Sunday, April 27, 2003

Busy, busy weekend!

Lots of knitting, lots of patterning - and some teaching! Love it! This afternoon I attended (helped organize) a casual coffee to introduce our neighborhood to some the the folks running for office in our Village.

Our elections are non-partisan in South Orange - we don't run on Democratic or Republican tickets, which is very refreshing and keeps a good amount of nonesense out of the process. I like to think in this way we can concentrate on the issues.

This evening my goal is to get all of the bracelets I've made thus far complete (with closures) and work out some designs for new knit cuffs.
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Friday, April 25, 2003

Mea Culpa

The only thing worse than missing a mistake when you've gone over the pattern 15 times is having a professional pattern writer miss the SAME mistake and send it to press!

Yes, it's the Raccoon Sleeve! And NOW we finally know what the problem is! Both IK and I neglected to include instructions for filling in the "V" in the center of the sleeve pattern. Oh, yeah, only the MOST important part. And, oddly, the smallest section of the instructions!

If you'd like to see the corrected sleeve please click here for updated instructions and an animated gif showing how the sleeve construction works. It's weird, but terrific!

Yesterday I had a new knitting student and she was sensational - so open minded - she picked up everything I threw at her and left having mastered Combination Style and cabling without a needle! I get so much energy from a lesson session like that - fabulous!

I've missed my Sunday knitting class so much - for the past two weeks we haven' t met due to holidays and traveling - but this week we'll meet again (albeit with one MIA).

NEW CLASS - Next Saturday (May 3) I'll be starting a Technique Sampler Bag class at my home from 11:00am to 1:00pm - it will run for 6 sessions (7 weeks, we'll skip 3/10) and everyone in the class will make their own tote bag and learn a few tricks in the process! The cost is $75 for the class, email me to register and for a list of fibers you might consider to make your bag. Fee does not include materials.

NEW WORKSHOP - The Sunday after that, May 18th, I'll be leading a knitted chair workshop at the Newark Museum. Students will bring their own chairframes (minus the seat) and together we'll create knitted seats for them out of twine, attach the seats to the chairs and perhaps even block a few of them with boiling water (if we have time...) It's a really fun class - and very mind opening! Register by clicking here

This is the Stalk of Wheat chairseat

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Thursday, April 24, 2003

Comment? What comment??

Day 7 of Spring Break with the kids home.
How much work is mom getting done?


I promise I'll try to get the comments situation fixed. Just working through the daily grind. I did get my email working (FINALLY) so now I can send and receive through as long as I hold my mouth the right way and don't breathe hard.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Ahhhhhhhhh ---

That's more like it! FINALLY I figured out how to put my own template on my blog site. I can't believe it took me so long to figure out, because it wasn't that hard.

Hey - if anyone in the CT/NY area is interested in the CT Fiber Fest classes you'd better register because they're about to cancel them due to lack of interest. Sheesh.
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Worth the Trip!

Last evening I drove up to Elmsford to speak at the Westchester Knitting Guild meeting - what a great bunch of knitters! Everyone had such intelligent questions and the passion for the craft was in the air! I have not been as active with my speaking this year as I would have liked, and evenings like this one make me want to visit every guild in my area!!

Thanks to Judi and Janet and everyone there for making me feel so at home! And thanks to Joy and her hub (forgot his name - what bad memory I have...) for giving me great directions back to the bridge. I got home in record time and NO tickets! It is the best part of our human nature to come together and support each other in our loves and passions - you guys are fortunate to have each other!
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Saturday, April 19, 2003

"...getting to know you..."

I stopped in to the new yarn shop in Maplewood, Rosemary Weller's Knit & Stitch. It's above the movie theatre - a cheerful little space - not huge, but she's set it up intelligently so that there's ample room for moving and scoping the yarn and a big table for classes and lessons. I was picking up Chinese at Bill & Harrys and took the opportunity to drop in (with my two red-headed sprites in tow) and introduce myself.

