Thursday, May 26, 2005

Rainy Night on SI
The traffic on Staten Island is always pretty heavy, but on a rainy evening it's scary. It was worth the trip, though, as the women I met at the Muddy Cup were so kind and wonderful! What a great evening we had!

I talk about myself a LOT (just ask that student at TKGA...) so any chance I get to go on about myself ad nauseum is, well, a real treat for me. I think I got a little loud at one point (I'm like a drunk when I start going on about yarn...) because the coffee house owner came back and closed off the doors to 'give us privacy' - but we all undestood.

It was terrific to see Bette again (she invited me out to SI, and had taken a class with me at Rhinebeck last year...) - she made me feel so at home, and the women were just wonderful. look what Bette spun and gave to me! Perhaps on some not-so-rainy Wednesday evening I'll drop by again, traffic permitting!

Speaking of Rhinebeck, I've tried over and over to get in touch with the contacts I have for the festival this year. At this point it's probably too late, but I would have liked to submit a few classes. Teaching there was a wonderful experience last year, and I think my students were pretty happy! I can't seem to get any response when I call or email, though - if anyone has any info on this, I'd love to hear it! Bette said she'd had a hard time contacting anyone, too - perhaps I'm just trying the wrong numbers?

I leave tomorrow morning for Ohio - I'm so thrilled to be going out, and I've been hearing lovely things about the Great Lakes Fiber Show from folks who've visited before. It seems that it's a small show, but a real gem - I'm looking forward to it! We're hopeful that we'll have some kind of internet access while we're gone, so with luck I'll be posting about the show and the teaching. I just received a nice bunch of yarns from Classic Elite for their next design submission - I'm looking forward to a week of playing with new yarns!
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005


So I'm sitting here finishing up my work for the day and it occurs to me that it might have been nice for me to mention on my blog that I'll be at the Muddy Cup Coffee House in Staten Island tonight, visiting with a group of knitters who have invited me to come by. I swear. It didn't really occur to me that anyone would care until a friend just emailed to ask what I was doing tonight - I told her and she said, 'Oh, darn, I wish I knew I would have gone!' Marketing is sometimes a mystery to me.

So, here it is - too late to be of any good to anyone and I'm sorry!

I'm at the Muddy Cup Tonight! I feel like I should bring a guitar and a beret.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005


It's overcast today - it feels like November and I hardly know whether to wear boots or shoes! Isn't Memorial Day this weekend? Whatever happened to global warming? I guess Laurie's getting all of our heat.

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments and very touching emails about my mom's anniversary. Today is another milestone - it would have been her 86th birthday. She died 2 days before her birthday - she was always proud of the fact that she was 16 when she graduated from high school because it was a few days before her birthday. She is so missed.

Thanks also for the excellent points about the mailer. I've contacted folks who've written to me with nice comments about past classes to get their permission to use their names or businesses in part of the quote. If any of you have taken a class with me and would like give a quote for the mailer, I'd be happy to hear it!

I've been noodling around with some amazing silk and merino (two yarns, stranding them together and sort of weaving them in a slip stitch pattern) It's coming out beautifully - very much like woven fabric. Check out the short row shaping around the neck! I've had an idea for a Kimono type jacket which starts as a scarf with sts picked up around the outer edge and worked side to side in the front and down the back to create the fronts, back and sides. I apologize, if it's a little complex without an illustration. I think I'll work it up with this yarn and see how it goes. Vacation knitting!
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Monday, May 23, 2005

A Year

Tonight it's been a year since my mom died. Had I been blocking this out today? For the past week I've been in a funk - crochety, ill at ease and a bundle of raw nerves. Today I blanked on the signifigance of the date. I also blanked on a birthday party that Maxie was supposed to go to, and I forgot an open house we were going to attend at a nearby Jewish Community Education Center (checking into Hebrew schools that we can afford AND that suits our liberal, ethical, Reform souls.)

All I really accomplished today was a good amount of sitting, knitting, some walking. Oh, and this morning the whole family went out to breakfast at our new local diner. Not a fitting memorial. At the end of mom's funeral last year we released baloons from the hillside where she's buried next to Dad (and near to her mother and sister). I know some folks thought that might not be fitting, either - but I've never been a one-size-fits-all type of gal. Pantyhose and grief should always be tailored to the wearer. And so much of grieving is wrapped up in wearing uncomfortable panty hose - hmmmmm.

