Monthly Archives: October 2009

It’s a sickness

Dear Anna,

I fell off the wagon.  I bought yarn.

You know how I imposed the No New Yarn Until Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest Rule?  I fully intended to knit from my very well-stocked yarn loft . . . and I still do . . . but I had a bit of a breakdown this past week.

It all started very well-meaning enough.  I was about to finish my Marlene’s and needed a new project.  Ron asked for a new beanie and he since he wears his current Koolhaas hat just about every day, he is definitely beanie worthy.  I wanted to knit a hat that would look like it came from one of the surf shops he typically goes shopping at – something on tiny needles with thin yarn.  I decided on the Pismo Beach Hat (Rav Link) but also briefly considered doing something similar to the Waffle Hat (Rav Link) only with lighter weight yarn.

This meant that I needed to pick up a skein of yarn since I didn’t have any sock yarn handy that met the needs of this particular man hat (i.e. in the colors of black, brown, blue, or gray – solid).  This also meant it was a perfect opportunity to check in on a brand new knitting store that just opened up in Vista about ten minutes from my office.  I didn’t take pictures (forgot my camera) but it’s a cute, somewhat small, but well-stocked store carrying a range of yarn. Friendly without breathing down your neck or pestering you. I selected a skein of Heritage Solid Sock by Cascade (I knit my Marlene’s out of this yarn and I LOVE it) and a skein of Jawoll Superwash Lang Yarns in blue so Ron could choose.  Then, I saw that they were having a 30 percent off sale on Jitterbug . . . and they had the mostly lovely shade of gold.  Behold the goodness:

Dreamy, Smooshy, Golden Jitterbug

Dreamy, Smooshy, Golden Jitterbug

So, $14 per skein is a deal (original price $21) . . . so I bought two. One just isn’t enough for a pair of socks for me but I actually don’t plan on turning these into socks.  I envision this dreamy, smooshy, golden goodness to become a Multnomah, an herbivore, or an Aestlight.

So, I broke down . . . I bought when I shouldn’t have, it’s a sickness this compulsion for on sale Jitterbug . . . but from here on out I’m going to stay strong! 

And in the meantime, I have five inches of 1×1 twisted rib a head of me.  I guess I didn’t get enough of the twisted rib when I finished Marlene:

Twisted Rib Insanity = Marlene

Twisted Rib Insanity = Marlene

They are lovely though.  I’m wearing them now and I just adore the Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn.  ADORE it.  It reminds me of Lorna’s Lace . . . but cheaper. The stitches just pop and the color selection is tremendous. Plus, the price is more than decent at approx. $12/skein. Anna, you must try it.

So, that’s it from So Cal.  It’s another sunny autumn day!  I think I felt a tinge of cold in the air but then it went away.  🙂

XOXO,

Margaret

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Brrr!

Dude,

It is cold.  Like, 57 degrees in the house cold.  Like, I’m wearing a cowl and fingerless gloves right now cold.  OMG.

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We ain’t in Southern California anymore, my friend.  We are in a place with actual WEATHER.

But I cannot complain because it’s my very favorite time of year (it just kind of snuck up on me, is all).  Autumn, oh Autumn, how I love you.  I love clomping through the leaves in the backyard on my way to hang up some laundry on the line (yeah, it’s 54 degrees, so what? it’ll dry eventually) and pumpkin-flavored things and having to wear a jacket when you leave the house.    Hurrah for such a glorious season!

I can’t believe that Sylus thing, M! I am CRAZY JEALOUS… why do I not have any sheep herding friends?? Man. I’m excited to see what you make. I need to make The Professor a cowl, so I need to look into yarn for that too. I’m glad to hear that the Cascade sock yarn is so good! I can’t remember how much it was, but I think Cascade goes on sale pretty often so now that I know I’ll be on the lookout.

In other news I tried out a new yarn shop last weekend while we were visiting our nation’s capital.  I’m pretty sure Obama flew over us in his helicopter while we were walking to the Jefferson Memorial and I’m pretty sure he waved at me.  Pretty sure.  I’d also like to point out that I walked three miles on Monday afternoon – this was after the million miles we’d walked that morning – to see Mr. Jefferson (looking good!) and go to Thai food.  Why is everything so SPREAD OUT up there?  Geez louise, it’s ridiculous.  OH, and my knitting shoes (I’m pretty sure they must be knitting shoes since they were selling them at Sock Summit) broke while we were there.  I’d like to take a moment to pay homage to my Cordovan Dansko Professional Cabrio Clogs.  Sniff.

