikely superhero pairings in the style of They Fight Crime:

  • “He’s a one-legged white trash rock star looking for a cure to the poison coursing through his veins. She’s a time-travelling Buddhist opera singer with a knack for trouble. They fight crime!”
  • “He’s a genetically engineered shark-wrestling waffle chef who hangs with the wrong crowd. She’s a sarcastic foul-mouthed traffic cop with an incredible destiny. They fight crime!”
  • “He’s a lounge-singing ninja astronaut from a doomed world. She’s a bloodthirsty goth widow looking for love in all the wrong places. They fight crime!”
  • “He’s a bookish overambitious paramedic searching for his wife’s true killer. She’s a pregnant green-skinned widow living homeless in New York’s sewers. They fight crime!”

Would you buy that? I know I would.

The realist in me realizes that there’s probably an upper limit of 10 words or so before a colorway name is too long.

I’m not listening to her right now.

I spent much of my free time during the summer of 2012 knitting the Rocky Coast cardigan. I knitted two of them, one in crunchy Shetland wool (for my sister), and another in a lovely alpaca/wool/silk blend (for me). The trouble was, once I was done knitting them there was nothing for me to do but admire them. I tried wearing my cardigan to work one day late in August, trusting to the office air conditioning to make it bearable. I was determined and I wore that cardigan all day long, even on a trek across campus to an unexpected lunch meeting. I sweltered and suffered, but I persevered. Darn it, I wanted to wear my new cardigan.

This summer, I’ve decided to make summer-friendly knits my top priority. So far, I’ve finished two new tops, and I have my sights set on three more.

Finished Tops

#1  Austin Tee by Jean Chung

The original pattern calls for Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima Fine, a 100% cotton yarn. I decided to use Classic Elite Yarns Cerro, a cotton/alpaca blend.

I love the texture of this top, with its modest mesh and fake-out cables. Well, semi-modest mesh. After trying it on I have decided that a tank top is needed underneath. Unless I’m feeling like an exhibitionista.

Austin Tee by Jean Chung

#2  Bonny by tincanknits

I used SweetGeorgia Yarns Merino Silk Lace and I think this tank came out a bit on the small side. I knitted the medium size. Definitely wearable. I’m tempted, however to knit another one with a slightly thicker laceweight yarn so that I have something with a little more drape. This dress dummy has nice abs, but I can always use a little more camouflage.

Bonny by tincanknits

Next Up

Still Waters by Julie Turjoman. I’ve got this one on the needles right now. I’m knitting this with Louet Euroflax Sport.

Linum Tee, byBristol Ivy. I picked up some appropriate yarn at Yarnover in April.

Sterling Peplum by Klever Knits. I’ve got some purple Hempathy ready to go.

 

I’m thankful that household heating technology has progressed to the point where we don’t have to worry about scrubbing wood, coal and oil smoke off our walls and ceilings every spring.  We still burn non-renewable resources, so our heat isn’t “clean,” but at least my furnace doesn’t coat my abode with layers of grime.

For me, spring cleaning involves just a few specific tasks:

  • Footwear shuffling: summer sandals come out of their designated basement tub, winter shoes go in.
  • Moving the bikes and lawn mower into the garage for easy access. The car is exiled to the driveway until the first snow.
  • Washing the woolens.
Knitted hats and mittens, plus a couple non-woolen gloves, drying in the sun.

Knitted hats and mittens, plus a couple non-woolen gloves, drying in the sun.

I used to be able to get the woolen washing done in one batch. These days, it takes multiple batches.

Now that the hats and mittens are done, it’s time to tackle scarves and cowls. Sweaters to follow. I want everything clean before I put it away for the season. Moths love nothing better than dirty wool.

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