I'm thinking of driving down to WV at the end of this coming weekend, after my teaching gig in Wooster, OH at the Great Lakes Fiber Show, and before I drive back up to Lake Erie to meet up with Gerry and the kids at our rental house. I can drive down, visit her grave, see the marker, visit family - especially my cousin, who's just finished her last session of Radiation. I've half threatened to kidnap Jan and drag her up to the rental house for a few days with the kids. I feel that I've detached myself so dramatically for the past year, and I guess it's time to engage again.

Mom's Yarzeit, for the Jewish among us, would be June 9, 2005 (2 Sivan, 5764) so I still have an opportunity for a meaningful (for me) gesture of closure of the first year of grief. Lighting a 24-hour candle is the tradition - and saying the Kaddish (mourning prayers - in my case, not with a minyan of 10 men...)

This may be an empty gesture in some ways since mom was a lifelong Methodist who had joined my sister in law's Baptist church after moving in with Jim and Karen, yet the yartzeit is still meaningful to me. Me, the faux, non-converted ethically-Reform-identifying family keeper of Shabbat and Pesach.

And Creative Strands is cancelled. I hadn't realized how much I was looking forward to it until the slim letter came from Augusta Marketing, but there it is - not enough participants.

And I'm supposed to have a credible and intelligent conversation with a rep from a publisher on the phone tomorrow, and I know that I'll sound confused, dazed and mildly annoyed (this is how I sound on the phone all the time - I lose my focus if I'm not looking someone in the face, or if I'm not able to reply in writing.)

The thumb is healing, but it's painful, still, to knit with anything other than soft silk or merino (that's my story and I'm sticking to it...) so no wire knitting or other oddball stuff right now. I was self indulgent enough, today, to spend hours working on the start of a kimono-jacket for me. We'll see...

Yes, it obviously is time for a vacation. I'm very excited to take the kids to Cedar Point, to Put-In-Bay, to Kelly's Island. Maybe we'll hit a minor league ball game - or even a major league one - while we're away - we like to do that. We can visit the The Toledo Zoo, where mom created MANY happy birthday parties for my brother and I.

I'm rambling. I'm very sad. I'm feeling more than a little overwhelmed by the past few years. I'm afraid I'm not very funny tonight. I couldn't sleep so I lit the only candle in the house - a Pumpkin Pie Housewarmer from Yankee Candle - oddly fitting.

BTW, here's my first pass at a postcard to send to yarn shops to drum up class gigs - suggestions?
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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Polarizing Effect
When I was younger and single, a friend of a friend decided she wanted to fix me up with some Wall Street type of fellow. I was hesitant, but a date is a date so I said, "Sounds Great!" and thought no more about it.

When my friend and I would get together to go to the movies or dinner, it would be a topic she'd bring up, "John [name changed] is really excited to go out with you, but he's going to be out of town this weekend, how is next weekend?"

This was a little annoying, but also funny in an odd way - it became a standing joke with my other friends.

- "How's John?"
- "Great - he wants me to have his children!"

I had never even met the guy. I wondered, why didn't he just pick up the phone? Did he REALLY want to go out with me? What was the backstory on this?

Several weeks later I happened to be at a party where an annoyed and not-very-nice, half-drunk bond dealer trainee weaved over to me and said, "Hey, I just want you to know, I do NOT want to go out with you...!"

I've never figured the dynamics of the whole interaction. Someone, somewhere, was under some incredibly wrong misconception - I was just along for the ride. I didn't even have to look for rejection, it would seek me out.

So, as those of you who've been reading my blog for a bit know, this is how things seem to stand with me and the Stitches folks. I keep getting rejection letters from them - and I swear I haven't submitted classes to them for quite a while! Here's the latest letter which arrived today - at least it wasn't suggested that I get more prime time teaching experience.

Which reminds me - I'm in the process of FINALLY putting together my first mailing to yarn shops to try to get some regional tours set up. Folks email me all the time about visiting a certain part of the country, but it just doesn't pay unless I can work out teaching gigs at several/many different shops and venues. If there's a shop or guild near you that you think may like to have me, email me with snail mail info and I'll put them on the list to receive my class info!
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Friday, May 20, 2005

At the urging of my husband I finally updted my bio/resume page. Added a lot of shops that I'd neglected to mention, added my books. I'll wait to update my portfolio page until this fall because I have a ton of stuff coming out and I'd rather just sit down and pound it all in at one time. What do I have coming out, you ask...

