We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Needles for Nothin' and Your Yarn for Free

The next line to this ditty would be: "I want my LYS."

The yarn store, where I've worked for nearly nine months now, is closing. Have I mentioned this? Today is our last day open.

It is, in the long run, as they say, a good thing.


It is.

I know most of you (those who haven't already, with your super-intense Jack Bauer-like abilities, sensed that there's been a sale going for three weeks now) are probably thinking, "A yarn store closing? How could a yarn store be closing?" You are probably saying to yourself, "How is that possible, a yarn store, the most sacred of places, would be going out of business?"

It's money, y'all. Not enough money in the town to keep our little shop afloat.

You gasp, I know. You say to yourself, "No! That can't be true! Anyone with a yarn store would have to be a millionaire, how could they not? I know what I spend on a monthly/weekly/daily basis in my LYS. I know what my friends spend in our LYS. I know there's got to be a reason my VISA weeps softly every time I pull it out of my purse. I know I must be bringing something home, there's a mountain of yarn in my house right now, in fact, I've not seen Fuffly since that last trip to my LYS when all the wool was marked down 20%, but even if she is stuck behind that wall of gorgeous fiber, she's got to be happy, for goodness's sake there's Cascade, Brown Sheep, and some really nice hand-dyed in there!"

You take a deep breath. You calm down. You remember your own fabulous stash. That feeling of dreamy contentment sets in. And then you continue musing. "So how could a store go out of business? I'd be a millionaire! There'd be so much business I'd be beating the customers away with a stick. Cash money, baby!

"Well maybe not a millionaire, I mean I'd have to buy some yarn for myself and that would eat a little into my profit, but mainly, except for that yarn- and that yarn- and that- and that- I'd make a prof- no, that one too- and- HEY, YOU, GET AWAY FROM MY YARN!!!"

More deep breathing. Maybe some thoughts on those slick new Addi Turbos you bought last week, and you'd realize, yarn store owning is a slippery slope. One minute you're pushing free point protectors on a friend you've know since grade school, the next you've barricaded yourself into your downtown shop, patterns books strapped to your body, Lantern Moons in each hand, acid-free yarn dye swabbed across your face, yelling, "FREEEEEEEEDDDOM" at anyone who happens to be crossing the street.

Not that that is what happened in this case.

Here's what I think is the truth: there aren't that many people crafting these days.

You gasp. You're bewildered. Harriet knits. Donna knits. Polly crochets, your mother turns out afghans like it's the eighties and she's a top-selling cocaine producer, Jane, Hillary, Lisa- all knitters!

I think, as knitters, we're a little deluded- No, not deluded, sorry, wrong word. I would never call a knitter deluded. I know you're going to make all eighteen sweaters you've bought yarn for, neatly bagged and organized in your craft/guest bedroom (hey Miz Knotty!) and I know those eight- oh, ten, now? that's right you're doing Clapotis. Oh, and you cast-on another pair of socks? which ones? oo, Baudelaire, I LOVE those- what kind of yarn are you- hold on- what we were talking about? Oh, OK, unfinished projects. Sorry. I know those ten U.F.O.s you're going to finish any day now. Really! We knitters are a sensible, rational group who only make thoughtful, reasonable decisions, always factoring money, time, and the possession of only two hands into the equation.

So it's not deluded exactly. I think we're choosy, that's the word. We tend to surround ourselves with others who share our passion. I mean, it makes sense right? If you're an alcoholic, where do you go, the local hardware store? No! You go to a bar! Knitters are the same way. When we could be shopping for groceries, working on our gardens, cleaning our homes, feeding our families, are we? No! We're at the local yarn store, right where we belong. Because that's sensible.

Whether you're a person who loves miles and miles of garter stitch scarves, living a "when I run out of yarn, I'm done" rules-to-the wind type life (hey Mum Knitter!) or you're not satisfied unless you're working a pair of Magic Loop, two-at-once, toe-up, Fair Isle, with a few pattern variations because you felt the short-row heel worked much better than the heel flap called for by the pattern author, socks (hey Knitty Yoda!) you gravitate towards others who share similar characteristics, namely a pair of needles or a hook in hand.

My point? We spend so much time with the three or five or fifty others who share our love of fiber, we forget that three or five or fifty does not an entire world make. And until we can bring more people over to the fold (or the path or the dark side- whatever you like to call it), we're still vastly outnumbered.

