Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mind on Minneapolis

I am moving!! I will be leaving Lawrence on June 17th to start a new job in Minneapolis. I've got housing (mostly) figured out and am already checking out the local scene for knitting groups and yoga classes.

So, before I can go, I have some yarn to unload... Everything I own (and am moving) has to fit in my car. It seems like the perfect time to let go of some yarn that has travelled with me a few times, but never fulfilled itself in the project I originally envisioned for it. I have included pictures with descriptions below. Email me or leave comments below if you are interested in purchasing anything.

Buyer pays actual shipping costs. I prefer payment by PayPal but can discuss other options if needed.

Victorian Brushed Mohair, Halcyon Yarns

70% Mohair, 25% wool, 6% nylon

Worsted Weight, 1025 yards


1 - $30.00

I bought this to use for a first hand-painting project, but "never got around to it". I think I am just too intimidated by the dying process. I want it to be perfect -- so I'm better off buying someone else's handpainted items.


Laika, Bouton d’Or

100% Superwash Wool

Bulky weight, 54 yards

$4.00 each or $160 for the whole lot

14 skeins - Pink

18 skeins - Blue

13 skeins - Gray

I bought these three colors of yarn BEFORE I knew how to knit with the intention of learning and then making a BLANKET as a wedding gift for my best friend and her husband. They will be celebrating their third anniversary this month so I figure I should probably consider an alternate plan :) The yarn is from France. I purchased it during a trip to Marseille in the south of France. All of the balls are wound in to center pull "cakes" because I wanted them to travel back to the US easily.


Lush, Classic Elite Yarns

50% Angora, 50% Wool

Worsted weight, 125 yards

$7.00 /skein

5 skeins – Green

This is gorgeously soft angora/wool yarn. I have used this brand of yarn for baby hats and just love it.

1 cone of linen/rayon blend

I have no idea how much is on the cone but there is A LOT.


I used some of this to make a purse and am not sure what else I would do with it. It is a sportweight yarn that works great double-stranded. The color is more of a light-pink instead of the cream color it appears to be in the picture.


I can wind any of these yarns into center-pull cakes if you like and will ship using whatever method you prefer. Happy Knitting!

Monday, April 17, 2006


Is there anyone else out there who is less than impressed with the latest Knitty? Ew. I didn't see one pattern that I would even consider making. Is it because they are will with cotton and I'm used to wool? What happened?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Assassination Vacation

I've been busy with the rest of my life that got pushed aside for the knitting olympics: cleaning, paperwork, and reading, mostly. And it seems as though my "I'm not cooking when I need to be knitting" philosophy lead to some pretty intense vitamin deficiencies during those two weeks. Recently, I went to the grocery store and bought this: a pound of brussel sprouts, a bag of spinach, green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, and bok choy. I apparently needed GREEN.

Despite my post-Games catching up, I did spend significant knitting time this past weekend working on my first ever glove (which I also designed). There are some details I want to work out still on it and I'll be writing down the pattern this time as I knit the second one, but I'm glad to say it has five fingers and it actually fits. Hooray! I'd like to submit it to Knitty for the summer collection, but April 1st is looking rather ambitious since I'd want to knit several more to get the pattern worked out perfectly and would also need snappy cool photos of the finished gloves. Good thing glove patterns aren't likely to go the way of ponchos. They're a classic pattern.

I've decided to name the pattern Cute. And I have some optional embellishments planned that would make the gloves Cuter. (Are you rolling your eyes yet? Good.... That's what I'm going for. :)

And for the part of my today's entry about which I am most excited, I am introducing a new element to the blog -- book reviews. As my good friends will attest, I am a library enthusiast and am constantly checking out books - fiction, books about science and metaphysics, yoga, knitting, cooking, and politics. So, in order to better document my reading, and to share some of my excitement over the books I'm enjoying, I am going to begin reviewing the books. I'll also post what the next book is going to be so that, by off chance, if you care to read along with me, you'll know where I'm headed next. I'd love your feedback and suggestions for future selections.

Assassination Vacation
, by Sarah Vowell

I was originally intrigued by this book because of an interview Sarah Vowell did on the Conan O'Brien show awhile back. She seemed smarter than your average late-night talk show guest. And she was funny (I was going through a comedy stage then). So I reserved her book and have just now, now that the socks are done, had the chance to read it.