IK - A chenille hat in Fall
IK - 3 Sweaters in Winter (2 kids and one woman's cardigan)
VK - 'Cocoon' type sweater in Fall
VK - Plaid mohair shawl/scarf in Winter
Accord - The Calendar (hooray!)
FCEK - Wire pieces from Melanie Falick's upcoming book, Holiday Knitting
Holiday Knitting - lace tablecloth & wire menorah
Wrap Style - Pam Allen's new book, my Touch Me wrap will be in it

So it will be a gratifying Autumn. Most of these things are worked up so far in advance that I've lost the 'buzz' that I felt when knitting them up, but it will be wonderful to see them printed up!

Oh, and I'm so happy about my last design for IK that I just sent in. I really hope they take it, because I feel it's one of the best things I've ever done. Here's a peek... - this swatch is worked in Art Yarns (magnificent colors!)
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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Man, when I read Laurie's blog I have serious comment envy! But she deserves it, she has such a fresh, funny and enjoyable blog - I find myself commenting more there than I write here!

Maybe it's because I'm busy? Old? I wish I had more time to actually browse other blogs, but I have very deep rooted Methodist guilt (you thought we didn't have that, huh? Well, we DO, but it tends to be a very PRO active guilt) and when I'm at the computer I tend to use the time to, well, work. That's the bummer of being self employed, the boss is a bitch.

I need to seriously update many of my web pages. Since moving to OSX I can't use my favorite html editor, Claris Home Page, because it doesn't have an OSX version. I can run it in classic mode, but that's really slow and I think I make it to be more of a barrier in my mind than it is. But change the pages I must!

Spirit Trail Fibers is not going to be offering the kits any longer with my designs - and I think it's probably a wise decision. Apparently kits aren't selling as well as just plain skeins of yarn, and Jen finds she has to tie up so much of her stock in kits that it is a constant dance to break them apart to have general skeins to sell. This means, though, that my patterns are my own again, and I can sell them on my site. FINALLY I'll be selling the ribbed lace corset (after I revisit the pattern for a little editing), which is good news because I get a lot of folks writing to ask for the pattern!

Oy. I just got a call that Max is sick at school. Off to pick up the boy!

Salty Peanuts
I start reading one blog, and that links to another - you all know the drill, that's probably why you're here! I could seriously get lost in this, but I must say it's a wonderful time!

So I get a call from my agent (yes, I have an agent, even though I haven't heard from him in quite a long time...) and apparently someone is interested in a book of rather unusual wire projects. That's why I was asking what would YOU like to see a pattern for - if you were searching for a wire pattern, that is...

I'll let you know what transpires. I've been here before, and have yet to end up with a contract from a publisher, but there's always a first time!

Speaking of Publishing
First of all, apologies for moving more slowly both on Cheaper than Therapy and Men Who Knit... than I'd meant to. As I was singing to Max as we walked home from the doctor's (he does NOT have conjunctivitis, I'm happy to say!) Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans...

Anyway, with a small bit of down time I'm finally gearing up for Cheaper than Therap and hopefully it will be in some good state by mid summer. The men who knit book is a tougher nut - I truly do want to find a publisher to work with me on this as I feel that color is VERY necessary!
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Speed Sketching

So all in all I lost about 36 sketches. 15 of these I was sending to IK and, after hearing from Pam that I could have until the end of the week, I did some serious speed sketching today in order to get my design presentations out the door and to the PO by closing so they'll arrive in a timely manner.

I learned long ago that when things get destroyed it's usually not the disaster it may seem. When I sketch something, then resketch it, inevitably I find that the design is more streamlined and better thought out in the second sketch. Useless details are lost (and probably some cool ones, too, that I've forgotton about) and the shapes are simpler. Besides, it was a lovely day with a light, warm breeze coming in my window across my desk.

Someone asked how I got to be a mystery shopper - I can't really remember. I wish I had some great story like I was yelling at a clerk in target and someone came up and said, "Eureka! We've found our shopper!" but no, I think it was because our family was a Neilson family briefly (we were failures, and I feel personally responsible for the cancelling of American Dreams...)