And this, as we wind out way back to the point, makes it difficult for a little store such as my LYS to stay in business. And while we have a base of hearty, never-fear-there's-always-more-yarn-to-buy knitters (some are reading this very blog- hey y'all!), they can't, though they try, keep us in business.

So our store closes, the store owner takes a deep breath of relief and sadness and our local knitters lose their temple.

I beseech you, wherever you may be, stop by your yarn store and let them know you care. Pick out that pattern book you've wanted forever, grab a box of stitch markers, maybe that flash pair of rosewood needles you've wanted, a bit of yarn and start something new. Do it for The Needle Works. Do it for your LYS. Do it for- Hang on, am I trying to give knitters a reason to go buy yarn? Oh for God's sake. You stopped reading hours ago, didn't you? I mentioned a sale, and you grabbed your bag and headed out the door. HANG ON! There's more!

When you've put together those items, I ask you, I beseech you, I implore you- find a good friend, an aunt, a neighbor, that woman there on the street- and teach her to knit. Or crochet. Or quilt. Or sew. And, hey, it doesn't have to be a woman. It's time the men start pulling their weight in this game we call crafting. Catch a group (a sporting event is the best place to find them) and assure them, all men are knitting, those football players, oh, sure, OF COURSE, they knit, just not on the field, it might be dangerous, and the yarn would get muddy. Now, here's a beer. And your remote. Let me show you a long-tail cast-on. See? You'd have those needles flying. I think you see my point. It's time we take action, beyond trying to single-handedly keep our local stores in business. We've got to get others involved, get moving, make fliers, start groups-

You're already knitting aren't you? You've stopped reading, you're knitting, you've got Knitty Gritty going in the background.

Well. I tried.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who Knew?

I am sailing through the baby blanket, even with a disturbing number of projects-at-once-itis. All the components of what I love are here. This blanket is: a) square, b) made from cotton with just a hint of wool, and c) all knits and purls to create the interesting design. Which is exactly like...

Got it?

Any ideas?

That's riiiiight- a dishcloth!

I'm making an enormous dishcloth and I couldn't be happier.

Though, perhaps, I shouldn't mention that to the expecting mama.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Who Ordered the Restraining Order?

I've not wanted to say anything, for fear of jinxing it, but there is a a tour. A Summer 2007 Tour.

And we're going.





Here too.

This one and this one.

And this one.

Oh. And this one.

I'm sorry, one hundred feet of what? Must stay back who?

Some people like to spend their money on things like homes, cars, college funds, kidney transplants... The Hubba and I feel the wise investments are DMB tee shirts and Live Trax albums. (Funny story: The Hubba insisted the next DMB concert released to CD would be the Las Vegas shows and he's been right. So when Dave sings Sweet Caroline that'll be us you hear shouting "Bumbumbum!" and "So good! So good!" Us and 11,996 others. Just for you, Knitty Yoda. Bumbumbum!)

The first concert is in Chicago and we'll be going with the Hajeks. Much in the way CSI was so popular a show it couldn't be kept only in Las Vegas, so goes the way of the Bryant to Hajek Connection. BHC: Chicago.

The rest of the tour we'll be doing on our own (this might not be entirely true: The Hajek bought tickets for Renee and he to join us for the Raleigh and Charlotte concerts in September. There are a few small hiccups to this plan, only that they live in Charleston, she will be almost eight months pregnant at this point and he hasn't told her. I think this is the place where The Hajek would say *cough*). I've got a few nerves about the Hollywood Bowl, but, as long as Jack Bauer is on the scene, we'll be fine. We're going to have to trust him.

Some (a little over a billion people, in fact) call this year of 2007 the Year of the Pig. The Hubba and I are calling it The Year of the DMB. Who have a song called "Pig." If ever there was a path ordained by God...

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Pass Me the Ritalin

In a bizarre moment of knitter ADD (bizarre for me at least) I've started a fourth project.

We know I'm working on this:

and I think I've mentioned frogging this and starting over a sweater for The Hubba:

and, of course, the mystery gift, behind door number two, that you cannot see.

