On Top of Mount Wooly


Jacob sheep. Evelyn Simak [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

On Top of Mount Wooly

On top of Mount Wooly

All covered with sheep

I lost my sock needle

Getting out of my Jeep


It rolled off my lap

And onto the floor

And then my poor needle

Rolled right out the door


It rolled to the pasture

And under a fence

Then under the hooves

Of a ruminant defense


I howled in frustration

I stamped and I stormed

Then I ran from the ruminants

So I wouldn’t get horned


I went back to the car

And took up my sock

With only four needles

I could still make it work  [Brooklyn accent here]


Driving away from Mount Wooly

I began to regroup

And vowed that next time

I’d try Magic Loop

What to do with cursed yarn


With Halloween coming up on Thursday, I’ve got spooky things on the brain. The undead have been making cameos in my dreams for weeks. To fortify my defenses against the dark arts I’ve broken into a bag of fun-sized Milk Duds intended for trick-or-treaters. Chocolate and caramel are powerful and delicious deterrents to hexes and curses. Plus, their gooey, sticky substance has been known to gum the teeth of even the most persistent vampire.

Unfortunately, a curse made it past my defenses. Somewhere between the LYS and my front door it crawled into my knitting bag and clawed its way into two hanks of green Cascade 220 Heathers. I should have been carrying Milk Duds for protection.

This happened more than a year ago.

Since then, every project I’ve attempted with this yarn has failed.

  • I lose my place in the pattern, repeatedly
  • I acquire extra stitches or mysteriously drop them
  • I frog and re-knit with no discernible improvement

The yarn is holding up well to this abuse. It doesn’t look mangled at all.

So what do I do with this yarn? If I leave it in my stash any longer I’m worried that its bad juju might contaminate the other yarn.

Is there a cleansing ritual I could perform? A song or dance?

Or should I give it away? I don’t think the curse will go along for the ride. I firmly believe that yarn curses are individually targeted and cannot affect other knitters.

Knits Fit for a Pirate


It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. A day to give your conversation a little peg-legged swagger.

I’m not very good at it. I’ve mastered the basics. :

Ahoy! – “Hello!”

Avast! – Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, “Whoa! Get a load of that!” which today makes it more of a“Check it out” or “No way!” or “Get off!”

Aye! – “Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did.”

Aye aye! – “I’ll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over.”

Arrr! – This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. “Arrr!” can mean, variously, “yes,” “I agree,” “I’m happy,” “I’m enjoying this beer,” “My team is going to win it all,” “I saw that television show, it sucked!” and “That was a clever remark you or I just made.” And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!

But more advanced pirate lingo flummoxes me. And I don’t think I could use a pirate pickup line with a straight face.

There’s no hope for it. I need to find some other way to honor this pirate-themed day of festivity.

Pirate Themed Knitwear

Woolens that will make you say “Arrrr” not “Arrrrgh.” My voyage on Ravelry turned up these bonny beauties.

Pirate Captain

A proper pirate captain needs a truly impressive captain’s coat. Something with some color, drama, and swing. Something to swirl around her shoulders as she gives a rousing speech. Something to shield her from the salt spray and rough wind.

The Legacy Frock Coat by Sarra Loew, as seen on Ravelry.

First Mate/Navigator

Even though this pattern is called “Master and Commander Cap and Cowl,” I imagine this as something the first mate or navigator would wear. Something with some style, but less flashy than the captain. After all, we can’t have the first mate looking more impressive than the captain. All we need to complete the ensemble is a knitted tube for the spyglass and a pair of matching fingerless mitts.

The Master and Commander Cap and Cowl by Aimee Skeers, as seen on Ravelry

Ship’s Crew

This intricate Celtic knotwork reminds me of chains and ropes. I see a crewman, face to the gale, tugging on the ship’s rigging. A sweater like this would keep him warm, especially if knitted with a yarn with the lanolin still in it.

