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Thursday, March 1, 2007

oh no you didn't

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Maybe this has happened to you. Every once in a while, ok, every chance you get, you go SHOPPING. Quite possibly, it is one of human being's most favorite pursuits. Since we left the cave, we've left the gathering to someone else but the Hunt remains ours as strong in pursuit today as any ancient chasing down game in the Stone Age.

I am Knitter. Hear me Roar!

Never more evident this primeval phenomenon than that which occurs at a Fiber Fest. Many of us have attended these Carnivals of the Senses and you've witnessed the fever, the energy, the Drive! Perhaps you saw me rushing the Koigu Booth in Maryland 2004.

Or. Maybe you witnessed me, and hundreds of other frenetic souls surging as one mighty jellyfish of lust towards the Socks That Rock booth, Stitches Midwest 2006.

What a Feeling!

Just as you go all the way up (you've spied your intended Target) then a hand, not yours, maybe two, zoom in and WHOOSH! All Gone. Way down. Goes your dopamine and it's replaced sometimes by something else. Despair. Disappointment.

And in my case, a mental mine field of F*adjectives (and nouns), not spoken, but delivered rapid-fire-style in some kind of brain boil that eventually has to SIMMER DOWN because the intended recipient is Your Friend.

HA. Your friend, who has the same great taste you do and, but of course, just might be drawn, nay, magnetized to the same things you are.

Stephenson County Fiber Art Fair, 2004. The booth belonging to the Fold. Socks That Rock just climbing the crest of Love in the Midwest. I saw something I had to have. I had no idea of STR or squat - it was good - it was mine. And it landed in the hand of someone else.

Little did she know, having lunch afterwards with more friends, it was, "Pass the salt please (mental note: B*tch)?" as we enjoyed our meal. Yea. I. Am. A Sore. Loser. Even with my own score of a skein of STR Garnet Dream. But by the time I got back to Chicago, I was over it, for sure. Gone but not forgotten. Next time.

Last week while we were knitting together at our KIP, I confessed. She had no idea I was so SSSsteamed. I said I couldn't help myself the feeling was just too strong. I was guilty of envy, and more.

And you know what she did? She said, "Wanna trade?"

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh yeah...

Love you Corinne...

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Friday, March 2, 2007


In like a Lion, the air in the Big Windy is infused with snow and ice and sound. It swallows up the day and rustles through my chimney.

Never was there a better day to knit.

The Trade. The Best.

Corinne made me promise to cast on right away and I found the a little pattern stitch to tweak. Both of us, with the original sock yarn, had cast on and knit just one sock. Then they lanquished for almost 3 years in their onsie lonliness! So we ripped and traded.

This Moss Agate colourway is gorgeous - I'm hoping my stitch experiment brings out the best in this handpaint - but even just holding the yarn in my fingers might be enough.

Lime. Blood Orange. Chartruese. Mulberry.

Who needs the Sun?

What's really made the Circle close is that I just got the mail and there was a brochure for the Stephenson County Fiber Fest in the batch...

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Monday, March 5, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  


Remember these?

In this the month of March, where all things GREEN are happiness indeed, it is Thrilling to see that everything old is new again!

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007


This time of year, especially in the Midwest, can be deadly boring. It is just cold enough to want to hide inside, but ye dreaded Cabin Fever lives there! Avoidance Techniques? Hmm. Just how much TV can a person stomach? How much DVD repeats, music, board games, bored games, oh that's it! I was so bored the last few days, even with a sniveling cold, I broke down and did housework! [Anybody got some sure fire tricks they use to bust their own Cabin Crazies?]

Now that the floor is clean, I pulled out the Blocking Rug and got to it.

I'm going to blame the Fuel I've been ingesting (Girl Scout Cookies: Samoas & Do-Si-Dos spin me baby) to explain the fact that I'm actually making progress on my Twist sweater. Both Fronts and Sleeves are now done and blocking. Happiness reigns.

If I can, I like to incrementally block then finish as I go - now I can seam the Sleeves and when I finish the Hood (which needs joined Fronts & Backs) I will be way ahead of the game.

I'm going to cast-on for the Back next. I've added the cable pattern up the Sleeves and will also have it on the Back. Other Mods: lengthened the bottom ribbing on all pieces a bit.

