Thursday, October 25, 2007

We're Going to be in Pictures!

We're gonna be famous! We're gonna move to Hollywood! We're gonna get a sitcom! We're gonna drive convertibles . . .

Ok, I may be getting a bit carried away. But you never know - first CN8, next, the WORLD.

CN8 came to visit the shop last night, and is tentatively planning to air their "Holiday Knitting" extravaganza on It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle possibly on November 19th. We'll keep you posted on the date.

Of course, the reporter was a bit stymied when no one actually was doing any holiday knitting - but leave it to the Rosie's girls to be creative - "this sweater is for my sister, it's for her birthday . . . but it could be for Christmas."

No one doing holiday knitting??? Knitters, I hate to tell you this, but, that season is fast approaching. Here are my tips:

a. Don't do holiday knitting, knit for yourself.

b. If you can't do a, do the following:

1. Start early. If you come into the store on the Saturday before Christmas wanting to make grandma a sweater, I will surely sell you the yarn with a smile, but honey, you're not going to get it done. If you're planning a big project for mom, dad, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, other, whoever, plan and start early.

2. Prioritize. Make sure you knit for people who are going to appreciate it. If your six year old nephew wants a matchbox car (do they still make those?), get him the matchbox car, don't knit him a scarf. Save the knitting for those that will understand the love and care behind each stitch.

3. Don't get overwhelmed. It's just a holiday, it's supposed to be fun. If you have to give one sock still on the needle, or wrap up your sweater in parts (a box for the sleeve, a box for a body, etc.), it's all good.

So, if you're planning on doing holiday knitting - come into the shop - we'll help you through this trying time. Or, we'll convince you to knit for yourself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Diary of a UFO (or 4)

Or, "Why I Have 14 Projects On Needles At All Times."

Here's a quick overview of my knitting for the last two weeks:

I went to Stitches with two projects packed: a top-down sweater with the body finished and one sleeve on needles, and an unstarted sock.

When I got a moment to work on the sweater, a colleague looked at it and confirmed what I'd suspected for some time: the yarn is defective and the sweater will never look right. I'd been running on denial for weeks, but it's harder to ignore that little voice saying "That's not going to block out" when it's full-grown and outside your head.

Fixing it will require extensive ripping. I didn't have the heart for it, and there wasn't much point, since I didn't have any more yarn with me and will have to contact the manufacturer.

Let's call this UFO #1. I put it aside.

Then I picked up the sock needles and cast on for a rolled cuff and a simple two-color diagonal stripe pattern. The cuff went fine, but before I'd even started the stranded part, someone said, "Do you really think those two colors are going to read together?"

I kept going for an inch or two before admitting that no, they wouldn't. I considered a larger-scale stripe, which would be easier to read, but it still wouldn't be great. I decided maybe that yarn wanted to be lacy socks instead. I ravelled it out and put it aside, since I didn't have my stitch dictionaries with me. We'll call it UFO #2.

Now I was at Stitches and I had nothing to knit. There are, I know, worse predicaments. I found a beautiful skein of laceweight that I thought would go well with the #3 needles I'd brought for the socks. But it was a small skein (500 yds), and I didn't want to get involved in a large project anyway, since I happen to have two laceweight projects on needles at home already.

After some consultation with colleagues and books, I decided on Swallowtail from Knits sometime last year. With further help (thanks, Wendy!), I procured a copy of the issue in question, and cast on.

Swallowtail went beautifully over the next few days. I worked on it mostly on the bus. Then came the moment when I had to make some calculations about enlarging it. For this, I needed a postage scale and half an hour of good concentration. Getting either one was going to take a few days, so -- I put it aside. UFO #3.

Next, I cast on for a gift that has a definite deadline. Things have been going just swimmingly: I'm on gauge, on schedule, and I'm not using up the yarn too fast. But meanwhile, I got what I needed to continue with Swallowtail, and for a few days, I worked on both: Swallowtail is great for the bus because it's so compact; the other sweater is bulkier and mostly stays at home.

Then came the next stage of Swallowtail: the part where Wendy and Courtney had said, "Go get some beads. No one wants to do nupps." At the time, I thought, "Hmm, I like beads. But I know a trick for p3tog that will probably work for p5tog. And I don't think I have any beads the right color. So I'll try the nupps."

I got through almost half a row before giving up on that idea. Another couple days of working on the sweater while waiting to get to the bead store.