Assassination Vacation, a travel essay, reads like a friend recounting her most recent trip. You’re sitting in a cafĂ© together downtown and, over coffee, she’s describing the places and people she’s seen in her travels. And just as an eloquent but easily distracted friend might do, she takes her stories on tangents, making delightful connections between events and coincidences. As an obvious enthusiast for American history, Vowell studied the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley and dedicated herself to visiting the physical evidence, obvious and obscure, of these events. While there is a pretext of connection between their deaths, that Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln, was nearby at the moment of each of their murders, this fact struck me more as another one of Vowell’s coincidences rather than a thread holding her story together. Indeed, as she traipsed around a Florida Keys prison island (now a national park) to see where Lincoln’s assassin’s possible accomplice, Dr. Samuel Mudd, served his sentence, I sometimes wondered what the descriptions of the 1867 yellow fever outbreak had to do with President Lincoln’s death. While rereading that section, I could find no detail describing how long Dr. Mudd was imprisoned. I know I read it somewhere, but Vowell’s style, though an engaging history lesson, does not lend itself so much to the fact-checking. I would argue, however, that Vowell’s entertaining but rambling prose always has a direction and even when the story seems to be veering way off subject it is more likely that the reader just doesn’t understand yet where she’s headed. For example, in perhaps my favorite passage, she ties Maryland’s state motto to John Wilkes Booth to Timothy McVeigh to a fringe magazine called Southern Partisan to John Ashcroft. And it works.

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this book, and you don’t have to know anything about politics or presidential assassinations. Vowell’s knowledge of her subject is comprehensive and by tracking down every single landmark, museum, plaque on a building, and artifact related to these men’s stories, Vowell reconstitutes the complexity of their lives at the time of their deaths. Her intense curiosity reveals not only details like bullets on display at Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was shot, but also involves climbing the mountain President Roosevelt (then the VP) was hiking when he discovered that McKinley had been shot. Perhaps most refreshing, and this book’s most endearing quality, is Vowell’s patriotism. It fills the corners of this book and kept me reading through some of the passages that seemed a bit too tangential. There are references to current political events, comparing policies and word choice and outcomes, with a context we rarely get when reading news articles. I’ve certainly never encountered references to McKinley’s imperialistic policies in relation in recent news articles.

I probably enjoyed this book most because I am the sort of person who stops at historical markers and, in general, likes to know the significance of things. Vowell stops at all of the historical markers and gives the back story as well. Would I ever go visit the places she described now that I know their story? Probably not intentionally, but if I come to a plaque that mentions Leon Czolgosz, I’ll remember his claim to fame as McKinley’s murderer and appreciate the plaque even more. In the meantime, Assassination Vacation was an entertaining, mostly light-hearted read and I would, with enthusiasm, encourage you to check it out.

Next book: The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis. You can read about it here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I'm done!!!

Knitting Olympics 2006

I have a lot to say about the Olympics and what it meant to me to watch the Games this year. But tonight, I'm treating myself to some merlot and sitting back with toasty feet.

The last day

All I'm going to say is that I will be done by the end of closing ceremonies today. It's going to be tight, but I'll finish. If I spent anymore time writing about how the progress is going, I'd be wasting valuable knitting time. My final game day strategy: knit.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'm going to be just fine

There are less than five days left. I did the math and there are approximately 13,816 stitches in the completed sock (I say approximately because I fudged a bit with the math around the gusset and toe decreases). So far, I have knitted 2,924 stitches, which is 21% of sock #2. Considering I have the whole rest of today free to knit still, I will be just fine. I can knock out another 4,170 stitches today. No problem. Maybe more.


Please tell me I'm right...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Now the race is on

I finished sock one last night in a marathon 4 hour knitting session.

I'm pretty sure this is the best sock I've ever produced. I wonder if that's because I'm more experienced or because I followed a pattern exactly as written. I think it's both. My gusset stitches are smooth and even and look identical on both sides. I've used this same technique for gusset stitches on previous socks and not gotten the same results.

Could be the yarn too. Anyway, it all came together and I'm quite pleased with myself. Inspired enough (hopefully) that the second sock won't be a drag.

I'm casting on during my lunch break today...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Day Eight - Half Way

I WILL finish the first sock today.