Don't ask me how we became a Neilson family, I have no memory.

I've heard that if you google "mystery shopper" you'll get a lot of hits, some of which are actually legit, of places looking for shoppers. I'd tell you more, but I'd have to kill you. Just joking.

New Yarn Love
Southwest Trading Company sent me some Karaoke to play with, and it's an amazing yarn! I think it's as lovely as many yarns in the Noro line, but it's 50/50 wool/soy silk and is just amazing to work with! I love a good blend. I think I'll retire to the gazebo for some alone time with this yarn.

Suggestions Needed
If you could knit anything you wanted with wire as a personal adornment, what would you like to knit? Is there something special you've been dying to work up in wire? I'd like to know. Really.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

We Interrupt This Design Life...
Because I suffered a computer problem today and it really set me back!

As you may know, I design databases for fun (not necessarily for profit) and I keep all of my design life in my knit projects database. This is tied in to my databases of sketches, swatches, charts, sizing specs, yarn specs, and all kinds of groovy info. Well, today something happened to my main database and it was irrecoverable. Angst.

This happened just as I was compiling 16 new sketches in a pdf file to send to IK, so obviously I've missed the deadline. Rats.

It also happened immediately before I was leaving for an appt with my lung doc (finally, asthma meds!) and I was shocked, shocked to discover that my blood pressure was better than it had been in months! I guess I should lose 3 years of work more often...

With a lot of work and some luck and my last saved version of my database (saved in Feb - usually I save every month, but it's been a busy time) I've reconstructed my database except for the sketches and swatches of the last 36 designs. Luckily many of these I still have as scanned images, some of them I have as pdf submission compilations which I can convert to jpg files and grab the images.

So I guess my lesson is to save my database on a more regular basis. But it feels good to have the file back... As annoying as they can be, I would rather deal with the angst of computers than try to do my job without them!
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Monday, May 16, 2005


As some of you may know, I'm a mystery shopper. I'm not terribly active, but every now and then I get called for a really cool shop, so I go off and do it!

This weekend I got a call to do a shop at a disco bowling establishment in NYC, dinner, drinks and a few games of bowling.

My husband and I hadn't had an evening out for months, so we arranged a sitter for Maxie (Hannah was having an overnight camping trip with her Brownie troop) and we headed into Manhattan for a fun evening of bowling and food.

Aside from the fact that I had to bowl with my left hand (gutter, gutter, gutter, one strike, gutter, gutter, gutter...) it was a really fun evening. Bowling is just about our speed! The food was amazingly good - we couldn't finish the chocolate fondue so the waitress packed it up for us to go. A lovely evening was had by all.

Knitting Content
Tomorrow is the deadline for the next IK submissions, but I think I'm going to miss it. Too much bowling, obviously... Actually, I can't seem to get my swatches finished - the knitting makes my thumb pretty sore and after a few rows I just can't go on. Very sad. I may just send sketches with an explanation of why I'm not sending swatches, but I'd never realized how integral the act of working up the swatch is to get my creative juices flowing. The ideas are not as forthcoming as I'd like. More drugs...

Legal Thumbs Up
Thanks to all of you who wrote with information on filing a complaint in California - the emails were incredibly helpful and gave me a great direction to move in! I may not get complete satisfaction in the form of renumeration for medical costs, but I hope I have an impact on the way this salon sterilizes their tools!

Home Remedies
And a huge thanks to those who wrote with clever home remedies - some really terrific ideas (some I'm already doing!) What an amazing bunch of blog readers I have! Thank you all so much!

And now - off to do some mailing!
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Saturday, May 14, 2005

3 Piece Suit

Okay, it's official. I'm so angry about the thumb pain that I'm considering asking for medical expenses from the salon.

I don't consider this lightly - I'm generally pretty anti-litigious. However this thumb is NOT getting better as it should. The pain is intense and I've been asked to be on Knitty Gritty again but may have to forego this because, well, who wants a closeup on a thumb with no nail?

Has anyone every experienced this before? The fact that I'm in NJ and the salon's in CA can't make it easy - that, and the fact that I have no receipt. The salon insisted on payment in cash, however they had an ATM machine in the salon which I used, and I have a record of that withdrawl. I also know that the woman who did my manicure was from Vietman and used to teach geography (a singular detail which I wouldn't have been able to know unless I'd spent some time chatting with her!)

