lipstick on a pig

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

me getting a manicure is almost like putting lipstick on a pig—there’s a limit to how much cosmetics can improved such poor abused fingertips. and because they are in constant use, i rarely put much effort into making them look better; in fact, the last time i had a real manicure was in 1992. but i scheduled one for last saturday anyway, because my hands were going to be on film

and you know what? turns out that manicuring involves more than just polish and when i have one, i actually take better care of my fingers to maintain the improved look—no biting, no using them as tools or a backboard for stress. hmm.

i’m thinking about keeping this up; my cuticles are so neat i can hardly believe they belong to me.

so i didn’t fall off the face of the earth; i was in denver all week, filming a couple of classes for craftsy. in those few days just before i left, i had to finish up the first chapter of our bare naked club eBook, organize a big reorder for our breakfast blend yarns (thank you knitters!), pack up what felt like half my life to take with me, somehow get some travel knitting organized (HA, as if i had time to knit), and try to get a little ahead on pattern work.

haha, for several nights before i left, the house was bustling—erica and emily in one room packing yarn and pattern orders

while zack and brittany packed club bundles in another room.

and i ran all over the place hunting down what i needed to pack into my suitcases upstairs.
we are constantly reorganizing to handle our growing activities, but just when we seem to get on top of it, we need to make another adjustment. all good problems to have . . .

by saturday, i had my chapter finished and all i had left to do was get my suitcases finalized and travel knitting organized. i had been swatching the previous week for infinity scarf material and settled on this reversible horseshoe lace for one in our BB oatmeal fingering yarn. it’s hard to tell here what the texture is actually like—the pattern is smaller and reversible; it shows to much better advantage in quantity and in the light.

super simple to knit, i thought i’d need something like this in my bag for the trip. and if one is a good thing, then two is even better, right?

i love this other swatch as well; when i just couldn’t decide between the two, i cast on both.

for this one, i went with our burnt toast color, a rich, warm brown—just look at the highlights in that skein, yum-yum. these projects will knit up with just one skein and will be light, airy layering pieces for spring. something new to add to the little nothings category . . .

knitting the swatches and getting my travel projects organized was pretty much the highlight of that week as i wasn’t allowing myself to leave my desk all that often. too bad i didn’t get more knitting done during my trip.

some length got added to my DK shawl on the trip out and that was about the last i saw of this project til i photographed it today. (really, this should have been finished my now; why am i dawdling over it?)

and a VERY little bit of knitting behind the scenes at the studio—i think i did all of six rows on one infinity scarf between the time i left home and the time i returned. the other, i didn’t even touch.

but what’s this?? apparently, i was in hat-knitting mood. so good to see i got something accomplished. this is cyclone, a slouchy tam from FIFC 2012, which we knit in november. the club yarn was fleur de fiber aries oceanus and i gave the larger of my two finished hats to my SIL nan, who reports that she is in love with the set and wears it constantly.

the club-exclusive abalone color was a knockout on her, but i think this woolen rabbit opulence in oh ruby  will also be gorgeous. she has a birthday coming up so this will make a nice gift. i’ve got the matching typhoon cuffs on the needles now. these yarns always scare me; they grow a lot when they are wet, but they do shrink back as they dry if i reshape them constantly. hence its place on the heat vent in my office, where i can keep an eye on it.

other than that and some swatching for secret projects, it was a pretty dry week for knitting in denver. i arrived early last sunday, so i had the afternoon to nap a bit and then visit my cousins who live there.

we don’t look at all alike, but our hair gives us away—it’s the tie that binds our family. we had a wonderful meal, celebrated all the february birthdays between us, and talked for a few hours. it was really nice; i wish we could do it more often.

the next morning it was up and at ’em by 4 am; myself and another instructor were being picked up at 7:30 by our charming makeup artist danica to be whisked to the filming studio and made glamorous.

danica of course is already glamorous and sweet, too; if you have to get up that early  and be human, you really need her in your corner.

lisa is another instructor who was on set last week; she owns delicious desserts, a successful cake and dessert business on cape cod. we were both kind of nervous that first morning, but danica put us at ease and soon we were laughing.

now except for photo shoots here, i don’t wear makeup as a rule, so it was a bit shocking to see how much they use. it felt like a big change but i trust that it looked good on camera.

once i had makeup on, i went into the studio where everyone was setting up. amy, who i had met at TNNA, asked for a photo for her mom which i was happy to do—i just love meeting knitters who read the blog.

i unpacked the suitcase full of teaching materials and sample garments i brought. all at once i felt a head rush of nervousness. barb had knit over forty swatches and step-outs that i’d be using in my classes and suddenly, i was sure i would not recognize when to use what, even though she had very kindly bagged and marked them lesson by lesson. ok, deep breath, hanson; you made the list so of course you know what’s what. right??