At first glance one might think there's no need for another yarn shop - it seems a few have opened up in the general area in the past few years - but there are still precious few for the population density we have here in North/Central NJ! One of her big plusses, too, is that she's right across from the train station so if she develops a following for some of her classes folks can easily take the train from NYC (the trip is about as long as it takes to get from Penn Station to Brooklyn!)

Her stock looked good - enough fun stuff to be interesting, enough standard stuff to be useful - so I hope she does really well in her new endeavor. We very casually discussed the possibility that I might teach a workshop or class there, which would be terrific because - as much as I love teaching in my home - it's nice to be able to walk your students through their yarn buying process.

The store is also strategically located between the Dance Studio, Movie Theatre and Paintin' the Plates - I see great potential for special classes for moms who drop off their kids and need to kill an hour or two!

The store's at 155 Maplewood Avenue, Suite 6, Maplewood, NJ 07040 - drop by if you're near! Her phone is 973.761.8585 and her hours are pretty user-friendly!
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Friday, April 18, 2003

I hate Outlook

Switching my domain name to involves changing from sweet little Claris Emailer to either Eudora (which I find clunky and a little non-intuitive) or Outlook (which is the spawn of the devil). The main thing I hate about Microsoft is the scorched-and-salted-earth policy whereby they destroy the ability of smaller companies with better products to even continue in operation (forget about competing on an even playing field...) I hate that Claris is now Filemaker, and they don't make Emailer anymore. What a nice little, tiny, non obtrusive and easy to manipulate application.

Bells and whistles I can do without - I'm not big on the 'cool factor' - give me intuitive navigation anyday!

At this point I can receive modeknit mail via Eudora but not Outlook or Emailer, and I can't send it through any means but Webmail.
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Thursday, April 17, 2003


It's terrible to see a season lose it's mind - poor Spring - one day 85, the next night 35 - Spring must be going through menopause.

I'm gearing up for classes in Westchester on Monday and at the Connecticut Fiber Festival next weekend - woo hoo! Two of the classes I'm teaching are on lace. I used to hate lace - it was so hard for me and took so much effort to get results that might be great but were quite often just plain iffy.

Then I discovered charts (or, rather, publishers began to use charts more in their patterns) and that made all the difference. I've run into more folks who have a hard time with lace instructions because they don't make decreases in the same way the person writing the instructions does - and if you don't match your decreases you quite often lose the "skeleton" of the lace - the branches.

More on Left & Right Slanting Decreases...

Odd to think that something so small would make a difference, but for me reading a chart is like speaking in my mother tongue. Reading lace instructions that are written out isn't impossible, but for my money I'd much rather refer to something pictoral like a chart. Especially if I have my pad of post-its handy!

The knitting meetup on Wednesday at Borders was nice - such a great group - and it was good to meet a new student! Athena's a doll for being the motivation behind our own little meetup enclave. I'm afraid that the Benadryl I'd taken earlier (Spring = allergies) had me a bit spacier than usual; that, and the lack of sleep this week. Oh well, I guess it's good to get to know the teacher as a human being, huh?

I'll be starting a new class - Technique Sampler Bag - on May 3rd at my home at 11:00. It will be a 6 class session over 7 weeks (no class on 5/10) and everyone will make their own tote-style bag in the yarn of their choice (each student provides their own yarn) En route we'll learn picking up stitches, ribbing, cables, making a pocket, using slipped stitches to define corners, creating a facing, making a buttonhole and fashioning a handle/strap out of twisted cord or i-cord. This is a good class for new knitters and also for experienced knitters.

I love this class, it's always such a blast. let me know if you'd be interested. If it's nice we'll have class outside - I just bought a canopy and we have a nice, green backyard!! Well, we usually do when it's not below freezing.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Tie-Dyed Brownies!