At this point, though, I'll have at least 3 doctor visits, an ER visit and drugs to pay for by the time the thumb is healed. That's not mentioning the fact that I'm going to miss a few submission deadlines because I just can't get my swatches done with this thumb. I'm finishing up a few projects, but aside from that I can't really knit more than an hour a day or the pain is overwhelming. Poop.

Perhaps this is a fine time to mention that I was contacted by a freelance journalist who told me that, as of the knitting heat that I participated in at TKGA in April, I'm the fastest knitter in the US. Don't get too excited - I was forced to use a really awful acryllic which slowed me terribly - so my time was at least 80 sts slower than it might have been. I ended up making 163 knit sts in 3 minutes (the world champ over in the UK does 240 in 3 minutes - I have a long way to go!)

I wonder if that will lend sympathy to my plight?
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Friday, May 13, 2005

Lub Dub

And now on a more serious vein...

As many of you know, last year my older brother, Jim, passed away quite suddenly from a heart attack. I still feel shocked by it - but our father had died the same way almost 30 years ago, so it wasn't terribly surprising. Over a year later and it still is unreal.

His death came a few months before my mother died, and this was a double blow to all of us. Karen adored my brother, and had welcomed my mother into her & Jim's home for the past 12 years in Texas.

Ironically, my SIL Karen works for the American Heart Association - and she's training for a marathon walk to raise money to fight stroke and heart attack.

Here's a link to her donations page. She's pretty close to her goal, so any amount that you feel you could give to this great cause would be very much appreciated! I know that as she walks Jim will be along with her!

Please support her in this important work, which helps prevent other spouses, siblings, children and parents from leaving their families much too soon!
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Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Gazebo Is Lit
here's a picture

... and I'm sitting here with 10 minutes before my first student - er, guest - arrives for my little soiree this evening.

It's the last class of the session I've been teaching at the Maplewood South Orange Adult School this Spring, and instead of spending another rank evening in a stuffy middle-school math classroom (nothing against middle schools or math, but this classroom is pretty dismal...) I invited my students over to my house for a sort of last class party.

I don't feel guilty about not teaching this week - this is a beginning class and every one of them is knitting, purling, ribbing, cabling and some are even doing lace. So tonight we eat pound cake, rugalach, drink iced tea and have some grapes. I even made a berry sauce to put over the cake.

Then I'll ask them for THEIR comments!

btw, did anyone notice this...
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On a Curve

So for those of you who are wondering what it's like to take a class with me, I have some evaluations to share!

They're not all stellar - and these are unedited. I just got them from TKGA and I put them together in a handy table so you can see what the numeric evaluations were. Note - these do NOT include evaluations by all students - some students didn't turn in their evaluation forms.

More interesting are the comments - most are really nice, a few aren't so nice, but they're enlightening and give me ideas on how to improve my teaching style to make my classes more thoroughly enjoyable!
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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Seams like Old Times

And now for some technical content...

I was visiting Knitters Review this morning (okay, I was seeking cheap gratification by looking up my name in the search field...) and came across someone having 2 problems with Rev St St.

Two problems with Rev Stockinette Stitch

1) Rev St st can look hinky because of the rowing out problem (for an interesting visual on rowing out, check the revised Spring 04 IK cover. This is what rowing out can look like from the St st side.

2) It's really hard to make a decent seam in Rev St st.

These are both true - and things that must be addressed... Here are my solutions:

Rowing Out
Rowing out is when either the knit or purl row (usually the purl row) is worked a bit looser than the other, thus making every other row a bit deeper (wider?) than the rest. You can either work in Combination style, which diminshes rowing out greatly - or you can purl with a needle one size smaller than the knit needle.

Rev St St Seams
Rather than write this out, I create a picture to demonstrate my favorite technique for working a rev st st seam. Here it is!
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Monday, May 09, 2005

MD for MD!

What a great weekend! Yarn, yarn, flowers, pancakes and prawns with walnuts!

On Saturday the family drove down to MD for the Sheep & Wool Fest - always a great time! The kids took the crochet class (Max wasn't as into it as I thought he might be, but Hannah really buzzed ahead and has FINALLY decided to move along from the chain st to the single crochet!) The teacher of the class was so great with the kids (and she had quite a bunch) so I hung around and helped out a bit, too, when some of the kids seemed to lose their loops.

