Archive for February, 2006

pod people

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

pod casting is exploding into the knit-o-sphere; suddenly knitting podcasts are multiplying like stash and spreading out with the similar growth habit.

i would not even be aware of knitting podcasts if not for my (non-knitting) love. he’s such a technophile. see?

it’s all about brushed metal and clean lines. and i am SO not!

notice the egg timer there? yes, i do know about iCal; the egg timer just has a feel-good vibe for me. i work on the computer all day, but i don’t really find gadgets entertaining. and i DON’T have a desire to fiddle with them in my off-hours (shudder). i am especially clueless about what’s cutting-edge, and what’s NOT. and being on the cutting edge is a big part of the technophile lifestyle (i was gonna say technophilia, but it sounded kind of disease-ish . . .)

anyway, i wanted to buy david something nice for our 5th wedding anniversary last fall. it’s pretty impossible to surprise him with gifts of technology (gifts of technology? again, shudder), but i was pretty sure i could manage to get him a new iPod nano without screwing it up, and indeed, i did procure the goods.

which meant that i inherited this:

i didn’t know what to do with it, really, aside from putting audiobooks on it to listen to while i ride my bike on the trainer (yeah, right, lotsa THAT happening lately . . .).

i work at home, so i don’t have to ride the bus. and i always found it difficult to work with anything making noise in my ears. and then in december, david heard an interview with tara jon mannings one night on WBAI, which led him to some knitting podcasts and he put those on the iPod for me, and i was immediately hooked on this wonderful art form!
we have our own knitting VARIETY SHOWS!

if you haven’t yet explored this medium, get ye to a computer! you do not need an iPod or an MP3 player to enjoy this programming. click on the link for any of programs in my sidebar, go to their sites, and read about them/download them/subcribe in iTunes. go to this site (no iPod required) if you don’t know what i’m talking about and need a quickstart lesson. i PROMISE you will enjoy it.

when we looked into it some more, we found marie’s knitcast, daniela’s secret knitting, brenda’s cast-on, and rhonda’s knitting newscast programs. then around the first of the year, brenda went weekly, and whit’s about-time showed up, along with the fibercast. this past month saw the birth of brooklynne michelle’s the mosh knit, and christine’s pointy sticks, while we eagerly await musings of a peaceful knitter (due out tomorrow).

podcasts are produced by individuals, from their own point of view in their own part of the world. modern equipment enables the podcaster to produce a very hi-quality session with fairly lo-tech means; i am quite impressed by several podcasts produced using a laptop only; no external mike, mixing board, or add-ons. because they create within a worldwide community, podcasters have many extras available to them through a casual barter system. for instance, a podcaster can use music that is available for free, and by doing so, expands the music artist’s audience.

knitters who enjoy performing provide us with witty insight into human nature and our relationship to our materials and methods. the texture and depth of the programming is quickly becoming very high quality. it’s my opinion that the knitter’s extensive experience using lo-tech tools to produce magic gives us an edge in such things.

tomorrow, i will talk about individual programs a little bit. i would love it if, because of me, one or two people listened in to one this week (okay, who am i kidding; you two people who read this know who you are).

projecting: it’s my system and i’m sticking with it

Monday, February 27th, 2006

christine (Pointy Sticks), seems worried about the idea of having multiple projects. oh christine, if you only knew . . . personally, i live for multiple projects. i got over my fear of Not Finishing a long time ago and have been much the happier for it.

i have not had much time for Serious Knitting these past 9 or 10 months. nope, not happening much around here. i’m talking about original sweaters; that’s my real thing, sweaters and shawls. endurance projects. i like to keep myself, and those around me warm. and, i knit fast, so i can get through sweaters easily. i usually make sure i have a couple of Serious Knitting projects going, and then a bunch of small projects to break up the tedium that sets in on the long projects (got that? i love my knitting, but i find it tedious; go figure). but this year anyway, the sweater output has been kinda paltry.

that is not to say i haven’t been knitting; i just haven’t been doing much Serious Knitting. right now, i have at least 8 live projects on my needles (off the top of my head; it could easily be more than that. no wonder i can’t find ANY of the 5 sets of 24-inch size 7 circulars i KNOW i own!).

ok, ok, it’s more like ten. that is, the ten that i could find in the five minutes i spent looking for current projects. well, not that i hide them; they were just in 4 or 5 different rooms . . .