Today at my daughter's Brownie meeting (Troop 333) we'll do part 1 of Tie-Dying. We'll talk about it, about how dyes color clothes, yarn, etc., and they we'll each get a T-shirt, some rubber bands and some marbles to tie our own shirts up.

I'll take them all home and next meeting (in 2 weeks) we'll break out the dye and dip our previously tied shirts. Then I'll take THEM home and set the dye by microwaving the Tshirts and ironing them and return them to the girls in time for our last few meetings.

Last week we made vests! Amazing what felt and stitch witchery can do, huh?
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Monday, April 14, 2003

Would you like to accompany me to Funky-town?

And the verdict is - not funky enough.

The buyer at Bendels who saw me said, "Oh, I already HAVE a girl who does crochet (?!)" - and, about the hats, "We're trying to move away from the larger hats... to things that are more funky..."

Having said that, it was a very good experience - very worth doing! My friend picked me up at 5:00 (bless her heart!) and we drove straight in to NYC. Parked the car a few blocks from Bendels and we were 30th and 31st in line - woohoo! We met some really nice folks in line - stood there until 9:10 - then the line moved into the building 10 folks at a time. 30 Minutes after we went in we were out, but the buyer I saw DID give me her business card so I could send her photos of some of my funkier hats that I had at home.

We also visited a few other choice locations and had success in getting buyer/contact information from several of the stores. All in all it was worthwhile and a good education - I'm really glad we did it.

However, not famous yet! I'd settle for rich.
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Sunday, April 13, 2003

Speak - SPEAK!!

Yep - new layout again. This time the comments should be up so leave a message!

Well, I'm as nervous as I probably should be. I'm all packed up for tomorrow, my ride's coming at 5 am (she is angelic to be the driver...) and I have my price lists (with SKU numbers - made them up myself - is that legal?) product info and my samples all packed up in the cute little wicker pic-nic basket that a friend sent last year.

I'm pumped. Bendels, watch out!

I heard today that the Ultimate Knitting mag is out with the profile on me (I should probably get a copy one day, huh..?) and I'm supposed to have a little thing in Cast-On, too. It feels odd to know that folks are reading things that I haven't read yet about me - hmmmm.

Anyway, my schedule is set for tomorrow and I've penciled in "celebrate" for the afternoon.

Yeah, right.
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Saturday, April 12, 2003

No comment

I changed my format. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to make the yakks code work with these new digs, so the blog, it is a changin'

I didn't get that many comments anyway. Maybe it's a relief? If you're dying to make a comment you can email me
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Let's plant rice!

My backyard is a paddy. The water is just standing - wet - and it's still raining. I put the lawn furniture out a few weeks ago when we had a fake Spring, now it's paddy-Oh! furniture.

Apparently the sleeve pattern for the raccoon Jacket in IK is not exactly correct. I'm not saying it's wrong, but apparently it won't give you the sleeve that is pictured. Quite often [always] magazines edit instructions to match their own style and IK is no exception. It makes a lot of sense to present a uniform product to your audience, and I know that my own style of knitting is so weird that I expect no magazine to run my instructions with no changes.

The sleeve was changed quite a bit from what I had originally sent. Not a big deal - and to be honest, when I did my final check of the edited version sent by IK I didn't think the difference was bad - or that severe. But apparently it is quite different when it's knit up and I have the emails to prove it!

For the gratification of my knitting fans (you know who you are...) I'm posting the original version of the sleeve along with a little animated graphic explaining how the bottom part of the sleeve goes together. I'm not saying it's better than the IK edited version - heaven knows it's probably not - but it will give a sleeve that looks like the sleeve in the issue.

For what it's worth, I really appreciate the room that IK gave the sweater - and it was THEIR decision to run instrux for the right and left side separately (I wanted to just run the left side and say, "reverse all shaping" for the right side - THAT would have been popular not!) It really is one of the more insightful knitting magazines out there, and this is NOT meant as a dig or jibe at them!!