The vendors were, as always, great - and the new vendors this year were sensational! There were more soap and personal product vendors, which I think is great - love the soaps - and my good friend Jen Heverly of Spirit Trail Fibers was a first time vendor(I am so proud of her!) and she got a nice space in the main barn.

A bunch of fine, fine ladies from the Knitters Review Boards were waiting out front, as usual, snacking and loving the day on a big blue blanket. I brought a lot of copies of Knitting Millinery - my new-ish collection of hat patterns and knit/millinery techniques - to pass out to the KR folks. I know these women, they're adventurous and they KNIT - if anyone will work up one of these hats, it would be a KR'er!

The kids ran around like maniacs, Gerry shepherded them, we visited lots of lambs and sheep and I bought Hannah a child-size 10" Beka loom! She has become very interested in weaving - they're doing it at her school, and I splurged on my girlie (with the understanding that if Maxie develops an interest in weaving then he, too, will get to use the loom...)

On the way there and back we listened to Ella Enchanted - a lovely book - and bless Gerry for driving all the way! After the drive he said, "You know, I need to listen to that book to hear how it ends!"

Mother's Day was wonderful - bittersweet (my first without my own mom) but lovely. We traditionally go to our favorite diner for breakfast on MD, but this year it is in the process of changing hands and was closed. So instead we visited the Broadway Diner in Summit for some of the best pancakes in the world. Then home for a bit of gardening, lawn mowing, knitting - just hanging out! Max brought me a beautiful plant from school which we put in the front yard and Hannah started on her weaving. Then for dinner out again (twice in one day? What are we, the Rockefellers?) to our favorite Chinese restaurant - Joy Luck in West Orange. A terrific day!

When everyone was in bed I finally finished the plaid shawl for VK (it's going out today) by edging it with icord and adding fringe. It looks really terrific, I'm quite proud of it!
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Friday, May 06, 2005

Brief Blog Fame
Well, for a day or so I knew what it felt like to be a heavily hit-upon blogger, and it was fun! I don't think I have the energy or capacity to keep up the yukks on a daily basis, but it's nice to know that when I post something I think is funny, others like to laugh along!

Plaid Redux
Emily was right - it is a bit like Teva's plaid for her jacket in the Fall 2004 IK (a really beautiful design, by the way - exceptional!) but it's also rather different. I guess I shouldn't have said "I've never seen anything like it..." but rather, at the time I'd come up with it I hadn't seen anything like it. I've used it with a lot of fibers, but I must say it really takes to this mohair!

Here's how I did it.

My visual mind operates much better when working from a chart than from written instructions in fact, I've even charted out entrelac to make it more manageable for my visually directed mind.

Basically when you make this stitch pattern you're working 2 RS rows, then 2 WS rows. You MUST make this on circs or long dpns because you have to be able to slide the work back to the other end of the needle every other row.

Give it a try - you may find it's easier than it looks! To work up a swatch of it, just work the first 20 sts of the chart.

If you can work vertical stripes of color (and yes, you CAN! - the main thing is to remember to wrap one color around the next color when they meet so you don't get any holes...) then you can do this. You'll have to play with the slipping of the sts to figure whether slipping as if to knit or purl works best for you. Depending on how you knit, it may differ. At any rate, this is a fun little knitting calesthetic to play with.

Spinning in the Rain?
Gerry's expressed some reservations about the weather in West Friendship, MD - the location of the Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest. I'm crossing my fingers that it's dry but overcast - actually, that's the best weather for we redheads! I've been looking forward to the trip!

Speaking of Trips...
I'll be the main guest at a fiber/knitting retreat in Connecticut in mid June. I think it's going to be an amazingly relaxing and fun event - and I, for one, am ready to get away from it all for a bit. The retreat is sponsored by Fabric Of Life Retreats, and seems to me to be priced pretty reasonably. I hope you'll consider it if you're thinking of getting away for a weekend with friends and knitting and fun!

The retreat is sponsored by Janet Kemp Fine Yarns in Stratford, CT.