this may sound bad to those who like to start something and work all the way through it before starting something else (i have never been one of those people, to the dismay of many). for procrastinators, this could be a red flag situation; a disaster waiting to happen. for me it is works great; when i am busy with work, and exhausted in my free time, i do not want to have to begin something new. sometimes it really pays to have projects in progress.

first of all, i love my knitting. i pretty much don’t care what i work on at any given moment (as long as it’s knitting), so i like to have a little project in almost every room that i can pick up and do. some days i get several inches done on the shawl in the living room, then ignore that for a week while i do some work on the hats for next christmas, the socks we will need for next winter, or the gift project i need to send out by the end of the week.

second, i am always working on pieces for the shop. sometiomes they show off a new yarn, like this scarf in karaoke:

mmm. soft.
sometimes they are new design for patterns i sell at the shop; these are in pretty high demand, so i need to keep producing them. however, if i hit a spot in them where i need to think, knitting on something else really helps me over the hump. like this cabled scarf:

i wanted something with openwork because the alpaca gets heavy in a scarf, but everyone loves to do cables too. i started it in a couple of other cable patterns, picked this one, but did not enjoy doing it. and if i do not enjoy it, no one else will either. so i knit on this:

and thought about it, and looked at my stitch pattern books (again). when i found the right cable i went back to it. now it looks like this:

the small projects are the ones that i can take around to the shop, or in the car, or to the dentist, etc. (like socks). these will all vary, of course, in their state of completion. some will be very far along, and usually those are the ones that are parked near the chair where i flop at the end of my day; i can do them mindlessly and there isn’t very much left to do. others are established only enough that i know what i am doing and have the stitch pattern memorized; these are the lightest-weight and can go anywhere (socks always fit into this category).

lately, i wait til the weekend to start new things. i work weekends, too, but my time is more my own, so i can brainstorm and do swatches and set up several projects in my free time. then during the week, i can work through the projects just begun, whenever i have time. and because there are several, i can usually find one to fit whatever mood i’m in. totally zonked? oh look, here are some socks; i think i could almost knit socks in my sleep! feeling anxious and need something else to focus on? well, here we have a lace scarf half-done; the pattern is memorized and all i really have to concentrate on is doing it correctly and not dropping yarnovers. that will work; i won’t be able to worry about work at the same time. need to decompress after a long day? kid’s hats and mitts in funny shapes and colors will put me in a better mood (and guess what? i will need 7 sets for christmas this year).

but the Serious Knitting? fugeddaboudit. for some reason, i cannot start something Serious without agonizing over the design, the yarn choices, the stitch pattern, etc, etc, etc, til ihave worn myself down to a near-tears state. i mean, i can’t tell how many times i have innocently gone to the workroom knowing exactly what i was going to do with X yarn from my stash, the pattern all laid out, etc., and i end up 4 hours later spinning up new yarn for a totally dfferent project that i just designed, because suddenly nothing else appealed to me. and even on weekends lately, i don’t have THAT kind of time. but, i did start a new sweater last week. i am tentively saying that i think i can finish this one in a decent amount of time, but the cable is a tough-y and right now, it’s kicking my butt:

and then there is the perpetual sweater. i haven’t had one of these in along time. i started it last spring, and it’s taking forever! i love the design i made, i love the yarn, and i love the stitch. it’s fine yarn (size 4 needles) and one that i have knit with before. i know i will want this sweater come spring because i have a similar one that i wear almost every day when it gets a little warm. however, here it sits:

i do not have time to really bond with this project! we have not come to that point together where i think about it longingly while i’m in phone jail, or make a beeline for it on my lunch break, or am while i am printing stuff. i just keep forgetting about it; ay, i didn’t even think to make this my olympic project! that would have been too intelligent. don’t worry, it’s beautiful and i will get there, it just hasn’t happened yet.

so you see, the multiple project system has it’s benefits. one of them being that it spreads out some of your stash so that it looks like this:

instead of this:

see what i mean?
we will spend more time on projects and stash later in the week. someone whose initals are DEBBIE thinks she can get me to publish photos of my yarn closet.
duh! why do you think it’s in a closet?!

tomorrow i want very badly to get to another favorite topic: podcasts.

late-breaking news: beth takes gold

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

another LACEPACER takes gold saturday evening in her race to olympic glory. after a day of running around to yarn shops outside her territory, beth p was not quite sure she felt like knitting her olympic project to completion that night. she had several new yarn and fiber choices burning a hole in her knitting bag. but she persevered and ran away with gold.

