Monday, March 30, 2009


This past Friday the students on our campus staged a knit-in event at the student union in order to raise awareness (and $$$) about the genocide in Darfur. Earlier in the week I had been a guest knitter (!!) in a Women's Studies class that was also participating in the event. Beyond selfishly wondering about whether I had finally crossed the magic threshold which would allow all my yarn to become tax-deductable seeing as I was (sort of) teaching a knitting class, I was truly inspired by the will and determination of the Knitivists.

With the exception of the excitement generated during the last election, this campus tends to be one of the lesser politically engaged ones I've been at (unless beer drinking is a political act, cuz in that case this might very well be one continual May '68 round these parts). I was raised by two rabble rousers myself and admit that as an undergrad I might have handed out leaflets for a leftie organization and picketed a few meat packing plants because a. these were interests of mine and b. I was desperately trying to hang on to a dead-end relationship with the president of the progressive student organization on campus and pathetically making sure that no other PIRG chicks were horning in on my territory. (Scott S. if you are reading this you still owe me $40 and I want all my Paul Auster novels back). So it was exciting to see this activism on campus and I am glad to say that the students are a good deal more committed than yours truly was back in the day.

Students came by and the group talked to them about Darfur and taught them to knit. I chitchatted with several of the students and enjoyed seeing so much interest in both causes. My only regret is that I didn't bring some smaller wooden needles to donate as I wonder if trying to learn on those giant aluminum needles isn't much harder than it needs to be...
Harajuku Hoop Has Arrived!
Both events were exciting. One of the joys of working on a college campus is that there are groups for every possible interest. This weekend my Harajuku Hoop arrived from Hoopnotica, and ever since I have been trying to get the hang of hooping. (Thanks Stephanie for the inspiration!) My next mission is to hook up with the campus Hoopers and really revisit my youth...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New for Spring: Pond Scum

Anniversary Cowl in STR Pond Scum
So the stink eye from the rejected skein of STR for Ishbel was too much for me. I had to knit it up right away, it was an imperative. And I am so glad I did! I wore this cowl on an early morning brisk walk around the borough (Keystone State REPRESENT). It felt so lovely to have Pond Scum around my neck. And I have now just written the most unlikely sentence ever in the history of knitblogging.
Anniversary Cowl in STR Pond Scum
The Specs
Pattern: Anniversary Cowl by Orinda5
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight, Pond Scum. This pattern calls for two strands held together, and I was happy to oblige.
Needles: Size 7
Anniversary Cowl in STR Pond Scum
The springy-sproinginess of this pattern and yarn combo cannot be overstated. This might be one of my favorite cowls ever! I'm surprised that more knitters haven't given this pattern a try, it's completely mindless knitting and I know that everyone reading this has some extra solid sock yarn around. Notice I said SOLID. Variegated yarn would be a mistake. Even tragic.
Anniversary Cowl in STR Pond Scum
Last week's concert was transcendent. We had such a great time in Pittsburgh: the Curmudgeon, who was behind the wheel, actually drove to Knit One on his own, without any cajoling or simpering on my part, parked in front and said "Oh, I mean, this is where you wanted to go first, right?". He then proceeding to go to the back table, slump over and take a half hour nap. When he came to he asked "So, what did you get?". It is best not to try to understand his curious ways and just accept his mercurial nature.

What I got was some Koigu, a sock yarn for which I have a renewed liking. When I look at my Ravelry page, I see that I have actually been a prolific sock knitter at one time in my life, and I'm trying to get back to that place even though I cannot even image what that would look like. Yes, such is my current mindset of alienation from the socks. I'm thinking about some plain stockinette socks, just to reacquaint myself with the whole sock thing. But I'd be willing to entertain suggestions if you have any...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

File Under: Long Term WIP Round-Up!

There is nothing more satisfying that serving up a hot plate of Finished Object on this blog. For such a purpose cowls, hats and mittens exist--they're fast, fun and finish quite quickly. However currently I seem to be working on several long term projects whose end is nowhere in sight. Time for a round-up!

1.) The Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, filed under 'what the &*%*^% was I thinking??':

Oh sure, she's a beaut. And that Louet Gems is quite aptly named. But an XL cardigan in Sport Weight on size 5 needles? Really? Please also factor in the fact that because it's a cable and lace project, you don't get any respite on the WS--your ass is knitting in pattern on both sides. The project was put away last summer and relegated to the 'you are dead to me (zzzz) zone of Ravelry' , but recently I've pulled it out hoping that maybe the new improved me were somehow faster and more skilled now. And no, as it turns out, my skills are still the same and this mother is going to take foreveeer...

2.) The Modern Quilt Wrap, filed under 'Can I pay you to just finish this for me?'