This Just In!
I just got a copy of this photo - it's of the kids in my fair isle cable set that will be in the Fall 2005 IK. I'm kvelling.
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Thursday, May 05, 2005


We put up a gazebo in our backyard last weekend (between the trip to the ER and the VERY entertaining drugs...) It's lovely - and I'm sure we'll be spending a great deal of time in it this summer! It's actually a rather rectangular object, and gazebo seems too round a word for it.

It's really sad when I began describing my ER trip to my knitting group last night as a 'date' - it's the first time the hub and I have been out without the kids in months! After I got my scrip for the drugs we made an evening out of it by stopping for Chinese take-out and enjoying a quiet dinner at home before picking up the kids from friend's houses. Considering the trip will cost us roughly what a weekend in the Pocono's would charge, we should have enjoyed it!

I wonder if there will soon be a hotwire or orbitz for hospitals? You break your leg, but before going to the ER you check online for the lowest rates on a 3-start hospital near you? Who says there are no investment opportunities in this economy!?

Today I had a mystery shop at Target, so I used my MS $$ to purchase some lovely strings of outdoor lights for the interior of aforementioned gazebo. It will be a fairy garden. It even has mosquito netting!

Next week I'm ending my Beginning Knitting Class with a little at home party - in the gazebo - woohoo!

Since no one commented on this, I thought I'd post it again: Here's a look at a plaid shawl/stole I'm working up. It looks hard, but it's a REALLY easy colorwork pattern. I call it a slip stitch plaid - I haven't seen it elsewhere, but I have by no means read all the knitting colorwork technique tomes out there! It's what I used last year in my top for Magknits, and it's a fun way to use up stray strands of cool yarn!
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Monday, May 02, 2005

The Next Big Knitting Craze

We've seen it before - a celeb pops up wearing some trendy garment and suddenly EVERYONE wants to own it, wear it, make it!

Well, jump ahead of the pack and whip up Jen's blanket (aka Jen's faux burkha) I think she worked this up on the bus from Georgia to Vegas. And what's knit in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Speaking of blankets & knitting - check out this stole/shawl I'm working up for VK for the Winter issue! I'm so happy with how it's coming out!


So you say you're looking for a hot video to relax with tonight? Myself - I'll be watching The Amazing Race (because my dream is to be a contestant - but that's another story...)

However, if you'd rather see a short knitting clip, here's something for you!

I'd read Kathy's excellent Combination Knitting Page about a year ago, and I loved it, but I just recently discovered her great videos that show the combination method worked in knit and purl.

She purls slightly differently than I, but the result is exactly the same. I feel so proud when I visit her site and see how beautiful and accessible it is - GREAT JOB KATHY!
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Sunday, May 01, 2005

ER Memo

TO: Michael Crighton
FROM: Annie Modesitt
RE: Plotline for ER

Michael -

I had an idea for an ER segment which would appeal to a new audience. A woman develops an infection in her hand (finger, thumb) through no fault of her own (perhaps while getting a manicure?) and comes into the ER when the pain of the infection becomes overwhelming.

In the segment the doctors would determine that an infection in the blood was a possibility, and consider drastic measures - until they learn that the woman is a hand knit designer and must, at all costs, keep every digit.

No rush in calling me, but CSI has expressed an interest in this as a possible plotline whereby the above mentioned knitter is implicated in the mysterious death of a nail salon owner.

Okay, so I'm being a leetle dramatic... But I did go to the ER yesterday because the infection in my thumb seemed to be worsening at an amazing pace. My husband and good friend Ami both encouraged me to go - I, of course, was hesitant because of the cost involved (we're semi-insured through an FTP group which allows us to access health care at the same reduced rates insurance agencies pay - sad that we have to barter to get this consideration, huh?)

Anyway, the doctor (physician assistant, actually...) went at my thumb with a beveled needle and the pain was intense. I cried. Oy. This from the woman who (say it with me) delivered an 11 pound baby with no meds. At any rate, they felt they needed to drain the infection - lovely, huh? Do NOT ever let anyone do this to you without first anesthisizing the area. Then the doc looked at it, prescribed some further antibiotics, gave me a scrip for pain (yea!) and sent me home. I feel a little foolish for going in given the outcome (I could have drained my own darned thumb!) but - as Gerry said - this is my thumb, my livlihood, my life. It was gratifying to see how grossed out the nurses and docs were at my thumb - love to get that reaction from the professionals.

Both knitter and thumb are resting and recovering nicely.
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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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