I've been watching the Olympics all day and knitting (that was the point of this challenge, right?) and the most inspiring event I've seen since the start of this year's Games was the women's biathalon (sp?). They had to cross-country ski and shoot targets, which, honestly, seemed like a strange combination of talents at first. It's actually a very compelling sport. Kind of like when I watch a dance-related movie, I want to go out and dance -- well, I watched these women tough out a grueling 10km cross-country race with pitstops to shoot at silver dollar-sized targets and literally felt the need to move to Colorado so that I could give this sport a try.

Yeah, right, right? But that's how I felt while watching. When I was younger I watched the ice skating events with such anticipation. It was a sport that my mom and I followed and I knew how to be excited when someone was going to do a triple axle or some other difficult jump. Of course, I never did figure out how to tell the difference between the jumps -- I could only be impressed by the number of rotations they did. This biathalon was different though. Without knowing how to shoot a gun or any of the techniques involved in cross-country skiing, I could totally imagine the challenge of this event. It was endurance and strength. I am totally impressed.

My event requires endurance too. I WILL finish the sock today...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Yarn Harlot says "9 days, 19 hours left"

Oh my god! While, for me, the progress I'm making on the sock(s) is fantastic, I'm running behind. As of Tuesday (day 5) I was working on the leg and was just about ready to start the heel flap...

Today, I am done picking up the stitches around the heel flap and am about to watch a movie and begin decreasing for the gusset stitches. Relatively speaking I'm being speedy, but technically, I am supposed to finish this sock tomorrow and begin the second on Saturday. eek!

However, as I was describing my knitting progress to my best friend Jaime, I realized that the major hurdle for me with this project has already passed. Just the sticking to my plan and not getting tempted away by other projects was a major challenge. After knitting with my KnitLawrence friends on Saturday, I came home and started thinking about all of the other kinds of knitting projects I could have chosen for the Olympics. I even have all of the materials I need to make this lace shawl which would certainly be a challenge as I've never done a truly 'lace' project yet. And as I sat on the couch working on the sock and stewing over the idea of dropping it and starting the shawl instead, I realized just by sticking with the socks, I was completing a part of my personal challenge. Just sticking with my project and not setting it aside for a different project or whim was huge. And it's not like I'm bored with the sock by any means. It's just that I'm constantly wanting to move on to more seemingly interesting things.

I did break my rule a bit by reading a novel (gasp!) this week. The Center of Everything is the Read Across Lawrence 2006 book. It's a smart book I would have enjoyed as a teenager, but which still engaged me as an adult. The author lives in Lawrence and the book takes place in Kansas so, while I didn't grow up here, I felt very close to the story. It was like reading A Moveable Feast by Hemingway while living in Paris. I love being able to tie books and movies and music to a place or experience.

I feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the books I want to read right now so I think I will go sit back down on the couch and knit and watch a movie.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Today it's mind on yoga

This is the first Wednesday I've had off in over a month. I've been working overtime a lot and I really feel like I'm playing hooky today - even though it is a scheduled day off. I did yoga this morning -- maybe because I've been reading lots of back issues of Yoga Journal this week, but I felt really inspired to just make up whatever I want to do and not worry about the order of the poses or how long I stay in them or how many repititions I do. I challenged myself this week to do five repetitions of surya namaskar, sun salutations, which is important to maintain (In the past, I would tell myself I would do them and would get through one cycle and quit), but other than that, I was pleased to do one set of Trikonasana, Warrior I and II and a couple of other standing poses. I usually feel inordinately challenged by these poses in class, as if the length of the hold and number of repetitions of one pose will push me beyond my endurance and strength. But doing it on my own for the length of time I decided felt invigorating. It was funny because as I was trying to sink into supta virasana I realized there were a couple of other poses I wanted to do that would normally be done earlier in a class. For a minute I felt like I shouldn't do them, but then I realized this really was my practice and I could do them in whatever order I felt like doing them. I know there are extra benefits to practicing certain poses or types of poses in specific orders, but there has to be some benefit as well to just doing what your body seems to be wanting.