It's 26 degrees and sunny WOhoo!

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Thursday, March 8, 2007


This yarn is like walking through my neighborhood in a few weeks when the fresh young green shoots start peaking through the ground. Soon comes the purple crocus and new moss on the stepping stones, previews of beloved poppies in June.

Wholesome. Delightful!


Back to the real world where the enormous excitement of a condo association meeting caps off a busy workday and my friend, it's just not enough to bring me around. I need double doses of FLASH these waning grey days of winter and where else to turn on a late eve?


Who says TV can't be a lightbox in the battle with SADD?

And I tell you, I turned to, gasp, "The Search For the Next Doll"! I needed empowerment, excitement, galore! According to the New York Times and the SFND producers, I was gonna get it!

But “Pussycat Dolls Present” is about female empowerment, the show’s producers explained to a group of television writers and critics here in January,

“Everything the Pussycat Dolls are is everything that I’ve developed myself into being,” said the rap star Lil’ Kim, who is a judge on the show and who served a prison sentence for lying to a federal grand jury about a shooting outside a radio station."

Third Wave Feminisim indeed! According to the experts, everyone of us is just DYING to get up there and tape our bosoms and shake our $$$Maker.

What say ye?

I wanna be a Doll!




Free polls from

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Monday, March 12, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

The lovely Claire Danes & Patrick Wilson

- wouldn't you like to believe they are boyfriend/girlfriend, no?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Mother Nature continues to gobsmack Midwestern natives. Today, it is going to be in the 70's (normal temp about 50). Warmth on an unseasonal day is always accompanied by WIND.

I will gladly wear a headband...

Accompanying me on the #66 is the Back'O'theTwist. It is seemly to be cabling so close to St. Pat's - something in ye olde DNA hearkens to the call in a very big way this time of year and I just can't resist.

Next to socks, cabling is my very favorite knitting thing to do.

No cable needles were used on this sweater - all coils were of the small stitch variety and easily exchanged on the fly! The yarn is not too splitty - had a few knots that were driving me crazy - but makes eye-popping ropes. I'm looking at it right now from across the room and it just JUMPS off the fabric.

I can't wait to wear this and see how/if I really like the fiber blend of the yarn. It is 25% Alpaca, 25% Mohair, and 50% Wool. Hmm. The first two in that list generally drive me bonkers if they are used at 100%, but in combination, maybe the Wool will be the Chairman of the Board and boss those 2 around. I'm hoping.

Last on the plate - a plain hood. This is a work sweater, and it needs that hoodie but also needs to be flexible around the neckline when paired with a parka.


This weekend is Chicago's giant St. Patrick's Day parade! Check out the City's website - especially the Queen contest. Especially interesting? How fashion changed from 1972 to 1991 in the last two pictures on the page...

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Ready to Roll! Full speed ahead! Seams everywhere!

I love seams. I love a nice strong shoulder line with support and muscle; the look of the set-in sleeve; the civilized behaviour of the sides.

All my seaming dreams come true in this pretty - it is fitted and ready to be finished. I will sew the body pieces together and then do the hood, then the band.

Michelle writes: "I see that you're blocking before adding your button bands - I've always been loathe to do this, thinking that the 'unblocked' yarn/button bands might cause puckering once blocked....but do you find this is not so?"

I always (99%) block everything before any finishing. Button Banding is not an exact science but I've found it goes much more smoothly after blocking. The bands are thicker and firmer than the body of the sweater and in my experience, shouldn't change much once they are blocked out.

The trick is to find the right pick-up ratio that doesn't flare or pucker. For this gauge (4.75 sts per inch) I will pick up, on the Front edges, 4 sts for every 5 rows. That means, looking at the edge sts, pick up 4 in every row st, skip one row stitch.

For some reason (cough, cough, digital digital) it has been incredibly hard to shoot this sweater! The color in combination with the cabling just defies me at every turn. Interesting. I keep finding out more and more about the cranky nature of digital -- what a brat it is! ;p

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Friday March 16, 2007

knit blog

"Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous: the Slammer Years"

That's a little quote from an associate of mine, made in the lobby of the Fed Court building in Chicago. He was talking about the trial we were there for - one Conrad Moffat Black - the notorious and controversial British Peer of the Realm.