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Oh fabulous Danskos, you were with me in college as I slogged my way across WWU’s campus to make it to class and hustled to and from the bus stop.  You were there whenever I went home to WA and needed good rain shoes and of course who can forget your fateful trip to Ireland, where you were indispensable in keeping my feet toasty and dry.  You and I have clomped up and down the California coastline as well as along the Grand Canyon and New England.  You were an honest pair of shoes, worth every penny, and lasted a good 8 years.  I shall be replacing you as soon as I am able (albeit in a smaller size because you made me trip a lot… I blame you and not my innate clumsiness) but it won’t quite be the same. Since you BROKE IN HALF across the ball of the foot. Sad.

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Anyhoo, what the heck was I talking about? Oh yeah. DC. Right. Well we did stop in at Stitch DC, a lovely little shop in a nice neighborhood.  I didn’t actually buy anything, which is totally depressing, but I’m trying to be strong!  I mean, we have Maryland Sheep & Wool in May, so I have to save my pennies. They did have some locally spun/dyed yarn, which is awesome, but it was kind of rough and I am such a wimp that it wasn’t soft enough for me! It WAS a nice place though, so next time you’re in the District of Columbia you should check it out! (No man cave this time though, just warning you).

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In retrospect, I should have taken more handknits with us, but we didn’t expect it to be so cold! We had a great time though – we will definitely be back. So many museums! So many monuments about things of which we know nothing! It would take forever to see it all.

Hope you’re enjoying your beachy weather. I have to go make some more tea.

Lovies!
Anna

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Don’t Call it a Comeback!

Dear Anna,

How exciting!  Our new revitalized blog is BACK.  But, don’t call it a comeback.  We’ve been for years!  Rockin’ our peers and putting knittas in fear . . .

Oh.  Got a little carried away with the Ladies Love Cool J lyrics. Where is that guy these days anyway? 

So, I received the most thoughtful unexpected gift ever last week.  A friend of R’s is pretty fascinated that I knit – but in a good way.  You can tell when some one is incredulous and thinks your pretty much the queen of dorks when you tell them that you knit and when some one is truly interested and curious about why you do it and how it really only takes two sticks and a piece of string to make something useful and beautiful.

As it turns out, he HAPPENED to know someone who raises and cares for sheep (like an aunt by marriage or something) and  said he was going to ask for some yarn and have it sent to me. That was awhile go and I totally forgot.  You know, it’s the thought that counts and whatever. . .

Then one evening, The Boyfriend came hope with a bag and in  it was three skeins of hand spun, undyed, sport weight yarn from a sheep named Sylus (an awesome name for a sheep, by the way):

Sylus the Sheep Yarn

Sylus the Sheep Yarn

 The Boyfriend has requested a pair of fingerless gloves out of it.  And I think I’d have enough for a hat and maybe even a beret or hat for me.  We’ll see . . . because first I need to finish my Marlene socks (Rav Link).

They are a little slow going because of all the twisted stitches. I’ve also had to tink back several times from screwing up the pattern.  The pattern itself isn’t difficult.  In fact, I pretty much memorized after completing the second repeat. 

I’m using Cascade Sock Yarn (Rav Link) which I am seriously impressed with.  The color is beautiful and the yarn feels resilient.  I bought it for about $12 while in your home town (or, just outside of your hometown – at the shop with the awesome sign of the sheep wearing a top hat) and the yardage is seriously good.  I would totally buy this stuff again.

By the way, your review of DB Magazine was pretty righteous (I’m listening to 80s music so that word just needed to be used).    I am surprised by how much I like the sweater coat on the cover.  But alas, I am on a major yarn diet until spring of 2010 . . . I am determined to make it to the Maryland Seep and Wool Fest next year!

Happy knitting!

Love, Margaret

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New Blog (kind of)!

Dear Margaret,

So yeah.  Guess it’s been awhile… went to Europe, got The Professor all “official” with his PhD and moved 3000 miles to the Historic Triangle on the peninsula of Virginia. I officially live in a commonwealth.  (Contrary to popular belief we do not all wear colonial garb, though I WISH it were required.  It would make going to the gym much more interesting).