it must have been the lights, cameras, and faces all pointing at me. anyway, once we got underway a little while later, i was fine. thank goodness.

after that, the week just flew by; denver was cold and snowy for a few days, but i managed to get out to a couple of fine dinners with friends and colleagues during the week. and my hotel room got upgraded to a palatial suite which was delightful. because i had to leave in the dark and come back in the dark, i didn’t get to run outside on this trip, but maybe i’ll get asked back at a time when i can try that.

before i knew it, i was on my way home again. my classes will debut around the third week of march and we’ll be sure to let you know; they are both focused on finishing skills and one of them will be offered free, so anyone can take it. we have a lot to do before then; my craftsy profile needs to be filled out and patterns uploaded to the shop on their site; our website needs a landing page that knitters can use to access my classes on craftsy.

for now, i’m just glad to be home again—i missed being home. when i arrived friday there was a tone to do, including opening a bunch of mail. there were several envelopes with samples knit by generous souls in our new yarns; we have a terrific team of knitters working on getting some of our existing patterns knit up and they are looking lovely.

just look at this incredible sprössling cardigan knit for me by our dear anne marie in breakfast blend fingering yarn. did she knit this fast or what?? we sent her the yarn just after erica left.

i just love it in the cocoa color; i tried it on as soon as i unwrapped it—perfect has a nice stretchy feel that i like in an everyday sweater; easy to pull on, easy to take off. i’d completely forgotten about buttons, so this afternoon i went exploring in the button box to see if i had anything on hand. turns out, there were actually lots of options.

these shell buttons are classic and have incredible depth, each one a little light show. i love the colors but there is something about the shape that doesn’t seem right; it’s just a little too plain for what i want

these vintage glass ones with a little gold eyelash are stunning, but i think a little too green for the fabric; i’ll save those for a future project.


oh my—now these are fun and clever looking! i hadn’t thought of using a bright color, but that lavender is quite fetching against the cocoa brown. they pick up a tone in the wool that really responds. this is the good thing about having a button box—serendipity sometimes strikes to set us on an interesting tangent. 

hmmm; i only have a few of these left over from my blümchen sweater—not enough for this sweater too. but maybe another color would work, or maybe i can get more of these. OR i could trade out the ones from the blumchen for something else.

and  then i remembered seeing some green glass ones at a verb for keeping warm last time i was there. i called the store and sarah set me up with the green ones she could locate. if they get here and they don’t go, i will use them somewhere else. i also looked on etsy and found a couple of backups.

heh, vintage glass buttons are way to easy to get hold of, IMHO.

i also have these little confections, if the color ones don’t work out—they are also too adorable and perfect, like little chunks of ribbon candy. and i didn’t even glance at the wooden options i might have.

i really think my head has been turned by the colored glass ones, but i’ll leave it to a vote—what do you all think?

i can’t wait til our little gallery and look book are photographed and organized for your perusal; we have some really delicious samples coming in each day.

stay tuned because later today i’m releasing one of the february club patterns—we have two this month for a total of four new accessory pieces, just right for the end of winter.

32 thoughts on “lipstick on a pig

  1. No offense, Anne, but I really don’t like any of the pictured button options. Now if you would show us some wooden options……….

    I am THRILLED to read that you have done some Craftsy classes!! I have learned a lot from those I have done and I am so looking forward to taking your classes. How cool is this gonna be!?!

  2. I like the last set of buttons– still somewhat subtle, but really fun when you get up close! I am really looking to taking a class from you through craftsy!

  3. Anne, I am SO happy you will have online classes – finally I can take a class with you – yay! Thank you for making this a reality. Hard to believe how you have a free minute with all you’ve been doing the past year or more!!

    As for buttons, I like the first ones. Wooden ones might be nice too!

    A maker’s hands are a fright most of the time, I agree! A manicure is a nice treat.

  4. Very pleased to read you again !

    And thank you to think about poor knitters “over the pond” as says Helen 😀
    It’s (one of) my dream(s) to have a classe with you… You make it comes true !!! You’re a fairy… Merci Anne.

  5. Anne, I really like the last buttons that you showed on your blog. Wooden buttons – too predictable. I love vintage and these last buttons really look classy.
    You have such great taste, no matter what you choose I am sure they will be great (except for the lavender – HAHA!)

  6. Your hands look spectacular compared to mine which are in the kitchen for long hours several days a month. Not a polish girl, but a manicure might improve the kitchen/winter damage. Hmmmm…

  7. I don’t get frequent manicures for the same reasons you gave. In addition to knitting, I make quilts and hand-quilt them all. Little sharp needles can be very rough on the hands. Your manicure looks great. I might treat myself to a professional one this week.
    Now about buttons. I like glass ones, but something in a grayish wood might work, too.
    Yay, yay, yay! So glad you’re doing classes on Craftsy. Can’t wait.