These days, and for many weeks to come, The Esteemed Realm of said Lord consists of a courthouse, and my peers are very concerned the amenities just might not be up to snuff for someone of such lofty prominence. The Cafeteria food! The manky Public Restroom! The Gaunlet!

That's where I come in - the first and last things Mr. Black sees coming into and out of the DFBldg is multitudes of cameras. Canadians! Brits! Yanks! The interest in this man is at an international high - and the Brit paparazzi especially like to get up close and personal with the lens, leaping and pushing towards the man until he's the center of the rugby scrum. Close by his side is Mrs. Black, rumoured to wear a 26 carat diamond engagement ring, which, used in a WonderWoman move could just possibly blind and blow up all those buzzing mosquitoes with a little flash feedback.

Frivoulous Sidebar: Fellini, the GrandMaster film director, is the Pappa of the Paparazzi - his character in "La Dolce Vita" - a boy called "Paparazzo" (Mosquito)."

This playoff is going to continue for weeks and weeks this Spring and already, the media players have dug in for the duration. In the roped-off access area is a sea of canvas folding chairs, whose occupants occupy their time between takes with all varieties of distraction. My portable non-electric device has always been a sock! Not for me the video iPod which might land on the marble floor in a flurry or into a passing pocket.

I love me sock! LoTech Safe.

The Moss Agate #1 went to see Mr. Black this week and, as always, caused speculation and commenting by my Peerage in tow. This time, it got international attention - and a tiny seal of approval by one Brit who just juttted out his lower lip and quickly shook his head affirmatively. Some of my Very Own mates were confused by this colourway and one told me it was either too late or too early to be knitting Christmas socks - I'll agree they are very festive!

Late in the day, when I was up to the start of the toe, I reached a conumdrum. This sock lives in my parka pocket. All alone lives she, no tools or stash to keep her company in her downtime between stitching. Before I could continue, I needed to get a fix on my gauge, because as usual, I didn't write anything down and had no pattern with me.

I did have time to think and I did have this...

knitting patterns
meet my new little Gauger, a business card,
which in the US is always 2" x 3.5" -
really good in pinch!

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March 17, 2007

Knitters and Yarn Stores form an irresistable force. It's a

                                                                  Part One in a series...

Every knitter knows, while cruising in one's car, that it's virtually impossible to pass up a yarn store! Lucky me, in my little Jeep, I've been seen making U-turns at the speed of light never missing that opportunity to stop and shop and it's two snaps up before I'm on a first name basis with my LYS and their stash. My stash...

And where there's yarn, there's PATTERNS. That's where I come in - Chic Knits Patterns are popping up all over the place...

Meet my new (and old) friend Nathania Apple.

Nathania, Chloe & Sandi

She's one of the owner's of Purlescence Yarns, a fabulous shop in Sunnyvale, California.

Nathania (at left), along with Chloe Kestermont and Sandi Luck decided to merge their dreams and opened Purlescence in the Summer of 2006. Their passion for the craft has fashioned a warm and welcoming space -

Here's what local Sunnyvale yarn connoisseur Silvia has to say...
"Question:  What makes a yarn store a "LYS"?

Sil Answer:  A store that stocks things you actually want to buy. I know that's kind of a weird answer, but that's the way I felt when I went to Purlescence.  The store is chock full of tempting yarns and is well lit, open, airy with big comfy chairs for a sit down and knit awhile vibe.

Sandi, Nathania and Chloe have melded their expertise and created an inviting space with a pleasing selection of yarns and patterns bound to make you spend your paycheck."

from opening day 2006

"Did I mention that there's parking...While I know everyone has different expectations for a fiber store, I find that Purlescence stocks some decent acrylic blends for washable baby gifts AND the yummiest of Malabrigo colorways.

Hot burning feeling for lace, they're got your back.

A nice well rounded selection, clearly chosen by knitters on my same wavelength.  Often, I've found that the fiber emporiums assume that you'd really like to make a $200 sweater for every darn project.  Since that's not my reality, I go for diversity.  Socks to nuts, so to speak.  STR to Encore...

Well worth the drive, even with the price of gas!"