I'm pretty well stocked with knitting right now and it's a great variety of projects. I work on the stole when I only need to pay some attention, the sweater, with it's rows and rows of stockinette stitch, when I'm paying no attention (particularly beneficial during exciting television shows) and the double-secret probation project when I want to concentrate.

There is absolutely no explanation for the sudden and strong impulse that seized me yesterday to make this baby blanket for our friends, the Hajeks:

They don't know the baby's gender so I picked this Cascade Sierra (in an eighty-twenty cotton-wool blend) in a honey-gold color:

This comes on the heels of a month that I've not felt knitting inspired. The desire, it appears, for yarn and needles, is coming in feast or famine mode (good to note, I also have this feeling towards chocolate though I tend to feast far more than I famine) and at the moment we're feasting.

So far I'm not feeling any "too many projects'' nerves. I have high hopes for finishing everything I've started. I won't be starting anything new until I've finished one or two of these. I'm sure this isn't the start of a new (bad) habit. Everything is fine. And I'll be knitting again momentarily. As soon as my eye stops twitching.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gettin' Lacy With It

What I first feared would be a real trial I'm now absolutely crazy about.

Turns out that which does not kill me makes me crave more lace patterns and JaggerSpun wool-silk blend yarn.

I don't have much else to show knitting wise. There are other items on the needles, but they might be what you call *gifts* and therefore not blog-appropriate ;-). Instead, much in the way professional poker players "feel the felt", love the lace.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Killer Instinct (or lack thereof)

The Harry Potter KAL is coming along swimmingly, but, unfortunately, we recently had to pick a winner for the first contest. I'm not a person for picking one from many. It had to be done and it's exciting to think about the person who thinks "me, they chose me!" but there's also the part of all the people who didn't win that bothers me. Do you think that's how Communism started? Maybe no one was really thinking about right to land, and dead peasants and starving children. Maybe there was a contest for some land and Marx (Karl, not Groucho) couldn't decide.

Marx: Oy Vey! [he seemed like an "oy vey" kind of guy, don't you think?) I don't know!
Second in Command: We've got to pick one.
Marx: Just one?
Second in Command: Just one.
Marx: Maybe we pick one out of the hat, yes?
(Lots of eye rolling, foot shuffling and exaggerated throat clearing from his followers.)
Second in Command: No, Karl. We've got to choose.
Muttered, under someones breath: Could we get Groucho to run this mess?
Marx: What? What was that? Oooh... I don't know... maybe... maybe they all win, yeah? Maybe EVERYBODY wins. That's it. Everybody gets the same amount of land. And then I don't have to pick, no one feels bad, and I can get a nap.


Annnyway, we did pick a winner- actually, maybe we picked two winners. *Cough*

I would make a lousy shark.

Good news is, it's the weekend! Whoo-hoo, it's the weekeeennd!- sung to the tune of "Hey, hey it's the Monkees!"

You've got that song in your head now, don't you?

"And people think we monkey around."

You'll be singing it all day, huh?

"But we're too busy singing, to put anybody down!"

My gift. To you.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Someone Stop Me Before I Start Channeling Maria

On this rainy day in Burlington, when I've no work to go to, groceries to buy, dry cleaning to get or library books to return, hoping they won't notice it's two weeks late, here are a few of my fav-o-rite things:

Spend the whole day in pajamas. That's right. The whole day. Mind you, I showered, so the pajamas are different now from when I woke up this morning. Still.

Watch themed movies. First, I saw the third episode of Showtime's The Tudors and marveled over the fact that cable TV can take a subject like fifteenth century British royalty and turn it into The Sopranos. Next came both parts of the Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren, slightly classier than The Tudors but still a lot of cleavage on display and loss of body parts.

Knit on this:

and loved it. In theory that mess o' green lace will one day be the Arrowhead Stole from Interweave Knits.

Drink lots of hot tea with real sugar. Maybe ate a few Keebler Elf Fudge Grams too. Just a couple. Sometimes they stick together when you only planned on one. What are you gonna do?

On a day like today, you're going to eat them, that's what.

Happy Windsday!


Thursday, April 05, 2007


First, a totally delicious and unsuspected gift from my first Sockret Pal.

Six balls of sock yarn (three total sets), two pairs of DPNs (size 1 and size 0- perfect!) and a box of green tea! WHOO-HOO! But not just that. One of the most gorgeous pairs of socks I've ever laid eyes on.