2ColNursery

At least we have knitting weather around here, and I plan on putting all my wool to good use.  Speaking of which, I just finished my first (adult-sized) sweater in a wonderfully soft cotton/silk blend (yeah yeah, it’s not wool, but go with it).  It’s a butter yellow color so it goes with a lot of the neutrals in my wardrobe.  That seed stitch is a KILLER though.  Margaret, why didn’t you warn me about this?!  It took me a year to finish just because of all that freaking SEED STITCH.  It looks really cool though, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

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Just have to note that this photo was taken in our backyard which IS AWESOME. The cotton was kind of hard on the ol’ hands too.  😦  Whine, whine, whine… I am an expert.  I still have juuust under 3 skeins left so if anyone wants to purchase them for a nominal fee, please let me know!

We were in Arizona last week with my in-laws and ended up (it was my MiL’s fault, I PROMISE) at Knit Happens, where I planned to buy nothing so of course walked out with size 0 Lantern Moon sock stix, 3 balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto in a beautiful deep chocolate brown (50% off! come on now) and the Fall/Winter 2009 edition of Debbie Bliss magazine.  It’s my first DB Mag experience and I love a few of the sweaters (duh, that’s why I plunked down my eight bucks), plus there’s an “At Home: British Style” section which is perfect for an Anglophile like me.

Debbie Bliss Magazine 003

However. Wow. Having a whole magazine about yourself is kind of weird. But hey, it works for Oprah. Can you imagine if the Yarn Harlot had a magazine? There could be regular columns entitled “Another Reason I Love Canada” and a fashion corner with the latest clothes she borrowed from her daughters and/or found on the floor of the closet.

Anyhoodle, so just for all our faithful readers, here is my official DB Mag Review:

It starts out with a letter from DB herself (!), blah, blah. This is followed by a section entitled “The Blissful Life,” where Deb shares what are purported to be her personal collections of items around her home, such as antique fabric and – whoops! – her new yarn line! Now how’d THAT get on the coffee table?! Also photos of a “small but delightful” haberdashery (what the?) in Paris. But of course. I realize that I have been known to travel to Europe and mostly love antique linens and all, but sheesh. Maybe this a fantasy sort of magazine? I mean, I guess normal things, like throw pillows you bought at Target are kind of boring. I just hope she doesn’t think regular people actually live like this.

Then we have “My Knitting Friends.” Yes Debster, you’re famous, that’s awesome… but are these people really your FRIENDS? Like, do you meet for coffee? I question this. The article is good though, and long, so it’s not just a one page summary or anything. It’s also a person I’d never heard of so that was interesting.

But now, NOW is where the oddest part comes in… the “Ask Rosy” section where you can ask all your burning knitting questions. This makes sense, although answering technical questions is kind of boring to read. I should propose a question column to IK that will have things like “I love my boyfriend but he’s allergic to wool and I want to have my own sheep farm, WHAT DO I DO?!” That would be way more fun. And interesting. So anyway, the point of DB’s column is to answer specific technique questions about HER OWN PATTERNS. Snoozefest, seriously. The hilarious part is that it makes DB patterns seem like they’re so poorly written that they need an entire magazine page to answer questions about them! I mean, I guess it could just be a lot of knitters who don’t understand pattern terminology and haven’t mastered the art of Google… but still. It makes me nervous about trying one of the patterns.

Alright, so then the parade of patterns comes along, with wintery stuff (I totally want to make this:

FittedJacket

and this:)

BoatCollaredJacket

and cutesy animal scarves for the kids. Some super chunky knits too, which I have lately become a fan of. If only I could get The Professor into wearing cardigans. It makes sense, right? Cardigan + elbow patches x pipe = professor. So yeah. Then some baby jazz, which was prettily photographed but doesn’t really grab me. A baby blanket in 27 balls of Cashmerino Aran? (For those who don’t know, each ball costs between $8-10!) I don’t think so, lady.

Then we end up with a fisherman’s gansey that looks nothing like one… probably “inspired by” I guess. And the duder they have modeling it look like a girl. Is it just me?

FreePattern

Except for the little beard. So you know.

So in sum, the patterns are awesome (some Ravelers complained about a lack of multiple photos of each project, but I didn’t think it was too bad) and it’s a little heavy on the self-awesomeness. But the magazine is CALLED Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine so she’s allowed. I certainly would! Well maybe I would… I don’t know, a magazine AND a yarn line sounds like too much work. But I’d definitely include that Knitter Personal Problems column too – that would be awesome!

Love from ye olde colonial-land,
Anna

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