Chic Knits Patterns available at:

Purlescence Yarns
586 S Murphy Ave
Sunnyvale, Ca 94086
408-735-YARN (9276)

Monday: 12 noon - 6 pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 12 noon - 9 pm
Thursday: 12 noon - 9 pm
Friday: 12 noon - 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday: 12 noon - 4 pm


Nathania recently finished a fabulous Ariann made from Malabrigo in the "Chesnut" colourway.

Get your copy of the Chic Knits Ribby Pulli at Purlescence which includes instructions for this very wearable hoodie...

Instructions for this fabulous scoop-neck Ribby Pulli included!


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Monday, March 19, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

Meet Joe Dyton
Caveman at Large...

This site is pretty high-band but be sure to click around the apartment - I especially like the iPod!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It's time to hood the Hoodie!


Gwen writes:"...Do you mattress seam everywhere, including the shoulders? Or do you backstitch the shoulders
for more stability?"

For the shoulder seams on this sweater, since it's Going to Work (meaning heavy use), I like to seam with Slip Stitch Crochet. It is very flexible and sturdy (and wicked fast) - adds a little thickness, but after a blast of steam, it *renders* very flat. That's one of the cool things about wool (and some other fibers). You can build multiple layers and upon application of heat, that bulk is greatly reduced.

the Knitter's Companion
you can find this technique on page 78.

I always mattress stitch the side seams (page 73 of above book) - once you do it once or twice, it is very fast and is my favorite. Now that I've started teaching workshops, this is something I love to demonstrate. People usually are a little surprised at how fast it can be!

Each to their own, but I would rather spend 10 minutes mattress stitching than wrestling with a one-piece sweater of this size. The structure seaming adds to a garment of this type lends to greater durability and that's what I'm after. I wear all my sweaters to work, at home, anywhere. This construction process gives me a lot of confidence that what I'm making will last and serve me well.


I especially liked the way the neckline turned out on this with the hood stitches picked up.

Jane writes: "Is this the Twist on your pattern site? I didn't see the cables on the sleeves in the photo
--is there a variation of the pattern?"

This is a variation of the Twist pattern for sale; I'm thinking of releasing it as version II. What do you think?

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Friday, March 23, 2007

by vermin, for vermin


Sock #2 Gusset


The Little Sock That Could has been in the FedBldg lobby with the rest of 'em.

Who Dat?

According to one Mrs. Conrad Black: the Vermin!

In the soon to be epic trial of her husband, the notorious *Lord* Black, Mrs. Black has made some epic pronouncements of her own. While riding up to the courtroom in an elevator, Her Ladyship face-to-face declared a journalist from the CBC "a slut" and the rest of us covering the story in the lobby: Vermin.


The little Sock in the Lobby says, "That's what happens when you purchase your Ladyship Title with that special discount coupon from Craigslist Toronto..."

[Hush now, you.] I actually thought I'd have this sock finished by now but reality intruded and knitting dropped by the wayside. Who's a history buff out there? WHO was the first vicious moron who started collecting taxes!? I have a score to settle with him in the afterlife right after I get done with the guy who invented the mortgage.

By Edgar A. Guest

When they become due I don't like them at all.

Taxes look large be they ever so small.
Taxes are debts which I venture to say,
No man or no woman is happy to pay.
I grumble about them, as most of us do.
For it seems that with taxes I never am through.

[I digress.] A little been's done on the bus going here and there. We made a new friend last night. I looked up and spied a lady in a gorgeous yellow tweed coat standing on the ride - she was smiling and watching me knit. When I told her, on her question, that the yarn I was using was STR, she pulled out a sock out of her bag and BING! It was in the colorway I traded for - looked just like the one I made and frogged. It unsettled me, I know not why...

I'm still getting all happy looking at the colors in this Moss Agate - all together it's a little busy, but I get lost in its initimate green and garden while stitching.

There are small verdant shoots of soon-to-be purple tulips pushing up the cool soil in the front yard.

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Studio StashOut Sundays

It's Time to let it go...
--- limited time only - get it while its HOT ---

Studio StashoOUt!!

--- click HERE for more details. ---

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Monday, March 26, 2007

  Monday Morning Mirth  

there's just no words for

>>>>> SHE who Must Be Obeyed <<<<<

>>>>> read the story <<<<<

the wardrobe of the Mistress never flags even on
a chore day...

last day duds...