Sorcerer’s Sweater by Catherine Salter Bayar as seen on Ravelry

Lady Prisoner/Stow-Away

Pirate stories always involve a fine lady who is taken prisoner or who has stowed away on the ship. What would she wear on her journey? I warm shawl, clutched around her shoulders to keep off the chill. Perhaps it would feature golden beads filched from the pirate horde.  And a warm pair of socks, knitted for her by her sailor sweetie (featuring skull and crossbones, natch.)

The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower as seen on Ravelry

Pirate Danger by Jeannie Cartmel as seen on Ravelry

Monsters on the High Seas

Of course, no pirate story is complete without terrible, wonderful sea monsters. A Kraken, lashing out at the ship’s hull with its long tentacles, dragging the crew to their doom, wrapped in its slimy embrace. This scarf looks like the sort of souvenir a sailor would keep if he managed to survive an encounter with a sea beast.

Forbidden Forest Scarf by T.L. Alexandria Volk as seen on Ravelry.

And let’s not forget dangerous embraces of another sort. These mitts look just like sea weed. They make me think of the garments a siren would wear. Sinuous, clinging and sexy.

Handschmeichler (Hand-Charmer) by Claudia Höll-Wellmann as seen on Ravelry.


Let’s not forget treasure. Mounds and mounds of glorious, misbegotten treasure.

SteamPunk Bracelet Knit Version by BethToddCreatz as seen on Ravelry.

19 Reasons I Wish I Had My Knitting With Me Right Now


1) I’m at a work dinner surrounded by people who are talking shop, only on a plane of knowledge and experience that makes me feel like a paramecium. If only I had a suitable conversation piece to redirect the discussion to more familiar territory.

2) I’m attending an hour-long meeting, only five minutes of which actually applies to me.

3) I don’t know how to sit at a restaurant waiting for food without something to do. Knitting has ruined me for fine dining.

4) Christmas with the in-laws. Lots and lots of time spent with people who are nice, but unfamiliar. I want to impress them. Knitting is ladylike and productive.

5) I’m trying to stay awake during a finance presentation. Spreadsheets do it to me every time.

6) I had no idea one short errand would turn into five errands.

7) Leaving my cat at the vet for treatment is almost as stressful for me as it is for him.

8) That lady two rows away on the bus is knitting and I’m jealous.

9) I wish there was some way to knit while running on a treadmill. I would be in such good shape.

10) Someone just gave me an end-of-day deadline at 4:12 pm. I need something to prevent me chucking my computer out the window.

11) My SO is addicted to a really terrible  super heroes cartoon. I need something to do while I pretend to watch it.

12) I can’t sit in the dark with nothing to do, even at a concert.

13) All the good celebrity magazines are next to the other pedicure chair.

14) My SO has disappeared into the Lego store. He may never come out again.

15) I’m trying to cut calories so I need something to distract myself from the appetizer tray.

16) I’m at a New Years party, which these days is half kiddie play date. Lots of sitting around watching munchkins suck on wooden blocks.

17) I just discovered I’m lactose intolerant and I’m a little pissed that I can no longer order the cheese plate. But at least I can still have this awesome yarn.

18) I’m watching a dance movie where the dancing is the only point. I need to fill in the empty spaces between awesome dance numbers.

19) I might discover a new Ravelry friend. When I whip out my knitting they pop out of the woodwork.

The Blue Yarn: A True Story (I Swear)


The following is a true story. It was told to me at knit night on Wednesday. I will do my best to recount the story as it was told to me. Names have been changed.

*          *         *

It was a February evening in southern Minnesota. A monthly hand-spinners get-together was just breaking up, spilling its chattering crowd, like a tumbled basket of yarn, into the snowy streets.

Anne clutched her nearly finished blue cardigan to her chest as she strode toward her car, fumbling for her keys. “Almost done,” she thought. “If I’d just had a another hour I could have bound off the second sleeve and woven in the ends. Oh well, no matter. I’ll finish it tomorrow.”  She trudged to the passenger side of her white sedan  and plopped the project and the remains of her last ball of yarn onto the seat. She closed the door, then rounded the car and  settled into the driver’s seat.

The car engine protested the cold as she turned the key in the ignition, but gamely turned over on the second try. Flipping on her head lights, she pulled out onto the snowy street and began to drive away.