  8. So close and yet so far! Since I live in the Denver area, I am now officially crying in my beer that you weren’t here for classes or such things. The vintage glass buttons with the gold eyelashes are definitely the ones!

  9. Congratulations on the Craftsy classes! Im really excited that I can take one of your fantastic classes without leaving the comfort of my home.

    The last buttons are my favorite. The colors in them are very striking and add a little color without being overwhelming.

  10. Well, my favorites are the gold-eyelash buttons, but you’re right that they’re a bit too green for the yarn. I like the shell buttons for the sweater, but if they don’t quite do it for you, move on. The lavender are the best color of all with the yarn – I vote for those!

  11. Your fingernails look great Anne. My hands are in a shocking state after opening and unpacking so many boxes after our move. I am slathering them with handcream each night to try and get them smooth enough to start knitting again. At the moment they are snagging on the yarn. I have a skein of Breakfast Blend calling my name!!

  12. I’m so excited that you are going to be doing a finishing class for Craftsy! I haven’t taken any of their classes yet but have heard so many good recommendations for your finishing class that I will definitely take it.

    I like the shell buttons, but want to see what you are getting sent from A Verb for Keeping Warm!

  13. Thanks for all the updates. One thing I like about your blog is that you are continuing to post, even though you are so busy. I have seen other blogs go by the wayside when the designer gets really busy and you wonder what they are up to and if the blog will ever be updated. So many thanks! I like the ones with ribbon candy. Can’t wait to see your manicure on Craftsy.

  14. Wow, Anne! You look even more beautiful than usual. And your mani looks awesome. I’m so excited that you’re going to be on Craftsy. You are just a force of the universe.

    Can’t wait to see you model the Sprossling. I might have cast on for one this weekend in Earl Grey : )

  15. You look terrific! Congratulations on the crafty classes.

    I do love the sprossling in the new yarn. I think my favorite buttons are those that remind you of ribbon candy.

  16. Alas, I’m all by myself this time. My vote most certainly goes to the lavender buttons! Stunning color and love the contrast with the cocoa brown.

  17. I feel that the shell buttons are by far the best! I am on the sleeves of my Sprossling (in Briar Rose) and forgot that I still have button selection ahead of me…
    I am so delighted to hear that you will be on Craftsy. When they asked for teacher suggestions, you were mine. I have been promoting Craftsy with all of my friends as I think that it is a wonderful way to take classes. I can’t wait to take yours!

  18. You look lovely, as always! Amazing too! Soooo glad your knitspot is doing so well! I ran into Cheryl from Newhue handspuns at a small fiber fair in my area and she had several of your beautiful patterns knit in her handspuns yarns. It was a dangerous booth! Blessings, love Josie

  19. I vote for the ribbon candy buttons. I love the shell buttons, but think they are too flat for this textured knit. Wooden buttons are a real cliche on textured neutrals; I’m afraid I never like them in such a predictable context (IMHO–LOL). I like the rounded shape and color of the lavender buttons, but it is hard to tell from a small picture whether they would “pop out” too much on the gray–the buttons wearing the sweater, so to speak. The “ribbon candy” is both beautiful and interesting. Btw, did you see the bicycle buttons on the Yarn Harlot’s blog? They made me think of you and your love of cycling!

  20. The colouring of the shell buttons is excellent, the others, not so good in my monitor. I understand your concern about shape. Perhaps a metallic button in copper could work.

  21. I LOVE your nails….some little bird told me you had them done…..I know whatever buttons you choose will look great….I’m liking the lavender ones but then I liked them on your other sweater.

  22. How fun to see a peek behind the ‘green curtain’ at chez Knitspot where all the action is! What good little packers you have!!

    And I have to say – I am going to get the Craftsy video JUST so Sam and I can giggle at you wearing makeup.

    And are we voting for buttons?? I throw my vote in behind the shells of course!! Love how they reflect the light and will pick up the colors of whatever you have on underneath the sweater! But you pick whatever floats your boat!

  23. I’m a great fan of both Craftsy and Knitspot, and now we have the two combined – brilliant! I can’t wait to see your finishing class, but I’m also hoping this may be the prelude to you doing a full length paid-for class – maybe on design, or with a specific sweater-knitting project? Any chance?

    As for the buttons, it has to be the lavender ones – that combination is a stroke of genius!

  24. NurseNancy started it. Lavender is my favorite of the buttons shown.

    Your Craftsy class is going to be a terrific addition to their line up. Hope to see more of you there, Anne.

    Great mani!


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