we tried to reach beth for comments, but could not get through. we were wondering just how heavy a gold medal is . . .

in other olympic news, debbie j has not surfaced yet, so we do not know the story with her run for gold. however, she did email pictures of her stash. i think she is throwing down the gauntlet here; she is daring me to bare all and show the world my stash. i haven’t decided about that yet; all i know is, i am ready to talk about how many projects i have on the needles right now. see tomorrow’s post for more. later in the week we’ll talk about stash and podcasts.

asamandra (Asamandras Blog-Tagebuch – aktuelle Eintr├Ąge) has finished her 10-pattern shawl and now i want to make it.

aven (Is it a sweater yet?) may not finish, but her project is so cool you have to go read about it. be sure to read down through the pre-olympic development phase!

b (I’ve got platinum vision, and a Tinfoil Touch….) made those socks from anna karenina (i should do that, too; i always thought that was really cool!).

christine (Big Pink Cookie) did not finish, but put out a new podcast, so she gets gold for that!

eunny (See Eunny Knit!) might finish; did not see pictures, but the progress pix look good.

got to stephanie’s page (Yarn Harlot: The 2006 Knitting Olympics) and check out more olympian finishes!

don’t laugh . . .

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

it started out as an innocent little trip to a couple of yarn stores (ok, don’t choke on your drink; i KNOW that innocent and yarn store probably DON’T belong in the same sentence). the first thing that happened, was that debbie couldn’t go. debbie, we will definitely catch up and get you out next weekend. and steve, don’t read any further if you really care that debbie EVER gets to go shopping with us!

ok, back to the yarn shopping. i bought this:

don’t say anything yet. i also bought this:

it has a clever secret inside:

it holds knitting magazines and patterns!
actually though, i told david it was for all the magazines, meaning the bike, design, and knitting mags stacked on our coffee table (THAT is too embarrassing to show you). maybe there will be one slot for patterns . . .

about the furniture. i have to explain that we are renovating a large old house. (that is the nasty room there, which will eventually be a dining room). we moved into it with practically no furniture. it has a lot of “empy” (read: yarn storage) rooms and we love midcenturey stuff. i find things at thrift shops and david buffs them up and makes them look great. the chair appeals to my secret “liberace” side; i have a few “princess” pieces that act as a counterpoint to the more severe things. this might get reupholstered some day in a 50s fabric that changes it’s tone completely. i just love the wide seat and low arms: perfect chair for knitting!! plus, it reminds me of jonathan coulton’s song, “baby got back” (see the sidebar for the link)

beth will never go shopping with me again, though. we couldn’t see out the back window all the way home.

BTW, this IS leading to a yarn story. we went to sally’s shop and fine points ( Fine Points Yarn Shop – Cleveland’s Knitting and Crochet Resource). that’s part of the problem; there are some awesome thrift stores along the way. i also bought this:

plus, a bag of polworth fiber that sally herself carried home from australia. what was i supposed to do, leave it there? like i always say, “i’m stopping after this.”

AND! and this is the best thing. see that blue sweater? i didn’t buy that yesterday. i made that last year, and have never found the right buttons for it. you know how you get an idea in your head about the exact, right thing that would finish a garment, but you can never really achieve it?

well, that didn’t happen yesterday!! i actually found EXACTLY what i wanted for buttons at fine points, AND! and, they were cheap!! see, they look like little chips of rock. i love them!

a little clarification here; fine points does not sell anything that is cheap, but they also do not sell anything inexpensive. these were either marked wrong, or they are SO cheap to make, that even fine points can sell them at a good price. at any rate, they are perfect and i am so happy i can wear this sweater now!

seriously, we had the best, fun day! we missed debbie, though. steve, we missed debbie, and we won’t put up with her not being able to go next time . . .

while we were out, david was home doing this:

washing clothes. did i mention that i live in a dream world? no really, i do. seriously, i do NOT deserve this man. he is the best. david made that drying rack; he thought i needed more height for my handspun skeins to dry . . .

oh, and that is another view of the nasty room. see the nasty, Nasty wallpaper? i know, it scares me too; i try not to look at it. but once, and i kid you not, i saw it on debbie travis facelift, in someone’s house.
no wonder there is a debbie travis.

tomorrow, i am going to talk about this:

bet you can’t guess what this is?