Also, I tested something out today when I got through all of the poses and was ready for savasana. It occurred to me recently that the benefits I feel from this pose could be more related to it being a kind of "still point" a la cranio-sacral therapy than an opportunity for me to focus on my breathing. At least, in my case, I've never been terribly successful at pushing out extraneous thoughts during savasana, but I definitely would argue that I feel the benefits of this pose. So I used my makeshift sacro-wedgie (SW) to create a still point for my sacrum and laid in corpse pose until my pelvis released the tension and I was able to sink around the SW. After awhile I removed it and lay in savasana for who knows how long. I definitely think it helps -- I was actually able to focus on my breath for a longer period of time, and when my mind drifted back to "regular" thoughts, I felt they were more focused, less chaotic.

Anyway, I want to explore this connection between savasana and CST still points. I definitely think there is a link.

In knitting news, I'm so excited about starting my socks I can hardly stand it. I don't think there has been a time since I began knitting when I wanted to do a project and couldn't. I've never felt this sort of anticipation for my knitting before. I think its a totally exciting new way of looking at my projects. And I'm competitive enough to get a real charge from having this deadline and challenge ahead of me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Knitting Olympics

When the Yarn Harlot announced her plan to start the Knitting Olympics - a challenge to knitters to choose a project that stretches their abilities and complete it within the 10 day Olympics run - I was, of course, skeptical. Not one to really enjoy joining the mad rush after some latest fad, I sat back and watched. And then one day, Stephanie announced that more than 2400 knitters had joined herparty. 2400, eh? I consider that something more than a bandwagon. It's a movement.

So I took stock of my stash and found the perfect personal challenge - fingering weight sock yarn by Cherry Tree Hill. As outlined in the rules of the game, we could swatch beforehand but no casting on until the opening ceremony. Good thing I did too or my finished socks would have been lacier than intended. The gauge was awful. So I dropped down to size ONE needles. ONE. My 'challenge' in this game is 1) complete a pair of socks in 10 days (remember, the last pair took nearly a year) - i.e. not get distracted by other projects, and 2)use the smallest DPNs I've worked with so far. Of course, the second part shouldn't be too bad. In general I like DPNs and if they give me great gauge without fretting over keeping the yarn really tight, all the better.

Now that I've joined, I'm in 100% and getting excited. I'm looking forward to the real Olympics with a zeal I'm not sure I would have had otherwise.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

One less work in progress

I have felt inspired recently to work through my WIPs and get them out of the living room WIP bag. Especially since some of them are ridiculously close to being completed. Take the bunny that only needs one arm stuffed and sewn on, two ears attached, and a face embroidered.

How cute will it be when those limbs are united with the rest? I'm going to take Bunny with me to Knit Lawrence today to finish it up.

Or the baby sweater that would probably be done already if I didn't keep losing the directions to the right front panel in my paperwork black hole. Right after I finish writing this entry I'm going to try to find that pattern (i.e. clean up my desk).

The true WIP victory though would be my Moving to Kansas socks that I started on the plane from Kentucky to Kansas. They were meant to be a thank-you gift to my best friend who I would soon be living with. She had been retrieving my shipped boxes from the post office over the previous couple of weeks and was going to pick me up at the airport. And, she was letting me stay with her while I looked for a job.

Alas, after the first sock was completed, I came down with second sock syndrome and yawned my way through the first half of the second one. I set it aside for other projects and, when summer came, convinced myself that it was silly to work on a sock when everyone was wearing sandals.

So almost a year has passed and finally, today, I completed the second sock...

I was so excited!! I was picturing wrapping it up and surprising Jaime with them -- she's seen the socks, but probably doesn't think I'll ever finish them.

When all of a sudden I saw the worst thing...

I DROPPED A STITCH. Like a long time ago. Of course, I immediately assume that I will have to frog all the way back to the gusset stitches and reknit. I knew I had one fewer stitches than I ought to have had, but I did some pretty intense searching for the lost stitch and finally had decided I had miscounted after doing the heel and gussets. Not so much.

My excitement for finishing a project was stronger than my desire to be perfect in this case. I sat back down on the couch and gave a go at picking up the stitch and then trying to find a way to save the orphan. I ended up pulling the loop to the inside, threading a bit of yarn through the loop and using a duplicate stitch technique to anchor the "lifeline" into the knitting.

It ended up looking like this


I am sure I am not the first to have saved a project by doing this sort of thing, but I must say I'm proud I figured it out before giving up and frogging about 10 hours of work.

If I can do that, surely I can finish bunny appendages. Right?