*         *            *

Sally was among the last of the guests to leave. She was a warm and talkative women, not content to depart until she’d said her goodbyes to all of her fellow spinners and helped the hostess to gather stray plates and mugs.

She was just walking out the front door, pulling on her coat, and she saw Anne’s car pulling away from the curb and driving slowly away. She noticed something odd about the car that made her take a closer look. Something was trailing behind it: something small and blue that bounced gaily behind the car on the hard-packed snow. A balloon? No. A ball of yarn!

Image from wpclipart.com

The car was already a block away, stopped at a stop sign, when Sally began to give chase. She tried valiantly to flag Anne’s car down, stumbling toward it in the snow. “Stop,” she cried, waving frantically. “Stop!” Her cries were to no avail.  Anne’s car pulled forward through the intersection and continued on  its way, driving straight for another block, then turning left and out of sight.

Sally trotted along in the snow, eyes fixed on the yarn, searching for the ends. The yarn had stopped moving, so perhaps it had reached the end of its supply.

Sure enough, at the end of the second block, Sally found the leading end of the yarn, snapped and frayed where it had caught in the Anne’s car door. She picked up the frayed end, examined it, then dropped it back into the snow. “If I’m going to do this,” she thought, “I need to start from the center of the ball.”

Sally walked slowly back down the street, keeping her eyes fixed on the ground until she spotted the other end of the yarn. She picked it up and began winding, using the three middle fingers on her left hand to get it started. She wound for a few minutes, paused to massage some life into her fingers, then wound some more. Eventually, she had to stop. Her teeth were chattering and her fingers were like a bundle of stubby carrots, numb and useless. In her haste, she had forgotten to put on her hat or mittens, and hadn’t even zipped up her coat. “This will never do,” she though, gazing down the two-block length of yarn before her. “I can’t wind yarn with mittens on, and I’ll freeze my fingers off if I stay out here much longer.”

Still cradling the ball of yarn, Sally blew on her hands to warm them. When some feeling had returned, she reached into her pocket to grasp her car keys, then walked over to her little yellow sedan and started the engine. Once the heater had warmed up and was blasting away, she rolled down the driver side window and threaded the yarn through it. Then, steering the car with her right hand and holding the ball aloft with her left  hand, she pulled out onto the street.

Creeping along the sleepy suburban street at  stuttering pace, Sally carefully resumed winding the ball. Pull forward a  few feet, then wind. Pull forward another few feet, wind some more.  “Two blocks worth of yarn is a lot of yarn,” she thought.

“What must the neighbors think ?” Sally wondered idly, after a few minutes. “There’s this little yellow car moving very slowly down our street, driving kind of erratically. Is this person on drugs? Are they casing the neighborhood? Are they looking for the gun they dropped in a robbery?” She hunkered into her seat and wound faster.

“Just like the bad guys from Home Alone,” Sally thought.

Twenty minutes later, no police had arrived to question her and she had finally finished winding the ball. She held it in her hand and tossed it up and down. It was hefty and almost too large for her to palm properly.  A full hank of yarn, easily.

Sally rolled up her window and pulled over to the side of the street. She fished her cell phone out of her pocket and dialed Anne’s number.

“You won’t believe what just happened,” she caroled, when Anne picked up. “Are  you, by any chance, missing a ball of blue yarn?”

Ode to A Yarn Bombing



I met a Raveller from an antique land

Who said: ‘Two vast and trunkless* legs of bronze

Stand in the town square. Above them, on the man,

Half shrunk, a soggy sweater clings, whose size,

And gathered hip, and fitted wrist band

Tell that its knitter well those contours read.

Which yet survive, draped about these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them while the town was in bed.

And on its breast these intarsia’d words appear –

“My name is Knittymandias, king of kings:

Look on these crafty works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal turtleneck, littered everywhere

The scattered strands of  yarn stretch far away.’

*Not wearing pants

A shameless rip-off of Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Roman warrior Domus – The first action of the group Yarnbombing Coruñés photo by mc2. As seen on http://www.knittingyarn.com

Image from Wool-love functional fiber art blog