I got the beads last night, and they're great. But Swallowtail is now most definitely an at-home-only project.

Tonight is Knitting Circle. No problem, you say -- bring the sweater. But the recipient of the sweater is going to be at Knitting Circle, and I don't want her to see me working on it. So . . .

UFO #4, and I'll be casting on for something else tonight.

How do you one-project-at-a-time people do it?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stitch-o-rama Mama

So, are you all recovered from Stitches East? I am, just barely. And all I have to say is, "Whoa. I have never been so tired in my whole life." Stitches for me every year is kind of like going to summer camp, you see all the vendors and friends that you only see at Stitches or TNNA, you go have some drinks and dinner, you shop together, you plan and plot. This year? I slept. What ever possessed me to think that I would be fine at Stitches 8 and a half months pregnant or not, I'll never know. My guess is that it is the same stubborn part of me that thinks I'll have a blast at Rhinebeck this weekend. I may be sleeping in the car.
BUT! That said, it was a really great weekend. Hello again to everyone we saw and sad we didn't see you to those who couldn't make it. I think I agree with Carol that it seemed less crowded this year, but I have also heard rumors that the numbers at the door were up. Who knows? Rosie's booth was busy, when I was there (I did lots of sleeping in the hotel room), and we sold lots of great projects. Kaffe came by Friday morning to sign his new book, which made many peoples day--and Brandon (who I think is one of my favorite people. One day when he is in Philly I am going to take him out on the town) stopped by and to say hello. Veronik signed her new lovely book that afternoon (I slept through it, but she forgave me) and it was great to se her again. And, I got some excellent Socks that Rock. I had a moment when I couldn't decide if making a baby blanket in a colorway called "Bleck" was okay or not, but in the end it is a nice lavender-ish grey and the baby will never know the color was named after a onomatopoeia for disgust. I thought I was going to make it through the weekend only having bought Socks that Rock but on the last day I got caught up in a whirlwind of Shadyside Farms yarn. It's just YARN. Good, old fashioned two ply softly handspun 100% wool yarn. It is sitting in the trunk of my car still with everything else I can't bring myself to carry up to our second floor apartment or I'd show you a picture. It's awfully nice. All in all, I think I was rather restrained.
It was a strange show for me though. In a way I feel like I wasn't even there. I was a bit in a daze the whole time I think. The crab whacking with the crew was great though. I'll see if I can get the rest of them to chime in.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


If you've got:

receipt pads
box cutters
trail mix
peanut brittle
breath-freshener strips
and a rental truck the size of a Septa bus --

what are you ready for?


At least, that's what you need if you're us. If you're you, all you need is comfortable shoes and some spending money. So come see us this weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center. Friday would be an especially good day, because Kaffe Fassett will be signing his new book, Kaffe Knits Again, at 10:30; Veronik Avery will be signing Knitting Classic Style at 2; and Brandon Mably will be signing Knitting Color at 4. Why not take a personal day to come meet some yarn-world bigshots? You deserve it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Smells Like Holiday Spirit

The holidays are coming. They are coming to get us. I have mixed feelings about this particular holiday season--a lot is going on this year. The wee babe is due to arrive sometime the end of November or beginning of December and that has really sucked all of the life out of me. I just looked up this morning and thought, "Holidays. Gifts. Knitting. Family. Oh, sh!t." It really hadn't occured to me at all. I have been just bopping along, with the occasional thought bubble that goes, "I should ask for that for christmas," and now I realize I haven't gotten anything for anyone, and have no plans to, and now that I am officially a grown-up no one is going to get me a damn thing either. And, yes yes, I know, it's not about the gifts it's about family and togetherness and celebrating the timely arrival of little Flippy and all that crap but really what is it we stress about around the holidays? Gifts. Money. Your drunk Aunt Fanny.
Am I a bad daughter if I don't get anyone anything? Am I a bad mother if I don't get my baby anything? Are you supposed to get your newborn a gift? I mean, it won't know the difference and haven't I just given the greatest gift of all (life, my perky breasts, my abdominal tone)? What do you get a newborn? I just bought a choo-choo train lamp on ebay, should I stick it in a box? Aren't I supposed to be more sentimental than this?
Am I just stressing about nothing?
And isn't that exactly what the holidays are about?
So, what are you guys knitting for your relatives this year?