Babs is currently sporting one of these that her mother made and it is a stunner. Big Babs if you're reading this: I WORSHIP YOU. I love this it. I want it. The Silky Wool is a joy. And the mitred squares are fun. And I don't even mind the weaving in the ends part. But man alive this is taking a toll on me. I spent two full days last week only working on it and a. made scant progress and b. felt like I was a turn-of-the-century garment industry worker. So if you're looking for some extra cash...

3.) The Classic EZ 'Brooks' Sweater, filed under 'Only to be worked on when you're not pissing me off'.

I had been wanting to give the Berocco Inca Gold a whirl for quite some time, and given my love for the EZ lifestyle, this pattern seemed like a no-brainer. The problem with this one is the recipient: a certain little doom-and-gloom forecaster that we like to call the Curmudgeon. Folks this New Economic Reality® represents for him a huge 'I told you so moment' as he wags his finger at the responsible parties (read: everyone) but also a time of extreme worry and doubt. Which is expressed as negativity. At me. So yeah--I love him dearly, but the second he starts ranting, this sweater is PUT AWAY. You will note that I am 9 inches into it. Will I make it to attach the sleeves? Only the Dow Jones knows!

Tonight I am going with the Curmudgeon to see the only person on this planet that can spew bile in a more uplifting fashion than him.
Irish Blood, English Heart

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Ishbel in Hazel Knits 'Euphorbia'
I knew Ishbel was in my future once I saw Yahaira's unbelievably gorgeous rendition over on Flickr. Because this pattern called for sock yarn for non-sock purposes, we were meant to be. After many Flickrpeeps' suggestions, I decided on the Hazel Knits in 'Euphorbia'. This decision was a tough one. VĂ©ro and others made the case for 'Pond Scum' and as it is now giving me the stink eye from the bottom of the yarn pile, I might have to break it out for some socks.
Ishbel in Hazel Knits 'Euphorbia'
I was going gang busters as my dad would say on the stockinette portion of Ishbel and then totally ran out of gas when I hit the lace chart. I mean everything came to a grinding, screeching halt. Luckily all it took to get going again was seeing Miss Abundance's version and her little words of encouragement to keep going and I was on a roll once again. Thanks Lisa!
Ishbel in Hazel Knits 'Euphorbia'
The Specs
Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Hazel Knits Sock Yarn in 'Euphorbia'
Needles: Size 6
Mods: I made the smaller one but can well imagine that the larger version in a dk weight might kick some serious ass.
Ishbel in Hazel Knits 'Euphorbia'Ishbel in Hazel Knits 'Euphorbia'
The shots above remind me of many hours of neighborhood hijinx playing 'Fiddler on the Roof'. All the girls would grab a dish towel and twirl around belting out the songs from our driveway Anatevka. Enjoy:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Classy Grassy

Grassy in Classy Lagoon
I know I've written before about almost not being able to use certain yarns because of the stoopid names they've been given. 'Princess' feels like it's targeted at a demographic that I want to do everything in my power to disassociate from. 'Angel Kiss' makes me throw up in my mouth a little. 'Eco-Wool' seems to play on our ever increasing green guilt and somehow smells a little fishy. And well 'Classy' basically makes me want to poke my eyes out with the nearest knitting needle. Luckily such superficial considerations didn't prevent me from using some Dream in Color (also deeply dorky but I'll let it slide) from the stash for a quick birthday present for my gorgeous pal Meredith.
Grassy in Classy Lagoon
My pattern of choice in this instance is LB's Grassy. I had made one last year in a rush and somehow short changed myself from really enjoying the pattern. I think I was in such a rush that I might have even bound off early--wtf? Anyway--this week I was in the right frame of mind to enjoy it, and did so immensely. If you are on the hunt for a fast cowl, Larissa Brown is your new BFF.
Grassy in Classy Lagoon
The Specs
Pattern: Grassy by Larissa Brown
Yarn: DIC Classy in 'Lagoon', about a third of a skein. This yarn is so much more appealing knit up than it is on the skein.
Needles: Size 7
Mods: I went up a needle size to make sure it wasn't too tight. I also made sure to steam block it as Larissa suggested to make the lace really stand out. My approach to steam blocking involves boiling some water in a pan and holding the cowl over it. Although I would sell an organ for a Rowenta, this far less sexy routine does do the trick.
Grassy in Classy Lagoon
Modern Quilt Wrap in Silky Wool
Tomorrow begins the week long expanse of time known as spring break. You know you are getting old when these words connote not drinking with your shirt off in Daytona but rather staying home and knitting. My projects? Finishing Ishbel, casting on the Libby sweater for Peeper-Lou and finishing the Modern Quilt Wrap, a project that consists entirely of mitred squares in Silky Wool. Way more exciting than jello shots and Coppertone capers, right?