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007




that ROCK!

....... self-portrait Tuesday .......

Well alrighty now! The game is afoot!

This is my first pair of STR and although I have a little bit in ye olde stash, these socks are the first to make it on the runway...

After reading about this yarn for YEARS now, I am a little behind the curve, but better late than never. Especially since the newer distribution is in bigger hanks [and less likely to fraternal-ize from foot-to-foot as seen above].

I do not mind the difference. I do not mind the Flash. I do not mind ze POOL!

I swim freely!

Of all things knitting, socks make me the very happiest and I would make them all the live long day if I could. This yarn is downright dee-lightful and performed really well in just a simple boot sock pattern.

Ever on the make for stitch patterns that work to bring out the groove in the handpaint could be a life work - what are your favorites? Corinne, my partner in socking on this outing, is making her STR in a cool pattern by Empress Nancy Bush (Heeless Sleeping Socks from "Knitting Vintage Socks") that works that striping in a very fine way.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's a HOOD!


The Twist sweater got crowned this weekend whilst watching "the Illusionist". This movie was so stullifying, that it was easy to pay attention to the stitching - unlike my outing with "The Departed" which was so exciting that the Nicole top suffered a 53 row "hit" and was put back into marination custody for a time out. (Currently, 47 rows to go, again on probation.)

Movies are soo good to knit by that I see that Jennifer/Crafty Lilly has a blog called FiberFlix KAL. Here movies are nominated and one per month is picked for viewing, discussion and knitting. Coming Up in April is "Don Juan DeMarco", with my favorite Hollywood squeeze, Johnny Depp. I've never seen this one! Count me in!

My perfect movie to Knit By: something without subtitles (tried and failed to watch a Bollywood box office breaker with no success), something with lots of music to cue me to upcoming drama (usually this tonal bashing annoys me to no end but in this case it's essential) and lot's of action scenes so I can look away and not miss too much exept for some gratuitous pyrotechnics (some of Angelina Jolie's movies are great for this - the TombRaider series, which I love; Mr. & Mrs. Smith was great - as soon as the sound of breaking glass/explosions is over, eyes up!)

"The Illusionist" has the great Edward Norton and a fellow named Rufus Sewell who I've adored since I first saw him as Marco Venier in "Dangerous Beauty". Both give safe, intense, well-crafted performances which never ignite. The whole story is about the Passion they both feel for Jessica Biel's character, who is just too contemporary for a period piece like this. Her look, her accent, her lack of range bring the thing to a grinding halt everytime she appears. The sparsity of gimcracks in a movie so focussed on magic is astounding and by the end, when they reveal the illusion behind the Illusion, it is too little, too late. Even "the Ghost Whisperer" teases with more skill than this big budget period farce.

Especially annoying - the entire film is golden and sepia toned with faded blacked out edges to approximate a voyeur effect; just too exhausting to peep for the duration.

Between Acts 3 & 4, I was so lethargic,
I took an Exciting Button Break
while the movie plodded along...


I'm having a hard time picking between
a faux light tortoise shell and a buff matte disk...

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TGIF March 29

Chic Knits Sock Nation Knittin' Citizen

...the Sock Speaks...
Stories of Spring

AIEEE! Taking a spin through Cookie A's new collection, (congratulations on your new website!) got us so Spring Feverish, we had to take a run up the Miracle Mile that is Michigan Ave. and get some sun...

But first the Sock demanded a new Spring colored iPod Shuffle when we
passed the Michigan Ave Apple Store...

Next up, Tiffany's, where the pastel Spring Jewels
were laid out below tumbling fiberish fluff
amid little white eggs...

Sock offered to go to the Prom
with some suits at Ralph Lauren.

Ralph appears to still be on
an Edward, Duke of Windsor
kick right now.
And that's fine by Sock!

Hey, we have our own Palaces in Chicago

Seen at Victoria's Secret: America's next Top ... SOCK!

Sock Mocks: Hey Madge! Your H & M
collection looks really re-cycled 70's!

What better place for a Friday cocktail than
the Top of the Hancock!

After a couple of pops,
Sock offered itself to this cold, cold model at CHANEL.

Hot Pants! Hot Socks! TGIF!!!

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