Here's the sleeve! Enjoy!
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Friday, April 11, 2003

Cuff 'em, Danno!

As promised, here are some of the cuffs I've been doing. In 14K gold filled wire, Sterling silver and copper (plus some tinted copper wire for fun). These expand to fit over your hand, then you can tighten them up by tugging gently on them and they'll fit your wrist/forearm like a glove! Very flattering if you wear them over the hand a bit to the first knuckle of the thumb.

I call this Gold Pearl
Click to see 5 prototypes...
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Thursday, April 10, 2003

Class Alert!

Hi Folks! I've been informed by the Baird Center that my class is in danger of being cancelled if more students don't sign up. Yikes! We had 10 women last time (I'd anticipated 6) and this time we can't meet minimum! I'm not sure if it's

a) Spring
b)The new knitting store opening up the next town over
c) Me

If you'd like to sign up for the class contact::

The Baird Center
5 Mead Street
South Orange 07079
973 378-7755

If all goes well we'll start next Tuesday!! It's not just for Beginners!!

I'm still getting stuff together to show Bendels. Knit, knit, knit. Feeling kind of blah lately - I think it's the doggedness of Winter and the fragility of Spring.
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Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Snow Day!

Got practically NOTHING done yesterday due to the escapades of two certain little redheads who were home all day from school. Snow day in April? And, here's the kicker, my gut tells me that we're not finished with the white stuff. Please let me be wrong!

I woke up with a killer headache - I think it's the barometric pressure from the storm/snowfall yesterday - but a couple of aleve's later it's gonish so I'm settling down to a day's work.

Today's the day I teach knitting to kids at my daughter's school during lunch AND I have a new knitting class starting this evening at the Baird Center in South Orange. I'm still waiting to hear how many students are in that class so I can get the first class handouts ready, but I'm always excited to start a new class!

I had made a few hats that were less than stellar but last night I re-wired them, added a headsize wire to one (the wire that goes around the head - not every hat has one) and they look 200% better. It's nice to go to bed having improved something! I'm knitting up some cute little chenille flowers to trim them.
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Monday, April 07, 2003


Honestly - I haven't done ANYTHING but suddenly my Archives are up again! It must have been them move to, huh?

I'm spending a LOT of time these days getting samples ready for the Bendel's open designer call in a few weeks. I've been told we're supposed to take 5 items. I will take many more, and wear as many as I can. I'll show 5, but I'll have more at the ready if they want to see more...

It's hard - I'd like to take hats and a few pieces of jewelry, but of course I begin to have feelings of insecurity (Which piece is good enough? - What are they looking for?) but at some point I have to make the decision and just go!

I will say that on our reconnaisance mission last Tuesday we stopped in at Bergdorfs and I got the name of the Millinery buyer. We also saw a very loosely knit shawl - huge - 9' x 3' - that was worked on size 15 or 17 needles in garter stitch in a variety of unusual yarns. The price tag for this beauty? $1,550.00 . I nearly fainted. They had a smaller version for a mere $680. Oh, lordy help me.

Will knit for...

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Friday, April 04, 2003

What is up with the weather???

Okay - it's in the 30's again. I'm too cold to write. More later.

I have been working on some KICKY knit wired cuffs that I'll post later...
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Wednesday, April 02, 2003

You look maaaaahvelous...

Check this out!
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Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Modeknit is finallly MODEKNIT-DOT-COM!!!!!!!

A few years ago when I started my website/business Modeknit was taken by another company so I settled on ModeCard as I did a lot of baby announcements at the time. The name stuck, but it was always an uncomfortable fit.

Now MODEKNIT.COM has become open and I snaggged it! Hooray for the dot-com bust. I've heard from lots of folks who look for me at, but alas, I wasn't there.

Now I will be!!

Woo hoo!!! I'll have both domains for a time, probably until mid-April, and I'll be moving my blog to (but not yet!) Stay tuned. This is an exciting day for me - I'm such a geek!
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Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf

Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho


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