These socks thrill me. Not only do they fit perfectly, not only do they have a lovely design, but there's a little something else. I can't explain why, but something about the colors of the yarn tickles a nice, but vague memory- something from when I was five or so, maybe even younger. Isn't that weird? Almost like having a dream, in that you can't place it, but you can sort out what the feeling of it is. These socks give me that feeling and it is lovely. Thank you so much Sockret Pal One! You are too, too kind.

Speaking of dreams, we finally finished season five of 24 last night and I say, Thank God. Last night I had 24 filled dreams. Most conversations on the show are something like:
Jack (talking into the little earset thing he wears): I'm going to have to diffuse this nuclear bomb right here.
Chloe (making her little twisty face): You only have three minutes before it goes off.
The rest of CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit): Jack, you have to get out of there!
Jack: Millions of people will die if I don't stop this.
For some reason, he always gets really growly on the word "die".

My dream was more like:
Jack: We've got to get this shawl started.
Chloe: Jack, you've only got three minutes to cast-on 140 stitches.
The rest of CTU: Jack, you've got to put the knitting down!
Jack: Millions of people will die if I don't stop this.
I can't explain why the knitting and the nuclear bomb threatened the same outcome.

Still, I'm glad to be shut of Jack and crew for a little while, at least until season six comes out on DVD and the whole sick dance begins again.

Finally- Inspiration! In my continual angst of "I've Never Met a Sweater Pattern That Didn't Intimidate Me" I found The One. Interweave Fall 2006- Glasgow Lace.

I LOVE this sweater. I've bought the yarn and everything. I'm actually looking forward to casting-on. It's a whole new day.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Somewhere, Beyond the Sea

I've been brought up short in my knitter world this weekend. In recent posts, there has been a lack of knitterly information. Today we're going to change that.

I could give you two reasons for the lack of yarn content: one, I've been on a collision course with time to finish a pair of socks for my Sockret Pal and two, I've just not felt knitting inspired. My concentration has been locked up entirely in these socks which I've not felt motivated to finish, probably because I thought when they were finished, now what? (Sorry for that Pal, you get to be part of my craft-angst issues- how lucky!).

I finished the socks Friday morning, at the yarn store, and said, the inevitable, "Now what?" At first I cast on for a lace stole I've been planning, but ten or eleven rows in I noticed a flaw and ripped the whole thing out. Then... what? Wondering around the store, at a loss for my next project, not one thing in my knitting bag to work on- and then I saw it.

In a black wire basket.

Lily's Sugar n'Cream cotton.

The memories rushed back. In minutes I had seized a gorgeous ball of periwinkle blue, hopped on the internet, and printed off exactly the right pattern. I cast on around four Friday afternoon and Friday evening, after several episodes of Season Five from 24, I was back, baby!

Some size 6 Addis, a ball of cotton, a pattern and I had:

Betsy the Bass brought me back to my knitter roots.

I realized, in that moment, how easy it is to loose your beginnings. I couldn't pinpoint where it started. I can still remember walking into my local LYS, an eager knitter, with no clue as to what she was doing and two hands that would prove ham-like in their initial maneuvering of a pair of needles and yarn. I can still feel the aluminum size 7 Susan Bates in my hand, learning the long-tail cast-on and the basic knit stitch. After several attempts I had this

a plain garter-stitch dishcloth, in hideous neon colors, to show for my very first ever knitting project. I was so proud! Within a few weeks, I whipped out several more, including a pair of matched (!) dishcloths for my stepmom and a scarf for my mom for Mother's Day. What achievement! What success!

Again, I'm not sure when it happened. One minute I'm working along in squares with simple knit-purls for contrast, the next I'm hanging out with sock knitters, discussing the merits of heel flaps to short rows and contemplating my first lace project, dishcloths forgotten.

It's a good thing I've progressed. I'm betting doughnuts to dollars I'd be the dullest knitter in America to talk to if, nearly a year later, I hadn't moved past my dishcloth roots. I love hats, and socks, and bags. I can already tell I'm going to enjoy lace knitting and I can't wait to get serious about a sweater. Still. Sometimes you've got to remember where you came from, to reflect back on what got you started, maybe pour one out for your homies.

Betsy the Bass did that for me.